159: Your Story is Yours (Sort Of)


Ever thought your life would make for a good book? We have Bruce come on to discuss the book written about his life. We explore what motivates someone to think a book would be useful? What intention goes into a process like this? If a book about your life is against the 11th tradition. Going public with your story of addiction recovery. And anything that might be fascinating about the book writing process. Listen in to learn more about Bruce and his book – Don’t Count Me Out: A Baltimore Dope Fiend’s Miraculous Recovery

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Episodes mentioned:

Journaling

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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 [Music]

welcome back it’s recovery sort of I am Jason a guy who said I was going to write a book at one point but never did I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery I’m Caroline I’m also a person in long-term recovery and we’re here with Bruce I’m Bruce I’m an addict I like a diverse I like keeping it simple too uh so we have Bruce on today and you know if you couldn’t tell by my introduction because Bruce has actually written a book kind of sort of I guess technically not exactly but sort of kind of um but we wanted to have Bruce there I think uh we’ve got a lot of interesting questions about the book writing process what goes into thinking about deciding to have a book written about the story of your life like all those kind of things we want to delve into all that so I don’t want to hold us up I want to jump right in Bruce generally when we have somebody on we like to have like a a five to eight minute version of your story if you can encapsulate it I know that’s going to be difficult because obviously you’ve got a whole book’s worth of materials but maybe we can like highlight that down and you can just tell us about yourself a little bit I guess you start that I got in the recovery in O3 I was at the end of a 20-year prison sentence and for some reason in O3 I I had to thought I was down the house of correction the cut and I thought huh maybe if I stop using my life would be better and the craziest thing is are you allowed to cussle oh yeah yeah okay the craziest thing it’s like where the [  ] did that thought it’s like what was that stop using I’m 44 years old I’ve been using all my life you know I’ve been doing time all my life and you know I was a criminal I wasn’t somebody that went to work and um my you know my job got out of management I did jobs in other people’s lives got on management I was very predatory-ish so when I got clean I really didn’t know what to do and the thought process was was so odd to me and I remember going out to the yard after I decided not to use anymore and saying to my homeboy you know I’m not using anymore but don’t tell anybody because I literally had no other identification it was there was nothing in me besides I use an addict like like that was your personality that was everything that was you know my value right was that ever used I I had no self-esteem I had you know no ambition I had you know I literally had nothing so in o5 I went in front of Judge Christian call and uh for modification of sentence my attorney told me you know what we need to exhaust your remedies to get you into the federal court on Gates versus Illinois some search warrant stuff so we went to court without the expectation of being released and now I’d never had a visit I had eight and a half years in I’d never had a visit you know made a couple of phone calls to my daughter but that’s basically it my aunt once or twice maybe and um we went into the courtroom and now the SWAT team officer that had shot me is there the prosecutor Jill Savage is there and uh me and my attorney and judge call fairly empty courtroom the SWAT team officer started telling how his family was afraid of me and I found that funny because he shot me you know and then um the the state’s attorney started talking about what a bad guy I was and how I had it you know back to the 70s you know I’d been committing fairly serious crime and um she was right you know I was all of that when it came time for for allocution I tried to tell the judge that um something had changed to me something was so different in me just having 26 months clean I’d never been to an a meeting I’d not you know I was just clean but my spirit had been changing but like when I tried to tell the judge you know tears just started rolling down my face onto my doc uniform because I was just that 14 year old little boy you know and uh I didn’t know how to put my words together correctly so the little woman uh prosecutors started talking and the judge banged his gobble and said I see Mr White come in out of his courtroom for the last eight and a half years or eight years I think was his words and um I don’t believe he’s a threat to anybody anymore you know and uh he said he can go home but he didn’t realize is I didn’t have a home all through this time period the thought had come I’ve made it to here I’ve had a remarkable life and that’s without anything that’s happened after that you know that my just making it here with all of this stuff is insane right you know it wasn’t enough for a book but it was like an idea you know and then um I came home and uh a guy named Steve was generous enough with his time to give me a job and he helped me out tremendously and I’ll be forever grateful for his time and care and I started working for him and I started getting some self-esteem I went down to dental school and they started putting teeth in my mouth because you could kick field goals through my teeth I had like eight of them and um I started taking care of myself I went and got my hepatitis treated didn’t work that time at work later but I went and started doing all these things got colonoscopy all these things you do if you care for yourself you know it sounds crazy because I didn’t think I I had self-loved until about year 15 clean but then I look back and I actually did I didn’t know how to equate that the things I was doing so um I came home I started going to college you know I wanted to become an addiction counselor during that process I met a guy named Craig and I he ran this big drug treatment facility and they had caught Liaisons going into the court doing the 85 or fives and stuff and I thought man that’d be a great job and he was telling me about it he said just apply for it you know give me a resume I said I haven’t paid taxes still you know I really don’t I said man just give me a resume so um this is all in the book so I went to so I went to uh some interviews and uh they gave me the job and so like two days later I’m in like the same Courthouse I’d ended up getting 25 years of prison time out in two different sentences and um I was helping people immediately there was backlash and Bruce God Rest her soul wanted me barred from the courthouse because of she tried to prosecute me for a crime in 1990 that I didn’t do and I was fairly harsh crime it was a bit of an issue and the only reason I found that out is one of my Sheriff said to me he said you know why everybody’s got to go through the metal detect I’m like no why this is because of you he says everybody in Your Capacity now has to I’m like oh okay you know and then one of my buddies later that the judge told me said Jason but a lot of us were fighting for you they believed in you they wanted to see what you did they gave me Room to Grow you know so during that process I started thinking this is pretty crazy I ended up doing a nine step with Jill Savage the prosecutor and apologizing to her for the names I caused her after I got convicted um and they gave me 20 years I was less than polite to her and um yeah [  ] her I was calling her the c word and all that the only person I didn’t because that was a judge because I know I had to see him again but she prosecuted you too or something no but I I mean I I just think in general our legal system has too long held a negative view of people who were just struggling to try to [ __ ] not feel miserable like come on man we need we need the compassion from them too yeah they shot me yeah they were even he was shot already like I felt like okay you know this should be right this should be a woman

