214- Bill C- Changes in Alcoholics Anonymous
Bill C 00:00
This is a while back things look like they were opening up so I you know I get in the car it was horrible I had to get dressed put a tie on get in the car drive all the way to the meeting hall. A god, it was painful, right? And I walk in there and everybody's we're all looking at each other go oh, that's what you look like, Oh man, I'm never you know, it's like Jesus you're big. You know what you're short you know? I mean, we've never seen each other right live in that and then interesting
John M 00:30
what Hello friends of Bill Debbie and other friends you have landed on sober speak. My name is John M. I am an alcoholic. And we are glad you're all here especially newcomers, newcomers that is both to recovery as a whole. And newcomers to this podcast, sober speak as a podcast about recovery centered around the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. My job here on sober speak is simple. My job is to provide a platform to the amazing stories of recovery all around us. Consider sober speak, if you will, your meeting between meetings. Please remember, we do not speak for a or any 12 Step community. We represent only ourselves. We're here to share our experience, strength and hope with those who wish to come along for the ride. Take what you want, and leave the rest at the curb for the trash man to pick up.
John M 01:35
We'll Tally ho and diddily D. That was the voice of Mr. Bill see that you heard at the beginning of this episode. And this episode is number 214 214 dos, uno quatro, that was his voice that you heard at the beginning of this episode. And you will be hearing so much more from Bill in just a moment. But first things first. This episode is being brought to you by sponsored by if you will, Eleanor and Jane and Bill and Trudy and Jennifer and Josh and Gloria. You asked yourself, what did Eleanor and Jane and Bill and Trudy and Jennifer and Josh and Gloria do well, let me fill you in. They went to our website, sober speak Calm com they clicked on the little yeller, donate tab and they made a contribution. Thank you so much. Eleanor, Jane build Shruti Jennifer, Josh and Gloria. Guess what? This episode is coming right out to humans. I, John M. Or as my friend said in a meeting today, my friend curry. He said we are now going to call you 1am. Anyway, I want him just another Bozo on the bus will be will indeed be the chairperson for this meeting between meetings and I am truly honored and privileged to serve all of you listening in. So take a seat, if you will, around this virtual table and let's get started. Remember now, four out of five sponsors surveyed recommend sober speak as a way to relieve stress. I'm making that up on the fly. He has a way to I don't know I have to work on that a little bit. But nonetheless, I'm so glad you are here. If you are not following us on Instagram, we're at Silver speak all one word and we would love to have you follow us on that little application we own.
John M 04:12
Got a couple of pieces of feedback listener feedback on the front end of this particular episode. Jennifer writes in and she says thank you, John, for all you and your wife do. I just had surgery on Monday and I am not working for a while as I heal. I am so grateful for your podcast and the private Facebook group. This is my first major surgery since getting sober and I had a lot of fear about potential post op pain. Lots of prayers and turning it over to my HP and I have been blessed with a successful five hour surgery, no complications and mild Pain thus far. That's great. I might listen to some of my fav episodes since I'm all caught up on your podcast. Again, thank you for all your service and helps keep this bozo on the bus sober for another day. Big Heart. Big Heart, Jennifer. Well, thank you so much, Jennifer. I really do appreciate it. And I'm glad that that surgery went according to plan and I know that a lot of people have concerns and fears about it when they go into a surgery. So I'm glad to hear you're doing well. Chris Elma, excuse me, Chris, Delia, direct messages. DMS on the Insta, she says Hi, John M. Greetings from Kay, Irene. Ca. I IRNS. Queensland, Australia. A you? Yeah, sure. Yeah, Australia. That'd be like a devil Australia there, I think. But nonetheless. They were so glad you right near miss Chris. Anyway, she says I absolutely love what you have done on this podcast. Gary K just blew me away. That reminds me, I got to get Gary K back on the schedule. I've talked to him several times. And I say I'm going to do that. And he's always a fan favorite. I got to get him back onto record something else again. But anyway, she says question, John M. Can you please add me to the live speakers, please? Yours in service, Chris w. And I think what Chris w is asking Is she wants to be part of the big shindig that we're gonna have coming up the silver speed live event, and by the time you're hearing this, and thanks to the thanks to the technological advances we have in our world, I am able to pre record this and this is going to be released actually, the Friday after Thanksgiving, at least here in the United States. And on that Friday. It'll be one week away from having our shindig or big sober speak live event. And you ask where and when is this event John? Well, it is on December 3 Friday at 7pm Central time here in the United States. We're gonna have food, drinks and childcare as well if you need it, but you have to email me at Tom John J. O HN. At silver speak calm and let me know if you need that childcare. And so you're saying to yourself well so you're the I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time with my words here. So there's two ways you can attend if you will the event if you are here in the North Texas area and you would like to come and join us live just go to our website silver speak comm click on the tab. This is silver speak live and we'll have all the deets there I like when I say deets I don't know why I just feel kind of cool for whatever reason. But anyway all those details can be found on our website in terms of the location I'm sure I'm going to miss something here and if you want to attend or virtually say you are not here in the North Texas area and you want to watch the event we're going to stream the event live on at that same time and you but you have to be in the super secret Facebook group so if you're not in the super secret Facebook group just go to your Facebook application and you click on or excuse me you search sober speak secret group and you ask for in Missy own and we will get you in that group and you can sing along with us not really saying but you know watch along with us here along with us and all that sort of stuff. So a couple things to know about it we are going to have as our special guests Reno, John A. And also Mary Lynn be whose music we have featured on in the on the pod in the past we'll be playing live music Oh and I'm looking so forward that I'm going to be playing a song by Mary Lynn in just a moment so you can get a taste of what you can expect for that evening and we look forward to having you all there. Alright, now on to Mr. Bill. See we are calling this one
John M 09:55
changes in Alcoholics Anonymous check Just changes. Bill C is back he resides Bill C does in Torrance, California. That is his residence in Torrance California. And he has been sober since March 27 of 1985. We're going to discuss the changes that have happened in Alcoholics Anonymous since the pandemic started the future of what a may or may not look like the structure of Alcoholics Anonymous and then the various conferences and much more So this episode is a little bit different than some of our other previous discussions but if you want to hear more of Bill C go to our will either open up your your device whatever you have, however you listen to podcast and if you're able to search by Bill's name, you can just type in Bill C and and he should come up and then the other way you can do this if you're interested is you go to our website, click on podcast and there is a search feature on the website and you can look up all of Bill's episodes. I don't know how many I have but it's probably I don't know 678 Something like that. But anyway, have you want to hear more a bill and who would not go search him out but first, Mary Lynn B is going to be serenading us with a song the song What is it called John M? Well it is called 90 meetings in 90 days and I will put a link to Maryland Spotify channel in the show notes that if you don't know a show notes are just email me John Jo HN is sober speak calm and I will send you that link alright everybody enjoy Mary Lynn be and Bill see and we will have plenty Oh listener feedback at the end of this episode or excuse me at the end of not the end of the episode that will be the end of bills interview enjoy I was
John M 12:12
on his birthday while going to AEI we knew something was going on Have you all hands rested him come in walk through the door saw something that we never saw before sometimes it's good to know the means. means Okay, everybody. So we are back at the microphone or microphones, I guess, with the one and only, Mr. Bill. See. So Bill C, will you please go ahead, introduce yourself, give your sobriety date if you wish, and let people know where you are sitting in this great land of ours.
