Week 22 and There is a Solution

On Saturday it occurred to me that most people think I showed up to A.A., quit drinking, worked the 12 Steps and here I am 24 years later. But that’s not how it happened and I was reminded of that when I saw Conrad D. at the Cochrane Roundup this past Saturday. I always love to see Conrad and have the opportunity to catch up with him. Conrad was the greatest influence on me to get into the 12 Steps of recovery.

I had quit drinking January 7th 1993 and haven’t had a drink since. However I never went to a 12 Step meeting for my recovery. Why would I? I had quit drinking hadn’t I? As the days and weeks passed my life started to suck. Months passed and it got worse. My anxiety was through the roof. My temper was out of control. My patience was nil. I was angry at the world, 24/7.I had quit drinking so didn’t the world owe me something? This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.No wonder I was angry.

I would run into Conrad on the streets of downtown Calgary a couple of times a week during this stage of my sobriety. He was in the drilling industry and so was I.I looked up to Conrad. He was genuine, funny, and he was successful and had been sober quite a number of years at this time. I wanted to be a lot more like Conrad. When I ran into him on the streets I would have an opportunity to complain to him about how horrible my life had become since I quit drinking. He would listen to me for a few minutes, sometimes he would mention A.A. and always he would walk away when I still had more to say. I was slowly becoming delusional and paranoid. I was messed up in my head. In September of 1993 I ran into Conrad as usual but as I was approaching him he put his hand up in that halt, or stop sign motion. So I stopped and before I could say anything Conrad said the words that I will never forget. “You may have not had a drink in a few months but you’re a bigger ass_________   than you were when you were drinking”. I was stunned. I was frozen in place and time seemed to have stopped. I think I stood there for about 30 seconds before I shook myself only to see Conrad had already walked ¼ of a block away. I was very hurt by those words.

I was so hurt that I went to an A.A. meeting that night. I called central office and there was a meeting that night at St. Michael’s Church on Bow Trail and 45st.I went to that meeting with the intent to join A.A. and change my life. There had to be more to life than the existence I was living. In my eyes Conrad was living proof that those 12 Steps worked. I showed up to The Bow Trail Group that Wednesday night and for the first time in longer than I can remember I had some Faith. Faith that A.A. worked.When they asked if there were any newcomers I stuck my hand up and when they asked if I wanted a newcomer’s package ,I said yes. I bought a Big Book that night and although the first man I asked to be my sponsor said no, the second one I asked said that he would. Something felt different that night and that feeling was hope. For so long my life had been hopeless but on this Wednesday night I had some hope that maybe I could make a life worth living. That I could find happiness and contentment.

Prior to that meeting I had become what is known as a dry drunk. Unbeknownst to me I had untreated alcoholism. Alcohol was only a symptom of my alcoholism. Alcohol was my solution to life and without it I had to find something different as a solution to my problems. I have since found my solution and it is far more than I had ever dreamed of.In A.A. I didn’t learn how to stop drinking. I learned how to live peacefully.

I have this, thanks to my good friend, Conrad D., who cared for me enough to tell me the truth, at the expense of, and despite my feelings. I have no idea where I would have ended up had I not gone through those doors of St Mike’s that night. It scares me to think about it.

I hope that each and everyone one of you has someone in your life that will help you find your truth when you’re too blinded at the moment, to see it yourself.

 

Was there any doubt that the song this week would be from Gregg Allman? If you know me then you saw this one coming. I was hurt when I got the news Saturday that Gregg Allman had passed on. Some of you might recall that Lori and I flew to Vegas last October to see him. He was on the venue with ZZ Top but he had to withdraw due to illness. Recently I did a search to see where he was going to play in 2017 only to find out he had cancelled all his gigs to build up his strength. He was able to keep me guessing and hoping to the end. He died on May 27 from complications due to liver cancer.I spent my teenage years listening to Southern Rock and The Allman Brothers were the pioneers of the genre. I’ve read today that fans have been asked to line the funeral procession route but the family will have a private ceremony. He’ll be buried next to his brother Duane, who was killed in 1971 in a motorcycle accident. This weeks song seems most fitting for the circumstances.

