12: Step One – We Admitted That We Were Powerless Over Our Addiction, That Our Lives Had Become Unmanageable (Sort Of)

1/5/20 We are talking Step 1 and all that goes with it, honesty, powerlessness, surrender, acceptance, unmanageability, and more.

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Transcript:

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

alright here we are welcome back to recovery sort of it’s Jason and the guy in long-term recovery I think that’s what Billy said we’re gonna say from now on what’s up Billy hey this is Billy I’m also a person in long-term recovery involved in a 12-step program so here we are we’re gonna talk about step one today which is super exciting for me because I have a [ _ ] ton of notes about it because I don’t know sometimes I just feel like I need a topic to stay on but before we we get to that point I did want to mention and I forgot to mention it last week that we are still on season 1 I know nobody gives a [ _ ] about that except me we’re on season 1 and it’s like episode 12 I guess now and and that’s where we’re gonna stay for now I think we’re gonna do Billy’s idea of 52 weeks of episodes and then maybe we’ll think about a season two or maybe we’ll just have season 1 episode 4 billion in 86 or something I also wanted to throw something out there real quick I’ve had recently I’ve had a few friends and people that I know that listen to the podcast and they come up and they’ll say hey I listened to the podcast and in that moment I am so I don’t know what the word would be uncomfortable embarrassed / humbled like you know and it’s just a weird thing when people tell me that I get real awkward socially awkward in that moment but what I would really like to say if I was more comfortable is thank you very much for listening we really appreciate the support and you know we’re glad that message your recovery is getting out there so to all our listeners thank you very much I really appreciate your support and encouragement yeah and I would totally agree with that I think I did have one person tell me that they they listened to the podcast in person and I was definitely all [ _ ] up about it too I didn’t know how to react so I can identify with that sentiment another thing I do bring up so one of our our friends Brittany emailed us I don’t know if you saw that during the week but she was talking about the Christmas episode and apparently when I was going through my list and she sent a picture of what it says her face when listening to me explain my wife and i’s organization of our christmas and it’s it’s only i mean i can only describe it as a what the [ _ ] face i guess or i don’t know if somebody told you that they were you know your 25 year old co-workers shared a very detailed story of sleeping with their 85 year old partner this is probably the face you would make about that so that was pretty funny and entertaining also we’re still kind of trying to get a podcast cover art idea together and we’re at a lack i’m ready to like throw a picture of my baby up there just because babies are [ _ ] awesome and maybe that means we were reborn in recovery or something but that’s i feel a little selfish because it’s my baby and that billy’s to i guess if it was our baby i would I probably would already be the cover but so if anybody has ideas for that please feel free to share or if you’re an artist definitely share that so that we can use you for our benefit yeah so with all that said I think it is time for us to start step one we’re gonna try to do a step a month this year so that we can you know have some focus on recovery a little bit I know we kind of dance around recovery in life but I think step one is a good place to start with any recovery program that’s kind of how the 12-step programs work at least and so you know in in our specific program step one reads we are powerless over our addiction and our lives have become unmanageable or we admitted we were powerless over our addiction and in our lives had become unmanageable but we were looking into some of the other programs and we found out quite a few different ones and so just to read through some of them we admitted we were powerless over alcohol we admitted we were powerless over gambling we admit we were powerless over emotions we admitted we were powerless over marijuana the addict food work addictive sexual behavior our creativity cocaine and all other mind-altering substances others debt depression dual lines of chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illnesses the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction and of course their lives had become unmanageable so those were just a few if you if you look into it there is a [ _ ] ton of 12-step programs it’s incredible and awesomely incredible really I’m not knocking it in any way shape or form like I particularly when I got clean in in na I was always told hey one point one disease one program this is all you need don’t go anywhere else we you know tackle addiction from all aspects and in reading our literature in our specific program I do think that kind of applies it could be used for everything but I will say that when I found at other points in time in recovery from you know the drug use where I needed some addiction help in other areas I didn’t feel like it was really the place to go to get it even though our program and our steps might address it to some extent I felt like I really needed to go somewhere where I could hear other people say me too and I didn’t feel like our program was the place to share about some of the other you know areas of addiction that I might have struggled with because it didn’t seem related to the people who were trying to get help in our program and I actually know from like the history of NA and where it’s spun off from a a was a very similar type of thing is that Jimmy K and some of the other founders of na Narcotics Anonymous were involved in Alcoholics Anonymous but the sharing I believe the language that he uses is they used to refer to the addicts back then alcoholics in the AAA meetings would refer to the addicts as animals and you know didn’t want them sharing and definitely didn’t want them sharing their drug stories or their drug seeking behaviors in their meetings and that you know that he with the help some members of Alcoholics Anonymous you know branched off from that was able to form the fellowship a Narcotics Anonymous where the addicts you know could find more identification and feel more comfortable so you know that’s sort of the initial branch of the twelve steps came from that same ideology yeah so I actually for whatever reason dislike the AAA program early on we always called it the other fellowship and they were evil people for some reason and I remember stumbling across at the place my home group met we had some AAA literature from a different meeting that met on another night and they have a some kind of pamphlet that talks about like what’s allowed to be said in their meetings or something along those lines I can’t remember very specifically what it says but I took great offense to it at first because I talked about how you you should never talk about these things in the meeting talking about drugs or anything cuz that’s not you know who they’re there for and this that and the other and I was like these jerks they’re [ _ ] like honest they won’t help us but when I read the pamphlet it made total sense right the point of it being basically if they were to just have anybody come in if somebody came in and talked about hey I can’t stop eating you know and I’m struggling with that while their program might be able to assist that person the guy who just walked in the door who just wants to stop drinking would probably miss the message right he would miss the identification piece of it and maybe never come back and get help and so if they tried to help everyone in every aspect they would lose their ability to help all the people who were drinking which is their main goal and so I kind of gained a respect for it from that and I think that’s where I realized that maybe all my problems while the steps of my particular program could help me I really needed to identify somewhere else not you know share that kind of stuff in just any old meeting and I think those are the same principles that protect us in the fellowship we belong to and in Narcotics Anonymous those same principles carry through into a lot of what we see today with harm reduction and medicated assisted treatment options like those things are there’s nothing against them but we in our fellowship have a very specific approach to a specific problem and if we start altering off of that you know we get ask you it’s important that you know we maintain our integrity as an abstinence based 12-step program that deals with drug addiction like that’s what we are we’ve clearly identify that as what we are right when we were going through this list of 12 steps just some of the more interesting ones to get back to this step one idea the one about the our creativity was when I stumbled across it’s like arts anonymous and it’s like artists using the 12 steps to deal with like writer’s block and things like that while they’re in recovery it talked about how most of them are in other 12-step programs but then they also go to this arts Anonymous and deal with having creative block and acceptance of the fact that that just happens from time to time I thought that was a really interesting concept and a really narrow you know focus one of the things me and Billy both stumbled upon I think I knew this at one point and then forgot it and then you brought it up and I had found it while I was searching to was the oh that people in al-anon are also powerless over alcohol like their first step is exactly the same as AAA’s first step and I got it it’s one of those like poetic things I just loved about that honestly yeah and that gets into so do we think the 12 steps are really just good for a ditch in or different types of addictions or compulsive behaviors are they for other things as well I know I felt this way and you hear a lot of people say it when they come into recovery like they you come in and you start doing some step work and your life starts to get better you start to little live a little more spiritual anything everybody should [ _ ] have a 12-step fellowships everybody should have a 12-step program so that they’re improving and growing spiritually and doing these things [ _ ] Anonymous and you know I guess when we start talking about you know al-anon or Noren or maybe this arts anon or whatever they call ourselves you know these to me are people