Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Yesterday. My partner and I celebrated 26 years together. He has been such a positive person in my life over the years. I am so Grateful to have such a wonderful family.

You know what I am Grateful for? My sobriety, partner, son, parents, siblings, nieces, nephew, great niece, friends, pets, work, home, food, opportunity, beautiful mornings, past, present and whatever comes my way.

Have a safe holiday weekend.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Proof. I am so Grateful that I have proof in my life that AA and the choice to be clean and sober has enriched my life. Today I can actually stand and do a 360 degree look at my life and all I can say is "Thank you God!"

To be able to see what my life was like. Living to be the center of the universe and wish my life was over. I was miserable, unhappy and left with a bitter taste in my mouth about my whole life. It wasn't what I expected it to be. Then to have someone tell me it's time for recovery and suggest that I go through re-hab and and that I take the suggestion to heart and do what I was told, get clean and sober. I looked at the similarities of everyone else in the program. And now I cannot believe how wonderful and happy my life is. Even when life's not exactly the way I want it to be, it's 100 times better than it was. I am learning that I can get through the uncomfortable things going on in my life and I can see I am in a better place. I can see the miracles of my life, something I never saw before.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Being Happy. I am so Grateful that I am happy today. I am Grateful that I don't feel like I need to drink or drug to make my way through a party, a visit with family or friends that are difficult or situations that I feel it will help me loosen up. I've learned to do that all on my own without chemicals of any kind running through me.

Even if I am not having a great day I know I am still happy. Happy to be alive and willing. What more can I ask for?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

My attitude of Gratitude. For the last 21 months I have learned to have an Attitude of Gratitude. Before becoming sober and clean I never was thankful for the simplest things. I am today. I'm Grateful for the joy I get watching people be kind to others. I'm Grateful to be able to look at the positive way my life is, versus the negative that I lived to dwell in. I'm Grateful for the love I see in my dog's eyes. I'm Grateful to see a family where I never thought that there would be one. I'm Grateful for the sober friends that I have that helped me get to this point. I'm Grateful for AA and to where it has lead me today. I'm Grateful that I am awake in my life. I am aware of all my actions and how they can play out. I am Grateful when I know that I am doing wrong and I can make it right. I am Grateful that my first action when dealing with others is to be kind and I strive to continue that even when a situation may seem to get uncomfortable. I am Grateful for my spirituality and where it has brought me today.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

My life. It is really an adventure. I'm finally back in Houston. I love the city that I live and I appreciate the city I grew up in. They are definitely two different places and I can appreciate that. I'm glad to be where I chose to live today in Houston.

I am Grateful that I will be starting a new job on Monday. I will be working in my partner's law office. This will be interesting since I never imagined that we would be working together. Fortunately, my legal experience and my own talents will allow me to hopefully enhance his business. And then again, if it doesn't work out he can always fire me. :)

I'm feeling really Grateful for today and everyday. I'm Grateful for to be able to spend the day with my son on our own new adventure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Meetings. I was fortunate to go to an NA meeting with a friend last night. I've been to 3 meetings in the week I have been here in Syracuse. It's nice to know I can go anywhere and find a meeting. I don't care if it's NA or AA, to me, the message is the same. Don't drink or drug and one day at a time. Sometimes, especially in the beginning it was more minute to minute and hour to hour for me.

Today I don't think of my drug and alcohol use as much as I use to. Getting a sponsor and knowing that I am working through the steps has actually help. My sponsor and I have a good relationship. I don't call him everyday, but I know he is there for me and I know he sort of knows where I am and what's going on. (He reads my blog.) Anyone who reads my blog knows what is going on in my life and what my issues are. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I really enjoyed sharing at the meeting last night. It's funny because I was in a room full of people I didn't know and their format is a bit different than what I am use to. But it was the same. I was there to hopefully shed some light on my addiction for a new comer that will hopefully make them want to come back, stay sober and want to go to another meeting. Sharing my experience, strength and hope is what it is about.

I leave today to return to Houston and I am actually looking forward to getting back to my routine. It has been an interesting experience returning to Syracuse clean and sober from drugs and alcohol for the first time in my life. Staying with my family has been an eye opener for me to see some of the issues I have had in the past and where I have learned them. I am Grateful that I feel stronger after this whole experience and I know that I am doing well. I'm not too well that I am cocky, but well enough that I know if I continue how I am going that I am going to be okay.

