133: Billy’s Story Part 2 (Sort Of)

Continuing in with Billy’s story, this is part 2, the recovery years. Billy shares about what it was like to get into recovery, the challenges of early recovery, some of the many events that have happened along the way, and the different pieces he has picked up along the way to help transform him into the person he is today. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

Billy’s Story Part 1 episode

Openmindedness episode

Willingness episode

Isolation episode

Courage episode

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery 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 attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason a guy who is not billy and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and we’re gonna do the continuation of billy’s story the uh the recovery years you know part two but i we did have one small piece of recap so we got this message on our contact form on our website which sort of dot is and while i’m talking about that we’re on facebook and instagram if you like really dark recovery memes or addiction memes uh we’re on twitter we’re on reddit we’re on youtube if you’d like to see our faces while we talk and i think you can see them on spotify now as well rate like review subscribe share with your friends donate to us whatever all that great stuff but anyway so our contact form on our website we got a message from refugio zon which i’m probably mispronouncing and it says i called you two times why didn’t you pick up i’m horny please call me so that must have been for billy uh answer your phone billy i don’t know uh but that’s it for recap so let’s jump right back in so you told us last time uh you know you were born at a young age and uh then you worked your way up until recovery kinda so tell us about entering recovery and what happens from there yeah so uh i was 26 years old um like say my life was a mess i just violated another probation which i had a four-year prison sentence i would have had to back up and just was like what the [ _ ] this is not how my life was supposed to be going um and for whatever reason i had that moment of clarity that moment of like could drugs really be what’s causing all this problem you know is it really how is it really me like whatever and then at that moment i made a decision that i was gonna try recovery versus killing myself um and i had just remembered over the years court ordered whatever knew there was a meeting at our local health department on wednesdays at eight o’clock eight o’clock coincidentally this was a tuesday and so the next day was wednesday and so i smoked all the weed i had and i’m sure got all [ _ ] up that night and the next day just decided that i was gonna try this recovery thing now i know it’s probably hard to you know figure this out in your head at this moment but when you decided when you made that decision in your head that i’m gonna try recovery instead of killing myself what did you think that meant like well how did you picture recovery looking at that point oh well so i don’t know that it was really even that thought out it was more like i gotta do something different like this this isn’t working okay maybe i’ll try this you know meetings thing i mean it’s probably more how i looked at it maybe i’ll try this meetings

because i had had a situation a couple of months prior to all of that i had actually stopped every i said man i’m gonna get my life together i’m going to [ _ ] start being healthy and going to the gym and exercising and eating right and get off drugs you know it’s like a health thing more than a i want to be clean kind of thing and i did that for probably about three months i quit smoking cigarettes started going to the gym every day started like eating better and doing all these health things and at the end of that you know i ended up i couldn’t do it like i couldn’t stay longer than that three months the drive to just get [ _ ] up overpowered what was what uh what i would have called willpower up to that because i did all that for that couple of months with no kind of meetings or nothing i just [ _ ] stopped one day and said i’m not doing that anymore i feel like that’s incredible in itself this idea that like even doing all these healthy practices that you know it if you told me somebody’s gonna stop using drugs and go to the gym and eat healthy and do all these things i’d be like damn they’d probably feel better but apparently not well i’m sure i felt better i mean i do remember feeling better not better enough no not better enough because it didn’t address the internal [ _ ] the why that i you know used i mean the why it was so appealing to be outside of my own skin you know i was still just as uncomfortable with myself i didn’t like myself i wasn’t like yeah i’m a great guy that should be proud of himself like no i still had all the karate [ _ ] that i had done for us right and uh up until that point i think i had lived off the belief that it really was just a like a willpower kind of thing and then eventually i would just grow up and grow out of it and get my [ _ ] together and then what i felt like was my at my best and most sincere desire to do that i couldn’t [ _ ] do it i just couldn’t do it and so then i thought well maybe i’ll go to these meetings and check that out and see what happens i give you credit though like that’s way better than i ever could that’s pretty impressive to just stop and try to do that yeah i never seem to have so when i got locked up and went to jail or when i went to treatment or all that stuff i mean i could stop for short periods of time for different reasons oh i got court coming up i i can’t smoke any weed for two weeks or you know i gotta be clean for two weeks i mean like i was okay doing that kind of stuff but i looked at that as saying yeah see i am managing my using you know i wasn’t looking at the way that i used once i started i guess what do they call it like a binge what are they user like there’s a saying for that they say uh you’re looking more at the stopping than the using yeah or something like that yeah or the fact that i could stop for a couple days or a week or two you know right i mean i don’t know what that you sure you’re an addict yeah i’m not my wife says that sometimes too but uh yeah so then i just decided i was to go check out these meetings and see what they were about you know i kind of knew what they were about because i had been around before but i guess i had made a decision i was going to go actually try that again and see what happened so that was a wednesday i went to that wednesday meeting at the health department i went to another meeting the next day i didn’t use either of those two days i made that meeting my home group which if you don’t know what that is that’s a meeting where you sort of commit to showing up every week and being a part of that group something a commitment that you make on a regular basis that you’re going to get involved and do something at yeah but a lot of people join a home group and then never show up again you’re right we come like three times and never show up yeah so you know just making it your home group doesn’t actually you know that’s that’s the open-mindedness i guess but not the willingness yeah right you got the open mind and it’s not the willingness so when you went to this wednesday meeting what was that like did you talk to anybody did anybody talk to you or not no are you sure back and uh i might have said i was new i probably i’m pretty sure i went and got a white key tag which is the thing at the moment afterwards um i maybe i probably didn’t want to talk to people i mean i was all [ _ ] up mentally and emotionally