Monday, July 31, 2006


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm realizing more and more that God (as I understand Him) will always have His way; the more I resist His will, the more that I Do the Next Wrong Thing, the unhappier I will be

that I've done 180/90 for the past 12 calendar quarters (only recovery folk will understand this)

for the 31 AA July birthday celebrants Saturday Night @ Lambda Center - a wonderful night with good food and short speeches

that I'm planning another trip to NYC because my London excursion has to be postponed (Liz, Kenny, I'm waiting to hear from you about this)

that the wreckage of my past - is just that!

that I finally saw The Devil Wears Prada -- very enjoyable

for my 2 new leather recliners; my first new furniture in a decade

that I could donate my retired recliner to someone who appreciates it (cigarette burns and all); it provided a great place to pass out during my last 4 years of drinking

that my topic was chosen for SOBRIETY SOCIETY this week yea!!!!

The more you have, the more you're occupied; the less you have, the more free you are.
-Mother Teresa

Been there, done that

I lived in Amsterdam in 1993-94. I'd been there many times before, but quit my job so I could concentrate on my intake program of alcohol and exquisite marijuana.

"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable."

Shown above is of one of my daily stops as I made my rounds. There were many similar places that could depend on my business each day. I stayed drunk and stoned during all waking hours and considered myself the luckiest guy in the world.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dog Food

I was in Walmart buying a large bag of Purina for my Labrador Retriever and was in line to check out.
A woman behind me asked if I had a dog. On impulse, I told her that no, I was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry and that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.
I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story. Horrified, she asked if I'd been poisoned and was that why I was in the hospital.
I said no.....I'd been sitting in the street licking my balls and a car hit me.

(as far as I know, this is not a true story; if it is, it's not about me)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Road Gets Narrower

For these first 3 years of sobriety, the AA way, I've heard people talk about how "the road gets narrower." I didn't really understand what they were talking about.

I believe I'm now beginning to get it.

The shape it seems to be taking (in my mind) is that I'm just a wee bit less tolerant of those in recovery who don't walk the talk. While I want to have love and tolerance for all human beings, my immediate world is made up of people in recovery. I seem to be observing a lot of behavior that doesn't match practicing these principles in all our affairs. I obviously need some more work on this. Am I taking others' inventory when I need to concentrate on my own? Are my perceptions off base? Do I need more Third Step work?

How about you? What does the term "the road gets narrower" mean to you?

and now, ...

A marine biologist developed a race of genetically engineered dolphins that could live forever if they were fed a steady diet of seagulls.
One day his supply of the birds ran out, so he had to go out and trap some more. On the way back, he spied two lions asleep on the road. Afraid to wake them, he gingerly stepped over them.
Immediately, he was arrested and charged with transporting gulls across sedate lions for immortal porpoises.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Just the facts

working the membership desk yesterday at one of the finest GLBT recovery centers in the world,

Lambda Center - Houston

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I am a single, middle-aged, gay male who is an alcoholic-in-recovery and I am happy about all that stuff

that I'm anal-retentive and obsessive-compulsive and can handle it

for a greater daily awareness of my shortcomings and the desire not to participate in them

that I'm open-minded and willing to change (when necessary)

that I must remain teachable in recovery or else I'll become unreachable

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow. -Charlotte Bronte

Thursday, July 27, 2006

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

Remembering past HNT's
visit the other guys CLICK


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for my developing emotional sobriety of which I am aware, at times

for all of the things I take for granted; too numerous to list

for my recovery tool box; too numerous to list

for the lessons and values instilled in me by my parents; too numerous to list

for the formal education I received from ages 5-22

that we haven't had any major flooding the past 2 days with this almost tropical depression passing by

Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave 'em all over everything you do.
-Elvis Presley

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I gotta be honest with you guys.

There are days when I sit down to write my Gratitude list and I can't think of a damn thing to write. I try to list things I have not listed previously. You know, something new. Sometimes, I'll just say fuck it leave it and come back later to try again. Other times, I force myself to come up with stuff. Things that are not in the front of my mind. At those times, it feels almost overwhelming. Today, I'm neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed. I'm just whelmed.

But maybe that's why I do these lists. Because they make me think, sometimes, very, very hard. Hey, that's a lot of progress!

