Back To Life, Back To Reality


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Betsy from Deck 5 blamed the sun in her eyes on her failed attempt to nail a Triple Chinatown Takedown on me in the shuffleboard arena. Clearly, she lied, as my photographic evidence shows. I would eventually finish her off with a Pacific Rim Wrister for a double 10. Take that, ya blue-rinsed Broomhilda.

Travel has always been important to me.  Having time off and going on holiday are two different things in my little world.  While I do enjoy any time off from work (and not to disparage work – I do enjoy what I do), there is something transformative about leaving the familiar and going elsewhere.  Even if that transformation is temporary, it’s still an excursion into a time-limited new normal. Or not-so-normal normal.

We went on a cruise for a week and while I won’t bore you with the sunny details (is that a #humblebrag?), needless to say it was a very groovy way of spending a week.  It was our first family trip, with our little boy now (almost) officially part of the clan.  We were supposed to sign off in front of a judge the day before we left, but it got postponed.  (I have to say that that is the only court date I can say I have ever looked forward too.)  But for all intents and purposes, it’s a done deal.  Signed with the sweat and blood of all the karma and pain and work involved in having our youngest cross our paths and into our lives and hearts.

Travel recharges me.  Resets in internal mechanism that tends to build up without my expressed written consent.  Smooths the edges over.  It’s not so much time away from the familiar, as it is seeing and experiencing a new way of doing things.  A new reality.  Or, more accurately, other people’s reality.  Sure, some of it is window dressing.  I don’t get catered to in my own life.  I don’t get chauffeured on a regular basis.  I don’t have someone taking care of everything so that I can chill out.  My temporary reality is really the reality of those doing the catering.  Their life is a tough one.  Nine months away from their family, no days off.  Taking care of slugs like me.  Cleaning up after me.  Smiling and saying “yes sir!” when I ask the simplest of things.  But I do the same when I am at work.  Yes ma’am.  Yes boss.  Yes dear (okay, that’s at home).   Different realities going on at the same event, yes? But that’s the spinning top we call home.

I ain't doing shit for you.  Clean up you own damn room from now on.

I ain’t doing shit for you. Clean up you own damn room from now on.

What this trip did for me is not only allow me to spend time with my family (my parents were on the trip too), or to get burnt to a crisp by the unrelenting Honduran sun or to get in a substantial amount of reading, some exercise and writing, but in shifting my perspective.  Sure, it was fun to be pampered.  It’s not something I allow much for myself.  In some ways it was an exercise in letting go.  Letting go of the “you don’t deserve this” kind of thoughts.  So I truly felt at peace in many ways.  And we all tried new things, allowed ourselves to experience different things.  Together.

One of the things I learned is that having an all-you-can-gorge-on buffet while training for a half-marathon is like having Letterman host the Oscars – possible, but an unlikely combination.  The good news is that I was able to run a few miles every other day and actually didn’t gain weight.  It was a tie, if you will.  And like they say in hockey, a tie is like getting kissed by your sister.  But I will take it.  And look forward to getting more kilometres under me before the race.

Nothing like a light, nutritious breakfast to start the day of cramming and gluttony off right.

Nothing like a light, nutritious breakfast to start the day of heart palpitations of off the chart cholesterol counts.

The other thing I learned is that wherever you go, you will run into like-minded folks.  If one seeks.  I was fortunate enough to look through the ship itinerary and find that hell ya, there is a 12-step meeting held nightly.  So slobs like me forking into their third helping of chicken Masala and BBQ pork and mashed potatoes could be lulled into doing something positive for the day.  I met some fabulous people in recovery there.  Many of them old timers – 15, 30, 35 years of sobriety.  The most inspiring folks I met was a married couple.  Both from North Carolina.  He had four months sobriety, and she six months.  This was their first sober cruise.  I couldn’t imagine doing a trip like that so early in recovery.  But they did it – surrounded by free flowing booze and countless lounges and dining areas. Kudos to them.

The fabulous thing about these meetings is that I got to meet, and therefore recognize and converse, with these alcoholics all around the ship and on shore.  I met one man at the coffee area and we spoke about our days for about 30 seconds before getting into a deep and probing discussion about the nature of resentments and their causes and their wreckage.  Who else does that happen with?  Certainly not the local orthodontist or Red Hat Society treasurer.  So my gratitude circle certainly included all those aboard who shared of themselves during the daily melees of meatball subs and margaritas.