and spiritually and you know the thing was having come in and out of meetings over the years i had seen people that i recognized you know the woman that’s now my wife was actually at that meeting i saw her then and i don’t remember if i actually talked to her then um i probably didn’t like i probably did the thing where i sat in the back like i came in right when the meeting started sat in the back soon as the meeting ended i left you know what i mean like i probably did that um you saw jen and said if i stay clean i’m gonna get with her well she was with someone else at the time and her and i never actually dated back when she was around before she was married at the time we were just friends because there wasn’t a lot of young people right right um yeah and that started i mean i guess when i came back i already knew from previous experiences all the quote unquote expectations you know what i mean go to 90 meetings in 90 days get a home group get a sponsor start working steps like i knew all those things and i had made a decision that i was going to do all of those things from day one like that wasn’t uh you know so your first three steps were already in action uh probably yeah i mean it’s like that when they’re beaten you become willing it’s kind of that thing how’d you know where the thursday meeting was um the meetings hadn’t changed very much over the years it was still at same place and it was out and the reason i picked it as my home group mostly had to do with its location and where it was i really liked that area it was a really pretty area the county it’s kind of out away from other things and you know at this really cool old church that is like a picturesque building so that’s the only reason i the biggest reason i picked it so what were those first few months like like the the the getting the sponsor the integrating yourself with the recovery community and all um for myself it was weird so i still lived in a house with all the guys that i used with every day um which was difficult i mean it didn’t feel overly difficult at the time but i don’t know that i would recommend that to people you know it just i didn’t really have anywhere else to go i mean if i was really desperate i probably could have found somewhere to go but i lived in this place and i paid rent and i thought i can do this i’ll just go to meetings um but what that did was uh motivated me to try to reach out to people and see what people did and not want to go hang out at home like i would actually say to people like look i live in a house with guys that are like drinking and using every day what do people do like outside of just i don’t want to just go home and you know we’d go out to eat we’d do stuff people went bowling they did stuff i don’t know normal life stuff which when you’re using all the time you don’t know what normal life stuff is like you just think using is what normal life stuff is you don’t realize there’s all these other normal life stuff you can do that doesn’t involve using i feel like that takes a lot of humility like to to come in and say i don’t even know what the hell people do i just need to not go home that’s wild so i okay so it may have been more not that i didn’t necessarily know what people did because i was pretty social person like i said i maintained a job and my parents owned a business and i could dress up nice and go out to business dinners and do that so i kind of knew what people did i guess i would say um what i didn’t know what’s the humility yeah what did i like or what did i want to do or what things was i interested in like all i was ever interested in was getting [ _ ] up and then it didn’t matter what we did yeah we could go [ _ ] roller skating bowling jump off cliffs whatever it was as long as i was [ _ ] up i’m game yeah but when you take that away like what do i want to do now like how do i have conversations when you go out to dinner with people like what do you talk about yeah what we talked about was getting [ _ ] up playing video games because that’s what we you know this house full of guys that i live with that’s what we did we all got [ _ ] up played video games wow that was back in the days like super mario bros oh no tomb raider tomb raider was a big back then oh it was like playstation 1 out yeah and a lot of support we did liked a lot of sports games because you could compete against each other so anyway um football and hockey that’s madden was out then i’m trying to remember which year but there’s like blocks though no it’s like blocked people that long ago it’s 2 000 so it was this decade or no not this jesus um anyway so i just started going to meetings and and turns out there was at least one or two people that i knew from either over the years coming in and out of meetings there was a guy that i was locked up in jail with guy that i knew that i used to use with you know people like that that you just people that have disappeared out of my life are coming in out of my life at different times that were here and so i just started to build relationships and i jumped right in with both feet and made recovery sort of became my identity i guess you would say i was going to meetings every day um i hung out with people that went to meetings every day um i that’s what i did got involved in service commitments you know went to like the area service meeting and got a service commitment so i was involved in that and uh that’s what i did for the next couple of years got a sponsor started doing step work i mean my life really became about recovery how long do you stay in the house with the using people uh i don’t remember exactly i want to say a couple of months um it was probably between one and two or three months i don’t remember like say it’s hard to remember exactly basically long enough to like save up some money and at the time i was there i mean they were pretty decent guys like i would just tell them like look man i violated this probation i’m trying to stay out of jail i can’t get [ _ ] up anymore and they’re like oh that’s cool that’s you know and they would kind of leave me alone now they still did what they were doing and we’re all drinking and carrying on smoking weed every day and they didn’t quite we didn’t get into a whole conversation about like i’m going to these meetings and doing this thing it was just i was doing my thing and they were doing their thing and we were fine with that um so there wasn’t a lot of like pressure to use or anything here i mean we were guys in our late 20s it was like we were beyond like the peer pressure [ _ ] you know we were like adults at that point i guess adults still peer pressure but um i’d have probably peer pressured people in my late 20s if they had some money come on you know you want to go get one and buy me one yeah but uh yesterday i got an apartment i found an apartment i was like i don’t want to stay in this place with these people using i saved up a little bit of money and got my own apartment and my own name um which was like a first of me doing [ _ ] on my own you know got an apartment set up some utilities started paying bills started being this responsible productive member of society i guess was there any pushback from the house was that like an awkward thing to tell him you were moving out uh no i mean not that i remember might have been i don’t i don’t remember i mean i still stayed friends with those guys one of the the guy that owned the house was actually in my wedding when i got married years later so and i i wasn’t one of those people and i’m not saying it’s good or bad or indifferent but i wasn’t a person that’s like oh uh all my yous and friends are complete piece of [ _ ] [ _ ] and they’re only with me be