155: What to do When Meetings Stop Working? (Sort Of)


What do you do when meetings stop working? Conventional 12 step wisdom says it’s not the meetings that are the problem, it’s the individual, who isn’t doing enough, trying enough, or looking at it the right way. And if you don’t hit meetings, you’ll use and die. But we explore the options in case that’s not true. What do you do when meetings stop hitting the spot? What need was it that meetings used to fill for you? Have you found another way to get that need met? We explore what to do when it does not feel like going to meetings has any value to it currently. Listen in and share your thoughts with us.

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Episodes mentioned:

Mothers

Willingness

Self-Discipline

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Transcript:

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 am Jason a guy that has not been to a meeting in a bit I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery I’m Carolina I’m also a person in long-term recovery who has also not technically been to a meeting in a while and that’s right where we’re going to go with this as soon as we do some recap is this idea of uh I don’t know the idea that’s the problem I’ve been trying to capture this idea right originally it was like hey we haven’t gone to many meetings uh it’s not feeling like meetings are have a lot to offer us right now and what are the practices we’ve done outside of meetings that have helped us to maintain recovery or still feel solid in our spiritual state or whatever it is but I don’t know it’s kind of evolved a little bit maybe it’s more like what happened what do you do when meetings don’t feel like they’re hitting the spot anymore or serving a purpose anymore I guess is maybe more of where I want to go with it but well I’m sure we’ll have a topic solidified by the time we’re done talking yeah when I did tell Jason I said I kind of text him before this I said Can this not be like YouTube bash 12-step meetings and I sit here and try to defend it the whole time because that’d be really uncomfortable for me yeah I want to bring in an ally if that’s the case or evened up here I don’t know I don’t anticipate or think that’s where any of this is going this is definitely not like 12-step passion for my end it’s just I don’t feel bashy yeah it wasn’t about like the program failing fail anything it was just I did not feel like meetings were doing anything and I’ve seen that a lot I mean yeah you’ll see it if you’re around a while you see but anyway right so uh some of the Recaps so Stephanie you know she was on us for our our mother’s episode she had listened to the clean Time episode and she said hey just listen to that episode yes before I got to recovery I lived in survival mode that included watching People’s behaviors and not putting too much stock in what people say so when I got to the rooms I was predispositioned not to be impressed by Clean time but rather to watch people walk in life turns out not everyone with long periods of sobriety are great humans let alone good examples of recovery everyone is subject to Being Human and some suffer more than others bummer so I I don’t know I just like the feedback I I think it I was kind of surprised because I don’t feel like that was the case for me not that I trusted people in active addiction like I definitely watched and saw if they were crooked or not but when I came into recovery I was in all clean time because it was some magical thing that I had never been able to possess yeah me too I just thinking people stay that long I’d be like being in rehab be like can I even make it this 30 days right right that was impressive so yeah it was uh it was surprising to hear but I’m sure that’s some other people’s experience too if it’s hers and uh I feel like they start off in a better place than we did yeah honestly sure um another individual Marion reached out and just said your podcast helps me a lot you know and she had said some other things that were nice gave us some ideas but it was just really nice so thank you Marion and then we got updates on some of our money and where it’s going and how it’s helping the community which is great so donations that you guys give to us this is how it works you listen you say man this was really relevant it helped me stay in a recovery mode this week I feel good about myself I feel good about the things I’m listening to and thinking about and and then you like send us you know the price of of a cup of coffee through our website which is a PayPal donation button and then that money goes to support the podcast in ways like buying us equipment that keeps us going and then further goes to the recovery community so uh Brandon was somebody who had had five years in recovery at one point and he was searching for a recovery house with structure and support that would keep him close to his family and we were able to help out with the money to get in there Spencer came straight from treatment she was a family member of a previous employee of voices and was referred for help so she went through treatment but was having a hard time finding the right recovery house with no money to get in and no support system so we were able to you know the funds were able to step up and help that out Stephen was an individual who apparently was homeless in Baltimore city but he had a connection to the community up here and a daughter up here and so he was able to get into a recovery house up here there was another individual Rob who was in the Cecil County Detention Center but reaching out to try to schedule his release and get into housing for when he got out and helped with that and then Sarah Sarah also was able to get into the house you know we’ve done apparently voices had done some wound care for her and was already in connection with her and I guess through some of those compassionate outreaches she decided to seek recovery and you know some of the funds were able to help her get into a place so nice yeah yeah yeah that recovery housing funding is a little messy because you know people can get recovery money for housing but then you’re limited to certain houses or only approved for the money and certain ones aren’t so you have a limited number of beds even though there might be houses open you know the money from the state can’t go to those houses and then there’s a you can only get so much money within a certain amount of time so that if you win and got some Recovery House money and then you have a relapse that funding may not be available to you the next time you need to go so yes there is money out there from the state but it’s not always available to everyone or not always convenient for people to go to a recovery house that might be the best fit yes so go to recoverysortup.com if you enjoy the podcast if you have the funding if you want to give back to the community go there click on the PayPal link make a one-time donation set up a small monthly donation whatever works for you check out all our history episodes you can read the awful transcripts and laugh along that YouTube has provided thank you YouTube and you can do all kind of stuff on there you can find us on social media Instagram Twitter Facebook all those places Reddit whatever YouTube look us up comment interact with us we love your feedback if there’s something we didn’t mention about a topic bring it up we’ll readdress it we’ll do a whole another [  ] show on it if it’s good enough yeah if you want to come on reach out we’ll have we’ve had guests on yeah if you got something I don’t know if I’m just Bible yeah I have something interesting Bob yeah what’s going on with you Bob I mean are you [  ] depressed or like is there something we can help you with can we talk through something all right uh anyway back to this idea of not going to meetings so I I think you beat me to it I was not going I think you stopped sooner than I did or whatever so what tell us like what happened for you that led this because I feel like a 12-step person like we we [  ] know meeting makers make it right we’ve heard that a billion times and we know you know people who don’t come to meetings don’t know what happens to people who don’t come to meetings all that good [  ] sound and [  ] like I can’t even make sense of that well because if you’re not in the meeting you don’t get to hear the person who comes back and says hey I stopped going to meetings too complex for a Sunday morning um so what happened yeah so I think you know I was like a religious meeting attender for so so so so many years and I think it was kind of like a a catastrophic life event that shook the foundation of that so like when my husband passed my husband passed and covid right so those two things really brought about a lot of change um in how I viewed my recovery how I viewed the fellowship what I felt like I was getting out of meetings what I felt like I needed at that point in my life I think those were the two things right so it was you know it was in the midst of covid and you know sometimes meetings were live and sometimes they weren’t but when you went to a live meeting everybody had a mask on you couldn’t hug so that like that social connection that I had been getting which was probably the biggest thing I’d been getting for maybe the last 10 years if I’m being honest right like the biggest thing was that community so that had really gotten kind of like decimated by the pandemic and then in conjunction with that like I was still struggling through grief and feeling like you know I think I talked about this when I was one for the grief episode feeling like after that like one month Point like no one really wanted to hear that I was struggling with grief like they didn’t know what to do with that like the first few weeks were really very supportive how are you and then it was kind of like oh we’re not going to talk about that anymore uh when you say that were you still going into meetings and talking about it and people just weren’t given the same response or did you decide that people didn’t want to hear anymore and just stop saying it that’s a good question I I would say it’s not it was not so much about like sharing and meetings I never felt like I couldn’t share what I wanted to share in meetings probably more the reaction I was getting like before the meeting after the meeting right when I would see the people that I had known for so many years and like the question like how are you had stopped you know yeah like when I imagine even from one or two people would feel like a lot because right and that’s right that close to that many you know we go to meetings and there’s 30 people there but most of the time you’re close to two or three that are in the meeting I mean