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Transcript: 212- Charlie P- Pivot Point in Alcoholics Anonymous

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

212- Charlie P- Pivot Point in Alcoholics Anonymous


Charlie P 00:00

The terms of the deal are being all-powerful. He'll provide what I need if I stay close to Him and perform His work well, and I call this the pivot point in Alcoholics Anonymous. Because everything in the book up to this leads to this point. And everything that we're going to encounter from here moving forward refers back to this point.

John M 00:29

Well hello friends of Bill W and other friends you have landed on sober speak. My name is John M. I am an alcoholic. And we are glad you're all here, especially newcomers, newcomers that is both to recovery as a whole, and newcomers to this podcast. Sober speak 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 AA or any 12 Step community, we represent only ourselves. We are here to share our experience, strength and hope with those who wish to come along for the ride. Take what you want, and leave the rest at the curb for the trash man to pick up.

John M 01:34

Yowza yowza, that was the voice of Mr. Charlie P that you heard again at the beginning of this episode, and you're gonna hear so much more from him in just a moment on this here episode number dos, uno, dos 212 212. With Mr. Charlie P. But first things first. This episode is brought to you by Anthony, and Ian and Anna, and Todd and Terry and Kurt and Josh. And Jason. Jason, excuse me. And Shawn. Just had a little moment there. Shawn was the name of my half brother who unfortunately died at 27 years old, due to this illness of ours alcoholism and drug addiction. And anyway, I didn't mean to bring that up right in the middle of our introduction. But you may ask yourself, What did Anthony and Ian and Anna and Todd and Terry and Kurt and Josh and Jason and Shawn do? Well, they went to our website they clicked on the little yeller donate tab, and they made a contribution. Thank you so much, Anthony and Ian and Anna, and Todd and Terry and Kurt and Josh. Josh, having a hard time speaking today. And Jason and Shawn, this episode is coming right out to youuns. I appreciate it. So I'm just thinking here real quick a little insight into my life I'm actually recording this episode with a sweatshirt on like a hoodie sweatshirt thing it's actually a Dallas Cowboys hoodie sweatshirt that I have on and and the reason that is significant is because it has been a long time since I have pulled out a hoodie sweatshirt or whatever you want to call it because down here Texas it doesn't get cool very soon I know a lot of you are listening and go have we been wearing those for a month now John, but nonetheless there's a chill in the air this is actually for those of you who actually care and that's probably very few of you but nonetheless this is actually my absolute favorite time of the year the fall I don't know what it is my fall and winter actually my favorite times and and then spring in the summer. I'm not too much into the heat. You say what John, you're not into the heat but you live in Texas. Yes. Well, you can't have everything but nonetheless. Um, is a little chilled out here and I am so I'm recording this and in the room next to me we're upstairs I hear well, it sounds like a combination of a thunder and an earthquake and what's going on is my son is on the wrestling team up at school and he is in there warming up because they have a scrimmage tournament and warming up involved. By the way, like I said, we're up on the second floor and, and he's doing a lot of like, you know, somersault things on this little pad that he has what we call the playroom. And it causes a lot of racket, but I'm really excited that he's warming up and he's gonna be ready for this. And it just a little while here, we're gonna go when I say we, me and the lovely Mrs. M. are gonna go watch him. And we're excited about that.

John M 05:26

Um, oh, yes, I mentioned this last week. But guess what, folks, we are gonna have another Shindig. What does that mean? We're going to have a Sober Speak LIVE! and it's going to be Reno John A. And he's going to be the special guest who we will interview and by the way, during this special event, we're going to be streaming it live. And for those of you actually in the audience, or watching it live, you will be able to ask your questions a Reno John. And you know, I'm sure there have been many times where maybe not, but I know people listen to the podcast and they think to themselves, I would have asked this question or I would have asked this question. I'd like to know a little bit more about this. Well, guess what? You're gonna have the chance with Mr. Reno John. And we'll look real forward to and that is oh, gosh, December. Let me go here real quick. December. Oh, you know where I'm going. I'm going to the website. Yeah. December 3 Friday. Of 2021. at seven p. m. Central time now 7pm Central Time. And that will be at if you're here in person live that will be at the Grace Avenue United Methodist Church here in Frisco, Texas. And not only will we have Reno John, but we will have Mary Lyn B as well. By the way, if you if you want to look up her music, it is fantastic. She's on Spotify. It's Mary M AR y and then Lin l y n just one n is a Nancy and then B is her last name as in Baker. So Mary Lyn B on Spotify and she does recovery music and is absolutely fantastic. I will put a link to her Spotify music in the show notes here. So you can just go back go and click it and listen to her music anyway. She's gonna be doing a live there that night. And we're gonna have food, we have drinks, we'll have non alcoholic drinks, you know, I'm talking about and we'll have childcare as well. So if you're here in this area, and you need the childcare, just email me at John J-O-H-N so we can be properly prepared for you so they can watch your child children. You know what I'm saying? And you say John work and all these details be found we'll go to our website, www sober speak com you have a you have a map there and everything else on how to make it to the location. And you say to yourself, well, what if I cannot attend in person, John, how can I take advantage and be watching or participate in this particular event? Well, like I mentioned earlier, if you are in the super secret Facebook group, you can watch everything live, and we would love to have you in there. We're gonna be streaming it that night. So go ahead. And if you're not in the super secret Facebook group yet, just go find the secret Facebook group on limit think about this. You go to Facebook, and then you look up secret, or excuse me, sober speak, secret group. And you look for that. And there's a place where you can ask for and Miss Young and we would be glad to let you in there. And then even if you are unable to attend the Facebook group or the live event, we are going to be posting the episode as a live episode. If you are out there and you want to either volunteer for the event, send me an email John is sober, speak calm, we can always use a couple extra hands. Or you would like an electronic copy of the information that I had that I just shared. Email me like like if you want to share it on your I don't know where people share it. Oh, you could actually print it out and put it in your group if you would like. Or you could post it in a Facebook group or do whatever you want to do. Anyway, I'll get you an electronic copy of it.