that aren’t necessarily specific luckily talking about addictions or compulsive behaviors but that have still found tools within the 12 steps to grow spiritually yeah I ended up at one point going to some al-anon meetings and I honestly uh so kind of tricky I never really spoken them because I don’t specifically have an alcoholic in my history or my story that I can relate to in that way that was close to me but I I got so much out of those meetings honestly I was sent there by somebody who said I would get something out of it and I just I found it incredible that really what they deal with is pretty much what I deal with in life now which is other [ _ ] people and having acceptance that I can’t control them right what is that like is that gets interesting for me so I don’t know if that’s an addiction or not it was really interesting though that I felt like everything they talked about was really wise words for things I could use in my life I was like yeah I need to accept that I can’t control these [ _ ] people around me that aren’t doing what I want them to do and so I think it comes back to the premise that I believe wholeheartedly is that spiritual living or practicing spiritual principles in your life is for everyone it can be for the atheist it can be for the addict that can be for the religious person it you know it can be for anyone just taking these principles and apply them in your life will make your life better I believe you know I believe it’s it will benefit you in the long run to practice these principles in your life man I just I [ _ ] hate to talk about politics I said I’m like trying to avoid it I just saw this Facebook post this morning and it’s a bunch of our people our spiritual practice and people all speaking about a certain demographic of people that they don’t like and I’m just like how can you automatically box a group of people into a thing and say you don’t like them if you’re a spiritual [ _ ] like whatever they’re sure so one of the the absolutely probably most interesting one I found for the first step was criminals and gang members anon which I was like what in the [ _ ] and their first step reads because it was really interesting to me we reviewed our past admitting a lack of strength and control over our addictions to all forms of illegal activity and that our lifestyle was not decent nor manageable and I was like that’s interesting I just I mean really the whole we reviewed our past I kind of liked that part well and also I had mentioned and we looked online we couldn’t find it but we had met a gentleman who had a Christian was doing a Christian recovery group and he had mentioned they were very similar they were gonna use a 12-step model and that their first step was gonna be we admitted we were powerless over the things that separate us from God and our lives have become unmanned which I completely loved the idea mostly it reminds me of the you know the principle of being Amish which there’s a lot of Amish people in our area if you don’t know that idea they don’t participate in a lot of use of technology because they believe that will get in the way of their relationship with their God and I as much as I don’t seem to be able to live that kind of life I admire the [ _ ] out of it right I do know that things I do keep me from a closer relationship with my higher power and that’s being on my phone playing a video game whatever it might be these things do impede my spiritual growth so what we’re gonna do today I believe is completely the opposite of what most of these programs talk about which is to keep it simple we are not gonna keep anything simple at all I think we’re gonna dissect and debate you know step one to death so if that is bad for you then maybe don’t take too much seriousness out of this obviously I think the simple version of step one is I can’t write like is that say sort of the opposite so I I think that principles themselves are very simple it’s how we apply them in our lives that becomes complicated and difficult or notice in which where we can apply them in our lives becomes difficult but yet so I you know I think yeah the power like that’s the main that’s in all of those you know we admitted we were powerless and understand a powerlessness and what that is it’s kind of one of the main guiding principles they’re in step one yes one of the things I couldn’t get an agreement or consensus from all the stuff I was reading about this whether the main principle and step one was honesty powerlessness surrender or acceptance and so I was really like trying to look at what the difference was and and maybe where one deviated from another or which one really needed to come first or I don’t know it was interesting I guess honesty one of the things I read was talking about how you know at some point in our addiction we had to get to a point where like we stopped living in the denial right and so and that’s I relate a lot to that statement is there’s actually a piece of our literature it says many of us recall the moment of clarity when we came face to face with our disease all the lies all the pretenses all the rationalizations we had used to justify where we stood as a result of our drug you stopped working and I that’s one of those things I just could never agree with more right like I had that moment of clarity that we talked about where I was standing there I was getting ready to do the same thing I’d always done and it just hit me like a ton of bricks that like I saw it for what it really was for the first time in my life without any of the excuses I had about why I needed to or any of those things and so I feel like that was that first like self-honest moment and I don’t take any credit for it like I didn’t [ _ ] do it right it came to me it wasn’t something I came up with but it I feel like that honesty had to come before I could do anything else such as admit that I didn’t have control over my drug use yeah for me I guess so understanding addiction what that meant was important for me I had been first knew I had a problem I would say when I was like 17 was the first time I really started getting in trouble like legal trouble and and really looking at like oh [ _ ] you know this drug thing is kind of a problem for me and I had just accepted that no I’m a drug addict and this is what I do you know and there’s you know the consequences and getting arrested and breaking the law and all the [ _ ] that came along whether it was just part of that lifestyle and I was okay with it I was down I was like all right this is what I’m this is what I’m doing so I guess I knew that I had a drug problem early on I knew that I was quote unquote addict early on I think what I didn’t understand was when we talk about powerlessness was that like I always sort of told myself when I’m ready to stop I’ll stop you know what I’m ready to be done having fun what I thought was having fun right then I’ll get my [ _ ] together and do the right things and of course it wasn’t until years later when I actually had a few of those oh [ _ ] I’m trying to stop now and I can’t moments that that you know just that idea of powerlessness kind of hit and went oh [ _ ] you know I’m I’m stuck you know I don’t know what to do about this and really and for me I had been introduced to 12-step programs early on I’d been sent to drug counseling I had been introduced to you know medicated assisted treatment options you know I knew friends that had tried that method so I seen different ways of people dealing with the problem but yeah well it wasn’t until I sort of really understood like [ _ ] I can’t stop on my own that that I really was able to reach out for help yeah I’ve heard that referred to as a resignation like when we’ve just resigned to the fact that this is what our life is gonna be and I was there too I remember thinking like there is no hope for anything else for me this is what I have I’m just gonna do this every day for the rest of my life and make the best of it and you know one day I’ll die and that’ll be dead and as you talked about I think for me a big part of it too was the same the denial of the consequences Etha deny all the cons the denial that drugs were the cause of my problems like me the longest time it was easy to blame like it’s the court system and it’s my parents and it’s the cops and it’s like every if they would just leave me alone then I could just get high and it would be fine yeah and so I don’t know maybe if we had decriminalization or some of the things we talked about today maybe I would still be I use it who knows because those act you know those troubles there’s consequences where the things that motivated me to seek treatment in the first place you know I don’t know about that I definitely think just to hit on effect so the resignation I think turns into surrender when I accept that there might be a path out maybe when I accept a little bit of hope for a difference I’m not sure I’ve thought about that too right I say the consequences are what led me was because I had no money it was because I had nowhere else to live it was because this that the other but then I watch people who still had jobs who still had houses still had a lot of money who turn around and get clean and I say well what the [ _ ] they didn’t have the same kind of consequences but I think ultimately it wasn’t really the external consequences those help me alone I think it’s that spiritual consequence that we can’t really put a finger on that sort of led me at least I don’t know for everybody but I think that emptiness that pain loneliness isolation and emptiness that spiritual bottom just led me to need something else yeah and I always looked at sort of a lot of the famous people more specifically musicians that have struggled with addiction and ended up dead and overdosed or you know that you hear about I’ve always looked at a lot of them and kind of said well if I had more money I would you know they’re still finding themselves in the same same holes as us not wealthy people you know they’re still having the same emotional and spiritual struggles no absolutely so one of the things that I definitely I heard about step one and this is actually something I heard recently more so than ever before and I’m not sure I’m not sure how I feel about but I heard a guy say and I loved a guy I respect him he’s always got like a really interesting different take on things I’m not sure I always buy into it sometimes he does the same another thing to what I do right he likes to put wordplay and twists on words and make them mean other things and I look I love that [ _ ] right but I come up with it but when he came up with it I’m like I