Matthew M 00:00
But it is my way of life. And I can tell you I need these steps more than I've ever needed them, but if not out of desperation out of just appreciation for what they bring to my ability to function in the world.
John M 00:18
well, hello friends build 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 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. Come up say Yama, may Yamo as one M. That was the voice of one of our favorites. Mr. Matthew M. They you heard here at the beginning of this episode, episode number 230 230. And we're going to hear so much more from Matthew M and just a moment. But first things first. This here episode is brought to you by Jason and Marcos and Marilyn and Laura and Tanya and Laura and a non white mouse anonymous. So you ask yourself What exactly did Jason and Marcos and Mary Lynn and Laura and Tanya Laura and anonymous do when they went to our little website. So to speak.com and they clicked on the Pay Pal yeller tab, and they made a contribution God so thank you again, Jason, Marcos and Marilyn and Laura and Tanya and Laura, excuse me and Tanya and Laura and anonymous. This episode is coming right out to humans. So much appreciated. So I want to let you know that on the way up here to this microphone. In studio a deep in the heart of Texas. I went by my wife and the lovely Mrs. M and I said you know I am going to go do a little bit of recording. It is my happy place. And what I mean by that is I'm not going to go into all my woes, but everybody's got some woes going on right pressures, whatever the case may be uncomfortability in this podcast and coming up here and connecting with you guys helps me to just kind of decompress and I just I'm so thankful for for all of you who take the time out of your day to listen in. And I really am and just to be part of the community, the Facebook community that the emails, the direct messages on Instagram, all the all the things that I get and I'm just I'm so thankful to be connected with you guys I really am.
John M 03:51
As a reminder, you can find us just in case you don't know this on Apple podcast, formerly known as iTunes, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher pod bean tune in I Heart Radio, Amazon music or wherever else you listen to your podcasts in fact you can even find us on OC I can't say the name because I've got one of these in the room but you can say hey a Lex A and then say plays sober speak podcasts and it should come up on your little a Lex a machines. Anyway, keep that in mind. There's been a lot of you throughout the years who asked us to put transcripts on the website and the lovely Mrs. M has worked that out for you we have it's not all the way back to the beginning but I don't know I think we started at like noon we think about this probably 50 episodes or so ago starting putting transcripts from the various speakers up on the website and if you go to www dot sober speak.com click on Blog Ogg, you will see the transcripts underneath the the blog. I believe that's where it is. Hold on. Let me look here real quick just to double check this. You go there and you click yeah blog. And then you will see Yep, a subcategory of transcripts. Oh, also on the website is a category called Top episodes which is right across the top of the website. And this is Top episodes, you can just click on that. And what that has is the the most downloaded or most listened to episodes throughout 2021. It also has the 2020 version of that. The episodes that were chosen by the listeners, I put out a vote and the 2019 top episodes so I always get people asking me, Where do I start? There's a bunch of episodes out here, and that would be a good place for you to start if you are so inclined. Alright, what else do we have here? I think that's it. Let's talk about Matthew and this one we are calling when I say we that's basically me. But just in case you're curious. We are calling this one a Alcoholics Anonymous is not my life, but it is my way of life. I love how Matthew put that you're going to hear him talk about that during the episode and also talk about humility, ego deflation, taking a powerless pill when necessary, like that. Take a powerless pill when needed. He talks about the a way of life and we also discuss meditation techniques. It's been a while since we've had Matthew on. I'm so glad to have him back. And keep in mind as always, we will have plenty Oh, listener feedback at the end of this episode. Enjoy. Okay, everybody. So we are back one more time. One of the fan favorites of this particular podcast, Mr. Matthew M. So Matthew him, why don't you go ahead, introduce yourself, give you sobriety date, if you wish and tell people what area of the country you are in.
Matthew M 07:26
Thanks, John. My name is Matthew and I am sober since May 16 1993. And I live in Santa Paula, California, which is sort of above Ventura.
John M 07:40
And we have been together, gosh, I would say six, seven different episodes, something like that now. And I have truly enjoyed it. In fact, you have been sometimes you're at your house, sometimes you're at other places. Sometimes we've had you on actually, we did one time really enjoyed this with Bill C and J. And that was part of the what do you call it the Kitchen Table A?
Matthew M 08:15
John M 08:16
You guys have gone out on your world tour before and I've done some little get togethers there. So anyway, just you and I today. And it's interesting. You say this is one of the first times you've been in your casa, by yourself and in quite some time, right? Yeah, a couple
Matthew M 08:34
of years, my wife and son are on a little road trip. And I have the house to myself. So I'm kind of enjoying it playing guitar and watching TV at the same time without getting without getting looked at as being a bachelor for three days.
John M 08:55
That was great. All right. Well, I'm okay. So it's been a while since we got together as you know, and I reached out ask you if you would come back on the podcast. And, you know, we've talked about your story before. My guess is some of this is going to overlap. And I just started having conversations with you, you know, it just always turns out so well. And so we've covered your story in the past, we cover the 12 surrenders, which for those of you who are new listeners is basically the 12 steps. And today, we're going to talk about a combination of topics really is what is going to come down to but wanted to talk about a way of life and also the the freedom from bondage and then some subtopics underneath that. So when when I mentioned to you when I say that phrase, freedom from bondage. First of all, I got to do like it What goes on in my brain to begin with is probably not the thing that my little
Matthew M 10:08
way you're thinking.
