SHOW NOTES: On today’s episode of The SHAIR Podcast we have a special guest joining us, Tim Stoddart the founder of Sober Nation, the #1 national recovery resource and addiction treatment database on the internet. On Facebook, Sober Nation has over 200,000 fans. It’s incredible!
Tim, let’s dive right in. Tell us about how your life is today, your hobbies, exercise routine. Take us into your normal daily routine, including recovery, but more importantly, tell us about Sober Nation.
Tim: Well thanks. As I said, it’s a pleasure to be here. It’s kind of difficult to separate just my normal day with SoberNation so I guess it’s kind of a good question because they’re both pretty entangled. I found that the longer I stayed sober life works better when I have a routine going so I pretty much wake up at the same time every day. I get into my office, I hang out with my guys and we get lots of creative work done and I spend the rest of that time on the SoberNation site, which at this point it’s grown a lot. Like you said I have over 200,000 fans and the email list is growing and tons and tons of content and a majority of my time on the site is spent writing the content.
Although it is a website, I’m not a coder so I have to talk to my designer and developer and I have to get some of that stuff done, but really like my connection with the site is the interaction with all the followers in the community. I write probably 90% of the content myself and it takes a lot of time to do that. A lot of people probably think writing blogs and coming up with stuff is pretty simple, but it really takes a lot of time and I work really hard on it and really when I leave here, you mentioned exercise. I exercise a lot and it’s kind of my form of meditation. To say if I got running or I’m working out, it’s a way for me to stay present and stay in the moment. Plus it makes me feel good and then I’ll come home and hang out with my dog, maybe watch TV or read a book for a little bit and then it’s back to the same thing the next day. So I guess that’s very much a routine, but with that being said, there’s still lots of spontaneity in my life I guess you could say.
Clean Date: March 4, 2010
This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.
Here are Jeff’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Tim: Yeah of course. It’s definitely not like it used to be when I first came around, but every Tuesday is something I make sure that I get to. I talk to my sponsor every Tuesday. We go get coffee. We go hit our meeting. Then usually there’s another one or two in there in the week. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but on Tuesday it’s sort of my day. No matter what’s happening, it’s like “look this is my priority. I’ve got to talk to my sponsor” and then sponsors are something that’s important to me. I actually just had a new guy approach me yesterday when I spoke at that meeting, so it looks like I’ll be on a new adventure with a new guy over the next couple of months, which I’m looking forward to. He was actually speaking at the meeting and even while he was speaking I was thinking to myself “I can relate to this guy. I can help him” and then right afterwards he came up and asked if I could help him out and of course I said yes.
O: Perfect. That’s how we do it. So Tim, how do you maintain your spiritual condition, that conscious contact with a higher power?
Tim: That’s an interesting question because it’s one of those things where I’ve just sort of had my own experience and when somebody actually asks you how to do it, you don’t know. It’s funny. Like you don’t have the words. One thing that I do, I’m definitely not the most Godly spiritual person, but I’ve always prayed at night. I don’t really understand it. I don’t try to understand it. It’s just how I go to bed. It’s like the last thing I do and kind of check myself and talk to my higher power for a little bit and just sort of get back on the same page with him and then of course it’s important. Like every time I say it I always mention how grateful I am because my gratitude is definitely off the charts for being able to live my life this kind of way.
More so, I think the biggest thing for me and like I said, I don’t exactly know how to explain this, but it’s just being present. Like even when I drive to work or I drive home or when I’m driving around, just understanding and knowing in my heart there’s things going on that are bigger than me that I have to stay connected to. That’s kind of what my higher power is, that connectedness between people and things and energy. When I feel connected to that and I feel tapped in to all that’s going on around me in the universe, that’s when life is really firing for me, so it’s more just being aware. I don’t really have too many rituals. I don’t go to church. I talk about it with my friends and my sponsor of course, but for me, it’s like that maintenance of understanding that you’re connected to something.
O: So Tim, how much clean time do you have and when is your anniversary date?
Tim: My sobriety date is March 4, 2010 so five and a half years almost exactly. I’m not that good at math so I can’t do it in my head, but it’s definitely around five and a half years. My original date was September 30, but I had a small relapse in and I don’t mention that. I’m sure that relapse is a part of a lot of people’s stories, but I actually kept it secret from people for a long time and for like a year or year and a half I kept playing off like September 30 was still my original date and if anybody hears this and they’re kind of experiencing that, like I just remember that feelings eating and eating and sort of eating away at me so it was important for me to sort of get honest with myself and people around me. Then when I did that, I remember thinking this really is not as big a deal as I thought it was. It’s just what it is.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Tim: My answer is not that cool. I was really afraid to be bored. That was honestly my biggest fear, was I just didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I just thought my life was going to be super boring. So if you are like me and you’re worried about that, don’t be because my life is ten times more exciting now that I don’t get high because I have freedom to do whatever I want. When I leave work today, I’m going to a concert in Miami with my friend and you can just like do that stuff because there’s nothing hanging over you. So the answer is boredom. I was really very terrified that I was going to be bored for the rest of my life.