John M 09:45

And you can do with that as you wish now on to Mr. Charlie P. And we're calling this app pivot point in Alcoholics Anonymous. Charlie P. has been sober since March 22 of 1985. In the pivot point is where, quote, we perform His work well and stay close to Him. Charlie talks about the plane crash he had and sobriety in the CNN reporter you may recognize involved in that little crash. He talks about the definition of fixin. For those of you not from Texas. We discuss service work at length, selfishness. Also, we talk about the T shirts out there, that says Mr. Brown needs his ass kicked, if you don't know what that means. It's a reference from the big book. And anyway, he says, Charlie says that he is in the entirely different angle business and you have to listen in to see what that means. And he also talks about the nine questions in the sex inventory in the big book on page 69. And for those of you new to recovery, and you're just not catching on to that, yes, it is page 69. It is where the sex inventory is. I don't think it was planned that way. But God Only Knows anyway. Please, sit back. Enjoy Charlie and we will have plenty Oh, listener feedback at the end of this as I'm getting caught up. Enjoy.

John M 11:30

Okay, everybody. So we are back again, at the microphone with the one and only Mr. Charlie p. So, Charlie P I'm gonna have you just go ahead. Introduce yourself. Give your sobriety date if you wish and tell people where you live in this great land of ours.

Charlie P 11:51

Thank you, John. Charlie P. I'm a very grateful alcoholic. I live in Austin, Texas. And my home group is the primary purpose group of Alcoholics Anonymous. We meet 2701, South Lamar on Tuesday nights at 730. We're a big book study. And then we meet on Wednesday nights on Zoom. And our zoom is 630577473 with no password. Come see us on a Wednesday night. 7:30pm. All times are central.

John M 12:27

And I think that you've had quite a few folks join you from the podcast if I'm not mistaken.

Charlie P 12:33

I believe so. And we've been getting 300 people on Wednesday night.

John M 12:37

Oh, wow. That's great. Okay, so this is our fourth sit down with Mr. Charlie P. And this has basically been a the closest thing I have had on the podcast to a big book workshop. That's what we call it right, Charlie? We kind of started with just you telling your story, if you will. And then we've done a slow walk through the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. And what else do we this? I think that's it. Right? So let's just get on into the material. The last, by the way, the title of the last episode that we did release was called Second surrender in Alcoholics Anonymous, and we're just going to kind of give a brief recap of what that meant. And kind of what that means in your life, your experience, strength and hope with that particular term.

John M 13:34

Sure, yeah. Cuz we're gonna build from that. And in fact, it's the pivot point in Alcoholics Anonymous. The way I see it now, but for for so many of our fellowship, you know, step one is, are you alcoholic, and we didn't, we don't always spend a tremendous amount of time talking about what that means. But the book spins the doctor's opinion and 44 pages talking about what it means physical allergy coupled with a mental obsession, and what that means by powerlessness, and that strange, mental twist that precedes the first drink and that sort of thing. But for a whole lot of us. It's like, are you alcoholic? Do you believe in God, that let's get you down on your knees and do the third step prayer. And that's what we talked about last time, is that when you do that, you skip this body of work and pages 60 to 63. I did anyway, I used to be embarrassed to talk about how much I missed until I realized how much company I have. And, I mean, I've had people come up to me, if we break down 60 to 63 and go, I had to go back to my room last night and get my big book out and see if it really said the stuff you were saying because their experience was to go out from Do you believe in a power to the third step prayer for a whole bunch of us. The whole third step is just the third step prayer. And, and and so what happens is you want to work in a program, like the problem is alcohol and, and alcohol. I mean, we need to stay sober. But, but physical sobriety starts to look like recovery. But then some of us start hitting walls in sobriety and can't figure out why. When collision and blowing up relationships and in conflict at work and that sort of thing, and it brings in this what we call the self peace in those pages 60 to 63. So, the first surrender, being that surrender to alcohol or whatever else brought me crashing through the doors of AA. But the second surrender for a lot of us takes place even after we've been trying to manage this deal sober for a while, and and it's the collapse of self-will, in sobriety, that, that, that on my own, I'm almost always in collision with something or somebody and we talked about that quite a bit on the last session is that, you know, I didn't realize I thought, actually, at one point, I thought I was running up against the failure of Alcoholics Anonymous. But really what I was running up against was the failure of self-will, me trying to run the show in, in sobriety, and God had just kind of had a consulting position. I'll call you in if I need you, but I don't need you right now. told that by following me around. So the second surrender is the surrender to self and, and takes place on page 63 above the book. So that's where we build from.