John M 10:12
But anyway, for those of you who may be new to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, there's, there's many references to bondage within the book within, within the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, right. And we talked about basically freedom from selfishness there. So when you think about freedom from bondage, what comes to your mind? Right off the bat, Matthew? Well,
Matthew M 10:37
great question, John. And I would say that, you know, being sober now 28 years and look and working with guys Na, and kind of looking at my own path. I think it really resonates with me how important it was when I was a few months sober, and I got down on my knees and my sponsors. And I think we talked about this in one of the surrender podcasts. But, you know, there's a sentence in that third step prayer that says, relieve me from the bondage of self. And I can tell you now, working with people in a and my own experience said it's the bondage of self is first of all, it's kind of like a mental illness, you don't know you have it when you have it. Right. And but it deprives you from everything like I shared with your listeners that when I met my wife, and now my wife, and my, my daughter and her mother, the day I got sober, my daughter was born, I was repulsed by how beautiful they were. And I was shamed by how innocent they were. And what was happening in front of me was this amazing, beautiful thing, right? It was where most men would see, hey, my life just got a truth to it that I never knew was possible. My life is now no longer about me, I'm no longer the most important person in my life, I've had a child, what I saw was, how does their goodness and purity and innocence and beauty reflect on me, and it just made me feel ugly and gross. That's the bondage of self. If I'm sitting in a meeting, and I'm listening to the speaker, and editing and critiquing, and doing a little debate or feedback in my head, that's the bondage itself. You know, and I, if I'm with my wife, who I love dearly, and I'm holding on to my point of view, to press an argument, that's the bondage yourself, I'm not seeking to understand or listening to grow wiser I'm trying to defend some egoic person I become. And I think when we come to AA, you don't know you don't know you're in the bondage of self, you don't know why everybody seems to be happier than you, it does, doesn't make any sense. You know. So that's what comes to mind for me.
John M 12:53
freedom from bondage does help. So if I'm always looking at myself, it makes it hard for me to be looking at you in God's creation, and to help you. And so one of the things that comes to mind for me, Matthew, is that when we come into this program, like you said, we don't know that we're just constantly looking at ourselves. But there's a switch that happens in a my right in other words, what I have to do is to quit, what I have to do is to learn a new way of life and to quit looking at myself on a combate consistent basis, and look outward, not only to you, but to the God of my understanding.
Matthew M 13:39
Right? Well, and well. Yeah, that's hopefully the Switch comes on. If you do these steps, you know, there's a, I'm looking at you, I'm just seeing how you reflect on me. I'm not seeing what's actually in front of me, because I'm in but you know, where are you calling the bondage of self. But, you know, I was, we were talking a little bit earlier. And in the COVID pandemic, I've done a lot of sponsorship through zoom and speaking, be internationally now through zoom. I'm sponsoring people in other countries. And I've been using the 12 and 12 a lot. And there's just this, if you read, you know, the beginning of a few of the steps bill, kind of talks about what he's learned after nine or 10 years of doing this work, you know, a being in existence, and then they write the 12 steps and 12 traditions and the fifth step, I think is so great. I'll see if I can quickly read it. Yes. Step five, all of a 12 Steps ask us to go contrary to our natural desires, they all deflate our ego. So all of these steps are trying to work on the self centeredness right. Step seven, the second sentence in the whole step. Indeed, the attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of as 12 steps, humility, the opposite of the bondage of self but as We were talking about earlier, oh, great deflating my ego getting me more humility, not a super attractive program. And if you go to the 12 step and the 12 and 12, the pay day occurs and it says, you know, where before it says ego smashing is what all the steps are designed to do, getting greater humility is the foundation principle. Then he says, the joy of living is the theme of ah, 12 steps. And it's action is the key word. So when you say the light comes on, I think if you take certain actions you for me, I would just say for me, is, you know, I was a bombastic, driven pursuer of pleasure. And I could catch it, I caught pleasure. Often, I caught up with it, and I captured it, and I experienced it. And just like any other drug pleasure, will take you on a high and then let you down hard. And what I've found through inadvertently, seeking humility through these steps and inadvertently diminishing my ego through practicing this way of life is that joy is not something that can be pursued, you have to hold still and let an accepted, but man it is way better. Way better than pleasure. Pleasure is is a inconsistent mistress joy is a marriage.
John M 16:28
Okay, your phrase that Okay, let's take these one at a time when talk to me again, about the what is said in the fifth step. What was the quote that you read out of the fifth step?
Matthew M 16:37
Yeah. The first, the first chapter, the first sentence of the fifth step in the 12, and 12 is all of a 12 steps, ask us to go contrary to our natural desires, they all deflate our egos.
