206- Carol L- Self-Respect, Self-Esteem, Dignity, and Confidence in AA
Carol L 00:00
And I call her and tell her and she was how do you feel? I said feels good. And she goes, do you know what that is? And I said no self respect self esteem, dignity, confidence, all the things that I got as a result of working the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and living it.
John M 00:19
Well, hello friends of build, 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 boat 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 AIA or any 12 step community. We represent only ourselves. We're here to share our experience, strength and hope with those who wish to come along for the ride. Take what you want, and leave the rest at the curb for the trash man to pick up. How and how they how that was the voice of Miss Carol L. The you heard at the beginning of this episode, and you're going to hear so much more from her in just a moment. But well, you know what, before I go on to that first things first, I just for whatever reason, I caught a little What was his name? Foghorn Leghorn or Lang horn fog horn in my voice there. I don't know why just kind of sound like that to me. And now it's kind of got me going into that mode and thinking about what did he used to say, Oh, no. Oh, I'm telling you more. I'm telling you. Now, that boy is about as sharp as a bowling ball. That's kind of stuff. Anyway, I'm so sorry. You had to experience that. First things first on this here episode number 206. That's dos. Zero. sayce Yeah, nos, zero. sayce. This episode is brought to you by Sophie and Kayla, a Kate and Levi and Tim and Gerhard and David. Everyone's out there. Just get on with john and just get on with it. Do you know what Sophie, Kate and Kayla and Levi and Tim and Gerhard and David did well let me fill you in. They went to our website website, sober speed calm that clicked on the little yellow donate tab and they made a contribution also thank you once again for helping us to keep the virtual lights on. Sophie and Kayla and Kate Levi and Tim and Gerhard and David. For this episode, you know what? It is coming right out to humans and for whatever reason, my voice is cracking here I could possibly be going through puberty. You never know for a second time. I John M. Just another bozo on the bus will be the chair person for this meeting between meetings and I am truly honored and privileged to serve all of you listening is to take a seat if you will, around this virtual table like if you're like at a place where you actually can stand down it's just kind of a metaphor you don't actually have to sit down you get what I'm saying. So take a seat if you will around this virtual table and let's get started. No matter who you are, or what your past looks like you are welcome here it is an open table for all and we are glad so glad you have joined us. Speaking of if you haven't joined us in the super secret Facebook group, go ahead and look in your Facebook application and type in the words Let me think about this sober speak secret group and it should pop up and you can ask for a invitation and we will get you on in the super secret Facebook group. What else do I have here today? I think that's Oh and if you are not following us on the Instagram, we are at sober speak all one word come on in and join us in looking at all the posts is to do right yeah, look at the post and and see what's out there is a lot of good stuff to chew on. Nonetheless, I digress. Let's go on to Miss Carol. l that's what you're here for folks to hear from Carol l not my shenanigans. Carol L is with us today. She is from lighthouse point, Florida. We're calling this episode this app. self respect, self esteem, dignity, and confidence in Alcoholics Anonymous. Carol has been sober since May 1 of 1988. She grew up in New Jersey, and then she moved on over to Fort Worth Texas when she was 29 years old. Carol's Carol's last drink was at the famous Honky Tonk. Many of you may have heard it, called Billy Bob's in Fort Worth, Texas. We talked about Carol's purse first sponsor named Lois her life as a double winner. That means she's in both A and Al anon, her formation of the conception of a god in her life. We talked about the responsibility statement if you don't know what that is, just stay tuned. She talks about pop quizzes that she gets from God and then one of my favorites, her quote, she talks about not throwing the keys to the kingdom in the junk drawer. Oh, you are going to enjoy this one. So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Miss Carol. l from light. Light point, Florida. Excuse me. lighthouse point, Florida. That's a mouthful. Nonetheless. Enjoy. Carol and I will have plenty Oh, listener feedback at the end of this episode. Okay, everybody. So today we are sitting here with Miss Carol L. From Well, I'm gonna let you tell them that Carol and just a moment, Sue here. Why don't you go ahead, introduce yourself. Give your sobriety date if you choose to do such and tell people where you are in this great land of ours.
Carol L 07:32
Thank you, john for the opportunity. My name is Carol l I am in lighthouse point, Florida, which is near Fort Lauderdale. My sobriety date is May 1 1988.
John M 07:44
May 1 1988. Yes, sir. So you just passed 32 years Am I right about that?
Carol L 07:52
3333 years, three months and 13 days.
John M 07:57
Wow, that's fantastic. Excuse me for my public high school math there. I'm not always advanced, but I was in the area. That's fantastic. Carol. We're going to talk a little bit about your time before that. And the time after that do do they have a an actual lighthouse and lighthouse point.
Carol L 08:21
Oh, Hillsboro beach, which is a town a couple away from me does have a lighthouse at an inlet. Yes. It's a working lighthouse. And it in lighthouse point is named because it's under the beam of the lighthouse when the beam goes in a circle that our town is lit. Oh, wow. We're right. Our city abuts the intercostal waterway not far from the ocean.
John M 08:46
Very cool. Very cool. All right. So So you've been sober for 33 years and I think that's absolutely fantastic. So let's start a little bit with I guess, you know, your early years what got you to Alcoholics Anonymous and by the way before I do go into that I just want to let people know Carol I you speak a whole lot on zoom. Am I correct about that? So it told me how I mean you're really into the I don't know how the zoom a world of you. How did you get so I guess started are wrapped up in that.
