Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gone in 2011

It's always difficult for me to remember famous people who have died over any given year.  So I thought I'd share this link with you today.

note:  When I lived overseas for many years, many people died and I never heard about their passing.  I'm sure there are many who died and I still don't know about it.

Celebrity deaths in 2011 -- click here

Friday, December 30, 2011

Going, going ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I still benefit from these short little gratitude lists.  They used to be longer but they have evolved into what you see here, today.  This is my last one for this year, but I'll continue on Monday.  I hope you have a great weekend, but above all, stay sober and safe.
for my new, daily mantra ...

Let no one steal your peace, David.

I use it often, lately.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
- Joseph Campbell

Thursday, December 29, 2011

As a sober man ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that, as a sober man in recovery, I get to meet so many varied individuals

for a very insightful Al Anon meeting last night.  We discussed the concept of not accepting unacceptable behavior.  As a sober man, I know that I have choices to form personal boudaries.  I'm not very good at this.  I really hope I will improve.  I have a tendency to be quite passive which gives others the potential to take advantage of me.  So much to learn but at least I have the rest of my life to learn these things and put them into practice.

that, as a sober man in recovery, I attend different types of 12-step meetings and learn how to act in public.

Success is to be measured not so much
by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
- Booker T. Washington

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

OK, everybody wait your turn...

hundreds protest global warming.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm sober - yesterday (all day) and today (so far)

that I was able to find a Higher Power and allow it to evolve.  That evolution continues and I want it to keep on evolving.  This seems to occur through working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and doing my best to live the best life I can.

that power = choices

that it's already the middle of the week.  That didn't take any effort.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.
If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
- Anne Bradstreet

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Got caption?

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for first step meetings.  It's a tradition where I attend meetings to concentrate on Step One when we have a first-time newcomer present in a meeting.  The rawness of a newly-sober person is intriguing to me.  It sometimes sends chills as I remember my first days as I began the process of detoxification.

that a good friend gave me a copy of "Drop the Rock", a Hazelden book about Steps 6 & 7.  The first line I highlighted reads, "denial: we are totally unaware of our own contribution to our problems."

that I am considering what type of organized service work to involve myself with for 2012.  I can tell you this; before I got sober, I never thought about doing any type of volunteer work.  That would thave taken entirely too much time away from my necessary bar-hours.

for my friend Pammie, who is experiencing a living nightmare these past few weeks.  She's doing it sober and giving us all a great example of recovery-in-action.   Prayers to you, dear.

It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.
- Epictetus

Monday, December 26, 2011

just another day ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a peaceful weekend of holiday celebrations

for one of the coolest A.A. meetings I've been to.  Spontaneously, a group of Veterans came into Lambda (recovery center where I attend meetings) because their VFW post across the street had not yet opened their doors.  They were all in recovery (about 15 of them) and wanted a meeting.  We were please as punch to host them and they were glad we were there (even though we were all gay - LOL).  We made some new friends.

for too much damn food

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry F**ing Christmas

Residents of the Austrian town of F***ing have given up trying to live down their name and are cashing in with a range of Christmas cards.
Locals have given up on trying to discourage visitors from making fun of the name and have instead decided to turn it into an asset.
As well as the sell-out 'F***ing Chrstmas cards', local businesses are also doing a roaring trade with 'F***ing beer' and a range of 'F***ing' souvenirs.
The village's name is understood to come from a sixth century noble called Lord Focko, with 'ing' being old-fashioned German for 'family of'.
Local mayor Franz Meindl had previously complained about tourists flocking to the village to be photographed in front of the 'F***ing' road signs.
He said: "They have been a nuisance for years, some even strip off naked, and the worst steal the 'F***ing' signs. They think its funny but a new 'F***ing' sign is expensive.
"Until the Americans were stationed nearby after the war we didn't even know it had an alternative meaning. It is just the usual spelling of the word for us. I'm sure I could find many town names in Britain or somewhere else which sound funny when pronounced in German.
"There is nothing funny in the name to us. If other people laugh about it, there is nothing we can do. But we pronounce it differently in our dialect and it was never funny in any way."
In the end the village concreted the poles in place and welded the signs in tight to stop them being pinched.
The villagers even had a debate about whether to change the name but decided in the end to keep their name after learning that the nearby German village of W**k had developed a flourishing tourism business.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be … because of all I may become I will close my eyes and leap.
- Mary Anne Radmacher