you know so on you know I’m doing all that I open a couple recovery houses open a house for women first you know say Have a safe place to recover because it is stuff that happened all this stuff’s in the book like I’m saying and then um I’m thinking like you know this story needs to be told not because of me but because of the message because of the message here is it any AD it can stop using lose a desire to use and find a new way to live so if you fast forward you know um yeah I stopped working for that drug treatment uh I added treatment to my housing and you know today we have 100 beds we just purchased three properties this year we’re closing on one next week that that will become more you know different level of care than we’re doing now and um all this stuff you know is is uh somebody needs to know that you can just like stop using get obsessed with some other [  ] you know I start doing some other [  ] I just have never stopped working I work like seven days a week but during the process I was going to Costa Rica with a guy named Mike sarcone and now Mike is Detective Mike in Noir and so me and Mike would be going down and taught me how to he says what are you writing because when we would go I’d be typing away and uh then I got voice stuff where I could just talk into my computer and it would write and uh so we doing I said well I’m putting together stuff for a book he said well I know a writer Raphael Alvarez who wrote The Wire I said well I would like to meet him so I mean Rafi got together and came to an understanding I I wanted to own the book you know but I needed someone to write it so we came to an understanding of the work for both of us in that capacity well I had 100 ownership of my story you know so we wrote a book over the next 10 years together um he gets full writing credit because he put it together and made it made it the the beautiful piece it became and um October 15th Cornell press released it you know which is a fairly large Publishing Company you know I mean they did worldwide release we’ve had a couple readings and signings we’ve had one you know there’s you know 15 judges there politicians and you know all this and that’s how my life’s changed you know and it keeps changing the more work I keep putting people say why do you keep throwing stuff you’re really comfortable you know and it’s not about standard stuff it’s I like doing stuff I like creating stuff I like being abundant have my abundance be able to fill other people’s pockets you know um it’s I I don’t need more stuff at this point I’m good you know but I love uh I it’s kind of how we measure you know you know it was good you know it’s kind of a measuring stick in some ways you know for me like you know success would be being content in where I am you know um the one gift I had is I’ve always had enough you know when I lived in a one bedroom apartment on Maryland Avenue back in 05. you know I had enough I wasn’t like I was working from a lack of my spirit was not sending messages to the universe that I didn’t have enough I’m proud of the book it’s it’s uh a good piece was there any while you were formulating this idea of writing the book did it ever I guess what we ran into doing this podcast is if we were to ever make money off of this does that somehow feel like it’s wrong because of the 12-step Fellowship aspect I guess there’s nothing wrong with making money there’s not nothing wrong

dedicated to the addict it still suffers any money on my part not Raphael’s he does what he does right any money on my part goes back to the attic that still suffers I won’t make a penny probably end up losing 25 or 30 000 actually right right on the book no I get it that’s how we we operate in a deficit here yeah so so if if something happens and it makes money it’s just going to uh you know be for the attic I don’t I don’t said my life’s really good I don’t need so I’m curious did that solution come from the question of do I feel awkward making money off of this or was that just I just don’t want to make money off of this no absolutely not my level of comfort I decided that one the book actually came out right I decided that I don’t need to make money on this that that’s what I would do if any money is made I got you I got you I feel like ours at least for me uh my end of it was definitely man if we ever did get popular if we ever got money coming in I probably will feel awkward about taking a big profit out of this you know what I mean like I wouldn’t mind taking a salary but right I would feel weird taking a profit yeah you shouldn’t though you know all money is is energy you give all your energy out putting this together sticking back to how you get your energy back yeah there’s nothing wrong with taking energy for your energy this is not a 12-step Fellowship this is something you’re doing on the on your own right you know um and our seven Traditions were fully self-supporting well if you want to shun away money all the time you won’t be there you know you have to get comfortable with with an exchange of energy if I’m giving you all my energy I go to work every day you know to help the addict that still suffers and the exchanges I’m helping them and I get finances to keep my family comfortable and safe and to expand the business yes similar you know with running a non-profit it’s a similar thing it’s like where what is a a adequate salary what is like accept because you hear all these horror stories of these non-profits in these places you know all the money’s going to waste and all that but at the same time you know she went back and got her college degree and it’s a full-time job and she’s committed a lot to it and trying to find that balance and I think for her it’s it’s practicing the spiritual principles of like all right what do what is fair what is like enough and then you know what am I okay with it also a balance you know what you just told me is your wife put a lot of energy into going back to school and invested in herself and she should get energy back for that and it’s Just Energy if you look at you know it’s paper neck It’s Just Energy and if you get a lot of it then help other people become abundant at least you get to make those decisions and get to pick where you put your money I support a lot of politicians and support recovery you know I donate to a lot of campaigns I work on a lot of campaigns that support recovery and um so I get to help change our community more than if I didn’t make money if I didn’t make money I couldn’t do any of that yeah because that’s definitely what a lot of those voices hear is money that’s all that’s what they need oh yeah yeah you’re either born into some power or you can buy some influence really not power but you can buy some influence you can buy an ear for a moment and after a while that that people perceive that as power but I I actually look under the veil sometimes see who’s really got the juice yeah you know it’s fascinating you have this uh like this energy theory of money that does seem to make it make a lot of sense and kind of you know what I mean like I I feel like it brings some clarity to how I want to interact with money in my life and I was like man why didn’t I come up with something like that already right and I’m like oh because I don’t have any money to think about that’s why you take somebody with somebody to come up with a with an understanding of why it’s okay to have it I started um 106 my second sponsor was a guy named Majid he’s from Iran and just a beautiful soul he stayed my sponsor even after he moved to Philly for eight years but then I needed someone close so I needed to have some face to face but um he did all these spiritual practices and Carol and May’s Deepak Chopra accuratoli pemra Chopra copra uh uh Marion Williamson uh Dwayne Dyer all these spiritualists I would listen to them so it’s not my stuff it’s it’s you know I’ve listened to enough you know where it’s a chicken box I hate to meet through the bone away after I finish my 12 steps the first time I went on about a four-year spiritual journey before I picked the first step up again you know and in that I got a better understanding the energy and abundance and you know uh people tell me you talk about God all the time and yeah but it for me it’s Source energy you know it’s it’s just a vibration of the universe that runs through us all it’s like if you think about it you know we’re sitting here we’re interacting but we’re way more connected than that so like the universe was created and we were created from the same dust as the universe right but what what does that mean that means there’s more of us out here than in here so once we align in here and we connect with that alignment then everything out here starts working to make things happen different in your life you know you’re moving along in a posture of love and humility and and all of a sudden you’re sitting down next to the person that can make some of your stuff come true you’re trying to do and that that’s my story I’ve had a lot of that you know and I believe totally that’s alignment with the vibrational Universe reminds me of like the the leaf flowing Downstream to the bigger body of water right like it can either work in just let the stream kind of take it and work with it or it can get caught up everywhere along the way you know in its own little disasters and and leave it to a guy from Baltimore to bring a chicken box