I am eternally Grateful for the freedom of my addictions.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Just letting it happen. I am so Grateful for letting my life play it's course. I know ever time I try and plan it, it doesn't work out. Not that I get disappointed, but it never turns out the way I try to make it happen. If I have an expectation I can be sure it will turn out completely different.

I am Grateful today that I just let the roller coaster take me up the hill and the fast ride down. I'm willing to experience the thrill of the ride versus trying to fight it. It has a power all it's own and I am learning to know better that It's a ride I can't get off.

These last few months have been about work, family, my higher power and change. The experience of all of these have made me realize if I have no preconceived idea of what it should be like in the "Future" I am able to experience my life with less stress. I am able to sleep through the night and wake up and continue right in the spot I am without trying to look too far back and too far ahead.

I am Grateful I can live in serenity today.

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Understanding. The wonderful thing about being sober is the ability to look at yourself and see what you need to work on. I am Grateful that I know that I'm not done yet and I never will be. I'm Grateful to see that I can see the areas in my life that need to be worked on.

Being home in Syracuse has brought out some old issues that I can see have changed, yet still linger. I think family environments can snap you right back into old patterns of behaviors. If you aren't aware of it it can get out of control.

I am Grateful for the understanding of myself and my family to be able to take a moment and pause before I react. I never could have done that if I wasn't sober. My sobriety and the steps have helped me see how I need to be and how to act. It's a road map for a good life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

My Life. I'm so Grateful that I am visiting my family. I'm able to just sit back and look at everyone and appreciate who and what they are for exactly that. Nothing more. I'm not expecting them to be or do anything different other than what they are doing.

I feel like I am reading a novel and I have to laugh at some of the characters. I'm appreciating my parents and seeing why I am the way I am. (I can really see the genetics and how it plays a part in the way I am.)

I've never been more Grateful for my sobriety than today. I've actually gone to a couple of bars and can see what a mess people are from alcohol. My niece is a bar tender which is one of the reasons I ended up in a bar. I wanted clams since you really can't get them Houston. Where my niece works they serve them. My other niece who is 21 was with me and we sat at the bar to visit with my niece the bar tender. The fellow to the left of me was getting drunk and my nieces are both very beautiful girls. So he decided to buy shots for them and me because he wants to show his style to them. I kindly decline and tell him I don't drink. This fell then says to me, "Congratulations" shakes my hand and then says something about he should probably not be drinking. (He was right, it didn't seem like the place to do service work, he was a man about town at that moment.)

But I flashed back to the moments when I drank and slowly became louder and thought I was the cat's meow and how people must have thought I had it all. But to see the loudness, the slurriness, the lies that couldn't be kept straight in the simple conversations we are having as stool mates. It was a clarity for me that I was Grateful to have. It was knowing I was going to safely get into my car and drive home without a worry if I was pulled over. I was Grateful to know I would just wake up tired this morning and that is all. I was Grateful to know that most of the money I had in my wallet would still be there because I didn't have to end up feeling like I had to buy the whole bar drinks. I am Grateful because I could pray to God this morning about what I am Grateful for not to make me feel better and to get rid of a major headache or the guilt of some foolish act I may have committed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Who I have become. Being in Syracuse is allow me to look back at myself and the way I was. Not only in Syracuse, but in the past 26 years. It has actually given me a meter to view my life. I can see how I am different from my family of origin, old friends, old habits.

I am so Grateful I can see today. I can see that I am willing to let go of the negativity that still lives in my family. I can see where it is generated from and I am able to tolerate it today. I am able to not pick up old habits by staying aware and Grateful.

I was able to walk into a bar to meet a friend I have had since I was 16. I was so Grateful to I didn't for a minute feel like having a drink, I enjoyed being sober. Then I was asked if I wanted to go to their house and visit, which to me was a better alternative to being in a bar. I was asked if I still smoked weed and I said no. (People don't see the connection in addiction.) On the 20 minute drive to their house I thought how is this going to play out. Are they going to smoke in front of me? I was Grateful to see that they didn't and we had a wonderful visit of old times and I didn't have to deal with it. I know that I would have to have left if it was smoked in the house in front of me because I know that would have been the jumping off point for me. But it was great to see that they respected me and it didn't appear and it never came up.

I am so Grateful for my Sobriety and the continued health and strength that I am gaining.

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

My Sobriety. This morning I have so many topics I could write about but the most important topic that I am so Grateful for everyday is my sobriety. I look at myself this morning and I am proud of how far I have come. I couldn't have done it if I hadn't fallen on my ass and thought that there was no way out of it. Then I was shown that there is a better way and life is so much more richer than I ever expected it to be.

