Tuesday, July 25, 2006

There's No Place Like Home(group)

I went to a meeting at the place I got sober last night. It is a clubhouse. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got sober in that place. It is literally insane at times.

Members would get kicked out of other groups in the area and come to our group and become trusted servants LOL. Fortunately there were a couple guys that were all about getting "SOBER" sober through the steps. I especially thank God for those people.

When I would get sick of this place and some of my friends stopped going, I always remember those guys who probably could have gone to the “less toxic” meetings but instead took the time to come back and carry a message of hope to a place where there was little.

So last night a fellow chaired the meeting who I will not even attempt to describe other than to say he has been sober a long time but is borderline insane and not so borderline obnoxious. Rather than give a 3 minute lead after reading the first step, he decided to tell his 20 minute war story complete with the blood and guts doom and gloom. He eventually talked about “recovery” which amounted to essentially a lecture on how everyone else does sobriety wrong. At one point some bleeding deacon's intervened from the floor and a shouting match ensued.

I think I felt God leave the meeting.

After a brief break where I enjoyed a large cup bad coffe, the meeting resumed. Actually the 2nd half of the meeting was quite good... glad I didn't quit before the miracle ;-) The new guy got lots of warm welcomes and and free cigarettes … one of the gals gave him a big hug … I’m pretty sure he wanted what she had so I think he will be back.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Headed out of town first thing in the AM. I've Been real busy getting ready both at work and at home (how did we ever find time to drink).

I did get to take a meeting into a homeless shelter downtown this morning which keeps it real, but not much time for blogging.

I did manage to get most everything done and save time for a date before I leave town. I just rembered I have stuff from the library that has to be returned before I leave though ... oh well First Things First ;)

I am hoping I can find time for blogging a bit while away. It is mostly business, but I will get to meet with some old friends and family and of course meetings. And there are those couple of amends to make while back home.

  • But for the grace of God
  • My job
  • My family who are looking forward to seeing me and me them
  • Page 84 thru 88

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Small Gifts & Big Memories

I was looking through some "stuff" and enjoying the memories.

I don't know if "Len" is sober ... but one night (while drunk) he gave me a copy of the "Daily Reflections" and scrawled in it that he was really going to try to stay sober. Maybe he is sober somewhere ??????

The first guy I ever took through the 3rd step gave me this 10 years later.

A guy I sponsored (and a very good friend) gave me this when I moved accross the country 2 years ago.

  • Sobriety
  • The paths God has allowed me to cross and the people traveling them
  • AA
  • That by taking these pics I realized how badly my book shelf needs dusting

Monday, July 17, 2006

Thoroughly Followed Our Path

I was hiking the other night at sundown. I was nearing the last leg of the mountain path I was traveling. It occured to me that if I stayed on the path, I would be back to my car in 5 minutes or so.

The "path" leads to sobriety, peace and being usefully whole ... off the path ... hike at my own risk. Off the path are snakes, scorpions and various other creatures of the night that do not have my best interest in mind ... on the path ... a proven means to the desired end.

I am grateful that the path has been created and that if I simply stay on it I can enjoy the view as I travel. God willing and with a little willingness on my part, no search & rescue parties will be needed for me today.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


"Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!" -BB p.100

I grateful for:
  • The Snooze Button

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Burning Desires, Gratitude & AM Pipe Dreams

I really had some nasty cigarette cravings today "burning desires" I suppose. I ate a small lunch and went for a 15 minute walk (it's about 110°F out so the smoke is not very appealing at this point.) I am hunkered down in the office with a Banana, an apple, a box of "Ice Breakers" gum and a whole afteroons worth of work now. Of course it was "bring God to work day" again today, so he is close by.

It may sound silly, but I have an mp3 of Louis' Armstrong singing What a Wonderful World (mp3) on my PC desktop. When I get a craving at work, I double click it. The song just seems to fill me with gratitude and reminds me what a shame it would be to cut short my time in my "Wonderful Sober World" ... Of course an attitude of gratitude is what keeps it a wonderful world. Sometimes I take a quick peek at the Phototrail thing here on the blog too which gives me an extra shot of gratitude.