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This is Soulshine , released in 1994.

 

 

The quote this week is from the same man, Gregg Allman

 

I would like to be remembered as a – somebody who could rock your soul or make you cry with a song. And somebody who’s kind, who loved to laugh, and loved his God.

RIP

 

Thanks for checking out the blog and I hope you’ll drop by again next week………………….

Week 21, Long Weekends and Richard Rohr

The sun was shining every day of this past Victoria Day weekend and I can’t remember the last time that happened. We usually prepare for a spring snowfall on this May long weekend but not so this year. Every day was a beautiful,sunny and warm day. I pressure washed the outside of the house, the deck, the patio, the garage and the parking pad and cleaned off a couple shelves in the garage too.  Lori did a lot of work in the garden and yard. I also went through an old trunk of mine that is full of “stuff”. Mostly it’s all knickknacks’ and pictures from the past. These are things that only have sentimental value, which I want my kids to have, later. You know, when I’m gone. Ha-ha.  There’s crayon coloured placemats and tickets from concerts and sporting events that we attended. It’s just a bunch of “stuff”. I got caught up in it though.

Saturday night we met Samir and Kim at Aladdin’s Casbah .We had a fantastic supper and a visit that matched. Aladdin’s is a must if you’re from Calgary. Its south on MacLeod Trail at Avenida and worth the drive. This is not just the best Lebanese food in town this clearly some of the best food I’ve had in Calgary. If you’re not sure what to have I recommend starting with the tabouli and baba ganoush for appetizers and then order the mixed grill for a main course. If you go on Saturday night the belly dancer starts around 830-9 and you definitely want to be there for that! The food, the staff and the restaurant will have you planning your next visit to Aladdin’s .

I have a spot by some framed jerseys that needed some chairs but they had to be the right chairs to fit in with the sports jerseys. I said to Lori that I thought a couple of leather chairs would be the right fit. She got on Facebook ,checked into Calgary buy and Sell and immediately found two, brown distressed leather chairs that fit perfectly and I won’t say the price because it was such a good deal I almost feel guilty.

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This picture of me and the kids is from 1996. I found this while cleaning the garage on the weekend. Pure gold! It looks like we’re at Elbow Falls

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one of the pictures I found cleaning the garage. Emma,Me,Liam and Olivia

 

I’m presently taking a 9 week course from the Center for Action and Contemplation  . The course is “Breathing Underwater” and it’s to enhance the book by Father Richard Rohr titled Breathing Under Water ; Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. It’s been a great course and it’s given me a considerable amount of spiritual goods to reflect on. This is the second time this year I will have read this book. It’s been well worth my time.

I’m also reading Stephen King’s book , On Writing , Wayne Gretzky’s book Stories of the Game and I’m dabbling in a book of poetry my sister Nancy gave me for my birthday 2 weeks ago. It’s a book of poetry all based on Canada’s game, hockey! It’s called Hero of the Play I’ll get the first three finished by the first week of June and I’ll continue to dabble in the poetry book.

Cheers to the Nashville Predators for getting past Anaheim to be the first team in the Stanley Cup Final this year. This is their first ever appearance in a cup final in the 19 years they have been in the NHL. I’m really happy for the city and their fans and hope they do well. They now await the winner of game 7 between Ottawa and Pittsburgh. I would think if Ottawa ended up in the final it would be a nightmare for the NHL since Nashville and Ottawa are both small market teams and I can’t imagine there would be quite the TV interest that you might see in a NY Rangers versus Los Angeles Kings final. So I’m pulling for Ottawa and maybe we’ll see these two small market teams play for the Stanley Cup. Ottawa has won a Stanley Cup before but their last win was in 1927, long before the modern era.

