18: Anonymity, Self-Disclosure, and How to Break the Stigma (Sort Of)

2/16/20 We explore the question “Is remaining anonymous in our daily lives allowing people to continue to judge other addicts or persons in recovery?” Sure, we have the spiritual principles of anonymity and being anonymous, but when I stay anonymous because I’m scared someone will judge me or keep me from getting a certain job, am I also saying with action that “it’s okay to not let persons in recovery at this job.”? We also recap some other input into Step 2 and talk about some milestones we just hit.

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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

hey everybody welcome back to recovery sort of I’m Jason I’m a guy in long-term recovery here with my co-host as always Billy hey this is Billy I’m also a person in long-term recovery and today we’re gonna get into the topic of whether being Anonymous in recovery creates more stigma or perpetuates stigma or continues to allow people to have a lesser view of people struggling with addiction or something along those lines but before we get into any of that I wanted to touch on some housekeeping ideas the first thing we wanted to mention we got an email this week and this email says Jason and Billy my name is also Jason no I didn’t write this to myself says my name is also Jason I’m from upstate New York also in recovery and I just found your podcast on Pandora this past week I just wanted to reach out and let you guys know I love the podcast and your views ideas on the topics discussed gets my mind going and also helps fuel my recovery motivation so thanks guys and looking forward to more and I got to tell you man this uh I mean for one this this touched on pretty much exactly why I do this podcast I can’t speak for Billy but I was like that’s exactly what the purpose of this is for me is just the more I talk and think and actively engage in recovery ideas the more like self-aware and more recovery at act on in my life I guess and so I wanted to kind of give a place for other people to have that and a good again that’s and I felt exactly the same way you know I felt like really kind of humbled by them and really you know like wow that’s amazing like it’s sort of that thing of when you’re in recovery and you feel like man if I can just help one person like it makes it worth it right I just if I can make a little bit of impact on one person’s life I make one person’s life better it’s it’s worth the effort that you put into it and it feels that way with this and we’ve had comments like that from friends of ours and things which you know not that that’s not as equally as row but it feels like that’s a captive audience kind of thing like they’re people that already know us they kinda are already that’s mom telling you you’re a handsome young man people that at least you feel like are already on your team and yes I mean I love the support I really appreciate the support so my close friends and and people that I know but when you get it from like a complete stranger they found us some random way in the universe you know right it’s pretty neat it was it was super neat and honestly I have to say like my first thought when I read it was oh my god did did my wife like pretend to be somebody like give me a little inspiration and then I thought a little more about my wife and I was like nope definitely wasn’t my wife’s enemy it’s British not her no I agree and and like eat Pandora dude like we weren’t even on Pandora automatically that was one of those things that just for some reason I stumbled across the thing that said hey pandora has podcast so I investigated it for the hell of it and like how hard is it to get on there and it wasn’t you just applied and they did it and I was like how [ _ ] cool is it that that I don’t know really appreciated that email so Jason thank you and I hope we continue to be useful for you yeah and I also wanted to continue on with what you said about why we’re doing this and what we’re doing because we have had some comments like wow sometimes it seems like it’s just two guys sitting around talking and the truth is yeah that’s pretty much what it is like I kind of thought about that and thought yeah that’s that is what it is you know it’s not a meeting it’s not a place where we’re trying to you know regurgitate literature at you or anything else I think it’s the perspective of two people that are living this path of recovery that the struggles the challenges the benefits you know in the spiritual aspects of living and I don’t pretend that what everything we’re saying is gonna save everybody but to get people to think about these things and and why they’re doing these things and how to live a better life like that’s the whole point is to get people to think for themselves on some of these topics yeah definitely even if you completely disagree with us I think you’re still fitting the the purpose right I still I still think that’s the idea just to you thinking about where do you stand and how to follow that path of where you stand right it’s not about us being right or having the right solution for any yeah and if and I just like to continue with that and say if you disagree please reach out to us email you know is probably one of the easiest ways to make a longer point like you know we’re on Twitter you can email again I’m always open-minded to other points of view other ways of looking at things maybe I missed something you know continuing on in this journey it isn’t about coming in and spewing some important stuff and moving on with my life like I think about this stuff a lot and a lot of these topics are are ongoing the struggles with anxiety the struggles with relationships the struggles with with living in recovery are always there and I can only continue to get better by having more points of view yeah we’re currently like 45 minutes late recording this podcast because we just disagreed on the subject ya couldn’t stop talking about it for 45 minutes so absolutely if you disagree you were part of the Klan I was just thinking when you were mentioned in that that conversation and two guys talking so there was a point early on in my recovery where I spent about six months working with this guy doing landscape and who was also you know right around the same amount of time in recovery we were just working next to each other doing you know all kinds of different landscape and tasks but we talked recovery and concepts and literature and stuff all day long and it’s like one of the healthiest places I’ve ever been in my life and I actually revisited that and through weird life circumstances ended up working next to the same guy like 10 years later and it was like we did the same exact thing and it’s just so healthy to just rehash ideas and talk about them and so we won’t we won’t beat that to death but yeah that is kind of what we we’re hoping for here is just to get people talking and thinking about you know what do we want out of life another thing we wanted to announce a milestone for us we’re excited about probably not a huge thing in the world of you know podcasting but we have hit the milestone of having a thousand downloads or listens or whatever you want to call them and that’s pretty cool feeling do you have any feelings about that yeah I was pretty excited about that too I kind of when I went into this thought well we’ll just start doing it and we’ll see what happens and I really felt like it was gonna be difficult in the world of podcast I know and how many of them are out there and how many people think oh you just start a podcast and it’ll be great you’ll make all this money like I had set myself up for I’m willing to do this and keep doing it as long as you and I feel like getting together and having a conversation because this spurred from us just getting together meditating and having a conversation right we were doing that without anybody recording anything and you know it’s kind of like well let’s just do it and record it and see what happens and you know slowly our listeners keep growing we keep getting you know our audience estimated audience goes up Andrew you know new people are finding us so it’s it’s awesome I’m just really excited I don’t even understand completely what all the statistics mean honestly I’m like is this people who like download and listen to the first two minutes and then turn it off before we even talk I have no I really don’t but whatever it seemed cool the whole idea of even thousand numbers and stuff like that blows my mind which yesterday so look I’ve never you know look I know how many years I have right but I don’t follow days a lot there’s the weird day milestones that I’ve never paid much attention to because I just don’t pay much attention but everybody on Twitter is always posting these strange number of days they had clean or sober and I was like well screw it let me check it out a couple weeks ago and it happened to be I was close to a milestone so I was like well I’ll put that in my calendar because that’s kind of neat and so I did and so yesterday I had 6,000 days clean Wow and it was pretty cool feeling so I guess today I have six thousand and one or if you’re listening to this Tuesday it’ll be six thousand and two or three whatever yeah so I go home last night and I and I text a guy just randomly about something else and I mentioned it I was like what the hell I got six thousand days today and so he happened to look his I’ve missed my buddy Jason from from down in Baltimore and he had five hundred his was an even number two and I’m like what kind of weird coincidences are these things right it’s just strange to me well congratulations on 6,000 days oh yeah I don’t know now is that it seems low it always seems low when you count days for some reason seems like she’d be like seventy five thousand days or something but get hours or minutes then you can be in the middle [ _ ] time right a second more clean time than everybody god damn it no honestly and what I posted on Twitter about it is pretty much how I feel about it like on any given day if I’m not up keeping with what I need to do man I can still not want to be here right and that’s just the truth of my life I don’t know if it’s like that for everybody but there’s a [ _ ] ton of really good days in my life because I am able to do a lot of these practices and and thank God for that man I’ve enjoyed a lot of these 6,000 days so we wanted to get into recap and we talked about step two last week and so we you know posted that on some social media outlets and and got some feedback Brian on Facebook his idea of