I am helping another temporary sponsee with a 4th/5th step tonight, and my home group meeting is tomorrow. My sponsor, who has a year less than me (yes that may have been my ego) , will be getting a cake ... I'm thinking it might be good for his ego to receive his 11 year chip as a hand me down from a sponsee :P (that would be me). Either my out door meeting or a possible date on Friday (lets not go there today though) ... what's the point ... simply that life is pretty full of good stuff at the moment ... and it is conducive to maintaining my mental, spiritual and physical health. I know this won't always be possible so I am really trying to be grateful for it every day.

Speaking of which, if you haven't seen the Johnny Cash "Hurt" Video (below) give it a watch. This is a really special day... it's called TODAY.

We have a visitor staying at the house from back east (a friend of my daughters). No problems with that, but between the visitor and myAA stuff, I can't get a hike in until at least Friday. MC (Anonymous Alcoholic) with her incessant blogging about early morning workouts (j/k MC please keep it up ;) ) has inspired me to make an attempt to actually get up tomorrow waaaaaayyyyy to effin' early and get a Hike in before work. I guess I can fill my water bottle with coffee ????

Vegas odds on this actually happening are currently about 99 to 1 against.

Tune in tomorrow for either a beautiful sunrise picture or a story of how I took my alarm clock in best out of 3 falls.

I'm really grateful:
  • I haven't smoked today
  • My health
  • My one smoking co-worker is keeping his smoking away from me
  • The other smoking co-worker quit last week
  • Total strangers who inspire me by sharing their "stuff" and in the process become a little less "stranger-er" er .... you get the point.
  • I am proud of my daughter
  • I can play mp3's on my computer
  • I had 12 step work yesterday and today
  • I am eating healthier and have broken the 200 pound mark (goal is 190) BTW, this is the first time I have actually watched my weight since I wrestled in high school.
  • For fathers day, my mom bought me this cool electronic scale that measures weight, body fat and other bad news and I am actually using it.
Hey my cravings are gone !!

Hump Day Alky-Track - "Sunday Morning Coming Down" / "Hurt"

While looking for the "Sunday Morning" video, I found "Hurt" to round out a decidely somber Double Shot of Johnny Cash this week.

"Sunday Morning Coming Down" (VIDEO)
It's a lonley disease.

"Hurt" (VIDEO)
This is just one of the most hauntingly intense performances I have seen or heard.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Well I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head, that didn't hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad
So I had one more for dessert
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day

I'd smoked my mind the night before
With cigarettes and the songs I'd been pickin'
But I lit my first and watched a small kid
Playin' with a can that he was kicking
Then I walked across the street
And caught the Sunday smell of someone's fryin' chicken
And it took me back to somethin'
That I'd lost somewhere, somehow along the way

On a Sunday morning sidewalk
I'm wishing Lord that I was stoned
'Cause there's something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone
And there's nothin' short of dyin'
That's half as lonesome as the sound
Of a sleepin' city sidewalk
And Sunday mornin' comin' down

In the park I saw a daddy
With a laughin' little girl who he was swingin'
And I stopped beside a Sunday school
And listened to the songs they were singin'
Then I headed down the street
And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringin'
And it echoed thru the canyon
Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday

On a Sunday morning sidewalk
I'm wishing Lord that I was stoned
'Cause there's something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone
And there's nothin' short of dyin'
That's half as lonesome as the sound
Of a sleepin' city sidewalk
And Sunday mornin' comin' down
I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel.
I focus on the pain, the only thing that's real.
The needle tears a hole, the old familiar sting.
Try to kill it all away, but I remember everything.
What have I become? My sweetest friend.
Everyone I know,goes away in the end.
And you could have it all, my empire of dirt.

I will let you down, I will make you hurt.

I wear this crown of thorns, upon my liar's chair.
Full of broken thoughts, I cannot repair.
Beneath the stains of time, the feelings disappear.
You are somewhere else. I am still right here.

