Saturday, November 28, 2009

3 Years O.D.A.T

Three years ago today I had my last drinks, so tomorrow is my anniversary of being completely sober for 3 years, second time around. In past post I have shared quite a bit about my relapse and the shame that I used to justify staying in the disease, the fuel for denial. This post is about my return to recovery, how I got my sponsor and a couple of things about the first few months of recovery. My first month in recovery can be called nothing less than the act of a God working in my life. Like a lot of you out there I am a miracle produced by the Divine One.

Just in case you are aren't aware, I had 9 years of active recovery, I went to no less then 3 meetings a week, had coffee with my sponsor and others in recovery weekly, I was respected and loved. I moved from the safety of the town I as a part of recovery in, I was going through a divorce, bankruptcy, I was a single parent to a 5 year old, the people in AA in the new town were not overly friendly to strangers and I wasn't good about reaching out to them either. One thing lead to another, I stopped going to meetings, stopped picking up the 2 ton phone and eventually picked up a six pack. That 6 pack lead me to 10 years of insanity that was far worse and more damaging than my other period of drinking, I am living proof of the progression of the disease of alcoholism.

November 2006, I was on probation for my second DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol, my daughter had spent the summer in a foster home, due to a suicide attempt that was related to my alcoholism, I lived 30 miles away from where I worked and did not have a drivers license and had to rely on the generosity of friends to get me back and forth from work. My DUI had not slowed me down by any means. I was suppose to be going to out patient treatment but kept making excuse to my probation officer why I hadn't done so yet and knew I was on the verge of probation violation which meant more jail time and more missed work. My employer put up with me because it was a small company and I was the only one in my position and completed my work, but didn't excel what so ever, I have a feeling I was on shaky ground and it wouldn't have taken much to be fired. A couple of weeks prior to Thanksgiving on a Sunday night I was arrested at my house for a bad check, second time in about 2 months, my daughter once again watched her dad being cuffed and hauled away in a sheriffs car. Once I got to jail I called my sister who had came and got my daughter, to see if she would bail me out of jail, she explained how angry she was with me and refused to help me, my daughter also got on the phone and expressed her anger. The town I lived in only had 700 people so my poor daughter was faced with the embarrassment of having her dad once again being arrested. As I laid in that jail cell, I honestly thought about the damage I was doing to my daughter, the fear and heartbreak my parents where going through. I also realized how I had pretty much reached the end of my rope and was headed for far worse trouble than I was already in if I didn't get help. That night I made up my mind to go to treatment, I still didn't want to quit drinking, still didn't admit I was an alcoholic, my intention for going to treatment was to get my drinking under control, the Big Book talks a lot about me during this stage of my addiction. Upon my release from jail the next day, I made the phone call necessary to get me admitted to a treatment center, one I had known about via my ex wife having been there, it was also only 1-1/2 hours from my home which would allow my daughter to visit me, my entrance date was November 29th 2006, I drank like usual the night prior to I leaving for treatment., My mom, oldest sister and daughter took me there.

Really quickly here was my drinking pattern, I drank beer anytime I wasn't working, I had a part time job and would drink between the time I got off work at my regular job until the time I had to go to work at the part time job, the job was in a convenience store so I was able to steal beer and wine from it plus smokes, sometimes if it was slow I would drink in the cooler, I had peanuts stashed to try and cover my breath. On an average day I would drink probably 15 to 20 beers, on weekends I would start at 10 or 11 am and drink until after midnight, no flipping clue how much I drank on those days. I was a chronic beer drinker, drinking beer consumed my life. When I had a vehicle I carried a cooler of beer with me. My use of other drugs was sporadic mainly because of the expense.

The treatment center I went to was fairly structured, which is what I needed and even though I didn't want to quit drinking my subconscious mind told me I needed a very structured environment if I was going to receive any help at all. We were not allow to have any music with us, no books other than the Big Book, NA basic text or other GSO books. We could not leave the facility other than to smoke outside in a designated area or on Saturdays we would walk to a meeting as a group. Our time was controlled from 7:30am until 10:30pm, we had education groups, relaxation groups, therapy sessions and 1 meeting a night. The only time we could use the phone was on weekends, and your first weekend there this wasn't allowed. The meetings alternated between AA and NA, one night AA one night NA. God was working in my life because I was able to jump back into recovery after only being there a few days, the Hope and sense of belonging I had once felt in recovery returned to me. I was reconnected with the God of my understanding once again. Towards the end of my last years in recovery unknown to me was the fact that I was building up a resentment towards those who used the Christian form of God and thought others needed to believe in this concept of God as well, being a non-Christian this was troubling to me but I was never honest enough to share this. In my drinking I would use this resentment as a warring excuse not to return to AA. A couple of days into treatment I reread We Agnostics and was reawakened to the knowledge that it is about the God of our understanding no matter how another may perceives it or tries and persuade someone differently. It is because of this experience that I am still to this day a faithful defender of the statement "God of our understanding". I stand strongly on the need and necessity of spirituality in order to get and stay sober and for the newcomer or the confused I stand just as strongly on one's own personal understanding of God, I never want to see another person have the resentment I once had.

I arrived at treatment on a Wednesday which was NA meeting night. Thursday was AA, I took my seat a few rows back and when the meeting started I hear this voice introduce herself and my first thought was "oh shit!!". The voice was that of a woman I had known when I was in recovery before, she was actually one of my ex's sponsor's. I hadn't seen this woman in 15 years, when I moved in recovery it was 60 miles away from where her and her husband who is also in recovery, lived. Something I carried around with me during my drinking years was a shame for having once been an active member of AA, I always feared meeting someone from AA in a store, so here I was in treatment and who should be chairing the meeting but G. After the meeting I swallowed my fear and approached her, showed her my hospital bracelet and told her that I had been out for 10 years, she smiled at me and gave me a huge hug and said welcome back. G and her husband K still lived where they use to, which as God would have it was 10 south of where I was living at the time, they were both going to college in the town where the treatment center was and G made it a point to come to the treatment center meetings while waiting for K to finish with classes and also to do service work. I told her to tell K hi for me. I would see G a few more times before I left treatment.

Saturday mornings we went to a meeting outside of the center, a few blocks away. My first Saturday at this meeting, as we where leaving I notice a small older woman and again I had an "oh shit" moment. Here was a woman from my old home area, where I was at prior to going out. She was the wife of my grand sponsor and someone I admired greatly. Once again I swallowed my fear and approached her, to this day I can still see her eyes light up and the beautiful smile she gave me, her expressions where those of pure love. We embraced as old friends, talked for a minute and she told me she would let some old friends of mine know I was in treatment, they would eventually come see me the following Saturday. She told me her husband had died a few years ago, he died with over 30 years of sobriety, I was sad that my active alcoholism stopped me from saying goodbye to this wonderful man.