this is like a really home group I would say so probably a bigger a bigger group of PC so can we get 20 people in a meetings a lot right right right right right um so yeah I think it was you know and then so it’s kind of starting to take a little bit of a step back from the meetings because of those two things focusing more at that time when um you know dealing with grief and doing group therapy and individual counseling and um that was kind of the start of it leaving that home so it evolved it’s really been something that’s been going on for the last couple of years um I think what really kind of Drew the Line in the Sand for me inadvertently was that you know we had a home group that I liked I mean it was close to my house I really liked that it was like 10 minutes away um which in Cecil county is kind of amazing I mean at least you know the part of Cecil County I’m in but um and it was a good I mean it was a decent meeting I wasn’t ever feeling like I was getting like some Epiphany when I went there but I liked the people who were there so that was kind of good enough and then um you know I was in school and I had a class that night and that was I was like okay I’m gonna have to find another home group and like I had struggled so long to find one and had settled on that one and liked it and like just I just didn’t put the effort in to go find another and then you know months started piling up of like I’m I’m in a meeting in a few months and like I feel okay and then like I’d go for someone’s anniversary because I’m still you know this whole time I’ve been like willing to go it’s not like I’m like I’m like I’m not going into those meetings um but I’d go to an anniversary or I’d show up for someone because there was something you know they wanted and I would like leave the meeting I’d be like I don’t feel any different yeah like I don’t I’m not like mad that I went but I didn’t feel like I got anything out of it and so it just I wasn’t motivated to actively make time for it I would rather be hiking honestly right so that’s that’s interesting you know looking back at my history because I feel like I was trying to anticipate where Billy was going to go with his side not his side but like you know I’ve heard you share on here a few times like you went through this period when you guys sold all your stuff you moved to different parts of the country you were moving around you weren’t connected in meetings there weren’t meetings a lot of places like and you felt at that point that you had suffered from not going to meetings like it had had a negative impact on your recovery or or you know your growth as a person and looking back at my life there are periods where that happened to me for shorter amounts of time I didn’t do it for years but for three six months here they’re not really hitting meetings not being focused you know life got in the way whatever and it did feel like it negatively impacted my life and yet this time it hasn’t and I don’t necessarily know the difference in those two things of like why or why not I could take some guesses um but this time it was I was hitting this home group that you and I were in Caroline and for I mean I hit it for I don’t know a year year and a half but the last at least six months of that every week I went I would be driving home from that meeting thinking why the [  ] did I do this it’s because I wasn’t there anymore it’s probably what it was but it was really so uh to to tell you a little clue that might or might not matter but it feels like it’s relevant I remember throughout my recovery I’ve always had [  ] get in the way of weeknights right I got into a a union and going through the apprenticeship in that Union I had schooling on either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday every week for every year for five years so it was like having to switch home groups you know because if you get a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday it’s gonna flip-flop the next year your apprenticeship school but it was also three weeknights of my week as a guy with young children not home and it never felt good and so I was always struggling like I had this like real bitter resentment towards people I worked with on the construction site I’m like these [  ] go home at three o’clock and just chill the rest of the night every [  ] day and here I am I gotta run out three evenings a week if not more if I want to be involved and so I guess coming up to that still in my life there is this idea right I work two evenings a week because it’s important to me to show up for people who can’t take off of work during the day and so adding in a home group was like this third week night still and it really for like six months just graded on me I was like why the [  ] do I spend my time you know half hour to the meeting half hour home a little bit of talking the hour of the meeting I’m taking most of my evening up that I could be home with my kids my family doing something I really want and I’m coming here and I’m feeling like I get absolutely nothing out of it why am I doing it so it was a pretty active decision it wasn’t like oh something got in the way of my home group and then I just sort of happened like I chose I’m like I’m just gonna not and see what the [ __ ] happens I’ve been to one anniversary since then I think that was in March wasn’t mine

no I mean honestly had you like told me like three weeks ago myself for the week of I think yeah it was a little late it was last minute that’s one of the problems you don’t find out like you just don’t know but I guess I was announced I don’t feel like my recovery or my growth or my healing has been stagnated or suffered in any way this time and I I think there’s some practices I do which is some of what I hope for us to talk about today but that’s like generally been my story it’s been 10 months I went to one anniversary during that 10 months have not felt any different either and so I you know it’s hard to go against all these old cliched you know programmed ideas that have been given to me about how you have to go to meetings and that’s how it works and this that and the other but I mean My Reality so far is that I haven’t noticed except that I have less Shame about whether I should be at a meeting or not on any given night and and don’t particularly schedule it in and I have more time for myself yeah and so I mean even through my recovery not just in the time that we traveled but other times like I haven’t always been like this consistent meeting maker person either um different like say it was especially hard with younger kids and you got commitments of whatever Sports they got going on and then whatever stuff I want to do and you know there were periods of my life where I was like ah meetings you know take it or leave it whatever it’s fine the difference at least for me then was I had a closer Network support group of guys that I talk to not just in the meetings but were people that I kept relationship with outside of meetings we hung out we did stuff together with our families and all of that it was usually and and someone had said this to me and it’s just been my experience was that it was in times of like traumatic things that I went back to meetings because I needed a support group or supportive people that was different and that was you know that was what I knew so that’s where I went um the other thing with me was that I never really had anything outside of n a that I was doing healthy wise like I’ve never done therapy I didn’t go to any kind of counseling or do anything else it was only n a is the only thing I’ve ever done for Recovery wise and and self-help-ish stuff and it hasn’t even been until later that I started reading like self-help books or any of that stuff so not having any other tools like when [  ] starts to go bad like that’s where I would look so that’s where I would go back because that’s all I knew um but yeah for me times getting away from meetings one time was a pretty major tragedy but we were talking before this like about what the motivations for going to meetings are why we go to meetings and I think one of the things you and I talked about and this is what it was like in my life before the big tragedy the tragedy was when my kids got molested up until that point like I was going to meetings to help other people like that was my service that was my way of like giving back like I was great my life was great I had you know the kids in the house and the career and everything was [  ] great so I’m there helping you it’s it wasn’t about me trying to get or do anything and then that’s for me personally when it became easy to like blow off meetings like oh you know my kids got a thing or there’s a oh Monday or Thursday night football’s on the Ravens are playing I think I’m gonna stay home and watch the game like you know I wasn’t as committed to going so it was easier to not go or maybe even like [  ] the Chargers are playing the Chiefs that’s probably right yeah right it’s not my team but it’s a good one or even oh I had a long day I got out of work late I’m a little tired and I’ll just skip this week it’s fine you know so my motivation for meetings has changed over the years too and I’ve constantly been in a position of looking at like why am I coming here what am I getting out of this and what is this doing for me early in recovery I think it was like most people like I went because I was gonna [  ] use and die if I didn’t like that’s what you told me and that’s probably the first five years of my life that was pretty much the motivation you know if not longer I mean it might even have been longer but that was it like I’m gonna use and I’m gonna die if I don’t come here but then after staying for a long time like I can I have seen people that leave and do fine you know that are people that I know and some people say oh they just look fine on the outside no one of them I [  ] work with and he’s doing great and you know what I mean like he’s he’s not using his life’s not in the [  ] he shows up for work every day he’s a very go to employees like my partner at work like it’s great he’s doing great for himself and I have nothing against him you know he got clean he got his life together figured out and it wasn’t what he wanted to do good for him I know some other people that don’t come anymore but for as many of those as I can pick out I can pick out the tragedy stories too of people that stop coming even people with a bunch of time that went like completely off the rails and you know their life’s [  ] so I don’t know you can find what you’re looking for I guess I guess and I don’t know this as totally just theory on my part but for me I would wonder how much healing and growth the people have gone through in their time in the