MANY OF YOU WILL NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT THE MANY IMPORTANT HISTORICAL SITES OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.

I PLAN TO SHARE WITH YOU PHOTOS I HAVE TAKEN OF THEM AS WELL AS PHOTOS I HAVE TAKEN OF SPECIAL MEETING LOCATIONS THAT I HAVE VISITED.





Sunday, 29 December 2019

DEC 29, 19 .. TO A FRIEND .. NEXT TIME TRY GOD

The below suggestion came from the AA Grapevine Magazine, November 2019, A Wind of Spirit, pages 26 to 30.

With regard to your relapses over the years, both of us know this for certain : YOU, and only YOU, have to want this thing we call sobriety.

Given that you do indeed want sobriety, this story is about a member who was suffering relapses.

From the Grapevine story:

Very shortly, on a morning in late July as I got out of bed with the sweats, the shakes, the terror and the obsession, I realized that if I took another drink, I was going to die -- not in a week or a day or two, not on the way to the hospital, but right then. And I thought, in an instant, it seemed, of the one great thing that everybody at the meetings had talked about: God. All the talk about God this, God that, God the other thing, and all the things God had done for those people seemed to flash through my mind, and I cried out,

"God please relieve me of the terrible obsession to drink."

And it was gone in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye. I did not have to drink anymore. I felt clean inside and out for the first time in my life, as if a wind of spirit had blown through me; and I knew that all was well, right now and forever, both here and hereafter, and it didn't really matter whether I lived or died. I just didn't have to drink again -- by the grace of God.

If just one time you can stop short of picking up that first drink, then you can do it again.

Rooting for you!

Sunday, 1 December 2019

DEC 1, 19 .. GRATITUDE .. THANK YOU JASON ..

This past Thursday, I wrote a post on the topic of Thanksgiving and gratitude.

http://aaphotoshere.blogspot.com/2019/11/nov-28-19-thanksgiving-day-in-united.html

And below will you look what showed up in my e-mail from Jason a great friend.

Gratitude is a feeling.

A feeling stirred and offered outwardly from within the Heart.

When in a state of Gratitude, the whole body, mind, and soul are aligned with, and opened to, the purity of reciprocal Love.
In other words--- when we're in a state of Gratitude, there is no "what about me", there is no sense of separation--- we feel connected to All That Is.

Gratitude is the ultimate Healer.
Gratitude for the tiniest of things in every moment, is good medicine for the body, mind, and soul.
Gratitude can heal the world.

Practice Gratitude and feel your life change from the inside out.
Focus on Gratitude instead of luck, it stimulates Abundance.
Before sleep, upon waking, and with each breath, Be Grateful for something, anything, and Be Connected to All That Is.


In this moment I share my Gratitude for each of you, for this wonderful life I am experiencing, and for the gentle snow that is gracing us with cozyness this day...And the Chickadees, and the Squirrel...and...

Patti sent this : Gratitude is its own powerful pick-me-up!

THANK YOU TEAM !

Friday, 29 November 2019

NOV 29, 19 .. MY LAST MEETING WITH MY FRIDAY HOME GROUP

My Visa for my 90-day visit to Mongolia expires this upcoming December 8th. So the time has come when I must 'take leave' of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and head for 'home'.

Beginning Friday, September the 13th..

https://aaphotoshere.blogspot.com/2019/09/sep-20-19-quite-meeting-this-one.html

Without fail I have attended this small meeting that begins at 8AM and ends promptly at 8:45AM which is perfect for me. Short and sweet and NOT a full two hours like most all of the other meetings here in Mongolia (and in Russia for that matter).

We've had one large meeting.. 




All of the rest of our meetings have varied between 3 and 5 attendees.







I'll miss these very special friends. 


Thursday, 28 November 2019

NOV 28, 19 .. THANKSGIVING DAY IN THE UNITED STATES .. GRATITUDE

If you have been in, or if you have been around, the Fellowship for even a short length of time, I am sure you have attended a meeting in which the topic was gratitude.

Have an attitude of gratitude.

This is what our forefathers, The Pilgrims, those who settled our nation, had during their early years beginning back in October of 1621 when they held a Harvest Feast to celebrate a successful growing season.