What these 2 women showed me has not been forgotten. Yes it sucks when someone goes back out but I need to always welcome someone back the way I was welcomed back. I need to reassure the person who has relapsed that there is no shame in relapsing, that the main thing is they have made it back. I try to show them the same love that was shown to me. If one of these two woman would have chastised me for having relapsed I may have lost hope, I know it would have reinforced my self loathing, my shame over the things I did when I was out there, both women knew my daughter and also my ex and I shared a bit of that part of my sickness with them because I needed to share it with someone I could trust, God put 2 angels I could trust in my path when I needed them most. I believe that people who live the 12 steps of recovery are some of the least judgemental people on earth, we hate the disease but not the one afflicted with it.

I was suddenly released from treatment after only 2 weeks, the reports from my counselor to the insurance company showed enough progress on my part that the insurance company felt they didn't need to spend anymore money on me. I feel when insurance companies do this type of things they are acting very dangerously, in my case it turned out alright but I am an exception to the rule, via the grace of God. I had no way of getting home once I was released, it was early in the morning, my mom lived 3 hours away and anyone else who might give me a ride was working, so I called G. G gladly gave me a ride, I told her I wanted to ask her husband to be my sponsor, so she arranged for him to meet me at my house later that night. K and I started this wonderful journey of sponsor and sponsee that evening. The miracle was that K and G where able to give me rides home during the week days, I would get a ride to work, then stay at a friends house, one who supported my sobriety because she had witnessed first hand my destruction, I would go to meetings, sometimes meeting K and G at the meetings other times waiting after the meetings for them to come through town and give me a ride home. It was on these rides home that K and I started bonding. I hadn't lost a lot of recovery knowledge while I was out there it just needed to be reactivate and dusted off, plus K gave me some new prospectives to look at and wonderful guidance. On these drives I really opened up about my troubles with my ex and not loving her, K shared his understanding of love with me. K always says to me either at the end of a phone conversation or upon parting, I love you, it took a couple of years to reply back the same. K and G are involve in service work and I went along with them when I could, I learned a lot about area service work from them and met a lot of people in recovery throughout the state of Nebraska this way, it was via attending area functions that I first met people from Lincoln, in doing so when I need to find a good meeting in Lincoln these people where there for me. I have worked my steps with K, he has been there with me through thick and thin; he was there for me when my daughter was sent away to a girls group home because the damage I did to her was so severe I couldn't correct it while she lived at home, he has been the voice of reason when dealing with my daughter, a voice I have the choice to heed or not, K allows me to have free will so that I can learn from my mistakes, K rode with me to my father's funeral, K has been instrumental in my resent career change, we have talked about my strengths and weakness and about the obstacles I would face, the fact that he is a drug and alcohol counselor was another hidden blessing from God that 3 years ago I was unaware of. K is still my sponsor, I have no reason to find a sponsor in Lincoln, K knows me better than anyone else since he has been with me basically from the beginning and also was part of my past, I call him at least every 2 weeks, more if I have questions or fears. I do have other people in my life I can call and talk to, people I trust as much as I do K but K is special so for now I will keep our relationship as sponsor and sponsee going. K taught me a lot about compassion, K re instilled how important it is to be of service, to give rides to those that need them, to take newcomers to fellowship events if they are remotely willing, K has been my example of what it means to live the 12 steps of recovery. I am grateful that my God put K in my life, I may have made it without him but it would have been a helluva a struggle.

My first year was like most peoples full of peaks and valley's. Most of the lows came because it was the year my daughter's alcoholism started getting her in deeper trouble. My troubles with the law had ended and hers where kicking into high gear. It was during my second year that via the grace of my God once again that things would finally start to change for her, that change came in the form of an unplanned pregnancy. God has blessed me by rebuilding a relationship with my daughter, one that 3 years ago was on very unstable ground. When I got out of treatment after only 2 weeks, my daughter via the influence of my sister who was in the last stages of her own life as a sick alcoholic, had no faith in my ability to stay sober what so ever, to put it bluntly she was Pissed. I can't blame her, she was only 5 when I started again so she never know the life I once lived, her life was filled with fear, disappointment, anger and embarrassment. Now she is proud of her old hippy dad as she jokingly calls me today, she is interested in my work and proud of what I do. Her spiritual path is weirdly similar to mine, she is firmly Agnostic but accepts others beliefs but just like me at 18 she doesn't know about spirituality in her own life, she just does her best to treat others as she would have them treat her, which is all that really matters, the journey is hers to travel, I can give guidance when asked and I can also live by example one day at a time.

I look back over those first few months and year in total awe at the gift's I was given by my God. God took a sick alcoholic and once again showed him hope and love, once again put the right people in his life at the right time. I am a miracle and I am one of the blessed, this is said in with completely humility.

Short gratitude list to end a long post.

I am grateful for the unpleasant deeds I did that got me to the place of surrender, they are
a reminder of where I came from and where I can return to.

I am grateful for the 2 angels who showed up at my very first meetings welcoming me back into recovery with loving open arms.

I am grateful for We Agnostics, the chapter in the Big Book that has saved my life more than once, for God inspiring Bill to write those wonderful words for those of us who have trouble with the "God Thing"

I am grateful for K, whose love nurtured my back to healthy sobriety and continues to do so.

I am grateful for all the people I have met in recovery past and present, they have all left a mark on my heart.

I am grateful for starting this blog and all the wonderful people I have met through it.

I am grateful for the little dog I got a couple of months prior to getting sober who has been my constant companion ever since.

I am grateful for the healthy relationship I had with my dad during his last years, for the healthy relationship I have with my mother today.

I am grateful for the wonderful relationship I have with my daughter and of course my beautiful granddaughter, and know that I have a chance at having the same relationship with the unborn child now living in my daughter

I am grateful for my job, which allows me to be of serve to God and recovery. Thanksgiving one of the clients wanted to leave treatment, she was full of fear, God allowed me to be a messenger and along with other messengers we changed her mind and she stayed, God worked through us, so even though I didn't get to spend Thanksgiving with the ones I love, I was blessed in spending Thanksgiving where I was needed.

Well campers, I hope everyone has had a great and wonderful weekend!!!

Peace Love and Light of the Spirit

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tiny Messengers

Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls

I'm trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

I posted a comment in which I said "I was just a tiny messenger" which lit the Muse's candle, so grab a cuppa because here we go camper's. The bit of lyric from highly under appreciated Indigo Girl's is about how we are always searching for deep meaning while in reality it is the simple less complicated and tiny messages and messengers that can have a strong impact on my life. Yes I can name a dozen or so big name's but for the most part is is less known that effect me the most.