 

The song this week is from the band Deer Tick and is titled Song About a Man

 

 

The quote this week is something I have had stored away in my file and I have no idea where I got it. But I like it.

If you had $86,400 in your account and someone stole $10 from you, would you be upset and throw the remaining amount $86,390 away at the person who took your $10? Of course not! The same way we have 86,400 seconds each day. Don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the remaining 86,390 seconds of your day.

 

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

 

 

 

Week 16 & A New Pair of Shoes

This week a friend of mine is telling a little of his story . I met Mike R. in 2004 when he came into a meeting in McKenzie Towne. He was new and I liked him from the start. I think of him back then , when he had just moved out of his car, to today where he owns his own place,his own business and is a great father to a beautiful little girl.He’s a solid friend and we have done a lot of things together over the years and we’ve had a lot of laughs. One night Mike took me to see Robin William’s at the Jubilee. Man did we laugh! Mike is an avid fisherman and can be found on the Bow River most days. Mike is also a fishing guide on the Bow River and his website is Bow River Blog and I can assure you he will provide you with a great and fun day or 1/2 day on the river and it’s very affordable and most of all it’s well worth it. The laughter alone , that Mike guarantee’s,is worth it.

 

 

A new pair of shoes

 

Walking the red road into a new way of life.

My shoes took me into deep dark places before I found A.A and recovery. Places where normal people are scared to enter. From crack houses to the local bar, the end was close for me on many occasions. My shoes were worn out and tired, deflated and ready to retire. They had stories to tell, mostly of where not to walk in life’s journey. They were cracked and torn, laces broken, very parallel to my life lived deep in the throes of full blown addiction. I would show up on old friends door steps, only for the door to slam closed in my face and the words uttered sternly “don’t come around here no more, you are NOT welcome”. Shame and humiliation kept me away mostly, but sometimes my shoes would take me back to borrow money to fuel the addiction that burned deep within, only to be rejected again and again! It was lonely in those shoes and I was tired of the places they took me, but for some reason I would always end up in the same situations, baffled as to why I was back at the start once again? An old song comes to mind when I think of those days, “these boots are made for walking… and that’s just what they’ll do, cause one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you”.

Addiction walked all over me, and everything I once loved or held dear to my heart. It crushed all my hopes and all my dreams into a million pieces. When I was young I had aspirations of becoming a hockey player, as well as a professional golf pro. I was good at sports, but really good at these two particularly.  I remember many hockey dads telling my mother, he is a star and he will make the NHL if he keeps playing. My mother could not keep up with the cost of hockey, being a single mother of two, and I hung up the skates around the age of twelve and the golf clubs went to the pawn shop around the age of eighteen. At the ripe old age of nineteen I was a full on pot head, using drugs on a daily basis, and by twenty one I discovered the wonderful drug Cocaine. By the time I was twenty three I had discovered the powerful and highly addictive drug, crack cocaine. Addiction never ran in my family, it galloped.

I can recount at least eight different incidents where I should have died from drug or alcohol related incidents, but for some reason the good Lord never wanted me to go early. One day while at work, I got a call from a friend who wanted me to come over and have lunch and “smoke a joint” before going back to work. My shoes were on and I went running. I ran across the street in front of my work and got ploughed down by a car doing 60 kilometers an hour. My head bounced off his roof and my shoulder went through the front windshield, I still have the scars to prove it! I spent a week in the local hospital but was lucky I had no broken bones and came out with a huge lump on my head, some stitches to my neck and a very badly bruised leg. You think that would have been the “turning point” they say we stood at, but unfortunately it was not.

