Wednesday, November 30, 2005

more shall be revealed ...

Large Tony got me to thinking. Thinking about the days, no, the years I spent trolling the bars. Mostly bars outside the USA. Places I lived and places I visited from 1988 - 2002. Something like 29 countries.

I'm only now realizing how scared I am -- of people. I suppose I always have been. That's where alcohol came in handy. I loved going to new and different bars. I would get a beer and just stand back in a corner or hang out at the end of the bar. Out of the way. Away from anyone whenever possible. Lord help me if I actually had to speak to a human.

I'd check out the way the place was decorated. See the pictures; are they real or just prints? Look at all the neon signs. What was the bar made out of? Wood? Laminated? Old? New? How about the floor? Carpet, wood or tile? Clean? Dirty? How about the ceiling? They usually were filthy with nicotine stains. Those were my favorite kind. How many beer taps? What kinds of beers and ales? What types of liquor did they have? Cheap or the good stuff? I looked at all these things just about everywhere I went. Of course, I was always checking out the cutomers too, if there were any. I stayed away from the good looking guys, especially if it was a gay bar. Why would they want me anywhere near them? Often I would just have a drink or two, then move on. There was always another bar. Maybe someone would talk to me - somewhere else. So I'd wander down the street or across town to the next place. Make absolutely no effort to speak to anyone. Leave an hour later thinking how stuck up all these people are.

This was my way of life for most of 15 years. My last 15 years. I finally met someone (who initiated the friendship). Someone who not only talked to me, but cared for and about me. Someone I fell in love with. After a year of putting up with my alcoholic behavior, he could not take it any more. Wonder why?

That is when I finally hit my bottom. The turning point.
My time of incomprehensible demoralization.

Today I am grAAteful ...

... that I don't have to do those things or feel that way ANY MORE!
... that I stopped drinking before I stopped breathing
... that we got Mom moved yesterday to a Skilled Nursing Facility, 32 days after her strokes


Tuesday, November 29, 2005


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the patience I was able to summon while waiting for Mom to be transferred yesterday

that she'll most likely be transferred today, the red tape having been completed

for the great effort by my sister during these difficult times

that my nephew has not demolished his grandmother's home since she's been in hospital

that a friend came back for a desire chip last night after a 4 day crack binge

that Oprah did a show on crystal meth yesterday and raised awareness of that issue

that I never tried crystal meth; this addict would have been hooked immediately

that I am getting to know myself a little better

for some new bloggers; people I actually knew before they blogged LOL

Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I'll understand.
-Chinese Proverb

Say Cheese

Monday, November 28, 2005

Love, Tolerance and Rock & Roll

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a weekend so full of recovery I can only take a lot more

... for the 2005 Houston Roundup - a GLBT AA Convention
... for the 5 AA circuit speakers I got to listen to
... for the time and effort put forth by those involved in the Roundup
... for all of those who contributed to this Roundup and all those who participated over the past 23 years of it

that Mom wheeled around her floor of the hospital yesterday in her wheelchair, by herself and without any IV's or oxygen connected

that she is due to move to a private Skilled Nursing Facility today, 30 days after she suffered 3 strokes

that the only thing I have to do alone anymore is to isolate (well, a few other things, but I won't mention those)

that I am making some improvement on tolerating myself and others

that my contempt without investigation always results in consequences


odd pix

Read the warning at the upper right-hand corner.

Then notice the ashtray 8 feet away.

in the hotel parking lot
(car park in the UK)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Powerless ... again

I have a friend from AA who is "back out." He's relatively new to recovery, having put together about 2 months clean and sober before relapsing for what is now the third time. It's painful to see. Actually, I am not seeing it. He won't return my phone calls, so I know what is going on. It is a very common trait amongst active relapsers.

I know in my heart and from everything I've learned in AA that he must find his bottom. Maybe he must experience the incomprehensible demoralization that most of have been through. My prayers are with him.

I also know that everyone will not hit their bottom at the same time as me nor will they "get it" at the same time. We must each have our own experiences, whenever those occur. I just feel so damn helpless and pray that God has not chosen to take my friend away. I accept that possibility and know that others have the opportunity to learn from my friend's unwillingness to do whatever it takes. There is always a lesson to be learned. I want my friend back from this deadly disease. I want to see his smiling face again. I want him to be happy, joyous and free like me. But I can't make him want it and I can't force it on him.

I am powerless.

Get a Job

as seen on The Comedy Channel
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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ping Pong

I used to really enjoy playing ping-pong. Some know it as table tennis.
Whatever you call it, I could never play like this!


Bloto = blogger photo
So far, this is the only picture we've managed to get together to take. These guys are all bloggers. They are all links listed on my sidebar (that's me, 2nd from left). There are at least 4 others at this convention who aren't pictured here.
From left to right, can you guess who these guys are?

