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

Thursday, September 9, 2010

212° The Extra Degree

   I saw this a few years ago at the company I used to work for. It comes from a motivational company called Simple Truths. They talk about how water, at 211° is hot. But at 212° it boils. Boiling water produces steam, and steam can power a locomotive, ships… all manner of machinery. Steam powered turbines provide 80% of the world’s electrical power. That one extra degree makes all the difference.

   How does this affect my sobriety? Because I know I can be doing more for my program. I’ve have several commitments, make a meeting just about everyday, I’m sponsoring a guy…blah, blah, blah. But I’m missing out on some key parts of this program…mainly meditation in the morning and reflection at the end of my day. I heard a guy say that his head was like Grand Central Station and his thoughts were the trains and damn if he didn’t take a ride on each one them while he was trying to meditate. That’s me! As for reflecting at night…forget about it…I never remember. Maybe y’all got some tips for me. They would be appreciated. If I could turn it up the extra degree, increase my conscious contact with God, what kind of difference could that mean? I had a friend that used say “Ain’t nothing’ to it but to do it.” Perhaps that’s some of the best advice I could get.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In A New York Minute

You hear this term all the time. Things change in an instant, in the blink of an eye. One minute you’re enjoying your Labor Day weekend, having a few beers and off- roading with a friend. Your little boy is strapped in his car seat in the back laughing and giggling as you bounce over rocks and bumps. And when you come upon a river, your judgment, clouded by alcohol, also clouds the possibilities of what could happen.  Below is something that happened in an instant

Sep 7, 2010... The California Highway Patrol says a 1-year-old boy has drowned after his drunken father drove an off-road vehicle into a river in the San Bernardino County desert. CHP spokesman Joaquin Zubieta says the Suzuki Samurai plunged Monday night into 9 feet of water in the Mojave River in Apple Valley. The driver had been off-road driving and was inching the SUV into the water when it plunged and rolled over. Zubieta says 23-year-old ______ and a 19-year-old passenger escaped but couldn't get ______‘s 16-month-old son out of the baby seat. ______ was booked for investigation of manslaughter and driving under the influence and remained jailed Tuesday. Apple Valley is about 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

  Don Henley wrote a song titled In A New York Minute. There is a line in that song which runs through my mind “Somebody going to Emergency, Somebody’s going to jail”. I pray for this young father and mother and for their unimaginable loss. I pray that the Peace of God be upon them. And I pray that if the father is like us that he find our fellowship.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


   At our Monday night meeting last night we had five newcomers, three of which took newcomer chips. One of the oldtimers who has 31 years remarked in his sharing that it was good to see the “scouts” coming in with those arrows stuck in their ass. His statement brought me back to the beginning of this year when I came back into the rooms of AA. That was the description they used for me, another scout crawling back in with arrows stuck in his backside. Of course it meant that I was coming back and reminding everyone that it’s still bad out there and getting worse, but I didn’t understand the arrows in the ass comment. A few months ago the gentleman who used the term on me gave an explanation. Mr. Jim said

   “Remember back in the day, the old black and white western movies? The pioneers are heading out west and they’ve got that wagon train going, the trailblazers are out front guiding the way… then all of a sudden the wagon train leaders yells out to “circle the wagons” because an Indian attack is coming. So they circle up those wagons and fight off the attacks and after a while it’s peace and quiet, nothing’s happening. But the wagon train is not sure if it’s safe to move on so they pick some poor soul out of the group to go out and scout ahead… make sure the coast is clear, come back and report what you find. Sometimes the scout makes it back, most times they don’t but the ones that do make it back have the same story…the way is not clear, it’s still not safe out there, we’re going to have to find another way.”

   Jim said I was that scout with those arrows sticking out of me and based on my appearance it must have been rough. He said I was lucky to make it back, that I reminded him it’s not safe to leave the circle. Stick with the group and we’ll find another way, a safer way. He’s right. The group has taken this scout in, removed the arrows, helped heal my wounds. They have shown me a new, safer way and told me to stick with the “wagon train”. And if one of those scouts comes in that I shall do the same for them. Amen to that.

Let’s have an arrow free day…

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Nice Problem To Have

   Hey everyone, hope all of you have had a nice and relaxing Labor Day weekend to this point and will enjoy the rest of the day. Our picnic yesterday went quite well yesterday with at least 50 (if not more) folks showing up for some AA fellowship and good food. The weather helped out by providing us with a slight breeze that kept the temperature pleasant. At some point during the picnic I thought to myself that on past Labor Day weekends my biggest worry was if I would have enough booze for the weekend or what lie was I going to tell to get out of an invite for a get together with family or friends. I was always being invited to be with people that loved me on holiday weekends like this (if I didn’t have to work) and I would always say “yeah, sure I’ll be there.” but 9 times out of 10 would flake on out them. Yesterday my only concern was if I had made enough beans… what a nice problem to have.

