Monday, November 28, 2011

What Will It Be......or not?


Good friends, friends who know our warts and still love us to pieces.

Friends, closer than family, who

I suspect know us better than ourselves

after all they’ve got a ring side seat to all our antics; only thing missing is the popcorn

Why am I concerned with what they think or for that matter what I think?

God knows, and yet continues to include me in Creation.

Am I a critical and unique link in the whole scheme of things or just a metaphor.

Are my worst mistakes my best contributions or is it those times

when I scored myself a perfect ten?

How much and in what way does my laughter and

my tears contribute one iota to anything..

Am I part of the spit that keeps everything together?

Or am I a particle of tension keeping everything from colliding.

What is it?

Am I this or that or…am I this and that?

My bumbling speech? My misspoken and mistaken word?

My gravity dragging actions?

Is it in spite of them or because of them?

Is it my experiences stacked high with age or is it my ignorance of tomorrow?

After three quarters of a century under my belt are

the few remaining years to contain my main event?

Will I recognize it or will it be like so many others in the past

just another day at the office?

Will I participate or sit idly by?

Will I sit on my comfortable old ass or get up and take the risk?

God what ever is your will use my love hungry heart, my memory filled mind and my love –to-tell-a-story tongue as instruments of Your love and Your peace.

Jim

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

God's Network

Attended a truly joyful “Old Timers,” dinner and meeting last night. Everybody with over twenty-five years of sobriety was counted as an old timer. I have forty-nine and was the oldest in the room. Our town’s oldest, a wonderful woman and an icon with 56 years couldn’t make it.

Seemed overcrowded with alki(s). As I looked over the crowd I thought, “ damn there are a lot of old guys and gals here; a hundred of us. What a diverse and strange group. We all looked anonymous, couldn’t pick us out in a crowd unless you were one of us.”

Wish I could have taken pictures. People, standing around hugging, laughing, talking while juggling and eating off paper plates with a plastic fork in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. If you’re counting it would appear that they needed three hands. That’s what was so weird about it. It came off without any major food spills. Guess that happens when the love in the room overcome gravity.

Asked to speak (oldest) I threw away what I planned on saying and attempted to make out a list of all the wonderful loving mentors God had placed in my life over the fifty years (I had an up and down year prior to my sobriety date.) The list went on and on until I stopped, remembering the chairperson had asked me to keep it short.

Looking out over the audience as I took the podium I remember David C. and David G.. The bond between us was formed in sharing our strength and love with each other in our grief at “losing sons” the same year (2005). Since we worked together (I’m sure God had arranged it and really strange circumstances brought us together) we were a daily support to each other and we needed it. I paid tribute to a lot of my sponsors, finished the talk in the appointed time without mentioning either David and left the podium.

The next day I answered my cell. It was David C. on the line. He was in Charlotte NC, alone, attending a conference but was bubbling over. He had been reading my book “Joyous & Free In Spite of Myself.” He was beside himself with identifying with my story, the issues and the voices. He had also met a young man, new to the program, at the AA meeting the night before. He said, “you were there with us. We were one, the three of us. It was truly a “bonus” meeting.”

However what he was excited about was what he called the most amazing part of the evening and the frosting on the cake. Later and alone after his “bonus meeting” he checked his phone. Much to his surprise he heard my voice, apparently I was at the podium and he was hearing my “talk”. Evidently as I walked up to the stage I had mistakenly hit a redial or something instead of the silence button.

Jim

Friday, October 28, 2011

God's Artwork & Bush's Beans

Been having a high ole time here in the Smokies. Here on business really: a three- day board meeting.

To break the tedium of the meetings we got into our cars and went to Bush’s Beans, home (home, factory, restaurant, museum and country store) of the famous Bush Beans and their dog Mike for lunch. Of course they had cute little doggie pillows and a bunch of hand crafted “pick’n” instruments make with “guitar strings” on a slat of hand-fashioned mountain wood screwed into a Bush’s bean can.

They also had the customary ole-timey items “for sale” and clerks dressed in their frontier 19the century calico dresses and head gear.

If this wasn’t exciting enough we topped it all off going to Clint’s home spun country and antique choked (over done, they must have made midnight raid on a Cracker Barrel) BBQ restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant was bedecked with a life sized picture of the patron saint of Gatlinburg and the Smokies, Ms. Dolly Parton with her piled high blond hair and famous tooters. Of course Clint a grinn’n ear to ear was in the picture with Dolly. Both with the look of kindred country spirits.