don’t know if I believe that one but he shared that it says we were powerless in the past tense for a reason and it’s because we used to be and then like once we’ve accepted step one and and you know gotten into recovery we are no longer powerless and I don’t know I don’t know have you ever heard that or thought much about that I’m curious your take on that I have not heard that I would tend to I mean my initial reaction is to disagree mostly because what I understand addiction to be so in the first step of our basic text that talks about addiction being a specifical mental and spiritual disease and that through application of principles we can kind of I guess arrest it but that you know that that mental aspect of our disease for me is always there I’m always going to have thoughts that are not good the sort idea first thought wrong you know my impulse when the lady hands me too much change at the grocery store is going to be to take that [ _ ] and run out the door and that I shouldn’t beat myself up or think badly about myself because that’s my first thought you know what I do with that thought is what you know what I’m responsible for it’s the action that goes along with the thought that I am responsible for but I don’t have to beat myself up because I have bad thoughts my initial thought to most things most situations in life tends to be selfish self-serving and self-centered and what I’ve come to understand is that’s when we talk about a first step and being an addict in my life being unmanageable that’s where that unmanageability comes from it’s reacting to those bad thoughts yeah my first thoughts usually [ _ ] well he I think he pointed out that like we say we were powerless and then we talked about in the serenity prayer how we pray for the power to change the things we can or the strength to change the things we can which is power and you know I mean he made a relevant point I’m not disagreeing that I don’t know it’s all really confusing for me especially with my particular belief in a higher power I get a lost in a lot of like what can I take credit for what do I actually have power over what am I just praying that some power helps me with right like okay I can tell you sure we were powerless and now I have power great I believe that well but then in step six I’m telling you I got character defects that I can’t personally get rid of because I don’t have any power like so where is this power that I supposedly have and and what can I take credit for I shared with you a couple minutes ago like I did not give myself that moment of clarity right so where did that come from and and how much credit for that can I take credit for like oh yeah I got honest and that’s how I got clean well I didn’t really [ __ ] get honest it kind of came over me right so I I don’t know I just thought it was an interesting thing that you did some wordplay with it yeah and I would say if you were looking at that if you’re looking at your addiction as specifically whatever substance or issue that you’re struggling with that you have a obsessive compulsive behavior about like we gain power over that like now I have power over my choices to use illegal substances I do believe that you know now you know through the application of the program the application of steps like I am no longer trapped in the cycle of using that I was before I came here so you have power over taking that first one right that whole one is too many a thousand never enough concept you have power over not taking that but I almost wondered do I really right so we call obsession like the the never-ending stream of thoughts about something and then the compulsion is that once we’ve started we can’t stop and we say that you know we have that power of taking the first one but I definitely felt through most of my using time that if I didn’t when that obsession was going on that thoughts that’s never an extreme of thoughts that said you better oh you better you you’re gonna die if you don’t you’re gonna go crazy right they’re gonna lock you up cuz you’re gonna lose your mind if you don’t I don’t know that I could not I don’t know that I could choose not to right then so that is where I believe that the program comes in or any kind of support program where you have people that are gonna help you and maybe this is some cognitive behavioral therapy stuff when you have people that are gonna help you encourage you like look when you have these thoughts here’s what you need to do call somebody go to a meeting don’t pick up prey you know whatever they give us these tools because there’s thoughts are gonna come and if I sit there and obsess on them and keep thinking about it thinking about it thinking about it eventually I will become powerless I will give it the idea that the way it was explained to me that I always liked is you know I can go out and hang out say I like to listen to live music and I like to listen to live music at the bar so I can go out to the bar you know nine times out of ten I’ll be fine but one of those times out of that ten I’m gonna want a drink right and I don’t get to pick which one it is it might be the third time I’m there might be the fifth time in there might be the tenth time I’m there you know but if I’m not if I keep putting myself in that situation eventually those thoughts are going to come and then you know I’m if I’m not giving myself tools to get out of those situations I’m doomed yeah yeah I remember when early on I kept trying to think of a better variation that was more fun than you know if you go to the barbershop long enough you’re gonna get a haircut I I really tried to make it a much dirtier about going to I don’t know I think like it’s not like I can go hang out at the bar you know five times and I’ll be doomed on the fifth row I may be doomed on the second you know what I mean like I don’t know what day my spirits not gonna be in a good place or my defenses are gonna be down or I’m gonna feel excessively self pitiful exceptionally vulnerable you know I don’t know which day that’s gonna happen that’s what I’m powerless over and that is exactly my experience with with going to a bar and not drinking was that eventually did happen to me thankfully I was in I did not you know get drunk that day but it was definitely one of those things where I felt fine five or six times and then all of a sudden I didn’t I remember a guy sharing real quick before we break for our ad that one of the worst things that could possibly happen is to go to a bar and not drink because it’s just such a reinforcement that you have some kind of control that you really don’t truly have right so I thought that was interesting I’ll leave everybody to think about that we’ll break for our ad and we’ll be right back this episode has been brought to you by voices of Hope Inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in Maryland voices of Hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at

www.canadianoutback.com to give ourselves and out and what I mean by that is we’ve went to concerts that have happened in bars or we went and seen live music together we’ve always went you know sorta on the buddy system idea like no I’m not going to go by myself or with a bunch of people that are using but also that in understanding my powerlessness I also need to prepare going into those situations and to say alright you know if either one of us decides we want to start using we gotta go and the other one’s got to be okay with that like not oh I want to hear this [ _ ] song or I’m not yeah like no right like this is imperative for both of us and both of us have been the ones to say hey I gotta get out of here you know it happened with her you know one time we went to a Grateful Dead concert and you know typical like we spend a bunch of money for tickets and we went in and when we’re there about 20 minutes and the whole place smelled like weed and [ _ ] you know everybody get high and I’m sure eating mushrooms and she was like we gotta go look okay we’re out of here right and it happened to me one time we’re seeing a fan in a bar down in Baltimore and I you know I can’t even remember why or what happened but the moment was like hey man this seems like it would be a lot of fun to just start [ _ ] drinking and carrying on hmm and you know go into her and say hey we gotta go and she said okay and we left and just you know that’s a part of understanding powerlessness it’s not that I never put myself in those situations or that I never go around people that are drinking because I’m gonna be out of control it’s that you know almost like the serenity prayer says like what things do I have power and control over and what things do I not you know I have power and control over leaving myself in that situation I don’t have power and control over those thoughts popping up in my head so having a strong foundation of a first step like I know when I’m going into situations that I need to you know put my armor on or to be ready for kind of my escape route when I if I become overwhelmed yeah absolutely I think that’s one of the things that makes the holidays that we just went through so difficult is that many people don’t feel the ability to take a buddy to their family gathering you know where there’s often a lot of maybe drinking or drug use or just even if there’s none of that there’s just that you know familial childhood button-pushing that led us to those kind of behaviors in the first place and they don’t seem like places you can’t say hey out I’ll grab you a ticket come with me right because your body might be going to their own family gathering or it might just be awkward to bring I know buddy to a family gathering when you’re 40 or whatever it is and so I think that might be one of the reasons why those are such struggle areas you can’t really prepare for them quite as well as you’d like it is still a really good idea to have some kind of out or some ability I know they talk about bookending a lot of times which is calling somebody before and after and checking in so one of the things that definitely comes up for the first step for me when I first got here into the recovery idea it mentioned that you know unmanageability might be the only thing that we can recognize about our lives in some form of wording and and that’s definitely what I could identify with when I got to the program and wanted to do something different was that there was no more obvious statement than my life was unmanageable right like nothing could have been more close to the truth I just nothing worked everything I did turn to [ _ ] like it didn’t matter what decision I made I was always in trouble with the law I was always on the outskirts of people that I really was trying to you know I wasn’t really trying to do a whole lot to get their love but I wanted to love him I wanted to be a good dude and like I just could never make I had all these great golden intentions in my hand and I was paving the road to hell with them right like nothing ever worked out the way I hoped it would and so it talks about our families are you know just disappointed baffled and confused by our actions right and I remember my father specifically just why why do you keep doing these things and and the thing that really struck me was that I was disappointed baffled and confused by my actions like he would ask and I’m like I don’t know right he’s like what the [ _ ] is wrong with me and that’s what I felt for so long what the [ _ ] is wrong with me why do I keep living like this and so admitting the unmanageability in the first step for me was such a relief it was like thank God it’s maybe there’s not something that wrong with me maybe I’m like these other people and they can help ya and I was convinced I had a antisocial disorder or that I was a sociopath or something like that that I just didn’t care about other people or their feelings or the way that it affected me and of course you know it was almost the opposite like I was so sensitive to how I was living in the harm I was causing that I needed to stay high all the time to known the [ _ ] guilt shame embarrassment remorse and all those things that I felt rude you know that when I wasn’t high I as soon as I started to feel that [ _ ] I didn’t want to you know I couldn’t face it um and so by staying high all the time I just numb myself to any of that stuff for years on end and then just thought well maybe there’s there is something [ _ ] mentally wrong with my brain like really that I can’t connect to other human beings in that way with any kind of empathy um but yeah I came to the program similar like it was the the unmanageability was the most obvious thing going on in my life I didn’t think drugs were the problem I thought I had a mental disorder mental illness and that something was wrong with me and then there was similar that moment of clarity you know where I was like could drugs really be the problem like maybe I’ll go back and check out this 12-step thing and go to these meetings and see what they have to offer ruin yeah when I came in I think luckily enough at this the point that I stayed in recovery this time I was pretty humiliated at that point defeated so that surrender wasn’t so hard you know that to admit powerlessness wasn’t so hard when we talk about you know surrender and in that first step I think for me a big part of it was just saying I don’t have all the answers and I need some [ _ ] help you know and up until that point in my life I was the opposite you know I was like I don’t need anybody’s [ _ ] help you know what I mean I got this I’ll figure it out I’ll take care of my life and I’m good right and that you know admission that [ _ ] I don’t got this and that I need help and that that I need somebody else I mean you know I don’t know for me that happened before I walked in the door of Narcotics Anonymous so that first step wasn’t a huge struggle um this time around but I did what most people you know are suggested to do I shouldn’t say what most people do but what is suggested to do as I came in I got a sponsor I got somebody to help me and I sat down and we started talking about some of these principles and what does it really mean to be powerless you know and and looking up the definitions of these words surrender and powerlessness and unmanageability and looking them up in the dictionary and understanding what they mean and you know looking trying to separate myself from the idea that powerlessness equals weakness you know that was a big concept in my head powerlessness is weakness and you know I don’t know maybe that’s true I I mean I guess when you’re beaten enough it doesn’t really matter but I was beat down enough it didn’t [ _ ] matter anymore I was willing to let go like yeah I’m weak you know right and to steal like a cliche from my wife she something she said and the visualization always helped me a lot of course I don’t know nowadays if people still know who Mike Tyson is or knew Mike Tyson back in the day when he was you know just such a crazy strong box or people were so scared of him to get in the ring with him and that was like addiction like I would get back in the ring with addiction and it would beat the [ _ ] out of me you know just like getting in the ring with Mike Tyson I could get in the ring with Mike Tyson you know and maybe last around maybe last two rounds but inevitably you know I’m gonna get my [ _ ] head knocked off right and I picked myself up and get back in there and you know try it again and try it again and try it again but it really doesn’t matter how many times I get in there with Mike Tyson I’m never gonna win that fight that means I might land a puncher to fight you know what I mean it’s just never gonna happen and until I can admit that with addiction like it’s the same thing it’s just repeatedly getting in the ring with Mike Tyson I’m thinking you got a [ _ ] chance of winning and I was yeah and I was out there using thinking well one of these times Mike’s gonna slip on a banana peel right even though there was no bananas in the [ _ ] stadium it was just gonna happen I was gonna win somehow right now I agree I agree uh I could definitely understand that and I I I understand and relate when you talk about like having all the answers for most of my life that’s how I felt like I had I had come around and and had some exposure to 12-step program but I didn’t really believe in it or think it would work for me for a long time because I still had the answers and I still thought that for a long time drugs were still the solution right the thing I was using was still the solution long before I realized it was actually part of the problem it was my answer to my problems first and so it took me a long time to come to that that understanding and that surrender of maybe this isn’t helping anymore right maybe it did for a while but it’s definitely not now all right right and so I struggled with that a lot early on was just well I I struggle with it before I got here like once I got here was just that was what became clear and evident was that I don’t have the answers this isn’t working my way isn’t definitely not working and so I now have an open mind for you to like give me some new ideas that I can possibly take in and not all of them made sense early on but it didn’t matter like you said by the time I had gotten to that surrender and acceptance point I was just ready to try anything I didn’t care what you said I didn’t care if it made me weak I didn’t care about anything I just wanted something different and I felt like the steps offered that you know they offered the chance for something different and what it talked about when I was reading about this was before step one what we found was we were living hopeless right and I think that’s what the program offered when I first got here was just that little glimmer of hope right just maybe just maybe something can be different for me even though I thought I was stuck here I’ll say for me for me today it is a little different I don’t look at it in the same light I still look at the honesty of step one I think that that self honesty grows as I’m what was they able to be more honest but just full of being more honest with myself like I don’t think I can always see everything about me in any given moment and as time is going on you know we talked about peeling the layers of the onion I don’t know why we refer to ourselves as onion there’s got to be something better with layers but it’s a great visual I mean everybody can picture cut not onion and peel on it but I’ve never cut an onion I don’t even like that is what’s the donkey in trucks a parfaits parfaits have layers too and everybody is our phase right um but yeah I don’t know like even today that I could be completely self honest because I think there’s still things that I’m not aware of about me I like to think I’m pretty aware of a lot of it but there’s still something there right there’s still ways that this disease or whatever you want to call it affects me that I just don’t know about that I can’t be honest about to accept yet and I still live it I think yeah and I think you know the application of the first step when I first came in recovery and had 30 days clean I believe I worked my first first step in 30 days clean you know my understanding and application of some of those principles was I’m gonna say way more like rudimentary and basic at that point compared to how it is now years later with more steps you know it’s the idea that the steps build on each other and you kind of hinted at it earlier it’s like we can admit our powerless over addiction in our first step like oh that’s kind of obvious like I want to stop using I can’t [ _ ] stop using I can’t stop using long enough to stay out of jail or keep my marriage or keep my kids all that stuff’s very obvious but you’re not really thinking about how powerless you are and all these other aspects of your life either either until you get to step 6 and then you realize [ _ ] I’m powerless or as oh we don’t wanna dump all that on you all at once what does stick keep it to the addiction instead well I’ve been worried about the deeper [ _ ] later just cover it here stop using come to some meetings let some people help you and we’ll build on that so you know it’s that idea of like we’re building that foundation of understanding the principles and when we can take them from the basic you know then we start trying to apply them like deeper and deeper and deeper in our lives and the other side of that is the person that I am now you know having been in recovery I’m almost twenty years older than I was when I got in recovery just through sheer life experience I’m a completely different person you know take out what I’ve grown in 12-step recovery or other spiritual work 20 years I’m a completely different person than I was when I got here so the way that I approach life or deal with life in the way that my thinking affects my life is completely different I have a whole different skill set and knowledge set that I have now right so which to me comes back to what I have come to understand of the disease of addiction and again they describe it in our first step if you really dive deep into it although I think most first steps we sort of gloss over it it’s like the physical mental and spiritual aspects of the disease you