John M 16:42

And so just to recap, right, I you know, and for those of you who haven't heard the first three episodes, or Charlie be good, go back and look at if you go to our website,, and then you click on podcasts and type in the word, Charlie, all of his particular episodes will come up, or you can, you know, just work look up, Charlie, on your podcast player, whatever. But, you know, I want to kind of go back to cuz I think this is important for those, especially if I haven't heard it before, but you had a different experience with Alcoholics Anonymous. The first one was 17 years or so. Is that right? Then you had after the 17 years? And so just kind of just a real thumbnail sketch of what was your experience, like over those first 17 years? And how does it differ from what happened between that point, and now

Charlie P 17:35

That's exactly what I'm hoping we get to talk about it. Because in the first 17 years, I was very much a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, very much about staying sober. My sobriety date is March of 18, march 22, of 85, I'm sober, 36 years and almost 36 and a half. And, you know, like I said, I just, I couldn't understand why I was having so much conflict. And and I talked about that a lot in those earlier ones, but but I really hit a wall at four and a half years, one at seven years and then the one I hit at 17 years, and that was a big one. And we'll roll into what brought that on. But I guess I don't know what to do that before. Well, to touch more on the second surrender. When we got the we finished off the last session right here on page 62, and 63. And where it's saying, you know, that selfishness self-centeredness is the root of my problem, and above everything, we have to be rid of this selfishness, you know, it doesn't even say above everything, I need to stop drinking vodka, saying, If I don't get over this selfishness, I'm gonna get so uncomfortable that I'm gonna seek relief again. And where this is a powerful message is for two groups that I seem to encounter a lot. One is a group of people that have been in and out of AA for a long time. And they're coming back in AA trying to figure out what's going to be different this time. And the other is groups like me, that have been here for a while and not doing very well. And this is an emerging message in rooms, because, you know, people have been around longer. And so when it gets down to this thing, where it says I'm no longer in management at the bottom of 62 when we you know, I gotta quit playing God in the top of 63. It calls. The deal is I got to quit playing God, the terms of the deal are being all powerful, he'll provide what I need if I stay close to Him and perform His work well, and I call this the pivot point in Alcoholics Anonymous because everything in the book up to this leads to this point, and everything that we're going to encounter from here moving forward refers back to this point. It's just such a, it says, If we stay close to Him and perform His work well, he'll provide what we need. And the thing that is amazing is it from here on out, there ain't nothing else but those two things, everything we do from here moving forward, is either about staying close to God, or, or performing his work well. And so this vigorous course of action that we're going to talk about today, left at this position that I find myself at this pivot point. Go ahead.

John M 20:37

So let me ask a question. So I know you've worked with a lot of guys over the years, right? And you do a lot of workshops. And you even said, you know, when you're sharing this, people ask, you know, wait a sec, what do you mean by that? So, I'm curious, when you get to a point when you're working with some, some guy, and you say, your job from here is to perform His work well, and he says to you, Well, that sounds great. But what what do you mean by that? How do I perform His work? Well,

Charlie P 21:08

exactly. And we love to take statements in the big book, and turn them into questions. So I go over there. When it says in the third step, when it says, Turn your willingness to laugh, or the care of God, and it says, What do you mean by that? And what do you want me to do? And I think it's a fair question for the guy to ask. And then, so then the same thing happens here. But it turns out that the third step prayer is just an affirmation of his decision that I'm going to be God's going to be the director. I'm no longer in management. Now, here's the thing. We may skip, when I say I had a new experience with the work. I don't want to spend a lot of time on this, but I was living. I was commuting between Austin and New York City and we had a beach house out in the Hamptons, and a lot of fancy stuff going on. And one night we charted a plane to fly from eastern Long Island back into New York City to go to dinner. And so

John M 22:12

So who is we just so we know?

Charlie P 22:13

I was married in a different marriage at that time. And, and I had a couple up from South Carolina and my dog and her and me. And so there's five adults, one and the dog and a charter pilot, a little Cessna 210. With retractable landing gear. We take off from East Hampton, we're flying up at about 3500 feet, and then towards Manhattan, where to look, it's about 930 at night, July 20 2003. And we're flying along at about 3500 feet. And then I mean, and all of a sudden we're in a glider. And it was like you're taking the key to the plane and pitched it out the window. I was sitting in the copilot seat with headphones a lot like the ones I have on today. And when I put those headphones on, when I heard the pilot, I'm in the copilot seat. Now I'm not a co pilot, but I was in the copilot seat. And when I put the headphones on, I hear the radio. There's engineers, he and I can hear his audio and he's jacking this knob on the throttle going, come on, come on, come on. And I'm like, what? And they said you're cleared to Gabreski there was an airport at 10 o'clock. Runway that we're looking right down at, we're not going to make it I mean, we're not going to clear the water. We're not going to clear the trees and we're not going to make this right away. And he says you don't understand I've lost engine power. I can't make land I'm gonna have to ditch. Now, I'm a lifelong gambler. But this is my What are the odds that the first time we ever charter a plane? We're gonna crash it into the water at night. And he says, Brace for impact.