Carol L 09:32
Oh, I love the online AA meetings. I got started because our home group had to win the pandemic kit we had to not meet in person. So a lot of groups were doing online meetings and so I did it. I joined our online meeting and we've had online meeting since 1986. But back then you would use a modem and dial into a number and it would be a chat room and we would just type lines of text to each other, wow, pending on how many people were in there. It's like imagine your phone and you're looking at text and you're looking at hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of lines of text. And so we would somebody would bring a topic up, and we would scroll to see what it is. And by the time you type, there could be 50 or 100 new messages, and we're trying to keep track of it. And it was, it was. It's so much more fun now to get to see people's faces and to hear voices with that.
John M 10:33
So Wow, that's very cool. So you really were you're on the front end of all this with the online AIA stuff. Oh,
Carol L 10:41
yeah, I got into it probably 1989 through into mid 90s or so. And at the International and Seattle in 1990, they actually had the loners, the online meeting, they had a small meeting in a group met by a tree out in a park. And then in 1995, at the CEA at the San Diego International, they had an online meeting and they had a hospitality suite. And you'd go in there and there be computer set up and we'd get to meet some of the people that we chatted with online back then.
John M 11:19
Very cool. So it you send me you've sent me quite a few text to various meetings that are going on or you like, like some sort of central location for that. Do people send that information to you? How do you get all that
Carol L 11:37
I am on several chats through WhatsApp, and I have some a friend in the UK and he has four different chats and other people have chats, different meetings I go to, some of them have their own chats. And we've board meetings and I get I don't know, almost 100 a day from all my chats and I share them with people I sponsor or people like you that I've met. And I go to meetings all over the world. And people call them zoom meetings, but they're not they're online AIA meetings, because tradition six says I don't promote an outside entity. And so when I'm saying it's a zoom meeting, that's an outside entity to me, if I go to a meeting at a church or a school, I am not at a school meeting or church mean I'm still at a meeting. And so what happens like you said, I speak I do I have shared a lot all over the world. And I'm so honored, and I'm making friends around the world. And it's because we go to these meetings and we have meetings, we make friends with each other. And we see a lot of each other at the same meetings. And then somebody hears me share and then they asked me to share with their meeting and then it mushrooms and I talk a lot about God and my early sobriety. And then I have people contacting me saying I heard you share about God and I'm having trouble with that. Would you share with me about how you found that and how it works in your life? And so I've had that happen a lot, especially this week?
John M 13:06
Yes. So and that kind of brings me to a point I want to tell people how we came to know each other and that is a friend of mine who lives here and goes to meetings with here in the Frisco Texas area. His name is Brad and Brad I apparently he was on one of these meetings you were on a yo all formed a kinship and he reached out to me says Will you please have Carol on and and so that's why we're here. Now how did you meet Brad through one of these online meetings?
Carol L 13:40
I did. Brad came was at a meeting I was at and he heard me share and he sent me a message and we became friends and communicate. And he he sent me a message A while ago because part of my early sobriety was my sponsor said because I was home drinking a lot I needed to find things to do. And so in addition to everything else, she had me write to GSO in New York and say I want to be of service. And so they wrote to me and they gave me women's names in prison that I wrote to. And there's something called loners international meeting by mail. And it's a pen pal. Just
John M 14:14
Just make sure we have that loners international meeting by mail. Is that right?
Carol L 14:20
Yes. Okay. And it's people. Some of us have meetings we go to and some people are homebound and other people don't have meetings where they are. And some people are on ships are in the Peace Corps and we write to each other and stay sober. So we write to people all over the world. And I was doing that. And so Brad had written to me and said because I told him about writing to people in prison and sharing some of those experiences he started writing to somebody in prison.
John M 14:49
Wow, very cool. Okay, so there's gonna be people that are listening to this people who may have an interest in what you just mentioned, as opposed to putting your email Out there in the ether sphere, I'm just going to tell him right me john J. Chen so we're speak calm and I will forward that information over to Carol and I'm more than happy to do that that's very cool,
Carol L 15:12
john or they can write to GSO in New York and say they want to be of service and they can also that's how I got contacted through that is by contacting GSO and they do have international they have different items so they can contact them directly
John M 15:30
wow all right good to know. So have you ever been on a podcast before?
Carol L 15:36
No sir My first time excited
John M 15:42
I appreciate you you know I know so when I have someone on the podcast we always have to you know the technical pieces always a little bit. We're not always cumbersome but it can be a little bit difficult for people to deal with and I appreciate you kind of jumping through the hoops that you had to jump through in order to get on here you know like getting a mic and in doing all that stuff and I really appreciate it Carol
Carol L 16:08
had to do it
John M 16:09
alright so let's let's talk then a little bit about Carol and coming into the program you kind of start where you want to start I believe you came in through Alan on Am I correct about that down here in my area my right I did
Carol L 16:24
I came into Alan I and and got sober also in Fort Worth Texas at the glass house group
John M 16:30
you know I know of the glass house I hear about it is still around you know I don't get over to Fort Worth very much
Carol L 16:37
Yes sir. It is about a little over 38 years old I started there when I when it was five years old and I knew all the founding members of it and they called glass house the god squad. The glass house because we should live our lives as if we live in glass houses that our insides and outsides should match. We should be transparent.
John M 17:00
Ah, I never knew that. That makes a lot of sense. Okay, so so you so apparently you lived in Fort Worth at one point did you grow up in Texas?
Carol L 17:13
No, I moved when I was 29 I left New Jersey where I'd been living and I moved to Fort Worth because somebody I knew was moving to Fort Worth and I didn't like New Jersey and I quit my job after 12 and a half years and moved to Fort Worth and I was still What was it like then?
John M 17:30
What was it like coming from Josie? Was it a culture shock or
Carol L 17:34
definitely culture shock. I moved to Fort Worth in April 1980 and it was still pretty much a backwards town it was all cow pastures and yeah, drive past fields of cows and horses and it was so bad The only pizza you could get was Pizza Hut and pizza in and cat fish was the only fish and grown up in New Jersey. He didn't eat cat fish
John M 18:03
Wait a sec. I didn't know that was the thing. You don't need catfish in Jersey.