Side note on Clint. Clint was rotund and white bearded like a classic Santa Clause. Mr. C worn a droopy mountain hat and overalls in the evenings but not while operating his rug cleaning business during the day.

A man of many homespun talents he also had his own gospel singing band that performed nightly in his picnic- benched tourist-filled BBQ emporium. Well perhaps not nightly due to his faithfulness in attending services at his church in the valley.

On the way home after all the excitement I was happy not to encounter a stray deer intent on tangling with my windshield nor a black bear homesteading in the middle of my pitch-dark narrow switch-back mountain roadway.

I’m just grateful I’m snug in my room and will be returning to my home turf tomorrow filled up to my eyebrows in country-mountain culture and charm.

May God forgive me if you think I’m making fun or unintentionally hurting anyone’s feelings. My only point is that a Chicago area bred and raised guy like myself probable can’t appreciate good gospel music and deep fried or BBQ food.

God is so generous up here with His beauty.

Jim

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SLAVES TO A DIFFERENT MASTER

Yes, Charleston does have a Slave Mart, granted today it’s a museum even if some of Charleston’s vendors would like to deny it ever existed, Believe its because there is no money in it for them.

We found it just a couple of blocks away where the lady with the babble decorated glasses adamantly declared that we were just out to besmirch South Carolina’s famous seaport’s good name.

My thoughts went right away to the enslaved poor and illiterate who populate our land of the free and the brave today.

No, we don’t shackle them in irons; we’ve gotten so much more civilized. We shackle them to living hand to mouth or worse beg to mouth with lack of opportunity, lack of money, lack of education, lack of political power and a host of other ball and chains.

It’s amazing how after all these years the scars from the beatings and irons are still visible on the psyche of so many, yet so many can't figure out why, after all they're free now and we did pass the bill of rights. I guess they figure its no different than the etchings of approval and the landmarks of the landed gentry is on the backs of their decedents.

But I digress. What caught my eye was the AA unity symbol (the circle within the triangle) carved into the fa├žade of the building above the larger of the two windows on the second floor.

Poetic in that freedom from the slavery to our addictions has been and always is right above us.

Really Grateful. Joyous and Free.

Jim

CHARLESTON, NC

Can’t get there without crossing water as one of the natives said. Couple of big bridges, lot of smaller ones and causeways, even drawbridges.

Ran the Cooper suspension bridge

Don/t know whether you’re crossing river, bay, creek or marsh at night. Length height and smell are tell tale signs, marshes are dank and muddy and a little fishy at low tide.

The food is great. In fact one could spend the whole week long vacation burping from one “must go to” seafood, bib and shell bucket eatery to another.

We sat at a table with several little brass medallions nailed to the surface with little brass nails. Each had the name of some celebrity.

I had a bit of lark envisioning John McLain sitting at this same table Hootie and the Goldfish; I’m sure it had been on different occasions.

I sat in the Hulk Hogan seat and got my picture taken with my arm on a mermaids shoulder

The older and squeaker the dining rooms floors, the more “Charleston’s Finest” awards clutter the walls.

Speaking of walls I believe every spring or other tourist season there must be a contest to determine on which restaurant/bistro walls thereon are hung the most celebrate pics. The older and more funky the better.

Went to the “Slave Market”. Asked one Charleston store owner at the “Charleston Market ” where the SM was. Peering over her babble decorated chain secured reading glasses and out from behind her array of Charleston souvenir shot glasses she very promptly corrected us that Charleston did not, yes she repeated it “Charleston does not have a Slave Market!

Since she was so adamant we were wrong we were determined to find it tomorrow.

Gotta get out of here. Go for a run on the beach; fly a kite and kayaking yet this pm.

Doggone sobriety is great! Joyous and Free.

Jim

Thursday, October 13, 2011

WHAT WILL IT BE?

Good friends, friends who know your warts and still love you to pieces.

Friends, closer than family, who

I suspect know us better than ourselves

after all

They’ve got a ring side seat; only thing missing is the popcorn

Why am I concerned with what they think or for that matter what I think?

God knows, and yet continues to include me in Creation.

I’m a critical and unique link or just a metaphor.

Are my worst mistakes my best contributions or is it those times when I scored myself a perfect ten?

How much and in what way does my laughter and my tears contribute one iota to anything..

Am I part of the spit that keeps everything together?

Or am I a particle of tension keeping everything from colliding.

What is it?

Am I this or that or…am I this and that?

