Rich B 00:00
After they left that hospital room, I had a thought come through my head that I have never had before in my life and I've never had since. And that thought that went through my head was if you live through this, if you get out of this hospital, I'm going to find one of those old guys with that big book in their hand in that smile on their face. And I'm going to do every single thing that's in that book. And in case anybody can't tell, I'm not a guy that listens that anybody, so I have no idea where that thought came from. I got a pretty good idea now 17 years later.
John M 00:39
Well, hello, friends of build obeah 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'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 dipika. Greetings from deep in the heart of Texas. To me amigos, amigos, amigos. That was the voice of Mr. Rich B that you heard at the beginning of this episode here number Episode 208 or does zero or Joe or 208. You know what I'm saying? Anyway, that was the voice of Mr. Rich but for and you're going to hear so much more from him in just a moment. But first things first, and forgive me I gotta gotta catch up on a few folks here. This episode is brought to you by Eon and Tim and Terry occurred. Joshua and Dave and Jason and Joanie and Laura and Jane and Tanya, and I even have an anonymous in there. So you ask what exactly did Ian and Tim and Terry curtain Joshua and Dave and Jason and Joanie and Laura and Jane and Tanya do will let me fill you in they went to our website, so to speak calm they clicked on the little yeller donate tab and they made a cut your bishi own Thank you for helping us keep the virtual lights on Ian and Tim and Terry and curtain Joshua and Dave and Jason and Joanie and Laura and Jane and Tanya and anonymous. This episode is coming right out to humans. I, john m will be the chairperson for this meeting between meetings and I am truly honored and privileged. Once again, you can't see it but I've got my little nama stay hands up right here. truly honored and privileged to serve. All of you listening is to take a seat if you will, around this virtual table and let's get started and remember
John M 03:50
no matter who you are or what your past looks like, you're welcome here it is an open table for all and we're glad you have joined us. I am going to get right into our guest this week because this is absolutely fantastic. I know you're going to enjoy this one. It is Mr. Rich B and this one is entitled stupidly smart drunk and it'll become very apparent while we called it that while we're as you're listening to the episode, um, that rich is a surfer from the Ocean City, Maryland area, I guess not from the Ocean City, Maryland area. He is from Ocean City, Maryland. We talk about all kinds of topics and this is just a sampling, if you will, we talked about the difference between wisdom and being book smart. The alcoholic double life. You've got to hear a story about being on the bus with Nikki and Reed and one of my favorite quotes from the episode is a clear conscience. Makes a soft pillow. Oh, isn't that the case? We talk about the delusion of the alcoholic mind. We talk about a term rich uses here. He calls it being buggered. You'll just have to listen in to see what he means by that. And he also talks about being a, quote, warrant drinker. What that means. He talks about the joy of his mother's couch of mom's couch. And then finally, well, this is finally at least what I want to tell you about as he talks about Jeannie, excuse me, Janine and her duckies he got to listen in to hear what he has to say about that So ladies and gents without further ado please help me welcome Mr rich be rich be will be not on only this be with this week but we will have a follow up next week for rich with part two I know you're gonna enjoy this one I absolutely enjoyed it so much spending time with rich and just keep in mind we will have plenty Oh, listener feedback at the end of this app. Enjoy. Okay everybody so today we are sitting here with Mr. Rich and rich to say well rich first of all I'm going to go ahead let you introduce yourself. Give your sobriety date if you would please and let people know where you are in this great land of ours plays
Rich B 06:30
you bet my name is Rich B I am from Ocean City Maryland and a little island off the coast of Maryland where seven miles long by one mile wide pack full of alcoholics. My sobriety date is August the 30th of oh four and as you may note Today is August 21. So I'm nine days away from going around the globe without a drink wrote orbiting the Sun sober for one more year
John M 07:01
going around orbiting the sun or going around the globe. That's great. So 2004 that is helped me with the math there.
Rich B 07:12
A B 17
John M 07:14
Wow, congratulations on 17 years that's absolutely fantastic. And your HomeGroup I believe is the primary purpose group is that right?
Rich B 07:24
You're correct we are a big book study on Thursday nights here in Ocean City Maryland we go from seven to 815 and we do our best to bring an old textbook from 1939 till life for the hip slick and cool kids of 2021
John M 07:47
love it and you know Charlie p Do you
Rich B 07:50
he's a great friend great friend
John M 07:52
yeah he he's been on many times talking about the primary purpose group and kind of working through the steps and such and a lot of our listeners have actually ended up joining there I think it's a Tuesday night meeting that they have on zoom now they're they're not located in offices so they do they join the big book group that Charlie has there but anyway, I Charlie's just a fantastic guy. Alright so let's start here a little with Mr. Rich and from Ocean City Maryland. Rich What are you go ahead now I've heard a little bit of your story oh one thing I did want to let people know is that rich and I came across each other because our both of our good friends Mr. Matthew m who's been on the podcast many times referred me over to you I happen to find rich online I was able to listen to a couple things. absolutely loved it and I've been really really looking forward to having rich on so we're so let's go ahead and start off a little bit with your background. I know it was a little chaotic and not really because of the people around you if you will, it was more rich be in views with a chaotic system if you will. So why don't you give people kind of a thumbnail sketch of your background growing up where you came from and all that kind of stuff.
Rich B 09:21
I grew up in a really nice part of Baltimore, Maryland and out in the suburbs on a little horse farm and nobody in my whole family drinks No mother father, I've they're both just wonderful, moral, loving, amazing people. Father was he's no longer with us. I have one little sister Her name is Whitney. She's never had a drink. No aunts and uncles drank no grandparents drink. So for any geneticists out there that feel that alcoholism is is passed on that way You may be right, but certainly not in my case. My sponsor seems to think that I became alcoholic by drinking too much. So I'm going to put a plug in for drinking, if you're alcoholic and trying to figure out how it happened, it may have something to do with drinking might also be genetic. But what do I know? I'm an idiot on an island off of Maryland.
John M 10:25
Okay, so you're growing up in this fairly normal or normal from, for lack of a better word family. And so when did your alcoholism slash drug addiction, whatever you want to talk about start to raise its ugly head.