Those are my folks at 5:00 pm.  Perhaps some of them are coming off the heels of the 4:45 pm activity?  Only time would tell.

It’s all about choices, isn’t it? Martini tasting or AA? Body conditioning or Fisherman’s buffet?  Oh the joy the person who came up with this itinerary must have had.  He probably giggled all night long. Tee hee hee.

The real shot of reality came with the news of a murder during our trip.  In Roatan, Honduras, one of the crew members decided to go out and venture on his own.  The staff are always advised to travel in groups, but this young man, a cook, figured he would be safe in the daylight.  Carrying a cell phone that belonged to another crew member, he was approached by another young man on a bike.  When the cook refused to hand over his coworker’s property, he was shot in the shoulder and head.  Dead.  And just like that, that curtain on the Wizard of Oz was pulled open. The illusion was shattered.

There we were, shuttled about, coddled, fed like fat geese, wiped up after and protected by layers and layers of security, and yet all that meant nothing when a man who was working to send money back home to people who were probably just as poor and desperate as the guy on the bike brandishing a gun was. And yet they come to owning stuff through different means.  These are the sometimes choices, these are circumstances, these are the bitch of being born where you are born.  I too came to things in different ways.  I came to wanting what I wanted when I wanted and escaping my own self and life through reckless drinking and heavy handed selfishness.  I eventually found what I really craved – a spiritual connection – through the haze and pain of my circumstances and poor judgement.  Of desperation.

Like that kid on the bike had – full on desperation.

He and I aren’t that much different.  When I heard the news, as the captain announced it overhead as we ate in the dining room, I said a prayer for the slain victim.  But I also said one for the shooter.  Why?  Why not?  How different is that guy from me?  He wielded a pistol.  I drove a two-ton weapon whenever I drank and drove.  He wanted some immediate satisfaction through intimidation and possessions.  I wanted immediate satisfaction when I put myself and others in danger when I needed that next drink.  That kid probably thought he wasn’t doing anything wrong, that he was doing what he needed to do to survive.  I did the same.

drinkbullet

Different latitude, same attitude.  Sickened, poisoned minds, born of desperation and want.  Of pride.  Ego.  Survival.  So who’s the animal?  I don’t know.  Paint it as many hues of washed out aqua and sandy beige, but deep down we stir the same type of beasts.  Some of those beasts crave violence, some crave sex, some crave drugs, some crave alcohol.  I sit in my cushy city-on-water talking to others who have the same beast as I, while others don’t have that option.  Or chance.

And that’s the other tragedy here.  That’s the tragedy that almost was for me when I was lucky (or blessed) to be caught before killing anyone.  I could be rotting in a jail as well, wondering where it went wrong, where it went to shit, where I could have done something different.  But who would I be kidding?  As an active alcoholic, drinking was the game.  Until I couldn’t take it any more and I chose another game.

Not this game.  I haven't seen this show ever, but admit to putting this up because I want to seem current and cool.  Did it work?

No, not this game. I have never seen this show, but admit to putting this up because I want to seem current and cool. Is it working?

I realize, dear reader, that this turned into something a bit more than just a jaunty little ditty about returning from holiday.  Having said that, I did have a great time, but I always kept the memory of both young men in that tragic play in the back of my mind.  It helped me put a filter on my time off.  It anchored (no pun intended) my gratitude.

My reality these days is a shifting one, always rising, falling, calming, drifting.  It includes all the things I used to cast off – love, tolerance, empathy, joy, patience (well, at least working on all those).  My reality is the one I am humbly asked to serve and yet have choices abound that allow me to surround myself with those who add to my life, and not take away. To not play small and to up my game.

Earlier I said transformation is temporary. I question that now, and wonder if even temporary transformations cause permanent effect on a different level.  I know that illusions can be attractive.  That is what my drinking did for me – hung up a tasty looking veil of falsehood that lured me over and over again.  Reality takes courage.  Reality is where I am at this moment.  Reality is knowing that I am true to form and to myself. Reality rocks even when it doesn’t.

And that’s the kind of thing I will pause and think about next time I am on the sand and surf, gazing at nothing and yet taking it all in.