recovery process right because for me what it has felt like it did not feel like early on that I could stop going to meetings either right it was definitely a life or death thing and and I guess the problem is later on trying to argue that message in my head that keeps telling me that like oh you better not stop going you might not use but you’re going to be a miserable [  ] you know how this goes right but the feeling is that there has been a level of growth and healing inside of me that that’s not the case and so that’s where it’s like okay does it matter if you you stop going to n a with 30 years or with four or is it how much have you been able to heal in that time so where you don’t feel the the need so much to escape from your life all the time like maybe you feel a lot better in your body and it just drugs aren’t necessarily the answer or don’t seem like it anymore yeah and I think it’s important why if people leave you know I mean not why they leave but what is their motivation not to come like in in your case you know you’re doing other things I know of for your mental health and well-being um I can’t specifically say for you but like it’s like I said how far did I get in my recovery like am I fairly stable now like if I’m fairly stable now chances are I might be okay like I don’t think if I left n a I would go out and use now I don’t I really don’t I may never use again in my life right regardless of whether I [  ] go to meetings or not you know my motivation now for going is different but I think it’s important that we have something or a place to go or a connection to something like I tend to think that’s what church is for a lot of people church is just their connection to something because to the community yeah they go and then you talk to them and they’re like cussing and talking about cheating on their taxes and they don’t ever mention Jesus’s name whatsoever and then you find out they go to church all the time like really I would have not pegged you for a church but I think that’s like this connection to like a community and a sense of belonging and and they probably get some sort of self-help there if you’re in a good church they’re giving you some helpful living your life by good principles stuff hopefully a placed event if you have you know bad things going on so well and okay so when we were talking right before the episode right before you got in here Caroline uh I was thinking that I went to meetings for quite some time just to be of service like I don’t like looking back like what was I really getting out of this over the you know last five ten years of my life because it it hasn’t felt like I’m going to get good information or tips and tricks for how to stay clean right right so what am I doing and service was what came to mind because it is a nice built-in place to be of service right you could show up and help Mentor people you can just be a stable presence but I don’t know actually like looking at it while you were talking more about that idea I don’t know that that’s really what I was going for like there was the opportunity to do that there but I think especially okay and you mentioned covid Caroline and I had for honestly I forgot about covet somehow but yeah I think that was part of this process too it was I moved to Cecil County like four years ago I wasn’t connected to people up here I was trying to be I was trying to find this like where do I fit right where who what people are going to be my community of people and like I was trying to do that in the the Northeast town area where there was a lot of newer people and I felt useful but I didn’t necessarily ever get really connected in there because the turnover was too much right so then I went to this other meeting where I was a home group member with Caroline and there was like some older more established stable members but I just never like and like you said they’re nice people I liked being around them but I didn’t necessarily feel overly connected with it I didn’t feel like we shared similar ways of being or theories about life or where we hope this goes you know they were more of like the the old school kind of sit down shut the [  ] up take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth kind of people and like that’s just not anywhere close to where I’m at in my recovery with people so I think what I was really looking for was a place of connection I wanted to connect to a community I want to feel a part of I want to feel like I belong and I didn’t and I think that’s what I was leaving upset about every week was like why do I keep coming here if I’m not getting this fulfillment of connection right yeah I would say I I hate to blame it on the area and I don’t know that the area I don’t believe the areas the the biggest piece of the puzzle but I think it is a piece of the puzzle because when I go when I make the hour drive down to Baltimore County to go to meetings I relate a lot more to what’s happening in the meetings what’s being said yeah yeah um not that I’m doing it a ton so maybe those have been anomalies but well they’re anniversaries no no people are talking about not just not just um up here it’s it’s harder it’s harder it’s a newer area um newer in that a lot of people don’t have much time it’s just it just feels like a different area and so I wonder if I lived closer to a more Metropolitan region where there was more diversity and more people who had different kinds of lives and doing different kinds of things that if I would get more out of the meetings go and that’s I mean that’s one of the issues being in this small rural area is which is why I kept my old home group for so long I had the same home group for 20 years because that particular meeting wasn’t as subject to that high turnover like there was three or four of us that had been there for that 18 years and the meeting had ebbed and flowed but the core of us were the same and you know the the meetings around immediately in like Elkton or this immediate area have changed tremendously like just a lot of recovery houses a lot of like say younger people with not a lot of time and it’s and I guess that’s what we were talking about you know as well Jason and I for me I still I go now because I it’s my community of people I feel like sometimes I’m forcing that more than it is you know what I mean is I have the home group now that I’m in since I switched and I’ve been there a year or so right about a year and I don’t know that I feel overly close or overly connected to any of those particular people um I like them two of the guys that are in there I’ve gotten to know pretty well they’re great guys we’re not hanging out on Sundays watching football or going to do stuff together actually that’s not true me and one of the guys last winter went skiing with our kids but like so those are the kind of things that I had built into my recovery you know at different times that were really helpful is that connection to other people and those people happen to be the same guys that went to that Home Group out there at Rock Church so like we were hanging out watching football doing sporting events taking our kids places to do stuff and so it did feel more like my community and my connection and I’ll say as a guy who tends to see people because of my work who struggle finding friends or finding places to find peers you know what I mean like I think this is a very normal adult problem like you either meet peers at work are there people you knew from elementary school like right there’s kind of it’s hard to meet people unless you have like a really built-in hobby that you go and do stuff actively for you might meet a community there like why people join the VFW or whatever the [  ] right right and I’d club with it I do think do people still join those or I I thought they might be dying them yeah the era of people rising Zone on a Friday night that VFW is hopping but I guess maybe that’s if you or somebody who says man I don’t know where to find friends well you do kind of have a built-in place where you can sort of do that like you can sort of peruse the meetings looking for similar and thinking peers you know what I mean but like from the friend shopping right now well but if you could if you could if you had somewhere else to get that would you feel like the meeting necessarily provided a ton of value like if you were already for some reason maybe you just joined a men’s meditation group and made some good buddies in there and you guys all like did the things you’re talking about would you find that the meetings had much value left so at this particular moment I would say yes but not always no but and that’s just it happens to be a humble state that I’m in right now that doesn’t last all that long all the time you know and I like say it’s the same with the connection piece like I don’t know what sparks it to feel like a connection because you know I have a hni commitment sharing with Jason before and I go down to the uh rehab that’s on Route 40. it’s like they take State insurance and it’s not the high dollar hoity-toity rehab and you go in and you can tell it’s a lot of people that are like fresh off the streets and their hygiene’s not great and they’re missing teeth and you know they’re just they’re right fresh off the streets and here I am 20 something years with a successful career and a family and I’m so far removed from any of that but yet when I went this time to do my h i commitment I’m like these are my people and this is where I will be if I don’t take care of myself and do the right thing but I don’t always feel that way I can walk into those same that same exact room and be like what in the [  ] am I doing here I have nothing in common with any of these people this is so much different than the life that I have now you know and I don’t I don’t always know what sparks that I just I’ve been lucky maybe I don’t know if Lucky is the right word but my wife has stayed really connected to the recovery Community you know and Narcotics Anonymous in particular so she’s never been overly pushy about me to stay connected but it’s always like well that’s what she’s doing so let’s do that yeah it’s another piece 100 then we have mutual friends and like our social network is kind of based in a lot of that so it is helpful which you don’t have that and you know any longer now 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