the jump is so frightening
- Mary Anne Radmacher

When I was a little girl I would save my money and go to our corner drug store which had, what I thought, was the world’s largest collection of greeting cards. And they were for sale!Bliss.I loved all the images and would take an hour to select one card.Even at eight years old I thought the inside greetings were just plain silly.I would purchase my card, march home and use my dad’s white-strike-out-correcting sheet to set those insides right (had “white out” not yet been invented?). Then it was ready for a personal note and was sent off to some interested family friend or a relative that required a thank you.I was not sure what “precocious” meant but folks always said it in a kind way when they told my mother that’s what I was.
In my early twenties I dreamt of starting my own greeting card company.I would write on the pages of my journal, ”I want to be an artist.”I longed to create a livelihood that had meaning and use my talents and skills in the service of a compelling and inspiring idea.I was certain that I would have to WAIT until I was (eh-hem) really old.Maybe some time in my forties.I thought perhaps by the time I reached the wise age of 45I would have gotten all the education needed and managed to save up enough money to fund my own company.
The rumblings wouldn’t leave.I felt unwilling to wait almost twenty years before I could manifest my dreamI wrote to a man who used to own the kite shop in the small community in which I lived.He knew a lot about how to make things fly…including one’s dreams.I poured my heart out to him in that letter.I told him I realized I didn’t know the first thing about operating a business and I didn’t have a dime to my name.But I KNEW what I wanted to do. And then I wrote, “The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be…because of all I may become I will close my eyes and leap.”
I brought the letter to a close and posted it.Soon a photocopy of that letter came back to me.The jump phrase was circled in RED…with his note on the side.“THIS sentence, these words, are the reason you are ready to start your business now.You know everything you need to know…and these words should go on one of your first products.”
They did.
I have heard stories over the years how that particular sentence has been the motivation to move people along and give them the courage to put wings to their dreams.
Ha!Just today I could fold those words into a letter whispered just after these words, “I am on the cusp of a remarkable journey.All the longings of my life have led me to this amazing transition in my experience.”
Ah, yes.Jump.

Friday, December 23, 2011


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for boredom serenity

for people with more sober time and experience than this 8+ year alkie.  I have so much to learn from their experience; it just boggles my mind sometime.

that I live in a region where we don't have to worry about snow.  Or earthquakes.  But we do get our share of floods, fires and tornadoes.  And heat.

that my next gratitude list will be the day after Christmas.  I hope that your experience over the next couple of days is better than you might imagine.

that I'm going to make a concentrated effort to NOT take myself too seriously this weekend

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Something to say .......

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I own some sober history

that nobody can take away my sobriety or my recovery

for dinner last night with a returner to the rooms of recovery; I hope he never has to be a returner again

that today, I am going to be as happy as I choose to be.  I wish the same for you.

by the way -- I was wrong yesterday about being the shortest day of the year.  That would be today!

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up  and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
- Winston Churchill

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for my sense of humor -- many don't care for it and that's OK

for the approaching end to another year on this little blue planet, all of it spent above the grass (again)

for wonderful memories of my childhood at Christmas; decorating the house inside and out and playing Santa Claus every year on Christmas morning (I traditionally handed out the packages to be opened)

for the willingness to put in hard work toward my recovery

that today is the shortest day of the year

With courage you will dare to take risks,
have the strength to be compassionate,
and the wisdom to be humble.
Courage is the foundation of integrity.

- Keshavan Nair

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No Hate Zone

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a really good meeting on Step 6.  It's all about letting go of many past behaviors and thought-patterns so that I can be my best.  Every day.  I hope that I'll always remember to use this concept for the reminder of my life.  If I don't, I stand a relatively good chance of a relapse.

for the design for living offered to me in 12-step recovery

for my spiritual tool box

that many years ago, I removed the word "hate" from my everyday vocabulary.  It's so negative and ... and ... hateful.  Occassionally I accidentally use it, but often correct myself.

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them:
that's the essence of inhumanity.
- George Bernard Shaw

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week 50

With Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and Musical Director Paul Mirkovich at the helm, T-Mobile surprises shoppers at the Chicagoland area's Woodfield Mall with a surprise performance and updated spin on the holiday classic, "(There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays."