I carried on for many years later and finally coming to that ultimate place of defeat. I woke up one morning, after parking on crown land near a golf course in the back seat of an old 50.00 beater I bought from a guy at work just before I lost another job. That was where I lived for a month before finally admitting defeat and driving to the local detox center for help. I was coming down off a five day binge and kept driving around the block where the detox center was located. I circled the block at least six times. I had the windows of the car rolled up tight and as I rounded the block one more time, debating to go into the detox center or leave and never go back, I saw a lady and her young son doing some yard work. I made eye contact with the young boy, who was about five years old. As soon as our eyes met I could hear him say, with the windows rolled up tightly, “mommy, mommy that man is in trouble”. I could hear his voice as if he were standing right next to me. I proceeded to park in the detox parking lot and go inside, never to drink or drug another day again. I spent three months in a long term treatment center and never looked back, never putting on the old shoes again. I walked out of that treatment center a changed man and then went straight into Alcoholics Anonymous. It took me approximately three months of hard work with a sponsor, to acquire a new pair of shoes. After landing my first job in many months, I went out and got myself a new pair of Nike’s and a new way of living that works, if you work it.

We still joke around about my first new pair of shoes to this day. That was the first sign I was going to “make it”. I have had many blessings in my life, both the people, as well as the material gifts I have been freely given as a result of those new shoes I slipped on back in 2004. There is hope for guys like me, who went all the way to the bottom, and decided to climb out with the hand of A.A to pull me up. There is a light at the end of that dark tunnel. If you want proof of that, step into the rooms of A.A and take a look around. There you will find many bright lights burning, and you will probably see a few with a new pair of shoes just like mine.

Sincerely,

A grateful member of Alcoholics Anonymous,

Mike Robertson.

 

The song this week is from Glen Campbell. Campbell is presently in a long term care facility in Nashville and in the final throes of Alzheimer disease . He played his last show in November 2012 and his daughter was in the band and by his side every show of his last tour, to care for her father who carried out the tour while early alzheimers was taking hold.

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1967

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2012

 

 

The quote this week is also from Glen Campbell.

“You’ve got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness Just shine your light for everyone to see. And if you try a little kindness, Then you’ll overlook the blindness Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.”

 

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

Week 10 & God

 

If you forget everything but God you have remembered everything that matters

 

from Mitch Teemley

 

My daughter Olivia has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in the Faculty of Social Work for September 2017 at University of Calgary and I am very proud of her and happy for her!

Lori and I were at the Jubilee Auditorium last Thursday to take in Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, for not just an evening of great music but one that included a great deal of banter between the two which was often very funny,but always entertaining. They have turned their travelling music show into theater

The song this week is White Boy Lost in the Blues , by Lovett and Hiatt.

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Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt

The quote this week is the following from Mother Teresa.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you’ll check it out again next week! Have a great day and week ahead……….

Pink Clouds,Hope and Week 49

I was talking with a friend in recovery today and we got onto the subject of pink clouds. My friend is coming back to recovery. Coming back means he was in recovery but drank/used again. For those folks not in recovery the pink cloud is a term used for someone in early recovery who is euphoric and has lost touch with reality. But in recovery we use this term far too often and too carelessly. It pretty much gets thrown around at any newcomer experiencing joy. Often when someone with time encounters a newcomer who is extremely happy with his/her new sobriety, free from the bondage of addiction, will insensitively say “Oh, you’re just on a pink cloud”. So we have convinced a newcomer to come to meetings, get a sponsor and work the steps and tell them there is a hope for a better life and a more meaningful life. But when they experience some happiness and share that feeling with others some Grinch of a member says “oh, you’re just on a pink cloud”. The newcomer is usually very insecure and unsure of this new life unfolding in front of them and they are shaky. So now you’ve got them thinking that maybe these feelings of happiness are wrong and within short order they are walking around glumly, again, because this is what they understand. “Oh, you’re just on a pink cloud.” How demeaning is that? How much in opposition is this to the message of hope we give the newcomer? Or we should be giving the newcomer. If you know me, you will not be able to recall a time I have used the term pink cloud except in this context. We who have been in recovery for awhile have a significant responsibility to not only carry the message of 12 step recovery but to carry a message of hope! I stated to my friend today that we need to replace despair with hope. We need to make this exchange in our vocabulary and in our hearts. The next time you hear a newcomer talk about how great he/she is feeling with their newfound sobriety take the time to listen and to encourage them to continue to take responsibility for their own happiness. We know and they know life isn’t perfect and there will be more challenges but for a moment, let’s start to build these people back up.