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thank you I don’t know that actually Jen doesn’t listen anymore does she I don’t want to criticize her she’s listening the thought just occurred to me and this says it’s okay I’ll criticize her hair right not necessarily about Jen but just about like that that person I picture as the old timer in a meeting and maybe they’re not even the actual Old Timer anymore maybe this is the Old Timer from like 2002 when I first arrived or whatever but I picture this old timer as somebody who almost feels like they didn’t grow enough to move on like they do feel kind of stuck in their ways of like this really old information and it doesn’t seem like they grew their compassion through the process of recovery or it doesn’t seem like they grew to be more understanding and loving like it almost like they got clean they kind of got to this you know I’m thinking like the dry drunk kind of guy right like you’re describing your old home group yeah yeah sort of miserable sort of all right but like it’s all I don’t know I’ve never had the thought before that damn maybe it really is an outgrowing to some extent of of a 12-step group and maybe the people who stay missed something to some extent like and I’m not saying that’s the case still getting yeah yeah but yeah one of my old sponsors had told me that and and he did some other things like he still went to meetings and at the time I didn’t get it he had I didn’t I don’t think I even had 10 years clean and he would would say that kind of stuff he’s like I do some other things you know really to kind of supplement this like his version was you will spiritually get to a place where this isn’t going to be enough and you’ll need to go outside of here to look for other spiritual things you know if you want to continue to spiritually grow that was just his opinion and that’s what he did and you know I guess that’s the case now I do some other things for myself right but so we have a pamphlet that’s called The Loner staying clean in isolation right so I guess what’s interesting to me is we already as a fellowship approve this literature I think so we we said we agree with this idea that it’s possible to stay clean without hitting meetings like the idea behind that was for people that were in rural areas that didn’t have access to meetings right so like when we were in Utah for example the closest I mean literally the closest meeting was like two hours away one way he had to drive two hours to get to a meeting and come back so we had went to some meetings of the other fellowship and didn’t feel very connected there so then we kind of started an n a meeting um but I think in that painful it’s so old and dated they talk about [  ] phoning in the meetings and [  ] it’s so out of touch it is out of touch but I guess for me the idea is that we do believe it’s possible to work the program without meetings but it’s also positioned as like this is the worst case scenario and don’t voluntarily do this right yeah if you have any other options yeah this is the worst it’s interesting because we talk about the program as being the 12 steps and the 12 Steps don’t require meetings to work like you can do that on your own with a sponsor I guess you could do it on your own without a sponsor too I’ve never really thought about it I don’t think we advise that either yeah but anyway um so we believe the idea is possible and yet we freak out when people go to meetings and then stop and that’s just kind of fascinating to me like I guess if you start in an area where there’s no meetings well fine you’re healthy and fine without meetings but if you start with meetings and then decide you don’t want to go that’s a different thing and I don’t I don’t know why the lack of willingness is it the but why would we say it’s lack of willingness maybe there’s just nothing well and a lot of it’s just fear I mean if we come in like like you and your current path not gonna lie I worry about you I’m like man I hope he [  ] ends up okay you know because I care about you you’re a friend I want to see good things for you I don’t want to judge you you know what I mean come in here Jason you’re going to die you’re [  ] killing yourself what are you doing which is probably what I would have done to people earlier you know early on with a couple years clean that’s what I would have done and I don’t think that it was based in anything different other than I like this person and I care about this person and I don’t want to see bad things happen to them I just didn’t have confidence or a belief that anything other than Narcotics Anonymous would work it’s actually fun because it’s kind of baffled and amazed As I Am by by what’s going on for me right now I I kind of like get joy out of sharing it with you like it’s almost like I think it’s going to be just as baffling for you like it would be for me if it was my friend doing it I’d be like oh my God how how is he doing and it’s crazy but yeah so there’s a little joy in that for me too just it’s fun for both of us um but yeah so I I mean why I’ve seen people so before Facebook I really didn’t see people leave recovery and do well like I just assumed everybody who left was like dead or in the gutter somewhere waiting to come back basically yeah and Facebook has kind of opened my eyes because you keep in touch with people who stop coming to meetings and some of them choose to drink regularly or or you know socially or whatever we want to call it and they I mean it’s been 12 [  ] years am I still waiting for them to fail like so sometimes they do yeah like yeah that’s the thing you know not everyone comes in here grows gets healthy and outgrows this process some people come in here they don’t really want to do any work they don’t change a lot and then they go back to the life that they had before and that’s tragic you know what I mean like man why didn’t you just stick around a little longer and do a little more you’d be so much better well it’s it’s funny because you were talking about like I work with this guy like you see this guy and are around him every day for long periods of time where it’s too long to fake it right because that’s the story I told myself too I was like oh they’re not really happy they’re just doing that stuff and like getting by and they’re not really happy or growing right but from more time and being around more people and watching them over the years and like yeah I get it Facebook’s not the the almighty like your life is great because you post nice pictures of your kids but like in general dude I got a pretty good idea of like they seem pretty funny but I’ve been fooled though I mean I know people who have left the rooms like you know six eight ten twelve years ago convinced based on Facebook right they are they are okay they’re keeping their [  ] together it’s been all this time they haven’t gone off the rails and then I see the post they’re dead you know so I don’t know I think for me like you were talking about earlier Billy like leaving or and then you use the reverse which is choosing not to come and for me like I don’t feel like I’ve left just like choosing not to come right now and see that’s what I did yeah yeah so like the door is still open and I would worry about myself if I was like I’m never going back to those meetings that would be a place where I would get concerned about myself that closed-mindedness I’m going through a bit of a hard time right now like I um found out about a month and a half ago that wasn’t I don’t know like a month yeah month month and a half ago that I’m getting laid off in a few weeks I literally have not had one job interview um it’s not a great scenario and so I so I I such a weird weird topic to be doing because I have I’ve gone to two meetings but they’ve not been 12-step meetings um I I recently just in the last few weeks have gone to a couple of the recovery Dharma meetings because I do feel like I need probably something because this is a bit of a tough time in my life um I don’t know that that’s the solution for me I need community and I don’t know that I’m finding that there or going to find that there I’ve not had success finding that in this region in the N A meetings I’ve thought about going to AAA but then I’m like do I change fellowships just to try to make friends like to find people that I have things in common with um I would say yes [  ] yeah yeah I mean try it yeah check it out yeah I don’t think you’re gonna find the answers in a honestly not around here Houston County is just it’s just I mean I’ve lived here six years and I’ve I Billy maybe you can like like put it in words I have yet to be able to nail down what this area the people in this area or the people that go to 12 step meetings anyway are about because it’s just such a curious different way in life yeah yeah it is it’s well and they talk about it having it soon though it’s own culture you know communities have their own culture and this county has a particular culture and I don’t know how to describe it and I guess maybe it is easier did you grow up around here Baltimore County okay so and that’s shockingly where you feel more comfortable yeah but no I grew up in the city and then moved here when I was like 11 12 but I would say I grew up here because I always felt really comfortable in the culture like and was like oh yeah this is my community these are my people like when I was a teenager I this is where I wanted to be and fail a part of so maybe that’s why it’s easier for me to feel connected because there’s a sense of familiarity or a sense of comfort in the culture that you might not get because in my life like I’ve had different you know my family my parents owned a business and we were like middle upper class you know successful and we weren’t always like whatever hanging out in cornfields drinking [  ] rye whiskey or whatever you know know country people do you know we have like different cultural experiences in my life but still there’s a connection and I can feel okay whereas if I went to like an inner city meeting I would feel totally out of place right you know it just would feel totally out of place the recovery sort of podcast where we won’t stereotype at all sort of always

