108: Tradition 11 – Our Public Relations Policy is Based on Attraction Rather than Promotion… (Sort Of)

Tradition 11: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. We examine all the aspects of the 11th tradition. What does it mean to attract rather than promote? Does tradition eleven mean that we are not allowed to advertise? Our public relations groups have purchased billboard spots, placement on mass transit, and even spots on diner placemats, to name a few. Does this not violate the eleventh tradition? We explain the 12 step program stance on what promotion means, which is to make false claims or overstate what the program has to offer. Tradition 11 goes on to explain that while we try to remain anonymous at the level of press, radio and films as individual members, the 12 step program is not a secret society and is not anonymous in itself. We further examine how podcasting and social media fit into this tradition, both invented since the tradition was written, and not specifically addressed. Is the internet at the level of press, radio, and films? What are the dangers this tradition tries to keep us from? 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.

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Transcript:

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

welcome back it’s recovery sort of and we are almost done with these traditions yeah jason a guy who still talks about traditions for two more months and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery who loves traditions i get asked to speak about traditions at meetings and always get excited next time somebody asked me about a tradition chair i will point them in your direction i got a number for you so we’re on tradition 11 which is our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press radio and films i think this tradition seemed a lot simpler with the topic of our last episode simplicity this was a lot simpler in in 1958 in 1965 like press radio and films were established entities and we knew what they meant right if you’re in a hollywood production film if you are on the music radio don’t sing about being in a you know a particular 12-step program and if you go on the news don’t out yourself as a representative and i feel like in 2021 this is a really confusing tradition now i mean for one thing we’re sitting here doing this podcast and we have definitely talked about our membership and and is this at the level of press radio or film i i don’t know i think that’s something we explore today um we also plan to bring up like facebook groups and you know even though they say they’re like not affiliated with a particular 12-step program or anything like what kind of responsibility do they have or or own or take on to sort of follow some of these traditions and and you know what they’re doing and how that fits in so there’s some interesting concepts in here to divest into but let’s let’s get into just the the nuts and bolts of it the public relations policy how any 12-step program relates to the rest of society is based on attraction rather than promotion that’s contentious in itself apparently according to some people like you know we have put up billboards we’ve had our name out on radio spots like we’ve done some of these things which people call advertising and i think the justification is that we’re not making promises we’re just stating what our program is hey we’re a society of people who are trying to be free of whatever and you know you can come here if you want some help we might be able to help you and we’re not saying like hey we have a guaranteed success rate or this that and the other like that’s what they talk about promotion like making promises about what we can offer like we’re just attracting but we need to get our name out there to attract what’s your take and i’ve started out early in recovery i got involved in public relations and that was my understanding the way it was explained to me or taught to me was you know we really almost have a responsibility to let people know where we are and how to find us you know what i mean if we just are some secret society meeting in [ _ ] church basements on random nights of the week you know how are these struggling addicts gonna know where we are right and that the goal of the public relations was one to have a line of communication for local healthcare workers hospitals you know facilities but also to get contact information whether that’s meeting lists our literature 800 number getting that out where it was accessible to people yeah and so i can kind of buy that right i’m not against that idea it does seem a little uh promoting at times i will say but yeah i mean how do people know that we’re here if they don’t know we’re here and we’re all running around being anonymous and everything and they try to address some of that in the handbook you know around our fellowship as a handbook and it tries to address some of that of like that is a fine line that you have to be really really careful of of of what is promotion and what is you know just inform information um and and being very very careful to err on the side of caution and then the second part of it which is we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press radio and films and i feel like we kind of know this but we don’t really talk about the press radio and films level most often when we think about this i feel like we just talk about it’s an anonymous program it’s an anonymous program it’s an anonymous program and it’s like that’s not exactly what this says and that that’s even if you do the reading that’s not really what it talks about being either it’s not saying necessarily that we should be anonymous it talks in in one part of the reading about you know there’s times in our life when we hear about somebody struggling where we might really want to break our anonymity to tell them about what has worked for us and i i think that’s interesting because we have definitely evolved into a place where it’s like oh hell no nobody needs to know i’m here like this is all about something i do secretly yeah and i tend to and having been in the same place i what i realized for myself as i was looking at that sort of backwards like the anonymity piece that i believe we’re talking about in this tradition specifically has to do with protection for the fellowship it’s not about protection for me as an individual right you know what i mean that’s up to me what i want