My name is Joseph G, and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic, my sobriety date is Jan. 10, 1997, for which I am truly grateful. ——-
Hi everybody! I have no professional certificates, no degree or professional standing of any kind, but I have spent a night at a Holiday Inn Express.
I came to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous because my wife had become unmanageable. She had insisted that I was an alcoholic; I insisted I was not, no way, no how. After an ongoing barrage of accusations, insinuations and ever uglier threats, I relented and agreed to go to a therapist. You see I was willing to go to any length to prove that I was Not an Alcoholic. After several months of therapy, the therapist suggested that I quit drinking alcohol for a year. I told him that was an absurd idea; I could stop drinking at any time, just not right now.
My wife took up the battle cry, you are an alcoholic, and if you do not go AA, I will divorce you she raged. Again, I insisted that I was not an alcoholic. She paused, and said, with a steely-eyed chill, until they have an assholes anonymous you need to go to A. and A.
I relented. The closest group was the Aquarius group in Dallas Texas. I do not remember much of my first meeting, as if they were speaking in some foreign and cryptic tongue. I would arrive late and leave early; again my mission was to prove that I was not an alcoholic and was willing to go to any length to prove that I was not lesser than my fellows.
The divorce came down hard, like most do. My fortune, my business, my sanity, my health and my freedom were all taken away in less than two weeks (a fortnight). My last drunk was on port wine. The TV evangelists were talking to me over the airways. I was going out to get good and ripped and was going to call a fellow I knew for company. My moment of clarity: I didn’t even like this guys company and having nothing left, the last to go was pride. I was finally beaten into a state of reasonableness. I searched for an AA meeting; the first I found was ironically closed. I doubled back to the Aquarius group; it was 6 o’clock pm and sundown, the meeting was just starting. I had the overwhelming sense that I was right where I was suppose to be. I shared through the choking tears and even then stammered out that my name is Joe and I am an a- a- alcoholic. I could finally breathe and was given hope.
First order of business was to find a sponsor. I was told to find a sponsor that had something I wanted. Since my fortune was gone, I wanted someone with a 500 SEL Mercedes Benz. Once the pain subsided, pride was not far behind. Â I had met a fellow named Bob. He was friendly and kind towards me when I was first determined to prove that AA had nothing to offer me. Bob was a dentist at one time and had lost his professional credentials because of drug and alcohol abuse, surely a hard hit. Bob had a window cleaning business. Alas, no Benz, but I was drawn to ask where’s Bob? I was then told that he had applied to the dental profession to work back in his field as an assistant, in a much lower capacity and was still turned down. Instead of putting another drink of alcohol in his body, he went to Bachman Lake and put a bullet to his brain instead. This was my first experience with death in AA; unfortunately not the last.
The soon to be ex explained that Dallas was too small for the two of us and suggested in the strongest possible way for me to move to Austin, Texas. I was attempting to get accommodations in Dallas but it seemed all doors were closed. I had a business connection in Austin and always seemed to do well there. I packed my VW bus in an ice storm and headed to Austin chanting the mantra all the way, that God loves me and wants to see me happyÂ . I connected quickly and had a small room and a place to start my business over again. First things first; where was the closest AA meeting house? I contacted Intergroup and received directions, to the like of, you go down this particular road and at the end of the road there is a little yellow house, you cant miss it, looks like a place where alcoholics would go. It looked like an old crack house. It was smoke filled and had a yellow shag carpet that had seen better days and I felt right at home. It was like a metaphor for where I was in life except now I had hope. It was the Hope Group Cedar Park, Texas.
Like most of us in recovery, life happens on life’s terms. I have suffered the loss of two of my daughters to this deadly disease: Juliann my oldest in 2001 at age 29, to an accidental overdose, and my youngest Christina in 2008 at age 22, again, an accidental overdose. To help stop this tragedy from occurring to others, I have dedicated my time talents and treasure to increasing the tools that I have found to be useful in being the most effective sponsor possible that I can be. As sponsors we have other people’s lives in our hands, who are suffering from this disease of mind, body and spirit. I do not take credit for this work; this is God’s and the fellowship.
These are suggestions, take what you need and leave the rest, and if I pray if you find this useful, like always, pass it on. Please join me in the fellowship of the spirit as we trudge the road of happy destiny; the road does narrow, but the view does broaden.
When we are in the service of our fellows beings are we not in the service of our God.
