Going to the Wrong Meeting

Many people say there’s no such thing as a wrong meeting… but I disagree.

Once in San Antonio (SA) I looked for a meeting online and found a meeting near by marked as SAA – which I took to mean San Antonio AA. But when I walked into the room everyone kind of stared at me (more than normally), but it’s ok… sometimes I stare at people I don’t recognize at meetings also. So I sat with my coffee and got ready to attend the meeting – I was late apparently as they were in the middle of sharing already. UGH, I hate being late to a meeting.

A guy leaned over and said “Are you here for SAA?” and I nodded yes, “I’m an alcoholic, glad I found this place”. He smirked a little and said in a whisper “No, this is Sexual Addicts Anonymous”

“Oh” I said and probably turned beet red (which isn’t really a red at all it’s like a dark purple isn’t it?)  and stood up calmly and walked out – at least I hope it was calmly, I probably ran for the hills. Not that there is anything wrong with being a sexual addict… or I guess maybe there is if they’re having meetings…

Anyway… tonight I went to the wrong meeting again… but a different kind. Tony saw me last night at a meeting and asked me to share at 5:30 and I said yes… and he probably told me where but I didn’t pay attention… I assume the 5:30 meeting is at PoP so that’s were I was… early even. PoP is close to home and work.

At 5:25 I still didn’t see Tony so I texted him “PoP?” and didn’t hear back right away… but I asked Scotty “Does Tony come here on Wednesday nights?” nope, he goes to VAC… ugh, I’m at the wrong meeting. VAC is near Tempe, which isn’t far, but far enough that I was going to be late.

So I hopped into my car and started speeding across town. Tony called me after I texted “On my way!” (that just auto corrected from O M W to On My Way!, just like it did on my iPhone… I love tech) and he called and said he’d get someone there already. I apologized I need to learn to pay attention. Tony said it wasn’t a big deal and put me on the calendar for 2 weeks from today. That I can do.

Anyway, I rushed out of work at 5 and I’ll have to do it again in 2 weeks… probably good for me to leave on time anyway :-)

Age Tames the Monster

I think I’ve gotten over being so critical of AA meetings that are being run wrong or AA’s that are stupid… well maybe i’m not completely over that last part. It’s either I’ve given up on a clear message being delivered in meetings or I’m just tired or maybe errors happen and I just don’t notice anymore because it happens so frequently.

Tonight for example I was sitting next to a guy at a meeting who was taking a photo of someone at the podium… and I didn’t even notice. There was a time I would have berated the fool loudly during the speakers share… but I didn’t notice, I wasn’t looking around the room for what was wrong (I do that see this post  ). I was rather shocked at myself and then spend most of the rest of the meeting wondering what had happened to me (ok, maybe just a few minutes but it seemed a lifetime).

When I was new I’d leave meetings that would read non-conference approved material. Or spout traditions as to why this and therefore. I was a strict task master when it came to everything being by the book in AA. I was intolerant of anyone who did it anyway but mine – and I was right, of course.

I don’t think I care less, I still have a deep love and respect for AA as I understand it, but I realize (maybe) that other people might have their own path that is going to lead them in the same direction – that’s hard for me. I so want to be right… most of all… but also want to think of the world in black and whites most of the time – middle grounds don’t work well for me.

I’ll use this over used example on my blog – I want to shake your hand if you come to a meeting. Some people will hug me and not shake my hand and I won’t hug back… I’ve told them if they read all the literature AA has to offer they’ll see the handshake is mandatory and the hug is excessive (this is how I encourage newcomers to read the stuff… ), to be fair I only said this in jest to a few folks that hug first and then walk away leaving my hand empty, and hurt just hanging there. Sigh.

Tonight someone at the meeting summed up the Beatles Let It Be as “fuck it” or that’s what I heard and I rather liked that, and I love and respect the Beatles.

