Monday, November 30, 2015

Nov. 30, 2015 - Its golden era done, gay porn is an industry in recession

Gay porn performer Jake Taylor (top)
Nov. 30, 2015 - - Gay porn is an industry in recession | Dazed

Nov. 30, 2015 - How Rock Hudson's death altered public perception about AIDS

Nov. 30, 2015 - Step Four, the feared moral inventory of 12-step recovery

Nov. 30, 2015 - - The Feared Moral Inventory Of 12-Step Recovery -

Nov. 30, 2015 - Three actresses accuse porn performer James Deen of sexual assault

James Deen
Nov. 30, 2015 - - Two More Adult Actresses Accuse James Deen Of Sexual Assault

Nov. 30, 2015 - Commentary: To end HIV, we must overcome stigma

Nov. 30, 2015 - - To really end HIV, we must overcome stigma - Gay News Network

Nov. 30, 2015 - What are the requirements to be a modern man?

Nov. 30, 2015 - - What are the Requirements for Being a Modern Man? -

Nov. 30, 2015 - Why casual sex seldom has casual consequences

Nov. 30, 2015 - - Why “Casual Sex” Rarely Has Casual Consequences -

Nov. 30, 2015 - Photo gallery: Chronicling depression with photography

Nov. 30, 2015 - Domestic violence and Facebook: Harassment takes new forms in the social media age

Nov. 30, 2015 - Video: On eve of World AIDS Day, six HIV+ people discuss living with stigma

Nov. 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Monday, Nov. 30, 2015
Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:
Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.
 -- Malvina Reynolds

The abundant life appeals to us. Seldom do we want less money, fewer toys, clothes, or friends. In general, we want more of everything and still more - particularly of love. The truth is that the things we hoard or hide or fear losing must be shared or soon may be lost.

Giving love to a lover, a friend, or even a stranger will fill up our own empty spaces where love wants to be. And we'll glow radiantly with the warmth that hovers on the heels of love expressed.

The pantry of the human heart is never bare when love is being served. We pass this way with one another, not by mere chance, but by design for the nourishment that is love.

Our greatest hope, to be loved, is ours when we've made that hope a reality for someone else.
You are reading from the book:
Worthy of Love by Karen Casey. © 1985 by Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Monday, Nov. 30, 2015

Today, understanding that a substitute chemical to replace alcohol that alters my perception of reality is not working toward recovery from an addictive personality, may I also understand that "mind- and mood-altering chemicals" may not necessarily include prescribed medications. If depression continues to be a condition even in sobriety, for example, let me listen to reasons why anti-depressants may not compromise my sobriety but may even improve its quality. The debate in AA and other 12-step programs that any substance which alters mood costs us our sobriety is as old as the program itself. But the program admits it is not a medical one, and that tells me it is my responsibility to seek out knowledge from qualified sources to determine if my sobriety is at risk. Today, understanding that the substances I ingested are not the same as prescribed medications, let me also consider the possibility that acting as my own physician may be writing my own relapse somewhere down the road. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2015

Nov. 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Monday, Nov. 30, 2015

AA Thought for the Day
We have slips in AA. It has been said these are not slips but premeditated drunks, because we have to think about taking a drink before we actually take one. The thought always comes before the act. It is suggested that people should always get in touch with an AA before taking that first drink. The failure to do so makes it probable that they had decided to take the drink anyway. And yet the thoughts that come before taking a drink are often largely subconscious. People usually don't know consciously what made them do it. Therefore, the common practice is to call these things slips.

Am I on guard against wrong thinking?

Meditation for the Day
"The eternal God is thy refuge." He is a sanctuary, a refuge from the cares of life. You can get away from the misunderstanding of others by retiring into your own place of meditation. But from yourself, from your sense of failure, your weakness, your shortcomings, whither can you flee? Only to the eternal God, your refuge, until the immensity of His spirit envelopes your spirit and it loses its smallness and weakness and comes into harmony again with His.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may lose my limitations in the immensity of God's love. I pray that my spirit may be in harmony with His spirit.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Monday, Nov. 30, 2015

Reflection for the Day
If you're a negative thinker and are not yet ready to do an about-face, here are some guidelines that can keep you miserable for just as long as you wish to remain so. First, don't go to meetings of The Program, especially discussion groups. If you somehow find yourself at a meeting, keep your mouth shut, your hands in your pockets and your mind closed. Don't try to solve any of your problems, never laugh at yourself and don't trust the other people in The Program. Above all, under no conditions should you try to live in the Now.