Hang Ten.

54 responses to “Back To Life, Back To Reality

  1. Yo, I am very glad to see ya pop up in my inbox, and you are back safe, sound, and refreshed and willing to carry the message. I am very glad ya brought back the pics, it is a high point of your style that I enjoy. I really appreciate how you mention praying for the poor soul that committed the crime, for he will need it just as those who are suffering from his actions. Take care†††

    • JR!! Thank you, kindest of all sirs.

      The pics…yes. I have had a love / hate relationship with them. I have sometimes thought that they took away from the body of the message…too light, too jokey. They also take me just as much time doing as I do writing…so sometimes it’s a bit time consuming.

      Then again, it’s a blast, and I don’t see too many folks doing it, so it’s nice for my ego to stake a claim in something tiny…ha ha.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment about praying for the shooter. I think we tend to jump on the accused / aggresor too much in this society. Yes, there needs to be a punitive measure. We need justice and measures to make sure there is a response from society that certain things just won’t be tolerated. But we lose sight that these are also broken and hurt and angry folks. They just aren’t that much different than “normal” folk. So I will take the empathetic approach in some ways…even if it’s just a simple prayer for them. How much does it cost me, and what’s the worst that will happen?

      Keep at it, my favourite hillbilly.

      Paul

    • Indeed, kind sir. Indeed.

      Learning (and practising) empathy hasn’t always been easy. Still isn’t at times. Walking a mile in someone’s shoes isn’t always a pleasure, but it certainly does help me in trying to get a foothold into just not hating or judging. And sometimes that’s a victory.

      Spiritual progress, not perfection… 🙂

      Cheers
      Paul

  2. Nice to see you back & glad you were able to share the message with some new best friends (because how are you not best friends when you’ve shared your soul with someone?). It’s always amazing to me the people and things I can relate to now. Keeps me humble. 🙂

    • Thank you! And glad to see you about too – missed your wonderful comments and posts there for a bit. But great to see you carrying the message in your wonderful way, and sharing your wisdom with us all. I am blessed to be a benefactor to your experience and life through this program.

      I hope to remain humble as much as I can 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  3. Your post of the ship’s itinerary reminded me of my brother years ago before he got sober. He too went on a cruise and saw the “Friends of Bill W”. He said, “Who the hell is Bill W and why is he so damn important that he gets a whole slot on the schedule? Well, I’m going to start my own club entitled ‘Friends of _____’ and everyone must wear a smoking jacket and slippers.” We laugh our backsides off now in retrospect. How awesome to be able to be with family, like-minded people, have good runs and great food. Sounds heavenly.
    Linda

    • That’s quite funny about your brother, Linda. I have heard people talk about this “Friends of Bill” thing too…usually those who don’t know what it’s about trying to figure out just who the hell Bill W is and why he’s so mysterious! We had lots of people poke their heads into the chapel (where the meetings were held) to see just what the hell was going on. Not sure what they expected to see (I would love to poll them!), but it must have looked rather dull from the outside!

      Yeah…good food. ugh. I had a long run tonight, so I think I felt the weight of all those second and third plates coming off of me tonight…ha ha. It was fun – already looking into another cruise for next year!

      Thanks for being here, Linda. You make my day 🙂

      Paul

  4. Thank you for what you wrote about the two young men on your boat. Your perspective on it was extremely helpful to me. I’ve often felt compassion for the young man that shot my sisters, because I do realize that I have that capacity within myself if I don’t maintain a spiritual awareness and program. But what you said about being capable of the same danger by getting behind the wheel drunk… THAT really hit home for me. Gave me a whole new level of compassion and perspective. Thank you.

    • Oh Laurie…I didn’t even think about this when I wrote it…it was still so fresh. And yes, your posts were still fresh when you wrote them not too long ago. Funny how these sort of pushed up against each other…and you know what? YOUR perspective of things, of being a victim of that man’s violence, certainly has always been admirable. How you have been able to turn such a tragic part of your life into a positive things – talking to others about it, sharing it in public through speaking and through your blog…wow. I have said it on your blog before, and I will say it again…you have big cajones in doing what you do. Others would gladly use those circumstances to jump into dodgy actions and lifestyles and feel justified in doing so. But you have come clean and sober and are building bridges (sound hokey, but it *is* true).

