Transcript: 218- Steve L OKC Citywide

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

218- Steve L OKC Citywide

Steve L 00:00

I got shot on a Saturday morning that evening I was scheduled to give a talk on acceptance and forgiveness. But here's the best part. The guy that shot me, I sponsor him, I sponsored and then and I sponsor him now. And that's only because of Alcoholics Anonymous now brief disclaimer if you're new, we are not telling you to shoot your sponsor. It is not suggested it is not recommended. I guarantee you it is not in the book. The point is that before I got to Alcoholics Anonymous for some time afterwards, I've made a lot of mistakes, sober and drunk

John M 00:41

what Hello friends have built via 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 is 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 server speak of 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. You are my sunshine. My only sunshine please don't take my sunshine away. You server speak listeners. I had no idea that was going to come to my brain as I stepped up to the mic but you get what you get. That was the voice of Mr. Steve L the you heard at the beginning of this episode and you are going to hear so much more from Steve L in just a moment. But first things first this episode. Right here right now number 218. I believe Hold on let me go check that yeah, we run nothing but a tight ship here on silver speak and I am very well for Yes, yes to one eight dos. Uno, ojo. Episode number 218. Here on cyber speak is brought to you by Shaney, Shani, sh, a and I, Nicholas and Jane. Do you know what Shaney Shawny. And Nicholas and Jane did well, they let me let me fill you in Oh, this is really not going well. They went to our website, a sober speaker calm and clicked on the little yeller, donate tab, and they made a contribution. YOLO. So thank you, Shany and Nicholas and Jane. This episode is coming right out to humans. I John Elma. Just another Bozo on the bus 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. Now remember, four out of five sponsors surveyed recommend sober speak for your peace of mind. So I think it's a good idea to listen in. Because that's what they are saying. You know, I just completely make that stuff out. Right? I've never surveyed any sponsor, but But uh, sounds good, right? I guess it sounds good. nonetheless. For those of you listening, the day this is released, I want to say Merry Christmas or I guess this would be merry Christmas Eve. And Merry Christmas to you wins tomorrow. I I really like this time of year.

John M 04:41

I don't it's just hard to explain, but I I really enjoy it. And as I'm just speaking right now I'm thinking of the Christmas song that means a lot to me. I'm sure everyone has their own favorite Christmas songs but the one that I like is Oh, come let us adore him and I will spare you my singing voice in thinking about that. But anyway, that just came to mind. Another thing coming to mind here as I'm sitting here speaking to you is my son, my beautiful baby boy. Well, he's almost 16 Now, but he still is my baby boy. Any parent knows what I'm talking about there. But anyway, he had to go get his wisdom teeth yanked out of his head today. And all four of Yeah, yeah, four of them. And well, the interesting part, but the reason I'm counting is because I know my daughter has to go in and get this done fairly soon as well. And for whatever reason, she's just got three. And I'm like, Well, can we get a discount on this? You know, she's only got three. In fact, just pull to get a you know, 50% discount and she can worry about the other one later button. No, no, no, they are gonna take all three. But anyway, he came home today, and he has these. Oh, Portal dude, he's got these bandages coming out of his mouth. And he's got this big. I don't even know what it is like, you know how like when dogs were those cones of shame that they walk around with? Well, it looks similar to that. But it's uh, it's got ice is ice packs going all around his head. And anyway, I'm just hoping he gets through this. Okay, I know he's gonna be fine eventually. Right? They do this day in and day out when I say they the oral surgeons. But anyway, God bless him and and as mom, the lovely Mrs. M, has been watching over him like a hawk. And it's just you know, how she does what she does, cares about him so deeply. And he fell asleep at one point and he had these cotton things coming out of his mouth. And she kept looking at him saying, I really need to get those out of his mouth. And I'm like, why? She goes, Well, I don't he possibly could choke on him. I said, well just go pull them. But anyway, was the whole big thing. And she ended up leaving a man. I know that I saw him eventually. And they had been pulled out. So how they got out? I have no idea. But nonetheless. That's what's going on in my world. What else do we want to talk about here today? Okay, let's just go right on into the episode a Mr. Steve L. A now Mr. Steve L. Oh, there is one thing that I that I did want to do before I went into the the episode here was D Val. And this is from our super secret Facebook group, Sean put a post in the Facebook group this week that kind of caught my attention. And, you know, I figured it out later. It's kind of a collage or a mix of various faith, comments from both the big book and the 12 and 12. But anyway, it was this and had a picture of build IBM Bob attached to it. And it says, Faith without works is dead. Faith alone is in sufficient to be vital comma. Faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice, and unselfishness and unselfish construction, constructive action. Let me read that again. Once again, this is a

John M 08:33

bits and pieces of the definition of faith coming from both the big book and the 12 and 12. It says, Faith without works is dead. Faith alone is in sufficient to be vital faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice in an selfish, constructive action. Thank you, Shawn, for posting that in the Facebook group. I sure do appreciate you. Now on to Mr. Steve L. And you may say to yourself Self, am I familiar with Steve L and some of his good work? Well, we have had Steve L on the podcasts in interviews style in the past. And in fact, it's episode number 185. Steve L. We call it God's amusement park. And I'll try to remember to put the link to that in this particular episode. If you want to go back in here kind of more of a, you know, just kind of more of a casual one on one with Mr. Steve L. And this. This episode was actually recorded at the Oklahoma City Law at the Oklahoma City city wide event. This is several months back. I don't know exactly when it was but I was able to get a hold of this. And I asked Steve if I could put this out there on the airwaves. He agreed. I know you're gonna enjoy this very much sustain this. So listen in. And we will have plenty IRL listener feedback at the end of Steve's talk enjoy

Steve L 10:26

Steve lamb alcoholic Good to be here. It's good to be sober. I'm gonna I'm gonna put a clock up here to try and keep track of the time and give some hope to the newcomer. First thing I want to say Willie is, I don't care what Candace says about you, I think you're doing a hell of a job. You got some issues reading but other than that it was very smooth. If you're new welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous. I love Alcoholics Anonymous, but when I got here, not so much, you know, and, and you didn't much care for me, either, frankly. But you told me to keep coming back. And I did. My sobriety date is July 27 1996. So I've been sober 24 years.

Steve L 11:19

Thanks, it's a it's a world record for me. But there's a lot of men and women in this room that have a lot more time than that. And it's interesting, because sometimes people will get up here and they'll say things like, well, you know, it's one day at a time, Tom does matter. Try getting some, you know, it's a try getting some. Thank you, Ben and the committee for inviting me. It's always an honor privilege to share it Alcoholics Anonymous. And the first thing I want to say to all of you out there that especially particularly the new people, and especially for the gentleman down here that are here to judge me. I am I'm not an authority in Alcoholics Anonymous. I wasn't appointed. I wasn't anointed. I'm just alcoholic that you flew out from California to share his experience. And Alcoholics Anonymous is experiential. You're here to have your experience, not mine. Not your sponsors, yours. And I got that through the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, but it didn't start out that way. When I got here, like I said, I got popped on it for a DUI. I used to drive drunk all the time. I thought I was pretty good at it. At one point in time, I used to prosecute DUIs. So I knew all about, you know, the field sobriety test, I could do the alphabet backwards. And I was talking to the highway patrolman, we were kind of bonding. Well, I thought it was going pretty good. And and then he asked me a question that to this day, I still think is quite unfair. He asked me what freeway Are you on? about you, but when I get busy, I'm out there. I'm not paying attention what freeway I'm on, you know. And so I guessed and I was on the wrong freeway. So I got sentenced to go to six, eight meetings in six months.