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the keyboard which is attached to my CPU and magically transmits these words to people around the world in a matter of seconds

that, on second thought, there's nothing wrong with being grateful for the same thing many times

that my recovery is a result of surrender and not a cease-fire

for some gut-wrenching honesty at the noon meeting yesterday

that I get so much back from the AA program; so much more than I put into it

that we began our third reading of The Big Book at the 6:30am Eyes Wide Shut meeting; the first 2 readings took 16 months and 15 months, respectively (we read for about 30 minutes every Tuesday, then discuss)

to witness growth and maturing in someone who had a rough start in recovery

for our newest recovery blogger, T. Drop by and say hello to her down under.

that tomorrow is HNT and I'm sure all of you will be participating
(hint, hint)

for a relatively mild and wet summer here in Houston -- so far

Denial Is Not a River in Egypt

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Living on borrowed time

"We are living on borrowed time. We are living today because of AA and the grace of God. And what there is left of our lives we owe to AA and to God. We should make the best use we can of our borrowed time and in some small measure pay back for that part of our lives which we wasted before we came into AA. Our lives from now on are not our own. We hold them in trust for God and AA. And we must do all we can to forward the great movement that has given us a new lease on life. Am I holding my life in trust for AA?"
Twenty-Four Hours a Day

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thaAAnkful

that this way of life is becoming ingrained in me as the way to live

that when I woke up this morning, I was sober!

for the many ways that Pause When Agitated or Confused works in my life (it saved me a lot of money last night when I went furniture shopping)

for the insightful 7th Step meeting at noon yesterday

that we read Bill's Story this morning and to be reminded of his spiritual awakening

that Doing the Next Right Thing rarely includes breaking the law

that each day an alternative is provided for everything I want to do

for all the bloggers who supplied e-food at MC's e-party yesterday and that I didn't gain any e-weight

"It's no wonder your mother pushes your buttons.
She installed them."
Denial Is Not a River in Egypt

a nip here, a tuck there ...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Birthday Girl

Today is Mary Christine's
22nd AA birthday.
Drop by,
pay her a visit
and express
your Gratitude.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for my blogger friends who stay sober through life's ordeals and help me to do the same

that I can see how spiritually damaging a dependence on another person can be AND that I can choose not to participate in that

that I really am finding out more about myself, just by paying attention

that my (perceived) problems pale in comparison to most other humans

that our fundraising committee, The F'ers, work well together and came up with some really good ideas for the August Talent Show

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Courtesy of Gwen at Twelvebeads
(this may take a few moments to load, but it's worth the wait)

thanks Gwen
"I asked myself, "Why can't the Twelve Steps work to release me from this unbearable depression?" By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer. "It is better to comfort than to be comforted."
Suddenly I realized what the answer might be. My basic flaw had always been dependence on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and confidence. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specification, I fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.
Reinforced by what grace I could find in prayer, I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people and upon circumstances. Then only could I be free to love as Francis had loved.
AA GRAPEVINE, January 1958

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Where the hell is Matt?

As a few of you know, I've done a lot of travelling in the past. My resume shows 31 countries, so far. So when I saw this, it seemed kinda special. dAAve

Matt is a 29-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. He achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he'd saved to wander around the planet until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is.
A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt the idea of dancing everywhere he went and recording it on his camera. This turned out to be a very good idea. Now Matt is quasi-famous as "That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I'll send you the link. It's funny."
The response to the first video brought Matt to the attention of the nice people at Stride long-lasting gum. They asked Matt if he'd be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video. Matt asked if they'd be paying for it. They said yes. Matt thought this sounded like another very good idea.
At the start of 2006, Matt left on a 6 month trip through 39 countries on all 7 continents. In that time, he danced a great deal.

CLICK HERE to see Matt's video's.

The Operation

A middle aged woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital.
While on the operating table she had a near death experience.
Seeing God she asked "Is my time up?" God said, "No, you have another 40
years, 2 months and 8 days to live." Upon recovery, the woman decided to
stay in the hospital and have a facelift, liposuction, and a tummy tuck.
She even had someone come in and change her hair color.

Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make
the most of it. After her last operation, she was released from the

While crossing the street on her way home, she was killed by an ambulance.
Arriving in front of God, she demanded, "I thought you said I had another
40 years. Why didn't you pull me from out of the path of the ambulance?"

God replied, "I didn't recognize you."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Gifts from my sponsor ...