you know only my friends because of what i have to give them like my experience was those weren’t the people that were in my life now there were different points in my life where i had those people those guys that were in my life at that point were people i had known for a lot of years we had sort of grown up together we had a you know 15-year relationship from childhood up into our early 20s and we just we supported each other and got along and when i decided that’s what i was doing they were like hey man we get it that’s awesome that’s what you need to do for you we’re not going to do that but that’s cool you know what i mean like there was no like oh you’re a [ _ ] [ _ ] or none of that and and so i mean i wasn’t hanging out with them i wasn’t like hey let’s go hang out at the bar i got this recovery thing now i’m good you know it wasn’t any of that but we would still talk and you know occasionally keep in touch but where are they now one of them is a mortgage broker or does home refinancing and mortgages down in baltimore um now i haven’t talked to them in quite a few years now i mean we’ve gotten all different directions um another one i actually just ran into fairly recently he does filming and production for a company turns out my company was filming some commercials that i was involved with and he was a guy doing the camera shoots and [ _ ] for them so it was cool to see him there and we caught up and i hadn’t seen him in a lot of years so i talked to him um another guy he fixes like off track betting gambling machines for this big company so he travels all over the country you know goes all over the place he lives i think down in towson but he travels all over the place all the time none of them turned into addicts huh those guys didn’t so and that’s where my story’s a little weird interesting yeah that’s definitely when i when i stopped using hard drugs and got away from like the heroine and all that [ _ ] when i went to jail when i got out of jail i went and hung out with a different set of friends than all the heavy user drug friends the guys that i hung out with after i got out of jail were guys that really just drank probably more than they should have and they were like what i would consider you’re like today’s like productive alcoholics like i don’t know if you’ve seen those people that are like maybe they’re like the baseball coach or whatever that all they ever talk about is getting drunk on the weekends or you know you go to their house for a party and they got fridges full of beer and they drink all the time like these guys were probably those guys just younger before their families and [ _ ] um now the guys before that like the guys that i used with all the time before i went into jail when i was heavy and did like heroin and heavy drugs a lot of them are dead let’s see one two yeah at least out of five of them that i can think of right off top my head four of them are dead one of them still alive i’ve talked to him over the years coming in and out of meetings he’s come in and out of meetings a couple of times um he’ll seem to get his life he’ll come to meetings for a little bit he’ll slow down or manage his using for a little bit go through a couple years and then eventually it tanks off and he ends up back in treatment and you know and uh that’s probably the the five of the guys that are you know that i was closest with right okay so you get a couple years you’re you’re mr n a yeah so well i also got involved with my wife with a couple of months clean so i got clean in august september october november went to three months uh so like we were dating by like november december so i had three or four months clean yeah don’t leave out here and i started yeah her and i started dating um you know i don’t know she had a lot of time cleaning it she had 11 years clean at the time and i was just a couple of months clean and that had its own and she had a it was a little odd so she was at the end of a breakup or going through like a breakup with a guy when i first came around and the truth was when i first got clean i was not interested in a relationship it’s not like oh i want to find a girlfriend and settle down yeah i was a [ _ ] mess i was i was depressed and suicidal you know what i mean like a relationship now i mean as i fixed you yeah no i wasn’t there yet i did get there but i wasn’t there yet but uh you know she was dating this other guy and him and i had actually become friends you know we were all friends we kind of hung out together some and him and her were in this breakup that had nothing to do with me and i had nothing to do with it you know what i mean it was its own end of their relationship and then they had uh i don’t know they did the typical breakup they broke up and then the week they were back together and then they get back together for a couple days and then this was a terrible idea and then they were not together again and it was this back and forth thing right so i had started talking to her i think she was in my home group at the time or joined my home group i can’t remember um but we had started talking and we had remembered each other from years before because again there wasn’t back when i came in early recovery there wasn’t a lot of young people like in their teens and 20s so the few of us that were around got pretty close you know and uh you know it was just oh i’d always wondered what happened to you and what you’ve been doing over the years and blah blah blah blah you know her and i just hit it off and we kind of started dating and as her and that other guy broke up and i’m sure in the beginning it was more we just hung out went to meetings together and you know i hated you yeah oh yeah i’m sure he did oh well that’s yeah the lesson in there is don’t make friends with anybody in n.a so that way you don’t have to feel bad about stealing their girl later no um well like say i whatever i i mean i didn’t have anything to do with any of that but yeah that’s the bro code man yeah we weren’t that good of friends yeah yeah they were broke up um and i’m sure that had something i mean there was parts of my life always that i would say like oh if i just had like the right woman and that would get me to like settle down and have a family and all that stuff you know that would be what i need to to get me on track then that would be the motivation to stop um so yeah so her and i started dating and and that actually weirdly enough was good motivation to stay involved and to actually be more involved um a lot of people would you know the cliche sayings like oh you’re never gonna make it it’s not gonna work out you’re gonna use you know all that stuff and as a at the time what i would say like an egomaniac person i was like well i’m gonna [ _ ] show you like i’m gonna up my recovery i’m gonna go to more [ _ ] man i’m gonna go to three meetings on friday and [ _ ] you you know i’ll show you this relationship isn’t you know going to take me out so you’re saying that by them being critical and judgmental they actually helped you in my case yes maybe that’s where we get our differences of opinion sometimes because that criticism motivates me in a weird way and i know it doesn’t for everybody but yeah that’s funny yeah so that was one of the things where i was like well i’m gonna make sure and part of this is i had a sponsor that didn’t tell me not to get in relationships what he told me was you know whatever you put in front of your recovery you will lose so if you put this relationship as a priority in your life and lose focus on staying clean in your recovery chances are it’s not going to work out so good so here’s where perspective comes into play you spent all these years thinking