Steve L 13:10

I too, thought it was excessive. I didn't I didn't know anything about Alcoholics Anonymous, but I'd heard this vicious rumor that you're not supposed to drink. And I mean, we don't have any rules. But you know, that's kind of a big deal. But not drinking thing. You know, it's a it's kind of a mousse if it wasn't for that it probably would be a lot bigger organization. But, you know, the not drinking thing is is kind of a seminal point. Right? And, and I want to not drink. So I wait until like, I got like, five weeks left to do six, eight meetings, and I am so delusional, that in my mind, I'm thinking you're not gonna I'm gonna kind of busy social calendar. I'm not sure how I can play that's more than one a week. How am I going to fit that in? You know, and I, I know you have a lot of meetings out here in Oklahoma City. And in California, where I'm from at the time I got sober. They had 2000 meetings a week. Now there's like 3500 meetings plus all these zoom meetings. So there's tons of meetings, and I'm thinking, how can I possibly do that? But I show up at Alcoholics Anonymous. And the first thing that happened to me was identified with you. I didn't want to, but I did. You were telling my story. Now the facts and circumstances were different. But it was my story. You talked about an inability to control and enjoy your drinking. You talked about this allergic reaction, this funny physical reaction that you had to alcohol that ordinary people don't have. You talked about how the fact that that wasn't the real problem. I mean, it was significant. But the real problem was this mental obsession, that no matter what happened, it caused you to go back to have that first drink, which never ended with wondering. I got that. You know, like I said the facts and circumstances were different. But to give you an idea what my drink is like my wife sends me out to get milk before I get sober. It is not a complicated task. There's like three or four sub parts to it right? You got to leave that house, you got to go to the store. You got to buy the milk. And then you got to come home with the milk. I am pretty good at the first two or three, the whole coming home with the milk part not not so much, you know, because what happens is I run into somebody like really bad. Or Frank in they say to me something rather simple. They say, Would you like to have a beer? Well, of course, I mean, of course I want to have a beer. What's the what's the harm and habit? It's not even really drinking, right? Just a beer a beer. It's just a beer, right? It's like a basic food group. Right? So sure. Okay, so I have a beer. But my problem is, I have an allergic reaction alcohol. It does not quench my thirst. I get thirsty beer. So I drink more and more beer. But I don't understand the concept Enough. Enough doesn't make any sense to me. I want more. I want more. And I want it now I want to get there. I don't even know where there is. But I want to get there and I want to get there now. So I like an accelerant and the accelerant that I like is tequila. So I'm drinking Yeah. Oh, you're screwed sir. I can tell you're. So I'm drinking beer, shooting tequila, drink a beer, shooting tequila. And three days later I come to I used to refer to it as time travel. I now know it's just blacking out. It's a skill set that every alcoholic has not all of us. Most of us have. Non alcoholics are not impressed with it. We're pretty impressed with it. We think we're pretty cool. And I come to after three days. And I'm selfish. And I'm self centered. But I'm not entirely and considered, I realized, oh man, I gotta get the milk. So I run to the store and I buy the milk. And I come home to my lovely wife, Lynn. I'm like, Hey, baby, I got the milk. I'm all proud of myself. I got the milk. She's not happy to see me. She's She's She's She's not even annoyed. She's like, downright pissed off. And I'm like, I don't understand what the problem is. It feels like I just left you know, and I'm all proud of myself and she's pissed off and. And that's alcoholism. That's just alcoholism, you know, I can't control it, enjoy my drinking, I don't understand what the problem is I have this delusion. And I come in Alcoholics Anonymous, and I realized I got it, I got to stop drinking. I got I got that I got the first half of the first step. I'm powerless over alcohol. So I'll just start drinking, it'll get better, right? It'll get better. That was another delusion. It got worse. You know, I gotta tell you I've been I've been arrested and jailed in five different countries, not including the United States, Canada and Mexico for alcohol because those don't count. Those are all relatively local. I mean, I, I didn't always go to jail when I drank. But every time I was in jail, I'd been drinking every time.

Steve L 18:04

But I come in Alcoholics Anonymous, and the other delusion that I have is I'll stop drinking, it'll get better. And there are people in Alcoholics Anonymous, that are telling me some really meaningful practical things. They're like, don't drink and go to meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings, meeting makers make it all of which is good. practical advice, 90 meetings in 90 days, has very little to do with the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. But it's good practical advice. Now there are other people that have been around a while they're telling me things like, you know, there's this thing called the 12 steps. There's a program which is a 12 steps. There's a big book, which Frank read from which is where they find the program and the 12 steps, there's this thing called God or if you prefer the term of higher power, which is the point of the exercise. And you'll find that in the book. And there's something called a sponsor, which is simply a guide that takes you through the process. But I'm not drinking. I don't want to overreact here, right. The last thing I want to do is get over sober I mean, I'm just and you know, and and you know, some of the old timers you're telling me you know, don't leave before the miracle. I'm like, All right, I'm just sitting there. I'm waiting for the miracle. I am not doing anything. I'm not doing anything, and it's getting worse. You're talking about being restored to sanity. I feel like I'm going nuts. Really. I'm like I'm a I'm a jackass at home. I'm a jackass at work. I come into the meetings. And the old timers look at me they're like lamb just sit in the corner. And for God's sakes don't talk to any newcomers because they still have hope. I when I finally got a sponsor, my sponsor used to refer to me he said I was like a dog on linoleum. There was a whole lot of activity but no forward motion whatsoever. So I'm a trial lawyer by trade. I go back to do some depositions. I'm back in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I don't have a sponsor. I'm not working the steps. I've read the book a couple of times. But like I said, I don't want to overreact. I'm back in Pennsylvania and I get down around midweek, I go back to my hotel room. Now inside my hotel room, I've got an honor bar. I'm a newcomer, I have no honor whatsoever. But they've given me this little mini fridge with a key to it. They call it an honor bar, right? And it doesn't have everything I want and need in it. But it's like a really good start. I mean, two by two by two, there's some bourbon, there's some gin, there's vodka, there's no tequila, which is annoying, but there's a lot of beer domestics imports. You know, it's a good start, if any of you if you've ever seen the movie flight with Denzel Washington, you'll know those honor bars talk to you. It's talking to me, I'm talking, we're having a conversation right open and shut the honor bar, I do a little inventory. I arranged the domestics and the import, you know, just to get ready. Now I'm getting nervous. I'm afraid I'm gonna drink. And I love the big book, and I love the 12 and 12. But when I when I finally got a sponsor, one of the things that my sponsor had me do is listen to a series of talks by a guy who has since passed away named Chuck Chamberlain. In 1975, he gave a series of retreats and he did one in 1975 in Palo Mesa, before he passed away in the 80s, one of his sponsees had it transcribed and put it in a book, it's called a new pair of glasses. And in that book, there's a drawing, there's only one drawing in the whole book, and it describes my life before. And for some time, after I got to Alcoholics Anonymous, what Chuck does is he draws a circle. And chug puts all the people, plants and animals in the universe inside the circle of life. And then he puts life, good, God, whatever your concept of a higher power is, inside the circle of life. And then chuck draws a stick man, outside the circle, separate and apart. That's Chuck, that's me. And because you're here on a Saturday night, I'm not judging, but that's you. And what keeps us outside of that circle is a thin line that Chuck identifies his ego, or conscious separation from God in the 11th step, we're striving for conscious contact. I am a newcomer, I have conscious separation, the 1212 refers to it as anxious apartness is the feeling of separation that every alcoholic I've ever spoken with and worked with has. It is the grand illusion, the prime delusion of every alcoholic. I mean, if you think about it, it is both physically and spiritually impossible. For there to be lamb outside the entire circle of life. I'm inside the circle. You're inside the circle. We're all inside the circle. And the better reality is there's not an edge to the circle. But I can't see that. I can't realize that and I certainly can't demonstrate that because I haven't even worked these steps yet. But for whatever reason I don't drink. You can call it the dumb luck of the alcoholic norm LP used to refer to it as seconds and inches. I believe it is the grace of God but I would have never used that phrase back then.