      I pray and understand from a detached way. What you have gone through…far from detached. But in some ways your own victories have come from detaching from the hate, and embracing some forgiveness and empathy. What a gift to share.

      Thank you for your comments, Laurie. You are a one-of-a-kind 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  5. Family vacations are the best! I liked that your post unfolded with little tales along the way. How tragic for the crew member and the black cloud that must of hung around for a time. I have heard about AA meetings on ships but it was fun to see the activities itinerary. “Friends of Bob” has such a positive spin to it — similar to “coffee chat with Michelle and Osley.”

    I am glad you are feeling comfortable with reality and true to yourself. There is a sense of peace in just that. May your vacation bliss stay with you…

    Fern

    • Awww, thanks Fern! not sure how long the glow will stay, but then again, I haven’t gone back to work, and the routine of the week hasn’t hit yet. But I will carry this as long as I can!! Not even my impending Visa bill has me down.

      yes, the “Friends of Bill” has always been the quieter way of announcing membership to AA. Just as “friends of Dorothy” (which, by the way, also had meetings nightly!) are the old-fashioned way of identifying as gay.

      Glad you’re here, as usual. Love your thoughtful comments 🙂

      Paul

  6. It’s so true.. I’ve got a new friend that I’ve met and had a coffee with a couple of times because I mentioned that I don’t drink ‘because I can’t control it’ and she has since opened up that she is struggling majorly with her drinking and desperately wants to stop. So of course I suggested we meet for a coffee and we have twice now and even though I hardly know this woman we are right smack bang into the ‘deep and real’ stuff of life. It’s so bloody great. If there’s one thing I have a low tolerance for in other people it’s pretending. Pretending things are great. Pretending things don’t hurt. Keep it real! Love it. Great to hear from you Paul. Big love from New Zealand xxx

    • I hear you, Mrs. D. The phony stuff doesn’t interest me any more. That is why small talk still irks me at times, even though I know it’s social pablum. But small talk is still better than the fake and false. Far better. But it’s funny how we can hone in on that stuff, eh? We were masters of that, or at least we thought we were. Whose to say that someone’s bullshit meter didn’t go off when we were prattling off about this and that and how everything was hunky-dory while we were really rotting inside?

      I am so glad you have a coffee date who you can share with and vice-versa. It’s amazing how we do get into the nitty gritty. And it helps both you and her. I love it.

      Thank you for sharing so wonderfully…as usual 🙂

      Paul

  7. Great that you had fun. Horrible about the crew member. Touched how you identified with the perp. All lives are changed. Plans and itineraries are just suggestions in the end.

    • I like what you said about plans and itineraries just being suggestions. Sounds like life in general, doesn’t it? I think identifying with the perp just helps me in general. There are folks I try to identify with, even though I may not like them or what they represent. But in doing so I hope to open myself up just a touch more. Not get so black and white about others and life.

      Thanks for this.

      Paul

  8. Reality rocks even when it doesn’t. Great insight. I would’ve prayed for the man who took the other man’s life too. Like you said, we’re not that different in the big picture. I went on a cruise 7 years ago and our bar tab exceeded the cost of the cruise. I’d like to take another when my kids are a little older and it never occurred to me that there might be AA meetings offered! It sounds like a great trip but with your positive attitude, you probably could have fun anywhere. 🙂

    • Yikes – bar bill bigger than the cruise?! You were quite the imbiber there, my lady…lol. My type of drinker. But yeah, it was surprising to see the meeting there. Great to connect, if anything. I think the kids would love the cruise. They had a kids club that had non-stop activities and such, with a wide range of ages. Gives the parents some needed adult time / chill time!