Am I aware that negative thinking means taking myself deadly serious at all times, leaving no time for laughter - and for living?

Today I Pray
If I am feeling negative, may I check myself in the mirror that is the group for any symptoms of a closed mind; tight lips, forced smile, set jaw, straight-ahead glance - and not a glimmer of humor. God, grant me the ability to laugh at myself - often - for I need that laughter to cope with the everyday commotion of living.

Today I Will Remember
To laugh at myself.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 30, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

Nov. 30, 2015 - Good morning & welcome to a beautiful Monday & greater new week!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nov. 29, 2015 - 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' and a challenge to masculinity

Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor: 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'
Nov. 29, 2015 - - “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” And A Challenge To Manhood And Masculinity -

Nov. 29, 2015 - A father's call to discuss mental health issues in men - starting with his own

Nov. 29, 2015 - Getting through a relationship breakup - with Alcoholics Anonymous

Nov. 29, 2015 - Arkansas Baptist church ejects member for 'embracing' gay lifestyle

Nov. 29, 2015 - 11 reasons you're still a single gay man (Thank God!)

Nov. 29, 2015 - Gay men who defy stigma and stereotypes

Nov. 29, 2015 - A gay high school football player's unique coming out

Nov. 29, 2015 - LGBT domestic violence: It's time to shift the discussion

Nov. 29, 201 5- For many Native American communities, marriage equality is still forbidden

Nov. 29, 2015 - 15 unexpectedly candid tips for straight guys from Reddit's gay men

Nov. 29, 2015 - From Rock Hudson to Charlie Sheen, the changing face of HIV stigma

Rock Hudson, Charlie Sheen,  Freddie Mercury
Nov. 29, 2015 - - Charlie Sheen, Rock Hudson and the changing face of HIV stigma

Nov. 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015
Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

One way to become enthusiastic is to look for the plus sign. To make progress in any difficult situation, you have to start with what's right about it and build on that.
 -- Norman Vincent Peale

Beginning our days with a positive mental outlook is a great depression chaser. Simply lifting our heads and looking up and out instead of down will make us feel better. Although we can't spend all our time staring at the sky, we can train ourselves to look for the best in ourselves and others.

Even in the middle of difficulty or pain, we have choices. We can choose a gloom-and-doom attitude and endlessly replay the thoughts that accompany it. Or we can step back and find the one good thing. We may be blinded with pain. The situation may appear hopeless, utterly bleak. But recovery guarantees that we are equal to it; that in our pain there is at least one good thing.

We are the masters of our fate. We can change even the most difficult situations with an attitude of hope and positive expectation. Approaching each day with a hopeful heart will give us a different approach to our troubles.

Today help me find the one good thing. Help me let go of fear and negativity.
You are reading from the book:
Body, Mind, and Spirit © 1990 by Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

Step by Step
Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015

Today, if my candle is burning at both ends with responsibilities, obligations and expectations,  I will not complain or seek adulation and, instead, will practice gratitude and humility that I now am trusted to carry out what is asked and expected of me. But if I feel overwhelmed at times, I can fall back on the an edict "First Things First." The first thing is sobriety. Without it, there is nothing; with it, there is everything. The benefits sobriety bring include service to the sufferer who needs and wants to hear the message, and I should not shirk or complain about being in service. Not only does what I contribute to another soul strengthen my own against a possible slip or relapse, I need only to remember the days when I was drunk literally 24/7 and ask if those days were better than now. Today, my yesterdays are nowhere better than today, and today is where I will stay without complaining, without seeking recognition and instead ask in humility for His will and the power to carry it out. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2015

Nov. 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015

AA Thought for the Day
The AA way is the way of sobriety, and yet there are slips. Why do these slips occur? Why don't we all accept AA and stay sober from then on? There are many reasons, but it has been proved without exception that once we have become alcoholics, we can never drink successfully again. This has never been disproved by any case we know of. Many alcoholics have tried drinking after a period of sobriety from a few days to a few years, and no one that we know of has been successful in becoming a normal drinker.
Could I be the only exception to this rule?

Meditation for the Day
"We are gathered together in Thy name." First, we are gathered together, bound by a common loyalty to God and to each other. Then, when this condition has been fulfilled, God is present with us. Then, when God is there and one with us, we voice a common prayer. Then it follows that our prayer will be answered according to God's will. Then, when our prayer is answered, we are bound together in a lasting fellowship of the spirit.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be loyal to God and to others. I pray that my life today may be lived close to His and to theirs.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015

Reflection for the Day
Contrary to what some people think, our slogan "Let Go and Let God" isn't an expression of apathy, an attitude of defeatism or an unwillingness to accept responsibility. Those who turn their backs on their problems are not "letting go and letting God" but, instead, are abandoning their commitment to act on God's inspiration and guidance. They neither ask for nor expect help; they want God to do it all.

