Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Days of Our Lives

a shot from a
Costa Rican road

(click on the pic to enlarge)

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that we read PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF from the Big Book of A.A. yesterday

for an increasing clarity on my need to look after myself before gaining an ability to help someone else (I should be doing 90/90 @ Al-Anon)

that I've been asked to make a short presentation on Tradition Three on Saturday Night at an A.A. District meeting - "The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking."

that, in recovery, we can all help other people without even trying. Even our absence in a meeting can be a good example of non-recovery, although it may not do much for our own program.

for a new sponsee who really seems to want to change his life

for a continuing influx of newcomers at Lambda

for early morning breakfast with Hayden (he's not a morning type of guy), his support of me in attending the noon A.A. meeting, an afternoon at The Galleria (I had not been in years), then a relaxing dinner and early night to bed

that tomorrow is HNT -- see ya there!

"Do not search for happiness.
Search for right living and happiness will be your reward."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

the more things change ...

From our gay hotel, we went on a group excursion to the rainforest. The event is called a Canopy Safari. Each person (we were all gay) was fitted with a harness and we rode from tree to tree via wire cables. The modern version of TARZAN and JAMES. We also repelled down 150' tall trees.
~ note the gay flag on the bus

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the simplicity of Step 8 (as pointed out by Dennis R)

that I made it through yesterday without having or even wanting a drink or cigarette (it was just one of those days when my thinking was all wrong)

that although my perception is that most of my few friends have deserted me -- I know (intellectually) that this is very likely not the case, so I don't have to act on this concept immediately; I'll just wait and see what happens.

for my sponsor who can be brutally honest with me because he knows me. He knows me because I have always been brutally honest with him.

for an afternoon of shopping therapy (MasterCard must love me!)

"At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you."
- Jim Rohn

Monday, February 26, 2007

Give me routine, please

On our first full day in San Jose, Costa Rica, we took an organized city tour. It lasted almost 5 hours and included a visit to the National Museum.
The general concensus was that the tour was boring as hell.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my Mom was able to celebrate her 84th birthday with my sister at her bedside (I was out of the country)

for all of the wonderful and thoughtful comments that you guys left on my last post before leaving town, 10 days ago

that my life today is teaching me so many lessons that I never took the time to learn during my first 52 years

that it gets increasingly easier to turn things over as I continue practicing it

that I was able to attend Birthday Night @ Lambda Center on Saturday - 27 people celebrated a total of 288 years and had some great stuff I needed to hear

that the 4th step of A.A. can be so useful, even when I am checking in at an airport (story to follow later this week) LOL

that Kenny / Recovery Road -- will be OK. He was able to send me a note via his Blackberry explaining that he is in hospital due to problems with his vision. He is sober and grateful and has a Big Book with him. He's a bit afraid (who wouldn't be?) but said that his HP is sitting beside him and all will turn out the way it is supposed to. Stay tuned.

The 7 t's ...
Take Time To Think Things Through Thoroughly

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Since I stopped drinking in September '03, I've attended at least 1 A.A. meeting each day. On most days, I get to 2 meetings, sometimes 3. I don't do 90/90; it's more like 180/90. This is not to beat my own drum. This is what it seems to take for me to stay somewhat sane during these early years of recovery.

This past week, from Friday to Friday, I was out of town, in Costa Rica. On vacation with Hayden. I went down there armed with printouts of A.A. meeting locations and phone numbers in both areas we would be staying. We had tourist-type activities planned daily.

I did not make it to a meeting the first 2 days in San Jose (the capital city). Couldn't find the time. But I was fine and just enjoyed the scenery and good times. We then travelled to the Pacific coast resort where we would be staying for 4 days. More activity. All day and night. Day 3 -- no A.A. meeting. I was beginning to notice the change in my thinking. Certainly, Hayden noticed as well. He made mention of it. More than once. Day 4 - again no meeting. Things I was beginning to get ugly. I found fault with just about everything surrounding me. People, places and things. What's that saying about we always hurt the ones we love? You fill in the blank here. End of Day 4 (Tuesday)-- I was batshit crazy.