As you all know I am in constant contact with newcomers via my job. These beautiful people are raw, damaged and beaten, not only from alcoholism and addiction but also from abuse, low self esteem, grief, depression, some mental disorders, anti-social behaviors and other things, alcohol and drugs where but a symptom of a much greater problem. Because of this I have to stay as spiritually fit as possible. I am a "tiny messenger for the Grace of a Greater Source".

As a messenger, I need to be open to and always on the look out for messages I can hear that can be translated to others. I have my Big Book, 12 and 12, other GSO books, I have spiritual books most of them are Buddhist in topic but not all, I have my sponsor, the wonderful people at the meetings past and present and then I have you all.

For me there is no "I or Self" not that I remember this all the time, there is still an ego in my psyche who wants to be acknowledged for the things I say and do, thus taking credit. The Big Book is all about WE, the Promises say WE. So it is not I who will receive the promises, it is we. The reason I am using the promises as an example is because this Sunday for Spirituality group I used them as a teaching tool about regaining Spiritual Health. When we share our experience, strength and hope with others, we get better, our lives get better and we get spiritually healthy and the promises come true for us.

All of the promises are important to understand but for our clients the hope lies in mainly in the following promises; knowing a new freedom and happiness, not regretting the past nor wishing to shut the door on it, comprehending serenity and knowing peace, the feeling of uselessness and self pity disappearing, fear of people leaving us, realizing that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. If I was to talk about the promises has they apply to my life only, I would maybe touch 2 in 20 somewhat completely due to similar backgrounds and scratch the surface of acknowledgement with others. When I use the collective We of experiences I can touch the hearts of all those who are willing to listen because it isn't about Scott and those who can relate to Scott, it is much larger and has larger appeal. The We breaks down the uniqueness, when I relate your experiences with alcoholism/addiction, your experiences with recovery, this tiny messenger is able translate better how universal the problem and the solution are.

Something I didn't understand that much about as an average member of AA was the abuse suffered by women and PTSD. As a single parent I understand the shame from neglecting children which effects women greater than most men, women tend to be the main person in a child's life due to the role of being a mother, although once you crack the surface most guy's do feel shame for leaving their children to be raised my the child's mother but they generally don't have the shame for daily neglect that women and single parents do. PTSD, sexual, physical and mental abuse are things I have very little personal experiences with, I did suffer some abuse as a child and PTSD from my life in the military but it isn't combat related. It is via the WE that I am able to carry the message of hope to those who suffer from these forms of abuse and PTSD. It is the Grace of my God that has allowed me to be open and be aware when I hear people at meetings talk about these things thus allowing me to share the experience of that person in the 3rd person way that may assist someone who was not at that meeting. You my wonderful and honest blogger friends are another source of knowledge, I pass on your experience, strength and hope too. I have a deep compassion for the suffers of these wounds, I feel that if they can't acknowledge them and accept them their chances for recovery is lessened. Along with the counselor's, we as tiny messengers for the Greater Source/God, have the chance to change lives. Never assume that when you share about your sufferings either verbally or in writing is in vain because we never know where the Higher Power may have a need for those words. Not all our clients attend AA/NA meetings on a regular bases, it isn't a requirement that they attend meetings outside the treatment center just highly suggested, so they hear the voices of other members echoed in what I and other recovering tech's share.

When I returned to recovery I battled understanding my usefulness to God and to others. I battled understanding and accepting that I am who I am because this is the way my God made me. I didn't want to be me, I wanted to be the studly confident guy who could easily converse with other's, make jokes and have everybody love him. I couldn't accept my role in being the reserved, insightful person who choices his words carefully, who lacks the bullshit gene, who to this day still prefers small groups of laid back people to large noisy crowds. My sponsor and I had a lot of talks about Scott learning to love Scott for who he was and what his God made him to be. Today almost 3 years later, I understand my role as a tiny messenger, what I originally thought where liabilities where in reality my greatest assets. This all goes to prove once again I have no business questioning the work of God. I use the tools given me to improve my conscious contact with my God, tools that require awareness and action on my part but when I doubt my God I need to be silent and realize I don't know the big picture of what God is doing in my life and the life of others.

We are never alone folks, there is no individual One. We are all One, one people in the service of each another and the Greater Source, I am you and you are me and we are all together. Another comment I posted was about if I could be any animal my first choice would be a dolphin, I love dolphin's, I blame this on Flipper, dolphin's for the most part swim the ocean in complete peace and serenity, they are happy and joyous beings, they have compassion, they are aggressive when they need to protect others, they are wonderfully social creatures, I feel they understand the WE more than most human beings do, they seem to accept this with grace. I am not ashamed to say that being dolphin like is a standard that I as a human being would like to work on obtaining. Maybe dolphin's are tiny messenger's from our God too??

Well I need to get myself and the pup some supper. I hope all is well with everyone, that we are all accepting life and our God's terms to the best of our abilities at this particular time in the web.

Peace Love and Light to all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frothy Emotional Appeal

"Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices. The message which can interest and hold these alcoholic people must have depth and weight. In nearly all cases, their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, it they are to re-create their lives. " The Doctor's Opinion

A friend of mine just started an in depth Big Book study on Wednesday night that I have made a regular on my list of meetings. We read 1 paragraph at a time and discuss the paragraph then go to to the next, it took 8 people 45 minutes on 3 paragraphs from the Doctor's Opinion and I am loving it!! My experience in the past with book studies has been to read a few page's then discussion. A couple of the people attending have over 20 years and are very knowledgeable so their insight is excellent.

The quote above is one of the three we read this Wednesday. I have read the Doctor's Opinion a few times but I tend to read fast and my mind only catches certain things, so reading at a slower pace is shining light on things I have read but never stopped to think about and the above paragraph is one of those. Plus I have my favorite passages that I read over and over and tend to not read whole chapters very often, I am sure I am alone in this;-)

I love the word "frothy" having a bit of redneck in my attitude, frothy brings up images of silly coffee concoctions people order at coffee houses, drinks made for people who really don't enjoy the rich flavor of coffee on it's own but like a hint of it mixed in with their sugar and whipped cream. No one ever approached me about my drinking problems with sweet appeals, well maybe my mom once or twice, most of the time it was with despair or anger. For the most part people didn't approach me at all because I was deep in denial and would argue the issue with them and they just gave up. What I do know is that "frothy emotional appeal" has little effect on me no what the subject is, if someone has an issue with me sugar coating it doesn't work, it plays on my selfishness and baby side. I prefer straight shooting, up front and honest. It doesn't mean I want people to be drill sergeant assholes but just calm and straight to the point, I am big boy and can take it even if my pride and ego get bruised they will heal. So the good doctor is right about this one.