Bill C 15:32
Hey, everybody, I'm Bill, I'm an alcoholic. And my sobriety date is March the 27th 1985, which just impresses the hell out of me. And my home group is Hermoza beach men stag and it resides in Hermosa Beach, California.
John M 15:49
But you are located in where? You are in Torrance, right. Yeah. Right.
Bill C 15:54
Yeah. Same local law on down the road of
John M 15:57
you well. So I just have to tell people, I always say a little prayer before we start. And so I said, the prayer about, you know, Bill, and my gratefulness for him, and hopefully, we can lay down something on a recording that can help people in all four corners of the world. And then, as that Amen, and then right after that Bill said, would you say Bill,
Bill C 16:29
and this time, we really mean it.
John M 16:35
That just cracks me up. And, and you can't see his chest Shire grin on this audio, but they're just smiling.
Bill C 16:46
To be here with you, John.
John M 16:48
Yeah, you too. It's been quite a while. Since we spoke last, it seemed like we're talking to each other on a weekly basis there for quite some time. And I so much enjoyed it. So I, you know, when I reached out, I said, Hey, let's get you on a recording, and basically was saying that, you know, it's been a while and we get, you know, so many new listeners on a consistent basis. And I know that we've had you on many times in the past, but I thought there are going to be people that have not heard Bill see before. And I just think it's important to go ahead and have you on again. So thank you for coming in. So we were talking a little bit there, you know, do we just just some bantering back and forth, we were talking about the conferences coming up. And you were telling me that there have been many of them that have been canceled lately. So will you talk about that a
Bill C 17:49
little bit kind of, you know, when the vaccine got distributed, and people were getting vaccinated and things seemed like they were lightening up, you know, the hospitals were unloading and things would look like it was getting better. So people's early in the year started cranking up the conferences and saying, oh, you know, by March, April, May we should be good, you know, or maybe August, September, October, you know, I mean, it was like, We things are loosening up, let's do the conference, let's go. So I, you know, signed up to go start traveling again and get get out and about and,
Bill C 18:23
and then boy, it's all just shifted, you know, it's, it's just sad, you know, I mean, and I'm 73, I'm a transplant survivor, I've got a suppressed immune system, I take any rejection medication, so I'm pretty careful, you know, I don't want to get it. And my health generally is good, I'm in good shape. So I'm, you know, I'm telling Karen, we're gonna, her and I are going to go to Aspen together and speak at this conference, you know, and, and I'm going to go to Alaska with my sponsor, and do a retreat and, you know, Fargo, North Dakota, and, and, you know, I'm all excited. And then boom, here comes another shift, you know, just like it was a year ago, March when everything shut down. You know, I mean, that was a shock to the system for everybody. And it look like I mean, the zoom thing set up, and you and I started, you know, I mean, this all this is happening, you know, the electronics of Alcoholics Anonymous kick in, you know, we're dragging a into the 21st century, whether it likes it or not, you know, it's like, I mean, the whole general service structure and everything is changed and says everything has changed. And and you know, we change is difficult. I mean, it's, it's uncomfortable, you think it's going to be worse than it was and, and, and I don't think that's necessarily true, but this last thing, I miss being in the room with people, you know, I miss it. The convenience of zoom is nice, but you know what, I mean, just any member in general we get energy out of being with each other physically in the room. And for a speaker guy that I do a lot of that I miss that energy You know, the, the energy of the crowd and the laughter and the booze and the hisses, and just the whole experience of it, you know, and, and, and I personally enjoy going to places and meeting new people, and in all the energy around that it's been a grand adventure for me. So I'm getting all excited again, you know, and then boom, it starts shutting down. I mean, and I think for good reason, it's just, you know, we can go into a lie, but it's just kind of sad, you know, look like it was coming back, you know, me, my home group now, is a hybrid meeting. We got some techie guys, we have a guy that we call Amazon, Eric, because he works for me, you know, and he's a, you know, techy guy, and we've got a 360 degree camera, a big screen on the wall down at the Alano. Club. And we're a full on hybrid meeting, you know, I mean, it's like, really interesting. Was there resistance to that? Oh, you bet. You know, I mean, a lot little business meetings. And, you know, people with F zoom, and we don't like this anymore. This is you know, but we've morphed into this. And now we're a hybrid meeting. And I don't believe that this technology is going to go away, I think this is the way he is going to be. I think it's given the world more access to Alcoholics Anonymous than it has ever had. And I communicate on some level with people at GSO in New York. And this is the consensus, I mean, we are truly international now. I mean, truly, and in my home group, just one little meeting, we have people attending regularly, like members of the of the group from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, parts of Europe, and across the United States. And when it came time to where we were going to go back live, are we going to cut these people off? I just couldn't see doing that. And they sir, as hell didn't want to be cut off. You know, I mean, it this is been special. I mean, and for people that are into sponsoring and stuff like I do, you know, I'm sponsoring guys around them. I'm reading the book with guys, four or five times a week on zoom from around the world. You know, I mean, I mean, then this is phenomenal. You know, I mean, it's just phenomenal. And, and I've always been an active a hammer, but I'm more going to more goddamn meetings now than I've ever gotten to, you know, I'm reading the book with more guys, if I have to read more fever ranheim. One more time. I don't know how I'm gonna do it myself. You know, I'm just the entered. There's a lot of energy in that that mean, this is why we're here. Right. So I think it's really been a net positive thing. But it's just sad right now with things shutting down and gopher state went down, which is the biggest conference in the US other than Founders Day. That was a real sad thing. I mean, it was, you know, last year, everything was shut down. Now it's starting to come back. You know, I mean, and people are signing up. And it's like, you know, they want to come. And, and it's just sad that they kind of broke my heart.