step two was do I have faith and trust that’s something someone loving and caring and greater than me can bring me back to a healthy rational way of thinking and living I think that’s a pretty standard concept of step two you know can something help me get better and then on Twitter you had serenity press saying if you’ve ever been in jail or the military you have no problem accepting that there’s a power greater than you that can control your life and I thought that was an interesting idea I’ve heard this before I don’t think we mentioned it last week at all and just the idea of there’s definitely powers in our lives that you know are out of our control I think last week we might have mentioned the Sun and like gravity like you’re not gonna jump off a building and then you know control that and float but we didn’t mention like jails and institutions that you can’t leave so I know you didn’t so this was part of our conversation before we started recording it and I sort of went down a path of well I don’t know I think we do have some choices in using that once we start we’re powerless you know and and that I believe is true but my choice to get clean this time I wasn’t locked up or in a facility or anywhere else woke up one day and said I was sick and tired of this life and sick and tired of living this way and I knew there was a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and I had no idea what I was gonna do or where I was going to go or how it was gonna work but I got up the next day didn’t get high and went to that meeting and you know for me personally like that was just a different choice that I made that day and I don’t know why but no one forced it upon me you know and to me like when I was in jail I didn’t get to wake up and make a different choice any day you know Shirley told me what time Chow was they told me what time work Duty was they told me what time lights-out were and I didn’t get to make any different decision and I didn’t get to make a choice of when I wanted to leave either you know and they made that choice for me too so for me you know my experience being stuck in addiction was no one held a gun to my head or made me stay there you know it was my own choice because that was the best coping mechanism or coping skills I had at the time yeah I don’t I don’t know for this particular sentiment of you know if you’ve been to jail you can accept that there’s a Power greater then then it’s really so much maybe the idea of you know that that addiction is like being in jail even though in some ways in my mind it definitely felt like it was for sure but I think this is probably one of those ways for for somebody who says I’m not powerless or you know I don’t I haven’t lost control I got total control over everything in my life and and just to show people that there are powers greater than you like this is one of them is one prisons one like it wash your ass up bro yeah from that perspective yes it definitely was a Power greater than me you know I didn’t get to leave what I wanted to I’m good now just the tea talked about something I think we did touch on which was the came to believe and not instantly believe about being open to something greater than yourself wings of recovery the second step taught them faith says they had to believe in something that wasn’t a person that living it had to be maybe the rooms were a higher power when they first got here and they had to believe in people who had the clean time they knew they couldn’t do it alone and I think I don’t know if we talked about just not being able to do it alone we might have weeks yeah we sort of touched on that we were not trusting of other people um but I don’t know that we touched as much on the faith aspect and I really liked that when I read that comment you know for me that was important because up to that point like I had pretty much resigned to like the world is it maybe this was just a justification for some of my behaviors of lying cheating and stealing and all that but I’d resigned myself to the fact of the world is just this hard cold place where everybody’s out and yet for themselves and you know it’s it’s never gonna be good it’s there’s always gonna be a struggle and it’s always gonna be difficult um you know sorry I really didn’t have a lot of faith that life could be happy and good and healthy right right now I’m absolutely with you on that one somebody else had mentioned Jen mentioned praying to the car gods for a safe ride somewhere and you know she brought up the whole group of drugs group of drug addicts good orderly direction you know the acronyms we can use for God if we don’t believe in a particular God early on or ever and you know I yeah I don’t know if I’ve ever prayed to the car gods in particular but but [ _ ] it man I’d pray to any goddamn God if I thought it would help right and honestly in the way I see God I wouldn’t find it offensive you know the whole even Game of Thrones idea of I pray to all the gods the old ones and the new right it doesn’t matter I’ll pray to car gods and airplane gods if I’m going on a flight I don’t think that would violate like what I believe in yeah and and probably enough as as whatever you want to call it difficult of an issue as I have with God and praying and all that stuff I still find myself doing it oh like a couple of times so one of the and I think I got this from a tenth step like a lot of nights probably not every night but I would say probably at least three or four nights out of the week like when I’m laying down in bed I am really grateful for my life and I tend to thank God like thank God you know thank you for this life in this day and my family and all that I have like and again I don’t think I’m praying out to some mystical guy in the sky or anything like that I think it’s a way for me to rectify in my mind what’s going on to really touch the process of what’s going on in my life and the miracle that’s happening right mom but then like last night I found myself so we were at a public function with a lot of people’s a setting that I hate it’s a big group of a bunch of people there’s a some of them are my friends but it’s a lot of people that you sort of surface know and political people and it’s kind of a recovery event and my wife was a big part of it so I’m really there to support her and I forget all that and I get caught up in my own anxiety and all that stuff and so I went into the bathroom and I just prayed and said god help me to remember like this isn’t about me it’s about my wife and I’m just here to love her and support her and to be you know in appreciation of all that she does hmm and again I don’t know why I pray that’s a strange thing to say like I don’t I don’t know that I even believe in it but I do it anyway so maybe that’s the thing of faith I don’t know and that’s an interesting thing to me because what I found with a lot of people that may come in and ask me for any kind of guidance whatsoever which I still questioned them but they say if they say they don’t have any real particular belief system my suggestion is just pray see what happens right and my experience with that is usually through the evidence of the outcome of the prayers or the evidence of however that works out in their life they do come to an understanding and a belief system for themselves so to know that you pray and to see what your life is and say at least from my perspective damn prayers are working out pretty well it’s hard to it’s weird to think that you that hasn’t led you to some relationship with some at this point right cuz obviously it has at some points just not so much right now yeah why my one of my previous sponsors explained prayers more of like a cognitive behavioral thing than a spiritual thing so I always go back to that like I’m really just rewiring circuitry in my brain to focus on the things that I think are important that I need to be focused on that wasn’t my my asian guy is it is my take oh okay okay he’s back up in my sort of made it he presented it from the mystical way of like it’s and again I’m gonna paraphrase but prayer is a way of us sort of oh I don’t want to make it sound – woowoo but manifesting yes manifesting what we want in our lives bringing to light bringing to the forefront you know what our desires and wishes are so he is once again my guru and one last idea about step two brian on twitter a different brian who is a why and not and i said when you’re sick and damned tired of being sick and damn tired you become willing and that’s powerful for us and i would have to agree with that I don’t think we mentioned being sick and tired last week I guess that is part of it though for sure like it I’ve heard that so many times sick and tired of being sick and tired then we’ll do something different yeah and there’s some sayings in our fellowship one of them they talk about is the gift of desperation you know when we’re desperate we become willing we get a little more open-minded when we’re beaten down enough right right yeah that’s for sure just an aside before we hop right into this we just as we were sitting here recording this morning got our thousand Twitter followers so that’s kind of cool I guess I don’t know what the [ _ ] that really means except that I follow a bunch of [ _ ] people and talk a lot but it’s cool nonetheless so the topic we want to get into is the idea of you know is being anonymous in long-term recovery beneficial for persons and recovery is a beneficial for persons who struggle with addiction and so basically I kind of I mean this is always a topic right we talked about stigma and the stigma against you know people who have used drugs at some point whether they’ve gotten themselves together or not in their past it’s something that you know we deal with on a regular basis like is this gonna hurt me in my life if I tell people about it we started this podcast and I was kind of on the side of I don’t want to use my last name I’m not sure I want to put any pictures of myself up to associate with this like I’m kind of going into a professional career at some point and I don’t know how this holds up me getting a license or how people might view me if they were thinking about coming to see me in that capacity professionally if they knew this about my history and again all the stigma that comes along with that right that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid and I woke up this was February 4th so I guess that’s like two weeks ago at this point and I was just overcome with this idea that like I can’t be anonymous anymore like I just woke up with this one Tuesday morning I think it was and it