How RumRadio got it’s name
What’s in a name, a flowery economy to prick the memory, and a fragrance of sweet sunny side up familiarity
I ransacked my third edition of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous to find a title that had some cache and would be recognized by the recovery community. Alas, anything that was recognizable as a catch phrase was either being used or if not used had been taken. I perused the index and came across the story Rum, Radio and Rebellion. Viola, Rum Radio: it rang a bell it was easy to remember and it tripped on the tongue and most importantly, it was free for the taking. The dot.com was taken by a zombie internet radio station, but the .org and the .net was available for rent. The name is only a way to introduce the information and the content is what drives the beast. A good name for a worthy endeavor and easily remembered.
As the work on the site continued, I wanted to share the insights that I had obtained from Hamilton B’s book Twelve Step Sponsorship: How It Work’sÂ, a Hazelton publication. I had started an ongoing sponsorship workshop and step study at my home group the P.O.C. in Houston, Texas using this book. The first hurdle was the group conscience inquiry “was this conference approved literature’?Â I don’t know was my reply: it is Big Book, Twelve, and Twelve and As Bill Sees it, infused with A.A. history, that’s all I knew, they would have to get back to me. I called the G.S.O in New York to find out how one might obtain the vaunted credential. To my surprise there is no such thing, surely there has to be, I have heard about this jackalope from when I first came in to the rooms. I was told and later it was confirmed that when A.A. lost the copyright to the third edition of the Big Book that World Wide Services, (the printer of all A.A. material) dropped the triangle and the circle as a publication emblem and started using the term conference approved literature. What conferenced-approved means Â GSO BOX 4-5-9 1978 volume 23, No. 4, in short, A.A. does not disapprove of the Bible or any other publications from any source that A.A.’s finds useful. Alonon does have conference approved literature Â in their manifesto, I think they adopted it because they thought A.A. had it and did not want to be out done, only a guess. There are some, so entrenched in the myth, who will not accept or be willing to look at any proof: contempt prior to investigation is still alive and well in A.A.
The on going sponsorship workshop and Step study meeting has generated a greater understanding of the importance of the process of recovery and the critical role of the sponsor. I have gained much more insights into this important function by chairing this ongoing meeting,and by continuing to be a sponsor.
I was in a meeting close to my home in Sugar land, The LamplightersÂ and announced the sponsorship ongoing workshop and Step study. Jimmy K, an old timer, was intrigued with the idea and encouraged me to start a website as a Legacy in order to give back in the critical, often misunderstood, and under utilized area of recovery sponsorshipÂ.
As the website was taking shape, my excitement grew. I knew this was a good work and I wanted to share this information with everyone in recovery. I was visiting friends in Austin, Texas where I had lived for nine years. I went to quite a few different A.A. and Alonon meetings to announce the website and give out copies of Clancy’s seven questions for high bottom intellectuals, chronic relapsers, as well as newcomers.
One such meeting was at the Primary Purpose groupÂ. I met Blind Dave. He has memorized the Big Book from cover to cover and takes newcomers through all Twelve Steps in eight days; God took only seven with a day off for good behavior. I shared in the meeting about the sponsorship website RumRadio.org. It was greeted with approval. One fellow asked me to attend a Men’s meeting the following afternoon at noon, the Liar’s Club on South Lamar in Austin. I was initially reluctant and told him my plan was to leave tomorrow morning. He was persistent and promised me a” free lunch” if I got there early. Since there is no such thing as a free lunch, I tentatively agreed.
The meeting format that the Liars Club uses is a random opening of the Big Book of A.A., particularly the first 164 pages. They also limit shares to three minutes, enforced with an egg timer and with the understanding that if you speak more than three minutes it’s all about you. During lunch I was talking about rumradio.org. I was tapped on the shoulder by the fellow who did the perchance opening of the Big Book and showed me where it had opened, and low and behold it opened to Rum, Radio, and Rebellion as they just happen to have a third edition of the Big Book. I was able to share early in the meeting as they did a round robin. I told them why I was there and what had just happened. One fellow took exception and said it was agreed only the first 164 pages; his argument was quickly dismissed and we moved on with an apologetic oops.
This was God doing for me; it was a minnie miracle, a confirmation to the work. I have come to know that there are no coincidences and no accidents. As for me, I am a nothing and a nobody, but when I am in the service of my fellows, I am in the service of my God and that’s when I am strong in the Lord and the power of his might and in His hand I become the sharper tool.
See you on the radio.