John M 24:05

Is that what they mean by ditch when they say the word ditch or they're they're about

Charlie P 24:08

We're putting it in the water, Yeah. John Kennedy style. And he turns towards the shore. There were some big bright lights shining down over the water and he turns and we come by and he says Brace for impact. And I go how? He says this, I put my hands on the dashboard. And we're approaching and smash we hit the water. And it's like splashdown at Six Flags times 1000. There's spray and water and noise. And then absolute silence. And I'm like, holy cow. I think we're all right. So I start trying to open my door. Am I because we're going about about the time that I realized we're okay. I felt something on my knee. This might have been an airplane but it was a really crummy boat. And I mean, right about right about the water just goes. And I go up to get air, and there's nothing but water in the roof of the plane. And I can't get my door open, and I'm underwater. And so I thought, Well, that's it. I died today in this flipping airplane. And now, spoiler alert, I didn't die. When I went back underwater, I started jacking it doing the door came open and pulled myself out. And my first thought when I felt my feet come free, was I'm out. I'd like to tell you, I thought of others. But my first thought was, I'm out. I'm out. And I went out, got somewhere, went down and pulled them out. They were had a little pocket of air in the back of the plane. And I got her out and I got the dog out. And the other couple went out the other side and the pilot went out that side. And so we came very close to drown, and the only non survivor was the dog, this little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. But so I wind up on CNN with this little cub reporter that was trying to make a name for himself at the time had little nothing show called Live from the headlines with Anderson Cooper, and interviews. So my friends around the country like, Charlie, but the reason I say all this is I come back to Austin. And I knew I was in trouble. And a near death experience like that sometimes can be motivated, where you go, a lot of stuff I was fixing to do. For people outside of Texas. That means preparing to do not repairing, it's preparing, and a lot of stuff I was about to get around to doing awesome. There's newer sense of urgency, let's see, you know, and so I come back and I think you're about to interview this whole time, here in Austin named John Henry. And I call up John Henry and I said John Henry, I am so self obsessed, that I can't even I know, this is probably not the case for any of your listeners. But I told him the way I found acid, I can't even be in a conversation. But with anybody, I have to just force myself to act, I can't give a flip what you're saying, you know, because in all I want to talk about is me, and me and me. And I can't interrupt, I can't listen and steal topics. And I didn't realize it was mentioned in literature. But John Henry says, let's start going out to this treatment center. And, you know, and you're like to know, it's like, John, when you're in trouble, and people suggest service work, it rarely sounds like the answer. Like, you know, they're gonna want to talk about themselves. I think we should find a place to talk about me and but I start carrying the message to these guys. And they were times where I felt like I was a step ahead of them. And I tell them go home and read the doctor's opinion and Bill story. And I'd go home and read the doctors about that time. Friend of mine had gone to the treatment center in the hill country of Texas, I met this one guy down there named Chris R. And Chris introduced him to his brother who was at the primary purpose group, Myers was in Dallas, where Tom lived. And we all started having a new experience in the work and and and so I worked with Myers for a while and that was enlightening. I still work with Myers now. But about that time we met Mark Houston and I would implore your listeners if you don't hear me say anything else tonight hear me say get a hold of some Mark Houston recordings and take notes and study them like if there's going to be a test on it. It will change your sobriety changed mine. So that's when I come back and start discovering this self piece. And so in the time we have left we might have we just roll right into this.

Charlie P 29:14

No not at all. Let me take just a small break here Charlie, you can get a little sip of water there. We will be continuing our conversation with Charlie P in just a moment. Just a reminder, you are listening to sober speak you can find us on the World Wide Web sober there you can find about 210 or so. Depending on when we released this episode other episodes for free please keep in mind this is a podcast funded by you the listener. You can find the donate button on our website you can use if and only if the spirit moves you to do. So right back to Mr. Charlie P so this roll on in The next that but that's a very intriguing story there. I am so that is wild that you got out of that plane and Anderson Cooper is actually interviewing you. He does Anderson Cooper know he's ending up on a podcast you think?