What matters to me today is if I do what I’ve always done, one day at a time. If I continue to show up early, shake hands, help set up, read the Big Book and the traditions over and over again and make sure AA is there for the next guy… I guess I can do that without being all rigid, but I don’t have to like it. :-)

Blotting Out the Past Doesn’t Make it a Better World

They’re taking the Dukes of Hazard off of TV Land; there is talk of digitally editing the episodes so the confederate flag isn’t displayed. This is going to be as effective as a means of stopping racism as digitally editing out the smoking scenes from old Tom and Jerry cartoons was to combat smoking (this was big idea back in 2006). I’m not so sensitive that I think we should erase the word faggot from songs by Dire Straights or Guns and Roses and when I listen to them today I’m not hurt or shamed by them, it was a different time and a different place. There was a time, during the crusades, when you believed in the Christian God or you were slaughtered – but I don’t think taking down the crucifixes all over the world is going to undo the war, hate and bigotry caused by the church still today.

I was re-reading a favorite book the other day and came across one of my favorite characters talking about being too good

“It breeds intolerance, rigidity, a belief that because I am right, those who don’t believe as I do are wrong.” Fizban Dragonlance – Dragons of Spring Dawning

What’s that old nursery rhyme we used to chant – Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me… nor will symbols of ancient prejudices, cartoons smoking or cars built for transporting moonshine in the south.

Are American’s so easily offended today that we cannot look at history and still grow past the error of our ways? Are we so stuck on the image of a perfect society we’re unable to see the ugliness that creates the character and uniqueness that is us? I don’t know.

Taking that flag down isn’t going to magically change the landscape of black America, it’s an empty gesture that only serves to blot out the past. If we erase the history of our nation how are we going to learn from it and not be doomed to repeat the mistakes we made then? If we refuse to use the past mistakes as ways to grow and be better then I’m not sure it matters at all.

Maybe it’s that I’m living in a red state now and possibly influenced more and more by Fox News that is playing at every establishment I frequent… but I thought were were above all that petty nonsense. Does a flag represent hatred, death and intolerance from years past? sure, so does the Star of David if we think of how it was used during the Holocaust, so does the cross if we think about it used in the Crusades or the people who hung that imaginary guy Christians claim to believe in.

My liberal friends seem to grow more and more intolerant of everything. Nothing is safe, nothing is secure from their judgement – any day now Superman will be associated with Hitler youth and the call will ring from the rooftops to stop publishing him.. or erasing any images of him being a bully. That isn’t a place I want to see, but it’s where I fear we are headed.

Happy Birthday “Book Of Jamez” – 10 Years

Ten years ago today I started blogging. I started this site out on Blogger and moved it to WordPress when I changed my name as there were issues with changing my email address and linking it to the site. I average about 5 posts a month – sometimes I post up to 15 stories a month, sometimes only 2 – depending on what I’m willing to put out there.

One of the first stories I blogged was …and it sold comics where I talked about death and dying in comic books and how Supergirl’s death back in the 80s was a significant moment for me. But I went on to talk about the seeming resurrection of all heroes and how it’s just used for sales purposes instead of a good story that touches the heart. I recently cancelled my comic subscription box at the store as both DC and Marvel apparently used up all their ideas and are retelling stories and undoing some of those changes that kept me reading about characters. If they get done with Secret Wars and Convergence in the near future and stories aren’t too complicated to figure out again I’ll start reading them again, but it’s just a mess.

I also wrote about a trip to visit my good friend Julie in Cleveland OH in the story Fish Pride. She had left DC and moved and I missed her (still do, she’s pretty great). I should go visit again – that was ten years ago and her kids are almost all grown up now. Julie actually lived in Phoenix once upon a time and really liked it here.

It was the year I quit smoking too – I was often complaining about the smell of smokers after that – still today it’s just nasty to be in an elevator or to kiss one (I no longer date/fuck/make out with smokers no matter what). I was bitching about one of those things that I used to love to do… and I had only been smoke free 6 months when I wrote Ex Smokers Soap Box.