Wednesday morning I got a taxi and went to the closest A.A. meeting. It was less than a mile away from our hotel. Fine bunch of people, nearly all Americans now living in Costa Rica.
During that afternoon though, I got into an argument with Hayden. About nothing in particular, I was just being insane, finding things to argue about that I made up in my mind. So I went to another meeting at 6pm at a different location, even closer than the last. I shared during that meeting that I had been neglecting myself (my program) these past few days. I admitted that earlier in the day I had an argument with my partner. Then I corrected that statement by saying that I had an argument while he just tried to ignore me. Everybody laughed. They understood.

Now I was OK again. The world was once again a great place to be. I had returned to my normal self (God help us all). I went to another meeting the following morning, feeling all fine and full of recovery. Maybe my HP thought it was time for me to be personally shown that I can no longer treat my disease with words alone. I have to have the fellowship with other sober alcoholics. I must be physically present with you guys in the rooms. Meeting makers make it.

I had neglected the WE of the program. Without that, I have no program.

2 jokes I like

Bill worked in a pickle factory. He had been employed there for a number of years. He came home one day to confess to his wife that he had a terrible compulsion. He had an urge to stick his penis into the pickle slicer. His wife suggested that he should see a sex therapist to talk about it, but Bill said he would be too embarrassed. He vowed to overcome the compulsion on his own. One day a few weeks later, Bill came home and his wife could see at once that something was seriously wrong. What's wrong, Bill?" she asked. "Do you remember that I told you how I had this tremendous urge to put my penis into the pickle slicer?" "Oh, Bill, you didn't" she exclaimed. "Yes, I did." He replied. My God, Bill, what happened?" "I got fired." "No, Bill. I mean, what happened with the pickle slicer?" "Oh...she got fired too."


There once was a religious young woman who went to Confession. Upon entering the confessional, she said, "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned." The priest said, "Confess your sins and be forgiven." The young woman said, "Last night my boyfriend made mad, passionate love to me seven times." The priest thought long and then said, "Squeeze seven lemons into a glass and drink the juice." The young woman asked, "Will this cleanse me of my sins?"
The priest said, "No, but it will wipe that smile off of your face."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Back again. Intact.

I'm back.
I have been down in the most loverly land of Costa Rica.
Really missed you guys too.

Actually, I read some of your posts while I was there and checked my email too. I just took a break from composing any written stuff for a week. I did not drink any alcohol or smoke anything (legal or otherwise). I didn't take any drugs either. I have returned to Houston -- clean and sober. This, my friends, is a miracle. I spent many years travelling and spending time in the world's finest bars, pubs, clubs and disco's. I know how to find weed in many languages. Fortunately, for me, today these skills are a lost art. I did go to a few AA meetings however.
More on that later.

Hayden and I spent a couple of days in San Jose (the capital city of 1 million) and then hired a van to take us on the 4+ hour road trip through the mountains and villages to the Pacific Coast resort of Quepos and Manuel Antonio. (click on names for more info) I'll post a few pictures for a few days with brief explanations, but if you wanna really know what Costa Rica is like, well, you know what to do ...

This picture was from the small patio of our hotel room of the gay resort we stayed at. The place had 24 rooms scattered throughout a rainforest, a pool and all the amenities (it was also clothing-optional; I will not post those pictures). The staff reflected the nature of almost all Costa Ricans - very friendly and helpful. They are really wonderful people.

I had countless occassions to put my recovery program into action these past days. I try to always do that, but it seemed that most events and situations were magnified. Maybe because I was out of my comfort zone. Certainly, the Steps of AA provided me with the way to handle all things, when I chose to utilize them.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Perceptions & Realities

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that tomorrow is my Mom's 84th birthday - unfortunately she must spend it in bed as the result of a stroke - unable to speak or eat. Yet she occasionally shows a spark of life and awareness which reminds me that her HP is not yet ready for her. I'll spend a little time with her and hold her hand. When I ask, she will squeeze my hand as tightly as she can and we look at each other and smile.

for a nice breakfast with my sponsor; in our 3 1/2 years together, we have really become good friends and seem to be able to talk about anything going on in our lives, with no fear of any negative consequences. He does, however, caution me from time to time about my behavior and thinking and I can take it without any resentment. This is new stuff for this old alkie.

for an AHA!! moment while watching an old movie - "Cactus Flower" -- I realized how grateful I am that the man I love is not the nymphomaniac that my brain sometimes imagines; in fact, he is the opposite

for more insight from my therapist who has given me some things to work on over the next few days and weeks (Who am I kidding? They are things I need to work on for the rest of my life!)
that the pitchers and catchers report to spring training today for the 46th season of The Hosuton Astros

I am out of town and will be back before you know it - maybe tomorrow, maybe not. I may be able to post on here, maybe not. If you can't handle that, call your sponsor.

