Addiction & Recovery Conversations with Brett Lovins

Reflections on 11 Years of Sobriety - Conversation with My Wife Molly

May 29, 2024 Brett Lovins Season 2 Episode 3
Reflections on 11 Years of Sobriety - Conversation with My Wife Molly
Addiction & Recovery Conversations with Brett Lovins
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Addiction & Recovery Conversations with Brett Lovins
Reflections on 11 Years of Sobriety - Conversation with My Wife Molly
May 29, 2024 Season 2 Episode 3
Brett Lovins

Ever wondered how celebrating sobriety birthdays can transform a recovery journey? Join us as we mark 11 years of sobriety, sharing heartfelt reflections and personal milestones. From the unwavering support of my first sponsor, Todd Edwards, to the compassionate guidance of Steve Dunn, you'll hear stories that underscore the power of community and resilience. Listen in as we discuss the traditions that have kept me grounded and the broader life lessons learned along the way.

Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all journey, and this episode shines a light on the diverse paths to overcoming Substance Use Disorder (SUD). We compare the statistics of recovery in the U.S. with the membership of AA, revealing a landscape rich with individualized approaches. Drawing inspiration from Brené Brown's insights on vulnerability, we challenge the shame and stigma often associated SUD.

Language matters, especially in the context of addiction and recovery. This episode unpacks why terms like "substance use disorder" are preferred and how words can shape perceptions and impact lives. Through personal anecdotes, we illustrate the evolving societal awareness around mental health and substance use. Additionally, we invite you to explore the history of the recovery movement by watching the documentary film: "The Anonymous People".

Some of the topics from this conversation, with links:
The class I'm taking: Certified Facilitator in Addiction Awareness for HR & Managers
My new personal website: brettlovins.com
Information and help: SAMSHA

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered how celebrating sobriety birthdays can transform a recovery journey? Join us as we mark 11 years of sobriety, sharing heartfelt reflections and personal milestones. From the unwavering support of my first sponsor, Todd Edwards, to the compassionate guidance of Steve Dunn, you'll hear stories that underscore the power of community and resilience. Listen in as we discuss the traditions that have kept me grounded and the broader life lessons learned along the way.

Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all journey, and this episode shines a light on the diverse paths to overcoming Substance Use Disorder (SUD). We compare the statistics of recovery in the U.S. with the membership of AA, revealing a landscape rich with individualized approaches. Drawing inspiration from Brené Brown's insights on vulnerability, we challenge the shame and stigma often associated SUD.

Language matters, especially in the context of addiction and recovery. This episode unpacks why terms like "substance use disorder" are preferred and how words can shape perceptions and impact lives. Through personal anecdotes, we illustrate the evolving societal awareness around mental health and substance use. Additionally, we invite you to explore the history of the recovery movement by watching the documentary film: "The Anonymous People".

Some of the topics from this conversation, with links:
The class I'm taking: Certified Facilitator in Addiction Awareness for HR & Managers
My new personal website: brettlovins.com
Information and help: SAMSHA

Speaker 1:

So I think this is cool. You invited me to record this because on many weekend mornings even though this isn't a weekend, it feels like one we chat and we we've had many cool conversations on your sobriety birthdays. So it's 11 years yeah and one of the things that I'm always curious about is what this year, what you've learned this year, what's new, what's different this year?

Speaker 2:

yeah, we both worked at a place called Pirelli and that was a question that Neil Pye used to always ask everybody on their birthday, and it's a good one, like what did you learn this year that you didn't know last year, kind of a thing. That's what you're posing here. Yeah, yeah, you know I don't have anything super clear on that. A lot has changed this year, part of a momentum that's been going on for me where I've gotten obviously louder as I sit here with you with microphones talking about this and putting it on the interwebs and uh, and maybe I'll take this opportunity to to tell people that for a lot of us in recovery, the day that we got sober is one that we call our sobriety birthday.

Speaker 2:

And you know it's evolved over the years. I mean those first few years, you know it was all about making a big deal of it, and you were there, right there with me, and you went to where we would get coins, and it's changed every year, and so this is 11. So we're starting to rack them up pretty good here. And yet the concept of sobriety birthday is very real for me. It's not for everybody in recovery, but for many it's. It's a, it's a day. It's an important day, and so, uh, and so here we are having a conversation on my sobriety birthday, which is May 28th.

