216- John Henry-Soul of the Story
John Henry 00:00
Because a story a story is just a story, but underneath the story is the soul of the story. And if they get to the soul of the story, that's the person I'm talking to
John M 00:12
Well Hello friends of Bill W 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 are 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 01:18
Welcome, everybody from deep in the heart of Texas. That was the voice of Mr. John Henry, the you heard on this here episode number 216 of sober speak. That's dos. Oh no. sace and you are going to hear so, so much more from John Henry in just a moment. But first things first. This episode is being brought to you by Ian is Susan and Adrian and Terry and Anna and Dave and Jason and Kurt and Todd and Joshua M Markos swag what you may ask, did Ian and Susan and Adrian Attarian Anna and Dave and Jason and Kurt and Todd and Joshua and Marcos do well they went to our website, www. soberspeak.com. They clicked on the little yellow donate tab, and they made a contribution. So thank you so much. Ian is Susan and Adrienne Attarian, Anna and Dave and Jason Curt and Todd and Joshua and Marquez. This episode is coming right out to humans. Humans. Indeed, I, John M. Just another Bozo on this proverbial bus will 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, no matter who you are, what your past looks like, You Are Welcome Here it is an open table for all. And we are so glad you have joined us. If you are not following us on Instagram, go there, you'll want to do such we're at superspeed all one word. And the same thing goes for the Pinterest, the pin, penetrates pin pin to rest Pinterest, you know what I'm talking about? Go there. And it's the same handle logo. What do you call that the little app sign is sober speak all one word. And we would love for you to follow us on those two platforms. And I do check all of the direct messages that I get. Well, I've never had a direct message on Pinterest. I don't they but you know what I mean, on the Instagram? Um, oh, and a lot of you have asked me in the past will John, which of the podcast should I go to Effect I have something on I think on listener feedback this week, or I was at the previous week. I can't remember but somebody asked me you know if I could give some names, suggested names since we have what is this again?
John M 04:38
Episode number 216. So we would have 215 other episodes and I gave that gentleman some names. But if you want to listen to the most listened to episodes of 2020 and by the way, we will have the 2021 list coming up here and the near future but let's get through the end of the year. But if you want to know what the top episodes that were listened to in 2020, go to soberspeak.com, click on the top episodes tab at the top of the website and it'll be there now, just so you know, these are not like episodes that I picked out and said these are ones you should listen to. These are the ones that the listeners have listened to the most, at least over throughout the throughout the 2020 year.
John M 05:31
Alright, now on to a little bit of Mr. John Henry, John Henry, let me just say this. He is one of a kind and he has a lot of strong opinions. And I absolutely love him. John came into a when he was 25 years old, he is now 73. That is 48 years and Alcoholics Anonymous. John Henry is a self proclaimed, excuse me self proclaimed wine head. And he is for sure a child of the 60s. He was homeless. He served time in Vietnam and he was one of the what he calls free monsters you'll have to listen in to find out what a free monster is. My favorite part of our discussion is John describing his spiritual experience while making a pizza in the shop in the pizza shop where he worked and one never knows where God will meet us. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you Mr. John Henry, from the Austin Texas area. Enjoy. And I'll have plenty Oh, listener feedback at the end of this episode. Enjoy. Okay, everybody. So today, we are sitting here with Mr. John Henry. So John, I'm going to ask you to go ahead and to introduce yourself. Give your sobriety date if you would, please. And tell people where you reside.
John Henry 07:16
John Henry and I don't go much by dates, but I haven't taken a drink since I came in. I came in when I was 25 years old. I'm 73 years old today. I'm in Austin, Georgetown, Texas, actually.
John M 07:33
So Mr. John Henry, that would mean that you are 48 years sober, I have that right.
John Henry 07:42
You're good. Good with a math. You love your arithmetic. Well done, John.
John M 07:47
Well, thank you very much, John. Appreciate it. So we have been trying to get together for a while now and just say, you know, I know. You. You must know Katie p because I'm going to be recording her coming up here in a couple months. And she told me how much she absolutely loved you. I'm assuming you know her
John Henry 08:13
as well. Yeah. I know those people well.
John M 08:16
So for those who aren't familiar with the area, Georgetown is right outside of Austin. Katie and Charlie actually reside in Austin. So do you don't get to go to meetings very much together.
John Henry 08:29
I haven't seen them in a meeting. Yet. Coming out of this fog, I have a place in Santa Fe I live in as well. So I've just been back in Georgetown now for the winter. So
John M 08:43
so yeah. So once you explain people that as you you have a place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and then you also have a place here in Georgetown, you split time between the two is it primarily because of the weather?
John Henry 08:56
Well, well, well. What is 110 here is like 80 there so I'm, I'm up there when it's when it's 22 degrees there. It's 70 here so I'm down here.