it was the dudes being critical that motivated you and i say it was that one guy being compassionate and gentle with you and saying it’s all right billy like you just can’t put it in front of your recovery yeah i mean i’m the one [ _ ] voice now that runs around in meetings and tells people it doesn’t say anywhere in our literature not to get in relationships for a year or any of that people make that [ _ ] up that’s a rehab [ _ ] that ain’t anything that’s it you know get in all the relationships you want [ _ ] it you know just don’t put them in front of your recovery so it was there was there like judgment towards you so i my story kind of uh had this point where i got with somebody who was kind of popular in n a and well liked and attractive and a lot of guys you know flocked towards her direction and when i dated her i felt really important i was like oh i feel like i’m somebody in n a but i also feel like it inspired you know people to not dig me so much um i wouldn’t say that so i mean i i did leave that part out so my wife was a person in this area at that time who was pretty popular she sponsored a ton of women a lot of people knew who she was she had a lot more clean time than most people around at the time and she was mrs na you know in this area so it was kind of a a big deal and for a while i was kind of just kind of known as like oh that’s jen’s boyfriend you know it was that kind of thing and i didn’t take that as feeling important i’ve took it as sort of like i’m gonna forge my own path and do my own thing and figure out my own identity um and in a healthy way like i had my own friends and made my own relationships that were completely separate from like her friends and her relationships and like my service commitments and what i did you know were separate from on purpose you know what i mean like i on purpose didn’t get involved like if she was involved with something i didn’t even get involved with that i got involved in something else um we we had separate home groups for a long time we ended up in the same home group um that was a couple years later because we had small kids and it was easier to have the home group on the same night because we’re trying to get you know get out to meetings as much um yeah so that relationship you know it was also helpful that she was very big into recovery like even with a lot of time she was still a person that went to meetings regularly that had you know service commitments that sponsored a bunch of women i mean she wasn’t the type of person that went to one meeting a week and had nothing to do with recovery like recovery was still a major part of her life too so going to three or four meetings in a week for her wasn’t a big you know that was fine that was completely fine and she never like tried to talk me into because i know this happened sometimes where it’s like once person gets to be like i don’t want to go to meetings all the time and you’re going out too much and i never got any of that so that was supportive you know um and i was lucky i had family that supported me they were really glad to sort of have me back and see me doing well and you know still working for my family’s business at the time which they were actually in the process of closing down so my family had this retail business that had been in business since 1899 and it had been started by william turks senior and i was william turk the fifth and only william turks had ever run it you know so i was as a kid growing up like i thought that was my destiny my lineage you know that was what was gonna happen i was gonna inherit this retail business which was at points in time quite successful they had 40 some retail stores and malls all across the east coast and you know like i just thought that’s what i’m gonna do with the rest of my life you know so going to college or doing any of that wasn’t as big a deal for me because i didn’t like naively i felt like well i don’t have to go make my way in the world so to speak like i’m just stepping into this role that’s i’ve been destined for you know when i get my [ _ ] together and then by the time i actually got my [ _ ] together the company was actually closing they were in a their second bankruptcy and we’re going out of business and uh that was tough like i was like [ _ ] what am i gonna do now like i had no idea i just realized now that your name is william yeah i don’t know why that never occurred to me yeah so uh then i ended up getting a new gen that was all right around 9 11. so that would have been 2001 yeah so uh right around 9 11. i was actually supposed to go for a job interview in annapolis uh for some retail chain you know because i had like management experience in retail from a young age and you know had managed stores and done that kind of thing and uh they canceled the interview because the planes were crashing and [ _ ] so yeah so that kind of stood out in my mind but yeah i got in this relationship and got into recovery and uh within a couple of years i mean i started building a life i got uh a new job i found a job it’s actually the one i’m still at now with a friend of mine who was a guy in recovery that you know he saw once i got a year or so clean he knew i was looking for a job he said hey man do you want to come check out my company come see if you want to work for me you know which i had no idea anything about that business it was a heating oil business at the time which i knew [ _ ] nothing about uh but i said yeah and i went in a phone and i basically started as like a secretary i mean i used to not like to say that now like i don’t give a [ _ ] started as a secretary like i answered phones all day and you know how can i help you and just [ _ ] did what people needed done you know what i mean and started at an entry level and at least you weren’t selling light bulbs yeah so the company i was gonna go yeah wasn’t selling light bulbs but the company i that canceled the interview was a lighting company so i might have been uh overhead 911 not to happen um this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at w www.voicesofhopemaryland.org

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and yeah then we slowly started to build a build a life you know my uh valencia was my girlfriend at the time she got pregnant um we had a year or so i mean i had over a year clean but she got pregnant um we ended up her dad who we we lived with her dad and took care of him he was uh disabled he had uh real bad health problems health issues and so we lived in his house and took care of him because he couldn’t take care of himself and she also had a child with a disability which was incredibly uh difficult for me so i didn’t i mean that’s one of those elephant in the room things that you don’t talk about i would say right now just off the cuff like i didn’t grow up in a house with mental health issues the truth is i did and i didn’t know that at the time because they were very untreated you know now i can look back and say my mom you know definitely had some mental health issues if nothing else you know definitely like a ptsd from her childhood she was severely abused growing up in an alcoholic home um and definitely had some mental health issues that’s all i you know i don’t know what i can’t diagnose it especially now but she definitely had some issues that [ _ ] just went unsaid you know what i mean nobody really talked about it and uh you know to go into this environment where this kid was high special needs a lot of problems all the time in the beginning we didn’t have a lot of outside supports so it was you know my wife and i really trying to take care of this kid her dad was in and out of his in and out of her life depending