Charlie P 30:18

I don't know. I always say that. It was no Earl Hightower story, but it's pretty dramatic in my life. You know, and you know what happened then? Because I like to talk. I've always said that, like, for me, I almost need to talk about what it was like, what I was like, what happened, then what happened and what I'm like now, because I have such a big experience at 17 years. And I see it happen a lot. And and so this self piece that we covered on the last one is so big because it blows my recovery picture wide open, where now it's not just a program of drink, don't drink, go to a lot of meetings, try to help somebody evenetually where they now I'm looking at self as the root of my problems and what and see, when we get back to these fair questions, John, I can imagine a guy saying, Okay, Charlie, look, "self" within the land quotation marks is what's defeated me, I don't get it. What am I even talk? What are you even talking about? And listen what it says in the fourth step when we roll over to 64. Because see, it turns out when it says stay close to Him and perform His work well, I can't stay close to this power, until I get close to this power. And I can't get close to this power when I'm blocked. I always use a graphic of this pipeline, with the power on one end of the pipe and me on the other, but my pipeline is clogged up with guilt and remorse and shame and self pity and resentment and fear and all those things. So we have to try to remove what's blocking me the pipe. So at least there can be some flow of power or Grace between me and this power. And so look at what it says it says in the fourth step, it says our decision was vital and crucially could have little permanent effect. And we would like permanent effect, it says unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face and be rid of the things which in ourselves, which have been blocking us. So I can't get close to this power till till I'm blocked. So in looking at what it says in the fourth, if I missed the self piece in the third step, John, look at what it says in the fourth step. Middle of the page, it says, First, we searched out the flaws in our makeup which caused our failure. being convinced that self manifested in various ways was when it defeated us. And in my book I've written right there, Am I? Am I convinced? So in an interesting over on page 60, it says the first requirement is that I be convinced that my life run on self well, it can hardly be a success. And on 64 it says being convinced. So it tells me that 60 to 64. His job is to convince me that my life run on self will. But I still got the guy going, but what am I looking for? It says well being convinced that self is what it defeated us. We considered it and what is it? Self's. We consider self's common manifestations. So when you turn that sentence around a little bit. Now, rather than just the fourth step being a big confession, what it turns into is a consideration of the common ways that self manifest or shows up. So when you got the guy going, Okay, what am I supposed to be looking for? I go, well, buddy, let's look at some of the common ways itself shows up. What's the first one? Resentment as a as a manifestation of self.

John M 34:06


Charlie P 34:06

And then fear as the failure of self will. And then manifestations of self when the sexual instinct is aroused. Some people get selfish around that I mean, you and I

John M 34:20

No not me, right.

Charlie P 34:22

Some of the weaker members of our society

John M 34:26

The weaker members. Haha

Charlie P 34:31

But I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about how to work a four column inventory because there's a ton I want to talk about the stuff that was really new for me. And so what happened was now we take the self piece into the into the four column inventory. And, you know, for a long time, my first sponsor was like, where's this fourth column you keep talking about? Like, well, that's a good question, you know, because it's easily missed,

John M 34:56

okay, and so for. There are a lot of people who listen to this Just so you know, Charlie, who are new listeners they're trying to either. So be curious, they don't know exactly what you mean by fourth column and all that sort of stuff. So just just a real brief overview of that page. 65 is what you're talking about. And then there's not a fourth column listed out on it. Just so people know. But then the fourth column kind of goes into the looking at my part, if you will,

Charlie P 35:24

yeah, my mistakes. And now here's what the first column is. Who am I mad at? I think it's brilliant that we start off any drunk can tell you who they're mad at.

John M 35:34

Have you seen those T shirts that say: Mr. Brown. I'm resentful at Mr. Brown.

Charlie P 35:40

No, they say Mr. Brown needs his ass kicked. Because look at what Mr. Brown, column one, Mr. Brown, column two, what do you do? You sit down my wife, he told my wife, I have a mistress. And he's trying to knock me out of my job at the office. That's why we always say Mr. Brown needs his ass kicked because he's hitting on my wife. And for leverage. He said, you know, your husband's got a girlfriend, and he's trying to get my job. He's threatening a lot of things. So and that's what we pick up in the third column is it affects myself relations, my self esteem, my fear, my personal relations, sex relations, security, ambitious, you know, we're not dealing with ambitions, I always say the way I want things to turn out. So him hitting on my wife, and knocking me out of my job is not the way I want things to turn out. So it's gonna interfere with my ambitions. Well, there's a lot of that in the first three columns. But when you turn to page 66, it says, a very compelling line, to conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got, good grief have we spent some time there. And it says, the more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worst matters got as in war, the victory only seems to win. But then it goes down in 66, threatens my life, six times. He basically just says stuff. Like, if we were to live, we had to be free for resentment. So this is, this exercise is really only for those of us that want to live. And, and so but I want to get through this because the the powerful piece in the resentment inventory is not writing down, who I am mad at what they did, and how it affected me. And then talking to somebody about it. Look what happens at the bottom of 66. This is a piece that is it's very few four step guides. And they get down here and it says, we turn back to the list for held the key to the future. This is a question I asked guys, when I'm listening to inventory. I go. John, are you willing to look at this from this resentment from an entirely different angle? And they'll usually go Yeah, yeah. Most of the time, I'm thinking, I don't know why. It's, I've got it. I saw exactly what happened. It's a silly exercise to think that there's a different angle. But go ahead, you know, and it's amazing how many times we come into inventory with this fierce resentment, see it from a different angle. See how selfish and dishonest self seeking fear driven I was. And I have this Oh, my God moment where I go, Oh, my God, I've been waiting for them to apologize to me. I gotta go apologize to them. You know, and the way it takes place is right here. It says, how could we escape over and over the book brings us to, here's the problem. Do you admit it's a problem? Oh, by the way, buddy, you can't do anything about it. On it on your own power.