UPDATE ... see a more complete picture by CLICKING HERE

Friday, November 25, 2005

I am My Problem

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the time I get to spend with my Mom every day - I will miss going today due to other commitments

for the concept of living amends

that yesterday, I got to attend the biggest single AA meeting that Lambda hosts each year; there were approximately 200 recovering alkies in the bunch, and about 30 of them got to share a piece of their Gratitude of being sober

that the above meeting was followed by a wonderful pot luck Thanksgiving dinner

for all of my "second family" who participate in their recovery BUT I sure miss seeing a lot of familiar faces

that our AA Roundup has begun and lasts through the weekend

that I get to hear 5 AA circuit speakers in 3 days

to be reminded that I can either die with this disease OR die from this disease

that I will get to sit at the front for tonight's Roundup play

that I was with 10 bloggers yesterday, all of whom are linked on my sidebar here (we're trying to all get together for a bloto**)


** blogger photo

iPod Africa

technology comes to Africa

maybe Santa will bring me one

Thursday, November 24, 2005

This is not ME !!

not a hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy pic

Thankful I'm Grateful

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I write this list 5 days per week, even when it's not Thanksgiving - this is my 425th list in sobriety

that I am anal-retentive enough to know that crap

Woo-hoo!!! that we committed to a Skilled Nursing Facility yesterday for my Mom; just waiting for the confirmation over this holiday weekend

that Mom was able to walk approximately 400 feet yesterday without her IV's or oxygen, using only a walker and an assistant with her

for anticipation of the noon meeting and the following Gratitude Pot Luck Lunch at Lambda combined with the fellowship of up to 300 others in recovery

for the concept of AA recovery without which I would be dead

that my recovery does not allow for excuses or days off

that the Houston GLBT Roundup begins this afternoon and lasts until Sunday lunch

The beaten path is the safest, but the traffic's terrible.
-Jeff Taylor

hAAlf nAAked thAAnksgiving thursdAAy

one of my kids

she was born out of wedlock

but I'm
for her anyway

see other
participating HNTT bloggers when you click here

Happy Redneck Thanksgiving

How to tell if you're celebrating a Redneck Thanksgiving ...
... You've ever had Thanksgiving dinner on a Ping-Pong table.
... Thanksgiving dinner is squirrel and dumplings.
... You've ever re-used a paper plate.
... You have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say 'Cool Whip' on the side.
...You've ever used your ironing board as a buffet table.
... Your turkey platter is an old hub cap.
... Your stuffing secret ingredient comes from the bait shop.
... Your only condiment on the dining room table is ketchup.
... Side dishes include beef jerky and Moon Pies.
... You have to go outside to get something out of the 'fridge.
... You serve Vienna Sausage as an appetizer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Prayer. Action. Results.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my sister and I are working feverishly to find our Mom a home for the near-term future -- we have it narrowed down to 2 places

to see almost every day how things work out when I take the proper action and then just get out of the way

that Mom's physical therapy is working as advertised

that I don't regret the past

that I do everything I can to prevent regretting my actions today

for a good chat with my sponsor at breakfast

for my 3 little very strange cats

that I watched a 2 hour Carol Burnett Special last night showing clips from her old shows

Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.
-James Bryant Conant

I Ear You !!

I Ear You

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Life on the run ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got through yesterday unscathed, unbruised and sober

to sort of realize at least one of the reasons why my Mom is still living on this planet

that we will soon have my Mom resting in a facility which provides long-term Skilled Nursing care

that my commitments to recovery brought me out of the mini-exhaustion I felt during the late afternoon

that I was asked to lead the 8 o'clock meeting last night even though I had plans NOT to go

that I'm getting a little better at doing a 10th step each night -- creating a good habit is much more difficult than getting rid of a bad one

that you're reading this today


Where were you?

I realize that many of you weren't born when JFK was killed.

But us gray hairs ALL remember the day that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, Texas. It was 42 years ago, November 22, 1963.

I was in 4th grade at Oak Forest Elementary School in Houston. We heard something about it before school let out at 3pm. (the concept of television and radio, much less computers, in schools, had not entered the thought processes yet). My Mom picked me up that day and I remember telling her something like, "Good, he's dead."

OK. OK. I was an immature kid and was brought up in a fiercely Republican household. My parents didn't like Kennedy, so I didn't either. I didn't conceive of the magnitude of what had happened. But as the next few days passed, I saw the tragedy and how it unfolded. The networks covered all the events round-the-clock. I think this was the first time a news event was broadcast live for many hours.

Where were you that fateful day?

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Desire to Progress

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to see my Mom's ability to remain calm through her health problems

for the strength I receive from my Higher Power and my mother

that I have no desire nor need to medicate myself in good times or bad

for the support I get from my friends in AA and my Mom's friends

for a wonderful weekend of recovery activities - Dennis R's dinner for Scott, a celebration dinner for AA birthdays, AA Birthday Night @ Lambda, a preview of the AA Roundup play, final preparations for our AA Thanksgiving Gratitude lunch - all in addition to my normal AA meetings

that I am anal-retentive enough to remember that Sobriety is my Priority

to look forward to what shall be my busiest week of my 2+ years in recovery -- with serenity and a peace of mind that is new to me (see post below)

for the power of prayer

that I'll never really know if I am being all that I can be, but it sure is a great goal


Meet David (another one)

A good friend of mine, David D. has begun his new addiction today.

