Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To Be Of Service

   I have a new appreciation for those who post to their blogs everyday. The last couple of days I just felt like “ehhh” to posting, especially when you feel like “who would be interested in the drivel that I have to write about?” So I posted a joke on Saturday and didn’t even bother Sunday or Monday. But I will continue for now and hope that someone is getting something from it.   

   My best friend R. was telling me last week that she likes the stuff I’ve written about but she really wants to know more about my recovery and the positive things that have happened to me in the past 8 months of sobriety. We’ve been friends for nearly 20 years and she knows all there is to know about me. We talk almost everyday and I assumed that I shared with her things about my recovery. But as I type this out I think she’s saying “tell me and tell anyone who might be reading about those positive changes”.

The guy who led the Monday morning meeting yesterday shared how 6 years ago, waking up on a Monday morning, on a concrete bench or on an ice cold concrete floor was within the realm of possibility every weekend. How you put that roll of toilet paper under your head or the back of your neck for a pillow. How his wife, some other family member or a friend would have to recount for him how he ended up there one more time.

   I had never been to jail. It always seemed that I got away with things. That changed for me on Dec. 11, 2009. Now I was the guy waking up on all manner of concrete, wearing that garish orange outfit. What got me there and what happened is for another time. I have been sober now for 241 days. My mind is clear. I am able to be of service not only to A.A. and other alcoholics but also to my family who took me in. My uncle, who recently had knee replacement surgery, had complications and has been left temporarily unable to swallow. His condition requires him to be fed through a peg tube directly into the stomach. Shots and medicines have to be given, errands need to be run, doctor’s appointments made and kept. To stand back and look at what I do for him…it’s really not “all that”. But it’s what he’s needed. I thank God that He saw fit to once again provide me with the opportunity to completely change my life and be of service to Him and others. I am glad that I have taken what has been freely given to me. May I be a good steward of this gift.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tastes Like Chicken

Brad received a parrot for his birthday. This parrot was fully grown with a bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an expletive. Those that weren't expletives were, to say the least, rude.

Brad tried hard to change the bird's attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music, and anything else that came to mind. Nothing worked. He yelled at the bird and the bird got worse. He shook the bird and the bird got madder and ruder.

Finally, in a moment of desperation, Brad put the parrot in the freezer. For a few moments he heard the bird squawking, kicking and screaming and then, suddenly, all was quiet

Brad, frightened that he might have actually hurt the bird, quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out onto Brad's extended arm and said, "I'm sorry that I offended you with my language and actions. I ask for your forgiveness."

Brad was astounded at the bird's change in attitude and was about to ask what changed him when the parrot continued,
"May I ask what the chicken did?"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It’s not the thing you fling. It’s the fling itself.

   This quote has been stuck in my head for several days. It’s from an episode of Northern Exposure where one of the characters named Chris builds a trebuchet catapult and wants to hurl a cow from it as performance art…he wanted to do something that had never been done before. But Chris doesn’t want to launch just any old bovine missile, he wants the “perfect” cow. After much searching he finally finds the cow he’s looking for but is then informed that he would in fact be imitating a scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie where they catapulted a cow over a castle wall. His vision was destroyed, he thought he was through. But Chris was able to surrender his obsession with hurling a cow and instead decided to launch a fire-scorched upright piano from the trebuchet. Here is a portion of Chris’ speech at the piano fling…

“I've been here now for some days, groping my way along, trying to realize my vision here. I started concentrating so hard on my vision that I lost sight. I've come to find out that it's not the vision, it's not the vision at all. It's the groping. It's the groping, it's the yearning, it's the moving forward.”
It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.
  This is the quote that made me think of the fling quote above. It’s on the wall in our meeting room. Someone said it several days ago in a meeting. My journey in sobriety is just that, a journey. The destination matters not. It’s the groping. The reaching out blindly for the answers to my disease and finding another AA’s helping hand. It’s the yearning. The yearning to be like other people and drink with impunity, but the deeper yearning to stay sober. It’s the moving forward. Moving forward with my life armed with the knowledge that I will never again be as others. It’s the trudging on the Road of Happy Destiny, meeting and helping those like me on that same road. I may not be doing things perfectly in this program, in fact many days I’ve done the minimum. But the one thing I have done perfectly is not pick up drink. That’s the minimum, not picking up that drink. They say don’t drink, don’t drink even if your ass is falling off…and if your ass does fall off find a new way to sit down. If you’re new, welcome to
Alcoholics Anonymous. Welcome to the fling.

"The thing I learned folks, this is absolutely key: It's not the thing you fling. It's the fling itself."
        Christopher Danforth Stevens

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Glumless In Sobriety

 I feel like laughing today....hope this will make you laugh
 (and I'm pretty sure "glumless" is not a word)

 Siamese twins walk into a bar and park themselves on a bar
 stool. One of them says to the bartender, "Don't mind us; we're joined at
 the hip. I'm John, he's Jim. Two beers, draft please."
 The bartender, feeling slightly awkward, tries to make polite conversation
 while pouring the beers. "Been on vacation yet boys?"

