HAPPY PRIDE Month!! Come As You Are

First and foremost ” HAPPY PRIDE 2022!!” For me everyday is a PRIDE day.

Recently I have heard several times the phrase “come as you are”. This phrase can be used in several connotations.

We hear people in churches say come as you are, but really do they mean it?

At our jobs we have these programs of INCLUSIVITY that state be you, be who you are, but do they really mean it?

In our recovery groups we always here please keep coming back and just be who you are and just stay sober and clean! I am a testament that THEY DO MEAN IT!!!

I come to you every day simply as a 55-year-old gay man who is married to his loving partner of 21 1/2 years. I am a thriver not just surviving with HIV/AIDS for a little over 25 years. I am the DADA to 6 four-legged fur babies that love me unconditionally. I am proud UTSA Roadrunner alum and staff member that bleeds blue and orange. I am a brother and a son. I am an alcoholic and addict in RECOVERY for a little over 2 years and 5 months.

I am not perfect!!!

So, I come exactly as I am!

That’s what’s in “My Rattled Cage”, thanks for stopping by!

How do you know when to let go of people, places and things?

I posted this yesterday on InTheRooms.com.

We hear at least once in every meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous we hear that we have to change PEOPLE, PLACES and THINGS.

What if one of those people is yourself?

As people in recovery, we have to be very aware of what all of our triggers are.

For me one of my biggest triggers lately is the amount of sobriety time I have. I just celebrated 29 months of sobriety and it has begun to make me ever sensitive. You are probably asking why now?

It was right about this amount of time during my original time of sobriety of February 2014 – September 14, 2016 that I became very unhappy with working a program. I got angry at folks in my home group the Goliad here in San Antonio. I got angry with individuals in my online home group Global Steps Alcoholics Anonymous that happens to meet on the platform of InTheRooms.com. To be honest with you I still have no idea what made me angry. Probably my own PERSONALITY over PRINCIPLES – IMAGINE THAT! All I know is that, because I was angry I stopped attending meetings – which in turn meant I was not sharing in meetings. I quit doing any type of service work, including the monthly BBQ which I used to thoroughly enjoyed.

Because I quit working any type of program, let alone THE PROGRAM of Alcoholics Anonymous, I allowed myself to throw every bit of what I had gained during that 2 1/2 years of sobriety. I will never say I lost anything, I will say I threw it away and gave it all away for what. To spend the next 3 1/2 years in and out of relapse and recovery?

What is really wonderful today is that I am fully mentally aware of all of my triggers. I am aware when I harm others with my words or actions and I am able to immediately make amends to them. I am able to see when I am feeling some kind of way and I can address it through sharing in meetings or picking up the phone and calling someone. One of my biggest triggers right now is that some things have happened that are causing that fear of economic insecurity to begin to creep back in. I am writing about it, I am talking about it therefore I am increasing my armor against that chink appearing and allowing my disease of alcoholism and addiction to continue to do push-ups and pull-ups waiting for an opening.

I am working the program and I will continue to do what I know to do and utilize all of the tools in this wonderful tool box that has been given to me so freely!!

Thank you for being a part of my recovery!

That’s what’s in “My Rattled Cage”, thanks for stopping by!!

Do we come by our Alcoholism or Addictions naturally?

I posted this on In The Rooms on June 15th, 2021.

I didn’t have my first drink until I was 17. Being in Texas I lived through the change in drinking age where it was 18 and then it changes to 21. But it really did not mean a thing to me because I was not a big drinker way back then.

When I was little, I remember my parents drinking occasionally. It was not until my father had an affair and moved out that I noticed that my mother drank much more. I never knew until my 40’s that I learned from my maternal grandmother that alcoholism does run in our family. My mother’s father had a problem with drinking, but he had the wherewithal to just put it down after my grandma gave him the ultimatum “You have until I come home at 3:30pm to decide between being at home with her and the kids and leaving for his beer.” As grandma told it, he never had another beer until they came to see us in Hawaii and we went to a baseball game and my dad wanted to buy him a beer and my grandma told him “You can have ONE beer” and that is all he had and never had another drop of alcohol until the day of his death April 2, 1976, at the age of 59.