When you have time, give him a drive-by and a shout out.

Emotional Sobriety - A Sobering Thought!

Keeping Conscious Contact

Prayer to my Higher Power has taken on new and added meaning to me lately because of my mother's illness. I give this to you, from the writings of Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

In A.A. we have found that the actual good results of prayer are beyond question. They are matters of knowledge and experience. All those who have persisted have found strength not ordinarily their own. They have found wisdom beyond their usual capability. And they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of diffucult circumstances.


I face some difficult tasks this week. I was informed yesterday that her chances are very slim that she will ever regain an ability to swallow, eat or speak again. Her mobility is progressing just fine and the doctors will most likely release her from the hospital and we must now locate and choose a new home for her (at least temporarily) that can provide 24 hours nursing care.

It is truly a blessing to be sober and clear-headed so that I may be there for her in what is truly her hour of need. I can go forward with a peace of mind I have never known.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Time to Experience

The Ponty. Dakar. Senegal. West Africa.

My favorite bar in one of my favorite countries. It sat on Independence Avenue, the High Street / Main Street in the downtown area of this city of 3 million. A busy street cluttered with pedestrians all day and night. Cluttered with traffic of every type imaginable; old cars and trucks with no exhaust systems, motorcycles and motorscooters that weaved their way through the mass of humanity.

I was a regular at The Ponty. Day and night. My table was on the outdoor patio, five feet from the sidewalk of this busy thoroughfare, situated just behind a wrought-iron fence. The fence was supposed to keep the locals off the patio; the locals who hawked trinkets and illegal copies of tapes and CD's. I was known and recognized by these locals as I spent so much time there. They usually left me alone, knowing that I was not a mark. They could concentrate their efforts on the visiting tourists and other unknowns.

On this day, I got up to speak to a friend who walked by on the sidewalk. Within seconds of joining the crowd outside the fence, a small boy tore the watch from my left wrist. He began running. I began chasing him. Running after him through the traffic and finally catching up with him 50 metres down the road. Bystanders watched as this white man held a small black boy in his clutches. He held my watch in his hand. He was scared, not expecting to be caught. He couldn't have been more than 10 or 11 years old.

At this point, I had choices. I could have just taken my watch back and let him go. But, for some reason, I didn't. I hailed a passing taxi and got in with the boy; he very reluctantly of course. In Dakar, there are no patrol cars; the few police must patrol on foot.

In my worst French, I told the driver to take us to the nearest police station. We arrived just a couple of minutes later. A police station underneath a bank, on the main square. I had never known it was there. It was hidden from view. I was met by an officer in charge. He barely understood my English, but knew instinctively what had happened. He and 2 other cops took the boy and began beating him. A cop handed me my watch and continued to beat the boy. He was now on the concrete floor, crying out for them to stop. After a couple of minutes, the cops let up. One of them asked me what I would now have them do to the boy.

I simply said for them to call the boys' father. I was then told that the boy had no father, no family. Not knowing what else to do, I told the officer to let the boy go, that there was no real harm done.

I turned and departed. Back to the bar. It was 10am, by my watch.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

... on being sober

I accept that after a 32-year drinking career, I have relapsed into sobriety.

A treatment center is where you go and pay $15,000 to find out that A. A. meetings are free.

This is a 'One Day at a Time' program. If you are clean and sober today, you are tied for first place in A. A.

If drinking is interfering with your work, you're probably a heavy drinker. If work is interfering with your drinking, you're probably an alcoholic.

I often obsessively pursue feeling matter how bad it makes me feel.

When I was new, I didn't think I had any obsessions until I started thinking about it. Then it was all I could think about.

How come if alcohol kills millions of brain cells, it never killed the ones that made me want to drink?

It's not old behavior if I'm still doing it.

If you want to quit drinking, you are going to have to quit drinking.

Newcomer: "How do I know how many meetings I should attend each week?" Old-timer: "Gradually cut back until you drink. Then you'll know."

If you're looking to have an image in A. A., look around at the meetings you go to and take a look at who you're trying to impress.

I would rather go through life sober, believing I am an alcoholic, than go through life drunk, trying to convince myself that I am not.

My Maid

I've finally figured out the meaning of life.

I can now just put some Ajax on my cat's tongue and let her clean the toilet bowl for me.

Why did it take me so long to realize this?

Friday, November 18, 2005


Another Miracle!

Turning it Over

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my Mom walked about 100 feet yesterday without a break and without getting dizzy

that after 19 days in ICU, she was finally moved to a private room

for insurance and Medicare

that I have been able to adjust my personal schedule so I can be with my Mom whenever she needs me (I don't have to hurry to conclude my visits so I can get to the bar)

that I'm currently working on Steps 2 and 3 with my sponsees which keeps ME right where I need to be

that when I can just turn it over to my Higher Power, I can accept the outcome

that Doing the Next Right Thing does not assure that the outcome will meet my expectations; in fact, the only expectation I should have is that God will take care of every situation

for an ability to make quick decisions when logistics are concerned

when I came to my Moment of Truth (to continue or stop drinking) it became my Moment of Courage

that a fellow blogger got a new job yesterday

that today is SW's 2nd AA Birthday

"I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."
-Anne Frank

The Queen of No Culture

Damn. I hate telling on myself. Joe.My.God. brought up some thoughts and I suppose I might as well come clean. I have no culture in my bones.