Steve L 23:02

I don't drink I get down stairs. I go out to the airport. I fly home. I get up the next morning. I've had time to think on the plane which is always dangerous for a newcomer and I've developed a newcomer plan. And if you're see this guy in the white shirt. He has had several newcomer plans. I mean I can I know if you're new if you're new, I guarantee you've got a newcomer plan. And the thing is if you're new and you have a newcomer plan, you really think it's brilliant. I thought my newcomer plan is brilliant. I really did. Again, I'm not trying to be mean or cruel. But my experience is these newcomer plans are they're encased in they're shrouded in this cloud of stupidity that the creator of the plan cannot see but I guarantee you the guys in the in the women that have been around a while if you tell them your newcomer plan. Give him a little time to stop laughing. But after they stop laughing hopefully they can dissuade you from trying to execute your newcomer plan. But here's my new current plan. Okay, I was in the army for 13 and a half years. I've gone through Airborne School ranger school I went through selection and assessment it was picked up as a Greenbrae served in in Beirut 1983 to several tours as an 18 leader. They wound up sending me to law school, I got a lot of great I went back to the Special Operations Command as a lawyer when I got out in 1993. I was in the Pentagon. I was a major and my job was intelligence oversight advisor for the United States Army. That should concern you and when I left the service in 1993 I kept I'd retained a few things. See I hadn't read the book yet. I didn't know anything about stealing. I didn't even think of it as stealing at the time. I really didn't. I just thought this stuff might come in handy one day, you know and I I had a kit bag baguette, some weapons, some demolition and 13 passports. Now these 13 passports had had my photograph, but they were from different countries and different names on it. And my newcomer plan in the fall of 1996 is I am going to take my blue, US passport, the one that the government issues to citizens that has my name, my photograph, fine, I'm gonna leave the country, it's important to leave the country on your name. I'm going to fly to British Columbia. When I get up to British Columbia, I'm gonna start heading east, I'll flip passports and identities go over to Europe for a week or two come back to British Columbia, Steve lamb will cease to exist. Then I'm going to head down to Costa Rica, because got some former Army associates of mine. They're just kind of doing some interesting marketing and distribution down there, you know, and that's my new comer plant. And you know, I got a wife and I got a daughter. But this is like a career move. They're not really involved. So to consult with him about this, right. And I lay all this stuff out. And the 13 passports I should have turned in in 1993. They're all current, they have not expired. But my blue passport. My legitimate passport has expired. And I am just devastated because I can't execute the seemingly brilliant plan. I'll tell you. This is 1996. It's pre 911. Okay. I didn't realize it at the time. But I could have flown to British Columbia on my driver's license. You didn't even need a passport back. Yeah. Now I got to tell you, you know, I've been to college, the army sent me to law school to University of Southern California. They sent me to get an LLM a master laws right next to the University of Virginia. I was sworn in. I'm a member of the Supreme Court of the United States. But I'm telling you, I couldn't have found my butt with both hands that morning. I mean, I was just, I was just out of it. So I went to a meeting. And I ran into this guy, I didn't know it, but he wound up becoming my grand sponsor. And in a moment of weakness, I made some kind of comment to him about because you're talking about getting a sponsor. And I told him, I said, Jim, I think it's probably time for me to interview for a sponsor. No, no, no. I mean, you know, you're all saying, you know, find someone that has what you want, right? So I'm thinking. I mean, I got a complex set of social issues. Not anybody can sponsor this, right. I mean, I have to interview the guy to make sure that I have the right guy because I have the ability to ascertain who would be appropriate for me. Again, we call these delusions. Jim, Jim just grabs you by the shoulder. He goes, Oh, man, you are pathetic. He takes me outside. He introduces me to a guy I've never met before. He says Michael, Steve, Steve, Michael sponsor sponsee. Go with God. And he walks away laughing.

Steve L 27:50

I'm thinking this isn't funny. It's not even slightly amusing. Right. And but but Michaels all excited because he's just been delivered a new fish, right. So he reaches in his pocket, he gets out a piece of paper and a pen, he writes his phone number, and his address. And he tells me to be at his house Monday night at 630. And he wants me to take my big book. He says, Read your big book from the very beginning. All the way through the doctors. Highlight what you agree with or disagree with. If you identify if you don't identify if you've got any questions, go ahead and write it in the book. It's your book. And then he said, I want you to read chapter one, which is step one and the 12 and 12. And we will discuss them Monday night at 630. You know what I'm thinking alright. Yeah, I got nothing. So I'm going to do this. And by the way, for years, I thought Jim was trying to help me. I really did. I now know the truth, the reality of sponsorship, what was going on was my sponsor, Michael was coming up on five years, he was having some marital difficulties. He had some newcomers that really weren't doing the work. He was having some business problems. He was having problems. And Jim saw me and he thought, Ah, this is perfect. And he grabbed me and he took me outside to Michael and he said to Michael, here, play with this, it'll keep you entertained for a while. Because that's what newcomers are. They are really a divine distraction. You know, and if you're Do you realize that, you know, we always say that the newcomers the most important person in the room? Yeah, we kind of have a vampiric need for newcomers. Okay. I mean, it's, and sometimes if you catch us on a bad night, we talk all the spiritual crap, but if there's only one newcomers, you know, sometimes will fight over you. You know, it's, it's just, I'm just saying. So I do my homework. I show up at Michael's house. I got my books. And I come in and he, he asked me a little bit about myself, and I told him a little bit about myself to include my newcomer plan, which he thought was entertaining. And then he told me a little bit about himself and he said, Okay, open the book, start reading. I'm like, No, I did the work. I'm ready to talk about it. Like we like you told me because I'm gonna open the book and start reading. I said, no, no. Honestly, I did the work and I showed him I pick up my book, I've got the highlighting of, you know, I'm ready to talk about it. Here's what we're gonna do. What we're gonna do is we're gonna go through this big book, we're gonna go word for word, line by line, paragraph by paragraph. We're gonna look up words, we're gonna read prayers, we're gonna do steps, we're gonna go through the whole book this way.