to subject myself to it’s for you know i need to make sure that i’m not going out trying to be a representative of the 12-step fellowship i’m a part of or say that i speak for them or say that i carry some kind of weight you know that’s a representative of that fellowship but it’s not protection for me from other people or some people’s judgment right and to take that a step further since you brought it up already you say you know it’s not that we’re trying to go out and represent but even people who aren’t trying to if you are a public figure people will look at you as the representation of the program whether you’re trying to or not you could sit up at the mic and the podium and say specifically hey i’m a member here but my views don’t represent them and people will still take it as you’re the representation of that because you’re who they know which is why we’ve never wanted any star athletes or any public figures to represent us in any way or come out and say hey we’re we’re this that or the other because you know anything that they do that doesn’t land well in the public eye gives us a tarnished reputation and kind of similar to the other tradition we talked about about avoiding having opinions on outside issues we don’t need anything that’s going to keep people from wanting to come seek help you know we want to be able to help everybody so one place this comes in and it brings to mind if you’re familiar with the program refuge recovery refuge recovery was a program that was started it’s kind of a buddhist type program follows buddhist philosophy it’s based on the books by a gentleman named noah levine he kind of started the program with some other people and look he he handled it in a good way it’s not like he said oh this is my literature and my books and i’m gonna make money off this like he freely donated all that and any profits from it into the fellowship itself sounded really wholesome but some years after that apparently he got caught up in some controversies like i think he got divorced or whatever and apparently he was you know not living up to all his ideals of being a spiritual individual and and slept around with some women um and some accusations started to come up now if you read through it like none of it ever became any legal thing but there was some ideas that maybe he was sleeping with some of his students never completely proven or disproven but that was the thing so it caused a lot of controversy right and it even caused the the half the fellowship of refuge recovery split off and created recovery dharma because there was so much controversy around how can we follow this group where this public figure noah levine is the head of and he’s got such a tarnished reputation at this point and and i think that was the whole goal of what this tradition was trying to avoid is something like that right some big controversy where somebody who’s in the public eye has you know it lives less than perfect and and that they’re held to a higher standard because they’re the representation of the program itself yeah and that’s always i would say been a little bit relevant for you know the founders of aa you know bill w and dr bob everybody kind of knows those names and then in for a a and then narcotics anonymous was always jimmy k and you know some other people and and you start to figure out that whether they like it or not they just become synonymous with the program for better or for worse and of course like every human being they all have shortcomings and failings and people want to pick out those individual shortcomings or failings or mistakes and be like see that [ _ ] doesn’t work because that person did this or they were actually that or whatever and it’s it does make it very tough and i i believe that’s why this tradition is there to say hey look you know the fellowship is the fellowship it’s not one individual member that represents us and i think this is hard and challenging in any aspect of life right if you’re the owner of a business you’re viewed under a critical eye and if you’re a famous actor or actress you’re viewed with a critical eye and it’s like there’s not room for those people to make the mistakes that you or i make on a regular basis without a whole lot of scrutiny i’m not saying they can’t they they obviously do make mistakes but like i’m just thinking if my life was viewed with the microscope the skeletons in my closet that some of these peoples have i’m like jesus mine doesn’t play out well like i got a lot of dirt and how would i be judged by a great majority of people when in in my reality at least i do my best to be a good person right i like to think that like there’s more good than harm that comes out of me and yet there would be a lot of judgment if you looked at everything i did with that kind of critical eyeball um and so yeah these people do have unrealistic expectations on them that oh you’re in the public eye you need to live this perfect life and never screw up and that’s what i think this tradition was trying to protect against we don’t want any one of those people falling short to you know carry the weight of that onto the program itself right and it also does help in our public relations efforts that we don’t try to take advantage of those famous people or or people that have a large following or you know because that can also seem like look they’re a great representation look how good they’re doing and they have whatever many million followers you know like how many people would get our message if you know look if you stay sober for five years you become iron man right well and even in that we see i mean if you’re on any kind of social media you see that [ _ ] all the time for different celebrities who i’m not going to say that most of the time i’ve seen it it’s not the celebrity themselves posting it at some other uh meme group or sober group or whatever that’s outing this first congratulations to eminem right yeah eminem yeah there’s these famous ones and it’s like wait a minute i’ve been clean a long time nobody’s [ _ ] you know i’m posting about this celebrating me all right so some of the literature says this tradition deals with our relationship to those outside the fellowship it tells us how to conduct our efforts at the public level our public image consists of what we have to offer a successful proven way of maintaining a drug-free lifestyle i’m questioning that but okay while it is important to reach as many people as possible it is imperative for our protection that we are careful about advertisements circulars and any literature that may reach the public’s hands this just feels like it was written in 1958 circulars nobody says that anymore don’t let them read our literature they’re gonna know right wow in any literature that may reach the public’s hands that is weird that’s what i heard i was like wow we can’t let people like don’t let the normies read our attic books the triangle of self-obsession is our secret uh it says our attraction is that we are successes in our own right as groups we offer recovery we have found that the success of our program speaks for itself this is our promotion so we don’t do any more promotion than the fact that the success speaks for itself i guess i i don’t