In seeking God's guidance, do I realize that the ultimate responsibility is mine?

Today I Pray
May I not allow myself to be lazy just because I think God is going to do everything anyway. (Such apathy reminds me of my old powerless self, the one that moaned that the world was going up in smoke, civilization was going down the drain and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.) Neither may I use "letting God" do it as an excuse for shrugging off my problems without even trying. May God be my inspiration; may I be an instrument of God.

Today I Will Remember
God guides those who help themselves.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 29, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015

We find in life exactly what we are looking for. In your drinking days, you courted trouble constantly and you probably found more than your share of it.

Today we are looking for a better way of life and this, too, we find at every turn.

We get what we want if we put forth sufficient effort to look for it, if we have the ability to recognize it when we see it, and the tenacity to hold on to it when once we grasp it.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 29, 2015 - Good morning & welcome to a splendid Sunday, folks!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nov. 28, 2015 - The joy - and agony - of being a father, when you're not

By Christopher MacNeil
Freelance blogger
The dark shadows of the thick clouds on the western horizon matched my mood that late November afternoon in 1990 as I drove the hour-long trip on Indiana’s flat and colorless U.S. 31 to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis to visit my 2-year-old niece. Born with an inexplicable “defect” in which 95 percent of her body was covered with what doctor’s described as burn tissue, my niece was to endure yet another surgery to remove her “burned” skin and replace it with grafted skin.
It had been less than two years since my last round as a drinking alcoholic and a failed suicide attempt that cold and dreary Friday afternoon. After years of alcoholic drinking and its resulting emotional and mental devastation, a myriad of emotions churned inside me. Many of my relatives, including my niece’s mother — my sister — harbored unresolved feelings for me — even hate — for what I’d become as an alcoholic, and the niece I was visiting hardly knew me. She was barely 5 months old when I made myself scarce from my family after my suicide attempt, and I feared she wouldn’t remember me at best or, at worst, that my sister would refuse to let me see her and have me thrown out of the hospital.
At the hospital, I entered the burn unit and saw my sister and other relatives crowded around my niece in her room and lowered my head as I walked toward an uncertain reception I might get. It was then I noticed the screams and cry of what sounded like a little boy somewhere on the ward. They continued uninterrupted and without break. A silence fell in my niece’s room when I walked in. But my sister, who had less than two years earlier called the ambulance when she found me unconscious on the floor of my apparently from the pills I took to end my life, signaled me to greet my niece. Surprisingly to me, my niece remembered me: she called me by the nickname everyone else did.
Uncomfortable that I might be making everyone else uncomfortable, I stepped halfway out the door of my niece’s room while relatives adorned her with adulation. Standing there, I noticed that the kid’s screams and crying I heard when I arrived had stopped and, at the same time, I felt a slight nudge on the side of one of my shoes. Looking down I saw a little wind-up toy car that had hit by foot. I looked around and saw not far behind me a boy not more than 2 or 3 years old sitting on the floor, both hands bandaged and staring at me. I half-smiled at him, picked up the toy car and returned it to him, mindful not to hurt his hands. But as I returned the car with one hand and gently patted the boy’s shoulder with my other hand, I saw either uncertainty or fear in the boy’s eyes as he raised his arms slightly and shielded his chest.
It was less than a minute after I returned to my niece’s room, again half-in and half-out, when I felt a tugging on the sleeve of my coat. It was the kid again. He tugged my coat as if he wanted me to follow him. I did, to an area where he sat on the floor and indicated that he wanted me to sit down in front of him. He apparently wanted us to roll the car back and forth to each other. Not being in high demand in my niece’s room, I took the job.
I learned later the boy’s name was Michael, 2 years old. A nurse risked violating patient confidentiality when she shared that Michael was headed to foster care after discharge from the hospital, the injuries to his hands being second- and third-degree burns that were inflicted by his parents by holding his hands in the fire of an oven burner as “discipline.” Both parents were in jail awaiting trial or pleading out to charges of felony child abuse and neglect. Even if they avoided prison, Michael would not be returned to them. Child Protective Services had filed a petition to terminate parental rights because Michael had been the victim of multiple other substantiated episodes of abuse and neglect by his parents.
