Monday, December 31, 2012

The year in review ...


Sunday, December 30, 2012

How an Old Timer Greets a Newcomer

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for the past four years of life.  He is brilliant.  Kind of profound and very, very bright.  He became a alcoholic while attending college. Things have
only gone down hill since.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative A.A. club. They want to develop a meeting for the students but are not sure how to go about it.

One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair.  The meeting has already started and so Bill starts looking around the room for a seat.

The room is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now, the well dressed people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.

Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the front of the room, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet.

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.  About this time, the evening's speaker realizes that from way at the back of the meeting, an "old timer" is slowly making his way toward Bill.

Now the "old timer" is in his eighties, and has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A spiritual man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do.

How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.
The meeting is utterly silent except for the clicking of the old man's cane. All eyes are focused on him.  You can't even hear anyone breathing. The speaker can't even continue the meeting until the "old timer" does what he has to do.
And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and welcomes him so he doesn't feel outcast and alone.  Everyone chokes up with emotion.

When the speaker gains control, he says,

"What I'm about to say, you will never remember.
What you have just seen, you will never forget."
"Be careful how you live. You may be the only Big Book some people will ever read".

Friday, December 28, 2012


I didn't get around to posting this morning and only now just realized it.
All is well, all is good.
And for that, I am grateful.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Did any of you guys think yesterday was Monday all day?  My head could not get past the fact it was Wednesday.

todAAy I AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I love to go to AA meetings.  They keep me aware of many of my assets and liabilities.  I'm not sure if so-called "normal" folks have this stuff available to them, especially on a regular basis.  I know that I didn't have the opportunity of awareness when I was an active-drinking alcoholic.
So, if I have to pick one gift of sobriety, I think awareness may be my answer.
Of course, freedom and choices come in near the top of that list, but awareness is tops for me.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
- Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Being silly, with issues

todAAy I AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the recovery fellowship with which I am involved.  They are many wonderful people, all of whom have mental issues.  Some more serious than others.  Not that I'm taking anyone's inventory.  LOL

that we had a wonderful Christmas potluck dinner yesterday at my recovery center, attended by 60 or 70 people with mental issues.  Some more serious than others.  But the turkeys were great.

for the 20 people that showed up at the 6:30am meeting on Christmas morning.  Some of them have some serious mental issues. 

Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ho! Ho! Ho!

todAAy I AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for all the great memories of Christmas mornings when I was a kid

for all the great memories of Christmas mornings

for all the great memories

I bet you have some too.  What's your favorite memory as a child on Christmas morning?

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.
- Bob Hope

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Day Before

todAAy I AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I know how to not start drinking.  It has almost nothing to do with me or my willpower.  Instead, my Higher Power is what I must rely on to not drink alcohol again.  Personally, my HP makes it quite easy for me.  I just have to do a few simple things (preferably daily) and shazammmm!
I don't drink.
that I have no budget this year to buy Christmas presents.  Thus, I didn't go shopping.  Thus, I didn't suffer the crowds.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Three Men

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.
'In honor of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'
The Englishman fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on.
'It's a candle', he said.
'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.
The Scotsman reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'
Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.
The Irishman started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.
St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'
The paddy replied, 'These are Carols.'

Friday, December 21, 2012

One is the loneliest number

see the owl?

today I am grateful & thankful

for some good old Step One reading in the 12x12 .........
"Alcohol, now become the rapacious creditor, bleeds us of all self-sufficiency and all will to resist its demands."
"By going back in our own drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression."
"... few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom.  For practicing A.A.'s remaining eleven Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking.  Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant?  Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done?  Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer?"
Have a lovely day, y'all.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


see the owl?

today I am grateful & thankful

for the "p's"
that I got to hear my friend Scott W (some of you know his former blog, Attitude of Gratitude) qualify his story yesterday
Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I can't hide any more.

see the owl?

today I am grateful & thankful

for these excerpts from the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, pages 350-352) ...
"I tried to hide my drinking by going places where I was unlikely to see anyone I knew."
I had "excuses for trips in order to drink without restraint."
"Never having enough, always craving more, the obsession for alcohol gradually began to dominate all my activities, particularly while traveling.  Drink planning became more important than any other plans."
Those concepts describe me way too much.
Only the wisest and the stupidest of men never change.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

just a little bit to get started

today I am grateful & thankful

for less than good days.  They make the other days even better.

for more willingness than ever before.  To do what, you ask?  Whatever it takes.

that I miss Pammie and her wonderful sense of humor.  MC and I have been reading her blog and knowing her for about 7 or 8 years and now, after an illness, she seems to have stopped posting.

Knowledge talks, wisdom listens.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My mind is out to kill me

today I am grateful & thankful

that I have a bunch of friends.  It's good to remember this when I feel like isolating.  That's how I felt this weekend.  I wanted to just stay home and talk to no one.  That's what I wanted to do.
Instead, I ...

... went to 2 AA meetings on Saturday and 1 on Sunday
... ate breakfast both mornings with friends from the AA meetings
... helped a new friend in recovery look for a good, used vehicle (this took 3 hours of driving around)
... had dinner on Saturday with 6 people from the program
... attended a fundraiser at my recovery center
... attended a memorial service for a program friend who died of a heart attack last week

My mind is out to kill me.

A friend is someone who is there for you when he'd rather be somewhere else.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


An iceberg's seismic breakup, believed to be the largest ever caught on camera, is described by the person who filmed it as the equivalent of watching "Manhattan... breaking apart in front of your eyes."
Filmmaker Jason Balog recorded the spectacular calving event while making his documentary "Chasing Ice" about global climate change. He had set up his camera on Greenland's Ilulissat Glacier, which has retreated approximately 10 miles in the last 12 years.
Balog figures almost 2 cubic miles worth of the Ilulissat broke up over the course of 75 minutes.
"Pieces of ice were shooting up out of the ocean 600 feet and then falling," he says in the film, which contains bass-thumping audio that makes it almost as impressive to listen to as watch.
"The only way you can really put it into scale with human reference is if you imagine Manhattan, and all of a sudden all of those buildings just start to rumble and quake and peel off and just fall over and fall over and roll around."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How to start a fight (part 3)

After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security.
The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to verify my age.
I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at
home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have
to go home and come back later.
The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'.
So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.
She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for
me' and she processed my Social Security application.
When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at
the Social Security office. She said, 'You should have dropped
your pants. You might have gotten disability too.'
And then the fight started...
My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw and said to me,
"I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you
to pay me a compliment.'
I replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect."
And then the fight started........
I rear-ended a car this morning...the start of a REALLY bad day!
The driver got out of the other car, and he was a DWARF!!
He looked up at me and said 'I am NOT Happy!'
So I said, 'Well, which one ARE you then?'
That's how the fight started.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Have a nice Friday ...

todAAy I AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm just a beginner (at so many things), but my life experiences have gotten me this far

that my bad shoulder (rotator cuff) that I wrote about last week has healed.  The cortisone meds seem to have done the trick.  Yea me!

for a little fundraiser we do every year at my recovery center.  We call it "'twas the Night Before Christmas".  We'll do it tomorrow night.  It's basically a gift exchange event and it's soooooooooo much fun and laughter.  There are usually 60-80 people in attendance and all go home happy.

The two most common elements in the world are hydrogen and stupidity.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

not just words

todAAy I AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for life, sobriety, recovery, friends, serenity, knowledge, awareness, courage, integrity, willingness, honesty, consistency and many more concepts and words.

that the holidays will be over in a couple of weeks

for my friend Mary Christine and all the things she teaches me

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

grins and smiles on 12.12.12

today I AAm grAAteful & thankful

for so many little things that can occur during the course of a day that make me smile

that no one has told me to "smile" since I've been sober.  In my former life as an active drunk, I could not tell you how many times I would be somewhere (often in a bar) and somebody would come up to me and say, "smile".  I never thought I wasn't smiling, but obviously, I walked around with a frown on my face.

that I have the chance today (and every day) to be of service to others

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.
~~ unknown

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let me hear from you ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for this little tool -- One of my mentors declares that he is always in acceptance of whatever may happen in an AA meeting.  He says they are God's meeting and it's his job to just sit and observe.  He shares if asked.  But if a meeting is being run the "wrong" way or is something else is happening that isn't right, my friend just observes.  Silently. 
I have learned to do the same thing.  It can be painful to watch a chairperson have a meltdown during a meeting or to crosstalk or say otherwise inappropriate words.  But it's not my job to correct the situation.  If I do, then I am saying I know what's best for the group and I'll soon owe the group an amends.

Discuss ...........

Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer.  
~Author Unknown

Monday, December 10, 2012


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the easy way.  Drinking every day to oblivion was some damn hard work.

that I seem to have such an easy time to accept most things around me.  However, my domestic life remains a constant challenge.  I'm not sure why.

that we're getting some cooler weather beginning this morning.  We've had 80+ degree temperatures all last week.

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.  
~Author Unknown

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Trust issue?

One gutsy game warden .............

click here

Saturday, December 08, 2012

How to start a fight (part 2)

My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.
She asked, "What's on TV?"
I said, "Dust."
And then the fight started...
Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my
lunch, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the
boat up to the van and proceeded to back out into a torrential
downpour. The wind was blowing 50mph, so I pulled back into the
garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather
would be bad all day.
I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back
into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back; now with a different
anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible."
My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my
stupid husband is out fishing in that?"
And that's how the fight started...
My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds."
I bought her a bathroom scale.
And then the fight started.......

Friday, December 07, 2012

I keep comin' back

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thankful

for a new sponsee I'm working with and the commonalities we seem to have.  I can't speak for him, but I really identify with many of his thought processes.   Oddly enough,  I'm 58 years old and gay.  He's 32 years old and straight.  Yet we are cut from the same mold. 

that I will take so many recovery tools with me as I go through this day. 

that I've been sober for 9+ years and that today is the 8th anniversary of this blog.  This is the 3,484th posting on this blog in 2,920 days.  If I'm nothing else, at least I'm consistent.  LOL

You've gotta have hope.  Without hope life is meaningless.  Without hope life is meaning less and less. 
~Author Unknown

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Hope or Despair?

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a poignant reminder how good my entire life has been when I hear what some of my friends have lived through

for medication.  My should improved from about 30% usefulness on Tuesday to maybe 60-70% on Wednesday.  I am amazed.  The Cortisone  medication is doing its job.  I officially have rotator cuff tendonitis.  All blood work and x-rays looked good. 

I took 2 of the Vicodin on Tuesday and don't plan on using them again.  At least, not for this situation.  I didn't like their effect.  Sluggishness.  Me no like.  If I need them after a surgery or something, I'll face that when it comes up.

If you knew that hope and despair were paths to the same destination, which would you choose? 
~Robert Brault

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Ouch! My shoulder hurts.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for serenity.  I have a condition called acute rotator cuff tendinitis which has flared up like never before.  I went to the doctor yesterday because the night before I could not sleep for more than a few minutes at a time due to the pain.  I also experienced heavy sweating during the night.  So this was a new doctor (to me) because my regular doctor is out of town.  After an exam and some questions and answers, he not only wanted an x-ray, but prescribed me some Vicodin for the pain.  Now, please understand that while I am an alcoholic, I rarely used pills or narcotics after the age of 18.  I reminded the doctor that I am an alcoholic-in-recovery (it should have been in my chart somewhere) and he thanked me for mentioning that.  He asked me when my sobriety date is; after I told him, he told me his sobriety date which was 3 months after my date, back in 2003.  We chuckled over this and he told me to please throw away the pain medication if it proved to be a trigger. Of course, I said I would.

Later in the day, I realized that if they were a trigger, I might not want to throw them away.  But I've told a few people close to me that I'm taking them, just so I will be more accountable.

I'm also going to be taking a strict regimen of Cortisone tablets to help the healing with the shoulder.  Hopefully, I'll get the results of the lab work and the x-ray later this morning.  My mind tells me that I have some incurable cancer and will be in hospice by 5pm.  If that is the case, I may have to retire this blog.  Otherwise I'll report back to you tomorrow.

He who has made a thousand things and he who has made none, both feel the same desire:  to make something. 
~Antonio Porchia

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

G'day .............

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I haven't found a "trigger" to return to drinking.  Yet. (it's not like I'm looking for one, though)

to realize that if I ever do return to drinking, it will most likely be due to NOT practicing Step 6

for new behavior to old situations

Ironically, making a statement with words is the least effective method. 
~Grey Livingston

Monday, December 03, 2012

Welcome to December

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the whole concept of taking action rather than talking intentions

for making some progress with my computer situation; I'm not very adept at setting thing sup, so I waited on someone who knows what they're doing.  I've had to go a whole week (a whole week!) without having Word or any other Microsoft products available.  But it happened for me last night and for that, I'm very grateful.

for little things

Do it, and then you will feel motivated to do it. 
~Zig Ziglar

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Aftermath

This is wild - it shows before and after shots of the Shore by moving your mouse over the picture. WILD!!
The true devastation of the Jersey Shore.
In each picture frame there is a black line, if you drag it back and forth across the picture it will show you before and after.

click New Jersey shore

Saturday, December 01, 2012

How to start a fight ...

One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift...
The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.
When she asked me why, I replied,
"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"
And that's how the fight started.....
My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while
we were in bed.
I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have sex?'
'No,' she answered. I then said,
'Is that your final answer?'
She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes..'
So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."
And that's when the fight started...
I took my wife to a restaurant. The waiter, for some reason, took my order first.
"I'll have the rump steak, rare, please."
He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?"
"Nah, she can order for herself."
And that's when the fight started.....
My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school
reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his
drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.
I asked her, "Do you know him?"
"Yes", she sighed, "He's my old boyfriend. I understand he took to drinking
right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since."
"My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?"
And then the fight started...
When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting
to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had
something else to take care of first, the shed, the boat,
making beer.. Always something more important to me. Finally she
thought of a clever way to make her point.
When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall
grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing
scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into
the house. I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again
I handed her a toothbrush. I said, "When you finish cutting the
grass, you might as well sweep the driveway."
The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.