on what stage of whatever he because he was she had met him in recovery he was a guy in recovery he would was not in recovery for a long time you know when i first met her he had not been in the meetings for a long time he had relapsed years ago but he’s been in and out over the years and will get clean and not be clean what’s the age difference between you and the special needs child uh she was 11 or 12 when i met jen and i was 25 so like 15 years 16 years okay um and she was a difficult kid man she had a lot of issues um behavioral and impulsive issues uh would scream and freak out and cuss you out and steal your stuff and you like okay i mean it’s very hard to get into but it’s yeah so it was a lot she was constantly in issues with school and we had very controlled diets and different things um so yeah so i moved in with jen and we took care of her dad and took care of her daughter and then we started having kids of our own and the whole time like everything based in you know recovery like spiritual living working steps trying to get better trying to be healthy and be the best people we could be and you never thought like what in the [ _ ] did i get myself into oh yeah like god i would have been plagued by that idea like oh this is hard and what’s amazing what’s what’s kind of fun and it does it’s so opposite of what i am now but growing up in a white collar family in a white collar job you know i was very and i i hate to politicize things but i’ll say like republican like i don’t know if anybody if you would remember the show family ties and the kid alex keaton he was like the like young republican like michael j fox yeah michael j fox was alex so that pretty much is how i looked at the world too i didn’t run around a suit and tie when i was in high school but you know that was my view of the world was like you know that whole pick yourself up by your bootstraps nobody’s entitled to [ _ ] from the government like it’s your job to make your way and if you can’t do that then you just [ _ ] need to crawl off somewhere and die because there was like no uh sympathy no empathy for people or different struggles or understanding hey you know some people just have breaks that other people don’t get or whatever that was not my mentality at all um i was not much on for lack of a better way of saying and i’ll say equal rights stuff with like homosexuality or gay or you know any of that you know transsexual stuff that was all freak weird [ _ ] to me you know it was like that typical naive idealistic young person with terrible ideas um it’s pretty beautiful everything was about you and doing you know whatever you get is what you deserve was sort of my outlook on life and uh you know to get into this situation and then to meet her dad who was this guy who had worked his entire life supported three kids when his wife left you know his wife left and he sort of raised these three kids on his own worked two jobs to maintain this house and support his kids then got older and had some health problems and the company that he worked for was like hey thanks you know here’s a watch good luck you know after and that’s a whole nother conversation about what companies owe you after 40 years of service if they don’t offer a pension in the beginning and you don’t put no money away whatever but that was his situation he was on social security he was disabled you know he had one leg amputated and had all kinds of heart issues and everything else couldn’t drive you know and that’s where he was in his life and to see like man that guy deserves [ _ ] better than that like it’s admirable that he worked these two jobs and took care of his kids and did all that stuff you mean the best we have to offer him is a couple hundred dollars a month and a good luck wow you know so it was a very eye-opening experience to see and then to humanize people so i also like knew him like we would sit there and have conversations around dinner and he was this loving caring compassionate human being who just sort of maybe even you could say by bad choices ended up in this situation but it still didn’t mean he deserved to suffer at the end of his life no matter what choices right right so it’s very eye opening and then to see you know this girl you know my stepdaughter with her disabilities and stuff and to see like she didn’t ask to be into this and my wife had her in her 20s and the amount of money that it takes to provide care for her you know is just ridiculous like the amount of money that you need to do that kind of stuff so she was on like social security disability and got a check for from social security disability to try to take care of this kid’s needs and then on top of that even when doctors and people would tell her she needed stuff social security and disability would say no nah she doesn’t need that nah we don’t think we want to pay for that so it was [ _ ] up you know to see like wait a minute we’re the ones living and trying to support this kid we’re telling you and her doctors are saying she could use these things she could need these supports and use some [ _ ] that’s never even met her sitting at a desk somewhere in some office in baltimore have decided no like what the [ _ ] is wrong with this picture like why this is not in my idealistic version of you know how things go that’s not how things are supposed to go so it really humanized some of that stuff for me and opened my mind to being just compassionate about like hey some people just got a [ _ ] up draw and is it really that inhumane to help them in whatever way we can is you know anyway um that those experiences really kind of opened me up to uh new ways of thinking new experiences that i hadn’t had in my life and uh being a different person and then along with learning spiritual principles of recovery and going through the steps and you know doing all that right and so within i would say like my first five years that would probably be like my first five years i got in this new job this wife we bought a house i think we got married got married in 2015 i believe get that wrong 2015. uh i mean i’m sorry 2005. um i got married in 2005. so that was like my i always like i joke with people i’m like if i break my recovery up into five year increments things were completely different you know in each of those five years so that was like my first five years was like building a life in the house with the you know two cars and the white picket fence and all that stuff and so uh my wife’s father passed away you know we kind of got in a situation where her luckily her sisters and her nobody was like greedy about [ _ ] so they worked it out where we could use like her part of the inheritance to buy the house because he had a lot of debt and stuff as he got older um so we used that to pay off his debt and we bought the house and we had this house on this couple acres and we were raising my stepdaughter and my other daughter at the time i think we were she was pregnant with another kid so we were building a family building a life i had been at that job for a number of years and then i got to that sort of ego place of my recovery like after five years where i’m like i’m [ _ ] good now i can slack off i don’t need to do as much i had a sponsor that had my first sponsor that i had decided he didn’t want to be around anymore so he left and wasn’t going to meetings or anything anymore so i kind of got a new sponsor he was a little different i loved the guy very much but he wasn’t big on like specifically working steps his whole thing he came i think from an aaa background a little bit so it was more that we just talk about them and then incorporate them into our life in different ways and he sort of