If you are reading this but you aren’t in recovery it doesn’t matter. Much of this applies to all of us. We all know someone who has low self esteem or has had a circumstance in their life that crushed their spirit and they are now trying to regain some normalcy. Who knows why or what as we all experience life differently and we all have assorted levels of tolerance. Every one of us will be given the opportunity to encourage others to be happy and to seek happiness. Don’t let this opportunity slip away from you because this person is likely a close family member. Replace despair with hope.

I want to share one of my favourite prayers that reflects some of what I have written about.

 

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life”

Saint Francis of Assisi


 

I had coffee with a good friend on Tuesday who shared with me that this day was the second anniversary of the death of his best friend. He had read my blog last week in which I talked about my brother’s death and the decade that’s passed between then and now. I was honoured to be chosen by my friend to discuss his best friend’s death and his concern that as his life continues, fewer and fewer people in his world know about his best friend. There’s nothing to be gained by feeling any guilt for living life to the fullest and the best way I can honour my brother and my friend to honour his friend is to share our experiences with others who might be going through something similar.Our experiences will certainly help another person if we are mindful. And it’s meaningful to keep their memories alive by talking about them with their family and with our new friends. I also have the Crucifix from my brother’s’ casket over top of our front door so all that enter my home pass under it. To me this is honouring my brother. They are Gone but never forgotten.

 

The song this week is from a band that is new to me  but they aren’t new.They are called The Head and the Heart and although transplanted ,they formed in 2009 in Seattle. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have been doing so.

 

 

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The Head and the Heart

The quote this week is from Catherine Pulsifer.

“Never give up.Have hope. Expect only the best from life and take action to get it.”

Thanks for dropping by and reading this and lease know I appreciate it…..I hope to see you next week.

 

Pain is the Touchstone and Week 45

Last weekend started with Remembrance Day, a holiday here in Alberta and it was a quiet weekend for us. We stayed in the neighborhood for the most part but did venture out Saturday for a movie and later a burger. It was nice to have a long weekend, without plans and not too busy to be able to enjoy some down time and get a few small things done. We’re going out this Friday for dinner, with another couple we know very well. We’ve decided to go to Bonterra Trattoria which I have been anxious to try since it received Avenue Magazine’s third place recognition for Calgary’s Best Restaurants and first place for Best Italian Food. I’ll let you know next week how it was but if I forget don’t be afraid to ask.

Moving along…..

I have a belief that everything we receive from our Higher Power, God or the Universe, is a gift or a lesson. Life is full of gifts and lessons. Most often our lessons come in packages we don’t want. And if we learn the lesson then we have been given a gift. Why do these gifts and lessons come in packages we usually don’t want? I suppose it’s because most of us are quite content when life is going smoothly and we do not make any attempt to change or grow when things are good. But when faced with physical and more so,emotional pain, we make the necessary changes or adaptations to cope with this pain. Or more importantly, to grow out of this pain. It is through and because of emotional pain that most of us will search for help or seek a way out. This is why I sought out 12 step recovery. It was recover or die. Those were my two choices. Believe it or not I actually had to think about what choice to make. My lessons brought me to recovery and my recovery has been a gift.

