Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Will this be you tomorrow?

I am so glad those days are nothing but memories. Very few memories, actually. I'm just glad no one was around with a camera during very many of my drinking days and nights.

Do You Eat?

Ever been to China? Ever been to Austria?
Damnit, have you ever been anywhere?

Take this International Dining Quiz.

Friday, December 30, 2005

My Last Published List of 2005

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got around to thinking about maybe taking down my Christmas decorations yesterday

that I'm sober these days during my Mom's illness so that I can be there for her

that I can offer my Experience, Strength and Hope to another friend in recovery (if asked) who is going through a similar situation as my Mom's

that my HP will guide me through any difficult situations if only I ask, listen and act accordingly

that I know enough NOT to buy into some new "discoveries for a cure to alcoholism"

there is no pill or chemical that will give me a spiritual fitness

for all of the HNT bloggers who posted pix yesterday


Assaulted Peanut

Thursday, December 29, 2005

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

Don't Cry on My Shoulder ...
Use this Bill W. CRYING TOWEL

re: the fine print ...

nobody loves me
broke again
why was i born?
it's too cold
oh! my aching back!
my money has wings
it's too hot
no one ever helps me
i always get the bad breaks
it always rains on sunday's
i'm just a poor workaday slave
i've got lots of luck - all bad!

see the rest of todAAy's pAArticipAAnts

post your own hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy pic

Grateful droppings

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a second successful trip to the dentist with Mom

for the speech and occupational/physical therapists that spend so much time with her daily

for Medicare

for the only sponsor I've had

for the one remaining sponsee I have

that I'll be chairing the 6:30am Monday meetings in January

that I'll get to chair the Wednesday noon Speaker meetings in January

that I have another 6 months on the Lambda Board as secretary

that I have another 20 months as GSR for the Eyes Wide Shut group

that I'll be on the Lambda Fundraising Committee for 2006

that I may be on the Round-Up Committee in 2006

that I have done this list 5 days/week since April 2004

that in some ways, my OCD works for me

No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.
-Francois Muriac

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Education is Bliss

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for life's challenges, without which I would never grow

for gifts that don't come in wrapped packages

for my recovery tool box

for the serenity that keeps following me around when it used to run in the other direction

for all the friends celebrating AA birthdays this month

that tomorrow is hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy, everyone is welcome to join in

that Ed McMahon writes to me every year

If you think education is expensive - try ignorance.
-Derek Bok

Liz the Creative

Monday I told you about my friend Liz in the UK. When she lost her longtime job and career about 3 years ago, she didn't know what to do. I guess the UK is like the USA when it comes to employment -- if you're over 45 or 50, you are pretty much out of the job market. The 20-something's who do the hiring don't want to talk to you. Experience and marketability go out the window.
What to do? Create your own job, of course. So Liz got to work making birthday cards and special occasion cards. She coerced a few small retail outlets to allow her to market her cards. And life goes on. It keeps her busy and she can pay the mortgage.

Now, apparently, she has graduated to tapestries. I received these two for Christmas; one for my Mom and one for me.

Hats off to you, Liz.
You're a better woman than me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Mom's lifted spirits after her road trip on Christmas Day

for the Step 8 meeting yesterday -- I realized that most of my amends must be "living amends" for a variety of reasons. As such, to become willing to make those amends has required me to change almost all of my previous behaviors.

that my thinker continues to improve

that I have no financial debt, but I owe many people for showing me the way; people I call my Angels

for the stories in The Big Book - today we read "Physician, Heal Thyself" on page 301 (4th edition)

that I never get caught up in the shopping crowds - before OR after Christmas

for this very strange weather we're having this week in Houston - the low temperature this morning was 62F and the high temperature today will hit 80F

When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.
-Edward Teller


I don't have a very good memory. While I have read the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) front to back a number of times, I find it quite difficult to find any particular subject when I need to find it. (yes, I have a Concordance) However, because I have led many meetings and used The Promises as a reading to begin some meetings, I do happen to know where to find that passage.

Having said that ...

Over the weekend, I was doing volunteer service work answering the Intergroup phones at Lambda Center. At 6:25am a young caller asked me if I knew where to find The Promises in the Big Book. First, I asked if he had the book handy. "Yes," he said, "I have it now." I told him to look at the bottom of page 83 and he should find what he's looking for. A moment later, he said, "Thanks a lot!" That was all he wanted. Great. I was so happy I could help him.

