Episode #50 To celebrate our 50th episode we will have a special guest on the show with us tonight. Kenney was there for the beginning of the HMR social media profile in July of 2008. He participated in the blog’s and made valuable contributions that helped kick it all off. “Top Hat” Kenney is also a personal friend of mine who has many talents, some of which he is willing to share with us on the radio. So tune in for some live music, poetry reading and solid experience, strength and hope as we celebrate sobriety and friendship on tonight’s special show.
when experiencing trouble and strife without answers to problems, i make sure to approach my sponsor for some solution…after listening to my woe’s for a minute, he will nod his head in agreement, acknowledging his own likeness…then asks questions of what i’m doing presently to maintain my sobriety…and i’ve realized that the tools i use …View full post
attendance at Beginner’s meetings has been my favorite at the group…i always want to remember what it took in order for me to stay sober when coming into the program…and I never want to forget how bad it was out there that caused me to come in the first place…so many motto’s on the walls …View full post
being a part from has become an issue for me again, lately…that’s the good thing in keeping contacts on my phone…a close friend in the program text me, saying he hadn’t seen me in awhile…asking if i’d like to go to a meeting with him soon…it’s a part of my life that has been missing…i’ve …View full post
click links below to purchase copy of bookView full post
“This short word somehow touches about every aspect of our lives. It was an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstance which brought us misfortune we felt we didn’t deserve. But did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling? Sometimes we think fear ought to be classes with stealing. It seems to cause more trouble.” AA BB p. 67-68
the topics of the meeting tonight were fear and utter defeat…i began thinking back to 1994, before i had come into the rooms…i was virtually unemployable…i had pretty much worked everywhere in the town i had lived in…so, i became somewhat homeless, by choice…i didn’t want to live at home…i wanted the freedom to avoid personal responsiblity and didn’t want to have to account to anyone…i slept outside and in cars a few times, roaming the streets…but, mostly i surfed couches…that quickly lead to me ruining many relationships with friends…some of whom i’ve never been able to mend relations with…i used copious amounts of drugs and alcohol…i ate very little…i stank because i never showered…i stole, cheated and lied to get away with it…i lived to get high…the dope and booze dictated my every move…in the pursuit of the continuing high, i committed a crime with a few of my running buddies
after the drugs and alcohol ran out, i was left with this impending feeling of doom…i experienced that paralyzing fear it talks about in the literature, gripping me…i continued to use as much as i could, to shroud the fear, but it rarely worked…this went on for a week, running as far as i could from the unavoidable problem…then, finally i was arrested…the first sense of real ease and comfort came upon me…i was actually relieved to be caught…the realization came upon me that i would never had committed this crime, had i been sober and in my right me…it was an amazing revelation for me, and probably the first time i had attempted to be rigorously honest with myself…i was ready to accept whatever consequences faced me…i was probably the most comfortable person in that jail…i knew i belonged there, and it was the safest place for me, to be locked away
i really dodged a bullet when my conviction came around…i was able to cop a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 10 years probation, instead of 15 years in prison…some of those years were spent in sobriety, some of them returning to active addiciton/alcoholism…i even faced revocation, at one point, but was able to pull it together for the remainder of my probation term…it wasn’t but two weeks after my completion of probation that i began drinking again…three years went by as i drank more and more heavily, trying my best to avoid the invevitable…eventually the life i had managed to build over those years became unbearably impossible…the old familiar fear began to creep in and invade my life once again…i was scared to lose everything i had worked for…my wife, my daughter, the nicest home i had ever lived in, the car, and more importantly, my self-respect…i was beaten once again
but, i didn’t really want to stop…i came back to the rooms, reluctantly…i didn’t know what else i could do to salvage the wreckage i had caused…i had my doubts i would even succeed this time…but, the fear of losing everything was so great. i figured i better at least try…so, i acted as if it were going to work…i trudged through the step work…then, at 2 months sobriety, i lost everything anyway…my wife of six and half years asked for seperation, and ultimately divorce…panic had stricken me…i didn’t know where i was going to live…i was afraid for my 4 year-old daughter, and how she would cope with the loss…i hadn’t a clue how i was going to manage without a family…she took the car…the furniture…my whole world crumbled around me, slowly over the next few months
i never would have made it through that time without building a relationship with God, and the Fellowship of the program…He was with me when i cried out for help and asked for the obsession, fear, and anger to be removed…my friends in the program listened to me cry, bitch, and moan when i was hurting…my sponsor and other mentors walked me through the tough decisions that had to be made and supported me as i searched for the right answers…i fulfilled the lease agreement in the luxurious townhome we had lived…because i couldn’t afford the rent, i moved into a smaller 2 bedroom apartment, where my daughter could visit me every weekend…my ex-wife and i came to agreements in the divorce settlement, and i am fortunate she only asked for what was fair…we actually have a much better relationship today than we ever had before