you know one of the things you said describe in your story about that that really transformative early moment that kind of I mean I I caught me off guard I guess just because how crazy it sounds to me today but that was the life we lived right you said that you didn’t want anybody else to know that you weren’t going to use anymore because they would think less of you right yeah right right that’s crazy that that’s the world we come from right yeah and that to us today that’s like that’s the most insane thing I’ve ever thought right you know our Insanity gets so bad bad you know we believe yeah I was living in brucieville you know and everything that was happening up here in brucieville you know I was this great guy even when I was homeless I walked after y’all they’re jealous of me it’s [  ] insane out of my mind you know just straight out of my mind you start getting rational thought and you start you know developing that thought and structure and that thought and not letting the negative thought come in as much and and start working with some positive affirmations I do them every night every day you know I do all this positive stuff because left of my own you know I’m truly [  ] you know I’m truly [  ] this looks like a really good package I walk into a courtroom today you know I’m in a you know beautiful suit I’m you know I’m respected the judge hey Mr White how are you today you know how are you you know it’s good to see it’s good to see you too you know maybe I just came out of another judge’s Chambers you know after you know [  ] how are your kids doing you know all right you know would you left at the gym just you know these relationships and I look at my life and it’s like we’re in a book reading at the facility when judges came up to me and he said you are the only person that could bring this group together he said you got judges here I don’t know and this is a very powerful man you know he’s like you got judges here you got Scott schellenbergers here and if you’re going out Tuesday vote for schallenberger thank you in Baltimore County that’s my body he’s about recovery though you know he’s about you know he’s a state’s attorney at Baltimore County but he’s about recovery so you you look at at what I get to do what I get to do is promote recovery in a place that didn’t used to hear it I am the only example they get a lot of days or what recovery can look like and I hear it all the time so we’re blessed and honored how hard was it for you to decide to uh for lack of better words recover out loud especially in your I want to say industry or job environment like that had to be a really tough choice but I mean I guess a lot of them knew you already so maybe it wasn’t that tough of a chance maybe it was like accidental yeah when you’re walking around people that literally put you in prison it’s not yeah you better have something well I guess we do it something different yeah what I was thinking with that is uh so often in our history it seems like people did not take certain job positions from a recovery standpoint right like it was harder to be a nurse it was harder to be a doctor like there was limitations it felt like and if you went into those Industries you remained quiet and sort of hidden in secret to keep your job safe and yet that always eliminated like you were talking about you’re the only you know version of recovery or possible recover recovery out there for a lot of these people right same in the medical field there’s not a lot of nurses running into other recovering people because they’re all secret because they don’t want to lose their jobs but it’s we need people in these different job Industries where people don’t see recovery people we need that for people to believe in it yeah well the 12th tradition gives me the right to uh you know stay Anonymous or not you know it as a as a fellowship it’s one thing but my own personal life um what would I know is that uh I get to promote change and get give people disadvantage point of with the recovering addict and then at my uh celebrations every year there’s a few judges come every year they get to see a group full of us you know and they meet my sponsor and they meet this guy and every year other guys like hey how you doing Dennis and you know because they’ve gotten their you know oh you gotta look back at history you know the the Jews the blacks the Hispanics they were all you know uh the government always took their funds until they came together as a group and started voting as a group The recovering addict didn’t so when I started working in the courts in 09 the first elections I worked on were judges elections and um Circuit Court judges have to be elected they’re appointed to the position then they get elected to a 15-year term and people ask me why I did it I did it because we need to start voting as a block as people in recovery so Annapolis and the Senate and the Congress stop taking our money we don’t have power alone but together as a group we have power and today it’s better it’s way better than it was in 2018 we had 31 poll workers come from one promise and one promises people to work polls and we change the local election one of the orphan Court judges was losing and then when the precincts we worked came in we put him over the top and he won so we may not be able to at this point change a national election because there’s not enough of this we recover and we vote mentality but we do recover and we do vote we do pay taxes so getting us to vote is a block has been germane to my process in the courts and letting people know where I am I don’t I don’t know I’m not ashamed that I’m in recovery I’m really proud of it you know I’m ashamed that I spent you know almost 12 years of my life in a prison and I caused all this harm but you know I’ve worked through the steps and that stuff I live with right [Music] 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

