Hiding in Plain Sight

*I don’t speak for AA*

I attended a Grapevine writing workshop in Tucson two weekends ago – the area GVR told me about it and I figured it was the least I could do as the GVR for the home group. They wanted people there who had been published in the Grapevine to share their experience with that entire process. I met five other published authors there and we all brought copies of our stories to share with the workshop. There were funny stories, tragic stories and ones that taught valuable lessons about growth. The panelists were asked to share one of their stories with the group and how that all worked – all of us did so and were met with approval until the last person shared….

Instead of reading her story and sharing on it she opted to step on a soapbox regarding anonymity. She let us know her feelings on the dangers of being too open on Facebook, too open in general and her fears about the future of AA. Sadly – most of the questions from the workshop then went to that topic instead of writing and sharing experience, strength and hope.

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Dayton, OH. AA Members – 1942 Members donned masks to protect their anonymity

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Grass in the Calipers

My car was making some noises – the brakes were squeaking and there was a “ker plunk, lunk lunk” when I’d hit bumps sounding like it came from behind the driver panel – so I took it to the shop. It’s nice that it’s still under warranty or whatever so they take care of it, when I bring it in they even wash the exterior for me. It was cold out yesterday morning (60 something) so I had the top down, heated seats and heat blasting. The dealership then puts me in a shuttle and got me to work (cute little bear cub driver too).

Around 11 they called to let me know my car was good to go – seems there was a clip not attached in the back panel on the drivers side which was causing the nosies when I hit bumps – how it got unclipped I don’t know.

The service guy said “your brakes were squealing cause you had grass in your calipers”.

“Oh” i said (I have no idea was calipers are – I don’t know much about cars… I can never find the discombobulating thing-a-ma-bobber when I need it)

The service guy wanted to know how grass got there and I couldn’t remember – until just before I fell asleep.

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Football, Chickens and Jedi Knights

For weeks we practice – we meet and discuss our game plan, our strategy. We go over in minute detail what our goal is going to be for the upcoming game – how can we keep the ball moving forward and reach the end zone?  Reviewing past games where things didn’t go so well, listening to excuses for why the ball was fumbled and nodding to assurances it won’t happen again. You’re prepared, the coach gave the pep talk, the players are anxious to get started.

You line up on the field – everyone on their toes ready to go. You do the hard count:

32 – 57 – Left – HUT HUT

You watch, seemingly in slow motion as the ball leaves the center and you grip it in your fingers… pull back to  look downfield. Continue reading

I Wake

I wake

There is no weariness in me

No remnants of terror from a nightmare

I simply wake

convinced I’ve slept well into the morn

my eyes open to darkness

the distant digital clock blinks at me that it’s a little after four

I rise and go closer, my eyes play tricks without my glasses

almost midnight when I closed my eyes, I should be weary

no pressure on my bladder, no urge to release

I force myself to go, perhaps that’s why I woke

common enough these days

returning to bed I can sense sleep on the edges

it taunts me, entices me and I long for it

stretching towards it I grasp and wrestle

sleep would be ideal, I don’t have to work tomorrow

dream tinged bubbles of reality flash before my eyes

visions of the day that was and the work week to be

fragments of  books merge with real life worries

I spend minutes that pass like hours contemplating thoughts

frustrated I toss and turn

laying on my back I breathe, slowly in and out

slowly in and out – count 1, 2, 3 exhale and think “out”

focus only on the breathing, stay focused, but

the bubbles return again, demanding to be observed, contemplated

still no weariness and sleeps seems to have slipped past the horizon

I wake and enjoy the silence – better than the struggle to sleep

Pinch Us!!

Pinch Us!!.

 

very happy for my friend Allie

On Top of Grass Mountain

I was bitten by a horse fly or some kind of damn fly… ouch. There, now I’ve complained about everything bad that happened this weekend. I’m so glad I got that off my chest, I was trying to look tough and not complain.

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When I first met my current sponsor he let me know right away that he escapes from the Phoenix heat each summer and goes off to New Mexico – it’s a good thing to know if you’re looking to get spiritual direction from a guy that he’s not going to be local for half the year. He’s a good sponsor, a good example of AA in action and I’ve shared things with him that I’ve not shared with another living being – so he matters a little bit to me (ok, a lot). Even before he left in May he suggested I come out and visit, spend a few days at his cabin and take a break. I thought that might be a good idea, and at his suggestion asked one of his other sponsees (Scott) if he’d be interested in joining me, he said yes and we tried to get a few others to go as well, but only had one taker who had to back out at the last minute due to health issues.

When I first started planning this little excursion I wasn’t sure I could get time off from my new job (only been there since February). But I asked and they were very kind to me and gave me the time off in a very nice way. I really love my job, in case you haven’t heard me talking about it recently.IMG_3662

One of the objectives of the trip was to attend my sponsors Home Away From Home Group meeting on Thursday nights so tickets were purchased to get us into Albuquerque in time to make his meeting with him. Had the flight not been delayed a little bit we would have even made it to dinner before the meeting – but that was not to be. Instead, the Sponz picked us up and had beef brisket, extra moist beef brisket and turkey, corn …. a bunch of food that we ate on the way to the meeting in Pecos about an hour away from the airport.. He thought for sure we’d be late, but we made it just at 7:00. Good little meeting – a newcomer, cheesecake bites, and the topic was ego… I enjoyed it and it just felt good to be in a meeting with the Sponz again. A fellow sponsee was there (wearing a Breaking Bad t-shirt) a local there, so nice to meet him. The meeting space is pretty unique and I hope you all see it someday in the Grapevine. Continue reading

Exercise – Is There a Cure?