"I was told once... in all your awful relationships you must remember the common denominator
----------->YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
~ unknown

The Birds and the Bees

A father asked his 10-year-old son if he knew about the birds and the bees.

"I don't want to know!" the child said, bursting into tears. "Promise me you won't tell me!"

Confused, the father asked what was wrong.

The boy sobbed, "When I was six, I got the 'There's no Santa' speech. At seven, I got the 'There's no Easter Bunny' speech. When I was eight, you hit me with the 'There's no Tooth Fairy' speech. Now if you're going to tell me that grownups don't really get laid, I'll have nothing left to live for."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

one of my cats helping me to pack my little clothing storage device for an upcoming trip


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got to hear an AA story of one of my favorite recovery friends yesterday -- he speaks with wisdom, honesty, sincerity and loves to laugh at himself

that I am loyal friend and employee and always have been

that as I try to fashion my life according to the principles behind AA's Twelve Steps, there is a possibility of becoming a better human being in my relationshipis with other human beings

that we've had 16 persons at the 6:30am Eyes Wide Shut AA meeting the past 2 days -- we average about 10 each morning

that I have never been one to try to be perfect, except during waking hours

for my health, wealth and a plane ticket

There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.
~ unknown

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Pink Heart Day

I wonder if this guy is a building superintendent?

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for concrete evidence that I have a mental illness, although nothing is cast in cement

for impromptu phone calls from Hayden that lift my spirits even higher

that a friend who is very serious about his recovery volunteered to be the alternate GSR at the Eyes Wide Shut Group of A.A.

that you guys were right when you said more shall be revealed

to see friends in recovery making positive changes in their lives (although 2 of them will soon be moving away)

that I decided to try a new international long-distance carrier which should save me some $$$$

"When the guy at the door said, 'Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,' I just assumed it was more supplies."
- Unknown

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Courage, occasionally

The Happy Couple

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that when I woke up this morning, I was the me I am getting to know. I prayed to my HP for guidance to do His will instead of mine (which is my instinct).

for the WE of the program of A.A. -- yesterday my brain was acting up on me and the insanity would not stop. I was making assumptions because of misguided perceptions that had nothing to do with any reality and as each minute passed, it got worse. I prayed to my HP to please help me, to please make it stop! Within seconds, a friend in recovery who had just returned after a relapse asked to talk with me. After speaking with him for about 10 minutes, he asked me to sponsor him and help him with the steps. From that moment, my own insanity took a back seat to his. My HP works in mysterious and somewhat unpredictable ways. The remainder of the day flew by as usual.

that I can make phone calls these days to admit when I'm nutty and remain accountable to others and myself

that I treated myself to an hour-and-a-half-long massage

for the power and sensibility in this reading (you may have seen it already, but for most of us, it's worth reading repeatedly)

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.
-Rabindranath Tagore

Monday, February 12, 2007

Another rainy day

As a gay man, I understand what discrimination is about. As a white man who has lived in numerous African countries, I know what discrimination is about. As an alcoholic, I understand what discrimination is about.
What I DO NOT comprehend is why gay people are so discriminatory against other gays, just because of political or religous beliefs.
This seems to be the ultimate hypocrisy.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful and thAAnkful

for another weekend of non-isolating (this is big stuff for me)

that I stepped out of my comfort zone long enough to attend a sober party at a human's home

that I try to be non-discriminatory towards living creatures - I have decided to leave that to my HP, thus relieving me of another burden

that I am slowly learning to keep my mouth shut when it doesn't need to open

that I will be taking a trip soon to spend a week with Hayden to a place neither of us have ever been, but for security reasons, I will not disclose when

that we're due for some neat weather later today (thunderstorms, windy)