John M 16:52
Ah, man. So, I mean, there's so much in there, so is asking us to go contrary to our natural desires, okay. And this is, I guess, where the rubber hits the road. You know, people are coming into a, let me just talk about when I came into a, I knew everything about how to live this particular way of life. And now you're asking me to go against all of those particular patterns that I have set up for so long? And it's hard for people to talk about that.
Matthew M 17:32
Well, but you just you just said the sentence that people say I knew everything about how to live life. Well, apparently not. You ended up in a hey, you had a certain approach data live live. But it wasn't you know, and I was I was saying to you before we started recording I, one of my five sees a long time ago guy named Mike said, you remember liver, Mike? He said, Yes. We have a lot of mail about. You heard this at a meeting but I've never forgotten it. He said, You know, I was drinking. I was practicing alcoholic and I was restless, irritable and discontent. Then I stopped drinking and turned out I'm sensitive, childless and grandiose. Right. And that's what is like, Oh, and you know, I like that quote from I think it's Clint Hodges. Might be Cliff wrote, she said if, if drinking doesn't make you want to work, the steps sobriety sure will run. And I think there's the what you're at what you're getting at is like, so why do I want to use ego deflation? Well, because I started out my approach to life thinking, I'm the center of the universe, I'm the driving force. I'm the manager, right? I'm the I'm the person who's running the show. I had broken relationships, I was prone to depression, I couldn't keep a job. I was in debt all the time. I had fairweather friends. I had a host of painful experiences that I caused other people living that way. You know, and then when you come to a and step one is you're powerless, and you're not the manager. Right? And I think we've talked before, that's pervasive, like they kind of, they kind of bait and switch, or at least that's how it happened to me. It's like, oh, I'm powerless over alcohol, and my life's unmanageable because I messed it up. That's what I'm willing to accept. When I get sober right? Now, it's very clear, no, you're just powerless and you're not the manager. It's like, forget the alcohol part and forget that his life has become unmanageable. And I wanted to try to say that today a couple things about living with the recovery program as it is now and it has to do with humility, and ego deflation, right. So I have a friend Andy, who said, you know, I wake up every morning and my son conscious mind is invading my conscious mind with propaganda.
Matthew M 20:05
I love that. But I would simplify that to say my computer break boots up in negative mode, right? So I sleep in the next room next to my beautiful wife at 25 years. I have four children, my wife is disabled on the breadwinner, right? I have all these people I work with in a I have a musical life I like to pursue outside of my regular job. I'll wake up in the morning and I'm thinking, Did I save enough money for retirement? Am I good? Am I good husband, because sometimes I'm impatient with my wife's disability. And my good Father, because two of my children suffer from anxiety. I had these I immediately like, my subconscious mind is invading my conscious mind. Again, and I walk I do the same thing. Every day I have from my own marriage, I walk down the hall and go in and meet my wife a cup of coffee, I guess that's part of the deal. If she's gonna sleep with me every night, I have to make her coffee every morning. And as I'm making the coffee in the last year or so, I look at the coffee pot. In it some this penny drops, I go, Oh, wait. I'm powerless. And I'm not I forgot to take my powerless pill. That's why I've gone down this route. I forgot that I haven't been invited to man. And suddenly, I've saved as much money as I can. I love my children, I do anything for them. I adore my wife. I'm doing the best I can with the but I don't. So that that ego ism of I'm trying I I'm running things and they may not turn out all right just disappears. I take my powerless pill. That's step one. And another thing that I think people who come to a and or have prejudiced against some of the ways we try to describe things, when I say I'm powerless, and I don't get to manage my life. It doesn't mean I'm a passive observer that says whatever is going to happen is whatever's going to happen. What I learned through Alcoholics Anonymous, and really good examples, you know, I've learned as much from watching people, as I have from listening to my sponsor doing steps is that I'm going to show up and deep bring all of my talent and all of my experience and all of my intelligence and all of my love to whatever is the task at hand. Normally, by the time I remind myself of this, the task is make the coffee and then after that it's sit down at your desk, do your job, you know, the I don't just go oh, I'm powerless and my life's unmanageable. I go there is power managing it. Right, that is far more creative and interesting and hilarious than I'll ever be. And if I just go, oh, what's Matthew supposed to do? Make coffee, answer an email, pick up the phone when his son calls it's, it really is become quite the joy of living is real.
John M 23:10
We will be continuing our conversation with Matthew in just a moment just a reminder, you're listening to sober speak, you can find us on the World Wide Web at www dot sober speaks comm you can also find the donate button on our website which you can use if and only if the spirit moves you please keep in mind this is a podcast funding by you, the listener we are self supporting through our own contribution. Sorry. Now back to Matthew. So you had mentioned something there. I wanted to go a little bit more into it in terms of the ego diminishing piece of this and the humility Okay, before I go in there, I had another thought and I wanted to cover this short question because I still I don't know if you call it struggle with this but I think about this, ruminate on it whatever the case may be and that is you and I have been blessed we have some long term sobriety. As you know, there are many, many people will come in and they will like Alcoholics Anonymous, the like the people in it. And then they're presented with the things that need to be done. You know, ie the four step eight, step nine step, whatever you want to call it, and going through the process and many end up backing out, right. Even though we you and I both know and they know what they're going back to it is a less than stellar existence and it doesn't matter whether they're getting quiet. For me, it doesn't matter whether they're getting separate hay, or getting some server somewhere else or finding some other method, whatever the case may be, but they decided not to do that. What has been your experience with kind of look around and Gods you sponsor and seeing a as a whole and thinking about the people that for whatever reason aren't willing to move forward?