My bumbling speech? My misspelled and mistaken word?

My gravity dragging actions?

Is it in spite of them or because of them?

Is it my experiences stacked high with age or is it my ignorance of tomorrow?

After three quarters of a century under my belt are the few remaining years to contain my main event?

Will I recognize it or will it be like so many others in the past just another day at the office?

Will I participate or sit idly by?

Will I sit on my comfortable old ass or get up and take the risk?

God what ever is your will use my love hungry heart, my memory filled mind and my love –to-tell-a-story tongue as instruments of Your love and Your peace.

JIM

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fellow Spiritual Travelers

Stopped by and visited with a new friend of mine. Interesting guy. Lost his wife a year ago. Writes poetry almost daily since losing her a year ago; his grief still runs deep.

Since then it's amazing on how he changed. He knows it. No hostility, no anger just a calmness, a peace, "a new me." He says nothing upsets him, acceptance has set in. As he pats his chest he says "she lives on here." Yet he acknowledges "its more than a circumstantial change, it's deeper and broader than that, I'm a new me. Totally different."

His poetry, like his new and exciting "new me" and his relationship with his Higher Power is bursting at the seams. He admits to a "spiritual awakening," his words not mine. We agree that when we first met we could feel the energy, the spiritual energy, that energy that goes beyond words and explanations, we were and are one.

One, because in God we are one. God has always been there we are the johnny-come-latelies who have discover this truth. I experienced it when I entered my first AA meetings. An old friend in the program always insisted that "upon entering a AA meeting or encountering a fellow alcoholic on the street there was a electricity, a recognition of a fellow spiritual traveler."

My new friend and I talked for quite a while in his place of business; he ignored the ringing phone. We were talking about his new found love of writing poetry. I shared with him my own passion.

We agreed poetry brings out or manifests the feminine in us. We also agreed that the male is incomplete until he discovers and integrates the feminine within. We have come to the realization that it sometimes take a jolt, a traumatic experience to jar lose the masculine grip. To make known the masculine's vulnerable self. To deflate the masculine ego and let the feminine heart do the "thinking."

Since the feminine is linked to the heart, it follows that the metaphor,creativity, caring, compassion, suffering and love are also present; that's poetry.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Higher Power

Got up this morning wanting to post a note. Lot on my mind to share.

Instead during prayer and meditation time got out of my mind and followed my heart into the following.


Knowing You

If You are everywhere

Then why are You so hard to find?

If You’re the very breathe I catch

Then why can’t I hold You longer?

Some say You’re within

A light brighter than the sun

Then why can mere skin bar the sight of You?

Some say You’re in nature

In majestic mountains and towering trees

Then why can mere distraction

Blot You from sight?

If You’re everywhere

Why do I have to seek You?

If I can’t see You

Why do I look and look?

Why explain Yourself

If You’re who I know You to be,

You’re a mystery and

This mere mortal would

never understand.

This knowing You....

I know.

It’s experiencing You

That overshadows

Mere knowledge of You.

Jim

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book Launch--Joyous & Free


I'm back again. The last time I came back I thought I would be able to settle back into a routine of posting and dabbling with prose and poetry. I was wrong, the preparation for the book launch was mild and less time consuming than the actual launch.

This summer has been one hell of roller coaster ride. In future posts I'll share with you my summer adventures of book signings,conventions and speaking engagements.
These occasions have been a source of true joy. I have met and made friends with hundreds of wonderful folks and with this I am a wealthy man.

In this post I want to thank all those I met and for their overwhelming acceptance of Joyous & Free .

Thank you all for your more than generous postings on and for the many emails comments that I have published in the 2nd Edition due out this week.

Thanks again for your participation in Joyous & Free exceeding all expectations.

I will continue to post.

James Frederick

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last Resort

Finding myself at a turning point, my belief in a Higher Power and my life in tatters, friends suggested, to mend my ways, I reached out, prayed as they advised. ”God if there is a God help me” and put Him to the test. Later I had to buy my first used car. Once more I listened to my friends, prayed and did a test drive.


LAST RESORT
I was desperate,
why else would I turn
to you?
They said
you were reliable,
could be trusted.

Wavering,
I opened the door.
Stepped in.
Got behind the wheel.
Turned the key.
Shifted out of reverse
into forward.

To me, you were
just another used car.
I kicked your tires,
tested your steering
on open road
and congested streets.

I found you
to be like no other.
No rattles, no shakes.
Balanced and aligned
your timing perfect,
you purred in cruise
and when pedal to metal
you roared.