Speaker 1:

So so I want to ask you, cause I'll I'll ask you the question again because you didn't answer it yet, but just to point that out what's similar, what's consistent? Because there have been some things that every birthday you've done, and you've already done a couple of them. It seems like there are certain things that are tradition and that you have wanted to keep traditional. So what is that and why is that important?

Speaker 2:

Okay, yeah, so I usually talk to my first sponsor, todd Edwards. He was the guy that basically helped me to have psychological safety, the way I look at it, back in the days of my early finding my way into circles where sober people were hanging out, and in my case that was AA, alcoholics Anonymous, and there was a lot that was really rubbing me the wrong way in AA and sometimes still does in AA and sometimes still does. And so somebody like him just happened to sit next to me, you know, in an 80 person meeting and happened to get called on and happened to share something that was meaningful and and was willing to be my sponsor and and you know, we've been friends ever since and so, um, you know, we left you and I left Fort Collins where I got sober after about six months of being sober. So, um, but he and I have stayed in touch, not a lot, but enough, and certainly on our birthdays, and the cool thing as I say birthdays plural, because his is two days before his, may 26th, and so he was seven years sober when we met, and now I think he's well, he's at 18 years and so, so that's a tradition, and now I think he's well, he's at 18 years and so, so that's a tradition.

Speaker 2:

Oh, if I could. Only one thing I would love to be able to do is talk to Steve Dunn. That's the one that rocks me whenever I think about it, and I can't because he's passed away.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but you used to.

Speaker 2:

But I used to, and every year I would try so hard to get myself prepared to not wall every year, as soon as you heard his voice, I would totally lose it and I miss him and I'm so grateful to him and I hope someday to know his family. He was the drug and alcohol counselor who, um, you know I hesitate to say saved my life because I just don't know what happens if I don't meet him, and maybe that's not true or not, but he helped me get through that window of opportunity and stay there, and the way he did it if you listen to the story, isn't by pushing me, it was the opposite. Podcast, because that's how I try to run my interactions with other people that are finding their way to sobriety is through that lens.

Speaker 1:

So there's something that I think is interesting, because one of the things for me all along, since you started learning about substance use disorder and you know me trying to figure out what, what is it? And you know how is it? How am I not, you know, an addict, even though some of my behaviors are similar going to meetings with you, listening to stories and hearing the, the wisdom and the, the life answers within that you know, group of people. One of the things that really resonates with me with your story of of Todd and and, uh, steve Dunn, but more so with Todd, is that he, when you heard him speak, it was like he was telling your story. He really resonated with you. It was like he was telling your story, he really resonated with you. And one of the things that I think as far as a life lesson for me that has happened over and over again, is don't give up if you don't find the stories that resonate with you. They're out there For me right now, I've been transitioning into a new profession and, you know, making a big career change and it's scary.

Speaker 1:

I'm 52 years old and a lot of people don't make those moves at this age and you know holding. I don't know if holding out is the right word, but not giving up that there are going to be people that resonate with you, and you know I've. I'm really excited that I've found that Um. And then back a few years back with with you know learning about horses and and um, finding trainers that resonated with me and and still to this day, you know finding people that resonate with me. I think that in AA, you know that whole thing of if you go to a meeting and it doesn't resonate, don't stop, keep searching because you'll find it Like, is there anything that you'd want to say to that, or is there? I mean, does that ring for you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I'll, I'll. I'll expand a little bit on that. So two things. One of the things that I've learned this year is I've gotten very comfortable with a new saying, that I'm going to lean on here and that my program, and basically my program, is my life, because if I, if I drink again, I, I, I think it's curtains not too far out, right, so it's that serious.

Speaker 2:

So program's a word that I used to fight. Whatever, it's what I do to keep sober, and I think my program is boiled down to two things. One, I can't forget I cannot forget that I have a chronic condition, uncurable, and it's going to just stay there, and I can't forget that. So I got to do things to remind myself. And two, knowing people seems to be very helpful, and so I think to your point is like finding people that resonate with me has been, continues to be, and I don't think it'll ever stop. And so notice I haven't said AA in there at all in that right.