my fears had in fact come true, but not in the sense i had expected…fear is really merely a manifestation of selfishness…i was so concerned about myself initially, i couldn’t see the other side of the coin…i had to put her shoes on my feet, and walk through what my ex-wife had dealt with over the past 3 years…she must have gone on as long as she could, and just couldn’t handle it any more…can i blame her?…things have gone smoother than anything i could have planned…my daughter has adjusted well, and my life is infinitely greater than anything i could have imagined…that selfish concern for myself quickly turned to concern for my daughter…and i did my best (along with my ex-wife’s help) to make that life transition as easy as i could for her…i’m so grateful she never saw us fighting, or remembers Daddy’s drunken episodes
just because i stopped drinking and drugging doesn’t mean fear, anger, and depression can’t still sink into my life today…working the steps of the program and remaining open and honest with others about my life is how i cope with those feelings…i pray to my Higher Power, and he provides the tools i use to cope with calamity…they may come in the form of an understanding friend, a loving family member or spouse, or sometimes a total stranger…i remember sitting in a meeting in Galveston, Texas the day after my ex-wife asked me to leave…i had spent most of the day on the phone, pleading with her to change her mind, to no avail…i wailed to my sponsor and sponsor’s sponsor on the phone, on my way to the group…i sat in a chair against the wall, my head in my hands, shaking, crying, miserable…a lady approached me and sat down next to me, held me, and pulled a piece of paper out from her Big Book…she read a prayer to me, and then asked me to recite it…it was a forgiveness prayer, asking God to help me accept my current situation and bless the person whom i thought had offended me…then she held me as i cried and hurt in her arms…i will never forget that moment…she was there when i needed her…in the right place at the right time, and just so happened to have something valuable to pass on to another still suffering drunk and addict…God finds ways to love us when we no longer can love for ourselves
Episode #49: Like the 12 Steps, the 12 Traditions were born out of bitter experience, strength and hope. Our history has shown it necessary that the fellowship follow guidelines, much like the individual member does. For, without the group the individual would be on their own. Without the group the individual would surely die. Tonight we look at the importance of the group in the lives of the individuals who make it.
a friend of ours suggested this as a blog topic…and to tell you the truth, i had to look it up in the dictionary to get a clear, concise definition…i really did not know how to put it into my own words…all i can think of is the root word and it’s relation to humiliation…a word of which i know quite a bit about…i have repeatedly humiliated myself throughout my life…and the toughest part of humiliation for me has always been admitting what had been done…i have tried on many occasions to block said absurd behaviors and actions out of my mind…have tried to deny them up and down…it is uncomfortable when i become embarrassed or ashamed of something i have done…i don’t like myself…i feel vulnerable and awkward…naked
this is not humility…and i knew that…when i think of humility, i think of being ‘right-sized’…and that’s what the process of the twelve-steps and repeatedly practicing the principles in the program do for me…it is a learning and un-learning process…it is a repeated tearing down of the ego…a constant investigation to discover the truth about myself…a channel and pathway that ultimately leads me into a relationship with a power greater than myself…and getting rid of self is entirely impossible without God’s aid
in my own words, i suppose humility is coming to the conclusion that i haven’t all the answers…that i am faulty and human, just like the rest of the world…simply because i cannot handle my liquor, does not really make me that much different from my fellows…it’s just my natural desire to get loaded when confronted with life issues…i have a way out today…i can depend upon my creator…and i trust that He will disclose more to me as long as i continue to seek His guidance…thus is the relationship with my sponsor and God
“A.A. experience has taught we cannot live alone with our pressing problems and the character defects which cause or aggravate them. If we have swept the searchlight of Step Four back and forth over our careers, and it has revealed in stark relief those experiences we’d rather not remember, if we have come to know how wrong thinking and action have hurt us and others, then the need to quit living by ourselves with those tormenting ghosts of yesterday gets more urgent an ever. We have to talk to somebody about them.” p. 55 12 & 12
Episode #48: We have a special guest tonight. Author Jamie M. will stop by to discuss a book she has written outlining 12 step solutions to trauma. We will be reading excerpts from this book, asking Jamie some questions and taking calls from anyone else who would like to know about this publication. We at HMR are excited to bring this person on the show to plug what she is doing to carry the message of 12 step recovery in the world.