An hour later, just before my regular AA meeting, the leader asked me if I would read The Promises at the end of the meeting. "Of course," I told him. I grabbed a book and held it in my lap until the end of that meeting.

I knew exactly where to find what he wanted me to read.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Grateful for Faith

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that all of the physical therapy that my Mom has done for the past 6 weeks paid off yesterday on her first "Road Trip" (she was totally exhausted after 5 hours away from her bed)

that we went to my sister's home an hour's drive from Houston to celebrate Christmas Day

that not everyone in AA has what I want; I wouldn't have a place to put it all anyway

that my recovery program is tailor-made just for me and it can be changed as necessary

that "carrying the message" takes as many forms as I wish it to

for all the sober bloggers who share their Experience, Strength and Hope

Talk happiness; talk faith; talk health. Say you are well, and all is well with you, and God shall hear your words and make them true.
-Ella Wheeler-Wilcox

Happy Boxing Day, Liz

We were at a pub in Guildford, England one evening. I had only met Liz a short time before at our UK office. It was 1989.

I was living with my boss (a very straight man) in Guildford. We worked long hours but I always found time to get drunk each evening. I had very little time to explore "my personal life." I was frustrated sexually I suppose. There was no one I could talk to. So I drank. And drank.

This particular evening, I somehow found the courage to ask Liz to come listen to me. We went to a table outside the pub. I don't remember exactly how the conversation went (Liz probably does) but before I knew it, I had told her that I was gay. She didn't seem surprised. Imagine that!

She shared with me that her son was also gay. So she understood where I was coming from. From that day, a relationship developed. Finally, there was someone I could talk to. Someone who knew about me. Someone with whom I could be honest. I told Liz many things about me and, if you knew Liz, you'd know how very inquisitive she is. We went drinking together** many places in Guildford and London for the next 5 years. I travelled a lot, but whenever I was in the UK, Liz and I would get together. She often dropped me off and picked me up at the airport.

**Liz is not an alcoholic; she might drink 1 or 2 glasses of lager, then change over to cokes.

She's had many difficult times in her life. Breast cancer, losing her job of many years due to layoff (redundancy in the UK), continuing legal problems with her son, the loss of her Mom, a brother who cares only about himself, an ex husband with severe mental problems, losing her best friend of many years to cancer. She has tackled everything life can throw at her with grace and dignity.

Today is Boxing Day in the United Kingdom. Have a GREAT day, Liz!!

more on Liz to follow soon (and Liz, you're encouraged to comment on this -- LOL)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

From Us to You

Hayley, Mono and Devil want to wish you a Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005


I wanted to send out some sort of holiday greeting to my friends, but it is so difficult in today's world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my attorney yesterday, and on his advice I wish to say the following:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "America" in the western hemisphere) and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It isfreely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Disclaimer: no trees were harmed in the sending of this message however, a significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced.

Why Santa did not write you back

We all know Santa Claus is a very busy man this time of year. He cannot possibly respond to all of your letters. Our small team of investigators found out the real reason Santa doesn't always write back to the kids.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Spirit of Gratitude

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got a lot of stuff done yesterday, one of my days off from the Nursing Center

that I have been introduced to a spirituality that may have no bounds

for the "job" my parents did raising my sister and me

for dinner with a two-year old friend (in AA, that is)

that every day of every month, I have much more than I need

that I don't have to be lonely any more unless I choose to be

for those who have volunteered their time to answer Intergroup phones at Lambda Center this weekend

for very mild weather during this weekend, ranging from the mid-40's to about 70F

that I can end sentences with a preposition and no period because it's my list

If you have the will to win, you have achieved half your success; if you don’t, you have achieved half your failure.
-David V.A. Ambrose