15 years or whatever i guess if he’s in our program we can say that it speaks for i don’t know yeah that’s really weird it speaks for itself it speaks that like five to ten percent of it works that’s not it’s not much of a promotion but okay this tradition goes on to tell us that we need to maintain personal anonymity the level of press radio and films this is to protect the membership and the reputation of narcotics anonymous of course i’m reading out narcotics anonymous literature we do not give our last names nor appear in the media as a member of narcotics anonymous are we in the media that’s what i don’t understand about podcasts are we in the media i don’t think so i think we’re two guys talking in a [ _ ] basement yeah that’s interesting right i don’t but it’s available like worldwide i guess yeah i guess it’s freely making media so it’s it says no individual inside or outside the fellowship represents narcotics anonymous i feel like we have the disclaimer at the beginning and that makes me feel better yeah right our views represent solely our whatever and yeah like yeah yeah that’s what i want to say uh it says narcotics anonymous is not a secret society tradition 11 speaks to personal anonymity not fellowship anonymity so we’re not a secret society even though it feels that way i feel like the feeling that most of members get is that that we’re supposed to be a secret society but i mean you hear that what you see here what you hear here let it stay here i’m like i don’t think that works like if everything i got from the meeting i don’t carry out into my life that was useless it was a pointless meeting yeah maybe that’s a bad way to say i think the intention behind that saying i think the intention behind that saying is not that i go out and go hey did you know that [ _ ] jason he’s a counselor over at so and so place and he was in a meeting talking about [ _ ] some crazy you know i think that’s what the intention behind that what you hear here let it stay here i feel like who you see here let’s stay here sure yeah that’s not in my business who i see but what i hear i gotta take that out right maybe not what they said like as it the this person said it but more like oh man they said some good [ _ ] i gotta carry that into my life and tell other people about this good [ _ ] they said because that’s right makes a lot of sense weird so it says some organizations use celebrity members as public spokespersons hoping to enhance the organization’s credibility by tying it to the celebrity status this may be fine for other organizations but tradition 11 tells us in no uncertain terms that in na’s public relations efforts we must never do this not with celebrity members not with any member if our fellowship used a celebrity member in a public announcement about n a and the celebrity later relapsed or otherwise suffered a loss of prestige what good would that do our fellowship’s credibility the same could apply to any individual member put in the public spotlight on na’s behalf the credibility of na’s message can be greatly affected by na’s messengers in the public eye including press radio films and all other media oh [ _ ] we’re [ _ ] up yeah we need always maintain personal anonymity uh and that was you know that part about noah levine but yeah what about us billy are we really [ _ ] up do we need to like i’m not gonna go back and edit out where i said i’m in n a but i could stop saying it now yeah and i try to be aware of that uh there’s a part of me that maybe this is a justification but i feel like i try to be clear that i’m not a representative of the fellowship as a whole that these are my opinions thoughts and ideas and you know i’m not speaking on behalf of or ever making promises on behalf of or saying that you know the fellowship offers you this or that you know what i mean like it’s my that’s my intention and i can’t i don’t think i need to hold myself to the level of the worst possible interpretation of everything that i say i think my intentions behind what i’m saying or the intent behind what i do matters and that yes i will make mistakes and if i make a mistake in something i can own that and say oh i’m apologize it wasn’t my intention um but it doesn’t mean i won’t necessarily do that again you know because so what about the idea like whether we clarify that or not whether we have the disclaimer at the beginning or not people could put us as spokespeople for that program no matter what like and and i’m curious listeners like does anybody have a different view of n a because of me like is there something i’ve said or that billy said that you’re like oh well that program’s [ _ ] up because i would like to think that most people are smart enough you know nuanced enough to understand the difference between a couple of people on i guess modern radio if you want to use that term you know talking about something and then coming out speaking on behalf of something like i would equate it to you know the the 98 rock has a radio show where they talk about the ravens that doesn’t make them the ravens organization you know what i mean like they’re just a radio show that’s talking about that as a subject they’re not the ravens so if they go on and say something disparaging or make a bad comment you can’t [ _ ] sue the ravens for what was said on some radio show i would definitely say that all our listeners are surely smart enough 100 absolutely i have total faith um but it does get tricky and maybe uh maybe i do want to back away from saying specific program i’ve been trying and i know i screw up sometimes it is very hard because that’s all i’ve known well and we talk about some of their literature because that’s our