A simple gesture is all it took.

One sentence.

Spoken along with a firm handshake and sincere smile.

From a man I have seen once a weekend for the last couple of months…..

And not before that for a few years.

His wife was a member of the AA group I used to attend. She had somewhere around 30 years of sobriety.

She would speak in meetings endlessly about the old times, get off topic, talk about her ailments and even forget what she was talking about sometimes mid sentence.

Sure, I would get annoyed.

But, she was a sweet woman who always had nice things to say about everyone.

Her birthday was celebrated in the same month as my sobriety date.

The group I used to attend celebrates sobriety birthdays by month. If your birthday is in June, then the 1st Saturday of July there will be meeting celebrating the birthdays in June.

Same goes for every other month.

Today is the first Saturday of November. Celebrants for October will be attending.

I am not attending. I do not attend AA anymore. I posted about it before-

The WalkAwAy

The woman with over 30 years sobriety and her husband were always there on birthday night.

She would receive her chip, and speak of how grateful she was for one more year and thank various members of the group for her sobriety.

Her husband would always shake my hand firmly and smile and congratulate me after I would get my chip.

She passed away a few years ago.

Which accounts for the lapse of time in which I have seen him.

A few months ago I went on my weekly trip to “the Walmart” and upon entering I saw him at the front of the store as a greeter.

Every week, we say hello and good to see you and go about our business.

Today, my wife and I went in to pick up a few things.

We saw him and said hello, good to see you and went about our business.

Upon leaving, he pulled me aside and said,


I said perplexingly,

“Thanks….for what.”

That’s when he took my hand firmly, looked me in the eye and said softly,

“On another year of sobriety.”

Staying sober leaves a lasting impression on more than I ever thought.

Be grateful for everything and everyone that crosses your path.

You never know who you might leave an impression on.


Reliving Decisions On The Run

I am realizing one of the great things about running is-

It is just me, the road ahead of me and my mind.

During these journeys, measured by miles, I have been reflecting on how I got to where I am.

My decision making abilities have greatly improved over the years since I first got sober.

I have wrote about some of them.

“The Chronicles Of The Frame” is a five part dealio about getting into sobriety and eventually getting out of the halfway house and into life.

Please read it, if you are so inclined to do so.

I mentioned one of my better life decisions, in brief passing, during the fifth installment.

During one of my runs it came back to me and has stuck there.

I return to my latter part of my first year in sobriety to revisit a bad decision.

At 10 months of sobriety, I was ready to get out of the halfway house and into the real world where I wasn’t required to sign in and out, ask permission to stay out past curfew, and could have a room without another person in it.

A guy I worked with had a room for rent. $100 a month.

I jumped at it.

I had my own room in a house with 3 roommates instead of 10.


Since I didn’t own a vehicle, it didn’t matter. I worked with one of my roommates, who had a vehicle, and the AA hall, where I attended meetings was a short 2 blocks away.

All my bases were covered. I sat back in my recliner…in my room and thought life begins NOW!

Too bad there was a “crack” in my crystal ball.


It took me less than 24 hours to realize I had moved into a crack house.

Beer cans littered the areas outside my sheltered room.

The smell of stale smoke, sweat, burning baking soda, and various visitors shuffling in and out of the front door at all hours, each with the stench of $20 anticipation emanating from their scratched and scarred pores, was what I was faced with for $100 a month.

2 months away from picking up a year in sobriety, still on felony drug probation for over 3 more years.

I stayed there for 3 months.

I don’t recommend this decision making to anyone.

Great deals ALWAYS have small print that are ignored.

Small print or not, I stayed sober. My new life started with 3 months of locking myself in “my” room while I was at the house.

I was like I chose to pay for solitary confinement rather than move someplace where I felt safe.

I had already spent a month in the psyche ward of county jail in solitary confinement, less than 2 years earlier.

The only difference was the lock was now on my side of the door.

Still….I stayed.

Staying sober during the first months of sobriety are hard and they suck.

Each day, away from the booze, confidence is built.

The mind gets stronger and let’s you know that you will be ok.

One. Bad. Decision.

Is all it takes to test that theory.

By sheer white knuckling it and stubbornness I stayed sober. My sponsor and friends in sobriety talked to me often and begged me to get out of there while I had a chance to.

My response,

“If you can find me a place for $100 a month…that is better than where I am at, then I will move.”

Stubborn. Arrogant. Stupid.

Me…in a nutshell at around a year in sobriety.

I finally did get my own place, where I felt safe and could work on the sober life without having to lock myself in a room to keep the elephants in the other.

The whole point of this post comes down to something simple.

Sobriety does not guarantee a mistake proof life.

All it offers is a chance.

Good decisions. Bad decisions.

It is still the best chance I ever took.

