Monday, November 30, 2009

The Joy of Living

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for all of the opportunities available to me as a 55 year-old man in recovery with a lot of time on his hands

for 4 intense days of recovery, from the morning of Thanksgiving to Sunday evening

for the wonderful AA speakers I got to hear over the past few days, including Don N. (Hollywood), Theresa F. (Los Angeles), Artis G. (Tulsa) -- there were more and they were all good to listen to, but these were my personal favorites

that my sponsor will co-chair the 2010 Houston Roundup

If I have seen farther than other men it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
- Isaac Newton

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The New Edsel for 1958

The Edsel was the original Yugo. It was the colossal failure to which all future failures would be compared.

But the car wasn’t just a lemon. It was also a catastrophe of marketing. “Despite several features that were not necessarily innovations — a vertical grille, self-adjusting brakes, Teletouch transmission buttons on the steering wheel and a floating speedometer that glowed when a preset speed was reached — the Edsel was panned by the public,” wrote Dave Kinney in The New York Times two years ago.

“Among other things, it was derided for having a grille that looked like a toilet seat. Time magazine popularized the wisecrack that it looked like an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.” That distinguishing feature was more affectionately known as the horse collar grille.

The Edsel was introduced on Sept. 4, 1957, or E-Day. Based on the standard Ford body, the Edsel was a big car that could seat six people in comfort and guzzle gas with similar ease. The Edsel was styled to portray more of an upscale look. “They’ll know you’ve arrived when you drive up in a 1958 Edsel,” declared the narrator in the first Edsel television commercial. Yes, there was truth to that advertising.

Ford originally intended to create a standalone Edsel division with 1,300 independent dealers, and the company promoted the car with a television special, “The Edsel Show,” hosted by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

The problem, according to historians, was that the United States was entering a recession, and the public’s appetite for conspicuous luxury was on the wane. The Edsel was a failure from the start, and Ford knew it. After the first year, the automaker drastically reduced its marketing budget for the car. By 1959, the Edsel was on its last legs. Ford made fewer than 3,000 1960 models, including about 70 convertibles, before the final Edsel came off the assembly line in November.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's all about recovery

Cats can be soooooooo dramatic!

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that we're on Day 2 of the Houston Roundup.

that I'm a little pressed for time this morning; so many meetings to be at. Love it!

that I co-chair a Step 1 workshop this morning.

that I had the honor of co-chairing Lambda Center's largest AA meeting of the year yesterday at 12:15pm. It was, of course, all about gratitude. And there were about 200 people in attendance.

What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.
- Ellen Burstyn

Thursday, November 26, 2009

turkeys galore

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for today and all of its possibilities

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
- Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grateful for Beautiful Music


You may never have heard the full rendition of Il Silenzioa, otherwise known as "Taps". This is a beautiful rendition. The girl's name is Melissa Venema and is playing with maestro Andre Rieu from Masstricht in the Netherlands . Don't know her age -- looks like early teens, but says she has been performing for years. At this performance in 2008, city officials sealed off the town square and closed everything down so they get perfect noise control!

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

from a story we read yesterday -- "WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY"

... "I realize how true it is that one of the primary differences between alcoholics and nonalcoholics is that nonalcoholics change their behavior to meet their goals and alcoholics change their goals to meet their behavior." I pretty much had no goals other than to party. I did enough to keep my job(s), but not a lot more.

... "One definition of a bottom is the point when the last thing you lost or the next thing you are about to lose is more important to you than booze. That point is different for everyone, and some of us die before we get there." First I lost my partner and then I lost my mind. My soul was just about gone too.

that I no longer have any DNA in my system (Drugs, Narcotics and Alcohol)

that I use Tradition 12 as a guideline to a lot of my behavior

that I got lots of little things accomplished yesterday

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
- Anne Frank

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a different perspective

This is not Houston in the winter.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have everything I need and much more than I can use

that I got to substitute as chair of the noon meeting yesterday -- it was all about Step 1

that there's more than one way to get sober;
I think I picked the best one

that I no longer begin my day with a cigarette and a joint; that I no longer begin drinking alcohol before noon

that there's more than one way to skin a cat;
if you know more than one way, stop it now!!

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.
- Doug Larson

Monday, November 23, 2009

back to business

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I attended a very spiritual (IMHO) AA birthday night @ Lambda Center. Here we celebrate annual milestones once monthly as a Center. Lambda is host to about 40 AA meetings each week. This month, my friend Scott W (Attitude of Gratitude) celebrated his sixth year of continuous sobriety. I paid him handsomely to give yours truly a big shout-out during his short acceptance talk. NOT!!

that I had the honor and privilege to listen to a sponsee's 5th Step over the weekend. It never ceases to amaze me what a moving experience this can be.

that I am on the Houston Roundup Committee and had the privilege to preview the annual play that will be performed next weekend in front of about 300 recovery peeps.

When one teaches, two learn.
- Robert Half

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A seasonal quip

First Christmas Joke

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

'In honor of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'

The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. 'It represents a candle', he said.

'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.

The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'

Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.

The third man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'

The man replied, 'These are Carols.'

Friday, November 20, 2009

Welcome to Friday

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I was asked to help a friend through the AA steps; this will be good for both of us

for a reminder from Mary Christine of how much I always felt at home whenever and wherever I walked into a bar.
And I've been in thousands of them.

that I've studied the AA traditions with my sponsor and in meetings as well. Knowledge of how the traditions came to be what they are today is pretty good AA history, for those who are interested. This is for sure though; without those traditions in place, Alcoholics Anonymous would not exist.
We would have imploded decades ago.

that I still take interest in Lambda Center fundraising and service work in general

Experience is not what happens to a man.
It is what a man does with what happens to him.
- Aldous Huxley

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All the world's a stage ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I had the pleasure of attending 2 very powerful AA meetings yesterday AND a very good Al-Anon meeting as well

that I belong

that Scott W stayed sober another day

that we read Acceptance Was the Answer (a story from page 407 of the 4th edition of the Big Book) in the 6:30am AA meeting.
Here are a few excerpts ...

... "If you had my responsibilities, if you needed the sleep like I do, you'd drink too."
... "The pep pills affected my hearing at times: I couldn't listen fast enough to hear what I was saying."
... "In the hospital, I hung on to the idea I'd had most of my life: that if I could just control the external environment, the internal environment would then become comfortable."
... "To this day, I am amazed at how many of my problems -- most of which had nothing to do with drinking, I believed -- have become manageable or have simply disappeared since I quit drinking."
... "And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment."

OK. I'll stop here.

Self-discipline is when your conscience tells you to do something and you don't talk back.
- W.K. Hope

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scott is SIX !!!!!!

Today, my friend SCOTT W celebrates his sixth consecutive year of remaining sober. But Scott's not just sober, he's well into his recovery from alcohol and the thinking that goes with drinking way too much.
Drop by and say howdy to SCOTT W, (click here) whose picture I have modified to protect his innocence anonymity.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for those I've gotten to know in sobriety who are still there; I realize that the longer I stay sober, the fewer will be around who were here when I got here

that I try to pace myself through life rather than run as fast as I can (usually)

that I've always lived by the mantra that I'd rather work smart than hard (this works for me, but not for others, apparently)

that we read the story on page 407 of the 4th edition of the Big Book yesterday -- I'll wait until tomorrow to comment on the good stuff

Nothing makes you like other human beings so much as doing things for them.
- Zora Neale Hurston

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Omniscient NOT!

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for reminders how just the littlest thing can make a difference to someone; this may be something I share in a meeting or just a greeting at the door to an AA meeting. The moral to this story is that I just need to continue to be the best I can be -- at all times.

that Step Twelve reminds me to practice these principle in ALL my affairs

that I will substitute-chair an AA meeting this morning -- as a group, we will read, then discuss several pages of the Big Book

that I don't know what may happen today, but I'm pretty sure what won't happen.

Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.
- Mark Twain

Monday, November 16, 2009

into the unknown

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that early on in my life of AA meetings, I heard that God made the Earth round so that we wouldn't know what's around the corner.
This statement helped me get over the hump I had been facing in accepting a Higher Power. Not long after I heard this, I was able to surrender my drinking life over to my new concept of a HP. If you know someone who is having trouble with Step 2, you might want to mention it to them.

for another peaceful, serene weekend

that a friend I made 6 years ago when I first began going to AA meetings has returned. I had not seen him since I was about 4 months sober. Today, he has 6 days clean and sober and I hope he's ready to do whatever it takes. Somehow though, I have my doubts. We've had a couple of long talks over the weekend about getting sober -- and staying sober!!

Faith and doubt both are needed, not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.
- Lillian Smith

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Overshooting the airport

I love Dean Martin and his old show.
Not only did he have a beautiful singing voice but was a fine comedian as well.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ring a bell?

Update at 7:05am CST...........

Ron Claiborne of ABC News/GMA Weekend just reported that the massive storm (the remnants of Hurricane Ida) has "killed nearly 6 people" so far.

This non-understanding of the English language is so damn typical of journalism these days.

As you may notice, this is one of my pet peeves.

Friday, November 13, 2009

F the 13th

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the not-so-hidden messages in Step 7 of Alcoholics Anonymous -- "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."

... we now clearly see that we have been making unreasonable demands upon ourselves, upon others, and upon God.

... the chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear -- primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded.

... Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration.

It tells us that we need to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings. If I can find the same degree of humility that enabled me to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession (my drinking) could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem I (we) could possibly have.

What an order! But I can go through with it.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
- John Quincy Adams

Thursday, November 12, 2009


todAAy i AAM grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Bob R. shared a little bit of his experience in the AA program yesterday

that my manipulation and control of others has lessened since I got sober and even more since I began Al-Anon meetings

that I can help others even when I don't intend to; but I can also damage others, so I must be careful

that I can usually be as productive as I wish to be

Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.
- Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

it's another Wednesday

too funny ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that things are going so smoothly in my life right now, there's not much to spur my gratitude over an individual event or situation. I'm just working on some of my less damaging character defects, trying not to practice them over and over and over. Mixed results.

I continue to work my program as I've done the past few years. Why change it if it's working?

However, I know the importance of improving my conscious contact with my HP, so that never stops or remains dormant.

On another note ... I want to offer my gratitude to all veterans of the U.S. military forces. Without them, we would not be free to do the things we do.

Maturity is the ability to do a job whether or not you are supervised, to carry money without spending it, and to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.
- Ann Landers

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

hot idea

A friend sent me some pictures of old, used bumper cars that have been restored as street-legal vehicles;
I'll share a few photos this week.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm nothing special in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, neither superior nor inferior. Just another sober drunk.

for another Step 11 meeting -- I guess during November, we'll see a lot of them and I like that

for Gratitude meetings as well

to see Pam writing to us again and sounding purty darn normal (for Pam) LOL

I bought my 2009 Murano one year ago today and it had about 15 miles on it -- it now has 7650 miles on the odometer

We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.
- Charles C. West

Monday, November 09, 2009

not feeling crabby today

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got to listen to the AA story of someone who has been around AA for 39 years

for all the "We of the program" meetings lately

that I have all these reminders about how I could not get sober or (most likely) stay sober by myself

that we've had our last 2009 Houston Roundup Committee meeting -- I was secretary again this year and won't miss doing all the minutes and reports

that I'm still alive after all the damn cookies I ate this weekend

All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others.
- Michael Carr

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

knowing the difference

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm not what I was, but I can be better than I am now

that I have no power over the way my HP makes things happen but I do have control over how I react to those things

that I chose to react differently yesterday to a situation that once would have caused me to explode in a public tantrum; yesterday, I just walked away from a volatile situation

for my sponsees; they keep me grounded when I feel like flying

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
- Bertrand Russell

Thursday, November 05, 2009


one of the winners in a sand castle competition

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Step 11 improvement -- when I look at where I was 6 years ago when I stopped drinking, I am amazed at the evolution of my own spirituality. I also know that this must continue, and it will as long as I keep doing what I'm doing.

for Fi. She's a most lovely woman from Dublin who occasionally visits Houston and comes to AA meetings at Lambda while here. She shared her experience yesterday with us before headin gfo rthe airport and then back home to Ireland. I hope that she and my significant other can connect later this month while he is in Dublin.

that I saw a PBS salute to Bill Cosby, winner of the Mark Twain Prize. It included performances by well-known comics and musicians. Great stuff! I first knew of Bill cosby back in 1966 when he was just getting started. I think I had his first album. I would have been about 12 years old.

that I know from my own recent experience that Pam will come through her current situation just fine; it just takes time

that another baseball season is done; I'm not a Yankees fan

Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins.
- Sioux Indian prayer

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I snapped this photo across the street from my house.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the rewards of being the best I can be

that I voted in another election, thus exercising a privilege that some don't have

that I got a new mobile phone, had trouble getting the settings right, didn't blow a gasket (my normal, old behavior)

Good and evil do not befall men without reason. Heaven sends them happiness or misery according to their conduct.
- Confucius

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


The Texas way to hunt

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the multitude of ways that being accountable keeps my behavior in check, the least of which is Step 10

for some clarity of thought on a number of very minor issues

that my November calendar is filling up with busy stuff to do -- that's kinda new for me

that time changes have never had any effect on me; I don't even notice it, whether it's 1 hour or 10 hours (flying)

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
- Ernest Hemingway

Monday, November 02, 2009

I smile at such a sally

This may be the best costume I've seen.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to see people recovering from active alcoholism

that yesterday we had a meeting about some of the paradoxes we hear in AA meetings; ie: you have to give it away to keep it. Do you have one? Let me know in the comment section.

for Rule 62 (if you dont' know what that is, look it up or ask your sponsor; if your sponsor doesn't know what it is, get a new sponsor)

to see all the great costumes at Lambda Center on Halloween

for perfect weather during the weekend

We cannot hold a torch to light another person’s path without brightening our own.
- Ben Sweetland

Sunday, November 01, 2009

and on another note ...

While watching GMA on ABC a few minutes ago ...

1) there was a 4 or 5 minute report on the High School gang rape in Richmond, California that happened during Prom Night last weekend. (up to 10 young men raped a girl while many more watched and some even took pictures).
ABC interviewed the superintendent of the school district and he talked about the need to review the security procedures. NOT ONCE was there any mention of the parents of any of those kids or of their responsibility. I think I see where some of the problem lies.

2) The next report on GMA on ABC was about the return of Brett Farve to the NFL after coming back from his multiple retirements. They talked about how he had "the audacity" to beat his old team, the Green Bay Packers. At no time was there any consideration whatsoever that his current team, the Minnesota Vikings, has other team members that may have taken part in that win over Green Bay. ABC seems to think Mr Farve is completely responsible for the wins of his team. Bullshit!!!!!

There. Now I feel better.

still growing

This is from page 29 of Courage to Change. I really identify with it and it's been a good aid in my recovery.

"Sometimes the only way I can determine whether I'm trying to control someone else or whether I'm simply expressing my feelings is by noticing how many times I say the same thing. If I mention something that is on my mind and then let it go no matter what the response I get, I am speaking sincerely. If I repeatedly make similar suggestions or ask prodding questions again and again, I am probably trying to control. If I am satisfied only when the other person responds in a way I consider desirable -- agrees with what I've said or takes my advice --- then I know I've lost my focus."

Gosh. Recovery ain't easy.
I hope your Halloween was good. And safe.