90: Recovery Cliches – Part 2 – The Newcomer is the Most Important Person (Sort Of)

We are back to talk about some more recovery clichés. We evaluate the truthfulness and usefulness of some of the things we often hear at meetings. Guest co-host Caraline helps explore:

The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting

It’s a simple program for complicated people

Learn to listen and listen to learn

Meeting makers make it

People who don’t go to meetings don’t hear about what happens to people who don’t go to meetings

You have to give it away to keep it

Is the newcomer the most important person at the meeting? Are we complicated people? Do meeting makers only make meetings? Does giving it away assure us that we will keep it? What is it, anyway? We discuss these clichés in way too much detail. Listen in and reach out to us to weigh in with your opinion on these recovery clichés and their value to your recovery. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com, or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

Part 1 of cliches episode

Discrimination episode with Sylvia

Sponsorship episode

Top Recovery Podcasts List

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

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy who is trying not to get high for the moment at least and i’m here with caroline caroline who i’m gonna call billy all episode i know i’m not uh billy is at a convention enjoying himself having a good time and so he will not be here this week so caroline graciously filled in and we’re going to talk about cliches right we did an episode about cliches i don’t know god it’s probably been a year and then i said oh yeah it’s part one and we’ll do a bunch of these and and then we haven’t and caroline reminded me of that so i i feel like with addicts they do one of two things right we either do a cliche episode and then do cliche episodes for the next 10 episodes or we do a cliche episode and say we’re gonna do it again and then never ever do it again so i feel like i have managed to beat that and do one and then do one a year later so we’re gonna do cliches part two uh before we get into that though a guy reached out to me and apparently we made a top list for podcasts and i was kind of excited right so this uh this is on the blog feed spot um and i’ll have the link in the show notes but as as i read more about his email it was the top 80 addiction recovery and rehab podcast and i was like oh my god so i had to go on i was like are we 80. they’re only 80 are we the last one we’re 12. nice right so i was like that’s not bad so feel free to go check that out you know uh tell that guy like email him and tell him why we should be number number two uh not number 12 or maybe number one if that’s what you think or or maybe if you’re looking for other podcasts right go on there and check it out uh have no idea what this guy’s criteria were for picking these out uh i don’t know if it was numbers or just ones he enjoyed no idea but i thought it was cool so thank you we also got a comment on our sponsorship post that i really really enjoyed and i’m not going to read the whole thing because it’s extremely long but it was from you know it’s hard to tell from instagram names but carr or carrie or karen or karen brief 66 i don’t know but it was a really good attitude about sponsorship and they said that when they go into a sponsorship relationship immediately the first thing they say is look i don’t have any rules except one and that one rule is basically that if you don’t feel like this is helping you tell me that’s all i want to know right i want to avoid the awkwardness of you having to feel awkward because you got a new sponsor and you didn’t let me know they’re like you’re not committed to me you’re not married to me i’m just here trying to help man and just let me know when that’s not working out and i just i thought it was kind of beautiful so that was a nice thing too there was one other weird thing and maybe this you’re the person to talk about this with since you are not a white male um so i had posted you know one of our video clips like i do each week and someone commented it was i did it on instagram reels for the first time i didn’t even know what the hell that was but whatever i i did it and somebody commented oh three white guys great or something like that right real sarcastic and i was like oh this is going to be that discussion uh so i i and and i don’t say that in a mean way like i get it right uh you know the i’m on board with being somewhat woke at least so i was like look i you know i can’t help the way i was born i was like but we do try to bring awareness to other topics minority topics things that that are of minority interest in recovery and i said hopefully and we you know we learn more about that and we you know give it to our listeners and she commented back she was like what do you give to your listeners the fact that marginalized populations exist and i was like unfortunately probably for some i’m like but for others we’re just trying to learn and grow and and get more in tune with everybody and a couple people like kind of jumped into our defense which i’ve really appreciated because i i wasn’t going to defend us i was just trying to you know explain that we’re trying to be on board with helping people out but that always does hurt my feelings a little bit it’s like i get that the white male majority has you know [ _ ] us all up and and the system is rigged and i get all this and i believe in it right and i want to do what i can to help it but at the same time it’s like just because i speak i’m wrong for being a white male like that doesn’t feel good either right i didn’t ask to be a white male i just got here yeah maybe it’s winning the lottery in our lifetime or whatever but it just i don’t know what’s your thoughts on that as a as a female well i think i think the point they were making was that it was three white males but i mean the fact is is you and billy are white guys so unless you want to avoid that entirely like you would have to never have any white male guests on if you wanted to always have a more diverse panel which seems like an unrealistic expectation no more white guys i’ll tell billy as soon as he gets back no more white guys in fact billy i might need you to step down i would also say a case maybe could be made and i think you’ve done that with females but maybe less so with with minorities although i don’t i don’t really know because i don’t i don’t watch the videos i listen to the the audio um certainly you guys don’t want to get into a place where you’re only having minorities on to talk about minority topics right um but i don’t i don’t think you’ve done that i don’t i don’t really know because again i i haven’t really i don’t watch the videos so i don’t often know what time what what someone’s race is i just i’m listening to the topic well we’re a function of our county as well right like not that we don’t have people on on video um conferencing software because we do at times but honestly billy and i both prefer not to it’s so much more fun to have people in person it’s there’s something about zoom and meat and i find this when i’m doing therapy too that it’s like that there’s just that space where there’s the delay and i don’t know if they’re about to talk or i’m about to talk and it just doesn’t mesh up and it’s it’s more fun to cut people off in person for me so i we’re in a county where there’s mostly white guys i mean that’s just how it is unfortunately but yeah maybe i guess that is you’ve given me something positive to think about and and take in and be introspective about where i feel like that’s not what i got from the comment from the individual on instagram so i always appreciate a chance to look at myself and and try to be better well i think the other thing that’s interesting and and this goes to the broader issue because when i think about the number of people that i know in recovery the majority are white and that’s because i tend to and i don’t know i listen to the the conversation you had with sylvia i don’t remember the name of that episode i don’t know if this came up or not but there’s certainly when i think about harford county cecil county baltimore there are areas there are sections of all of those regions areas that tend to be more white or more black and and um you know i don’t think we we don’t tend to have a large number of any other kind of population in this area in nna um would you disagree uh baltimore’s got some hispanic population but i don’t it’s the baltimore itself has a huge hispanic population but i don’t think there’s a lot of yeah i don’t know what that culture is doing to address their do they just not have addicts what the [ _ ] maybe we need to look to them because i don’t see them right them asians there’s not a ton of asians in in our meetings um yeah so that’s i mean that’s a whole nother issue but yeah i mean there’s definitely air within all of our kind of the susquehanna area there’s certainly meetings that do tend to have a higher population of of one race or another um and that’s a broader issue i think which certainly is not um right yeah certainly not the scope of this episode but not at all not at all and on that note we should probably get back to our our