With a fresh belief,
trusting your handling,
experiencing your power,
I bought You,

bumper to bumper.

Jim

Journey and Destination

Sometimes we're blessed with the awareness that we're experiencing some precious and wonderful moments. We are conscious of an infinite moment. Trapped in linear time and space the beauty of the moment passes however it's not lost but is capture by all our senses for all time.

This pass week we were gifted with a flood of these moments attending a week-long Dream Conference between the awesome delight of crossing and recrossing the Smokies and the Appalachians. We could have taken the interstates and been there within hours. We opted for the "scenic route", 118 curves in 11 miles at one stretch. We choose the clear air, waterfalls, white water, trees and more trees, embracing shear cliffs and slow traffic (mostly under 40mph)to the intimidating broad-sided diesel belching 18 wheelers.

At the conference we met old and new friends. With the "old" we shared the laughs and the tears of the past year. With the "new" we relived the excitement and expectations of "first- timers". We sang, ate, prayed and shared dreams in our lake-side wilderness retreat.Laughter was the music of the week. Even the ducks waddled up on shore to add their "quakling" voices.

The frosting on the cake, being a first time author, for me was the announcement from the podium to the approximately 200 assembled that my book and ebook (Kindle) "Joyful & Free" was now available that day on Amazon.

Needless to say I was overwhelmed with gratitude to my life-time mate and all the wonderful people who who have helped me over the years to have such a week.

Who says we have to die to experience heaven.

Jim

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Joyous & Free In Spite of Myself



Back again after a couple of months of blood, sweat and tears (I exaggerate, actually I enjoyed it) getting my new book ready for launching.

The title says it all. IN SPITE OF MYSELF I completed everything required (felt more like demanded of me) and the printers proof arrived yesterday for approval. With our approval I am told it is ready and available to all on Amazon.

The book takes the reader along on a trip through the first five years of his sobriety. It is the author's journey of mind, body and spirit that is accompanied by a running dialogue(conflict) between his ears (mind talk) over how to stay sober, change and turn his life around. The battle wages between his old way of addictive thinking and acting out to a new and uncharted sober way of thinking and living.

Happy to see all but a couple of my favorites are still up and running. Missed you all

Jim

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Handling Change

Love life now that I no longer feel the drive to travel life's highway in the control lane. Yesterday had been planned a couple of weeks in advance. We would drive up to Nashville and spend the weekend with our children, and their children.

The main reason(s) for the planned weekend was the celebration of not one but five birthdays, an anniversary and family get-together delayed by an unusually cold and nasty winter.

It would be an eventful couple of days sitting in the stands watching one our great grand daughters perform in dance competition and witness our one great grandson compete in basketball. The frosting on the cake would be the cake all of us together.

On Friday I scheduled having new tires mounted on the car for the trip to Mobile and Mardi Gras the following Friday. Needed to get it done this Friday cause after the Nashville trip, I had to travel cross state Monday night to attended a board meeting (2 days).

Proud of myself because I had masterfully maneuvered appointments and commitment's around and had leaned on my mechanic to squeeze the tire thing into my schedule. I was in the cat-bird seat. God I was good!

Saturday morning I was still patting myself on the back when 10 miles out of town and cruising the interstate at 75 I was flagged down by a passing car. The driver slowed, kept abreast of me while frantically pointing to something wrong one of my tires. At first I was bewildered, no way they're not 24hrs old so I shook him off until he sped up to reveal he had his blinker on.

Quick witted as I am I figured it out. I pulled over to the shoulder, got out and discovered one of my tires was flat. Right, so after my wife suggested I call 911, say the Serenity Prayer I called Tennessee's excellent emergency road service. Within twenty minutes my "donut" spare was mounted. Nothing I could do about fixing the new tire today, my mechanic was closed with no home phone.

To sum this up my wife and I stopped for coffee, notified Nashville about change in plans for the day. Having accepted our powerlessness over our situation and deciding on our first move the rest of the day just fell into place filled with being in the right places, at the right time with people who needed us in their lives that day.

Scare myself when I accept change and interruption in MY plans so easily. All I can say is that Serenity Prayer is a real winner and I can't compete only cooperate with that Higher Power.

Jim

Friday, February 25, 2011

Conscious Contact

Reading Transcending The Levels of Consciousness, D. Hawkins, the other day I came across a passage that hooked me. As usual I twisted it into words I can relate to. The parenthesises are mine.