www.voicesofhopemaryland.org and consider donating to our calls

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Bruce what would you say um I don’t know if you’ve encountered this yet but what would you say to people who say you’re breaking the 11th tradition well I’m not promoting anything yeah and so it’s attraction right no I’m it’s it’s Anonymous at the level of press radio films yeah well um that that’s about the program my life is my life nobody owns my life but me you know my life’s mine I can talk about anything I want and you know I I don’t think I’ve mentioned Narcotics Anonymous once I mentioned a program I work and really good things can become antiquated it doesn’t mean they weren’t really good but sometimes there’s a time for some changes we’re probably going to take the penny away because it’s antiquated daylight savings time and we’ve talked about that too just doing this podcast and stuff I mean we talk about being in recovery we talk about the program and in the beginning I think we had some of those discussions and it was like you know what it’s you know we’re just talking about what’s out there we’re not trying to be representative of anything we’re sharing our story and our experience and telling people what we did and how it works and decided it’s your story right you know um I’m not going to be held captive to uh 30 uh 1935 ratings by you know somebody that uh everything’s fine and the Traditions are wonderful and the steps are wonderful but I’ve been cleaning a while I get to make a decision what I’m going to do you know if we don’t talk about it then how does that addict that still suffers is walking up Pulaski Highway to go get one more how does he know that there’s that you can change without us forward sitting here how do they know I’m you know I shot it from the rooftops [  ] them you know and the the purest [  ] them too you know this is my kind of episode [  ] everybody not that it’s good or bad it’s just I get to make a decision what I want to talk about and what I want to do I’m not I’m not standing out there with a sign you know go to Narcotics Anonymous it’ll save your [  ] life but yes it will you know I’m telling you that my story you know and it’s mine it’s not narcotics anonymous’s story it happens because of Narcotics Anonymous you know it doesn’t happen without Narcotics Anonymous but it actually happened to me right you know it’s my story oh I like that I like all this so I got another one for you okay um you said that you dedicated the book to the still suffering addict yes and you’re doing this because of that um so Billy Gardell yeah the intro to your book um in that he says uh reading this book is a part of what you can do to treat your addiction do you agree with that statement I think um reading the book can give somebody hope I don’t know if I would call it treatment at all but you know who Billy Gardell is I don’t no I was not familiar with the show Mike and Molly or Bob Hearts Ambrosia whatever I know these are like sitcoms he’s like a happy guy oh that played mine okay okay yeah no I didn’t make that connection recovery