uh yeah yeah I don’t I don’t know though I gotta be honest I I hear what you’re saying Caroline I don’t feel like this would be any different if I was anywhere else I mean of course I feel less connected in the meetings up here less likely to see somebody I know or familiar faces but I don’t think this would be any different in like my old home group in Baltimore city had whatsoever in fact I think it might actually be worse there but your needs for connection are probably I mean they are they’re very different than mine so yeah and I think that’s what’s most important is that connection piece you know like that’s what and that’s why I encourage people all the time like when they say oh I’m in his home group and I you know I don’t like [  ] go get a new one [  ] it you don’t have to stay there like I don’t feel like you should stay there go look around shop around find somewhere where you feel like you connect with the people that was the most important motivating factor for me to go to my old home group for the longest amount of time and even now I don’t think any of my current home group members listen I’m going to probably switch back to my old home group because they changed some things and the guy some of the guys are still there and you know what I mean those are [  ] guys that have known for 20 something years I’ve been in their wedding they were in my wedding like these are my [  ] friends on top of being people that hang out at these meetings and that is a huge motivator to show up there sometimes because like I don’t really see them as much anymore our kids are older and now we’re doing adult life stuff you know old people life stuff where you get to make your own choices of [  ] you want to do not what your kids are doing with sports every week and yeah I’m like man I miss those guys like I missed that connection with those people and I haven’t I haven’t found that but yet I’ve still found some sort of connection to recovery but I did started going to some more meetings over in Harford County too in the last year you know I got a sponsor that’s not in this area I travel outside of this area and I probably feel as much connection with that you know the Harford County side of people that I’ve built in my recovery Community now that’s also taken effort on my part as far as like I don’t even like anniversary I hate anniversary meetings but my sponsor does the thing where he’s like hey so-and-so celebrating this night you know come on out I [  ] go to some of these guys I don’t even know but I’m trying to make myself a part of one of the things for me that was humbling that I realized especially after traveling and being around was I had this attitude when we traveled around like I would go into meetings and be like I have [  ] 17 years clean like you people should know that you know what I mean like you shouldn’t recognize like that should mean and this maybe gets back to the cleanest thing yeah it was like some weird so I would go into meetings and there was this weird for me thing of like well I don’t want to say I’m a new person but then how do you sort of say you got all this time without saying it because you don’t want to be that arrogant [  ] guy and then I was like paralyzed into like not knowing what to say and so I would sit there and not say much and then judge the [  ] that nobody came up to talk to me after the meeting or be my friend or ask any questions about me and so now I can go to meetings and I recognize like sometimes even with 20 years clean and I’ll say this out loud like in my meeting in the home group I feel like I’m the outcast I feel like I’m the one that doesn’t belong there like they all belong there they got their group I don’t really know them all that well and I’m the one that’s [  ] feels awkward and out of place and like I shouldn’t be here and I guess the really interesting thing from that statement to me is that we just did that episode on self-discipline and we both agreed that like the idea of tuning into yourself and really figuring out what’s right for your body as opposed goes to what people are telling you you’re supposed to be doing is more conducive to self-discipline and yet I feel like your body is telling you you’re the [  ] Outsider you’re the outcast you’re the piece that doesn’t necessarily belong here or fit in with this group and yet you’re still trying to force it that’s interesting so the way that plays out though that’s like the way the way I look at that is like getting up in the morning for the gym like every morning I get up and I’m like [  ] it I’m skipping today I’m not going that’s the first almost thought that not every day but like three days out of the week that’s the first thought and then I’m like get the [  ] up and go you’ll be fine the meeting thing is the same I will think that and feel that way and then after the meeting I hang out for a couple minutes I chat with a couple of the guys that I like or people that I know and then all of a sudden I’m like yeah that’s [  ] I belong here just as much as anybody else I’m a I’m the one putting myself on the outside not this group of people I I mean I gotta be honest you can say that and I love that it’s working afterwards like it feels good so okay maybe I retract my statement about it not being right for you but this idea that uh like if I look at you in a in a meeting of 30 people chances are there’s another guy who’s got 10 maybe a guy with 12 maybe a guy with four a guy or girl I’m just saying guy uh you know maybe a person with two most of those other people are like in versions of chaotic use or chaotic early recovery and don’t match which like you are the outsider just looking at the picture so I just you know I I don’t want you to put that on you as in like I’m making myself the asset like you are you’re different than most of these people unfortunately and and that’s where I think maybe the problem comes in later in recovery it’s it’s not like can I still relate to these people but it’s you do when you said Cecil county is tough beyond the fact that the people are a little different there’s also the fact of if you walk into a meeting with 10 people there’s only 10 chances to have an a peer that’s like you if you walk into a meeting with a hundred there’s a hundred [  ] chances there’s ten times as much opportunity right and I feel like that’s that’s kind of the same idea like the longer you stay the less opportunity you have for peers because most of them ain’t there and I believe that’s why some people love the online Zoom meeting thing because that opened up different peer groups and access to different communities that they didn’t have before right and all of a sudden they join some home group that’s a bunch of similar I mean again that’s why even for me even now part of what you’re saying is true I’ll give you a little credit there and I’m saying like I’m thinking like I need to go back to my old home group because maybe there is something to that feeling and it is important that I feel connected and a part of like that’s a I think that’s it’s important that I feel right well that’s it’s important that I feel it not that I just force it right you know and I got that from that other group of people and so it’s like they’ve made some changes that I think would make that a more recovery conducive environment for me I can still get those connections so I will probably end up shifting back you know and and we’ll see it how it plays out now what people keep saying to me I’m like that sounds stupid they’re like well why don’t you just go to both meetings in the week you know and go to two I’m like ah two that’s hard try it out until this time well one’s on Wednesday one’s on Thursday I can’t go to two back to back like who’s got that kind of time alternate weeks Caroline you had said something about my needs for connection being different than yours what do you what was did you mean by that I was curious you have a very full house you’re around people oh okay that’s what I thought yeah yeah the family thing like I’m I got my dogs but I’m alone lot so I think my yeah I think my needs for connection are are definitely different in that circumstance like you need well and I don’t I’m not saying you need this but just to give the the difference no just trying to lay out like what the difference might look like for somebody who’s listening so like for me what I’m picturing Caroline needs the community that’s gonna like text each other throughout the week and hang out maybe on the weekends maybe even on a weeknight here and there like people to actually actively be in your life I don’t even expect that well I mean the thing right the thing is right guys like I’m I’m in my 30s now women my age have families and kids like to find people that are actually going to have time to like hang out um but just to even be able to go to a meeting and find people that I have things in common with and and in that period of time the half an hour before half an hour after get connection right that’s like like that that’s all I’m looking for like I don’t expect more than that because it’s yeah I don’t I don’t it’s tough it’s tough at this age range like that’s what people my age are doing and I and I okay and so to contrast that with what my needs feel like you’re right I have five kids right there’s two of them are a little older not around as much anymore but yeah yeah my wife I got the three younger ones like I do have a lot of connection in my house and and what I get from other people throughout the week most of my connection is through messaging services and like it’s just the thing I have time for it’s the thing that the people I connect with seem to have time for in their life you know uh I’ll send a [  ] three paragraph message to somebody just about some [  ] I was going through or thinking about or thinking through and they’ll respond it’s it’s a lot like the conversations we have on this podcast it’s just through messaging and and I’ve got like five people I do that with I have to cut you off real quick but there’s another one my wife uses that Marco Polo app all right she loves that yeah yeah she loved it well she likes it because she keeps in touch she’s like that has helped her keep in touch with her like peer group of girlfriends because she doesn’t have an hour to sit out on the telephone you know what I mean to chat and catch up but she said with that Marco Polo thing like they can leave a message and if it’s it’s like they’re talking into the abyss yeah I I was using that with with my my sponsor um that I had most recently who I don’t even know maybe still my sponsor I haven’t fired she hasn’t fired maze so I guess she’s still my sponsor but it was like kind of the point where I’m like this is just like a verbal journal entry Because by the time she would respond back she would have forgot like there’s there’s not that you know what I mean like dump and then you listen and then you start recording and there’s not that give and take in the conversation so a lot gets like just missed I’d say that’s a thing though like that works for my but I yeah like I’ve tried to do that Marco and I feel the same way I’m like this is stupid I feel like I’m this is dumb I’ll just call you if I want to like it just doesn’t work for me but I didn’t like virtual meetings either I hated virtual meetings and tried a few of them was like nope that’s not I need in person I want to see people I want to talk face to face yeah definitely prefer that but it’s just the way my life is set up right now the messaging is easier and and like I said there’s there’s four or five people in my life that I message regularly sometime at least weekly if not more often and we just