Carol L 18:07
We didn't where I grew up. No.
John M 18:10
Was there a reason? Like it's kind of considered like a dirty fish type thing?
Carol L 18:15
Yeah, my mom I'm Jewish and my mom grew up very orthodox Jewish and catfish was one of those you don't eat fishes you know evidently I don't know I love cat fish living in Fort Worth in Texas. We got to eat a lot of fried catfish and I loved it My mom had an issue with what you can't buy salmon didn't know I got to Texas and I knew that was just the place I was supposed to be and drank at the honky tonks and you know had a lot of fun down the fort worth stockyards for a while yeah
John M 18:51
yeah now for or is it gotten a little bit more sophisticated since you got here but what said you were there but yeah back then. I know it you made it he was a countdown
Carol L 19:05
yeah there was like Fort Worth and Arlington and Dallas and nothing between any of them until 1998 when I moved to Florida or God decided I needed to move to Florida
John M 19:17
and wow yeah alright so so somehow them so you got here to Texas. Anything else you want to say first of all about your your background. You're you're Jewish, obviously. Brothers and sisters, mother and father, anything you want to go into there?
Carol L 19:34
Sure. I was. When I was about 10. We moved from the country in New York State by Bear Mountain peekskill shrub oak Mohegan in that area, to New Jersey to North Jersey. I was about 10 or 11. At the time, I was just starting seventh grade. I'm the oldest of three. I have a sister three years younger and I had a brother who was seven years younger. He passed away a year ago and asleep at 62 And in September, I'll be 71. I got sober at 37 and a half. So I grew up with a lot of responsibility. My parents worked, I don't think either of them were alcoholic, my dad could go bowling in Ebola, and he'd have a drink or two and that would be it. There wasn't drinking, nobody came home and had a cocktail or any of that so, but I grew up with parents that were pretty strict and raised me that I had to be a perfectionist and take care of everybody and everything and in some ways, it probably helped me to not do a lot of things I might have done drinking, you know, I didn't start doing as a teen and in high school as very responsible all my life. I went to work in New York City two weeks after I graduated high school, and I wasn't quite 18 yet. And so I you know, I had that all that responsibility. I think it helped me to not go off the rails as much during my drinking days.
John M 20:58
So it seems as if somehow you got hooked up with however you want to say as somebody who was of the drinking ill because you ended up going into an Al anon meeting in the glass house. Right? So how did that occur? Did you have an alcohol problem at the time it just not know it?
Carol L 21:19
Well, probably when I was living in New Jersey, I had an alcohol problem drinking, and I didn't, I knew there was something wrong. And what happened is I worked for a company and they had celebrations for everything. If somebody got a promotion or birthday, they went out drinking and so when I was 18, and working in New York City when I turned 18, which is the legal age in New York, my office took me out for my birthday and they ordered martinis because that's what they drank and I go This tastes terrible document drink this. And they got me a blackberry sour and it went, Oh, this is good. And so every time you know, we drank and what what
John M 21:57
a blackberry salad is that we use our Oh, sour. Oh, that's much different.
Carol L 22:04
Yeah. So those were good. I like that, you know, so I tended towards sweet drinks for a while. But yeah, I started drinking and then I saw some when I was about 19, this guy I went out with got thrown up sick drunk, and I swore I'd never do that. But I did do that. And then you know, it progressed and somebody planted the seed we had, I told you that company, there was a lot of drinking a lot of drinking in that company. And one day, this man I used to work with in the accounting department, he used to disappear. And I always thought he was at one of the other locations on audit or something. And one day, he told a story in the company cafeteria in it, he talked about being in a and about drinking and doing those things. And I see, he planted that seed and it took 16 and a half years for me to get it. Because when I was about three months sober, I tracked him down and he had 16 and a half years and he died a few years back with over 40 years of sobriety. And, and so he planted that seed, but see, I didn't think I was an alcoholic because I didn't disappear for days or weeks when I drank, you know, I would still come home and I wasn't like him. And so yeah, date guys, and my drinking was really bad in my 20s I told you, I was partying and drinking and and then in my early 30s, somebody that worked with me, her son and another kid were driving drunk, and one of them was killed. So I did my drinking at home the last several years. Wow. But I had a boyfriend, you know, the guy I was with and my last drunk was at Billy Bob's Honky Tonk in the what were some Really? Yeah. wasn't my last drink, but it was my last drunk. And isn't
John M 23:47
there a movie with like john travolta about Billy Bob's or something like that?
Carol L 23:52
Some movie? Yeah. Famous.
John M 23:56
My guess is you didn't see john travolta and Billy Bob's. No. Okay, so, okay, so you mentioned the the boyfriend there. And is that what got you into the Al anon room?
Carol L 24:15
Yes, we both drank about the same, but one day he just showed up in a blackout. And now we had blackouts together but he showed up and it got me into that emotional pain that for some reason must be God opened that window that day. And somebody I knew was in Al anon and a and I called her and she told me about going to the glass house for an Al anon meeting. And I have this what I know now is this loving God and He tricked me because the first few meetings that glass house were open a meetings and so I would sit there and you know, I told the Alan as I said, I always bought extra liquor and hid it in the closet. So if he drank all mine, I would still have some, and they said, but they didn't hide it so they would have some for them. And then In the alcoholics who talk and what they did and how they felt you know what happened and I identified and I think I said out loud oh yeah I feel like that I thought that way and somebody said maybe you need to be down on this side of the building because allanon was on one side and he was in the other except for open meetings.
