Popsicle Sticks – Recovered 1374

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Popsicle Sticks is not a topic but rather a meeting style here in Southeast Michigan.  This show will be presented in the form of a popsicle stick meeting tonight.
A popsicle stick meeting is a meeting where we let our higher power determine what we need to share.  Here in our virtual studio, we have a can full of popsicle sticks.  Each stick has a recovery topic written on it.  We will take turns, randomly picking a stick and then sharing on the chosen topic.

Tonight, we do popsicle sticks


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Becky, Kim, Joel, Martin, Shelly, Amanda, Christy, Jim, Schez, Vicki

They made their Sustaining Partner Donations. For more information, tap



This episode is sponsored by
Kurt, Brian, Gigi

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Episode Transcropt

Popsicle sticks is not a topic, but rather a meeting style here in Southeast Michigan. This show will be presented in the form of a popsicle stick meeting tonight. A popsicle stick meeting is a meeting where we let our higher power determine what we need to share. Here in our virtual studio, we have a can full of popsicle sticks.

Each stick has a recovery topic written on it. We will take turns randomly picking a stick and then sharing on the chosen topic. Tonight. We do Popsicle sticks. The best way to support The Recovered Podcast is to become a premium subscriber. If you agree that serving the new person is important and want to support us, then consider becoming a premium subscriber.

Upgrading to premium will give you access to our back catalog of over 1, 300 episodes. We are self supporting through our own contributions. For more information, just go to RecoveredCast. com and tap on the Premium Membership button. If you’d like official Recovered Podcast t shirts, coffee mugs, and water bottles, then consider becoming a sustaining partner with us here at Recovered.

If you want merch and hear your name read each month, just go to RecoveredCast. com. and tap on the sustaining partners button. This week, Becky, Kim, Joel, Martin, Shelly, Amanda, Christy, Jim, Shez, and Vicky, well they made their sustaining partner donations. So thank you very much, Becky, Kim, Joel, Martin, Shelly, Amanda, Christy, Jim, Shez, and Vicky.

This episode is sponsored by Kurt, Brian, and Gigi. They used the donation button found on our website at Recovercast. com. So Kurt, Brian, and Gigi, this episode is for you! Imported from Detroit, we are recovered.

Welcome to recovered, and welcome to episode number one three seven four, and we call it recovered because this is the show about people who have recovered, recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. My name is Mark and I’ll be your host. Along with me is Chris, Matt, and Patrick. Howdy people!

So pull up a couch and join us on this journey called life. Now remember, we at the Recovered Podcast, we don’t speak for any 12 step community. We only try to share our experience, strength, and hope in this life of recovery. So we are not a secret society, but we do try to remain anonymous. But people, we’re not here to talk about the podcast, but we’re here to All right, let’s do this podcast.

All right. Let’s see. Chris, tonight the topic is popsicle sticks nights. The first, I first experienced popsicle sticks at the Thursday night meeting at the Northwest Eleanor Club in Wayne, Michigan. At first I hate it, then I got used to it, then it became one of my favorite meetings. All right guys, this is how it goes.

We pick up a stick. We announce the topic to all. We share on the topic. Then we keep the stick and then we pass the can. All right, let’s not waste any time. Chris, hey, Chris, are you familiar with this format? Yeah. Yeah. I’ve done it at PC. Oh, no worries. All right. So how about you, Matt? You know, this one?

Well, yeah, he’s still doing Thursday nights. Are you? I still am. Yeah. And how about you, Patrick? You’ve done this before. I have. Yeah. It’s been a minute, but okay. Well, familiar. Yeah, we’ll get you up to speed. Alright, here we go. Are you ready? Chris, you’re going to be first up. I’ll draw this thing for you.

And I will place it there. There’s the first topic. Sponsor. Okay. Um, so yeah. I had a number of sponsors. Before I was ever really successful at putting together any kind of a longer term sobriety, I guess, but I sponsor in name only, I guess I could, we could call them really for the most part, or I had, you know, when I was 17, a decent sponsor that was a little couple of years older than me had been through growth works, the.

adolescent recovery outpatient program that I was going through. He’d already been and graduated. So like kind of a mentor and, and, um, it, that was a good relationship, but he eventually, after about six months of me being sober and getting through steps four and five with them, awesome experience, really.

I don’t know if I’d ever make it back to 12 step without that initial. Um, experience with that, with that first sponsor, but he moved away and nine 11 happened and I turned 18 and got off probation and got my driving privileges bag, a whole bunch of things happened and. And I started community college and just kind of the fire had gone out on my ass a little bit as far as consequences and as well as the fire, like, I didn’t keep spiritually moving along in the steps as we talk about, um, and I just kind of, nine, 11 and a half, I was full of a lot of emotions and I, and I went back out and then I came back in over the years and I would, I knew I needed to get a sponsor.

I remember that first initial experience, but I never really, I guess had the same kind of, uh, uh, willingness. That I initially had, Nick was the first sponsor was so personable and so affable and just a good friend that, uh, I don’t know, I, I, I guess I would hear people say that you want somebody with long time, so I would always end up inevitably asking somebody that was a lot older and I just, it just felt like putting a square peg into a round hole right when it came to making that work, um, or maybe I just wasn’t ready, but yeah, I would get a sponsor and then call them and only.

May or not call them. Or if I did call it would be to like, can you give me a ride to a meeting or talk about the things that I knew I had to talk about? Cause I had, you know, it was probably bitching about the courts or something like, um, I had, uh, a sponsor. And like, I think I sold him. I had to get rid of my car.

That was weird. One of the terms of my probation, cause I kept getting driving on suspended licenses, I had to get rid of this car. So I used it for the hat. Like he bought the car off me, um, and, and parted it out. And then that’s the last time I talked to him. Um, nice guy just didn’t really dig too much digging in, um, into the sponsorship relationship with him.