talk about [  ] we talk about how we feel we talk about what we’re doing um and maybe this is the place to go into like the practices that I do feel like have helped me while I’m not going to meetings um so that’s been helpful to have that that Network you know and honestly thinking about it the idea of trying to find more space for another relationship in my life like a whether that be being a sponsor or just being friendly with somebody in a meeting somebody comes into a meeting and they’re new and they want to connect and they want like what’s everybody do for fun where are you guys going this weekend I’m like I don’t have any space for you yeah honestly like you’re gonna be a detriment to the things that already work in my life you’re going to take away from the space I already talked to somebody or something so like that doesn’t feel like a thing I I need right now I do two what are called supervision groups at my work but really look a lot more like four or five of us getting together and chatting about whatever’s going on in our life or in our caseload that ends up being really personal most of the time I Journal regularly which looks like once or twice a week for me I meditate every day um I do this podcast which I consider part of my [  ] recovery because we meet up here regularly and structured to talk about recovery based topics and in between episodes we talk about our own lives all the time so how do we research and read yeah learn about things right the research throughout the week I mean for anybody who’s never made a podcast it takes three to four times as long as the podcast is to edit it so like I’m spending five hours of my week working around topics and editing and all my great information right up here Billy’s sponsoring me through the listening to the podcast through editing it three times three times like this [  ] better stop pausing between words God damn it if I gotta take out another space now um but yeah so like these are generally the practices that have helped me I feel like a lot in my in my life they’re the things that have been guiding me that keep me fulfilled and feeling good uh oh and therapy I do therapy as well like with a therapist I’m the client so I’m still actively in that too so I mean there’s a ton I feel like that I do weekly for my life and my recovery I don’t and I just can’t imagine even when I’ve thought about it like why would I go to a meeting what would I be looking for there and I don’t feel like I have a need that I could fill yeah and I was there for a long time and see I think I’m on the other end of that and I am at a place where I’m like I need more male quality relationships in my life like I I’m to a point now where I need that because my kids are older and they’re all independent and they pretty much do their own thing so I’m not filled up with most of that and so now I’m like all right now that I have space for that right I got a [  ] friend shop to fill it because like I’ve had best friends through this process people that I was really close with really connected with and I have a lot of people you know that um that I know in recovery you know but not a lot of guys that I’m really close with there’s probably two people in recovery that I’m close with you being one of them and then Fred my sponsor being the other other than that everyone’s really just acquaintances and friends and then even my sponsor like that’s got a a little different role than like a friend relationship and for good reason I like to keep it there I don’t want to be too much friends but yeah yeah right I think somebody’s gonna be honest and you know tell me honestly what they see so it’s like I’m now at this other side of like I’m going to meetings to try to build my community and it’s probably only going to be a couple of people it’s not like it’s gonna be I don’t need 30. I just need two or three guys that are close with that we can go out and do stuff or hang out or whatever and and Caroline I want to ask you about uh the practices you’re doing but I I wanted to comment just real quick on one of the things I heard a long time ago in the recovery Community was like you have to stay in touch with these people regularly in your network so that way when the catastrophic or tragic event does happen you already have that ease of relationship to be able to reach out yeah and I feel like that exists I mean for me it exists in a few places but I feel like when you were describing like you and me being close we don’t talk a ton during the week but it pretty much never fails we send a texture to each way and it keeps us in that position of like when something happens it happened a couple months ago you texted me you were like hey can we do a phone call later and I’m like come the [  ] over we’ll sit outside and talk like it just we’re what we’re doing our practices have kept us in the position to have somebody I guess when that tragic moment happens like I have at least three people if not four that I’m like yeah I’m definitely telling them every tragic event that happens in my life or anything I’m going through like I feel connected in that way I don’t feel like I’m gonna be ass out when things happen bad and so I haven’t questioned in my own like so in the past I’ve had relationships with like guys that I was really good friends with and like am I willing to do the same work I did in the beginning of those friendships and relationships now like and I don’t know that I always am and what I mean by that is a lot of those friendships were born out of we were all in the same home group but I didn’t join that Home Group because we were all connected it happened as a result of showing up there for weeks and then months and then years and then it’s like all of a sudden well [  ] I’ve watched you grow and your kids grow and every you know now we just know each other by default like so going back to the idea of like the practices that have helped you feel okay what do you feel like you’ve done in your life I know I know you’re giving me that smile because you said I don’t do anything but I don’t really believe that uh but like what kind of things have helped you feel centered and stay okay I feel so not centered right now so not centered right now it’s the job thing I was gonna say good job I think a lot that’s a lot like I was um I was sitting actually in this room this past Thursday for the Dharma recovery meeting and um Jenny did a meditation and like a guided meditation I had this entire list of questions like what do you want from your life what do you want your short term to be what how how do you feel when you think about that like just these broad kind of General Life questions and I’m like I don’t know a [  ] answer to any of these right now like this job impending job loss has me feeling really lost outside of that what I would say is you know I I I was trained for so many years my entire adulthood basically that like if you’re not in recovery practicing a program going to meetings you’re going to use um and that is the last thing I want and so throughout all of this whether I’ve been actively seeking other ways to improve my mental well-being or not I’ve tried to remain really keyed in to like how am I doing and if I’m not feeling okay like what do I need to do about that so I would say right now I’m much more like just trying to like get through the days um and a lot of that like keeping myself okay is like physical activity like that’s the hiking is a really big one for me um I’ve been trying to get back more into yoga I was doing really good and then I I was out of town for some reason like being in someone else’s home I I can do yoga every day and then I get to my house and it’s just like oh I’m just gonna sit on the couch um but I I will say comfort in our own home yeah absolutely you mentioned like I don’t have these practices and yet you know while a seated meditation or a lying meditation is a more formal version like there’s absolutely mindfulness and meditative practices in hiking breathing yoga like all things that you express that you do some of so I I don’t again I don’t think you’re doing nothing I I don’t I don’t think I’m doing I’m certainly not doing as much as you know like when I really started to pull back from meetings it was a conscious decision because I was doing other things I was doing you know group group therapy for like a widows group and I was doing um you know therapy with a counselor and I’m probably going to I texted my old therapist yesterday so I’m probably going to be getting back into therapy again like it’s just for me like just being aware being aware because I don’t I don’t want to destroy my life you know I don’t love my life right now like I don’t I don’t love it but like I don’t want to end up with a needle in my arm so when we throw around the word trauma a lot you know for a lot of things but losing a job especially this was like a career that you’ve been at a long time like that can be pretty catastrophic yeah it’s identity like it’s very fast more than one is unexpected I think it’s even more dramatic you don’t see it coming yeah I mean I kind of saw it coming but like I’ve been unhappy there for for a while I’ve been having major issues with my boss all year and I really brought it on myself and I’m being honest like that whole the quiet quitting thing I wasn’t quiet I was like vocally like I wasn’t quitting but I was like no I’m not taking one more like I’m not I’m not putting more on my people I’m not taking like I cannot do anymore and so it wasn’t a total surprise but still hmm hmm that doesn’t feel [  ] good yeah what I have to do more than my job requirements yeah no do more with less we’ve been doing that for three years I I was I’m done I’m not doing more with less I did more with us last year but and we will do the career follow-up let me find a new job first the other thing I wanted to say just to give yourself a little bit of like whatever space there is like just because things are uncomfortable or in this weird transition now doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything like wrong or that it just maybe it’s just an indicator like you do need to change some stuff and whether it’s the meetings you go to the fellowship the area where you go to meetings you know something outside of that like it is that awareness that’s going to help you figure out like this doesn’t feel good this isn’t where I want to stay you know and and finding what’s going to help that because like I sort of always say to myself like doing heroin gets rid of all of my problems really quickly for a minute you know like it because when I’m [  ] up like that I don’t care I don’t really care I don’t care how I feel I don’t care how you feel and nothing matters you know and that can be a good break if I am [ __ ] overwhelmed yeah I mean I I heard a lot of self-awareness in what you were saying too a lot of this ability to like I’m really just trying to pay attention to myself and see what I need which I don’t I think that’s a very recovery practice of being like self-aware and like trying to tune in okay what’s next what will be useful from me from here what does it feel like is missing so I think that’s a beautiful practice just in and of itself of recovery and I don’t know that you’re embracing that you’re you’re doing all that for yourself you know I I think that and and we talked about this the other day too like what I’m doing today I could not have done with a year two years all right probably five years yeah I didn’t have I didn’t have the foundation I didn’t have the awareness and I didn’t have the practice using the tools I had the tools but I didn’t have the practice or maybe the healing that allows you to use those tools in any given moment right the ability to like calm that survival State down like we don’t well you said I I with two years I stopped going to meetings for a time and with like somewhere between six and nine was when I was doing a lot of that schooling for the apprenticeship and missed a lot of meetings and both of those times it was a negative right so it’s like it’s only been this time that I’ve had this positive experience with not hitting meetings it’s not like something that lasted or or had before

