On today’s episode of the SHAIR Podcast Clay Cutts shares with us some amazing resources and tips for new comers struggling with Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Clay is the author of Beyond the Bottle and founder of the Sergeant Sober Boot Camp. Join us now as he gives our listeners valuable insights on how to get and stay sober today.
Clay Cutts is a psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of drug/alcohol addiction, the treatment of video game addiction and helping people move past barriers in their lives in order to become the best possible version of themselves.
SHAIR – Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery
Here are Clay’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Tell us about how your life is today. Your hobbies, what you do for a living. Take us into your normal daily routine, including recovery.
Clay: I want to talk about a couple of things that are some of the most important things I think I learned from the program. This could be a list of a hundred things that specifically helped me a lot. It sort of contributed to what I call my recovery. The first one I learned in AA is how to deal with others. I had no idea how to get a long with other human beings. People were always either a hindrance or they were a tool or they were something to be manipulated or they were something to meet my needs. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to be a servant to people in the world and I’ve learned to be more and more of a servant. I don’t have any of this down, this is all stuff I’m working on.
When I learned to be a servant to my higher power by way of the people around me, my life gets much, much better. The second thing that I learned is that being a drunk was not actually a bad thing. That I actually had to go through every single bit of pain and suffering that I went through because had I not done that, I wouldn’t be the person that I am now and I would not be able to authentically serve the people around me. I wouldn’t be worthwhile to the newcomer without that suffering. The third thing that I want to talk about, this is one big thing in itself and that is building and maintaining a spiritual condition.
I always heard people talk about the “spiritual” part of the program and I’ve come to realize that there is no such thing. It is a spiritual program and the solution for addiction that we have now is a spiritual one. I spend a lot of time developing that spiritual condition. I am building a relationship with my higher power and that’s the only way I can beat this addiction because I am absolutely powerless over my alcoholism and I’ve proven it a hundred times over. The fourth thing that has really become my over arching goal for my life is to become emotionally honest and purely authentic in all my dealings with people.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Clay: I think that list is fairly long, but I would say at the top of the list is my giant over inflated ego was keeping me from getting sober. I insisted on being the smartest guy in the room, and frankly I often was, but I tried to translate those sort of logical and technical skills that I had into the recovery skills and it’s not the right tool. There’s a hammer and a screwdriver and I didn’t have either. I didn’t have what I needed and so I was too ego driven to say “you know what? I just can’t do this. Please somebody help me”. That was really a big barrier. By the way, once I finally just said that, it wasn’t as hard as it seemed and when I let people help me and let my ego be deflated a little bit, I got better really fast.
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?
Clay: That’s a fantastic question and I think that I had sort of a spiritual moment right before I quit, but when I got into treatment and was working with the woman who was there, who was from the local AA group, I had a moment of surrender. It was pretty cool because I didn’t know what it was, but it happened one evening. I went to work during the day and went to one of the therapy groups in the evening and went home at night. When I was at home, I just has this sort of I don’t know, sense that “okay, you can stop fighting everybody now. Clay you’re where you need to be. You can just be still and just let everything happen. You’re on the right track now”.
Not necessarily words as much as just the sense of that and I remember this sense of peace. The next day I got up and went back to work and I went to the therapy group. As I walked in, I was a few minutes early and I was the first patient there. The therapist who was facilitating the group was doing something and she looked up and said “Hi Clay. Welcome” and she looked back down and did a real quick double take to the point where it kind of startled me a little bit. She said “you look different” and the other lady walked in and looked at me and she said “did you change your haircut? You look different today”. The change in me was so dramatic that other people could actually see it in me and that was a big turning point in my recovery.
Do you have a favorite book you would recommend to a new comer that you read in early recovery?
Clay: This is a dangerous question for me because I am a reader. I’ve got five books going right now I think. I think that the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous, the big book as we call it, is a great book to really, really dig into. I joke with my patients at work sometimes. They’ll say “life didn’t come with an instruction manual” and I’ll say “yes it did. Here it is” and I’ll hold up the big book and say “I challenge you to find a problem that I can’t find the solution to in this book” so whenever I sponsor somebody, we spend a lot, lot, lot of time in the big book. That would be my absolute number one recommendation.
I’ve got some books. I read The Living Sober book. I read Twelve and Twelve, which if you are AA I recommend I guess because trying to figure it out in the Big Book is a little confusing. I think the Big Book is good knowledge to have, but I think it takes a little time to acquire the understanding on that.
Clay: Available on Amazon.com
What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Clay: Oh my goodness. I was blessed and had a lot of really, really wise people in my life when I got sober. Probably the best thing that I was told was not to take myself so seriously. Do not take yourself so damned seriously Clay. You’re really just not that important. What that helped me do was to get okay with just being okay. The situation was that I felt driven to show everybody how smart and how successful and how generally awesome I was, but on the inside I was 30 seconds away from putting a pistol in my mouth.
There’s a huge dichotomy between what I showed you guys and what was going on inside me. The truth of the matter is I’m just a guy doing the best I can and some days I get it right and some days I screw it up. But if I don’t take myself too seriously, I get this permission, I get this space to just be okay and that’s okay. That’s the best advice I ever got.
If you could give a new comer only one suggestion, what would that be?
Suggestion’s for the Newcomer!
“I would say make a decision. Either be in or not.”
Decide if you’re ready to get sober or if you’re not. If you’re not, good luck. If you’re serious and you’re ready to get sober, dig in, do everything you’re told, shut your mouth, open your ears, go to meetings, dig in deep. I use the analogy of the savanna in Africa. Which gazelle gets eaten? It’s the one off by itself. The gazelle in the middle with the herd is just as safe as they can be. Get into the middle of the herd, surround yourself with people, recovering people who have lots of good sobriety, ask for help. I guess this is more than one suggestion, isn’t it?
Do it. Just do it and I promise, listen if being sober sucked, nobody would do it. If being drunk was better than being sober, I’d go get drunk right now, but it’s not. Being sober is awesome!
Before we say goodbye, I have one more question for you: I want to know what’s your favorite meeting and where that group is located and then I want you to tell us how to get a hold of you, your web site, and about the books.
Clay: That would be awesome. I guess I have two favorite meetings. My current home group is called “We Can Help” and it’s on Robinson Road in Peach Tree City, GA. That’s my favorite because that’s where I spend most of my AA time. My sponsor is there and all the really good people who offer me support every day and every week. I’ve got another favorite meeting, which is the meeting where I got sober. That’s called “The Horseshoe Group” in Columbia, SC and there will always be a warm place in my heart because walking into that room the first time was without a doubt, the scariest thing I ever ever did. I’ll always be grateful to the folks there.
How to get in touch with me?
I have a couple of websites. My main website is ClayCutts.com and that’s really the site to my private practice. You can also read about my book. I have a blog on there as well, a lot of videos, a lot of free resources for folks to take advantage of. I encourage people to come, get engaged, leave comments and make it a conversation. I also have another website called “SeargeantSober.com“ and that’s where you can get access to my online video recovery program and a Facebook page, but the Facebook, all the social media stuff is linked from those web sites.
How to CONTACT Clay:
Thanks again for your SHAIR Clay!
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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.