Basketball Jones and Friends of Bill

Sun setting on Day One at Sea

“Basketball Jones,

I got a basketball jones

Ooh — ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh ooh”

by Richard Marin and Tommy Chong, Cheech and Chong

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

It’s Day 3 at sea, and I’m taking a break in our ship’s cabin to do some writing. I’ve been writing every day, and it feels good to be back to “thread-writing”, where I just pick up a thread of a thought and write through it, let that thread lead me into a story that satisfies the storyteller in me.

I’m really sore today. My calves are tight, my legs ache, and my muscles are achy. It’s a good sore, though. It’s a soreness born of playing basketball every morning for three straight mornings.

I keep waking up well before the dawn, and finding my way topside to shoot hoops. I shoot until I’ve worked up a good sweat, and the sun has come up, and then it’s time to get a shower and catch my morning “Friends of Bill W” meeting down in the Keys lounge.

I haven’t had this kind of exertive exercise since I retired from playing competitive softball two years ago. It feels so good. I wasn’t sure if I would ever get back to it. I was almost convinced that I’ve outgrown all of this, that I’m in the phase of life where it’s time to ease into old age.

Not so quick with that one, buster! These last few mornings have shown me that I still have a little game left in these old bones, that I can still reach that point where the endorphins kick in, with a little exertion, and the best part about it all is, I’ve had no signs, or even a hint of, vertigo.

That’s why I quit the softball, ultimately, because I found that the exertion of that sort seemed to trigger a vertigo attack.

I’m digging this. I had no after-effects from the flight down to Florida last Saturday — granted, I felt some sharp pains in my ear as the plane descended during its landing, which it did in a not-so-smooth fashion. But, that was it.

Now, shooting hoops every morning, working up a good sweat, nothing happening in terms of vertigo. Just sore as hell, today — but, again, it’s a sore that I’ll take in a heartbeat. It’s a sore that makes me feel alive!

The Friends of Bill W. meeting has been a good one, so far. There’s five of us that are regulars, just the right number in a half-hour meeting for each to get a chance to share each morning, after we open the meeting with a couple of readings, the AA preamble and How it Works.

There’s three gay guys, a lady who is also in OA (Overeaters’ Anonymous) and myself. I’m so glad I’m a part of AA now. I would never have met, and gotten to know, these four people on this cruise, had I not gone down to that Friends of Bill W. meeting that first morning. Already, after three morning meetings together, it feels like we all know each other well. I really like all of them.

First Dawn

The first morning, we each shared a five minute version of our respective journeys, how we wound up in AA and on this cruise. Yesterday, Melissa suggested the topic “how can we be of help to others today on the cruise?”, a great one that got us all thinking about others instead of ourselves for the rest of the day.

This morning, I suggested “the promises” as a topic. In the AA Big Book, in the chapter describing the 5th through the 11th Steps, “Into Action”, it makes the following statement, following the 9th Step instructions, which AA’s always refer to, simply, as “the promises”:

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word ‘serenity’ and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

“That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

“Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us — sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”

This did wind up eliciting some great shares, and we were able to provide a lot of support for one of the guys who is going to be performing in a big show on the ship later in the week, who’s been going through a lot of insecurity over some issues that have arisen for him, lately. We all agreed that he’s going to knock his performance out of the park, and he seemed to be feeling much better about it by the end of the meeting.

I’m totally enjoying the rhythm this cruise has taken on, day to day. It’s only Day 3. We still have 12 more to go. I haven’t thought about work, or too much about the insanity that is Washington politics these days — okay, we have been keeping up with that a bit, catching some news programs. But, way out here in the middle of the Atlantic, what are we going to do about any of it? Not much.

I think it’s about nap time. I think I’ll take one. I’ll catch all you cats on my next mid-sea posting. Man, it’s been too long since I did one of these long cruises. I am loving this!

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