John M 38:48


Charlie P 38:49

This is good as it's gonna get. We couldn't wish them away. And here's this thing. It can be called a compassion exercise. Entirely different angle. We call it the sick man prayer. But just because Katie had a sponsee call up mad one time, she was not done a sick man prayer on her. And we've called it but let's what it says this was our course. This is what our founders saying. They did. They realize that the people who wronged them were perhaps spiritually sick. I mean, not a lot sicker than I am necessarily, but at least two people suffering from the human condition. Right? Because when I when I fell up, I always have a story to go with it. And I can tell you about my motives and what I was trying to do. But now if you foul up, it's an outrage and I demand justice.

Charlie P 39:42

so at least for now, we're going to look at what was driving them though. We didn't like their symptoms. column two, and the way they disturb me column three, they like me. were sick, too. Now, you hear a lot about praying for the people you resent and That's from one of the stories in the back of the book. It's not a bad exercise. That's not what it's saying here. It says, we asked God to help me. Now, here's a clue. In the book when it says we asked, it's usually a prayer. And if it says, we ask God, it's always a prayer. And it says, we asked God to help us, show them the same tolerance, pity and patience, we would cheerfully grant pity you could change for tolerance. And we asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, compassion, I mean, compassion, and patience that we grant a sick friend. When a person's offended, we sit there, so this is a sick man, how can I be helpful to him not? What this does is, puts me in a position to look into what at the other person's position, sometimes a different angle is looking at, like, how would they tell this story, you know, are another one is, is there anybody that could have written the same inventory, except my name would be in column one? You know, have I ever done this same behavior before? But like I said, always got a story to go with it. And, and I've seen it be so powerful, you know, where? I don't know if I got time to tell you about Roy. But it's such a powerful story. This guy was doing work with his. They had a resentment against his father column. What, what happened? Well, when I was about 12, my dad got out of his car one day came walking in the house and said, Your mother killed herself today. And walked in the house. affected his self esteem as this is what and you could get a lot of people in AA to say, Oh, you poor thing. How can anybody be that thoughtless, that mean a 12 year old boy. But that's not where we went with it. I'm like a news reporter way of saying that I'm going okay, how many kids were in your family? And what your parents still together? And how was the money situation there at the house? And and, and so, and where did you fall in those kids? He goes, was a dad was a welder. We weren't rich, but we were okay. Um, and, and my parents were still together and three kids I wass in the middle. And, and we're two years apart. And so there's been a lot of unrest in the household with mental illness. Yeah, yeah. It has had a lot of trouble with her. Yeah. And today, she's killed herself. So when we do this compassion exercise, I go. So Did it ever occur to you that you were 12? I'm guessing your dad's in his mid 30s. Right? His mid 30s. Well, they're married to have full drama and three kids. And He's busting his ass, as a welder all day, every day. Now, he's had a lot of trouble. On this day, his wife has killed himself or herself. Now he's got to leave work. He's got to come home, he's got to figure out how to tell the people in this little town they live in that his wife committed suicide, he's got to notify all the family members and tell them and in the meantime, he's got a plan a funeral and figure out how to raise three kids as a single dad and still make a limit as to Did it ever occur to you that, given his tools, and his background and the amount of dealage that he had at his fingertips. Is it possible that he was doing the best he could that day? And I wasn't trying to do anything to you. He just said it as is walking in. And he said, my favorite thing to hear a guy say in this compassion exercise is when they go, Oh my God. It just it gives me goosebumps to think about it. Because what happens is you say, he said, I never thought about my dad for a moment. And he said there ya go could not be any more self centered. You know, it's like for the last 40 years, I've borrowed money from him and not paid it back. I used to kick his car when I'd see it sometimes. I've been waiting for him to apolo... could not be any more self centered? I need to go find my dad and apologize. So and I watched a 40 year resentment just go. Poof!

Charlie P 44:11

And that's what I'm talking about. The power of this exercise is we come in with a resentment. And we think we need forgiveness. But what I need is awareness. And when I get the awareness, I don't need to hand out nearly as much forgiveness when I start seeing Oh, now look at what this exercise does. Is it place it's cleverly wedged between the third column and the fourth column to move me in this place because the next part says Where was I selfish, dishonest, self seeking and frightening okay. Oh my god. Selfish. All I thought about was me. I mean, and and self seeking. I tried to get things going out, frightened. I mean, it moves me into a place where and that ends in the beauty of that is that gives me real stuff in the fourth column to take him to step six, and seven. So that's my job. I always say I'm in the entirely different angle business. When it guys read the inventory to me, I'm thinking, what's a different angle on this? Where's, you know, how would they tell this story? Where is he delusional? Where did he set the ball rolling? You know, that, that sort of thing. So

John M 45:27

I love that. I am in the entirely different angle business. And I, I get that. I've had so many of those conversations that I've had. You know, I've had people have those conversations with me as well. Like, oh, my God, I never looked at it that way. That is a different perspective. I think that my perspective is the only perspective.