"Must have weight and depth" no therapist, clergy, family member or non-alcoholic has ever had the strong effect on me that a recovering alcoholic and addict has. Another alkie or junkie can connect with me and I with them because we share a heavy common bond. You all talk my language, you understand the shame, fear and anger, you have suffered like I have suffered, so what you are sharing with me has weigh and depth because I know you know what you are talking about. I think this may also be a trust issue with us, I am going to trust you because your moccasin's have the same smelly dung on them that mine do.

"Their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, it they are to re-create their lives." I have to trust my God if I am going to re-create my life. Some say they didn't have a life prior to recovery but I did although it was a sick life. It has been with the Grace of my God, that I have strong and healthy relationships with my family members, well for the most part, so may family life has been re-created. This also applies to my work life, my interactions with others, being a law abiding citizen and a decent human being. I really on my spiritual condition to keep me grounded, sometimes my selfishness gets out of hand and starts flying upward but thankfully when I get too hot I return to the ground.

So those are my thoughts on that little passage. Feel free to had your own thoughts about it in the comments.

Life is good over all. I was called in to work a couple of times this week to fill in, so there will be a couple of extra dollars in the paycheck which will go for Angel's Christmas. Since I only have one paycheck prior to Christmas, I get paid the 30th of November, for once in my life I will actually buy my presents ahead of time and then budget out the rest of the money for my living expenses, also known as, gas, food and smokes, bills come off the top right away.

One of the full time tech's was either fired or quit today, what happened is privileged information. Her leaving might open some doors for me. I was asked to teach a class today on Meth, one she would usually teach. I was never a speed freak, so I have very little practical experience with any type of speed let alone Meth. My boss gave me the hand out to read over and thanks to God I was able to find enough key phrase in it to use for a good class and discussion, I also relied on the clients who have been addicted to Meth to help me out, so yeah God, yeah clients, you both made me look good in a humble way. There is also an opening for someone to teach Relapse group which is right up my alley, so I told my boss I was interested. I am honestly sad for this tech, she has been having some personal problems which have effected her job performance, late for work, using her cell phone at work, plus having a cynical attitude towards certain clients. I pray she gets the help she needs.

This weekend my schedule is insane but it is self imposed insanity. I work 7am to 3pm tomorrow/Friday, 3pm to 11pm Saturday, 7am to 3pm Sunday and 11pm Sunday night until 7am Monday morning. The shift tomorrow and the early shift on Sunday I volunteered for, I was already scheduled for Saturday and Sunday/Monday grave. Saturday I get to do the Big Book reading group, this week we are going to read There is a Solution, love the part about us being like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Saturday evening it Stress Management which I have to work out a lesson plan for and then Sunday is my baby, Spirituality group. For spirituality group I am going to find something to read concerning love, compassion and friendship, I think I will have them write out what their definitions of these 3 words are, one to have them think about them and what they mean to them and also to see how as individuals our definitions may differ, anyway those are my thought as of right now this may change come Sunday morning.

Well campers I have clothes to put away and a shower to take, so I better get at it. Thanks for tagging along.

The Divine in me Honors the Divine in you!!!
Peace Love and Light

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thanks Tall Kay

Karen at Aha Moments honored me with an Honest Scrap award. She bestowed this award on me and 6 others because she feels we are honest bloggers and I think she is right, no ego intended. Karen has always given me encouraging feedback and support and I am greatly honor by this award. The award comes with the following rules.

1. Tell 10 honest things about me
2. Acknowledge who gave me the award
3. Pick 10 bloggers to give it to

Most you know about me from my October post “100 things about this ex-drunk”; I had to think some to come up with some new stuff and below is what happened.

1.Never watch the Pink Floyd movie The Wall when in a depressed drunk stupor! A few months prior to my first mental breakdown which eventually lead to me getting sober, I watched this movie. In the movie the main character Pink shaves his eyebrows, well campers alcohol and depression make you do some strange things and I shaved ¾ of my eyebrows off. I probably would have finished the job but I had just enough sanity left to know that I would have gotten into trouble with the Air Force.

2.Now I hate to fight, one of the reason’s is I am not a very big man, kind of tall and lanky, the other reason is I feel violence is wrong under most conditions, sorry Buddha I cannot commit to complete non-violence at this point on my spiritual journey. At a party one time a drunken co-worker for some reason was going to fight me, more than likely I was giving him a bad time and his sense of humor wasn’t where mine was at, anyway this co-worker was smaller and weaker than me. He started to throw a punch and I ducked in and gave him a kiss on the lips, surprised the hell out of him, actually it grossed him out, surprised everyone else too. My sexual orientation was in question from then out but I didn’t care because the fight was stopped and I was comfortable with my orientation, fighting really has nothing to do with being heterosexual in my book anyway.

3.I have a sister in recovery, come January it will hopefully be 3 years for her. For the most part we are estranged from each other. I use to see her at meetings when I lived in Kearney but we would never talk to each other, other people in recovery knew more about what was going on in my sister’s life than I did and where amazed that we didn’t talk to each other. I have tried to talk to her without forcing the issue; I am always one of the last to leave the meetings so she has had plenty of chances to approach me. At my mom’s birthday party I tried again to talk to her but was blown off. I don’t understand all the reasons for her shunning me; yeah it is sad for me. My speculations are, she has always been a bit jealous of me, being the baby of the family my parents always took a bit more interest right or wrong in what I was doing in my life, in the recovery community I was thought highly of because of my service work which I have always done out of a genuine interest in serving AA and the less fortunate so once again I was getting attention she probably wanted, I hold strongly to the traditions and the statement “ God as we understand him” but my sister has a more judgmental view as to who one needs to believe in, we have also had a lifelong disagreement about the importance of money, public image and material processions my decision to take a major pay decrease and lower my standard of living to pursuing a career serving God and others just doesn’t compute with her. These are all guesses based on having known her for 46 years. It just sucks that even though I don’t really care if we are best bud’s or not I would be nice to talk to her on occasion like we use to do. Once again I am powerless over more than just alcohol. My sister is in my prayers because that is the only way I know how to show her love at this point. Also if I have harmed her I would like to know so that I can make amends, my sponsor and I have been over the relationship and I can’t think of any wrongs done.