understanding and where we’re coming from to start all this so that gets gets really tough i don’t know i don’t know if we’re ever going to be able to separate it i guess we’ll just be rule breakers there’s no rules though so yeah well again my justification is my what i would say is my intention and that i try to be clear that i am not a representation of that fellowship as a whole that these are just my opinions and thoughts and you know that is a part of my individual story my individual journey it’s it’s mine right you know what i mean and i don’t go out and speak on behalf of the fellowship specifically because of that i know and i think that that probably comes into play a lot when we say we like i say we frequently about what we do you know meaning you and i but i’m thinking of it as in terms of many of us in our program and really i don’t have the right to speak for many of us in our program but it’s hard not to speak about what the culture feels like when you feel like you have a pulse on that at least in your area i don’t know i don’t know i guess we’re just going to be wrong so here’s an interesting part it says we never do pi work alone pi being public information now it’s public relations whatever we never do pi work alone because a team even a pair better displays n a as a fellowship to the public while individuals tend to draw attention to themselves teams also tend to keep the personalities of their members in check the better to ensure that n a and not the individual addict is what we present to the public the truism that an addict alone is in bad company applies to our public relations efforts just as well as to our personal recovery that’s interesting i don’t know that i ever knew that and i did public relations work for some years so i did know that and i had a bad experience uh with a public relations thing for a couple of reasons one i was young and inexperienced and didn’t really understand the full measure of what we were trying to do in this tradition but a college actually reached out i was chair of the pr committee and public relations committee and they reached out and they said hey we’d like to have you come up and do a presentation to a bunch of our student athletes so i was like oh great you know love to and that’s all that it went and so they gave me a date and i showed up and then when i got there you know the person who had asked me to come we sat down to talk and uh she had explained to me that in essence what she wanted was like a scared straight type presentation like she had an idea of what she thought this was and that’s what you know and i went by myself not knowing any better and i was like oh okay okay and just i was very like you know here i think just assumed she knew what the fellowship was about and apparently she didn’t like say and this was hey come to give us like a scared straight type thing where we got to tell kids how to stay off of drugs and of course that’s not what we are and in that moment it was very awkward i felt very uncomfortable and i went into it and i don’t specifically remember tailoring my story to be specifically what she wanted but there definitely was some things that you know i probably said like oh you should really avoid drugs but if you do drugs you come here you know things like that to be but it was very awkward and it was just lack of experience and being involved in something by myself without talking about it going over it with some more experienced members or a committee i wish we had the recording of that if you guys do drugs you’ll go to jail you’re right like me so you shared your story because that’s interesting i don’t feel like that’s much of the public relations that i’ve been involved in it’s not really sharing your story yeah well that’s this whole thing was very awkward it was not what i expected to be walking into and so i mean and what happened was it was like okay we want you to do this scared straight thing and then we came into a room and there was 30 people sitting there like okay go so i did what i knew at the moment which was that and talked about it i mean so i had done like some hospitals and institutions type work so i had a very you know tailored sort of new member-ish introductory ish you know so it wasn’t just like my story like all the gory details that you might share but college but uh wilmington oh yeah so if you were at wilmington and heard billy i gotta know your thoughts on that that would be great nobody’s gonna i mean i’m sure for them it was a totally unmemorable moment they’re not gonna stick in anyone’s there might be one guy who ended up getting high and clean later on and he’s like i heard about nathan that would be amazing

i just want to hear what he thought about it that’d be great but it was the point being i at the time i don’t think i had much of a you know what you would call a group of people doing the public relations probably me and one or two other members that took literature places and when the opportunity came up i didn’t really discuss just like oh great an opportunity for this is what we do and i just didn’t have the experience and i didn’t seek any information outside of myself and put myself in a very uncomfortable situation yeah and that is frequently the case that the service committees that we have created you know that we talk about creating these service boards or committees to directly serve our needs in another tradition we don’t have the service volunteership that we would like and there’s a very limited number of people doing it and that does create a burden and more of these type situations and it’s not so much oh the men the few are doing them the work or anything like that it’s just like we need more people for more input too like we need more help and understanding and you know so either get involved in service there or like we talked about on the other episode get involved with service outside of there and do something different yeah and i i think that goes for a lot of our 12-step work it’s like when they talk about not doing these things alone it doesn’t mean just going into these situations alone it means you should be talking to some people about what you’re doing and what you’re getting yourself into you know yeah maybe for you walking in to get you know a loved one out of a crack house just isn’t the [ __ ] place you need to be whether you go with someone else or not it just isn’t a healthy place for you to be maybe you can and that’s fine and maybe you know it’s not a judgment it’s just you know we typically with the best and or at least i can’t say we i typically with the best intentions make the worst decisions you know without seeking the guidance of someone outside of myself right what’s that saying i love it so much uh we have a hard time seeing when we were wrong because we usually intend to be right i feel like that applies like yeah if i’m not looking for opportunities where i might have been wrong i’ll never see that i was wrong right