On a side note, I shaved 30 seconds off my 2 mile run time .


Still sober
Still running
Still good2begone

The WalkAwAy

When the pain of something becomes greater than the fear of that something, action must be taken.

A change needs to be made.

I had been in this predicament for a while.

I waited…or better yet “expected” the pain to stop.

It did not.

The fear of the after effects of my pending decision weighed heavily on my mind as well-

Can I do it?
Will I do it?
What will people say?
How will I maintain?

Roughly, about a month ago, the pain became greater than the fear.

I made a life change that no one expected or saw coming.

Not my wife
Not my AA sponsor
Not my sponsee
Not my bosses

I stopped attending AA.

The pain of continuing to go became greater than the fear of leaving it behind.

My bosses believe that it’s a social experiment.

It’s not.

The sponsor I had believes that I am making a grave decision.

I’m not.

My sponsee asked if he needed to get another sponsor the night before I put action to my decision. He knew I I had been “off” for a while.

I said yes because I knew I was done.

My wife backs my decision but has her own fears that go along with it.

And I get that.

I can’t keep doing something that I have lost a desire to do.

What keeps going through my head is-

AA is not for people that need it…it is for people that want it.

I just don’t want it anymore.

My focus, since then, has been on 2 things-


Those are the things I want.

And coincidentally, those are the 2 things I need.

I have learned volumes from the people in the rooms of AA, the Big Book of AA, and the fellowship that holds it together.

That knowledge has not vanished or been banished from my memory.

I am not “anti AA” now….not will I ever be. It is the program that did for me what I would never have done on my own.

I have made the decision to continue my journey in sobriety and life without it.

That is all.

It was better for me to walk away,
Then it wAs to stAy.

I’m still sober.

It’s still good2begone.

Raising The Bar

The last time I went to a bar was well over 6 years ago. It was my “I’m going to rehab party”. I had to report to a rehab center as a condition of my probation. It was that or go to prison to finish out my 2 felony counts of 2-20 years.

I chose rehab.


I got disgustingly drunk that night off of whatever was put in front of me…..which not only included booze but various other illegal substances.

I barely made it to the check in for the rehab center before a blue warrant was put out on me.

And that was the last time I was in a bar.

Until last Friday.

I journeyed to the great city of Chicago for a wedding.

The pre wedding party was at a bar. This particular bar was closed down for regular business to accommodate the wedding party, family and friends. Roughly 60-70 people.

The floodgates to “Booze-a-palooza” were opened at 7 pm.

2 words-


Final tab- $7500

Complete sentences were hard to come by after about 9:30.

Me….I indulged with 1 coca cola…on the rocks….sans the straw.

I am not sure if that was on the tab or not.

Day 2-

The wedding was beautiful. I cried….. It was my sister that got married….therefore I was allowed to.

After the champagne toast ( I had a lovely Sprite in one of those fancy flutes), cocktail hour began.

2 words-


It was a great weekend for those whose indulge in the spirits. The booze just kept coming.

Of course as the night went on the music began to change from-

Dinner music to Billy Joel to Guns and Roses to 2Pac.

Nothing like seeing women over 30 do the Axle Rose dance or white men over 30 act like Gangsta rappers.

Alcohol has that effect on some.

Next came the rooftop party at the hotel.

Without going into too much detail here are the high (or low)lights of the fiesta-

-one of my family members was refused entrance into the party for bring too drunk….my sister gets him in about an hour later….he then gets booted out for being too drunk.

-one of the grooms friends, drops his pants and urinates on the bar……then falls into a glass table. He doesn’t get kicked out and the table is quickly replaced with another glass table.

-the previously mentioned family member is wandering the streets of Chicago in a drunken stupor texting other family members telling them it will be their fault if he gets murdered while wandering the streets of Chicago.

At 6:30 a.m. I receive a call from said family member asking if I can let him in.

He survived the streets of Chicago with only shame and embarrassment to show for it.

My drink tally for the night-

I sprite
1 coca cola
2 glasses of water
1 cup of coffee

Day 3-

Brunch at a patio bar….

The events of the night before are the joke of the day.


Are the drinks of the day.

Me…I got Starbucks before brunch.

That pretty much sums up my experience at “booze-a-palooza”,

I had fun with the family that I hadn’t seen in a while.

My sister now has a new last name.

And I have my first experience being in a bar sober.

And that experience reminds me why I remain sober.

It’s still good2begone


I sure am glad 2 be home.


The Pickpocket Putback Principle

The pickpocket pilfers the pockets of the plenty,
placing packages onto his person to please his perverted pleasure.

Podering perhaps that his pathway to pain is predestined,
He proceeds to place packages pointlessly INTO the pockets of pedesrtrians and passersby.

Thereby pouncing the predicament of prison….

