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………………….

Old Timer’s and Hero’s and Week 41

Last Saturday night I went to the AA Pioneer dinner with some like minded friends. Geoff, Ryan and I drove together and we would meet others there.With Geoff driving and Ryan attempting to navigate through heavy Calgary traffic with his iPhone map app. After re-routing ourselves to dodge the heavy traffic going to the football game we got where we were going. There were 10-12 people from the McKenzie Group. I always feel good when I see my home group represent so well at these types of functions.

The tables were all filled when we got there so Geoff and Ryan ended up sitting with one of the night’s speakers and I sat at a table with a couple of McKenzie people and Andy C. and his wife and Jim S. I’ve known Andy only about a year and I really like the guy. And he was decked out in his kilt! We also had Jim S. at our table. I believe Jim has the longest term sobriety in Calgary with 63 years’ sobriety! He sobered up and joined AA in 1953 and hasn’t drank again. This is very impressive. I’m impressed not only by the amount of time Jim has got but by how much he gives back to the fellowship and the members of the fellowship. He’s well into his 80’s and still shows up at all the social functions and has time to talk to anyone who wants to chat.  I will take a wild guess and say that Jim is probably in the top 5 or 6 soberest people in Canada. Maybe North America. Between starting to drink on one end and dying on the other end it’s awful difficult to put in 63 years of sobriety. Jim’s inspiring, as are all the old timers and proof that you never have to drink or use again.

The night was great. We heard some great stories from the old-timers Moe and later, Stella and we had a lot of laughs throughout the night. It’s always a time well spent hanging out with my friends from the McKenzie Group no matter what we’re doing but Saturday did provide some great conversations and laughter.

 

My big brother’s birthday was on Tuesday the 17th. He would have been 70 this year. Burke passed away 10 years ago from cancer. It’s hard to grasp that he’s been gone this long. Some moments it doesn’t seem like he’s been gone long at all and other moments I know he has been gone far too long. Burke was also a member of the 12 step fellowship I am in and when he passed he had 34 years of sobriety. He was my inspiration to get help stopping drinking. I miss him more than I am able to explain. He was my hero.

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My favorite picture of my brother,Burke Cullen

 

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My brother Burke ,about 45 days before he passed on                                                 L to R is Debbie,Susan,Me,Nancy,Mother and MJ

 

 

 

The song this week is one of my favorites from Kris Kristofferson and it’s titled Here to Forever

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Kristofferson

 

One of the best spin offs about the quote of the week is I almost always post a wiki page or a biography.com page about the person and I get to read and learn more about the person I select for the quote

The quote this week is from Richard Branson and it’s as follows:

Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again”

 

Thanks for dropping by and having a read. I appreciate your time…….I will not be posting next week but will be back the week after….take care