Christmastime Snapshots

In case I don't see you this weekend, have a very
Merry Christmas.
If you can't be with family,

maybe you can be with these holiday makers.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

the Simplicity of it all

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my nephew showed up at the nursing home to visit Mom while I was there yesterday

that Mom is still capable of making most of her own decisions

that I am sober and can make those decisions happen for her

that I got to hear the story of a good AA friend; a guy who is just now "stepping out of the box" with Courage and determination

for the concept of Pause When Agitated - this simple tool has saved me from making a fool of myself (more than usual, at least) numerous times since I got sober

that, in sobriety, there are multiple ways to accomplish goals

that today marks the 2nd AA birthday of one of my support group

for passion

Money is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master.
-P.T. Barnum

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy things

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that today is the first day of Winter and it kind of feels like it in Houston

for time spent with S.W. / A.ofG. yesterday morning

for peace and serenity throughout my days these days

that my sponsee made it to One Year of sobriety and we had a nice sober lunch

that I can actually listen to the things I hear

that I have enough memory remaining to remember to go to AA meetings

that watching the BaBaWaWa TV special last night reminded me why I am NOT religous

that I have finished my Christmas shopping - again, for the 2nd time in a week!

that tomorrow is hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy and I hope all bloggers can participate and post their pictures on the dedicated website
(click here to post a picture)

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

NYC Transit Strike

The Transit strike in New York City is on!

If you have the time for a little entertainment, CLICK HERE and read downtownlad AND the comments provided by his readers.

If ...

1) If I were a car, I'd be a ... 1964 Buick Riviera

2) If I could change jobs, I'd be a ... baseball player

3) If I were not a human being, I'd want to be ... an eagle

4) If I were a color, I'd be ... blue

5) If I were a flower, I'd be ... a tulip

What say you?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

being Open to Change

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my Mom was able to write some Christmas cards yesterday

that, for this alcoholic, Step 7 is a daily part of my life

that I've given up all hope of having a better past

for consistency - in most everything I like to do

for my bestest friend Liz K. in the UK. She has stood by me through some difficult times and has always had the kind words to comfort me over the past 16 years.

that I have had 6 sponsee's in my AA life. Today marks the One-Year Birthday of my only current sponsee. He's the first sponsee I have worked with to reach that milestone. We're gonna celebrate with a nice lunch. Sober.

that my home heating has been fixed and it's nice and lukewarm in here again

If you are going through hell...keep going.
-Winston Churchill

Hot Christmas

The forecast for this weekend in Houston has the temperatures ranging from 50-68F. You may know that I travelled a lot in my former life. For years, I lived out of a suitcase.

I was recently reminded about some of the places I've experienced the Christmas holiday.

1988 -- Trinidad & Tobago -- 2 small islands in the southeastern Caribbean, average temperature in December runs 70F-85F, much rain

1989 -- Malta -- a small island in the Mediterranean, average temperature in December 65F-75F, no rain

1990 -- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria -- a small island off the coast of northwest Africa, average temperature in December 72F-90F, no rain

1991 -- Dakar, Senegal -- a country in western Africa bordering the southern Sahara Desert -- average temperature in December 75F-90F, no rain

1992 -- Walvis Bay, Namibia -- a country in southwest Africa -- average temperature in December 75F-82F, no rain

I definitely noticed a trend towards warm Christmas days. And then,

1993 -- Amsterdam, The Netherlands -- a country in northern Europe, average temperature in December 28F-40F, some rain, snow


Monday, December 19, 2005

We & Me

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the strength, hope and general great attitude of my Mom during this difficult time of her life

for some good recovery this weekend

that I had dinner with my sponsor and his sponsor Saturday night

that being on the Board of Directors of Lambda Center does not have any negative effects on my sobriety; instead, it's a great learning experience

that I received a new Serenity Prayer coffee cup, a new "Twenty Four Hours a Day" book, and a Bill W. Crying Towel over the weekend as presents

for the 65 people who participated in our little fundraising & gift exchange party

that when I pay attention, I know that I am the only person working my program of the 12 Steps and that we are all at different levels of life

to be reminded that I can't "phone in" my recovery nor will it b delivered to my front door; I must work for it

that my way is never the only way and it is often not the right way

that I'm on the committee to plan for our New Years Eve celebration next week at Lambda

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.

at least they're original

... and nobody can copy them.

But who would want to?

I did these for my sister's Christmas present. She's very hard to shop for.
She likes earth tones and has mucho wall space in her new home.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dangerous Intersection

Right time, right place


One of the local television stations in South Louisiana actually aired an interview with an African-American woman from New Orleans.