know I have an obsessive-compulsive disorder and it can affect me in every area of my life I can get obsessive and compulsive over some [ _ ] construction project or some remodeling project I have gone on in my house to the point where I become neglectful of my kids and my other responsibilities am i what are my important family values can get thrown right to the side because I’m obsessing over some [ _ ] electrical issue that I’m trying to deal with at my house right you know but I’ll shut all my morals and values right out the window and start yelling and cussing at my kids for one lunch like that’s where you know that obsessive compulsive part of my brain kicks in yeah and I think the lesson for me to get there to learn that a lot of times is beating my head against the wall trying to do it my way first right and that happened when I was actively using I had to try using all these different ways that I knew was going to work well I’ll only use these certain drugs I’ll only use it on these certain days and then as all these different methods of how I was going to control it didn’t work I finally came to that point of being beaten and saying hey well maybe none of these ways I try are going to work and I think it’s been the same you no off of the the drugs and with other areas of my life well I’ll just I’ll only date six women this week right or I’ll you know I’ll have one main woman and only one side woman or it’s like everything I try to do I try to control it well I’ll give myself two hours to play this video game or work on this around my house and then I’m in our five yelling about making lunch right so it’s all these attempts that mean controlling things first only to really I think that’s part of the process of coming to the step one admission is like I tried so hard to make this work and I just don’t have the power to do that right and that’s where you know understanding the unmanageability comes in you know the unmanageability is me trying to figure everything out on my own trying to come up with all my own solutions and thinking that I got it all figured out yeah it’s like it’s like that the the understanding when I talk about what my addiction is it’s the understanding that you know my best thinking can be my worst enemy you know my best ideas can get me into trouble a lot of times but when I say them to myself inside my own head they sound great they sound rational they sound helpful they sound good and if I don’t scrutinize them you know or run them by people sometimes or kind of say them out loud you know I get myself into trouble by just running with my first thought right no absolutely it’s funny you said that one of the things that I always loved and I know it’s controversial to some extent people have some arguments about you know it’s it’s right up there probably with the whole my worst day cleans better than my best day use him but the old saying that like my best thinking got me into a church basement on a weeknight looking for the advice of a bunch of drunks and drug addicts right like I love that statement I nothing could have shown me humility early on better than that statement of like yeah my life is so great I’ve run it and managed it so well that this is where I’m at I’m looking you know people who are sometimes considered you know the lowest of the earth and I’m here seeking their help and advice like on how to live I needed that kind of perspective I needed somebody to point that out that man maybe I need to like take a back seat and not try to manage this yeah and I mean there’s a flip side to that too that we forget sometimes is it just because some of my thinking’s bad doesn’t mean all my thinking’s bad I mean it’s the same this that’s my same brain that let me to use everyday is also for me personally the brain that led me to go back to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting on a Wednesday night and get clean right you know I I wasn’t at this time that I stayed in recovery this time I wasn’t court-ordered no one [ _ ] was holding a gun to my head like I have made that decision all by myself and it was that same brain that made that same decision let’s say that moment of clarity or spiritual awakening or whatever you want to call it so learning that like not all my thoughts are wrong I’m not completely you know useless but that I need some guidance and direction and that sometimes I can come up with some good ideas and sometimes I have some not so good ideas and just being sort of honest and having humility I think and I didn’t understand that when I worked the first step the first time around but it was humility that was the core of what I needed you know it was some some humility to be like hey man it’s okay to need help in life it’s okay to to not be great at everything can I have everything figured out all the time like that’s that’s okay yeah what did they say early on for me it was a humility is not thinking less of myself it’s thinking of myself less right and and that’s kind of ties in a little bit to what you were just saying it’s not so much that I needed to believe that everything I thought was bad but why not run all my thoughts by somebody just so weak they can help me pick out you know the good ones from the bad ones because I just tend to believe that everything I think is a great idea right and it’s it’s not honestly when I look back at a lot of the decisions I’ve made when I didn’t run things by people I make some pretty shitty decisions sometimes but they all come in my voice and they all come from this brain that I completely have always trusted and I just run with them as soon as they come I’m like man let’s go to Vegas and get hookers right that’s great idea and like if I can run these ideas by somebody that can help me sort out hey maybe you’re not thinking that one through long enough to think about what happens after you do that right or hey that idea that’s one you should follow that’s a great idea that’s cool you thought of that yeah and so many times like what gets me into trouble is you know back to the spiritual aspect of the disease what I’ve been taught is the disease of addiction that the spiritual aspect of that is my total self-centeredness yeah most of the time I’m thinking about what serves me best what gets me what I want how do I achieve whatever I think is important and that’s not always for the good of the whole you know it’s not always in the best interest of my family that I get what I want it’s not always in the best interest of my job that I get what I want there’s there are some things that are more important than myself you know and this can be where I’m at a lot of points in time in my life today with five kids like a lot of my life generally really isn’t time framed out to be about me and I want it to be this weekend like man it’s football playoffs I [ _ ] deserve to sit around and watch all these games from start to finish with no interruptions and that is not my life my kids have basketball games and my kids have indoor soccer games and that’s like we’ve been running around to these kind of things yesterday and we have one later today and it’s just like do I want to be bitter about that like do I want to be frustrated that they play games part of me does yeah it’s [ _ ] interrupting what I want and that’s that total self-centeredness that I can live in when I’m not looking at it right I get annoyed that they have all these sports and it’s probably too much sports for them and it’s that in the other and I just don’t know maybe I don’t need to watch the entire [ _ ] football game I don’t know what the I don’t know that there is a right for this right but I do know that what I want is really all about me and has nothing to do with what’s good for anybody else in my family at all yeah and so many times you know it’s it’s hard for me to judge what I really want because what I really want most of the time is whatever’s easier softer more convenient more self gratifying you know feels good like yeah that feels good what was that old simpson’s thing with the the police officer in the Simpsons and he was wearing his underwear around at work or something is like it feels good do it and it’s you know and the idea that if one’s good mores better he’s at that same same principle that you know those things get me into trouble and I can recognize that now so you know where that first step comes in is like I recognize some of my impulsive decision making I recognize some of my self-centered thinking and you know through the process of the remainder of the staffs and some supports through the rest of 12-step you know group I get tools on how to deal with that and the powerlessness comes in where that’s probably never gonna change for me my you know my self-centeredness is probably gonna be there forever what gets better is the way that I react to it so let’s say I am at home and I’m working on that electrical issue and I’m struggling with it and my kid starts one launch well yeah my initial reaction might be leave me the [ _ ] alone can’t you see I’m working on this this is really important I need to get this Electric fix that might be my thought you know but I don’t have to act on that thought and and it’s through the process of recovery that I’ve learned all right wait a minute take a breath is that really the way you want to deal with this mmm you know you might get your electric project done and that’ll be great but look at the consequences of that and to think about that and you know if I can ten seconds delay my reaction to that first the hood you know if I go wait 10 seconds just be like alright wait a minute wait a minute you know and then react differently to say hey hold on just a couple minute can you wait 15 20 minutes when I’m doing I can down and get you some lunch versus screaming and yelling and cussing get your own food you’re old enough now to do for yourself why are you gonna bother me with this stuff all the time really which of those is a person that I really want to be you know which of those is a person that when I lay down later at night to go to bed and I’m running through my day which is part of the step process that I try to do for myself each day you know which of those actions is going to make me feel better about that guy that’s going to sleep that night no I wish do you say a 10-second delay and I was just sitting your picture man I wish we could just have a setting for that right I would be a much [ _ ] good better good or dude Wow so tired so that’s where meditation comes in when you start meditating on a regular basis you’ll get those those moments of like I don’t just have to react to the way that I’m thinking