was like all this writing and all the [ _ ] that we do drags it out forever and that’s really not probably the most practical way for people like once you get a few years clean you know that deep dive into each so he co-signed a lot of me not doing nothing i mean and he wasn’t co-signing that he said some things what i heard was you don’t really have to do any work um but a lot of it was ego and you know i got the house and the kids and the job and we’re doing great and everything’s good and we’re building relationships we had rebuilt established relationships with my parents and you know her family and everything was going good um then probably about 10 years clean [ _ ] got pretty bad i’d say pretty bad i had fallen into an issue where my uh middle daughter and my older step-daughter had been molested by their grandfather who was a guy that lived like right down the street from us he lived literally a block away you know from us and was around our kids all the time and you know had been in and out of their life and and we had found out this happened and it was pretty devastating i mean there was some and i had to minimize anything but we were lucky in that we have people in our lives people that have been through trauma even when we don’t we had a lot of people in our lives and someone recognized something very early on like one incident happened with our daughter you know where she went down to his house and something happened and when she came back the young lady that was babysitting for us was like something’s not right you know what’s going on what’s wrong with you and was because she was a person in recovery was like emotionally aware you know and started sort of asking some questions and we found out kind of what happened um i don’t know man that’s just a testament to like being around people that are emotionally available and emotionally aware because like i think like i knew kids that babysat when i was a teenager and we were like drinking and getting high why somebody’s supposed to be watching kids and you know what i mean it was like that just became the house that we partied at outside or whatever why somebody was supposed to be watching some kids and it’s like if that situation was going on who knows if anything would have been found out but um that was pretty devastating for me and my recovery it sort of wrecked a belief that as long as i do the right things the right things are going to happen and life’s going to go great and i’m living this spiritual way and god owes me something and uh i had lost sort of faith in all of that and god and because up until then i had went to a christian church and did the whole uh we were pretty involved with the church for a long time i used to pray a lot we did like bible studies at people’s house and things like that you know and and that worked for a long time i don’t regret that it was an amazing experience um growing up catholic i sort of had a terrible relationship with what i called god at the time and this had built a new relationship built on all kinds of good stuff you know it was really was good stuff but i took some expectations and some

ideas into that new understanding that didn’t work out in this situation i couldn’t make sense of why this would happen why would any loving god allow this to happen you know those kind of things and uh at the same time my sponsor at that time was gone through a pretty uh difficult divorce so he wasn’t available to me in a way that i needed and was used to he was going through his own thing and i was going through my thing and i just more or less like isolated and kind of shut down and just became angry and resentful and bitter and did that for a while you know of just being mad and part of that was there was a lot of things going through counseling and things with our kid you know who’s been through this situation and you know getting lawyers to go through legal proceedings because obviously we were pressing charges and you know we were pushing forward i mean and again another one of those untalked about things so in my family growing up when there was any of this sexual abuse kind of stuff it was kept quiet hush-hush in the family you know it was like things that people that knew talked about but they didn’t talk about it with everyone else you know there was like some shame or secrets and all that and in our place in recovery where we were like oh no this is we’re [ _ ] going forward and pressing charges and like this is like we want to stop this this isn’t let’s go talk to him and sweep this under the rug like we press charges and uh we’re pretty discouraged by the legal system that was pretty discouraging so that didn’t help any i mean they basically gave him a couple of years probation for sexually assaulting two kids more or less what they gave him they said because he was an episcopal priest at the time we did get him defrocked he was taken out of being a priest which was good defrocked might be one of the coolest words ever feels good to say it defrocked that so you know we went through all that and at the end all that they’re kind of like well you know he’s been a good guy most of his life that we know about so uh we’re gonna give him a couple of years probation wow yeah it was pretty disheartening um you would think our society would do a little but anyway that more had to do with me and where i was and i didn’t deal well with a lot of that so i was angry and bitter and resentful and stay there for a couple of years and then basically got to one of those another points where i was like on my knees like this is not what the [ _ ] i want my life to be how did it get here why am i like this i hate everything and everyone and i hate my life and what the [ _ ] and so i made a recommitment to recovery um i just decided i was going to like come back and get involved and start doing work you know because that’s what it worked in the past and uh so that’s what i did i you know got whatever i don’t know if i got a new sponsor or just reacquainted with my sponsor at the time and because i always in theory always had a sponsor i mean that wasn’t always in practice right in theory someone always had this title of a sponsor in my life what that relationship looked like change from time to time but um you know so i started working with them and started you know back in the steps and a recommitment to spiritual growth and began a new journey of figuring out what god is and what higher power means and all that outside of uh the dogma or what i felt everyone had told me up to that point was it had to be this religious god out of some christian text and because i felt like that’s what people in meetings were saying and maybe some of them even directly were saying that but what i heard up until that point was you needed to have this god out of one of these christian or you know books and again i don’t know if that’s what they were literally saying but that’s what i heard and that’s what i felt like people were saying i feel like that’s most people and and not it’s not a criticism of them but i do think it’s easier to kind of buy into something that already exists than to sort of create a dream got it all spelled out for you right right it’s just a little simpler so i do think that’s where a lot of people are so even if they’re not trying to say that everyone needs to be there it’s kind of easier to talk about it from that place because everybody sort of understands it yeah um and that’s where i’ve been you know at least for the god relationship in the last 10 years is figuring out well what what really does this word god or higher power mean to me and how does it work within these steps because one thing that i always