Matthew M 25:30
Wow, great question. And clearly any of us who, who kind of put our backs into this work, I've been stymied and baffled by that. But I will say this that a long time ago, a mentor of mine, not in a before he said to me, the people change when the pain of staying the same becomes too great for them. And I think the issue at hand and a it's like, people, most people stay sober through the fellowship for a little while. And there's something to be said about that. I'm not Pooh poohing that, like, you come here, you're finally finding people that you're like, Oh, my God, I thought I was the only one right? And people are sharing about absurd behavior. And people around you are laughing. And you know, these guys or women are changing and living their lives, you don't immediately go, I can't wait to do a fifth step, right? You just hang out. And then hopefully, you hear what I used to hear every meeting was get a sponsor, get a sponsor. And then after I got a sponsor, it seemed like all I ever heard was work a fifth step. And there are multiple things, but I needed to hear what I needed to hear. But I think that part of the confusing issue is, somebody will come and get a sponsor, and they'll start to read the book, and they'll maybe get to step three part is step four. Right? I have a guy, a couple of them right now. We're right there kind of kind of balking. Right. So it isn't that they go, Oh, I'm gonna go back to drinking. They think I'm doing okay. What's the point of digging this up? Which bill addresses in the literature? I know, you wonder why you have to do this. Right. And I think that that's the baffling part. I think that in sometimes the pain of staying the same kills you before it becomes too great. Right. And, and that that's the sad, sad part. But many, many people have stayed sober in AA for a while and taken what little bits of the steps and then stayed and done the steps. Right? Because to me, I think I said this, John, if I if I didn't say it before, when we talked about the 12 step. That why go to prisons, right. And when I go to prisons and jails, I always asked these questions I always say Who among you have gone to a Everyone raises their hand, who among you have gotten a sponsor 10% 20% raise their hand, who among you've done the steps 10% raise their hand, who among you have sponsored others? Zero. And I've done 60 or 70 Prison panels this year, and no one has ever raised their hand and said I was sponsoring people. And these people are in prison, right? So you can have somebody do really, really well for a while and Alcoholics Anonymous, but it starts on page one, you know, sponsor people. The doctor's opinion talks about it. You know, it's helping others and that's the we were talking in the beginning as a way of life. There's some fundamental things you know, if I'm in the bondage yourself what's gonna help me quickest? Answer the phone when the most annoying sponsee calls. Within a few minutes, I will not be thinking about me right? In You know, there's there's a couple of things that let you know you're in the bondage yourself. One of them is fear. When you're afraid, it's a symptom, that you have the sickness than the bondage yourself, when I'm worrying about my retirement or my son and all that. I'm beginning to think I run the show again, the thing is need to look a certain way for me to be okay. The other one is blame. If I'm blaming you, or and I forfeited the blame delusion when I did my fifth step, and realized man, turns out was me almost 99% of the time. I did this and, you know, I like to try to bring it down to concrete. I'll give an example I in concrete things, you know, I think I don't know if I talked about this before, but you know, somebody was putting sugar in my gas tank, but I was newly sober. I didn't know who it was. And I knew baby and I was afraid. And I finally figured it out. It was kind of this old guy used to party with who had nothing to do with me. He just heard a rumor about me and decided to be vindictive and, and I was walking around like a brash, new sober guy, like I'm a victim of this guy, and somebody said, What's your part in it? And I said, What You mean, this guy heard a lie about me started sabotaging my car, I'm going to meetings, I'm working the steps, I got a little job and. And he said, Well, who is this guy? And I said, Well, he's a guy. He's such a bad guy that his own parents moved out of their house when he became an adult, because he wouldn't leave. They left the house. He's an anarchist, he steals from people too. And he's a drug guy. And they said, so how do you know and I go, I used to party with him at his house, Nico, so you hung out with criminals, he parted with anarchy. And you see, you're part of this guy.
Matthew M 30:35
You know, that's one of the beautiful, elegant, so I no longer get to blame others for my problem
John M 30:45
with it. Okay, so let's shift a little bit there to humanity, and about how we were talking about how the book says that or is it the 12 and 12? I'm sorry, I forgot that. Basically, these are all ego deflation processes. All these steps are meant to serve up some sort of degree of humility, and to fleet our ego, right.