John M 25:19
And so did you dick with allanon Did you go to age do a little both How did you work that
Carol L 25:27
I did both programs
John M 25:30
gotcha. And like 5050 or I'm always curious about that one yeah, I mean, like did you go to as many al anon meetings as you went day meetings basically,
Carol L 25:41
um, in the beginning it was probably close to 5050 but as times gone on, it kind of shifts depending you know, after two and a half when I got sober God removed that him from my life and I would go to me to cry and think it's the worst thing that happened and it turned out to be the best thing because I got to focus on my recovery a lot like intense recovery and I got to go to a lot of meetings and learn to who I am and to like myself and be okay and really put all that energy into the program. They told me to put as much effort if not more into my recovery as I did to my drinking and so I did I went to several al anon meetings a week but I also went to a lot of a but I went to at least three meetings a day for at least three or four months and also glass house had the Open Meetings so we could go to both
John M 26:47
we will be continuing our conversation with Carol L and just a moment just a reminder you're listening to sober speak you can find us on the World Wide Web as sober speak calm. 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 funded by you the listener all right now back to Carol. Well, okay, so Carol. You okay, so so the guy's gone now. And you are kind of finding yourself you're going to the Al anon meetings, you're going to the A meetings, I'm sure all the feelings are coming out, especially after you've gone through a breakup like that, and all that kind of stuff. How to like, Okay, take me over the next couple years there, what, what, what are some major milestones for you?
Carol L 27:40
Oh, my gosh, there's, when I was about two weeks sober. All those feelings were hitting and I wasn't drinking. And what do you do with those feelings, you know, I couldn't drink that was drinking, it was my survival tool, right? To get through life. I never felt like I fit in or as good and my body felt shame and guilt and remorse and all that. And so by not drinking, those feelings were coming back. And so at about two weeks sober, I wanted to drink really bad. And it happened when I was at a meeting because I was having dinner with somebody before. And she was talking about some of the abuse and things and it triggered memories. And so I was crying during this meeting, and I went in the kitchen where the coffee pot is and I was going to go drink. And there was a couple in there and they said, Are you okay? I said, No, I want to drink. I don't like feeling this way. And he said, Don't drink because I had two and a half years and went back out. And it's not better out there. And you might not come back. And if you come back things may happen to you that you don't want to happen. And so stay and so I went in the meeting, and the women sat with me. And they shared their stories, and I shared what was going on with me. And they told me I'd never heard that bad again. But I had to walk through this it was kind of like doing a fifth step. And so I walked out of there and I didn't drink that day. And at 30 days sober. Somebody asked me to read how it works. And I said no, because if I make if I stumble over the words, you guys would laugh and I'd feel embarrassed. And that whole meeting I never heard what anybody shared I just felt guilty. And I learned the guilts worse than the fear because of everybody said no, there wouldn't be a program because the glass house has the responsibility statement when you walk in that statement says I am responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out for help. I want the hand obey owes to be there. And it was drilled into my head and I sat there and that thought came to me and I made a deal with God that day that I won't ever say no to a request. And when I was about five weeks so and that was the day I got my 30 year 30 day chip john and instead of being proud I got 30 days I felt that shame and the guilt because I wouldn't read how it works, you know? And so after I told somebody I went up to somebody at the meeting and I and he goes, congratulations on 30 days and I said, Yeah, but I didn't read how it works. And he goes once the last time you were 30 days sober, and I couldn't remember, since I started drinking, I never went 30 days. And then five weeks sober. Somebody said, there's a woman who needs a meeting to her house, would you? You know who wants to go. And so I called and I met this wonderful lady that became my first sponsor, and her name was Lois, and she was sober since June 1966. She was 22 years sober. And she had Lois Lois. Yeah, coincidence, right. Lois Wilson wasn't Lois Wilson. Her name was Lois. He. And she was confined to bed the last seven years of her life, with a third of a lung on oxygen. And she taught me the program and gave me a solid foundation in aa and showed me how to stay sober by writing letters and talking to people on the phone and listening to cassettes and reading the big book and all the things we seem to be doing now.
John M 30:59
So listen, I want to circle back to something here. And I'm always careful about this, and you share what you want to share. And if you don't want to share anything, do not be concerned about her. Okay. But you mentioned earlier, that you were sitting in that a room and the feeling you I guess we're having memories of abuse, right. And that was something you were having a hard time dealing with. And I just know people when they listen to this, a lot of them have gone through the same sort of thing. And and they think to themselves, how do I get through this? So can you just expand on that however you want to expand on our Carol?
Carol L 31:48
Okay, do you want it is when do you want me to go? When I was a little girl, I was inappropriately touched by step grandfather, and was told never to tell. So I had that. And you know, that happened a few times. And, and then because of my drinking, you know, I was in an abusive marriage in my 20s. He was verbally physically emotionally abusive. And then by drinking, I put myself in situations where you know, got date raped. Things happened, you know, in a blackout, you go home with somebody and you don't know, just all that made me just feel shame. Because when I drank You know, one of the things when Lois and I were working through the steps, she said, If you weren't drinking, would you have done that? If you weren't drinking, would you have put yourself in those situations where those things happened to you. And the more I put myself in those situations, and the more things happen, just shame of going home with somebody I never would have done, you know, things like that. And having been, and even, you know, some of the abuse was being you know, in our generations, parents handled things differently, you know, we get my dad that hit me with the belt or something, not anything big, but you know, I remember having to hide from him a few times in my childhood. So just all those things that just happened. And I thought I was a bad person, and it made me feel dirty inside for some of it.