My sponsor just got back from The Gay Games in Chicago. He brought me this coffee mug. This is just one of the many gifts he's given me during my three years of being sober.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have a sponsor who has a sponsor who has a sponsor.

that in the beginning, he assured me that things would get better (and he was right)

that he let me work the steps at my own pace, although I wasted little time in doing them

that we studied the 12 Traditions of AA, complete with written work

that he gave me good advice and proper suggestions, but never gave orders

that he knows me almost as well as I know me

that I try to pass these qualities along to others, sometimes successfully, sometimes not

that I woke up sober this morning, for the 1049th consecutive day

that my Austin friend Justin is visiting this weekend

'New' doesn't equate with 'happy,' or there wouldn't be any antique stores.
-Wilfred Ford

Dreamy Chocolate

A good friend, Don, finally realized one of his life's dreams this week.

He's always wanted to have his own chocolate shop. Now he's open for business.

Don travelled to numerous countries to study the fine art of chocolate making. He worked in small shops in Europe and in Asia. He picked the brains of some of the world's finest makers of chocolate.

Don's shop is special. He doesn't import his product. He makes it at the store. You can watch as it's mixed and baked.

He also makes special blends of European ice creams. And I can tell you first-hand that it's scrumptious.

If you're in Houston, drop by.

He's at 810 Waugh Drive.
Just south of Allen Parkway.
(713) 524-9864

Thursday, July 20, 2006

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

"Third Year Sobriety - Finding Out Who You Really Are"
by Guy Kettelhack

A Ray of Hope

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I saw a teenie, weenie bit of improvement in my Mom's physical condition yesterday - for the first time since her stroke last October - she actually tried to speak a word (for the first time) AND she tried to swallow (again, for the first time)

that my choice to have a good attitude yesterday - worked! all day long!!

for a great AA meeting yesterday at 6:30am - the topic ... Sex in Sobriety (this is a big deal for a bunch of gay guys early in sobriety)

that by practicing Steps 6 and 7 constantly and consistently, there is a ray of hope

that I didn't give up 5 minutes before the miracle

that I found it easy to become as passionate about my recovery as I did with my drinking

for a historic baseball game last night - Astros vs Cubs - the historic part is that there were 2 starting pitchers, each with over 300 lifetime wins pitching; this was the first time this has happened since 1911 (can anyone tell me who the pitchers were last night?)

that I have a friend who can assemble desks and put up shelves using a drill and a screwdriver

People may fail many times, but they become failures only when they begin to blame someone else.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006



The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes. . . . than what other people think. . . . . or say. . . . . . . . or do.

It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home.

The remarkable thing is ….. that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day.

We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play the on the one string we have … our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. And so it is with you.
We are in charge of our attitudes!
Author unknown

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm going for the recovery attitude today (see above)

that I have been taking care of business

for my 2 tool boxes -- one with a hammer, screw drivers and nails; the other filled with ways to live sober

for the newly sober guys I'm working with who constantly show me why we do these things instead of continuing to abuse our minds and bodies

that I got to chat with Kenny this morning

Your dog is licking your hand while watering your leg.
Denial Is Not a River in Egypt

Gay Games

Athlete Kathy Brennan (R) of Washington, D.C., helps to apply tanner on Forrest of Ferndale, Michigan, before the Physique competition during Gay Games VII in Evanston, Illinois, July 18, 2006.

(can I use this for my HNT photo?)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Freedom to Change

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a good Step 6 meeting yesterday; Step 6 provides a recovering alcoholic a chance to begin the long, slow process of changing old behaviour

for the constant reminders of the cost of not practicing these principles in all my affairs

that I am sometimes reminded that non-alcoholics just cannot understand or comprehend that we, as alcoholics-in-recovery, absolutely must change our thinking patterns if we are to remain sober

that, this morning, our 6:30am Eyes Wide Shut AA Group finished reading the Big Book (front-to-back) -- for the second time in 2 years and 7 months. We read several pages each Tuesday morning and discuss what we've read.

that I called my old boyfriend in Florida yesterday as it was the 29th anniversary of our meeting - 7-17-77. He's been HIV/AIDS for 21 years and is healthy as a horse. Almost every one of our group of friends (20+ guys) from those days is dead.