every time you know that’s why those steps are written in order they build on each other all the way to the end let’s see so if seven second delays ruin things like seeing Janet Jackson’s boob right this is why I hate seven second delays but they would make me a better person yeah you might have missed it live but you could go get it yeah the internet was that big back then was it you can give pull up Janet Jackson’s probably not enough to do it anybody get is that moment of whatever is that really that important in the grand scheme it’s not and this is where my brain struggles this is where my first step is it my life most days right it’s like this is like the the instant gratification to feel good if it feels good do it you know chief Quimby wear my underwear around look at boobs like this is where I struggle with this is not the important thing in life right this is not what matters the most this is not where I need to be it’s most of the things that do ultimately matter to me this [ _ ] I don’t want to do right it’s taken the time to like sit there with my five-year-old as he talked to my ear off about some video game that I don’t even [ _ ] understand or want to hear about it’s you know changing the diaper of the baby or just holding her because she doesn’t feel well like those kind of things are the things that really ultimately we feel fuller inside they’re just not the [ _ ] that I ever want to [ _ ] sign up for and that’s the struggle I think in my first step is knowing that I just need to like do the things I don’t want to do and accept my acceptance today is a lot of time to accept that I don’t feel like it and that’s just who I am but that’s okay and I can still do it right and that’s where I struggle a lot yeah and I think with the first step like I believe it’s like the oxymoron or whatever where it’s like my power of admitting my powerlessness becomes my strength you know understanding where my weaknesses are or what my impulses and intentions are I can use to my advantage you know when I can admit like this is an area that I struggle this is an area where I have problems you know I can use that to put myself in better position to deal with those situations when they arise and just like using you know I don’t put myself in situations around people that are using or if I do I give myself an out you know and I have a plan going into those situations well as I recognize more and more how my addiction affects other areas of my life I give myself those same plans you know nowadays again for me personally when I’m working on home projects like I know that that’s an area that’s caused me a lot of issues in the past so I’m aware that going in I try to set myself up before I get into these projects all right take a deep breath know what you’re getting into know what your tendencies are all right now we can go into this with a little wider view when the kids start asking for stuff or my wife meets me to go to the store or somebody wants something you know I I know what my tendency is and I can react differently now and so what I’m what I’m hearing a lot of what you say is that your first step puts you in a position to kind of own what you can’t do in order to be in a better position to prepare yourself for for having better out comes right and one of the things that I’ve tried to look at for my first step I don’t say I hate saying later on a recovery you’re talking about clean time or any of that stuff but really for me I try to look at my first step when it says unmanageable and here’s where my wordplay comes in I like to look at it as if somebody at like you know Apple said hey we’re hiring you come manage Apple right you come manage all the iPhones and everything else that has to do with Apple for the next ten years I am incapable of managing that right I will [ _ ] it up I will have like iPhones we’ll be circles for some reason they won’t work right like they won’t operate nobody will be able to talk to each other FaceTime about the window I would just I don’t know how to manage a fortune 500 company or any successful business I’ve never done it it’s not something I’m capable of and I try to remind myself of that for my life that like of my own accord I would not be able to manage my own life now if you put me in charge of Apple and you gave me you know a board of directors or a group conscience to help guide me that had a lot of useful information and I relied on them I might be able to get by right I might be a successful guy I might not run it into the ground at least and it’s the same with my life and that’s what I I really try to look at the first step for me nowadays is just that if I stop relying on my sponsor stop relying on my network I stopped running ideas past people I will ultimately manage my life into the ground the way I have every time previously write my own thoughts and ideas will all sound great to me again I will run on self will and and self-centeredness and I won’t be able to function properly in my life and the way I want to and so when I look at my life as being unmanageable today it’s not specifically that there’s any outward unmanageability that I’m you know running on I’m not getting locked up on a regular basis I’m not doing any of these other things that are outwardly noticeable by people I’m not passing out on the the corner right the inward unmanageability there’s always going to be a little bit of that for me I believe just I don’t know my brain doesn’t operate right it makes me feel weird a lot of times but a lot of what I look at is unmanageable today is just a reminder of like hey if you try to do this on your own you suck at being a manager of your own life you need to continue to rely on people that are close to you that have your best interest at heart to help you manage your life to be successful yeah and I think that’s where self honesty is crucial to deciding what you think is unmanageable or what areas of your life are unmanageable um by that I mean for me even when I got into recovery this time I start a job I still make decent money I still had a car that was mine that I paid for I had a place to live that I paid for like I wasn’t homeless jobless out robbing people on the streets that wasn’t where the unmanageability in my life was I had some legal trouble which was mostly attributed to using getting caught with possession getting a DUI then once I got in the system I could never get through probation I would fail drug tests I couldn’t make it through alcohol so it was like for me I felt like the system was the trap room and a lot of the legal unmanageability had to do with once they kind of had their [ _ ] fingers into my life I couldn’t live the way they wanted me to live um and so for a long time I blamed that for my problems instead of looking at well look dummy if you want to stay out of jail you just do what they tell you to do for however long it was 15 months ER but well I did have like five years probation at one point which is a kind of a long time but you know it didn’t matter I wasn’t ever completing a probation I violated every single one of them and it was like if you really value your freedom that much you know why would you make decisions to jeopardize your own freedom it was more than that so the unmanageability was more in those type of areas so even now I don’t go out and look to people in Narcotics Anonymous for a lot of career advice or for advice on what I mean to do for my job or whatever and I’m like there’s a few people in recovery that I would talk to about those things but in general I wouldn’t say the 12-step program taught me how to be a good employee because me purse this is just me personally but always a good employee I always showed up for work I might have got high in the bathroom and [ _ ] I’m not know why I wasn’t at my best but like I showed up I was accountable I was dependable I had a lot of financial responsibilities with money you know I mean so those weren’t areas that were obviously unmanageable for me whereas they might be areas that are more unmanageable for other people there is for me personally that were the most unmanageable were emotional I had no emotional connections in my life I felt alone and isolated and sort of lost in the world like I didn’t know what my place was or when the [ _ ] point of even being alive was it just seemed like a big giant struggle you know like you know so that’s where the thoughts of like maybe killing myself is a good idea cuz this is a [ _ ] this is hard this [ _ ] is an easy life isn’t easy it’s difficult I can’t figure this out I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing you know so I had a lot more about like mental unmanageability and what I would call spiritual and emotional unmanageability and it wasn’t until I accepted that that’s where the unmanageability was that I could allow Narcotics Anonymous to help me because before I had always looked at all the other things well I’m not you know shooting up with [ _ ] puddle water in some alley way so I’m not an addict like that my life’s not that unmanageable you know and I could justify away some of the behaviors right yeah I think for me I don’t know I I definitely was not a good employee before I came in archive so I can’t relate to that I and I don’t know specifically that it’s so much about like that I need to seek everyone or other people’s opinions about everything I just it’s a good idea for me to remember to run stuff by people right and if that means I run all my ideas by a few people which I don’t I would I could do better for sure but if I did right and look even the ideas that ultimately might be good for my life not everybody’s gonna agree on right some people might think they’re bad ideas um yeah let me tell you just making a decision to sell all your belongings and buy an RV and travel around the country a lot of people won’t tell you that’s a good idea right they’ll act excited and interested about it now I want to talk about it but they won’t you won’t get a lot of wow that’s really great idea that’s that’s sound thinking there Billy it’s great financial planning right you’ll get a lot of concern uh for and here’s an example a guy that I care about um he dated a girl that just did not seem like the right person for him years ago right and and I remember calling him one night on the way to a meeting just randomly checking on him hey how you been what’s going on and he was like hey uh I just moved her and her two kids in now this is a guy whose only kid is adult and grown up and moved out and he’s lived by himself and always loved the idea that he could live by himself and you know sit in his underwear and he’d ice