 "We're off to England next month," says John. "We go to England every year,
 rent a car, and drive for miles. Don't we, Jim?" Jim agrees.

 "Ah, England!" says the bartender. "Wonderful country. The history, the
 beer, fish and chips, the culture..."

 "Nah, we don't like that British crap," says John. "Hamburgers and a couple of
 drafts, that's us, eh Jim?

 "So why keep going to England?" asks the bartender.

 "It's the only chance Jim gets to drive.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Fresh Start

   About a week ago I shared about a guy ( C. ) and his girlfriend ( S. ) who were told to leave a meeting because they were being disruptive. The police were called, lots of yelling, it was ugly. I’ve seen C. and S. at several meetings since that day and everything has been just fine as far as I could tell. Last night while waiting for the meeting to start C. came to me and said he wanted to talk about what was happening. He told me about being at the same morning meeting and again was asked to leave based solely on what happened last week. I don’t know, I wasn’t there yesterday morning but I told him if you’re minding your own and being respectful of others in the meeting there’s no reason you and S. have to leave. He shared with me that he and S. both suffer from emotional and mental problems which they take medications for and I thought…well you’ve just described a good portion of us in this fellowship. The guy who “runs” that morning meeting is a bit “my way or the highway” but that shouldn’t keep C. and S. from being at that or any other meeting. I got a 12 & 12 for C. and had him read tradition three, pg. 139

  "No matter who you are, no matter how low you've gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications - even your crimes - we still can't deny you A.A. We don't want to keep you out. We aren't a bit afraid of you'll harm us, never mind how twisted or violent you may be. We just want to be sure that you get the same great chance for sobriety that we've had."

   The other option is to skip that meeting. There are more meetings available to them but they should feel free to attend any meeting they wish. Enough of that.

   Two ladies from a local women’s rehab had a great story to share with us last night. They have been coming to our meeting for several months now. Most of the ladies are there just to get out of the house or to get a court card signed but these two actually decided to give our way of life a shot. They are moving into a house that was originally up for sale but the owner now wants to rent it to these ladies. They have been given a house full of furniture, I believe jobs have been offered…it’s a life they couldn’t imagine not even one year ago. I love the comeback stories, the stories of redemption. I love the story of the guy who after several D.U.I.’s, lost his license, lost his car, wouldn’t be able get insurance if his life depended on it…Then one day he comes into a meeting carrying a couple of envelopes and a license plate. He shows the meeting an envelope that contains his new driver’s license. Another envelope has the insurance policy for his new car and he has brought the license plate off his car into the meeting to show everyone that it has a tag on it for the current year.

   There was a speaker I saw a couple of weeks ago that ended his sharing with this… A couple of years ago on a cold fall evening he and his wife were sitting in their easy chairs reading. The fireplace was going, the dogs were laying at their feet, the cats were laying around wherever cats lay around. He said he looked up from his book, looked around at the scene and with tears in his eyes he asked God what had he done to deserve all this. It was powerful.

 If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down… Mary Pickford
I hope you all have a wonderful day….

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football?!!

It is the first Sunday of the new NFL season... my favorite time of the year!! My NY Giants just got done with a little payback on the Carolina Panthers 31-18...lots of turnovers for both teams but we made less than they did and the result was a win for my guys. Saw that MC's Broncos lost, sorry about that. I'm a Tim Tebow fan not to mention Knowshon Moreno from them Dawgs in Ga. I'll tell you the only thing alcohol provides me now during the start of this football season are some laughs...they really have some funny ads. Looks like the real football team in Texas showed up today, way to go Texans!!! Have a great Sunday y'all. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where Were You (when the world stopped turning)

   dAAve at higher powered asked Where Were You? on his blog. On this day 9 years ago I was sitting in the car at an ATM in Gainesville, Ga. getting some cash. It was 8:47 by my clock and the guy on the radio said he had breaking news about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center buildings. They didn’t know what kind of plane, big or small, news reports were still sketchy. I remember thinking I should call my dad even though it was a quarter to 6 in the morning. I remember telling him to check it out…he would later tell me that he had turned on the TV just in time to see the 2nd tower get hit. I was on my way to the gym which was down the street from the Walmart that I worked at. I heard about the 2nd tower being hit and the thoughts of a terrorist attack, by the time I got to the gym the Pentagon had been hit. Every TV in the place broadcast the images in front of the treadmills, bike and elliptical trainers. A woman said loudly “Holy Shit, holy shit, we’re under attack.” We all watched absolutely dumbfounded. When I got to work every TV that hangs in the store usually broadcasting advertisements, was showing the coverage of what came to be known as ground zero. That’s where I watched the towers fall. People were crying around me, I continued to be dazed. After work (as much as could be done), I began my drive home, part of which takes me over a dam that holds back the water supply for the city of Atlanta. I had to turn around because they had placed anti-aircraft missiles on the dam in case whoever was doing this tried to fly a plane into the dam. Life had changed forever. I went to Bible Baptist Church that night, knelt at the alter and prayed. God Be With Us. This is Alan Jackson's song about that day...you probably already know it....

"Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day