Recovery Clichés

so we talked about some cliches in part one of this dialogue and just basically talking about the idea of like are they stupid are they redundant are they helpful uh could they be used for people outside of a 12-step program like could they just be useful in daily life and and so i think that’s where we’re going again with this so are they useful are they stupid and do they apply to people that don’t call themselves addicts is basically uh our focus here so the so really quickly i do want to comment i think on the last the last episode and if i had been better prepared for this i would have re-listened to the cliche episode because it’s been six nine maybe even longer than a year since i listened to it um but i do think you guys you you tackled time takes time yes i love that one do you i use that one a lot with sponsors yes i don’t think it is i think there’s um a deeper level of meaning on its surface it’s very like duh but food is food

um for me it’s really talking about like you can’t expect yourself to be further along than you can reasonably get in a certain amount of time in a certain amount of work like you can do everything you possibly can in this moment to grow and develop yourself but it it it still takes that time that’s i think to me what it means yeah it’s it’s got some some deeper philosophical you know connotation to it but it it’s just i don’t know i like it

Time takes time

yes yes it does i mean we could say it sounds like somebody tried to sound profound one time it’s my problem because we could just say it takes time to get to that place right we don’t have to say time takes time like that’s like okay all right cheese ball i know i find i’ve found myself over the years saying it with sponsees specifically and i can’t tell you the first time i heard it but it’s something that is very intuitive to me in the midst of specific conversations but it does of course require follow-up you can’t just drop that and that be the end i mean you have to explain it a little bit which i guess maybe maybe that is the problem with it right like maybe a good cliche doesn’t require any explanation well and maybe for some people that one doesn’t need explanation and that’s when it’s kind of that hit it’s like oh time takes time i get it now right and and just to disclaimer these i probably use all these goddamn cliches in my dealings with people in n a and and outside of that um i just we’re evaluating them at surface level for me at least uh so even the ones i say are [ _ ] i probably say all the time i probably tell people on a weekly basis time takes time do you really though probably really well because of therapy okay uh yeah that’s a that’s a good one throw out there and it makes you sound kind of profound okay all right so uh let’s start with it’s a simple program for complicated people i’ve heard this when i first got clean a lot more than i do now i don’t ever hear this anymore actually it’s a

It’s a simple program for complicated people

are we complicated people is it a simple program yeah i don’t love this one i don’t know like is it i guess the idea of the simple program is just don’t pick up but that sounds like just say no and nancy reagan right which doesn’t work it’s a simple program if you look at like this what is it like the seven suggestions go to meetings get a sponsor get involved get in home group pray i already said go to meetings there’s more of these don’t pick up there’s another one i feel like you could just do that one yeah yeah i mean that’s true if you’re following those kind of core suggestions it is a simple program i think it becomes more complicated the more complicated it becomes the more growth you’re going to recognize and realize um but i don’t think that we’re any more complicated people than any other human you know that’s where i i struggle i get um you know i think we we put ourselves into this like oh we’re so different from all other humans and what is that like the um terminally hip and fatally cool like we’re so different that’s that’s part of the whole that’s part of the whole issue is this like feeling of uniqueness yes exactly exactly and i don’t think we’re more complicated than other people out there the other one that there’s another one that is along those lines that says something like well people will say like addicts are the smartest people have you heard that like where people will say like addicts are so smart like such a smart group of people that’s our problem i’ve met some really dumb addicts ouch i’ve met some really dumb addicts in recovery i don’t know that i would agree that as a whole we have a proportionally higher iq than than the normal population i want to see this study now i don’t know that there is a no no i’m just i want to see somebody research yeah i would be curious yeah because i kind of maybe have held on to that belief just a little bit and i don’t know that it’s true for any particular reason right but i would be curious now i are do people who abuse drugs and alcohol for a portion of their life are they skewed towards a higher iq because i’ve always thought it made sense i’m like oh yeah it’s all that overthinking and you know dissecting myself and self-hatred and and maybe even this point of uh just past this iq level that allows you to see that life is kind of meaningless which is like okay well why the [ _ ] am i doing it then why just get up and go to work every day if life is meaningless and so all those questioning ideas have led us to to a life of drugs that’s been my perception but i might have been just justifying some [ _ ] that i don’t know yeah i mean i think we certainly have some pretty intelligent people amongst our ranks but i think the opposite is true as well i think it spans the gamut just like it does in the broader population so billy would say that we are definitely a microcosm of the society so there’s probably no difference there but he does tend to lean towards us being different slightly like he thinks it’s not so much that we’re different than people but there’s something about us that takes some of these traits of people to some kind of extreme that normal people don’t and i don’t i don’t know that i believe that personally but i think that’s what he always tries to tell me yeah i you know i think a lot of it is is situational too like i was i don’t know if this is relevant or not but i was listening to um like a like a audio book of brene brown’s um and she was talking about you know some of her childhood trauma growing up and then she was talking about how you know she she had some issues with substance use but then she talked about how she kind of like bring that in and i looked at that in in counterpoint to my life and i kind of was able to almost draw this line where i said okay well she had childhood trauma that looked like this but i had childhood trauma that looked like this and maybe that’s the difference so i think i don’t i i don’t know i think that there is a lot of situational things in our lives that push us to the extreme of that exp that spectrum does that make sense what i’m trying to say i don’t know if i’m if i’m speaking very clearly yes okay so are any people complicated or are we all simple no i think most people are complicated i think most people are complicated so that would kind of make this hold true simple program for complicated people i guess but we the i think the root of the cliche is that addicts are the complicated people not that all people are complicated because otherwise it would follow that the program is for everyone and i don’t think that’s the intent of the cliche asshole’s anonymous said we needed it forever uh yeah i don’t know so what should we say it’s a complicated program for complicated people it’s a simple program for simple people who think they’re complicated people it’s a simple program if you follow the suggestions that’s boring sorry all right all right simple program for complicated people gets a thumbs down i guess we’re never i’ll never say it again tomorrow uh