I honestly did not become a big drinker until I got out of prison in 1990. I spent some time in a halfway house and then I got my own apartment and a job at Pizza Hut. I started making friends and then it happened that one night I had come home from the Houston area from seeing my family during Christmas 1990 when a man in a convertible offered me a ride home. As we were talking, he began to tell me how good looking I was and asked if I went out to the bars. I told him no, I didn’t know where they were. He proceeded to tell me that I would never have to buy my own drinks because of several reasons, but particularly one reason that is neither here nor there.

If I had known then what I know now and grew to know over so many years of relapse and recovery about how much alcoholism ran in my family, perhaps I could have derailed that train. That train was not derailed, in fact it took off like a speeding locomotive all because of how I was made to feel at the gay bars. Not only did the alcoholism and drug use grow exponentially over the years so did the sexual addiction to the point that I wreaked more havoc on my life by contracting HIV on a one night stand while in a long term relationship with my first partner in San Antonio.

At the same time, I saw my mother sinking further into the disease, not knowing what it was and being the biggest enabler for her because I used to take her out to the gay bars and help get her drunk. I bought her alcohol in my home and just did not realize how far down the rabbit hole my mother was and how naturally I came by this disease. Unfortunately, my mother’s drinking did not subside, and she passed away in part because of this disease on Mother’s Day May 10th, 1998. You would think that at that point knowing then what she went through, I would have gotten my act together. But, no, my drinking and using just got worse over the years even during my now over 21 1/2-year marriage to the most loving and caring individual that did not deserve my shenanigans over the years.

I am no longer ashamed to admit that I worked hard for sobriety from 2014 to September 14, 2016, and then threw that away when I quit doing everything I knew how to do. Today I am so proud to have over 28 months of sobriety because I now work and live “THE PROGRAM” of Alcoholics Anonymous – I no longer work and live “GREGORY’S PROGRAM” of Alcoholics Anonymous! I LOVE THIS PROGRAM and I will KEEP COMING BACK!

I now know that yes, this DISEASE is genetically acquired, and I have a choice today. I CHOOSE TO BE SOBER JUST FOR TODAY!!!!

That’s what’s in “My Rattled Cage”, thanks for stopping by!!

How do I live with myself in Sobriety?

I wrote this blog on September 7th, 2021 for a topic in a meeting that I was chairing and I posted on my profile on InTheRooms.com I wanted to share it here.

As usual I was sitting in a meeting in my other home group Global Steps A.A. and boom there it hit me.

How do I live with MYSELF in SOBRIETY?

This can be either a perfect question to answer or an extremely loaded question depending on whether or not we are WORKING THE PROGRAM OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.

When I was drinking and using, I did not have the capacity to live with myself. I was trying to kill myself through all of the drinking and using that I did. I couldn’t stand who I was and not because I was gay; not because I had been thriving not just surviving with HIV/AIDS since January 1997; not because of issues that I was having with jobs, my husband and my family; I just couldn’t live with myself and I wanted to be gone.

That all changed this time around on January 4, 2020 when I woke up and said ENOUGH is ENOUGH! I truly meant it when I said I AM SICK AND TIRED of being SICK AND TIRED. I dived right in and became determined to WORK THE PROGRAM of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS and not work Gregory’s program any longer, because Gregory’s program has never worked.

So today, I am able to LIVE WITH MYSELF IN SOBRIETY. I am able to live with myself in sobriety because of all of those things mentioned above and the wonderful living amends that I have been making to my family, my job, and of course myself. You see living with myself began by me starting with FORGIVENESS for myself and to stop blaming others for everything else that I have done to myself and to them. I guarantee that anything that I did to them was not caused by them, it was caused by my own actions or inactions during my drinking and using.