that my domestic house-cleaner is making steady progress

Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.
-Albert Camus

The Ranch Hand

A successful rancher died and left everything to his devoted wife. She was determined to keep the ranch, but knew very little about ranching, so she placed an ad in the newspaper for a ranch hand. Two cowboys applied for the job. One was gay and the other a drunk.
She thought long and hard about it, and when no one else applied she decided to hire the gay guy, figuring it would be safer to have him around the house than the drunk.
He proved to be a hard worker who put in long hours every day and knew a lot about ranching. For weeks, the two of them worked hard and the ranch was doing very well.
Then one day, the rancher's widow said, "You have done a really good job, and the ranch looks great. You should go into town and kick up your heels."
The hired hand readily agreed and went into town on Saturday night. He returned around 2:30am, and upon entering the room, he found the rancher's widow sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine, waiting for him. She quietly called him over to her.
"Unbutton my blouse and take it off," she said. Trembling, he did as she directed.
"Now take off my boots." He did as she asked, ever so slowly.
"Now take off my socks." He removed each gently and placed them neatly by her boots.
"Now take off my skirt." He slowly unbuttoned it, constantly watching her eyes in the fire light.
"Now take off my bra." Again, with trembling hands, he did as he was told and dropped it to the floor.
Then she looked at him and said: "If you ever wear my clothes into town again, you're fired."

Monday, July 17, 2006

an email to a friend

Dear (name withheld),

I just want to say Thank You.
I spent most of the day (Saturday) wanting and trying to isolate, although my service committments did not allow me the time to do so. I was busy all day with meetings, my Mom in the nursing home, a Board meeting and the fundraiser.

After the fundraiser, you came up and gave me a hug. I barely acknowledged it. I suppose I was busy, but that's not an acceptable excuse.

I needed that hug. At that time. It especially meant a lot coming from you, a person of whom I have ultimate respect. You've taught me a lot in my 3 years at Lambda and AA; many things just by being an example.

I miss seeing you as often as I have in the past, but I know that you're there even when I can't see you.

Thanks again.
with love
todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for proof that a small gesture from another human can be greatly magnified by the human receiving it

for my personal committments to service work which helps keep me somewhat sane

for the Experience, Strength & Hope shown me by those with years of sobriety AND recovery

that my Mom can still communicate with me using her eyes, although her writing has deteriorated to the point of being almost unreadable

for the people who participated and watched the Gaylywed Game fundraiser Saturday night -- 4 couples, 1 emcee, 8 production assistants and about 70 in the audience

for the standing-room-only crowd at the 9:30am Sunday AA meeting, ~ 60 boisterous recovering alkies

for my domestic home-cleaner, who shall return today for Phase II

The trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
-Erica Jong

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Dealing with Resentments

"Resentment is the Number One offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have also been spiritually ill. When our spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.
In dealing with our resentments, we set them on paper. We listed people, institutions, or principles with whom we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry. In most cases it was found that our self-esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambitions, our personal relationships (including sex) were hurt or threatened."


I never knew much about the theory of resentments before I got into AA. I never knew I was full of resentments until I worked the steps with my sponsor. Like many people in recovery, I found out that I resented my own behavior more than anything that anyone had done to me. I had treated others as if they didn't matter. And I had done this most of my life, countless times.
As part of my living amends toward other human beings, I have to try my best to put others before my own selfish demands.
I have a long way to go. Awareness of this is the beginning. Small steps, baby steps. Saying hello to others at an AA meeting. No matter how uncomfortable it may be. Allowing another car to pull in front of me in traffic. Calling another alcoholic who is having trouble. No matter how uncomfortable it may be. Giving others the opportunity to be right, without challenging them. No matter how uncomfortable it may be. The examples are infinite. They pop up every hour of every day. By practicing this new behavior, it slowly becomes a habit. Sometimes, I forget; I slip. When I do, the steps of AA give me the tools to make corrections.
This will last for my lifetime. As long as I don't drink alcohol.

Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Big Deck

Good piece of writing. Good buddy.

I had a most wonderful day yesterday. I was extremely busy all morning. A number of places to go although they were all in the neighborhood, so it was only 3 or 4 or 5 minutes from one place to another. By noon, I had attended 2 AA meetings, had breakfast with a new sponsee, met with another sponsee to discuss Tradition One, and picked up my new house-cleaning person and showed her what I wanted done at my house. She did a fine job and I then gave her a ride to the noon AA meeting (my third of the day). Then I ate lunch with a few guys from Lambda, then went home a took a nice nap.
It was all about Step 3. I didn't try to control or manipulate anything; just let everything happen as it was supposed to happen.