Um, but this last sponsor I had when I finally came back, um. I think I just, there was that choice, right? To like, do I really want to use this guy as a sponsor the way that. Uh, it’s meant to be and, and, and like he’s asking, he’s putting it on the table that I could call him every day and talk about things.

And he started, you know, he’s putting it on the table that he’ll give me a ride to his home group on Thursdays, Plymouth Big Book ended up being my home group. And that he would work through the big book one on one we’d read page by page. And as we came to a understanding of the description of alcoholics and addict an addiction like that we would talk about it just it played out better because I think I was ready and He just did an awesome job and he didn’t really do anything.

He only had two and a half years He’s still my sponsor Brett L. Um, but didn’t didn’t do anything necessarily special but what had been done with him and um when it came time to work each step four and five did that again and This time around continued to help me through my amends process and then an understanding of the daily inventory and nightly review and then he helped me didn’t leave me alone to sponsor on my own with new guys like was there for has been there.

Um, I got to call him speaking of which it’s been a minute. We, we, we bullshit and we send memes to each other and that, but. On a really real level, I do still use a sponsor in terms of, uh, when there’s something that comes up, I need to discuss something immediately, like the book talks about with somebody, um, or if I’ve got inventory that I need to review with somebody, every few years I do that again, like where things start to add up, or I miss something from the last time, or I know I need to make amends, I need to bounce it off somebody, I got more than just Brett now and my sponsor to go over with, I got a group of guys that I can Um, yeah.

Take that to and some women even some of the stuff I inventory I I’ve found I can review with women But yeah, it’s so important so vital so crucial sponsor But yeah, it meant to be done on the terms of I don’t know not it’s not to half ass for me I I found I needed to Really use it to the degree that it’s meant to be used.

Thanks, Chris. Let’s turn the tables a little bit Let’s talk about sponsees. How does a sponsee help you in your program? Oh, um, I mean I get it now what he told me I would that you know, that was the condition When Brett started working with me was that he you know It was when it came time to work the 12 step that I was going to be working with sponsors and he said, basically it was told to me that he didn’t, you know, he doesn’t, he doesn’t sponsor people that don’t sponsor people.

So he was training me to sponsor and I quickly within. That I started sponsoring when I started working the 12 step, which was, and time frame is going to be different for everybody. I don’t, I don’t want to make a right or a wrong thing, but mine was like 11 months and, um, started sponsoring that second year.

I really think that that 12 step carried me a long way through that because it helped me stay outside of myself. But at one year sober, I don’t know if it happens to anybody else I’ve heard, but. Your ego starts to rebuild a little bit, and you know, things start to look better, that fire goes out, right, and the consequences, and it helped me to be accountable and responsible and show up for somebody whose life was just in the process of getting put back together, it helped me to show up for them and, and And also to remember that it’s, it’s not me giving advice in terms of, or being a relationship counselor or a career counselor or, uh, just a taxi cab or, uh, uh, a loan, uh, a shark, um, but yeah, like that, doing that, getting outside of myself, um, in, in sponsoring other people and just, it’s made this pitch to so many, so many people and so few of us, you know, about like working the steps and, and, and what it is to, um, Like for me, I had to go all the way.

So if I’m going to be your sponsor, this is what it looks like with meetings and steps and fellowship and trying to, you know, it doesn’t have to be all at once, but, and when I make that pitch and I talk about where I, what things were like, what happened and what things are like now. My world for that moment when I’m talking about that with that guy it lights up and and try and also Looking across the table and telling somebody that they they’re worth it and that they that they matter that their lives matter and that they should if they want a way out I They could try this if they haven’t tried it fully all the way right like or or whatever That’s so awesome.

Yeah, the 12 step my favorite step for sure Fantastic. All right, Matt, you’re up. Here we go I’ll draw this one for you. Here we go. Fellowship. All right. Well, I’m so used to like, wow, a fellowship. My name is Matt. I’m an alcoholic. What up, man? Grateful to be here. Great for you guys are here. Um, I guess, um, I, I don’t know, I feel like, um, one of the things that was very tough for me was, uh, I didn’t really want to belong like I didn’t want to be a person who was going to AA so like getting over the hump of like why am I gonna like make friends here you know like if you’re if you’re only working in a job temporarily because you need the money and whatever you know the more energy you spend on making friends it’s like well I’m not even gonna be here you know so it’s like I kind of felt like AA was sort of like that, where it was just, no, you know, I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but I’m also not trying to make friends, and, you know, I was only going once a week for the first month and a half or so, and uh, on Mondays at ten o’clock, and uh, I never really became a part of the fellowship until, you know, I just didn’t have any other recourse.

It was, uh. It was, uh. You know, it just ended up working out that way where I had enough court shit and that was going to last. It ended up lasting for two years that it was just like, If you want to be this asshole who’s like digging their heels into the dirt and saying like I’m not gonna make friends here Like, you know, are you really gonna do that for two fucking years, bro?

Like, you know, like And I’m still not exactly like there are like I sort of have leaned into the like you hear it a lot and like the daily reflection kind of readings where it’s like, some people are good at, uh, you know, talking to the newcomer. Some people like enjoy doing the daily routines around the club, like taking out the trash.

Other people like being part of the administrative process. Not everybody has to be good at everything. Like you do the whole, the whole group, you find your, your spot in there. And for me, Like, I am not the guy who is good at making the very new person feel welcome. Because I was not good at being, making myself feel welcome at the beginning.

Like, I feel like putting yourself out there when it’s like I don’t know if this person even wants to fucking be here, like the, like the, the, the, I don’t want to say disgust, but like the distaste I had for like when I was new and people were like, so who are you? Where are you from? And I was just like, ugh, God, like, you know, I got a DUI, like, I don’t want to fucking give you my life story.