was like I just [ _ ] can’t do it anymore this isn’t right this isn’t for me this isn’t what I need to do I need to fix [ _ ] I need to fight things I need to stand up and be Who I am and and look this isn’t a while this kind of happened overnight on to a Tuesday morning right this idea isn’t something that happened in one moment just this whole concept of becoming more self accepting more self loving appreciating Who I am as a person and being more okay with that and more okay that I don’t really you know for lack of better words I just don’t give as much of a [ _ ] now people know who I am and what I really stand for right I’m okay enough with it that [ _ ] it this is me right judge it all you want but this is what I am and I’m good with it for the most part and I don’t know if that’s a factor of getting older a factor of more recovery a factor of therapy a factor of what but it’s comfortable I tell you that it’s nice to be able to freely be yourself and so when I woke up on that Tuesday morning I posted this on a Facebook group that I’m a part of that has quite a few members in our area sort it’s in Baltimore it’s not quite where we’re at today and it says during my first year clean especially like the first six months I told everyone I saw that I used to shoot heroin and coke and then I was a proud member of Narcotics Anonymous which had saved my life and it was true man I would like you’d be ringing me up for a water and a candy bar at 7-eleven and I’m [ _ ] Tanya I saved my life and I just couldn’t stop talking about it because I was so excited that it had honestly and the post goes on over time I grew quieter about that part of my life no less proud to be clean but reluctant to tell people and hope to just kind of pretend it didn’t exist because I didn’t want to be judged stigma exactly what we’re talking about maybe it was Shane creeping PAC back in was I just so amazed by the miracle in the beginning maybe everyone early on knew I had been a using addict so just claiming to be clean was an improvement but as I came into contact with other people I could hide it and I put that I’m starting to think I did not do my part to lessen stigma that possibly I could have been open about my truth the whole time and done a better service to us all if I don’t share the setback people can’t see the miraculous comeback right and kind of the whole idea of like if I don’t tell people how rough my life was or how terrible it got how could I ever convince them that a miracle had been performed right if all they ever see is oh hey you do well in life they would never know that that’s a real [ _ ] miracle from where I come from sleeping outside right and so I don’t know that’s where we’re at to talk about that what do you got to start us off though yeah so immediately what I in my heart what I hear is that’s a beautiful result of recovery is what I would call it like that is an awakening of your spirit that is now becoming alive and a part of who you are and when your values are what’s important to you and having the courage to step away from the fear of judgment and criticism of others and what people might think of you to to be the people that we truly are in to be the people that we were if you want to look at it this way that God truly made us to be um to me that’s what I hear like that’s what your spirit is calling you to do and so you’re stepping out on some faith and doing it and it’s amazing because there can be negative repercussions and we’ve all you know I can’t say we’ve all I’ve been in the same situation at times you know I’ve always been I’ll say fairly open about my recovery in as much as I’ve shared recovery things on my facebook you know over time or any social media I’ve shared about whatever new meetings anniversaries all that sort of stuff just in my general Facebook I never really run there that much um and I think that for me there have been times where I’ve thought oh [ _ ] you know nowadays people go look at that when you’re applying for jobs or doing different things and what if people go back and they’ll see me sharing this stuff and and having this stuff on my and how is that gonna reflect on me and for the most part I dislike math look it you know it is I can’t change it now it is what it is and if they say and they see it and make whatever judgment they’re gonna make and you know it’s not I mean I guess I could go back and try to delete all the posts and all that somebody and for us in particular so you know we’ve talked about briefly on here a few years back you know my wife and I sold all our stuff I left a job that I was at for 16 years and we started applying for jobs and different places and not just this wasn’t just applying for one job where you would get an interview but you were applying at different jobs every couple months because you were moving from one job you know you work at one campground for a season and then get to another job for a season and then give to another job for a season so this was repeatedly applying for jobs and every time that fear creeping in of like these people going to go look at my facebook saw real easy to look me up you know it’s real easy to go find out who we are and then just being like let’s Who I am you know that’s just that’s just who I am and I’m ok with that today I think another part of you’re beginning story is so like most of these principles you know this principle of anonymity and what it means we don’t fully understand what it means when we get here those um we don’t we don’t quite get you know what the protection that it gives to the fellowship the protection that it gives to the individual um and those things and as we stay in this process or recovery we really start to work steps we get up to a twelfth step you know where we have this spiritual awakening and we realize you know the benefits of anonymity and a full understanding of what it’s like honesty you know we learn about honesty early and recovery that’s like well I think that [ _ ] is ugly so I should just tell her that she’s ugly you know cuz I’m honest today that’s who I am and it’s like well not exactly that’s you know yes that’s honesty but that’s not what we’re talking about right you know or that’s not a spiritual application of that principle and as we’ll find out later in a different podcast I’m sure some time we’ll talk about it that’s not actually honesty or truth either yeah well yeah but the point being we we learn what these principles really mean and how to apply them fully in our lives and so you know a misconception that I think a lot of people look at anonymity and that you know we talked about anonymity being a spiritual foundation of our traditions and things like that what I’m talking about I don’t believe we’re not talking about protection for the individual we’re talking about protection for the fellowship as a whole and that if I want to out myself as being in a person in recovery to me to simplify what that means is I don’t run around and tout what fellowship I’m in or say that it’s the right one or say that it’s the better than all the other ones but there’s no parts in our literature that I’ve read or that I’ve interpreted to say that I shouldn’t be out you know telling people yes I am a person in recovery I used to be an addict and I found a path out of that and my life is inherently better now because of that right so one of the things that we’re going to get into after the break coming up here is that a lot of people talk about the personal protection of remaining anonymous right avoiding the stigma of it avoiding the repercussions that can have for our professional lives or our personal lives and one of the things you are sort of touching on here also like not that I need to be anonymous but there is a protection of I don’t want to be the only representation of Narcotics Anonymous that someone has in their life right or of any fellowship or of recovery itself honestly like if I am the only thing you ever know about recovery Hey nine days out of ten that might be really cool but then when I do something really shitty right like I don’t want to be the guy who like um and then people in that place just do this right or especially early on running around and talking about it and what if I wouldn’t have made at that time oh well that that [ __ ] he was talking about obviously don’t work I worked for a couple of months but now he’s right back to where he was so I do see how being a little bit more anonymous than I was being then was probably useful before we get any further let’s take a break in and you know play our ad for voices and then 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 versing about this topic the first person that responded almost instantly to when I posted it just said you okay I don’t know if that’s a function of like that I don’t always post on Facebook that often or you know that I was asking about a topic that maybe had some feeling behind it and maybe there was some concern i apprec– like the people genuinely concerned about me but it was a little like why wouldn’t I be okay I’m just talking about whether I should be anonymous or not what do you what did you think about that reply yeah well I think that’s good maybe people get concerned when they see us acting out of character you know maybe they just saw your name would say I haven’t seen you in a while it very well could have been it could have been just as simple as that but I do know that when I say something like this or if I were to say something like this I probably wouldn’t at this point in time I usually just remain quiet but if I saw a post where I wanted to ask are you okay I’m probably thinking should we piss test you really the sentiment I’m getting at when I say it’s hot I don’t think that’s what they meant but possibly uh but yeah hey whatever thanks for checking on me I’m not taking it personal at all Rachel decided to talk about you know how each person is a little different some people need to know more than others each person needs to carry themselves different about whether they want to be forthcoming or not and and I think this is where I got into a sort of debate with a couple of people right because before this Tuesday morning that I posted this I would be in 100% agreement that it was none of anybody else’s business and I should kind of stay more hush-hush unless this the situation needed me to do something different than that and so my debate was almost looking for where’s the right and wrong of this right like yeah some of us can expose ourselves if we feel that that’s the right thing to do for us and other people cannot expose themselves