Saturday, April 21, 2012

Know when to hold 'em

I had planned to come back from the speaker meeting last night and write a blog post. Instead, I ended up playing poker for nickels and dimes with a group of AA's who have been playing together for 15 years. I haven't played before but discovered that I apparently have a knack for the game, finishing with $7 more than I started with and having a streak of wins among seasoned and cut throat pros. These alcoholics take playing seriously! I was invited back for another round tonight and asked, "Are you sure you haven't played before?".

The speaker was good--humorous, yet poignant. Here were some things he said that stuck with me:

• an active alcoholic can go nowhere, do nothing and be okay with that
• we don't know much about the newcomer when they first arrive other than it hasn't been a very good year
• if you think that sobriety will come from just going to meetings, then you are trying to get well in a room full of sick people
• desperation is the propellant that takes a person through the steps. But desperation can wane over time, so delay with the steps can be risky.
• the self-pity of the past and worries about the future can rob a person of how to be in the present
• the bondage of self is self-created slavery
• the Judas step is the one that will betray you because you denied it was there
• the time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, and the way to be happy is to help others.

I am off to head to the Al-Anon speaker meeting and a full day of mini-meetings. My pockets are filled with enough change that I can pay for the picnic lunch! And that song about the Gambler keeps going through my head.


  1. lol get some nice shades for your poker game, and maybe some sort of Syd-appropriate kool hat lol!

  2. Beginners luck, Syd!
    Or maybe you just have a knack for that.

  3. Beginner luck, my friend. My husband is a gambler. It's amazing how much it doesn't bother me as much now that he has his sobriety. He keeps his wits about himself. Love the notes. I'm going to share, if you don't mind. I think my husband would appreciate them. :)

  4. You DID NOT have a royal flush!!!

    Poker is fun, and alcoholics make it super fun. (some of them get a bit competitive though.)

  5. Need to get ya some half tinted Foster Grants and work on your smoothed out Poker Stare.

    Half a great day, Syd.

  6. Oh my the poker games remind me of my dad. He enjoyed cards and a few of his friends including Jack Daniels would gather and play into the night.
    Every man's a winner.

    “At meetings we find people who have discovered that happiness is a choice they can make at any moment."
    Thanks Syd

  7. the bondage of self is self created slavery..was worth it for that for me...some good gleening syd...and way to go on the card game...

  8. Oh are so funny. I love that you, an Alanon, sat there playing a game that you are unfamiliar with, with a bunch of AA's. You are just that kind of guy to go with the flow and have a great time doing it! And win on top of it all! lol

  9. I used to be a good poker player but now I'd lose each and every game. =)

    Enjoyed this one.

  10. I had a stoke of begginers luck one and I quite when I was ahead.I hope that you have a blessed weekend.

  11. I like his first comment, a good description of the aridity of the alcoholic's life while using.

  12. The time to be happy is now.
    I'll take that one for now.
    "There'll be time enough for counting, when the dealing's done"
    I've got the song going through my head now . . . Thanks

  13. Great things to remember from the meeting. I especially like that if someone thinks they can recover just from going to meetings, then they are trying to get well in a room of sick people. That was one of the first things that stuck in my head early in CoDA meetings.

    I also like the last one, be happy now; be happy here; and help others. Amazing how much joy is derived from helping others.

  14. Don't go on a run, and bet your car! You won't be able to get back home.

    You are a big spender like me..NOT. Sounds like a wonderful time.

  15. Good - and Interesting Post today!

    Love the list you made of the speaker's comments.

    My hubby was a gambler/alcoholic, and a terrible sport - especially when I was invited to join in the game (yep, I was pretty lucky myself).

    Just one question (I try to learn something new every day) - - - What is a 'Judas Step?' Please let me know, so that I may add it to my 12-step euphemistic vocabulary, right under FEAR and HALT.

    Hugs; hope you're having loads of fun!

    Anonymous #1

  16. The stuff of which memories and friendships are made. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

  17. Maybe we'll be seeing you in the World Series some day! Some people are naturals. Let me know when you make it to Vegas. I'm glad you had fun and liked your notes from the speaker.

  18. I went to an open meeting last night in the historic town near your convention. It was a lead meeting delivering many of the same points. The way the speaker delivered a message of experience,, strength and hope with humor and grace will stay with me. No gambling for me though.

  19. I played penny poker with a bunch of my friends as a teen -- brings me right back.

    Just found your blog and love your style. I'd like to suggest your read this story -- it might really resonate with you, and also Martin's (who loves to sail).


  20. I feel my active alcoholic lives by that first statement most of the time...

    I like the last comment, good way to put it.

    I'm looking forward to hearing how the Al-Anon speaker was.

  21. A poker fiend! I'm hopeless at card games, no gambling instinct at all.

    Some very thought-provoking points about recovery


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