Randal W. now 29 years old and 1 year clean and sober, takes us through her unbelievable 14 year history of addiction and excessive alcohol and drug abuse. Don’t want to miss this episode, join us now!
Below are Randal’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
SHAIR – Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery
Clean Date: December 14, 2014
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.
Randal: Alright O. My daily routine for living now is I’m actually embarking on a new journey. I’ve just been hired on teaching English with an online company Englishtown that’s based out of Sweden. It’s pretty cool. Actually, my mentor is based in Shanghai so it’s an interesting dynamic. Whenever I wake up in the morning, I try to put the consciousness to change in my mind because on my own I don’t necessarily always make the right decisions, but if I constantly have that consciousness to change fresh and in my face, I’m able to do the next right thing for my recovery.
I wake up, I have my coffee, which is definitely a must and then I do some type of yoga or stretching. It’s actually something new that I’ve started to do recently, having a daily routine as far as stretching, meditation and getting grounded and set for the day. I want to have a daily routine like that. It would be the same as getting up and taking a shower. I want it to be that habitual. From there, my job is online so I spend a lot of time at my house and I’ve actually embarked on cooking lately. I’m big into the whole leafy greens and raw foods and nothing processed. It’s kind of a fad that’s going on right now and you know how that it is. One time it’s Mediterranean diet, or Atkins, or this, but I’m really trying to take a healthy approach in what I’m putting into my body.
I spend a lot of time cooking, a lot of time planning recipes and checking out new stores and finding different foods. It’s really become quite a passion of mine, which I can tell you a year and a half ago, all I could make was scrambled eggs and now I’m making like raw vegan desserts and I make my own almond milk coffee creamer and so it’s really great. I spend a lot of time doing that. It’s just kind of where I get my groove and my flow.
How old were you the first time you drank or used drugs and more importantly, how did that make you feel?
Randal: I was 15 years old when I took my first drink. I’ll never forget it because it was a little shot I took that a friend had and I remember thinking “ah, this is it. This is what I’ve been looking for”. At the time, I wasn’t conscious of it, but now looking back, I realize that it gave me everything that I felt I was lacking.
The very next weekend I was using those master manipulation skills to find my next bottle so that way I could drink like I saw my parents and family and friends drink. My dad is an alcoholic so that was always in excess. As we know, here I am today in recovery and that didn’t go very well for me. I was violently ill the first time I drank and all I wanted was more.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Randal: I think it was admitting the problem, I couldn’t grasp the idea that I was an addict. The acceptance was very hard. It was hard to look back on my life and see where I’d come from. There were a lot of distractions. The level of commitment from me was low in the beginning, but it was all I was capable of. Now I’m able to build on the blocks and on that foundation.
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?
Randal: The first time I developed a hope that I could recover was when I relapsed this last time, I had completely hit my last rock bottom that I was capable of and I wasn’t sure if this program was for me. I said to myself “maybe I’m that one person that this program isn’t going to help” and so I just prayed and I just prayed because I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want to keep going on the way I was, but I didn’t know how to get out of it so I immersed myself in the program.
I quickly got back to my four step and it showed me the baggage that I was carrying around for so long I didn’t have to hold onto anymore. I could let it go and I was going to be capable of changing the behaviors, which ultimately lead me to use. That was my spiritual awakening. I think I had a lot of them, a lot of small things, just when being stressed out about something and then sharing about it in a meeting and then feeling instantly better. To me, that’s spiritual awakening. That’s showing that the program works in my life, but the big one for me, that big turning point was after my last relapse and after doing my four step and that’s what gave me the hope to change and to know that it was possible.
Do you have a favorite book you would recommend to a new comer that you read in early recovery?
Randal: The Big Book. No wait, I’ve got to think about that one. 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.
What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Randal: The best suggestion I’ve ever received? As I talked about earlier, I was going through a hard time. I had kind of stopped going to meetings and I, honestly, was hating meetings. I couldn’t even stand to sit there for an hour and I told my sponsor that and she said “go to more meetings” and it saved my life.
If you could give a new comer only one suggestion, what would that be?
Suggestion’s for the Newcomer!
“ Don’t stop before the miracle happens.”
I mean it’s so cheesy. I’m sorry, but it’s true because every time I’ve gone through something really bad, I’ve popped out the other side on such a different plane of happiness and spiritual connection and every time I go through something really hard, whatever is on the other side is way better than where I started.
Of all the meetings you have attended anywhere in the world, which group is your favorite and where is that group located?
Randal: The Zu Group in Costa Rica.
The Zú Group Escazú – Guachipelin, Costa Rica
Thanks again for your SHAIR Randal!
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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.