As I write this morning I have so much to be Grateful for:
  • My sobriety
  • My immediate family
  • My extended family
  • My sober friends
  • Lambda
  • Willingness
  • Creativity
  • Love
  • Serenity
  • and the list just keeps going on.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Meetings. Last night I thought I would venture out to see what meetings were like here in Central New York. Being gay I thought I would see what the gay meetings were like in Syracuse. They refer to the meetings as "The boys in the band". I found where the meeting was held and head for downtown Syracuse.

I was early so I decided to venture around town to see what has changed and to take in the scenery. I drove around for about 40 minutes and saw in 26 years, not much had changed since I left. That is comforting and scary all at the same time. In Houston you have to be careful because things change over night.

I went to the church where the meeting was going to be held. I was early and I thought that it would be like Houston and I would be able to hang out and visit with people. Not exactly. They have to buzz the door to let you into the church. I was swept in following another man. As we entered a fellow who worked at the church said that the meeting was on the 4th floor, so I just followed along. To my surprised I ended up in a NA meeting. It was just fine that I ended up in an NA meeting because I have cross addiction. Thankfully, Houston's AA meetings cover all my issues. But this NA meeting was interesting to be a part of. It was a little frustrating that the members were not as respectful during the meeting because they would talk amongst themselves get up and talk to the chair person and cross talk. At the same time I enjoyed myself and just listened because the message was the same. The deep desire to stay clean. I was Grateful for where I was in my recovery and Grateful that my bottom was not as far down as some, many of these people in the room.

I listened for a while and then I realized that it was past the time that of the meeting I had intended on going to was started. I left the meeting and and asked where the "Gay" meeting was held and it was on the 3rd floor of the church. In the typical fashion of my fellow gays they had coffee brewing (the other meeting they were complaining that they didn't have a coffee pot because the pot kept getting stolen.) rainbow candles on the tables and a group of men that were just starting their meeting. I came in on cue just as they were asking if there was anyone visiting or new. I stated me name and city and claimed my seat.

It's interesting to see how different parts of the country hold their meetings. How comfortable we get in our ways and how simply changing things can affect us. To begin with they ask who has a topic and will continue to keep say, "who has a topic, anyone, anyone?" It was like you are on the Price is Right. Two people had a topic so they do both topics.

I enjoyed the meeting and being able to share. I also enjoyed seeing a couple of people I use to work with 26 years ago. I was Grateful that one person in particular was recovered for 5 years. When I last knew him, he could barely stand up half the time. He looked very, very good compared to where he was headed. I am Grateful to see the program works, no matter where I am.

The message last night from both meetings was this.

Take it moment by moment, minute by minute, hour by hour and one day at a time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

My Parents. I flew to see my parents and other family in Syracuse yesterday. I'll be visiting here for about 7 days. I'm going to try and help my brother out because he is the main care giver since I live in Texas. I'm going to do cleaning and cooking for parents and figure out if things are as bad as they seem from Texas.

I am so Grateful that I am sober and able to help. I'm already up and baking for them this morning. They eat food that isn't really the healthiest in my opinion. I'm glad I like to cook and hope to get my mom to gain a few pounds. I have to say, my family of origin is a scary experience.

The circle of life is very evident to me today. My father is turning into a child in many ways. Some of his mean and nasty attitude is subsiding. He has always meant well, but I can see where I get my anger issues. For the most part I am Grateful that I don't get mad and I just choose to walk away from those emotions when they arise. Generally I believe they come from feeling you don't have control in your life. Because of AA I have learned that I really don't need to try and control anything and things do work out if you just take a breath and let things play out. I'm not saying you have to be passive, you just have to learn what is the next best, logical move.

It's hard to believe that I was in 90 degree weather yesterday and today I'm sitting in 42 degrees. I love Texas!!! I enjoy being warm and freezing when I'm in the house.

Here's to you and me putting our best foot in front of the other all day long.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Trying to Remove The Bondages of Self. Everyday I have to take a good hard look at this. Everyday I have issues about me that I have to continue to try and let go of. Even on my best day I am still shackled to myself and it isn't pleasant. Sometimes the pain is minimal and hardly noticeable, but it is still there. Other days it's as if the shackles are cutting me. It is amazing what I am willing to put myself through.

Everyday I am learning to let whatever issues I have coexist with me. I am learning not to dwell on them and stop looking inward and to focuse out side of me. I am learning that these are experiences I am to have in my life to move me down the path of strength to a place I am trying to get to.