And I know that they’re, they’re right and I’m wrong, but like old habits die hard. And 10 years in, I still feel like where it’s like, I can’t summon the, yeah. Hey buddy, I’m Matt, how are ya? Shake, you know, let’s shake hands. So, what, did you got core? Like, start hitting them with every fucking AA cliche you can until, like, they’re forced to be friends with you.

And, like But You know, I’ve found my, my peeps. Like, I have my, uh, you know, squad of peeps that I pretty much, you know, go to meetings with. I see them four or five nights a week. Um, and, you know, it all worked out. And the fellowship is as much as, you know, like, other people get other things out of the fellowship.

It’s like you kind of find your spot in there. Like, uh, personally, I like Being the one who’s like, alright, I’m gonna make sure this place is fucking clean before I leave. And, I’ll make sure if somebody has to like, tell this asshole to be quiet, I’ll be the guy to do that. Like, nobody wants to be that guy, but I don’t care, I’ll be that guy.

So, like, that’s kind of where I have found my peace with it, and, you know, everybody finds their role, if you hang around long enough. Alright, Patrick, that’s how it’s done. Your turn, you’re up. Here we go. Picking this one up for ya. We’ll start with that one. Step one, two, step 12, step 12, uh, I think it’s someone here’s favorite step.

I heard so, uh, yeah. So service work sponsorship, um, I mean, it’s the giving back step, right? They, they giving it away to keep it step. So, uh, I have, I got 12 step very well. Um, and I have been part of like. Going to 12 step visits and like, I’m totally down with talking with a newcomer. Uh, I’m like the opposite of Matt.

I don’t, uh, not a big tight ear, but I’ll talk to someone. Sure. I’ll listen to your bullshit, weird sob story, whatever. That’s fine. Um, I have had like a pretty. Um, pretty not great, uh, doc with, uh, with sponsees. Uh, I actually haven’t had a sponsee in quite a while. Um, but, and it was kind of bothering me for a while.

Um, and I know my sponsor said the same thing that I’m sure everyone’s sponsor says, right? It’s like, well, did you go out? Did you stay sober? Right. Then it worked. It’s like. Yeah, it worked, but I would also like to, you know, see people like get sober. And, uh, um, so yeah, that like formal, formal 12 step, like mentorship, sponsoring role, like I haven’t, haven’t experienced that for like a long period of time, but I have.

Worked with new guys and like I have had the pleasure of like, you know, being like, like picking up the phone when someone calls me. Right. And like, uh, hearing like the surprise in their voice that someone actually picked up the phone is, it’s kind of cool. And then they like going from that like awkward stage until they actually start opening up and like saying what’s going on and like seeing it come back to meetings and like, um, like seeing, seeing someone come back like three, four weeks in a row to a meeting.

This is a really good feeling for me. Um, you know, that’s, that’s where I get, yeah. Okay. Like, feel like the 12 step work is, you know, where are you going next? Like, do you want to know some good meetings? Like, these are the ones I go to, like, we’re going to see you next week. We know you want to hit Starbucks beforehand.

Like, uh, and then seeing the people that do show up like a month later, um, there’s a really good feeling. And that’s seeing someone get a year, even if like, you know, even if I’m not the one that’s like, that would do indirect step worth is, is super cool. Um, anniversaries are a big deal. Uh, uh. Yeah. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, um, just have to pass the message to alcoholics to self suffer.

So, um, you know, the spiritual awakening part for me was, uh, Um, was the result of keep coming back and keep listening to other people. Um, you know, I, I talk about the distinction between spiritual experience and spiritual awakening and spiritual experience for me was, you know, the last time I got pulled over the last time I was sitting in the back of a cop car and kind of like literally having that moment of seeing the roads divergent, like, well, you can go this way.

And probably be dead in a year or two, or you can try any fucking thing else. And, uh, and then another one doing the fifth step with my sponsor was, was that like a spiritual single experience? Um, it was like a big one, but the spiritual awakening for me, it was like this gradual coming to be right. It was over time, slowly realizing, like, Hey, I didn’t think about drinking this week, or I, you know, was sober for six months or.

I haven’t gotten to a screaming match with anybody in three months, like seeing the kind of, it’s like a looking back and realizing the progress for me is, uh, it’s hard to see it in the moment, you know, usually, you know, you need, you need the mirrors, you need the foils through talking to other people that they’ll tell you like, man, you look, you look way better than you did six months ago, you know, that you have color on your face and you don’t look like you’re going to throw up all the time and, um, you know, your family starting to ask me to like do things or show up to things.

When they kind of stopped doing that, right. Cause the expectation was that I was just going to blow it off or show up smelling like booze and like make a scene. You know, no one, no one, no one wants that after a while. So, uh, you know, just noticing that like, Hey man, my schedule is like full all the time with like cool stuff is like, and it’s not all just, you know, instead of trying to figure out like.

Who haven’t I embarrassed myself in front of in the bar this week or the last two weeks? Like who can I call to go drink with or like do I have to drink alone again tonight? And now it’s like, how do I fit in all these cool things I get to do with, with fun people? I, uh, you know, it’s, it’s an awakening to realize that like, I mean, Chris, I like realizing that you’re worth it and that you like deserve to be happy is not, that is not something that I thought coming in.

Um, and sometimes like. Don’t always feel that way, but more often than not, like I enjoy the things that I do. I enjoy the things that I fill my life with now and, uh, uh, that took a lot of time and a lot of work and it doesn’t always feel like you’re doing great in the moment. But like that gradual feeling of you on the look back, like, was I, am I better now than I was six months ago or a year ago or 10 years ago at this point?

Um, so it’s, it’s, you know, let it happen. You know, get, get out of my own way was, and like, let the good things come in was kind of But what it boils down to me for now, so All right. Awesome. All right. My name is Mark and I’m an alcoholic Hey everybody. It’s good to be here. It’s good to be sober. Glad you guys are here and I drew Ego.

