SHOW NOTES: On today’s Episode of The SHAIR Podcast George D. now 6 years clean, takes us through over 20 years of drug addiction, child abuse and a completely dysfunctional family life. At the age of 16 George begins using alcohol and marijuana to detach from his painful childhood trauma. Around this same time his sister goes public about child abuse in the home and his entire life gets turned completely upside down and George ends up homeless.
By the grace of God he is taken in by the Snyder family whose daughters also went to school with George. It was there for the first time that George is introduced to unconditional love. For 5 years he was a member of this family like a son, never missing one of his High School events. In his early 20’s George begins hanging out more frequently with the wrong crowd and his trouble making finally gets him kicked out of his home.
With no place to go George moves in with his brother and starts smoking crack. Over the next 15 years George spirals out of control and his drug use takes him to all new bottoms until once again he ends up in a homeless shelter and living out of his car. Today George is an amazing father and husband and gratefully carries the message of recovery. Join us now as George takes us through the most emotionally charged story of recovery I have had the pleasure to host, you don’t want to miss this episode.
Clean Date: October 15, 2008
Here are George’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
George: Okay. Well every day, I’m an early bird. I’m that person that gets up and jumps out of bed and starts singing and dancing. I am grateful that I can get up another day so when I wake up in the mornings at 5 o’clock in the morning, I come downstairs, I get my coffee and I spend some me time. I spend a good 10-15 minutes just watching my birds outside and just relaxing so I can start my day on a positive note because if I start my day on a positive note, it tends to stay positive that day. Then about an hour later, I usually leave at 6:15 in the morning and I go straight to work. I work long hours. I work 12 hour shifts.
Sometimes I work 12, 13, 14 days in a row, get a day off and then do it again, but on my days off, I usually have it in rotation where I do the three on, three off so my days off I usually hit 2-3 meetings so I can get spiritually full because I got to keep my tank full spiritually so I can continue to move on for the next day. Some days I won’t get to a meeting, but I’ll catch up with like ten minutes of my home group or a meeting. I’ll catch the last ten minutes of it and they usually go out to eat so I get my meeting after the meeting. It is great that I can sit there after a long day and talk recovery eating some food. That’s pretty much my normal day.
How old were you the first time you drank or used drugs and more importantly, how did that make you feel?
George: The first time I ever used drugs is when I was 16 years old. Man I tell you what, I knew I had a problem because it was a bunch of us high schoolers and it was after a Friday night football game. I played football and a bunch of us guys got together and we started drinking and everybody was passed out after 2 or 3 beers and I was still up the next morning at 6 o’clock in the morning trying to figure out how I’m gonna get home and tell my parents and I’m drunk, obliterated out of my mind. But it made me feel so good because there were some girls that I could finally talk to and I could dance and I could do this and do that. That’s what my mind was telling me because I couldn’t do that without the alcohol and drugs. That’s what I was thinking.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
George: As I shared earlier, I thought it was a country song at first. What stopped me from getting clean was just right there in step one. It talks about having a reservation. For you that’s new in recovery, I want to tell you this, don’t get clean for your mother, your brother, your sister, your wife, your dog, your cat. Get clean for yourself. I held on to that reservation thinking if I got clean everything was gonna come back together. Do it for yourself and watch the miracle.
At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that ‘aha’ moment in recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?
George: I was going to meetings, going to meetings, going to meetings and then at nine months just laying up in a fetal position Omar, and finally realized that you know what. It’s defeated me. This is it. I’m not gonna use no more and that was my moment of clarity. That was my ‘aha’ moment. That woke me up. It finally got me a sponsor. I didn’t have a sponsor before then. I finally got a sponsor. I started working the steps. I started building my network. That was my moment of clarity at nine months.
O: Love it man. I love it.
George: If you’re new, hold on. It might take nine months, it might take a year. Just keep holding on. Hold on to that. I believe that with all my heart. Hold on and see what happens.
O: Don’t leave five minutes before the miracle.
George: Yes, yes! That’s what I was about to say. Don’t leave before that miracle happens! Keep it simple!
Do you have a favorite book you would recommend that you read in early recovery to a newcomer?
Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations For Twelve-Step Beginnings And Renewal – Hazelden Meditation Series
Basic Text – Narcotics Anonymous
It works how and why – Narcotics Anonymous
George: Yes I have a favorite book. It’s called “Keep it Simple” and it’s from the Hazelton Group which they write a lot of the recovery books for us and it’s a meditation book. We got our step guide and we got our Basic Text and It Works How and Why, but this little book called “Keep it Simple” a daily meditation and it actually talks both about drugs and alcohol and it talks about other outside issues that we face that will help me stay clean and I recommend it to a newcomer.
What was the best suggestion you ever received?
SUGGESTION’S FOR THE NEWCOMER!
“H.O.P.E. Help One Person Every Day”
George: My best suggestion I ever received was called HOPE. HOPE is Helping One Person Everyday so that’s the hope and the hope side is that one person might be your own self, but that day that you don’t feel good, you go to a meeting and another addict sees you, you might help them stay clean that day so it’s not “I” no more, it’s ‘we’ because we hope. It’s all about H.O.P.E., helping one person every day.
O: I love it man. I have not heard that acronym. HOPE. Help One Person Every Day. I love it!
George: One person every day and that person, you can make it an addict or that person, hey how about it might be one of them normal people out there. One person, by you staying positive, might help that one person just that day.
If you could give a newcomer only one suggestion, what would it be?
George: I would say 90 meetings in 90 days. Meetings, meetings, meetings so you can work on you.
O: I love it man! Great suggestions George. Before we say goodbye, I have one more question for you. Of all the meetings you have attended anywhere in the world, which group is your favorite and where is that group located?
George: My favorite group now is called No Strings and we meet on Friday nights, we meet right here in Charlotte and these people in this room just welcome me in because we just had to move to this area and they have just accepted me and this is my home group and it’s awesome. This is a good group of people in there.
Thanks again for your SHAIR George!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.