cream when he got home from work and this just seemed like such a crazy life change right and I wanted to be supportive I didn’t want to be like that’s [ _ ] dumb dude like that’s never gonna work and so I didn’t say that but I did have my apprehension and I was really just shocked I was like what the [ _ ] this seems like the last thing I would expect you I’d have been less surprised if you told me you got high honestly and he had like 15 years clean at this point and I was just like I’m shocked by it and so look they ended up getting married and then they ended up getting divorced and it was what it was and it just turned out to be not that great of a thing well I talked to this guy two weeks ago and he’s talking to the same lady again all right like she used they got divorced she stole from him and all that and apparently she’s doing well again and what the [ _ ] do I know right maybe that works out maybe it doesn’t but if you’re talking about in the grand scheme of like him practicing a first step and sharing that and me being honest which I was to the most compassionate way I could be that does not sound like a good [ _ ] idea right this didn’t work once why why right ah and so I don’t know I can’t say that we’re always gonna do great ideas we’re always gonna follow those suggestions we get in that first step admittance of like I don’t know what the [ _ ] I’m doing but I do think it’s important for me at least the way I got a look at my first step it’s important for me to remember that I need other people’s opinions right because it’s real easy for me to just start thinking my ego will tell me I got the answers again I got this figured out I’m pretty damn smart I’m smarter than most of these people I’m gonna ask anyway why [ _ ] bother I’ll just run all my thinking for a while and I know from my experience that doesn’t get me anywhere positive right I end up in shitty situations where I got to go back to the basics of like I’m powerless again like I gotta stop this it’s heart hurting me it’s hurting people around me now what yeah and that’s one of the aspects of the steps that it’s easy to forget sometimes it’s it they really only apply to us I mean we wish they could apply to everyone else I wish I could give people a good first step sometimes you know what I mean really like don’t you see the pattern of unmanageability here in your life and you know this is just your addiction but that again that’s where the self honesty becomes such a crucial role I mean the steps like my step work only works for me in my life and my level of surrender to my disease and my level of acceptance and humility and all that stuff is only really relevant for me as much as I want to give it to other people wrong that’s why it’s you know crucial that I keep myself in position to understand what I need and I’ve struggled with that over the years because I always think I have great advice for other people I think it is good advice you know it’s well researched or whatever but the point is I’m learning later in my life that I’m trying to give it less and less people are asking for it because it doesn’t really help if they’re not even listening right it just doesn’t seem to help and that sometimes as a friend or as a supporter and recovery you know maybe asking a couple key questions like hey man have you really had me talk to your sponsor about that there’s just kind of throw in some of those general things out there and and letting them make their own decisions and suffer the consequences of their own choices right because that’s unfortunately the only way that I learned sometimes is by making the same mistakes over and over again until I’m humbled enough to come in and admit my powerlessness over this situation and yeah humble enough to come in and say hey man I keep doing this same [ _ ] behavior and I don’t know why and I can’t figure it out what do I need to do but it’s only what I’ve found that point of surrender with that particular issue again right right and they talk about that when the pain gets great enough or you know when the when the fear of change is less than the pain of staying the same right those kind of concepts of coming to that surrender and acceptance and I remember here like acceptance is giving up hope for a better past and I always liked that concept like really what I’m holding on to thinking that the past is gonna change or that I’m gonna invent a time machine and go back and somehow fix it right like acceptance is just letting go that it is what it is and now I got to move forward from here with it how that looks for me today for acceptance is like in some of the most minor ways just with what I’ve been going through lately like I was kind of sick over the last couple weeks and that was happened to be my kids break off of school for the holidays and my wife was homes a little extra and it was my [ _ ] holidays and I was sick for it and I’m a little I was a little bitter about it right I was getting frustrated and more frustrated that I just didn’t seem to be getting any better right I had gone to the doctors at five days in and they said we don’t see anything you know hang out for another week and see what happens and then on like day ten I felt worse than I had felt the entire time and I go back to the doctors and I get antibiotics and then three days into that I’m still not really feeling better and I’m like what in the [ _ ] man I just this is dumb it’s ruining my life right it’s just like zapping my will to live honestly I’m tired of being sick I’m starting to get pity party about how it’s ruining my [ _ ] holidays and this that and the other and like I had to just accept it I don’t feel well and there’s not [ _ ] I can do about it right I will feel better one day honestly and not and any great look I’ll either feel better or I’ll be [ _ ] dead and I’ll feel better right and I hate to look at it like that but that was what I had to do it was I’m tired of laying around resting I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks I haven’t done anything like I want to spend some time as last week with my family so we did we went out to the mall and did I feel great no but it was a decision that I accept where I’m at but I gotta [ _ ] live whether I feel better or not right I just need to be part of life again and so I started making phone calls and getting out of the house and I felt better since I did it and that’s just the the small kinds of acceptance I need in my life today just the honesty of like I don’t have to like it but this is what my reality right now now what now what can I do with that information right I can just keep moving on and the truth was a my and my battery yeah somewhat I’m still a little sick right but I felt [ _ ] better moving and doing things than I did laying around bitching about how sick I was right and so I guess that’s where like my first step is a lot today is just accepting that my [ _ ] body and brain don’t always work the way I want them to I turned on some music from like a different part of my life yesterday not even thinking about it just I was like I’ll sit here I’ll listen to some music and I started having those weird thoughts about like oh man I missed my teenage years and I wish I could go back there and I’m like caught up in it like it was hurting my feelings that I would never have that again and I’m like what the [ _ ] I just I hate that kind of [ _ ] but if that’s part and that’s the acceptance I need like the honesty of like okay that part of my life existed it was interesting now I’m in this part of my life and making this part interesting and let’s move forward yeah and you know that hope that life can always be interesting and fun and unique you know it’s just gonna change like it’s always gonna change things are always gonna change you know it’s one of the parts of recovery that I’ve loved and I’ve said this before like if I look five years back on my life it was different than it was five years before that and five years before that and part of that acceptance of just allowing life to be what it is is difficult sometimes we talk about that you know when we’re talking about powerlessness a lot of times you’ll hear people say oh I’m powerless over people places and things when they’re talking about a first step and that bugs me a little bit because I don’t think that’s the power in our fellowship that’s not the powerlessness that is most important it’s not necessarily a incorrect statement right but when I’m talking about a first step in our particular fellowship I’m very specifically talking about being powerless over a very specific thing my addiction you know now we can debate on what that addiction means right but in that conversation of a first step I don’t give a [ _ ] about other people places and things I mean unless the thing is addiction that I care but you know yeah sure I’m powerless over people places and things that’s great but what I did find interesting not to get too sidetracked by this was that in some of those other fellowships though they are very much powerless over people places and things and that’s very much a part of what they do if you’re talking about al-anon or nar-anon or you know where you’re some of these emotional fellowships maybe the one is in love Anonymous like that of coda would fall in them yeah the powerlessness yeah the adult children of alcoholics maybe like those places the the powerlessness over other people becomes very relevant but to tie that back in with what you were talking about it’s like I am I just I don’t have to I choose to accept my powerlessness over life and the world and the universe and it’s just gonna go and do what it is I have some power in that you know I can influence people I have some some sway and certain things and I can use whatever positive influences or guilt manipulation to get people to do what I want you know like I’m not totally powerless over I used to think I had some influence and then I look at my family and I’m like I but you know it’s like I’m just another person here living a life trying to do the best that I can with what I have and you know sort of accepting that and understanding that I don’t always get what I want you know I don’t it’s like that little kid thing you know well I want this right now I want to feel good right now all the time I want to get you know this new car or that new house or this [ _ ] more money so so what that’s what you want that’s great you can either work to go get it or you can sit around and be unhappy about it you know that’s your choices um and accepting you know as we talked about with a serenity prayer the things that I do have some power over