In AA’s book, Twelves Steps and Twelve Traditions, on page 93 it says:

“pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress”

 I am certain that everyone reading this can identify with that statement. We have all had some “pain” in our life , for many it began far too young.I have been given many gifts and lessons in my life and I hope I am around for many more and continue to use them as a stepping stone to growth.I am not positive and I can’t unequivocally attribute the above quote to anyone. Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA wrote it in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and he was talking about someone other than himself, I think. I believe that someone else to be his sponsor, Father Ed Dowling but I can’t be sure. Regardless the point is well made and proven many times over. Until the pain of where we are is greater than the pain of change, all will remain the same. So as much as we have a disdain for pain, emotional pain, it still remains one of the greatest motivators for growth and more specifically spiritual growth. I hate emotional pain or turmoil but I have been around long enough to know that I will come out the other side a better person.I am responsible for my own growth. I must use the lesson and turn it into a gift.

 

 “The next time you are face with something unexpected, unwanted and uncertain, consider that it just may be a gift”—-Stacey Kramer from the following video.

 

 

 

My daughter Emma has been telling me about a great movie coming out to theaters soon and she sent me this link from the trailer for the movie. It’s a true story and the movie is called “Loving”

 

The quote this week is :

“But pain’s like water. It finds a way to push through any seal. There’s no way to stop it. Sometimes you have to let yourself sink inside of it before you can learn how to swim to the surface.”
 Katie Ray Kacvinsky, author

 

Leonard Cohen ( 1934-2016)

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This past week we lost a great singer, songwriter, poet and person. Leonard Cohen was a great Canadian know around the world. I think everyone knows who Leonard Cohen is and just about everyone has heard a Leonard Cohen song. My friends know that I have a love if not a passion for music and the last time I felt so affected by the death of a musician it was John Lennon’s death. Now that I have had so much more living and have a much greater appreciation for life, than I did in 1980 when Lennon died, Cohen’s death has been a little more distressing to me. I was very fortunate to see Leonard Cohen in November 2012, here in Calgary at the Saddledome. I sat and listened and enjoyed and it was over far too soon. He said he would be back. It was fabulous night. It’s very sad to think I wont see him play live again. I recommend his books Stranger Music 1993 or Book of Longing 2006. He also released a new album this year . I will miss him very much as I know many of you will be. George Harrison sang “All Things Must Pass” and so they shall. The video below is one of my favorite Cohen songs; enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Well thanks for drooping by as I appreciate you take the time to read this……have a great week and I hope I’ll see you next week..

 

 

 

Week 31

The past weekend was a long weekend for us and we kept it pretty quiet. After all Lori and I had just come off the West Coast Trail on July 19th and then followed that with 5 days traversing our way through Vancouver and in our style, all on foot. We put on 10km a day while in Vancouver. So last weekend my feet and my legs were thanking me for a casual and low key long weekend.

 

A very dear friend contacted me this morning. I’m in my office by 6 and she contacted me around 630 am. I have known her since 1978 and she’s a close friend as I mentioned and a close friend of the family also. She was diagnosed, yesterday, with ALS. I was quite devastated and it’s been a sad day although I have tried not to show it at work. I know she is shattered by the news she was given. She is also a single mother and I cannot imagine how difficult the conversation with her son(adult) must have been. I’m honored that I am in her small, confined group of people that she has made aware of her diagnosis but it’s an honor I could do without and would have wished that she didn’t have this news to tell at all, to anyone.

We all have a finite time on earth. Life is a one day at a time deal. I need to be grateful every day I awake and I am healthy. Life can be so simple yet I go out of my way to complicate it with wants and desires. So I constantly take my personal inventory in an attempt to keep myself on track. Am I happy? Do I worry too much? Am I setting goals? How is my family? The list goes on. Last week I wrote how on the West Coast Trail we had met a man named Harvey, who was not only hiking the trail alone, he was also celebrating his 75th birthday. What I didn’t mention was that he told Lori and I that God wants him to challenge himself and to test himself. I too think that we all have a duty, of sorts, to live our lives in a way that honors this gift. We all have very different ways of doing that. For me, I need to set goals and go after them. Sometimes if I don’t accomplish the goal I need to ask myself if I gave my best effort and if the answer is yes, then I’m confident I am honoring the gift, of life. As long as I give to people more than I take from people I believe I am on track. As long as I challenge myself physically and mentally and spiritually, then I believe I am on the right track. Life is way shorter and passes way faster than I know any of us wished it did. I have a button, stuck on the visor of my old truck and it reads “don’t die wondering”. So I try my best, to do my best and to do the things I want so I don’t die wondering.