The interviewer was a woman from a Boston affiliate, so she asked the interviewee how such total and complete devastation of the churches in the area had affected their lives.

The woman replied, "I don't know about all those other peoples but we gets our chicken from Popeye's."

The look on the interviewer's face was priceless.

thanks to david v from houston

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Boston Wins !!!

Boston is a fine young woman and a friend for over a year. She had a great day yesterday. Pay her a visit at CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE.

Making a Mountain out of a Molehill

Saw BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN yesterday. Went with 4 other gay friends. It's playing at the River Oaks Theatre, here in Houston. Apparently they have exclusive rights to showing this movie. whatEVER.

OK. The movie. What is all the uproar about? I don't see many movies, instead I prefer watching the television machine. I see more gay-related material on TV every week than this movie had. Sure, its a love story. Two cowboys. So what! Big deal! QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY and WILL & GRACE are a lot racier than this movie. I think all the nay-sayers are giving this movie the publicity it needs to get viewers. The producers of Brokeback should take the right-wingers out for a night on the town in appreciation.

It's a decent movie, well written and well made. If this film wins all the Oscars they are talking about, it's been a pretty rough year for the cinematic industry. If they want to give it a bunch of awards just because it's ground-breaking, then they should create a category for that. Then they could make a movie about the far-right Christian bunch who one day actually exhibited love and tolerance for their fellow man. Now, that would be ground-breaking material! And it would be listed as science-fiction as well.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Promises of Gratitude

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Houston weather - yesterday was just about perfect - 42F - 60F and no clouds

for the frame of mind I have experienced lately - very serene, peaceful, laid back and even tolerant at times LOL

for the Serenity to accept my Mom's condition

for the Courage to change my attitude

for the Wisdom to "pass" when asked to share at a meeting yesterday - I had nothing to say

that the Twelve Promises of A.A. are real, not fictitious AND they are the result of living the Steps, not the goal

that each of my lists this week have GRATITUDE in the title

that it rarely snows here

for the promise of a busy schedule today and tomorrow, almost all recovery related

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps, if you are not willing to move your feet.

Sobriety and Recovery

What's the difference?

In my 2+ years in the rooms of AA, I've met and heard many alcoholics. I've heard the full range -- from those who go to a certain number of meetings each week/month, who work the Steps, have a sponsor who they stay in regular contact with and who have a Higher Power that they remain in conscious contact with. And I hear those who state that they rarely attend meetings, have yet to work the Steps after years involved in AA, may or may not have a sponsor and may or may not have had numerous relapses. Many have found every reason not to surrender to this illness. They often have many complaints but today they are sober. Happy, joyous and free are not part of their vocabulary.

What is sobriety? What is recovery?
I know this --- if I am going to be miserable, I am going to return to the bars and forget about stopping drinking.

comments please

Thursday, December 15, 2005

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

Santa just got busted!

got a better caption for this pic?
let me hear it, please.

This is the Christmas tree at
Lambda Center, here in Houston.

Lambda is one of the finest AA / Al-Anon recovery centers for the GLBT* community in the USA.

* gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender

CLICK HERE to see the others
posting on HNT today

Filled with Gratitude

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to spend more time with Mom. I watched her get exhausted doing her physical therapy.

that she then wrote to me, "No pain. No gain."

to hear the story of a friend in recovery; his struggles to get 15 consecutive months sobriety since first trying in 2001

that I grew up with a "normal" family; so often, I hear stories about VERY dysfunctional families behind the alcoholic upbringing

to have a new name for Sonny of Lambda Center - the Coffee Lady

that I somehow lived through several potentially deadly situations that I put myself in when I lived in Africa

for absolutely crazy dreams I have when I go to sleep, nearly every night AND that I can remember them usually

that I'm going to see Brokeback Mountain with 3 other drunks and none of us will be drinking