I've already admitted that I have lived* in some great places.
Houston. London. Amsterdam. Alexandria. Dakar. Lagos. St. John's (Newfoundland).
In addition, I've been to or visited many others. Copenhagen. Dublin. Frankfurt. Hamburg. Munich. Berlin. Edinburgh. Barcelona. Madrid. Cairo. Malta. Casablanca. Capetown. Rio de Janiero. Port-of-Spain (Trinidad & Tobago). There are more, but you get the drift.

The only museums I have ever been to were the National Museum of Egypt in Cairo and Goree Island in Senegal. That's it.

I am just not a museum kind of guy. I'll be the first to tell you that the National Museum in Cairo was very, very interesting. I went by myself and stayed for 2 hours, checking out all the mummies and other bits and pieces. I would even do it again because I know I didn't see a lot the first time around. Goree Island (Senegal) is the place that future slaves were imprisoned before sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in the 18th and 19th centuries.

All those other cities with great museums -- not once. It was always more important to drink. Most museums have some bars and pubs nearby. I know them quite well. I have not travelled since I stopped drinking, so I remain un-museumed. But that's just an excuse because Houston has some wonderful museums, about 1 mile from my home.

So, now you know.

I don't do Broadway shows or operas either. What happened to me?
Am I really a fag?

* for clarity, my definition of living in a place is spending over 4 consecutive months there, since I was always travelling

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mountains of Gratitude

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got to see my Mom walk 50 feet - twice - yesterday morning, without her becoming dizzy or too tired

for Hope that she may soon begin swallowing and then talking

that prayers - mine, hers and many others - are being answered each day

to hear the story of a 2-month recovering alcoholic and the obstacles she's faced with Courage

that I get feedback when I listen

for phone calls from friends

that next week is Roundup here - our little gay AA convention

that I'll get to meet 2 of my favorite bloggers from Minnesota at Roundup

for my home and the security it provides me

that tomorrow is SW's BIG day!!!!!!!!

The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

"looking at life with a new pair of glasses"
but mainly just to read The Big Book

to see more HNT bloggers and pix, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

No Quarrels

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I was there to assist my Mom walk 50 feet yesterday outside of her ICU room. It took 30 minutes, 2 physical therapists and an assistant helping her, but this was her first time away from her bed in 17 days.

for Progress not Perfection in other aspects of living

that even when I have something worthwhile (in my mind) to share in an AA meeting, I'm able to sit quietly and listen (sometimes)

for drunks who return to the rooms of AA to try it again

that my Living Will is complete and filed away

that I understand and little more each day how precious life is and how quickly it can vanish

that someday I want to be willing to stop smoking (this is HUGE for me to even admit this)

for the cold front that has pushed the heat from Houston and given us some autumn weather

that I have no quarrels (almost) with anyone anymore

The days are too short even for love; how can there be enough time for quarreling?
-Margaret Gatty

Alcohol in Food and Cooking (part 5)

Previously, I've told you about the purposes of putting alcohol in your cooking, how to know if alcohol burns off when cooked and how to cook without alcohol.

Here are some suggestions for substitutes for various alcoholic ingredients in your recipes. Remember, if you substutute, you will not get exactly the same result, but it should be close enough.

if your recipe .........description .........substitute
calls for

Amaretto ............ Italian almond-flavored .... almond extract
Beer .................. various types ..................... chicken broth, ginger ale
Brandy ............. liqueur ................................ corresponding fruit juice
Cointreau ........... orange-flavored ................. orange juice
Kahlua ................ Mexican liqueur ................. coffee or espresso
Red Wine ........... sweet or dry ...................... chicken broth or stock
Sherry .............. sweet or dry ..................... orange or pineapple juice

There are many more, too numerous to list here.
Check these links for more information.
alcohol cooking substitutions

see previous posts
part one

part two

part three

part four

The End.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Happy, Joyous & Free

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for an informative and positive meeting with my Mom's cardiologist yesterday

for the power of prayer - each time, before I walk into her hospital room, I ask my God to give me the Strength and Courage to give her Hope -- and He does

for my sister's presence and wisdom when it's needed

that we are able to go through these difficult days with God in our midst

that obstacles become lessons when I'm living the 12 Steps

that my sponsor finally got through to me regarding prayer

that I don't have to move at breakneck speed with my personal recovery; a little bit each day keeps the alcohol away

for a sponsee who not only listens, but hears

that I keep learning more about the unmanageability of my drinking life

I am happy and content because I think I am.
-Alain-Rene Lesage

Funny Cats

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Great Song Titles

With the end of the year approaching, I've been reminiscing about some of my favorite song titles. Surely, you've heard a few of these tunes ...