I’ve been thinking a lot about exercise recently – no, no don’t worry, I’m not going to start or anything crazy like that…. I was thinking about the characteristics of it that remind me of alcoholism. No really…

Like the first time a person gets drunk, they think it’s a good idea – all their friends are doing it and so they give it a try;  before you know it they’re falling down, puking can’t walk. Going to the gym the first time can be just like that – they’re pressured into it by their friends and society, they start out on the treadmill when they get done their legs are jelly… if they run too much they’ll throw up and get dehydrated, get light-headed and dizzy…. The similarities, just start here – lets look at more examples.

They are entirely normal in every respect except in the effect exercise has upon them. They keep exercising, nothing changes for a while (just like when an alcoholic begins to drink, all seems normal for a time) then they start to lose weight, act differently, they may start to smell. Their friends are too ashamed to say anything at first, their family is concerned – they spend hours and hours away from home at the “gym” where other people understand them and can relate. If they continue on for long periods of time their body will hardly resemble the normal body at all – their exercise life seems the only normal one. Finally the exercise becomes paramount to all other things and the gym becomes like a second home.

Doing the same thing over and over – expecting different results…sounds familiar doesn’t it? Curl that weight once, no… maybe fifteen times until it hurts. The ones who may be too far gone are the ones who say they get a high off of it, that they feel good after exercising… for them there may be no hope at all, we may have to lock them in weight room with their energy bars and sports drinks and watch in horror as they slowly exercise themselves into nothingness.

Sometimes an injury will occur. First a sprain – so they slow down, they take it easy, they can manage this… this won’t stop them, and here’s how. Perhaps a torn rotator cuff would convince them that it’s dangerous and their families beg them to stop… but no, surgery and “physical therapy” so they can do it again – pain is a small price to pay, they have to exercise. We’ve seen it on the news – those athletes whose careers have come crashing down after an injury prevents them from exercising – they sink into that pit of a recliner life, doomed to watch others workout, living vicariously through their efforts…. they cannot at this point differentiate the true from the false.

It’s an addiction now – they can’t stop. Sometimes going two or three times a day to the gym, maybe a personal trainer (a.k.a. pusher) to encourage them to branch out and try new things.. the treadmill was a gateway drug, leading to more and more dangerous things that will slowly waste them away into nothingness.  They have to keep going to feel “normal” but it’s never enough – one weight, 5 laps, 20 presses… it’ll never be enough for them – they have an insatiable craving for sweat, pain, hard bodies… sick bastards.

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weights

Is there hope? A cure? I’m not sure if even a spiritual awakening would be enough to help them – most are to far gone after their second visit to the gym. I have to believe there is hope for them, I have to believe one day these folks will join us on the couch, chowing down on potato chips and ice-cream with not a care in the world… maybe someday they will be free, maybe someday they can live a normal life…

 

I Became An Old Man

I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but it was just over the last few days that I realized I’ve become an old man.. It’s not just that one of my supervisors and a former cube mate haven’t seen any of the Star Wars movies (I was stunned really – they seem like such good people too) it’s other things over the last month or so. I’m 43, not that terribly old I know but it’s the attitudes that convinced me it finally happened.

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Yesterday afternoon I went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – which I recommend – and I had to leave my row because the people on all sides of me kept using their devices. Goddamn whipper-snappers have no respect for those around them you know. There are even commercials at the movies specifically asking people not to do this but there they were just checking Facebook or Snapchat or some nonsense. I moved to the front of the theatre, like row 5 and no one was in front of me… then towards end of the movie someone took a photo using flash… WTF children, WTF.

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Reimagining How It Works

Tonight  at the meeting a guy at his very first meeting was asked to read “How It Works”. This is something most of us hear at almost every meeting we attend. There are folks that brag they can recite it from memory without looking at the book at all. I probably could if hard pressed to do so. It’s one of those things I don’t pay much attention to anymore, l hear it so often that it just something I sit through until the real meeting begins. When a newcomer reads it and stumbles over the words – members in the meeting look up. We recognize that if someone doesn’t recognize those words enough to to get them in the cadence and pronunciation that we’re so used to this person is new… and that means the potential to share the message so freely given us. It’s really the only time I see people paying attention there anymore. I’m guilty myself.

I have a friend in the program that reads along when it’s being read – he says it keeps his head in the present instead of looking around judging other people he reads each word as it’s read. I kind of like that and if I’m feeling like my mind won’t stay on track I’ll do that once in a while. Continue reading

21 July, 2014 00:59

Jamez:

pretty much sums it up

Originally posted on Mark.:

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