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 15 & Small Victories

 

Last night at a 12 step meeting I mentioned I had a coffee with a young man who was very pleased with some small progress he had made. He was really new to recovery and still in his first 30 days. What was he pleased about? He told me he had gone 1 ½ days without telling one lie. I understand that if you’re reading this and you aren’t an alcoholic or an addict that you might think this an unusual thing to celebrate.  I know that many of you reading this have gone days or weeks or longer without telling a lie. Not so for the alcoholic. You know how to tell when a using alcoholic is lying? Their lips are moving! Back to my new friend and our conversation. I was happy to hear him say that he had managed to do this and I encouraged him, challenged him, to go longer. But what I was happiest about was he was recognizing some change in his actions so soon in his life in recovery. When we are striving for change,we need to take time and look at that change in our lives when it happens. Almost everyone I know strives to have some sort of change in their life. It might be weight loss, saving money or recovery from alcoholism. Recognizing the small victories when they happen, as they happen , is paramount to continued success. For a newly recovering alcoholic to go 1 ½ days without lying is a big accomplishment. My young friend realized this. He wants more of this. He wants to change. He assured me he would quit waiting for the “burning bush” experience and continue to celebrate the small victories. As people in recovery we need to realize that the transformations we obtain are going to come slowly and surely if we continue to work for them.

“They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them”

This is the line that follows the Step 9 Promises on page 83/84 of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous.

And what about my friend? He’s going to keep coming to meetings, reading the Big Book, working with his sponsor, working the steps and changing his life. Recognizing your change and celebrating it are what keeps us on the path of doing more of what it was that got us to this point. Take time to get acquainted with your new behaviours and appreciate the change as you replace the old behaviours.

 

The roundup last Saturday in DeWinton was very good and the DeWinton AA Group did a great job of hosting so many in their small community. We had some great fellowship with new and old friends and a terrific roast beef dinner. The speakers were very good and my Sponsor, Andy C ,knocked it over the fence. I’ve known Andy for 2 years and he’s been my sponsor only a short while now and it was good for me to hear “his story”.

 

Tonight the second season of the NHL begins and as my friend Kelly says “It’s just like Christmas time”. The second season I refer to is the NHL Playoffs.

Tonight there are 5 games on tap and 3 games tomorrow. The Calgary Flames play tomorrow and face the Anaheim Ducks at the Duck’s barn. I have included the bracket below.

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I love to make predictions so here goes:

Chicago over Nashville
St. Louis over Minnesota
Calgary over Anaheim
Edmonton over San Jose
Montreal over NYC
Boston over Ottawa
Pittsburgh over Columbus
Washington over Toronto

I am excited to be watching some great hockey as the playoffs brings out the best,the toughest and sometimes the nastiest but it’s always entertaining.As for my predictions…..you know what people say about opinions….. enjoy the second season!

Happy Easter to all my friends. Whether you celebrate it or not I do, and I wish you all the best for Easter

I have to give the song of the week to the J. Geils Band out of respect for the death yesterday of John Geils at age 71.

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J. Geils Band ( early 70’s)

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John Geils (2011)

 

 

[He met band mates Danny Klein and “Magic Dick” Salwitz at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he was studying mechanical engineering. They formed the J. Geils Band in 1967 with lead singer Peter Wolf and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd.
The group released a string of albums in the 1970s but would not achieve commercial success until the 1980s, starting with the release of “Love Stinks,” its first platinum-selling record, according to Rolling Stone. Their 12th album, “Freeze-Frame,” featured its popular title track as well as chart-topper “Centerfold,” which spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982.] – CNN, April 12 , 2017
The quote this week :
“Hockey captures the essence of Canadian experience in the New World. In a land so inescapably and inhospitably cold, hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter we are alive.”
Thanks for reading. I hope youèll drop by next week………..

Week 2

Thank you to everyone who read my post last week. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who read it, liked it and commented on it. The intent of my blog is to just talk about the week and what provoked me or inspired me that week. That post had a big impact. I garnered far more attention to myself last week than I had intended or could have imagined and I am very humbled by the feedback. I am also very grateful for the expressions of our friendship that some people left on Facebook or sent to me privately. I was deeply moved by some of the comments that were made. I probably shouldn’t be but I don’t think I am much different from most of my men friends and I just never regard myself as high as others might. I still sell myself short. But I always need some character defects to work on to keep me growing in my spiritual life. Progress, not perfection.

 

The death of David Bowie this week took most of us by surprise as he had kept his illness with cancer private and secret. The World Wide Web was overflowing on Monday with information and articles about his life and death.

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Bowie was super creative all his life but his closing performance may have been his best. I believe it was. Now you have to think about it all; the end of it all that is. He kept his cancer secret so not of us were prepared for the news. First of all is the picture above of David Bowie. It’s an “official “picture taken to publicize his new album Blackstar released on January 8, 2016. January 8th was also Bowie’s 69th birthday. The official music video for his new album is titled Lazarus and was released on January 7th. This poignant and haunting music video’s opening lyrics are “look up here I’m in heaven, I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”. We should have known what was coming. In all the artistry and genius that was David Bowie, his last performance, his death, may have been his greatest and most demanding. Of course death is demanding! But I mean to plan all of this and to pull it all off like he did . It was brilliant. His artistry around this album in my mind is unprecedented and I am confident that Blackstar will become David Bowie’s bestselling album. He died on January 10th, two days after his album release. His performance completed. He insured his widow Iman and his children would get maximum benefit from this album, his last. He has left this earth with the theatrics in which he lived. Well done Ziggy Stardust. You will be missed.

 

I watched a documentary on Bruce Lee this past weekend and it really impressed me and has stayed with me. There was a lot more to Bruce Lee than I had realized and I think most people would enjoy the documentary. It’s called I Am Bruce Lee .He actually taught some courses in Eastern Philosophy and was a child film star to name just two things I did not know about him prior to watching this documentary. His life was filled with so much purpose. Everything he did, in his mind, had a purpose to better the image of everything he was involved in. I was a mid-teenager when I saw my first Bruce Lee movie, at the drive-in, in Kelowna. It was Enter the Dragon. This is a very interesting man. He’s also a man very revered in the Chinese culture both in the orient and everywhere else. I would like to tell you about the whole story but the documentary, believe it or not, does a better job than I could.

Here is a clip of Bruce Lee on The Pierre Burton Show which aired December 12, 1971.It was recorded in Hong Kong on December 9, 1971. This is Bruce Lee on self-expression and honesty.

If you have 94 minutes and can find the movie,you’ll not regret it.

 

The quote this week is from Bruce Lee

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
The song this week is a David Bowie song. It was difficult to pick a song as opposed to 20 or 30. I really struggled to pick one but I have always liked this song for many personal reasons.Although time may change me , I can’t trace time. Enjoy the song, Changes.

 

I hope to see you next week………..