Speaker 2:

So if it's AA, great, the AA has going for it is. It's super convenient and it's very, very, very well established. They're everywhere, at all hours.

Speaker 1:

And each meeting is different. Like every meeting I've been to, it's different. It's a different culture, different group of people, different things that they emphasize.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and again I think to your point, like it's the people. Like if I go to a meeting, that's a new one, their gig, and yet there's a lot of people that are promoting things to my ear and that's fine too.

Speaker 2:

That can be attractive to somebody else, but people that resonate with me. Man, it's great, and I've had the good fortune of meeting and being around many amazing people, and I also say this too I've also had a chance to be around people that don't resonate with me and, in some ways, have helped me too, maybe even more through the way that they operate, which is not the way I'm going to operate.

Speaker 2:

And have clarified what I want to do when it comes, particularly to help the new person. I want to do when it comes particularly to help the new person, which is probably the main reason that I hang around meetings and stuff is to help me, for sure, to not forget and to be around people, but also, you know, this idea that maybe something I might say or not say would be potentially helpful to somebody finding their way, which I'm so grateful I did.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I'm grateful you did too. I think it's really cool. I like what you said of one of the things that you've learned this year, or maybe just clarified, put in the forefront, that I've heard you say a lot in your conversations with me, and you know in your conversations with me and you know with other people is that idea of what's my program? This is my program, and I think it's cool that. I think it's cool that you're using that word and I think it's really. It's been interesting to watch you develop that and give yourself permission that it doesn't need to be a program that somebody else develops that you're going to follow, even though you know there might be times when you need that. It's a program that you're developing. It's one that is working for you, and a big part of that is all the conversations you've had with people and learning what has worked, you know, for them and then what fits for you and you know not, and then leaving the rest. Yeah, I think that's really cool.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's a saying too, you know take what you need in the present moment and guiltlessly leave all the rest. And I love every word in that sentence guiltlessly In the present moment.

Speaker 2:

You know this is all real stuff. Word in that sentence guiltlessly in the present moment. You know this is all real stuff. And yeah, I'll just throw a stat at the audience here. The latest stat is that there's 24 million people that consider themselves to be in recovery in the United States. So 330 million people if you don't know that it's about how many people are in the US 24 million are walking around believing or saying they're in recovery.

Speaker 2:

Okay, the AA membership is holding steady for many years at about 2.1 million. So that's a delta of about 20 million people, 22 million people that would say I'm in recovery and are not members of AA. So that just sort of adds another layer of paint to what you're saying is, my program is my business and I'm happy to share it. And I'm also happy to have people say, oh, I don't want his program or or not curious about my program, and um, but I, I the more, the more I'm around this and the more I do what I do when it comes to being around recovery circles, the more I believe that it seems to me that people need to find their program and it can evolve and change and it can go this way and then that way or whatever, but how do you know it's working? You're not putting booze in your face.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And hopefully you're also happy too and you're like growing as a human being and returning. That's what recovery is to me is becoming human again and being able to find out how you go to a movie without drinking or all these things that you know. I did my entire life, everything involved on alcohol, and now I've got to learn how to go to a concert, and the good news is, as you know, because we go to concerts is it's it's magic. It's magic for me to go to a concert. And the good news is, as you know, because we go to concerts is it's magic. It's magic for me to go to a concert and not be drinking for many reasons. So that was kind of a little bit of a rabbit hole, but I think I circled back to what you were saying there. Yeah, how about you? So you know you had a front row seat, which we've had in another podcast episode. My number one most listened to podcast episode is yours.

Speaker 1:

Well, of course, that's because my mom has listened to it 47 times. Has she listened to it?