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funny at our last area there was a person uh the h i chair was talking about having to go over the h and i rules because people were wearing revealing clothing i guess or something to one of the institutions and it wasn’t okay but i i actually got them to send me a list of the n a approved world rules because i found that fascinating this isn’t something that was fellowship voted this was what our world dictated and we say that that’s not how our service structure works but they have put out a set of acceptable do’s and don’ts for h and i and maybe we i actually i got it i’m not gonna lie my intention was oh i’m gonna find where i can bash i’m gonna see where where world has dictated rules that make us a cult and i i want to tear it apart but i i have that so maybe at some point we’ll go over there yeah i thought it was out of the h and i handbook i don’t think any of that’s like written by us or i don’t know huh

but anyway so not that this matters for this podcast but i am part of that committee and nothing actually happened yet we’re just trying to avoid things that have happened in the past because with kovid all these facilities were shut down and we weren’t having meetings and so a lot of people that were around with experience aren’t necessarily doing anymore and we’re getting new people to step up and fill roles see and you assume people here i thought there was like booty shorts and cleavage hanging out and i was going to figure out what institution this is no it didn’t actually well not at this time it’s happened in the past right it has happened in the past and so we’re trying to avoid those things moving forward okay that sounds fun i got involved and i’m a good rule follower so i’m like hey we gotta follow these

so it goes on to say in most circumstances though personal anonymity is purely a decision which i i don’t think we stress that enough and that was kind of where it went into uh the idea that you know there’s times when we might not want to be anonymous like anonymity is not always the best principle to apply in any given situation and if you hear about a friend struggling with a loved one like there is the ability to say hey look i had this struggle um this is an interesting thing for me so i find that i don’t mind sharing my history or journey or recovery with people i see in my professional life like i that doesn’t bother me to tell them where i’ve been or what i’ve done um or where i’m at today but i tend to be more anonymous with the people i see who have some struggle around this topic like whether that be that they themselves are the person who struggles or if they have a loved one who struggles and that is one of their main problems i tend to not want to share about what i go through or what i’ve been through and for me it’s i guess thinking about it i’ve seen a couple of uh parents of struggling people and i don’t i don’t want to give false hope to an extent like is this in your like profession now yeah yeah i’m like i don’t want to be like oh well look this is how it turns out it’s great because it doesn’t for everybody and i also don’t want to become i don’t want that to be a blockage for me to be able to help them in some way right i don’t know exactly how maybe they want me to help their kid more than they want me to help them at that point or maybe they are mad at me because the people other people that do a similar recovery mode as me aren’t doing enough or have offended them like i just feel like i’m really really hesitant to share that information with with the people i see who have some involvement with that yeah and i would say in your case that’s probably a good good judgment you know that’s using discernment to know like and even if you just i don’t know i i think that’s tricky like at my job i talk about so i never specifically use a lot of the sort of verbage or phrases that we use typically i don’t go telling them that i’m an addict and that i’m in recovery like i don’t use those words per se but we’ve talked about like i’ve talked about i’ve had a drug problem that i have done all kinds of drugs and been in trouble and been in jail and that i don’t do those things anymore or not sounded better than that yeah oh yeah probably well i just used more like everyday language that people would use you know what i mean and like that i don’t drink or do drugs anymore that i and once or twice it’s come up with people like hey how did you stop or what do you do or or whatever and for for personal reasons and then i don’t mind disclosing or going into it right i just like say i could tell at my work specifically that that is probably i would become this representative of the fellowship that i don’t want to be or you know a representative of some kind of recovery that i don’t want to be right right yeah no with with my coworkers i i mean they know not all of them but i i don’t hesitate to share it there at all and and again there’s people i see where i haven’t really hesitated but and i think this stemmed originally from i was interning i i wasn’t you know licensed yet and i didn’t want my story to be the thing that helped someone i wanted to be able to help them on my own merits i guess like i didn’t want to be like oh yeah i helped this person but it’s only because i you know because i have a personal involvement in that it’s like no i want to be able to help this person because i’m able to help people and i think that’s where it started and now like i said there’s just there’s some factors there and i i don’t know sometimes i question it i’m like would i be bet would i serve them better if i shared that i guess it’ll come out when at times right i don’t i don’t overthink it too much i try to keep it simple right um but i have found it curious at least that i do and don’t share where it seems opposite of where i would and wouldn’t share yeah i would say it just gets into your motives like