Say all that 10 times fast…but just watch the video once.

I know I am not much of a poetry person, but please be polite….

For some reason I gotta go “P”.


I feel nostalgic.

I’m going to take a trip into the “Chamber Of Early Sobriety” and spin a yarn about one of my debacles….I mean learning experiences as I was just a monthling in the life without booze and mind altering substances.

Won’t you join me?

When I lived at the halfway house I was like the Messiah of Misfit Soberlings.

That even SOUNDS awesome doesn’t it?

The easiest way to explain that moniker is-

I was one of the few who remained sober while living at this particular sober living home. So I was the go 2 guy to the newbies at the house. The general idea was if you wanted to stay sober, then just hang around me and my aura of soberness would somehow transfer to you by osmosis or something.

I lived there 10 months. In that time I had 26 different house members who moved out to beat the sober out of themselves by drinking or using again.

Being the Messiah held great responsibility.

My mind continually told me how great I was.

It only took one incident to change me from Messiah to just another guy trying to stay sober.

My first 12 Step Call……..



“Is this good2begone? I really need to talk to him…”

“Why yes it is. You just caught me. I was about to leave to see if the local church needed me to baptize anyone. What can I do for you, lost one.”

I was actually watching reruns of-

But I had an image to uphold.

“I need to talk to someone about trying to stop using again. I used to live at the house with you….I trust you. Can you help me?”

“Why don’t you just meet me at the meeting….it like an hour away.”

“I can’t wait that long. I NEED to see you. Can’t you just come to the hotel I’m staying at.”

I saw the red flag go up. But I saw it as my cape being handed to me from above.


“Look, Robin! It’s the sober signal. It’s time to save someone! To the batmobile!”

Only there was no Robin…..and I lived at a halfway house. There was no Batmobile………I didn’t even have a bike to pedal.

I had to beat the pavement with my Chuck Taylor’s.

“Yeah. I will be there. Give me :30 minutes.”

And I hung up and hit the streets.

Something in the back of my head kept telling me,


But hey…I’m the Messiah. I got this.

I show up at the hotel door, Big Book in hand, and knock.

I sensed something was amuck with my plan.

I heard furniture being moved around.

The door opened and my old roomie stood there in his boxers….bottle ‘o vodka in one hand…..crack pipe in the other.

I went in and he shut the door behind me and then jumped in the bed.

I sat on the chair on the opposite side of the room.

Then he spoke….as he took a drag off his glass pipe.

“So, how long have you been sober?”

“About 8 months….why am I here again?”

“I needed to talk to you.”

“Well….your not talking…you are getting trashed and I’m getting uncomfortable. I think I better go…”

“No wait wait wait. I have to ask you something….”


“Have you ever been with a man, before?”

I chuckled.

“You asked me here to see if you get your rocks off?….Dude, I’m out.”

And before things got way out of hand I got up and left.

There is reason why going on 12 step calls is more than a 1 person deal.

Once again,

I chose to find out the hard way.

It’s still good2begone.

Still sober. Still learning.

Accept Tense

A popular topic in meetings (at least in my neck of the woods) is-


If you a regular….or not so regular attendee of AA meetings I am sure you have heard it

“And acceptance was the answer to all of my problems”

It is taken from a story in the back of the Big Book. It is in the section called ‘Personal Stories’.

That section is a collection of stories written by persons who had recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

In regular person terms it means they use the steps to solve the drink problem.

It is a great story and gives hope to all of us who are afflicted with alcoholism.


There is always a “but” isn’t there?

What a lot of AA members fail to realize or just plain ignore is this-

That particular topic does absolutely nothing to aid in the recovery of someone who has not fully worked the 12 steps of the AA program.

Wait for it. I will get there.

The person who wrote the story was an active participant in their own recovery. He agreed with the process that was necessary to help him stay stopped from drinking.

That process is outlined by way of the 12 steps that are found within the first 164 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

That person obtained a spiritual experience from the completion and continued effort placed into the process.

From that experience, the story was crafted.

The story from which the acceptance topic is taken from is on page 417 in the 4th Edition.

Anyone else notice what I noticed?

To ask of anyone to understand and share on the topic of acceptance in a meeting is fine.


If that person has not worked all the steps and has not learned a large chunk about themselves and the patterns that brought them to AA and the state that their lives are in….then acceptance is not the answer.

The only thing they will be accepting is being tense and confused.

Who wants to accept tense and confusion as a design for living?

If I am willing to accept those 2 as answers, then I am willing to accept 3 more things-

Drink drank drunk

I know that will ease my tension and confusion.

I couldn’t accept ANYTHING until I could accept myself…..

And that happened once I put in the work needed to find that out… working the steps and having a spiritual experience.

I accept that this is just my view.