Speaker 2:

No, I don't know if she's listened to it, but I have heard a lot of really positive comments about that, and one of the things that I like to outline as part of that story, or at least highlight, is you know that you had a front row seat to the you know, accelerating nature of the disease of alcoholism.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, or nowadays you would say alcohol use disorder. So they're losing that word, which is kind of cool because that word has a lot of baggage. How about you Anything you'd be willing to share that's either new to you this year or different, as we've now logged 11 years of me not drinking together.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, I think the thing that stands out the most for me this year is watching you transition into being someone in recovery to trying to figure out how to affect change in the recovery world and on a bigger scale, like working at a corporate, you know, working at Cisco, starting a community within to help people connect. And then the biggest part is to, you know, shine a light on to use Brene Brown's terminology that shame and well, she didn't really say shame and stigma, but shame can't live where the light shines, that if you keep it hidden away it can grow and build, but if we put it out and shine a light on it, it has a harder time growing. And I've watched you do that and part of me, like when you first started doing that, I was worried. I was worried that you were putting yourself in a really vulnerable position by saying that, hey, I'm in recovery and stepping out. And you know, yeah, I, yeah, I was, I was concerned about that. And so, you know, realizing that I have shame and stigma surrounding it, even though I'm so incredibly proud of you, um, you stepping out, I just thought, oh boy, you're putting your job in jeopardy and you know, ironically, you got laid off Right, but it didn't have anything to do with that. I know that I'd never once thought that it had to do with that. And now I'm watching you in a time where, if this had happened back when you were still drinking, I mean it would look unbelievably different. I mean you would be using that to get through this challenging time and instead you've been, you know, opening yourself up to possibilities and you've been reaching out and you know, doing what you do anyway, connecting with people. But really, I don't know, it's just been really really wonderful to watch and, um, yeah, so I think the the thing to kind of put a recap it is is watching you step out and say, hey, I'm, I, I'm gonna challenge the shame and stigma thing and I'm gonna put myself out there and um, and watching you do that and be such a great example, um, and I, I would like to do that too.

Speaker 1:

I still have shame and stigma surrounding it. Yeah, more that it's weird. I mean I have it more about. I don't want to make other people feel uncomfortable. Yeah, which is so strange, but I bet I'm sure that other people can relate to that. It's like you know, if I say that, what are other people going to say back to me? Is I, you know. So that's a reason that I don't want to have to keep me from sharing my you know, respect and love for what you're doing and and that, beyond that, that it could help somebody you know.

Speaker 2:

So, anyway, yeah, let's just take a second on that, one of the pieces in there around me getting laid off and what happened the last time when I was still drinking and got laid off from Pirelli right, mm-hmm, I mean, I always drank, heavily, always.

Speaker 1:

What do you mean? You'll always drink heavily.

Speaker 2:

No, I always did drink heavily, oh, okay, but I think to your point. You know it was a disaster in terms of my alcohol intake and you know I drank no matter the occasion. But yeah, and you know when I think about you, know the life events that you know you hear in the rooms of AA or elsewhere where people are talking about things that have caused them to, as some people say, do more research, or relapse is a word that's falling into disfavor slip whatever, drink again. Yeah, go back out is often called used as well. These are the kinds of things that you hear about. You know layoffs, losing family. You know losing somebody that's important to them yeah, this is better. I wouldn't even even considered at all using alcohol or drugs right now, even considered at all using alcohol or drugs right now. And I think part of that is pillar. Number one is I can't forget. I put so much effort.

Speaker 2:

You know that, constantly putting effort into reminding myself whether it's going to hear people share those kinds of stories that they're so graciously sharing with me and others.

Speaker 1:

And when you say those kinds of stories, you're talking about relapse stories. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I share with people that I have this condition, and when I have interface with people that are going through relapse, I assure them the only difference between them and myself is one drink, that's it, and I am you and you are me, period. And so you know that shame that can snowball over a person. You know when they relapse or or slip or whatever, uh is heavy. And yet the truth is is that if you have this condition which I believe, with everything I got that I do, all I got to do now is never get complacent. I can't get complacent, so.

Speaker 1:

I can't forget, and so it's funny.

Speaker 2:

I was just in my class earlier. We were talking about changing language in recovery circles when discussing these things, and relapse is one of the ones that's falling into disfavor and I can't remember what the alternative is, so I'm going to leave this because you know, part of this evolution I believe is is also it's okay for people to use language that they're you know it took me a while to go from addiction to substance use disorder and I'm pretty much there now.