The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting

this is one i definitely want to talk about i’m actually a little sad billy can’t talk about this one because i think he hates this really yeah yeah i agree with this one you agree i do damn we can’t argue because i tend to agree with it too yeah yeah i agree i think that they are at a point of the highest risk and the deepest desperation so i agree with the concept that the newcomer is the most important person at the meeting but not really because i think the newcomer is the most important person at the meeting does that make any sense not at all right that’s a time takes time yeah so i think if all of us view the newcomer as the most important person at any meeting like this cliche suggests then any person that’s not a newcomer who is struggling is going to get outside of their struggle by prioritizing helping someone else aka the newcomer with their struggle and i feel like that’s the solution to most of our problems is to stop being so stuck in them and so if we all just follow the cliche i think it works i don’t actually think the newcomer is the most important person at the meeting i don’t know that there is a most important person at any meeting it actually sounds like something a cult would say oh we need new members the newcomer is the most important member got to bring them in right the ones who are curious but yeah i think it works well in practice for everybody yeah i think i’m coming at it from the perspective of the newcomers problems nine times out of ten are the most critical and life-threatening problems in the meeting and that’s what makes them the most important person because if we’re looking at it from the perspective of at the very core of recovery we’re trying to keep people from dying then those are the ones that are are most at risk of that i’m realizing that you coming on the show tends to make me be an [ _ ] and i don’t know what it is about that no cuz i so i don’t know i mean i say stuff to billy that’s kind of maybe i’m just an [ __ ] maybe i i mean i don’t think you’re being an i know but i’m about to be okay okay go go so and and this is hard right because uh i know that this has affected your life recently and greatly but i don’t look at recovery as a cure for death i don’t think of it that way i don’t think of death as