Rich B 10:46
I would say I first experienced that magic. Really the disease portion, I think reared its head before the solution portion, which was the drinking, in my case, right? When I first did, you know, experience drinking, it put out the fire in my life of what was going on the discomfort, which is what makes me alcoholic, I think the only thing that makes me any different than my wife, who is not alcoholic is that, you know, somewhere around five drinks, I experience, ease and comfort. She doesn't, you know, she just keeps on suffering. But what I actually suffer from is a sense of conscious separation. And I began to experience that in third grade, my parents saved up their hard earned money to save me to send me to a private school. And I didn't see it that way. I was angry at them, you know, for about 20 years as a matter of fact, and I didn't understand why you would rip a kid away from his friends and his comfort zone and a school he very much enjoyed to go on a long school bus ride with kids, you don't know that we're in a different socio economic class that picked on me. I found out that, you know, they said we were poor. Nobody had ever told me that before. But third graders, they don't hold back. They just tell you how it is. They're like a good sponsor at an early age, right? And, you know, I was uncomfortable there until about seventh or eighth grade. Nobody told me in my alcoholism, that one day I was going to meet john and be on a podcast or in a cafe or I would have perhaps taken better notes. When you drink and drug like I do, there's certain details you just don't remember. And I think I was in seventh grade. But I couldn't swear to it. Some of the older kids said you want to skip last class and do some drinking. And I said You bet. Like I've been doing that my whole life, right? When in fact, I'd never skipped any class. I was a good student. As I sit here today, I've never gotten a B, I don't know what a B looks like in any school. Right? So that wasn't my problem, right? I didn't have academic problems, right? I had alcohol problems. But when they it didn't seem like that on the front end, it seemed like I discovered this wonderful solution. Because when they said do you want to skip last period and do some drinkin? And I said yes, man. It was a game changer.
John M 13:15
So I want to talk to you real quick about that, where you said you you've never gotten a b i, first of all, I cannot relate to that. I am not in that camp. What is the been like growing up in terms of both your recovery and just personal life? Not having to struggle whatsoever? Is scholastically. And obviously that you're highly intelligent. And I'm sure this works for you and against you. Can you talk about that a little?
Rich B 13:50
my sponsor would love to talk about that a little because he, he would, he would he would quickly pipe up and say, Oh, he's just been educated far beyond his natural intelligence. He would also point out that there's a tremendous difference between wisdom and booksmart saw, so forth and in the doctor's opinion talks about synthetic knowledge, which by the way, is all we do in our school systems, right? We, we teach each other things we invented, right, such as math and these the classics of literature, these are things man produced, right? And if you can remember those things that we made in the first place, and spit them back out on paper, you get straight A's, and that doesn't make you wise wisdom is the ability to learn from the mistakes of others. And I can assure you, I've never learned from anyone's mistakes but my own. I've had to make each and every one of them. No matter what you tell me no matter what you show me. I've got to try it myself because my case is different. Right? Go ahead to
John M 14:55
show Did you think we did that become a an impediment if you will to getting sober your intelligence.
Rich B 15:05
Well, I thought I was right that would i would because of the grades, because mostly I because I was celebrated right in our academic system, a combination of academics and sports. I would win awards like kumada, a and Summa Kuhn louder and I would walk across stages and they would put sashes around me. Right, and the whole school would clap and the headmaster's and, and that's hard to wrap your mind around when you're getting arrested later that night, and you're in the police station eating a cold bologna sandwich right now. How can the smartest guy in ninth grade beat in a cold bologna sandwich in a jail cell Two hours later? You know what alcoholism is the answer to that. So I'm 100% convinced that alcoholism could care less what your IQ is. And if you suffer from you know, self while suffer from self, right, if you if you believe your own press that people are giving you the more accomplishments that I have in this world, and the more feedback and plaques and awards and things the world gives me the more it encourages a guy like me to run on self will, which as we know, is the opposite of what we're going to need to recover.
John M 16:26
Did you feel like a hypocrite? I mean, do you remember having those feelings?
Rich B 16:31
Oh my gosh, I'm gonna fast forward a little bit. I get arrested a lot in high school. But because I'm a varsity athlete in three sports and because of my grades, they get me through high school and I go on a full scholarship to a Jesuit College in San Diego. I picked that school because it was 3000 miles away from my parents and their rules and values and integrity. And I've been a surfer I don't remember learning how to surf. I've it would be like me asking you, john, tell me about your experience learning to walk. Right? There's certain things we just don't remember. And I want it to be in San Diego for the surfing and the women and to be away from my parents and I should have looked into what Jesuits I didn't even know what Jesuits were right. You know, but that's how I operate. It's kind of ready fire aim, right? We'll figure it out as we go. Keep your game face on. The last thing you want to let anyone know is that you don't know. Right? I've my whole life. The only thing worse than not knowing is if you know I don't know. So anyways, I'm going to that college. They're helping me pick the classes so that I can graduate in four years and go on to other things. I'm playing division one, soccer at that school. So I have two practices a day in the morning and at night. And then, you know, there are these four guys on the soccer team that are also on scholarship. Tijuana, Mexico is about 25 miles south of the University of San Diego. And because I came from this little horse family, and I'm on scholarship in San Diego, I mean you don't have to be the smartest guy in the room to figure out that it's the guys with the stuff that are getting the women right, I was going to need a nice car and some nice clothes. So these guys these four other players on my team that were there from Tijuana, they each had like 50 cousins apiece that lived just across the border in Mexico and they knew how to get this green stuff that these rich kids like smoking at the school and I start bringing that across and I'm shrink wrapping it to mail it back east right I didn't want to leave out any of my friends back home or certainly anyone in Texas that needed anything. And so now my days getting really confusing right I have morning practice I have Jesuit classes I have to occasionally run down the Mexico bring up this product I have to spend my afternoon shrink wrapping in my room with one of those vacuum sealers that Tiger won't eat what a tiger can't smell and then I'm shipping this off I've got evening practice and now get this because you know what my sponsor would tell you about my might say he's not smart he just remembers things right? I'm a good remember. Right? That's really all I am. And I know from step six and seven in our program, I've done nothing to achieve that right I could take no credit for that. I didn't go to remembering school. I don't I don't stay up late doing remembering exercises. You know. You can either read a page right there are people that can read a page. And remember I can tell you what page it's on roughly and where it is or you can't hear it.