I went back to college in 2005 and wrote a lot about classes and shared stories I wrote for school. Many months there were 15 – 18 posts a month. Some great things that I wrote that I still love are Foster Home, Race for the Cure, Creepy Guy on the Bike, and My Knuckles are White – I think I’m a little calmer driving now after two years of living in Phoenix.

I write a lot of stories because I like writing – I love getting the thoughts that are running through my head down on virtual paper and sometimes other people like what I have to write – sometimes they don’t. Whether it’s liked or not I have to get it out of my head – once it’s been put down here I can move on to something else. I don’t publish everything here, somethings are inappropriate and some items I’m working on long term hoping that they become something eventually.

To all my readers new and old thanks for taking a look – I’m going to keep on doing this thing until my fingers don’t work anymore.

Flag Fury

It’s no more the rebel flag; than Columbine was about trench coats or rape is about clothes girls are wearing.

Its about living in a culture where its ok to hate others based on their religion, gender, sexual orientation, race disability or a million little things that people hate other people for. People hate entire other religions and races because they were taught to. People somehow learn in “religions of peace” that it’s ok to discriminate, they condemn other lives because they are different than theirs. Our entire culture creates schisms between things that are one way and things that are another way – it’s painful, it’s hurting us and we’re letting it.

“Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.” Dennis Leary

A friend posted an article on Facebook the other day “15 Things Alcoholics Anonymous Can Teach the Church” and I liked it, but I’m rather anti-religion and pro-AA (even though some courts have ruled AA a religion and I can see that). Number 10 in that article is “Don’t shoot your wounded” and it says “Judgment or the perception of judgment is often felt in churches”.  That’s often what I think of when I think of churches – hate, fear, demonizing.

In some respects this can be considered a true statement. The KKK considers itself a “Christian” organization and they think they teach “Christian” principles. Al Queda, Isis, The Westboro Baptist Church all think they teach their idea of “God”‘s principles too.

We teach girls how to keep themselves from being raped when we should be teaching boys how to not be rapists. We have politicians that blame and entire religion for terrorists acts that happen domestically and abroad. We focus on the color and stars of a flag instead of the tragedy and how we can do a better job (NRA has great spin department I think).

I know many old people that hold prejudices that they’d held for decades. It was taught to them when they were so young and now it’s the only truth they can see. This worries me… but then I remember what I’ve seen in Alcoholics Anonymous – where we teach love – where human beings who once were the most desolate of society rose up and became contributing members of society and sought only to help another man.

Today we should mourn. We should reflect back on the lives lost and the good they had done. We should look to the future and see what we can build now, learning from this. We need to teach a message of tolerance, love, hope to the country.. the whole world.

Start with me. Start by being open minded to things different that I am. Start by reaching out and sharing my experiences with others, letting them know I’m not so different than they are and we have a common bond.  Start by being a better human being… start by loving, giving, helping.

But don’t focus on a flag – sure it’s in poor taste, but it didn’t pull a trigger, it didn’t share hate… it just is. It has power when you give it power…

Happy 80th AA

IMG_1384I was thinking today

About the 80th birthday of AA

How much has changed from the days of old

When they’d lock us up or leave us in the cold

Back in Akron is where it came from

Two men started a journey

a movement that changed the world

one alcoholic talking to another

one hand reaching out to the hopeless

how more than one hundred men have recovered from alcoholism

that’s what the cover page on our book read all those years ago

now the hundreds are men and women and millions more

Once, a lifetime ago for some of us,

we didn’t care about anyone but ourselves

now we seek out others to help, only giving of ourselves

A power greater than yourself

Your own conception of “God”

That’s all that is necessary to make a beginning…

Well, and maybe an open mind

I have 21 years of sobriety

It doesn’t seem a possibility

That the man I am today

Could even be alive this way

Today, and every day

I reach out my hand

Think about the other man

Share what was so freely given to me

So another might be free

Long Enough

I don’t know why people are so opposed to physician assisted suicide. What’s the big deal – these folks have or are about to experience pain, disease, hopelessness like no health person can understand at all. What’s wrong with letting them go and finding a for sure way to enable the end of that pain for them.