Friday, July 14, 2006


"Whenever I find myself under acute tensions, I lengthen my daily walks and slowly repeat our Serenity Prayer in rhythm to my steps and breathing.
If I feel that my pain has in part been occasioned by others, I try to repeat, "God grant me the serenity to love their best, and never fear their worst." This benign healing process of repetition, sometimes necessary to persist with for days, has seldom failed to restore me to at least a workable emotional balance and perspective."
AA Grapevine, March 1962

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that for me, serenity means happy, joyous and free during the good times and calm and sober at all other times

that I spent a good deal of the day with my Mom yesterday -- on the road and at the dentist's office -- and not once did I become impatient or morose -- this is INCREDIBLE for me!

that she tries her absolute hardest to participate in her life these days, although she tires very quickly

that, early on in my sobriety, I heard that when AA'ers relapse, it's because of not practicing Step 6 -- I shall never forget this

for a 5am, 30-minute phone call from a friend who just needed to talk

that I woke up at 4:30am LOL

for a nice, unexpected visit from Rodney yesterday; we had an impromptu AA meeting while sitting at my desk

that I am hiring a maid service beginning today; my townhome needs it

All you need is deep within you waiting to unfold and reveal itself. All you have to do is be still and take time to seek for what is within, and you will surely find it.
-Eileen Caddy

Thursday, July 13, 2006

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

dinner was a blur
for that warm, fuzzy feeling - CLICK


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the conscious contact with my HP that begins my every morning

that my choices today are as limitless as I can stand and they don't include what time to begin drinking alcohol

for habits, good and bad and the lessons they can teach me

to see, once again, that most of the problems in my life are of my own making

tht so many of my perceptions are really just deceptions

that I've gotten around to collecting all the prizes for our upcoming Lambda fundraiser

for Matt's blog; drop by and pay him a visit, especially if you haven't met him

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
-Ruth Ann Schabacker

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hot Dog Cooker

If we don't learn to say no, we stop liking ourselves and the people we always try to please. We may even punish others out of resentment.
When do we say no?
When no is what we really mean.
When we learn to say no, we stop lying. People can trust us, and we can trust ourselves. All sorts of good things happen when we start saying what we mean.

The Language Of Letting Go, Melody Beattie, page 224

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for faith that some day I will be able to say no a little more often, when that's what I need to say

that I'm taking my mother on a road trip tomorrow - to her dentist -- a round-trip of about 60 miles (this ordeal will leave her exhausted)

that in retirement, I stay as busy as if I were still employed (although MC reminded me a few days ago that I have a new employer)

for a newcomer at the noon meeting yesterday; it's always an inspiration to me

that yesterday was Sonny's 65th birthday (he's a 24-year fixture and Ops. Manager of Lambda)

that today's picture has absolutely nothing to do with anything I've written; I just liked it

The quality of a man's life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor.
-Vince Lombardi

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Just a little spray

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my experiences with mushrooms.
For a few months during my college days (~1975) I sniffed aerosols.
I am not proud of this, but I can't change the past.

I would get a spray can of Bactine First Aid spray (not sure if they still make this product). Then it was just a matter of spraying some into a plastic baggie and puting the baggie to my face, covering the nose and inhaling. The high was immediate and lasted only a few seconds. So,of course, it had to be done several times.
This was always done in conjunction with drinking beer and smoking a few bong hits.

I still find it absolutely amazing that I ever graduated.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I am very protective of the few brain cells remaining above my neck

for an easy-does-it Monday, my first day to really relax in about 10 days

for a very powerful AA meeting this morning at 6:30 in which a good friend shared about real, tangible growth he experienced yesterday as a result of 1) not giving in to the obsession he felt to reward himself wih a drink 2) getting to a meeting / working the program

that we have a good lineup of contestants for this weekend's Lambda fundraiser - The Gaylywed Game

that I can pay my bills, especially Bill W.

that I was in someone's dream -- in this dream, I was leading an AA meeting -- LOL

that I got my 50,000th blog-hit yesterday - it took about 18 months to achieve

- My Mind Is Out To Get Me

The elephant

A man was on holiday in Kenya.

While he was walking through the bush, he came across an elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully.
He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot.
There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot.
As carefully and as gently as he could he removed the thorn and the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen -- thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.

For years after, the man remembered the elephant and the events of that day.

One day the man was walking through the zoo with his son.
As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they are standing at the rail.
It stared at him and the man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. After a while it trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him. The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure.