They were so grateful for their abundance that their harvest festivals eventually became what we now know as Thanksgiving Day. A day to humbly give thanks. Or a day to express our gratitude for our good fortune.

Odd as it may seem, our minds can only focus upon one thing at a time. IF we can bring our minds to focus upon gratitude, and all of the good things in our life, then we will not be focusing on all that is wrong around us.

I don't care how bad you think your day has been, if you have managed to get through your day without picking up a drink, then at the very least be grateful for your sobriety.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and a Sober Holiday Season and don't forget to express your gratitude for your many blessings.


Sunday, 27 October 2019

OCT 27, 19 .. A MOMENT .. AN INSTANT .. IN TIME

The Doctor's Opinion says that we drink essentially because we like the effect produced by alcohol.

I'll translate that : We drink to change the way we are feeling.

In that vein I'll add the below:

If we are feeling bad, I don't think that we can think our way into feeling better. We have to act our way into changing how we feel. 

This is what HALT is all about. If we are feeling bad are we Hungry Angry Lonely Tired?

It was on a beautiful Autumn Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, California, that this spiritual awakening / spiritual experience occurred in my life.

It transpired in a micro-second but it has stayed with me ever since it visited me now over 30-years ago.

It was the Autumn of 1987 and I was home watching 'My Team', the San Francisco Forty Niners, playing a National Football League game.

And?

The visiting team was giving the Forty Niners all that they the Forty Niners could handle and it was looking bad for 'My Team'. I was getting tense and uptight and ..


BAM 

This series of thoughts suddenly visited me:

"What's wrong with this picture? This sporting event is affecting the way I feel and I'm tense and uptight and I'm not feeling very good."

"It is a gorgeous Autumn afternoon outside. There is an A.A. meeting at 3pm. I am going to turn off the game, get on my bicycle, have a nice ride through Golden Gate Park, and enjoy a meeting."

And?

I did just that. Then I shared in the meeting the above series of events and why I was at the meeting on a beautiful Autumn Sunday afternoon.

And?

Here in late October of 2019, at least 30-years later, the Washington Nationals baseball team is playing the Houston Astros in the World Series. 

Washington won the first two games, on-the-road, in Houston. Now it looks like the Astros will win a second consecutive game in Washington and I'm going to stop following this craziness because it is affecting the way I feel and I am not feeling good.

And I did what I did back in San Francisco, I stopped following this years World Series because I am not willing to let a sporting event affect the way I feel in a negative way.

And?

I feel much better.

And I'm Smiling .. 


Friday, 4 October 2019

OCT 4, 19 .. A TALE OF THREE MEETINGS .. CHAPTER THREE

Meeting one was quite the event.

http://aaphotoshere.blogspot.com/2019/09/sep-20-19-quite-meeting-this-one.html

Meeting two was an absolute non-event.

http://aaphotoshere.blogspot.com/2019/09/sep-27-19-last-fridays-meeting-update.html

Today, Chapter Three, Meeting three.

It must be true : The third time was a charm.

Fourteen ( as in 14 count them ) members were here today. So it was a real meeting. Unfortunately there were no English speaking members so I was literally a 5th wheel. Using my smart phone's Google Translate App, I spoke a few words and handed my smart phone to a member beside me who read my words in English that were translated into Mongolian. 

After the meeting adjourned on time, several members sat in a small circle and held a real meeting-after-the-meeting that lasted well over one hour. I did not join them in their circle opting to just stay out of their way.

I had to stay because I was responsible to secure the room after we were finished and to lock the door. I'm the only one with a key to the door.

What more can I say?

Next week the regular meeting leader will have returned from a long trip out of Mongolia and I will just see what happens going forward.

Friday, 27 September 2019

SEP 27, 19 .. A TALE OF THREE MEETINGS .. CHAPTER TWO

I could title this Post..

'A promise made is a debt unpaid and I promised..' 

Last Friday I published the below Post..

http://aaphotoshere.blogspot.com/2019/09/sep-20-19-quite-meeting-this-one.html

And?

At the end of the above Post, I said.. 

"I'll let you know next week."

So what happened?

Nothing. Neither Hannah or Bunny showed up this morning. I showed up. They did not nor did either call me. I called them with a ring-no-answer.

So there you have it..

Monday, 23 September 2019

SEP 23, 19 .. GOD IS EVERYTHING or GOD IS NOTHING .. WHAT A MEETING

I believe that in The Big Book the above theo/philosophy is stated..

God is everything or God is nothing.

Isn't the internet amazing! What do I find on page 53 of The Big Book..

"When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?"

For me it boils down to this : You believe or You don't believe.

Would you rather believe and be wrong? Or would you rather NOT believe and be wrong?

This evening, into a small meeting in the basement of a large apartment building I entered.


From July of 2015 up until today, I have spoken at a lot of meetings here. I recognized the below room the instant I stepped into it. A REAL, committed, meeting room. 



The small room was jam-packed. The meeting  was 1-1/2 hours. 6:30PM to 8PM.

There were two newcomers. They sat up front and basically I spoke directly to them.

When you have spoken to groups for as many years / decades as I have, you develop a 'sixth sense' about members of your audience. And in every audience, no matter how large or how small, you find those very few who are 'locked in' on you.

Further, when in a foreign country, you also 'sense' when certain members understand what you are saying. In other words, they understand your language.

This meeting-of-the-minds happened between myself and one of the new members. 

I swear to God in the Heavens Above I thought.. 

"He seems to understand ever word and everything that I am saying!"

It was an intense meeting. They all are intense meetings over here. The leader went through the meeting format and then I spoke from 6:40PM to 7:15PM, they took a 15-minute smoke-break. We finished and wrapped-it-up precisely at 7:59PM. I watch my cell phone for the time and, trust me, I know how to end on-time.

Up to me walked the new member who I had locked-onto during the meeting. In absolutely perfect English he said, "Can I ride with you when they take you to your apartment and visit?"

He has a beautiful wife and two gorgeous small children. He is a professional at the CEO level. He is at-the-end-of-his-road with alcoholism. He is only age 30 years. 

I said as we approached my apartment..

"I am amazed at your mastery of the English language.."

"Were you born here?"

"Yes."

"How did you learn to speak such good English?"

Are all of you sitting down?

"I lived in San Antonio, Texas, for five years where I attended university!"

And off we went! Did you go to any Spurs games? Were you a Dallas Cowboys fan? .. And on and on we raced ..

What brought you to A.A.? 

I've a brother and two cousins who run our company. All three are in A.A. One brought me here tonight. My father died of alcoholism. 

He is in extremely 'rough shape'. I am concerned he risks having an alcoholic seizure at doing an instantaneous withdrawal from alcohol. Were we in the United States, I would've immediately taken him to a hospital Emergency Room. I offered to do this here. A major hospital is very close to where I live. 

He promised me he would call a cousin who is an M.D.

He insisted on walking me to the door of my apartment. I then walked him back to the street to assure myself he was OK and had flagged down a taxi.

He called to report he was home safe.

"God? Do I have a young, Mongolian, sponsee?"


God is everything or He is nothing!

Friday, 20 September 2019

SEP 20, 19 .. A TALE OF THREE MEETINGS .. CHAPTER ONE

Last Friday, the 13th of September, a friend here in Ulaanbaatar who chairs an 8AM morning meeting asked me to 'chair' the meeting for the next three Fridays as he would be in China / Korea / Japan for a few weeks. He also arranged for a translator for me and a key to the meeting room in a local Community Center.

I said I would chair the meeting.

Yesterday I received a phone call from a lady (Hannah) I did not know. She asked me if I would indeed be 'chairing' the meeting. She said she would be bringing her sister Bunny.

I said yes I would be at the meeting. 

She replied that the two of them would be there. 


Now we are at today, Friday the 20th of September.


I was there at 7:35AM nice and early. For 'openers' I could not get into the building to get to the meeting room because the building itself was locked. 


At 7:55AM up raced my translator who told me that he had taken a new job, could not translate for me, and off he dashed.


At 8AM I tried the door to the building again. It was now open. In I walked, opened the meeting room door, turned on the lights, set out a few chairs and sat down. 


At 8:15AM a Mongolian lady came in and sat down. I called a bilingual Mongolian friend who told her we did not have a translator. At 8:20AM I put away our chairs, turned off the lights, shut and locked the door, and the two of us left.


I got home to my apartment about 8:30AM and my phone rang.


It was Hannah (the lady who'd called me yesterday) asking about the meeting and where I was.


I told her I was home and had no translator.

She said we didn't need a translator because both her sister and she speak English and in a pleading voice asked if I could possibly return and conduct a meeting for the two of them.


I said I would but it'd be about 20 minutes before I could return.


Hannah said that would be fine.

Back to the building I went. Hannah was outside waiting, came right up to me saying that her sister was on-the-way.

Into the building and downstairs to the meeting room we went, turned on the lights, set out chairs and I called Patti who had a great visit with Hannah. Her sister Bunny then appeared and Patti was also able to briefly chat with her.

At around 9AM we got going.  

For a full one hour the two of them got my 'A' game as if I was talking to an audience of 200 not just 2 shy and reserved Mongolian ladies.

We ended with the Serenity Prayer in English. The two of them said they'd be back next week.

Will they?

Does The Shadow Know?

I'll let you know in one week!

Smiles !

Thursday, 29 August 2019

AUG 29, 19 .. VLADIVOSKOK, RUSSIAN SIBERIA

Here are a few photos showing three of the meeting locations that I have attended meetings at here in Vladivostok, Russian Siberia.

The city is beautiful. The first photo below shows Vladivostok as viewed from the church where a meeting was held.



The old, historic church itself is beautiful.





Below is the room in which we held our meeting.






Now we visit another historic church meeting location.








The final meeting location I am going to show in this Post was in a hospital.




Let's all of us not drink just today.

Friday, 26 July 2019

JUL 26, 19 .. AMAZING .. WE NEVER KNOW DO WE ..

The setting. The scene. 

A Tuesday night meeting in Kowloon. 

Kowloon is a city and an area of Greater Metropolitan Hong Kong that is across Victoria Harbor from Hong Kong Island.

A gentleman named Mark is leading the meeting.

Important background information. 

I was born in Detroit, Michigan. From birth, until I went away 18 years later to University,  I grew-up in the Northern Suburb of Royal Oak.

In 1990, in Royal Oak, at a 9am Saturday morning meeting on Normandy Road, I met Helen D for the first time. Twenty nine years later, I remain in-touch with Helen D.

Helen D, with now over 40 years, one-day-at-a-time, has quite a following in the greater Detroit area.

She is also known for doing this : With her right hand on the meeting table, she will 'walk' her index / middle fingers across the table saying : "My name is Helen and I am a grateful, recovering, alcoholic."

Helen D is beloved by all who are blessed to meet or to come into contact with her.

THE REST OF THE STORY 

Hong Kong is approximately 7,800 air-miles, and 18 hours flying time from Detroit. On this Tuesday night in Kowloon, I am a long way from Detroit.

Mark gets into-his-story.

During his share, Mark says : "I got sober in the Detroit, Michigan area in 1998."

My ears perk up at hearing mention of my home town area of Detroit.

Then Mark says : "After my first meeting, a lady named Helen
gave me my first Big Book." 

And Mark goes on to mention how Helen walks her fingers across the meeting room table saying : "My name is Helen and I am a grateful, recovering, alcoholic."

I then said aloud to Mark : "Helen is still alive and I am in touch with her."

Yes, of course, after the meeting Mark and I had a nice visit. 

AMAZING .. WE NEVER KNOW DO WE ..

Sunday, 23 June 2019

JUN 23 .. THE SOBER CURIOUS ..

Now how about this ..

People are sick of drinking. Investors are betting on the 'sober curious'.

Sober Curious?


The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/08/tech/alcohol-alternative-sober-curious/index.html

https://www.charlottefive.com/sober-curious-movement/

If you want what we have, and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.

You have to want to be sober for yourself.

Very interesting indeed.




Thursday, 30 May 2019

MAY 30, 19 .. SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT WORKING WITH A TRANSLATOR

Alcohol consumption in Russia. Below is an interesting link about this issue here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_consumption_in_Russia

What is interesting is the challenge of working with a translator. First, I may speak for say 30-seconds. Often, not always but quite often, my various translators will take several minutes to then translate what I have just said. 

This is especially true for the Serenity Prayer. It takes me about 15-seconds to quietly say it. It will take the assembled multitude of Russian members maybe a minute to say the same prayer.

Back to the lag in time from when I stop speaking and my translator begins.