if they think that’s the right thing to do for their life the way it’s going but is that helping the stigma right if 500 addicts are coming forth and saying hey we used to have struggles with drugs and now we’re doing better people do recover that’s helpful if 5,000 do it that’s much more help full right that’s much more lessening stigma if if half the United States comes out and says hey we used to have a drug problem and now we’re you know we’re able to be fine and we need to stop treating people with drug problems as animals and less than that’s a big deal whereas if only ten thousand people come forward it’s not so I guess my argument to their point was not that I don’t somewhat understand where people get to choose their destiny but is there a right and wrong for this like do we all need to do it and have the unified front in order for it to really have the power we needed to have I think that depends on whether you feel like it’s your responsibility to combat stigma you know yeah and that again gets back to my spiritual growth as an individual what are my values what am i beliefs how do I think that I become the biggest benefit to the people and lives in the world around me and in my case it’s that I don’t really you know I’m willing to take the risks of you know being a person in recovery I mean and and like I’ll say like at my job I don’t run around and tell people I’m in recovery and talk 12-step language Adam or anything like that but everyone there knows that I don’t drink or do drugs that there was a time in my life that I did drink and do drugs that there was a time in my life that I’ve been in jail that I wasn’t a good person um over the years of being at my job some people have talked to me about that stuff or usually on a quiet side note people have come to me in conversation about family members you know is usually when it’s come up right you know hey I’m battling with whatever I have another kind of I call it of benefit in that my wife is actively engaged in the political recovery community in this small area that we live right and I you know if people asked also what your wife do you know well she runs a nonprofit that helps people with addiction like that’s that sort of sets me I don’t wanna say it sets me up to be out in recovery because it’s easy to say there are people that run nonprofits all the time right don’t necessarily struggle with whatever the nonprofit is it’s definitely a door opener for the complex right but it opens people up to think that I may be a resource for them to come to whether they have a family member friend but you know that was a case at my job before any of that anyway and then on a one-on-one you know or a personal conversation I’ve said I go to 12-step meetings in but you know and I’ll get more into detail if the conversation presents itself that way but there’s been times in my recovery where I ran around wearing NA t-shirts and all that kind of stuff I don’t do that anymore my wife doesn’t really do that anymore either mostly because she did go get so involved in the sort of political thing but she definitely wears all the support your local needle exchange and a recovery saves lives in our tune see ya got an arcade like she wears all that stuff you know proudly where we go and write you know that is just the people that we are and we are totally willing to take whatever criticism judgements you know stigma comes with that because anyone that knows us especially now especially being sort of a public face in a community knows the kind of people that we are you know and if they want to talk about where we came from that’s fine I have nothing to be ashamed of now mom but it doesn’t mean the fear go you know they’re still always that fear that this person’s gonna judge me for what I used to be you know and what I’ve learned in recovery is that courage is having the ability to walk through fear it’s not the absence of fear it’s the ability to walk through fears and so when I worked at 12 staff and you know had my spiritual awakening as a result of the steps you know I’ve decided that I want to carry this message to addicts not just addicts in Narcotics Anonymous rooms not just addicts that are asking for help not just addicts that you know come trying to kick my door down to get help but any addict that’s suffering from the disease of addiction should know that there is a way out that there are options and that you don’t have to live this way anymore right now absolutely uh you know we if we were completely 1,000% anonymous well first we would break math but if we were 100 percent anonymous nobody would ever know we existed to find the help that they might need in our in our you know locations and program meetings I do want to clarify it like with all these conversations that I talked about on this post in general I have a high respect for quite a few of these people that I interact with on Facebook I appreciate their recovery I appreciate their thoughts right really a very respectful conversation was had on this none of it was about belittling somebody else’s idea or arguing about who was right or wrong it was just a very interesting discussion of some different viewpoints right and I look I like my viewpoints right as a guy who appreciates the way he thinks yeah whatever call that narcissistic or self-centered I like my viewpoints on things I think I think through things and I enjoy that process of it and I enjoy coming to a conclusion that I think works for me right does not mean that I think I come up with every viewpoint ever right and this is why I like to have discussions to hear some other input oh [ _ ] Rachel and Shannon said some [ _ ] in a way I’d never heard it right or never thought about it or Billy or Jason or there’s always somebody pointing something out and like it’s it’s more juicy [ _ ] for me to think about right and so I don’t want to I don’t want to come across in any way during this conversation is if any of these people I interacted with are wrong or I was you know I was showing them who was boss it was definitely not like that it was just an interesting conversation I am tending to fall towards the side of for me I almost think we need to come out in droves at this moment and look I might change my mind in six months and be like thank God all them people didn’t listen to me and come out and draw alright I was it would have been a terrible idea uh but right now I’m almost starting to believe that right like maybe we all do if everybody you knew that was an addict all of a sudden came out as an addict to you and you had that shocking revelation of like how like my hairdresser and my bank teller and I know these [ _ ] people right maybe it does work yeah maybe people aren’t just pieces of [ __ ] forever yeah and and it’s funny you know some of the people that I love the most and respect the most you know in recovery now are people that are very anonymous in their lives and professional careers and they you know wholeheartedly feel that it would be a detriment to them to come out and may be a detriment to their business or a detriment to you know whatever and I totally appreciate that you know what I mean about them I would never try to out them or force them into an awkward situation right you know because again what’s what’s right for me isn’t what’s right for everyone else I mean again I’m the same obviously I think well if everybody lived the way I live it would be a better place I definitely think that but I don’t think that I have all the answers or that I am right and like say who’s to say in two or three years from now my life situation change and all of a sudden you know whatever addicts are the next you know we should all be locked up and thrown in jail for twenty years you know we go back to something like that and then all of a sudden you know right

so I don’t think that it is a right or wrong again I think the the journey of the steps and I tend to tell people this you know my understanding of the steps is there isn’t a right or wrong on that path there isn’t a goal I mean obviously abstinence in a better life is the goal but you know your interpretation of these principles and how they apply in your life and how you choose to use them is all your individual journey Bruno and and my goal or through the process is to be the best person that I can be and again in my life right now I just find that there are a lot of suffering addicts out there that have maybe tried 12 steps at one point or another who have come in for a couple minutes and felt judged or criticized or somebody rude to them or whatever whatever their bad experience was because people have bad experiences in 12-step meetings you know people have all kinds of bad interactions with individuals inside of 12-step organizations where they’re judged and criticized and that you know and in a fragile state of early recovery like that can be really emotionally detrimental you know and to try to kind of be a loving supporting voice for people that may just may be willing to open that door no no absolutely um I agree and we kind of gone over to concept before where a lot of the people who aren’t thrilled with the way the program might have not worked out they might be the people coming back to places and given feedback about how it doesn’t work but the people it does work for we all just kind of go off and live our lives and get quiet so nobody’s here and the the idea that these places do work right we’re not spouting that out you’re only hearing the idea oh yeah that stuff doesn’t work for me I got to try something else over and over again yeah and there’s a you know if anyone’s really interested there’s a documentary out called the anonymous people and it’s about that it’s about you know being in recovery ways that you can come out of anonymity but still respect the anonymity of your individual pathway of recovery and some of the reasons why some of the beliefs that you know sort of a little bit of what I talked about of people have sort of hijacked this principle of anonymity and then used it in a really what I would call derogatory way for the recovery movement and that like say when you go to local health offices or health you know politicians or you know your local health officer like they are not hearing from the people that are in you know 12-step recovery or abstinence based recovery for a long time because we just go off and become healthy working taxpaying community members you know and we’re showing up Little League to be little league coaches and showing up for you know sporting events and supporting the local you know whatever parades and the local