Mystical union(conscience contact with God) is a state of grace that is unconjured (not conjured by our prayer, meditation or any effort on our part)by work or practice, though it usually follows upon them.

In Step Ten of 12 Step recovery it is suggested that we seek this conscience contact through prayer and meditation. The step also gives promise that if we do so we will recognize the implication of this conscious contact in our daily life.

Over time I came to believe ( to be convinced)that this conscience contact with God is evidenced by the recognition that all is grace and synchronicity, so that, no matter how chaotic or puzzling life becomes, my destiny is being beautifully fulfilled.

As the days and years tumble on I wonder why I wasted so much time struggling with worry or fear for the future, beating my self up, concerned that I wouldn't be up for coping with life's situations lacking the faith in my Higher Power.

When asked, I'll tell you my life until I was in my late twenties was one of chaos and lacking direction; that my life changed when I sobered up and turned my will and my life over to Good Orderly Direction.

I have to admit my ego kinda hedged the "turned my life over" proclamation with,"yah but, remember buster some of the credit belongs to me. If it wasn't for me planning your next moves and practicing every day on the maintenance of your spiritual condition some of the glitter would come off your new life."

I came to realize that my struggle with worry and fear was the product of my battle with life to retain control of it. The more I practiced letting go and letting GOD take care of the future the more peace and serenity I experience in my life. I must add my Higher Power doesn't send me advanced travel plans for my journey; no, just daily road signs (people,especially people, places and things) as to which routes and turns I should take next.

If I stay in the present, heed His direction and listen to the people in my life that I love (and visa-versa)my life as seen in my rear-view mirror makes sense. I can trust it. I'm where I'm suppose to be, going where I suppose to be. And to me that's down right awesome.

Conscious Contact With Higher Power

Reading Transcending The Levels of Consciousness, D. Hawkins, the other day I came across a passage that hooked me. As usual I twisted it into words I can relate to. The parenthesises are mine.

Mystical union(conscience contact with God) is a state of grace that is unconjured (not conjured by our prayer, meditation or any effort on our part)by work or practice, though it usually follows upon them.

In Step Ten of 12 Step recovery it is suggested that we seek this conscience contact through prayer and meditation. The step also gives promise that if we do so we will recognize the implication of this conscious contact in our daily life.

Over time I came to believe ( to be convinced)that this conscience contact with God is evidenced by the recognition that all is grace and synchronicity, so that, no matter how chaotic or puzzling life becomes, my destiny is being beautifully fulfilled.

As the days and years tumble on I wonder why I wasted so much time struggling with worry or fear for the future, beating my self up, concerned that I wouldn't be up for coping with life's situations lacking the faith in my Higher Power.

When asked, I'll tell you my life until I was in my late twenties was one of chaos and lacking direction; that my life changed when I sobered up and turned my will and my life over to Good Orderly Direction.

I have to admit my ego kinda hedged the "turned my life over" proclamation with,"yah but, remember buster some of the credit belongs to me. If it wasn't for me planning your next moves and practicing every day on the maintenance of your spiritual condition some of the glitter would come off your new life."

I came to realize that my struggle with worry and fear was the product of my battle with life to retain control of it. The more I practiced letting go and letting GOD take care of the future the more peace and serenity I experience in my life. I must add my Higher Power doesn't send me advanced travel plans for my journey; no, just daily road signs (people,especially people, places and things) as to which routes and turns I should take next.

If I stay in the present, heed His direction and listen to the people in my life that I love (and visa-versa)my life as seen in my rear-view mirror makes sense. I can trust it. I'm where I'm suppose to be, going where I suppose to be. And to me that's down right awesome.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Language of the Heart

As usual, while the rest of the household was still caught up in the bed sheets I got up and went through my morning routine of spiritual reading, meditation and prayer. Then with the birds singing with joy because of our (after a loooong unseasonably cold winter) springlike reprieve I went after the paper at the local newsstand.

The women was cheerful, it was contagious although she agreed with me that,"I have to get up a couple hours early in order to get myself together." To that I added, "know what you mean,I unfold rather than wake up."

Having shared my Sunday morning meanderings with you I'd like to share this-morning's spiritual reading,a poem by Rumi the much quoted 13th century Persian Sufi. I apologize to Rumi for mangling his beautiful words with my own translation.
Here is what I heard.