as much as it hurts those who are left behind i don’t think of it as a bad thing or a wrong thing to happen and so when you say that the newcomers life situation puts them at greater risk or you know stuff like that like i don’t tend to buy in that that means that they’re more important because i don’t look at that as actually a terrible thing or a wrong thing or like to me that’s just life and and that same guy could get clean and get hit by a bus because he was clean right whereas he wouldn’t have been in that location if he was still getting high so it’s like i don’t i get it the statistics skew towards people overdosing more than getting hit by a bus but i just don’t look at it the same way yeah i think i mean i think that’s a major difference of opinion between you and i and i think certainly um you know my husband’s passing has made that even more forefront for me is like that is a very real ramification of the disease that is to me that’s the worst case scenario of of this disease because any other scenario that that happens as a result of addiction there is always a chance to redeem yourself from that right like the death is that’s final that’s done um what was that for this portion of life yes yeah which yeah and again i think you know we’ve talked about this before that comes back to our kind of broader perspectives around um you know what is or isn’t out there what what is or isn’t i i mean that higher level philosophical perception of life and and what it is i guess for me in a very simplistic past tense way it’s really easy to just say everything happens that’s supposed to happen because if it wasn’t supposed to happen it wouldn’t have right yeah and i know that’s an awful little thing for some people to hear um so you think we can like just change everything we can change events and yeah i mean i don’t think anything’s pre-ordained um that’s not an awful thing for me to hear because i don’t believe it so i don’t care that you say it no i mean i think people that have recently lost loved ones or tend to be more sensitive to that concept it’s like or or even billy billy’s a little sensitive to it with the idea that like you know some things happen in his family right and he’s like that wasn’t supposed to and i’m like i kind of feel like it is i feel like we’re going we get exactly what we need to fully grow and live our life yeah i would say i think even for people who believe to some degree in fate or that there is a higher power that has kind of the ultimate control over everything that happens your belief that um the soul asks for what it gets is an even further level of uh that’s the book i don’t know that i completely buy into that but i do like it um yeah i i think the people probably who struggle with hearing that are people who generally would have believed it prior to whatever event happening right i think that’s very triggering for them because they’re probably internally already struggling with with that dissonance and then bringing it to their attention um i mean i think generally within the population to go up to someone who someone close to them just died or they just experienced a traumatic event and say everything happens for a reason most people would agree that that is not the appropriate time right right to say something like that we’re really what cliche were we talking about something about something yeah we’re really far from that we are i i guess i don’t know and it brings up a topic i was actually thinking of on the way over here oh the newcomers are most important oh right right right and that’s how this podcast goes of course um but i want to explore the topic of things that happened in life that were completely not what we wanted right whether this was like we prayed did not have this situation or outcome happen or just we’re completely against it or it’s the last thing we would have put on our list of things we wanted to happen and then they worked out extremely well for us somehow right because i have quite a few of those experiences in my life and i don’t i mean do you just i want to do that episode in the future right i’m just curious like do you consider that all random and chance or am i making the most out of a bad thing or yeah i mean i think humans are incredibly adaptable and um we don’t ever know what the road what the fork in the road would have brought otherwise so it’s it’s probably good practice to say oh you know i’m i’m happy that that happened because it it brings me to where i am now because it alleviates you from regret um resentment a lot of those negative kind of looking back in the past actions that can really taint your day-to-day life but yeah i mean i don’t think anything happens for a reason other than um i can’t think of the word i’m looking for like obviously like if i put my glass my my cold glass down on a table and it and the table gets wet the table got wet for a reason because of the condensation from michael glass so that kind of stuff yes but like from a like a a pre-ordained someone decided the table was going to get wet and that’s why the table got wet no someone definitely decided condensation was going to happen so i i guess i don’t know i and i don’t think of it just as like a comfort thing i think of it as like i have tried to explore in my head all the possible other outcomes that could have came out of me not going through this situation i did not want and i’m like yeah they would have all been way [ __ ] worse than this but you have no idea it’s like doctor strange thinking through those 14 million possible whatever no doctor’s dreams oh my god you have no ability that i mean you can’t see the future you can’t see the alternative if i’m at 100 happiness it couldn’t have been any better right but it could have been the same amount of happiness and do we ever know what 100 happiness is yeah yeah i’m there right now you think you are but maybe there’s more i don’t know that that’s quantifiable oh so what are we deciding about the newcomers the most important person in any meeting do we are we keeping this i think we keep it both like it for different reasons yeah i just i feel like people always are going to argue newcomer is not more important than me and i don’t think anyone argues that i’ve definitely heard that really specifically not more important than me well and and i don’t i mean a lot of times they frame it in the concept of well what if an older timer is struggling or somebody else in the meeting is having a really rough time right now they’re just as important right in fact they might be more important because they might be my buddy for the last seven years and this newcomer just walked in the goddamn door and if they’re both in danger of using tonight my buddy with seven years is much more important to me to you but that so then i guess the question is is it more important personally or more important from a broader fellowship perspective or program perspective yeah i i don’t know what it’s saying just says the newcomer is the most important person in any meeting it’s very vague yeah i mean i think the beauty of our program is that we have the ability to meet the needs of more than one person so just because the newcomer is the most important person at the meeting doesn’t mean that that person who’s been around a little while that is struggling can’t get their needs met as well or can’t be helped as well so i don’t is this even in our literature i don’t think this is interesting i don’t know that’s a really good question it might be in the basic text billy might know this i don’t know this yeah i don’t know it either i i feel like somewhere in our literature talks about our recovery must come first like personal recovery depends on n a unity right stuff like that but like we’re the people would argue like because of that that statement that is definitely in the literature we are the most important person at any meeting period doesn’t it’s not about the new car like it’s i’m there i’m the most important person there for my recovery but again that goes back to the your personal sense of importance versus the group’s sense of importance well the only reason a newcomer will be the most important person for the group sense of importance is to continue n a well that’s important too cult definitely i mean i will say like for me recently even though i believe philosophically that this is true it’s not something that i’m like i i’m at a point in my recovery where i’m actively seeking meetings that are not newcomer focused you know you and i have had this conversation right where i’m really been looking for meetings where um

the the struggles the newcomer quote unquote newcomer cliche struggles are not the topic of the meeting because i don’t want to hear it it’s it’s triggering for me you know contradictory to you believing in this statement yes exactly so that’s why i’m bringing it up so at but again this is this is personal versus the group right so for me personally and here’s the thing i still personally believe the newcomer is the most important person at any meeting i want to go to meetings where there are newcomers because i want to hear about how you’re applying the principles of recovery in your life today i don’t want to hear about your last day using i don’t want to hear about your cravings i don’t want to hear about those kind of like stay clean or not stay clean struggles because it’s triggering for me with you know it all comes back to to my husband who passed and and that’s just not that’s not where i’m finding value today and and i know that that’s selfish i had someone ask me a couple weeks ago if i wanted to go to a meeting with her that was um you know mostly newcomers and i declined i said that’s i i that’s not what i’m looking for right now and i feel justified in doing that because i’ve been around here for 16 years making the newcomer the priority and and and making sure that i am showing up at meetings and sharing my experience strength and hope for the benefit of the newcomer and i mean i still have my h i commitment which is another reason i can justify that because i’m like i’m giving back to the newcomers that way for me my normal meetings during the week i don’t i don’t want that to be on me i want to get what i need from me and i don’t want that to be my responsibility right now and again i feel i feel justified in checking out from that kind of responsibility of a member with with long-term recovery because i did it for so many years and like i feel like i just need a break but it it is a little interesting like i still believe the newcomer is the most important person but i don’t really want to be where they are like i want to be somewhere else what happens if there’s two newcomers at the meeting then they’re both the most important first they’re both the most important person that doesn’t even sound right the newcomer does not indicate singularity does it yeah it does if it would be newcomers if not the new right okay is it the person with the least clean type the newest member so is it the person if you got a guy with three weeks and a guy with one week is the guy with one week or if the guy with one week’s been there to seven meetings and the guy with three weeks this is his first meeting is he the newer member like now we’re really quantifying right what if there’s two old-timers and five newcomers in a meeting how do you help the five newcomers if we say they’re all equally important there’s new i mean those old-time timers better be doing some damn good sharing i guess yeah i mean and how do you define newcomer right because i would honestly at this point in my recovery i would define anyone with less than a year as a newcomer easily yeah i mean a case could be made for that too um the newcomer i still feel like that is not like it does not indicate a single person i think it’s a broad category um it could be this category called the newcomer but it still doesn’t i don’t know doesn’t fit i there’s people that have like more than 20 years that want to start meetings for only people who have more than 20 years and i’m guessing that’s allowed kinda as long as you don’t actually turn people away i think that’s still in the spirit of traditions but i mean their point is less that they’re triggered and more that they just can’t [ _ ] relate right i think it’s a fair point like i get it the longer i stay clean the less i understand about the recovery house and the the different drugs they’re using and i can’t relate to what they’re talking about but i think it it makes it difficult for the newcomer to find help but i mean i went to a meeting not that long ago with a buddy of mine and it was a lot of newcomers and i didn’t know what the hell anybody was talking about i’m like the [ _ ] are y’all saying down here kratom and suboxone and i’m like i don’t get it and i don’t understand your problems no more and i don’t know how to help you and and it didn’t really seem like any of them i don’t want to say it didn’t seem like anyone were looking for help they were not looking for help from like people with a lot of clean time they were just hanging out in groups and they came to the meeting to hang out and they were leaving hanging out and i was like okay i guess i don’t know i don’t get it anymore it doesn’t look like it looked when i got here i certainly have my opinions on suboxone and gratum and i have experience with those items as a result of people i know care about love having an experience but yeah you’re right i mean i don’t i i was never on either of those substances um and it’s been a really long time since i’ve been to a meeting that’s filled with newcomers because i’m actively avoiding that so i don’t know if i would