activities and the local vendors and you know we went from robbing and stealing from our community to being active members in our community but no one sees that because we’re so worried about you know staying under the radar and not letting anyone know who we are but it does a disservice to the recovery movement right right well so it says in the traditions you know anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions ever reminding us to place principles before personalities right and we we say that a lot and we say it means is you know what you hear you and and we say all kind of stuff about it and we talk about anonymity as in like nobody should know that I come here I may be some portion of anonymity does mean that right but this portion of anonymity right here what I’ve read is that this is all about the idea of just selfless service right it’s giving in the spirit of I’m not trying to get acclamation for all these great deeds I’ve done I’m just doing them because they need to be done and I want them to be done right I want to act in ways that are good for society or the fellowship or for whatever and not have to get you know my name or an award for it at the same time that’s what this spirit of anonymity is talking about it says the spirit of just doing the right thing and not needing someone to praise me for it right and and trying to make our decisions based on what’s good for the whole of the fellowship you know the whole of the organization that were a part of you know for me you know I might personally view it as a benefit to the quote-unquote recovery movement to out some of these professional business people and to say look at these people you know what I mean they’re but they’re totally successful and they used to be drug addicts and they’d come to these twelve right you know that might be really powerful in that message but it undermines that person and it undermines the principles of our fellowship you know understanding that principle of anonymity is for the protection of the fellowship and the protection of the other individuals you know and and the whole of the fellowship in that recovery pathway is the important piece there absolutely and so we’ve gotten away from somebody’s comment so let’s hop back home to them while we’re you know get back on tracks Stephanie definitely you know fell to the side of not being as open or maybe uh Nenana miss about it and one of the thing that really stuck out from her approach was she told me to stop thinking and I love Stephanie dearly for sure but I think that’s the opposite of what I want to do honestly right like I love these conversations about it and and I’ve run into many people who I respect their recovery absolutely they’ve got double digits and twenty sums and their whole principle is keep it simple and I don’t want to think deeply about any of this stuff like I don’t want to theorize and and and all that and there’s nothing wrong with that take on recovery right that’s just definitely not what keeps me spiritually grounded is not thinking right I need to think and delve into these topics not that I really need an answer I just need to think and talk about them because that’s what keeps me right you know on a straight and narrow we could end a Patrick and Patrick said that you know there’s a reason that enemies a base of our traditions we called the sacred code of conduct it’s how we deal with the deal with it at the public level and he mentions and so I kind of disagree with a portion of that based on what I just told you about what I read about the traditions being in something a little different but he says in the next sentence my life speaks volumes to the people that knew me an active addiction the spiritual principle is the laws of attraction I don’t need to stand on a mountaintop and shout my recovery to anyone and so I appreciate him saying that and I totally get that right but for a guy like me that doesn’t work because the people who I knew an act of addiction don’t see me today I’m not living in the same area as I used to when I used I’m not around the same people I don’t interact with any of those people they don’t ever see the benefits of what my recovery has done so for somebody that you know maybe used in Florida and then got clean and main their life isn’t gonna speak volumes of the miracle that that took place in recovery they’re never gonna know anything about that and uh that’s that’s kind of a tough piece for me to understand I guess for somebody who used in one area and then got clean in that same area and stayed there their life will speak volumes of how the change happened right but for somebody who uses one place and then ends up living their recovery life some are completely different their life-changing situation is never going to be seen by the people in their life and so that doesn’t really apply for them yeah and I would say I mean I agree with what you’re saying but I would go on to say even in a small community I mean I used right here in Cecil County all the trouble I got in I was in the local detention center you know what I mean right and now after all these years clean I mean the amount of people that I interact with that I knew from back then a miniscule amount I mean there’s there’s if I see you know one person a year from my what I would call old using life you know that’s a lot right and so no the people that I I mean my family obviously sees a big difference you know for the immediate family but in my case my family it wasn’t they aren’t addicts or not all of them anyway you know and for me personally again this is my personal beliefs of having worked a 12-step like I carry a way more powerful message by showing up and being a coach on the local you know little league team and being a person that’s like hey I used to be you know see all these homeless addicts around here that everyone hates and that thinks we should be locking up and throwing away the key I used to be one of them and if we can get these people into treatment and get them you know the the help that they need to change their lives just maybe they’ll be out here in 20 years being a parent to their kid who’s in Little League and being a positive influence on the community because it can tell you like right here and Elkton for and this is hard I mean I see it myself you know when we talk about the stigma like last year you know we go out for spring baseball and we go out to start cleaning the fields and getting ready and in all the dugouts that’s where a lot of the homeless people and the addicts had been sleeping most of the winter they would go in there kind of seal up the dugouts you know so there was needles in there dirty needles there was people pissing and [ _ ] in the corner suno’s gross it was totally disgusting and as a parent with kids thinking great now I got to bring my kids out here to be around this you know and and feeling that anger as a recovering person later got even these addicts can’t even have any respect for [ _ ] kids places you know like there was anger there with that um and so I have I don’t have to I would like to be an example that we can and do change that we can be something different that we’re not stuck doing that for the rest of our lives right now I think that’s powerful that was a pretty pretty powerful story you know the fact that we do get frustrated with people who do things that are very similar to maybe what we used to do or could have been similar to what we used to do yeah so I get what Patrick saying right like we can be a story for those who saw the worst part of it even if that was just my mother maybe she’s the only one who knows that anymore but couldn’t we reach more if that wasn’t the only people we were you know open to about who we are and I don’t know the answer to that again we’re kind of going over this together and then we come to the first Shannon who she says that stigma ended when I surrendered and decided to live a life without drugs sticking around to recover and finding a new way to live and this is one of the things I would have to disagree with that completely right just by what I understand stigma to be not that I have any issue with this Shannen whatsoever I do think a lot of things change when I surrendered and stuck around to recover and found a new way to live sure but I don’t think stigma ended people didn’t look at me different just because I was doing something different and that’s part of the problem um I I still face stigma right so I don’t maybe not about the the you know I can hide and not tell anybody that I’m in Narcotics Anonymous I can hide not say I’m in recovery a lot of people would never know that about me um but they do know my record I can’t hide that when I apply for jobs right when I apply for anything I’ve thought about coaching Little League and guess what they usually want to do they want to run a background check and I’m actually so nervous that I would be denied and how I would feel about that how much it would hurt me that I’ve just I’ve always said I don’t have time to do that and I want to be honest so there have been years because you have to fill out one of those applications every year there have been years I put that stuff on there that I have duis and CVS possession charges right um and it didn’t matter so I don’t put it on there anymore just not because I’m necessarily trying to lie or cover anything the truth is it’s kind of hard to remember like the years and what the charge is actually were like I don’t actually remember but we look you up yeah you can look up court you can’t actually look up outcomes and stuff I don’t think how is it Maryland judiciary case searching yeah um but you know I I don’t know I I have put that stuff on those applications and it didn’t matter how far they go back I really don’t either I don’t know if it’s what charges or not um I just exposed myself a little here I have a couple of felonies and they have held me up in life right and every time I want to apply for a job I gotta worry about that fear of how that’s gonna turn out right is this gonna pop up and hold me up every time I think I’m at a job and I’m like this isn’t really what I want to do I want to I want something different than this I tend to stay where I’m at because I know they’ve already accepted that I had those charges right and I don’t have to go through the whole fear and embarrassment of exposing myself again during my college education I’ve had to do some some internships I’ve been turned down right we’re talking 14 years after the charges and nothing to do with like violence or harming anyone in particular and I was not allowed