John M 23:09
have you actually been out to any conferences, in posts, at conferences?
Bill C 23:19
I've spoken at a couple of live meetings, but this conference thing was just starting up. So no, you know, I mean, it was, I've been asked, there were places around the country that had been doing it anyway. And I just my response was, Are you crazy? You know, that that was, you know, I didn't specifically say that, but my answer is no, no, I'm not. No, you know,
John M 23:43
when the Hermoza when, when your hunger meets, do you go into the meeting? Or do you say, are you, okay,
Bill C 23:52
I've been going and we wear masks, you know, the club requires that we wear masks for good cause I think and, you know, it's, it's a little tricky. I'm a little bit nervous, but, you know, I've been vaccinated, and I got my third vaccination shot just recently. So I feel and I my health is good. You know, I've been walking lot working with a trainer, um, I'm not obese, you know, I'm I think, but I'm 73. You know, I mean, I do not want to get that stuff, you know, I just whatever, whether it's going to be mild or not, I don't want it. And I know enough people that have gotten it, and some that have ended up in the hospital and a few that have died from it. So it's real in my life, you know, it's like, not a pretend thing. And, you know, I just I'm, I'm a little shy, but I'm an extrovert. I want to go I want to be with you. You know, I mean, I, my desire is to be there.
John M 24:44
Are you going to go to the ones that are scheduled that you have coming up at Alaska and all that kind of stuff? Or is
Bill C 24:49
it Alaska, there is a retreat? There requiring people to be vaccinated, I feel good about that. You know, it's going to be mostly outside, it's a smaller group. So my plan is in case something comes up between now and a couple of weeks from now is to go. And the one in Fargo is small, mostly outside. So I feel okay about that. And also I have kind of an attitude is like, you gotta go sometime. It's not, I mean, but you got to get out there, you know, I, my desire is to be out there. And my, my wife's very nervous about it, and people around me, like, you know, for good, cause, you know, so I'm gonna try and be careful with it, you know?
John M 25:39
Understood. Alright, so you said, so and you may have covered this already. But I do know you said you're going to a some sort of conference, I believe with Jay, if I'm not mistaken. And y'all are going to talk about the the changes that have occurred. And a lot I know you referenced too late earlier. But do you want to take a deeper dive into what you're going to talk about, there
Bill C 26:05
are local conferences, the South Bay, Roundup, and it's, it's a it's a big one normally, you know, 3000 plus people. And it's been going on the year I got sober in 85 was the first one I've been to every single one. And so what we're doing at this time is we're going to limit last year, it was on Zoom. And Amazon, Eric was, you know, all the boys got together and tricked it out pretty good. It was a fourth, our first attempt, and it went off really well, it was really, very well done. So this year, it's going to be a hybrid, and they're going to bring people back live, but limited to 500. And so it's going to be a hybrid and live thing. And so far, unless anything changes by next weekend is when it is and Jay and I he's going to come up from Sedona, and we're going to do a couple of workshops on the changing Alcoholics Anonymous, you know, what it looks like in in and start a conversation do one session where we talk about, you know, what we think about it and what it looks like internationally, because a lot of people don't have that experience. You know, and the other thing is the second session, we're going to try to do some q&a, and get people to talk about it and how they feel about it.
John M 27:21
What do you anticipate from that? Do you think you're gonna have like naysayers and people say, we should not do that? And F zoom? And all that sort of stuff? I know, you don't know, but Well,
Bill C 27:30
there is a lot of that. I mean, you know, we'll be at a conference. So the people that are there are going to want to be there live, right. And so the discussions really centered around this technology, the Zoom type thing. And like an individual that's a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, in his local area is going to have certain opinions about it, how he personally, he or she, personally is affected by it. So most people come from that position. You know, like, you're sitting in your living room, and you're supposed to go to your home group, and it's on Zoom, and you're sitting there saying, This is bullshit, you know, I'm not doing this. This is not right. And, I mean, throughout this thing, even in our area, there's been people that have been having live meetings, you know, there's just they just ignore it, you know, and, you know, I, my personal feeling about that is our very first tradition says our common welfare should come first. Acceptance is the key right. Now, when this thing happened in March of last year, I'm a meeting goer, you know, I'm an active member of a on a lot of levels, just personally, and I tried to be of service and all that stuff, but I like going to meetings, I like being around people, and our house is one of those AIA houses, you know, sit out in the backyard and smoke cigars and talk about God that's why we call it the ash RAM, you know, and, and, you know, there's a lot of community elimite parties and stuff, all that stuff. I'm that guy. You know, I like I like and all that, you know, so when this happened, I was like, Oh, this is a bummer. This is awful. What are we gonna do you know, what's gonna happen to the newcomer? What's gonna you know? Okay, a year and a half later. I'm my whole attitude is this is great. I mean, it's absolutely phenomenal. It's been a blessing that we never knew we needed. Right. And, and we're going to talk about that in a lot of different levels. For example, I was asked to speak at a little meeting. This is way last year early on. This guy in Ireland. He listens to a lot of talks on the internet. He's a techy guy, right so the over the years he's been listening to talks he's sober sometime. His little local meeting in Ireland was middle of the bed right? It's outside of Dublin small group. He contacts me, he reaches out. And he says, Would you come and speak at our group? Well, sure, that'd be fun, you know. And now, the rest of the world, I'm in Southern California, and Southern California has a history and the way it grew up, have a lot of speaker meetings. That's why a lot of the speakers you hear around the country are from California, we have a lot of speaker meetings on the east coast of the United States. That's not the case. It is now more. But when I got sober in 85, they didn't have a lot of sort of the standard speaker meeting throughout the world is of 10 minute lead 10 or 15 minute lead and participation. Right. That's the standard speaker me the spanner meeting. That's the way I grew up in the United States. Right. I mean, it was like that. And so the rest of the world has not heard Bill see. Like, or, or whoever, sandy beach, or any, any of they haven't heard this. They've heard, the only person they've ever heard is Clancy because Clancy traveled all over the world. And they would create a speaker meeting whenever Clancy came through town. That's it, right. So now, this guy has me come and speak at his little meeting. Fast forward, say six months, middle of the bed, five 600 people, he got a couple of rock stars to talk and there was 1000 people maxed out the zoom thing. You know, this is one meeting this, you know, and he went out and put it on Facebook pages. And so you know, he promoted it. I am now from that, from that time of speaking that I am now doing workshops on a monthly basis in Moscow several times last year in Tehran of all places, you know, I mean, I'm speaking this afternoon, I'm going to be on a meeting in, in Sydney, Australia. In and I'm, I'm all over the world. And the guys that I've known over the years that I've grown up with an A that do the speaking thing. Same things happening, I mean, they're maxed out. Now,