  9. Pingback: Best. Vacation. Ever. | themiracleisaroundthecorner·

  10. Sounds like you had a great trip! And isn’t that is what sobriety is all about? Being able to enjoy life without the burden of explaining the last drink and searching for the next.
    I love the fact that there was an AA meeting on the cruise – how cool is that!
    Your comment that reality takes courage struck a note with me, because it’s so easy to face reality in addiction because the reality isn’t real. There’s always a drink to help you get through. But to face the highs and the lows of life without your alcohol takes courage. And you have plenty!
    Take care 🙂

    • Thanks Carolyn! You are absolutely right – this is exactly what sobriety is about. Living life. Taking the good with the bad. Seeing it through with dignity and grace (or at least try to!) Seeking help and giving help. Connecting with other humans on a human level, and not on a spiritual hilltop. courage! I don’t always feel courageous. But I have others to inspire me to it…like yourself. And of course, I have that wonderful thing called faith in the Creator that also help me out 🙂

      Blessings
      Paul

    • Diana! I was just thinking about you today. I have been lurking in your neck of the woods, but been silent. I was thinking that we haven’t “spoken” in a while and missed your energy.

      Yes, the buffet line (not the image I posted though – that’s quite disgusting, actually) was a bit more manageable than I let on. But it certainly was easy to overdo it.

      I have certainly gotten my batteries recharged (and traded up for a larger size) and brought my writing stuff with me. Which is just my notebook, some index cards, a pen and my computer. it was great to sit quietly and do what I need to do. I am very excited about this project, and am not rushing it. I also aware of not lollygagging either. Writing is joy wrapped up in bleeding.

      So glad to see you, my friend.

      Paul

  11. Wow, what a trip. In the first section I can so relate to the desire to be pampered. I’m a single mum of three, one of whom has special needs. I am studying a Master’s degree at full-time and a half study load, I am prac teaching and also need to move house in two weeks. I think I would literally cry if someone made me a cup of tea right now.

    And the shooting? That’s a tragedy on so many levels. I can’t help but agree with you.

    • oh Steph! I’d make ya a cup if you were in the same hemisphere at least!! I had to take a lie down after just reading what your life is like at the moment. How are you doing it? Wow. You’re one special person, my friend.

      🙂

  12. The image of a bottle as a gun is really powerful as is your use of the word survival. I never thought that I drank to survive but I did. To survive life while struggling to reconcile myself with the memories of the past and the pain they still impose on the now. I so need to let go and I’m hoping that as I release my grip on the bottle so the pain will be freed and then fade. Thanks as always Paul xx

    • Thanks for the insightful comments Lucy. They say that addictions leave our body in a state where the mind actually does believe that using / drinking / acting out is actually *necessary* to live. Like breathing. We are so convinced that we NEED what it is what we need, that we feel like we are dying without it. Sure, part of it is chemical, but it’s also psychological. Frightening. That’s why I mentioned survival. Drinking in the morning wasn’t about partying…it was about survival. Getting through the next minute, hour. Ugh. Horrible.

      Blessings,
      Paul

    • Thanks Lance! Glad to see you here – see ya on Twitter often, so cool to connect with you here. Look forward to reading your work. And books to boot! Awesome 🙂

      Cheers
      Paul

  13. The murder would have shaken me up too. Your words made me think about all the things I take for granted.

    I’ve never been on a cruise before, but would make the 12-step meetings. Definitely over martini time, though fisherman’s buffet does sound tempting.

    Kudos on working Benson into your post. I don’t watch game of thrones, but still a big Benson fan.

    • The shooting certainly did put things in perspective. Still has. I was just talking to my sponsor just now and we talked about it a bit. Sort of takes me out of self for a bit, which is always a good thing. I can’t complain about too much when you hear about those things.

      The meetings were fairly loose. But it was nice just to run into the people while on the ship. It was nice just knowing they were there, even if I wasn’t at the meeting. And as far as the fisherman’s buffet – you should have seen everyone go ape-shit over the lobster tails. Broiled with some butter on top. People piled them on their plate. I am not a lobster fan, so I had one and that was it. I prefer mussels or fish. But it was still quite a catch (sorry, bad pun)

      And yay to Benson! Yay to you for catching that one! do you remember the show that he was originally on? (Sure you do) THAT was a great show!

      Paul

  14. Paul, this was truly beautiful. I really didn’t expect to hear about a murder occurring on your holiday. I’m really sorry to hear about this and it is devastating to even have to digest something so tragic. I can’t imagine how his family must feel and although I didn’t know him, I will say a prayer for his loved ones.