Rich B 19:45
That's confusing because you think you're doing something right and you're not. But really that's all I am is a good remember I read something and I spent it but the school recognizes that and they say we want to start an office of alcohol and drugs. Education here for the students. And we want to pick one student to be the founding father of the Office of alcohol or drug education, and we want to get them certified as an alcohol and drug, you know, educator, Counselor. And the idea was that the students that are struggling, this was an idea that they don't have to go to teachers or administrators, it would be a fellow student, that would be certified to help them with their alcohol or addiction problem. And they send me to become that guy, right? To start the founding father, right. They said this was gonna look really good on your resume. And I don't know about you, john, but I like looking good on paper. I don't like being good or acting good, right? But I like looking good. So they get me certified. And I'm an alcohol and drug cat, right. So now here's my days, I have to get up early, go to the 6am soccer practice, go to the Jesuit practices shrinkwrap dope in the afternoon before I go to the evening practice, and then I have to drink a lot, because now I got office hours and the Office of alcohol and drug education from seven to 10pm. Every night, where I have to counsel all of my fellow students with their alcohol and drug problem, right. And by the way, I tell them, like, you know, john, you look a little wound up, you know, I can tell you're experiencing some anxiety being away from home and your parents, and here at college, you know, when we get out of here at 10pm, when I'm finished office hours, if you want to stop by my dorm room, I can get you set up with a little little setting to smoke that'll help you take the edge off. And then I go home at 10 o'clock and have to drink enough to fall asleep. Right? Are the alcoholic often lives a double life, right? And what I now know is that if I would have only had to, that would have been a wonderful thing. But at that point of my life, no two people in my life that loved or cared about me were getting the same story from me. And if they were ever in the same room at the same time, the gig was going to be up right. And what I also know from you folks in Alcoholics Anonymous, is that a clear conscience makes for a soft pillow. And I had anything but that so you're darn right. I knew deep down inside that that boogie woogie rumble that lives deep down when nobody's around and the lights are off, that my whole life was I was a fraud. I was a hypocrite. I wasn't what was on that resume.
John M 22:25
So I want to go back just a little bit before we go forward. And because I have heard you tell the story before of being on a bus, when you were in third, fourth grade, something of that nature. Do you know what I'm referring to?
Rich B 22:45
I sure do. That goes back to my that first experience with alcohol on that school bus right when my parents sent me to that school in third grade. I don't know what they do in Texas or wherever the listeners are listening from. But in Maryland, there is a social hierarchy on the school bus where the older kids sit in the back of the school bus. And if you're a younger kid and you go back to the school bus you get beat up right and the school there was a kid on that school bus his name was read. And Reid's job was to beat me up every day for something another right I thought this cool assigned him to me right? Like this is your designated buttkicker every was good at his job, man. And there was also this girl on the school bus Her name was Nikki and Nikki was smokin hot. And I had no idea how to talk to Nicki or any other girl for that matter, right? I'm just a little dorky kid, right? But I like Nicki, and and that day I told you about what happened when I was in seventh grade is this guy Reid had been kicking my butt for years. And now I'm in seventh grade. And those guys said you want to skip last class to do some drinking. And I said You bet. And we did some drinking. And as I got that booze and me, I get on that school bus and something happened inside of me, where I said, you know what I'm going to I'm going to walk to the back of that bus and I'm going to sit next to Nicky. And I somehow magically right, knew how to handle this situation with women that used to baffle me with just all the only thing that had changed in my life was the addition of beverage alcohol. And all of a sudden I magically I intuitively knew how to handle a situation which used to baffle me, women, and I walked to the back of the bus and I'm going to sit next to Nikki because I'm comfortable doing it. And as Reed gets up from a seat to give me my daily beating. I've punched him with everything I've got in my little body and Reed goes down and out. He is unconscious on that bus seat. And I sit down next to Nikki and I'm looking at Nikki and Nikki is looking at me, and I'm looking at Nikki. Nikki is looking at me, and the whole school bus got really really quiet. I mean it was silent. You could have heard a pen Drop. And in that silence, I experienced long, long, long overdue recognition. Right? Like finally you know who I am. It was long overdue respect, right? And what I didn't know was that I had a six seven year resentment built up at Reed and it felt really good to get that resentment out. I don't think I did it that a way but I did it. There's lots of ways to express a resentment. And then we got to Nikki's bus stop. At one before Nikki got up to get off the bus. She leaned over and she gave me this kiss that was half on my lips and half on my cheek it was different than when my mother and my aunt's ever kissed me I felt it in my toes man, there was something else as she got off that school bus and I ended up you know, when we got to my stop I went into my house and I was falling down drunk in a house of people that don't drink and have morality and integrity. I got sick all night my parents left me in the bathroom to get sick right they were going to try to teach me a lesson that was going to become a common theme a whole bunch of you know, well meaning people were going to try to teach me a lesson as I you know, cruise the road of life. And but I woke up that next morning, sick as a dog, I had a stiff neck from sleeping around the toilet the way that we do, and my neck hurt and I just I don't ever remember being sick or to that point in my life. And I was grounded forever, which is a very severe punishment for a seventh grader. It's like life without parole for the prison guys, right? You don't know when you're getting out. And, and under that set of, you know, feelings and facts in my life grounded forever sick as a dog, the thought comes into my mind. Are you ever going to do any more of that drinking? And just like that, you bet you bet I am. Are you kidding? sick as a dog and grounded forever? What a small price to pay for what I had going on on that school bus. And that silence and that respect, and I was finally somebody and that kiss with Nicki. I mean the magic of alcohol was set in flight like a boomerang as bill says right? And it was going to give me so much for so long as that Boomerang went out. But one day it was going to turn in flight and come back and nearly shred me to ribbons and It sure did. It sure did. JOHN.