generous with his time he yeah that’s awesome he uh he’s like a famous dude and uh oh that guy he wrote thank you Molly yeah I’ll forward for us no no Revenue was changed hands he felt very strongly about the book and was very happy to be a part of it yeah so I mean I want to go back to a minute with the the moment in court with the judge where they whatever it happened where he could see that you changed and all that have you ever got a chance to go back and talk with him about that and like what was it or what happened there or why I get to I get to see a lot of judges and I get to go to Chambers all the time and hang out and talk about cases and this and that and judge call got sick he retired soon after that and would sit like out in Cecil County and stuff is what retired judges do they travel they’d still be 90 days and then they get their full check and then judge call got sick and he was in Towson I tried to get to see him judge Steinberg was trying to get me in to see judge call a judge called was sick that day and said he had to go home so I didn’t get to see him so judge called died without me and him but he knew about me through Steinberg who judge Steinberg was my lawyer for years and Bobby Steinberg is retired and he’s my very good friend today so when judge call died they have these big portrait ceremonies and they have local delegates and and local senators and such will be there and judges and everything and so uh like they have these people speak there so the family had me speak I spoke in between Tim Martin and uh caught a special appeal Judge Joe Murphy so you walk into this room and there’s a line that says ceremonial courtroom I’m like nine or ten judges in robes and then there’s a jewelry box full of people and judges in suits and the the gallery for the people and here I am you know I’ve worked on this uh speech for two weeks I talked to everybody you know about little antidotes about Judge call I got up and I just ripped it up so I’m just going to speak from my heart and but by the time I was done half the place was in tears you know including myself it was funny because like it was so emotional I felt like I had to break the ice right you know and give people a second you know so my good friend judge Robinson had told me when I went and talked to him about it he said Bruce just don’t drop the F-bomb so I was telling uh Gary Glennon told me this he was his clerk he’s a judge now and he was telling me this story that story I said in judge Robinson told me just don’t drop you up on the whole place broke up laughing you know and then I just left but it was very emotional and I was very honored I’m the only person in this capacity as ever spoke at one of those ceremonies a weird thing is like two or three years later I live out in Foster and I’ll ride up to uh there’s a I think it’s a highs up top there and I was getting gas in my Chopper I was deciding to take my Chopper or my full dresser that’s how I just take the chopper out and I pull up and I’m getting gas and this guy comes up and says hey how you doing like hey what’s up man I said man that’s a pretty bike you know he’s and it says one promise on the gas tank he says what’s one promise I said well I have a treatment facility in Baltimore it’s called One Promise he says my brother was a judge and let a guy go uh uh and the guy’s doing real good and got a treatment facility I said who’s your brother says Christian call and this guy’s name was Pete call and severe alcohol addiction I thought okay okay so God wants me to help them right suicide and do whatever you want to call it just brought me and him together some [  ] parking lot in the middle of nowhere you know so I’m talking to him I get my car and a bit I’ve never heard back from him I thought he’s told me he’s drinking too much and you know his life is messed up and I said I want to help you that’s that’s the way I could really say thank you to your brother you know I said I want to help you I I don’t even know if I haven’t tried so I don’t care if you got too much just come over I help you because that’s a moment of just compassion and Humanity that it’s it’s easy to gloss over but that’s an amazing moment in some people’s lives that some people never get and of course I have the opposite story like I went and I had and it was only a year sentence but I went back in front of the judge because I violated and he said remember I told you I was going to give you that year well you’re getting the whole [  ] year and gave me the whole year yeah I had a dick judge too uh I’ll Althea Hardy yeah handy I wanted to piss on her [  ] grave dude like I was like living right and she still gave me all my backup I have no opinion I got a strong opinions [  ] her we’re [  ] people today [  ] her still no that’s good that the courts see those examples of people change though because you figure how many people just continue that cycle of rolling in and out and not changing and like now for me like I’ve changed and I haven’t been back to court and I’ve never seen any of those judges or lawyers and I [  ] hope I never have to you know yeah like they’re out of my life and I don’t see them and I’m doing something else now you know so it’s good that they see that change does happen I get a lot of court ordered clients and when you get a court order a client does huge responsibility to us when something happens to report it and report it with a quickness so when when they finish I recommend to them to write the judge and let them know to the guy coming behind you that’s I can’t be the only one you got to write them and let them know thank you you know I’m doing better today and whatever next week looks like it looks like but today I’m doing better yes I recommend that some of them do and some don’t but it’s important for us you know um people that have gained uh some recognition in society to talk about our recovery you know to uh you don’t have to wear it on your sleeve and if you don’t want to talk about it you don’t have to you know but it’s important for some of us I got a question and I imagine this doesn’t probably stand out to you because you’re in the environment daily but it drives me [  ] crazy that we got to call them your honor like I hate the whole Pomp and Circumstance around that and putting them on a pedestal really nah it’s cool I’ll be in I’ll be no no no it’s it’s the decorum man it’s shaking the hand that’s all it is that’s all it is you know and I I you know good morning your honor how are you today and then uh that’s all I have for right now you’re on a man step back anyways permission to step back you know and that’s all I have today your honor uh may I step back so that means I’m leaving that one but then you know I walk into the chambers and it’s like Bruce do you see that [  ] he thought I didn’t and and that that’s how it is but we need to have a society that has some Pomp and Circumstance we need to have this guy’s can take your life you know circuit court judge can send you to death but you want to go up and say hey hey homie what’s happening I do have that and other stuff like I think of like my job like I cuss a lot in my normal every day right vernacular whatever but at work when I’m talking to customers I don’t talk I don’t cuss at all you know what I mean I don’t use any swear words I try to you know yeah well you have a different line of work I’m a customer service well I don’t give a [  ] we’re all cussing today no I mean yeah look if I if I work with an individual that’s more religious or their values and morals lead them to not really appreciate cussing I mean I tone mine down too it’s look I don’t have a problem with ritual I think ritual is good for Humanity right we could use that but any Pomp and Circumstance that separates or was created to separate the elites who could learn the mannerisms and the the poor people who couldn’t bothers the [  ] out of me because that’s the only purpose for all the the manners and etiquette and everything else was to you know who’s allowed in the tea room with the King and who the [  ] not well you can go to you know George Orwell on animal farm right you know you can and everybody’s equal but some are more equal than others unfortunately and it’s just going to be like that you know um that’s that’s life you know you know you were born in the United States it’s real easy for us here to say you know oh yeah we want to yeah go live in India for five minutes go live in Kenya go live in one of these third world countries where your life isn’t worth anything and getting medicines nothing and they’re not arguing about getting vaccinated or not because they don’t have a choice you know you can go to these countries in Africa right now in this sedan we’re losing more elephants due to Drought than we than we are to to poachers you know um there’s horrific [  ] going on Noah people in the United States just think like everybody’s like you know needs to like do things you know uh like we’re doing where where do you leave this you know you’re sitting there with a podcast you’re in the leaders home sorry to tell you you know I don’t think it costs more than that and and I don’t disagree with that right and and I don’t look I mean that in a good way yeah no and I I love that I live in a country that I’m allowed to sit here and say [  ] our government right [  ] all these people I don’t like I appreciate it right right but I also I I guess I don’t know my goal is to change the world in some small way right if that’s changing some people’s minds about how they think of things so that more of us can move forward and say hey this [  ] ain’t right let’s all be equal right everywhere uh maybe that’s what I do so I’m just gonna keep pitching about it

I think when when I look at human beings I’m looking at our sixth and seventh step tells me not to look up or down at anybody so that makes it my job I’m following decorum but they’re not better or worse than me they’re absolutely equal to me when I go to their Chambers and we talk we’re two just two guys talking but we have to have some social decorum and some uh decorum in the courtrooms we have to have an order we are the order I mean you get to pick 12 joys of your peers I’ll buy in but then if that’s the case the judge also has to use a term of respect for everyone he addresses in the court instead of you know young man or listen here that’s the judge that has nothing to do with this with the with the seat yeah you know I’m not I’m not honoring the person I’m honoring the position it’s not the person of the position it’s the position okay well maybe like you say maybe that’s why it is important for us you know as addicts or even as members of the community to get involved in that [  ] to know what kind of people we’re putting on those benches because I know in our local elections there’s usually the few key positions I know to County Executive or whatever but then when it comes to those judges and like School Board [  ] members like I don’t know nothing oh this game looks familiar yeah you’ve seen this there’s only one choice you know like one choice or a writing yeah so so like when you look at judges they’re so germane to how we live and the decisions they make affect us directly I have judges that send clients to me because of our relationship and they trust what I tell them you know because I have that thing that you guys taught me to have integrity so when they come up for election we can swing those elections if you have a judge that’s against your coffee I’m not working on their campaign I’m not helping them matter of fact I’m putting my money and my time and my connections on the other side of that right you know win or lose you know at least I did what I felt my heart these days