if your motives are good then you know my motive is always in the best interest of them either way whether i’m sharing or not sharing so i guess the question i have and the curiosity i have is like i don’t really know which one’s going to help them more and so i’m just kind of guessing right in that sense but i i am trying to think through what i feel like is best for that person in that moment um and again that doesn’t mean that i won’t go share it all this week right like i have no idea but we’re gonna make mistakes and screw up at some point right right so i would recommend though too in accordance with what that was just saying there is a it’s i thought it was fascinating great movie called the anonymous people um it was very good about this around 12-step fellowships and it talks a little bit about the protection of the fellowships why we need people to be not so anonymous language that you can use part of it is that you know when we say i’m a person in long-term recovery like that’s to get less program-centered and more recovery-centered and why we need to advocate for recovery funding you know treatment funding like those sorts of things like we need a voice that’s going to go out and advocate for those things but trying to do that in a way that also doesn’t make it like a a is pushing for this or n a is pushing for this or this 12-step group wants this it’s like no this we can be a recovery movement together working unified for the rights of recovery people um and that’s part of the justification for i think why we do what we do here it’s not to promote or sell or endorse our specific fellowship it’s to promote and endorse and and open our our minds and other people’s minds to these ideas around recovery like recovery is this big broad huge topic that in and of itself doesn’t need protection of anonymity right right yeah i personally i i don’t know i’ve never really thought about it that way i’m not here to promote recovery in the sense of like oh you should try it it’s good for you i’m here to promote recovery in a sense of i hope this enhances people’s recovery right i i don’t generally think our listeners are like day one people like right that’s just not who i anticipate right because that’s not generally what we’re talking about but maybe they are maybe it is day one people who just like to overthink [ _ ] and think through complex stuff right like i don’t i think i did that back then too but yeah it’s about enhancing like hey you’ve got these ideas but have you ever thought of it this way right have you ever looked at it like from this angle have you ever seen it from this person’s perspective i think that’s useful for opening our minds and exploring and finding our own personal purpose and so that’s what my goal with this has always been but yeah i agree we say in our programs you know the old lie once an addict always an addict is dead well can we make everybody else in society believe that that there’s hope for us and there’s a reason that we’re worth helping and saving while we’re struggling because there is something after because i think what happened is all you see is the people who don’t get better right oh yeah they keep going back to jails they keep odin and everybody that’s that’s recovering is hidden right and i i mean and in a practical really practical world since like that’s part of what this movie talks about but that’s exactly what you know my wife experienced before she started you know and got involved with right voices i hope was talk she worked for our local health department she went and got a job there as a peer and when she was working there talking to them you know they had the same idea like ah people kind of don’t really recover and it’s like one and whatever it probably feels like a hundred you know actually gets recovery and she’s like tried to point out to them like no you don’t ever see the people that recover because what happens is they come through your program maybe your program helps maybe it doesn’t but they come through your program they have some other troubles they find a 12-step fellowship and then they just never come back and you just never see them again you only see the ones that keep coming back so you think that what you’re doing doesn’t work but for all the ones that does work you never get a reinforcement that of what success looks like well and and to an extent that’s honestly that is the promotion of recovery right the idea that these people aren’t the people you’d expect and you see them on the street and if you could see their history you’d be like i would have never known right you’re shocked by it because they are the average [ _ ] joe next door coaching your kids literally yeah you know working at your

that’s that’s the promotion that that we are just people right we are we do get back into society but the problem with that is we’re hidden because we nobody knows that’s great and that’s kind of where my journey has been you know through this podcast of like no here’s my [ _ ] name this is what i do and yes this is my background and i’m not gonna be the hidden guy anymore like and that doesn’t mean it’s right for everybody but for me it’s time to stop with this stigma [ _ ] and let you know that like yeah people get better that’s that’s what we do uh last part i had from it was by the same token we must remember that wherever we go we always represent n a to some degree if we are seen acting poorly while we prominently display an a logo on our t-shirt we carry a distinctly unattractive message about our fellowship to the public i have tried very hard to follow this idea and just never have any [ _ ] anywhere because i’m like oh i’m gonna [ _ ] up i see people with na bumper stickers and i’m like that is the last [ _ ] place i want to represent a program of recovery because i am not i’m an angry driver at times not so much today but still times and i used to have a lot of stuff i don’t as much anymore but i would always try to get stuff that didn’t specifically say n a on it that would just have like sayings or like the logo without any words because that seemed a little bit like you probably wouldn’t know unless you were involved in the program right right so i i own one program t-shirt that’s because it was given to me freely um and i like the shirt i really do but yeah i i do try to be conscious about wearing it out but i i the way i operate in my attire it’s just if that’s the shirt i’m wearing right now then i