John M 27:26
We will be continuing our conversation with rich in just a moment just a reminder you are listening to sober speak you can find us on the worldwide web at sober speak calm. You can also find the donate button on our website you can use if and only if the spirit moves you to do such Please keep in mind this is a podcast funded by you the listener, so to speak is a self supporting organization through our own contributions. We are not allied with any sect denomination politics, organization or institution we do not wish to engage in any controversy. Neither endorses nor opposes any causes. All right now, back to rich guy so I, we kind of I got you off track when you were in college. You were going back and forth across the border. It would take me from there.
Rich B 28:15
Well, first of all, that's what everybody likes the bus story, john. Yeah, everybody likes to but it's funny. I've gotten to go different places and a and visit our friends.
John M 28:26
More than anything else
Rich B 28:27
for some reason. Tell us about tell us about God and a spiritual awakening and
John M 28:34
some things in my life.
Rich B 28:36
I didn't want to talk about a girl in seventh grade. So I certainly understand. And I think it's because we've all had that moment.
John M 28:44
Well, let me let me give you a little follow up question with Nikki and read Have you ever encounter them as an adult?
Rich B 28:53
Ironically, in the last year and a half, as fate will have it. I have learned that Nikki is a judge I'm not going to name where in the state of Maryland and we have gotten together she has children and daughters and I have daughters and we have gotten together she's you know I'm happily married she's happily married but we have been able to rekindle and tell the stories of ours ended up being my first my first girlfriend so we we had quite a few you know early in life wonderful memories together so
John M 29:34
she realized that she is famous in some form or fashion in the A circles
Rich B 29:41
that she she does not
John M 29:44
well hopefully this doesn't make you back to
Rich B 29:48
ollie. We'll leave her last name out of it.
John M 29:51
Oh yeah. Oh, of course, of course. Alright. So let's go on from there. You're you're in San Diego. You're doing And your thing with the the entrepreneurship that you got going take
Rich B 30:06
playing soccer I'm counseling kids I'm drinking my head off I'm you know importing dry switched you know halfway through college from you know the green stuff to the white stuff it was just a lot more money by my senior year I had purchased my first home in La Jolla, California at a beach called wind and sea beach because it's the best surf spot in the world. I that that's not true I didn't mean to say that it's the best surf spot in Southern California Some might say in the united states i don't know obviously when we go to Hawaii you're talking some better waves but the continental US it's a pretty consistent surf spot but you
John M 30:46
are a senior in college correct you've just bought a home in La Jolla correct is not inexpensive whatsoever so and do you have any other employment besides your
John M 31:03
okay no you have to and when so I'm just curious when you go to buy a home like that and it you know your your you have to go through the quality you know the the qualification portion and all that sort of stuff do they make you verify where this is coming or as long as you can give cash they don't care
Rich B 31:22
that's how it was then now the rules of the game have changed.
John M 31:28
Alright, so you buy your home and you're dealing with the white stuff now
Rich B 31:35
you happen and I'm driving a fancy car a you know a BMW with a number on the back that that lets all the BMW aficionados know that this is one of the ones you have to have imported from Europe that they don't sell this in the United States. I'm dating a girl at that university that everybody thought was like the most beautiful girl at the school I have no idea if I even liked her right because that's how I'm living my life at that point is to impress people I barely know everything is on the outside because it's all I have there's nothing left on the inside I mean I was coming down to it and I didn't know it and when there's nothing inside you got to double down on the outside right I there's a saying I like that if you don't project it, you don't have to protect it right and I was all about protecting an image and projecting an image and when we don't go through life with those, you know, false selves we don't waste as much time and energy protecting it but that's a whole nother story but it's certainly what I was doing and I didn't know I was doing it. I guess just to get sober here as I watched the time taken away by my senior year, I don't surf anymore even though I live by this great surf spot because my alcoholism had progressed to the point where when you drink like I do that's all you do and I don't know what your listeners know about surfing but surf is really good early in the morning when the wind blows offshore from the land to the sea and it holds the wave up and makes the top of the wave blow back and create those beautiful two brides you see in the movies and that all ends by about 9am because the wind generally shifts direction and comes from the sea to the to the land and there's more of a surf lesson that anyone wants it but the point of it is is alcoholism took from me or I gave it however you like to say it every single joy passion everything that brought me a true sense of joy internally right I surrendered to my alcoholism and and it was awful. It was awful. It's about 430 in the morning that poor girl was at my house and all the doors and windows boom boom boom boom boom came in and next thing you know i'm i'm getting hogtied with those plastic zip ties that are worse than the handcuffs i i've been arrested a lot like I told you in in high school and and I specialize in like weekends in jail. 30 days in jail. 60 days in jail. I'm a jail guy. You know, I'm not a prison guy. In Maryland jail is sentences up to 18 months after 18 months you go to prison. Prison always represented more of a commitment than I was willing to make. I've always struggled with commitment on all levels john and those prison guys were in for a longer haul than I was looking for. However, this comes down to that wisdom versus being a remember right because my sponsor pointed out to me when we did my fist step, and looked at all the times that I had been incarcerated for 30 days, 90 days violated probation got 60 days. He said You do realize you were serving a life sentence you were just doing it on the installment program. And you were too stupid to realize it right. So that's a good example about just because you can remember something from him. All right, in my mind, I was beating the game. Because I'm getting these small sentences, I'm beating distribution charges, right and getting simple possession charges and drunk in public. I'm getting 30 days instead of 90 days. And in my delusional alcoholic mind, I think I'm winning, right? I think I'm winning. And really, I'm spending a good chunk of my life behind bars. And And now for the first time I'm in a federal prison, I'd never been in a federal prison. I've never been in any prison. Right. And, and the San Diego union Tribune, the Los Angeles Times they ran a story that said Jesuit student 27 kilos of cocaine. And I know that because my mom was an elementary school teacher, and I don't know what you know about elementary school teachers, but they laminate everything. If you set a piece of paper down on the counter, they pick it up and laminate it. So my mother, you know, laminated these articles about her son, I think so that one day she could present me with, you know,