Today, I may have tough days, but my worst days sober are so much more livable than my best days drinking and using. Today I look in the mirror and I say thank you to my Higher Power for granting me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change – I am an Alcoholic -; the courage to change the things I can – I do not have to drink or use today -; the wisdom to know the difference – the ability to step back and breathe when things are not going my way.

Today, I LOVE ME, ALL OF ME and I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me, why? Because if they ain’t paying my bills, I pay them no mind!!!!

Because of all of my fellows, my Higher Power whom I choose to call GOD and working the PROGRAM – I will stay SOBER JUST FOR TODAY!!

That’s what’s in “My Rattled Cage”, thanks for stopping by!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY – PRIDE in A.A. on InTheRooms.com Turns 1 Year Old

If you are looking for a place to enhance your recovery online then look no further than InTheRooms.com. InTheRooms (ITR) has every type of recovery group and meeting that an individual could think of. We are proud to now be able to offer a new group called Pride in AA on InTheRooms.com. 

AA for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Pride In AA closed Alcoholics Anonymous group is dedicated to members of the LGBTQ+ community and their ALLIES. We endeavor to create a feel-safe place where you can be comfortable in sharing, discussing and growing in recovery. It’s a place to share about the disease of alcoholism and how that relates to identification as LGBTQ+ and ALLY community membership. Joining the closed group does not mean you are disclosing that or how you identify. It is just joining a closed group that you feel will help you continue your growth in recovery together with others. We do this together!

A feel-safe place.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit we in recovery were hit hard. Face-to-face meetings were shut down and online meetings became front and center in recovery. Prior to the pandemic meetings specifically for LGBTQ+ and ALLIES could be found in pretty much every large city. In fact, a popular search site is Gay and Sober which is an international meeting search site.

While the AA Group on ITR is very inclusive, not all LGBTQ+ individuals feel they are able to truly open up and discuss all aspects of their recovery. For many, their alcoholism, recovery and their identifying as LGBTQ+ are intertwined. It is so important for those who identify as LGBTQ+ or as an ALLY to feel 100% able to be rigorously honest with themselves and others. It is important to discuss their solutions to internalized stigma and not feeling comfortable speaking in open meetings. Lack of familial support is also a reality for many in the LGBTQ+ community and as More About Alcoholism states – we could add to this list ad infinitum.

Where and when?

This group has been meeting on Tuesdays at 9PM EST since May 18th, 2021. If you are in need of a meeting to be you, please go to In The Rooms and become a member. Once there you can click on the Pride in A.A. Group link from this blog and request to join. We hope to see you there. 

If you would like to join the group just search for Pride In AA in the groups option and request to join. If you would like to reach out to us you can by emailing prideinaa2021@gmail.com. We look forward to meeting you at Pride in AA on InTheRooms.com.

That is what’s in “My Rattled Cage”, thanks for stopping by!!

Has it REALLY been over a YEAR?

I was doing a project for my job recently and I wanted to include my blog link on the project. When I went to my blog, I was like “has it REALLY been over a YEAR since I have written anything?” Then to top it all off I could not log into my account. Luckily, I was able to gain access today thanks to what they are now calling Happiness Engineers at WordPress.

I have missed so much in this last year as far as my writing goes. I have missed writing for SoCS. I missed participating in The Bee Writes’ “Love is in Da Blog 2022”. I missed writing in this year’s Blogging from A to Z in April. I have also missed writing for Song Lyric Sunday. I plan to get right back into my writing now that I have access to my account and my blog!!

So much has happened in the last year. Most importantly I recently celebrated 28 months of SOBRIETY. I am still very much involved with InTheRooms doing lots of service work. In April of last year I created the Pride in A.A. Group on In The Rooms and on Tuesday nights I chair the Pride in A.A. meeting at 9pm EST/8pm CST, this meeting started meeting the first week of May of last year.

After Mother’s Day last year I upgraded from my 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage to a 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander. In October I traveled to McDonald, Tennessee to see my father and stepmother and went to Memphis to go to Graceland on my mother’s birthday October 6th. While in Memphis, on the night of October 5th some nice folks in stole the catalytic converter off of my brand new car. Francesca, that is my car’s name, got stuck in Memphis until December 11th when I returned to pick her up. I still finished my travels in a rental Dodge Ram, that was fun since I am not a truck person. My brand new car already has 22,000 miles on it even though it sat in Memphis for a little over two months.

I am still working with my favorite place to be employed, my home away from home, The University of Texas at San Antonio. Cruz and I just celebrated our 21st anniversary in February. We still have 6 dogs – Crissy, Little Bitty, Zailey, Stitchy, Marcy and Lucy.

Other life has happened as well. My brother in law who has been in my life since I was 11 continued fighting his courageous battle with brain cancer. During this battle I was able to be the brother I am supposed to be by traveling back and forth to the Santa Fe, Texas/League City, Texas area to be there for my sister and brother in law and to do whatever I possibly could for them. Unfortunately earlier this year the cancer had metastasized so badly in his liver and other areas that it was determined to stop treatment. That was in February. On April 28th he passed away at the age of 62.

I am truly blessed that I had the wherewithal, courage and determination to get up on January 4, 2020 and say that I was SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED, I pray for the last time. Had that not happened I would not have been able to be there for my sister and brother in law. I am so extremely blessed to have the family that I have and my friends and wonderful colleagues.

That is what is in “My Rattled Cage” , thanks for stopping by!!!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

I was simply looking for a pictuire to prost for Mother’s Day and I ran across this gem written for Parade Magazine by Maryn Liles.

100 Mother’s Day Messages

1. I’m glad that you’re my mother because I’m not sure anyone else could have put up with me this long! Love you, Mom.

2. Your smile brightens each day and makes it better than the last. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

3. I feel so lucky to have you as my mom. Thanks for always believing in me and doing so much for me each day. Have a great Mother’s Day, you deserve to be spoiled!

4. It’s my time to tell you how fortunate and special I am to be blessed with a mother as caring, loving as you. Wish you a happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

5. Mom, thank you for being my anchor in this stormy sea of life. I love you and don’t know where I’d be without you. Have a great day today.

6. Mother Goose, Ma Barker, Mother Theresa—of all the mothers that ever lived, you’re the “Motheriest.” Have a great Mother’s Day!

7. Happy Mother’s Day to my very own superhero and the No. 1 problem-solver in my life. I hope you have a great day!

8. In your arms, you held us. Little did we know but you have given us the greatest treasure that will never fade in our hearts and that’s your love.

9. Thanks for everything Mom, you really are one in a million! Love you!

10. Thanks for always helping me to remember what is important in life… and today it is you! You are the best!

11. Mom, you are the most outstanding woman in my life, and you’ll always be my number one. Have a very happy Mother’s Day!

12. In my life, I haven’t met a lady as elegant, beautiful, and lovely as you. I love you lots, mommy!

13. Thank you for always being there, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

14. There’s never been a minute I wasn’t glad you were my Mom.

15. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Although we’re far apart you are always in my heart. I love you and miss you more than words can say.

16. Best friends and the best mother ever; you are seriously a gift to me! I love you. Happy Mother’s day!

17. Growing up I don’t think I realized just how much you did to keep our day-to-day life running so smoothly. Now that I’m grown up, I am in awe of everything you did for us, and I admire you all the more. Thank you for making my childhood such a special one! I love you, Mom!

18. Thanks for bringing me into this world and always seeing the best in me. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

19. Mom, I honestly don’t know how I’d get through each day without you by my side. Thank you for being such a supportive mother to me, and a fantastic grandmother to my children. We all love you so much! Happy Mother’s Day!

20. To the person who has done more for me than anyone in this world! Love you, Mama!

21. Thanks for being an incredible mother and role model to me during my childhood. I am so thankful to have your support and guidance as I navigate through life. Happy Mother’s Day!