Ego. Ego is an interesting topic for someone that hosts a podcast, right? So someone that gets on the mic and, and, uh, and, uh, for a period of time becomes sort of like a center of attention. I, I, ego is something that I struggle with, I think in a negative way. Um, you know, when I, when I did my fourth and fifth step and I, and I, I saw those character defects abundantly clear, you know, that last column that I’m selfish, self centered and I’m insecure, I’m insecure.

So I have this, this odd relationship with ego because, you know, I am an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. That is me. That is an alcoholic. That is truly me. I can feel both those things, both and, and it’s taken quite a bit of work for me to come to grips, to become friends with, with ego. I think that for all of us, we need a healthy amount of ego.

We have to have a rather positive sense of self, and that has taken a lot of work on my part, Chris. This does not come naturally, because I tend to be pretty hard on myself. I tend to be, um, like, I’m always fearful I’m going to be found out. I’m, I’m, I’m the, I’m that person at work that, you know, eventually someone’s going to find out that I really don’t know that much.

But the fact is, I, I am pretty functional in, in all areas of, of the things that I do. Um, but I, I just don’t want to ride too high or too low. I want to ride right, right in the middle. Uh, I have a pretty, um, balanced sense of self. And so this has taken some work because I, I can really. be pretty hard on myself.

And so then I’ll fall into sort of this, um, feeling that I, that I am not enough, that I am not enough. And this is where I need to bring my higher power into play. You know, I, I need to, um, go before my higher power and, you know, I, I believe that, um, Um, you know that I am loved, I am cared for it. And I, and I hear that from the loved ones around me and I, and I know my higher power thinks that about me as well.

I am enough today. I am enough. I’m not the best. I’m not the worst, but I am enough. And that’s good enough for me. Chris you’re up. You ready to go? I’m ready. Here we go. Good stuff, Mark.

Step one. Oh, perfect. Perfect. Yeah, so like, I think that’s one of the, I was, when we were talking about sponsorship, like, and why, uh, my favorite step is 12, I, somebody put it that like that nobody can work their first step unless somebody is first working their step 12, you know, like, um, that makes it possible.

Right. Like. And so for me, step one was, was only made possible by the people who were just a little bit ahead of me or, you know, a few, few more 24 hours than that ahead of me, um, helping me come to an understanding of that. And, um, I think for me for, uh, a long time, I, I had it confused that my powerlessness over alcohol or my addiction, um, Was contingent on my, my using.

So like, as long as I’m using, as long as I’m drinking, like that’s when I’m powerless over alcohol and my life is, it inevitably becomes unmanageable because of my using and my drinking. So going about pursuing recovery in that way, it becomes kind of a moot point too. And, and to where, like, I start to get to a point where I’m like, well, three, six months.

Three months, probably more closer to, I’m like, well, I mean, things are getting better and I haven’t used for a long time. And now I just have to kind of remember that when I pick up, uh, or. Or, I’m not gonna pick up, not gonna pick up, and then all of a sudden I’m picking up and I’m confused, like, shit, I forgot, like, to, I forgot to not take that first one.

Or, my last bender was, uh, man, I had like 85 days, I had done some work with a Back to Basics program, um, through the Sober Living that I was living in, and I had a sharing partner. He’s a sponsor, but I wasn’t really using him that way. Like, I, I would, or I, I just wasn’t on a point where I was talking to him every day and not going to him with everything.

I was getting there. It was close. But 85 days in, like, I bet you by day 80, something happened. I, and I had arranged circumstances in my life to make it to where, like, It would be really humiliating for me to pick up. I didn’t think it would be possible. So like I lived there for 60 days and they didn’t have anybody else willing to be house monitor.

They saw that I was a guy. Going to meetings and I had done some step work and I had this sharing part and this sponsor and I was doing all the right things. Right. I was doing all my chores. So they’re like, Hey, do you want to be the house monitor here? And I’m like, I try to want to be real careful with the ego stuff.

Like you’re talking about, like, all right, well, gotta be, you know, I’m just somebody who’s supposed to observe and report. Right. Like, um, and I don’t know that quickly over the next 20 days or so it started, like, I felt this need, even though I’m not done with my work to like, I guess kind of be the overseer or like the arbiter of other people’s recoveries.

And I, and I think that I, I, I thought that like, well, I’m going to meetings sometimes twice a day, I’m doing everything I need to in my steps. I’m, you know, I’ve made progress through inventory. I’m somebody who’s going to make it right. Like. Um, and these other guys that are just kind of trying to ride this thing out on the, on the fucking couch watching Netflix every day and not going to meetings and, and still doing shady shit and like, and not make it curvy like they’re not going to fucking make it like it is a really dangerous, toxic place for me to be, but I didn’t really see that walking into it.

Or maybe I did, but I just, I couldn’t really keep a rein on it. And, and that, those, that, towards the end there, like, I got to a place where I, I mean, to put it bluntly, like, those last few days, like, I was just in such a state of restlessness, like, um, restlessness, irritability, discontentment, that, um, I, I felt like I was dope sick, and I hadn’t even, I hadn’t picked up in 80 days, right?

Mm-Hmm. . Like, I, I was like, so I was, and I, and I, and I got to this conundrum of like, I can’t seem to like live life clean and I can’t live life on drugs. Wow. Now what the fuck do I do? Like, and, and in that, like, I just kinda, I surrendered back to the obsession as we talk about, right? Mm-Hmm. and like, and.

So that’s, when that happened and I was somehow fucking able to make it back after three weeks of just like the worst bender of all time and like fucking abscess on my arm the size of a softball and the courts after me now again and everybody in my life that had started to believe in me, my, my, my family and my, my friends that were still hanging with me, um, yeah, yeah.