John M 33:20
Right? Oh, Carol, I I appreciate you being vulnerable about that. I know that there are going to be people out there listening that that will help. And so those were the types of thoughts that were coming up in your head during that early sobriety, right. And that's what you were having a hard time dealing with. And it completely makes sense right? Nowadays I think they call it a you know, I keep hearing trauma is something that they talk about on a consistent basis. And you know, when I got sober like you I don't know, they just wasn't talked about as much but and I am glad that it gets out there more now. And people are open and vulnerable about it because I think they say like, you know, anyway, there's a big percentage of people that have gone through this exact same thing, right? And the more they know they're not alone, the better
Carol L 34:14
Yeah, and even the men are sharing about being abused, sexually and molested and all that also because it's not just the women and the girl no baby, you know, it's tough to be a day and she was a toddler and it happened. And so you know, that promise on the wall that says I won't regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. When I came in. I wanted that so bad, so bad. And then I read the part in the big book or it says cling to the thought that in God's hands, the deepest, darkest secrets of my pasture, my greatest possession because they avert death and misery for others. And what the women did that day with me, I sitting there and we cried about it and they shared what their deep Secrets You know, and I came in and and when I saw those steps on the wall, and I said I will never tell This never you know and then I would hear people sharing it from the podium and it gave me hope that maybe I could and what I found is the more I share this, the less it hurts but I still remember the feelings but there's not pain associated with the feelings and that the last week I've been able to share this a couple times with people in more detail than I'm doing here. And if anybody ever wants my number you can always give my info out if anybody hears this later and they want to talk about it I would be honored to share with them you got
John M 35:33
at once again just email me at john God Jenna's sober speak calm and I will put you in contact with Carol okay so we so you talk about Lois right and your relationship with her take me on pass that into into a little bit further into sobriety
Carol L 35:55
okay well first made sure I had that contact with god you know that was the main thing and she told me I'm not bad trying to get good I'm sick trying to get well and
John M 36:05
okay so and I have a question on that so it you came back you know you're probably looking at yourself in these meetings and what's a nice little Jewish girl like me doing it a program like this right? Yeah. So so you grew up you you had a Jewish upbringing and background were your parents I think you said they're orthodox right? They they practice on a consistent basis I'm just wondering what your exposure was as a child
Carol L 36:34
My mother was brought up that way my father wasn't he was Jewish but wasn't brought up with religion and so I really wasn't I brought up did Jewish holidays and stuff but I wasn't brought up traditional at all.
John M 36:48
Okay, much like the Christians when they go to Easter and and Christmas only that sort of thing I got ya. So you come into Alcoholics Anonymous. And what I'm wondering about is how did that your background and your exposure and stuff How did that either help you or work as some sort of impediment to you finding a God of your own understanding?
Carol L 37:16
As always, when I was a kid if some if I did something my mom would say God's gonna punish you for this that was about it. But I thought I always made these deals with god you know God if you get me out of this, I won't do it again. God if this doesn't happen, then I break those deals. And so when I came into you, I wouldn't pick up a card if it said God, I didn't I thought God didn't care if I walked into our house I was afraid to walk into glass house church annex the roofs gonna fall in on me or something. And I didn't believe in that I thought, something's gonna happen and then you told me to believe in this God, you know, and it was really hard for me to do that. And what happened is when I was talking to Lois doing that third step is Pite five or six weeks sober is right after I met her and so we talked about that God and saw how is watching out for me all those times through my drinking and you know driving drunk and not getting a DUI or not going to jail or you know, not being hurt worse when I miss you know, blackout or drinking or anything and so I had to come to believing in a god and I had to borrow hers for a while and then I got to see how this God loves me and she said when I do step three, it says you don't make a promise to god you're making a decision to turn your will and your life over to this God and to work the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in the program when I do that, right and so and then I would read in a big book where this God's everything or nothing What do I want God to be and see and and part of the answer to your question is people would say God's their father and I couldn't have caught this my father because I couldn't rely on them they break promises to me they don't do what they say they're going to do. So I couldn't I didn't have a good father image that I wanted my god to be a father and I couldn't and people will say God's their friend and I couldn't have God be my friend cuz we're not always there for each other either. Right? And so that didn't work for me and then one day I heard somebody and they said their God is both masculine and feminine because sometimes they need the attributes of a man or a woman and I know we both have both characteristics, but sometimes I had to face something and I was really scared and sometimes I'd need courage or strength or tenderness and kindness because I was always really hard on myself and so sometimes I would draw on those attributes and and and then I found I don't invite God into my day cuz see my day small Unlimited, but what I did is I invite myself into Gods day cuz anything's possible that way. Right? And then, as I got sober, you know, I know God gave me lowest because she didn't use me She used to say, because she was really frail. She couldn't get out of bed someday she could hardly breathe or talk. And she would say, God, you know, to our sponsor, why is God keeping me alive? Because I'm really frail. And I don't want to live this way. She did it for seven years. And her sponsor said, Because God's not done with you yet. And I told her, I was so grateful God saved her for me, because you know, I couldn't sit still. I couldn't sit still for five minutes. But you know what, I go to a meeting or my meeting, sometimes it'd be sitting on her bed for hours, and we'd Listen, we had cassette tapes back then. And so we would listen to Speaker tapes, or we would read the big book, or the 12 and 12, or the little red book. And we read Shel Silverstein books, and she taught me how to laugh and to be a kid, because I didn't have that childhood in. And so through that, I got to see this God working, right. And she had a poem called I am there that the Apollo 15 astronauts put on the moon. And that helped me find God. And, and I'll tell you, you know, one of the things that helped me with God, I told you how I felt about myself, which isn't what I do now. But I had two dogs, and I came home from this meeting one night, and one of my two dogs was really sick. And so I called Lois. It was 10. At night, I'd gotten home from a meeting. And she said, Do you have antibiotics? And I said, I have some from my other dog. And she said, we'll give it give her the antibiotic, and then give it to God and go to sleep. I said, How do you do that? You know, I'm probably not even two months sober. And she said, You go here, God, here's Jenny. And then you lay down and you go to sleep. Yeah, me, right. And I and I went to bed and my other dogs next to me. And I said, God, I'm giving you Jimmy. And if you take her life, I'll try to understand and if you save it, I'll be really grateful. And I fell asleep. It was the first good night's sleep I had in a long time in the morning, she was better. And I took her to the vet, she got a shot. And by the time I got home, Jenny was okay, you know, she was gonna die the night before. And I thought if God cared that much about Jenny, maybe God will care about me. That's kind of how I did my third step.