came back to no matter what was going on in my relationship with a higher power is there was a few basics that i developed early on in my steps that i knew if there was a higher power or if it’s even possible these are things that i would think they would want for me or these are things that i can base my life in and they were like probably not doing drugs you know staying clean um living spiritual principles and continuing to work the steps and help other people like those were some basic foundational things that i was like a higher power like those things on their own can be a higher power in my life just those things you’ve been there for 10 years um it’s changed and it’s very overdue for some changes yeah yeah and i’m still up for a revision i mean so and not to get too off because there’s a few things i want to mention going back but i am back to a place where i pray regularly which is something i have not done probably in 10 years what’s that what do you pray to i don’t know don’t care i love it you know it’s just a practice that i’ve decided i want to add back so it reminds me like early in recovery when i had no relationship with a god it was the old uh put your shoes under your bed and then you’ll be down on your knees to pray every day and if that’s too easy you know put your keys in your shoes and put that under them because then you really have to get that what does your prayer look like are you on your knees or is it just no okay um it’s more gratitude and it’s more what i would call like speaking things into the universe or wishing well for certain people like if i know people are struggling or having health issues like you know may they be well maybe feel the love of the people around them and they’d be supported and encouraged you know it’s almost like a loving kindness meditation sort of yeah i mean and that’s where a lot of it comes from is doing a lot of like the meta meditations and loving-kindness meditations um gratitude uh humility you know for me like let me not get in my own way let me try to look for opportunities to practice principles in my life so just time wise we got like 10 minutes so i don’t want you to miss these points you want to mention um so there were a few like pretty major events that had happened through those years too um my wife and i had lost a kid during that time she was pregnant and we didn’t really tell anybody it was in between so we have two older girls um they’re 19 and 17 and then in between there so since i’m william turk the fifth we always like i always want to say we i always wanted to have a william turk the six like he can’t stop now like what the [ _ ] so we had my stepdaughter then i had two other kids you know two other girls then we lost a baby and we kind of decided we weren’t gonna try again um and then a few years later we have my son so there’s a gap that four year gap but it was funny we had given away all our baby stuff and decided we weren’t going to have kids anymore and then we ended up pregnant and redoing and rebuying all the baby stuff what’s that if you want to make god laugh make a plan yeah um so we do have a william turk the six now um he had some difficulties as a kid and i’m not 100 sure why but he had some real anger and violent issues when he was younger uh things threatening us with knives telling us he wanted to kill us and he wanted to stab us and if you’re a person like me that watches like a lot of documentaries you realize like that [ __ ] leads to like school shootings and mass murders and stuff a lot of times you named him wrong internet he was chucky

and uh again it was just an area where recovery sort of i don’t want to say stepped in but intervened in that course of action and we said this is not right and it’s not healthy and we need to look for help outside of ourselves and you know when my daughter was sexually abused we put her into counseling and therapy which i was a person always against counseling therapy all that stuff’s [ _ ] stupid you don’t need it you can do things on your own um and i’d become open to those things and so you know we started taking my son to some therapy and he got some counseling now he’s a great kid he doesn’t have any of those issues at least outwardly anymore he said we know of they’re all hidden in the room he’s a lot older now but you know it’s hard to when you’re a person when you’re a couple my wife and i were both people in recovery you know it’s hard to go in and say hey we’re having these issues with our kids hey you know our family’s not this perfect thing that everybody thinks that it is like we still have struggles her and i have had issues in our marriage where we’ve you know talked about separating her divorce or thought we were going to have to split up or you know like those things come up in life and people sometimes look at your outsides and don’t realize like there’s a lot of internal struggles that people go through um that aren’t necessarily public you know and things that you share with people in private and when you’re people that are sort of i don’t know i hate to say put on a pedestal but like looked at a certain way in the recovery community it is sometimes hard to walk in and be like yeah i’m having some real issues in my marriage you know yeah we’re having some real issues with our kid like he’s really getting into a lot of trouble and we don’t know why we don’t know what the [ _ ] we did wrong you know like i’m feeling like we did something wrong but being able to talk about that openly and honestly um that’s difficult you know or it can be difficult if your ego’s in the way um and i’ve learned now like it’s not as hard because i’ve done it you know i’ve been able to talk about those things and realizing that what’s most important is not how i feel that other people look at me but how do i get the support and help that i need to help them get the support and help they need you know that sort of thing um i’ve heard the idea like i come into meetings and look like [ _ ] so that i can go out in the world and live like gold or something like that right like that’s a kind of our place to be able and when you lose that ability to be able to share the darkest parts you know if you don’t have that spot somewhere in your life it really you hold it all inside and you you act from that place instead of being able to free yourself of it more yeah talking about it well and that’s been my sort of cycle of coming in and out of i say in and out of recovery i’ve always been involved in recovery it’s just changes at different times you know i had one of my sponsors described it as a pendulum that kind of swings back and forth you know we’ll go where we’re sort of way out of recovery and we’re way off over here or we’ll swing way back where like recovery is our whole life and the best place to be is probably somewhere in the middle where we have like this really you know balance of life and recovery don’t rush to get to that middle balance point because i’ll tell you right now that’s death yeah like the swinging back and forth is the process as it slows down you’re getting closer to being done that’s probably true um but you know for me like life will get i don’t even want to say it’ll get good i’ll be going along i’ll be going to meetings everything will be okay things will get busy kids have stuff going on i have stuff going on life gets interesting meeting slack off maybe my relationship with the sponsor slacks off for one reason or another um i stop doing things that i need to do problems come up i don’t feel comfortable talking to anybody about them i go internal in my own head on how i’m going to fix it and what i’m going to do about it and that’s a dark place for me i