to do an internship where I taught inner-city youth how to read just turned down and it hurt my [ _ ] feelings right and then I tried to I was with the United Way for a while at an internship and I was supposed to be taking calls on their their two on one hotline which is like a helpline and because I would have access to records for typing in their information when like homeless or struggling persons called in and needed help and wanted some access to resources because I’d have access to their names I was not allowed to take phone calls and help people and again floored and hurt and devastated and it’s like how the [ _ ] long do I have to pay a price for this and live with the stigma of the things I’ve done and so it’s yeah I think that’s part of the reason I’ve wanted to continue to hide as often as possible because I’ve had these these negative reactions that people have had towards me where they’re not seeing the person I am they’re seeing some [ _ ] that happened quite a long time ago at this point and I’m it really gets me going I don’t want to get into that today about the whole you know I thought I’d paid my debt to society and we were all even and all that great stuff but maybe we’ll get to that on another podcast where I’ll get really [ _ ] amped up and angry about some [ _ ] but it hurts man and maybe recovery has again awakened that part of your spirit that says I am a stronger person today and I can stand up for the next guy that’s coming down this route that they don’t have to go through this [ _ ] yes I went through it but now I am I can be stronger and better or it and I can do what I can to make a change be the change you seek in the world so funnily enough when I was at the United Way a lot of the people there had some inspirational quotes like a lot of people there are really good people that believe in some positive things right whatever you think about the United Way in general the people there are pretty positive and as this was happening and I found out what was going on and that I wouldn’t be able to do that one of the quotes was plant trees the shade of which you will never enjoy right and that just really that hit home with me it’s like I do need to do something about this and how people are treated whether it ever helps me or not like I need to set a standard that we need to stop [ _ ] treating people this way because you’re losing out on people that want to help upset your volunteers right I want to help people and you’re like Nick if you’re not good enough to help our people and I’m like what the [ _ ] and I guess by so now I feel like I got to go back and change my application for Little League every year to make sure I put on there because I and this is a thing like this is where you grow in these conversations like I never realized like oh hey the people looking at these applications you know maybe that have caused them to look at some people a different way because again I’ve been involved in the Little League for a lot of years now I know a lot of those people they see me down there at the fields they know my son my daughter you know they know who we are and that when they see that on my record and then know me as an individual they know that you know we aren’t always just our past mistakes we can grow and be something different from that yeah yeah maybe that does change minds I would just uh man it would hurt my feelings for you if they ever decided that you weren’t allowed to do it one year just because of that was really it’s like a crushing blow from an experiment to egomaniac but it would be their loss so as an addict I approach most things like Attica when I got into actually coaching Little League I went totally [ _ ] overboard and watched hours of videos and coaching stuff and the do’s and don’ts and research and read and you know like because I want to be the best there just be some [ _ ] dad down there you know not teaching kids like I want to be a great coach or a teacher or a leader you know all those things that’s hilarious and so just to uh steers back a little on topic Susan mentioned that she felt like the quieter she is about I guess recovery the easier of relapse would be and I and I kind of like that sentiment right like the more I can hide it and isolate it the less people are holding me accountable in my life and she does mention the word accountable too and like if people in my life and around me yeah that’s great if I stay in meetings and I and I see people in my life a lot that are in recovery but some people would include me included right like there was times in my life where my life kind of veered off in left field somewhere and it wasn’t that I wasn’t a part of recovery I still hit meetings it was just a very busy life of you know forming a new career it took a lot of time up it took some schooling I wasn’t in that many meetings a lot of the people that were involved in my daily life were not in recovery and so if I’m not talking about it with them or ever mentioning it I’m not being held very accountable yeah and when we were doing our traveling around it was sort of difficult to get connected with meetings for a couple different reasons some of them personal some of them just scheduling you know a lot of times we were working we’re evenings you know and um to not have that I guess you would call it accountability you know what’s kind of weird if it didn’t put me in a different frame of mind you know I’ve actually had so I had a sponsor for a long time who I was his only spawn see it kind of drifted away from recovery and wasn’t really doing a lot and he actually told me then he ended up relapsing whatever but he actually told me at one point like I was kind of the only thing really keeping him connected to recovery at all was that he had some accountability to me or responsibility whatever because of our relationship that we had built and that uh once that ended you know he left the fellowship and when used right and uh yeah so there is some I guess how does that be truth to that or I think of having me personally I think the bigger lesson there is that we just need to keep grounded and keep ourselves surrounded by people in recovery no absolutely absolutely but I think you know with her point so say I can’t get to a lot of meetings and I am in a work or school environment where it’s not really recovery people and I don’t tell them and then I’m they wanted me to be a part of and they invite me out the happy hour or to a lunch where everybody’s having a drink right and then I want to feel accepted and obviously alcohol is the only drug you have to explain why you don’t use it right so that makes you feel awkward I I completely get it if you’ve already told them not that that means anything to some people they might never even know that you can’t drink if you say you’re in recovery but maybe that helps you in some way maybe somebody questions it like really you’re gonna have a drink I thought you told me yesterday you were in recovery right like it could help to stay where we’re trying to stay and I actually have a little story that kind of proves her point and I just thought about this I was like wow that’s kind of exactly what happened it’s exactly what you just described so I had a previous sponsor went through a divorce um kind of got away from the fellowship and he had met a woman who she wasn’t an addict he didn’t know her from recovery they started dating she liked to go out to whatever you know dance night at the local bar and they would go and she would have a couple of drinks or a glass of wine with dinner or whatever and then it would dance and you know have a good time and he never bothered to tell her his past of being in recovery or being an addict or any of that stuff and one night he just decided well she’s having a glass of wine with dinner I can have a beer with dinner and she never said a word she didn’t have any idea Roy and you know after seventeen years he relapsed Wow wow that’s incredible yeah so uh there was actually a second Shannen to move on to the next in a second Shannon that commented and we had a very thorough back and forth commenting session she mentioned the same idea that much the same that that Rachel had uh not that she stole the idea just that they had similar takes on that which i think is a very you know rational popular take amongst people who have some recovery that there’s no shame about being a recovering addict but that we don’t need to tell everybody and that we can expose ourselves when we find it necessary and useful for helping someone and I did appreciate it and I think I pushed back against Rachel and Shannon the most just because I I know them pretty well and I respect like their recovery and their time and their information like I’ve had conversations with these two before and so I pushed back a little against them to try to get more into it right that’s what I was going for with both of them it wasn’t like to argue with them it was just like hey what more you got to give me about that right let me poke you a little bit and see what else I can get out of that let’s see if we can get to the bottom of something and so she you know she mentioned some some really good ideas if you’re starting a business cleaning houses and you’re gonna go in people’s houses do you really want to post on your you know your business page about how you used to shoot heroin and I get it right like that I’m not probably gonna hire the the guy who tells me at least if I wasn’t the guy I am I mean I I have a belief in recovering addicts but if I’m not me if I’m your average Joe I’m probably not gonna hire the guy I know you know nine months ago he was shooting cocaine or or robbing you know my neighbor he broke into my neighbor’s house and stole some jewelry like why am I gonna invite him into my house that doesn’t sound like a smart move and so from from that stance from a professional stance of I’m gonna get into some profession where I might not want to be considered an addict I completely get what she was saying which just it made me think maybe the goal there is to maybe infiltrate these jobs and then expose ourselves almost like not completely what you’re talking about because I think you’ve been a little more the whole time but at least at this point where you’ve established yourself of who you are today right like it’s very easy to say hey yeah I come from this right I can expose it now and look at where I am today obviously something’s happened and I think that’s where the action speaks louder than words thing comes in to play too because you know to kind of go back to what you said before like if I