It’s still good2begone.

Decision From The “T”

The shakes hit me so hard that they awoke me from my blackout state. I am on the floor of my bedroom, staring at the dust and lint that resides under the dresser.



Holding my stomach in agony as it feels like its eating itself.

I need a drink to stop the pain….if only temporarily.

I calm my mind long enough to remember hiding a 5th of tequila behind the chest in the living room and a couple of beers at the back of the vanity in the bathroom.

The wave of nausea took over every time I blinked.

I had nothing left to throw up. I was sleeping in and over last nights contents of my latest drinking spree.

But that didn’t stop my insides from rejecting even the air that I attempted to breathe.

I muster up enough will power to get up off the floor.

Vomit drops off my clothes as I grow from the crawl, to the knees and finally to upright.

I see the clock digitally screaming at me in neon green that it is 3 p.m.

My wife will be home from work in a few hours. I have to clean this (and me) up before then.

Maybe she won’t know….

I use the furniture as a handrail and a guide from room to room to find my stash.

The afternoon sunlight coming in through the windows and the bitter silence oozing from the state of my affairs make it hard to see clearly.

But I see clearly enough to know what I need. I just have to retrieve it.

I make it to the living room and slump down next to the chest. I catch my breathe and wipe the continuous flow of sweat from my brow. A tremor of shakes brings me to my knees. I muster enough energy to reach behind the chest and find…… nothing.

“I KNOW IT WAS THERE” my mind screams.

That thought makes my head pound harder. I can feel my heart beating out of my chest. The beer has to be there.

I reach the guest bathroom after an eternity of crawling, whimpering and sheer determination.

I open the vanity door.

One beer and a note are the contents I find inside.

I instinctively grab the beer and pull the tab on it.



The carbonated smell of the foam hits my senses and for that moment before I drank it

If only for that one moment…

I had won.

I drank the warm beer in a few gulps. My shakes slowly tapered to a mild twitch.

My stomach began to settle enough to focus the rest of my body.

The hot sweats I was enduring began to cool. The dampness of my hair and clothes were a warm welcome.

The stench of stale vomit was not…But a shower would fix that.

I set the empty can on the sink and picked up the note with my still shaky hand.


You just drank the last drop of alcohol that remains in this house. You have also taken the last bit of compassion I have for you. The kids and I are gone. And we won’t be coming back. I still love you. But I fell in love with the man I married, not the one you have become. If you ever find your former self, then maybe you can find me again.

Until then,


I wanted to cry or show some sort of emotion other than anger, but I couldn’t.

I could figure out a way to fix this but I


booze to help me sort things out.

I get up.

First I need a shower. I strip off my clothes and step into the cool water. It washes away my sins of yesterday.

I dry myself off.

Put on clean clothes and rifle through drawers and worn clothes trying to find a little money.


A fiver in the back pocket of a pair of jeans I wore 3 days ago.

I go to the garage……

That bitch took the car…..

My eyes jet left to right. I see a bike tire jutting out from behind a few boxes.

It’s the bike I bought when teaching my daughter to learn to ride. I hadn’t ridden it in years….

The convenience store is only a few blocks away, I could ride it to pick up a six pack and then get back here to formulate a plan.

It’s a shaky ride, but I make it, and go into the store to make my purchase.

I buy my beer, get on my bike and decide the best place for it, is resting over the handlebars. If I go slow enough I should be fine.

As I ride back, I hit a few bumps and notice that 2 of MY beers are beginning to fall out of the plastic holder.

I try to pedal faster….only a few more houses to go and I am home….

I hit a pothole and lose control. I go flying off the side of the bike.

The beer glides off the handlebars…. in slow motion, clanking together as they go airborne and the hit the pavement.

2 of them spring a leak and begin to roll down the street.

I get up off my bloodied elbows and knees and give chase.

Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I try to stop my lifeline from seeping out of the holes. To no avail…I am left with four.

I pick up the remaining beers and head to the house. I leave the bike.

I get into the kitchen and immediately down 2 of them before attending to my injuries. I am still crying.

“How am I going to make it….I don’t have enough….” I think between the sobs.

I rub my forehead with my palm and glance over at the phone. A second note sits next to it.

I reach over and pull it towards me and read-

If you decide you want to quit, call this number. They say they can help, but they won’t until you ask.

Alcoholics Anonymous 555-5490.

Jonathan looks at the number that sits in front of him.

Then looks at the phone that sits at the left.

And then at the beer that sits on the right.

He feels like he is standing at a “T” in the road trying to decide which way to go.

This fictional story is a tribute to a friend in AA who passed away this past year with 26 years of sobriety. Parts of this story were based on his story.

Recovery from alcoholism happens.

He chose to go to the left.

Which way would you choose?