Bill C 32:28
also what has happened, because of that, because of the plethora of speaker meetings and conferences and workshops that are all on Zoom. They're all on Zoom, or platforms like it. Every once in a while you'll see a flyer on one of the Facebook pages with a list of speakers and I don't know any of them. That's odd. Right? My buddy, Steve lamb, Matthew Mitchell, these guys that you've had on here, same thing, who are where are these people coming from? So there's a whole new bunch of talkers out there. People that have given it beginning a chance to tell their story to an audience that never would have happened in their small little town in northern California, outside of Sacramento. You know, I mean, this is not so the average person now who has been going to his regular two or three or four meetings a week in his local town is all over the world, listening to people. There's a meeting in in Florida called the The Lunch Bunch, the noon Lunch Bunch that one of my friends started the back pork porch lunch, but now you go on and I hope they don't hear this but you go on this thing. It's like a convalescent home. I mean, there's people there with 150 years sobriety that are pretty much house ridden. And you get on the meeting 20 minutes beforehand, and they're just yakking their asses off talking to each other, you know, they all know each other and they're from all over this country, and parts of the world. Every day at noon. You know, there's a woman I know that she's 60 Some years sober. She has become a rock star in Alcoholics Anonymous. Everywhere you go, she's talking everywhere. And she's sitting in her living room, going to meetings every day, and telling her story and listening to her friends and texted me, you know, like, you know, I mean, I'm out promoting her, you know, and she, here it is. She's in her 90s. Right? If you look at the experience she's having, who knew that would happen? I know. Everybody hears the story of the local your local Grondahl or old timer that's got some problems at home and people have to go over and get him and bring him to meetings. So he wants to go to meetings, right? He's got it now. All you got to do is go over there. Like some people went over to Jones house this older lady whenever and set up her computer impulse I did all I need sit here you go baby, you know, here you go, you know, have a ball, you know. So she's in that wonderful. Yeah, I love it. So there's a couple of things that I think are net positive one is people were worried about the newcomer. I know guys that have never been to a live meeting that I've gotten sober in this last year and a half. You know, I know I know some people. And it's like I showed up to a meeting Covina live to go speak you know, for Carl Morris at his meeting and convenient pointing house. And this is a while back things look like they were opening up so I you know, I get in the car. It was horrible. I had to get dressed, put a tie on, get in the car, drive all the way to the meeting hall. A god. It was painful, right? And I walk in there and everybody's we're all looking at each other go oh, that's what you look like, oh, man, I'm never you know, it's like, Jesus, you're big. You know, you're short. You know? I mean, we've never seen each other. Right. Live. And then interesting. Yeah. You know, I mean, it's like, so on that level, it's been good. Because people, there's more access to a people can get at it easier. You know. And you think of the introverts that don't like going and being in crowds, they can go to they can hear the message they can, you know, this is a way of getting in the door. If nothing else is a lot of people, I think that are probably going to a meetings that normally would not. But now they don't have to say anything, they can keep their screen, you know, and they can hear what's going on. I think that's a net positive. The other thing that I think is really positive,
Bill C 36:49
is that the the connectivity around the world, like in Southern California, we like to think that we have a really strong message, you know, we're you know, this is a hotbed of sobriety here, right. And we know, we're the light in the way. And we can infect the entire world with our message. Now, you know, people can do that. And I know the people in Texas feel the same way. Can I talk to Charlie Parker and the boys, you know, I mean, they're all over the world. And we're doing their workshops and doing their stuff and spreading the word isn't? Isn't that our job? Being cheerleaders, Ray. We're all over the world. Now. You know, I mean, that's remarkable. And everybody has access to that everybody has access to it.
John M 37:37
Let me take a little break here you we will be continuing our conversation with Bill see in just a moment. Just a reminder, you're listening to sober speak, you can find us on the worldwide web at WWW dot sober speak.com. You can also find the donate button on our website which you can use if and only if, if and only if the spirit moves you please keep in mind this is a podcast funded by you the listener now back to Bill C. So you know Bill, I before the pandemic hit, I was doing some live workshop is not workshops, live sober speak events, to where basically it was here in Frisco where I live, we'd bring in a speaker and we have a meeting venue and we play some music beforehand. And then basically I would sit up there on stage with the individual just kind of interview much like we do here is a sober speak live event. There was such an ill one of the sessions, I decided that I was going to try to stream the event to our Facebook group, only the the sober speak Facebook group that we have. And you know, just all the members that were in there. And there was such a there was such there's so much discussion about it. And and and rightfully so I and I understand what people's concerns were about, you know, what if I accidentally walk in front of the camera, if somebody sees me, as somebody can screenshot it and all that sort of stuff. And now, most of those same people are on zoom all the time doing talks and stuff like that, or they're on meetings or whatever the case may be. So it did loosen things up a little bit me without a doubt in what people find acceptable, where images are concerned and not acceptable or images are concerned. So anyway, it was just quite quite an interesting experience. Alright, so anything else you want to say about the changes in a before or
Bill C 39:54
just quickly one of the things that happened is the finances of alcoholics and all And without going into great detail when this happened, when everything shut down. What's GSO gonna do? New York? What? How is the money going to come in and the central offices were closed? You know who's buying literature?