Matthew M 31:17
So so, you know, the seven step and the 12. And 12 is a beautiful essay on humility. It says in there, one of the sentences I love and all of a literature is where we used to look at Humility is the force feeding of humble pie. We now looked at it as a nourishing ingredient, which brought serenity. Right in the put that another way is, you know, my friend, Adele, Adele is my grand sponsors, wife, and she said, I used to call him character defects. Now I call them character defenses. They're trying. They're trying to defend some character that I think that I am. Right, but I want to rush in to say, if we came to AA, and somebody said, Oh, the whole reason you're an alcoholic, is you're just really selfish and self centered. Go not be selfish and self centered. That's almost impossible. I can't go oh, now I got it. I'll just go not be I am selfish and self centered. So what does it take? Well, a profound spiritual truth that I'm not the power. That's super big, and it's in every religion. As there's humility. Jesus said, Blessed are the meek, the Bhagavad Gita list 20 qualities of a wise man. The number one quality is humility. And what does humility mean? right size SNESs. You know, Thomas Merton, the guy I love, he talks about accepting a compliment. And he says, You don't have to feel weird when somebody tells you you're really great at something or that you did something really well. You have to simply say, Thank you, knowing in your heart that you were channeled through which the spirit acted. That's humility. It doesn't mean I put myself down. It means I'm pretty content and my actual role in the universe, which is bring my talent and my intelligence to the task at hand, and the results are up to the power. But you keep asking about this. So each step, the fifth step clearly diminishes the human your ego, right and brings humility. I laid it out, I told somebody, my all my stuff, they've GIK you know, we participated in the fifth step and a good sponsor, it says in the literature will give you some back like, Oh, I did something like that, or you know, that's not unusual. And then so that's pretty. That's pretty ego deflating six and seven, are pretty ego deflating, right? You know, I have these character defects or defenses, and I'm carrying them around the nine. That's a huge, humble, humble effort, right? 11 I was listening to this guy the other day says, what he asked me a question, what do you say to people who don't believe in God, when you tell them to pray and meditate? It's like, well, if we're trying to learn humility, praying to a god you don't believe in would be a very humble thing to do. Try it. So
John M 34:23
Matthew, I've really been into the the 11th step as of late and what I mean by that is just trying to come to that place in myself where I take quiet time, and have a conscious contact with him. Now, I want to say that when I was first sober, there are people who can do it right. And they've done it and they do it. Well, as some people come into the program and they have already started. They knew how to do meditation already and such. But talk about your meditation practices and what you do in that arena because I think it's real important, everyone I've heard before, you know, I don't know how to meditate as well, you know, that's why you got to practice, you know, and even trying to meditate is meditating, you know? Right, right after. So, talk about your meditation routine and what you want to share with listeners there.
Matthew M 35:17
Yeah, it's such a good topic, because I've heard people say, I can't, you know, I don't know, I can't meditate. I've, you know, it doesn't work I've tried or I had a cynical friend in my old home group, he used to call meditating, thinking with my eyes closed. But I would say, like you said, you know, I think I'm this podcast I mentioned, like, I used to not be able to play guitar, until I put it in my lap and put my fingers on the strings, and played very badly, for quite a while. And now I've, I played pretty well, right. And it's, it's enjoy and enjoy, I enjoy it. But the first it started off very small. For me, I did have some experience, you know, before I got sober, but I really kicked into high gear as far as consistent meditation practice at about 13 years, sober about 15 years ago. And what for me, my practice itself, I started off very simply, you know, sitting quietly with my eyes closed and observing my own breath. And that's an ancient practice, because your breath is always with you, right. And the idea is just bring attention to one thing, and you're the the the news also, for people that are learning to meditate, your mind is gonna drift away, it's the nature of your mind. One of the things I always tell people, when they start is the place where I am most forgiving of myself and give myself the most room is in meditation, I never go, Oh, that was a bad meditation I've had, I've sat with him thought my eyes closed for half an hour, you know, but then the next day, the surprise happen. So bringing your attention to something, the muscle of it meditation is when you feel yourself wander, gently favor, the thing you're trying to bring your attention to, like, oh, wait, I'm now doing my taxes in my head, I want to come back to my breath. Right. And so I did that for five or 10 minutes a day for a while. And then I did a practice called the Chara, which is very profound and may not appeal to everybody. But it's from some of the things smell that be i ch Ae Ra. And it's basically sort of the your awareness, looking your own awareness. It's kind of sort of sitting still looking at your own consciousness and saying, where who who am i But who am I is a bit of a red herring, you don't want to ask yourself, Who am I, you want to try to settle your attention on what the what you see as your essence, right? It's very liberating. It's very subtle. So a lot of people it doesn't appeal to. Then I went after doing that for several years, I went on to the passion retreat, a 10 day silent retreat, where it's basically feeling the sensations on your body slowly, sweeping through your body, like you start at the top of your head. And one of the great benefits of that meditation is that you realize impermanence, like, there's something always your body, if you feel the top of your head and scan through your body, you'll feel there's always sensation over your whole body. Right? But that, but you also realize that means things are moving and changing all the time. You know, it's one of those weird science facts that every cell in your body has been replaced over seven years. So the person you were when you were two years old, you're a completely physically different person when you're nine, you know, and so on throughout your life. So where does this mean, right, and the Machar helps you, and the passion help you do that what I do now, is simple, very simple. I do Transcendental Meditation, I got a mantra from a teacher. And I do 20 minutes. And again, you don't tell anyone your mantra, it has no meaning. It doesn't mean anything. On purpose. It's a sound in your head. And I the reason I love it is I come back to it. And it's just very, very stilling, right?
