Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interest in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have the right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. Andwhatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams;it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
- Max Ehrmann, 1927

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My Tool Box

· Go to an AA meeting
· Don’t drink
· Steps 1 – 12
· The Serenity Prayer
· The Twelve Principles
1. Honesty
2. Hope
3. Faith
4. Courage
5. Integrity
6. Willingness
7. Humility
8. Brotherly Love
9. Discipline
10. Perseverance
11. Awareness of God
12. Service
· Call my sponsor or another person in recovery
· Meet with my sponsor as regularly as possible
· Change people, places and things as necessary
· My sobriety is my priority above all else
· The chip in my pocket
· Beware of H.A.L.T. (hungry, angry, lonely, tired)
· Pause when agitated
· Prayer
· Go to an AA meeting
· Meditate
· Set personal boundaries and keep them
· Read the literature
· Service work
· Surrender
· Remember what got me here
· Forgive
· Let it go
· Spend time alone
· Keep it simple
· Restraint of pen and tongue
· Do not take other people’s inventory
· Try not to judge others
· Go to an AA meeting
· Make the effort, especially when I don’t want to
· Don’t give up
· Avoid expectations
· Journal or write
· Gratitude list
· Be compassionate and tolerant
· Live and let live
· I can start my day over at any time
· Remember that some others are sicker than I am
· Know that most people (in recovery) are trying their best
· Don’t take the bait
· Go to an AA meeting
· Do not turn down any reasonable request
· Where and when possible, avoid stressful situations
· This too shall pass
· At meetings -- go early, stay late
· Give out and collect phone numbers
· Meet and greet people I don’t know
· I’d rather be Happy than Right
· Be consistent
· Do my best at all times
· Put away the sledgehammer

Sunday, February 05, 2006

There Comes a Time ...

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it ...

When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out: ENOUGH!

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears, and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is your awakening. You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he or she is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are ... and that's OK. (they are entitled to their own views and opinions)

And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval. You stop bitching and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself, and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties, and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche.

You begin to sift through all the crap you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, where you should shop, what you should drive, how and where you should live, what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children, or what you owe your parents. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with, and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing. You stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix. You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything, that it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, and you learn the importance of setting boundaries and of learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn about love: Romantic love and familiar love. You learn how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man or woman on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love. And you learn that you don' t have the right to demand love on your terms. And you learn that alone does not mean lonely. And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up."

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over, and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK, and you learn that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things that you want -- and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity, and respect, and you decide you won't settle for less. And you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his or her touch and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect. And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water, and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you make more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play. You learn that for the most part, in life, you get what you believe you deserve ... and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline, and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes "bad" things happen to unsuspecting good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state: the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself, and you make yourself a promise never to betray yourself and never, ever to settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

written by an AA member as a testament to her Spiritual Awakening

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

100 Things

100 Things About Me

1. I was born in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1954 and adopted at birth.
2. My new family lived in Longview, Texas and moved to Houston in 1958.
3. I commonly wet the bed til I was 8 years old.
4. I sucked my thumb til I was 10 years old.
5. I bit my fingernails til I was 30 years old.
6. I have been to approximately 1000 pubs in London.
7. I got 2nd place in my 6th grade spelling bee, missing the word “buses”. I spelled it “busses”. I cried.
8. I have lived outside the USA for a total of 9 years.
9. I began running track in the 7th grade, age 12.
10. I ran track through the 12th grade, age 18.
11. I was a cub scout and my Mom was Den Mother.
12. My first ride in a Mercedes-Benz was in a taxi in Munich, Germany (1976).
13. I have fallen in love one time.
14. Our next door neighbor when I was 7 was the cousin of A.J. Foyt and I got to meet him once at their house. He was a legend then, in 1961.
15. I laid the first brick in our custom-built home in 1962. My Mom still lives there.
16. I only got swats once in school, in the 7th grade.
17. I once laughed so hard at a water fountain in school that the water ran out of my nose.
18. I rode a train by myself to Ft Worth at age 12. Went to my cousin’s house.
19. I was sexually seduced by a high-profile executive of the Houston Oilers at the age of sixteen. Loved it.
20. I was quoted in a Sports Illustrated article at age 17.
21. I went to Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas on a half-semester scholarship and never collected on it.
22. I lived in my grandmother’s boarding house for 3 years in Nacogdoches.
23. My high school prom date (1972) recently contacted me on Facebook after 37 years.
24. I have had sexual intercourse with 2 females; at ages 17 and 19.
25. I’ve driven left-hand drive autos in 7 countries.
26. I went to Al Somers Baseball Umpire School in Daytona Beach, Florida for 6 weeks in an attempt to be a professional umpire.
27. I taught middle school for one year, 1977.
28. I was mugged on a dark street in Dakar, Senegal by 3 black men. They got nothing when my adrenaline kicked in.
29. I coached 7th grade football for one year.
30. Met my first gay roommate in 1977. Billy. We’re still friends.
31. I worked part-time in college for Texas Farm Products/Lone Star Feed & Fertilizer as mail clerk. I’d carry around hundreds of thousands of dollars in my company pickup truck and wasn’t even bonded.
32. I bought a 1965 Lincoln Continental in 1985 as a party car.
33. I managed a retail cookie store in a shopping mall.
34. Worked offshore on a boat for 3 years.
35. I’ve been to Amsterdam more than 30 times.
36. I have lived in 11 countries in Africa for 1 month or more.
37. I’ve crossed the equator twice in one day.
38. Spent a month in Barcelona just before the 1992 Olympics. Construction was rampant.
39. I’ve been to 30 gay bath-houses in 21 countries for a total of at least 500 times.
40. One day, I traveled on 3 different boats, a helicopter, 2 airplanes and a van.
41. I’ve flown a helicopter and an airplane (with the pilot at my side).
42. I’ve whale watched off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
43. I helped catch a 6 foot female shark off the back of a boat using a whole chicken as bait. She delivered a baby shark as we brought her onboard.
44. I dangled my feet over the stern of a 180 foot boat in 25 foot waves.
45. I’ve slept on the London Underground several times to the end of the line.
46. I once had a marijuana joint poked directly in my eyeball at a concert.
47. I have owned 6 new cars and smoked cigarettes in them before leaving the dealership.
48. I’ve been at the airport in Bamako, Mali, the poorest country in the world.
49. I’ve been to McDonald’s in 12 countries.
50. I’ve watched the end of the Paris-Dakar Road Race. Twice.
51. I’ve seen the Popemobile in Senegal.
52. I spent 4 hours at the Libreville, Gabon Immigration Office at the airport trying to enter the country.
53. I have never scubadived but I went skydiving in 2008.
54. I have been arrested for DUI twice but have no official record of it.
55. I have rafted on the shortest river in Texas – the Comal River.
56. I have had a police escort from a baseball field after umpiring. For 3 miles.
57. I’ve walked around all 3 of the Pyramids.
58. I reluctantly accepted a bribe once in Egypt. 10 each $100 bills. All counterfeit.
59. I drove a school bus to transport my football team for one season.
60. I rode in an elevator with Rev. Jesse Jackson in a hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.
61. I am HIV- which I consider to be a miracle.
62. I once drove 4 complete round-trips to/from Houston/Galveston in one day.
63. Into my early-teens, I had a model car collection totaling over 100 cars.
64. As a former blackout drinker, I can’t account for at least 4000 nights.
65. I’ve flown about 200,000 miles but only once in first class.
66. I have been to a village in The Congo where no white man had ever been before.
67. I quit a 60K / year job so I could live in Amsterdam and smoke dope and have sex.
68. During my last 10 years of drinking, I was only employed for 4 of them.
69. I haven’t had a Caucasian boyfriend in 30 years.
70. I began driving a standard transmission at age 10; a 1964 Dodge Dart.
71. I had a tire blowout while driving my Dad’s 1957 Chrysler – at age 4.
72. I quit an offshore job to spend more time with my boyfriend, then he left me.
73. I once umpired a baseball game behind the plate with Roger Clemens pitching. He was a senior in High School.
74. I once spent 22 hours in the same seat on the same airplane.
75. I vomited out the driver’s window on the freeway while driving about 80 mph.
76. At age 17 a friend and I drove from Houston to Acapulco; a 2-day drive.
77. I bought my first PC in 1985 – a Commodore Amiga.
78. I can only tie a tie while looking in a mirror.
79. I began playing golf at age 5. Have not played since age 20.
80. My non-drinking hangout in college was The Kettle in Nacogdoches, Texas.
81. I once drank for 17 hours at Griff’s, from 10am til 3am.
82. I have seen every episode of I LOVE LUCY, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW & THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW.
83. I drank alcohol for 33 years and could not stop until I asked my God to help me.
84. I have seen 6” of snow twice; otherwise never more than 1”.
85. I observed the Space Shuttle land in Houston, on the back of a 747.
86. I was once robbed of all my money at gunpoint; by a policeman in Nigeria.
87. I was sexually attracted to a male neighbor at age 9.
88. I have ridden in a limousine twice – both times hired by myself.
89. I once flew from Houston to Las Palmas (Canary Islands) and stayed for one hour. It took 14 hours to get there.
90. My cat delivered 7 kittens on the night of my last drunk.
91. The first time I went to London, I instinctively knew I was “home”.
92. I drank beer from a teapot in Alexandria, Egypt.
93. I spent 3 consecutive Christmas Day’s on 3 small islands: Trinidad & Tobago, Malta and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain).
94. My assigned driver in The Congo for one month spoke no English and I spoke no French yet we communicated well and freely.
95. I went to about 800 AA meetings in my first year of sobriety.
96. I have had the wonderful opportunity of watching my mother recover from a near-fatal stroke. But she died in August 2008 at the age of 85.
97. Through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have been able to rid myself of all resentments, small and large.
98. I cannot stand to be around snakes, horses and cows.
99. I am claustrophobic.
100. I love making lists.