I think it’s a religion thing mostly – the “sin” of suicide that you’ll suffer in hell for all eternity if you take your own life. Well and I guess family and friends might be “hurt” or saddened at the sudden loss of someone – but why is it there business if the person is sick? That I don’t understand. Don’t they want the pain and suffering to end for that person, have they seen the despair and anguish in that person’s eyes?

I don’t know. I don’t know why it’s anyone else’s choice at all.

I think if you decide you’ve lived long enough hell feel free to go. It shouldn’t be looked upon with shame and fear but as someone’s own choice. You want to go – go.

Sure there should be caveats… if you’re under 30 you don’t get to choose suicide, young people often make terrible decisions (marriage, babies, college, Justin Beiber albums…). There should be a minimum 2 week waiting period and psychiatric evaluation (of course current psychiatric ideas would have to be tossed into the trash) would be mandatory. Also you couldn’t do this type of thing to escape a debt, I think people should pay their debts.

There are so many people out there struggling to stay alive – some many people that need organs. A systematic suicide program could keep people who want to die alive long enough to donate otherwise healthy organs to people who don’t want to die. This seems to make a lot of sense to me… maybe we could find a way to kill the brain but leave the body functioning until all of the organs and marrow were harvested for use with people.

It’s rather controversial I’m sure, but really who are we to decide that someone has to live – why is it any of our business at all? If we could offer a safe, economic way to allow people to “move on” if you will – wouldn’t that be to the benefit of society over all? Wouldn’t it be better than locking them up in institution or jails or pumping them full of chemicals to try to correct their brain? Who’s to say this isn’t a natural part of what’s supposed to happen? The planet is overcrowded.. there are too many people already.

Me, I figure 10 – 15 more years should be long enough.

Self Image

Ever since I can remember I’ve found beefy, stocky, hairy guys attractive.

I remember finding girlie magazines in the basement apartment of our house – they belonged to one of mom’s many live in boy friends. I remember being just fascinated with the photos in the ad pages of the guys with beards or hairy chests, some of those guys were doing awfully naughty things with other guys and that was amazing.

The first guy I had sex with was bearish – he was a bigger guy and had a hairy chest, no beard or mustache…. and he took advantage of me and some other kids but it still probably left an imprint on what I look for in mates today.

I can’t really get aroused when I see the fit gym bodies or the muscular body builder types, it doesn’t do anything for me… but give me a big guy with a football players build, a wide firm front (not his penis, but that’s nice too) and my stomach will do flip flops and get all excited. Gray hair has the same effect and can be a huge turn on for me.

When I was younger (in my early 20s) I was a thin guy myself (see image from 1995ish)

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 7.19.26 AM

I think I looked rather creepy myself. I was pretty thin and usually weighed around 160/170 pounds. I have a hair chest and I couldn’t really grow much of the beard I found so attractive on other guys.

Now days I’m a little bigger, I have some facial hair that guys seem to like there is more gray in my beard than there is black. But I struggle with how big I am… I have old tapes in my head that tell me I’m too fat, that I need to lose weight that no one will find me attractive.

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Many guys do (some women too… icky) find me attractive though and for that I’m grateful. But it’s hard for me to see that in myself.

When I look at myself I wish I had hair on the top of my head, that I didn’t wear glasses and that I was skinnier… But I find all of those things sexy in other men. A bald head, gray hair, barrel chest… yum.

My best friend is a girl… well a woman…and she’s so skinny. But she doesn’t see that herself either. Just like me when I look at me she see’s what she doesn’t like about herself instead of what other people like about her… It must be harder for straight people to compare themselves to what they find attractive in others – facial hair on a girl just doesn’t do it for most.

Society has put certain notions of what is and isn’t attractive on the screen in the media and all around us… but I just like to look at bearish daddy guys… maybe someday I’ll be happy with what I see in the mirror, but probably not. So I’ll just keep thumbing through Tumblr and looking at what I like.