Matthew M 39:13
Bringing that into what the Wisdom The program gives us is, meditation, self reflection, and prayer combined, are very powerful. So what I the most, when I'm really hitting on all six, I'll do a 10 step the night before, which is very simple. I write credits on the left side of a notebook, and debits on the other side debts on the other and I write down credits and I'll just look at my phone and go I talked to six policies today I call my sponsor I call my brother who's ill I did a podcast with John these are all credits. These are all things Matthew did that are relatively good, right? And then debits it'll be you know, I kind of knocked off a little early. You know, I did I would say we ignored that. PYP wanted me to come down and watch TV with her and I sat him out, I was a little selfish with my time, or maybe I was a little short with with my child or, you know, like grown children. And, and the beautiful thing is 90% of the time, the debits are very short. And the credits are very long. At the end of that, alright, a prayer. God, on the debit side, I'll say, God, please help me bring all of my talents and all of my attention, and all of my skill, and all of my experience to my job tomorrow, because I didn't give my job, everything it deserved from me today. And just something simple that addresses that. So after the meditation, I'll pick that up and say that prayer when I'm in this still space, and it really have you cannot not think about it when you want to shut your computer off it for 30. Prayer happens, but But that I think the bottom line, the nature of your question is, if you practice doing this, you'll be so happy about the payoff. And, and often it's a subtle thing, like you just want to like be so reactive, like I'm not so reactive to my family, I have a center where I come from where, you know, there's a lot when you got four kids and a disabled wife and live in the fire neighborhood of California and you, you know, are involved in international work, lots of stuff comes up and and meditation is just made me realize everything's okay, I can only do what's in front of me, I don't need to panic or freak out or, you know, it's very much aligning with the idea that all is well at some fundamental, fundamental place.
John M 41:50
The irony, I guess is many times, especially when people are new, is that you talk to them about meditation and such, and you know how much time they spent in the drinking and drugging. They don't have time for 15 minutes of meditation, because they're so busy now.
Matthew M 42:13
Yeah, I'm the worst guy to say you're busy too. I really am. I mean, when I say really, you're busy. I like to meditate. This morning. I have my wife needs my constant help. I have four children. I have a full time job that's I sponsored these people. What is it? You got a job and a girlfriend but but but point with great, what Bill does, it's really great. As he said, Just start. Right? He gives you the prayer of St. Francis, if you can find a guy that's too busy to at least read the prayer of St. Francis, in the morning. And you know, my belief is and I eliminated this in our last talk about prayer is that, you know, prayer changes me. I don't think it changes my circumstances or the world. I know a lot of people are listening to this, like, Oh, yes, it does. The power of prayer and all of that. But, you know, if you can just say make me a channel of your peace, where there's anger, let me sow love, like these kinds of things, where there's hatred, let me sow love. And if you just make that attitude adjustment in the morning, that's that's a great start.
John M 43:28
Yeah, you know, it's interesting, I've noticed that many times when my mind starts to do the little monkey brain thing, and I can't slow it down. If I just take some time and pray for whatever person, individual situation comes to my mind at the time. You're right, it slows me down. And I've noticed, like, even in a meetings before, where someone will start to share, and I can tell that they are uncomfortable about sharing, and they, you know, maybe they're, you know, a little shy, or whatever the case may be, or they can't quite get the words out. And sometimes that will make the room a little bit uncomfortable as well. And for me, if I just settle down and pray for that individual. Gosh, that time goes by so quickly, and I just feel like a different person. But you said it changes me.
Matthew M 44:23
Yeah. Isn't that funny? And you're bringing that to the room? Yeah, anyone peaceful like this is? Well, and isn't that what the old timers did for us, John? Like I remember I you know, sitting in a room I think I talked about sitting next to this guy pockets. Bob was his name. I think he passed away. He's homeless guy and he smelled bad, right, smelled terrible and smelled like urine and, and he hadn't showered in a long time and he came to the meetings and he wasn't drinking he had wet brain. And I remember the old timers just being so kind to him. To me, there's something wrong There's a smelly guy sitting next to me. To them, everything's perfect, right. And I'll tell you quietly what that did for me as I felt so filthy inside me that seeing how much they loved and accepted, this guy who was so filthy on the outside, healed me a little bit. I knew that I was safe there. Right. And when you say, people are getting uncomfortable, and I pray and relax, that's a demonstration. Like, there's my sponsor famously tells the story of being asked to sit next to his, one of his friend's mother's deathbed. And he was holding this guy's hand it is a old elderly mother is dying in the bed, and he's feeling the guy and he looks at the guy, and he has this realization, and it comes out of his mouth. And he says, you know, there's nothing wrong here, right? You know, there's nothing wrong, this is how it's supposed to go. Right? And that that's a real, that's a real powerful realization.