Steve L 30:28

And I remember thinking, This is pathetic. This is just pathetic. This is a level of lameness that I never thought was possible. You've totally exceeded my expectations. But I'm beaten into a state of reasonableness. I've been crushed by the weight of my own personality, I got nothing. So I'm gonna I'm going to do this. I'm going to read with this guy, but I gotta tell you, I've never met anybody that didn't you have the 12 steps up here somewhere? Before? Oh, Sneaky, sneaky, okay.

Steve L 31:03

24 years? Yeah. You can't get nothing by me. So my point is, I've never seen anybody come in the room and look at the 12 steps or hear somebody read the 12 steps and go, Oh, well, thank God, I've been waiting my whole life for this. Candace? Will you kindly take me through these 12 Golden steps of recovery? So I can live and move and have my being in the world without drinking alcohol or doing any of the party favors that some of us like to do? No, we don't we don't do that. Most of us look at that. We're like, really? Do you have like a plan B? And it's? And it doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make any sense. And like I said, I'm a lawyer, you look at four and five. That's confession. That's evidence. If you're new if that's not bad enough, eight and nine, eight and nine. Oh, yeah. No, I'm not stupid. I know. It's, I know, it's their money. I know that. But some of them don't even know I've got it. And how is me giving them their money going to help me get sober. In fact, when I got here, I needed money. I need money. I'm looking for the money step. There's no money step. In fact, the book says, the spiritual always precedes the material. Well, crap. You know, the thing is, none of this makes any sense. Looking forward. It only makes sense looking backward. And if you really want it to make sense, sit, sit down with a person, take them through the steps, take them through the book, try to explain to them the experience that you're having, and have had, and this thing will come alive for you. Guaranteed every time. But I'm like, Alright, so we start reading. We got to prayer, we said the prayer, we got to a step. We said the step and we work the step and it saved my life. And like I said, I didn't think it would work. And if you're new and you're thinking, it's not going to work. Again, I'm not trying to be mean or cruel, but we don't really care what you think. We really don't. We'll sit there and we'll listen to you. But we don't care. Because we're assuming that your thinking is problematic. In fact, on page 23, it says the main problem with the alcoholic centers in the mind, not the body. The thing about Alcoholics Anonymous to think about the steps is we don't come in here and tell you okay, here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna think our way out of this. Okay, buckle up, buddy, we're just gonna start thinking, we're gonna think we're gonna think our way right out of this, maybe know, what we do is we ask you to take actions that make no sense to you, that change your perception of reality over time. That's what we call the psyche change, the spiritual awakening, the spiritual experience, we don't care what you call it. We're just suggesting that you do it, and that you have it. And that that worked for me. And I gotta tell you, when I I got to the second step, you know, I mean, the the second half of the first step, you know, obviously, my life is unmanageable, because I'm having this guy, take me through the steps, right? I'm submitting to this guy. Now, I've come to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. Man, I'm not stupid. I know. You're gonna talk about God. And Mike was like, Do you have a problem with God? I'm like, I'm really problem with God. Because Would you believe me? I believe Yeah, I believe I Yeah. Okay. So what's the issue? I said, well, a lot of people were telling me to find God or die. And I'm thinking, I not only don't want to find God, I'm kind of hoping he doesn't find me. You know, I've read ahead. I know there's a four or five and an eight and nine, this is not going to go well. He goes, Well, look. The thing about God is you see the word God over 100 times in the big book, but you'll see creative intelligence Universal Mind higher power. At one point in time on page 13. Bill refers to God as my newfound friend with a capital F. Don't you want to have a friend Are you gonna keep trying to trick me? I know what's going on here, buddy.

Steve L 35:05

He goes, Well, do you think it's possible that you can be restored to sanity? So well, anything's possible. So well, that's enough. But now we're up on step three. Now got a term I will in the life over this thing that I don't understand. I really don't. Yeah, I've had some religious training, but it didn't go well. And so So Michael says to me, says, Do you like music? I said, Yeah, I like music. He goes, Do you know anybody that doesn't like music? He said, No, everybody likes music. Everybody likes music. He said, What type of music do you like? I said, Well, I personally like blues and rock. And Michael said, Well, if you were talking to somebody that like maybe country western, or classical music, or punk rock even, would you insist that they listen to the music that you'd like to miss? Listen to? I said, No, that makes no sense. You like the music you like? He said, precisely. That's exactly like the concept of a higher power and Alcoholics Anonymous. We're not telling you what it is. We're suggesting that if you seek you'll find it. And it's just like music. All we're saying is just get in rhythm and harmony with a tune that makes sense to you. He says, Do you ever sing in the shower? I said, Well, yeah. Do you always know the lyrics? No. Does it matter? I said, not really. He said, precisely. Sing your song. And I gotta tell you, people come in Alcoholics Anonymous, they talk about God as a problem. God is not the problem. God is the point of the exercise. It's just for many of us, the oldest of old ideas that we don't like. He told me Look, if you've got a religious or spiritual background, we have no quarrel with that. We talk about priests and ministers, there's great books, we tell you to go further dive deeper. He said, But if you are real religious, or real spiritual, and you're still drinking, you might want to lay the steps over the top of that. But he said, if you got a problem with God, or you have some issues with that, why don't you look at as a word, a placeholder for an experience you haven't had yet. And fill in the blanks after you go through the steps. And I gotta tell you, a sponsor a lot of guys, I got Catholics, I got Protestants, I got guys that have gone back and forth. I've got a Jewish guy, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, I got a druid. I do not understand this guy. But I don't have to. I got guys that find a God of their understanding on a surfboard out in the Pacific Ocean. And I got God, God guys that find a God of their understanding, walking through the woods. One of my guys is Jewish. He likes Buddhism, he refers to himself as a Buddha. Lucayan Yeah. It's not a problem. So we get to this four step. And Michael takes me to page 65. And if you're new, that's where the three columns are. Any and he says to me, Do you notice anything about these? I'm like, not really goes. Well, you notice there's not even complete sentences here. These are kind of bullet points. He said, You can do your life story. I'm prepared to listen to it. But I really would like you to follow the format here. I learned later. That's because I'm a wordsmith. I'm just I'm a pain in the butt, right? He's like, Look, I just want you to be very cryptic. Get it down on paper. He said, The first column is the resentment. The person the institution of the principle two or three words should suffice. The second column is the cause two or three words should suffice. The third column is how it affects you or the condition. Is it self esteem, pocketbook ambition, security, personal relations, sex relations, just write that down. And then he said, there's not a fourth column. But when we look on page 67, it says, referring back to our list, we're going to identify mistake, fault and blame these what we call character, defense, selfishness, self centeredness, self seek dishonesty, the 12 and 12 refers to the seven deadly sins, pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth, the book on page 65. And throughout the book really talks about fear. Fear is a big one. And then it says on the page 67, there's something sometimes it's referred to as a prayer to the sick man. It is where am I unwilling to be forgiving? Where am I unwilling to ask God to show me and to have me show this person that I resent patients pity intolerance, where am I unwilling to forgive this person? Then he gave me instructions on the pyramid story on the sexual misconduct inventory terminus, said it should take you a couple of weeks. It took me about five or six weeks, two or three weeks to do it. And two or three weeks to think about it. Because like the book says, it's simple but not easy. The simple parts of Blackboard the instructions, the not easy part is me and my ego, which tries to separate me from you and from God. But I get this done, and I show up at his house to do my fifth step. And for the people that are new, I'm going to tell you the first person my fifth step, just so you understand how simple this is. Now, again, I'm not here telling you how to do inventory, you should do inventory the way your sponsor asks you to do inventory. I think it's better to do bad inventory than no inventory. It's kind of a lifelong process. And you know, whether you call it an additional fifth step, or you get into 10 a lot it doesn't matter you're going to be doing inventory for a while. But this is the first person on my inventory. Okay, I am resent flat towards my father.