Rich B 36:05
the news. But anyways, there's a thing called the federal sentencing guidelines where they look at the number of times that you've, you know, been convicted, and what you had with you. And then there's a number and the judge is actually not free to do whatever, everybody has a boss, even federal judges have a boss. And those federal sentencing guidelines, I'd been arrested 36 prior times, all for stupid stuff. Nothing that would impress any listener that you have, nobody would go wow, there's a real gangster you know, let's make a movie. Right? He's like Jesse James, they would go wouldn't lenient right, if you go what a drunk, right? Why? NCIC, which is the National criminal index. It's your your FBI background, it should just say drunk and stupid at the federal judge has to count all of those. And then he goes over to 27 kilos of cocaine. And he came down and it said, 46 to 60 years, and that's what he was supposed to send that Yeah. Oh, you're telling me that caught my attention. that caught my attention. And, and that was the beginning of my awakening. Because for the very first time in that facility, I think it's called MCC, the Metropolitan corrections center in downtown San Diego. It's a big brown building. If you have any West Coast listeners, there's a tourist point for you there in downtown San Diego, you could drive by and go, there's Richard the prison. Anyway. I'm in this place. And I'm the only guilty guy in there, right? There's like 1299 innocent guys, and they're all telling me the reasons that they're in there. It's one big misunderstanding. And, you know, one guy's telling me that he's in there because of his mechanic. And if his mechanic you know, had fixed his tail light correctly on his car, the cop would have never pulled him over in the first place. And when the cop pulled him over, he smelled the alcohol on his breath, asked him to step out of the car, arrested him for the DUI search the trunk incident to arrest. That's where they found all the drugs. So you can see if I get out of here and I find that mechanic, we're gonna get this straightened out, because he's the real reason I'm in here. And if you hook that guy up to a lie detector test, he'll pass it. He absolutely believes and that's what our book talks about. That's delusion. That's not denial. That's delusion. Right? And for the very first time in my life, I was out of lies to tell myself right, I was at alized to tell myself and I realized that I was where I was, because of who I was. And I was who I was because of how I live and I'm going to repeat that because I don't think I've ever had such an insight that I was where I was because of who I was. And I was who I was because of how I live that means that my tombstone is not gonna say Here lies rich be he meant well write an AA is really big on that. Like, we don't care if you like our stamps, we don't care if you think they should be renumbered We don't care if you think we should change the wording in the book. You know, we just care what you do, right? We all carry the a message when absolutely necessary. We use our mouth. You know, what I'm doing today is the least potent form of a my home group could care less than I'm on a podcast in fact, they'd probably make fun of me if they knew I was doing this right? But if I'm not there on Thursday night that make coffee I'm gonna hear about it right? So it's our feet that do our talking in a add another words, my life is nothing but the sum total of my actions. And my intentions just don't matter. And my whole life it was you know, hey, john, you don't understand. I meant well, I didn't mean for this to happen. Here's what I wanted to let you know, just just listen, right? And that's the problem. Anybody that's ever been in trouble. If you look at your criminal history, you'll notice if you Or an alcoholic? There's a problem, right? And it's that there's just one line, right? Because under each of those things, they should have left space for a paragraph, right? Because I've got an explanation for each of them. And they don't care about the explanation. They just care what you know what it was. And if you're like me, I had a story and an explanation and an excuse for everything. And for the first time in my life, I didn't, and I realized I was exactly where my actions had brought me.
John M 40:29
Hmm. So was this your first launch re into the runes or exposure to Alcoholics Anonymous? And how did that start to take off from there?
Rich B 40:46
I was exposed to it in that in that penitentiary, did did some time in there and came out. It didn't take. I remember just so the listeners know how. I think it's kind of funny that I was offended by step two, right? Which sort of inferred that I might mentally be a little bit off that I, I needed some restoring to sanity which, you know, if you're any type of thinker, which is an awful thing, I don't wish thinking on anyone. If you're that type of person, I mean, clearly they're implying, right that I have some type of sanity issue. If I'm going to require being restored to sanity, right? The inference is there that something's off. I'm sitting in an AA meeting in a federal penitentiary looking at 46 to 60 years and two guys like you took the time away from their wives and family to come in to bring a meeting. They're going home that night. And you know what? I'm thinking, I'm sitting there in that meeting going, man, I felt sorry for him. I'm going man, these two guys, Dear God, one day, I'm going to get out of here, but they can never drink again. I would go back to myself feeling sorry for the two guys from AEA came in, because I made 246 years, but damn it one day, when I get out of here, I'm gonna be able to. And those two poor suckers, they're never going to be able to drink again, right? So I eventually get out of there. And, and I'm bouncing around because I'm like a man without a country. I'd love to tell you that a what it did is I have a friend named Mike be from North Carolina. But he talks about being buggered by a right and what that means is once you hear the a message, and you have a clear presentation of what alcoholism is, and our way out, right? It's like when a little kid or somebody puts a booger on you, you can't get that booger off, you know, once you've been buggered. I mean, they just kind of stick to you. And so what they did is they buggered me and that penitentiary, and I could always hear those guys, those two pathetic losers that could never ever drink again, their voices just kept coming up as I would bounce around the country trying to stay one step ahead of my alcoholism. I couldn't stay in San Diego, I had just lost 27 kilos of cocaine, there was a lot of people looking for me for a lot of reasons. I went to a little town called Ketchum, Idaho, and I'm kind of hide now but if you're like me, and I call myself a warrant drinker, right, when I, when I drink in the same town long enough warrants pop up, right?