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.
-Benjamin Disraeli

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Aiming @ Gratitude

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a very nice day off from the hospital

that I know that I must take care of myself; physically, emotionally and spiritually before I can be of help to my Mom (or anyone else for that matter)

for a really good Step 3 meeting yesterday, reminding me once again that my life was saved when I made a decision to practice Step 3 regarding my drinking

that I accept my personality as it is but I don't have to accept my behaviour

that when I am spiritually fit, I create very little drama in my life and other lives

for the dirty, used items in my AA tool box

for all of my bosses who put up with my shit for 2 decades

for kitty cat Christmas gifts from my neighbors

Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in.
Aim at Earth and you get neither.
-C.S. Lewis

... more homophobic fear

Stephen Bennett of STRAIGHT TALK RADIO knows more than you or I. If you don't believe me, ask him! Click on the link above to read his review of Brokeback Mountain. I know this -- I have been watching straight movies for all of my 50+ years and it hasn't influenced me to be straight yet.

I'm left to think that the reason so many "straight" people are afraid of homosexuals is simply because they're afraid it will rub off (pun intended).

Truth is ...... we don't want him!!

All kidding aside, the point is lost when I or anyone else speaks about someone "turning" straight or gay. It isn't a choice. We are born that way. Mr Bennett says he is a former homosexual. I would hazard to guess that he is a current bullshitter just trying to make a few $$$$ of other homophobes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Behaving with Gratitude

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Mom's road trip yesterday to the dentist - a highly successful journey and her first descent into the outdoor world in 6 weeks

that I can be there today for her so that my sister doesn't have to shoulder the total weight of our Mom's illness

for the 2 most important words in Step Six of AA's Twelve Steps -- "were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character"

that as each day passes, I try a little bit less to hold on to some of my most glaring character defects

that these days my behaviour reflects my program of sobriety

for quiet afternoons and peaceful evenings by myself

that I almost always enjoy being with me

"If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.
If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming."

My Other Lives (part 2)

go back to part 1 as a refresher

October, 1988. I was 34 years old and had a live-in boyfriend. We'd been together for 4 years. We were both alcoholics. He was 10 years my junior (I've always been attracted to guys younger than myself). He was also a hypochondriac, HIV positive, addicted to pain meds shopping and lying. And he was a psycho. Definitely bi-polar. We had met in a gay bookstore while doing the nasty in a back room. Neither of us ever had any pretention of being monogamous. Perfect fit, eh?

I could write for hours about that relationship, but I digress.

The company I worked for sent me to Trinidad and Tobago for a short project. I would be gone for a couple of months. I was thrilled to get away from Psycho. While there I quickly discovered one of the world's great pubs. Straight, of course. Yeah, right. Not when I was there.

This initial overseas assignment turned into years of more travelling. A good part of those travels were by myself. For the next 5 years, I would spend weeks and months in port cities, living in hotels. I worked in straight environments with frequent visits by my boss. For a couple of those years, my boss and I lived together in a rental home near London. The home also served as our office outside the USA. If anyone ever suspected I was gay OR an alcoholic, they didn't let on (to me, at least). Work by day. Drink at night with the occasional sexual tryst.

I became very good at separating work from play. They were literally two different lives. They ran parallel to each other. I would often travel from London to a small port in Holland. That included the 45-minute flight to Amsterdam followed by an hour train trip north. Nearly every time I made that trip I would stay overnight in Amsterdam at a gay bathhouse. Amsterdam provided all my wants. Good bars, easily available marijuana and sex. Then I would head off to work early the next morning, no one the wiser. I did this countless times.

I've heard many times in AA meetings how we are so good at compartmentalizing our lives. That's exactly what I did.

During those last years of drinking when I had returned to Houston I tried not to show my alcoholism to my mother. When I visited her it would be in the mornings, before I began drinking for the day. On holidays and family get-togethers I rarely stayed more than a couple of hours. Had to get to the bar, ya know. I tried to hide it from Mom, but she knew. Oh yeah, she knew.

Today, I am so lucky to be able to continue making my living amends to her as a sober and responsible son. Now is when it counts. Now is when she really needs me and I am there for her. Not only do I love sobriety, I love recovery.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Gratitude Avenue

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I am taking my Mom to a necessary dentist appointment this morning; she can handle it, I hope

that I have received 827 daily gifts since the day I stopped drinking; one day at a time

for my health and yours

that I now accept that I'm not now nor have I ever been a very "social" person

that "pause when agitated" really works whenever I use it

that I can quietly leave a situation where I am not comfortable instead of creating additional drama

that I have a couple of recovering friends I can talk to when it's necessary

that people who think they have it all, actually have much less than they believe -- yet they may never know or appreciate that

that I don't have to be verbal about my judgements or opinions -- even on here, I do not include names, but I can use this media to "vent"

that my Christmas shopping is done!