Vacation

I need a vacation.

Many people will chime in here and say “You’re going to Washington DC Saturday for five days” or “you just spent the weekend in Casa Grande at a retreat”

Those people have a very different interpretation of vacation than I do.

In a recent post I talked about when my Ma found my diary and how sometimes I have to be careful what I write so I don’t offend people… but today, I don’t care.

I”m about to travel the span of the country and spend the weekend with my best friend catching up, shopping, whining and being best friends (she’s not one of the sensitive types that I’m referring to) and then going to Washington DC to help my ex roommate and see my ex boss and his wife and some AA folks (who I love like family) for the rest of the trip… but that is NOT a vacation. Nor is flying to a winter climate to celebrate a holiday you don’t care about. participating in a retreat when you’re the registration chair and the people around you can best be described as self-centered, self-seeking kindergartener … Yes, I’m one of them.

A vacation is about relaxation, about not worrying about how to act or behave or treat people based on their sensitive. A vacation renews and refreshes a person so they can keep doing the mundane tasks they do most days. For me a vacation is about lying by a pool for days, with a book and my own musics… and naked men are helpful too. Swimming and sunning and sleeping… I need a vacation.

in 2005 I decided not to travel to WI for a whole year – I’d been going 2 – 3 times a year to see family/friends and not many reciprocated. So Ma, Pa and Rhonda came to visit me. That was a nice change. Many folks have already been out here to visit me in Phoenix, that’s nice too.

I once had a job that let me take off whenever I wanted, we didn’t accumulate days or run out – if you need off you take off. I managed to take a laptop with me most times and do anything that came up that needed to be done… but I got to relax. Thanks Jim.

But in most jobs when you have to accumulate vacation days … those days when you feel obligated to spend with family or friends is more aggravating. There was a recent day when the only thing that kept me from walking out the door at work was the realization that at a new job I’d have to start vacation days from scratch again… and I just can’t have that happen. Days for Xmas, days for working, days for funerals and weddings… how dare people die or fall in love, don’t they know I need to relax?

I’m just out of energy, out of caring, out of give a shits.

I whined about this today to my sponsor and he laughed at me… no really, he did. He’s driving me to the airport early Saturday morning – he volunteered… he’s crazy. Truth is he’s a better person than me (that’s true of most people). Some day maybe i’ll look back on this post and laugh at myself – I hope when I do I’ll be lying naked at a pool next to some handsome men.

Pandora’s Box

The story goes the ancient gods gave Pandora a box to protect and never open. But curiosity got the better of her and she opened the box which kept safe all the evils of the world. Pandora panicked and closed the box, leaving inside one thing – hope.

I always thought that story was a little odd – is hope an evil that didn’t get to escape? and if it’s not an evil but didn’t get to escape how is there still hope? that Zeus was a crafty bugger.

I was recently presented … well, more accurately, I presented myself with a Pandora’s box. I crafted it myself and filled it with expectation, hope, anticipation, pride, justifications and right. It was a beautiful box and I loved to polish it and make it shine – the beauty of it called to me and beckoned me to open it. I fought the temptation for a good long while, I thought better of my desires to see what was in the box – I set it aside and thought it would keep… but it kept glinting in the sunlight of the spirit, happiness would make the box more tempting.

I took steps to open it, I jimmied the lock open and let it sit – it was almost like I could hear it calling to me each day “just open the lid, come see the wonders we have to offer you”

I had a moment of clarity – slam it shut, change your mind, you don’t want to know what’s in there… but the moment was fleeting.

I threw open the box and found what appeared to be treasures and gifts – but what turned out to be hurt pride, doubts, and anger. Now those gifts are festering spoiled fruits that have lost their taste.

I’m not sure hope is still in there and I think the spoiled fruit may have caused me to lose my appetite for what I found so promising.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever learn to be happy with what I have and just live the life that I have… ugh.