Drinking Alcohol taught me how to fly
Then it took away the sky....

Thursday, March 24, 2011



On the highways and during a downpour, have you ever noticed a group of bikers stopped, congregated, in the dryness under one of the overpasses? Chances are--and experience has shown me--that they are not group-riding, but separately sought shelter. The most wonderful feeling of comradeship happens. Immediate connections are made, experiences traded, drinks shared. Introductions not necessary. Spirituality occurs as a separate person among us. This is true. I have felt it. Many times.

On my Suzuki scooter I have traveled to spur-of-the-moment, randomly chosen AA meetings from Naples Florida to Virginia (twice) and I must tell you this. The moment I walk into a meeting room (actually before that, outside among the smoking crowd). although a stranger, I've been greeted as an old friend who has simply been away for a few years. (Not unlike those rain-caused 'mini-biker-conventions' of between 4-11 participants.)


The questions "Where ya from? Oh, I've been there. Do you know Jake M?....etc". Thoughts are triggered, and traded are some brief descriptions of past drunken exploits, how we drank so many years, to oblivion, the massive amount of hurt we generated, causing disruption of SO many lives, families.

A strange biker--a BIG fellow, I think that was his real name, "Big Guy"-grin!--related to the rest of us, in a quiet voice with only the pouring rain as background music. "I remember looks on the faces of my children, as they gazed into the face of their father, looking seeking, needing some sign of love. Staring back at them through eyes as empty as a clean blackboard, as if I did not even know who they were-- Daddy. Me."


Imagine, in one of the groups, seven single, lone riders, three (Two + me!) were recovering from their addictions, their disease, in AA! I simply looked up at an imaginary image of a Higher Power, gratefully pondering the awesomeness of these occasions. Finding myself wet, but happy, smiling, safe under the bridges at least 18 times, convinced me more than anything else that--aside from slight variants--we are all the same. We ARE all somehow connected.

The point here is my discovery so late in life--the almost unbelievable acceptance by strangers everywhere, in a market, a theater, a parade, the beach, a park, a church--oh, wait...not the church I'm remembering....


It is sad for me to report that in churches (I enjoy visiting churches--and cemeteries--on the road), especially catholic churches, I feel no real true welcome. It is as if they leave it up to God to say, "Howdy stranger, come in and make yourself at home!" The one place I would EXPECT to be received with pleasure and hospitality--is the one place I am denied it. I am these years an outgoing person, I show love and acceptance in my eyes, even I can see it! And what happens? Well, it seems to me, almost a rejection. 2.000 people in the congregation, and not one asked a biker-visitor questions like, "Are you hungry? Thirsty? Cold? Tired?

Opposite that, out on the road, Peeps (strangers, bikers, new friends at meetings) often have asked me if I have a place to sleep, and I am offered that and more. Go figure.


I am coming to believe that it is not necessarily holding tight to a prayer book, sweating to remember the words, avoiding the 'meaning', looking up at the ceiling of a cathedral, saying, "I believe, I believe! Hallelujah!"

The 'action' now for me is happening down in the street with the Peeps, working with drunks, the disabled, others overwhelmed by life. Somewhat shamefully (because I was not raised this way), I admit to feeling closer to God when spending hours in an art museum; riding my bike (speed limit, of course--grin!); sitting under a bridge in the rain; surrounded by Peeps who moments ago were strangers; and trying to 'work' these AA Steps in my life--now failing, now correcting, now making amends, now living, now loving, now helping, now praying, now meditating

ALWAYS I must remember that each of us: drunk, addict (male or female), by whatever name...was never really alone. Some of us have left an as-yet-uncounted number of people in our wakes--disillusioned, tired, untrusting, sometimes in that indescribable terror we could produce. There have been betrayals, lies, lies and more lies. Sometimes the one living with an drunk becomes more sick than the alcoholic, because the alkie has a drug to temporarily console him, while the partner frequently does not.

....well, that's about enough of this series of dimensional discussion from ME! If you read this far, you might agree.