feel like somebody would say that’s you taking your will back and putting your hands back in your life that’s probably somewhat i mean that’s my understanding of higher powers yes that’s true that’s exactly what happens i don’t consistently run my own life well without some sort of influence outside of myself that influence what’s that sounds like you were living yeah um so it’s important for me to get that influence somewhere because my way of dealing with [ _ ] on my own is not that great um the last big thing in my life that you know i want to talk about real quick was uh we sold our house to it 15 years clean um my wife and i decided she had always wanted to do this there’s nothing new for her and we actually looked into doing this back when we were kids but like when we were young before we had kids we had talked about being work campers when i lost my job i was like well what are we going to do and she’s like we can be these work campers we’ll go work at campgrounds you work somewhere for a couple of months and when that season’s over or whatever you find a new place to go and you might go you know in the winter you’re gonna go to [ _ ] california or florida or somewhere warm and in the summer you can go wherever up north to all these different places and you just work at these different campgrounds and travel around all over the place like gypsies sort of and we had applied for a couple of jobs and never got them and then i ended up where i was and i mean of course there was a part of me it’s like no way that’s [ _ ] not me at all i’m mr conservative white picket fence guy like that’s what i think i want but at 15 years i’d figured out oh i mean that stuff’s nice and it’s great but it all takes its own level of work and responsibility and and commitment to all those things and having a house is great but you like mowing the lawn and fixing utilities and the [ __ ] roofs leaks and needs a water heater and you know that becomes its own thing um more so than just owning a house and same with kids and a job and all that like it it has its good and bad and so we decided to sell our house and to have our camper and we traveled around the country for a couple years and we homeschooled the kids and uh that had its own bunch of challenges um it was difficult it was a hard adjustment for them and it was a hard adjustment for us and in the beginning it was pretty rough especially with my son we had a really really hard time with him um he didn’t want to do home school he didn’t want to listen to us he was pretty angry i don’t know exactly why he wasn’t exactly sure why it might have been we sort of moved away from family supports and his friends and where he felt secure and his way of dealing with that i think was to lash out like emotionally in anger um my girls seemed to do okay with it somewhat at least that we knew um they each sort of handled it their own way but we did a lot of fun stuff i mean we went to these new places and we saw all kinds of things and we did lots of trips and you know it was pretty amazing experience but one of the things it did to me was pushed me away from recovery you know i didn’t we would go to meetings in new areas i wouldn’t know the people i wouldn’t feel comfortable it would be different and i would be an excuse not to go you know and and so i got away from meetings and so for three or so years two and a half years i might have met the ten meetings in that whole couple of years um i had no relationship with my sponsor i mean i might have called him two or three times over the years and i had one or two friends that i would call like occasionally you know once a month or so just to check in and say hi but that wasn’t really recovery based it was more just hey how’s it going what’s going on back there and those sorts of things um and we suffered i mean it was a hard adjustment and i didn’t handle it well we didn’t handle it well um my recovery suffered and we ended up coming back to maryland you know and settling back down and buying a house where we’ve been now for a couple years so but life is good i’ve been back into pretty consistent uh home group sponsor relationship working on steps like all those things this podcast like all those things have been pretty consistent in my recovery for the last two or three years you know and i feel like i’m in a really good place and you didn’t think you would have anything to say for the recovery portion of the journey i know we’ve had some crazy stuff happening in recovery yeah i feel like i mean there was just highlights of recovery parts we still took up the whole hour i know and i was like my mom passed away in recovery i was able to support her through all that that was really difficult you know all recovery stuff man just living clean experience in life on life’s terms what do you feel like uh and i know this is ridiculous to ask because there’s probably so many factors but like what if you could pin it on like one factor or one thing what makes i don’t even want to say what makes your recovery good what makes your life feel like it’s in a place of wellness like what’s the thing that’s the most crucial for you for me it’s being able to look at myself in the mirror and be proud of the person that i am you know like that’s incredibly powerful like my early in recovery my sponsor had me do the you know look in the mirror and tell yourself you love yourself and that was so hard like i would i would cry you know because i did not love the person that i was i didn’t like the person that i was i felt so far away from what my spirit felt you know what i mean like the the person that i wanted to be in my spirit was so far gone from who i was at the end of my using you know it this didn’t seem like it was even possible to feel like i could like myself damn talk about a full circle journey i feel like if you looked in the mirror now and actually sat with that feeling of how close you are to it you’d probably cry now too yeah yeah and i i think that a lot i mean i i feel like that’s what my process of recovery has been that i know we’ve kind of shared about this before but it’s like it’s not to just be like some cookie cutter thing some cookie clutter result of doing some work is to be like my authentic self to be happy with who i am in my spirit and you know to live by my values and my morals and the person that i want to be like that’s what’s most important in each of our recovery journey you know that’s what that journey should be about it’s like who do you really want to be what makes your heart happy like what makes your spirit you know like full and and exploding with like a light you know what does that to you that’s who you want to be that’s what your journey’s about maybe it’s different than mine it might become you know it could be whatever you want it to be but finding that and being that you know should be what your goal is in recovery i feel like that’s that old cliche of like the goal of the 12 steps is to figure out who you are and do it on purpose yeah that’s nice i don’t know that i heard that much i got a cliche for everything yeah well all right uh thanks for sharing all that with us man i think that that took a lot of bravery and introspection and i only did it because i wanted to hear your story i’m going to put that off as long as possible now you made me go first we’re going to book a lot of topics over the next few months so i don’t have to do it but now you wish you would win first because now it’ll be out of the way yeah i know i’m a little jealous of that all right uh so take it easy out there try to love yourself and be who you are uh and we’ll see you next week

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