and the things that I don’t have power over and I’ll I don’t know that you have power over being sick I don’t think that’s a choice you get to make I don’t know I don’t know and that was one of the things I talked about like or not that I talked about but I was reading about looking into this first step was just like the idea that you know it’s not because I’m not trying hard enough that I got a flu right and that’s the same with how they needed to look at addiction at least at some point in time was it’s not that we weren’t trying hard enough and that’s why we we were failing right it wasn’t a lack of trying it was a it wasn’t a moral deficiency it was just something that was out of our control similar to having the flu right nothing we did could have kept us from getting it same with my cold like it nothing I did I don’t know maybe you know what’s up maybe I could’ve washed my hands more I don’t [ _ ] know right maybe I could uh quarantine myself away from my sick children I have no idea I just I dunno so where I’m really at this moment in time in my life is I’m trying to accept myself on a deeper level right so I feel like I’m always trying to do that but right now it’s a particular emphasis of mine I’m noticing that there’s still parts of me that I don’t like and I try to avoid acting on things because I’m scared of how people will look at it right and that’s where I’m struggling I’m trying to really just accept me on a deeper level and from there from that place of acceptance Who I am today I can either get more comfortable with me and be there or I have the ability to change it from there right but first I need to really accept it and so things like this the soccer league in our area that my kids just started their first game last night it’s indoor soccer league and and I was not happy with the way you know some of the decisions were made around how the league was run and normally I would never be the guy to like voice that on Facebook or in any kind of open environment because people will look at me in a certain light I was the guy who’s complaining whatever and last night I [ _ ] put it on there I was like [ _ ] it I’m going on their Facebook page and I’m telling them about themselves this is [ _ ] to me right and I’m just trying to get to that point where I’m like you know what this is just where I’m at maybe it’s not perfect maybe it’s not where I want to be ultimately but like this is who I am and I just want to be here and be okay with it for now right I don’t I only get so many days one of these days it’ll get better or it won’t but I want to be okay with it now I want more acceptance of me and what makes me happy even if it doesn’t please everybody else right I need to [ _ ] everybody else I just need to be me and that’s okay if it doesn’t make everybody happy all the time yeah and that’s really crucial I think for me and my 12 step journey is just that finding out who I am and what is important to me and what my values are and what you know what things I want out of life and those are different there’s not a set cookie cutter thing you know I can say financially I am NOT a good financial money manager I’m just not I tend to be impulsive with money I can to be like well it comes it goes whatever you know and I used to struggle about that or not I don’t care it’s it is you know whatever it is what it is and I just accept that about myself and there are some things I could do about it I know what I could or should do about it I’m ready there’s anonymous I mean I’m not gonna get like that but there’s just certain you know I can look at other things to be like oh I wish I had put this money away and I should be investing in rental properties and I should be investing in this and that and we should be doing this and what am I gonna do when I get older I don’t want to work when I’m seven you know all those things that I started dressing about and the truth is you know I intellectually know what things I could or should be doing I’m not willing to do the work to get it and I don’t want to give up what I have now to get there so I can sit around and be unhappy about it and beat myself up about it and feel embarrassed guilty ashamed about it or I can just go [ _ ] it that’s just who I am and I’m okay with that person and those decisions that I make so this is a little less whatever intense maybe than some of the things that you’re talking about but funny sort of minor application of a first step in my life recently I just had this recently so I know that for myself I have been getting up I get up pretty early get up at five o’clock every morning which for me is pretty early and I know that I can’t drink caffeine late at night because it doesn’t mess up me going like I can go to sleep but I don’t feel like I sleep well and I’ll wake up a couple times during the night I don’t get a good sleep when I drink caffeine but it is so programmed into my [ _ ] head when I go to a meeting that I have a cup of coffee like it isn’t just you know quote unquote what I do right I mean I go to the meeting I go get a cup of coffee I sit down at the meeting and my home group is at 8 o’clock so it’s an eight to nine o’clock meeting so I’m drinking coffee from eight to nine o’clock then I go home and I try to go to sleep but I’m not going to sleep till 11 or 12 you know and then my whole night is messed up and I will go through that routine you know and get to the meeting be like all right tonight I’m not gonna have any coffee because I know it’s gonna keep me up and [ _ ] soon as I go and sit down in that chair I start craving a cup of legate’s and it’s just that obsession like it’s it’s in Manas you know a [ _ ] it yeah you [ _ ] it man have your Greek doesn’t matter you know it’s not a big deal just have your [ _ ] cup of coffee enjoy your life in this moment rocket you know in that hole like this last week was like I set there what no I’m not gonna do I’m not gonna give in because that you know moment of self gratification is not worth the consequence what [ _ ] I still struggle with it it’s such a stupid mundane thing and I’ve tried other things I’ve tried making myself like a hot tea and taking hot tea with me to the limit it’s not same it’s just not you know and it’s just funny of like making that admission like I can give in to this thing that is self gratification that’s gonna cost me later or I can choose not to right right now that’s funny one of the things you have mentioned a couple minutes ago not your 12-step chair and he kind of reminded me of just the whole purpose of one of the things that I heard about the point of the 12 steps was just figuring out who I am and then doing it on purpose right and I always loved that concept of like trying to be Who I am on purpose and you know I think that applies for what you’re talking about right now in either direction honestly if you want to be the guy that has the coffee and is tired on Fridays after your home group and [ _ ] it be that guy on purpose right and if and if not you want to be the guy who like has a glass of just purely hot water and carrots on Thursday night and feels healthier Friday like [ _ ] it be that guy on purpose like I really think it’s all about just being okay ultimately with who we are and that is the ultimate process of the 12 steps like you were mentioned and just figuring out what it is that matters to us and then living by that and that’s where I struggled before I got here it wasn’t I was trying to live by what everybody else wanted and it’s still hard here in a recovery position to remember that like even in littler ways about coffee on Thursday nights or you know complaining about publicly about something that we don’t agree with or voice in an opinion like people aren’t gonna [ _ ] like it but I just need to be okay with me and it’s if I can just do that man I can feel so much better about myself yeah and that’s what you know it’s like you said with the coffee thing like I don’t mean that to say there’s a right or wrong answer you know I mean there isn’t a right run you know there isn’t a right or wrong answer to who do I want to be today or what and I might decide two weeks from now [ _ ] I’m gonna drink coffee at the meeting I don’t care I like it and that’s just what I’m gonna do or maybe find some you know decision in the middle but just like you’re voicing your comments and and expressing your opinion like sometimes trying different things to see what we like and what feels good and when we feel okay with you know in our own hearts like say for me it comes back to a lot of times like I got to lay down with myself and that pillow at night and I choose to run through my day and look at what things are cropping up what things are bothering me and what things aren’t you know and like in your situation if I found that sitting on that decision and saying nothing was bothering me that I would say something no and realizing that for all of us it’s not about right or wrong I always want to be the rightest you know I was having the best decision in situations and it’s not always about being the rightest it’s not always about making the smartest decision it’s about you know what learning what fills my spirit the most you know or make my spirit feel the most okay with itself ro you know and in my life now I like to think I’m pretty comfortable with the person that I am and the life that I’m living and and what’s going on in my life I tend to be pretty open and and I can tell I’ll say I can tell because I’m pretty open about what I’m doing or what’s going on in my life with anybody who [ __ ] wants to talk about it for ten minutes I don’t try to I don’t feel like there’s any parts of me that I’m embarrassed or ashamed of that I don’t talk to people that I’m close with about rude and to me that’s a good indicator that I’m them living my best self is it I don’t have secrets or things I’m embarrassed or ashamed about that I’m high from other people that’s a pretty good indication I’m gonna evaluate my life before we come back next week is there anything else you had to say about step one now it’s the beginning of a new way of life that’s right what we say at the beginning I can’t that’s what step one is I can’t can’t keep it simple all right everybody enjoy your week and we’ll see you again next week that wraps up this episode please subscribe rate and review this podcast on your preferred platform if you have ideas for topics you’d like us to talk about or just want to add an opinion contact us through Anker email us at recovery sort of at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at recovery sort of

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