John M 40:15
Right? So for people that are not familiar with the structure of AA, will you talk about that a little bit, you know, people go to meetings, they put money in the basket and distribute is distributed back to GSO and all that.
Bill C 40:27
Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization, it's a nonprofit organization. It has a central office, you know, the General Service office in New York, and where the books are translated in the different languages. Services are supplied by this, there's a conference once a year, where they all the delegates from the different areas, 90 some different areas, just like a political structure, they elect a delegate in your area, and they go to the conference in this where decisions are made about publishing literature or not, you know, many different things that happen. And so there's a structure an organization, this gets funded through donations from groups primarily, Well, historically, and a, the groups have supplied maybe half the money that comes into Alcoholics Anonymous, the other half is made up of literature sales, selling the big book, the 12, and 12, and all the literature to the central offices, or to Hazleton, you know, other outside organizations do buy literature from us. And so literature sales has always covered the shortfall of what the group so in a sense, we've never really been truly self supporting. Right? Now, there's an argument for that, well, yes, but we sell the literature and we produce the literature, there is a publishing company. So that is an entity of a that's true. But when you look at it, and now all the groups are shut down, right? No more meetings, where's the flow of cash going? And what are they going to have to do now they had to pull about $3 million out of their prudent reserve just to keep the show going. And that's what it's there for. It's not in trouble. But this was a real thing. Now, for years, my sponsor primarily, and some other people, including me, had been trying to get the Alcoholics Anonymous as an organization to enter into the 21st century, you know, I mean, publishing is changing, people are getting stuff free online, you know, or they're downloading it. They had no mechanism for people paying for downloads from GSO I mean, they, they've been very slow into getting into the electronic world. It wasn't that too many years ago, where they finally we got, we got them, a lot of people got them to put a button on the website that you could click and make personal domain donations directly as an individual, if they didn't have that. They couldn't, you know, you could send them a check, you know, and they would keep track of where it came from. And you could only only an individual can only give $5,000 In one year, you know, so they limit, they're very careful. It's not about the money if they're not in it to make money, right. But now that we've got this crisis, and we really went to bat and we drafted up a letter to send out they kind of approved it, they've edited it, because they'll never tell you yes or no about anything, you know. So it's really but but we talked to the office manager and some people that we knew that we had connections with my grand sponsors, a former trustee of a and so we got this and we sent this letter out. And people now what we did is we said if 30,000 people out of the estimated 2 million plus whatever, they they're not really sure. You know, how many members there are, if just 30,000 gave $11 a month. And they got 11 other people, which would be 12. Right? Each person that would zero out. We wouldn't even need he could give the literature away. This is an accomplishable thing. And we started that, and the money starting to come in from individuals. This is a first this is the first you can do pay pal, you can be funny, you know, like all the meetings are collected money through Venmo now, right? I mean, I mean, who knew like us older guys, nobody goes to a man nobody has money in their pocket anymore. Everything's Venmo as credit card, you know, like so when people don't have any cash. You don't get any money out of the meeting because nobody has any money on them. Right? So now it's Venmo our cash flow increased in the Hermoza Beechman sag, you know. So now is a whole I think hopefully in the next few months, we'll get some real numbers in. They haven't done an accounting yet. They have a cycle of accounting recorder to find out what the impact has been of individual donations and I think it's very real.
John M 45:01
Okay, so I know that you first of all, let me say this bill, bill has a daily email that he sends out. It's for the most part, it's meditation. How do you describe it, Bill?
Bill C 45:17
Well, I send out usually as three quotes from different sources. And it's basically it's based, it's spiritually based, you know, but there's quotes from the big book. And from Alan Watts and Snoopy, it's a little it's eclectic. You know, it's a great book, there's a little bit of everything, you know, and I
John M 45:32
guess the intent or ideas that use it as a meditation type two, correct. And
Bill C 45:37
just, you know, like, part, what I do, you know, people send me lots of stuff. So the first thing I do in the morning, as I sit up in bed, I have a really cool bed that you can raise it up electrically, so I don't have to work out too much. And I read, beat stuff that people send me, you know, and the quotes are usually the, they're short, because we have short attention spans, you know, this is to kind of get you thinking in a certain direction. And that's the first thing I do in the morning is I'll read, you know, Steve lampstands, one out and several people. I know that David Kennedy over in England, and I read that stuff, you know, I start my day off is like a meditation, you know, read some spiritual materials. That's what these are little thought. provokers. You know, and I've been doing that for a long time.
John M 46:21
Yeah. So it's great. How many people are on your list?
Bill C 46:24
I think about 3500. It grows all the time. Yeah, yeah. It's about 3500.
John M 46:31
Yeah, so I get it. And I love it. So if anybody wants to be on that, they would email you at Bill see at kitchen table. a.com. Right.
Bill C 46:43
Yeah, be sure you give me your name, and where you're located, I like to keep track of where people are. So what city and city, just city and state, you know,
John M 46:51
Bill see at kitchen table a.com. And if anybody if you forget that and you're driving or whatever, just email me a John Jo HN a sober speak calm, and I'll get that usually, I just copied bill and he add you to the list, but the only reason I'm bringing up your A, your your email is because one time as opposed to that you sent out kind of a, a letter about, you know, a and about how they were struggling, the the whole, the home office, the GSO and such was struggling, and you put a little link in there, and I was able to use that link and I had never personally donated directly to them before. And so I mean, most people
Bill C 47:33
don't know that you can, right? They don't know, they don't market it.