Rich B 43:37
And I got to go somewhere else. So I went from sun, you know, catch on Sun Valley, Idaho, over to a town called steamboat, Colorado, from there to Jackson, Wyoming. And I eventually wind up where all bigshot want to be, you know, federal drug dealers wind up once the federal government, they had seized every house car bank account, I had nothing, I mean, alcohol only lock, stock and barrel, and I wind it up where all the big shots wind up. And that's back on my mom's couch, right in Ocean City, Maryland. And, and every time I tell that there's always a bunch of people nodding their heads, because it turns out that mom's couch is like one of the leading places to begin sobriety. And there's only one rule at mom's couch, right? And we all know it. You can stay here as long as you want, as long as you don't drink. And if you hooked me up to that lie detector, when I looked at that lady, I couldn't believe she was bringing me in one more time. And I said, Mom, I mean business. I'm never going to do this again. And, and then I decided to start going to those AIA meetings that I had heard about because I it was clear to me, I mean, you guys buggered me that if this was the only thing that was going to work right? And I go in there, and I didn't like it. And there was this one woman in particular that I didn't care for. Her name was Janine and Janine. She had about 1617 years sober when we met. And I'm brand new. And and she would always carry, you know the big book with her to every meeting that blue book, she had it with her under her arm. And there was always six or seven little girls following her around and she didn't call her sponsees. The old timers in my area, they will call somebody, they sponsored their pigeons. She didn't call them pigeons. She called them duckies. And I thought that was so repulsive, right? It just made me want to vomit, right? And just like cutesy right now don't do cutesy. And so she'd come in with their book under her arm, and there'd be about six little girls with their little books under their arms, and they'd all sit down in a line. And I'm thinking like, what's wrong with you? Are you a little bit slow in the head? Like, what you're 16 years sober? Haven't you read it yet? Because I mean, I read a book once and I remember what's in it, right? So I don't understand what's wrong with her why somebody that's been coming here for 16 years would have to bring the book to every meeting. Right? So I'm confused. I don't like her. I mostly don't like her cuz she's smiling and happy, right? And when I'm miserable, I want to punch the tee right down somebody's throat, right? That's smiling and happy. And that was my experience with with Janine and these duckies. I made it to 36 days, john, without drinking, which is a long time for an alcoholic of my variety. No sponsor no steps, right? Not nothing, just just not drank. I can. I'm so smart. I can read those steps and know what they require without the help of a sponsor. And they don't apply to me, right? And that's the problem of being a self defined genius, right? I'm so cool that I'm dying and Alcoholics Anonymous, right? I'm so smart that I know what I need to do and don't need to do, I can look at the steps and see which ones of them apply to me and which ones don't. And I'm dying. And at 36 days. I had also I was 29 years old. I'd had my liver biopsy that Johns Hopkins Hospital they took a big chunk out of my liver right? And that's a hint that if anybody's listening if they're removing pieces of your liver at 29 years old right? You're drinking might be a problem. But I don't clue into that right? I'm just remember I can remember things in a book. But these common sense things escaped me. Which is why I just keep hearing my sponsor wanting to jump in. He's not smart. He just remembers that. And it's just so true. Right? Because he gave me a list he said you're young enough that if you number one, you will not take any Thailand law for one year, Thailand was the worst thing for your liver, it will shut it down. You're going to eat these foods, you're going to not eat these foods. And you're going to come back every 60 days and we're going to do this scan on the liver and we're gonna you've got a chance at this if you just listen. And I leave that Haas Johns Hopkins I mean it is like a world renowned and I my thought is well what does that guy know? Right? And
Rich B 48:05
seriously, I let you know I listen to I listen to bartenders and drug dealers. I mean, these are the guys that know stuff, right? They and the bartender usually has one solution to whatever's going on. Oh, john, you just got divorced. Here's a double right. Just got married. Here's a double right Oh, you got a raise. Here's a double Oh, you got fired. Here's a double they got the same stupid solution to every problem. Right? And it turns out that AI has the same solution to every problem. You know, hey, we've got a step for whatever's going on right we've got a step for it. And anyways, at 36 days without a drink I can't go one more day without drinking and I know that I can't take so much as one more drink so I take every Tylenol I can get ahold of and and anything else that was in that medicine cabinet and I just wanted to check out in my body collapsed in the kitchen I was living in a crappy little apartment at that point because that's where drunks live is crappy apartments and my body I mean this is amazing to me, I've learned this you know, after obviously, when my body fell I fell into a refrigerator that thought it up against that crappy wall and it was a Tuesday, the lady that lived in the apartment next door was one of those people that like pride themselves on never missing work. There's not many of those out here and your listeners I guarantee that that's just not a defining trait of the alcohol is like an excellent work attendance record right? And even caring about it nonetheless priding ourselves on it but this weirdo next door was one of those ladies and she hadn't missed a day's work in nine years but she happened to be on sick that day. And she heard that thud into the wall and it scared her and she ran around and she looked at your and she saw feet on the ground. You know in legs on the ground she dialed 911 and they busted in and and saved my life. They took me to the Atlantic General Hospital and I woke up, and I was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and things were beeping. And I was in one of those paper gowns that tie in the back, but kind of separate so that your butt cheeks hanging out, rubbing it for a vain person. It's not a good luck, right? And I had this feeling, right that man, you are such a loser, you can't even kill yourself the right way. And as my eyes cleared, and I became a little clear head, the first thing I see, you know, who's at the end of the bed. Janine with about six of those Ducky, Ducky, and I couldn't even believe it. I'm thinking to myself, if there's a place called alcoholic hell, I'm in it, man. And, and Janine didn't talk to me that day, because she tried to talk to me a lot at the meetings. But she did talk to the duckies. And she said, girls, I want you to take a good look, this is what happens to an alcoholic that refuses to take our steps. Let's go girls, and they all walked out.
John M 50:57
Rich B 51:01
And that was it. That was it. You just heard you just heard the bottom right there. And I was, I was pissed. Because bill Wilson, he got in his hospital room, the bright light, the cool breeze, and I got Janine, and
John M 51:19
it's just not right. All right, rich, so we're good, we're definitely gonna have to have you back on right? We can't leave the listener just got to hang it on there. With Janine and the duckies. And you bottoming out. So let's go ahead and end it here. And I will talk to you offline. And if you are willing, we'll get you back on and you can talk about your foray into the room. Well, you're you've already been exposed. But I think what happens from yours, you bought them out, and you're going to start getting sober. Am I right?
Rich B 52:06
And if I may say what happened next? Yeah, sure. Is after they left that hospital room, I had a thought come through my head that I have never had before in my life, and I've never had since. And that thought that went through my head was if you live through this, if you get out of this hospital, I'm going to find one of those old guys with that big book in their hand and that smile on their face. And I'm going to do every single thing that's in that book. And in case anybody can't tell, I'm not a guy that listens that anybody. So I have no idea where that thought came from. I got a pretty good idea now 17 years later. But that's what you're going to hear about next time is I left that hospital with that thing, single thought is I'm going to do what one of those old guys in AIA Tell me. And that was the beginning of the best 17 years of my life.
