Sobriety,Family and Week 39

At the risk of sounding like maybe every day isn’t a great day this past week has been a very good week. But being successful at this recovery gig, for 24 years, and having contradicted my doctors’ opinion on my longevity, I am grateful for every day. So yes it’s been a great week. It really got kicked off on Sunday when we celebrated Lori’s birthday. We being Lori and I, 4 kids and two of their significant others. It started at noon at the Locked Room. The Locked Room is a company that sells escape adventures for adults. You’re locked in a room and you have 60 minutes to get out. There are puzzles and clues and multiple rooms and that’s it. Figure it out. We did one in August and we kicked ass. We did one on Sunday and got our ass kicked. There were 8 of us in an escape room and we could have used about 15 more minutes. Regardless of the outcome it’s a great time and I highly recommend it.

From there we went bowling for Lori’s Annual Birthday Bowling Extravaganza. This was actually the first Birthday Bowling Extravaganza but Annual sounded good. It sounded good when we had it engraved on the trophies too. That’s right we had trophies! There were 3 trophies to give out. There was one for top male bowler, one for top female bowler and of course we had one for the bowler with the greatest opportunity to improve. For this person we had a horses’ butt trophy and a book of jokes.

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Trophy for Top Male

 

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Lori,Olivia,Ryan,Liam,Me,Julia,Geoff and Emma

 

Emma won the trophy for top female and she was also the top overall bowler. Ryan, Olivia’s boyfriend won top male and Julia, Geoff’s girlfriend got the book of jokes! We had nachos, cheese sticks, ribs and cokes and beers for refreshments. There was plenty of trash talk and it was generally an awesome time! I’m already looking forward to the 2nd annual. Anytime I spend with my family is terrific. These are the moments that make me proud of my kids and my wife and that make me happy to be a father and a husband. Times like this can’t be beat!

I got sober so I could be a dad. I wanted to be a good father. I was very fortunate to meet and marry Lori along the journey. Sobriety has been very good to me in many ways but my greatest abundance of Grace is found in my home , with my family.

Well all that fun set the tone for the week and the week has been one of the busiest at work in months so that’s been good too.

 

On to some sports! Baseball has Toronto, Baltimore, Detroit and Seattle all still slugging it out for a wild card spot in the playoffs. I’ve watched 2 games this week, Toronto Blue Jays of course, and it’s been great ball.

In the World Cup of Hockey, we have Canada and Team Europe battling for the championship with Canada up 1-0 in the best of 3 game series. The surprises for me were the early departures of Team USA and Team Sweden. I’m not surprised at all to see Team Canada in the final but I am surprised of their opponent.

Week 4 of the NFL begins tonight with Miami at Cincinnati and the first 3 weeks have definitely been interesting with top stories for me being NE doing so well (3-0) with Tom Brady suspended, the excellent play of Denver with their new QB, the new QB with the Jets and sadly for me, the poor play so far of Seattle.

 

 

The song this week is an old gem, that for some reason really struck a chord with me today.The song is Fragile , by Sting

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It’s only a very awesome song

 

The quote this week is from a friend of mine who is also in a 12 step program.

“Courage is not having the strength to go on, it’s going on when you don’t have the strength”

Patricia D

 

Well once again I thank you for dropping in and by and I hope that you’ll check it out again next week……

 

But for the Grace of God-week 38

I can’t believe a year has passed since I started this blog and even more unbelievable to me is the fact I have posted a blog every week except for some vacation time. I’ve gone and fooled myself with this blog. I’m glad I was challenged by a friend to start a blog and super glad that I rose to the challenge. I have enjoyed writing blog much more than I had thought I would. Thanks to everyone who has been reading and following Disappearing From View.

Today I am going to re-blog my first post, from September 25,2015. It was within a few days of the anniversary of my nephew’s passing. I can’t get past this week without thinking of Iain, and other family members who have passed on. I think that this subject matter is important. Mostly it’s important to me. You see my nephew Iain was handicapped since birth but was one of the most significant family members in my life.

Iain Cullen Ramsay was born September 26,1987 and he passed, in his sleep, September 21, 2012.

 

From September 25 ,2015, week 1

Despite his handicap Iain could never fail to make me smile or laugh.  Iain blessed our lives for the time he was here with his simplicity and humility. He taught me how to be humbler, more appreciative of what I have and to be a kinder person. So I was a little saddened Monday by the memory but also very grateful to spend the day thinking of Iain, appreciate my emotions and reflect on some situations I am in today. It’s important to acknowledge our feelings and emotions. Take the time.