did apply to be a coach and I was turned down and wasn’t able to coach I mean that would suck for me and I kind of glossed over that but the truth is I would still show up for every practice you know I’d still be there I still talk to the coaches I’d still be around I’d still show what you know do all the things I still do maybe not on the field with the kids but I would never do it with my kid and I would definitely still be there and people would see me supporting my kid and couraging them doing all the things that I do now like I wouldn’t change my behavior I’m not out there acting some part for them I would still be exactly the person that I am I agree I think the part that would have been bothersome for me so I was I’ve tried to run this scenario out in my head okay I applied to be a coach they say no and then I do what you just said right cool I show up I still show my kids you know train them on how to play we practice together we play together I can’t really help the team on the field because that’s kind of the rule about not being allowed to coaches you can’t go out on the field even for practices or anything if you’ve got the record that was at least where I’m coming from I don’t know if that’s the rule up here or not yes okay so but I think the thing that really just bothered me the most was that yeah I would still be living right but the other 60 parents watching the game would never be aware that this guy that they believe is living right got turned down and that’s the [ _ ] problem like nobody ever get becomes aware of this nobody knows that like I almost feel like I need to raise my voice and say you know what I got turned down for helping teach kids how to [ _ ] read we need to like reevaluate our system here because nobody knows that you got six hundred thousand people in Baltimore that don’t realize a guy who wanted to help children read couldn’t write and so nothing ever [ _ ] changes because we don’t know about it so yeah they turn you down you still help out and that’s great that helps your family that helps whoever ends up practicing with you but nothing ever changes we’re still missing out on having good coaches out there because we don’t change our views yeah and so now I think you get into a little bit of the what I would call the next phase of breaking our own anonymity which gets into advocacy and I think that’s where as we’ve talked about some of this before I think that’s a that’s a step you know further no there’s one thing to you know sort of be open about who you are and what you do and then there’s another thing to go push and advocate for the rights of addicts you know in the community one of the things my wife you know does is advocacy you know she doubts herself when she goes and pushes and fights for the rights of people and recovery and using addicts yeah that’s it’s definitely I think you’re right it might be a step further I’ve uh I don’t know man I got passionate about it but I also got anger and I know anger doesn’t it’s good for the energy to go do it but it’s not really necessarily good for reaching people all the time I will also raise up anger and people who agree with me and then the people who don’t will just hate on it and disagree and that’s not really that’s not how you change people’s opinions just because there’s so many of these I’m trying to keep its own track a little bit brenda mentioned that not everybody needs to know I really can’t argue with that that is a point I think that’s a lot of the point of many of these is that kind of we need to pick and choose as people who we exposed to and when and for what reason and it I can respect that right I get it I lived that way most of my life I think the point of this post was just to say is that the way right I get it is a way but is that B way and that’s what I think I might have been going for here truly said something real you know it’s it’s my choice it’s my choice of what I want to do and I appreciate that it is Vic wanted to mention that he doesn’t really broadcast it but he also has his black key tags in his belt loop I’m sure we’ve all seen you know the people who do that which is pretty neat um I think you mentioned that not everybody really knows what the hell that means but I would say most people don’t know what that is so I would say if you just had the black one hanging off your belt loop probably not they’re just gonna think it’s a [ _ ] key tag right but if you’re one of the people who has all the colors dangling down I don’t even know if that’s still a thing it definitely was 15 18 years ago I think people might ask about that one like well you got there rainbows are key tags dangling Daniel a [ _ ] weird so I’m not sure I guess he if he just does the black one probably nobody ever noticed um I didn’t say carry my white one on my keys forever I finally broken came off but I had my just for today one oh my key ring forever that was obviously destiny that you got to get a new one I’m at a meeting a group was you know they were giving out the white key tags and they didn’t have anymore they’re like we don’t have a way key K and my wife says to me oh you got your one on your key ring give it to him and I said no I’m not giving that away that’s my one day tag that I got my first day clean like that was the beginning of you know it was sentimental value to me and her and I had a big conversation about it and she was right she was right in the moment she was totally wrong so we have a history of that she’s always wrong in the moment she’s right two days later what I have time to think about it but in the moment she’s always wrong but I kept it and then it eventually broken came off because you didn’t give it away to keep it should I gave it away all right and then you could have kept it ain’t got a new one instead it broke karma uh Amy pointed out she just said that I’m gaining in humility and so I thought that was an interesting take on it just you know maybe that is what’s going on I know that I nothing occurred to me when I woke up and had that thought that it was a thought right but I guess I guess looking at it maybe right maybe it’s like the humility of hey [ _ ] it if there is backlash against me personally this is better for the whole anyway so maybe that is where it’s coming from I don’t know sherry mentioned that it might you know also be due in part because a lot of people more people are speaking out now you know we do have the opioid epidemic and the fentanyl and the overdose awareness going on and maybe it is a more comfortable environment to feel the ability to do that in so that’s possible yeah and I think there was also a part of that that you know as the 12-step fellowships live in anonymity like how do our politicians and the lawmakers and the people that are making decisions on what are good pathways forward for recovery you know guess who isn’t anonymous the methadone clinics or the you know right marijuana maintenance programs or others those are private businesses that are paying for lobbyists that are paying for seats at these political banquet dinners that are paying to support local officials you know so and I don’t mean this is a form of corruption or whatever that’s how our political system works like it or not if you’re not a person that’s at the table and a part of the conversation then they don’t get to hear your opinion they don’t get to hear your side of the story they only hear from the people that are showing up at those places talking so if we all sit around anonymously and go about our day then they don’t understand the importance of 12-step fellowships and abstinence based recovery and why these things help our community and why they’re a good option along with some of these other options I’m not saying there’s only one option but if we don’t even try to get a seat at the table then you know we become whatever obsolete in the the the public system the public health care system you know just doesn’t even know we exist right you know something I never thought of and it’s not completely tied into what you just said maybe I needed to wait this long in recovery to come forward because I’ve been a jerk up till now like maybe I’m fine maybe my actions that are positive pretty much that way most of the negative I do right like up until now

and the truth is if you you know people that have out of themselves in recovery if you’re in that sort of scene of like the you know people that are kind of trying to do this political thing um occasionally stories come up with those people to where there’s issues you know legal issues and personal issues and stuff like that because at the end of the day we are all human beings yeah and even if you’re in recovery you’re going to make mistakes you’re gonna be human you know what I mean they’re gonna give in to whatever financial corruption or whatever piece like all those things are gonna happen right right I’m not saying I’d steal a million dollars but god yeah and don’t leave me next to the right

another guy Chris uh I’d assumed a guy it might also be a female I’m honestly not sure now that I think about it so another human Chris mentioned that they did kind of the opposite of what I did and they were really quiet about their recovery for the first five or so years and then after that they tended to start sharing more about it and they you know mentioned kudos to those who feel the responsibility and conduct themselves well in the journey to end the stigma and I I don’t know it’s resonated with me a little bit I thought it was interesting that they did it backwards from the way I did it because you know obviously everyone always does everything the way I do it that’s the only way I see it what are your thoughts on that do you think you did it opposite too or you’ve been just open the whole time um well so early in my recovery we didn’t really have public media social media like we do now so it wasn’t a thing you know Facebook’s only been around like ten years so I already had 10 years clean when Facebook started to be a thing and by that point I mean recovery was a big part of my life right and so from the point of social meet I mean I guess forever I don’t know that I’ve ever hmm I’d have to think back that’s been a long time ago so I don’t remember I think it’s interesting also I wonder how our lives differ in the sense that like you and your wife are both in recovery and so you’ve attended recovery events it is a big part of your life as you say you know you your kids had hung out why you guys went to events sometimes like my wife’s not in recovery right and not that she wouldn’t go with me but I’ve never really