On my scooter trip August 2010 (my second trip!), the camaraderie of the biking community was not a surprise, but rather a comforting feeling. Being an old guy out there on the road at dark midnight on two wheels, climbing a mountain in western Virginia alone was never scary--until I had inadvertently (yeah, right--grin!) cut in front of a pickup truck, with oversize wheels, and those Christmas decorations on top the cab--OK, so they are 'hunting lights', so what! Anyway, the driver tried his best to run me down. Well it WAS scary (I lied!) until I made a fast U-turn across the Interstate median (in the dark, right?)...I went south. He/she went north. Whew!

So it is at times lonely.


  1. I like to call these meetings divine encounters. Stay safe on that scooter. Promise?

  2. smiles at the feeling of friendship you speak of that comradery...i too see it failing in churches often...ugh...but when you find it cling to it...we were not meant to travel life alone, though we try at times....

  3. I have never had the pleasure of attending a meeting outside of my area...just lack of going anywhere...but am told that AA and the acceptance you feel when you walk into the room is the same all over the world. I don't believe that can be found in any church, mosque, temple, etc.
    For me, I feel most connected with my Higher Power when I am at the river, ocean, stream...any body of water really. I have even felt that loving connection as I stared into a rain puddle watching the drops distort my reflection.
    Be safe my friend...blessings to you.

  4. HOLLY CANNOLI! Are these words in these posts? I cannot see them!!! Just the photos. Argh!

  5. Dear Steve E,
    Often when I read your stories, I think about my uncle Leif. It's his birthday today, but he's been in heaven for almost two years now. His children thinks he's still about, trying to help whoever might need him.
    He was that kind of guy. For almost seventy years he was a member of the little Pentecostal Church congregation with three brothers and a sister.
    For forty years he worked as a volunteer together with the alcoholics of my little home town.(alas no AA meetings there). He started a Comrade club with a yin/yang symbol over the door.He was always full of enthusiasm, "This time, Elise, this time, I really think he'll manage." Most times they didn't, but the few who managed turn their lives around worked with him through think and thin.
    His family did sacrifice a lot, cause everybody young and old (he taught at Sunday school too, for years) felt they had a share in my uncle Leif. So did I.So did Gunnar. So did Serina.
    "you are wearing yourself out uncle," I said when he was 70, who do you think will see to you, when you need help." He looked me in my eyes and said with hope in his voice, "You will."
    I would, I did what little I could.
    What I mean to say is, not all churches are alike, not all Christians are alike.
    There must be more than my uncle's church who will welcome strangers coming in from the cold.

  6. For me my relationship with God is so much more important than my religion. Actually I don't think I have a religion. I think my most closest times with God have been outside of church when I am helping someone else get to know Him.

  7. Thank you for changing the colors. I can read it. Aaah, such heavy subjects. It is so easy to criticize the Christian religion. It is tolerant and accepting really. I think it should try punishments like stoning to death, beheading and castrating. I bet that will make everyone claim it is a wonderful religion.

  8. As for tolerating alcoholics who keep denying their problem, thank goodness there is divorce in this country.

  9. CES!
    Glad you made it back, girl! Hey religions already tried (for centuries) stoning, beheading, castrating, and spreading terror--some still do. They found it did not work. We then formulated mentally a feared God of wrath, of mortal sin if a 10-year old masturbated, with its guarantee of HELL.

    We now enjoy a God of LOVE...but many, especially the elder Peeps--my age--have trouble believing in this 'new' concept of the Caring, Loving, Forgiving, Personal God...

    But I really truly believe that God--or Mita's 'Goddess', what's the difference?--is in charge. While She/He/It allows us Peeps our FREE WILL to behave so horribly at times, God will make all things right in the end. I do believe in the Higher Power of which we speak--ALL powerful--except It cannot interfere in our own willfulness to act wrongly.

    Ces, you always seem to raise the desire in me to write...so I can read it and find out FINALLY...that I do not know what I'm talking about!!! --grin!

  10. I will never forget walking into a meeting with you and the divine Ms. A some time back. Remember that? It was as if you all had been going to that meeting all your sober life. That is the great thing about AA :-)

  11. Duh, Kristin! Forgot to mention that the 'meeting' we were at was some many hundreds of miles from your home!

  12. Ahem. Someone left this on my blog once:

    Steve E said...