What have I become? My sweetest friend.
Everyone I know, goes away in the end.
And you could have it all, my empire of dirt.

I will let you down. I will make you hurt.

If I could start again, a million miles away.
I would keep myself. I would find a way.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gratitude, Beurocracy and Booze

Today I am grateful for many things but especially that I am not an active alky in Russia.

Whine all you like ... there's no booze in Moscow
Monday July 10, 2006
By Andrew Osborn
MOSCOW - Buying a bottle of whisky in Moscow has become mission impossible. Shelves once full of imported wine, increasingly popular in the booming capital, have been swept clear.
Could vodka, Russia's national drink, be next?
Famed for their hard drinking, Russians are facing the country's most serious alcohol shortage in 20 years .
.. (more)

To our brothers and sisters in Moscow who might be ready ... Будет упование (there is hope).

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tell me why (I don't like Mondays)

Not a bad Monday ...

I usually just kind of "get through" Monday. God says that is wasting 1/7th of my week... I think God said it ... anyway, I decided I will buy Baegals on Monday mornings for the office ... we usually do snacks on Thursday. Don't ask me what baegals has to do with not emotionally wasting Mondays ... I guess I figured that:
1) It is kind of like doing a small piece of service work at the office.
2) I really like baegals.

I haven't mentioned that became a non-smoker recently... this afternoon has been particularly difficult for that ... maybe I will have another Baegal and ask God to remove the obsession.

I went Hiking last night at sundown. I see these two girls jogging up the same path that I had just struggled to walk up ... they were not even breathing hard ... all chipper and hahahaha Thanks to AA, I did NOT push them off the side of the mountain. (I was probably too tired anyway) I'm so spiritual :p

While standing at a lookout point, I saw a guy and his 2 kids pointing off into the distance. I asked what was up, and they said the Space Shuttle would be visable in a few minutes. It finally came along. It just looked like a big star really but moving accross the sky.

The kids were about 9 or 10. I love kids, especially other people's at that age ... the one Kid says "this reminds me of when I saw Mars". The other kid says "Yeah well did you ever see Uranus (pronouncing it YOUR-anus of course). The other kid says "Yeah I hear it's nice this time of year". I am easily entertained.

I picked up a second temporary sponsee at the 12 step workshop yesterday so I will be doign 2 4th/5th steps this week... being AA busy is usually good for me though.

2 Weeks until I go back east for 12days ... mostly work, but some visiting with friends and family and a day at the Jersey Shore.

I like my sober life... I never thought that would be possible... I honestly thought it would just have to be endured... I love it when AA proves me wrong!

"It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment only leads to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic whose hope is the maintenence and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinately grave... we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit, the insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again." BB p. 66

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Trust God, CLEAN HOUSE & Help Others

I had a nice date last night. Had Breakfast with my sponsor today and went to a morning meeting ... speaker told my story, topic was 3rd step. Going to a 2nd meeting tonight ... "As Bill Sees It" When I'm off the beam I don't really care how Bill sees it ;) I am looking forward to the meeting tonight though.

Any way, I am getting motivated to spend several hours cleaning around the house today... oh yeah /sarcasm ... I'm almost there. We have a guest coming in town for a week and I was looking around thinking why is cleaning my actual house any less important than cleaning my "AA house" ... so here we go.

"NEXT (immediately following as in sequence and time) we set out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning..." - BB P63

Friday, July 07, 2006

D8 2nite

I have a date tonight. She seems nice enough, but is not in the program which always leaves that certain awkwardness regarding "so why is it you don't drink?". That question on a first date sort of reminds me of pulling on a loose sweater string. It is difficult to find an end to it.

I think I will order steak.

I hope this is unrelated to the date, but todays reading ...