Steve L 39:58

Second Call Because two words deserted me. Now Michaels asking me questions I explained to him. I'm four or five years old. I'm growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's the early 60s. My father is in the Air Force. He leaves. He leaves a family. He goes to Southeast Asia, he goes to Vietnam. He stays there for a long time, like eight or 10 years. He does a couple tours in the Air Force he joins an outfit called Air America. He meets a Thai woman Li and Fung. He marries her apparently before he divorces my mother. I've got a half sister pack. I've never met pack. I've never met Leon thong. I'm 37 When I get sober by the time I'm writing the cemetery, I'm 38. And I've hardly heard from my father and over three decades. And third column, what does it affect? Everything. Self esteem, pocketbook security, ambition, first relations, sexual relations. I mean, other than that, everything's going pretty good. You know, it's like my, after Jim died, my grand sponsor was a guy named Scott Redmond, he died 13 years and a couple days ago, Scott used to call these types of resentments. Five baggers. My life was shot through with it. Now my sponsor, Michael saw this, but I didn't know what was going on. I'm just reading this inventory. I got to now identify my character defects, identify anger, identify fear. And I tell Michael, I'm not willing to forgive my father. I'm not going to do the prayer to the sick man. About my father. Michael says, Well, you know, this is just the fifth step where we're just reading it right now. But we're gonna get to it eventually. So I do have one more question though. Like, okay, what is theirs? Well, if I understand you correctly, when we came together the first time and we had this discussion, and you told me about this newcomer plan, you had evolved Costa Rica, yeah, passports, right? Yeah. And you were going to go down there and you got a wife and you got to God or you weren't taking them with you. Now, you never said to me that you were planning on deserting your wife and your daughter? But really, is there a functional difference between what you were planning on doing and what your father actually did? My first thought was, this is not going the way I thought it was gonna go. I put my head down, and I murdered something to the effect. I mean, well, if you if you look at it that way. And that's, that's why in the fifth step, we admit to God to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Because I can't I can't see me, I can't see that I've become the one thing I hated the most. And I can't see that I've become my father. I need someone in this case, my sponsor to hold a mirror up to me to reflect me back to me. Now, I learned later that this is a form of a spiritual experience, not like Bill's white light, spiritual experience. But it's a spiritual experience. Harry TiVo once referred to this as ego deflation at depth, it's more like a blacklight experience. And what I mean by that is, if you've ever seen any of these crime movies, after the crime occurs, the detectives come in, they secure the scene, they don't allow anybody to come into contaminate the scene, they wait for the CSI investigator to come in, and then she or he comes in and they spray a substance called luminol. all over the room, they turn off the lights, they turn on a blacklight. And what happens in phosphorescence, is we see the evidence of the crime, usually in the form of blood spatter. That's what it felt like I had a blacklight experience, this is not a not a happy day, right? So we get done with the rest of the inventory, and I go home, I get quiet, like it says on the bottom of 75, I flip over to 76. I do six and seven. And I gotta tell you, honestly, it was a pretty superficial pass. At that time. They're a lot more significant to me then, or now than they were then. Six is a lot about willingness. Seven is a lot about humility. I had very little of either, but I'm really concerned, I'm afraid I'm gonna drink. I know, I've got to go into this eight step list. Right? Because Michael is really talking now about amends, you know, to six and seven, we're gonna do Manzi. I go to page 76, because I'm gonna make out this list. And the book tells me that I've already made up the list. I made up the list when I did the resentment list. I'm thinking well, crap, if I hadn't known that I would have never put my father on the list right now. So no problem flexible. I just take him off the list. Right? Yeah. So I do this list. And I got these in Michael doesn't trust me. He wants to know what the proposed amends is. So I write it out. He says that's where it talks about in the book consulting with others. He says, I'm other so I do this. And I, I show up at his house and he says, Let me see a list. So I show him the list. He looks at the list. He says Your father's not on the list. I'm like, You're damn right. He's not on the list. I told you wasn't gonna be in the list. He's like, do you think you're any better than your father? Because no, no, I got it. I got that. I got it.