Speak from the heart, never the mind.
Your honesty and courage will set an example for others,
and by listening to you,
they will be inspired to reveal their own heart.
This "heart speaking" is a spiritual practice.
It means, tell the truth and live within
your own boundaries and dimensions
without ever bragging about things
you won't be able to to live up to
or deliver to others.
Heart speaking will bring you a gift
whenever you practice it.
You will do the next right thing.
The heart knows but cannot tell;
The mind doesn't know but can tell.
Stretch yourself to speak from the heart
and bypass the the mind---
you will see miracles
boomerang back into your life.

As my sponsor always cautioned me,"Speak and act as if you are the only Big
Book (AA) someone might read."
Or as Bill W. referred to the message of AA. Its "the language of the heart."

Jim

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Celebrations s s s

Birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations. February is the merry month for us. It all starts out on Feb 4 and continues daily through Valentine day. Of the 7 birthdays and 2 anniversaries celebrated 5 stand out for my wife and I; our belly-button and recovery birthdays and our wedding anniversary.

The best part of the occasions are the handshakes, the hugs, the kisses, the phone calls, texts and emails.

I look forward to the cards (e & snail) especially the silly musical cards. I wear out the hinge and trip mechanism before I put them down. Usually there are no store-bought gifts. Have everything,don't need anything although I must admit I appreciate the debit gift cards to the restaurants. They're one gift that keeps on giving since my wife and I can then celebrate again on our date night.

Among those at the top of the list goes the handshakes and hugs, these are the priceless expressions of love and joy, given and received freely and generously. These are the gifts that directly validate that someone like myself could possibly grow out of his lonely self centered relationship with himself into someone capable of receiving and giving love.

I've saved the top of birthday list for something priceless; my 3+yr old great granddaughter singing over the phone "Happy Birthday Grandpa, happy birthday to you" in a voice as pure and sweet as any angel. It brought tears.

The top spot on the anniversary list goes of course to the former homecoming beauty, my loving soul mate and tennis partner for all the thousands of days we've been together. She didn't have to sing anything, just hug me.

Of course there is a special place in my heart for all the love and support from my friends in recovery who helped make all the celebrations possible.

Jim

Friday, January 21, 2011

Surprise!! He walks, he talks, he's alive and ....

Forgot my password, forgot my username. Had to go to blogger.com in order to access my blog. It was great to see Mike L."s comment about guys/gals who stop blogging without much explanation followed by much silence.

For the record I have attended a number of (too many)funerals (tennis friends, old and recent work friends, recovery friends) the last few months.Happy to report that I'm one of the last standing in the available, pallbearer category, although the black jacket is getting a little worn.

I have made more than enough trips to hospitals and doctor offices for myself and for my wife to qualify for a huge medical deduction for tax yr 2010. The great news outside my cancer all the trips were "maintenance" on worn out parts. Our bodies have long passed the warranty limit so we have been charged for both labor and replacement/disposal of the worn out parts. All of this being said physically, mentally and spiritually we are in great shape, a priority, playing tennis at least 3x a week, Y, Yoga and running?.

Due to the slump (I am a product of the depression and have faith that this too will pass ) in the economy and her subsequent loss of an excellent position we were graced with the return of our eldest daughter(50's)to our fireside these last several months here in Tennessee. It was costly for both of us but we truly were blessed with a second chance to heal old wounds and to develop a new and exciting relationship. As of the first of the month she is back practicing her profession in "her" California.

For those who know the importance of meetings, sponsorship, and daily practice I want to assure you that I have not skipped a beat. My wife and I are blessed with a great bunch of loving friends. We needed them even more so given the opportunities to grow, I and she needed all the help we could get and give.

As Board Chair of a new treatment facility (much time and energy) here in Tennessee I have been busy. I continue to write short stories,poetry and getting my finished memoir ready for publication. Had to learn the ins and outs of ebooks and print-on- demand.

Finally we had to remortgage the home and revamp our financial portfolio which took a lot of energy, paperwork,emails, faxes, 'overnights' and over 90 days to accomplish. We certainly contributed to Fed Ex's bottom line.

God willing and the creek doesn't rise I've a 49th sober birthday and my wife a 50th in Alanon coming up the beginning of Feb. Guess who was the hard head, no, she doesn't let me forget it.
Thank God The Will for and in my life has been doing for me that which I could not have done for myself.

Thanks for not giving up on me Mike. Good to hear from you again. You made my day, I needed that. Thanks also to all the rest of you who were concerned and especially thankful for sharing your experience, hope and strength with your continued blogging. Hopefully I'll keep on keeping on.

Grateful
Jim