*** if you have time, please visit Dan today by clicking here

and now, for something a little different

My latest attempt at something artistic.

One thing I did differently ...

it is not framed.
what appears to be a yellow frame, is actually just yellow paint on the canvass.

i'm still just using spray paint,
no brushes.

today, i'll finish 2 pieces for my sister's christmas present.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Little Johnny's First Snowman

Little Johnny's 1st Snowman

"... in all our affairs."

"The chief purpose of A.A. is sobriety. We all realize that without sobriety we have nothing.

However, it is possible to expand this simple aim into a great deal of nonsense, so far as the indivudual member is concerned. Sometimes we hear him say, in effect, 'Sobriety is my sole responsibility. After all, I'm a pretty fine chap, except for my drinking. Give me sobriety, and I've got it made!'

As long as our friend clings to this comfortable alibi, he will make so little progress with his real life problems and responsibilities that he stands in a fair way to get drunk again. This is why A.A.'s Twelfth Step urges that we 'practice these principles in all our affairs.' We are not living just to be sober; we are living to learn, to serve, and to love."
reprinted from AS BILL SEES IT - page 94

I find it very difficult to practice these principles in all my affairs. It is my goal, never to be completely attained. What are these principles?

Brotherly Love
Awareness of God
Service to Others

Saturday, December 10, 2005

My Other Lives (part 1)

Where to begin?

I believe that a lot of us alcoholics have led double lives, at least at times. For me, it was working in a very straight and conservative environment. First, in the public school system as a PE teacher and football coach, then in the oil business. Neither of those allowed a way of life where I could feel comfortable being myself. Certainly not in the school system back in the mid-1970's in Houston, Texas. My 20-year career in the oil industry involved working with hundreds of guys in the offshore part of the business. Many were rough, tough rednecks from the south. Most others I knew were at least on the conservative side of thinking.

Combined with my sensitivites of what others might think of me, neither of those areas of employment provided a venue where I could be myself. As a result, most of my adult life I was the straight-acting, sports-loving, heavy-drinking and usually pretty much fun guy to be around. Rarely, if ever, did I inject talk about women and dating. I told the good joke when I could think of one. Steers and queers types of jokes. I had to fit in.

So as a gay man I could rarely be me. I thought I had to be who you wanted me to be. I was pretty damn good at it. But I had another life as well.

By age 18 I knew I was gay. College was fun. Lots of drinking, lots of free sex. I didn't date girls, of course. But I didn't date guys either since I was heavily involved in sports. From 1977 (age 23), I lived in Montrose, the accepted gay section in Houston. I often had gay roommates. I went to the gay bars. Every night. I had gay boyfriends. I learned to separate my personal life from my professional life. It worked quite well for me during those formative years.

Then, in 1988 at the age of 34, I began working overseas. An Escape.

link to part 2

The Perfect Couple

Go along with the perfect couple as they take a leisurely drive through the countryside with Santa.


Friday, December 09, 2005


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I took a "day off" from visiting Mom in the hospital; a day for me

that I got a lot of little things accomplished yesterday

to help celebrate the 4th AA birthday of a friend at 6:30am today

that the best way to start the day is by waking up, then talking to my HP

that I am as unpolitically correct as I can get away with

that, while my drinking obsession has been removed, all my other character defects must be attended to -- one day at a time, sometimes, one minute at a time

for the fellowship and food at lunch yesterday with 9 others from Lambda at Kelly's Country Cooking; a 20-minute drive across the city but worth it (to me)

that my cats seem to LOVE their new scratching post (see below)

for all of my blog friends

that my name is not Betty Smith

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.
-Betty Smith

Manicure or Pedicure?

My cats got an early Christmas present yesterday.

They had worn out one of their scratching posts. It was 2 years old.

They have 2 like the one on the left.

One is upstairs, one down. But this one has outlived its usefulness and I wanted to get them something to play on.