Heartbroken and, and horrified and just certain that I was going to die. Like I made it back in and they put me on that podium and they asked me like, how could you do this? You were the house monitor. How could you pick up? And I had no fucking answer. I mean, like other than like, I, I, I had no choice. And so it’s in that, that like, that I realized that, that when, when the book goes and working with this new sponsor and helping me drive home that like.

Hey, like, uh, we are, those of us who are affected hopelessly, like, that are real alcoholic, real addict, like, we’re affected in a way that we have no effective mental defense against that first, that first one. And um, yeah, and I felt that, like, he made my sponsor help me really realize and bring home what that meant.

And that meant that, like, moving forward through the rest of the steps, like, the powerlessness and like, and the unmanageability, we’re going to address that. And it’s then that, like, emotional sobriety. It was everything that meant keeping and holding on to sobriety and that that’s something that I would have to pursue that spiritual awakening like Patrick was talking about in order to get through the rest of the steps.

So yeah, like step one, misunderstood it for a long time, but it’s been, it’s informed and been the lens through which I look at the rest of the steps and the rest of this spiritual program ever since then. Hard lesson learned. All right. Awesome. All right, Matt, you’re up. Here we go. Let’s see what we got for you.

All right. Awesome. Okay. Here we go. Relationships. Okay. Fellowship 2. 0. Um, I guess, um,

I, I, I don’t know, I, like everything else, I think it’s kind of, uh, If I was doing it on my own, I, like, the whole point is I can’t do it on my own, like, if I could, I would, and I just wouldn’t go to AA anymore, like, um, and I mean, like, that’s not to, like, make it, like, I’m not trying to say anything negative about AA, like, I think that, uh, everybody, you know, kind of gets to a point where it’s like, If I could, you know, if I could do this without going to AA, I would do it.

Like, I would. But, like, Ultimately, like, the relationships that you make with your higher power, um, with the people that you come to rely on, like, where it’s just like, I’m going, like, I’m going up north, uh, tomorrow I’m going on vacation and, like, there’s already, like, three people who already told me, like, hey, well, if you need me to chair it on Thursday, like, I can do it.

You know, like, I didn’t even have to ask, you know, like, it’s just, you know, I really think that. I’m a very, uh, negative, want to expect the worst of people, like, because I’m afraid that things aren’t going to work out. So I set myself up where like, nothing, nothing’s ever going to hurt me. And developing relationships with people in the group, with your higher power, with all that stuff, like it just, it, it’s an easier way, like nobody can do it by themselves.

All right, Patrick, here we go. Second time around. You ready for the second one? Here we go.

Boy, I think, uh, I think we’re all getting themes here. So mine is my service work. Here we go. What you got? Service work, Patrick. Uh, so I know I feel like one of the meetings that I go to is like a, uh, It’s, I don’t know what the format is called, but there’s like four discussions, like every, every week is like discussion one, two, three, or four, and the fourth one is stuff.

12 slash sponsor slip sponsorship slash service work. Um, so, and that was my home group for years and years and years. So in my mind, like step 12 and service worker, like mush together into this one thing. Um, And I know like. Uh, I came in after like emptying ashtrays was a thing, right? That was, that was not a job anymore.

By the time I got sober, I was born in the eighties. So, uh, but like, I mean, specifically when it comes to meetings, you know, there’s whatever, like Matt was saying, and you find your role, right? Like get your, get yourself in there to like, If you do something that makes you feel bad, if you don’t show up to the meeting, basically, like make it really hard to sit on your couch and skip a meeting, uh, because speaking as someone who, I don’t think I have, I don’t think I don’t have any service positions right now.

And it is, it is real easy, like, ah, I’m gonna. I’ve I’ve been doing so much other stuff. Like I’m just gonna take it easy tonight, right? I’m just gonna chill. I’m gonna Get all their work. We moved I can work on the house or I can go to the gym Like it becomes really easy to to start sliding and just you know having having a reason Um, to be accountable to show up to the meeting other than just like, Hey, I haven’t seen these guys in a while and they expect me to show up.

Like it’s what I’m supposed to do. Having like an actual job is a good way, especially it was very helpful early on to be like, well, I have to be at this meeting. Right. Especially when I got my, I could drive again. Right. I didn’t, uh, I had the freedom of the wheel. Like, like I could go anywhere. Um, and like having, being tied to that home group, you know, like.

Um, was a coffee maker for a while. I had managed the money at a meeting for like three years. Uh, um, you know, find, find a role and, and make yourself have a reason to get there. And then, you know, like outside of sponsorship, just like working with others is service work. Um, so showing up to meetings when you same thing, like if you don’t feel like it, you know, Matt was saying, if there are days where I’m like, yeah, I feel pretty good, but.

If, if people who had time didn’t go to meetings when they were feeling good, like a newcomer is going to show up and like, there’s no, no one’s going to be there. Right. Um, so like going to meetings. Showing up, sharing when you feel like you’ve said the same. I, how many times have I shared in the first step, man?

How many times can I say the same things were really fucking bad. Like here’s how it was. Like, you know, it does. I try really hard to like change it up, but eventually like, I know I’m repeating myself, but at the same time, like there’s a new guy there that needs to hear something. Right. So just share what you’re going to share, you know, sign up to go to the retreats, make sure that people are there that, you know, can.

Embody the fellowship and show that we’re, you know, we’re not a glum lot. Go to coffee, try and hang out and do stuff. You know, anytime I see a new person who’s like kind of my age, I’m like, man, I hope you are into like doing sports and like going outside and like, you want to go rock climbing and like ice skate?

Like, let’s go do stuff. So we’re not, need some, need some young blood in here. Uh, you know, just engage with people, like find a reason to be there and show up. So. More to service work than just, like, making coffee or taking out trash. All right! My name is Mark, and I’m an alcoholic, and I got Step 11 is my step, so Step 11, sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Um Yeah, sought through prayer and meditation. You know, praying only for knowledge of His will. I did a lot of praying. You know, Chris, when I came into this program, you know, I did a fair amount of praying, but it was all the stuff that I wanted. My prayer was very, very selfish about the shit that I wanted God to do for me.