Larry Hogan’s done a really good job for the most part with his appointments O’Malley not so much he did some good appointments I liked and some of the worst judges I see on the bench today no point they happen to be district court judges and uh they happen to um not ever come up for an election a district court judge their 10-year appointment I wonder if like Shaffer would have had more shitty judges on the court but just by the time you got around to it like all those guys were retired yeah it’s a mandatory retirement at 70. so there’s a constant real you would think Congress could do something like that really yes

his wife’s like no this way Joe and and I’m not knocking any older adults but I would imagine thank you totally like we have the understanding that generational differences exist so somebody over 70 is not going to be in touch with the populace of the United States I mean it’s just it’s not really possible they’re kind of outdated sorry old people yeah you just I think they should time out too yeah I think they just should you know I think 70’s good is good well at 70 they’re still needed for a very valuable thing right you could retire from Congress at 70 and be a congressional mentor to the young people coming next who need your expertise and your experience you know what I mean like you two working together could do a lot more we’re getting way the [ __ ] off

yeah [  ] them probably made enough money by now yeah they’re probably retire and fish and golf [  ] Jesus crazy [Music] thank you

[Music] what was the most surprising part of the process of book writing to you like when you went into it thinking I’m going to write a book because I’ve thought about writing a book a bunch of times when you actually got into the process of doing it like what caught you off guard and you were like oh man I didn’t know it worked like this when we started right don’t count me out I came up with the name in meditation and then during the process when we actually got a big publisher interested that was the day I signed that contract with Cornell press I was like [  ] yeah you know because you see a lot of people self-publish when you bring a big publisher and their names on it so they do all this fact checking for two years that’s all they did it was fact checking all this crap wow like fact-checking events in your life or just some of the details probably the names of the books that’s crazy and then they get uh you know would the people allow them to use their name or not you’ll see sometimes it’s just like initials in the book that’s because we didn’t get it permission you know with those folks they literally checked with uh uh one of the the doctors in England who had to leave the country after a bunch of [  ] in the 70s a little you know talk to him you know I went over to Italy and met with him that’s crazy and we discussed what was going to be in the book and that was in 2018 or 19. and then Cornell met with him on the phone and Raphael they came up with that and it’s just a process and it’s a grueling process you know you can write a book and self-publish it and it’s just it’s it’s basically not fact checked right it’s your interpretation there’s stuff that I had one view of and then once it got through the writer has another view because he talked to to other people that were there that’s crazy so so you get more because my view is my view you know uh Billy’s view is is his view you know and then you put both of them together and somewhere in the middle is actually probably closer to what happened right right no because for whatever reason we remember things differently yeah well I mean you were a little high for some of it I’ve read the book and um it’s pretty good it’s pretty accurate you know it’s funny because I’m picturing and I know this is always like stereotyping in my head but I’m picturing like this this really like suburbanite soccer mom drove her minivan to work she’s like sipping her her English breakfast tea or something fact checking your stuff and she’s like there is no way that this guy robbed this place and did all these oh here’s his court record I guess he did just you know shocked like she’s probably usually fact checking like how many elephants were in the zoo in San Diego or something yeah yeah it’s like yeah yeah there’s stuff I mean it’s uh you know there’s there’s one part where this guy uh we just robbed this Pharmacy and we were staying at the pine you’d rob a pharmacy and then get a motel room and start selling your product and you’re selling our product and this woman that I used to uh spend time with came over with this guy and my boy Whitney was in the other room it was two rooms and I was in the front room and the guy pulls a gun on me you know so the broad had set me up you know and uh he’s uh arguing with me and I’m arguing back I’d had a gun pulled on me before I wasn’t that you know I just wasn’t that impressed you still want to get my [  ] right you know um and then I hear and I look and it’s Whitney and Whitney just leveled his sawed off right at the guy’s rib cage and walked up and stuck it against it and says if you don’t get your gun off my man I’m gonna cut you in half and when he was about to cut him in half because that’s who the [  ] he was you know he loved me you know his dad now God Rest his soul but stuff like that it’s like you know you look back and it’s like I’m arguing with somebody with a gun in my face man [  ] you you know he just you know Insanity yeah yeah just addiction you’re not taking my drugs that’s the only thing that makes me a value right now is those drugs nobody cares about me loves me or wants me but as soon as I have all that you know the motivation to Rob stores as soon as I have all that you like me and I’m okay well and this is proven through research now they’ve done the research where they take people and they lower their ingestion of water say any liquid basically they make them thirsty by not giving them anything to drink for a couple days but they’ve tested it out and basically what they understand is if you walk across a desert and you’re dehydrated and there’s a glass of cold ice water in front of you and somebody stands between you and that ice water you’ll [  ] stab them the same person will stab them and it’s that same feeling with that drug use we needed that we needed the acceptance we needed everything it gave us and it was life or death so [  ] that gun right I need this yeah this is mine right yeah I got no real good answer right right exactly exactly but um Bruce anything you regret specific to the book in this process no there’s no reason to regret any of it it’s not going to change it there’s stuff I’d have done differently maybe in the book yeah yeah could you give us one of those there is a part in there that caused somebody harm and I would have just left that out it was to show spiritual growth in me and I I I didn’t catch that it would cause them harm and then when they calls me up it had harm I felt bad and I told him I love you yeah I’m sorry there’s really nothing I can do and I didn’t see it like that because the person was germane to me sitting here today not sitting here today without this guy gave me my first job out of prison and all that I didn’t mean to cause them all right I didn’t write the book so I gave probably 30 or 40 stacks of paper from different trips from Colombia wherever I was at police and I would just write when I was there right in the morning I’d write at night the sun was coming up I drank coughing right when somebody’s going down and I drink coffee and