What track are you on and are you satisfied you are honoring your gift?

 

Switching gears, I read an article last night in Avenue Magazine titled 50 great things in 50 great neighbourhoods. So if you’re in Calgary and looking for some things to check out this list is a great start.

 

 

The song this week id from EELS album Hombre Lobo and its titled Beginners Luck

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This week the quote comes to me from my buddy, Raf

Through lack of disciplined attention and sometimes through lack of the right kind of faith, many of us keep ourselves year after year in a rather easy spiritual kindergarten “

Bill Wilson, co founder of AA

 

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

 

 

 

Week 6

It was birthday night a couple of weeks ago. Not my birthday but birthday night at my home group. The 12 Step fellowship I belong to recognizes and celebrates periods of sobriety called birthdays. Once a month we use a meeting to recognize longer periods of sobriety from 1 year and up. If you got sober in January you celebrate in January. If you got sober in February you celebrate in February, and so on. Oh and there is birthday cake. So if you choose to drop into one of these open meetings we will have cake and coffee for you.

Our last birthday meeting was at the end of January. One of the people receiving a birthday card was a man who has been sober since January 2009. The man introducing him and giving him his birthday card has been sober since May 2010.

This was a very cool moment for me because I have sponsored both these men. They both knew each other prior to getting sober and they are good friends today. I’ve watched them grow spiritually and emotionally from the very first day they made a commitment to get sober to today, the now. I have watched them change their lives. I’ve watched them right the wrongs. I’ve watched them get married, have babies, raise kids and change their lives for the better. I have watched them help others to change their lives. I was very humbled this night to watch these men ,who I would call great friends of mine ,interact and it gave me the time to reflect on what we have gone through, together. Then I looked around the room and counted everyone who has been in my garage to talk recovery, to share their lives with me. There were so many. Many I have been privileged to help and so many who have helped me. The 12 Step recovery process is one person helping another person. We give freely what has freely been given to us. It is the greatest fellowship or organization I have ever been a part of. I have a very abundant life when it comes to relationships. These friends and I have these honest and candid talks, discussions and confessions with one another. There is a saying that goes like this: “I’m only as sick as my secrets”. So we will sit in the garage and drink coffee and share our biggest fears, our deepest regrets, our insecurities and we will respect each other’s confidence and anonymity. We will share with each other these “secrets”. In Proverbs, 27:17 it is stated “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” I don’t usually quote the bible but I know this piece well. I’m not religious at all but I do consider myself to be on a solid spiritual path even if I do stray far more often than I wish. So that’s how it is. We do what it takes to help one another become better men and better people.  Yes I looked around the room that night and looked at all the men who I have shared my secrets with and they have shared theirs with me and realized just how blessed I have been and how blessed I am. I have a real sense of belonging to these people.

garage

I want to share something else with you. It’s a short blog post by Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) to Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos). It again proves to me how strong we need to carry ourselves because we never know the affect we may have on others.

Players Tribune

The song this week is from Leon Bridges. I love this guy. He is very traditional soul music. This is a must buy album (imo)

I’m going to provide two recordings. One is live and one is studio. The live version isn’t as clear and crisp but you get to see Leon being cool which I don’t think he has to work at.

Brown Skin Girl   live version

Brown Skin Girl studio version

 

The quote this week is the co-founder of AA, Bill Wilson

“The willingness to grow is the essence of all spiritual development.”

 

I hope you’ll drop by next week………………