O: At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that ‘aha’ moment in recovery when you accepted that you are powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time had developed a hope that you could recover?
Tim: For me, it was after I did the 6th and 7th step because in the book, it’s really only like two paragraphs, but my sponsor took me through the 12 and 12 and it really opened my eyes as to the kind of man that I wanted to be and who I aspired to and that I was able to be confident without being arrogant and it was possible for me to love myself without telling everybody how great I was. That was really just sort of that moment where it just sort of clicked for me, where I said “I get this a little bit” and that was really the moment where it lifted for me. Like I remember having a roommate that said, it was after he did the third step prayer and it was just gone. I did that third step prayer and I just kind of felt sort of silly. So I think nothing happened, but it was after that where like I really got to dive in and analyze myself and from that moment on I’ve never had that real, real urge. Of course I have those thoughts every now and then, but I’ve never had that “I just want to drink so bad right now”.
O: Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer that you read in early recovery?
Tim: A book that I read in early recovery that really changed a lot about how I think is by Napoleon Hill and it’s called “Think and Grow Rich” and he uses the term ‘rich’ very broadly. It’s sort of whatever your definition of rich is, but that book really, really had a huge impact on me, almost as much as the big book did. Maybe even the same. It’s a really deep book and it’s in common English so it’s kind of an easy read, but after I read that, I just completely changed my life. He talks about higher power like infinite intelligence, that the universe is so big and it’s really impossible for us to understand everything and that that’s okay, but like I was saying before, like tap into that infinite intelligence is what spirituality is sort of about and after I read that, I just really understood myself a lot better.
O: That’s in the shared podcast recommended book list. It’s one of my recommended books. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve read it at least three times. I have it on audible. Absolutely love that book. It’s one of the first books I read. I read “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Alchemist” when I first got sober.
Tim: That’s so funny, me too. By Paulo Coelho.
O: Dude, I read that one like three times. I love it! I always get something new out of it.
Tim: What do they call it in that book?
O: Your personal legend.
Tim: Yeah, there you go. Your personal legend.
O: Yeah, your only mission in life is to find your personal legend.
What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Tim: Make it to midnight.
Omar: Dude, I love it! First time.
Tim: It just clicked for me. I have a lot of tattoos and I got that one tattooed on me because it’s so much bigger than AA. At the same time, no matter what’s going on in your life, you just make it to midnight. You don’t have to think about tomorrow or the next day or five years from now. You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to do at that wedding that you want to drink at. You don’t have to worry about all that shit. You just have to stay in the moment, just shoot for midnight. Fall asleep and then when you wake up, shoot for midnight again. Eventually the days really stack up and just the best advice I ever got. I really live my life that way.
SUGGESTION’S FOR THE NEWCOMER!
“Make it to Midnight…”
If you could give a newcomer only one suggestion, what would it be?
Tim: I think it would probably be the same thing, stay in the moment. It’s so easy. I find that fear is really based on things that are in the future or they’re in the past and if you’re just completely present in the moment, there’s not really too much to be afraid of because we’re all, things are just going. There’s just movement. I’m breathing. I’m alive. Anytime I get full of fear, it’s usually because I’m thinking of something in the future or I’m thinking of something in the past and most of the time that stuff is not even real anyway. So it’s really easy to say. It’s really hard to do, especially when you’re first coming around, but just try your best to stay present and to not worry about two weeks from nor or a month from now. It’s really the best thing you can do. It keeps you from having anxiety attacks.
O: Beautiful. I love it. So Tim, tell us the best way to find you, to find SoberNation? What are your websites? How do people get in touch with you?
Tim: Yeah, the website is just SoberNation.com. We actually just launched an online clothing company as well. It’s just recovery inspired t-shirt designs and that’s ShopSoberNation.com. I’m really transparent. On my website anybody can email me directly. It’s just [email protected] and of course we’ve got the Facebook, the Twitter, the Pinterest and all that stuff, but if you want to get involved, just email me. I’m a personable guy. I talk to everybody, sort of like they’re my friends if anybody wants to contact me. So if you want to get in touch, it’s Tim, [email protected]
Thanks again for your SHAIR Tim!
CONTACT: Tim Stoddart – Sober Nation:
We SHAIR our stories every Tuesday so subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher Radio!
See you then!
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.