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a cool weekend.  No particular plans out of the ordinary.  No stress.  Just a nice, slow peaceful couple of days. 

for the recovery fellowship that I enjoy being involved with

that I got to see a friend walk through a huge fear and come out without a scratch

Example is not the main thing in influencing others.
It is the only thing.
- Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Inspired Life

The Eight Points of An Inspired Life work together to enable us to take charge of our life and make intentional choices for joyful living.

Consider making these Affirmations of an Inspired Life a part of your daily expression of intent:

• HONOR - I Honor My True Self
• FORGIVENESS - I Forgive Myself and All Others with Compassion
• GRATITUDE - I Receive ALL of Life with Thanksgiving
• CHOICE - I CHOOSE with Open Mind and Open Heart
• VISION - I Dream with Powerful Intention
• ACTION - I Act with Bold Courage
• CELEBRATION - I Dance with a Light Heart
• UNITY - I Am One With Spirit and All Creation

Here are extended versions of these affirmations.

I Honor My True Self - I grant myself the Honor of being ME. I am unique in all time and space. I am beyond perceived scarcity, obligation, and the need for approval. I am Honored that Spirit has chosen to create ME.

I Forgive Myself and All Others with Compassion - I forgive everyone, especially myself, for all actions and all inactions throughout my entire life. I accept that no one else has ever been to blame for either my joy or my suffering. The entire cause of all my joys and all my sufferings is my own emotional response to the events of my life, and I am committed to consistently distinguishing between my feelings about events and the physical occurrence of those events. I declare that everyone who has ever played any role in any of the events of my life is entirely without fault.

I Receive ALL of Life with Thanksgiving - I have gratitude for EVERYTHING that has ever occurred to bring me to this moment. I give thanks for the joys and the sufferings, the moments of peace and the flashes of anger, the compassion and the indifference, the roar of my courage and the cold sweat of my fear. I accept gratefully the entirety of my past and my present life.

I CHOOSE with Open Mind and Open Heart - I renounce all assumptions and expectations, and I declare that I will thoughtfully consider all possibilities. I will CHOOSE with courage, awareness, consciousness, and compassion toward all.

I Dream with Powerful Intention - Opening my mind to Spirit, I trust my intuition to deliver powerful visions of my inspired future, and I empower my intent to transform those visions into reality.

I Act with Bold Courage - Taking inspiration from the powerful vision of my future, I boldly set sail with courage and intent. I hold my course with focused attention and relentless commitment, as I weather the storms of life.

I Dance with a Light Heart - I play with life, laugh with life, dance lightly with life, and smile at the riddles of life, knowing that life’s only true lessons are writ small in the margin.

I Am One With Spirit and All Creation - I give thanks for the unity of all creation and for EVERYTHING that has brought me to this moment. I release my entire being to the gentle nurture of Spirit.

by Jonathan Huie

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Copper wire

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.
Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, a story in the LA Times read: " California archaeologists, finding of 200-year old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers."

One week later, a local newspaper in Texas reported the following:

"After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near Fort Worth,
Fred, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. He has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Texas had already gone wireless."

Just makes a person proud to live in or have lived in Texas doesn't it?

Friday, December 16, 2011

cough, sniffle, cough

I am NOT a musician and know nothing about music composition.
But this is amazing.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to be alive.  I am rather ill with this cold.  It's got me drained.  I even had to leave a meeting before it was over yesterday.  It's a little better today.

for my remaining brain cell.  And it ain't workin' yet today.
Anyway, that's all I'm gonna write this morning.  I hope you enjoy that video above here.  I did.

Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.- Will Rogers

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Potpourri Thursday

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the ways that I recognize that I'm improving my conscious contact with my HP

that I'm working Step 11 with a sponsee and we have spent at least 4 hours on it, so far, over several weeks.  I don't recall ever spending so much time with someone on this step.  It's been great!  I think I'm getting more out of it than he is. 

that I can handle this damn cold I picked up -- sneezing and stopped up head

for my bestest blogger friend, Mary Christine (Being Sober) on her 60th birthday.