From "24 Hours A Day" for today:

Meditation for the Day

Painful as the present time may be, you will one day see the reason for it. You will see that it was not only testing, but also a preparation for the life work, which you are to do. Have faith that your prayers and aspirations will some day be answered. Answered in a way that perhaps seems painful to you but is the only right way. Selfishness and pride often make us want things that are not good for us. They need to be burned out of our natures. We must be rid of the blocks, which are holding us back, before we can expect our prayers to be answered.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be willing to go through a time of testing. I pray that I may trust God for the outcome.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hump Day Alky-Track - "The Devil's Real"

A couple years ago, a friend in the program turned me on to Chris Smither. If you haven't heard him, he is a folk/blues singer songwriter who took hiatus in the late 70's and early 80's. After recovering from alcoholism, much of his writing took on a deeper, spiritual tone. I love the lyrics to this song. The last 3 lines remind me of steps 3 thru12.

You can hear a short sound clip of him playing this song live HERE (real audio)

The Devil’s Real
Chris Smither

The Devil ain’t a legend, the Devil’s real,
In the empty way he touched me where I hardly feel,
The empty hole inside me,
The nothin’ that could ride me
Down into my grave. It does not heal.
The nothin’ is a something that can suck you dry
As the whisper you can hardly hear that tells you why.

He told me, “You ain’t got no problem, you’re self-deceived.
These seeming contradictions are all make-believe.”
It was then that I decided that my life was being guided
By a second-rate dependence on first-class thieves
They told me I was breaking through when I was breaking down,
By the time I learned the difference they had long left town.

But they ain’t so malicious, they ain’t mean.
They just vaguely well-intentioned with no love I’ve seen
It’s the emptiness that kills you,
Cold comfort that can fill you
With a sense of dread that maybe things are worse than they seem.
They don’t tell you nothin’ that you don’t already know.
They keep holdin’ out the promise, but they don’t let go.

It was hard luck and trouble, bad times too.
I know I had it comin’, but I got through.
It was advice that you gave me
In a dream that saved me.
You said, “Get a new life-contract that spells out your dues.”
Took good will to find it, a clear conscience to sign it,
Now I dream about the good times and they all come true.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July

the facts seem to be these: "The more we become willing to depend on a higher power, the more independent we actually are."
12 & 12 p. 36

"True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God."
12 & 12 p. 124-125

Monday, July 03, 2006

BB workshop added to TtR web

I have added the Big Book workshop to trudgingtheroad.com. You can link to it HERE
There is a pdf version of the written materials available on the workshop page.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Baby in Black

I bought my grandaughter a new bib. She is now the world's cutiest Johnny Cash fan (IMHO).

12 Step Workshop today.

Taking the family out for breakfast this morning.

I woke up to a "tap tap tap" sound on my roof. My grand daughter's father was up on the roof already fixing the shingles. (it can rain now).

I talked to quite a few friends on the phone yesterday and went to a new meeting. Then we had the real meting for 2 hours at the diner afterward.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


I got some sad news today. I just heard a friend who I got sober with back east died.

10 years sober he picked up and spent the past 2 years struggling to get, and stay back in the program. He was a super guy and a great ball player ... when he got sober he used to tell people he played "double A" ball now... but alcoholism killed him. He hung himself.

If you want to keep his family in your prayers, his name was John.


No Rain ! - thank God

The monsoon season is almost here. The other night we had a lot of wind and some of the shingles departed from the roof. I went to Lowes 2 nights ago and bought a bundle of shingles planning to fix the roof today. Last night, the winds and lightning came and I thought for sure the rain was coming any minute. As it turned out the rain never came.

I am quite pleased with God's weather plans.

Update: After reading yesterdays daily piglet I decided to look up my Horoscope on Yahoo!

Something needs your attention to stay on course now. Maintenance is the key."

I'm thinking this has to do with the roof :p

A new cycle of a Big Book step workshop is beginning Sunday. It's a 12 steps in 4 weeks deal I am looking forward to taking someone through the steps. Week 1 , Week 2 , Week 3 , Week 4

I am grateful:
  • My living room is dry.
  • that no matter how far down the scale we've gone I can see how our experience can benefit others.
  • for a loooooong weekend.
Here's the view of the city from the Friday night "Mountain High" group: