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  • I’ve been slowly re-evaluating my life, looking at how I spend my time, and coming to some decisions I need to make about that. Some of the decisions are already made, I’m just realizing they have been, and deciding how to go about withdrawing from certain activities in order to make room for others. What the other activities will be hasn’t fully formed yet, but I know they will.

    I’m on an Executive Board that I have done a lot of work on, but I’m finding that my reasons for being on it in the first place are no longer priorities in my life. I’m serving an elected term, which still has a couple of years left on it. I don’t, by nature, like to quit things before I’ve finished them, but there are others who can be tapped, if I step aside, to carry the work forward, and I’ve decided that it is time to let them. I just need to figure out the best way to let the Board know of my decision. I am currently serving as the Vice President of the Board. Part of the idea was that, when the President’s term is up in a year, I would step in to the Presidency. I’m planning to meet with the President next Friday to let her know my decision, and why. It’s not going to be easy, because, while there are about 12 on the Board, there’s only 4 of us who really do anything, get things done, while the rest just like to hear themselves talk, and weigh in with their opinions, but never are there when it comes time to put the decisions into action. That usually falls to the 4 of us. Hopefully, whoever replaces me will be like the other 3, not like the other 8. This will be really hard to walk away from, because I really like the President and what she’s been trying to do, the direction she’s been trying to take the organization’s activities in, but it’s just no longer my primary concern – so, I have to move on.

    What I’m trying to make room for is to get involved in more meaningful activities, things that resonate more with who I am, and what I want to be about. I’m not sure when, exactly, I stopped doing these types of things, but I’ve been feeling an urge inside to get back to doing them. The work on them is not yet finished, and hands and voices are needed there. It will just be a matter of deciding which thing I can best be of service to. I’m suspecting it will have something to do with supporting the LGBT community here in Northern Virginia. Virginia is not a state that, by its laws and its Bible Belt Christian attitudes, has made itself a very welcoming place for anyone who falls under the LGBT spectrum. This is one of the reasons my own son felt compelled to get the hell out of here at his first real opportunity, after graduating college.

    Yesterday being World AIDS Day reminded me of the first AIDS Walk ever held in Philadelphia, PA, in October, 1987. Back then, it was still very much thought to be a Gay Disease. I had a cousin, who lived in a rural community in northwestern Pennsylvania, whose husband was a hemophiliac who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, before they started screening for AIDS. They could never reveal his health condition to the community, for the stigma attached to it in that day and age, in such a homophobic community as they lived in, at the time. She had no one to talk to about what they were going through, until she started talking to my parents about it. How heartbreaking!

    A lesbian friend of ours, who we’d been involved in a 12 Step group with, approached Kathy and I and asked us to be on the Board for the first AIDS Walk in Philadelphia in 1987, as there were no other “straight” people on the Board, and they were trying to dispel the myth that it was a Gay thing. We agreed, and stayed very involved with it for 3 or 4 years, until it really got off the ground. We saw the registrations go from a couple hundred a year to thousands. It was very gratifying watching the awareness of AIDS grow like that, and to see how people rallied around to support the cause, even while the government did next to nothing about it, hoping to ignore it until it went away. 26 years later, it has obviously not gone away.
  • A couple of years ago, I was seriously considering getting involved with a 12 Step group again, but for me, that just never seems to work out. It never feels like where I belong. There’s been too much water under the bridge between me and the various 12 Step groups that are out there. The one group that was able to help me find recovery was a renegade group that was there to help all addicts, regardless of their drug of choice, but which followed the principles and specific guidance found in the AA Big Book. They kept it simple, where I had complicated the whole recovery process so badly, I needed simple, and that worked for me. I’ve always been grateful that that group was there for me, and I stuck around for 8 years or so to be there for the newcomers. Eventually it got far away from what it had been about when I got there, and I evenutally realized I was just there out of loyalty, and the harder I tried to get it back to what it was, the more confusing it became for newcomers we tried to work with, who were getting mixed messages, and the more frustrating it became for me. So, I moved on.

    The same type of thing has happened each time I’ve tried to go back to a 12 Step group. My experience was what it was, it led me to sustainable recovery from addiction, and I can’t buy into all of the other crap that others there try to sell newcomers, that I don’t believe. So, I’ve just come to the realization that, it’s not for everyone. What the whole idea of the program was, was to find a way to get well, and then to get on with living, in recovery. It’s not for everyone to stay there for the rest of their lives, doing that. So, I moved on. I continue to try to practice the prinicples I found there, especially the principle of maintaining a conscious contact with a higher power through daily prayer and meditation (11th Step), continuing to carry a message of recovery to those who suffer, and to practice those principles in all my affairs (12th Step), and taking a daily personal inventory (10th Step).

    So, I’m kind of open to how I will spend some of my “free time”, once I step down from this Board. Experience tells me that, if I make room for it, the right opportunity will appear. It will become very evident and apparent what exactly I should get involved in. I’m just going to make myself ready for that, so I’ll recognize it when the time comes, and have room for it in my life.

    All I know is, it is time. Time to do more.

    (Photos taken from my roof, where I was putting up lights yesterday, and getting a clearer view of the world)
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