"If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You."

"If The Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know It's Me."

"How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?"

"I Liked You Better Before I Got to Know You So Well."

"I'm Still Missing You Baby, But My Aim's Gettin' Better."

"I'll Marry You Tomorrow But Let's Honeymoon Tonight."

"I'm So Miserable Without You, It's Like You're Still Here."

"If I Had Shot You When I first Wanted To, I'd Be Out Of Prison By Now."

"My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend And I Sure Do Miss Him."

"She Got The Ring And I Got The Finger."

"You're The Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly."

"How Can I Kiss Those Lips at Night When They've Been Chewin' My Ass All Day Long?"

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Absurdity of Insanity

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my Mom continues a very slow recovery from her strokes

that I am able to remain so strong for my Mom- so far

that whatever the news is today from her doctor, I should be able to make a reasoned decision concerning her future

for the Gratitude fundraiser held at Lambda on Saturday - much fellowship and great food

that I may be getting a slight glimpse into the meaning of "the road getting narrower"

to see more often why people are put into my life at certain times

to hear more about humility and realize I know nothing about it

that I will never know if I am "all I can be"

to see progress in others in their personal recovery

that I'm not standing on dark street corners at 6 o'clock in the morning

for the departure of my insane behaviour (craziness notwithstanding)

It is human to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.
-Anatole France

Knowledge is good!


Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Waterbed

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Departure from Hell

Ricky!! had a post last night which prompted me to write this. If it can be of help to one person who reads it, it will serve its purpose.

When I entered the rooms of AA, I had virtually no history of religion or spirituality in my life. I was raised in the Methodist Church as a youngster, but didn't pay attention and had not been to church since age 17. Then came 32 years of drinking, smoking weed and partying.

When I saw the word "God" on the walls in AA, I almost got up and left. I would have nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with God and religion. But I remained seated and listened. I kept coming back because the people told me to. My partner told me to. And I felt comfortable there, despite seeing and hearing about "God."

Without a sponsor, I could accept Step 1. That's why I was there. I was powerless over alcohol and my life was becoming increasingly more unmanagable.

Without a sponsor, I eventually accepted Step 2. I needed a Higher Power in my life, they said. No God for this boy, but I heard that I could make the recovering alcoholics in the rooms of AA my Higher Power. OK, fine. That's what I did. I also continued drinking, heavily, between meetings. For months.

Without a sponsor, I ran into a road block at Step 3. I told those who would listen that there was NO WAY I could turn my life over to God. I had no God and did not want a God. I hated the hypocrisy of religion. How could I honestly accept God into my life when He allowed people to kill in His name? I read the Big Book of AA. And I continued to drink, more and more. I drank up to 18 hours each day. Seven days a week. But I kept coming back to meetings because I enjoyed them. My life continued to spiral downward, faster and faster. Soon, I was facing death if I continued to drink. My behaviour was sooooo out of control.

And because I kept coming back, I finally heard just what I needed to hear. One day, someone said...
"AA is not a religous program. It is a spiritual program. The difference is this; Religion is for people who do not want to go to Hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there."


Just what I needed to hear. Now I could envision my own God (as I understand Him) and he did not have to be anyone else's God. I did just that. Several days later, I asked my new God to help me. Please help me. When I did that, He literally took away the lifelong obsession and craving I had for alcohol. I have not had a drink since that day.

I departed Hell on September 5, 2003 and never need return.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Short Poems

Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss,
But I only slept with you, cause I was pissed.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
sugar is sweet,
and so are you.

But the roses are wilting,
the violets are dead,
the sugar bowl’s empty
and so is your head.

I thought that I could love no other,
Until, that is, I met your brother.

Kind, intelligent, loving and hot,
This describes everything you are not.

I want to feel,
your sweet embrace,
But don’t take that paper bag,
off of your face.

I love your smile, your face, and your eyes
Damn, I’m good at telling lies!

My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife,
Marrying you, screwed up my life.

I see your face, when I am dreaming,
That’s why I always wake up screaming.

My love, you take my breath away,
What have you stepped in, to smell this way.

My feelings for you, no words can tell,
Except for maybe “go to hell”.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Acceptance is the Key

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I not only admit that I'm an alcoholic, but accept it as well

that by realizing that life happens each and every day while I breathe, I must accept that shit occurs

that I no longer have to accept poor behaviour in myself now that I am aware of it (usually)

to accept the fact that I need to attend AA meetings as long as I wish to remain sober

that through awareness, I must accept that I'm not perfect any more (and that you aren't either)

to see my mom accept the illness she has

for the continuing improvement Mom has made; she's now able to sit up in a wheelchair for short periods

to ALL the men and women who have served their countries by becoming willing to give their lives for others


Veteran's Day

today, call a friend who served.


because you have that

Alcohol in Foods & Cooking (part 4)

You'll have to use your own judgement on substituting for alcohol in recipes. Sweet recipes will require different substitutions than savory. Amounts will also make a difference. You wouldn't want to use a quarter cup of almond extract (which also contains alcohol) to replace the same amount of Amaretto liqueur. Remember, the final product will not be exactly the same, but it should still be tasty.