22. I got all my good qualities from you, Mom! Isn’t it lucky you had more than enough for both of us?

23. Thank you Mom for showing me how to be the best version of myself. I am a strong woman because a strong woman raised me. I am so thankful for everything you’ve done for me.

24. You gave me the gift of life so our gifts to you pale in comparison. Happy Mother’s Day!

25. Thank you for being a source of strength, guidance, happiness, and inspiration to our family every day. Our world is a brighter place with you in it! Happy Mother’s Day, my love!

26. A mother’s work is never done – but today, you deserve a rest. In fact, take the rest of the week off! Happy Mother’s Day!

27. Thank you for making us feel so loved and cared for every single day. For today at least, I hope I can do the same for you!

28. You always put our needs first with tender love. Happy Mother’s Day!

29. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Thank you for looking after us so well, I know it’s not always easy! I love you!

30. I feel so proud to have you as my mother. Happy Mother’s Day!

31. Thanks for giving me the best things in life: Your love, your care, and especially your cooking. Happy Mother’s Day! I love you very much.

32. Best Mother’s Day Wishes for today and always.

33. Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom ever. I love you to the moon and back again!

34. When I think back on the sacrifices you made, you deserve a Mother’s Year!

35. To the most amazing mom in the entire universe, Happy Mother’s Day. I love you to the moon and back!

36. Every night, I thank my lucky stars that you’re my Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

37. Happy Mother’s Day to the greatest mom! We don’t say it enough, but we really appreciate all that you do for us every day. You are truly the glue that holds our family together!

38. Wishing you a first-class Mother’s Day – you deserve it.

39. May your Mother’s Day be filled with as much happiness as you brought to my childhood. I love you!

40. We’ve shared so many things — but I don’t share with you enough how much I love you! Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy!

41. May all the love you gave to us come back to you a hundredfold on this special day!

42. Any woman can be a mother, but it takes someone special to be called “Mom.” Mom, you’re the best! Happy Mother’s Day.

43. Wishing you all the love and happiness you so richly deserve. I hope you have a very happy Mother’s Day! Love you, Mom.

44. You mean the world to me. With love always.

45. To the best mom in the world, Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for being chief cook, counselor, taxi-driver, cheerleader, and best all-around mom in the world.

46. I would have made you breakfast in bed if you’d taught me how to cook. I love you! Happy Mother’s Day.

47. Because of you, I am me. Happy Mother’s Day!

48. I love how we don’t even have to say out loud that I’m your favorite child.

49. Wishing you a fabulous Mother’s Day! You’re the best mom I could have asked for. Love you, Mama!

50. Thanks for bringing me up into a world where love can be expressed electronically.

51. Wishing you a very special Mother’s Day. Thank you for always being there for me! I love you.

52. Mom, on this Mother’s Day I want to apologize for everything I did growing up.

53. Happy Mother’s Day to you Mom, and thank you for everything you do for our family. We’d be so lost without you. You’re the best!

54. They say that as you grow older, you turn more and more into the type of person your parents are. Thank God you’re so AWESOME! I love you, happy Mother’s Day.

55. Happy Mother’s Day to Super Mommy—we are so lucky to have you! Thanks for all you do!

56. It’s that time of year again and you’re still my mother. You’d think you’d have been promoted by now. Happy Mother’s Day!

57. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I feel so blessed to have you as my mom. Thanks for always believing in me and doing so much for me. I love you!

58. Mom, you know you’re more than welcome to come over to my place for dinner, but there’s one little problem…all the food I have needs to be cooked. Happy Mother’s Day!

59. Happy Mother’s Day to the most amazing mommy. Thanks for all the diaper changes, meal times (even when I threw my food on the floor), and putting up with temper tantrums. You really are amazing!

60. To the #1 mom in the world!

61. Mommy, thank you for looking after us so well and making every day so much fun. Have a very happy Mother’s Day!

62. I am so grateful and blessed to have a mom as wonderful as you! Happy Mother’s Day!

63. We hope you have an amazing Mother’s Day, Mom. We hope that you feel truly appreciated on your special day.

64. Can’t wait to share a glass of wine together—until then, Happy Mother’s Day!

65. Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you! Happy Mother’s Day to the sweetest mother in the world, we love you!

