On today’s episode of The SHAIR Podcast Luis P. with 10 years clean, takes us through the criminal life of drugs and gangs in Oakland California.  Luis was raised by his Grandmother in Costa Rica and as a teenager moved to California to live with his Mom.  It was there that he met his father for the first time.  His father was in and out of prison and was very abusive to his mother.  He had no positive role models as the majority of his family was either in gangs or on drugs.

In high school, racial segregation was also very prevalent: the blacks with the blacks, whites with the whites, the Latinos with Latinos so Luis gravitated towards the Mexican gangs.  By the age of 16 Luis was addicted to crack and ended up in the streets robbing, steeling, dealing drugs whatever it took to survive.  After Luis gave some drugs to his sister that ultimately led her to a drug overdose, Luis goes on a run that would last 11 months until his family intervenes and gets him back to Costa Rica and into rehab.  Today Luis is a father, a husband, a friend as well as a responsible productive member of society.  It’s an amazing and inspiring journey of recovery.  Join us now.

Clean Date: July 28, 2005.

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Here are Luis’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:

Youtube Luis P Gang Related The SHAIR PodcastTell us about how your life is today, your hobbies, what you do for a living. Take us into your normal daily routine including recovery.

Luis: Okay basically my hobbies are I like to barbecue a lot. I’m a busy man so I barbecue once a week or once a month. I like watching movies with my wife. I go to the beach whenever I can. I like watching sports, especially football, basketball, MMA. I like watching a little baseball when the San Francisco Giants are playing. I’m from the Bay so you’ve got to like the Giants.

O: Of course, I’m from California baby!

Luis: Basically that’s what I do, I’m a hard working man. I go to work and take care of my family. I’m very collective with Narcotic’s Anonymous. I go to meetings on a regular basis, talk to my sponsor, work my sponsees. That’s basically what I do.

How old were you the first time you drank or used drugs and more importantly, how did they make you feel?

Luis: Well the first time I ever drank, I was ten years old. It was Christmas. I come from a long line of family of addicts, my uncles and cousins used to get together for holidays and they’d go two or three days of nonstop drinking, like men. I figured I’m ten years old and they let me drink so I might as well drink and I drank so much that I got real sick for a couple of days. I puked. Got real sick and one led to another and when I turned 13 years old, that’s when I started smoking weed. From weed it went on to the acid and you know the story.

What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?

Luis: I wasn’t beaten enough. I didn’t hit bottom yet. Even though I did hit bottom, I’m a dope fiend. When I was using drugs I was in homeless shelters, court ordered to go to meetings and those meetings I went to, I was never there. You know, I just went there to get the paper signed so I wouldn’t get kicked out of the homeless shelter. A hard headed person like me needs to go through a lot of pain in order to surrender. That’s why I never surrendered man, until my sister died.

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 and for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?

Luis: I think after a year clean and working the steps. I had that spiritual awakening where I could say I felt comfortable in my own shoes and my own skin where I could feel comfortable going out with the fellows in the fellowship. We’d go out to eat and being able to go places and not worry about me picking up a drink or anything. After a year of being clean, that fear I had inside of me about life, about work, about relapse, it went away, and I know why it went away because I worked the program. I worked the programs to the fullest. I got out of rehab and connected immediately. On my first year of recovery I would go to two meetings every day… my noon meeting and my night meeting. That’s when I had that spiritual awakening. I finally feel comfortable. I finally feel like I’m home. I don’t feel scared anymore. I don’t feel fear, even though I’m still a fearful person, I still have a lot of fear inside of me, but I have tools today to beat that.

Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer that you read in early recovery?

Luis: What I could recommend to a newcomer is to get “It Works How and Why” and the “Basic text”.  The pamphlets that we have at the meetings, I grabbed all those and I read them. So that’s what I recommend for a newcomer to get “It Works How and Why” and the “Basic Text” and just any literature, recovery literature.

What is the best suggestion you have ever received?

Luis: Shut the fuck up and listen. Don’t think.

If you could give a new comer only one suggestion, what would that be?


Get connected…Work the program…Go to meetings

Luis: If I could give a new comer a suggestion, connect yourself. Get connected. What I mean by get connected is get a sponsor. Work the program. Go to meetings. Stay away from people, places and things. Connect yourself. Use that sponsor. Let him guide you. Let him guide your life. He’s there to help you at no cost.


Thanks again for your SHAIR Luis!

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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.