Look at the main ingredients of your recipe. Usually the main liquid ingredient can be increased to make up a small amount of an alcoholic ingredient you leave out. If the amount is less than a tablespoon, it can probably be omitted completely without any replacement.

Any variety of juices and/or tomato juice can often be substituted in marinades. The acidic component of the juice replaces the alcohol in breaking down the fibers in meat and making it more tender.

Extracts, flavorings, syrups and juices can be substituted for flavor-based liquors and liqueurs. They will usually need to be diluted. Remember that extracts contain alcohol, too. If a large amount of an extract is called for, be safe and buy alcohol-free extracts at a specialty store such as Whole Foods or Central Market (Frontier brand). They are manufactured using glycerin instead of alcohol.

Non-alcoholic wine or wine vinegar can be substituted for wine. Use non-alcoholic wines over cooking wine or sherry. The cooking wines and sherries are loaded with sodium which detracts from flavor and adds a salty flavor to the food. Tomato sauce or juice combined with Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce can work as a substitute for many robust liquors.

If the alcoholic ingredient in the recipe is intended to be the main flavor, find another recipe. It just will taste too different if you eliminate the alcohol.

see previous posts
Part one
Part two
Part three

Stay tuned for Part five

Thursday, November 10, 2005

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

I am an alcoholic. In recovery for 2 years, 2 months, 5 days.
Each day that I don't drink, it's a miracle.
CLICK HERE to view other hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy bloggers

Keep Coming Back

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I can still come up with ideas for HNT (see pic above)

for some real recovery by my Mom - she is writing a bit better AND she was able to walk a few steps around her bed, as far as the tubes would reach

that her physical therapist has given her a strict regiment of excercises

that one of my bestest friends in recovery told us his abbreviated story yesterday - a tale of family abuse, talent, prostitution, discipline and hope, but most of all, RECOVERY

that last night, another friend and I attended a free concert by The White Oak Trio -- wonderful music by friends in recovery attended by many more friends in recovery

that I have no "philosophical" issues with recovery in AA (good luck Chad, I'll miss ya)

to hear again that going back to drinking is never as much fun with a head full of recovery

for all the choices I had yesterday to Do the Right Thing or to Do the Wrong Thing

that my prayer at night takes more time than it used to - I am more aware of my life today

that we seem to keep running low on 24-hour desire chips

In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.
-John Churton Collins

Open another bar, Mike!

You may recall that I am part owner of Griff's Bar. It's an institution here in town and well-known to the national press as one of America's original sports bars. The founder, Mike Griffin, sold the bar in 1994 to pursue other endeavors. One of those was to serve Houston as a councilman. I was on Mike's campaign committee several times back when I was drinking.

Tuesday, he lost for the sixth consecutive race. Just can't seem to get enough $$$$ and that is what it takes to win an election.

Houston Council Member At-Large Position 1

Roy Morales......47,962 ......32%
Peter Brown......75,944 ......51%
Michael Griffin...25,596 .....17%
Precincts Reporting - 677 out of 677 - 100%

Hang 'em up, Mike.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Recovery comes in many forms ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that yesterday morning my Mom regained her ability to write legibly - Whoopee!!

that she has not lost her sense of humor (at least, she tries to laugh at my weak jokes)

that my new sponsee works about 100 yards from my Mom's hospital -- handy for a quick visit during my cigarette breaks

that Spiritual Awakenings DO happen; in my case, it was a thunderbolt followed by periodic lightening

that although a good friend relapsed, he's back in the rooms of AA in 1 day

that I'm better at receiving phone calls than I used to be

that about 1/4 of the Texas voters yesterday were in favor of gay marriage - that shows a little progress

that I enjoy warm/hot, humid/muggy weather --- we are having near-record high temps here this week

I have a 'Play The Melody' philosophy. It means don't over-arrange, don't make life difficult. Just play the melody—and do it the simplest way possible. -Jackie Gleason

Alcohol in Foods & Cooking (part 3)

The amount of alcohol left in food depends on the cooking method used!
Does the alcohol burn off?

Some alcohol will evaporate without heat and can burn off during the cooking process. How much remains in the dish depends on the cooking method and amount of cooking time. Those bourbon-soaked fruitcakes would have to turn into bricks before the alcohol evaporates. A bottle of Guinness in a long-simmered stew may leave a very small alcohol residue, but do you really want to risk keeping a bottle of Guinness around the house for the recipe? Also, tasting it in the stew might trigger a craving to taste the alcohol itself. Remember, alcohol is a subtle foe!!

A quick flambe does not burn off all the alcohol, whereas a wine reduction sauce will leave little if any alcohol content. To be safe, purchase a non-alcoholic wine to use, or use another substitute. Heat and time are the keys. Obviously, uncooked foods with alcohol will retain the most alcohol.