Michael and I rolled the toy car back and forth for about a half-hour when I noticed he needed a diaper change. I knew nothing about diapering and picked him up to take him to a nurse for the change. Picking him up, for a reason I still don’t understand 25 years later, I intuitively kissed Michael’s forehead gently. After finding a nurse to change the diaper, I handed Michael over to her. Suddenly and with full volume, Michael began to scream and cry and I realized only then it was he I heard crying and screaming when I first arrived. It explained a comment I overheard by a nurse who showed up for her work shift. She told a colleague it was “unusually quiet,” then, in a heightened tone, “Oh, God! Michael! Where’s Michael?” The other nurse pointed out Michael with me on the floor. The nurse who had just arrived then asked, about me, “Well, who’s he?” “Jamie’s uncle,” was the answer. “Oh,” was the reaction.
I stayed with Michael through his diaper change as the poor nurse maneuvered to get a fresh change in place while he trashed and screamed and tried to get up. When the nurse finally got the diaper changed, she returned Michael to me. In my arms, Michael stopped the screams and cries. His eyelids had become heavy by then and, instead of returning him to the floor for more play, I slid out of my coat and found a rocking chair to sit while holding him.
Michael fell asleep quickly, and I sat there rocking him gently for nearly an hour until I couldn’t put off the hour-long drive back home. And I tried as long as I could not to leave him: I wasn’t ready to give him up for reasons I didn’t understand then. But I stood up gently and found the nurse who had changed his diaper, the one to whom I’d give him up. The nurse and I almost pulled off the exchange without waking Michael. But he woke up and, when he did, he jolted everyone with maximum-volume screams and cries, the same ones I heard when I arrived two hours earlier. Michael bolted upward in the nurse’s arms and, as I rushed into my coat, he reached for me and cried, “No! Help me!” First arrow in the heart. “I think you broke his heart,” the nurse said above Michael’s screams. Second arrow in the heart. Feeling a rushing sting in my eyes, I muttered, “I’m sorry,” and turned and raced to the exit without saying good-bye to my niece and other relatives. When I found my car, I cast my face upward, not wanting to know if the damp on it was from the mist of the rain — or my tears. I couldn’t breathe. My plan to stop somewhere for dinner was swallowed by the pit in my stomach.
A storm of emotions raged within me on the drive home, the strongest my anger. The menacing memories of my own childhood engulfed me, and I thought about my relationship with my own father and my firm promises as a young, young kids that I would never be the father to my son that mine was to me. I would never let my son see me drunk, never hit him with my fist, never call my son a “fag” or “n**gger lover” or throw my son out of a glass picture window for walking away from a Ku Klux Klan rally that I was dragged me to when I was 5 years old and then got “whopped” for walking away from the march because I couldn’t — wouldn’t — salute the Grand Wizard.
I collapsed into sleep that night and awoke the next morning still dressed and wearing my coat and with the worst kind of hangover — not of booze but raw, scathed and bared emotions. I decided my niece didn’t need me and that there was no reason for me to visit her in the hospital again. I didn’t dare risk seeing Michael again. I couldn’t lose him a second time. And I didn’t.
That was 25 years ago. As cruel fate would have it, it wasn’t in the cards for me to be a father. I think of Michael more days than not, that he’d be 27 or 28 years old now. I leave it to the unknown my hope that he was never returned to his abusive parents and that some lucky adoptive parents found him and gave him the love he so clearly and desperately needed. And, God knows, Michael had a ton of love to return.
There’s a physical pain when I remember Michael, like an arrow in my heart. But I try to find comfort in the reality that I experienced being a dad — if only for a couple of hours.
And forever.

Nov. 28, 2015 - I'm a man who cries - and that's OK

Nov. 28, 2015 - - I'm a Man Who Cries and That's OK -

Nov. 28, 2015 - Mean queens: The sad, sad case of the Internet troll

Nov. 28, 2015 - As a gay rights ally, Bernie Sanders wasn’t always in the vanguard

Nov. 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Today's Gift from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015
Today's thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:
"I was lucky," a man explained to me. "One of my first mentors in life made me practice serenity. Whenever I'd call him in full-blown panic mode or with that frantic tone in my voice, he'd refuse to talk to me until I calmed myself down.
"'Go get centered,' he'd tell me. 'Then we'll talk.'" Sometimes we need help working through our panic, anxiety, and fear. Find someone to talk to who will support serenity, rather than feed anxiety. Learn to recognize turmoil and urgency in your body, speech, emotions, and thought. Learn what it feels like to be centered and calm. Practicing serenity is a learned behavior and an art.
When you find yourself in turmoil, stop what you are doing. Take deliberate steps to relax. Talk to a friend, say the Serenity Prayer or any favorite prayer, breathe, meditate, feel any emotions you need to feel. Calming yourself may feel awkward at first, nearly impossible. (Some people may need professional help to deal with anxiety and panic if it's chronic and continual.) Over time and with practice, you will discover ways to calm yourself, the way a loving parent learns to calm a fretting child.