    As cruel as the world may be at times, we must tread on and continue with our realities. Like you said it so eloquently here, this reality is much better than the one we once dwelled in during our darker days. That reality, my friend, was highly decorated with false freedoms as we longed to latch onto ideas and hopes which just weren’t real. Alcohol is a bastard of a friend. It promises the best feelings false realities can offer and then when it all disappears, we come crashing down harder than a demolition ball destroying old ideas and fancy, yet, decrepit disguises.

    I used to travel a lot with an ex-companion of mine. Probably one of the loves of my life, if you will, and during our holidays, I would get so toasted you would hardly recognize me. Hell, I didn’t even know who I was at the time. But because he loved me, he thought he was doing the right thing by enabling me to act this way. I guess he was afraid I would leave if he took alcohol out of the picture. We were young but still, it was no excuse. We had the best of times and the worst of them together. And whenever we drank too much together… well, let’s just say there was trouble.

    When I look back, I think to myself, shit, I was such a nonsense. But with age comes maturity and with sobriety comes wisdom. We learn to venture out of our comfort zones and make our way through our own realities. If we wish to succeed within our own milestones, we have no other choice. Our reality becomes our new best friend replacing our old ways and that bastard of an illusion.. the alcohol induced vacations and endless mindless conversations which we truly thought would change the world. Illusions are charming but we must always remember they are just illusions. Transformations are real and will continue to occur the further we branch out and get to know and understand reality… and how it defines us.

    • False freedoms! yes. Great way of putting it, Gina. And illusions as charming and transformations as real…love it. And those illusions certainly can drive one to further them and get more of them. But there is the inevitable downfall and crash from those. Like the empty calories of cotton candy or something like that. All airy and fluffy and might taste good for a moment, but it dissipates and turns to nothing. Our old lives.

      Sorry that things didn’t work out with that partner of yours. Amazing how alcoholism kills relationships. Don’t know one alcoholic who, when quit, had amazing relationships with others. Ugh. We’re terrible in that department until we learn to live life in an authentic way to ourselves first, then with others. It’s not always easy, and many relationship are still strained or dissolved in the early stages of recovery.

      You certainly have transformed your life and continue to do so. which is an inspiration for me and others. Thank you for the wonderful comments here and the shout outs on Twitter 🙂

      Paul

  15. Pauly

    I love traveling.

    I think that sometimes the road for us is circular. Like a race track. Round and round. The same shit, same scenery, the same problems, day in and day out. If we are incredibly lucky, or even get nudged by a hp. we can exit that round road and find ourselves on a linear road. A straight road, with side streets, dead ends, nice places to stop and take a rest or roll by and check out the new scenery. I like being on that road. Like it a lot.

    On the circular road there arent alot of choices. On the linear road choices abound. Whats cool is I know that if I choose the wrong direction, I wont be lost forever because I’m traveling with a couple of co pilots and a map, not by the seat of my pants, like I did before. Recently I went down a side street and found a cul de sac with an island at the end. I drove round and round that cul de sac island for a few months before my co pilot nudged me back onto the main road. Good thing as I was running low on gas and needed a fill up, bad. I go down new roads all the time. Sometimes pick up a hitchiker or two. They keep me focused on the driving. Its nice to be moving forward and have some choice in the matter, isnt it Paul.

    I used to feel a little guilty about my good fortune. Why me? There are others more deserving than me in the world. My sponsor used to say, If you put in the work, there’s a real good chance you’ll get something good out of it. But the results aint your bizness. You gotta learn how to accept what ever comes down the road and be grateful you aint where you were.

      • I printed this up, but haven’t read it yet, but will tomorrow.

        Thank you for pointing this out. I hope someone else gets a chance to look at this too. If it’s good enough for Mikey, then it’s good enough for me 🙂

        Paul

    • Mikey – you do good comment, my friend.

      You paint a wonderful portrait here…and I get it…ha ha. I too like the linear road, even if I do get caught up in those cul de sacs. Maybe more than I would like to admit. But when I do finally listen to my co-pilot, then yeah, I’m back on the road…the road I am meant to be on. Not the one that I think would do me best…which is where I used to point my vehicle, my life. And we know how well that worked out. Talking about spinning my wheels.

      I am not as distressed over the why me guilt as I did when I first got sober. I did a lot of the why me things when I got arrested, as in why aren’t I in jail for good? Why did I get God’s Grace and others didn’t? Survivor’s guilt, they would call it. But like you mentioned, I had to learn that it’s not up to me. I had to accept that it was His grace and will, and that my job was to just do the work and accept all that came with it – good or bad (and by bad, I mean what my ego would consider bad…but there are no mistakes in His plans).