right you know and in between I go out on the beach right you know and that’s what I did on vacation you know and I took you know a lot of vacations and and most of it was written like that and then he would take that and make it worthy of mine was just disjointed [  ] right now you you kind of you didn’t answer this question you sort of answered some of the things it wasn’t for you I think in the early part of this conversation but I’m curious what was the motivation for writing the book when you first thought of it like the message okay because I think you’ve you’ve labeled out like it’s not money it’s not fame it’s not about was it the message because you felt you needed it told or was it the message because you felt it was going to be useful for somebody I thought it was going to be useful for somebody I felt like you know if everything worked perfectly this would get into somebody’s hands laying on a bunk on lock up up on up at uh 18601 Roxbury Road and they would be reading and be like [  ] this guy was on lock up right here H1 that’s where I am you know and that maybe changed his life right yeah maybe change the guy’s life that’s in detox for the first time first time uh maybe the guy in the recovery has man you have to read this [  ] [  ] you know maybe change your life or the mom or dad that needs to have hope because they’re kids out there right you know maybe he’ll give them some hope yeah maybe give them some direction you know if they didn’t have it’s not about me it’s about the message of Hope for somebody else for family to hold on one more [  ] day right for the addict to maybe really give it a try you know to to give themselves a break you know that it’s okay it’s so we got it you’re in pain we got it the only thing that used to stop the pain is this but you still think it will but it won’t but we’ll we’ll help you right yeah you can change this it’s important you know you can call it recover out loud or whatever they think it’s fundamentally important to help to still suffer in anybody my my job seems to be with the addict you know and this just is another tentacle of that I feel like we we started this podcast and we were like oh man we got a few listeners that’s neat right and then it was like we would keep going on and I think we enjoyed doing it for one I mean we meet up here we hang out and we [  ] talk on Sunday mornings you know what I mean like it’s an enjoyable thing it’s not like we don’t like it so there was there was the piece of we enjoyed it but it was like how would we measure success for this right how do we measure like is it a certain amount of listeners is it this is it that and I think ultimately for me it ended up being the same thing I used like with sponsorship like if I help or plant a seed or change or shift the direction of one life that’s a [  ] enough one life’s enough huge right and so if we touch one life with the podcast and we’ve gotten I mean it’s not an exorbitant number but 20 30 40 messages over the course of three years of like Hey listen to your show I really feel like it helps my life through the middle of the week and I got some good ideas and it’s like that’s enough that’s perfect that’s [  ] enough for us and I guess I just didn’t know if that was enough for you or if you felt good enough awesome when you said and we enjoy it that that should be enough it should be enough right now how many things do you actually enjoy you know anymore you know you get older we got bills we’ve got responsibilities you get health issues at my age you know you get health issues and stuff and you got this stuff you know and the things I enjoy I enjoy yesterday Tabby and I went riding on the Harley and that’s like my favorite [  ] to do is be with the person I love the most you know she’s hanging on my back which is weaving through Pennsylvania getting lost I’m like where you gonna go make a right yeah we make it right right and then what do you want to do make a left and then we make a left and we just go and get lost and just spend that that time together you don’t get enough of that you know you can get lost in movement my life is so overwhelmingly busy I get lost in movement I forget to uh tell people I care about them I forget to sit with uh the addict that still suffers and help them have my work I get to do that so I’m lucky with that we got we’re triage I got guys that just put a sign down and came in we buy them good lunches we care about them and the the thing is they come up to my office and they’re like I’ve never met the owner of a facility before and I tell them that’s half the [  ] problem people got into it for the wrong thing right I got into it to help people it just became something that created enough Revenue that my life is really good in 2008 when I started one promise and took my first client January 25th of 09 when I was driving around in a box truck raw slapped me to pick up stuff from Freecycle to make this recovery house for women there wasn’t thought the thought was to help these women because they didn’t have anywhere safe they had some predatorial places and someone came to me and asked me and then in meditation it became to do this and um you know when I was spending all my weekends doing that for four or five months with a woman named Patty helping me off there wasn’t a thought about where we are now I mean today we got you know 11 10 11 houses 100 beds you know we’ve got mental health we’ve got all kinds of levels of care what it grew organically but we always have stayed in the posture where the most important thing is that I had to distrust in US you know and I I have the privilege of working with all these beautiful souls that believe the [  ] I believe you know you can work from a place of love you know or not you know whatever that other place is it ain’t long I just choose to work from a place of love to care and try to provide you know Maslow’s hierarchy and needs from Foundation you need to feel cared about have a safe place and you need to feel secure before that you can’t do nothing right so we house and we feed them and we care about and then the growth you would hand off to your clinicians and and your house managers and and your psychiatric nurse practitioner and all these beautiful souls that know how to do that my addiction counselor but I I don’t do a lot of counseling anymore well and the way you lay that out I mean it follows what we know with the research right if we can provide people with a safe structured you know scheduled routine environment that feels stable and secure there’s a lot more space for healing and growth with other things once you calm that nervous system excitement down you know and we got to get that calm environment first or none of the other [ __ ] works right so that’s beautiful feel like you were already kind of you know so to speak out about your recovery or or unanonymous so do you think taking that to a national or worldwide level changes that or increase increases any risks for your life I think it’s happening anyway you know with that you know I think uh Billy Gardell I mean he wasn’t ashamed about writing in front of that book he’s got 15 years now the other day you can celebrate in May 15 years uh he talks about it and it’s a guy what you know 100 million dollars or whatever it’s got two big shows on TV and he wrote that forward and very unanonymously you know Eminem talks on anonymously Elton John talks unanimously Rob Lowe you know there’s all of these you know people in recovery Matt whatever his name is LeBlanc is that it was on oh friends friends no it wasn’t yeah