You know, I had this to do list for God, and I was checking that list. twice. You know, I was playing Santa with God because, you know, he wasn’t doing his job. You know, here I am in program doing everything I’m supposed to be doing. At least that’s my, my perspective at it and, and shit’s not coming my way, you know?

And so what happens with that? And we talked about relationships, relationship with my higher power. It was waning because the prayer was wrong. The prayer was wrong. You know, what, what the step really says is to, you know, to, to, um, Pray for the knowledge of His will and the power to carry that out. And that’s a big prayer.

That’s a really difficult prayer. And actually, it’s a lifetime prayer. And that’s something I do every morning. I do start my day every morning with prayer. I get together with Anna, my wife, and we kind of go through some spiritual readings and we reflect. Uh, we do 11 step prayer, um, which is very helpful, you know, because, you know, I talked about the things that I wanted, you know, I want to be loved.

I want to be understood. I want to be comforted. I want to be, I want to do all these things. What does 11 step prayer do, say for me to do? To get all those things is that is to give it away first. If I want to be understood, go, go look for someone to understand. If I want to, you know, if I want, uh, if I want to be loved, go find someone else to love.

You know, so service work is a big part of that, but praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry that out. And I’ve said this many times, if I’m, If I’m thinking about someone else, if I’m caring for someone else, then I’m probably doing God’s will. So much of the program is to get outside of our heads and stop focusing on me and start worrying or being concerned of other people.

That’s the best way. To feed my soul. That’s the best way to get on the beam. That’s the best way for me to stay sober. And that is not to be so concerned about me and my little problems. Because if I stay there worried about me and my little problems, a drink is going to sound pretty fucking good.

Because if you’re anything like me, when I’m only talking, thinking about me. I go down this rabbit hole. I only think about negative things. I only think about negative things. But if I am worried or concerned or helping someone else, I see all the possibilities. You know, Patrick, you talked about, you know, seeing a new person in the program.

That is a real energizer for me because I am overwhelmed, overcome with optimism for this person. Because I. I know that the program can work and that lives can change because I’ve seen it myself and I’ve seen it all around, um, in this program. So, if I can just focus on, on the concern for other people, I will benefit most.

That’s all I have. Chris, you’re up. Here we go. Next time around. Uh, this is a good one. Surrender. Here we go. Okay, uh, yeah, I wanna talk about it through the, I think I hit on a little bit with step one. So, that’s ongoing, right? Like, I’m still powerless over that first one. Uh, not in the sense that like I’m just at any moment, I haven’t thought about a craving.

You know, in a long time, um, I believe that that’s partly grace and partly through the step 11 process you’re talking about, Mark, where I’m trying to align my will with God’s and I’m trying to be the agent and let him be the principal and let him be the director and me just to act my little part, right?

So when I do that, like, um, Just because I haven’t had a craving for alcohol and drugs in a long time doesn’t mean I haven’t had a craving to be a selfish asshole. And uh, put on the asshole suit, if I’m going to quote my sponsor again, there it is hanging in the closet. It looks nice. I know it still fits.

Is that your asshole suit hanging on the wall behind you there? It looks like a zebra. Yeah, you guys can’t see it. It’s one of Michelle’s jackets. She’s a little flashier than me. I see. Uh, no my asshole suits a little more traditional, uh, but yeah, the uh And so, what does that look like in my life now?

Like, um, it’s, it’s, when I, when I don’t surrender, like, people don’t want to be around me, right? Like, um, the asshole suit smells. And, like, it’s revolting. I’m repulsive. Um, like, yeah, and so, in step 11, and in step 10, in inventory, in working with others, in fellowship, like, those are all the areas where I’m open for business, right?

Like, I can sit at home and I can do Inventory, but if I, if the, if I, if my store is never open for business, like it doesn’t amount to anything. It’s just, it’s just like a monk, right? Like, and we don’t work that program. We work a program where we got to get around and work all the 12 step, you know, the practice and the principles in all our affairs.

Um, and so when I Uh, I, I stay aligned with, with doing the, uh, the prompts that we have, right. With doing service work was showing up and opening that meeting that people are counting on me for. Um, I do it by, I don’t know if I’m sometimes being welcoming of the newcomer and sometimes taking one look and being like, Oh shit.

Um, and sometimes going too, too far into it where I want it more than they do. I have sponsees like that, or guys that you try to help out and it just turns into, yeah. Um, sometimes it’s surrender is like knowing when I’m wanting it more than, than they do. You know, I had a guy that was given a ton of rides to be, I was going above and beyond.

I’ve had a few of those, like where the boundaries were all muddled and, and I’m thinking I’m, you know, it’s. I, you know, I, I had to reassess and be like, am I, is this the agent or am I doing something where I’m a little codependent here? And I had a guy that was, uh, we were waiting to get him into mental health treatment and um, who also had substance issues and he’d been in and out of the program for 30 years and he’s like fucking having a seizure on my dining room floor at the time when I lived alone.

Like I had this. Extra room and I filled it up with somebody like I didn’t want it and the minute he got in there He shoot moves and like so I I had sometimes I have to surrender to that But just as much like it’s it’s reliance on a higher power And I don’t always see that and I have to do the rest of the work With inventory and with talking with others and not sitting alone secretly trying to help this guy out and convince that I’m gonna get him I’m gonna change him, like, I need to be talking about my, to my sponsor and others about that stuff and I need to not be trying to be the director in my life or, or somebody else’s.

So surrender, surrender, surrender. Surrender to win, right? All right, here we go. Matt, you got this one. Steps four and five. All right, well, I guess, um, one of the things that immediately comes to mind is like, uh, I got two sponsees right now that are both working on their fourth steps, and one of them kinda sorta started their fifth step.