Steve L 44:49

And then it goes, What do you think of the Lord's Prayer like the Lord's Prayer, Michelle, the Lord's Prayer? I don't know. It's, I don't have a problem with the Lord's prayers. You know, we say it a lot of times at the end of the meeting, right? Yeah, yeah. What do you think about that clause in the Lord's prayer goes like this, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. What do you think of that? I think it's a damn trick question. You know, I'm not stupid. It's a spiritual truth. It's a maxim I got you guys. Do you agree with it? Yeah, I got I see that. He goes, Why are you willing to do it? Like no, not with my father. He teaches me to pays 99 and the 12 and 12. It is true forgiving that we are forgiven. I agree. I can see how that would work. Are you willing to do it? Nope. No way It was looking. Step six. And step eight are a lot about willingness. Are you willing to pray for the willingness? I'm like, sure goes, Okay, you pray, I'll pray. We'll both pray. Now I launched out, I'm doing amends. I'm paying back the money. I make amends to the wife, I am back in the big bed. I do not quite have the crossover privileges that I think I deserve. I'm getting in this active 10 step process. I'm trying to make prompt demands I'm telling on myself. I'm doing this eating review that it talks about on page 86. I'm praying, I'm meditating. I'm trying to get into conscious contact with this thing that I don't really understand. But I'm starting to feel it. I'm starting to see tangible physical evidence of a power greater than myself in my life. The obsession to drink has left. I'm acting differently. I cannot explain it. I have a connectedness to you that I never thought was possible. I'm trying to practice the principles in all my affairs and step 12. And apparently, I'm carrying the message because there's a bunch of chuckleheads that are asking me to take them through the steps I'm taking to the steps. They're not only getting sober, taken a year cake, they're taking other guys through the steps. You know, it's the merry band of miscreants that are all you know, sober and but I am I am not making amends to my father. This goes on for a number of years. And then I'm having a conversation with Michael and we really wasn't even a conversation about a I'm just explaining to him that I'm not going to be at my home group there for most of each men stag. Monday night because I had to fly up to Anchorage, Alaska to do some depositions, I'll probably be gone for a few days. He lights up like a Christmas tree. He's like, man, that's great. You'll make amends to your father. And I had forgotten that I told Michael that my father at the time was living in was Scylla Alaska, which is about 30 miles outside of Anchorage. So now my sponsor is connecting to clearly unrelated dots, right. And if you're new, I'll tell you, they'll do that is annoying as hell you think they're not paying attention. Sometimes they take notes crap comes up to three years later, it's just so I'm waving them off. I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, this is business. This has nothing to do with Alcoholics Anonymous. He goes, No, no, because you've been praying, right? Yeah. You're praying. I'm praying. God's talking. Can't you hear him? I'm like, frankly, no, I'm not getting the memo. No, he's like, look, I want you to you pray and meditate every morning, get quiet. Take a week or so ask God what you should do. So I follow directions, and three or four days into it. What comes to me is I should do this. Now. It's not like God talked to me. You know, I had just this this feeling this sense, I think coupled with this overwhelming sense of guilt, because I'm a hypocrite. I got all these guys. I'm telling you to go and make amends. And I'm not doing what I'm talking about. Right? So I go to Michael, I go, Alright, I'm willing to do it. I'll do it. What do I do? without skipping a beat? He looks at and he goes, I don't know. I'm not going up there. Talk to God. I'm like, Oh, man. You're killing me. I used to call him the cosmic cupcake, the mystic muffin. It did not matter what the problem was. The solution was always pray and meditate. Ask God for guidance and direction. And wait. And he would tell me said look, understand something. God has no concept of time. That's a human construct. He doesn't wear a wristwatch, he's old. He's slow. You know, you have to be present. You might hear it from the guy that you don't like he shares the same thing in the meeting, every time you really don't like that guy pay attention. The solution may be there or it could be in the grocery store. You got to be present. You got to be right here right now. And while you're waiting for the answer. Keep working with the guys you're working with and look for new comers staying on the firing line of a will keep you in good stead until the answer comes. And I thought that was such a shallow, superficial response, but it's been the answer to all my problems.

Steve L 49:38

So I call my father he says you'll see me I'm not sure exactly what I'll do. But I fly up there. I go through the airport. Go through the terminal. I see my father. He's older than I remembered. He's shorter than I remembered. He is shuffling towards me. He's kind of hesitating. hasn't seen me in a few decades, right? I'm striding towards him with purpose. I got no idea what I'm going to do but I made a commitment in Alcoholics Anonymous right When I first got here, I really did not like all the handhold and and hugging and all that stuff and, and I miss it now that we're in the pandemic, and I don't know what it's like in Oklahoma City. But where I live, if you're a newcomer male, it is never the young supermodel that wants to give you a hello hook. It is always, always always the biker with a three day growth beer, right? He's like, Hey, man, welcome me. I'm like, Hey, I'm not drinking, right.

Steve L 50:33

But when I got up to my father without thinking, I just grabbed him. I just grabbed him and I hugged him. And he buried his head right here in my shoulder and he cried, and I cried, and forgiveness occurred. And all I had to do is show up and get out of the way. And I had some subsequent discussions with him where I made a more formal amends. And he's not an AA. So he didn't do that with me. He's not required to. But a son was restored to a father and a father to a son. And that's Alcoholics Anonymous, and my relationship with my wife got better with the kids got better. This was a relationship that impacted everything that I did, but I had I couldn't see it. My sponsor could see it. He nudged me over and over and over. You know, I came back he went cook God, Alaska, you know, and that's why in six and seven, in the 12, and 12, it says rebellion, dogs are every step. You know, people talk about boxing on foreign five. Now, it's nine. It's nine. That's my experience, both personally and with the guys that I sponsor. And, you know, I gotta tell you, my father died January 18 of this year, he had congestive heart failure. He was in the hospital, he didn't have COVID. But because of the code restrictions, you couldn't go see him. But he could talk, he could FaceTime. But he was 87 years old. Right? So he would, you know, we would tell him to hold the phone up to his face, so we could see him, but he can't hear. So he holds it up here. So I had some really long, beautiful conversations with my father's ear before he passed away. And my father is not an AA, but my father made amends to me. He did he made amends to me now I gotta tell you, it's kind of a lame amends. If it just been a guy sponsor, it would have been, I would have told him to redo it. But this was my but this was my father. And it was just perfect. It was just perfect. And before he died, he said he loved me. And I said, I loved him. And I met him. I met him. And I and this thing, this forgiveness thing, you know, it's it's interesting, Alexander Pope once said, To err is human to forgive is divine. And what he meant by that is everybody makes mistakes. And if it's a minor mistake, if it's a minor problem, I can forgive that. But if it's a big one, if it's a Mogan, Gator resentment, if it's a big deal, I need divine intervention. I need to talk to God, I need to ask God for help. And apparently, every time I pray and meditate and ask God for guidance and direction he sends me to you and you to me, apparently, he works through you. I just have to stay responsive and available. And you showed me and helped me through forgiveness. It took a long time. But it was it was an unbelievable experience for me. And I know that this works. I know this works because a little over five years ago in May of 2016. I got shot. Now I was shot once when I was in the military, but it was kind of a minor Fleshman this one was pretty significant. I'm up in badger, California, which is a beautiful rustic area right next to Sequoia National Park. I'd had breakfast it was a Saturday morning. I'm back in my cabin, minding my own business. I'm sitting on my bed. And the gentleman upstairs shortly decided it would be a good time to clear his Glock nine millimeter weapon which is ordinarily ordinarily not a problem. But he missed a rather critical step he forgot to remove the magazine. So when you pull the slide back and then release the slide, he actually jacked around into the chamber. He pointed at the floor that he was on which is a ceiling above me and he pulled the trigger that discharged the round. The round went through the ceiling above me and entered right above my heart right here. And it buried itself in my sternum. It's still there. I didn't know it at the time, but it's still there. Now I will tell you this will get your attention and in a we talk about you know, serenity and peace of mind. But I'm telling you the first word out of my mouth. I yelped. It was kind of a shortened version of firetruck. Okay, and I, I checked for an exit wound and I put my finger in the entry wound which sounds weird, but I'm trying to find the round. I couldn't find it because it's lodged into my sternum. But I'm clearly not bleeding out I grabbed a towel I put it over my chest and kind of sitting there and meantime the guy from upstairs comes running downstairs. You Around the corner, it's like, what happened? Like what happened? You shot me, that's what happened. And this guy starts for wreaking out, you know, cuz I got a bloody towel on my chest. He's just had an accidental discharge, you know, he doesn't know if I'm gonna die the police could be involved, he is freaking out and then a really, really peculiar thing happened. Bizarre actually. I started trying to calm him down