John M 53:03
Ah, man, I'm looking forward to it. You have been given a gift, my friend to share your story. And I'm I'm looking forward to getting some more time together. So I always ended here with by reading from page 164, the big book, it says, abandon 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, and rich as you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you Until then, once again, rich, thank you so much for your time.
Rich B 53:54
Thank you for having me.
John M 53:56
As I mentioned on the beginning of this episode, we will have a follow up with rich B next week. It is He is absolutely vantastic and I know you're going to enjoy the follow up next week. So tune in once again for Richard for the second part of Rich's story next week. Now on Oh and by the way, if you enjoyed that and who would not have anywhere and you want to get in touch with Richard send me an email john j Gen as sober speak calm, I'm glad to pass that on. And then keep this in mind. Also, if you enjoy that and you think that a friend or a family member may benefit from listening in will pause your little device and hit that little Share button and send it on over to that friend or family member. It may be just what they need today. Yes, I'm talking about this day. Now onto a little bit of a listener feedback. Wendy writes in and she says hello John M I live in a little town called Los osos California. I'm 72 days sober and I found your podcast on Spotify and I am hooked. I started on episode 200 201 202 and 203 and then I decided to go back to number one and to listen to them all and I find it a great help and peace in hearing all of the stories like when a meetings I don't feel alone Oh great. She says I listened while I work in my ear while doing some of the mindless work I do laugh out loud. Thank you so much for your amazing show. Windy Ah well, thank you for listening in windy, windy and I'm glad we can be part of your journey. Ryan White writes in and he says greetings john. I am currently in Knoxville Tennessee you know what Ryan? Is he Lee lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for a little stint when I was doing my geographical cures during the drinking days. But anyway, he says my sobriety date is August 1 2018. Let me think about this right I think I went to a meeting I was going in and out of the program at the time and I just couldn't stay sober. And there was a little kind of town on the outskirts of Knoxville that I lived in it started with it. I think it's cedars something and I can't remember he may know what I'm talking about. But nonetheless, remember to go into a lot of meetings there unfortunately didn't stick for me at the time, but I kept trying. Anyway Ryan says I came upon the podcast by chance Really? It was during the first part of the pandemic when we were encouraged to stay in place. I did meetings via zoom but needed something in between meetings to get me through. Lo and behold I pound so rsby of course the speakers resonate with me we we have all been in the same place powerless. Yes, we have right? He says I get a great deal from your conversations. It's comforting. Thank you so much for what you provide to us keep on going keep on keeping on he says peace Ryan see well I'm holding up the little peace sign right back at you Ryan. I appreciate you writing him demean he writes in Oh, this was kind of a back and forth deal. Remember this year. I hope I'm pronouncing her name correctly. She's from Germany. She says, Hi, my name is demeaning and I have been an Al anon for a long time as part of a well rounded program. I listened to your podcast daily. I was in a spiritual hole at 10 years in recovery. And your podcast has been a pillar on my way out to see the light again. In your words, john, God bless you my friend. I do say that a lot. She says I am actually writing to extend the hand of Al anon and alateen on your podcast number 187 with Matthew m, we're on surrenders. 10 and 11 a woman wrote in shearing that her husband had left her and her five kids you may have already shared with her allanon details but just in case she may need it here are mine. I am in Germany but I have a sponsor in a huge al anon community in the US that I will that and I will warmly welcome her. I am demeaning she gives her last name here and her WhatsApp number is she says thank you so much. And I look forward to your next listen. And I wrote her back and sometimes I have a hard time finding these these listener feedback you know we get a lot of and I'd ask her if she could tell me in the episode you know what the name of the lady was? All that so I could look it up. And then she wrote me back and she says apologize for the many emails but after I wrote you, I heard another message from a woman worried about her alcoholic husband and I just wanted to say that you can feel free to share my details with anyone who may need allanon andorre alateen Have a lovely day damini and she oh how sweet right? So this lady's name is she was asking about originally Her name was Elizabeth so I found her it was on Instagram and I asked her if it was okay for me to pass her email on to Domini and she said sure if she gave me her email address she goes just say you know I listened to your podcast almost every day what you do with your guests is so necessary I have learned so much. And then she says Unfortunately, my husband and I are going through a divorce. Now he got physical with me among many other things that I knew it was time to let him go. My kids have listened to a few shows with me as well and it has given them a greater understanding. about their father. Thanks again, john. God is using you in great ways. She's got Namaste a hands and a big heart. And God bless you, Elizabeth and you Domini and I love that the listeners are looking out for each other and offering their time and service and connections. And that's exactly what I wanted to happen with this whole podcast thing. And I'm just, I'm thrilled when I get emails like that in depth. You know, I think it's really cool, Elizabeth, that you and your kids are listening to this or just in case they happen to be listening to this right now. Want to give them a big shout out and tell them that they are in my prayers. And God bless them and you and your whole family, including your husband. I know this has to be a difficult time. Once again, God bless you all thank you very much. Alison writes in in the the title of this the subject line was listening to Aspen jack who at sunrise let me do that again. Listening to Aspen jack Wu at sunrise. And then she wrote it she says hello john. I started listening to sue sober speak in April of 2020. When it was recommended to me by a sponsor, I am a grateful allanon and I always enjoyed listening. This week I was in Galveston. I was just there recently after Miss Allison. Anyway, she says this week I was in Galveston, just for those of you don't know that's in Texas, visiting my alcoholic sibling who has been hospitalized for the last month due to health complications from this disease. My sponsor recommended that I could catch a meeting while I was visiting him. I searched for Al anon meetings and I but could find only an open a meeting and found a perfect time. 6:30am on a Sunday, a sunrise meeting on the sea wall how perfect. I had never been to an AIA meeting. It was really looking forward to it. I had my coffee and hands and my $2 in my pocket for the basket passing but unfortunately Oh no. Nobody showed up. I was disappointed but guess what? I decided not to let the time go away so I plugged in sober speak pie gas on my iPhone and I walked the beach and sunrise while listening to Aspen jack Dahlia. He said so many things I needed to hear and to hear little Abigail's favorite color was orange got me a little choked up as that is my brother's favorite color as well.
