Fear And Faith

This guy said, ” I can’t have fear and faith at the same time.”

Just after I said, ” I’m afraid but I have faith everything is going to work out fine.”

So cool how he told me I was full of shit just by talking about himself.

So cool how I will do the same for him next meeting.

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Mission Accomplished

Steve M. calls me “General.”

He says, “General, I saw your wife last night. She was big and bright. Foxy and hot. Drivin’ round in that Caddy El Dorado.”

“She still have that car?”

Steve laughs and says, “Oh, yeah.”

We are on the front porch of the Alano Clubhouse. It’s raining and, though there is a makeshift roof over the porch, the rails and trash can are covered with droplets of water.

Steve reaches down into the can, tosses through the garbage and pulls out a bar of Dial brand soap. He peels away its soggy wrapper and says, “Look what I have for you.”

Then he starts singing, “Happy Birthday to you.”

He wants to go to church “coz it’s Easter.”

I give him a ride. I go back to the clubhouse and catch the rest of the meeting.

Now, I’m back at the church. A redheaded, 20 something, woman holding an umbrella knocks on my door. I roll down the window and she says, “Could you shore up your parking? You’re taking up two spaces.”

I say, “Sure.” Then, I say, “I’m here to pick up my friend.”

“Okay. I’ll let him know you’re here. What’s his name what’s he look like?”

“His name is Steve Martin. He’s about 5’8″, has a three day growth of beard, wearing several layers of shirts and two pairs of beige pants.”

“Is he wearing a coat?”

“A blue wind breaker. He’s very, very thin.”

She says, “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks,” I say.

I shore up my parking and wait.

The red headed woman doesn’t return and Steve is either gone or blends in with this “in their Easter best” crowd remarkably well.

After waiting through two services, I leave.

I pull into the clubhouse parking lot to find Steve standing on the porch. He sees me and genuflects. He waves, gives me a toothless smile and says, “Where you been, General? I’ve been waiting for ya.”

But Isn’t That Beside The Point?

When I was first told not to pray for things that would benefit me, I thought, “No problem.”

I had never prayed for myself.

When I get was a kid, scrubbed and reverent, I always prayed for others.

When I had no faith, no God, I prayed for others.

I never bargained, “If you get me out of this, I’ll…”

A selfish petition was a sign of weakness as far as I was concerned.

Besides, I didn’t want nor did I deserve a goddamn thing.

I was a drunk.

Then, I dried out. I sobered up.

Then, slowly, I began to recover and stumble my way through 38 years of a drug free life.

Good things came my way. Things not on my prayer list.

Good people called me friend. But I didn’t pray that they like me.

Good women loved me. But I didn’t pray they’d hold me.

I had a 27 year career helping others. But it wasn’t the answer to my prayers.

Years 25, 26 and 27 of that job were awful. But I never prayed to find a way out.

However, every day of those 27 years, I prayed for others and asked the God I understand to be God to allow me to be of maximum service to others. To help those who are still sick.

So, I guess, in a way, I prayed I’d receive something…patience, understanding and tolerance.

I was told I could pray for myself if others would be helped.

And that’s what I did for 38 years, help others, and, in the process, a whole world opened up to me.

A wonderful world growing more wondrous each hour, each day.

A wonderful world that started spinning so fast it made my heart sick.

I don’t know why.

I think I have some regrets.

I think I’ve made some mistakes.

The biggest being I’ve neglected my self in some way. At least, that’s what I think.

I asked some one today, “What do you think?”

And they said, “If you pray about it, you’ll feel better.”

A BURNING DESIRE

I’m trying to be nice and it’s getting me nowhere.

I’m sitting here listening to people talk about winners and losers.

If I’m called upon to share my opinion, I will have to remain silent…because I have nothing to add to the winners and losers commentary.

I feel like a loser a lot of times.

A lot of folks consider me a winner.

A lot of folks.

Doesn’t make them right.

I want to leave but I’ll stay. I’ve got no where else to go till after this meeting.

Some guy is trying to be funny about his use of hallucinogens. That means everyone will be trippin’ by the time the meeting’s over.

I have a bad attitude.

But I’m not leaving. I’m not leaving.

Some guy is texting me. His text reads, “I can’t pay you till tomorrow.”

Shit. That means I can’t pay Chester back till tomorrow.

Now, some guy is saying, “With that, I’ll pass.”

Where has my mind been?

Now, everyone but me is laughing. I have no idea what was so funny.

It’s me. They’re laughing at me. I didn’t hear the chairperson call my name. Now, everyone in the room is quiet and all eyes are on me.

I clear my throat and say, “What you losers lookin at?”

Can’t Find My Way Home

“The delusion that we are like other people…has to be smashed.”-pg.30 “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous.

“I’m Not Like Everybody Else”-The Kinks

I don’t know if I ever thought I was like other people. I do know I always paid attention to the folks who said I was different. 

Weird was the word most used to describe me. Said it right to my face. No one has ever been reluctant telling me, “You don’t belong here.”

And I didn’t belong. I didn’t fit in. And I used to feel bad about it. I was ashamed. The first words out of my mouth when I woke up every morning were, “I’m sorry.”

Drinking changed all that. I took my first drink and I wasn’t sorry for a goddamned thing. You don’t want me around? Too fuckin’ bad. I’m here to make you rue the day you ever judged me.

My feelings of shame turned into rage. Rage toward those who mocked me. Toward those who pushed me. Toward those who tried to help me. I took that first drink and I did my best to kick everybody’s ass.

Of course, I failed miserably in my vengeance quest. Knee walkin’ drunk did not make me a crouching tiger but it allowed an easy time for the other, still able to stand, barscum when it came to draggin’ my limp and beaten body from the tavern to the alley. 

I guess I didn’t fit in there either.

Early Morning Meditation 

I’ve always been able to “empty” my mind.

It started when I was a kid. The Old Man would stumble in around 3am and Mom would be in the front room waiting for him. Waiting so she could tell him he was  a “drunken son of a bitch.” 

And he was. 

And he knew he was…but he didn’t like hearing it. 

And, why she always picked the pre-dawn hours to tell him the very thing he didn’t want to hear, I have yet to figure out. 

And, why she’d always act surprised when The Old Man would shout, cuss, scream, and throw furniture across the room, was also beyond me.

When, I was eight or nine, I’d get out of bed and try to stop my parents from hurting, sometimes, perhaps, from killing each other. By the time I was ten, I had given up on them. Yeah, by then, I’d just stay in bed, close my eyes and turn “it” off. 

The noise.

And it worked.

Years later, some one told me I was a “natural at empty mind” technique.

He called it meditation.

I called it survival.