no quote today…wanted to share something i learned in school this last week…i’m taking this Health and Wellness class…it defines health as the state of a persons physiological being…wellness is the optimum position a persons health can be in…it also mentioned six dimensions of health, which i would like to share with you…i believe it relates to recovery, sobriety and the Twelve Step program
one dimension is physical…it is vitally important that we take care of our bodies, once quitting drugs and alcohol…years of neglect, abuse and excess can destroy not only brain cells, but other vital functions of our bodies…alcoholics risk suffering from cirrosis of the liver, and wet brain…intraveinious drug users risk contracting a number of deadly diseases, such as AIDS and Hepatitis…i know for me personally, i am more than likely experiencing developments of an ulcer…i have been in the hospital twice over the past couple of years for extreme cramping in my abdominal area…the first time, my large intestine had collapsed on itself, which required surgery to correct it…a couple of months ago, i returned, experiencing the same type of pain…fortunately, it corrected itself…the doctor told me a couple of different things could cause this to happen…one is stomach cancer, the other is an ulcer…i suspect the amount of pills i used to ingest cause an ulcer, or the beginnings of one…today, i have to watch what i eat and drink…avoiding caffiene and spicy foods
some other dimensions mentioned in my reading for school are mental and emotional…we are pretty much crazy when we come in to the rooms looking for help…i know i was an emotional wreck…i was incapable of making sound and rational desicions for myself…if we are serious about getting sober, most of us turn to a sponsor and the fellowship to help us make desicions in early sobriety…i know for me, i had faced a divorce after two months sober, which threw me into another fit of uncontrollable emotional anguish…all types of scenarios ran threw my head at how to handle this situation…obsession about my wife plagued me at every turn…it was leaning on guys in the program who had walked through divorce and seperation in sobriety that walked me through it…that and God, which brings me to the fourth dimension of health
spiritual health is paramount for recovering addicts and alcoholics…like it or not, it is going to take a miracle to remove the merciless obsession to use and booze from us…no human power can provide us the relief and comfort that is missing once we have stopped getting loaded…for some, this is a difficult venture…alot of naysayers and scoffers think of religion when those in the program speak of spiritual principles…but, that is not really true…a true 12 step program is not a religion, or a cult…we practice ideals and actions that are rooted in real concern for others well-being…giving of ourselves so that others may enjoy life is the keystone to spritual wellness…going through the process of the 12 steps, we stop asking for help and turn our attention to what our true purpose in life is…to be of maximum service to our fellows and the spirit of the universe who resides over us all…when i think of spirituality, i think of all the simple truths my mother and grandmother taught me…love and tolerance for all human beings…treat others like i want to be treated…share what has been given to me freely…listen to those in need…remain available for those seeking help…staying spiritually healthy keeps me right-sized and guides me to my place in the world
the social and environmental dimensions of health are also essential for those of use in recovery…surrounding ourselves with like-minded people and freeing our life of damaging or dangerous components are vital to our success…we tell newcomers after they come in to change their playmates, playthings and playplaces…i have no business going to the dope house today…if you hang around the barber shop long enough, you are going to get a haircut…i still have some contact with a couple old friends that use today, but you will not find me hanging out at their house everyday like i used to…most of my interaction with those still abusing drugs and alcohol is over the phone, or correspondence through e-mail and snail mail…occasionally we do get together, but when we do, i make sure to take a trusted friend in the program along with me…i also go to places where liquor is served, but only when it serves a purpose and i have a good reason for doing so…like live music events and office parties…i follow the same policy, tho…taking someone who is sober with me, and also hitting a meeting before or after the event…of course, i did not feel comfortable doing things like that in early sobriety…after some time and working through the steps, i had developed plans of action and tools to use when confronted with booze and dope…it is also very important to give yourself an out, if you do find yourself in an uncomfortable situation…make sure to take your own ride, so that you can leave should you become jittery or jonesy