John M 46:05
So as you know, we never know exactly where these conversations. We, we have some sort of general idea what we want to talk about. And then you know, as you know, we say a little prayer on the beginning, and just let the Spirit guide is. And that's why I love talking to you, is because it's unpredictable. Yet, I know you're always so vulnerable, and pointed. And you can share things that so many people listen to, and you can articulate it in a way that few can. And I appreciate you. Is there anything that you want to say to with regards to your experience, strength and hope to wrap up our time together today,
Matthew M 46:59
Matthew? Yeah, I just I'm compelled to say, and thank you, John, I always love doing this to hopefully we'll do it again. My, my realization at 28 years sober with my staying very close to the program, but it not being my life. A is not my life. You know, I'll spend six hours work in and some time i Wife and talk to my children and walk my dog and play my guitar. And I'll spend an hour on the phone with a sponsee and go to a meeting. By the very definition, it's not my life, but it is my way of life. And I can tell you, I need the steps more than I've ever needed them, but if not out of desperation, out of just appreciation for what they bring to my ability to function in the world. And you know, there's a line in the in early in the big book on page 27. And it says he can go anywhere on this earth where other free men may go without disaster provided that he remains willing to maintain a certain simple attitude. And I was talking to my friend, Carla our the other day, and she said well, that attitudes, honesty, willingness and open mindedness. And I said, Yeah, isn't that just mean humility? Honest, willing, open mind. You know, if I approach my day that way, it's, it's, it's pretty. It's the joy of living,
John M 48:31
the joy of learning, you are correct. I'm going to go ahead and read from page 164, the big book here to wrap us up. It says, skinny. 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 carry with you in the fellowship of the Spirit. And you will surely meet some of us like me, and Matthew, and as you trudge the road of happy destiny, may God bless you and keep you. Until then, once again, my friend, this is not going to be our last time getting together. But I really appreciate this time. As always,
Matthew M 49:21
thank you so much, John, I love it. I love doing this with you. Thank you. God bless you.
John M 49:26
Always, always enjoy spending time with Mr. Matthew, and thank you again, sir. I so much appreciate our time together. And I know the listeners do as well. If you could pause your device and share that episode or the entire podcast with a friend or family member, remember, it may be just what they need today. Now on to a little bit of listener feedback, Jerry writes in and the subject line is greetings from Kansas. Well, greetings Jerry. He said I heard on one of your episodes where you mentioned a listener didn't care for the small talk before your guest speaker. Oh, yeah. Okay. Yeah, I've had a few of those actually. He says, Well, principles before personalities, that person in the puts was a lily and I can't remember the name of the person seems to miss a picture here. I'll leave it at that my personal experience leads back leads back to the early days of your podcast, and I don't wander too far from your platform, John, and I welcome your quirkiness. Thanks, Jerry. Oh, hail John M. vowed that they do need to find something else to Ohio, but I appreciate it. And all of the guests who have helped me absorb the hope, the dreams and the promises that happened when the fellowship, the steps and an unwavering love that flows in each meeting. Oh, our groups have had humble beginnings today, we thrive in rural rural Kansas, have a hard time pronouncing that word for whatever reason, rural, our rule are, you are a heel. It's not uncommon for members of travel 45 to 60 minutes to attend a meeting sometimes in a two or three car caravan on a weekday. It's awesome on us. Great. Anyway, thank you, John, thank you for every guest that you have, and and passing the wisdom to us who need a meeting between meetings. God bless, Jerry, if you're very kind, Jerry, thank you so much for listening in. You're very kind words, Patrick writes in and the subject line is blurred II see, I get a lot of email about Marty. See. He says Hi, John. My name is Patrick M. And I'm an alcoholic. And I sent you a voice message. Yes, I remember that on the website. But I was wondering if I could speak with Marty about the steps and my number is such and such. I got Patrick in touch with Marty. He said, here's a little about myself. I'm 33 years old, married and I have seven children and have been sober for about 174 days. I have been in and out of the rooms for 17 years now. And I've never been clean over eight months. But I've worked the steps because every sponsor, but I've never worked the steps because every sponsor I've ever had wants to slow walk me through the steps. I'm not saying the sponsor is the reason I relapse because because that's on me and the decision I chose to make. But I want to keep my sponsor because he's a good sponsor that I care deeply for. But Marty has said something about getting in touch with him about working the steps if you could please get us in touch. I greatly appreciate it. Thank you and God bless. And I know that those two got together and yeah, different strokes for different folks. And I'm glad that you and Marty have been able to hook up. Thank you, Patrick. John s writes, and he says Hi, John. My sober date is May 18 2012. I'm coming up on 10 years and during covert it and that's during COVID and that has been a barnburner I live across from Seattle on the Green Island under green skies.