    I don't believe in God.

  13. Dear Steve
    The journey you have been through was meant to lead you to the end of yourself, and grab hold of God, the Author, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Redeemer ... of your life. He is the One who gives meaning and purpose and saves anyone who is willing to admit his need for Him.

    Yes it does get lonely ... but even our loneliness is meant to drive us to seek Him.

    Just wanted to say what is on my heart.

    Hey, be careful on your bike...


  14. I know the feelings about church expressed here. It's difficult not to still feel sore somehow if we aren't received as we expect we should be. Especially when we know the Great Commission by heart :)

  15. Steve
    Don't you feel lonely, my dear!
    And ride safe!

    Tess, if I DON'T "..stay safe on that scooter"
    I WILL have A DIVINE ENCOUNTER!!!--grin! Thank you for making me L A U G H !

    Man, we ALL like to make you smile. Because when that happens--the world is ALL RIGHT! BTW. Good advice: "When you find it...cling to it!"

    When you DO go out of town, it advisable to "keep it alive" by going to More meetings. Fringe benefit--you meet some of the most OUTSTANDING Peeps
    ..I know people who take trips with the sole intention being that of visiting AA groups (me!)
    You're back, and I LOVE it!

    I like a good story. I LOVE a good story, when it's the truth, "far stranger than fiction..."

    After I was sober for a number of years, my sponsor said he wished to "tell me a couple things!" I thought he was firing me. Instead he told me of ANOTHER of AA's secrets. The really REAL goal of the AA program is to bring ourselves closer to our High Power. That's IT..All else is leading us there!

  17. it's so good if we meet people on the "road" who make us feel welcome and at home - it's encouraging how quickly we are able to connect to others and think it's so important not to "travel" alone..

  18. KRISTIN!
    You bring up some fond memories! Thanks! And one of my 'basket" wishes is to visit with you all again.
    You DO have some gooood AA up there. And YOU are one OF it!

    I do believe in God--and all His works...

    When your heart speaks, my heart opens to HEAR you.

    Really, I'm OK with the church/churches. I was just making a point, tha spirituality is DEFINITELY in all other places too. If we are open, we meet it in everone...every THING! I only write this to YOU because you have that understanding of just WHERE the Great Reality resides! PEACE!

    I think "lonely" should never be--for anyone--with billions of People running around this world. And yet......(loneliness comes from within, a state of the mind, a loss of consciousness, IMO.)
    Thank you for your kind thoughts. BTW, you are still THE Poet Peep.

  19. Missing microfiction?

    I'm hosting a new microfiction meme.
    Succinctly Yours
    begins on Monday, March 28th. Check out the link for the photo and optional word.
    Hope you'll join in.

  20. Hi, Steve-O! You always exude exuberance. I was raised in a church-going family and have been a member of a few different congregations, and only once have I belonged to a church where the pastor behaves like a welcoming member of AA. To me, AA fellowships are more like the very first churches seem to have been. Maybe that's why God has so blessed AA ~ He enjoys the great gratitude and warmth toward each other that's generated by the salvation we drunks have experienced.

  21. ... people are always a surprise ... everyone is grateful for openness, for goodness, for love ... the biker feel that Steve likes everyone ... Steve is welcome everywhere, God is pleased with you ... the community missed something ... pity for them ...

  22. COSIMA!
    We DO...We DO have that 'feeling' when we are near someone with whom There is that mystical affinity--which can be sensed without a word spoke. It IS in the eyes, I believe. And the manner, behavior. Someone full of Ego cannot disguise that ego as Humility. It cannot be done over a period of time.

    Hey you were not 'talking' at all about that stuff, right?--grin!

    Every time I visit your blog, my smile becomes cheerful laughter. Just L O V E that header! LOVE it! (Exuberantly!) I agree with ever word you commented. Thank YOU!

    I will drop in on Monday, and hope to ahhhhh! 'schedule' it the following week.