i mean i think there are parts of the newcomer experience that i still can relate to and remember to a degree but it is very disconnected fair enough so i don’t even think they had suboxone when you were using by the way um they had it when i got clean no suboxone well yeah i know they had something that people could take every day that was suboxone based i didn’t find out about it until i had like two months clean my experience i don’t remember like there was i definitely was not aware of any suboxone uh but i remember buprenorphine being somewhere towards the end of my story like that was what they were given in detox but it was like you take this for three days it wasn’t right right right right yeah every treatment center i went to you got boop it was so much better before that but why what did they give you before that all kind of good stuff i went somewhere and i was on librium i think yeah that’s just like holy [ _ ] i think i walked into a soda machine like it was beautiful i was like this is the best detox ever i think i got i got librium somewhere but that’s not that’s not an opiate it’s like a benzo whatever i liked it yeah but it doesn’t i mean it doesn’t fix the withdrawal symptoms the way an opiate i gave some other stuff for that but i just i felt it was fun i definitely got librium somewhere and that was during the butte days because i only went i only went to treatment from like 18 to 20. so that was 2002 to 2000 for five so they definitely yeah they definitely have pupa every place i went to now they didn’t always give it to you like one time i detoxed at a at a um psych hospital i didn’t give me anything like that there they gave me like it can be like garbage i don’t think i’ve been in treatment since 2001 really yeah so i don’t remember i do remember butte being there i thought what year did you get clean 2003 okay yeah you were two years ahead of me then the last couple times were prison though okay no detox they gave you nothing right here’s your magic air pill you could sometimes get advil if you you pushed hard enough dude they yanked and [ _ ] my jaw all up pulling a tooth and wouldn’t give me anything but ibuprofen i mean my jaw was swelled up like a baseball was in it for like a week nothing no pain meds just bleed it out son okay all right uh so we’ll we’ll keep that one even though we don’t really know the definition of the newcomer or that what it means that they’re most important like or why it matters right yeah whatever we’ll just keep it because it seems to work

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Learn to listen and listen to learn

what do you think i’ve heard this one before but i still have to like think it out in my head to make sense of it to listen and listen to learn yeah i mean it’s true sounds basic yeah i don’t know how much value it adds i feel like there’s some old slickster just popping these off at a meeting somewhere right you gotta learn to listen and listen and learn yoga yeah and i can’t i mean i definitely heard it before but i can’t think of any instances where i’ve heard someone say it in a meeting certainly not recently um i think both statements are true i think they’ve been combined and use alliteration to sound super smart well listen to learn is one of the most basic concepts on earth right that’s what we do when people teach us out loud like well listen to learn i don’t know a lot of people listen to respond um okay so you’re saying it’s listening active purpose to learn and not to contradict or argue back or just get your smart thing in next which most of us do see and that’s interesting so that that kind of is important i was thinking the other half was more important learning to listen but i guess that kind of ties into that too right right because i think a lot of us hear but we don’t listen because we’re listening to respond yeah i mean i think the whole thing is about active listening but it’s just said in a way that’s i struggle with making sense of it like even though i’ve heard it many times i had to like really slow it down and think through every part of it to wrap my head around what it’s trying to say so i don’t know nobody is sitting in a meeting and getting the same reaction to this as as time takes time like times take time takes time is giving you that hit right that’s like oh that just hit me in the gut right right you hear this one you’re like wait a second it’s cool what is that what learn to listen and you have to break it down it’s not like an intuitive automatic right and i mean you might use it again but it’s it’s just not going to give you that bam oh i heard the shot right because i think it was it was created to sound catchy not created to necessarily drive home a strong point that’s dumb but i guess we’ll keep it because it’s good