John M 47:37
No, no, I mean, you know, I give it the group. And I know, our group, you know, distributes, accordingly,
Bill C 47:44
you know, one of the arguments is, is when you and I renew, this is probably true for you as it was for me, I was going to a meeting every day, right? You know, pretty much every day, maybe sometimes, too, for a long time, you know, you're jerking and twitching, so you go to the clubhouse, you'd go to a meeting. And every time they pass the basket, you put a buck in it, you know, if you had a buck, you know, so probably, you were giving Alcoholics Anonymous through your local group $10 a week, you know, eight to $10 a week, maybe something like that. Now, now, I'm not going to meetings like that anymore. I'm going to two or three, maybe live right. And every time you know, it's like pulling teeth to get people to put two bucks in the basket instead of one, right. But if you look at the overall what you were giving, when you were new compared to now, let's say the meetings I go to, I'm putting in five bucks now, which is usually what I'll do, I'll put in five bucks. And I'm going to like a couple of meetings. So I'm given 10 bucks. That's, you know, I'm not even given as much as I used to when I was new, even if I've increased the amount per meeting. If you look just for inflation and whatnot, it's nothing, you know, I'm not I'm not even matching what I was doing when I was new. You don't look at it like that. You don't think about that, you know, but I'm 36 years sober now I'm not I'm not hanging out down at the llano club, drinking coffee all day. You know, I've got like a real life. So there's not that much going on. Now with Venmo you know, all every meeting I go to, I'll put in like 10 bucks. Life has been good to me. I can do that. I'm not telling everybody to do that. But I've really because thinking about this. I've upped what I can do. The other thing I do now is I give money monthly to GSO. I set up a monthly thing that I give money every month to GSL. We've also set up Michael root my buddy put him and Amazon Eric, we we've set up the same thing for the local Alano Club and for the central office. So I have a monthly donation to central office and a monthly donation to our local Olano club. Not as much as I give to New York but monthly I give to a monthly Why the hell wouldn't I do that? that, you know, look what's happened to my life? What Why wouldn't I do that? And I can do it. I've done okay. I'm not super wealthy, but I'm okay. You know, I'm retired the life has been pretty good to me. Why wouldn't I want to do that for me? So that's the sales pitch to people out there. I mean, there's these millions of people out there, and you throw this out there and go, how's it going for you? How many guys are you sponsoring? Maybe this is something we can do. And I tell you the response from the fellowship, just from my mailing, saying, the response I got was mostly it's like, wow, I didn't know I could do that. I signed up, dude. Yeah, the good boy list. You know, it's like, it's been that kind of response. You know, I mean, it's been very positive. Right, and quite exciting. And the general manager of the office manager central office is told Jay and I, this was a maybe a couple of months ago, that there's been a definite increase in in float coming in now from us. I think, in general, I think the fellowship in general, meetings have gotten back together meetings have started ponying up money, like we were given our Alano Club, our same rent, even though we weren't meeting there just to keep the damn place alive. You know? I mean, I think so that it isn't just us, I think the fellowship in general has gathered around, I got some phone calls from some guys I know that said, Hey, man, can you come up? Let's say let's each of us come up with five grand and send it to New York, you know, and what I responded back, no, let's not do that, let's give a monthly donation. So it'll never stop. Right. And over long haul will give him much more than that. But I'd gotten calls from people like we need to do something, we need to help out it, you know, it that need, I think that I love the energy of that.
John M 51:46
Yeah, that's great. And I had that exact same response. Like I said, when you sent out that email, like, Oh, my goodness, I had no idea this was going on, or you could even do it and I was thinking about, you know, the drop off and all the attendance and, you know, the money and and what GSO was going to do, so I was so glad you kind of took the bull by the horns, so to speak. And you did go
Bill C 52:12
on a.org and go here and click the button. It's very simple. And, you know, give them five bucks. 10 bucks may be something that he doesn't have to be a lot of money, this, but it's a steady flow. You know, and, and I'll tell you something, this could actually happen when I was in general service years ago, we there was an influx of money coming in, and they lowered the cost of the big book, and they were selling it for less than they sold it for in 1940. Huh, this was some time ago, you know, like 30 years ago. So what could happen if this actually works, they literally could give the literature away. Because what they do the way is structured if you get into the concepts, which is another interesting thing that we've done online is, is they have a prudent reserve, and they it's not about having perilous wealth and power, they don't want to get up a whole bunch of money, they'll leave up to a year's worth of expenses, you know, nine or $10 million, I think, a year's worth. And if it gets higher than that, they just lower the price of the literature, right? To keep it within reason. You know, they want to keep it within reason. So if we were able to do this, they could lower the price of literature where they would just give big books away, which would be a real positive thing.
John M 53:33
Yeah, that way, because I always, you know, I always usually in meetings, like when there's a newcomer, you know, somebody will buy them a book or whatever, but I always like I always feel unsettled with having to say, I don't want it to seem like a scam to newcomers. Right. Okay, here you are. Okay. Yeah, you got to buy this book, you know, for 1012 bucks, whatever it is nowadays, you know, and I don't want them to get the bat a bad first impression right off the bat. So if we could just take that and give it to somebody, that'd be absolutely fantastic.
Bill C 54:10
John M 54:13
Well, Bill, as usual, when we have a conversation, and never know exactly where it's gonna go. So I think what I'm going to do here is go ahead, we'll shut this one down. And then we'll schedule some time at a future date. Believe it or not, it is so weird bill when I first Oh, I did want to say this. I wanted to remind people that you and I first met I was at a conference. In fact, I went to the gathering of the Eagles. This was probably three years ago could have could have been
Bill C 54:52
I think was 319 or 18.
John M 54:55
Yeah, one of the two and I was there and You You spoke and Ami
Bill C 55:02
Harris was there?
John M 55:04
Yes. Yeah. Jada yours was the best, right? And you spoke and I absolutely loved it. And I found you afterwards you know, you're just a You're so easy to talk to. And at the time, and things like podcasts and zoom and all that sort of stuff, or he is a little edgy, if you will, you know, for a at least not not just in general, but just for a, and I handed you my contact information, and then you gave me yours. And I said, Hey, would would you be comfortable with coming on a podcast? And you know, sharing your story? And you were like you, you just went? Sure, yeah, sounds like fun, new experience, whatever the case may be. And you came on with me. And it was it's just been an I've had so many episodes with you so many comments. And it's just been really a great ride. And I have that conversation with some people. And many times, I got to kind of go through the well what a podcast is, you know how it works. And I'm not going to be given your image and all this stuff in. And you know, we went through some of that. And you did say something? I think you'd had some bad experience with some, like radio stations or something. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I said, Now, I'm not going to put out your image, your last name or anything like that. And so it's been a good ride. And I think you've gotten in touch with many people through the podcasts over the years. Am I right?