don’t think about it so i do wear it out from time to time and don’t think about oh i’m representing n a right now but yeah i’ve always been i was told early on like you don’t really want to be that guy right yeah i don’t want to be like i definitely don’t i do not want to be yeah here we are with a podcast right right that [ _ ] did not work out the way i thought it was um so i think the last piece we wanted to address with this is like social media groups and and how that all operates in this distinction uh i think it gets tricky and maybe this is just me being bitter um about a specific group maybe not we’ll find out maybe we’ll find out so there is a couple of of groups that we are members of you and i on facebook to put that out there one is our local area that’s like just our county then there’s another one that is our local program area entitled specifically after our program area and yet supposedly not our program area that’s confusing in itself so like our area is the susquehanna area the facebook group it’s called susquehanna area recovery page so it is not specific to n a or a a or any particular version of recovery in the program i don’t i don’t really know who runs that or their rules for what they’ll allow on there i mean they say they’re the susquehanna area recovery page so to me i could share the podcast on there we’re about recovery i don’t know i’ve never tried honestly yeah i know who runs the cecil county recovery page on the susquehanna one have you not recently because i have not been on social media in months so the our counties the cecil county maryland recovery page that’s the name of that one i have definitely shared it there and i i know who runs that so i know i can get away with it so another one just north of us their page is called small wonder recovery not affiliated with any fellowship only in cooperation so that’s interesting right so in cooperation with who though who gets to decide that and i’ll tell you why i keep asking that question so there is a group called be more recovery and that is uh you know baltimore it’s called be more and they are be more recovery and i have been told that people can’t share outside links or outside recovery pages or i don’t i i can’t really nail down exactly what they told me but basically they didn’t want me sharing our podcast episodes or memes onto the page and so what they’ve done is created this place where i’m bitter for sure um but like i’ll post a meme to our page and then somebody downloads the meme and then just uploads it as if it’s their own and doesn’t give any credit to us which is like so you support plagiarism not recovery but their concept when i was trying to get to the bottom of what could and couldn’t be posted on there was it’s got to be recovery related and i’m like well it is recovery related and they said well you know so what does get posted on there um any events from any programs mostly 12-step programs but i’m guessing if you were in smart recovery or recovery dharma or refuge or something they’d probably let you post your stuff on there too al-anon probably like those kind of things so those get to post their meeting dates locations times there’s lots of conversations about that let’s go start trying to post some medicated assisted treatment recovery stuff and see well right and and that’s what it comes down to like what are you defining his recovery and who gets to define that idea and to me this taints the program a little bit and when we talk about being you know not or personal animate the level of press radio and films like this is um social media this is out there you know and they are specifically they’re having an opinion about an outside issue of what constitutes recovery or not obviously only established groups i’m assuming constitute recovery in their eyes whether that’s or establish programs i should say that’s an opinion that’s saying that some methods of recovery are valid and some aren’t in my mind at least and then i’ll tell you the bitterness comes in after that because if you look at what actually gets allowed to get posted on the page if it’s somebody they know and respect in the recovery community uh those individuals are allowed to post that they have openings at their recovery house if anybody needs a spot uh you know that’s much more recovery related than a podcast about recovery or i’ve seen people post a still frame picture from a video that they recorded on like their ring doorbell and said has anybody seen this person or know him because they stole this from me and blah blah blah i’m like this is like a law enforcement [ _ ] nothing to do with recovery right and and so i don’t know where do we stand on like what they’re allowed to do in accordance with this tradition or i shouldn’t say allowed but like what guidance does this tradition give them because i feel like they’re in the public eye and they are having opinions on outside issues of what is valid recovery and what isn’t and you know i think i i think na has said that like facebook groups can’t be a part of the program and that’s why all these say like in cooperation or in affiliation or not an affiliation or whatever like i what is all that what do we do with that where we’re left is it’s up to how that individuals that start these groups decide to live and what values they want to place on the traditions like the traditions protect you know the 12-step groups not facebook or facebook groups or any of that stuff and and they don’t even consider them you know what i mean like it’s the idea behind the traditions is these are how we operate within our meetings within our rooms behind our walls once you get outside of here it’s up to you as an individual member you know just like you know whether individual member decides they want to work a 12 step or or be available to help other people when they’re asked it’s like you know that person you hope that they’re working a good enough program that they can live with some integrity and morals and and try to follow the traditions if that’s a part of what they’re doing but the traditions were designed to protect n a unfortunately not all these groups or the individuals outside of the groups yeah it gets really interesting what they do and don’t allow and and you know from some semblance of an understanding like they don’t want people posting a [ _ ] ton of links to their page which i don’t know why that makes a difference i guess people might leave the page if it was