Steve L 55:34

and I will submit to you that that's Alcoholics Anonymous, that's not me. That's Alcoholics Anonymous. That's the forgiveness that you've shown me through Alcoholics Anonymous that I was then able to transmit to him. I wasn't pissed. I wasn't. I mean, I was okay. I'm trying to calm him down. But I've been shot, you know, I gotta go to the hospital, right? So I tell them like you got to take me to the hospital. So we drive down to the hospital, which is in Visalia, California kuliah Medical Center. I go in there and they got like 1213 Guys, or they got a gurney, they do an overhead X ray to find the round. They hooked me up to an EKG. There's a cardiothoracic surgeon that's attending and after 15 or 20 minutes, he looks at me and and by the way, everybody's coming in to see this X ray, which, if you want to see it, I've got it on my phone. It's just crazy. It's just great. And you guys are all like, This is nuts. Right? And he goes, I don't know how to explain this. But this round went within millimeters, your heart. It missed out your heart, your major arteries, we do not understand that this makes no sense. Physically, this is not possible. But it's lodged in your sternum. It's not moving. You appear to be relatively stable. We're going to observe you for a few days, and then we're going to let you go. He said but we did notice when we did the EKG, you've got this thing called an atrial flutter, which is like atrial fibrillation, your hardest spasming which is not surprising because a bullet just he says this is something you need to have a cardiologist take a look at you probably need some treatment. Okay, so I get released to come back down to where I live in Southern California and Dr. Carlson, my cardiologist does an EKG confirms he says, yeah, you've got an an atrial flutter. He goes, but look, look, look, there's a procedure that we have. It's called a cardioversion, and it works most of the time. What it is, is, you know, you've seen in the movies where they take the paddles, and they shock a guy. I'm like, Yeah, because well, we're not going to do that, that that is barbaric. What we're going to do is we're going to take these paths, your chests that are hooked to electrodes, and then we're going to hit you with a jolt of electricity that will stop your heart. We will wait five to seven seconds, then we'll hit you with another jolt of electricity that will restart your heart and hopefully we'll be insane

Steve L 57:56

I'm like, you know, Doc, I'm not that quick on the uptake. But that sounds like you're gonna kill me is that

Steve L 58:05

we don't like to look at it that way. It's a it's a control procedure. I've done it hundreds of times, I'll be attending as a physician, you'll be in the hospital. And by the way, before the procedure occurs, an anesthesiologist will come in and give you something that will make you comfortable

Steve L 58:31

you know where I'm going right, sir? So, I'm an alcoholic. I go right from you're gonna kill me to I'm gonna get comfortable, you know? And, and look, look, look. It's not that I haven't been comfortable in a but I haven't been that kind of comfortable in 20 years, you know, and, and this is like, this is like a free pass. Right? My sponsor will be cool with this. I'm like, Alright, Doc, Sign me up. Let's do this thing, right. I show up. A few weeks later, I got the gown on. I got the pads taped to my chest. I got an IV and Dr. Carlson's here, the anesthesiologist walks in and he's got a syringe of comfortable and because I'm an alcoholic, I watched that guy all the way across remember. Last thing I remembered was he's leaning down to talk to me and then Dr. Carlson is leaning over me. It's like how're you doing? I'm good dog. I'm good. How do you feel? I feel fine. I'm ready. Let's let's do this. Let's go ahead do the procedures. No, no, the procedure is over. I think we're successful. I'm like like hell, Where's where's the where's Where's the guy with a comfortable I'm like I am arguing with my cardiologist because he told me I was going to get comfortable. I didn't get comfortable, right? And that only an alcoholic will do that. And the young people want to understand this, but the people have been around a while they know that. Like in the old days. They would give us a seizure and they would tell us to count back from 100 and we go 199 Well, now got really bad dope. They don't think it's bad dope, but we think it's bad dope. It's the stuff. It's the stuff they call propofol, which is what they gave Michael Jackson, they just gave me the correct dose. And the problem with propofol is you're here. And then you're here. There's no there, there is no 99. incredibly disappointing. But in the in addition to the forgiveness thing, the reason why this little bizarre, and yeah, I got to tell you, only an alcoholic snaps this kind of stuff happen. And to let you know how bizarre This is. Eventually, if you're new, you'll get into the big book and the 12 and 12. And when you get into the 12, and 12, and chapter 10, there's a discussion about the various forms of inventory that we do. In addition, there's a discussion about how many of us like to take an occasional retreat, we get away from the clamors of the world, we go away for a weekend or a few days, we actually maybe come under the guidance and direction of an alcoholic with a lot of time and experience maybe takes us through some step. We're a religious person or a spiritual person. But the point is, it's a safe, serene, secure environment.

Steve L 1:01:21

I got shot on a retreat. I was leading the retreat. I given a talk the night before in unity, which I thought was compelling. But I think this guy was not paying attention.

Steve L 1:01:41

I got shot on a Saturday morning that evening, I was scheduled to give a talk on acceptance and forgiveness. But here's the best part. The guy that shot me, I sponsor him. I sponsored him then, and I sponsor him now. And that's only because of Alcoholics Anonymous. Now, brief disclaimer, if you're new, we are not telling you to shoot your sponsor. It is not suggested it is not recommended. I guarantee you it is not in the book. The point is that before I got to Alcoholics Anonymous, for some time afterwards, I've made a lot of mistakes, sober and drunk. My friend Bill C says we come into a we, we take off the clown suit. And that's very true, we do. But we don't throw it away. We hang it up in the closet. Because we might need it, you know. And that's been my experience. And the point is that we have these steps and we have forgiveness. And if you're new. I'll leave you with this. I like to think of Alcoholics Anonymous, as God's amusement park. So bear with me for a second. You're new, you're in the amusement park. You probably think it's it's not that I'm using right now. But we grow in yet. The price of admission to God's amusement park is enormous. It's huge. Nobody asked you if you wanted to pay it. But you've got alcoholism, it reached up in your soul, you pay the price you're in the park, you'll notice you're in the park, you can walk around the park. There's meetings in the park, you can go to meetings, you don't have to but you can there's places like this. Come listen to somebody tell you all the stupid stuff he did while you're sober. You know, there's a there's also 12 rides. We call them the steps. And there are people that have been in the park for a while that have taken the rides that are hanging out by the rides and they're looking at you and they're like, Hey, come on, take the ride. You don't have to take the ride. You don't. And in fact, you you can leave the park. But God's amusement park is kind of like these high rise parking structures you pay to get in, and there's no in and out privileges. There's a new price of admission every time. And the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous are littered with empty chairs of men and women who couldn't pay that price. And they died out there on the streets. So we hope you stay in the park. And we hope you go to meetings. And we suggest that you take the steps like I said you don't have to but if you look around, you know, you're not judging, but it seems like the people that are that are in the meetings, they seem to be relatively happy with the people that are hanging out by the steps. They're just goofy. They're having the time of their lives. They're having more fun than should be legal. Okay. In my experience is if you go with those men and women and you take those rides, and you take those steps, eventually you'll get to the point where you'll be standing next to those rides in those steps and you'll be encouraging somebody else to do it. And you'll stay in the park. And you'll live a rich, full life and you'll laugh with us and you'll cry with us and it's Alcoholics Anonymous. Thanks for having me here.