By getting out of me and helping others either through AA or through my family and friends or a stranger that comes into my life, I try to focus on them before me. This is where it's difficult, because I want to make everything about me. But the healing does come when I am able to let go and not be the center of the universe.

I am eternally Grateful that I learned this through recovery or I may not have learned it at all.

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Exercise. I have to admit I have been lacking in the exercise area of my life. I forget how important it is to keep my body healthy, limber and in shape because I know how much it affects my mood.

I have been a runner for over 23 years. I'm typically not out to win any races, maybe stay with the pack if I'm in a 10K, but that's about. I'm in it to ward off the evils of my family heritage. High blood pressure, which I have, but it's managed, heart disease, so far, so good. My dad had a quadruple bypass when he was around 62 and so far I don't think the next 11 years are going to cave in on me if I keep active. Check back with me in another 10 years. Both of my parents are diabetics. God knows I love sugar but I'm trying to be better about controlling my sugar urges. I believe the years I have put into running has helped me stay clear of becoming a diabetic so far.

I'm off to drop my son off at school and go for a run. It's a wonderful time for me to talk to my God and appreciate the journey of my life I am on. It's a great time to mediate as I run and be with nature. It's an awesome private time that I truly enjoy.

I'm Grateful for this time in my life where I am doing for me what needs to be experienced. I am so Grateful for my sobriety and everything in my life.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 6, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Life. I have to say that life is leading me into a good place at the moment. The last couple of weeks have been hard on me. Not that I haven't had good mixed in all that. But I let things get me down that I can't control.

Hence, the expression, let go and let God. This expression gets me crossed eyed sometimes. I have a very strong faith in my Higher Power. But I have issues with that expression sometimes, because I am told that it's God's will. My problem with that expression is my will is God's will. But what I am starting to understand is that we have choices and we can/must take action. When we sit and do nothing we aren't doing anyone's will God's or mine. We are motionless, stuck not moving forward or backwards.
I believe God wants me to see what I am capable of doing. My will to be positive, and work hard are his will. My inaction of nothing is not God's will. By taking that into consideration it has made me see that little tiny miracle of subtle communication with God and me is always there. It's if I want to listen or be stuck in my own head and ignore the right thing to do.

Here's to working on getting off the roller coaster of emotions created by my negative board of directors.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Waking Up To A New Day. I am so Grateful that I wake up and I am ready to start my day, no matter what happens. I have recently really started to let go about the things I can't control. It's not easy, but I keep trying. I'm not perfect about it, but I try daily. Isn't that what it is all about?

I try to start my day on the same note. Yesterday is forgotten and I have no clue what the future will bring. Of course, I have to remember some of yesterday or I wouldn't be good at following up on things. But I can leave behind the emotional issues that I may have experienced through the prior day, hopefully as I am experience them.

I do still reflect on what is going on in my life. I have to in order to build a life that I want. Staying sober, being loving, caring for others, etc. But I am working on letting the negative chatter go that paralyzes me. In the past I would lay down with that negativity and wake up with it. Today I can actually wake up, I am calm, and I meditate and pray. I'm still working on meditating as I still have a very busy mind.

I am Grateful to appreciate every day in front of me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Spirituality. I'm so glad that I found my Spirituality before I died. I had no idea how important it is in my life. I was one of those people that said that they didn't believe in God as I was looking over my shoulder. I had no idea what I was talking about and I had no idea what kind of power it adds to your life.

My life was running out of control. I worshiped chemicals that I put into my body. I didn't realize that I had a Spirit inside of me that needed to be fed and taken care of like my body was needing as well as my mind. I always thought of myself as me as one thing. I never knew to break it down into 3 parts; body, mind and soul. I heard of it, but I never put it into practice.

I am so Grateful that I didn't try to resist AA when I was entering rehab. I was at the jumping off point, there was no where else to go, other than committing suicide, which really wasn't an option I wanted, but I didn't want to continue the way I was going. I talked a lot about it, but I never went through with it. I'm not sure if I would have gone through with it, but I am glad I am moving as far away from that thinking as possible.

Today I am a very strong believer in the books by Neale Donald Walsch called Conversations with God. The audio books are even better. God is performed by Ed Asner and Ellen Burstyn, they are the voices of my God for the rest of my life. Through these conversations I am learning so much about my spirituality, as I personally believe these books to be the word of God. (I believe God comes to us often through authors/books, A Course In Miracles is another.) I am learning to love myself and others equally, because in the big picture, we are all one big soul, not separate, not different than anyone else.