John M 42:16
Carol L 42:17
And after that, you know, and then I was four months sober. And I went to a conference in Lake Murray, Oklahoma. And it was Labor Day weekend. And I met a lot of people from Dallas and they go come to Dallas, I said, I don't drive to Dallas, the traffic's terrible, I hear it on the news. So I bought it because I'm not spending money on liquor, I buy in cassette tapes, right. And so I'm listening to these tapes, and I'm crying, and it's bumper to bumper traffic on Sunday, and I'm watching the car in front of me and not hit it. And all of a sudden, I didn't know the interstate forked off to go to Fort Worth. And so I'm going straight, just looking at the bumper in front of me and I looked up and I see stemmons freeway and Mockingbird lane, with your streets in Dallas, right downtown Dallas, and all of a sudden, it's like I got this voice from God. And it said, you can do what you don't think you're doing. No, you can do just follow what's in front of you. And it was a really big lesson for me. And you know, now I have a camper van travel all over the country, and I drive anywhere. So you know, having all these little stories for me, and you know, and I had when I was four years sober, I got colon rectal cancer again and had depth surgery and it was my footprint story. I could spend an hour telling you all the parts of that. But I you know, I was laying on the stretcher outside the operating room talking to an anesthesiologist and I said you sound very familiar. And he took his cap and his mask off and he leaned down and he said glass house. And I said can we invite God into the operating room? And he said yes. And we said this, the Serenity Prayer and some doctor walks by goes to you to know each other and Jim goes yeah, we're both sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous. You know, and I had a 99 to one shot of a reversible colon surgery and I got the 1% but it's my footprint story. And if God says I'm going to put you back the way you were but you lose those lessons and experiences and so does everybody else I'd say no thank you God because I've been able to share it with so many people in and out of the program you know, I've got so many gods story so yeah,
John M 44:37
yeah little God shots as they call it. Yeah, so you said something about simple prayers your sponsor gave you that you were really new the kind of help you and you still share with others today to remember that right?
Carol L 44:55
Yes, you do. One of them was God if it be your well can I not do things to hurt myself anymore. That works in lots of ways helps me eat or keep my mouth shut or speak up. She said, If I do things for God, I can't get resentments over it. You know, if you cook a meal and somebody doesn't like it, if you did it for God, you know, whatever it is do things for God. I had to take care of myself for God, because if I don't, I can't do what God wants me to bless it or block it and let me know the truth. But that one works really powerfully. I had to bless it or block it. And let me know the truth. Ah, yeah. And then I had to ask God to please put me in the place I can best use my talents and God given abilities according to God's purpose for my life. And I had to put a note on my mirror and mine said, Dear Carol, I know what I'm doing love God. I wish I had lots of what's the other one? There's so many of them that I have. I think I've
John M 46:05
heard you talk a little bit before about pages 84 and 83 or 88, especially in your early sobriety, if even now, so talk to me about how you use those pages. And by the way, we do have people who listen to this sometimes who are not familiar with what we're talking about. They just like to hear the podcast. And this is the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous we're talking about. So 80 480-586-8788 are very quoted. And very important. Their guests are all important but one of the most quoted in US portions of the big book so why don't you talk about that a little
Carol L 46:48
okay. When I came into the program, you know, my best way of thinking and living got me to you guys in the way it did to AIA. And so lowest told me that the instructions a big book is not a novel, it's a textbook and so every day first thing in the morning, last thing at night before went to bend sometime during the day, she told me to read the third step prayer, which is on page 63 the seven step prayer on page 76 I had to read 68 through 71 and she said ask God to help me set my deals in all areas of my life, not just sex, and to read 84 through 88 which is 1011 and 12. And it really helped me because it says upon awakening I think about the 24 hours ahead just that short timeframe, sometimes less sometimes it's five minutes or an hour and then it tells me what to do and it says pause when agitated or doubtful asks for the right thought or action and then at night it says review my day. And what do I do and then step 10 is on the 84 in it it says continue to watch for selfishness dishonesty resentment, fear and I have to add lately frustration and feeling overwhelmed, I add other things but it tells me all those those pages 84 through 88 are really important because it tells me what to do when I have these things happen. You know ask God to remove them immediately and and take action if I need to and turn thoughts to God and and nowhere in the big book third, and sem nothing says take everything away. So I'm going to live happy, joyous free forever and ever have challenges. I asked God for strength and God gives me difficulties to overcome to make me stronger. And I've learned it's not the storm that gets me it's the forecast. These may happen and not you know, then I'm suffering in advance for something that may not happen and if it does, it's not happening how I thought it was that's for sure. And so I had to do that three times a day and then she had me write a journal, a gratitude list and a list of things I did to help my self esteem plus call people you know all those things go to people looks more scared than you and call them and write the letters and I was so busy because I went to a meeting at seven in the morning worked went to a six and eight o'clock meeting and then I had to make phone calls from write letters and write all those things to think about drinking anymore. Because see, I drank at home so she had to fill that time for me. Right and so but those pages because I've read them so much read how it works when stuff happens. Those things we read just happened in my head, like something that I go Oh, I'm at a turning point okay, here I make decision. And I used to have to pray I'm willing to be willing to be willing to try something different. And now I got to where Okay, God however this goes this I'm gonna have an experience you let me share with somebody else someday. And there's always somebody that's had that experience and there's always somebody saying me too Can I go with you? And I don't do this. You know