Charlie P 45:52

Absolutely. And that's the baffling piece. That's why we need each other. That's why we 10 steps. That's why I have a sponsor, and 10 Step because I can see selfishness clearly in you. But I'm blind to it. And myself, because of my motives and this delusion that if everybody just done what I said, we'd all been better. Oh, so no. Oh, and it's funny, because I was doing work with a guy one time. And then we did his dad. Oh my god, he says his ex girlfriend. Oh, oh. And then and then this other thing. And after about three of those, never forget it. Because he goes, you know, Charlie, I'm really a pretty good guy, you know? Showing up like a real butthole in his fourth column. Like, I'm not mad, you know, but I mean, in the book says, we don't drift into worry, remorse or morbid self reflection. Because sometimes, I remember seeing a gag book one time that said, dealing with post self awareness depression. You see that sometimes column when all of sudden they go, Oh, my God, I mean, get up beating him. But you're like, Wouldn't it be worse? If you came to me and said, You're in trouble and read your inventory to me, and I just went, God, dang, buddy. I just, I can't see anything that you could be doing different. You know, it's like, really, we come out of this with real work to go do right. So so then just to speed through it. We're not going to get very far today though. So we do that over and over again in the in the fourth in the resentments, then we go to the fear inventory. And when we ask ourselves why we had a fear, when we're, while we're doing this inventory, is we're looking at the common manifestations itself. So we saw selflessness shows up in resentment. In the fear inventory, it says, We listed our fears, we asked ourselves why we had them and listen to the answer. Was it because Self Reliance fail us? So self reliance, is reliance upon self. And in the soul, sometimes when I'm in fear, to me, that's a red flag that I'm that I've drifted out of God consciousness into self reliance,

John M 48:17

good points. So how does Self Reliance manifests itself, I get afraid.

Charlie P 48:23

Because I know, there's only a few things that I can control. And the things that are outside of my control, scare the heck out of me, you know, cancer, whether people are going to gossip about me COVID-19 How my kids are going to turn out if I'm going to stay married, how's my money gonna go? You know a lot of those things, create this low level of anxiety that Howard Poland just talked about God rest his soul. And it says

John M 48:56

this hum of anxiety,

Charlie P 48:58

that's Howard P, God bless him. And it says, perhaps there's a better way when they think so whenever it says we it's usually talking about our founders. They're saying they think so. Further net, we're now on a different basis. Basis be the underlying foundation or the fundamental principle assault. And when the basis of my life is I'm running this thing. I'm almost always in collision. I'm scared. I'm resentful, that says we're now on a new basis, where the fundamental principle is trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God, rather than our finite selves. So what happens when I'm no longer in management Guess what? Heart attack is above my paygrade. You know, I mean, that's management level stuff. Cancer, is that in sometimes when I do a fear inventory, I'll run down the list was a few years ago. This little this fear you put down here is that inside your area of control are outside your area of control? And it's outside, outside, outside, outside, outside? What if there's a better way trusting and relying upon God? And it says, just to the extent that we do is we think he would have us. And humbly rely on him. One time, I had a guy go. How do I know what God's will is? And I heard myself saying, We know I'm not always super clear on what God's will is but, I'm usually pretty clear on what it isn't. But if we just focus on not doing the stuff that's clearly not God's will, and assume that everything realize in the book, it says the same thing it says, just to the extent that we do is we think he would have us and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity, all this confusion with serenity? And we ask God, we ask God to demonstrate now. We use a dictionary at my home group. And you're not gonna believe what demonstrates, when we looked up in this 1939 dictionary, it said, to prove beyond a shadow of doubt, to prove to the point that the opposite viewpoint is rendered absurd. So when we demonstrate that, what, let God demonstrate through me what he can do, oh, is he going to prove that reliance on him works, he's going to prove it to a point it's going to make self reliance. Absurd. You know, and for a lot of us, we've seen the results of that. Then we roll in, and he says it once we commit that, then we get in to the sex inventory. And it talks about the sex, you know, going one way, this way, but that way, he says we don't want to be the arbiter. But we all have sex problems. We wouldn't be human if we didn't. What can we do about it? And then there's nine questions in the middle of 69. It says, we reviewed our contact, where have we been selfish? dishonest, these are recurring themes inconsiderate whom had I hurt? Did I just finally arouse jealousy, suspicion, or bitterness. Where was I at fault? What should I have done instead? And it's in why are we doing all this John? Because I was doing a sex inventory with a guy one time and he had all these people that he had mistreated. He kept saying, I was what's a sparely Jerk. We're gonna use the word jerk. He says I was a jerk to this girl. I was a jerk to this girl's a jerk to the girl downstairs. I was a jerk to the girl at school I was. And I heard myself saying, How could we not be a jerk? You know, and then I realized that's really what this exercise is about. It says, in this way, we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. And the way we do it, we try to shape a sane and sound ideal is by looking at what hasn't worked in the past. And then we ask God to mold our ideals, and help us live up to them. Now, here's the thing, whatever our deal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow towards it. Well, here's the thing. At one point in my sobriety, I was having trouble with some stuff in this area. I was working with Mark Houston. And I was having a little trouble with the stuff that was coming across my computer screen, if I'm not sure that sets me apart.