Meeting makers make it

and then the counter meeting makers make meetings all right

yeah i don’t i don’t know i don’t i’ve never liked the statement but i think most of my recovery have not been what most people would consider a meeting maker so that might be why yeah i mean i think being a meeting maker in early recovery is a critical my experience is that is a critical component of staying clean in early recovery but i don’t i think the point when people say media makers make meetings is that that can’t be the only piece of the pie like you have to be doing more than just going to a lot of meetings i got a meme about this coming out this week oh yeah is it scheduled you got a scheduled post on it no but i got like five or six made up that i know are coming out this week and that’s one of them i like it it’s a pawn shop guy okay stay tuned um but yeah no i i agree i mean i i think the program is not meetings it’s the 12 steps that’s where the life altering experience happens i personally got a lot of value out of going to meetings early early on even though i ultimately relapsed that time but i i did like that was why i stayed clean as long as i did was because i hit so many meetings it was around people had a new positive influence i get that meetings are a good reminder of what i need to do for myself and of comparing in and not isolating but just the idea that uh our program has literature that says staying clean in isolation right for the loner for the guy who’s in a place where there are no meetings and that that can possibly work means that this statement’s kind of [ __ ] yeah but it’s so much harder it’s so much harder to do this in isolation than it is with a a group of people who can support you around you it depends how isolated are there no drug dealers because you might be safe

if you’re really isolated i mean you don’t need drug dealers to relapse there’s lots of ways to relapse without a drug dealer picture for some reason whenever i’ve heard the loner staying clean in isolation that pamphlet i always picture somebody in like an igloo in alaska i don’t know why but i’m like yeah they’re not getting high they get high off ice ice that’s a drug oh right right right yeah i mean if there’s a grocery store nearby they can get high if there’s like a a mechanic auto supply they can get high

starter fluid yeah it’s definitely a relapse huffing starter flow it is make sure i don’t frown the power don’t do that don’t do that um yeah so you don’t need drug dealers to get high you literally can use in total isolation as long as there is uh a place to purchase household chemicals so to me this is like i feel like this cliche is used or useful which cliche are we talking about meaning makers ah yeah i have a bad it’s probably the starter fluid right all that damn starter fluid i can’t remember what we’re talking about i feel like this is used or useful when there’s an individual that seems to choose other things over meetings right like a person whose priorities are kind of out of line maybe for what we would hope they would be for recovery like we we assume that the 12-step program’s got to be the top priority and that’s where you got to be to stay safe right i don’t know that that’s always true um just a case in point i sponsored a guy he had two kids a wife and [ _ ] and he’s like i feel like something’s wrong i’m only hitting like one meeting a week this that and the other i’m like yeah but are you home like being responsible and being a good dad and a good husband like that’s your situation is not the norm a lot of people have lost their kids or don’t have kids or don’t have any of those responsibilities like they probably need to be here six or seven days a week you i mean if you’re staying in contact with me and you’re hitting your home group and you’re doing these things that sounds like recovery to me and so i wouldn’t have said to him meeting makers make it right i didn’t think it was right for him but when people are actively like when they come across as being somebody who’s like i’m not gonna hit the meeting tonight my i want to watch some netflix or and not that that’s wrong every time right but early on maybe that’s not the idea right i don’t want to come out and hang out tonight i’m going to go see this girl or something you know this girl that probably is still using like those are the people where i’m going to be like hey maybe meeting makers make it right but i’m thinking maybe in that context of understanding where it’s a useful statement maybe then we understand what might be more useful like hey can we look at your priorities about what you’re thinking because a lot of people that you know put these other things before recovery there’s another good cliche whatever you put before your recovery fits in the cooker or is the first thing you lose or something like that so i just feel like maybe that’s a more relevant one for the purpose i don’t know where else we would say meeting makers make it except for people who have out of whack priorities yeah i don’t know i don’t feel like it’s one that i would ever say one-on-one to a person it’s a little too trite you’re gonna drop it in your share though no but i hear people i hear that’s where i hear it i hear it in meetings i don’t hear it on a spoken one-to-one basis like i don’t think anyone’s ever directly said that to me of course you hear it in meetings caroline nobody outside the meeting is like meeting makers make it no but like literally in the hour-long meeting in the church is where i hear people say it not on a one-on-one conversation um i think you know the question is also how do we define a medium maker if your sponsor’s going to its home group every week then technically he is a meeting maker he’s making that meeting on a weekly basis so i mean i’ve always looked at it as a like a you know nightly or nearly nightly thing but one could argue that just having a regular cadence of attending meetings makes you a meeting maker

Those who keep coming to our meetings, regularly stay clean

people say this wrong in my opinion all the time they’re like you have to go to meetings regularly and i’m like that’s not what the statement says because they’ll argue about what what is regularly if it’s once a week for you is it three times a week i’m like it has nothing to do with that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean is the point of that statement so i we just i don’t know it’s a pet peeve of mine i hear that all the time people are like what’s going to meetings regularly mean i’m like no it’s keep coming to our meetings

those who keep coming to our meetings regularly regularly stay clean is the second part i don’t think that’s true at all i don’t think that’s true at all i don’t either yeah but that’s what it says yeah no i think that’s valid i don’t know i think they have a point though because people who use don’t come back regularly usually there’s lots of people who do though i never understand them what’s wrong with you i got better things to do if i’m high then go to sitting around a bunch of clean people my my husband was like that he would use and keep going to meetings and keep it on the dl yeah baffled by that i think it depends on like where your where your um ties lie you know at the time he was in a relationship with me so he had to keep up that farce of being clean or attempting to but yeah not me yeah no me neither i’m ducking out of everything if i’m using like don’t even text because i’m not responding yeah don’t bother yeah waste your time that’s the last place i want to be if i’m using it i did go to a meeting high once or twice did you my parents i think like would drop me off and i’d be high and need to like keep up keep up appearances for my parents so yeah i think that’s probably what drives a lot of that we we keep getting like way off topic so much so that i keep i remember the cliche this time but that’s good this is one i don’t hear but i actually like it i don’t know if i’ve i think i’ve heard this a couple times but i i don’t know that i considered it a cliche