Laugh when you can,
apologize when you should,
and let go of what you can't change.
Life's too short to be anything... but happy.
- Anonymous

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Here, here ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I am an observant person, always have been.  At least, I think so.  In recovery, people show me who they are by their actions, not their intentions.  People share in meetings about how to act and how to react to situations.  They let me know what's right and what's wrong.  And whenever I am in doubt, I can ......

pray about it.

that I can suit up and show up

for the freedom of choice

Beware of false knowledge;
it is more dangerous than ignorance.
- George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No secrets, please

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Step 5 of the A.A. program. 
It became my first experience in being able to trust someone with my little secrets.

that I continue to go through the motions of my everyday routines even though I am still mentally and/or emotionally sick.  I know it's temporary but it's mighty uncomfortable while it's happening.  There must be a reason.  I have shared at my home group, but haven't talked to my sponsor about it.  Why not?  My mind tells me that no one wants to hear about my petty emotional problems so I need to just ride it out.  There's nothing I can tell him that I haven't told him before.

for in-my-face reminders about how appreciative I need to be about my more-than-adequate health

that just about everything works out the way it should

Strength does not come from physical capacity.
It comes from an indomitable will.
- Mohandas Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday morning

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have friends who show me better ways to live than I could ever think of myself

for the people I get to meet and know in recovery; from all walks of life and they fit just about every description

that I stopped taking amphetamines by the time I was 20.  I actually knew that if I were to continue, I'd be in big trouble.  It never occurred to me that drinking alcohol (the way I drank it) might cause some problems too.

that I got to be in the Astros dugout and locker room for a few moments on Saturday (of course, it's the offseason and none of the players were around.  But still....)

Do not pray for an easier life.
Pray to be a stronger person.
- John F. Kennedy (paraphrase)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Take charge!

Take Charge of Your Life - 9 Secrets for Getting Un-Stuck
- Jonthan Lockwood Huie

From the way most people live, one would never guess that humans are beings of free will. Repetition can be a choice, but often it isn't. The athlete or pianist who practices the same routine day after day, year after year, has their eye on a goal. The unending repetition is a conscious choice in the pursuit of a life dream. But what about the sameness of most lives? Observe the morning commute, the after-work drink, the Sunday football game or religious service - how many of those people are consciously following their dream, training their mind, body, and spirit through that daily repetition? And how many are mindlessly slogging through each day out of habit and boredom?

You can take charge of your own life - today. Here are 9 secrets to get you started:

1. Believe in yourself. A daily affirmation may seem to be a silly idea, but give it a try anyway. Write your own affirmation about your abilities, and repeat it each day before you leave your home. Start with the following, and modify it until it fully expresses your commitments, beliefs, and intents.

I am unlimited.
I take responsibility for my life.
My every action is a conscious choice.
I can accomplish anything good that I truly set my mind on.
I keep focus, and persevere.

2. Make peace with your past. In the words of William Shakespeare, "What's done is done." You can't change the past. You can't undo any actions you took or failed to take. Your only choice today is either to waste energy and emotion on regrets and resentments, or to treat your own past like a history book - an interesting, but emotionally neutral, recitation of ancient times.

3. See each day as a new beginning. Don't project your past onto your future. Suppose you won the lottery yesterday, would that mean you will win the lottery again tomorrow? Usually, we are fairly realistic about not expecting a run of good fortune to continue, but when we hit a streak of bad luck, we tend to project that failure into our future and think times will never get better. So you stepped on a banana peel and slipped yesterday, does that mean it will happen again tomorrow? If you got fired or your lover left, it's unfortunate, but there's always tomorrow - a tomorrow that can shine so long as you don't project yesterday's shadow upon it.

4. Look for the best in people. Everyone has good points and bad. Everyone will please you at times and annoy you at others. While there is power in choosing to associate mostly with positive people, there is even more power in seeing the best in everyone. Everyone has a lesson to teach us. Let the impact of an unkind or thoughtless word last only a moment, but bask for a whole day in gentle words and insightful thoughts. The happiest among us have no enemies.

5. Make a gratitude list, and review it often.
Not everything has gone well in your life, but much has. Too often we focus on the negative and forget our great blessings - health, friends, family, beauty, nature, our body, our mind, Spirit, life itself. Perhaps you have arthritis or your spouse just moved out. Yes, those are big negatives, but your list, anyone's list, of blessings is vastly larger than any list of problems.

6. Design your future. Visualize being in the future you desire. Make that vision so real you can taste and smell it - a three-dimensional full-color motion picture with surround-sound. That is your goal - your destination. Never forget it - never lose track of it. Let what you do every day be done with that vision in mind. Be the aspiring athlete or musician whose every day moves them one inch closer to that three-minute mile or perfect concerto.