      Thank you again, Mike. You are a special dude.

      Glad you’re here.

      Paul

      • Paul
        You are the special dude. You are the attraction guy. Not the promotion guy. You are living it.

        I really screwed up with our freind in China and his sponsor. I apologized twice already. My shit is not in order and I fucked up. Broke my cardinal rule. I’ve crossed the line and bullied our guy and its been bothering me for a week or so. I’ve also stuck my nose in other places where it may not be welcome too. Even though I might be helping sometimes, I am harming too. I gotta take a long look at what the heck I’m doing here.

        Take care my friend.

        • Mikey – you know, I read what you wrote last night and I also went over there and saw what you said, and in the end, it’s where you are with yourself and your HP. I understand where you come from – I do. When I read your words, I do feel like you and I are standing outside one of the rooms and you’re just telling me things as you see it. Straight to the point. No filler. And sometimes in print it may come off another way. I don’t know.

          But you did what you needed to do – reach out, seek counsel with your sponsor, make the approach, etc. so it’s out there. The outcome isn’t up to us, as you know. I find that as the years pass (and I am still young at this), I find myself getting more into your territory – being plain spoken, to the point, coming from love.

          You’re a good man, Mikey. You really are. I am so happy that you’re here and there and everywhere. You keep showing me how to be, even when it doesn’t go to plan 🙂

          Hugs to ya
          Paul

  16. I’ve heard some cruises have meetings – and old timer at my home group went on one some years ago and found one onboard – although it was just him and one other I think but still you only need two alcoholics and a coffee pot for a meeting don’t you

  17. Intense post! What an adventurous trip it turned out to be. One of the beautiful things about getting out of the house is experiencing life, all of it, on life’s terms and learning the lessons we can from what we’ve experienced. Sorry about the tragedy that crossed your path!

    • Thanks Al. I was talking to my sponsor last night and we did talk about it a bit. For me it’s just about perspective now. The little things don’t seem to matter when something like that strikes, or even when I go to a meeting and hear what others are going through. An annoying co-worker isn’t that big a deal when you hear someone share about them losing their kids, wife and job. Gratitude starts to enter the picture and things level off. That’s the joy of meetings and in crossing into tragedies like that one.

      Thanks brother…as you say…keep coming back 🙂

  18. Oh boy, you had a bit more drama than I on our respective holidays! I’m so sorry to hear about that poor man, but what a compassionate thought process you had, you are such an inspiration, Paul!

    I too had the opportunity to go to a meeting (just one for me, I didn’t realize they were there until late in the trip), but how fun is it, and how lucky are we, that the Fellowship is truly everywhere? Such a miracle, one I hope I never take for granted.

    I also LOVED the pictures, never doubt yourself on giving us insights into your life. I for one eat them up every time (and I will hound you endlessly unless you post pix of the half marathon).

    Love that your back in the blogosphere, Paul!

    • Hi Josie…my apologies on replying so late!

      Glad you got to hit a mtg…very cool! And yes, lots of gratitude for so many of us being out there, ready to reach out and give a hand. I too hope to not take it for granted.

      Thanks for the comments…I’ll do my best not to get into too much self-doubt 🙂

      Paul

  19. Hey Paul. Wow, you went on a cruise. Sounds nice. Looks like you had a fab time too.
    “Reality rocks, even when it doesn’t.”
    –Oh yea it does. I like this one Paul. Because when one wakes up from the illusion or dream, there’s only disappointment.
    Heavy stuff though on the guy being killed. It always shocks me when I hear of something like that. Actually, whenever anybody dies, expected or not, it always shocks me. I really believe that death was never meant to be.
    Great ‘seeing’ you.
    🙂

    • Staci! So nice to see you – my apologies on getting back to you late.

      I was reading up on the murder just yesterday – they got the guy for sure and now many cruise ships will be skipping that port. Good thing the guy is behind bars, because I imagine that the locals who make their living from the ships will want to deal with him vigilante style. Ugh. Sad.

      Hope you are doing well – thanks for being here 🙂

      Talk to you soon!

      Paul

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