you know overwhelmed with outside links of just random [ _ ] that people wanted to promote i get that right that there’s it becomes like commercial standing right i get that but i feel like that [ _ ] kind of weeds itself out through the algorithms because if nobody’s liking your dumb ass promotion it just doesn’t get posted to a lot of people’s pages right yes it’s definitely new and interesting and you know i don’t know i i don’t like the social media groups in general i kind of got away from that for different reasons i think it promotes tribalism and then it promotes a sense of like i’m only ex if that’s all i’m doing for my recovery say yeah i’m really you know explore my recovery i’m involved in these six facebook groups and i read what they have to say about recovery you know am i really open-minded am i really exploring new ideas or am i just exploring the ideas of these individual groups anyway that’s just my own personal thing right so any of that if you go on to be more recovery and you look at recommendations under their their groups page so this is a group that does not represent n a but clearly the people who run it are members of 12-step programs who only think that’s valid recovery but if you look under recommendations hoops horizon hope house pal recovery center helping up mission mountain manor i’m like how can a recovery group be recommending treatment centers right like that’s kind of crazy that that’s on there and if you go through i can’t find it at the moment but i know it’s on here um they have a separate group that they like mention or suggest for oh a better way local businesses run by people in recovery so i guess if you’re one of the in crowd with bmore recovery you can get your business listed with them as being recommended too and it just it all feels kind of sketchy to me man it is yeah it definitely is and and i don’t know i’m bothered by it for the way it personally affected my attempts at you know yes at growing our podcast but also growing our podcast because i believe in what we’re doing and i think it’s useful to some people is this podcast useful to everybody in recovery absolutely not there will be people like my old sponsor who and i’m not this isn’t a downer on his program he is about like keeping it simple and and the way we think and talk and examine things isn’t good for his life like it makes his life worse to do that i totally respect that but that doesn’t mean that i don’t think if it’s useful that i shouldn’t be able to post it and talk about it on there and you know people who aren’t into it won’t listen and people who are will and will have good conversations about recovery it will inspire recovery related inclusion conversations and like it just it hurts my feelings that i was excluded from that ability to do that yeah well it sucks that people are going to do that you know it’s it you would hope that anyone who’s genuinely cares and concerned about recovery in general would want to give people the most available resources well and the other aspect of that is while some people like you and i understand okay that is not the program that is some other separate [ _ ] that’s got a couple of personalities that run it a lot of newer people who get included in that group when all they post about a lot of times is like where the n a meetings are the virtual links to the n a meetings this that and the other about where’s the n a meeting tonight in towson on tuesdays like if that’s what you’re posting about and people are new and just got invited they’re going to assume that that is the fellowship and if you post anything bad about them they just take it down yes yes they do if you’re lucky you can see some of it before they take it down i remember that drama for a little bit yeah so i don’t know i i i don’t know that we have a good answer for that but i i do think whether they want to or not facebook groups represent some of our programs and our recovery programs maybe not individually but as a whole and i think they might do better to be more mindful of the way they handle that and really think through it and understand what their purpose is and how they want to enact that and enforce it in all directions right okay fine you’re only going to accept established programs and and things to do with them okay well then let’s not have the recovery house beds available or the treatment center option comments or you know hey where should i send this person for treatment like and you got 38 comments that people recommend in different treatment centers like if you’re about just the programs that are established and well established why is that on there why is the recovery house bed on there why is the person who stole from somebody on there like figure out exactly what you’re gonna be and don’t have it be so wishy-washy with when you let it go and when you don’t yeah and i think personally that’s a whole problem with social media in general it’s it’s a very un regulated unfiltered not well thought out process you know anybody can say anything at any time and pretend to be some sort of expert or some tout a couple big words and act like they know what they’re talking about including me and you know get people to believe some sort of nonsense [ _ ] that’s based on nothing and unfortunately this happens in recovery too well according to okay i’m reading that is why we’re at the top of the food chain because we can create myths and we can make people believe them yeah that’s it all right you got anything else about tradition 11 no just as an individual i try to do my best not to go out and walk around like i represent the 12-step fellowship i’m a part of you know in conversations i try to talk about recovery and and did more general things and people want to get into it you know i’ll talk about the specific fellowship i’m involved with because that’s what works for me but the other side of that is that i don’t pretend that it’s the only way or the best way or the true way or right that’s all [ __ ] like i this is the way that worked for me i maybe you’ll get what you need somewhere else maybe you came where i came and didn’t get what you needed and that’s fine too it’s not your fault you know what i mean right if anything it’s our fault that we didn’t give you what you needed but i don’t need to place judgments on any of that like the autonomy goes both ways one more tradition all right have a good week

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