Leif H. now 38 years old and 11 years clean, takes us through 15 years of alcohol and drug abuse. Join us now as Leif tells us his story of drug addiction and his journey into recovery up until today…don’t miss this episode!
SHAIR – Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery
Here are Leif’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Clean Date: February 26, 2004
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.
Leif: Okay, I’m married and have a four year old son. I work in marketing. I have a good job and steady income, as well as clients that I service aside from my 9-5. I’m a happy guy. My hobbies include regular exercise and cooking. I like to read and I surf when I can. I do some skateboarding and that’s about it for my daily life. In terms of my recovery, I make as many meetings as I can, which isn’t as many as I used to with my family and stuff, but I do what I can to stay involved in twelve step recovery. I have a close network of friends who I always contact whenever things are rough, but I also try to stay in touch when things aren’t tough. I have a sponsor who lives up the street from me, which is nice. I don’t see him as often as I could, but we do speak on a fairly regular basis over the phone and that’s about it. That’s what my life is like today.
How much clean time do you have and what is your anniversary date?
Leif: My anniversary date is February 26 so it’s January, 2015 now so coming up in February, God willing, I will have eleven years clean.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Leif: What was keeping me? ME! I guess what was keeping me from getting clean and staying clean was me. I suppose that I can’t really say I had an experience with recovery and rejected it. I suppose I hadn’t really been exposed to recovery and when I was, I got clean and thankfully I stayed clean, but what allowed me to do that was the unsolicited assistance of others. People really gave selflessly to the cause and helped me understand this program and stay clean. The getting clean was the work of volunteers and people who were making no money to help me at a rehab facility.
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?
Leif: Yeah, that’s a tricky question because I feel like I would say spiritual awakenings, I don’t feel like for me that it was an aha moment and the skies opened up and that was it. I do remember very early in my recovery, maybe 2-3 weeks into my recovery, having a very distinct spiritual awakening or connection in rehab and just looking around me at the beauty of existence and the being in touch with my feelings for the first time in a long time without the use of drugs. I just had this wave of emotion coming over me and then looking around and saying “the world is beautiful” for the first time. That was huge for me. I realized that I was powerless over drugs and alcohol, but I had developed the hope that I could recover.
Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a new comer that you read in early recovery?
Leif: Yeah, A New Pair of Glasses was my favorite book and it probably still is. It’s been awhile since I read it to be quite frank with you, but of all the recovery related literature that I read, the one that had the most impact on.
What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Leif: Oh wow that’s a really tough one. No matter what you don’t have to pick up I guess. No matter what, don’t pick up is a very powerful suggestion. The bottom line is I have a life today because of that. Probably the best suggestion I ever got was no matter what, don’t pick up.
“O”: No matter what, don’t pick up. If your ass falls off, pick it up, put it in a paper bag and drag it to a meeting.
If you could give a new comer only one suggestion, what would that be?
Suggestion’s for the Newcomer!
“Don’t give up before the miracle happens”
Leif: Don’t give up before the miracle happens. I know that sounds cheesy. Find somebody that can help you and stay there. If you’re in recovery for the first time and you hate it, stay there and don’t give up on it. Find somebody who can help you that has a little bit more time that’s willing to sponsor you and get involved. Get involved early because it will save your ass. Even if you hate it right now, things will change. If you give yourself a chance, it’ll work for you just like it worked for me and thousands of others.
Of all the meetings you have attended anywhere in the world, which group is your favorite and where is this group located?
Leif: That’s a tough one. You know to be quite frank, I don’t know if I have a favorite, but because I don’t think of it in those terms, but I definitely like the Escazu Fellowship in Escazu, Costa Rica.
Leif: Right and also there’s a Wednesday night meeting, which I don’t know what the name of that group is. Most of those are members of the Zu Group. Sometimes we’re referred to as the Wednesday Night Men’s Meeting because only men show up. It is an open meeting and that’s also in Escazu and so those are two of my favorites and I have to mention the Vigilance Club. To be quite frank that’s where I got clean and I still have a very strong connection to that clubhouse and although I don’t attend those meetings nearly as often as I used to, I seldom if ever, I still have a very strong connection to that place. There’s something very special about it for me.
“O“: That Wednesday night meeting actually doesn’t have a name. It’s a Wednesday night meeting started by the late Greg Fischer. This is actually the first time it was brought up in one of the interviews, but we recently had a very dear member pass away due to respiratory failure. He passed away clean and sober. He started that Wednesday night meeting out of his house and it got to a point where it was standing room only. It got so packed, one of the other members, David, picked up that commitment and he now chairs the meeting out of his house and it still gets a tremendous amount of attendance. It has turned out to be one of the best meetings of the week. I love going to that meeting.
Thanks again for your SHAIR Leif!
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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.