I can lose-my-train-of-thought during a normal conversation. Then here I am, standing before a meeting, silent, not knowing what my translator is saying, all the while having to remember where I left off so I can resume talking about the same thing.

My mind can, and does, wander.

"Let's see. What was I saying?"


Then the real issue : Is what I said being transmitted to the members?

I have actually had this happen. 

I'll not forget it. It was about the Fourth Tradition. I was asked if a member in a meeting who was obviously drinking, should be allowed to remain in the meeting.

I said that in Tradition 4 a group has a right to take a group conscience and, as a group, decide how to handle this issue.

I went on to say no member should ever be allowed to totally disrupt a meeting.  

In the group, there was a member who speaks English. I expressed my above opinion. My translator translated what I said.

The English speaking member said aloud : "That is NOT what he said!"

My translator got up and almost walked out she was so upset at having been taken-to-task over her translation.

Bottom Line : It remains one grand adventure. 

Friday, 26 April 2019

APR 26, 19 .. A VERY NICE 'ALANO CLUB' IN IRKUTSK

Here in Irkutsk, Russian Siberia, the members have established a most pleasant 'Alano Club' / Central Office. 

Note that I put the words 'Alano Club' in quotation marks. This is simply because, at least in my experience, they do not have or use the term Alano Club as we do in the U.S.

Below are a few photos to show you a most special venue to me and all who attend meetings here.

Below you see a rather nondescript apartment building.





Now (in the above photo) walk to, and past, the left of the above apartment building. Then, looking back, you see the below entrance to the building's basement.




Opening the above door, you very carefully negotiate the below steps down into the club.


In the dead of winter, they are very tricky because they are somewhat icy.

Now we are inside. I've been told that the basement area they were given was a very difficult and great challenge, taking a lot of time and effort by a lot of members, to get cleaned up and organized into the club that currently exists.

The first thing you see when you enter, is a very nice snack bar.



Then you pass the office of the club manager and the Central Office. 



Below is the main meeting room of the club.




On occasion, members from afar or in crisis, may desperately need a place to briefly settle. This is limited to one overnight stay. It is also known as the Fifth Step Room.



Below are photos of several other rooms in the club.



The room below is a multi use room that is often used for  meetings after the meetings. You can see it is equipped for snacks or even pot luck dinners.




One very nice and extremely workable club and Central Office.

One that holds a lot of positive memories for all.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

MAR 30, 19 .. A MEETING IN KANGALASSY (КАНГАЛАССЫ) RUSSIAN SIBERIA

While in Yakutsk for a week, I was invited to speak at a meeting North of Yakutsk in the town of KANGALASSY  (КАНГАЛАССЫ).

I have decided to show some details of this meeting location because at this town of  KANGALASSY ( КАНГАЛАССЫ ) the road stops. Period! There is no crossing the Lena River except on the ice in the dead of winter or perhaps ferry service in the summer months. So this is truly a remote Siberian location.

The below link to Google Maps will take you to Kangalassy Russian Siberia where you can then (by pressing the - button on the map) find its relation to Yakutsk.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Kangalassy,+Sakha+Republic/@62.3550614,129.9670915,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x5bf6580e37fe2571:0xba276b3e8fc31722!8m2!3d62.3556762!4d129.9879121

Let's all see where this post goes.

In 400 meters we will turn right.



We have arrived at KANGALASSY (КАНГАЛАССЫ). 



Our first look at Kangalassy Russian Siberia.



In Russian Siberia, the heating of buildings is done with hot water. In the next two photos you see hot water lines.






Before the meeting, my friends drove me to an overlook where I snapped the following photos looking down at Kangalassy and out at Russian Siberia.










The time has come to speak at a meeting held in the below building.











Greenhouses are shown below. 



All manner of livestock / chickens etc et al winter in the below building.


Inside the main building we go for our meeting.


A typical dorm room for the residents of the rehabilitation center.


A very attractive and pleasant 'common room'.



A medical center.


Arts and crafts room.




A classroom.



Recreation area.


A library.


 A Chapel / Quiet Room.



Indoor garden for fresh herbs.




The two hour meeting of about 35 people was held in the below room.




After the meeting all of us enjoyed a hearty lunch.



All things must come to an end. A few photos of our leaving Kangalassy Russian Siberia and heading for Yakutsk.






Another memorable meeting, this one in remote Russian Siberia.