Speaker 2:

It took me a while to get comfortable with it, and so it's going to take me a while to get comfortable with these other words. And anyway, I just say that because the class I'm taking, as you know, is I'm becoming a facilitator for substance use disorder problems in corporate America, which is and for HR professionals, and I feel like I'm made to do that. You know all my facilitation skills and all my ability to create safe spaces and such Um. I think I could be an excellent messenger and and and somebody to to do that in those kinds of settings.

Speaker 1:

So, um, so anyway, I just so one thing that popped into my mind and this is kind of what happens when we have these conversations is we're going all over the place. But one of the things that I thought of with the evolution of language is that, because people can end up getting offended if a certain word is used, Right, that no longer is like you said. It's no longer in favor Is that what you said?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I don't know yeah.

Speaker 1:

Um, and I think something that's super important is realizing recognizing the point of language is to clearly communicate, and that part of communication is intention. And you know if someone's intention is to connect and be, you know, helpful, or you know it's a good intention If they use a word that isn't in favor anymore, it's like hopefully excused and because they need to be. People need to be, we need to be a part of the. We need to understand why did it change? So if you just say, well, now it's substance use disorder, but you don't understand why, why would you be using that? Right, and I think oftentimes we fall short on that. We forget to look at the intention. We just hear the words Um, so anyway, no, I agree.

Speaker 2:

I'll just add to that to say that I think that words can get in the way and that includes for me too Um and I'll say that out loud at meetings all the time like words can get in the way of of things and um. So I'm with you on that 100%.

Speaker 1:

But to be curious and to try to really understand, like, why is that person using that word? Or if it's a new word to you, you know? Or if it's a more offensive word, what's the intention behind it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so I'd love to take a second here to do a little bit of education on that. Okay, like, why is substance use disorder?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because that would be a question I have. I don't know why that, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I'll start with my story. If you use the word alcoholic around me or addict, first off, alcoholic means bad to me, a bad, bad person, a weak person. Uh, it means that I am now grouped with a bad lot of people. Um, not to me now, but at the time, like when I needed to have curiosity to discover more about the predicament that I was in. Alcoholic was kryptonite. I've said this a few times in a couple of meetings and I don't know. It came out of my brain and I love it. I dug a moat and I put up electric fences and if anybody came in earshot of me and used that word, I'm not sorry, I have no interest in being around you. That's how intense it was for me.

Speaker 2:

And so if it's that way for me, it's going to be that way for lots of people. And the truth is is that I have a medical condition. It's a complex one, includes brain stuff as well. So, just like mental health, as a society we're waking up to mental health and being more open about it, right? Well, guess what?

Speaker 2:

Substance use disorder flies in formation. They usually are flying with each other, and in my case you know I would self-medicate with booze for anxiety issues that I had. Right, I could say that now, but I couldn't say that back then. I didn't even understand it.

Speaker 2:

And so substance use disorder is less of a binary thing, meaning you either have it or you don't, you're alcoholic or you're not, and instead you can have varying degrees of substance use disorder. So somebody could say I have substance use disorder and not necessarily mean you know you're drinking, you know a gallon a day or something crazy like that. It could mean you have substance use disorder, that you're outside the, you've gone outside the lines, You're starting to check some boxes on some of those sheets and things and now you can start to deal with it and ideally deal with it before it gets terrible, because you now have some awareness around a disease that you potentially might have or be moving toward and you could potentially pull out of it and moderate and maybe be able to keep alcohol in your life. I don't know, I'm not one of them, but to me it's just a lot more of a welcoming term than alcoholic or addict.

Speaker 1:

Right, I understand that. I think that's really cool, especially the varying degree part of it. I hadn't thought of it like that. Do you think that? I mean because, like what you're saying, part of the whole thing with the word alcoholic was the cultural oh, how culture had built that word, like what it meant, what examples we had in movies and in life, and that it was, you know, not people in recovery. It was, you know, people in a really bad way, not to say that you weren't in a bad way, but, like you said, they're bad, there's something morally wrong with them. All those things that aren't true, or yeah, I'll just leave it at that. Aren't true, or yeah, I'll just leave it at that. But do you think that over time, that that same thing will happen with substance?

Speaker 2:

use disorder Meaning.

Speaker 1:

Meaning that culturally we'll start to just say, well, that's somebody with substance use disorder, that the same negative connotations will go along with that term. That went along with alcoholic. Hard to say.