He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.
Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of
the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, killing him.
Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Monday, July 10, 2006


The third tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous states ...
"The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking."
Then, A.A. presents a set of principles and steps that, if adhered to, practically guarantees that an alcoholic can not only stop drinking, but improve his lot in life dramatically.

By the time I entered the rooms of A.A., I needed help to stop drinking. By going to meetings and listening to recovering alcoholics share their experience, strength and hope, I was able to stop drinking. I have learned about the principles and steps and my life has improved dramatically. This is because my thinking has changed and my behavior has changed.
I don't have to drink when life is good. I don't have to drink when life sucks.

It only takes a genuine committment.
It's that simple.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my Mom can enjoy freshly cut flowers which I take each week to her nursing home

that I am taking more action to do the uncomfortable, yet positive, things that today define my recovery

that I followed through with a personal committment yesterday (see above) even though I really didn't want to

for the AA story I heard @ Saturday Night Live @ Lambda; a woman with 30 years of recovery and still growing and expanding her horizons

for those who choose to participate fully in recovery rather than just staying sober

for this week's topic on SOBRIETY SOCIETY -- Open-Mindedness -- drop by and give us your thoughts

A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.
-The Wizard to the Tin Man

The Today Show on NBC

For those who've been following my littany of photographs taken in NYC, this is it. All I've got. Pretty much self-explanatory, but if you need an explanation, Scott wrote a bit about it HERE.

I made this composite for my Mom to see. It'll have to do for you too.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Mushroom Society

In conversation yesterday, I was reminded of some of my behavior during my college days. How did I ever graduate? (keep in mind that I was there to get a degree in Health & Physical Education)

East Texas, 1974, 1975 (age 20-21)
I attended a university of 11,000 students in a town of 25,000 residents. The school was nestled in the piney woods of east Texas, surrounded by many farms and small lakes. I was already drinking alcoholically every day, although I never went to class drunk. I did, however, often attend class high on marijuana. I was almost always high on marijuana. Morning and night.
One weekend, at the apartment of a drinking buddy, I was offered to partake in the consumption of mushrooms. They grew wild on farms and these had been picked from a local pasture.
The friend prepared the mushrooms by mixing them in a blender in the kitchen. Then poured the liquid into a glass. Poof! Ready to drink.
I drank. Arghhhhh. Ewwwwwwwwwwww! The most awful taste of anything I'd ever had. They said to keep drinking. I kept drinking. The whole glass.

The high was immediate. Strong. Very strong. Speed. Amphetamine. Almost a psychedelic high, my brain becoming separate from my body. For an hour or two.

I did this a few more times but the taste couldn't be overcome. We tried to disguise it with flavors, but it was always there. So I stopped doing mushrooms.

Next came the aerosols.


To prepare for his big date, a young man went to the rooftop of his apartment building to work on his tan. Not wanting any tan lines, he sunbathed in the nude. Unfortunately, he fell asleep and sunburned his Johnson.
Being very determined, he decided not to miss his date with the hot blonde, so he put some ointment on the beast and wrapped it in gauze. The young man's date, a beautiful blonde, showed up at his apartment for the promised home cooked meal and was treated to a feast. After they finished with the dinner they went into the living room to watch a movie. During the movie, the young man's sunburn began to hurt. After several minutes of extreme discomfort he asked to be excused.
A friend had told him that milk was very effective in reducing sunburn pain. So he went to the kitchen, poured a tall glass of cold milk, and placed his sunburned member into the milk. He experienced immediate relief.
The blonde, wondering what the young man was doing, wandered into the kitchen and found him with his "tool" immersed in the glass of milk.
With a look of understanding the Blonde exclaimed, "SO, THAT'S HOW YOU RELOAD THOSE THINGS."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Momma Mia! Walking with Alkies

(more photos from our little trip to NYC)

JJ and Scott, posing as usual.
From Midtown to The Village.

If I were still a drinking man, it would not have been possible for me to pass these establishments without a quick visit.
When I lived in London, I stopped in every available pub for a pint.
Just so I could say I'd been there. I was so proud of myself.