  Some drama this morning at our early meeting. A guy who’s been in and out of the door of our meetings this morning accused a wonderful lady in our group of calling the local PD on him as he was driving to the meeting. His girlfriend is being sponsored by my friend and how he came to this conclusion is unknown but he came in a very threatening manner towards her. I thought at first it was a joke, that he was just goofin’. Luckily there were 2 other guys nearby and they were able to get in between this guy and my friend and hustle him out of the room. The PD was called for sure this time and the matter was settled outside. The mood was definitely tense at the beginning of the meeting but the guy who led the meeting did a fantastic job getting us back on track with the topic of sanity, which he reminded us we were all missing when we walked through those doors. It was a great meeting and we are all praying for the gentleman who had to leave this morning. I pray he comes back. I pray he doesn’t drink.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Texas and Labor Day Weekend

Texas State Fair - Deep Fried Beer VS. Deep Fried Frozen Margaritas

   Why drink your beer when you can eat it? Saw the inventor of this frying these up on Fox News. They sort of look like raviolis and were filled with Guinness. It’s a very creative idea but the look on the host’s face after he tried one summed up what I thought of it…Ewwww. Perfect for Homer Simpson though…Hmmm, fried beer…Doh! The Deep Fried Frozen Margarita sounds better. It includes a funnel cake batter mixed with either tequila or tequila-flavored wine, dusted with margarita mix and served in a salt-rimmed plastic glass. It tastes just like a margarita, although it won't produce much of a buzz. Being the alcoholic I am, if one is good then a dozen is better. Can I get these by the pitcher?

Great…now I can get drunk, fat and annihilate my cardiovascular system all at once…

 It’s Labor Day weekend y’all. Our Friday noon 12 and 12 meeting is throwing a picnic. I’ll be burnin’ burgers and hot dogs, making crock pot beans, playing softball and having a good time, all things that I usually avoided doing in my old life because it would interfere with my drinking. God and Alcoholics Anonymous has given me the chance to have two lives in one lifetime. I am so thankful for this new one. Have a great weekend everybody, a great sober weekend…

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lest we forget

   The other night a young lady came into to our meeting. She was a 10 or 15 minutes late. She came in with that faraway, disconnected look on her face and she sat at the table rocking back and forth in her chair fidgeting with her fingers and fingernails, then with her hair and back to her fingers. We were reading from As Bill Sees It and when it came her turn she read and began to share with us. She had had two years sober until three weeks ago. She is coming out of an abusive relationship, the boyfriend is in jail, and three weeks ago she was going to have a drink just to take the edge off…”We are without defense against the first drink”…Being out of her relationship was an obvious relief but she grieved over her lost sobriety. Nothing had changed she said, oblivion was waiting, she had nowhere else to go… “Quicksand stretched around me in all directions”… She was at the meeting with less than twenty-four hours from a drink. She said she was desperate for her sobriety…”we sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men“…After she shared all the obligatory phrases were uttered welcoming her back. The ladies surrounded her after the meeting surely offering comfort. I hope she keeps coming back and works the program with the desperation she feels now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Someone asked me about the picture I’m using for my profile. It is the CD cover for the great Stevie Ray Vaughan’s last studio album titled In Step. The title refers to SRV’s sobriety at the time. After years of hard drinking and other issues SRV was “In Step” with his sobriety. It’s been twenty years since he passed away on 8/27/90 and although I’ve always loved this album some of the songs and their lyrics have new meaning to me. I listen with new ears….Sober ears.

Tightrope - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

Caught up in a whirlwind can't catch my breath,
knee deep in hot water, broke out in a cold sweat
Can't catch a turtle in this rat race,
feels like I'm losin' time at a breakneck pace

Afraid of my own shadow in the face of grace,
heart full of darkness, spotlight on my face
There was love all around me but I was lookin' for revenge,
thank God it never found me, it would have been the end

Walkin' the tightrope, steppin' on my friends
Walkin' the tightrope, it was a shame and a sin
Walkin' the tightrope, between wrong and right
Walkin' the tightrope, both day and night

Lookin' back in front of me, the mirror's a grin,
through eyes of love I see I'm really lookin' at a friend
We've all had our problems, that's the way life is,
my heart goes out to others who are there to make amends

We've been walkin' the tightrope, tryin' to make it right
Walkin' the tightrope, every day and every night
Walkin' the tightrope, bring it all around
Walkin' the tightrope, from the lost to found

Walkin' the tightrope, stretched around the world
Walkin' the tightrope, save the boys and girls
Walkin' the tightrope, let's make it right
Walkin' the tightrope, do it do it tonight
Walkin' the tightrope.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beginning - The point at which something starts

   My name is David. I am an alcoholic. I’ve said that everyday, at least once a day, since Jan. 23, 2010. According to my SobrietyCheck sobriety counter that’s 220 days. I‘m glad they have an app for that. 220 days without a drink or any other mind-numbing, mind-altering substance by the eternal grace of God and the fellowship of alcoholics anonymous.

   I’ve decided to try my hand at blogging after spending several months reading Being Sober, higher powered along with the prompting from a wonderful friend. She believes that I could do something like this. Perhaps I can. The two blogs mentioned have connected me with folks who are like me. They have decided to share their sober lives with those who would like to stop on by and read. I found myself dropping in on them daily. They have made me laugh, touched me deeply…shared their experience, strength and hope. Perhaps I can too.

   So if you happen to end up reading this, if you happen to be an alcoholic, if you happen to be an alcoholic that is new to AA, this is what I was told 220 days ago. There is a solution. Go to a meeting, get the Big Book of alcoholics anonymous and read it, get a sponsor who will help you with the steps, humble yourself, surrender and be willing to take direction, be of service, don’t drink.
Don't Drink.

   This is a portion of a post from Being Sobers’ blog. I did not ask permission to use it, I just cut and pasted it. Forgive my lack of blogging etiquette while I’m still new at this.

“What is it like to be a recovering alcoholic? It is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. and then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.”

"I trust that I am meant to be exactly who I am, exactly where I am, doing what I am doing because God has commanded it!"