People who don’t go to meetings don’t hear about what happens to people who don’t go to meetings

yeah i’ve never heard this before i saw i saw it on the list you sent me but yeah i’ve never heard that before people who don’t go to meetings don’t hear about what happens to people who don’t go to meetings that’s not true sure it is no they’re like using with the people who don’t go to meetings they all know what’s going on maybe we don’t hear about the people who don’t go to meetings no we we hear about what happened to the people who don’t go to meetings sometimes not always a lot of times we don’t well i think this statement stems from the idea that like we see so many people come back in right oh it didn’t get any better what happened well i stopped going to meetings right uh and so i i kind of like it just because it’s kind of slick personally this is one of those slick ones i do like for some reason but i think the opposite is also true because i held for a long time especially before social media that like everybody that went out was either miserable using or they were working their way back right because that was my experience people a lot of people do come back through the rooms after they relapse or go back out or whatever you want to call it but now that social media exists and it’s easier to stay in touch with people this is not true all the time right there are people who walk away and i guess they’re fine i don’t know i don’t know how wonderful their life is or miserable it is but they’re not coming back um and so i would say the opposite of this is kind of true too right like people who leave meetings people who are go to meetings uh don’t hear about what happens to people who leave meetings and are happy basically something along those lines yeah and i think the the the the one that you read people who don’t go to meetings don’t hear about what happens to people who don’t go to meetings is bs we hear about it if they come back and start going to meetings again well in cecil county maybe in like dundalk where the people who are using are you drive by them every day because they’re on dundalk avenue or you know you still kind of keep in touch with them somehow through like people knew we heard all the stories long before they ever came back so we definitely knew what was going on i don’t know i mean most of my recovery was in harford county i did do some like east baltimore meeting but i wasn’t living down there yeah i mean yeah i’ve never been in a situation where like i necessarily knew what happened to you know joe smith when he just stopped coming to meetings we all knew well and if we didn’t know we knew well you assumed yeah yeah but but most of the people you knew i mean you saw him around you saw him high he’s all knocked out on the bus stop like it was pretty evident somebody would see him there’s just too many damn people down there um but don’t the people who stop coming to meetings they’re hanging out with other people who aren’t going to meetings so that is the very true part that people who don’t go to meetings know exactly what happens to people who don’t go to meetings no exactly what’s happening to well they are those people right exactly so and then also likely if you’re getting high in a specific area you’re interacting with a number of people who have been in any meetings at some point and no longer are so i think the the and and maybe that wasn’t true when i was out there right it wasn’t quite as universal of a of a program back then i don’t think but i i mean you used to assume if you didn’t see people out on a strip that they were locked up or dead like oh i ain’t seen so-and-so for a week like nobody understood that you could go to somewhere and get clean like oh he’s in n a i’ve never heard of that but i i guess the point of this would be to people who like don’t use right away when they stop going to meetings they just stopped going for other reasons oh i don’t like that drama there i’m going to stop going uh you know i don’t need that anymore i got three months now whatever and that person doesn’t hear about all the people who relapsed came back right because that’s where you hear it in the morning right when they come back in they talk about oh i stopped going to meetings and then i used so you hear that in people’s stories and this is for the person who just stops coming and doesn’t get to hear that story that fresh reminder anymore yeah that’s true i don’t know i like it uh even if it’s not that useful i just like it i don’t like it i’m giving it a thumbs down uh so this version says to keep what you have you have to give it away but i would say you know give it away to keep it is what we usually hear or say

Give it away to keep it

give it a way to keep it i don’t know i don’t i just go to sex jokes with this one honestly like come on girl yeah give it away you want to keep it like i i don’t know why what would they be trying to keep in that scenario uh i guess you don’t want it to fall off i don’t know i have no idea it just sounds like a good sex uh innuendo for me i don’t most of them do but yeah i give it away to keep it so i i get the sense of this as a guy who sponsored people and and still does um when i teach somebody something whether this is in the program or not it reinforces it for me right whether it’s a reminder of what i need to do like hey sponsy go to meetings work the steps like do these things and i’m like oh [ _ ] i haven’t been praying or working my steps maybe i should right or whether it’s when i’m when i attempt to or when i’m able to teach somebody information they say there’s an old cliche about that outside of the rooms too like when you’re able to teach it you actually understand the information right like that’s the true definition of learning something is once you’re able to teach it to somebody else then you actually have grasped the concept and i think that is very true every time i try to explain something uh and i’ve gotta really try to get my point across it makes me think through it more when somebody questions me about it and i have to think even more about it like is that true do i also question like all these concepts i feel like help me keep it whatever it is um and so in that sense i would say yes you have to give it away to keep it i don’t know about universally like i don’t know that giving away money keeps money or like that doesn’t really make sense i can’t give away my house and keep my house it doesn’t work yeah yeah in order for this to be more universal it probably needs to qualify what it is do you think it’s always true and i mean that’s a bad question because usually things are never always true but what do you like no i think there are definitely people who well again it depends on what it is what are they keeping or having in the absence of giving it away what is it so given the way to keep it you have to give away your recovery to keep your recovery is that what it is i don’t know the first it to me i’ve always interpreted as giving away your your help right like being of assistance to other people then you’re not keeping your help or your assistance you’re keeping your recovery so this is the it’s so different the answer different a little bit i think probably the most most logical is you have to give away your recovery to keep your recovery or you have to give away your well-being to keep your well-being

it implies that you need to help other people there’s there’s i think there’s another saying about like helping people the best way to help people help people is that a new cliche i just made