John M 53:30
The Green Island under excuse me under gray skies on the dad of twin 12 year olds and and who have never seen me drink and never seen me jump. Charlie P shares have refocused my mind and spirit on pages 60 through 63. After a couple of relationships that did not work, I was in the club, a bit been years sober. And as Charlie said, quote, not doing so well. Unquote. Your podcast is one of those not a coincidence miracles that is reshaping and renewing my sober journey for that I am grateful. Thanks for being on the road with me, John. In that's John s wood from John and John as Thank you, John. And I'm glad that we have served a small purpose in your life. But PETA writes in Pepita hope I'm pronouncing that right. She says Hi, Gianna, love and enjoy your podcast. I'm in Wayne, Michigan and I found your podcast while I was in jail, laugh out loud. She says I was grieving terribly for the past two and a half years due to burying my mother and my oldest brother. He passed away on my birthday February 27 of last year. I was a prime example of a quote falling down drunk unquote, drinking to numb my accent. and sorrows within the last 10 years. I also buried my husband and my high school sweetheart. My dad, my grandma and two sisters, and half of my siblings were and still are alcoholics. Wow. My father was a recovering alcoholic, but he stopped the day I was born because I was the last of 11 children. And because my mom was disgustingly fed up with my dad's drinking and torture, when he finally showed up, drunk as a skunk in the delivery room, my mother told him that she was divorcing him, and then he would be, he would be paid child support for 11 kids laugh out loud. My birthday was the last day my dad had drinks. So my father named me PETA. When I was born. He was drunk in the delivery room when I came into the world. I started drinking when I was just four years old alcohol and marijuana, which was given to me my oldest brother and sister. She says me me Vita loca has quite a few interesting and hilarious stories. very fondly PETA P me Vita loca. That means my crazy life I'm pretty darn sure. I should use that. I like that. Me Vita locka. Anyway, thank you for writing in Papeete. And thank you for sharing your story. Catherine writes in and she says hello from Toronto. Well, hello, Catherine. She said I just found your podcast and I love it so much. I felt the my HP nudged me propel me to reach out. I stopped drinking when I was 14. I was tossing back vodka and orange juice and I stopped as an act of defiance to my father's alcoholism. So I stopped drinking before I crossed that crossed the cucumber to pickle lime. But I did develop a life threatening food and money addiction. Having been sober for 25 years from both from both stemming. Oh, both stemming from Oh, both stemming from a big book spiritual awakening. The big book has been my true north and I love to talk about it in the spirit of service. Blessings, Catherine. Well, thank you Catherine for right Nan. And God bless you. That sounds like quite an interesting story.
John M 57:31
Patrick writes in and he says so I've heard about Rino John and other episodes. So I thought I'd find and listen to them. And they have helped me so much. I'm 33 years old, and haven't drank or done illegal drugs in six months. But I'm prescribe suboxone and have been fighting very badly to come off. And I've been scared, because the withdrawal is one of the worst. But after listening to all three of Rino John's episodes, I have decided to put my faith in God and get this over with. I tried a new sponsor last night at the meeting. But everyone knows I'm on the suboxone and wants me to be off of it before I start the steps, so I have a clear head and I can have my spiritual experience. Thank you so much for this podcast. And I love you, brother. And we'll keep you updated if you'd like yes, I'd like Patrick. Take care sincerely, Patrick and well God bless you. Sounds like you're doing all the right things. And do keep me updated. Thank you sir. And I think this is it. Yes. Last but not least we have Stephanie writing in the Stephanie says Hello, John. M My name is Stephanie s. Okay, so why am I pausing there? In the in my little pea brain? You know that that that song they used to say, My name is Luca. I live on the second floor. Well, that started going off in my head. I don't know why these things happen, right? Why am I singing My name is Luca in my head. nonetheless. Stephanie says I live in St. George, Utah, and I'm an alcoholic. My first sobriety date is my first sobriety date is March 1 of 2011. After a good 10 year run, I joined a after a year of sobriety and I did all the things or so I thought, after five years sober, I went back out let me tell you, it's not a pretty place to be. A year ago on March 1, I decided I wanted something new and I drastically cut back on how much I drank. I couldn't commit to a life is sobriety mainly because of the shame of going back out. I decided it was time and 22 days ago was my last drink. That's the longest I have I've been sober in six years. I want something to help me out because I'm not ready for a meeting. So I started to search for something on audibles. I was thinking of something a, like the big book or a podcast or some type of meeting when I searched audibles, your podcast came up. I didn't even know I was on audibles. Thank you. She says, Katie P was my first episode. And I related to her so much, because speaker meetings were my favorite part of a, I then joined the Facebook group of yours and I am now reading the big book. I can't remember exactly who I've listened to. It's been about 1010 episodes or so ago. But it was either Emily, you or Jennifer ah, who said, quote, If you are coming back, please stay on quote. I was in my I was in my way from work. Oh, I was on my home away from work. And I cried all the way home. I'm taking this one day at a time and hoping soon to make it back to a meeting. Thank you so much for your inspiration and your thoughts. It was good to put all this in writing, Stephanie as well, Stephanie, I'm glad you put it in writing, and hopefully someone who's listening to that, that will help them as well. All right, everybody. That wraps up another week. God bless you. What's the last line from the big book? I should know this off the top of my head. May God bless you and keep you until then. And then there's this keep coming back and works if you work at if you work and not work at your works if you work at I take this one week at a time have to be back next week. God bless you all buddy.