Charlie P 53:46

And I'm going to mark I'm talking about and he took me to the sex prayer on page 70. Next he wrote these four things down on an index card is just a sum of about sex. Here's four things we earnestly pray for the right ideal. God show me what what this should look like. Second piece ask for guidance in each questionable situation. Third, for sanity, wholeness and soundness and, and fourth, for the strength to do the right thing. We do this in advance, because sometimes with the sexual stuff, we think we can dance right up to the edge of the fire. We got to nip it way upstream. You know, I always say that you know, we like God if you don't want this to happen. Don't let this hotel key work in this door, you know it's gonna start with that first flirtatious look or little flirty comment.

John M 54:56

It's the dance.

John M 54:57

Yeah, so but That's a powerful act says I have a dashboard of my car. Now show me the right ideal. Give me guidance in each questionable situation, please show give me sanity and give me the strength to do the right thing. So now check this out. If we've been thorough about a inventory written down a lot, we've listed and lost our resentments. We've begun to comprehend their futility and their fatality. We've begun to learn tolerance, patience and goodwill towards all man, even our enemies for we look on them as sick people. We've lived through the people we've hurt by our conduct, well, under straighten out the path if we can. In this book, you read again, again, that faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves, objectives up. If I missed the self piece, in the third step, I missed it in the beginning of the fourth step. And then I missed it here again, look at what it says on page 71. We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self will as blocked off from him. And I've written in my book right here, are you convinced? If you've already made a decision, and the inventory of your grosser handicaps, you've made a good beginning, I'm very much about ongoing inventory, multiple 5th steps. Now, when I do an inventory, now, it might be three resentments, four fears, it might take 10 minutes to write out. But we're still gonna get to that sick man exercise in the fourth column, that sort of thing. It's amazing how many times and see things from a different angle. But I mean, that's about as fast as I could run through the kind of a self piece deal. And in the third step, and how that carries into inventory. How this, this self piece changes, not only my third step, but it changes my approach to the steps, changes my approach to my recovery. It changes how I sponsor, guys, you know, so when they're calling me with 10 steps, I'm not talking about, hey, here's how you deal with a difficult wife. I'm talking to him. But where did you set the ball rolling? Why did you make decisions based on self that placed you in a position to be harmed, and that sort of thing.

John M 57:24

But as long as neither of us kicks the can anytime soon I think we'll we could schedule some more time and talk about the fifth step and the other steps and just kind of just meander, yeah,

Charlie P 57:38

well, because this is real stuff, that when you get the guy coming back in when I'm not doing very well, you know, and to be able to show him that there's more available in the work than what he's been experienced. I've said for years, I don't know, which is more awesome. Being able to have a spiritual awakening, as a result of this work, or to be able to show somebody else how to have a spiritual awakening as a result of this work. We go right into clear cut directions,

John M 58:09

Clear cut directions. That'll be where we pick up next. Well, Mr. Charlie P. As always, I really enjoy spending time with you. And I'm sure you could see me breathing through the big book, taking a lot of notes. And, you know, I I learned from this as well and as got me thinking about, you know, different arenas in my life and the best way to go about them or which questions I need to ask myself, and I really do appreciate it. And I know many of the listeners will be going through that same process in their own head. And so I appreciate you. We'll get some time on the calendar. And we'll make sure to follow up I know I have You're the real star of the family Katie P coming up here and I think there's gonna be a couple three months for I get her recorded, but to that,

Charlie P 59:03

yes. So she's kind of like getting a drink from a firehose.

John M 59:06

Yes. All right. God bless you. Well, let me go ahead and read from page 164 here to close us out if I can find it. There it is. PAGE 164 says abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to him and to your fellows. clear away the wreckage of your past much of what we have been talking about on the this episode with Charlie says give freely of what you find a join. Join us. We shall be with you in the fellowship of the Spirit and you will surely meet some of us like me, and Charlie P as you trudge the road of happy destiny. May God bless you and keep you until then once again my friend Charlie, thank you so much.

Charlie P 59:55

You're doing a good thing here, John. Thank you, sir.

Charlie P 59:58

Charlie P for Austin, Texas, you are the man thank you one more time, and we will look forward to having you back on the pod. Now remember, we don't want to share in your gossip. But we would love for you to share this episode with a friend or family member, it may be just what they need today. Pause your little device and share it with somebody. How do you do that you hit the pause. And then there's usually that little Share button thingy. And then it kind of gives you your emails and your device and says you can share it to here there, whatever the case may be, but we would love for you to do something similar to that.

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