my favorite. There's a couple favorites in the big book. Besides those pages but by you know what? Oh, and the other thing that's important is I read the big book or any of our lives out loud in the singular. Because I remember it, if I read silently my mind wanders, and I might not remember what I read. But if I read it out loud, I'm seeing it, I'm hearing it. And reading in the singular, it seems it applies to me more, right. And so I found that helpful. But things are just, I don't argue I don't do contempt prior to investigation. But I love the last two pages a case to the kingdom because it says that it's a limitless expansion program, I'll never outgrow it. And it says where I used to run from responsibility, I find my self attacking things with surprising vigor, and apply and the techniques of the program. And my other favorite promises on the top of page 100. And it says, both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen. Since when you look back, you will find that the things that came to you, when you put yourself in God's hands are far more wonderful than you could have imagined. Follow the dictates of a higher power your President, we live in a new wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstance. So it means I don't walk it alone, I have to persist. I've had so many remarkable things. If I stay in the now and sometimes it's not when I look back, I see things as I'm growing. I don't go through my growth through them now. Right? And I get to see them as it's happening. And God gives me these pop quizzes. Carol, what do you know? And how are you applying it? Because it's easy to have a good program when stuff goes well? What's my program when things happen, like getting cancer for the fourth time, or watching my parents die, or my husband die? We're going to five international conventions and having great choice. You know, and so I've had so many things happen and had so much fun sober and I'm so grateful to be here and have this way to live. You know, I don't throw the keys to the kingdom in the junk drawer. I cherish I cherish my program and I keep growing and I still do my Alan on program and sponsor people in both programs. But I have to say Alan on his help saved my serenity in my life and and I like contented sobriety john, I don't want to just be sober. That was that white knuckle two week thing I would go through. But I like to be contented sobriety. I remember calling lowest what she died when I had a year sober. And right before she had 23 years sober. But what she taught me is still my foundation. And I remember calling her one day and I said life's boring. There's no chaos. I don't have a knot in my gut. I don't know what this is. And she goes, really? You don't know what I said? No. And she said a serenity. Oh, see, I didn't know what serenity was when I had to take different actions and something would happen. And I call her and tell her and she was how do you feel? I said, feels good. And she goes, do you know what that is? And I said, No. self respect, self esteem, dignity, confidence, all the things that I got as a result of working the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and living it. You know, and I'm so grateful I get to share it and give it away. And now tell you about it. So maybe it'll help somebody else someday.
John M 53:26
There we go. And that's exactly what we're gonna do with this episode. You're telling me about it, but we're gonna tell quite a few of the people about it. And I appreciate you, Carol, so much. This has been a pleasure spending time with you. I'm going to read from page 164, the big book here to kind of wrap us up, says the band or yourself to God as you understand God. admit your faults to Him and do your fellows. clear away the wreckage of your past. give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us like me in parallel. As you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you Until then, once again, Carol, thank you so much again.
Carol L 54:21
thank you john for having me. It was a honor and a pleasure and I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you.
John M 54:27
God bless you. Thank you, Carol l one more time for coming on the pod and sharing your experience strength and hope with the listeners and if you are out there and you're listening to this and you thought to yourself, you know, I really think selling so my friend or so and so my family member should hear this or sell so my coworker should hear this. Well go ahead and pause your device and share that episode with them. It Maybe just what they need today. Now on to a little bit of a listener feedback. Megan dmws me on the gram. She says john, you have a fantastic podcast and Umer she says I am 50 days sober today and I was really struggling tonight, I opened my Spotify and put in, in quotes Alcoholics Anonymous and the podcast about the third step came on and it was perfect exactly what I needed. Thank you so much Miss Megan for uh, sharing that I really do appreciate that. So good to hear from you. Bob dubya from Fargo, North Dakota also writes in on the ground the Instagram he says john today I celebrate three years sober from alcohol. Good for you, Bob. And I just wanted to say thank you for being a part of my journey. You do a great job on the podcast and you are my meeting between meetings Many thanks, Bob. W Well, excuse me they're all da da I don't know what happened. Well, I know what happened. I just got a little tickle in my throat. But nonetheless, Bob w from Fargo North Dakota says many thanks and congratulations Bob on your three years. That is absolutely fantastic and thanks for writing in and you said to me thanks for being part of my journey and I say to you my friend Thank you back at you for being part of my journey. kryta de elmes on the i g criteria Krita k r i t a i think i have that right she says hi john. I recently just discovered your podcast. I love it in all big capital where she says I'm interesting. And check out your Facebook correct page. Oh yeah remember this. Told Krista to go to the Facebook group and just requestor in and we'd get her in which we did. She says I've been a member of Al anon for eight years. I love listening to a recovery even better than al anon speakers like Bill see and Matthew m have the spiritual recovery I want you are an amazing HOST THANK YOU for the podcast. And I pass that those sentiments on to both Bill C and Matthew m r appreciate you writing in Corona by the way I always love to get messages regarding the various guest speakers that we have on here and I like to pass it on to them and let them know that their time is worth it if you want to write me a john j o h n as sober speak calm or you could just I am no not I am DM me on the gram. Another gram dm Intel I'm kind of getting caught up on the gram dm ship Aaron DMS on the IGA she says hi. I just started following your podcast, the 11th when I got completely sober. I've listened to 43 episodes so