We ended our all-day journey on a water taxi.
Too tired to walk any longer.

click on any picture to enlarge


If you're a fan of creative animation, CLICK

Friday, July 07, 2006

Pictures of Gratitude

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the new Phoenix Group, an AA meeting that Scott and I attended last Saturday in Manhattan.

that green and steel can be mixed to create beauty.

for other blogger friends, such as Mr HK, who met Scott and I in Hell's Kitchen, ate lunch with us and gave us a tour of his wondrous home.

that I'll never be Superman nor will I ever be perfect.
But today, I can be excellent.

for FDNY and all emergency personnel everywhere, whom most of us take for granted.

for my friends, who constantly show me the way

Yesterday is ashes; tomorrow is wood.
Only today does the fire burn brightly.
-Old Eskimo proverb

Thursday, July 06, 2006

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

working step 3 with another alcoholic

step over to the mother site when you click here

That darn Ted ...

To those who know me, it's no big secret that I am not a big fan of the French. Apparently, neither is Ted Nugent.

He was being interviewed by a British journalist. The journalist asked,"What do you think the last thought is in the head of a deer before you shoot it? Is it, `Are you my friend?` or is it `Are you the one who killed my brother?'"
Nugent replied, "They aren't capable of that kind of thinking. All they care about is, 'What am I going to eat next, who am I going to screw next, and can I run fast enough to get away. They are very much like the French in that way."

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I made a decision yesterday to drive through pounding rain to go visit my mother because she was happy to see me; it had been 6 days since my last visit

for all of the dividends of sobriety, not the least of which is Gratitude

that my sponsee's have a sponsor who has a sponsor who has a sponsor; sponsoring fellow alcoholics seems to be a diminishing commodity in NYC (just an observation)

that I don't like to gamble and I don't live in New Jersey

for the blog-return of Jim G at OneGayAtATime

that today is RJ's 43rd Birthday!! - CLICK to send wishes

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
-Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Southern Boy meets Yankees

My first trip to New York City.

It had to include a visit to Yankee Stadium. I bought a ticket online 3 weeks before going.

From the hotel, I walked the few blocks to the nearest subway station that would get me to The Bronx and the stadium. The 59th Street Station.

The subway took about 30 minutes as we passed from Cental Park north to The Bronx.

This (right) is the entrance I went into the stadium.

Actually, I got to the game late as the starting time changed and I didn't know it. So after entering, I looked out at the first place I could. I was at the left field foul pole.

A full stadium. The Subway Series.
The Mets vs The Yankees.

My seat was located in right field, just inside the foul pole. So I had to walk more than halfway around the stadium. Long beer and bathroom lines made for a slow walk in getting there.

The Mets won this game 8-2 so a lot of Yankee fans went home disappointed. But not this baseball fan. I came to see The House That Ruth Built, not just a baseball game. The Yankees have won more world championships than any team in the history of professional sports. Consistency. Perseverance. Quality. I respect that.

I made my way back to the subway and Midtown. Satisfied.
Maybe one day my Astros will play here - in October.

gettin' my feet wet (again)

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a nice day of rest - my legs are soooooore! from all the walking in Manhattan

that Lambda Center survived while I was gone; what a relief!

for the standing-room only crowd at yesterday's noon AA meeting - topic - Freedom from alcohol

for my neighbor for feeding and talking to my cats last weekend whilst I was gone; I don't believe they realized I was even gone

for a rainy summer so far in Houston which keeps the temps down a few degrees (usually) AND we won't have to ration water this year for lawn and car maintenance

that it didn't take too long to get "caught up" on my bloggage* reading

that I've never relapsed, but if I do, I want this hat >>>>>


* word courtesy of Scott M (Sober Nuggets)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Take a Moment, please

Scott and I are back from New York City.

We took a boat tour around Manhattan Island.
This picture is taken from that boat. I'll post some other pix of our trip beginning tomorrow.

Today, however, is
Independence Day.

Enjoy it! With family, friends or even by yourself.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the freedoms given to us by our forefathers

for the continuing freedoms we all enjoy and mostly take for granted

that Scott and I had a great 4 days in NYC and made it back safely, sober and sane

that we accomplished everything we planned to do and more!

for the many people we met both in and out of the rooms of AA (more posts about the trip to follow this week)

that we went to meetings each day (except yesterday) in different locations; they were all different but in a very comfortable way, they were all the same as every meeting I've ever attended

that, with this trip out of town, I intentionally stopped 2 personal longevity records (1) my streak of going to an AA meeting every day stopped yesterday at 1,010 days (2) my personal "blog every day" streak ended Saturday at 569 days --- this is actually a big deal for this very anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive nutcase

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
-George Eliot