[Laughter] yeah it’s at a point where we have a month now you know it’s recovery month and it’s like oh really that’s nice yeah so come here for me I can’t recovery day we like to dangle months to marginalize populations [Laughter]

literally I had

I’m like meanwhile look at the probably you know the crime what do they think all the [ __ ] shootings in Baltimore are happening over you know hey yo ain’t shooting shorty for nothing but a Dimebag the 11 shootings they had last weekend probably most of that’s over drug addiction

so Bruce uh what would you recommend or suggest or what kind of tips did you learn along the way for anybody else that feels this creative Endeavor that they want to take on that they feel like their message I hope also could touch some people and maybe maybe theirs isn’t prison right maybe they’re touching the guy who’s working at the Amazon workhouse or or who’s lived under the bridge but what would you tell them in your experience I think if you have

I think you do yourself a disservice not to getting it published is today you know if you have to self-publish it I’m not sure that’s the way I would have gone at all you know I would have probably just not I might have had a book right ready to publish but if nobody had published it I probably wouldn’t have self-published then you have no help you know then how are you getting your message out there did I just do this uh was this over ego attachment um why am I doing it if it was supposed to be out there wouldn’t somebody have picked it up I sent it to five people you know um I would just look at what you’re doing if you feel like something should be out there for me I felt like I needed to get someone to write it I didn’t feel like I did not feel strongly about my set of writing skills

that’s funny I I mean I want to recommend just for anybody that’s out there that’s ever thought about writing a book and maybe stop themselves because they’re like oh that’s egotistical or oh that’s this yeah it’s they’re a [  ] pudic to write about the [  ] that happened in your life now if you are super early and you have not done any work around a topic maybe you don’t want to trigger yourself writing about a situation that was not good for you right but if you’re pretty solid at some point and you just want to start jotting down notes about situations with the thought that maybe one day this is a worthwhile story to tell do that [  ] because that’s a good therapy practice anyway just writing about it to kind of get it out I think you can just Journal like what’s happening in your life and at some point if it should be a book you’ll know the universe will let you know right you’ll be sitting on an airplane next to some [  ] writer and you’ll be telling you said that’s an interesting story yeah that’s how it happens when you get in touch with the universe fantasy people talk about you’ll be sitting in Belize talking to some [ __ ] fancy writer I’m like bro that don’t happen to the rest of us yeah we don’t do that I’m sitting in in the back with the shitty people who don’t have money yes

he went to Jamaica he’s been out of there I’ve been to places but I don’t know what I sat next to Raiders I did get mistaken for a Ravens player though and I felt really good when I was younger and a little bigger no Bruce I I can’t say enough just from being a guy in your peripheral recovery life right like I can’t say enough about all the effort you’ve put in over the course of the years to try to give back and help people and I I just I thank you for that so thank you for driving up here and talking about your book appreciate you guys have for all the work you’ve done One Promise by Raphael Alvarez oh [  ] yeah one promises the program if you need help around the Baltimore area don’t count me out to the book get it on Amazon yeah yeah awesome and I gotta make one more mixture before we close so I’ll sometimes reference you people ask me to share sometimes and I’ll come up and and I’ll say you know I wish I had my friend Bruce’s story where I’m getting like shot by a SWAT team and years in prison and all that stuff you know when I first got in recovery I was real intimidated like I thought that’s what I needed to earn a seed in Narcotics Anonymous and I because I was just some middle class white kid doing dumb [  ] and getting locked up for 30 days you know I didn’t feel like I had done enough um so everybody has a story that’s worthwhile and interesting and everybody you know if you find yourself in a meeting or a place like we’ve all earned our pain here you know but I do appreciate you sharing your stories I appreciate you guys I love all you guys yeah you know it’s cool to come out here and uh I’m glad I came out we didn’t just do it on the phone I wanted to be lazy but I really did the whole thing is my life looks like it does because I’ve said no to what I wanted to do and did what I had to do probably half a million times right you know it’s that saying no to what I want to do don’t want to have to do it’s got me to sit here today that’s so fascinating because it’s doing what I want to do and not what I have to do that has got me sitting here today and it’s incredible that we can come from two different angles and yet both end up really really happy and fulfilled it’s always been difficult all right everybody uh go out there get don’t count me out check it out it’s on Audible it’s in Amazon it’s anywhere you can buy books get the physical copy get the audible copy whatever makes you happy the narrator’s not too bad in the oil oh yeah the narrator is nice I listen to a lot of audiobooks and they generally suck and this one is uh this one’s really nice to listen to so check that out we will have links to that right underneath this episode if you’re interested and uh you know to keep living and doing the thing out there spreading the message thank you very much thank you Bruce thank you Bruce thanks people [Music]

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