I have to thank Scott for mentioning to me last year that I should read Conversations with God. I had no idea my life's outlook and views would change. My Spirituality has been enriched and has helped me in my sobriety as well as my continued quest of "Why am I here?"

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Daily Miracles. Although I sometimes have a hard time seeing them, I'm Grateful enough to know that they happen all the time on a daily basis. Even when I don't think they are happening they are. It's all depends on how in tune I want to be and if I'm willing to listen and look and to be silent and I will I witness the experiences.

I am so Grateful that I found my sobriety. I'm Grateful that I can get up and hear the early birds chirping. I'm Grateful to hear the calm silence before my day starts. I'm Grateful to be able to let the day unfold today without expectation other than minor plans for the day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May 2, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Life. Where do I start here? I guess I will start with Happy Birthday Gina. Gina became a very close friend when I was 16. We went everywhere together. We drove around in her little blue 71 bug and drank and did drugs in New York state like most of the teenagers of my time did that I associated with. We got stuck in snow drifts, we always had a bottle of Southern Comfort in the glove box, Bruce Springsteen was blaring and smoke bellowed out of the windows like Cheech and Chong. That was the start of a budding close relationship that lased over 3 decades.

After I moved to Texas I still continued my ways, but Gina seemed to get tangled deeper into drugs and other issues that made her life unmanageable. I was always quick to judge her life on what she was doing wrong, forgetting to look at where I was standing.

On the last visit that Gina had to my house we went to Galveston. Of course at the time we smoked weed and went to a little outdoor place and drank. She always drank more than I ever could in one sitting. My preference was drugs to alcohol, but one always led to the other. As we sat there, I learned about things in her past that today truly make me understand that alcohol is merely a symptom of other issues. Things she told me explained so much of her to me that day. It showed me how she was covering up her pain and trying to stop the feelings that I knew she could still feel.

On February 17, 2008 Gina got up on a Sunday morning early, got her glass of wine, her weed and the numerous prescription drugs she was taking for emotional and physical issues (about 19) and sat down at her computer. In the middle of sending a joke email she put her head down and died.

As I sit here writing this I realize that was the start of me understanding that I had a problem as well. I looked at that whole situation and even though we were different, we were very much the same. He issues may have been a little louder than mine, but I could see myself. By September of that year my life was imploding and I had to do something about it before I put my head down like Gina did. I knew I had more to do on this planet and I had a family I couldn't do that to. I am fortunate that I could look past what was different about us but see the similarities.

Here is to Gina. She loved Bruce Springsteen and had probably seen him a few hundred times in her life. He favorite line from one of his songs that she loved that she said was about her was:

"She ain't a beauty but she's alright." It was very fitting for her.

I was very fortunate to know such a funny, bright caring girl. She came along in my life when I was needing a good friend and she stayed with me her whole life. She is part of my past that I will not forget, nor will I close the door on. I am glad that her pain and suffering is over and she is set free to continue with the circle of life. Till we meet again.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1, 2010

Today I am Grateful for:

Realizing. As I travel down the path of my life I'm realizing that I am evolving. I never stopped to look at the issues I am going through no matter how big or small they are as evolutionary steps for me. They are forming and creating my own personal universe that is all part of why I am here.

I realize that I tend to focus on the feelings of what I am going through versus why I am having those experiences and what I can/am learning from them. At the end of the day, I know that I am learning to become a better me. I am learning my strengths and weaknesses no matter how great or painful they are to me. I am learning that there is life after my painful feelings. I'm learning that if I would just let up on myself a little bit and realize that I am evolving for the better. I am fortunate to realize that I am aware that I am evolving and moving down a path. I am so Grateful to be aware of that. There are so many people who just go through life and don't even stop to think about life, where they are, what they are doing, how they are treating people, what they are experiencing. They are asleep at the wheel so to speak.

I'm learning that there isn't a total state of serenity all the time. If there was it would lose it's euphoric state. Everything would be the same all the time. It is not possible, I would stop appreciating it because I couldn't see the differences. The Ying and the Yang of life are what let me appreciate serenity.

I am very Grateful today to have had the experiences I am having lately, as painful as they are to me personally. I am Grateful that I am a recovering drug addict and alcoholic that has found a God of my understanding to enrich my life. I am realizing that there is purpose to my life. I am Grateful to realize that my life is a 1,000 times better than it was 20 months ago.