If any alcohol remains in the dish, you must ask yourself if using the alcohol is worth risking your sobriety or the health of a guest who might be taking Antabuse.

see previous posts
Part one
Part two

Stay tuned and Keep Coming Back for Part four.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Courage is Fear that has said its Prayers

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for slow but definite improvement in my Mom's condition since her stroke 9 days ago

that patience is truly a virtue

for Mom's foresight in preparing her affairs years ago

for the really good Step 1 meeting Monday, reminding me of thoughts, behaviours and actions that I must remember each and every day

for the people in my life who don't know they make a difference

for Strength, Courage and Hope throughout my day like I've never experienced before

for the Serenity I receive as a result of Faith

that I haven't had a blackout in 2 years, 2 months and 3 days

for the wisdom of Will Rogers

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
-Will Rogers

Election Day

I don't care who you vote for, just ...

... or don't complain.


Two high school sweethearts who went out together for four years in high school were both virgins; they enjoyed losing their virginity to each other in 10th grade. When they graduated, they wanted both to go to the same college but, the girl was accepted to a college on the East Coast, and the guy went to a college on the West Coast. They agreed to be faithful to each other and to spend any time they could together. As time went on, the guy would call the girl and she would never be home, and when he wrote, she would take weeks to return the letters. Even when he emailed her, she took days to return his messages. Finally, she confessed to him that she wanted to date around. He didn’t take this very well and increased his calls, letters, and emails trying to win back her love. She soon became very annoyed with his persistence and now with a new boyfriend, she wanted to get him off her back.

So, this is what she did: she took a Polaroid picture of her sucking her new boyfriend’s unmentionables and sent it to her old boyfriend with a note reading, “I found a new boyfriend, leave me alone.”

Well, needless to say, this guy was broken but, even more so, he was pissed.

He wrote on the back of the photo the following, “Dear Mom and Dad, having a great time at college, please send more money! I’m getting desperate!” and mailed the picture to her parents.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Alcohol in Foods & Cooking (part 2)

The most common reason alcoholic beverages are used in a recipe is to impart flavor. Extracts with the most intense flavors are alcohol-based, particularly vanilla.

In some recipes, alcohol is used to achieve a desired chemical reaction in a dish. Beer contains yeast that leavens breads and batters. Sometimes, alcohol is used in marinades to help break down tough fibers in meats. Other dishes use alcoholic content to provide entertainment, such as flaming dishes. In these cases, it is important to choose a substitute that will achieve a similar effect.

Wine was originally added to fondue to lower the boiling point of the cheese to prevent curdling. You may not be able to find an adequate substitute in that instance. In the case of leavened goods, you can try club soda to replace beer, but the results will be subtly different. You might also consider a different recipe that uses another leavener such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda. For marinades, acidic fruits will usually do the trick. For flambees and flamed dishes, you're out of luck and you should plan to use a different recipe. For flavoring alone, you will often have a number of substitution options.

see previous post -- Part One

Stay tuned and Keep Coming Back for Part Three.

Courage to continue

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a full weekend of activity

that I feel more spiritually connected than ever before

for very small bits of improvement by my mother but improvement no less; enough to be encouraging

that she let me know she wants to wait for 2 more weeks before allowing visitors (besides immediate family) which tells me she's on her own timetable of recovery

that I can now respect my own boundaries regarding the behavior of others

that Doing the Next Right Thing seems to come more naturally

that I enjoy warm/hot weather -- it is summer again here in Houston

Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.
-Billy Graham

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Alcohol in Foods & Cooking (part 1)

There are many recipes that use some form of alcohol as an ingredient in sauces, marinades or as a main flavor ingredient. Because even small amounts can trigger the allergy of alcoholics to alcohol, it is prudent to avoid eating or cooking foods that contain it. In most cases, you can make some non-alcoholic substitutions or you can find another recipe that doesn't use alcohol. In order to be successful with substitutions, however, you'll need to be armed with information and background on why the alcohol was originally used in the recipe.

Personally, I don't cook. But I do eat. Ocassionally. I recently attended a workshop that addressed the issues of alcohol in cooking. Over the next few days, I'll be posting more information on the subject, along with various substitution charts. Most of the information I will provide has been compiled by the U.S.D.A.

The holiday season is upon us. I'd hate to see any of us in recovery relapse by mistake.
Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Today's Schedule

8am ....... go to Lambda Center, put up flyers
8:30am ... AA meeting @ Lambda
10am ..... visit with Mom in hospital
12:15pm... go to Lambda
12:30pm... Lambda Fundraising meeting
2-4pm...... AA-District 20 GSR Workshop @ Lambda
6pm....... AA-District 20 meeting @ The Council on Alcohol
8pm....... AA Saturday Night Live Speaker Meeting @ Lambda
10pm..... go to bed

Step Twelve

We have been talking about problems because we are problem people who have found a way up and out, and who wish to share our knowledge of that way with all who can use it. For it is only by accepting and solving our problems that we can begin to get right with ourselves and with the world about us, and with Him who presides over us all. Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes, and right action is the key to good living; therefore the joy of good living is the theme of A.A.'s Twelfth Step.

God grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.


Friday, November 04, 2005

No pain, No change

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that when the pain got bad enough, good things happened because I was able to be just honest enough, just open-minded enough and just willing enough

that my Mom has been moved the the ICU of a rehab center -- that's progress

that most, if not all, of her living and dying affairs have been taken care of before this illness

that the less selfish I become, the happier I seem to be (this actually happens ocassionally)

that my God (as I understand Him) is not a punishing God; He gives me the freedom to fuck up and the freedom to make things right, if and when I wish

that I still seem to be pretty damn healthy

Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.

TV Guide

Things you would never know without television ...

Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people - whether they are employed or not.

When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.

If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.

Honest and hard working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.

Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.

Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.

It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts - your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

It's easy for anyone to land a plane, providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

Once applied, lipstick will never rub off - even while scuba diving.

When paying for a taxi, never look at your wallet as you take out a note - just grab one at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning, even though the husband and children never have time to eat them.

A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.

Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.

Creepy music coming from a graveyard should always be closely investigated.

Most people keep a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings - especially if any of their family or friends have died in a strange boating accident.

You can always find a chain saw whenever you're likely to need one.

It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.

All telephone numbers in America begin with the digits 555.

If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St. Patrick's Day parade - at any time of the year.

Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds - unless it's the door to a burning building with a child trapped inside.

The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.

Even when someone is driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally, at that precise moment.

If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

Trudging the Road ...


to view today's participants, CLICK HERE

The Journey continues

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that regardless of what is going on all around me, I choose to remain calm

for a level of contentment I've rarely known and the realization that it's because of Step 3

that my HP is putting people, situations and events in my daily life and that by living in Step 3 and reacting by Doing the Next Right Thing, I am content with the outcome

for my high school track coach, who taught me self-discipline and perseverance; not through words, but by example

that my Mom's illness brings my sister and I together and closer

that Mom is most likely going to recover quite nicely but only time will tell

to be reminded that when a day goes by that I don't learn something, I've wasted one day that I can never get back

for time spent with David G.

for a delightful first meeting with my sponsee

that I may go see "Capote" today

If you are losing a tug-of-war with a tiger, give him the rope before he gets to your arm. You can always buy a new rope.
-Max Gunther

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the concept of the process of living life in the moment

that a good attitude can get me through a tough situation with relative ease

that when I make a mistake, it's rarely life-threatening

that I get to meet with a potential new sponsee tonight

for a reminder a couple of days ago that the main purpose of service work in AA is to work one-on-one with another alcoholic

that my Mom inadvertently swallowed yesterday, just once, but that one swallow represented great progress in her start to recovery from her paralysis

for quiet time spent with Mom last night while she slept peacefully

that I'm able to view my self-centered, power-hungry, far-left liberal Democratic lawyer neighbor from a distance with some serenity as he forces his views and wishes on all around him no matter what the consequences -- One Man IS an Island

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.
-Charles Kingsley

Naked Chef

Today, I thought we might
try some

Peach Cobbler.


Add a little bit of
vanilla ice cream,
just for flavour.

Taxes Made Easy

A Presidential Panel directed to simplify the U.S Tax Code will soon present its report to The President. The report is ...
60,000 pages in length.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Car of the Future

A Change for the Better

For those who don't already know this, let me tell you that before I got sober, there was NO God in my life, whatsoever. My 48 years on this planet told me that all I needed was me. Didn't need a God, mine or yours. Most certainly, prayer was just a 6-letter word in the dictionary.

In recovery, I have developed a God of my understanding to which I pray every day. That God has been a true gift for the past 2 years. While I know now that He was always there for me whether I knew it or not, the difference now is that I am there for Him.

Sunday, my 82 year old mother suffered a series of strokes. She is in a very serious condition, basically paralyzed from the neck up. Can't eat, speak or swallow. She can move her eyes and her head however. She has very limited use of her arms and hands, but cannot write. So she has a difficult time communicating. But she tries. Lord, she tries. Her mind and her thinking is fine, apparently unaffected. She's aware of everything going on and is quite responsive.

On my way to visit her Monday morning at the hospital, I prayed for God to give me the strength to give her some hope. A short and simple prayer while driving down the freeway.

While I sat at her bedside trying to figure out whatever she was trying to communicate to me, she gave up trying to write it down. She set down her pencil and paper and put her hands together in a praying motion. She wanted me to pray with or for her.

I said the first prayer that came to mind. A prayer I say every day at the 6:30am AA meeting I attend. The Third Step Prayer.

God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!

I cried outwardly.
I think she was crying too, but inside.

todAAy, i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

... that my living amends to my mother occurs one day at a time
... for 3 excellent AA meetings yesterday and I was asked to share in each of them
... for competent and compassionate nurses
... for phone calls from my Mom's friends (many of which I had no idea they knew my phone number)
... for my sister's dedication and love
... that I don't have to go through these difficult times alone
... that I can go through this period as a sober man (5 years ago, I was still drinking when my Mom had a major stroke)