And something to sleep on, of course.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

see the other brave elves, click here

The Freedom of Choice

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a pleasant hour and a half with Mom yesterday; she had just finished putting on her makeup when I arrived, the first time in the 6 weeks since her strokes!

for the 5 or 6 people who went out of their way to continue telling me to Keep Coming Back after I first arrived at the rooms of AA

that I did

that I no longer have to worry about smelling like alcohol, wherever I go, especially in the mornings

that acceptance keeps me sober; my choices provide recovery

that I live in a place that rarely sees snow and ice

that I finally got a cell phone; it's been 3 years since I had one

Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possiblity.
-Oprah Winfrey

Love is in the Air

If you've ever been in love, you will understand this.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Spoonful of Sugar

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I get to spend time with Mom during her recovery - yeterday, she was doing physical therapy most of the time I was there and it was good to see her in action

to see a young mother of 2, with only 3 months of sobriety, get in front of a crowd of recovering friends and lead an AA meeting

that there are so many sweet people in my life

that all of my relationships today must hinge on my relationship with my HP

for the opportunity to make my old behaviours my old behaviours

that I checked out the new line of cell phones - I may purchase one later today

that today is Pearl Harbor Day - it was 64 years ago that the world changed, once again

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.
-Madeleine L'Engle

1 Year Addictaversary

I started this blog one year ago today. Why Pearl Harbor Day, I don't know. WhatEVER.

total posts = 706
total hits = 21,770
total page views = 61,036

I'm now averaging over 150 viewers per day. I remember when 50 viewers was my goal, just a few months ago. As with just about evrything else that I enjoy doing, it's become more than a habit. It's just another addiction. I try to be careful not to let it get in the way of more important addictions.

Thanks for checking me out, however often that may be. I don't have a clue if I'll still be at it in a year from now. As long as I enjoy it and have the time, I suppose I will.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to see my Mom walk around her room without any assistance of any kind

that these days I can find patience with a smile

that I have yet to discover a trigger to drink alcohol (not that I'm looking for one)

that my experience with Step 5 gave me the courage to share my life and feelings more openly in the rooms of AA and on one-on-one situations

that I am really trying not to isloate; with and without success

that I never had a drinking problem until I got to AA (LOL)

that we read "The Missing Link" in the 6:30am meeting today

for some cool and gorgeous weather in Houston this week

Nobody entirely escapes temptation. You must expect it and be ready for it when it comes. You must be ready to recognize it.
paraphrased from TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY --- Hazelden

Doggie Gossip

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Action & Reaction

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my Mom is looking much better the past few days (especially after going to the hair salon at the nursing center LOL)

that the Promises of AA are not called Possibilities - they DO happen when they are supposed to happen as long as I take the proper action

for the 6:30am "Eyes Wide Shut" AA meeting every weekday

that I see images of my former self on A&E's Intervention on Sunday nights

that my commitments to service work and helping others usually keeps me from isolating

that I still see progress within myself in many areas

that old habits can't be discarded until I take the action to form new ones

that on Saturday I got a lot of little things done around the house, including putting up my Christmas lights

for the gifts from my neighbor for my cats - Catnip for all 3 of them

that my friend Steve is trying to get his blog-hits up, so click anywhere on this line


Moderation etc...

I didn't know how to drink just one or two beers when I went to the bar.

I began saving used BIC lighters when I was in college. Don't know why. Thirty years later, it's now a collection of over 200 lighters. All Bics. Some with advertising.

I began smoking Marlboro cigarettes at age 17. By the next year, I was smoking 3 packs per day. Thirty-threee years later (now) I still smoke 3 packs per day. I have thought about cutting down to maybe 2 packs.

On this blog, I find it hard to do just one post per day. It is usually two posts. Or three. Most bloggers do much less than that.

I hate to run out of ink in my favorite writing pen. So, of course, I have dozens of pens ready and waiting.

When my boyfriend left me, I wanted a companion. I got a cat. Now I have three cats.

Earlier this year, I wanted a couple pieces of art for a wall. I had never painted. I have now completed 30 pieces.

I go outside my townhouse to clear leaves from my flower bed. I end up spending an hour sweeping leaves from my neighbors sidewalks and sweeping the leaves from the curb.