Bill C 56:35
Absolutely. Yes. It's been real. It's been a positive thing. It's been fun, too. I enjoy it. Good.
John M 56:41
Yeah. And when I get people that write in so you know, we hear Bill like, like telling a story and such, you know, like from the podium or something, but it's, it's just kind of good to hear as you know, just just the banter, just kind of your general thought process, you know, and then that may scare you. But a lot of people do it. Alright, so let me go ahead and close it out here with page 164 says, abandon yourself to God as you understand God at MIT your faults to him and to your fellows. clear away the wreckage of your past. give freely of what you find and join us as we shall be with you in the fellowship of the spirit, and you will surely be some of us, like me, and Bill. See, as you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you until then, once again, thank you so much, Bill.
Bill C 57:35
Thank you, John. It's always a pleasure.
John M 57:37
Thank you. Well, a couple of people, Mary Lynn, B for the amazing music on the front end of this episode. And thank you, Mr. Bill C once again, for spending time with me and sharing your thoughts with the cyber speak listeners. Always, always enjoy spending time with Mr. Bill, see if you enjoyed this podcast and who wouldn't excuse me if you enjoyed this episode, and who would not? Please pause your device and share the episode or the podcast as a whole with a friend or family member. It may be just what they need today. Now on to a little bit of listener feedback. And our first bit of feedback comes in from Barry be from across the pond. And you may have heard me use his greeting. Or yeah, use the greeting that I got from him on the beginning of this episode. The one that says what to say, diddly Dee, and I can't even remember now I'm so sorry. Anyway Oh tally Whoa, in diddly Dee this comes from berries. So anyway, here you go. This is very
well tally. Whoa. And Diggle Ed, maybe I'll make a contribution. No. It's Barry from across the pond.
John M 59:12
Barry be from across the pond. So good to hear from you. You are a mad man. Good to hear your voice. Thanks for phoning in. That wouldn't make sense right phoning in. But you know what he did? He left a voicemail. Now under a little bit more listener feedback. GLORIA writes in and she says Hi John. My name is Gloria. I am from Hawaii, Hawaii. She says I'm a big fan of your work. I'm not an alcoholic myself. But my boyfriend of five years recently went to rehab for alcoholism. About a month and a half ago. He went crazy and randomly He broke up with me in his second week into rehab. And my counselor suggested that I learned more about alcoholism to deal with the breakup, which is how I landed on your podcast. I love your show, and hope that recovery is possible. I pray that he will make it to surrender five, six and seven, and eventually apologized to me for his abusive behaviors. But if not, then I know it was just not meant to be. Thanks for all you do, Gloria. Well, thanks, Gloria. And you know, I wrote you back and just said, I'm sure someone has mentioned this along the line. But you know, there's allanon out there. And that's something that you just may want to check out. But I'm so glad that you listen to the show. We do have some Alan ons on the podcasts. In fact, I need to get more. Back on this year. I've just been lazy about seeking it out. But I should get back on that bandwagon. But nonetheless, thank you so much for writing in Gloria and I hope that all turns out well, with you and your boyfriend, both of you and my prayers. You take care. Catherine writes in she says, Hi John. I am I found you by reading about sobriety podcasts. I live in Davis, California. And I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. I'm listening to David G right now. I'm happy and grateful to be reconnecting to the 12 step community after a period of relapse, I struggle with drugs and and alcohol, weed pills. Alcohol, repeat. I'm lonely and struggling a bit. And these podcasts help. Thank you for doing them best. Catherine? Well, Catherine, as you know, I reached back out, you said you know you're lonely and volunteered to get you in touch with some other women in the program. And that's what I did. And thank you. Thank you so much for writing in and being vulnerable about what's going on with you. I appreciate it. Alan, post in the secret Facebook group, he says, Hey, John, I really always said, Yeah, I have really come to enjoy your podcast, meaning I don't fast forward through the intros now. I know, I know. There are those of you out there that fast forward through my ramblings to get to the meat. And you know what, if you can listen to one or two things, I would much rather you listen to the guests. And I'm good with that. But thanks for being on as Alan, he says your random thoughts laughing at yourself and just your own unique quirkiness. It almost feels like you're speaking to us personally, I'll keep up the amazing work. Well, I do feel like I'm speaking to you all personally, Alan. I've said this before, but I picture faces across the mic from me when I'm doing this many times and and in my prayers, I do pray for the listeners. And in before I get on these silly little podcasts and make my silly little statements, you know, I I've talked about this before, but I put my hands up in the air just like I'm doing right now. And I asked for God to guide me. Now, I'm not saying he always does that. And you can probably find lots of times where I don't it doesn't seem like he's guiding me at all. But I do pray that
John M 1:03:47
what I pray is that somehow some way that we can affect people out there who are struggling, and those who are lonely, and those who may need something somehow to get them up over the hump to get into Alcoholics Anonymous. And and I'll say this, and I've said this a million times. And that is if you have the choice between listening to my podcasts and actually going to a meeting, please stop listening to me. Get up, go to the meetings. That's where the real work is being done. And I've said this also a million times if you have the choice between maybe making a contribution to my podcast, or giving it to a or whatever recovery. Whatever a whatever anonymous program that you happen to be in, please give it to your local groups. Those are the ones who need it. Anyway, Alan, that was just such a nice post. I appreciate you. And then in the Facebook group, I hope I'm pronouncing They're correctly a YA. She she posts she says, Oh, good day and she's from Australia. She says, I'm hanging upside down like a bat in Brisbane, Australia. So it's 11am Saturday, and you're going to be running Oh, she's talking about being able to. She's talking about being able to join the live event. And she's hanging upside down. Because when it's 7pm here in the United States, central time is going to be 11am. For her. She says, unfortunately, I'll be at work, but I'll be sure to look forward to hearing about it when it's up on the podcast and yes, we are going to do that. She says, Thanks for all your goodies. You are a silly sausage.
