On today’s episode of The SHAIR Podcast I, Omar Pinto tell my story, where I take you through 10 years of alcoholism and drug abuse. I started out drinking and smoking pot in high school as a weekend warrior and later graduated to smoking weed, snorting coke, popping pills and drinking whiskey daily. During my years of using I was shoplifting, stealing from my employers and selling drugs. When I finally hit rock bottom I had lost my wife, my friends and almost my life. It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I was finally able to find recovery.
The format today will be different, for starters my sponsee Robert V. from Episode 4 “the Attorney” opens up for me as I share my experience, strength and hope on my 12 year anniversary meeting and to close out the interview Sophie G. from Episode 1 “Street Rules” asks me questions for the new comers.
After this interview if you enjoyed listening to The SHAIR Podcast please leave us a rating and review on iTunes or Stitcher radio. This will insure we get ranked well on these networks and that means more people will easily find The SHAIR Podcast. This is the best way to show your support and help us grow. I’d also like to add you to our Facebook recovery group, to find the group type in Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery and The SHAIR Podcast group will pop right up.
Clean Date: May 26, 2015
Here are O’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer.
O: I run a very successful online gaming company, I’m married and I have my daughter. I have sponsees, a sponsor, friends in the AA and NA fellowship and attend meetings regularly. I try to go to the gym 3 times a week and I’m the producer of The SHAIR Podcast. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room or free time so I have to make sure I stay organized.
Recovery has taught me the value of developing and creating balance in my life. All the responsibilities in my life have to receive time and attention from me every week otherwise I have to re-evaluate my priorities. A typical week day will have me up at 5am to be at the gym by 6:00am and out the door of the gym by 7:40am to hit the 8am AA meeting Mondays and Fridays. I then get to the office by 9:30am and write my to-do lists for the day both for the online business as well as for the podcast. And in the evenings I either have an interview scheduled for the SHAIR Podcast, go to a meeting, work with a newcomer or go home to spend quality time with my wife.
On Saturdays, for the most part, that is my off day to spend with my family, so not much gets planned for that day, it’s the day I use to reconnect with my wife, recharge my batteries, have lunch with Mom and hang out with my daughter. Not much else gets in on Saturdays, and Sundays it’s slow in the office so the majority of my interviews and editing of those interviews gets done on Sundays. And that is what my normal daily routine looks like.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
O: My ego was so huge and powerful that it had me convinced that I was not an addict. I was convinced that my only problem was the cocaine and the alcohol and if I could just stop snorting coke and drinking that I could manage the other drugs. I was trying to justify a marijuana maintenance program. But as we all know any mood or mind altering substance will ultimately take you to a whole new bottom.
I was terrified of not having access to the drugs, at that point in my life I had created this identity of being this bad ass gangster and bad ass gangster’s drink and do drugs. I was in complete denial that I was a drug addict and that is what was keeping me from getting clean.
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?
O: The night before my first meeting in NA – Narcotics Anonymous – I had gone out and done a massive amount of cocaine. I must have come home around 3am because my wife was asleep. My heart was racing so bad that I began guzzling down a bottle Johnny Walker red label.
I could not get the cocaine high to come down so I took a hand full of Tylenol PM in hopes that it put me to sleep and then proceeded to take bong rips for an hour. Nothing was working and I remember there was a wooden carving of the last supper on the wall behind the bar.
I got on my knees and prayed for death. I said something along the lines of I don’t know who you are or what you are, God, the Devil, I’m not sure who I’m praying to, but take me out of this world or help me stop using drugs because I can’t stop using by myself. I am ruining my life and the lives of everyone close to me so unless you can cure me, take me out of this world.
At some point after all the marijuana, whiskey and Tylenol PM’s I passed out. When I woke up the next morning a little voice inside my head said, remember when you went to that therapist and he suggested you go to an NA meeting? It happened involuntarily, I don’t remember having another thought after that I simply put on whatever clothes was on the floor and drove to that therapist. I went inside his office and said I relapsed and can’t stop using can you please give me directions to that NA Meeting.
I went to my first NA meeting and sitting in that room listening to the men there share their experience, strength and hope, for the first time since I could remember, I felt hope, I actually had the feeling that I could recover. After the meeting I was handed a meeting list with phone numbers and Ed, who later became my sponsor asked me to come back tomorrow. I can’t explain the feeling I had in that moment but I knew that just for today I did not have to use and tomorrow I was going to be at that meeting. It is the reason I ask this question to my guests, because it’s in that moment that everything changes for us, and it’s so impactful for others especially newcomers to hear.
Do you have a favorite book you would recommend to a newcomer that you read in early recovery?
O: The Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous saved my life. The disease of addiction rears its ugly head in so many ways, cunning, baffling and powerful. My first sponsor sat and went through the entire basic text with me and within the first 5 pages I found myself plastered all over those pages. If you are an addict and suffering from what seems to be a hopeless malady do yourself a favor and find yourself in the Basic Text, if you can do that then you too can recover. And the next book I would recommend is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill to this day it is my favorite key to success book that I have read more than once, it’s a game changer.
What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
O: Stick with the winners! One of Jim Rohn’s famous quotes is “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Hang with 5 millionaires you’ll be the 6th, hang out with 5 people in recovery who have a strong program you’ll be the 6th, hang out with 5 of your old buddies still using or newcomers who don’t follow suggestions and relapse and you’ll be the 6th. Your circle of influence is crucial to your survival in your first year of sobriety so pick your friends wisely and stick with the winners. Stay in the middle of the heard and surround yourself with people in the fellowship who have a strong program.
If you could give a newcomer only one suggestion what would it be?
SUGGESTION’S FOR THE NEWCOMER!
“Stick with the winners!”
O: Pick a side and be committed 100%. Don’t half ass anything in life “Go Big or stay home”, half measures avail us nothing. So if you are not convinced you are a drug addict or alcoholic and not sure this way of life is for you then get out there and party like a Rock Star, don’t waste your time and more importantly don’t waist mine.
Go do more research we will always have the doors open and hot coffee waiting for you if you decide to come back. However if you have reached rock bottom and committing suicide seems like the most logical next step in order for you to stop hurting yourself and those around then get committed 100% in recovery.
Thanks again for your SHAIR O!
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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.