Welcome to my Blog - What Is A Blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. ... Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

For many years I have kept a journal, which I don't write in as much as I once did. I have an inner yearning to communicate with the world through writing and pictures Part of my motivation is to leave something behind to a world that has given me so much - a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, a loving wife, high spirited and gifted sons, close friends and loyal customers. Most of us have had some help along the way to get where we are. In my 12 step program, step 12 is about giving back to others. I hope there are posts here that will warm your heart, make you smile and make you think. That is what my blog is all about. I hope you enjoy it. Ken

Thursday, May 20, 2010

AA on The Big Island

I get up early to attend an AA meeting that meets daily at 7am outside of the Stone Church in Kona. The meeting is named called Aloha Mana. It means chanting for healing and prayer. After introductions, the moderator asks if there are any people visiting from outside the area. I raise my hand and am presented with a necklace that is strung with small, smooth black and white Hawaiian shells. I love the inclusiveness of twelve-step programs. I don’t ever remember meeting many or any caring people at the bars I used to frequent.

I’ve found a meeting where I can be a friend among friends and be accepted for who I am. As we go around and share what’s going on in our lives, I find relief in knowing I’m not the only person with earthly problems. Some of the guys are struggling with “ice,” a slang term for meth and others, although sober, are struggling with other issues – relationships, employers or financial matters.

As a visitor, the group I wear it every day I am on the Big Island – it’s a reminder how much thanks I owe AA for helping me to get and stay sober one day at a time. Listening to the others shares reminds me although my life isn’t perfect that in sobriety I can face my problems instead of my past behavior of running away from them. Picking up meetings, having a sponsor and most importantly, a relationship with my Higher Power helps to provide the spiritual strength I need to be strong.

After the meeting I return to our condo. Channa wants to know where I got the beautiful necklace I’m wearing. “At the AA meeting,” I say. She’s antsy to go into the town of Kona to do some shopping. Zach wants to go boogie boarding.

The last time I was in Kona was in the late seventies. It was a relaxed, sleepy little community. Now it is nothing of the sort – I see a gigantic cruise ship anchored offshore. A small transporter boat is ferrying passengers from the ship to the pier so they can shop. There are all kinds of big restaurants and retail stores. Channa loves to shop. I don’t. We drop Channa off in the center of Kona and Zach and I head to the beach. The beaches aren't great on the Big Island - there are lots of rocks and not much sand.

We find a place where I can sit on a rock and watch Zach ride the waves. There are two local Hawaiian boys, around the same age as Zach. They’re having a great time – they’re speaking in their native Pidgin English. Hawaiian Pidgin originally developed as a means for people who spoke different tongues to learn one language in order to communicate with each other in order and to do business. The first merchants to visit the Islands were Europeans who traded iron tools, cloth and other items for supplies of fresh food and water. As the sugar plantations grew, contract workers were brought to the islands from China, Japan, the Philippines and other places, to work the plantations. Words and phrases from each of these languages worked their way into the language that all understood thus pidgin evolved into Hawaii's unofficial language. We get a kick listening to them. One kid says, "nice wave brah, you really got that one!" Every other word is brah which is short for brother. The boys are so relaxed and happy. You can tell the difference between these guys and people that live on their blackberries

Zach catches and rides wave after wave until he’s had his fill. We leave the beach and head towards downtown Kona to find Channa.. After crawling through traffic, Zach spots Channa. In both hands are shopping bags – she’s happy. Now she wants to stop at the local Safeway store. We spend about $200 for groceries, which doesn’t buy much in Hawaii. Dinner consists of barbequed Mahi Mahi fish, white rice and steamed broccoli. Amazing how we can relax in different ways.

As relaxed as we are, there is a corner in our hearts and heads that keep hoping we’ll hear from Sam. With pain in our hearts, we keep moving forward as best as we can.

After dinner Zach finds a TV show called “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” who hunts for bail jumpers in Hawaii along with his dysfunctional family. When he catches the criminals he tries to instill in them that crime does not pay along with suggestions that spirituality he can turn their lives around for the better. I flash back to what my grandfather used to tell me, “that it's a lot easier to swim with the current than trying to fight it.”

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