John M 1:05:59
There brightens my day. A little glow worm you certainly are. And I could just hear saying that in an Australian accent. Vienna silly, silly sausage, and a little glow worm. Well, thank you. I appreciate it. And we'll look forward to releasing that episode so you can hear it. Jennifer also post it posted in the super secret Facebook group. She says John, I just listened to the Emily you episode. Yes, Emily's great. She said thank you for having her on the podcast. While I enjoy hearing all of your speakers with long term sobriety. I really enjoy hearing Emily's story at almost three years of sobriety. Good point, Jennifer. She says having had a few months shy of five years. I related to her in many ways. And I think it's a beautiful representation of those out there of what the first few recovery with the first few years of recovery can be like, although can't imagine doing it without the meetings. Thank you for your continued service of all those in and out of the A rooms where You are quite welcome, Jennifer thank you for posting that appreciate. Dave also post in the super secret Facebook group Dave says I listened to Emily's interview also podcast yesterday and it was really touching and uplifting. God bless her and God bless overspeed Thank you Dave. Appreciate it. Jay Jason DMS on the Instagram he says John Your show is incredible. I just heard the rich be episodes. Wow, what an inspiration. Keep up the great work and God bless. Thank you Jason chi heme DMS on the Insta on the Instagram I think is key and she is or can Nene K N He and She says I just started listening to your podcast and enjoys so much. Thank you so much for what you do. Well, you're welcome and thank you for listening. Anthony writes in and the subject line is David G episode 218. And he says John, you did it again. After 11 years. He took a hit. He he took his mom to a meeting. She couldn't talk or write. She waved to him again. My mom passed just before I reached five and a half years over. Mid lockdown was hard. facing her coming demise and arrays arranging travel back to the UK. I have been in close contact with my mums carers when they would FaceTime her with me. The last time I saw her she smiled and said she was so proud of me. told me she missed the kids. She told me her mum was now in the room. My grandpa passed away 22 years ago previous Oh wow. I knew she did not have long left. She passed away the next day at Oh 900 I managed to get to my dad by 2100 The following evening. The program was my crutches through all of this that I managed sobriety through everything is more than proof of the workings of this program. My mum knew I was an alcoholic before I did. She was so proud that I managed to achieve sobriety anyway. Yeah, each time I get her Mum Mum referencing sobriety I just crack up. Mom's no minded, no force, but she knew heart heart in sobriety and service Tony D Aw, thanks, Tony D I appreciate you right now. And, you know, I think about my mom too, and what she went through what we went through together, and I completely get it, Tony, Thanks for writing in. Allen posts in the super secret Facebook group. He says I love, love, love listening to David G. CO listening to him all day long. Thank you both for another amazing podcast. As London is a bit of a journey, it won't be able to see you live, but you can see us live, even though you'd be doing it in the middle of the night there, Mr. Allen, but you can tune in to the secret Facebook group and we will be streaming live there. And that is the silver speak live event I'm talking about.
John M 1:10:52
Scott writes in and he says, Hey, John, I am from I am 44 years old from Niagara Falls, Ontario. And I have been sober since April 24 2019. You know, Scott, I am very familiar with that area. I've been up there, you know, kind of goes back and forth across the border border. As you know, there's Ontario and then there's New York and all that sort of stuff. I've been up there many times. Anyway says after treatment, I got a job driving and making wholesale deliveries to garden centers, all over Ontario. And an average week I drive about 1800 miles or so. And I have a lot of time on my hands and I listen to music and lots of podcasts. And I found yours on a podcast app on my phone. He says I've enjoyed it very much and always find something I can relate to. I am so grateful to tell you that I have just given my two weeks notice because I finally found a job back in my trade. I'm a journeyman a high voltage lineman. I was fired in August, October 2017. From my job of 18 years looking back, I would have fired me to also back in June, my wife and I got back together after five years being separated. And I am back living with her. And my three daughters again. Oh, that's very cool, Scott. My girls are 14, seven and six. All that makes it even cooler as saved my life teaching me how to live with gratitude. Without the alcohol and the drugs that ruled my life for so long. The sober life is incredible. My friend all the best Scott. Well, thank you. And I'm so glad this turned out so well for you, Mr. Scott, and thanks for right now. Last but not least, Mr. Rob writes in and Rob says Hi, John. I live in the mountains of western Maryland, in an area called Deep Creek Lake. Most folks don't know that Maryland even stretches this far to the west. But we're two hours from Pittsburgh, and two and a half hours from Baltimore. It's a resort community with boating and fishing in the summer and skiing in the winter. These are the things that drew me drew me to this area. I guess the most interesting thing about me this for my life is that I started and sold a business in the early 2000s Which made me a millionaire in my early 30s I can honestly say that money does not equal happiness. You know if you ever heard the saying, Scott, excuse me, Rob, that money doesn't buy you happiness, but everybody wants to find out for themselves, right? Anyway, he goes on character defects along with lots of drinking led me to lose that wealth in less than five years. Uh, wow. Amazingly, I did not lose my family. My sobriety date is December 15 of 2020. The further along I get the more I am amazed with the program and the rewards of sober living. I found your podcast a couple of weeks ago on my apple podcast app. I was looking for something a related and literally something a related literally as a quote meeting between meetings. Oh, glad we can serve you Mr. Romm. He says I listen to them while I'm driving. And while I'm exercising it's been a tremendous help for me, and I really love the episodes. There are so many speakers I've enjoyed including rich see, well he lives there in Maryland, not real close to you but lives in Maryland, and I am in the middle of the Reno John podcast. Thanks for all you do, Rob. And well if you want to see more of Reno John Join us on this overspeed live event on December 3 at 7pm Central. Alright everybody, I think I got everything in. You guys are great with all the feedback I really appreciate anyway. Keep coming back. It works if you work it. I take this a week at a time, and hopefully we'll be back next week. Love you guys. Bye bye