Um, so I feel like I’ve been kind of like, very much living in that, uh, of late. And um, I definitely had like, I had like a, a lull for sure, where I didn’t have any sponsees for a while. I was not doing any work, like, I don’t know if I was actively avoiding it because that sounds a little bit more, uh, on purpose than it actually was.

But, um, I will say that, like, typically around the end of the year, like, my sobriety day is October 14th and I feel like, from October 14th through like the middle of January ish like it’s just the fucking worst like it just it starts getting dark at 4 p. m. exactly like right now and usually I kind of get into a funk and everything sucks and I don’t want to fucking you know get out of bed or anything and So far this year with like, it’s all been pretty good, you know, like, uh, I just, um, and I mean, I, I don’t think it’s a coincidence, you know, I think that working with others to keep coming back to the kind of the other sticks, it’s like, I haven’t done a proper real fourth step.

I think you and me and Mark got together a while. I don’t know, it was a few years ago. Um, and it was basically just to bitch about my ex girlfriend. But, uh, so I don’t even know if that even counts as a proper fourth step. But, uh, I, uh, you know, so I hadn’t really done that process in person with somebody else in a while.

And, like, like, you know, just like everything else. Like, I get, I get out of it what I put into it. And, uh, making yourself available to other people and being able to, you know, go through the steps of somebody else is exactly, you know, that’s how it works. That’s why, uh, it was like Patrick said, you know, it’s like if all these people who had their sobriety together were like, well, I’m good, I don’t need to go to meetings anymore.

Like, uh, that, that probably wouldn’t work out too good for the newcomer, you know? So, I, uh. I, I’m very grateful for the fact that, uh, things have worked out the way they have for me so far. And I can say that all I want, but if I’m not doing the work that, that kind of bears that out, then like, I guess probably I’m just not actually grateful.

I’m just saying that, uh, you know, cause it’s. You got to act your way into right thinking. You can’t think your way into the right acting. You just got to keep doing, doing stuff, you know? So that’s it. All right, Patrick, I got, I got all the sticks lined up here, uh, that we just cheered on. So I’m going to go through them and see if I can make some sense out of it.

You’re, you’re ready for this, Patrick? All right. So, uh, I first came in the program, what’s that? You saw my comment in the chat, right? No, I didn’t all this looks everything everyone sticks were all like Simpatico, like bam, bam, bam. Theme. Let me see if I can make some sense out of this. So when I first came in the I didn’t even know there was a chat.

Where’s the chat? Sorry, I derailed it. All right. So, uh, when I first came into the program, you know, I looked at the wall and I saw those steps and I saw step one and I saw steps four and five and I saw Saw step 12. So I thought I’d work those steps. You know, hi, my name is Mark and I’m an alcoholic. I am so sorry.

How can I help? And I knew that that wasn’t the way to work the program. You want to know how? It’s because I was still fucking miserable. And by being in relationships and within the fellowship, they told me I was full of shit and that I needed to start getting busy. I needed to start getting busy by getting a.

Sponsor, getting a sponsor and working the steps, using the book and going through it in order to really find out more about myself. And the one thing that my sponsor really wanted me to do was number one, work those steps. But again, service work, service work was another. Stick that we drew on and service work was, it was a game changer for me because I became available to people.

And like I said, if I want to be understood, try to understand someone else. If I want to be loved, love someone else for service work really helped me on that. And that helped me with my. Ego, my ego, because it helped me not so much that I had too much of an ego. Actually, I didn’t have enough. And so this helped me to, to, to, to be in service work, to work the steps, to find out about myself, to put myself in right relationship and right position.

And so that helped me with my ego. And then I could start really developing more deeper a relationship with a higher power. Step 11, really trying to figure out what, what my role is, what, what is God’s will. for me in my life, and I just have to surrender the program every day. How’d I do, Patrick? That’s pretty well, well, well tied up, sir.

Way to bring everything together. This Week in Recovery, where we talk about what’s going on at the home group and what’s going on in the family room. Don’t touch that dial. All right, Patrick, This Week in Recovery, and this is where we talk about what’s going on in our home group, what’s going on in our family room, what’s going on in our life.

What’s happening in your life, Patrick? What’s going on? I’m just riding high from that, uh, big Michigan national title last night. That’ll carry, that’ll probably keep me happy for at least another day or two. Um, and then, uh, yeah, good stuff coming up starting to, there’s like a youth climbing program at the climbing gym I go to, so I’m going to start volunteering at that, uh, got men’s retreat coming up.

That’s. Uh, I haven’t been able to go to like the last two years, so I’m excited to, to get back to that in a couple of weeks. Yeah. I just got that notice. So it’s February 2nd, which is coming right up. So I’m not going to be able to make that. But, uh, Patrick, you were talking about heading up north and doing some, some climbing up there.

Why don’t you let our audience know what’s going on. It’s, uh, I think it’s the second weekend. So it’s the weekend after the retreat. Um, yeah, up in, uh, up near Munising, up right in your picture racks, all the water that comes over the cliffs freezes up there. And then, uh, supposedly it’s like one of the best ice climbing spots in the country.

And they do a big, a big, big weekend thing of it. You can go and they’ll teach you how to do it. You can rent gears. So, uh, a couple of climbing people I know went last year, said it was a blast and hope I’m hoping to make it happen this year. About you, Chris, what’s going on in your life? What’s happening?

Ah, let’s see. My dad, we are taking out this Sunday for his 70th. He wants buddy’s pizza. So that’s where we’re headed. And, uh, yeah, he and my brother just got together. My brother went to U of M Dearborn. Um, my dad got me into Michigan football when we were, when we moved here from Arizona and was real young and, uh, Yeah, like we got to sit there and watch that, uh, sorry to anybody who’s not a Michigan fan, but watch them win the national championship.