John M 1:02:36
I'm not sure if he's going to make it through his current battles if he does I hope that he can find not only relief but freedom as jack put it. Thanks to you for your encouraging words and for so many willing guests like jack who share their experience strength and hope with the world. Keep doing what you're doing. God bless, Allison. So just so you know, Allison, I sent on your the text of your message to jack Debbie. And he sent me back a message saying that that brought him to tears. So thank you for sharing that we're all in one big circle here encouraging each other and I really do appreciate them. Allison No, not that Allison but another Allison writes in my goodness, it's Alison Palooza here, Alison writes in she says, I live in the United States near New York, I have 21 months. As of the first of this month, I have been dropped by many sponsors, and have never really finished the steps. I always tend to stop on Step Step six. So there is that I found sober speak last year, after doing a search on through all my podcasts on an app. This podcast is my absolute favorite. I really listened to them each and every day. The speaker's shares are just amazing. I got my sober I got sober on my own back on one one of 2020 January 1 2020. And I just sought out a person's aa Oh, I just got out a in person meetings online zoom, which meets this march because of reasons. Then she says Claudia h who she's talking about somebody who we've had on the podcast in the past with three exclamation points. I wish there were more of her on this podcast. Her words her life. She is an incredibly strong woman. Thank you for listening, take care and stay safe. Alison Kay, well, thank you, Alison. And as you know, I passed on your message to Claudia. It's always I always love when I hear feedback on the various speakers that we have. gasps stone writes in and I think his guest stone is a ga s t o n he says hi john. I'm an alcoholic and a pot and cocaine addict. I'm from Mexico. City, Mexico City Maiko, and he says my family on my mother's side is from Costa Rica. I went to high school, two years of college in Connecticut, Boston in New Orleans. I have two mortal diseases, alcoholism and cancer is that I heard about silver speed through my brother in law who is in and out of a. I have been sober since May of 2013. I was in rehab in the montae Phoenix clinic in Mexico City, thanks to my family who gave me an intervention in my first year I worked with Tommy Rosen and kiya Miller in a yoga and addictions retreat in Costa Rica. Yes, I know them. I think his podcast for those of you who would be interested is called recovery 2.0. And I know exactly who you're talking about. In fact, I you know, I do yoga on a consistent basis and kiya Miller is one and that's his wife, by the way, I'm pretty sure I, I do her classes all the time, at night. So anyway, I have familiarity with what you're talking about. He says, My life has been transformed and I'm grateful for it. I was diagnosed with stage four cancer in January of 2020. And I have been through chemo radiation, and two colon surgeries. I am in remission since March. Well, good for you guys stone. I don't know how I could have done it without my work in the program. And my daily practice was also consist of yoga, Chee Kung prayer and meditation. I don't know what she Kung is, but I'm gonna have to look that up because you are talking my language here. He says every single day. I am grateful to be alive. I have three sons, two of them in recovery. Guest stone is eight years sober and walking three years over. I am active in my age group in Mexico City. And I keep very close in touch with the Monte Phoenix clinic. I listened to sober speak fairly often. And I've enjoyed it a lot. It's been so helpful. Being a part of this large community. Thank you. Guess it one day at a time guest on with Thank you guest stone. I really appreciate it. And thanks for being vulnerable and sharing what you do. Joni writes in and she says, Hi, john. I love the podcast and thank you for your service. I discovered it through the Recovery show podcast. Yes, my friend Spencer. She says I think Spencer spoke on your show one time. And I listened to that episode, and then have listened to every one since Yeah, actually had him on by himself. And then I've had him and his wife on at the same time. She says I used to Oh, I thinks I used to commute two hours a day by car. So would listen only on my drives. I love listening. As always having great speakers. I always get so much out of it. I recently listened to father bill Wu and was very interested in his discussion about two way prayer. So I have now started listening to his podcast and information on how to do two way praying. Oh, that's great. But there have been so many other great speakers. I have heard I live outside of New York City, New York. in Westchester County. I'm married and I have an 11 year old son. I've been sober almost 10 years, nine months, nine years and 10 months. Exactly. She says I'm gratefully sober. When that I got sober when my son was just a baby. I'm married to someone in the rooms is a we are trudging the road of happy destiny together. Thank you again for the podcast is my meeting when I can't get to one in person or zoo. I really appreciate the service that you do. Best. Joanie? What Thank you, Joanie, I appreciate it. Anthony writes it he says, Hey, I am Hey, John M I am fairly new to my sober journey. I started drinking on September 10. not drinking every day is not the problem for me. It's the weekends when I bend to drink. I got into that habit since I've been a truck driver, local on the road, ever since I was 20, I think is what he says. And for the past 17 years, I have worked Monday through Friday and then on Friday on my way home from work, I always get a bottle and there's been stretches in there where I have stopped for a couple of months just to make sure I was in control. But over the past four years, I have tried to stop and to make sure I was in control and haven't been able to and I noticed I started to blackout more and more and that scared me. So I reached out through Kaiser and started their outpatient program today. Good for you, Anthony. He says in since I'm a truck driver. Oh I think I know where you're going with this. I listened to tons of podcasts. Yay. I search for Alcoholics Anonymous podcasts and I listened to a couple of other ones and they weren't bad but I but when I listened to the latest one with Anna D, I really liked it. Anthony Well, I'm so glad Anthony and you keep on keepin on out there while you're doing that truck driving and I'm glad we can accompany you along the way. Last but not least, Barry writes in he says, Hey john, I live in the Dallas Texas near Dallas, Texas area. I've been in recovery for a number of years from alcohol and drugs. I have been mostly so versus 2018 I've had a shoe issue a few short relapses, but have quickly got back on track progress not perfection. That's right Barry. Many of the speakers on silver speak have resonated with me. The Anna David interview I listened to yesterday inspired me to join this secret group. Thanks for all your service beshir guards. Barry. Hi everybody. Thank you so much, Barry, by the way for writing in I appreciate you. That does it for another week of sober speak as always do this one week at a time hope to be back next week. God only knows. Until then keep coming back. It works if you work it love you guys and thanks for listening in.
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