wanted to I say bore her but just I never really saw the need for her to go with me to different things so if I went and shared somewhere at a spiritual day or something like I didn’t take my kids and my wife for the most part it wasn’t no reason to it was easier to leave her home to watch them and they wouldn’t interrupt the meeting and we’ve had that whole conversation I think I’m here but so I wonder how that change recovery wasn’t like a super huge part of my it’s a huge part of my life individually and personally to keep me Who I am but it wasn’t like that’s what my wife and I did together and it became part of the family dynamic I wonder how that differed our lives yeah it’s hard to say it is so the last one I want to mention over here was was Frank Frank says as we grow our beliefs and values change hopefully for the greater good of ourselves and others honor your higher powers desire within you Congrats on your continued growth and I think of all the things that were set on this this comment post I had some really interesting discussions I loved seeing everybody’s opinions but I think this one hit the most home with my spirit my heart my emotions I don’t know what you want to call it really resonated within me that like whether this is right for people wrong for people I’m being to do something internally and I need to respect that whatever it means right I don’t know if it’s right for people are wrong for people or what but obviously I am feeling a calling cut as you mentioned before we even got into these comments that it’s just time for me to stop worrying about it right whatever happens happens look as much as I try to keep it quiet you see what’s happened because of my record anyway it’s not like keeping it quiet it’s really [ _ ] okay a whole lot right so all it’s done is just keep it quiet right and now maybe it’s time for me to stop that [ _ ] maybe it’s time for people to know hey this is who I am and I’m feeling pretty comfortable and confident in that I feel confident in myself that I’m able to mostly carry myself in a decent way thank thanks to God honestly I don’t really take a whole lot of credit for that I know you and I have different takes on the whole higher power and what choices and options we have and all that but like I don’t take all out of credit when I behave well today I generally just think holy [ _ ] who the [ _ ] managed to get that out of me because that’s not who I am and the whole uh you know like my wife being a recovery advocate and me even for that matter sort of trying to be somewhat of a recovery advocate that is a new part of our journey you know she hasn’t done that her whole career I mean she’s had professional careers she’s worked for you know the University of Delaware and she’s worked for you know some other you know businesses having a quote-unquote normal you know job in a professional world and and she sort of kind of got pulled into this work from a friend of ours you know when this peer recovery a specialist sort of thing started to popping up years back a friend of ours was like hey look I’ve been doing this thing you would be great at this kind of work you know you’re mashing your desire for recovery your you know spiritual one to help people like this is this is for you and that so she embarked on that journey I’m gonna say it’s been seven years ago seven or eight years ago but before that advocacy and speaking out publicly about recovery wasn’t a part of our life you know we didn’t hide it we you know we still went like say with the meetings and it was the center of like our social world right but now you know it’s a very public part of our life for the most part advocating for recovery resources and treatment options in the community and that has come with a price tag you know personally for her mom she has lost some friends over it she’s been attacked and criticized by other people in the recovery community who feel that apps in his face is the only way it should be and all this other stuff that she advocates and push for is wrong she’s been attacked over things like needle exchange or you know the what’s it called the fentanyl test strips you know trying to push for that stuff you know people have told her she’s just enabling addicts and she’s killing but you know there’s there’s been a personal cost that she’s had to pay for that getting involved in that kind of work right mom so it’s not for everyone you know like some people don’t have it in that to fight that battle she likes to say in her particular thing so you know when her and I first met and and well she’s always had a daughter with a disability and so she went through a process of years of time of having to fight with the Social Security Administration for the rights and protection and care of her daughter and that process of going through that experience gave her some skills on how to navigate some of this stuff how to push how to not just walk away when somebody tells you no you know how to not just you know when they say well you can’t do that and just feel like okay I guess we can’t like but they go oh we can and we’re going to keep trying hmm and maybe you say no but it doesn’t mean I’m going to go away you know and you know those skills kind of put her in a position to be able to do this but it does take a certain personality and a certain kind of person if to be really a vocal advocate for recovery in the community you know you got to have the skin to be able to take the rejection of the job to take the rejection of the coaching position because when you put yourself out there that is a reality you know it’s not always going to end with the feel-good now they get to see what a great guy I am times it’s gonna be with them going [ _ ] no we don’t want you around our kids you junkie yeah yeah it’s uh it was tough with a couple of my college professors who had to find out who encouraged me to apply and said I can’t imagine you know it would hold you up because they knew who I was in their classroom and then to go back and have that conversation with them that yeah it did it did hold me up right now how do you view me or or really but what it turned into wasn’t how do you view me it was more like how much more angry at the system or you know right because like they did wasn’t about me interesting that that your wife talked about you know being prepared or groomed for through her life where she’s at now I always like things like that to me that’s always just a reinforcement of my higher power belief system of how it all works out right now I would agree yeah so you did mention one thing the only thing I disagree with the whole the whole thick-skinned idea um I’ve heard that so many times in my life I think it’s almost part of the toxic masculinity that we can fall into I I don’t know that it’s a thick skin of mine that is going to protect me in this time of coming out or whatever you want to call it right he’s like it’s the fact that I am able to sit with vulnerability and with hurt feelings and with pain and I know ways to deal with that today I know I can call and talk about it to people I know I can cry about it I know I can hug people over it right like it’s not because it doesn’t affect me it’s because I had the ability to let it affect me and I’m okay with that today I lean into that kind of [ _ ] as much as I hate it I hate the idea of being hurt but when it comes I know what I do is it today and I lean into it and try to experience it and learn and grow from it but I don’t think it’s a fixed skin that’s gonna be my protection as I go through that process of being disappointed and thing depends on when it comes with a personal insult so I got it my wife has been personally attacked and insulted on public media and in in person you know there and you know behind her back you know like there’s been a lot of personal insults and it’s been not just we don’t agree with what you’re doing or what it’s right now I’m going to personal insults and so you know I don’t know um I guess maybe that’s it you know she can keep doing it because she’s got some coping skills but like for her she’s definitely thought about getting out of it you know that conversation comes up once every couple of months she says I can’t do this anymore all right I’ve had enough yeah no no no whatever the rejection and insults and you know whatever and that definitely does change it that definitely makes it a more personal attack that’s definitely uh that’s the kind of people I admired like like you know you’re talking about a Martin Luther King or anybody who’s been able to stand their ground and hold their morals but not participate in the mudslinging like that just blows my mind right and that’s truly who I would like to be in those situations I want to be the guy that doesn’t get all angry and and and you know jump and lash back out at you when you criticize me right because my my tendency is really to belittle the [ _ ] out of you and make you feel stupid right as soon as you criticize me so I want to be this guy who doesn’t get emotionally invested and and can kind of step back a little and and respond appropriately right right but I was at my daughter’s middle school basketball game this past Friday and if you to watch me there you weren’t the one of the I was in recovery I was on the [ _ ] court screaming at the referee for not making a call didn’t even have nothing to do with my daughter girl pushed a girl over and I’m out in his not in his face but three feet away from him on the court I think they’re making a law about you right now they probably need to somebody should be [ __ ] babysitting me I don’t know I get emotional at times there’s things that aren’t that heavy but yeah I don’t know I think we’ve we’ve thoroughly beat this to death today you agree with that yeah the only thing I would say is you know again with recovery it’s your individual path you know make that choice that’s right for you and if you feel your hearts calling it too to be out you know and you have the courage to do it and then do it there are people that will support you and go through that but hopefully the people around you also have enough respect and enough understanding of this principle of anonymity that if you are a person that wants to remain anonymous hopefully people within your fellowship or within your circle of friends can respect and appreciate that too because that is equally important absolutely and I think that’s a great wrap-up I hope everybody has a great week keep recover and keep spreading the love 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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