The man who can't dance thinks the band is no good.
-Polish Proverb

Sunday, February 11, 2007


The Itch

Nick the Dragon Slayer had a long-standing obsession to nuzzle the beautiful Queen's voluptuous breasts, but he knew the penalty for this would be death. One day he revealed his secret desire to his colleague, Horatio, the Physician, who was the King's chief doctor. Horatio the Physician exclaimed that he could arrange for Nick the Dragon Slayer to satisfy his desire, but it would cost him 1,000 gold coins to arrange it. Without pause, Nick the Dragon Slayer readily agreed to the scheme.
The next day, Horatio the Physician made a batch of itching powder and poured a little bit into the Queen's brassiere while she bathed. Soon after she dressed, the itching commenced and grew intense. Upon being summoned to the Royal Chambers to address this incident, Horatio the Physician informed the King and Queen that only a special saliva, if applied for four hours, would cure this type of itch, and that tests had shown that only the saliva of Nick the Dragon Slayer would work as the antidote to cure the itch.
The King quickly summoned Nick the Dragon Slayer.
Horatio the Physician then slipped Nick the Dragon Slayer the antidote for the itching powder, which he quickly put into his mouth, and for the next four hours, Nick worked passionately on the Queen's voluptuous and magnificent breasts. The Queen's itching was eventually relieved, and Nick the Dragon Slayer left satisfied and touted as a hero.
Upon returning to his chamber, Nick the Dragon Slayer found Horatio the Physician demanding his payment of 1,000 gold coins. With his obsession now satisfied, Nick the Dragon Slayer couldn't have cared less and, knowing that Horatio the Physician could never report this matter to the King, shooed him away with no payment made.
The next day, Horatio the Physician slipped a massive dose of the same itching powder into the King's shorts. The King immediately summoned Nick the Dragon Slayer...
The moral of the story - - Pay Your Bills.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Miracles Never Cease

Our blogger buddy
PHIL at Recrum: Recovery Ruminations
just celebrated his 2nd A.A. anniversary.
That is a true miracle.
Phil's had a rough time of it, so drop by and leave him a note if you have the opportunity.

"The unity of A.A. is the most cherished quality our Society has. Our lives, the lives of all to come, depend squarely upon it. Without unity, the heart of A.A. would cease to beat; our world arteries would no longer carry the life-giving grace of God."
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 129

Friday, February 09, 2007

Big foot Friday

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for meeting topics yesterday of: Tradition 7 and Honesty -- a nice combination (I may try to begin putting the meeting topics from the previous day's meetings here, just to see what comes up)

that the words "may" and "try" are both legal loopholes, or other ways to describe my inaction

that I picked up the phone to call Hayden yesterday (an international call) and he was already on the other end, calling me (to be fair, we were working out some travel arrangements, but it was just very strange that we would be calling each other at exactly the same moment since we had not spoken since the day before)

that my therapist has pinpointed my fear of abandonment and fear of trust in others as probably my most prominent fears - they seem to be at the root of many of my defects of character (behaviour)

for awareness, which is how recovery progresses

for a reminder from Pam that today I get to choose how I will treat people - it's my decision and mine alone

for another nice turnout at HNT yesterday - I wish all of you guys would link back to your blogs

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.
-Paul Boese

Thursday, February 08, 2007

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

my new bathrobe;

a recent present from a person residing on a small island in the caribbean

while you're here,
go visit the other crazies at

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Boston finally had the opportunity to tell a wee bit of her story

that Hayden has an ability to calm my out-of-control brainwaves when they begin to spin. We're planning a get-together soon to a place neither of us has ever been; stay tuned to where that might occur. LOL

for a morning spent with the family CPA going over tax matters
arghhhhhhh !!

that we've had 3 days of spring-like weather, but winter is not over yet here in Houston

that I may have enough firewood to last through the final cold front

that these boots were made for walkin' CLICK HERE

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one.
-Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I will not regret the past ...

I was fortunate to get to meet some fellow recovering bloggers last night.

left to right:

Anonymous Biker...a.k.a. Mike
Sobriety is Exhausting...a.k.a. Pam
Attitude of Gratitude...a.k.a. Scott W
yours truly (and sincerely)

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Scott and I got to attend an AA meeting with Pam, her daughter and Mike and then go for a coffee at Starbucks and be joined by Matt

that if I am working my recovery program the way I want to, my recognition of powerlessness will always be a reminder of my past and a reasonable guess at my future

that I am really really trying to practice what I teach

that having a level playing field is all in my mind - it's all about attitude

that Hayden treats me better than I treat myself

that my friends treat me better than I treat myself - wassup with that?

that tomorrow is hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy - join us!

Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.
-Robert Orben

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This day of my life ...

The 4 stages
of life

i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I am no longer a spiritual virgin

for a great reminder that as a very very sick alcoholic, I never have enough of what I want, no matter how much of it I get (this is often quite true for me)

for the concept of Step 5 and the relationship that it helped to nurture in my early sobriety

for the challenges that my HP lays in my path and the attitudes I now have to choose from

that I get to meet the world-famous Motorcycle Mike of Denver this evening at Lambda for an AA meeting, then maybe coffee at Starbucks

What is beautiful is not always good, but what is good is always beautiful.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Judgemental? ME?

"You want me to do what!?"

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I am aware that my mind is a dangerous place

that since getting sober 3 years and 5 months ago, I am not angry

a great meeting on being judgemental. It made me think of my lack of love and tolerance, both for myself and for others. After all, those are supposed to be my new code!

~~ (opinion) I also think that humans are naturally judgemental. From the earliest years, many of us are taught to be competitive (grades in school, athletics, etc) which is a nice word for judgemental. Religions seem to be extremely judging of everyone. Many people judge their friends and foes by their views on politics and even by the clothes they wear. The list goes on and on. ~~ (opinion over)

that Motorcycle Mike will be in Houston this week and with some luck, we can meet up

that I have not yet met all the friends I will meet during my lifetime

for some very nice words after I told my AA story Saturday night. Because of my low self-esteem, I thought people were just trying to make me feel better. I find it very difficult to accept compliments gracefully (with aplomb). My home-group supplied a feast of Bar-B-Que and all the fixins.

Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.
-Babe Ruth

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Iraqi Traffic Jam

A friend sent this link to me. As I watched it, I realized that it's very similar to many places that I have been. In most (not all, but most) 3rd world countries, this type of driving behavior is normal. It's every man out for himself, with little or no consideration for driving laws.

I live in Houston. This looks kinda like a Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Interactive Insurance Man

We have all seen the ads. Now you can tour the caveman's crib, even visit with him in the shower, change the tunes on his MP3 player, and get the recipe in the kitchen for the "roast duck with mango salsa" that he orders in one of the TV ads.
It is an interactive sort of thing.

It's all in the process

A blonde heard that milk baths would make her beautiful.
She left a note for her milkman to leave 25 gallons of milk. When the milkman read the note, he felt there must be a mistake.
He thought she probably meant 2.5 gallons. So he knocked on the door to clarify the point. The blonde came to the door and the milkman said, "I found your note to leave 25 gallons of milk. Did you mean 2.5 gallons?"
The blonde said, "I want 25 gallons. I'm going to fill my bathtub up with milk and take a milk bath so I can look young and beautiful again."
The milkman asked, "Do you want it pasteurized?"
The blonde said, "No, just up to my tits. I can splash it on my eyes."

Friday, February 02, 2007

No monsters under my bed

A friend just bought a vehicle nearly identical to mine. His has a few more options, like a sunroof.

By the time I got to A.A., I had just about run out of options.

That's me on the left.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that the concepts of Acceptance, Being the Best I Can Be and Turning It Over to My Higher Power all promise to keep me busy for the forseeable future

for some new ways of looking at my actions, courtesy of my therapist

that I have a busy weekend and probably won't have much time to isolate

for the really great participation on HNT

that I got to go to the International Auto Show last night

that I finally found out what you call a fish with no eyes. A f s h

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.
-Frank Tyger

Thursday, February 01, 2007

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

This is my passport that expired a few years ago. I travelled so much that the State Department inserted extra pages when it was filled up with stamps. My current passport has no stamps in it. That needs to change. Soon.

drop by and visit my fellow sober travellers at

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I can still make my Mom smile with a few silly words

that I got to hear about some really great recovery from Laurel K at the noon meeting yesterday

for A.A. "program" calls

that I truly have no hatred towards another human nor do I wish for any human to die -- I've been reading a few blogs where people write about actually wanting other humans (Bush, Castro, etc...) to die. My HP does not allow me to think that way and I'm glad I don't have to carry that weight on my shoulders. I'm just sayin' ...

that Ricky! has started posting again. Yea!!!

that we only have to endure another 642 friggin' days of campaigning for President

If it frustrates you that they don't allow laptops on a Ferris wheel, you may be a workaholic.
-Dr. Donald E. Wetmore