4.Alright since that last one was a bit heavy for me I am going to lighten it up. Some of my beautiful blogger friends of late have mentioned their love for the band Journey now is the time for me to say, “I loathe Journey” sorry campers but this is about honesty. I did at one time own the Departure album on cassette because of the prod rock flavored song People and Places and I will say that Wheel in the Sky is a great rock song but for the most part that is the extent of my love for Journey. For one thing they were all over the airwaves on the 80’s, seemed like every hour the radio stations where playing a song of theirs. I also lived with some guys who thought Journey was awesome, so every weekend there was a party at the house I shared with them and Journey was one of the main stays on the stereo. To be honest when this was going on I was heavy into Dylan who had just reemerged from his Christian period with a couple of great albums Infidels and Empire Burlesque. Back then I would say I was into substance music, today I laugh at myself, nothing can quite kill the mood of a party like a drunk putting on Dylan, Neil Young, the Grateful Dead, early Susanne Vega, progressive or jazz fusion, no wonder I never got laid. Here is another bit of irony, Steve Perry’s voice annoys me but I love Geddy Lee of Rush. Journey is just one of those bands in a list of artist who yes probably did make some great songs but over the last 25 years of listening to classic rock radio just really don’t appeal to me, certain prejudices just get stuck in the mind and don’t leave. But hey all you go right ahead loving you some Journey if that is what makes you smile, sing and dance! After writing this I have a strong itching for the Clash London Calling ;-D

5.O.K. speaking of music, one of my favorite subjects. I laughed at you for Journey but I have a guilty musical pleasure. I love the Carpenters! Karen’s voice was so sweet and beautiful, the harmonies where tight, the songs where simple pop gems. I was a young kid when they burst on the scene, I remember hearing them on the radio, watching them on TV and having a crush on Karen. All these years later, years that have been filled with sadness, life lived on the darker side, I can put on the Carpenters and be transcend to a simpler place and time, a place I never really lived in but know exist. It is really too bad Karen fell to her own demon, my comparison maybe wrong but she had a lot more in common with Janis Joplin than a lot of people would like to admit.

6.So this brings me to the next bit of honest. I am a sentimental softy and cry way too damn easy. This was really brought home again this morning watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for what is probably the 20 something time. I can’t help myself, I just get misty eyed during tender or sad moments of movies and always have. My eyes start watering halfway through It’s a Wonderful Life and other great movies. It is really embarrassing sometimes, especially in mixed company or around people who don’t know me that well, not that I am overly vain but still I have enough of an ego to not want people to think of me as weak. This also crops up at meetings and on occasion during work when people are talking about heartbreak experiences. God has helped to control this at work, since I can’t show this emotion too much to a person I am trying to help, they may take it the wrong way and try and manipulate me.

7.I am a coffee addict. If I am home all day it is nothing for me to drink 4 pots of coffee, 2 of those will be decaf. I know bad wolfie bad wolfie but hey I like coffee and still don’t have the willingness to make myself drink water. I will justify my addiction by saying that I believe that my love of coffee and the cleansing it does to my kidneys helps keep me from getting sick.

8.During the beginning of my relapse when the insanity, the pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization was just being to pick up steam, I got into a really sick relationship. I was caught up in the attention and affection I was receiving. The woman I was involved in and later moved in with for a short period use to physically abuse her kids. It wasn’t a constant thing but if her kids started to get out of hand she would hit them with a belt. One of the sicker chapters of my life is that I did this a couple of times as well and may have even done this to my daughter once. I look back now in disgust and don’t understand how I could ever do such and thing, other than I was trying to please her and be accepted by her. Her kids due to this sickness would push things to the point where they would be beat, maybe they didn’t understand any other way and this was how they learned to calm down, to escalate things to point of requiring physical pain in order to gain some form of love and acceptance. The woman was raised with beatings so it was a family cycle and I pray today that those girls are not repeating it with their kids. I was raised with physical violence but with rare exceptions have never used it on my daughter; I understood the damage and broke the cycle. God opened my eyes up only a few months into the relationship and we parted ways, she became emotionally and verbal abusive to me.

9.I have no college education. Like Karen everything I have is a gift from God. Good leadership and management are common sense things to me plus I have tried to emulate the supervisors I have respected. I also have a gift for training people for teaching people in a way that makes things comprehendible, I am patient and have a relaxed way of communicating which is an asset. I worked 17 years as a purchasing agent, I wasn’t the best when it came to hard core negotiations but I had a great repoire with my venders and sales people, they would do their best to help me out of a jam no matter whose fault it was. I know I will have to starting taking college courses next summer in order to stay in my new chosen career; it is just how it works. I am a bit concerned about starting college since it has been so long since I have had to really study, work on term papers, the fear is I won’t be able to comprehend what is being taught, that the damage to my memory is too extensive that I won’t be able to past test based on remembering stuff. I know this is more than likely just fear of failure but it is real fear for me. I just have to trust God when the time comes and do the footwork needed to succeed.

10.On my list of resentments was the last sponsor I had before the relapse. I wasn’t comfortable putting him on the list since he was a friend of my sponsor, the one who I took my 5th step with. I knew then that the relapse wasn’t the old sponsor’s fault but in working step 4 to the best of my ability I had to add him because he did hurt me even if it was my own fault. See I feel I should have done a 4th and 5th step with this sponsor, I was 5 years sober when he became my sponsor, maybe if I would have done the steps my secret’s would have come out and I wouldn’t have relapsed. I don’t have resentment to this sponsor now but when I was newly sober the second time around I saw where he could have served me better. What I have learned is that we are all responsible for our own recovery; I know today how important it is to be honest, with myself, my sponsor and with others. I know what actions or inactions will lead me to another relapse and with the help of the God of my understanding I hope to never do that again.

Once again it is a long winded post, just my style and one I have to accept, maybe I was a Russian novelist in a past life. I don’t surf enough to have 10 bloggers to send this award to but I do have a few and maybe they have received it before but these ladies are inspiring and amazing in their honesty.

Shadow: 1 door away from heaven

Sarah: Complications of a perfect life

Gabi: All who wonder are not lost!

Paula: Becoming myself

Peace Love and Light campers and may the wonderful sunlight of the Spirit shine upon you even on those rainy daze.
Hugs from Nebraska

Friday, November 13, 2009

5 Word Assignment

There is a new blogger game, Lou assigned Sarah 5 words to write something on, she gave Kristin and me 5 words to write something on, Kristin as her posted as well. If are interested in playing let me know and I will leave you 5 words in your comment section, this is just something fun and interesting to do. I am attempting to do this without a great deal of thought, just let the Muse do her thing.

So away we go!!!