66. You deserve the very best! Happy Mom’s Day!

67. Only a mother as perfect as you… could have a child as perfect as me. Happy Mother’s Day!

68. I’m still your little girl in so many ways – and for that, I’m thankful! Happy Mother’s Day!

69. Happy Mother’s Day to a woman who deserves a medal… for putting up with me all these years!

70. I am honored to be your son.

71. Thanks for letting me be a parasite in your body for 9 months… Followed by another 18 years as a parasite outside your body.

72. I want to thank you, Mother, for your patience, your encouragement, your strength, your generosity, your unswerving love, and for those three little words that helped me through so many trying times– “Because I said so.” Happy Mother’s Day!

73. Mother (n). One person who does the work of twenty. For free. See also: Saint, Wonder Woman.

74. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect mother.

75. Grandma… you’re the best! Thanks for all the fun and laughter, I love you so dearly!

76. Lots of love to my favorite person in the world. Happy Mother’s Day!

77. Happy Mother’s Day to the sweetest mother-in-law in the universe! I’m so lucky that when I married your child I got you as another Mom! Have a great day today, you deserve it!

78. On Mother’s Day, your children are supposed to cater to your every whim- Sort of goes against the natural order of things, doesn’t it?

79. This is the beginning of a new, exciting journey through motherhood. Enjoy your very first Mother’s Day!

80. Thanks for being there when I need you the most and even when I didn’t. I love you. Have a happy Mother’s Day!

81. Happy Mother’s Day Grandma! Thanks for always believing in me and cheering me on. I love you!

82. You are more than just a mom to me! You’re my best friend. I love you so very much, Mama!

83. To the rest of the world you may be just my mother-in-law, but deep down in my heart, you are a rock of support during all the troubles of life. I am so grateful for you and the support you give to me. I hope you have a wonderful day today and know how much you are loved! Happy Mother’s Day!

84. There aren’t enough words in any language to express how much I love you. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

85. You’ve always been an angel to me, even when I was a little devil to you. Happy Mom’s Day!

86. To my mother: who never sends me out into the cruel world without first wrapping me up in the warmth of her love. I love you, Mom!

87. You were the glue that kept our family together and the spark that made my childhood so much fun. Happy Mother’s Day!

88. We’ve had our differences, but I’ve never doubted your love. Thank you for all the sacrifices and hard work over the years. I love you!

89. I really won the “Mom Lotto” with you. Happy Mother’s Day to a lady who’s one in a million!

90. Happy Mother’s Day to the most loving, dedicated, and patient mother in the whole world! I love you, Mommy.

91. I hope I can be half the mother to my children that you were to me. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

92. I never knew how hard it was to be a mom because you made it look so easy!

93. Mom, thanks for setting a great example of what it means to be a woman, a mother, and a good person.

94. I might not be your “little man” anymore, but you still have all my love. Happy Mother’s Day!

95. “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” – Rudyard Kipling

96. Your strength and love have guided me. Happy Mother’s Day!

97. Sorry if I drove you crazy. I only did it because I love you! Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.

98. Mother’s Day is every day when you have a gift of a child like me! Love you, Mom.

99. Happy Mother’s Day! We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Literally.

100. Happy Mother’s Day, and thank you for your service. We salute you!

That’s what’s in “My Rattled Cage”, thanks for stopping by!!

Love is in da blog 2021 Prompt 7: Bonnie and Clyde

For Prompt 7 of #LoIsInDaBl21, Bee has given us Bonnie and Clyde -Find a Blues love song and/or write a Nonet about doomed love. WHen I ran across Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind, I knew this was the song for this post. I found a live version from 19754 in Amsterdam – it is about 8 minutes long but well worth it in my opinion. Etta had a voice on her and could touch your sole.

That’s what’s in My Rattled Cage, thanks for stopping by!

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