you know the other the other piece of what Billy said of like we can’t necessarily judge how our recovery is going just because things don’t feel well due to some circumstances outside of us I mean just looking back at this past week I had a really rough [  ] week and I don’t completely know why like there’s a lot of little factors in my life my mother’s boyfriend passing my daughter got suspended from school for buying Edibles like there’s some little [  ] going on there’s some [  ] at my job that felt a little funky but it wasn’t about like I need to do anything or change this it was really for me at least what it felt like was the process of just sitting with like things are [  ] hard right now that’s sucky I’m gonna sit still with it and hopefully it’ll pass and through some of the practice I did through you know a therapy practice of like talking to my inner child and like self-comfort it felt like that happened but if you’d asked me Wednesday I’d be like oh my God the [ __ ] sky’s fall and I should probably go back to meetings like the world has fallen apart for me right now I’m scared as hell and then Thursday I did this meditation and then I started feeling so it’s like I don’t want to judge Myself by how my life is going or how I feel like I can’t judge my recovery by that because we’re not always going to feel good just because we’re doing recovery and like yeah maybe there are some things I can change but that self-awareness of like does this situation require a change to feel better or is this just a shitty feeling because people die and things don’t feel good sometimes yeah like sometimes I just gotta sit there and that’s okay

you know what am I supposed to do here I don’t know well I guess that’s what I picture with being laid off it’s like am I gonna judge how my recovery is going because it’s uncomfortable to be scared about not having enough money for my mortgage I don’t think that’s a way to judge your recovery I think that’s like that’s a [  ] scary situation yeah scenario yeah and if you weren’t scared I would be like are you guys what the [  ] is going on like you should be scared bro you’re not gonna have a job yeah so I I don’t know I mean I I don’t know if there’s a way to quantify this or or and this is where it does get a little I don’t want to say scary but like the question was brought to me in tackling some of these topics that seem more advanced around the recovery idea are we ever going to present ideas to people that maybe are too soon for them or they’re not ready for or you know is there a piece of suggestion like hey if you’re less than six months or less than a year maybe you shouldn’t stop going to meetings or you know I don’t know the right way to express this I’m just trying to help people who have experienced it or who are experiencing it like that guy who’s got whatever 15 17 20 25 years or that girl who’s got that and and they’re sitting there feeling uncomfortable because they have this desire to not go and I want to be the person who’s got a voice who says I have felt that I have been there I get it this is what I did this is what worked or didn’t work like I didn’t have that [  ] voice and I felt like I was just arguing against all the program information in my head the whole time and like oh my God I’m gonna die if I don’t go to these meetings but I wish somebody would have been there to support me through gotta say now you mentioned that and I realized I’m guilty of that as well like being in meetings and saying yeah I’ve been through periods of time where I don’t go to meetings and it sucked and it was terrible and you shouldn’t do that like you know and I don’t know that that’s the right information to give there I mean if that’s what’s your experience I guess but I I just there was no voice to help me guide me through that process and and I’m not an interesting thing you said that struck me weird like I wouldn’t say I’m not a Narcotics Anonymous member I don’t feel like a [  ] active member that’s for sure I feel like uh I don’t I always have like the emails when you archive them I feel like somebody archives my membership but I know what you mean so there’s the people that leave that are like [  ] a those people suck come there you know that [  ] doesn’t work or whatever and like in my times of not going I mean it’s always been more like you’re talking about like the door was never shut it was never anything against like the meetings or the fellowship it was just like oh I’m too busy or I don’t have time or that that doesn’t work for me or what you know right this minute or whatever but it was always still like oh yeah it’s it’s there when I want to use it I’ll just do a part of your identity it might not be for you for me it is yeah it is like that hasn’t gone I feel like it’s an option still though like I wouldn’t hesitate if things were bad and I wasn’t sure what to do I wouldn’t hesitate to think oh meetings for me I’ve realized it’s always an option like it’s that’s the thing like it’s always got to be optional no one’s making me I don’t go out of some sort of fear or that my life is going to collapse or that I’m not gonna have any friends I was thinking there’s always a conscious choice that like no I’m gonna actively engage myself in this process sort of like the self-discipline like even when I don’t want to I’m going to go to my home group because I’m choosing to engage in this process I was thinking more the reverse I don’t feel like n a is not an option for me you know what I mean so like if [ __ ] hit the fan or if things got bad or if like I was sitting here expressing things were rough and you were like man maybe a meeting would help like I would be open to that I still feel open to that idea but I I’m probably not gonna go to a meeting anytime soon like I have no interest listening to to you both on the podcast though your identity as members of N A comes through like at the core the way you guys you guys speak from that place of like this yeah we say we a lot yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah so that’s still that’s still there for you it is but I I don’t feel like I identify in as a current member I guess and and again it’s not anything about bad about n a and I don’t have any ill will or think it doesn’t work or recommend people don’t go I just it just doesn’t seem to have anything for me right this minute ironically it’s really funny I’ve actually like within the last just few weeks I got like a call two weeks ago from a recovery house from a girl wanting a ride to a meeting which hadn’t happened in like a year and then um just this past Friday I got a call from phone line wanting to update the 12-step list and wanted to know if I I still wanted to be on it and so my question would be what what would be your answer to that hmm that’s a good question I I don’t know I mean my initial response is probably not because my life is not set up to run out the door at any given moment well so this is not you don’t have to go pick them up this is just for someone to talk to potentially or it still takes up time though yeah you know yes my answer was yes so maybe that’s that that maybe Maps out the difference between whatever I would definitely if I was a single man with no kids at this point sure why not I have time for that like I can fit that in but right now thinking about that call coming in and what I might be doing in my evening or day and I’m probably not going to want to answer so no I don’t think I’m the person to to help there I don’t I don’t feel like there’s a benefit right this second not to helping people but just in going to a meeting I I can’t picture which is why I haven’t been I can’t picture something that I would gain from it or something I’m missing that I would need and I think that’s really where all this comes from right it’s just and so maybe it’s not the the idea of like not going to meetings is bad or not going to meetings as good or whatever it’s just more the idea of like evaluating the intention behind it and realizing what you need in your life because that’s what it feels like I just don’t have any intentions of getting anything there yeah and I agree with that from a growth perspective right like if I were to go it would just be to try to build that Community again and try to have that connection like I don’t feel like I go to 12-step meetings today and get information that I can then process to my benefit yeah it’s very rare that I do that Caroline actually said something interesting to me the other day and I hadn’t really thought about this a whole lot uh can I talk about this I I don’t know what it is