You are reading from the book:
52 Weeks of Conscious Contact © 2003 by Melody Beattie

Nov. 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Step by Step

The Serenity Prayer
Step by Step
Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015

" ...(W)e launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
"Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. This was Step Four." - Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Ch 5 ("How It Works"), pp 64-5.

Today, the "vigorous action" of the Fourth Step cannot and should not be done in one sitting. In our impatience and zeal to get get sober, we risk skirting the depth of some steps, and the Fourth is vulnerable. Without depth and absolute honesty, and neglecting to come to terms with some issues identified in our Fourth, the benefit and effectiveness of subsequent steps may be less than what they could and should be. I am required to submit to Step Four and honestly assess both my character defects and attributes. But I should not expect that I can honestly compile a thorough list in one attempt, particularly when identifying the "causes and conditions" of which alcohol was "but a symptom." After all, those defects will likely still be there tomorrow if I need a break today from the "vigorous action" that the Fourth requires. And our common journey continues. Step by step. - Chris M., 2015

Nov. 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Twenty-Four Hours a Day
Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015

AA Thought for the Day
The AA way is the way of sobriety. AA is known everywhere as a method that has been successful with alcoholics. Doctors, psychiatrists and clergymen have had some success. Some men and women have got sober all by themselves. We believe that AA is the most successful and happiest way to sobriety. And yet AA is, of course, not wholly successful. Some are unable to achieve sobriety and some slip back into alcoholism after they have had some measure of sobriety.

Am I deeply grateful to have found AA?

Meditation for the Day
Gratitude to God is the theme of Thanksgiving Day. The pilgrims gathered to give thanks to God for their harvest which was pitifully small. When we look around at all the things we have today, how can we help being grateful to God? Our families, our homes, our friends, our AA fellowship: all these things are free gifts of God to us. "But for the grace of God," we would not have them.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may be very grateful today, I pray that I may not forget where I might be but for the grace of God.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: A Day at a Time

A Day at a Time
Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015

Reflection for the Day
Our faith in God's power - at work in us and in our lives - doesn't relieve us of responsibility. Instead, our faith strengthens our efforts, makes us confident and assured, and enables us to act decisively and wisely. We're no longer afraid to make decisions; we're not afraid to take the steps that seem called for in the proper handling of giving situations.

Do I believe that God is at work beyond my human efforts, and that my faith and trust in Him will bring forth results far exceeding my expectations?

Today I Pray
May my trust in my Higher Power never falter. May my faith in that Power continue to shore up my optimism, my confidence, my belief in my own decision-making. May I never shut my eyes to the wonder of God's work or discount the wisdom of His solutions.

Today I Will Remember
Our hope in ages past, our help for years to come.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 28, 2015 - Readings in Recovery: The Eye Opener

The Eye Opener
Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015

Knowledge is of great value, and nothing of value is acquired without price. Wisdom is even more to be desired than knowledge, which can be but an accumulation of facts. Humility is greater than wisdom for there is no real wisdom without humility. The wise are humbled by the knowledge of the limitations of their knowledge.

No man is born with these characteristics, they are born of the vicissitudes of life. Sorrow, despair and failure are their breeding grounds.

Hazelden Foundation

Nov. 28, 2015 - Good morning & welcome to a splendid Saturday, folks!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Nov. 27, 2015 - Something not to be grateful for: A GOP primary driven by hate and fear

Nov. 27, 2015 - - It's Beginning to Feel Like 2002 All Over Again

Nov. 27, 2015 - Gratitude learned from a failed suicide attempt

Nov. 27, 2015 - - Why I'm Grateful That I Tried To Commit Suicide -

Nov. 27, 2015 - Has AA's recovery literature become antiquated?

The Big Book
Nov. 27, 2015 - - Is AA Literature Too Antiquated? | The Fix

Nov. 27, 2015 - Video: Jake Gyllenhaal in-depth on 'Brokeback Mountain' and LGBT equality

Jake Gyllenhaal
Nov. 27, 2015 - - Video: Here's Why Jake Gyllenhaal Didn't Sweat Playing Gay In 'Brokeback Mountain'