Speaker 2:

Maybe I don't know. I don't know how to answer that.

Speaker 1:

But for you right now, as an individual, it's a more attractive term. It doesn't have all of the baggage like you said and it's a little bit more scientific. It has the varying degrees piece and it fits into the disease model.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and it's taken me a while to get to where I can say it and rolls off the tongue, but the truth is is I'm fully comfortable saying I'm an alcoholic Right Thousand percent yeah, and words like alky, you know. Another word on the sheet today was drunks was not a good word. I from fondness and repetition. Drunks is a word that I love.

Speaker 1:

And that there's the whole intention thing, right. So if you're in a group of people, like I've heard you with some of your friends in recovery, you'll say you guys will make jokes and say things that I would never say, right, Like because I'm not in the, I'm not in the camp or whatever. Like you guys will say you know it's just a bunch of drunks getting together and you know I'm like, oh my gosh, how can you guys say that? But the intention behind it is you have this love and you know reverence for that group getting together.

Speaker 1:

But there's also humor in it and which has been a big thing for you yeah, humor is a huge part of my program so it's the intention, because it could also be somebody using that same word and saying, yeah, it's just a bunch of drunks getting together, right right and it's totally, totally different.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so that's why I'm like you know, will it just be that someday substance use disorder will have that meaning for somebody in the part of the word alcoholic? That was so upsetting to you? I think the biggest part, if you know, I could guess is that you didn't want to have to own up to that there might be something that that you might have a problem and that you might have to give up this thing.

Speaker 2:

And, most importantly, I did not want to be labeled as something.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Like I I I resisted anybody labeling me as an like I've first off, you're an alcoholic. I mean, come on, I live my life the way I live my life and I'm doing things, and that's the thing is. It is a barrier to curiosity. If a word's getting in the way, time to figure out another word for myself and others, Right.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, I mean, you know, and I'll just tee off a little something on the side here, for this part too, is something that really helped me a lot was you book, the book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Well, as somebody that's pretty agnostic, that's hard, and it wasn't early, but early enough that somebody said well, g-o-d, and people had these different acronyms for it.

Speaker 1:

One was good orderly direction.

Speaker 2:

I get a little close.

Speaker 2:

But somebody said group of drunks and I thought well, that's why I'm here and it continues to be why I go there. For the most part, it's very convenient, like I've said before, and I like to go in there and be around my people, people that drink like me, people that are coming in, new, that are still like what is this thing? Why is all this happening? You know, that confusion and frustration that I had and the ones of us that have been around a little while and that can make light of things and laugh hysterically at things that were tragic, they're not funny when you're in the middle of it. It's not funny to have to go through the amount of anxiety that I had around concealing recycling which was a tremendous lift for me, the amount of beer cans involved and the amount of bottles and we laugh, I laugh At the time. It was just and we laugh, I laugh at the time was not funny.

Speaker 1:

No.

Speaker 2:

It was serious, yeah. So yeah, all right. One more um mini topic here. Um, since it's it is my 11th birthday and earlier in our chat you mentioned things that have been sort of traditions.

Speaker 2:

So tonight we're going to go to a meeting and I'm going to get a coin up in front of everybody and I happen to know that you've been at, if not all of them, almost all of them, happen to know that you've been at, if not all of them, almost all of them, and particularly those first ones, because those first ones, man, you were right there with me for my 30 day coin. You were right there with me for my two month coin, um three months, six months, yeah, um, six months, yeah. And tonight I'm going to go to a meeting that I go to fairly often down there in Orting, and it's just a big deal, man, it's a big deal that you've been with me and stayed with me through all of this. It's a big deal that you've been with me and stayed with me through all of this. And I go up there to get that coin, less than anything, just to maybe be some kind of a little bit of hope for some people that are new that are trying to find their way in.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and it's just always such a. You know, I don't know what happens if I don't have you in my life, molly. I hear stories about people that don't have the support that I have, but I have it with you and and I'm, and I'm, super grateful. But those words fall short. How about for you? What is what? What, what's it like for you?