It was a great, good family moment. Yeah, I, yeah, it just, you know, hopefully everybody gets to experience it, I think. Like, because that was, it was a great time with me, my little brother, and my dad. It was tears of joy and a long time coming. So, uh, that, that’s been good and Uh, we’ve been doing movie night here at the house, uh, and Tuesdays.

So I usually would be getting off here right now and we started about 7 30, but Michelle’s got to go get Jackson from wrestling. So we’re busy, busy, busy. We moved it to Friday, but we’ve been, it’s been a chance to show some of the kids, my Picks for, uh, traditional, like, just awesome growing up movies, um, that I loved.

And then it’s been a chance for them to pick out movies that they want to see. And, and pick, you know, some newer kids movies on Netflix that have actually been pretty decent. That, that Adam Sandler Leo movie was pretty good. Um, yeah. Everything’s, everything’s awesome. Living is beautiful. How about you, Matt?

What’s going on? Well, I’m about to go on a vacay. I guess the theme is going up north. I’m going up, uh, hanging out in northern Michigan with, uh, Gonna, I guess they’re, they’re getting just absolutely hammered with snow right now. So when I get up there, there’s going to be a couple feet of snow, which is going to be about all I like of it, like in that, like I will go inside and not come out for like four days.

It’s just, uh, no wives, no kids, just me and the, me and the boys that I’ve known since middle school for five days in a row. Playing cards, and playing video games, and watching football, and eating so, so, so much food, and, uh, It’s gonna be awesome. I’m like, legit, like, my, like, my body is here, but my mind is there.

I’m like, leaving tomorrow. Like, as soon as I get out of work tomorrow, I’m, I’m, I’m going, so. But other than that, business as usual, no, uh, no particularly, uh, dramatic news to report. How about, how about you? Ah, well, for me, um, just coming off the, the lull of the holidays, or at least the, the lull is happening now.

We just, uh, celebrated our 41st anniversary. Wedding anniversary yesterday. How about that? Bullshit. Huh? So we had a good, a nice little time. So that, that sort of puts a bow on the holiday season. Um, there hasn’t been any snow around here. I mean, it is dark and dreary. Like Matt was saying, it gets dark around four o’clock here.

It rained all day. So we are getting away and going up to Marquette in a couple of weeks, trying to find some snow. And so, Matt, you said there’s snow up there, so I’m looking forward to that. We’re renting a little cabin out in the middle of the woods, just outside the airport in Marquette. So, we’re flying up there, renting an SUV, and just going to hunker in.

So, looking forward to that. And then following that You should find some snow. Like, I was looking at the report. I guess they got six inches yesterday, and we’re going up tomorrow in hopes to get up there ahead of it. Because I guess over the weekend, they’re supposed to get two feet of snow or something.

Where at? Where are you going? We’re going to Black Lake so like that’s about a half an hour south of the bridge So if you’re going to Marquette like that’s even farther north. I imagine the North it is, you know the UP is not for the light hearted like it’s It’s why I’m flying it is full on. It looks like the thing up there.

All right listeners You’ve heard we think about popsicle sticks. Now. We want to hear what you think All right, Chris, we did ask our listeners about this topic. Now, listeners, if you’d like to participate in these weekly surveys, just email me, mark at recoveredcast. com, and I’ll send you an invitation to our Recovered Cast Google group.

And this group receives the show notes for the upcoming show. You’ll also receive an invitation to participate in the weekly survey, and you’ll also receive a link to call into the show so you can share your experience with us. Uh, and if you want to get involved, just email me, mark at recoveredcast. com.

All right. Chris, we did ask our listeners, have you ever attended a Popsicle stick meeting? And what do you think our audience said? How many said, yep, I have participated in such a thing? Uh, I’m going to say 49%. 42%. So, not pretty close. So we do have, that’s the closest I’ve ever been. Is it, is it like Price is right, he went over so he’s disqualified or is it he’s, I mean, that’s pretty close.

All right. Now we don’t have any phone calls in this week, so that’s a bit of a bummer, but our sustaining recovered podcast partners are a big part in our self supporting movement. And this week, Becky, Kim, Joel, Martin, Shelly, Amanda, Christy, Jim, Chez. Vicki, well, they made their sustaining partner monthly donations.

So thanks again, Becky, Kim, Joel, Martin, Shelley, Amanda, Christie, Jim, Chez and Vicki. Now you could become a sustaining partner by giving on a monthly basis for one year. And as a. An expression of our gratitude for your donation. We’ll send you recovered podcast merchandise like t shirts and coffee mugs and water bottles.

Now just go to the website, recoveredcast. com and tap on the sustaining partners button for more information. But thanks again, Becky, Kim, Joel, Martin, Shelly, Amanda, Christy, Jim, Chez and Vicki. All right, Matt, next up is our value for value statement. Can you read that for us? I sure can. We might need to get Patrick a water bottle there.

I don’t know if you saw that. No, I didn’t. Right as you said water bottle, he like squeezed it and water exploded everywhere. To his chagrin. You need the new model. Alright, value for value statement. As a result of a recent group conscience meeting, we have adopted a value for value policy. We want to be of service to the Recovered Podcast community.

Anything we offer on our website, we will send to you. If you want a t shirt, coffee mug, or water bottle If you want Gigi’s book, Worry Less Now, just email Mark at RecoveredCast. com and let us know what you want and where to mail it. We will order and mail those things to you for no set fee or price. All we ask you to consider is how much value you receive from the item chosen and the value of our work.

Only you can determine how much our work at Recovered is worth to you and send us the monetary equivalent through our website at RecoveredCast. com backslash donation. Thanks a lot. All right. So remember, abandon yourself to God and admit your faults, clear away the records of the past and give freely.

God bless and see you next time.

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