7. Either learn how to enjoy your work, or get a new career. Make a list of what you like and what you dislike about your job. Perhaps you enjoy your customers and co-workers, but find your boss annoying. Limit your awareness of the annoying times to the moment in which they occur, but let thoughts of the service and camaraderie permeate your day. If you find that the frustrations of your job outweigh the enjoyment, get a new career. Whatever your interests, there is a way to do something you enjoy, make a difference in the world, and get well paid at the same time. Make a list of all your interests and abilities, and think big. Don't let anyone else's small and limited thinking deter you from your goal.

8. Enjoy everything you do, or don't do it.
Yes, you have to file your taxes and stop at stop signs whether you like it or not. This secret refers to those things you do merely out of habit or to avoid embarrassment. Enjoy that party, or don't accept the invitation. Feel fulfilled by that volunteer committee, or don't join. Believe in that particular charitable cause, or don't contribute. Everything in life is a choice - make wise choices that maximize your happiness.

9. Feel Unity with Spirit and all creation. You are never alone. Your Higher Power, whatever that means to you, is a constant support - never hesitate to ask for guidance and blessing. Remember that Spirit knows better than you what is best for you, so ask for comfort and affluence rather than the affections of a particular person or a higher paying job. Whatever your circumstances, and however often you may have felt rejected, there are many people in this world who live in the tradition of the "Good Samaritan." When troubles weigh upon you, do not hesitate to find and rely upon these people - they are far more numerous than you think.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advice from an old farmer ...

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered…...not yelled.

Meanness don't just happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about, ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don 't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good and honorable life, then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Friday, December 09, 2011


US gay service members march in a gay pride parade for the first time ever.
(Getty Images / Sandy Huffaker)

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to be

Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done.
- Amelia Earhart

Thursday, December 08, 2011


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAANkful

that I'm sober and doing the recovery thing

that I'll never have to detox (from alcohol) again unless I choose to drink

that I'll never have to deal with (alcoholic) blackouts again unless I choose to drink

that my soul will never have to feel totally empty again

 that I won't ever have to deal with trying to hide my drunkeness again

The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.
- John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Facts, not Fantasy

Two lights from the former site of the World Trade Centers shine for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for reality (not talkin' about any TV show)

for friends in recovery who live in other places.  In a relatively short period of time (8+ years) I've had the opportunity to meet so many people in these United States and in other countries.  I've got to meet a number of bloggers.  I also have a number of friends who have moved from Houston to go live elsewhere. 
One of those is staying at our home for a couple of days while he's back in town visiting family. 
I can't imagine what lies ahead for the next 8 years, but I'll bet it will be good.

for my sponsor and the example he has always given to me; I am reminded to do the same for my sponsees

that today marks the 7th anniversary of this blog and this is the 3,119th post

and finally, for the heroes and all others who experienced the horrors of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii some 70 years ago, today.

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I am not an island

This sightseeing boat, Hama Yuri, was pulled 1300 feet from the coast and somehow balanced itself on a two story house during the tsunami in Japan.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the power of words; but I must be careful to use that power in a positive way

for little reminders that I shouldn't take myself too seriously

for the synchronicity of timelines (the order in which life happens)

that the "blues" I wrote about yesterday are not unique to me.  My Roundup Co-Chair is experiencing exactly the same feelings and I spoke to a few of the people who have Co-Chaired in years past and they all (without exception) had the same feelings.  Whew! 

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.
It's to enjoy each step along the way.
- Wayne Dyer

Monday, December 05, 2011

Weekend lessons

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAANkful

for the concept of contempt prior to investigation. 
Saturday night, I went to an AA Speaker meeting.  The speaker was awoman in her early-to-mid forties with long black hair.  I didn't know her, but at first glance she looked like somone trying to relive her early twenties.  She talked kind of like a valley girl. 
After about 10 minutes, I was almost ready to get up and leave.  I have only done this once before in a meeting.  Her story was all over the map and hard to follow.  But I remained seated and just listened. 
It got a little more interesting.  By the time she was through an hour later, I was mesmerized.  No need for details, but her message was one of despair followed by hope and action.  She's now 17 years sober and must be a wonderful influence to many young women early in the recovery.
Thank God I'm still willing to learn.