FRIENDSHIP: Friendship to me means commitment and unconditional love. It also requires being honest. A true friendship isn't one sided, it is being there for each other. Over the years I have drifted away from most of the friends I had as a youth, we have different careers, our teenage interest have changed as we have matured. I still see some of these people on occasion, we exchange information about what is going on in our life's, make the typical "we will have to get together for coffee sometime" common statement, wishing it to be true but both knowing more than likely it won't but accepting this a part of life none the same. These certain people would be there for me in pinch the same as I would for them mainly out of a bond that goes back many years when we where tight. Today's close friendship are based on a deeper sense of commitment because these friends are recovering alcoholics and addicts, these are the people who will risk hurting my feelings to save my life. These are the people who I have been totally honest with and they have done the same with me, not out of ego trippin but out of humbling say this is who I am and can you love me anyway. A true friend doesn't care what we look like on the outside, their concern is for what is on the inside. A true friend knows the difference between F.I.N.E and fine. A true friend is the voice of the Higher Power when our ears are plugged with self pity. A true friend hands you the tissue to wipe your eyes with, says "I love you, now dust your ass off and get back on the horse." True friends are treasures more valuable jewels or gold. True friendship is a gift from God.

PHOTOGRAPH: When I think of photograph I think of the old black and white photographs of my grandparents, my parents and their siblings taken when where kids during the depression and early 40's. The word photograph is an nostalgic word for me. When I hear it used I think of something more important than just a picture taken. This is hard to explain really, I have pictures in my house some in albums some in zip lock bags, but the photographs I have in frames or stuck to the frig with magnetics for all to see.

RED: O.K. I will apologize up front for this one cause it is a bit sexist. The first thing that came to my mind when I read this word was red lingerie (blush), nothing is more sexy to me than a woman in red lingerie, white and black have their appeal but red is magical and I ain't saying anything more on this subject. The other red that comes to mind is the deep red of a rose. Rose's are my favorite flower and I can't wait to plants bushes at my new house. I love their beauty, there smell. I also see God and life in a rose bush. There is deep alluring beauty and there are nasty thorns. Red is not a favorite color for me when it comes to clothing but I do like it for a kitchen color, generally deep red not quite burgundy, for me it warms up a kitchen. I do like burgundy in clothing but I don't consider it red.

BATTLE: Interesting word Sarah! My first thought was the Led Zeppelin song Battle for Evermore, great song wonderful visionary lyrics but I will leave it at that. I remember my first spiritual experience, it was a dream I had when I was 19. In the dream there was a tug of war battle between a white force and a black force, the battle was for my soul and the light won. I don't use the word battle to think in terms of my alcoholism or addict, the cravings are gone, my Higher Power won that battle for me. There are minor scrimmages though but as long as I am doing the footwork my God requires of me they stay just that. I feel that the biggest battle I face on a daily bases is the battle of selfishness and ego. God is my Excalibur and I have to keep it in good repair to fight this battle. Some days I let it get rusty and I receive some wounds from the opponents sword. Like a good night watchman I have to be constantly aware of this enemy. If I lose this battle I could die, maybe not physically but spiritually.

PATH: This is the easy one. Path is the Spiritual path I am on and also my path in recovery. The path has been and is still being filled with great adventure. There are new and wonderful things to see all the time. It has also had it's share of tangled thickets, swamps and washed out roads but once those are trudged through, it smooths out for a while. The path is never ending. Along the path I have met Jesus, Buddha, King Arthur and Merlin, Bill, Dr. Bob, St. Francis made a special appearance and changed my life, I have heard the bards sing and the poets speak under oak trees, I have encountered the wonderful common people with compassion in their hearts, I have been touched by the greats and the smalls, I have seen new life and death and neither were young or old. The spiritual path is about my awareness, about being interconnected with everything in the universe, it is about serenity, harmony, compassion, loving kindness and the heart of true happiness. It is about living life on life's terms, on day at a time, one step at a time. It is about getting out of me and helping another. It is about freely giving back what was freely given.

Well that is it campers. It was interesting for me and hope once you are done scratching your heads it was interesting for you.

Peace Love and Light to all. May the Sunlight of the Spirit shine It's glorious light upon each and every one of you.

Gotta get ready for work, 11pm to 7am, I proof read this twice but am sure there are still mistakes, oh well. The slang in intentional though.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Made it home

Well as you can guess I am home and alive after almost 3 wonderful full days in Kearney. My daughter started a new job this morning at a restaurant that specializes in eggs, so her and my Angel where up and out of the house by 7:30, which was good because nobody had a chance to be sad about my leaving. I went over to mom's after I got my stuff together then stopped at my sponsor's house on the way back. My sponsor is a counselor at a halfway house 45 minutes east of Kearney, God worked it out that he didn't have to be at work today until 2:00pm so I was able to stop and visit with him on the way home, been a while since we have had a face to face talk. It was great to see him, since he is a counselor and I work in the treatment center we have a lot more in common now than before, along with his valuable guidance in my recovery, he now can help me at work when I get a bit frustrated or question why things are the way they are. He doesn't always agree with the system either but both of us accept it. He thought my using the Big Book for groups is both interesting and great and said he needs to investigate the process more himself in case he has to go more groups and less one on one, yeah it made me feel good. It is cool just to talk about how treatment centers and counseling and different counselors work.

The weather was great for the drive home about 60 degrees and sunny. I was observing how much corn and beans have been harvested and it appears the further west you go the farther behind they are, more rain and early snow in the western part of the state. From what I have been told a lot of the corn is still very moist so they have to dry it and then wait before the next loads can be combined and hauled to the elevators to be loaded on trains and shipped out. My aunt told me a lot of the soybeans in the western part of the state were destroyed by the early snow, what happened was the bean pods where hanging open and the wet snow forced them to the ground and the beans came out the pods, so they are in the soil and can't be harvested. Farmer's have insurance for things like this but it still bites big time, since part of being a farmer is taking pride in your harvest yield.

Yesterday I finished some unfinished business in Kearney. Had lunch with a good friend and some times spiritual advisor in recovery, he is an Episcopal pastor. We had a great visit, he is also the sponsor of a close friend of mine who is doing 12 months in county jail for assault charges, my friend was in a toxic relationship and in a fit of rage and jealousy smacked a guy with a tire iron, my friend has finally ended the relationship we hope anyway. My friend is on work release from jail so his sponsor is taking to and from work, which is a God thing since I am not sure how my friend in jail would be handling things other wise. I had coffee with a couple of other close friends last night which was great. Also last night I went and visited with N for a while, she is doing alright. It was a good thing our relationship never got stronger, one neither one of us could have afforded a long distance relationship, too much money spent on gas and stuff, also she is having issues with her kids and doing things I don't approve of and like I told my sponsor I would have eventually voiced my concerns and displeasure which would have cause some problems. Things have gotten worse since school has started, part of the trouble is N is not home a lot, she is leaving the older 2 at home and taking the younger one with her, N has a hard time finding balance plus just staying at home learning to live in recovery, going to Bible studies and recovery meetings and such is good up to the point where your family life is getting messed up, there is still a lot of residue left from her years of using and not being there. She has given up on her 13 year old daughter and sent her to live with her mom in and other town, I feel really sad for her daughter who I am close to. Yeah man being powerless over others sucks big time. N and I are still good friends but the distance has taken it's toll, I don't think she was intentional using me but I did give her a lot of help for a few months, plus she is hanging out with some people in recovery who aren't very tolerant of Buddhist and other non-Christians, we are going to Hell don'tcha know. I am alright with all of this and moving on, there are new horizon's ahead, more interesting women to meet, new smells, new site's and life to be live as it comes and goes. I also made a surprise visit to my old Sunday morning meetings, lots of hugs and good recovery! Forgot to add this earlier in the paragraph, so yeah it is totally out of context.

O.K. now for what you have all been waiting for!!! Of course I had a great time with Angel and a nice comfortable stay at my daughter's house. Angel loved having grandpa around and also grandpa's puppy. She is starting to thin out just a bit now that she is walking all over. She chatters when she is in the mood also, still no clear words though, she is 16 months old. Little stink is very smart and inquisitive. Yesterday I went to a thrift store and bought my daughter some cooking utensils, she didn't have much which drove me nuts, I also bought some measuring cups, Angel grab the cups, spoon and pancake spatula and started mixing and imagined eating what she was cooking, it was really cute but I was surprised at her age she understood about the utensils and cooking, maybe she has seen this at daycare. Angel and I pretty much hung out together the whole time I was there, I took her with me for coffee, she had a strawberry muffin. Speaking of which the child is a bottomless pit and in a cute but sad way, quite the little mooch when someone has food. I was starting to get sad yesterday when I thought about heading back down here but it is better for them in the long run with me here. I can't enable my daughter that much from a distance and she can't run to daddy for a quick babysitter or a bit of money for gas or diapers. I did spend a bit on her but not too much since I just don't have the funds, I bought Angel a couple of toys at the thrift shop and a few new clothes that where on sale at WalMart, you know cause that's what grandparents are for. I am really proud of how my daughter who at 18 is raising Angel, now this isn't really bragging but Angel is a very content and well behaved baby, when I say no she stops what she is doing, oh yeah she gets mad as the dickens when you take something she is interested in away from her, she loved my toothbrush and I let her brush her teeth with it for a while then took it away and boy did she let grandpa no that wasn't cool.

Those of you with grown kids will get a kick out of this and those of you with young ones this is a fore warning of things to come. I get to my daughters house on Saturday, she has no furniture in the living room or kitchen, she has the TV in the bedroom, so the sofa I got from a friend here was a really good thing and my daughter even liked the pattern. I was planning on making supper for us but guess what, first I had to do her dishes. Yeah dad is once again doing dishes for daughter, she has left the house where I did the dishes a majority of the time and then I get to her house and since she has only a small amount of cooking stuff I have to do them again so I can cook. I wasn't mad, actually very amused, one of those some things really hasn't changed much. My daughter did keep up the dishes for the rest of my stay though. I went over to my mom's and borrowed a folding table and a couple of lawn chairs so there was something to sit on besides the sofa and also a place for me to sit my coffee cup on while I watched Angel eat.

My mom is doing alright. She was very surprised and tickled with the party. Not many there but enough family and friends to make her happy. We had a couple of really nice visits and I will try and make it back down next month. I am going to ask if I can work Christmas morning that way I can be off at 3:00pm and still be able to spend a bit of Christmas with her, my daughter and Angel. I am not a huge Christmas fan but do go out of my way to make my mom, daughter and now Angel happy, so I will do what I can be spend at least a few hours with them.

None what I just wrote about would have been possible 3 years ago, I was in my last weeks of drinking unbeknown to me. So thank you AA, thank you God who is personal to me, thank you to a wonderful sponsor, thank you to all my dear friends in recovery who have shared their love, experience, strength and hope with me. Life is good campers and will stay that way as long as I do what is good for me, do the footwork, trust God, get out of self, learn from my mistakes with a smile on my face, reach out to the newcomer or any sick alcoholic/addict when I see they need a word or two or maybe just be silent and listen.

My pup loved the trip but now is happy to be home and is curled up on her favorite pillow, I on the other hand I am going to take a hot bath and get ready for my home group meeting tonight. One of the girls from work who is a non-alcoholic is going to meet me at the meeting, she wants to learn more about recovery and since we have built up a friendship she has asked if she can go to one with me, she is one a few that wants to really help the clients by understanding the recovery process, so I am gladly meeting her. Also if you haven't seen them my last post is of my beautiful Angel.

Peace Love and Light to all,

Grandpa's Angel

I am saving the best one for my post, but in case anybody is browsing around now, here are some pic's of my little buddy. She is darn cute if I do say so myself!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Going Off line for a Few??

First up it was brought to my attention that I don't have a contact email address in my profile, I changed that but in case you don't check my profile here it is for anyone who wants to contact me directly,

I am headed back to Kearney tomorrow around noon and will not be coming home until Tuesday afternoon, I am not sure if I will get the chance to log on or not, I think there are a couple of coffee shops with free Internet access but I am not positive, Kearney is rather small, my daughter does not have Internet. Any who my mom had her 80Th birthday on Wednesday so my sister's and I are having a surprise party for her on Sunday with family and friends. Also it has been a quite a while since I have spent time with my daughter and grand daughter, not to mention my mom,. I am going to stay at my daughters apartment, this way I can be with them in their home and spend quality time with them. The money is tight so instead of going out to eat I will just cook for them, I think they will like this better anyway, I will cook some of those things that only dad can make just right, plus bake some cupcakes for Angel. I am excited about spending time with Angel I am sure she misses grandpa as much as grandpa misses her, the last time I was home she made a fuss anytime she thought I was leaving her. My mom is going to pay to have photo's taken of us, so Sunday afternoon we are going to Olan Mills and having pictures done, pictures of Angel and then one of all 3 of us, I will have a disc made so I can post them for you all to see. By the time we are done it should be time for mom's birthday party, mom said she didn't want a party but I know deep in her heart she does want to be treated special and recognized.

While I am in Kearney I will get a chance to go to a favorite meeting of mine, see some dear friends there and meet up with some other close friends on Monday.

Did you know you all help me at work?? It is true, via some of your post and what you are going through, I use you as examples of recovery and living life on life's terms. I take your experience, strength and hope with me to the treatment center, don't use any name's of course. If one of the clients is having a certain problem that relates to something one of you has or is writing about I say I have this friend in recovery who is going through a similar problem and use your positive strength and faith to hopefully help the client. It is a small world campers and we are so much more interconnected than we think. Here is a big THANK YOU, for being so honest about what is going on in your lives, for going through the pain with hope that your God will take care of you, for writing gratitude list in the mix of turmoil and great suffering, for being funny when it hurts, love you all.

This evening is anger management again. I am going to use a format designed for treatment this time. We are going to take a closer look at anger what it is and where it comes from, something I have touched on before, I stand firm in my belief that most anger stems from fear, mainly fear that we won't get our way and will have to change, Yikes. Next we will talk about assertive and aggressive behaviors. Of course my experience comes for the side of not knowig how to be constructively assertive and the fear of asserting myself, that ole low self esteem blues mama. I have a worksheet that talks about the harm caused by being too passive or too aggressive which will move us into healthy conflict resolution, wow what a concept for ex drunks and druggies. There is also a worksheet for monitoring their anger levels during the week so they can look at the pattern. I want to really hit on the stuffer's, the ones that are afraid of showing or accepting anger, we have quite a few abused people in the group, men and women who are scared to show they are angry, people who need to learn to deal with the anger, to learn to get it out instead of keeping it in. There are also those who have no problem expressing anger and they need to understand how this effects other and in turns effects them. It will come back around to acceptance and serenity, to self worth, respect for self and others, it will come back around to how anger either agressively expressed or depressed in unhealthy ways is dangerous for alcoholics and addicts, you can take the Big Book away from the recovering alkie but you can't take the Big Book out of the Alkie once the message is ingrained. I have no idea of how this will all turn out, I will once again trust my God and open myself up to be a mouth piece in It's service.

Well campers I need to get in the shower, start cooking something for supper, plus iron some shirts for the weekend, permanent press my butt. I hope everyone has a great weekend!!! For those who are going through a rough one, hang on to your butt's, trust your God and remember you are loved, the light at the end of the tunnel is within you, you just have to clear out the debris to see it.

Peace Love and Light and as Steve would say, I am going to stay sober and trust you will too!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Coffee , smokes and Monday morning reflections

Hey All.

Here is how it went at the treatment center the last few days. The discussion on selfishness went really well, we covered a lot of areas, anger at those who we feel have just done something wrong in general, relationships, abuse, death, counselors and treatment, etc. We talked about using spiritual practices to help become more aware of the selfishness and how over time we learn to identify it and not react so negatively and find balance. We talked about using spiritual practices in maintaining a balance in our daily lives over all. I read the 3rd step prayer and explained how using it first thing in the morning sets in our minds that the bondage of self is our biggest problem, that acknowledging this first thing in the morning has an effect that last through out the day and I tend to catch myself being selfish a lot quicker when I do this than when I don't. I received a pat on the back from a co-worker who has been working at the center for 10 months, he said it was good to have someone in recovery lead some of the groups and use the Big Book, he acknowledged that a lot of clients don't read the book and that by one of us in recovery using recovery literature it forces the clients to read what is good for them, this made me feel good.

Saturday we read the chapter Just for Today from the book Narcotics Anonymous. In my humble opinion this is the best chapter in the book. It talks a lot about HOW, honesty, open mindedness and willingness. It covers living in the moment, trusting the God of our understanding and also talks about the importance of fellowship and how we need to learn to develop close relationships with others in recovery, come to meetings early, stay afterwords and go to recovery get together's. One client said that she is in relapse mode when she stops doing these things and told the group that every time she has relapsed a big part of it was that she wasn't a part of the fellowship. I know fellowship isn't nearly as important as working steps and trusting a God but for people who isolate or need to get away from their old playmates it is an essential part in the early days.

Sunday we talked about acceptance after reading Acceptance is the Answer out of the Big Book. The clients wrote their list of things they like about themselves, things they don't like about themselves and things they can't accept or external troubles. The feedback or vibe I received from burning the later 2 list and saying a prayer was mixed. The negative vibes and side talk came from apathy, people who are still unwilling to accept spiritual assistance with their problems. The positive feedback was charged with understanding, relief and a sense of freedom. I have been playing non-gospel music with a spiritual theme running through the songs at different times during the group, I start the group with a song which gives us time to quiet our minds and then play a song while they are doing the writing, I wasn't certain how this was going over and found out the most liked it, so I will continue to use music in this group.

So it appears that God was working through me again in my work at the treatment center. I am humbled and amazed at the opportunity I have been given in working there, sometimes it is surreal also.

Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of my dad's death. On November 1st 2008 my mom, 2 sisters and I sat in a nursing home room while my dad was slowly dying in front of us. For those who don't know, my dad had chronic lung disease from years of working with asbestos. That day was one of the longest days of my life, I received the call at 5am from the home that dad was going and I had to give my permission for them to increase the morphine and make him as comfortable as possible. My dad was not conscience when my mom and I got to the home and never did gain conscienceness, we sat in the room comforting him and ourselves and dad transcended at around 3:30pm. I pressed my palms together bowed to my dad, said Namaste to him for the last time and gently touched his forehead in love. Yesterday morning prior to going to work I played John Lennon's In My Life in remembrance of him, shed some tears and did some reflections. I am grateful that my dad is in peace today, he no longer fights to breath, he no longer has to get angry due to dementia, no longer has to be angry because he is can't do the physical things he use to do and has to rely on others for help. Because I was graced with getting sober a couple of years prior to my fathers death I was able to make peace with him, I was able spend quality time with him, I was able to assist him and my mom in times when they couldn't do things for themselves, I had my licence back and drove dad's new car more than he every drove it. The time I spent with my father those last couple of years of his life are testaments of AA and living in recovery, oh yeah and what the God of my understanding has done in the life of this drunk. Those of us who have experienced the death of a loved one in recovery share about this when it is appropriate because I feel that death is one of the hardest things to go through sober, by being there through the terminal illness and death of a loved one show recovery programs really work and maybe it can help someone else when their time comes. Recovery has given me a lot of gifts, my loving relationship with my daughter and grandbaby, my healthy relationship with my mother, my freedom and many more things but I would have to say so far the greatest gift has been that my dad I where at peace with each other, that I was there for him physically and spiritually the last years of his life.

Well campers I hope everyone had a great weekend. My prayers have been going out to those of you who are having challenges in life, my prayers are for God's will to be done in your lives. Be gentle with yourselves, laugh when you can, cry if you must and trust the God of your understanding as best you in the moment at hand.

Peace Love and Light