Speaker 1:

or do you have any reflections on going to these kinds of meetings where you see, me stand up and think you know that deal um, I mean now that when, as you're talking about it and you know, talking about those early ones, there was so much emotion in those early ones, there was so much emotion in those early ones Like I was so I was so proud of you and I was so, oh boy, I mean I remember a lot of tears, like, and then watching the coin go around the room and each person saying something and just, I think, the early realization of how powerful the whole AA thing is in such a good way and that really it boiled down to a group of alcoholics getting together and sharing their stories and celebrating each other. And I just remember being in those rooms and being like just really blown away by that and really touched by that and um, and just really really proud of you know, watching you get up there and and watching you change. You know it was kind of like the growth you see in a kid, in an infant. You know, like every day is so significant. And then, as they get older now maybe they're 18, 19, 20, the changes are not as big a deal and it's similar, I think, in this respect. Like it, it blows me away that it's already 11.

Speaker 1:

Because we just had 10, like it, that the years now are going faster, whereas in those early days it really was each day, and so I think the way that I look at it is different. Like even this year, like you, you know we didn't really plan anything um out of the ordinary to celebrate and part of it. You know you're not really needing that anymore, but um, and, and maybe we aren't not needing. You know what I mean yeah, um, but like going tonight, um, I think that'll be really cool. But I like what you're saying about that. You know it's you thinking about other people and kind of paying, paying it back, paying it forward, um, that, how, how significant that was to you to have people that were standing up and saying you know, I have such and such number of you know years, and why are people that have 25 years? Why are they continuing to become? You know that whole curiosity thing.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, yeah, it does feel natural how it's gone over time, but it's still it's you know it's a big deal. It's. You know there's just like people that survive cancer. You said I've been cancer free for five years. I mean it's the same freaking thing, it's amazing Somebody that just drank like I did that has 60 days sober. It's a big, freaking deal and I hope they keep it. I hope that's their only 60-day coin, but this is a tricky condition that I have.

Speaker 1:

And then that also just made me think of something that if they did relapse or whatever, try again. Um, and they had 60 days, the next 60 days. It's not like starting all over again, because those first 60 days don't go away. They have learned some things that you know. The next 60 days build on.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, yeah, there's a great part of our conversation with Dr Jillian in my podcast back where she addresses that one in particular this idea that relapse that I encourage people to go check out as well, because you're right, for most people relapse is kind of part of the ride for just a little while, until you can finally get to where it stays, and it's worth it. It's worth finding the people. I think it's worth it. If you have this condition, this is pretty damn good.

Speaker 1:

Anyway, we'll be— Finding people that you resonate with.

Speaker 2:

Finding people you resonate with and find out that you're not alone or unique, that you're not a bad person. I don't believe that I'm a bad person because I didn't choose to become addicted to drugs and alcohol, didn't choose it. Addicted to drugs and alcohol, didn't choose it. And now that I realize that I just happen to not be able to moderate ever, now I'm doing things about it and so it's actually quite fun. And now I'm this loud mouth too. So I'm like, like you said earlier, I'm trying to make people get curious and find their way, and even amongst people in recovery, there's still tons of shame and stigma going on.

Speaker 2:

People are using language and saying things about other people. It's just mind-boggling to me. But that's part of this change, so we'll close with a couple things. One is I'd love to encourage anybody that's listening to this if you want to know more about the movement of recovery in America. It's a few years old now, but it's still a great movie. I believe it's available on Amazon. It's the Anonymous People.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that is a good movie.

Speaker 2:

It retraces the history of this and how it almost took wings a couple different times.

Speaker 2:

It's also compared to other movements in the United States that were more successful, like Pride and the AIDS movement and the things that sort of tripped it up, and I believe we're in the middle of another big one right now, a huge movement that's happening, so I'm proud to be a part of that. And the second thing I want to say is, on the off chance that my lovely niece Cassidy is listening, it's also her belly button birthday, which I've always thought is this kind of this wonderfully beautiful thing, and I'd love to wish her a happy birthday. So, molly, I love you.

Speaker 1:

Love you too.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for everything.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Let's keep going, let's keep going.

Reflections on Sobriety and Growth
Navigating Recovery and Overcoming Stigma
Understanding Substance Use Disorder Terminology
Recovery Movement and Family Birthdays