far. You're my meeting between meetings when I work and I listened to it to help keep me on track. Well, Aaron, you are on a very fast pace. I'm sure you'll be done with all of them pretty soon, but thank you so much, and I'm glad you have started this journey along with us appreciate it. Leanne dmws on the i g as well. And Leanne says John M I am a newcomer to AEA and I am 42 days sober. Good for you Diane. Excuse me. I just said Diane is Leanne. She says I live in the United Kingdom and I love listening to your podcast while driving to work, doing housework or needing that meeting between meetings. I love your humor and your enthusiasm. So a big thank you and here is to another 24 hours. Well here's do I like that. Cheers do another 24 hours over there in the UK. Leanne. Thank you so much for writing in Kayla, also dmws en la is the great she says I absolutely love and all big capital letters, the server speak podcast. I'm currently listening to it right now as she's typing and she says it definitely helps me get through the days at work. I'm on episode number 38 and with your attempt a sponsor is got a big smile. phase where she's saying there is a recorded number, Episode Number 38 with my sponsor, Bob L, and I call him my temporary sponsor, which he has been since 1989 as still say that he needs to earn his day as my permanent sponsor, so I just don't want him to get too comfortable I guess. She says I'm listening to you from Tampa, Florida. I have three months in gift for you, Kayla, first time of sobriety and loving every second of it. Thank you for making making such an awesome podcast. Well, thank you for being such an awesome listener. You're so awesome, Kayla. Oh, you're so awesome. You did was absolutely lovely. You're here, Kayla. Anyway, I don't know what I'm doing. But I really appreciate you right now. Michael writes in and he says Hello, John. M. Thank you for your email. Oh, let me look here. Thank you for your email and I enjoyed your recent podcast. I happened upon sober speak during a search of sobriety in my podcast app. Oh, I had reached out to him because he had sent in some. Oh, I think he's subscribed does what it was. He says I'm 53 years old and I live in Rockledge Florida Rockledge that sounds like something that would be from like the Flintstones or something. But nonetheless, I live in Rockledge, Florida, which is located on the eastern coast near the Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral area. My sobriety date is June 16 of 2019. The speaker from today's podcast jack Wu absolutely resonated with me in many ways. I listened to it in its entirety. twice today actually. Thank you for your service and I look forward to more of your podcasts future as well as previously recorded. I have the most excellent and beautiful weekend Michael s. Thank you Michael s you have a good weekend as well. Well Nia, you're probably not going to be listening to this going into the weekend. But you could who knows have fun there and Rockledge and I'm glad jack resonated with you. Matthew, I am not the Matthew m that's on the podcast a lot. But another Matthew Adam wrote in he says john, this is Matthew and my sobriety date is 814 19. I live in Louisville, Kentucky. I just celebrated two years. For the past couple of months. I have congratulations. By the way, Matthew, I felt I just kinda been. I felt like I've just kind of been on a spiritual plateau. In my recovery. I reached out to some of my support group and they really recommended to put more into my recovery. Looking back on my recovery over the past few months. I probably have slowed down in a bed, and mainly just do well hold on a second. My son has come in Yes. Oh, dinner's ready. Okay, I'm gonna tell Mom, I'll finish this up real soon. I'll be right down. Sorry, everybody. That was my son, the wonderful son that I have. And he is telling me that dinner's ready. And I'm sorry to Matthew that I interrupted this. But anyway, I decided to take the suggestion. So I just joined a study group study group, doing a 16 week step study and decided that instead of music all day at work, I would listen to her recovery based podcast some of the day. That is how I stumbled on your podcast, I listened to a few episodes. The one that really helped me a lot was episode number 198. with David G. I really appreciate your service and commitment to helping others I already sent it to a few other people in my support group, including my girlfriend, thank you, and I'm grateful I stumbled upon it. God bless Matthew. Well, God bless you, Mr. Matthew, and I'm glad we can help bolster if you will support if you will. Be a supplement, if you will, to your already existing program. All right, last one, and I got to get down to dinner. Tim t writes in and Tim says, Hi john. I am based in downtown LA, Los Angeles, in my home group is grounded at Central Market grounded at Grant's oh excuse me, grounded at Grand Central Market. Although 18 months ago, we launched our grounded in the cloud platform and grew our daily morning meeting that used to average between 12 and 15 people to twice daily meetings of grounded in the cloud. We are now averaging about 75 daily participants. It's amazing how the pandemic force does to pivot overnight. And we are now reaching more people than ever. Oh, God bless you. By the way, I like that grounded in the cloud. So I think what that is, is a reference to the line in the big book that says we need to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground glass, excuse me ground and have our head in the clouds with him. I think that's what that's a reference to anyway, he says, I love your podcast, and I've been listening almost every day catching up on old episodes that I haven't listened to before. The quality of the long term sobriety is staggering. Yesterday, I listened to all three of Brian Pease interview, he's absolutely wonderful. I get it, Tim. I am was mesmerized by his insights into the first three steps. Frankly, all of the speakers have been amazing. I have been promoting your podcast to some of our new newcomers. from a personal standpoint, my sobriety date is April 27 of 2015. I have a sponsor and I sponsor others and I wake up every day thanking my higher power for the life I have today. Thanks for all you're doing today to live the message of Alcoholics Anonymous, Tim T and then he goes his phone number so you know one of these days I'm just gonna accidentally read that and then and then maybe I'll accidentally forget to anyway it'll be the last time anybody writes in right. Put his number out there on the airwaves, nonetheless Alright everybody, I got to get down to dinner. The lovely Mrs. m I'm sure has cooked up something absolutely fantastic. God bless you all and for another week at keep coming back at works of you work. As you know I do this one week at a time. Hope to be back next week. And until then, be well. Peace of love. Adios.
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