The phrase “There but for the Grace of God go I “no longer has a place in my vocabulary because of Iain. I hear this phrase used in regards to people who have perceived imperfections. Yet in my world it was God who created Iain. It was God’s Grace that allowed Iain to be such a centre of our family for 25 years. The phrase, to me if I use it, would mean that I was Graced by God but Iain wasn’t. How can that be? With the knowledge I have of my Creator it cannot be. Think very hard next time you go to use this phrase and ask yourself “does it pertain? Does it belong? Is it harmful? Am I being superior?”

 

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The song this week is from Lydia Loveless. Most of my friends know I am not a huge country music fan but I do love some of it. The more traditional or long hair it is the more likely I am to listen to it. This song is called Back on the Bottle. I hope you’ll enjoy the selection

 

 

 

The quote this week is from Criss Jami.

“The reality of loving God is loving him like he’s a Superhero who actually saved you from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gave you some stuff”

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope I’ll see you next week………………….

Prayer & Meditation-Week 37

 

 

Last Sunday we celebrated 3 birthdays by having a birthday brunch at our home. The birthdays were my wife’s, my mother in law’s and my father in law’s. These combined for 209 years! The kids came over plus my sister MJ popped over. We had too much food (as always) but the best was a Crave chocolate cake. It’s always nice to see everyone and take the opportunity to visit. Sunday was a great start to the week.

On Tuesday I was at a 12 step meeting and the topic was Step 11. Step 11 reads Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out”. Most of the people I know can pray, have prayed and know how to pray.Most the people in 12 step recovery have learned to use prayer as a foundation to a successful day. I pray every morning for the ability to accept the conditions the day will bring me and I will pray throughout the day for direction and guidance when I need it. Our book suggests that we ask for freedom from self-will and not make any requests for ourselves unless it would help others too. Prayer is not a difficult thing at all and being a believer I find it essential to my day.

The next part of Step 11 is where a lot of people in recovery breakdown. It’s not a fault, it’s just that very few people have been brought up with meditation being a part of their life. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools and I was taught to pray long before I even went to grade 1. Meditation though was never mentioned in my home. But in recovery it becomes something we talk about often. I talked about it but never really did anything with the exception of some weak attempts and then I would give up because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was sure I was doing it wrong and I was sure I would never be able to do it. I could only picture a maharishi or a monk sitting cross legged, in silent and dedicated meditation. Not until about 7 years ago when I was on a silent retreat at Sanctum Retreat Centre did I get it.A spiritual leader took us through the empty chair meditation“, still one of my favorite meditations. This practise of meditation has come in and out of my life since then until about 6 months ago when I started to incorporate it into my morning routine. Now I meditate every workday for about 10 minutes. It’s always at work and almost always it is after I check my email and my Facebook. I get caught up and then grab a quiet room at work around 7AM and I spend 10 minutes meditating. I actually set the timer on my iPhone. So at 23 years clean and sober I am finally making this a part of my day when I had so many people who would have started me sooner, had I asked them and not been so prideful.

Let me share the secret. I have been eager to get to this part. Everything I have written today to get to the part where I get to share the secret of meditation.

Meditation is easy and simple.

That’s the secret.I complicate it. We complicate it.

I hear people say, like I used to say, that their mind wanders or they start thinking of other things. This is normal. And the more you practise the better you get. Start today with no expectations of yourself. Maybe you only get 1 minute but maybe tomorrow it’s 1 minute and 15 seconds. Find a quiet place where you can sit and not be disturbed for a few moments. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Be mindful of your breath in; be mindful of your breath out. You are now meditating. With practise I have been getting better at being able to get my 10 minutes in every morning . Like you ,I struggled at first to get a minute in but don’t give up because the rewards of meditation are great. In the rooms of recovery we often hear that prayer is us talking to God and meditation is us listening to God.    Just listen

Meditation is not the sole practise of 12 steppers and spiritual leaders. Many of the world’s most successful people will tell you that meditation is an indispensable element of their day. A person does not have to be a believer to reap the health benefits and rewards of meditation.

I have some apps for guided meditation on my phone that you too can access from an app store if you would like the added help. Also check out the meditations on YouTube. There are so many resources available to help you begin this practise. This practise was laid at my feet when I started the 12 steps but I waited 23 years to get serious about it. Why not start now?

Here is a site I like for mediation, Quiet Kit , but check out all the resources for yourself.

 

Week 1 of the NFL season is almost behind us. Almost because I need to comment on Antonio Brown’s fine today for twerking in a TD celebration Monday night. Cam Newton takes numerous head shots last week and not a flag can be found but Antonio Brown dances and the fines and flags fly. I find this odd. Head shots in ; dancing out. And as week 2 starts tonight with the Buffalo Bills and NY Jets playing I can assure you I will be watching Wheel of Fortune. These two teams should be buried somewhere mid-afternoon on Sunday.

The song this week is from Giant Sand, a band from Tucson Arizona who has been around since the mid eighties. It’s called Love a Loser

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The quote this week is from Thich Nhat Hanh

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“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor”

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’ll check it out next week…..

 

 

Week 36

The Labour Day weekend has come and gone and for me that signifies the un-official end of summer. It’s been a great summer which included Mount Whitney in June and the West Coast Trail in July. This summer also included a trip to two of my favorite cities as Lori and I ended up in Vancouver and Victoria.

Lori is out of the CBE office this year and back in school as the principal in one of Calgary’s brand new and first-class elementary schools and she’s excited. I toured the school on the weekend and it’s fantastic and an awesome addition to the neighbourhood it’s in.

It’s been a quiet week this past few days for me and I’ve been a bit under the weather so I am keeping it short this week.

 

The NFL is back tonight with a repeat match-up from the Super Bowl with Carolina visiting Denver! I love following the NFL and I’m stoked the new season is here. For all the Seahawks fans and for all the Pete Carroll haters here’s a great article written by Richard Sherman, for the Players Tribune.

Richard Sherman #25

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How We Play Football in Seattle

Also on TV tonight, the preliminary rounds of the World Cup of Hockey begins.It’s been said that in Canada hockey is more than a religion ; it’s also a sport.

A very cool addition this year are two new teams. Team North America is made up of the best players under 23 years of age who did not make the cut on Team USA or Team Canada.Team Europe is comprised with a roster of European players who were born outside of competing nations. So players are from Slovenia, Switzerland, Slovakia and other countries without enough players to fill a competing roster. Don’t be surprised if Team North America takes this tournament. The actual tournament begins on September 18

The song this week is American Tune by Allen Toussaint from his most recent album, released in June, eight months after he passed away.

Allen Toussaint

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The quote this week is from Albert Einstein.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

Thanks again for dropping by. I hope you have a great 7 days in front of you and I hope you’ll drop by next week….

Week 35

Last Saturday myself and two other men from my 12 Step group went to Planet Organic for a smoothie and an opportunity to catch up with each other. I think the conversations are quite normal at first as we start out with “what’s new?” move on to football or hockey and then we end up talking recovery, or after 23 years, what I like to call, life. We soon ended up talking about lies and lying. When I was in my active addiction I lied to myself and to others on a constant and consistent basis. For alcoholics and addicts lying to others becomes second nature and a normal course to take. In respect to my alcoholism I was extremely dishonest and selfish. I lied to cover things up and I lied for my own self gain. The lies I told myself were the ones that kept me active in my addiction. I’m not sure today what was worse; my lying to others or lying to me. It doesn’t matter as I am so far removed from the man that was “out there”. In one of my earliest 12 step meetings, when my ears started to hear and my mind started to open I heard that honesty was an absolute must and integral to recovery. In the book, Alcoholics Anonymous in the section Spiritual Experience is a sentence that reads “Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery”. It goes on to say that these things are indispensable. In our meetings we talk about the need for rigorous honesty in all our affairs. Many years ago I was in a meeting and I listened to someone explain when he needed to be honest and some small and minor occasions when he didn’t need to be honest. Later that same meeting, another man, Wayne was talking, and to the room in general but what was an obviously directed comment, he stated that there were no grey areas “either you’re honest or you’re not”. For me, a person who led such an undisciplined and dishonest life prior to finding myself in recovery, this statement is a relief. I no longer have to guess when to be honest or assess a situation before deciding what I might say. I just need to tell the truth. I remember the time my sponsor, Morley told me that if I cheat on my taxes I am actually stealing from my mother, my sister, my brother and my friends.That was an eye opener to me to see the degrees that I was expected to be honest. In all my affairs!! I expect the same from the men I sponsor today and I expect the same from all my friends. Honesty is white and black for me today. Like my friend Wayne said “either you’re honest or you aren’t”. I am nowhere near sainthood and I fail often.Today I have Good Orderly Direction . I claim spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection. But every day I raise the bar on myself to elevate the level of my conduct and my living. My simple prayer, every morning is “God please help me be a better man today than I was yesterday”. I can ask myself today “either I’m honest or I’m not” and I feel very comfortable with my answer, I am honest.

 

Here is a great video of Cam Newton, Quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. It’s in two parts for a total time of 1:46 . Watch Here

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The song this week is from a band called Low Cut Connie ,out of Philadelphia. They’ve been together since 2010 and this song is from their newest album Hi Honey and it’s called  “Danny’s Outta Money”

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The quote this week is “Alcohol gave me wings to fly ,And then it took away the sky.”

Cecil C

 

Thanks for dropping by…I appreciate that you take time to read this….I hope you’ll drop by again next week