John M 09:09
Yes, Santa Fe, New Mexico is a beautiful place. I've been several times. God's country. Alright, so you came into AA when you were 25 years old. Walk me through that what was going on before you hit 25 years old?
John Henry 09:32
Well, I was a child of the 60s and I was a guitar player and I wandered up and down the coast playing guitar, the west coast of course, San Francisco and Seattle and Portland and all that sort of thing. There was no draft deferment for guitar and one day while I was I got I got I got a letter with an eagle on it and said I need to do come turn myself into the the The authorities for then go into the military I decided I'd buy something that would help me stay awake for about five or six days. And I was recorded when I did so I ended up in front of a judge and she said I can go to Walla Walla State Penitentiary, Uncle Sam's army. So I was I was in Vietnam six months later and came out of Vietnam, was a drill sergeant in the US Army helped out a lot of that with cheap wine and amphetamines and craziness and came out of that destroyed a home, ended up on the streets homeless for a couple of years. broke my arm in 17 Different places ended up total disability and Social Security, Social Security Disability Income living on the poor Madison Indian Reservation up there in the northwest, I ran into a guy named Gordon B, when I was sitting in a place called the TP tavern. And Gordie came in and changed my life. I went over to his house, which was right across the street from the tavern. The TP Tavern on the poor Madison union reservation. And we played some music and laid down some stuff and I handed him a bottle of Mad Dog 2020 changed my life. He said No, thank you. And I said what do you mean? No, thank you because I knew the stories the words he was telling was just the same story. Our story just flows in a general way what we used to be like what happened what we like now if you've decided you want when we have and I was looking for a simply I was I was looking for a way to change my life because I was homeless I was busted out my arm was broken in 17 different places. I was on Social Security of disabled but the Veterans Administration was looking at me to be just permanently disabled guy. So
John M 11:51
just real quick so you went through several different scenarios there that I you know, I'm just curious about like you were you were homeless. And I talked to me about those years. How did you become that way? How did you get out of it? And what what was going on during that time?
John Henry 12:10
Well, I'm when I'm drinking I'm not neurotic baby when I'm drinking I'm psychotic. I'm out of my mind I'm I'm I still I still deal with I've got a psychologist on speed dial. I've kept real close to people to help me be wired in. But in those days, the only wire and I had was in a bottle of Mad Dog 2020 A handful whatever I get my hands on those. I was crazy. I mean this is this is this is this is alcohol is no kill you. It'll make no making that's before you do. So. I stuck my I left a wife had been married to for oh, I guess a couple years a year and a half or so. And I walked out the door stuck my finger in the air and hitchhiked outta town. I was homeless for the next two years. I just went to go get it back to cigarettes and never came back. A white haired man Oh, I'm a wild man.
John M 13:18
Sound like and you have that? Musician kind of lingo. Which I like. You were the word baby a lot and man lot and
John Henry 13:32
yeah, I've been musicians. I was about 14 years old. I've been playing guitar. I play guitar professionally. And when I got when I when Gordon Gordon Barnett took me into my first meeting of the Fremont fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. They the people that go to the Fremont club are known as free monsters. It was a tough, tough place. It was it was these were my people. Yeah, these are my people.
John M 13:56
Monsters. Oh, absolutely.
John Henry 13:59
Oh, yeah. And there's anybody from Seattle listen, and they'll nod their head. They know what they know or the Fremont fellowship Club was it's moved since then. But I went to my first meeting and somebody said, Come on in this house. I said, I'm alcoholic and because Gordon Gordon was an alcoholic and he had a beautiful girlfriend of wonderful banjo and a nice guitar and a couple of cars and business and he found the streets like me and it says if you want what we have, and I thought Yeah, won't be our girlfriend did a bad job me. I got no girlfriend. No banjo, no nothing. And the A's were they added they this amens is the My people want to walk into that fruit when I walked in amongst the free monsters? These were these were folks like me and the guys who come on in this house and said I'm alcoholic. He said yeah, yeah, you are A month ago, come on Ian. And I sat down it was it was it said look it up there. I've been I spent a little bit of time in institutions like not houses a little bit of jail here and there. And there was there were the there were these two signs there, these two signs up on the wall and they add these numbers one through 12 In the right hand side, one through 12 in the left hand side person said admitted we were powerless over alcohol and I read that I agreed 100% I knew exactly what they're talking about. And there was a hive and said that our lives were unmanageable and that's how I read it. It's not what it says but that's how I read it. I thought to myself my life's never manageable. I'm doing just fine. Well, I got some critical stuff. Yeah, I can't work and I'm insane but other than that yet things are doing real well. And I read that it came to me that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity I thought I wonder investment arose this or that psychosis then as it made a decision to turn our will and our lives over the carrot. Ooh, I didn't believe in God. I thought Shit I hope that you see Excuse me. I thought shoot I hope they let me join because because these people every new at the free monsters club every newly laid out sandwiches I'm thinking this is all right. You know? Yeah, it was cool. So I had to do go to the free monster club and get get some sandwiches at noon I'd be all right. Yeah. This guy thing I finally went to this old man that was there and he looked like he knew he's doing so I don't believe in God. He looked at me said well obviously son, he believes in you and then turn around walk away. And that was the beginning of my spiritual slips starting to have some doubts about Me not believing in God so there's not yet are you can't argue with these one.
John M 16:59
So use you called those spiritual slips. And that is kind of the reverse and no apps you're at atheist, agnostic, whatever you want to call it.
John Henry 17:10
I hate I hated people that loved God, I hated anything that had to do with that stuff. And this guy said, We don't care. Just don't drink. And I thought what about that third step? You're not there yet? It's gonna be a while. And it was about almost three years.
John M 17:27
So do you have an any idea where that now I don't know to call angst toward God and or people who love God, as you put it came from
John Henry 17:47
a combination of methamphetamines and LSD and B and being in a war, you know, I was in a war and I had I had a weapon for a reason. And after I came out of the war, people were spitting on me and calling me baby killer. So I stuck a drill sergeant hat on my head became the drill sergeant. And then you don't get points for being nice when you're a drill sergeant in the US on at least then you did. It's different deal now. But I just got I just got I just got meaner. You know. And God wasn't doing good. My sponsor said you're getting God mixed up with good. Yeah, is he got an argument with God, you got an argument with good you've lived on the streets. You've been a drill sergeant, you've been in the jungle, and you don't think goodwill will get you where you need to go. To this. This is progress. The third is said it says he says and Bill Wilson's book, he says he was in pointed out to us that the rest of the steps can only be taken successfully when the third step was given a persistent try. He said the third step isn't about getting good is about getting well. The third step allows us to take 456789 The third says gives us gives an end to the rest of the steps, the rest of the steps will give you the kind of life you're looking for. So he said I don't care if you take it or not. But you can add five, three is three is the key to 456789. Without it, there is no other step.
John M 19:22
So I want to talk to you a little bit about this has just gone through my mind as we're talking and I've learned just to go ahead and ask the questions and that is when we first spoke, I know that you're not big into doing things like this right speaking, when I asked you to give your sobriety date on the front end of this, you said well, you know, I don't really like to give numbers and such like that. So talk to me a little bit about that mindset that you have regarding your Experience strength and hope and how you share in Alcoholics Anonymous that may be different than others.
John Henry 20:08
I I grew up under my first sponsor Vic Thompson here in Austin unread a sponsor Joel had about two and a half years in the program and I had a little bit of trouble keeping the power out of my nose one night. And so when I came down to Austin, Texas, I knew I needed I needed bad I need help. I love the program. I can read the writing, I can write the reading I can talk the talk, I can flirt with the girls, I can drink the coffee but down here I go again. So when I came down to Austin, Texas asked man a man for help Big Thompson. And he said yeah. And he never He never he never saw his his sponsor big sponsor was at number three. So he knew some stuff about a and he also know about federal penitentiary new bunch stuff like this. He said he throw those chips away. That'll get you drunk people get drunk on the first year on the fifth year on the 10th year, throw them chips away, so I don't celebrate him. And my next sponsor, never. I never knew his sobriety date till I got it from his wife after he died. Wow, I followed for my second sponsor, the guy named Frank Roberts. I followed him for 32 years. And he never once said his sobriety date. My name is Frank or I'm unquestionably a drunk by the grace of God help people to program I have a drink today as it
John M 21:42
Gotcha. As you know, in Texas, you know, there's a little a lot most meetings I guess, you know, they go around the room, they give their sobriety date and such like that, which is different in other areas. And you know, and, and I've heard Texas take flak for it before but so when it goes around the room, when it comes to you, it sounds like you generally speaking will not give your sobriety date. Am I hearing that right?
John Henry 22:13
You're hearing that absolutely right. This guy named Bill Wilson, Bill Wu said, principles came before personalities without exception, the 12th tradition. He said, These experience taught us that anonymity, and that's what we're striving for here. Anonymity is real humility at work. It is an all pervading spiritual quality, which today keynotes a life everywhere. moved by the Spirit of anonymity, we try to give up our natural desires for personal distinction as a members among fellow alcoholics. What do you think a personal distinction is? It's a damn chip, you were a 20 year man, I'm a 30 year man, but I'm a 40 year old 40 woman. I'm a 50 guy. That's just a way of differentiating ourselves, among others. It's not we're breaching we're breaching the basic tenet of anonymity by doing that I will do it my job is learn how to live on a daily basis.
John M 23:20
And so I'm sure you've heard this before many times but I'm just curious as to your your thought process around this and that is a lot of people will say Well, the reason that as important as the show the newcomers so to speak, that that the program works and long term sobriety is possible. And you say to that
John Henry 23:46
bullshit. If there wasn't a new man if there wasn't a new man in the whole damn club, and you had Yeah, Chip night, but all those old timers show up. They might only show up once a year, but they show up to get that chip. They don't care about the new person.
John M 24:03
Gotcha. Yeah, I I understand what you're saying there. Okay. So let me do a little break here. We're gonna come back we will be continuing our conversation with John Henry in just a moment just a reminder you're listening to sober speak you can find us on the worldwide web at Silver speak calm. You can also find that donate button on our website you can use if and only if the spirit moves you please keep in mind this is a podcast from nearby you, the listeners so Okay, so first of all, I want to ask you also about your name. I love your name. Have you always like and just so people do know Henry is not your last name. That is your I'm assuming that's your middle name. Have you always gone by John Hebron?
John Henry 24:54
Oh no, you gotta name like John Henry, you get nicknamed right away. You My father called me Jack my mother called me Jackie. People caught in the 60s people call me Jake Shaky Jake. I was Shaky Jake still keep this job folks on the West Coast they say Jake was are you John him yet J foot they called me Jake was known by a whole bunch of those my running buddies back then back in back when I was playing guitar up and down the coast. I was Jake. When I was inom. I was Jake, when I got out and I'm I was Sergeant Mac, you know, I had to be Sarge, drill sergeant max. And then I got the Iron Man started going by my full name, which is John Henry MacDonald. That's the deal.
John M 25:44
Gotcha. Okay, so you also mentioned a little earlier, when you were speaking that you did not end up doing third step, I think until you were like three years into the program, something like that. Ah, so take me through that journey. And your Yes, conception of God. And you already mentioned a little bit about the startings of that. But when did that take a turn?
John Henry 26:10
Well, well, I came down here. And I got I got double team by Vic Thompson in Frank Roberts. Vic said, we're going through the big book three pages at a time as well. I don't believe in God. He said, Do you believe in reading? Sure. So we're going to start reading this in about God is about reading. Well, if you read if you read the pages in the big book three pages at a time, which is what we do is how I sponsor the only way I sponsor. It leads you up to the fourth shed the first the first three chapters of the first two steps Bill's story and more about alcoholism. The first three chapters are about the first, the first two steps, the the, the, the the first four chapters are about the first two steps, the first three are about the first step Bill's story. And the other two, the fourth chapter is the second step. And then there it says we had, it says, when we became alcoholics crushed by a self imposed crisis, we can no longer postpone or evade, we had fearlessly faced the proposition that either God was everything or else he was nothing What was our choice to be? And I said, But what we'll came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. They Avik asked me said, Is it? I said, is it neurosis there is a psychosis he said, as far as I'm concerned, if you take a drink, you're crazy. You don't take a drink. You're better than if you had a drink today. I said, No, sir. He said, What if you had a compulsion to drink? I said, Yes, I have. What did that compulsion go? To shit? I don't know. So that's step two. Either the compulsion is gone, or it's not. Now let's go forward. Either God is everything or else he has nothing. Pick one. It's not important. We have to work with something pick one. I haven't got much time or yet. We must be everything. So okay, let's go to step three is an old everyday Oh. And then it took a while. For me, driven by my own willpower says, The first requirement. The third step is to be convinced that any life run on self will can hardly be a success. Well, I was going, I decided I was decided I got to get my career together. victime frankly, me put my guitar away and quit performing. That's really all I've ever done. He's ever crawl around the jungles and yell at people, the drill sergeants, and I had no skill that none I didn't know how to work with cash register. I didn't know how to pound the nail. I'm not I didn't know. I kept on getting fired. I went from one job to another. I ended up in a pizza joint as a pizza pizza maker trainee, and I was 27 years old, and I was there for $2.10 an hour. And I decided I was going to own the franchise, you know, and I was crazy. I was delusional. And one night I was trying to make a pizza. I had a breakdown. an anxiety attack I got I got I got some problems along those lines. I had an anxiety attack and and I started crying. And they fired me. And I walked into the manager's office he said Mr. McDonald, he said obviously the pressure of making a pizza is too great for you. Yeah, and I had an epiphany I kind of have spiritual experience where I look down on on that, on that on that floated out of my body and look down on that situation. And I realized that he was right. left to my own devices driven by mountains of will I can't make up beats. I gave my game I gave my game my whole life the whole time. Buddha God that
John M 30:01
really, really, that is so interesting. And so what happened from the as you know, this even happened to me, it's happened to a lot of people. And this reason as are different sometimes, you know, there's a lot of people who will kind of walk the aisle, if you will, at church or wherever they happen to be. And they kind of have a moment and they give their life to God that they understand. But then nothing happens after that. So obviously, though, something happened, following that, subsequent to that experience, what happened
John Henry 30:39
afterwards? Well, the next day I went and looked up, I wanted to be a carpenter real bad. I had no skills. I wanted to be a carpenter. Because Because Gordy. My first my first a buddy was a carpenter and my my guy played music with Pat Gallagher. He was a harmonica player. He was a carpenter. I want me to be a carpenter. I looked in the paper and said carpenters one and send resumes and I call this old Mandy, Jesse Welch. He had fired me twice off his crew because I didn't know anything of the knot upon the nail. And I called him up. I said, Jesse, will you give me a resume? He said, Who is this? I said, this is John Henry. sydal. Lightning. How you doing? Sir? Yeah, I need resumes. I don't know what a resume is. But I've been looking for carpenters. And you'll do you see Latin my I said, I haven't got a car. That's okay. I had my son pick you up Latin. And you show up on Monday. I said, Why are you calling me lightning? Because I work too fast. He says no, because the hammer never seems a strike in the same place twice. And he took me under his wings, man. And the miracles started happening. Those just coincidence. I don't call them coincidences anymore. I call it a call as if by magic as if by magic. My life just started to start to flow. My life started to flow and my life's been flowing ever since I got stories that go on and on and on and on. But obviously, I'm not homeless anymore.
John M 32:16
Yeah, well, tell me a couple of those stories. I mean, what when you think about, oh, gosh, 48 years in Alcoholics Anonymous, and, you know, amends and relationships and you know, prayer and meditation and all the various HomeGroup. So you probably have had what, what comes to mind, I mean, what, what rises up to the top for you?
John Henry 32:42
Well, persistence, because it says in that big book, we pass each day on the path of spiritual progress, day by day within new person, if we if we if we persist, it says if we persist, remarkable things happen. So looking back, we find things that have come to us, come to us, when we place ourselves in God's hands are far greater than anything we could have planned. When I came into this program, I want to be I thought I might want to be I can be a carpenter. You know, I mean, that was the greatest thing I could ever, ever ever do. Now is that parse, parse that we pass each day on the path of spiritual progress? What does that mean? Let me as we get up in the morning, we put the spirit First we put God first in our lives, we say a little bit of prayer, we spend a little quiet. We ask God, it says, upon awakening, we think about the 24 hours ahead, we consider our plans for the day before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially that it be divorced from self pity, do self seeking or dishonest motives. We can use our brains we want to then after all, that's the correct use of willpower anyway, something like that. So that's, that's that's how we start our day. And if we start our day like this remarkable things will follow. Looking back, we find that the things that have come to us, not the things we've achieved, it doesn't say the things that we've kicked ass and gotten. This is the things we've it. The things that have come to us, that's the things we've received, not the things we've achieved. The things that we received, when we put our place ourselves in God's hands are far greater than anything we could have planned. Okay, if you'd have taken a picture of this today, I'm, um, if I showed you a picture of this house, you you think that can't possibly belong to a homeless man. There's no possible way that could happen. There's no probable way that that could happen. Excuse me. There's no probable way that I could get to this house coming from where I came from. But there is a possible way. And that possible way is putting your your hands in the grace of God
John Henry 35:07
an unseen an unseen force. That's crazy. That's absolute crazy. But I tell you what
John Henry 35:16
the things that have come to us when we place ourselves in God's hands are far greater than anything we could have planned. I could not have planned this life. I can intend it. I can suppose it. I can draw pictures of it. But I started out with $500 and I started a company called Austin asset management company. When I sold that 30 years later, I had 22 employees and manage over a billion dollars of assets. One of the most successful financial advisors in the nation according to wealth worth magazine and medical economics and mutual fund magazine, many others I was on I was on TV for six years as the finance guy. I don't have a high school business. Well, I do I'm lying to you. I got a high school degree but barely won my phone. I flunked out of four junior colleges and at a university, flunked out flunk didn't show up. I'm a CFP SC had been a CFP CLU ChFC. I was on the board of directors of the Texas Department of Insurance for 10 years.
John M 36:27
At incredible so
John Henry 36:29
at a TV show called the finance guy for six years, had a radio show called Taking stock for 10.
John M 36:37
That voice would go great on radio.
John Henry 36:39
One hit number one hit. I'm a complete bust out wine hit. The greatest thing I do is this right here. Well, actually, the greatest thing I do is tell my story. If you go to YouTube, and look up my name, I'm all over the place. And one of the things is a show called a guru named Frank. It's a one hour show that I wrote and I performed in order to raise money for the 24 hour club place where I got so. Guru named Frank to one hour show get some popcorn a whole bunch of stuff by John Henry go to give you got to if you got a Roku, Roku set, get on that big screen. Go to YouTube. I got a YouTube station look for a guru named Frank sit back. It's my story, baby. All the songs are original.
John M 37:26
So you wrote songs through I'm on my fourth
John Henry 37:29
CD so far. Wow. All original songs.
John M 37:36
And how does that tie into the the 24 hour group here? We're talking about
John Henry 37:43
40 for our club, North Austin foundation. If you look up that it'll it'll give you a place you can put a donation if you put a donation say you want a CD, I'll give you damn CD. Got 1000 I'm sitting over here
John Henry 38:02
give me give me a couple 100 bucks. I'll give it for CVS. Anyway, how's that connect with a 24 hour Club? Well, I got I got sober there. Vic died in in Frank and Vic went to Frank is and they didn't get along. But Vic went to Frank and said John Henry seems to listen to you and I'm about to die. I got lung cancer. And if he asked you to be his sponsor, right, I asked you to take him on. And Frank said, No, get out of the Rhinestone Cowboy and kind of flashy. And the Frank Frank Frank was a Houston Houston thug. I mean, he was a Marine user. He carried 38 of the day died. And coveralls and pickup truck the whole deal. And I got on turquoise and she had no, I went to mass and VMI sponsored. Years later I said, you remember the day I asked you to be my sponsor? He said yeah, remember, said he said what would you do? He said, Stop instead of prayer. So what was that prayer? He said, Why me? Why me? God, why me? I got a sponsor this punk. I followed him for 32 years. He saved my life. Many times he taught me how he taught me how he taught me how to work a job. He taught me how not to fight when I'm, you know, I was on. I, I've been in the war. I've been a drill sergeant. I've been on the streets, you know, and I was just barely able to work a job. And I had a whole bunch of problems doing that. And he just wouldn't put up with it was and he made me take the steps. Maybe read the book, page one, page two, page three, page four when you get to that page 6058 We'll take the third step which is eyeball to eyeball needed the hand to hand you're gonna You're gonna say God help me. And I did when I got there, I was ready and I took 456789 and it continued to for the rest of my life. I'm never through. I've been sober all day long baby and I do the same thing I do to stay sober now and then do the best I fucking can.
John M 40:21
What's your hunger there in Georgetown?
John Henry 40:25
I've been going to the White House again lately. I haven't been here in a long time. Like, I hadn't been to the White House for 42 years, you know, and I walked in to teach this correct for the pitch I sales where, you know, I go to North Northland Northland noon. I've been going there for I guess 3035 years and and so that's kind of been my homebrew but but uh, I'm eyeballing this. You know, I love these people here. City. I live in a real nice house and a real nice neighborhood and I go to I go to a beach real nice people, but I don't I don't always fit around nice people ever doing. I like my wife knows, I like fever. I can still smell. I do. It makes me it's it's where I go. It's where I've come from where I belong. And I've never forgotten that and I never will forget that. I never will forget. I've gone places to pick up a drunk. I talked to a guy the other day that I got out got out of a crack house. You know, he's in there, peeking through the blinds and I was dressing a bow tie and it's VPC that walked in there. Kojak do, you know, I mean, I mean, I just know my way around those kinds of places, or I used to
John M 41:49
whatever about out in Santa Fe for the people who are listening out there. What
John Henry 41:53
HomeGroup Oh, Santa Fe. Yeah, I Well, it's home groups. I was I was in the men's group there at on Canyon Road. The no saints group. That was that was my home group. But it's closed down after COVID. Yeah. And go to where this door open now.
John M 42:15
Gotcha. So John Henry, like, if you were to think about it this way, there are a lot of people out there that are listening to this. I'm in all four corners of the world literally. And they possibly there's somebody out there maybe who's struggling with getting sober. Taking it a day at a time. Maybe they've been in and out. They're considering Alcoholics Anonymous. Share your experience strength and hope with that type of individual what it was like for you where you are now what it's like now and I know you've already kind of talked about that in general but if you could just kind of put a tie this up with a bow around so to speak.
John Henry 43:13
Well, I was I was fortunate that I was so totally devastated that this looked like a better way I'm I hate to say this but if you don't think there's a better way maybe you need to go back out
John Henry 43:40
yeah, I've worked with a whole lot of people I get tired of seeing people die. So if you want to go died die elsewhere. I want to see it die in a
John M 43:54
I love that you have a your your answers to some of these general questions that I ask on a consistent basis. You are your own man, John Henry. And you are you think for yourself and I absolutely love that. And I know that there are going to be some people listening to this. They kind of go Yeah, some of them agree with you. Some don't. But that's great for me. I think it makes it it enables people to kind of make up their own mind of what they believe. And your job as you have done today very succinctly and I love it is to share your experiences, experience strength and hope and how you see this. Yes. You're laughing Why are you laughing?
John Henry 44:42
Oh, I just my job has always been even when I play people say well, how what happens if I only play oh three at the most four times a year I'll play twice in 20 to 22 working on two shows. Now that people say, Well, what happens if you don't book The if you don't get a full standing room only, so I'm only here for one verse. And that is the person that can hear the story I'm telling period, period. Because the story, a story is just a story. But underneath the story is the soul of the story. And if they get to the soul of the story, that's the person I'm talking to the person who said, I yeah, I know, I know you. You're talking about Frankie telling these stories. But my God, what you're saying is, there's nothing you can do if you put a plug in the jug. Isn't that what you're saying? So ya know, what you're saying is you there's nothing you can't do if you put the spirit first, right? That's right. And you put the spirit first I quit drinking first. Right. Right. And then you go to meetings. Right. Right. And then and you get a sponsor, you read the book. Right? Right. Is there anything more to it than that? No. That's the person I want. You go. And I don't give a damn if the place is crowded or not. I don't I don't care. I don't care if anybody's listening here tonight. And not not not one. There's one person out there. This is Cece, Vic Vic looked at me said, There's nothing you can't do if you put spirit first. Oh, Carpenter, okay. And I looked at him. I said, Could I be a doctor? He said, so what? You couldn't work on me? He said, Yeah. He said, Yeah. Given the time, the money and the energy you could be you could be a doctor. So how much time he said, we're gonna have to finish the GED, then you have to go to a junior college that's about four or five years, then you're gonna have to go to medical school school. I said, Well, I'll be 40 years old before I get a paycheck. Oh, anyway, he said, as to how much money's there about a quarter million dollars. Oh, no math. He said, Why don't you go back down to the hall, see if the pushing on. But he said, There's nothing you can do if you put the spirit first. And we've been given a way to put that spirit first. I love it.
John M 47:10
Okay, Mr. John Henry, I'm going to wrap it up with page 64 of the big book. And it says here that if I can find it, abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to him and to your fellows. clear away the wreckage of your past. give freely of what you find and join us we shall be with you in the fellowship of the Spirit. And you will surely be some of us like me, and John Henry, as you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you until then, once again, John Henry, thank you so much for joining me today.
John Henry 47:53
John M 47:55
Thank you, John Henry. And for those of you listening in John Henry is a hoot. And as I said on the beginning of the episode, absolutely love him really had a great time talking to John if you want to get in touch with him or if you have a message about or for any of the other guests that we have on the program, just email me at John Jo HN as sober speak comm I love to hear any sort of feedback that you have about the guest and I sure would appreciate that remember now we don't want you to share your gossip but we would love for you to pause your device and share this episode or the entire the entire podcast with a friend or family member you know what it may be just what they need today. Now on to a little bit of listener feedback, Nick writes in and he actually wrote in via the Facebook group and and I don't think I mentioned this on the front end but once again if you are not in the super secret Facebook group for sober speak and you would like to be go to the face book applicatio look up the group it's called I always get this wrong sober speak secret group. There's way too many S's in there. Anyway, look up sober speak secret group and ask for and Michelle and we will get you in that group. But anyway, Nick writes in he says, Hey, John, Nick here, my email is such as such as such he wanted to get on the email list as well. And he says I'm committed to staying sober and I want to join your group. I want to find faith in God and talk to like minded people. Make friends that is I'm also from New Zealand. Thanks, and I love the podcast. Well Nick, as you know, we got you in that group. So happy to have you tell all the Oh, what? Kiwis? Yes, I almost forgot their the word for the folks out in New Zealand. But tell the Kiwis, we said hello. Okay. Thank you, Nick. Amanda writes in Oh, I gotta set this one up a little bit because Amanda, we so if you go to our website and you look at the sober Resources tab there is a a meeting that we have posted on there. It's about a Saturday noon meeting that we have here in the Frisco Texas area. Amanda had heard about that on the podcast. She's from Nashville. And then she came to the meeting. It was great Amanda D. And oh, it was so cool to meet her. Anyway, Amanda D writes in and she says Hi, John. It's Amanda from Nashville, Tennessee. I met you in person. Oh, I remember you Miss Amanda. At the Frisco fourth dimension meeting on Saturday, November 27. I wanted to say thank you for the podcast. All of your guests have helped me tremendously. It was so awesome to meet you. And in big capital letters, David G. Yes. Mr. David G was there as well. His experience strength and hope is amazing. And I love everything he shares. Thank you, John for your work. I'll be sober 90 days on December 4. A has changed my life for the better and I'm so grateful. I found your pod. All the love from Nashville. Amanda. Well, Amanda, love coming right back at you in Nashville. And gosh, if somebody up there in Nashville knows Amanda de, you can tell her you heard us talking about her on the pod. Thank you so much, Amanda. It was so nice to meet you. That was fantastic. We loved it. Um, Alejandra DMS on the Insta wrote a direct message and she says thank you, John, for your podcast. I listened to it whenever I can. It makes me so happy. I feel part of the community. I've been sober for two and a half years and your podcast has given a new meaning to my journey. It has opened doors for example, I started listening to father Bill w as well. Long story short, thank you for your service. Love. Alejandra will love back at you miss Alejandra. We sure do appreciate you listening in. And I'm glad you're listening to Bill. Father Bill's podcasts as well. He does a great job.
John M 52:44
Mark writes in and Mark says Hi John. I'm Mark be from Sandusky, Ohio. I'm 33 years old and I have a sobriety date of March 8 of 2020. And a higher power of my understanding. I found sober speak when the pandemic restrictions started to be lifted. I play in a heavy metal band and I was really struggling when I walked into the venue one night and everyone around me was double fisting, Tallboy beers and carrying on I went and sat in my car and reread page 101 of the big book and realize I also needed a meeting when I couldn't find one nearby. Before it was time to go. I searched a on my podcast app and I found sober speak. The first episode I heard was the most recent at the time with part one of Jennifer HK. Since then, I've tuned in every week and can finish each episode on my commute to and from work. The variety of people that come on are great to hear. And I can definitely say I've heard parts of my story is some from more than one. Thanks for all you do. Mark B Mark b What an incredible story. I love that. I first of all, I love that you're in a heavy metal band and then that you were sitting in the parking lot. Read through one on one you found the podcast and man that that just makes me feel so connected to you. And many of you, you know because I tried to pray in individual ways. Like before I start this podcast, I kind of picture like just just people they're usually faceless people, but I know this is kind of weird, but I think about where they are and what they may be doing and how we may help and how we can carry the message. And I love to hear some of the specifics of what you guys are out there doing. That was absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much Mark for writing in. I do do appreciate it. Janae Oh, hold on. I got Yeah, no, no, no Janae DMS on the Instagram she says, John, I'm listening to your podcast right now and I'm on my way to my first meeting in a long, long time Janette help us Janae is Jay he and he it could be Jean, but nonetheless, well Janae I hope I got it right once again. Janae that is so cool. So, thank you for welcoming us along Long on your ride to your first meeting. That is kind of cool. I guess. It's like we're kind of greasing the wheels. So anyway, that is really cool. Janae I appreciate you. Appreciate you writing in right back. Let me know how that first meeting went. I'd love to know about it. Brian writes it he says Hi, John. I'm subscribing and listening from Edmonton, Alberta. I'm new to age 20 days and I found your program through some searches on spirit to buy after attending local meetings I recently found a now at 35 years old and I wish I would have much sooner but better late than never a little look look Canada a and there Yes. Better late than never Ryan.
John M 56:32
He says um, I am enjoy episode sporadically. As great quote meeting between meetings unquote. I am certain there have been no shortage of great speakers so far. But I really enjoyed rich B, Julia Kay and Charlie p. So far as top notch standouts, I will be listening to the full catalogue from here on out, and I expect that list to grow. That said, Oh, and here's what I talked about, actually, on the beginning of the episode, he said, Are there any episodes or speakers you would recommend do a new to new program listeners as greatest hits per se? Thank you for putting this podcast out. John, it has certainly helped me through these early steps of the program. kindest regards, Brian B. Well, Brian B. As you know, I wrote you back and I gave you a couple of names that you could, you know, look up on the podcast. And I hope that was helpful. But also, I'm sure I gave you that link, like I mentioned on the beginning of this episode, where you can go to our website, and there's a tab at the top that says top episodes. And once again, as a reminder, that's top episodes as listened to by the sober speak audience in terms of numbers. And we just put that out there. And that's for 2020. We'll be having one for 2021 I am soon I am sure. Adrian writes in and he says, I think it's a Yeah, so Adrian can be both a a female and a male name, but I'm pretty sure this is a dude as opposed to a dude at anyway says Hi, John M. Some weeks. I'm listening to your podcast now and is really amazing. It's a tremendous help. I listened to your guests their stories experience and identified to a lot of things I hear in your podcast. Sorry, I didn't introduce myself. I'm Adrian, an alcoholic and I sobered up two years ago. Big smiley face. He says I'm currently writing you from Germany, Hannover city, and God bless you, man. So and that's another reason I think it's probably a dude as opposed to a do debt. But once again, if I'm wrong, my apologies. Anyway, Adrian, thank you so much for writing in. I do appreciate you listening over there and Germany, German Hanover, Hanover city. Anyway, thanks so much for listening in everybody. I appreciate you. I take it a week at a time. Hope to be back next week. Until then keep coming back. It works if you work at God bless you guys love you. Take care