John M 1:05:10

Oh, what a fantastic job. Mr. Steve Hill. Thank you so, so much. And once again, I mentioned this on the beginning of the episode. But if you want to go here, Steve, in a more kind of point, type of setting, are you more of a one on one interview? If you Well, we've had him in the past. It's episode number 185. And it's called God's amusement park, you'll want to go check that one out. And just if you want to look at the show notes here as well, I can, I will have that in the show notes. So you could just click on it. Now on do a little bit of a listener feedback for humans. Clinton writes in and the the subject line and Clinton's email is Matthew M. It says, John, I have been listening to the podcast around the house for a couple of weeks now. And I just had to explain to my six year old son that nothing is wrong, and it is totally normal for daddy to be crying in the kitchen while making dinner. He says, I just finished listening to episode number 191. With Matthew M, about his take on the 12 step surrender, or 12 Surrender, it was overcome with the emotion at the description of his work with your head, or the episode, this probably will make sense. But liver, Mike, the Matthew had a guest that his house got called liver, Mike. And there's a whole reason behind that. And also with Mother Teresa's Hospital in Calcutta. His description of the gifts he got from giving of himself were so beautifully said. And a really spoke to me once again, if you haven't heard that one, I would go back and listen to it is episode number 191. With Matthew M is called the 12 Surrender. Matthew goes on. He says I've been struggling a bit as of late and my sponsor recently suggested that we go back and start at the beginning and focus on complete surrender. The idea of each step being a subsequent surrender of some selfish part of me, has really opened my eyes to some things I was missing. Thank you for all you do, and for giving a form to so many wonderful speakers. God bless Clinton and Clinton Nam, you're the best thank you so much for writing in and that's exactly what this that's exactly why I formed this thing was to give a platform to you know, because I sit in these meetings and I listen to these people and I think oh my god the there's there are other people outside of my meeting or outside of this conference that I go to or wherever I am that need to hear these messages and how can we get it out? And I'm just glad God has given me the opportunity to to serve as that platform that these speakers but Clinton, thank you so much for writing in.

John M 1:08:37

Good, Gerhard posted this in the super secret Facebook group. Well, this one's kind of sad, okay? But this is reality. And Gerhardt said good morning friends. I don't post very often, but visit this room every day that he's talking about visiting the the super secret Facebook group discussion room, and I always find something that speaks to me. Today I sit here right because a close friend of mine slipped on Saturday and has been on a bender since the only thing his partner and as a group of friends are able to provide is a safe environment. The daily disintegration is heartbreaking to watch as a lot of Alan ons out there that can relate to that. And people are now just, you know, this is a destructive illness. And he says the reason for my pose is to simply say that has struck me that the most important part of our recovery is to stay very, very close to our program and our Higher Power. My friend decided months ago that after six years of sobriety, it was not that important to him anymore to go to meetings, either physically or On zoom, listen to podcasts or make himself available for any service work. It is painful to watch him find his new bottom. And I hope it will be better sooner than later I would love nothing more than for him to find our rooms again. But that is not within my power. Please say a prayer for him and others who have not found the way. And I must not forget that it is always one day at a time. Gerhard Gerhard, with thank you for posting that. I wish there were stories out there like that. But as all of us know, those are very common place. But I appreciate you posting that in the Facebook group, Gerhard, and you put a very, very eloquently. Shawn posted in the super secret Facebook group as well. He said I stopped drinking on July 13 of 2019. If drinking is a progressive illness, then this past year, I view my sobriety as progressive sobriety. I stopped all the hard drugs along with drinking that night, except smoking pot. I slowly transitioned into smoking more and more. I have my reasons and stories DUI drinking every day and not being able to stop what I was doing what I wanted to. And then he talks about the several pictures that he posted. Obviously, I'm not going to put these out on the internet. But there were pictures that he posted along with this post and he says the picture at the beach was my last week of drinking. My wife standard for me was quote, please don't black out tonight at my birthday party. Unquote. I blacked out and passed out on the couch. My daughter three and a half of the time said Mommy, what's wrong with daddy. My wife says he's sick. I didn't know how sick I was gonna be a little emotional there. The picture with the trees was a trip for Thanksgiving. With a six week old I was able to be present and help my wife to my full potential. Sure I help cook. I help cook a little but at this point, I was more concerned about being able to smoke throughout the day.

John M 1:12:42

The picture on the bus is my family on the bus in Orlando going to see Harry Potter for my daughter's sixth birthday. 10 months completely sober. I didn't wake up early to smoke ahead of time before the family is awake or go out at night to play with the kids. I didn't put up with my wife or cut the tension that I may have. My oldest has seen me with a drink in my hand. But my baby by the ways grace of God will not. I come home when I say I will I will not endanger other drivers. My car is not banged up in the am I don't check for dings after 18 months in the restaurant business. I am now a licensed health advisor and 26 states and counting from the dry goods in the bathroom and waking up in strange places waking up without a guilty conscience or hangover. It's not the easiest with it's not the easiest, but with one day at a time I can do. It's a much better live than as then being drunk and I'm capable and I'm capable of being very quickly which I'm capable of being very quickly. I'm worth it is so are you he said all the other readers 1214 2020 as my sobriety date, Shawn well thank you for posting that in there Shawn and thank you and congratulations on your journey. It congratulations that your family has a sober daddy and a sober husband. Finally, Nick writes in and Nick says this summer I had a total breakdown John with my girlfriend and told her all about me blowing sleeping pills in in boozing, which led to very bizarre behavior. We were living at our parents house for a part of COVID and every day I would wake up scared to learn if I had done anything stupid or crazy. I promised her I wouldn't relapse, but I did on her birthday. I drank and continued to get my sleeping pills refill I need to get back to this program again and listening to your podcast is one inspiring me to do so to makes me feel good to listen to it. I'm scared because I really don't want to tell her. I have never cancelled my sleeping pills script. But as eating me up in side, perhaps tell her a few months after I get some more sobriety under my belt question mark. She was very understanding when I laid everything out this summer. But I don't know if I'm ready to be that on as just yet. It really may break her heart. I was coming off the effects of sleeping pill withdrawal, which makes your depression 10 times worse. And I was literally breaking down in my car. After working for two straight nights. I plugged back into your podcast and it gave me that feeling of faith again. It gave me that feeling that loop. It gave me that little sliver of hope. That lit fire in me to get excited again about recovery and about life again. The longest I've been sober is 60 days. And I'm now back on my fourth day. I'm currently living in Portland, Maine, and I need to get a sponsor. I have an audio excuse me, I have background and audio engineering in it. If you ever need help with anything related to the podcast