I’ll edit it out I mean if nothing else I guess Billy out here but oh well um we were talking about the idea of you meeting a new romantic interest and my suggestion was go to more meetings right I was like sure why not that’s a cool place to meet people that you have something common with and your thought was that feels like a malicious use of the program you’re questionable I wouldn’t say malicious okay questionable but again I mean that comes back to that whole when you were saying to Billy about like he is the odd person now my odds of finding someone so it’s actually it’s just not great it’s not the same city of the program you’re worried about it’s the fact that it’s not going to work I would go if I would find a mate there yeah but what it made me think of was you two both talking about this community and going there more for that than anything else and I guess honestly I’m not trying to criticize but like when I step back a little bit that doesn’t feel like appropriate use of a 12-step meeting like it feels like if you’re not there to either get the help they’re offering or be of service to provide that kind of help I don’t know I am kind of questioning like what are you there for yeah go ahead that was also in reference to changing fellowships right so like so I think the difference is for me that felt very strange to like actively change fellowships to try to go and meet someone because I am not adding any value to that meeting and that Fellowship just through my presence being there whereas if I were to go to like an NA meeting where I do have experience I do have you know something to give back and share while I’m there that feels different that feels like I’m I’m giving something and potentially getting something and that’s fair I I just picture for me I’m like I if I was going there and my bigger intention was just to reinforce or make new community relationships around me I I don’t know I part of me says well okay yeah that’s kind of what 12 steps are for it is about the community but the other part’s like I don’t know man if you’re not going to learn or grow or give back like you’re kind of program yeah I mean I still actively work steps with a sponsor like actively right on my steps so I’m still engaged in the process so it’s not the only reason I go it’s just probably the biggest motivator yeah but you don’t go to the meeting to work the steps like you do all that on your own you kind of do because they do a step working hours that’s why I picked that home group but there’s value to be showing up technicality and being there as the power of example of the program like that’s just just his presence in the meeting is adding value and I was going to say the same thing to you about going to other fellowships too I I personally this is my opinion everybody that walks into a meeting has something to offer every human being has something to offer yeah here’s an example of what to do or what not to do sometimes both and I guess I want to say that a little differently than every human being’s existence has worth and some sort of value so the fact that they’re there maybe it’s not for me maybe it’s for somebody else or maybe I’m there for them or maybe somebody else is there for them like we don’t know how all that works I don’t know when I go to a meeting who I’m going to connect with that time or who’s going to say something that hits a nerve in me that’s like oh [  ] I never really looked at that that way because why I haven’t heard much new things through meetings I have heard things differently at different times in meetings based on where I was was in in myself I mean and what my awareness was on my issues recently though so I feel like I even that yeah I mean yeah I mean I yeah well mostly I still do a lot of like self-help books and digging into stuff and so I’m constantly looking at for new ways to look at things yeah but that’s not from the meeting yeah like are you hearing things in meetings today that bring you value because you’re hearing them differently potentially I was not I was not either I don’t know yeah I mean I guess I chalk the whole thing up to a value like I don’t I’m not looking for that one thing it’s like the whole that they the overall experience you know what I mean it’s like going to a restaurant coming out full and satisfied but being like it might not have been the main course but it might have been the dessert or it could have just been the compliment of things I don’t know yeah so I don’t see this happening for me anytime in the near future either not to say that it can’t just that I can’t picture it but I I would say if I was inspired to go back to a meeting it would probably not be n a and that’s not because any ill will or bad thoughts towards n a i just think there’s other programs I could probably learn more about myself in you know if uh adult children of Alcoholics meeting like a thriving one opened up in Cecil County I’m probably checking that [  ] out right because there’s a lot of information in there that’s I don’t want to say deeper or bigger or better than you know Narcotics Anonymous but it’s just different it’s stuff I haven’t heard before instead of the same old rehashed kind of cliches and I feel like there would be more benefit to me seeking out that or you know if I wanted to go to like uh I don’t even know this [  ] exists but like a nicotine Anonymous meeting for Vaping like that would might possibly bring value to my life like those there are things I think I can learn from people and and groups I could be a part of I just I don’t know that Narcotics Anonymous has a lot of space for seasoned members who aren’t necessarily struggling with the basics anymore that’s kind of what it’s about I feel that with recovery Dharma like just being in the couple of meetings I’ve been in and reading the excerpts from the book I’m like this is this is new this is feel like I can I could you know it’s still very foreign to me but this feels like something that has potential to add value like new information new ways of thinking about things so what is I I guess maybe this episode is about what to do when meetings don’t feel like they’re providing what they used to provide or when they don’t feel like they’re I use the term hit in the spot earlier but I can’t really I don’t have a better term for that right like they’re not meetings at one point scratch the itch I went I heard things I connected I was like oh yeah me too and I felt better when I left and they stopped doing so like I guess the the question is like what are your options when that happens you know I I mean you can keep going you can kind of push through it maybe it is just a stale piece of your you know life or something or your recovery where it just feels kind of stagnant possibly right you you could try to get more involved you could do some of the practices we talked about that are just more personal practices you could continue to stay in touch with people and work steps if you had a step study or or something less formal like a weekly Saturday morning we have brunch together and talk recovery and then I work steps throughout the week like there’s a lot of different ways this can look I guess and it doesn’t have to be so singled into did you hit a sanctioned Narcotics Anonymous meeting you know what I mean because we can accomplish those same goals in a lot of other ways and if meetings aren’t feeling like it maybe there’s some ways you can adapt your life and look at that and and make it fit in a different way that is still recovery oriented any final thoughts I was just saying hit more meetings and you’ll find one you like you just haven’t done enough work well there you go no but this area could just be really limited so drive further yes spend more of your time yeah I don’t I don’t know I mean I don’t have any better advice than that I think the more we do this the more I learned that recovery is a highly individualized process and things that worked or didn’t work for me may or may not work for other people and it’s really just like can we feel safe enough to Branch out try things and see what happens well not only that what worked for me a year or two ago might not work for me now exactly you know like just things it’s an evolving and changing process and as I grow and change and become this different person my needs and [  ] are different and then my life is different so my needs are different and you know it’s I it’s the awareness starts with the awareness and then what can I do about it the awareness is so huge too though because like at the core like I just I do I keep coming back to this like okay so I’m almost six months who’s like I hate going to meetings and they hear this like this the self-awareness to know truly how you feel inside and where you’re sitting because this can kill you like I can kill you and if and if meanings are a piece of like keeping that from killing you like then meetings are a good thing I don’t know it just it’s yeah there’s still at my core that’s still there yeah that there is still that little piece of that it’s like well that still hits that spot for me and I think if I had to give one like caveat or disclaimer and maybe I should have did this at the beginning for all the people who don’t listen to the end especially an hour and a half in but just this idea of like I I think we hold too tight a lot of times from our experience in our life to this black and white thinking right if I do this it’s great if I do this it’s not as good or it’s bad and allowing ourselves the freedom to know that no decision is going to be the downfall of everything right like I have the space to experiment and I did not feel that early on like I felt like oh my God I can’t take two meetings and I mean two weeks and not go to a meeting and just see what happens because maybe you couldn’t though well right but I’m not saying to do this in like a a dangerous type way but like if at any point in my recovery I’d have said you know what for two weeks I’m gonna not hit any meetings but I’m gonna put in place a system where I call my sponsor or someone in my network every day and we talk for 15 minutes I highly [  ] doubt I would have used during that two weeks right it’s just this idea of like giving myself the space to try [  ] and you know what after two weeks if I feel like [  ] it’s easy to go back I just go back it’s not like I failed it’s not like my plan was wrong and I feel like we have too much of that right it’s if you don’t follow this by the book you’re gonna fail and then if we do it’s all shame based so we can’t come back and it’s like man why can’t we just have the freedom to try some different [  ] along the way and just see what works like it’s not I think that’s common to people with new [  ] though people when they first start their diet or when they first start going to the gym they’re gonna tell you how [  ] great it is yeah I guess I mean but it I just feel like my life maybe would have been Fuller if I felt like I could have tried more I didn’t feel like trying things was allowed I felt like I either had to know it was the right thing ahead of time or no it was not the right thing ahead of time and there was no room for like I’m gonna try this out for a month and if it doesn’t work I’ll just adjust along the way and I wish we had more of that all right hit seven meetings or hit none but either way have a good week

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