I had an (emotionally) difficult weekend but didn't bother to tell anyone until last night I mentioned it on Facebook (of all places).  I had this terrible feeling of wanting to isolate and to stay away from crowds.  I did not attend 3 parties that I planned to attend.  I felt like I wouldn't be missed and probably wasn't.  I just didn't feel like standing around smiling and trying to be nice.
This too shall pass.  I hope today is better.

Happiness isn't at the end of the rainbow.
Happiness is at the beginning of the rainbow.
Following the rainbow is happiness,
not getting to the end of it.
- Werner Erhard

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Certain Truths

Maybe you've gotten this in an email.  I did.  I think they're good to look at.

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize
you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work or at home, when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket or finding their cell phone, - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet wasn't used until 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Bad Habits?

Choose Your Habits, Choose Your Life - 5 Secrets For Breaking Your Bad Habits
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

By nature, we are all creatures of habit. We instinctively adopt familiar routines for most activities. We eat about the same number of meals each day - at more or less the same times. We have a regular pattern of sleeping - unless it is perturbed by illness or shift work. Most everything we do is habitual.

You probably eat three meals each day, but why? Why not two or five? There is nothing particularly "natural" about our pattern of eating three meals each day - it is just a habit that we share with most of those around us. Actually, a number of studies indicate that eating five smaller meals is more satisfying and healthier than eating three large ones.

You will always have habits - things you do regularly and without conscious thought - but you do have the ability to CHOOSE your habits. Here's how...

1. Begin to pay attention to WHAT you do, WHEN you do it, and WHY you do it. One of the bad habits I fell into was eating a large dish of ice cream in the late evening. Obviously, "ice cream" was the "what," but the "when" was more than just "in the evening." "When" was times I felt stressed, hadn't had a satisfying dinner, or was bored. "Why" was mouth sensation, having something to do with my hands, and sometimes hunger.

2. Keep a journal of the "what", "when," and "why." Make an entry whenever you find yourself doing something that isn't really your choice. You will find that you gain better insight into the "when's" and "why's" as you get more entries in your journal. Soon a pattern will emerge that can enable you to find healthy habits to replace the harmful ones.

3. Look for other activities that would satisfy the "when" and "why." A hot bath for stress, hard candy for mouth sensation, a good book for activity, a warm bowl of soup for real hunger.

4. Make the undesirable activity difficult. Don't keep the cigarettes or ice cream in the house. When ice cream was in my own freezer, it was hard to resist, but when eating a dish of super chocolate chunk required a trip to the convenience store, it was much easier to turn my attention to other activities and a low calorie snack - if any snack at all.

5. Begin new habits not only because you need them to replace unhealthy ones, but also because they are the things you always wanted to do, but couldn't find the time or money. That book club or yoga class makes a great substitute for the eating or smoking, and you can more than pay for your health club membership with what you save on cigarettes.

Friday, December 02, 2011

On a Friday morning ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to see people get better physically and emotionally and then take care of their lives in ways they have never known

that my goals are so different from my first 2 or 3 years of sobriety.  Today, I really want to just be of service in ways I never could have imagined. 

that when I'm humble enough to bounce my crazy ideas off someone first, they generally don't bounce at all.

that I'm rarely, if ever, politically correct.  I think political correctness is partially responsible for the reduction in morals and health of this country.  OK.  That's all I'm gonna say about it.  Here.

If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
- Lewis Carroll

Thursday, December 01, 2011


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the blessed life I've had.  I don't write too often about my travels, but I was so lucky for many, many years.  My job in the oil & gas industry afforded me the opportunity to work and live in many countries and cultures.  From 1988 until 2002 I worked in about 28 countries, many of them for 4 months or longer.  This nomadic type of life gave me the chance to get to know the local populations and experience life as they know it.  Granted, I was often considered as the rich white man (because I had the money to drink every day and eat at restaurants every day), but I did my best to blend in.
These countries included such wonderful places as Senegal, Nigeria and Mauritania in West Africa.  I got to spend time in Egypt and Morocco for several long stretches of time.  Namibia and South Africa were 2 of my favorite places to be.  Of course, I got to work in many of the European countries.  I was based from the UK for years.  Mexico, Trinidad and Brasil were also places I lived.
Today, I live in Houston, Texas and am happy to stay home these days. 

And Houston is a fantastic place to stay sober.  Just like anywhere else.

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust