10: Christmas (Sort Of)

12/22/19 Christmas! Jingle Bells! Noel! We sort of talk about the season. There’s conversation about the blessings of enjoying Christmas. We also look at if we do Christmas because we like it, or because there is shame in not doing what society is doing. Finally we look at some tips for getting through the holidays with your recovery intact.

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss the recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

hey there is the week of Christmas welcome back to recovery short of its Jason of course Billy may have gone and we’re still figuring that out I heard some other monkey actually introduce themselves one of the time maybe we’ll do that one time see how we like that if I sound a little I don’t know nasally throaty something I am a little bit sore in the throat so that might be affecting me but really I’m super excited right and for the the most ridiculous reason ever so when we started putting this podcast out I have done more the the background stuff of like you know writing what the podcast is about and setting it up and publishing it and so when I published like the first episode it asked me you know to put a season number and episode number and I just you know put season 1 episode 1 when we started and I was like from the second I did that I started thinking well when do we go to episode 2 I mean their season 2 right so when do we hit season 2 how many episodes are in a season like I don’t know and of course so what I want is to be established it’s just like when I when I got clean I had six days clean and I wanted ten years clean right and so now I’m like I just started the podcast two months ago and now I want ten years of podcasting and back history and so I’m like well we need to get on season two now alright so 10 episodes is perfect first season so right now we’re on episode 10 and I’m like [ _ ] right that’s the end of season 1 right it’s time to move on to season 2 and the reality of that is is the more I’ve thought about it is that’s [ _ ] ridiculous like Billy mentions it every time I bring it up to him I’m like bro how many episodes so we get season 2 and he’s like why the [ _ ] do we need season like I don’t know cuz it seems to make sense so now I am almost bought into the fact that we are gonna have one season with four hundred eighty six thousand episodes and that might be even more fun so I just wanted to say and it’s funny too because Jason does a lot of the work and it’s great I really appreciate it but I’m like the laziest one I’m just like dude I just want to show up and have a conversation and go the [ _ ] home and not really you know not that I don’t want to think about it cuz I think about things I want to talk about and I think about ideas and stuff but as far as you know what do you call it like doing a bunch of work like advertising and promoting and all that stuff like I try to do a little bit here and there mention it to people but I’m not really invested into to production that’s the word I’m thinking of production I feel like a lot of production starts to make stuff cheap and it starts to mess up the essence of what we’re doing which what we’re really trying to do I feel like is have conversations about recovery right now and I agree I think these conversations become richer with more voices involved yeah and I’m not God my voice is like cracking over here it’s rough um I’m gonna be embarrassed about that like I’m a teenager with a voice change so maybe like look here’s the fact we might end up with a few people that listen and decide to comment frequently and I might start to change my mind and think I don’t like all these [ _ ] I don’t know like I might only really enjoy my opinion I have no idea but I keep thinking that if we get more input from you know the listening audience and more people’s opinions and more sides to the story like you know one thing you pointed out to me before and I completely agree with this like we have a little lack of diversity in here where were two white guys right and around the same age younger people women people of color of any different color different backgrounds different religions different anything right I think that does make conversations interesting I will say I went to uh UMBC and they have a very multicultural student body right and what I loved about it was I don’t realize how little I know about different people until I’m around different people and exposed to some of their ideas and upbringing and it’s kind of incredible because I do tend to be egotistical and think everybody’s just like me and thinks like me hearing these other backgrounds really has a the ability to open my [ _ ] mind to some new [ _ ] and I as much as I don’t like that a time I really do like that I enjoy having new things exposed to me you know I’m like holy [ _ ] really that that’s what it’s like growing up in your country that’s crazy yeah and as I’ve gotten older in the last several years like I’ve really gotten interested in different cultures so I spend a lot of time you know on like PBS has tons of cool documentaries just about different cultures different you know people different places how they live in these different you know areas and I find that so fascinating so I’ve really tried to open my mind to that stuff as I’ve gotten older mom because cultural wise like so I grew up in Baltimore City in a predominantly white neighborhood in the city I went to a private Catholic school which I had you know there was a few you know people that weren’t white but predominantly it was mostly a lot of white kids and I had actually one of my best friends was a black kid that you know I used to hang out with but uh then I moved to Rising Sun Maryland which at the time was like the home of the Klu Klux Klan you know is what Marilyn was known for or what Rising Sun was known for back in the 80s when we moved there and that had nothing to do with why my family moved there just coincidentally was where they found a house in the country so it was so weird I’ve just kind of really grown up in very vanilla cultural places you know like I haven’t grown up around many different cultures or experiences so I didn’t realize what I was missing till I got older and they don’t like wait a minute there’s lots of cool cultures out there to study and explore and look into and it’s been fascinating it is it’s [ _ ] interesting so here’s something that happened to me uh you know I went to a meeting you did a couple weeks ago and I and I laughed because you shared early in the meeting that you’re not this you know speaker that’s from the city so much that maybe a little you know louder and banging on tables or something and I and we laughed and talked afterwards about how I didn’t really think of me that being me as a speaker in general but maybe it was once you described it in that way and so I had this experience I swear I just did a meeting this past Wednesday and I recorded it with the thought that maybe I’ll throw it on this podcast or we haven’t really decided that yet in fact we were supposed to talk about that we have it or maybe we’ll put it in a different podcast somewhere so loathe the hooter fluff notes right but listening to this share that I had from Wednesday all I could hear was my Baltimore accent and I’m like oh my [ _ ] god right I don’t I hear myself as this prim proper gentleman that speaks very eloquently right and honestly now that I have heard my cell phone on tape or on recorded device I don’t speak that way I speak a little urban and I was not aware of that and I I don’t know how I feel about it honestly uh it kind of shocked me a little bit so yeah we had actually talked about that so I have listened to every podcast that we done after we put them out I will wait a couple of days because I want to try to kind of get my head out of the conversation again so I usually wait till like Wednesday and then I’ll listen to it again a couple days on my ride to work you know usually two-three days I can get through it and it’s amazing so in the beginning like most people I hate my voice I hate the way I sound recorded it doesn’t sound the way that I think it sounds in my head and those accents and things that I don’t hear in my head you know exist when they’re on the radio and different speech or talking patterns that I have come out you know and it’s been fascinating to kind of work through that to be like now I listen to my voice basically once a week and I’m okay with it now you know I’ve worked through like the uncomfortableness of listening to myself recorded and I don’t think it’s so bad and it’s like most of those experiences there’s a thing of humility there you know it’s like it’s not near as good as I want it to be but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be either you know it’s it’s somewhere in the middle and after listening to a few shows and just paying attention to some things I’m like well that’s just part of who I am and I can be okay well I will try to just be okay with my my accent then I don’t know it’s a little weird I guess at some point we’ll get that set up you know so I just realized while we were talking though obviously season two starts in 2020 the most [ _ ] sense season one’s just a shortened version because it’s not a whole year but then we can easily keep track of how long we’ve been doing this I think 52 episodes then we do a season that’s a year we had to do 52 episodes and then we’re at season 2 yeah I don’t even know that matters I will say that like we kind of have some plans about what we’re doing with this in the future not a whole lot we got a [ _ ] ton of ideas right maybe we’ll do a cliche a week maybe we’ll do a slogan episode we’re definitely like mulling around the idea and I really think we should do a step each month next year I really think that’s a good idea and I’ve been asking different like talking to different people about trying to get some different people to come on and have conversations about different things people that I know are involved in other recovery pathways people that I know have more diversified points of view on recovery things than I do grow just some some people like that that you know I think would be interesting to talk to you about some of this stuff no absolutely I agree I’m almost curious how far we’re willing to take the differences of opinion like do we want people who aren’t in recovery on the episode do we want people who have family members in recovery to come into I don’t know that’s interesting but yeah that’s one of the things really so while we’re over here planning like hey we want to step with a month we think that’ll be useful while we do enjoy just doing this for the the [ _ ] of babbling to each other cuz it’s enjoyable it would also be nice if this was useful and so you know anybody who tends to listen or slightly enjoys it and has any idea about what they’d like to hear we would we would greatly love to hear you know what we could do that might be useful for anyone out there that being said we’ve already wasted like wasted but we’ve definitely not talked about anything relevant for eleven minutes so I wanna one of the things that really popped up this week of course you know with Christmas on the brain my wife and I start Christmas shopping pretty early were some planned folks I honestly personally like to think I’m a planned folk and she just happens to be a part of that especially Luck’s into that part of it but like the end of November I’m online starting to order presents and we’ve like got different notes that we share on Google keep and and like you know planned out for how much to spend on each child of ours and we’re writing down what it is and when we bought it and how much we spent and subtracting that from the total and then checking it off when the package actually comes in the mail and it’s it’s really organized right but we always plan a day each year where she’ll take off of work and her and I will actually go to like a mall to shop for Christmas presents and generally just like it was this year most of our shopping is already done by that point this is like stocking stuffers for the kids or just maybe one or two bigger gifts and we go out and we have breakfast in the morning and then we get a coffee and we just walk them all and experience the the Christmas attitude I guess do the ambiance of everything that’s going on it’s nice on a weekday when it’s not so much hustle and bustle it’s not quite as bad and it’s really really [ _ ] enjoyable right I hated Christmas when I got clean because all I had done is ever missed it I skipped all the holidays I was too embarrassed and ashamed I didn’t actually buy gifts for people I never had money to spend on anything but you know using and so I just didn’t want to show up for any of that and to have that 180 in my life over time where I really I really enjoyed looking for gifts for people like just considering what would this person like what’s it gonna be like possibly when this person opens this and finds this gift underneath the wrapping paper it really means a lot to me right and even though i 100% hate [ _ ] consumerism when done within my I can really appreciate the entirety of Christmas and the spirit that goes along with it and so that’s where I figured we’d start this week yeah I am so I was thinking of Christmas in the context of you would spoke about a couple episodes ago about when you write papers how you wait till the very last minute and then you write the paper and you’ve just gotten okay with being that mmm that’s me at Christmas a guy wait until the very last you know a couple of days to whatever weekend like this is the last weekend before Christmas I’ll be out shopping this weekend and we’ll be wrapping all the presents on Christmas Eve you know trying to get stuff all wrapped and you know Jen’s plan and my wife is playing in weeks ahead of time and trying to make lists and organize I’m like yeah whatever you know it’s fine whatever and that’s just the way that I do it and it used to stress me out and I’m like that’s just the way it is you know I don’t stress too much about Christmas partially because I am against some of the consumerism and and so I had a little bit different attitude this year like I used to think well why do we need excuses to get together with family and people that we love you know why do we need these excuses to do it when they all live around us and the right arouse we can do at any time do we really need some fake I you know celebration to do that and then we got to make some [ _ ] up and go spend a bunch of money to do that and then I realize like well kind of yeah that’s the truth you know because when I’m caught up in my everyday life you know it’s like I’m trying to work and come home and take care of responsibilities and then we got baseball on the weekend or this thing or so-and-so’s you know birthday party or whatever and you just get busy going by the day-to-day stuff and I’ll talk to my sister in passing I might talk to my niece in passing you know family that’s around all my running to my dad for some reason but we don’t really get together and like sit down with no other agenda than to spend time together and the holiday seem to do that you know they seem that maybe it is an excuse and I never got that I don’t think until vichy like I got oh yeah this is why like my mom really liked doing that this is why my sister really likes doing that you know because for me it was always like we would host some things at our house like man it’s gonna be a ton of work or we gotta get the house all ready it’s gonna be all this food you gotta make and dishes and it just seemed like a hassle um and now I can appreciate what it’s for another I think part of that for me was I grew up in a retail family my parents owned a retail business like a store in a shopping mall mm-hm for a lot of years and I worked for them for a lot of years so it my typical Christmas for myself and watching them was work 60 70 hours a week you know what I mean you’re working late hours all the time it’s busy you’re it’s just was stressful and through you know and it was good for the business cuz you could do Black Friday and that would be great but it really wasn’t relaxing you know and now I’m at a point in my life where you know well that’s not true I work in a seasonal job like I work for a heating cooling company so when it’s cold we’re busy this year it’s freaking cold around Christmas so we’re extra busy so it’s been a little more hectic but same I’ve been at work like kind of whistling and singing Christmas carols and people keep bringing in all this food that we keep eating and I’ve really had a pretty good overall demeanor about Christmas and try to be really positive about it and just enjoy it you know what I mean a couple of weeks out of the year a lot of people like it you know you can buy a humbug it if you want and stomp around and hate it but it doesn’t make it go away so might as well just appreciate it I definitely hated it when I got here and to not to super expound on what I already said but I definitely hated it when I got here right I had skipped every family event for years and I never had gifts for anybody I just felt like I wanted to avoid the whole thing and then when I finally got here and had the ability to truly give back to do something for somebody else and it started with the closest people to me right mom and dad the people I had hurt the most and it was like I actually had the means to do something for them and it felt so good and it has grown III definitely I think Christmas with children is a huge part of it for me like I’ve just really fallen in love with the whole season right I love and it’s funny you mentioned the idea and I feel like I’m just a little scattered tonight maybe a maybe the source that goes along with being sick or something that I’m not all here you mentioned not understanding why we needed an excuse to get together and I can remember looking at like Valentine’s Day like that like I like calling things out for being a bunch of [ _ ] right like Valentine’s Day that’s a bunch of [ _ ] right cuz they’re any by Hallmark right because people should definitely be loving each other all 365 days of the year why are we gonna single out one day that’s [ _ ] stupid we can go out and wait in line to get a [ _ ] table to eat somewhere but how many [ _ ] bla right I always want to call something now for being [ _ ] but the truth is I’m not going and taking my wife out to eat the other 364 days of the year right same thing you just said like do we [ _ ] need Christmas to have an excuse to get together with family you know how often I see my family pili once a [ _ ] here obviously we do maybe we need Christmas part two and [ _ ] May just so we can like spread it out I don’t know but whatever it is about the holiday season man I have definitely bought in I love the entirety of the season the idea of spending time with my family we try to do things like go see train gardens or go look at holiday lights I just feel close to my family during that time now I will say that comes with the drawback and that’s the fact that after I do this month-long preparation for these gifts right and then after about an hour they’re all opened and I’m [ _ ] left with like oh it’s all over now but right and it’s kind of depressing it really isn’t and it leads into January which is like less football American football if you’re somewhere else and it’s really depressing honestly it’s kind of like as all this build-up for this one morning of 45 minutes of time and then it’s over and like post-christmas depression anything

I made a therapy for post-christmas depression when I get my my therapy license here in a few years that will be what I studied depression so I know we always look forward to ski and so I love the winter I like snow I like the winner you know and of course January February are the best times to go ski and so um the kids that I love love the winter uh yeah I think for me too Christmas has become so I never had those experiences with Christmas I always I still functioned well I would say as an addict nothing getting arrested and going to jail right but like I was someone who could always hold a job I had a job all the whole time that I used I mean it was probably not my best I was getting high in a bathroom and [ _ ] going out on my lunch breaks and drinking and stuff like that but I worked you know I maintained a job and did well enough that they never fired me um and I was showed up for family stuff I was always there and it I think the difference for me was it used to feel like such a burden and an obligation to be like AHA I got to go to this thing or else my mom’s not gonna give me my gifts you know cuz I wanted to stuff is probably very self really motivated was the only reason for going and changing some of that up to new motivations you know to to realize in like oh yeah it’s important to spend time with my family you know those things are important I never used to think they were I used to feel like this totally alone and isolated person you know and I didn’t realize the value of having the love and support of other people and what Recovery’s taught me is we are all like and I think it’s missing in a lot of people’s lives today we are like a community and a tribe and I have different communities depending on where I’m at you know have the support of like or different families I would say I have my recovery family that’s my friends you know people that I know my home group guys that I sponsor my sponsor you know and people that I’m close with in recovery and those people are like a family to me and then I have my you know blood family my sister you know her boyfriend you know my niece’s my nephew you know my brother his wife like my dad you know like immediate family that are people that I’m close to that love and support me in different ways um there the relationship there is very different than it is with people in recovery but no less valuable you know and that investing into each of those different families is important you know because not having them I think we suffer in our spirits and I don’t know that our society right now appreciates the importance of those relationships especially and we’ve talked about this a few times especially with all the online stuff it feels like I can get the same thing by joining some chat group of a bunch of people that we all like you know who knows the Ravens we’re all like the Ravens so that’s all my friends row you know but you don’t get those relationships online you don’t get that closeness of a family or community like you get when you actually sit down with people eat food you know actually look at each other and have conversations you know those are important important things I think in our genetics you know in our DNA that we are social creatures communal creatures and when you don’t have those love and support bonds you know you suffer as a result yeah I would I would absolutely agree I think we are you know and it’s been said so many different ways by so many different people and and research and everything else that we we don’t exist you know in a bubble like we do basically thrive amongst others right and we need that communication and being cut off from that can do bad things for our brains right yeah and so and to keep this towards recovery so what I realized when when I was using I laid it a lot because that was a defense mechanism you know because a lot of the crowds that I ran in and the people that I ran around with they weren’t necessarily looking out for my best interest and I wasn’t looking out for their best interests you know I’m only looking out for me and if you got something I want I’m gonna try to take it and I was never a big fighter guy so I wasn’t that angle I was to try to manipulate and cheat you out of it and you know the guy that was I’d steal your [ _ ] and help you look for it like oh that that guy and you know that defense mechanism of I just need me by myself I got to isolate and I don’t want relationships I don’t want you knows I put up all these walls and separated myself from people because I felt like that kept me safe yeah definitely protection and it took some work in recovery to start to slowly lower those walls and they’re not only to lower them but to start inviting people in you know allowing people in to to not uh-huh to build better relationships with people that were less likely to hurt me you know is what it boiled down to because anytime you let down your guard and invite people in there’s a potential for getting hurt yeah absolutely I think that was a lot of why I shielded myself from people that that self-centered fear that if you know who I really am you’re gonna hurt me and dislike me right and I need to protect myself from that at all costs and so I’ll just keep everybody at a distance and put on the mask I need to put on to impress whoever it is that’s around give you what I think you want to hear and see and and hopefully I’ll be okay and get by I just actually shared about that in the meeting before I came over here to meet you was talking about the fourth step and how there was some stuff in my fourth step that I was just gonna take to the grave like nobody was ever gonna hear about it because it was too embarrassing right too shameful and then to have that experience of working the fourth step and having to share it with my sponsor because I believed it just had to be done right and to have him accept me in spite of it and to share some of his [ _ ] that he thought was pretty awful that I thought was stupid and didn’t bother me at all about him right not stupid but it was like it wasn’t it didn’t change my opinion of him right right stop your flow of thought there but I think either must sponsor all boring [ _ ] people and my using must be super [ _ ] boring cuz I always hear about these great revelations that are actually supposed to come out in the fifth step and I didn’t have any great ones and no it’s sharing any great ones with me so well that like you say that are so terrible and you know horrible it’s not that’s their blushers right but when I got here this [ _ ] I guess it was uh was it emasculating is that yeah when you feel like your masculinity is taken away it was a moment like that for me and maybe one day I’ll share it on Who I am yeah so what it came up because Here I am at the end of my school semester and I always you know hey I don’t work step store my school semester I got papers and [ _ ] which is probably just a good excuse not to work except for a few months but to school semesters over and I found myself a week after that like yeah it’s [ _ ] break time I ain’t doing [ _ ] and truth is I need to pick up my step work right that’s what I need to do and so I have a I’ve read step 4 which is the next one on the agenda for me out of three different books this past week and it is now time to write so you you might get to hear some stuff that we are getting close to our time I did have a couple of things a little bit more to take with this so let me just tell you a story real quick you mentioned always being functional sort of and having a job and all that and being able to produce for Christmas and when it remind me of was December 21st I guess it was it was either 19 or 20 years ago at this point was 1999 or a year 2000 on December 21st and I woke up that morning and I had no money to get high and at this point my parents didn’t trust me to come in the house right if they gave me a [ _ ] sandwich it was through the kitchen window right which is pretty sad to think about and like so I can laugh at this story now but I’m telling it and I get a feeling it’s actually gonna be more sad than anything so for the last couple months I had been sleeping on the porch because I didn’t have anywhere else to go and I didn’t want to go be homeless somewhere else that seemed dangerous I was just homeless on their porch and they had a green like tanning plastic green tanning chair in their backyard so I moved that up to the porch and I put a sleeping bag on it and like the mailman would step over me to deliver mail and I just thought my life was ok the neighbors would see me there I invited a girl back to my place one night like this is how sick I wanted to think that I was all right on this porch I mean it’s December it’s cold right December 21st I wake up I have no money and I pulled this scheme or my father that I feel really guilty that I’m not gonna have Christmas presents for anybody this Christmas and I feel like [ _ ] about that right and so I can’t imagine some money of course the money goes to me using right so I go get high with this money and at the end of the day I’m like [ _ ] I don’t have any Christmas presents to show him tonight so I walked up to the grocery store near my house and tried to steal like the the daily planners but everybody was gonna get any planners that here right and I actually got caught and generally they would have just like wrote me a ticket for a fine or court date or whatever but I had a violation of probation and I spent that Christmas locked up but that was part of the process of getting to the end of my using but that’s that’s the unfunctional addict that I was right so just the contrast what you said and we were real close here so let’s go ahead and break for our ad and then we’ll come back and talk some more about this this episode has been brought to you by voices of Hope Inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in Maryland voices of hope is made up of people and recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.canadianoutback.com I buddy Jack today who I keep trying to convince to be on the show because we have you know interesting conversation so he sends me a picture of a greeting card earlier which was kind of funny and I was like man that’s really you know that’s funny and he said we should make recovery greeting cards and I was like no that’s a terrible idea because I think greeting cards are [ _ ] stupid right and he’s like really and I said yeah he’s like you you have you ever gotten a good greeting card and been unhappy with it and I’m like no but so I was raised with a lot catholic shame right and it doesn’t have to be Catholic shame but that just happens to be where my mother came from was Catholic school and she was very good at shaming me into behavior modification like that was her effective means right and so her generation I feel like I feel like maybe hallmark or one of these companies invented the greeting card and then from there they sent the message out through advertisement somehow that if you don’t send a greeting card you’re a thoughtless [ _ ] right you don’t give a [ _ ] about anybody you can’t even send a [ _ ] greeting card to somebody right and so an entire generation of people got shamed into sending greeting cards some people and so as a backlash to my mother trying to shame me into sending people greeting cards and all these other things I just don’t send greeting cards any [ _ ] where I don’t find grading cards nobody if my family gets greeting cards from me I think it’s ridiculous right [ _ ] Hallmark if I’ll send them a text message and say hi happy birthday miss you whatever if I feel it I’m not gonna go buy a goddamn card and mail it to them I think it’s ridiculous but mostly it’s so look if I saw a card that I wanted to buy somebody in a store I would buy for them it’s not like I don’t want to buy or I would you know just not buy it on principle I just don’t want to be shamed into it and so the conversation with Jack went into do we really do what we do for Christmas and for greeting cards because we really need or want to or do we do it because we feel like we would be ashamed for not participating in what everyone else is doing and I just thought that was an interesting concept and we could tie into this Christmas thing like do we only get gifts for people because we’d feel shitty if we didn’t participate in what everyone else is doing yeah that’s interesting so on greeting cards immediately what I think of is to me it seems like the greeting card came out of like in a time of letter-writing it was like the [ _ ] lazy man’s letter writing like hey you don’t have to write a letter anymore what is the right one for you stick your name on it stick it in an envelope so greeting cards or maybe they were the first memes or whatever the first memes you could get um but I try to think back to times where we’ve done I’m thinking specifically Christmas not all greeting cards but Christmas at times I’ve done Christmas cards and mailed them out to the whole family and times we’ve received Christmas cards from different members of our family um right now we don’t get any Christmas cards from anyone really mostly because we just bought the house that were in now a few months ago and before that yeah three years before that we were traveling around all over the place and nobody even knew where we were right so a lot of family members just stopped sending us cards all together for that really you send mail to a traveling do you have an address is that possible so we had all our mail went to my parents there wasn’t really anything too important and then we would have we would get a mailbox post office box or the different campgrounds that we worked at some of them you could just get mail sent right through the campground work it out you know there are different services you can get stuff to that will forward your mail so actually specific services for people that travel all the time that you just go online tell them where you’re at and they get your mail and just make sure it gets to where you’re at I don’t want to get us too far in left-field but I’m really curious now do you do you have a lot of mail when you have a mobile home like do you have a lot of bills that need to be mailed to you or things like that well no and mostly because I hate mail in general um I try to always get all the bills electronically anyway any time there’s a paperless option you know I do that and I wish I could say it’s because I love the environment trees but it really is way more to do with I hate the clutter and coming home and sorting through you know 15 things and and then you know when you open a utility bill it’s like eight pages of [ _ ] that you don’t really like all you care about is how much [ _ ] money do I owe you like you don’t care about the 17 other things that are in there I don’t know that anybody reads all that stuff but anyway seems like too much it seems like yeah right then I’m looking at everyone they’ll try to figure out why I used $700 um so we would just I hate mail in general so I’ve got an electronic mail like I was I’ve always been a non technology person so as soon as there’s a option to just get [ _ ] emailed and pay online and do all that I am all about it right so we had very limited mail anyway and then most of the stuff we would get was not important so anyway Oh was so when our green cards so I used to we used to get them family members the ones I like the best were the ones that were like pictures of people and their family right mostly because a lot of the people I didn’t see that often and it was just nice to [ _ ] see what they look like and so those were the cards that I always like to send we’re cards with pictures of my family in them I felt like if I was gonna take the effort to send any kind of Christmas card I wanted to be some kind of personal you know and now we haven’t done that for a few years we haven’t sent cards we haven’t received cards and I gotta be honest I kind of miss it there’s certain members of my family that that was probably one of the few communications that we would have and when I sent the cards I would always try to write like so I got this from my great-grandmother and it was a guilt trip from my parents so my great grandparents did pretty well financially and every year they would send us a you know a few hundred I was like five hundred dollars or something which this is a decent present to get from someone that you see once every three years I mean wouldn’t even see him that often they lived in Florida said this to you or the whole thing oh no to me like I would get five hundred my brother would get five hundred my parents would get whatever they were in burns yeah my grandpa these other great yeah they’re passed away now yeah so anyway um so you know my dad was always super big and my mom was like look you got a right thank you letter to them or you will stop getting money you know Mike it was actually my great-grandson my grandparents was actually my great grandparents and my great grandmother was like if you didn’t send her a thank you card you would she would cross you off the list you know next year so it became at the and the thank-you notes had to be somewhat personal oh yeah so then it became a thing where I’m gonna take a little bit of effort at least for her to write hey this is what’s going on with the kids and she loved it you know dollars you guys well it’s just a way of like I said when I got clean I started to appreciate like this is someone who doesn’t owe me anything that’s willing to give me something and all they’re asking for is a little bit of thought you know I mean a little thoughtfulness in return so I tried to repay that and do that and then that turned into well there’s quite a few family members that I used to be close with growing up cousins and people that I used to like we always got along you know we had good relationships we just got older and kind of drifted apart so I would take and it wasn’t I mean total it would be an hour to do 20 cards hey how’s it going kids are getting big you know whatever if I was to do one now Abbey’s driving you know it’s great she’s working and driving Sophie’s gonna cut just something couple lines about each kid we’re living in helped and we settled back down and bought a house buh-buh-buh hope you’re doing well Merry Christmas you know and I would try to write something like that in each one hand right can’t Photoshop you know [ _ ] hand write each one and it felt like it meant something there was some intention behind it right and I haven’t done that so we don’t get any Christmas cards and we don’t send any Christmas cards and I this year I was like wow I kind of missed and again I think it it goes back to that same thing we talked about in the first half of those are ways that we keep these connections you know that we build these bridges and connections with with people mom when they’re made to be personal I think if you’re just [ _ ] buying a card off the shelf and shoving it in an envelope and stick it in the mail out of some kind of guilt thing and it’s [ _ ] meaningless you know it means nothing right but if you’re really actively saying like hey I’m gonna invest into this relationship even this five minutes of time to be you know a half way thoughtful person then it can be very beneficial and very meaningful and a way to keep connections you know it’s on how you use it it’s a good tool or a bad tool no absolutely it’s uh it is hard to invest in relationships so we did a similar thing we moved into taking our own pictures of the kids and you know supposedly funny Christmas scenarios to send out as Christmas cards all wearing the same ugly sweater sweater I think one of them had had my my oldest son tying up his two older sisters and Christmas lights you know try to go with the funny concepts and and it was a little I could see that like I didn’t like it at the time I bitched about having to do it but I could see where kind of made me miss it a little bit like we haven’t done it for a couple years either you know just for some some other reasons really no good reason just kind of fell out of what we were doing and I didn’t mind but we never we never wrote any real you know anything on it and that was kind of what I part of my problem with it was I feel like we made these Christmas cards and we sent them to the token family members that are supposed to get them but I didn’t really send them to people that I was trying to invest in I just kind of sent them because this is who we’re supposed to send them to and that’s I guess that was my beef with the greeting card concept is that we I always felt like I was just doing it because it was what I was supposed to do not what I was choosing to invest in right I do have people that I’d like to send pictures of my kids and say hey look it’s here honestly a lot of that gets removed or the fact that I have a Facebook and all that most of those people are on it and already can see those pictures so it’s why not just post a picture publicly and I don’t have to worry about sending out that greeting card to you know 30 people and along something along those lines um I think the card concept and I get it and again I’m not a big supporter of it but I think it it is just that it’s a little more of an investment like you know there’s a little more effort that goes into that at least if you’re trying to do something genuine where you’re writing something in it or even just signing your name or you know whatever actually taking the effort to put a card I mean it takes even less effort to put up a public Facebook than it does to take a picture and stick it in the mail you know they’re like how much less effort can I put into this seemingly thoughtful interaction I’m gonna make it so that my phone automatically posted to Facebook so I don’t even have to [ _ ] do it so is that what makes it meaningless like you did is it become meaningless because it’s like the less effort and the less energy and the less thought I have to put into it the more it seems like some kind of obligation like the more it seems just [ _ ] pointless I will buy into that so I don’t want to feel shamed into having to do something I don’t want to feel like I’m being told or have to do something right that never works for me I just get resentful about it but I find that as I move away from as I finally take my stand and say I’m not [ _ ] sending them Christmas cards this year this is a total horseshit not doing it no more two years later I’m like [ _ ] I wouldn’t mind sending someone on Christmas cards do a couple people like I really care now right now that I’ve removed myself from the the having to do it now I get to choose who I really want to do it for right interestingly enough like this ties into the whole Facebook birthday update thing that this bothered me for a while right that people have no trouble getting their Facebook birthday reminders in the morning and then saying happy birthday on everybody’s [ _ ] page and seemingly being considerate right and I guess to some extent they are right they saw it they went on they did something about it I think it’s [ _ ] stupid right you didn’t take any effort to actually remember when their birthday was you just [ _ ] woke up and it was already there on your phone so I didn’t participate I actually for like four years in a row I three days before my birthday I actively like shut down my account so people couldn’t wish me a happy [ _ ] birthday and then popped it back up a couple days after I found that I don’t even have to do that I just removed my actual birthday from anybody being able to see it like you can see the year but not the month or day and I like that better um and the same guy Jack he’s really good at remembering people’s anniversaries people’s birthdays and all this stuff and I [ _ ] suck at it and don’t put any effort into it and I say that doesn’t make me not thoughtful right I’m thoughtful because throughout my life I think of these people and maybe I shoot him a message and say hey I was just thinking about your you know I don’t need again a kind of back to what tell me I don’t need your birthday to say hi to you but maybe I [ _ ] do cuz I don’t say hi to a lot of people right so maybe I got this [ _ ] all wrong maybe I really need these these reminders to talk to people yeah and I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong to any of that you know like I have a good friend that is very good same thing he knows birthdays anniversaries wedding anniversaries of friends and people that he’s known for number one he’s the guy he’s the one [ _ ] guy that you’ll get a phone call from I need to tell you

whatever I’ll take what I know no he’s that guy and and it’s great like that’s just who and I think for him by biggie I want to say likes it I don’t know if he likes it or not but you know that’s just that’s what he does and it is a way that he gives back and when I thought about when you said you took that Facebook thing down it’s like you just robbed a bunch of people with some opportunity to feel good about themselves like who gives a [ _ ] if you like it or not I don’t care people happy birthday me to death on my birthday I didn’t go on Facebook that much like I probably see you three days after my birthday right but if it makes them feel good about themselves what do I care now say something bad I know if my dad doesn’t listen my dad doesn’t even [ _ ] call me on my birthday anymore he just Facebook messages happy birthday like that wasn’t sort of hit me a little wrong like come on man I don’t even get a [ _ ] phone call like the Facebook message really so uh thankfully the people in my life like my mom and my wife do not go on Facebook and wish me happy birthday that was really like that would bother me my dad’s crazy he’s been kicked off Facebook because they think he’s a Russian troll he repos every fake news gift if he’s wishing you happy birthday on Facebook and not calling you he might secretly be but you know it’s just like I’ve got out of a bunch of the participation of that stuff on Facebook people messenger me sometimes and I don’t get back to them and for a while I felt like I owed them some obligation to go in like when I did finally see the match because usually I’ll see the messages two or three weeks later like oh [ _ ] I got some message out click you know I’m like I’m not [ _ ] with none of this stuff it’s all annoying you know I just I’ve been on the fence of deleting the whole thing for a long time like I realized people only invite to events through Facebook like you even get a [ _ ] card to an invite on [ _ ] I’m gonna call you just it’s a Facebook event and you’re invited on Facebook you know and so my party I borrowed it Facebook invite yes it’s crazy but I guess that’s just the way people do things now it’s easier yeah it’s easier vibes the planet Billy we’re not seeing any of them payment cards I think I mean we all got cell phones text messages that stuff’s pretty easy too but in any case back to the kind of greeting card thing so the other thing I thought about with greeting cards is like and this is just a pet peeve I’m gonna go off the Christmas cards for a minute is birthday cards so [ _ ] birthday cards seem to be super expensive anymore you’re going and pick out a birthday card they want like six bucks for anything that’s you know decent and I’m the cheap-ass guy that goes to like the 99-cent section or the dollar store and tries to get dollar store birthday cards because I feel like especially for kids like if I’m invested into a birthday present for you I have a limit on like a cap on what money I’m willing to spend right so you know is going like it or equipment yeah well I mean that’s your choice if you really need a card then you get five dollars less of a gift then get you a [ _ ] card or I’ll buy your gift and wrap it and just write my name and marker on the front and everybody’s happy that way then you get more for your you know more rank for your book agree when you were describing as I’m sitting here thinking you know greeting cards have a price on them right the envelopes don’t so I think I’m just gonna go take a [ _ ] envelope from a store and I make my own card at home out of a piece of paper because the envelopes are free right yeah do you have to buy a card it doesn’t say that anywhere it doesn’t say you must back hard to get a free [ _ ] evelope there’s no price on okay try that one I’ll do it tomorrow December 21st I’ll get locked up all over again shades of history but yeah I you know it’s it’s and that’s the thing with Facebook and those things I think they are attempts at communication and building relationships and I think at some point they may be and and that’s one where like I may be bucking the trend of that’s just where things are going that’s how people communicate that’s how we do things nowadays and we build relationships um I don’t necessarily think it’s it’s all good or all bad either way just for me personally like the the net sum of Facebook is negative just for me personally I have nothing against people that want to have Facebook’s I get why they want them I understand the whole concept I see some value in it but if I weigh the whole thing out it’s like man I think I don’t want to participate in that but then there’s still that slight part of me that won’t let it go you know I’ve gotten as far as downloading all my data because if for a while you didn’t used to do that you weren’t allowed to eat they owned your data when you don’t loaded it now you can actually download all of it and save it to a file and you’re supposed to be able to keep all your pictures and posts and all that stuff so I’ve done that like twice in like I’m gonna delete my Facebook and I think I actually deleted it once but then they wait two weeks or some [ _ ] like they won’t just delete it it’s like well you got two weeks to change your mind and I think I changed my mother yeah they got me oh so I’m still I’m still on there that in some level Facebook is interesting I you know I know we’re not talking my Christmas right now I so I like using it for some of its purposes like I like that I’m signed into words with friends on Facebook and I can play words with friends with people I know instead of just random strangers without giving out my weird-ass like words with friends ID which is some ridiculous like pillow wall slash ceiling six eight four nine or something like [ _ ] no weddings in there that right I I just what I dislike about Facebook I like being connected I like being able to go on and see oh man I haven’t seen him in so long and look he’s over the occasion with his family they’re like great time right that’s really nice for him let me throw a like his way right to let him know I’m thinking about him I hate that I scroll through and that’s generally not what I see when I see is people’s opinions about a lot of [ _ ] and I realize that I missed the days when I didn’t know people’s opinions about a lot of [ _ ] right like I liked people more what I knew less about their opinions because I I don’t know I just it’s really tough to watch other people’s opinions when they’re not pretty yeah and I’ve noticed so much like I in listening to different shows and different reports and different documentaries about the data sharing and data collection and advertising and how all that stuff works like the behind the scenes I know what’s going on and what they feed you and what you know comes into your feed like just knowing all that has ruined the whole experience for me in general I know all these ads are popping up on my thing you know I seems to me anymore maybe just cuz I’m aware of it but you know every third post is an ad for some [ _ ] it’s just like it’s almost like bad TV yeah I’m scrolling through you know 10 minutes of [ _ ] to get to a five minute something I like to then get into ten more minutes of [ _ ] and that’s why I mean by net sum it’s like I see the benefit that could be there if I was able so I tried to create it to what I want so for me what I like about Facebook is the community connection or the partnership connection and I went through and got cleared out all people that like I was just vaguely friends with tried to limit it to people like this is all people that I still know that I would see probably in the next year these are probably people that I’m gonna see between family members friends people in recovery whatever I tried to limit it to just those kind of people then I started whittling out anyone that puts a political anything you [ _ ] hate Trump you’re blocked you love Trump you’re blocked you know and I just stop not blocked I stopped following I’m just like and not just pose here there but you know the people everything is the people every other post is we [ _ ] love Trump we hate what I didn’t care I was just like I’m done with all that I don’t care about that I can get that I can turn on the TV and watch that just get rid all that and what I really liked was seeing other family members and seeing their kids and seeing all the going on vacation pictures and all that stuff like I like that that’s what it was good for building those connections but that’s not what the [ _ ] I get in my feet and that’s like I’ve actively tried to play the algorithm like oh this is a person I like I’m gonna like their thing I’m gonna like this person saying I’m like that person’s thing I don’t know that isn’t what pops up in my [ _ ] so it’s just gotten to be like say ten minutes a garbage to get a 5 minute of oh this is what I actually am here for well I will say I don’t know I’m how’d you get rid of your Facebook totally because when you shared you know about the podcast the other day I do I think that was like our biggest day ever of people listening and I was like [ _ ] people like people like his Facebook you know share and then I shared this [ _ ] on my Facebook and like two people listen I was like you [ _ ] kidding me well so people thought we were interesting because we did so I had a Facebook page I don’t have you ever seen am i running from normal Facebook page yeah so I have it’s probably still up there I haven’t done anything with it for a while so when we first decided to sell all our stuff and travel around the country I did a facebook page and a blog called running from normal and I did some writing on there and I had telling about why we decided to do what we were doing and where we were traveling and what was going on so I did that for a hot minute and it was cool I had a lot of visitors actually we actually written out on the back of our camper you know running from normal calm and people would go check it out why are you not sharing this there because I haven’t done anything on that page in probably two years so it still occasionally gets like stubborn I still occasionally get notifications that it gets like I feel bad because that was such a good calm like to me such a good like conversation such a good idea like this running from normal like stop trying to be like [ _ ] everybody else just go out and having an interesting life and be yourself like that was the idea behind all that yeah like we weren’t trying to sell everybody on the you should sell all your [ _ ] travel around the country I don’t know that’s probably a lot of people that couldn’t do that or wouldn’t want to do that or wouldn’t like doing that but it was more the premise of stop trying to [ _ ] have the house and the cars and the 2.5 kids and the job and like all that [ _ ] doesn’t matter you know have an interesting life have a fun time enjoy your life and be somebody different I can’t believe you had a [ _ ] blog because in like two thousand eight or nine I wrote for a local music magazine and then when they we kind of had a falling out with a guy and then I had a [ _ ] blog for like a year it was crazy and I wrote [ _ ] and put it online and people read it that’s feel like I’m a good writer so I pretty well I feel like I have a decent writer I almost wonder why I’m gonna having a podcast I have a blog and we have a [ _ ] blog Billy are we doing so yes I’ve actually thought about picking up the running from normal stuff and throwing some stuff on there and trying to trying to relate it now to and I think it does come back to a lot of the recovery stuff it’s like trying to just be a good person and live spiritual principles and just be different like get out of the arguments about politics get out of that you know what social media and what mainstream TV and what you know that the I think our culture is toxic to be quite frank and you know that stuff pits us against each other it’s it’s all the opposites of what I think make a good society right which is what leads to addiction and all the social ills that we have and if we push back against that and said you know that [ _ ] sucks let’s be different let’s not support you know mainstream media and all this stuff and you are seeing some of that there’s there’s a lot more of that going on now than there has been in a long time and I feel like it takes some time to get there so when when I first got clean I don’t think I could have branched out beyond the normal right like I first I had to just get back over to the normal where I was coming from and look I had this I see this debate on Twitter a lot uh you know there’s especially one or two particular individuals who say that we shouldn’t call ourselves in recovery and we shouldn’t consider you know ourselves to have been sick and and something’s wrong with us like there was nothing wrong with this and I don’t know I don’t want to get into it for me it was easy to see myself as like having a [ _ ] issue and being a human garbage can when I was out there and I needed help and I got that help and I don’t feel like I’m that way anymore right I don’t feel like that’s stigmatizing for me to say that because I believe that about me but I needed to first recover to normal right I aspired to be let me please be a part of society again right and now I think there does come a time after that happens that we can’t do this we can run from normal and say you know what like hey I got back to society I was a part of it there’s some [ _ ] in there that I questioned and I’m not so sure I like about it you know the whole consumerism and Christmas to tie it back into that a little bit like dude I remember my son telling me he wanted a xbox for Christmas and he was like five or something and I was like bro that’s a little bit much on the money I don’t know maybe Santa can’t afford that right this whole [ _ ] Santa concept which is another thing I’ve cut that out of my life too but at this point we were still doing Santa and oh yes a note he’ll just make one I’m like this [ _ ] right these companies have done sold me Santa and now I can’t get out of disappointing my son or forking out five hundred bucks for an expert right like this is [ _ ] and so yeah I do think I can go past the normal now to the other side of normal where it’s like hey there’s nothing wrong if I don’t want to teach my kids about Santa and I think Santa is a bunch of horseshit I do mean I want to teach them about the real magic in the world about people who love each other and help each other not the fake magic of a disappearing Santa who they’re going to be really disappointed in when they find out it ain’t true Yeah right and that sort of ties into my experience with my son the other day um we had got a phone call from my sister that my niece who lives across the street needed some help and and so you know I just coincidentally we had the opportunity to go help so you know she had an issue where she needed some locks changed on her door I happen to have a couple of dead bolts at the house that I wasn’t using they were from somewhere else I had the keys for him I had new [ _ ] plans to use them in my house so I said yeah sure I can come change these couple of dead bolts so I went over and did it and took a half hour of my time or whatever to help her out so my son you know had come with me and we were walking back home and he’s like you know I’m really glad that we could help her out and you know I thought yeah that’s great and I kind of told him I said that’s the kind of people that we are that’s our character is we are kind and we help people when we can and when it you know when it’s when we can we do and I thought a little bit more about that later and the what I’ve come to understand that for me to be is that’s me being my authentic self like that’s where my spirit is that it’s happiest and I never knew that that’s what you know happiness or contentment was mmm I thought that for the longest time like I said the idea was to get back to normal so I spent my first 10 years of recovery you know doing all the things that you say getting a job and getting the car and buying the stuff and mowing the grass and we have to take these vacations and do all the [ _ ] and it took 10 years of doing that to get to a point to go hey wait a minute this isn’t really what I want you know this is what everybody tells me I’m supposed to want this is what everybody says success looks like and it’s not bad it wasn’t anything wrong with it it just wasn’t what really filled my spirit you know wasn’t what gave me real contentment a real happiness and so you know then it took about four or five years to figure out we wanted to do this traveling thing and that we were going to go out on the road and sell all that stuff and get rid of all those headaches and you know go travel around for a and in that experience you know I gained a couple of things one I gained a lot of freedom from material stuff in that we pretty much got rid of almost everything that we couldn’t fit into our RV and our pickup truck and as a bunch of people told us so we took a bunch of [ _ ] we put it in storage for like a year then I realized we paid a storage bill for a bunch of [ _ ] that we didn’t even need so then we got rid of most of that stuff we have a few things there was a few things that we actually kept um but it freed me from some of that materialistic stuff like I don’t need stuff to be happy stuff is nice and it can keep you you know convenient it can make life easy and sometimes it sucks not having stuff but you know it you don’t need it to be happy and you know what really makes me happy and really makes me comfortable in my own skin and really makes my life of value is you know how I feel about myself and how I feel on the inside not how I look on the outside so that’s interesting I just listen to and I happen to be with my wife while we were doing that Christmas shopping we were driving around we picked a couple of podcasts while we were doing her driving and one was about things and the differences between some people who just loved to have a thing you know one guy went through an experience of like touching a piece of a flag that went to the moon or something he was just say say and man I could touch this and I feel the moment that they walked on the moon and just take it all in and other people who were like yeah things are pretty cool [ _ ] though and uh so my wife and I had this debate at times so like she has stuff that people have given her that she says has sentimental value you know we had I think that their grandmother made us a quilt for our wedding but we could never have we weren’t allowed to use the quilt it just hung on the wall and I I’m a very practical person I’m like well what the [ _ ] the point of it if we can’t stay warm with it right if we can’t ever use it why are we just we’re gonna display quilts and we had a stack like the grandmother made a quilt for every kid we had and for every event and as they got older they got a new quilt and there was like we had a closet full of [ _ ] quilts I’m like this is so ridiculous to me right and she’s like we can’t get rid of any on there they’re all important they mean something to me excuse me and I’m like well they definitely don’t mean anything to me and what I what happened to me my father saved every [ _ ] right everything dude he would save the little white piece of cardboard that came in pantyhose packages back in the day because he might need it one day and he grew up pretty poor so like to save things for what you might need whatever we’ll do something useful with it and so when he died it was a lot of going through his stuff and realizing I think out of anger and and really hurt he always said one day he would go back through that stuff and like relive some of his memories and the way he died he never got to do that and I think in my hurt of going through his stuff after losing him it really attached to me was [ _ ] these things right these meant [ _ ] to him in his last moments this was nothing this was all for [ _ ] nothing [ _ ] things that’s not what matters I’m not gonna lay on my deathbed thinking about things right and so I’ve just taken this like hardpoint stance of [ _ ] things I just they don’t mean [ _ ] right not totally but for the most part yeah I don’t I don’t have attachment to things right at all there’s a freedom there and it’s Oh news is back there cards and you know Christmas cards so my wife is a keeper of things you know we have so some of the things that we could not get rid of and we still have it we’ve put it in storage and lugged it around and hauled it [ _ ] all over the country still don’t really have a big box full of [ _ ] that stuff I shouldn’t call [ _ ] stuff that like the kids made in elementary school when they were little kids drawings and cards and you know pictures and crafts and just all this stuff my one my middle daughter broke her leg when she was like 16 months old so it’s her cast you know like stuff like that and she saying memories and it was funny one time early on I think it might have been Christmas or a birthday you know I was always like you know just open cards read them and then throw them right in the trash and she would like gasp audibly gather what do you you know you’re not saving that card you know that I gave you you know that’s this act of love and thought into that card I’m like now I read it I had the experience of the card and now it’s trash threw it away so I’m gonna go back and overdub that to say recycle so then a year few years later we’re sitting at Christmas I think it was or and same thing happens with my mom you know if my mom gets this card and she opens it up and she reads it and then immediately throws it in the trash I’m almost like that’s where you get that from you know so in my family my household like that stuff didn’t ever really mean anything so it doesn’t really mean anything to me but it means something to my wife you know she saves all that stuff she has cards that I’ve given her from a long time so interestingly my mother as she cleaned out years and you’re like I think she’s still in the process of cleaning out stuff my father’s been dead for thirteen years now it’s been quite a while right so she’ll still give me every once in a while a container full of my childhood like finger paints and all this stuff and I go through it I’m like this is [ _ ] terrible right I don’t want to really see any of this generally there’s one or two things in there that I find a little humorous maybe because I couldn’t spell and I’ve heard a terrible story or something and so my wife has held on to the same thing all we got to keep all the kids stuff and I’m like why can’t we just take a picture of this stuff take up no space whatsoever right except digital space and a cloud somewhere and then throw the [ _ ] away right they could still see it it’s in the picture and we don’t have to [ _ ] keep it and so I think she’s actually bought into that we can just take pictures of things and then toss them thank God because I cannot imagine holding on to all that dumb [ _ ] yes it’s awful yeah it’s on the fridge now but it ain’t [ _ ] worth it on the fridge in a long time it’s just in a trunk put away for she says for when she gets old and is in a nursing home she’s gonna have all that stuff with her and that’s gonna be her memories that’s the same thing my father said he said he was gonna like pull it all out and go through it as he got older in retirement and he was gonna have all these fond memories and you know what like he got lung cancer he got really sick and two-and-a-half months later he wasn’t here no more that [ _ ] never happened and ci and I tell my kids this – it’s like I’m about experiences like life is about living and having fun experiences and you know this experiences can create memories I guess but it’s the time that we have together doing the things that we love enjoying life you know living loving and laughing together that to me is really meaningful and I try to teach that to them um and just like I’ve told them a lot like don’t get me wrong if you guys want to be successful and want to have some stuff there’s nothing wrong with that [ _ ] go get it go work and get it what’s important is that you know what’s in your heart and I think for some people stuff is important and there’s nothing wrong with that either it’s not I’m not trying to be so self-righteous I think if you like stuff you’re an [ _ ] no if you like stuff go get it but if you’re selling your soul and you’re chasing a bunch of stuff and you’re not happy but you have a lot of stuff maybe you need to kind of look at so I kind of I kind of buy into the minimalism theory to some extent of where I don’t need like I want to have what I need I don’t really want to have a whole lot of stuff I don’t need and that doesn’t mean that if you know a picture that somebody gave me or drew for me is meaningful to me that I need to get rid of it like it’s fine to keep it if it means something to me it’s just a motion doesn’t so funny enough did you ever look seriously into the minimalist stuff because I like there was these guys that had a blog and they started this minimalist ideas about us about it yeah hey we’re [ _ ] too ridiculous I mean the guy had like one [ _ ] shirt that he kept that he washed every day sis it was like all right dude that’s overly stupid yeah the minimalism I was listening – was kind of against that it was talking about hate there’s no acceptable number of things this are about that this is about if you want something keep it but really evaluate and if you don’t want it get the [ _ ] rid of it yeah and a lot of those were principles that we used for when we you know again because we did and the reason we went down that road because we had to minimalize when we went to an RV when you’re living in an RV you don’t you can’t just take an unlimited amount of stuff it’s like all right what 70 shirts do I like all right what 7 long-sleeve shirts do I like you know and you’re trying to limit your selection of things so but it was funny that the real like extreme minimalist people were like ridiculous right right so I mean yeah and to go along I don’t have any problem with people who like things right I have a problem my wife that likes things because that means I have to [ _ ] have things in general if it’s in your [ _ ] house I don’t care if you like things um I think part of it for me also and I’m just starting to learn this through some of my own therapy and step work and everything is that I like to protect myself right and so a way that I protect myself if I do put value in things I can lose them a fire could happen and I can lose them my little younger kids could get ahold of them and destroy them and sort of protect myself from that hurt I just don’t invest any emotion into those things to begin with right and so I don’t know maybe it’s a defense mechanism that I hate [ _ ] I mean I just sat here and told you it it was born out of the moment my father died and I was in pain right so it could be a protective factor more than a you know hey I’m so [ _ ] holy I don’t need things right it’s not so much about that yeah I don’t know we got way off Christmas cards we did get open Christmas and so to bring it back around to Christmas because I believe the title for this entire [ _ ] episode is probably gonna be Christmas sort of uh I feel like maybe people in recovery who listened to a Christmas podcast around Christmas time Christmas and the holidays are tough for a lot of us in recovery especially if we’re earlier on and still adjusting to that they might have been looking for tips on how to make it through the holidays you know and then stay in recovery and I don’t feel like we’ve done that at all so what’s your tips on staying so know a couple things that I’ve noticed in recovery early on for me in our area they do a Christmas marathon that’s 24 hours you know meetings around the clock and I think I spent my first year or two at least a lot of hours at that marathon doing that thing you know hanging out just being there because I felt more comfortable there than I felt around my family at that time and it felt like a safe place to be I just heard that amounts like Wednesday yeah so that was always pretty cool and they go on other places I know they have quite a few different ones all around so if you look for a marathon that’s going on around the holidays you can usually find one oh yeah now if I actually shared that susquehanna marathon I’d like the 8 or 9 p.m. slot when it was on the Main Street meeting in Northeast it was at that location okay and this was like 2009 maybe but I was like once we had kids that stuff got really hard because you know then we’re getting off Christmas Eve ready and putting together toys and that’s one o’clock I was like I can’t do one overnight yeah so but I spent late nights there you know overnights there because it was comfortable and safe um the other thing for myself is I my family tends to drink and not my immediate family but my extended family and so we always kind of gave ourselves and out for a lot of family parties we tried to show up you know earlier on time like if it started at 5:00 we tried to get there at 5:00 and then hang out you know for an hour to and then leave at like 7:00 or 8:00 you know because that would just be the time where you get into their third drink yeah but it just seemed like this is probably the best time to get out of here so we always kind of left that as a thing and you know gave ourselves those outs of like we could still show up and be a part of and supportive but you know we definitely had an out

I don’t know other than that you know spending a lot of time with my immediate family has always been like Christmas Day has always just been me my wife and kids we don’t do a lot of running around on Christmas Day go spend that time at home with our media family um yeah so I’m glad you mentioned the the marathon meetings I do think they exists in a lot of locations where there’s you know more people out of populous locations they might not be so much in the rural areas even though we’re pretty rural and we we do have that going on so maybe they do maybe you need to start one if there’s not one in your area you [ _ ] go join special events god damn it be a service uh yes no but I think that was great I didn’t even occur to me honestly because I know that’s not something I’m going to do because I’m home with my family right so I’m not gonna be a part of that in general maybe on New Year’s Eve because New Year’s means nothing to me but Christmas Eve I’m gonna be home with my family for sure but uh I think you know there’s a lot of recovery podcasts out there that people can listen to some of them do more of a format like us some of them do more of a format of just having speakers on or interviewing speakers so if you really need a message or to connect you there’s recovery podcasters recovery blogs you can look into there’s a [ _ ] ton of online recovery communities is what I’m finding like I am all over Reddit and Twitter as recovery sort of and then I have not moved to Facebook or apparently there’s one Instagram I [ _ ] hate Instagram for some reason I really don’t want to do it I always feel like I have to because it’s like a huge podcasting community and maybe I will at some point but so these are places that you can reach out and get live one-on-one you know interaction will it be immediate probably for somebody it might not be the person you’re looking for if you’re too scared to pick up the phone if you don’t have a phone number these are places you can definitely reach out for just somebody to run some stuff by because it is a serious thing man I’ll say I don’t spend a lot of time around so by Christmas Day is immediate family but there are other times when it’s not immediate family that are around Christmas right you know my wife’s extended family I don’t do a whole lot with my extended family my extended family is pretty primitive so they don’t really get to that point of like drinking in front of people where it would be obnoxious her family’s a little more if you know a blue-collar and they do at times and it thankfully doesn’t really affect me like my whole family knows I’m in recovery and so it’s just not something I can I can leave if I needed to right it’s not gonna affect me in that kind of way I don’t believe at this point but what I do know about my family in general is that those are the people that install the [ _ ] buttons to push on me right and so spending time around them at the holidays sometimes it can get really easy for them to push those buttons even if I’ve been gone from their family system for quite awhile right I don’t live with my mother I haven’t lived with my mother in a long time my mother can push my [ _ ] buttons right she knows them all she put most of them in and that’s something to be wary of around the holidays right I got to be aware of hey I don’t want to be even if I don’t use I don’t want to be a miserable [ _ ] jerk at a Christmas event with my family and I can be I can be the guy that’s in my head like my mother will never see her [ _ ] grandchildren again that [ _ ] right like out of nowhere I can just come on because some button or insecurity is pushed from a long time ago and I think it’s good to know that going in because it makes me more aware to not buy into that crazy thought that I have yeah and and to me that’s the that’s most of my life this is the process of recovery has taught me that it’s you know that same attitude of like first thought wrong how do I you know act the person I want to be not the person I feel like being you know so many times I I feel like doing certain things I’m angry or I’m hurt or something said is insulting or offensive and you know I want to lash out and learning the skills and tools that I need to not be that person and then kind of be spiritual in those situations and you know we had that a lot with my mom she was the difficult at times person to deal with mom and then you know when she got really sick it was kind of weird to watch you know the difference that change in her she got older and she got sick and to be able to really let go of some of those buttons and kind of kind of not oh I don’t know I guess it’s a freedom of making amends and doing you know letting go of resentments you know a lot of that happened and I’m glad it did because you know I can look back on my relationship with my mom and not really have too many regrets of course there’s a few there’s always some hurts that I wish you know I could take back but I tried to do the right things you know at the end of her life um to make her life better and to make her happy and you know it was a lot of things I didn’t want to do you know for being a family stuff we went to my mom’s side of the family had a family Christmas party every year was all her sisters and all my cousins and it was half of it was annoying I went this year and my mom passed away you know for a lot of years I only went because my mom basically made me you know not made me I mean she couldn’t make me but she was like the guilt trip like you really need to show up that it uh you know we only asked you to come once a year you know is the whole guilt trip right to come so we would go and uh you know this year it was kind of different like she’s passed now and she wasn’t there this year and I felt that I really needed to go like in I guess you would call it in her spirit like she would want me to go so I’m gonna go and I felt good about that you know I really felt good about that so it’s weird how some of those did you have a good time though or did you just feel good about going I was okay I went and socialized with people and and talk to my wife actually said wow that I was surprised to see you socialize because I don’t like big crowds of people as much as I like to talk I like to talk to three or four people in a corner and that’s it but I really try to make an effort to because I think with my mom’s passing so what happened I think with my mom’s passing and then watching some of my aunts and uncles when I really look at them like they’re getting [ _ ] old you know their time is short they’re not listening to this they might not want to hear that right but you know what I mean it’s it’s you know they’re starting to have different sicknesses and different ailments I got an aunt that’s got Parkinson’s I got one that’s had some heart issues you know and it’s like these people aren’t gonna be around you know all that many more years and you know they they have been people that supported me through the worst times in my life you know when I was the biggest piece of [ _ ] that I could possibly be there were people that still loved and supported me and showed up her you know my high school graduation and some other things and you know gave my one aunt gave me a job when I needed a job at one point you know so there were people they loved and supported me and now you know again through recovery I can give that back you know just by showing up at this event and saying hi and giving them a hug and how’s it going and what’s going on with you guys and we’re doing this and that you know it’s just being a decent human being and so probably wasn’t the way I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon but you know I’m glad I did it was the right thing to do my spirit feels better because of it so you know I feel like often the thing that makes my spirit feel better is not the [ _ ] thing I want to do in that moment right but then later on it does hit me as like oh that feels nice today I’m glad I did that thing I didn’t want to do and I do think there’s a balance there though I do think we got to do some things we want to do and like to do like that’s important you well I think in practice and doing the things we don’t want to do we also get that understanding that like maybe that doesn’t seem to be the thing that’s going to provide the instant gratification but ultimately it is really what we want to do because it makes us feel good later right um not to not to change it up too much but back to the I know na has a hotline number is the other time right does AAA have a hotline number like that I would imagine right Excel they have something similar and so there’s these hotline numbers you can use there’s a you know taking a step out like I think self-honesty is a huge one like we’d like to tell ourselves aw I can muscle through this I’ll be fine and like just really understanding hey there’s some [ _ ] going on in this family reunion or whatever Christmas celebration people are drinking it’s bothering me I need to walk outside for five minutes make a quick phone call right just that honesty to know that and to remove myself or remove myself for tonight I’d rather be clean and explain mention a week later than uh you know lose my sobriety in a moment because I can’t walk outside right um and not to get back to a first bite but like we hear about a first step we hear about people talk about powerless and they always want to throw on powerless over people places and things and that’s kind of true but I think that’s irrelevant to the first step personally I think the powerlessness that I’m referring to when I talk about a first step is it I don’t get to control when the thoughts of using occur I don’t get to control when that compulsion or that desire to want to get high pops up in my life you know so I can be around a family event thinking I’m doing all the right things and see a couple people drinking and be like [ __ ] that looks like fun I think I want a drink maybe I can have a beer like that’s the powerlessness of addiction you know and and what I learn in recovery is like you said what to do about that well I step out and I call my sponsor I leave that situation I try to go to a meeting you know and there are some things I can do that I don’t have to sit with those thoughts and let them consumer overwhelming another tactic I learned and this was in a another fellowship is fellowship is called and I’ve heard people now that I heard it there I’ve heard it back and you know some other more unusual fellowships for us it’s called bookending you know where you know you’re gonna do something that feels a little shaky for you and so what you do is you call somebody before you go in you tell them what you’re doing you’re doing this bah bah and then you go in for your amount of time and then you bookend it at the end – and call them back hey yeah I’ve spent my two hours there I’m leaving now things went well nothing went shady and there’s something about that accountability piece of that book and it helps people to focus in the middle of it right and I kind of like I’ve used it a couple of times for different things I don’t know have you ever heard of that one before now no okay um but I just thought of something too cuz I in my head I pictured something terrible when you talk about for canning okay I’ll just let it go but now the Eiffel towering yeah so another tool or thing that I’ve learned in recovery is to take another recovering person with you you know that I mean take a friend you know whatever take it I’ve taken my sponsors come to stuff with me um just you can take another recovering member there so that you don’t have to be in those situations alone my mom and that you can feel the love and support of your your friends and people that understand where you’re at that’s a pretty good idea yeah I don’t know I think we’ve definitely covered a lot of Christmas stuff here today I guess that was the point of a Christmas week podcast I don’t know do you think you have anything else to add on to any of this no just Merry Christmas Happy Holidays you know or maybe if you’re non-religious and atheist or agnostic and you don’t celebrate Christmas enjoy the next couple of days off work because I think everybody gets off work anyway unless you’ve quite a few places that are closed that are still open but not many ARMs yeah yeah a couple of convenience stores that apparently hate Jesus that they don’t care so you know if you’re not a Jesus fan you know have a couple days to enjoy family and friends yeah I mean just you know in the spirit of Christmas if you’d like to give Billy a gift feel free to share the podcast with somebody that you think it might assist in their recovery because honestly look as much as we like talking you know there is a hope that this is useful for someone to continue the top you know continue the conversation and thinking about growing in my life right that’s what I want to do the more I talk and thinking about that stuff the better a person I believe I am so in the words of spongebob don’t be a jerk it’s Christmas and I hope everybody has a great week that wraps up this episode please subscribe rate and review this podcast on your preferred platform if you have ideas for you’d like us to talk about or just want to add an opinion contact us through anchor email us at recovery sort of at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at recovery sort of