these are only suggestions out of my experience…if you have a question about anything i talked about here, be sure to council with your sponsor before making any decision you might later regret…i’m just attempting to illustrate how important our health is as related to sobriety…going through the reading and participating in the activities of my class, i was reminded of the many facets of being clean…stopping getting drunk and high is only the begginning…we must continue the work and strive not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, socially and evironmentally sober
***oh yeah…the sixth dimension is nutrition, but i didn’t have alot to say about that…i know that my sponsor told me to eat when i get hungry…to sleep when i get tired…to talk to somebody when i’m lonely…etc. etc…alot of us real alcoholics seek sugary foods when first drying out…something to do the metaphysical aspects of alcohol, and how our bodies break it down…i know for me, it is essential for me to keep a balanced diet to provide energy to meet the demands of my day…it is so easy just to eat the foods that i like…but, i do find when i eat better, the quality of my life and the level of my energy is infinetely greater than when i am eating crap…eating junk also affects my mood and self-esteem…i’m reaching that age when i have to watch what i eat and stay active in physical excercise, if i want that girlish figure i had in my twenties…today, i still have that beer belly from my drinking days…lol***
Episode 47: Tonight we share with you a good friend of the program. Steve is an amazing person whom I know personally, and I feel extremely grateful that he agreed to allow me to tape him telling his story at my home group. Steve has joined us on this radio show before (see Steel on Steel). He is one of the most spiritually centered people I know in the program, and I feel very fortunate to have known him as I have.
“As long as (we) try, with all (our) heart and soul, to pass along to others what has been passed along to (us), and do not demand anything in return, life is good to (us). Before entering the program (we were) never able to give without demanding anything in return. Little did (we) know that, once (we) began to give freely of (ourselves), (we) would begin to recieve, without ever expecting or demanding anything at all. What (we) recieve today is the gift of ‘stability’; ‘stability’ in (our) program, within (ourselves), but most of all, in (our) relationship with (our) Higher Power.” p. 242 Daily Reflections
obviously i have paraphrased the above excerpt…i hope that’s not too annoying, it just sounded better to me in the third person…plus, i removed a couple of phrases, in order to include all of my friends here…i have been quoting a lot of AA literature lately, and for that i apologize…i promise to get back to more of the NA stuff soon
it’s been a few days since i have written a new note…a few items have come up for me recently, and i have attended some good meetings, met some good people, and had a really good talk with my sponsor…what, at first, was an extremely stressful situation, has simmered down and began to mend…and for that i am truly grateful
but, back to the passage above…this was read a few days ago in a meeting i attended out of town…it’s what i really needed to hear, and i wanted to share with you what i said in the meeting.
i found that i can still be more ‘demanding or gracious’, whatever the case may be, today…i truly believe i have recovered from that hopeless state of mind and body…i not longer suffer from active alcoholism and drug addiction….however, my character defects are still with me…it isn’t unusual for me to fall into that place where i again feel entitled to something, or think i deserve to be treated a certain way…on the other hand, i can become grateful to the extreme, as well…making a huge mistake or hurting someone’s feelings, i become all too glad and gracious when i am forgiven….i know i have dodged a large bullet
humility is not an easy thing to come by…as a matter of fact, i have been humiliated more times than humbled in this life…it isn’t often that i find myself in that ‘position of nuetrality, safe and protected’…the serenity our prayers speak about…it usually comes as a surprise when i am able to handle a situation that formally would have ended in disastor…it is in looking at the past that i am able to unlock the future…what i am trying to say here, is that i am no saint…and when i strive for perfection, the result is progress…i had to be reminded that i am only human lately…have i said that before?
it is also not easy for me to approach new people…i find it hard to break the ice and spark conversation…occasionally i am able to connect with someone, and i consider it a blessing…there have been times when i have shared in a meeting, and a person thanks me, because they needed to hear it…but, i try not to take any credit for that sort of thing….not a lot of what i share is really original…in trying to carry the message, it’s all been said before, it some form or fashion…besides, i truly believe that God works through his people…i never know what i say or do, and how that is going to affect someone…that is why it is essential i pay attention to how i am treating others today
i also find myself still expecting things in return when i do good deeds for people…not that i expect payment or good deeds back…that is rarely what i expect anymore…but, i do find myself expecting someone to stay sober, or start working the steps, and put my suggestions into practical use…and that rarely ever happens…it is my hope that it plants a seed, tho…in Sunday School several months back, we were talking about giving money to the needy, hanging out on street corners…one person piped up and said, ‘i don’t like giving them money…all they are going to do is get drunk with it, so i give them a sandwich or Bag of Grace.’…another peson answered her saying, ‘it’s not what they do with the money…that is there decision to make…we have done a good deed, and that is all that counts in God’s world…it is not our responsibility what they do with the money.’…i really liked that…and it is so true
this is a long blog, but i have to share one more thing before i go…when i first asked my sponsor to work with me, i did so because he approached me…we had known each other from before…i’m sure he remembers the first time i started coming around, when i was eighteen years old…when we first started working together, i wanted what he had…he had 23 years sober…he had an awesome job and career…he had a Harley and a house, with a family…when i called him with an issue a few days ago, stressed out to the max, not knowing what to do, or where to go from there…he had answers…he had suggestions, and valuable advice…and that’s what i find wanting from him today…emotional stability and sobriety…with that, i always feel secure
Episode #46: Tonight we talk about the history of the program. Exploring the path blazened by our founders. What inspired them to participate in a sacrificial spirit, and what ultimately changed our fellowship. Like Bill Wilson himself once said, AA will change, but our message must stay the same. Setting personalities aside, in tonights episode we explore how the principles of our program continue to carry us through sober life.
“You cannot forever stand against God’s will for you, nor can you forever upset God’s plan for your life, even though God’s plan may be postponed by your willfulness and deliberate choice of evil. A whole world of men and women cannot permanently change God’s laws nor His purpose for the universe. The sea of life may look very rough to us, but we can believe that our Captain steers the boat on a straight course.” July 5th Meditation for the Day…24 Hours a Day devotional book
i realize this may not be a popular topic with some of you…if you are easily offended by religious/spiritual talk, or if i tagged you by accident (i do not personally know most of my friends) forgive me…i try my utmost to keep the notes simple enough for all of us to relate…this passage just really touched me this morning and i wanted to talk to you about it
there was a time in my drinking/drugging career when i felt alienated and outcast by my friends and others around me…playing the victim role, i blamed my parents, the administration at school and the police force…’Question Authority’ became my motto, and i remember very clearly sitting on the bus on the way to school telling myself i would devote my life to ‘evil’…i would take whatever i could, without regret…deceive…manipulate…anything to get what i wanted, since i wasn’t recieving what i felt i rightly deserved from the world
i believe God was involved in my life all along…even when i defied a Creator of the Universe cursing and mocking Him…certain events have come to pass in my life, and like alot of people say in the rooms, ‘I would not be here today if I hadn’t have gone through what I have’…i strongly feel that it took every drunk, high and belligerent act to put me in these shoes today…not saying that God wanted me to do these horrible, stupid and tragic things…but, maybe allowed them to come to pass in order for me to be ready and accept what the spiritual world has to offer
i look at my Higher Power much like the Big Book describes Him…i honestly have faith that He plays a Father role in my life…and like all good fathers, He understands that there are some things i must learn on my own…i have had to come to terms with things as only i would understand them…and this Power i choose to call God is something i have a very limited understanding of…although, i firmly believe that God has an infinite understanding of who i am, and what it takes for me to learn a lesson and begin living life as He would have me…that is why i place such a large dependence upon Him…and my life and understanding is greatly improved when my will is in line with His