Early on in sobriety, I wanted to "get involved" in my AA club. I began writing a newsletter. I am now on the Board of Directors, on the fundraising committee, sweep cigarette butts in the parking lot almost every morning, make flyers for most events and do other odd jobs that I think need doing.

In other words, all my life I have been able to do very few things in moderation. It's all or nothing. If I enjoy doing it, I go all out. I over-do it. There's a lot of things I have not mentoioned here but I suspect you get the gist of what I'm talking about.

But I could just keep writing and writing and writing ...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Condom, biggie size

The Obelisk of Buenos Aires is covered with a giant condom to commemorate World AIDS Day

December 1, 2005.

Message from Bill W.

I put up my Christmas lights yesterday, so it must be December. I also came across this writing from Bill W. (co-founder of AA). Sit back and have a read ...


Greetings On Our 10th Christmas - 1944. Yes, it's in the air! The spirit of Christmas once more warms this poor distraught world. Over the whole globe millions are looking forward to that one day when strife can be forgotten, when it will be remembered that all human beings, even the least, are loved by God; when men will hope for the coming of the Prince of Peace as they never hoped before. But there is another world which is not poor. Neither is it distraught. It is the
world of Alcoholics Anonymous, where thousands dwell happily and secure. Secure because each of us, in his own way, knows a greater power who is love, who is just, and who can be trusted. Nor can men and women of AA ever forget that only through suffering did they find enough humility to enter the portals of that New World. How privileged we are to understand so well the divine paradox that strength rises from weakness, that humiliation goes before resurrection; that pain is not only the price but the very touchstone of spiritual rebirth. Knowing its full worth and purpose, we can no longer fear adversity, we have found prosperity where there was poverty, peace and joy have sprung out of the very midst of chaos. Great indeed, our blessings!

And so,-- Merry Christmas to you all-- from the Trustees, from Bobbie and from Lois and me."

Bill W. (co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous)
December 1944

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Knob

A woman in her forties went to a plastic surgeon for a face-lift. The surgeon told her about a new procedure called “The Knob,” where a small knob is placed on the back of a woman’s head and can be turned to tighten up her skin to produce the effect of a brand new face lift.

Of course, the woman wanted “The Knob.”

Over the course of the years, the woman tightened the knob, and the effects were wonderful—the woman remained young looking and vibrant. After fifteen years, the woman returned to the surgeon with two problems.

”All these years, everything has been working just fine. I’ve had to turn the knob many times and I’ve always loved the results. But now I’ve developed two very annoying problems: First, I have these terrible bags under my eyes and the knob won’t get rid of them.” The doctor looked at her closely and said, “Those aren’t bags, those are your breasts.”

She said, “Well, I guess there’s no point in asking about the goatee.”

White Trash Christmas

Turn up the volume when listening to THIS!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Daily Progress

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to see my Mom walk several minutes yesterday, unassisted except for holding a therpists hand for balance

for her daily progress

for my daily progress

that I can give back to Lambda Center in small ways, the place where my life was saved

that the chaos that I allowed to rule my thoughts and behavior earlier this week, has passed

for my health, which I much too often take for granted

for more beautiful weather today and the weekend


Dance of the Lights

Hey guys!

It's just about time to put up your Christmas lights, if you do that sort of thing. I put up 2 small strings of white lights and that's it. Too lazy to do much more.

But THIS GUY can't be called lazy when it comes to decorating!
(turn on the volume for the best effect)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

the only requirement

this was the theme
for the 24th annual
2005 Roundup
held during the
Thanksgiving weekend

an AA convention for the
GLBT community in
Houston, and their friends

CLICK HERE to see the others who are posting pix today

Life Happening

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to see, once again, what a difference a day makes!

that my Mom is settling into her new home (temporary hopefully) and beginning to receive the physical therapy she desperately needs and wants)

for Medicare and secondary supplemental insurance

for the 2 good Step One meetings I've attended this week

that I know that I can't afford to shut the door on my past, lest I shall repeat it

for the new bloggers from Lambda - 3 in the past 3 weeks

for the mild weather we're having, but sure could use more rain

that I was able to talk to my sponsor yesterday and relate some of my problems to him, honestly and openly

that sometimes, my commitments keep me from being able to isolate

1) DIE

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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