Edward Keohane joins us on The SHAIR Podcast today. Ed is very active in the SHAIR private group, has been a long-time listener to the podcast, huge supporter, and he’s got a hell of a story. He reached out to me quite a few months back, and I’m finally getting him on the show. This episode is now one of my favorites, you do not want to miss this episode.
Clean Date: January 14th, 2016
Omar: So Ed, let’s dive right in, buddy. You ready?
Ed: I’m ready to go when you are.
Omar: All right, let’s do this, man. So first, let’s talk about what your daily routine looks like today and then throw in how you maintain your recovery.
Ed: Well, my days are backwards for most people. I work nights. I work for the United States post office, so I work nights, and so everything’s kind of flip flopped. How it usually begins is I get up after going to work all night after a few hours, I go to the gym, I go from the gym and then I go to a meeting four to five times a week, I come home, I just hang out, I do yard work, stuff like that, stuff to keep me busy. I recently bought a house, so my girlfriend and I, we are not cohabitants and we have her son, who’s four and a half, so I go pick him up from school, we hang out until his mom gets home, I usually try to catch a few more hours of sleep, and then I go to work.
Omar: Tell us how you maintain your recovery, then. Do you make lots of meetings? Do you have go in the mornings? How does that look?
Ed: No. I usually catch my meetings at noon. There’s a noon meeting that I go to in Springfield, Missouri, about 20 minutes away. I do that roughly four times a week. I have a sponsor whom I speak with several times a week. We work steps. I currently don’t sponsor anyone else because I have a new, improved recovery date, which we’ll get to.
Ed: It’s a lot of prayer at work, at night. I’m in my head a lot. I’m in my headphones a lot, which is when I listen to your show, so you’re in my head a lot, which is kind of crazy to think about it. There’s a lot of prayer, man, almost continuously throughout the night and during the day, “Your will not mine be done,” shit like that. I really try to bring my recovery into every area of my life. I know some folks who drop that stuff at the door in terms of the meeting door. Man, I’ve got to carry mine with me throughout the day in every area of my life. Otherwise, I just get lost, and then my recovery gets lost, and then I’m truly lost.
Omar: Yes. It makes a big difference. With that being said, do you have a daily spiritual practice to maintain your conscious contact with a higher power?
Ed: In terms of actually sitting down and meditating, I didn’t start doing that until I don’t know what episode of The Rule 62, but you guys were talking about meditation. I think you had Michael Hill and then Stephanie on there, and you guys were talking about the Calm app for your phone.
Ed: At that very time when I was listening to that, that was in January I think, I was going through some turmoil in my recovery, and I thought that was definitely a facet of my recovery that I was missing, so I purchased that app, and man, I’m telling you what. Like a good addict, I was doing that app two or three times a day, listening to that shit, man. You know what, though? It really helps. Formally, aside from my meetings and aside from all the components of my recovery, meditation, I’m still an infant, but it’s become part of my daily practice.
Omar: Let me ask you this. As you already mentioned, you have a new clean date, so what is your new clean date? How much time do you have?
Ed: My new and improved sobriety date is January 14th of this year. I actually had three relapses over the last 18 months, which I’ll get to, but before that, I had four years, and so HP, baby. It takes what it takes, and that last one, if that’s what got me here, then that’s what was needed, so no regrets.
Omar: I’m going to ask you the closing questions that we share for our newcomers, and the first one is always, what was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Ed: I always had another idea. I always had another idea of control. In the big book, there’s seven words, man, and they’re the most impactful seven words and they describe me so well. It’s in that part where they’re talking about control, and it says, “Take a trip or not take a trip.”
I had run out of ideas on how to use and control it. I don’t know if you want to call that my ego or what, but I always had another plan, and at the end, the plans were all done. I had tried. I had exhausted every idea I had and I had no more ideas. I guess I just hurt enough. I’d finally hurt enough.
I talked with people and I’d say that when the pain and the sorrow or whatever that you’re using over, when the pain and sorrow that the using causes becomes greater than that pain, then that’s when you know you’re lost. That’s where I was at, man. The pain from using was greater than the pain that using was covering up.
Omar: At one point did you have that spiritual awakening, that aha moment inside of recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol for the first time, but had developed a hope that you could now recover?
Ed: I’ll tell you that that’s when I was laying on the couch, when I told you before about the day of doing my fifth step with my sponsor. My life had been getting a little bit better. I’d been feeling a little bit better, but when I couldn’t remember when the last time I had been obsessed, that obsession of drinking or doing drugs or feeling differently, when I couldn’t remember the last time I had thought about that, when that happened, I was totally sold on this sobriety shit. Everything they said, it was all fucking true, and I was like, “Shit, man.”
I’ve got a friend named Sarah and we talked about it and she’s like, “This shit’s like voodoo magic.” I’m like, “No shit, it is.” I would have never gotten to experience had I not just kept on going on, kept trying to do it, kept doing it, even though I didn’t understand the shit I was having to do. My sponsor was like, “Just do it. Your mind will catch it. Do it. Your mind will catch up.”
He was exactly right. I started feeling better, and then all of a sudden when I looked around and I realized things were better, I couldn’t deny it anymore. Things were better because of a higher power that I had found through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Omar: Dude. That’s powerful, bro. I love it, man, the voodoo.
Ed: Voodoo magic, baby. Voodoo magic.
Omar: It’s true. I don’t know how it works, why it works, none of it. I have no explanation to why it does. I just know it does work, so I just do what I’m told.
Ed: Me too.
Omar: Do you have a favorite book you would recommend to a newcomer you read in early recovery?
Ed: The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Omar: It’s saved so many lives.
Ed: It describes me to a tee, man. I read through that. It’s totally undeniable that I am an alcoholic. I’m an addict, too, but it doesn’t matter. For me, it’s the same program one way or the other. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is the book that I would recommend.
Omar: Alcohol is a drug, brother.
Omar: It’s all the same.
Omar: What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Ed: Leave no stone unturned. To give that some context, that came from the mouth of my first sponsor when I was working through my fourth step. People say, “Oh god, the fourth step, this and that. It’s so bad.” We were talking about it. He said, “Man, start with your worst first,” meaning put down the one thing you don’t want to tell nobody, “Put that thing down first, and then the rest of it ain’t shit compared to the first one. Just don’t leave anything out.”
He’s like, “If you put enough energy into thinking about something and justifying, ‘Should I put it down? Should I not put it down?’ Just put it down. Put it down. We’ll talk about it. Boom. Done. Leave no stone unturned. Leave nothing to chance. You will increase your chances of staying sober by talking about all of it.”
Omar: If you could give our newcomers only one suggestion, what would that be?
Ed: Leave no stone unturned. That represents so much more than what I just said, but that buddy of mine I was talking about earlier whose father told him, “If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to be willing to do something you’ve never done,” and all of those things ring true. They both kind of encapsulate the whole, “Give it your all.” Give it all your all, try your hardest for three months. If your life doesn’t change, you can go back to that shit. It’s waiting for you.
Thanks again for your SHAIR, Ed!
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.