um the best way to get outside of your problems is to help someone else i think it’s similar is it i feel like it’s talent it’s cult it’s back to the cult if you don’t participate in this cult you will lose it that’s that’s the general idea you have to show up and do your 12-step stuff get back right and if you don’t continue to do that forever then you’ll lose it it’s a very it’s like a fear tactic i can see that yeah i don’t know you did it that way before but getting back to how cults work you don’t see them when they’re happening is it always true no i think there are definitely people who have been able to maintain some level of recovery and abstinence abstinence and some level of recovery without being of service because that’s how i interpret the it the giving it away is being of service in my mind you have to be of service to keep your recovery and so i’m thinking back to my early time before i ended up relapsing and coming back and i feel like i heard a lot of good stuff knew some recovery stuff right i mean i was working steps i had a sponsor i was going to meetings i was sharing meetings and i was able to give away good information but i ultimately relapsed because i didn’t have a very good concept or understanding of my higher power or relationship with it right so i don’t know if that works against this statement like i was able to give away something right useful recovery information but i was not able to keep my recovery and being of service in that form i was just kind of giving this information away and then i lost it anyway yeah i guess well it doesn’t say you have to give it away and you will keep it it just says you have to give it away to keep it like this one requirement for keeping it yeah that’s true and i’ve never really viewed it as giving away information but more given away help and assistance and i would question whether with however many months clean and some recovery knowledge that it sounds like maybe you weren’t entirely applying that just dumping that on a meeting is truly giving it away well i was looking at it as being of service uh you know yeah when i was asked yeah why are does motive matter though probably yeah because if i’m showing up to share because it’s going to make me look good or cool and it’s feeding my ego that’s still why i show up to share that’s certainly not the same as doing it because i know it’s what i should do and i’m trying to be of service it’s right there in the speaker’s prayer make me look good god let me be great yeah i don’t i don’t do that prayer damn so yeah i mean no look i was i misguided yes was i completely well i might have been a pretty big douche to some people but i wasn’t a complete douche like i mean i had a service commitment in my home group like i was still showing up and trying my best made some mistakes that helped me feel a lot of shame and kind of separated me from my recovery network a good bit but i feel like i was still trying to show up and be of service to the best of my ability for recovery and it just didn’t feel like i kept it when i did um i don’t think i was there thinking oh my god i hope i sound great i was probably thinking if i sound bad here it will reinforce the self-hatred and self-worthlessness that i have so yeah there probably was like a really strong desire to sound good but it had it wasn’t about being a great person it was just about not hating myself yeah okay ooh i felt really vulnerable saying all that yeah i mean that was deep i think that was deeper than we probably needed to go here but yeah uh so give it a way to keep it i mean i i think your point is that it’s not it it’s not a guarantee giving it away doesn’t guarantee you’re gonna keep it is is really valid here especially based on the story you just told yeah being of service is a critical part of 12-step recovery yeah and i think maybe and maybe giving it away is even a little more than just being a service maybe it’s being a part of right because all the aspects of giving it away make us more included and a part of the recovery fellowship right when i’m showing up to be a service when i’m helping somebody out when i’m answering the phone you know late at night like all these ways that i be of selfless service make me feel included and make me feel better about myself yes and so all that helps me to keep it but it is not a surefire like just give it away and you’ll be fine right and i think it’s definitely possible to come in and be a part of and not do anything in terms of giving it away at least in some areas at some times like i definitely can think of the people who would like come out to eat after the meeting every week and they were definitely a part of but they you know are showing up to their home group three minutes before it starts and like not helping shut things down after and don’t have a server you know what i mean like i think it’s possible to be a part of without being of service they’re the people that ordered a 23 crab cake right and then when the check comes around they put in 19 like not only don’t tip they don’t even put into 23 for the [ _ ] crab cake never looked to see the soda they ordered right or maybe they got chocolate like three chocolate milks which aren’t refillable they don’t look at that like yeah those people drive me crazy that happens a lot i just get separate checks yeah i think that we’ve moved in that direction i think a long time ago that wasn’t as much of a thing uh separate checks is definitely a thing and and that’s why obviously because too many people were like that because i’m the guy who’s like let’s not do separate checks if we love each other like let’s just [ _ ] put our money in like i’m not i don’t mind if my meal costs 23 dollars putting in 35 or 40 to leave a nice tip and because i just like i had a good time tonight like it was worth this to me um but yeah when i end up around people who are not living that way and i’m not i feel like i gotta put it even more for the nice tip right yeah i don’t know so go give it away people so you can possibly keep it maybe maybe possible and go to some meetings yeah and make meetings and i make it and and learn to listen because that’s important and and follow the suggestions because they’re simple and while you’re at the meeting making it you can hear what happens to people that don’t go to me there you go and you know what don’t be a complicated person right and just follow this simple program and then the ultimate advice if you just keep getting high like once a week you can remain the ultimate newcomer and always be the most important person at the meeting that’s bad advice that is terrible advice yeah don’t do that if it’s not working for your life don’t do it it won’t work for your life all right anything else about the cliches no i don’t think so i have to say so my mom listened my mom listened to the podcast that the last one that i did because i had posted it on facebook and she was really disappointed that you and billy were talking so much she thought i was like well it’s a it’s a podcast it’s it’s a conversation oh i thought it was going to be like a a ted talk oh so my mom really thinks i’m fancy oh yeah get you on a ted talk i mean so a lot of the other podcasts are like that i just i don’t want this one to be like that like a ted talk yeah they’re like a share oh meeting share yeah now we can hear that at meetings right this is much better so it’s slightly different like they’ll kind of sort of interview like every 10 minutes they’ll ask a question that just seems like the natural thing the person would have shared next anyway and i’m like oh yeah no i like the conversation yeah the conversation is what really gets to the to the meat of stuff right and if i just had people yeah i wouldn’t get to talk do like a monologue scripted monologue romeo romeo oh sorry yeah monologue totally off topic my only experience with monologues is shakespeare yeah okay all right okay so uh everybody have a good week um reach out with cliches you love or hate uh we have quite a long lengthy list if we you know next year when we do part three next june um or july whatever the hell it is uh so reach out do that kind of stuff look us up and we’ll see you next week did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoveryswordup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on facebook twitter instagram reddit youtube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us