George started using drugs at the age of 16 as a coping mechanism for dealing with his feelings of insecurity when he discovered he was gay. It quickly progressed into a full blown addiction to Chrystal Meth and he eventually starts living in the streets and dealing drugs to support his very expensive drug habit. While in his addiction George gets arrested and spends 3 years in prison for drug dealing and it turns out to be the best thing that could have happened to him. It was in jail that George has his first spiritual awakening and his journey into recovery begins.
Today Dr. George holds a PHD as a Nursing Practitioner and his focus is on abundant wellness and beauty for his patients. More importantly he is an active member in his recovery community carrying his message of hope to the still suffering addicts. It’s an inspiring story of hope, join us now!
Clean Date: July 8, 2000
Here are Dr. George’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Dr. George: Wow, you know it’s funny. As you read the title of that book, it just still moves me so much to hear it because the title came to me in a meditation I was doing. I just sort of downloaded and it hit me, and it hit me hard and it still today hits me like that. So my life today is really full and I almost get to where I start complaining about it. I don’t want to complain about my full life, but I have an amazing time with my work and I’m a nurse practitioner. I work at a doctor nursing practice in facial aesthetics so my day is spent doing Botox and fillers and laser and skin tightening. The women and men in Seattle and Bellevue and I have a great time with that. My daily routine is spent a little bit with that and I have a whole slew of sponsees and I go to my recovery meetings and I keep pretty busy all in all.
O: That’s pretty inspirational. Thinking about being a doctor and having to do surgeries and then on top of that, having sponsees and going to meetings. It’s inspirational because so many of us get busy and that whole aspect of service kind of sometimes goes to the wayside.
Dr. George: It’s funny. Every now and then a sponsee or a friend will come to me and say “I am so busy. I don’t know that I can do that coffee maker position” or do that thing and I just laugh and I say “I will hold up your busy life to my busy life any day of the week. Get in there. Get off your phone. Stop the Twitter and the Facebook and go make the coffee”. The funny thing is what I’ve realized in my life, what I realized writing this book actually O is I waste so much time and I would spend when I was writing “Drugs, Food, Sex and God”, I would spend about an hour every morning just writing. I’d go into meditation and then I’d start writing and I’d write for about an hour and I did that for about a year and a half and Bam! I have a book.
O: That’s commitment. That’s what it takes. Period.
Dr. George: The intention and that’s where the subtitle of that book “Through the Power of Intention”. It’s like you have to use the energy force in the universe for your best unfolding.
How old were you the first time you drank and used drugs and more importantly, how did they make you feel?
Dr. George: You know, the very first time I drank, I must have been very, very young and I’m not exactly sure of how old, but probably seven or eight and it was my sisters were throwing a New Year’s Eve party and I remember going around and finishing the rest of everybody’s drinks sitting around and you know, they thought it was funny. I was having a good time and I just remember feeling like I finally fit in to this group of people. My sisters are eight and nine years older than I am and I always wanted to fit in and never felt like I did from a very early age and I think that’s kind of a common story amongst addicts. It’s just that feeling of unworthiness and disconnection. I didn’t really get into where I was actively seeking drugs until I was probably about 15 or 16 years old and I used them as a method to keep from feeling, from feelings that were bubbling up inside, feelings of unworthiness. I grew up as a young gay man not knowing what the word was and just knowing that my feeling about life were different than everybody else’s feelings about life and I couldn’t express myself because of fear.
Let’s talk about the book just for a second before I get too far off it. So what I found when I graduated with my doctorate is that I had gone through a process of life change, that if I looked very diligently I could find a pattern to it and what I found was nine steps, different than the 12 steps. There are nine phases that I went through with big things, and now that I really look at it, I go through it with small things too, I talk about in the book. Step one is struggle. Step two is surrender. Step three is belief. Step four is taking stock and inventory if you will of your gifts. Step five is allowing in your dreams. Six is crafting your goals and making plans and then taking action. The last step in that nine step process is celebrating and really being able to celebrate each time you go through a cycle of life change. When you are in that celebration is when you notice the next struggle. Like graduating from school. There’s a great celebration, but then what am I going to do with it. Getting married to Travis is a great celebration, but then we get to establish our life together. It’s like each time you go through the cycle where celebration leads to struggle and you just keep moving forward.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Dr. George: When I first got introduced to recovery was down in Los Angeles and one night I was called by this guy I was seeing and he said “I think you’re an alcoholic and I want you to go to a meeting with my friend Scott” and I said “okay”. I went to a meeting the next day with his friend Scott and then to fast forward, the next time my probation officer said “I want you to go to a meeting and get serious about your recovery” and I said “okay”. Then I went to a meeting and I got serious about my recovery. Here’s the deal. I didn’t have any resistance when it finally came down to it. When the rubber meets the road, you have to take action that puts you in the direction that you really want to go and you have to want to get clean more than you want to get loaded. Period.
At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that ‘aha’ moment in recovery when you accepted that you are powerless to drugs and alcohol, but for the first time had developed that hope that you could recover?
Dr. George: There’s a few of them. Probably that first one was “wow” a spiritual awakening where I finally knew that I could recover is when I first went into a meeting and started hearing for the first time my story out of other people’s mouths. This guy that ended up being my very first sponsor, great guy, covered in tattoos, long hair, always had his middle finger in the air, absolutely the epitome difference, the total difference of me although now I have long hair, but he started sharing my story. I remember one time he was sharing about how he used to shoot up in the Denny’s bathroom on Lake City Way here in Seattle and I was like “I used to shoot up in the bathroom on Lake City Way”.
All of a sudden I realized that I wasn’t alone, that my story wasn’t unique, that I wasn’t so broken that I couldn’t recover because this guy was recovering and he’s covered in tattoos. This is why I share my story. This is why I wrote the book. This is why I share in meetings. This is why I’m still an acting and participating member of NA is because of that. My story is going to be someone else’s ‘aha’ moment. You were having anonymous sex in the bushes? Yeah, I did too! It’s like I want to be able to be really open and honest about it because I don’t have to put on airs. I don’t have to be something I’m not. I am everything I am and I am nothing I’m not. Period.
Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer that you read in early recovery?
Dr. George: Well, the basic text of Narcotics Anonymous is the number one hands down best guide to getting clean for an addict that there is I think is written in a language that’s current, that’s written in a language that spoke to me and I loved that book. Since early recovery, we just recently had a new book that came out called “Living Clean: The Journey Continues”, which that’s by far hands down the best. You can pick up any single paragraph in that book and have your life change I think.
And then I recommend my book! I hated my book when I wrote it and I loved it and then I hated it and then I read it and I’m like “that’s stupid” and I’m back in love with it again. It’s funny and it’s insightful and I can read it with a new set of eyes and realize that it actually is a good book. It’s a really good book.
What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
SUGGESTION’S FOR THE NEWCOMER!
Dr. George: Take action. Take action. If you want something different, take action. That’s the long and short of it. Don’t sit there whining about how miserable this is or that is. Do something about it. I’ve always said that the three spiritual principles are out of order and we talk about that they’re how, honesty, open-mindedness and willingness and I think it’s who, willingness, honesty and open-mindedness. I think willingness has to come first if you want it.
Of all the meetings you have attended anywhere in the world, which group is your favorite and where is that group located?
Dr. George: You know what? My home group is my favorite group. It’s Atmosphere of Recovery. It’s Tuesday nights at 6 o’clock at the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington. It is a gay meeting and straight friendly and it’s a powerful group where we all get to participate and I love that.
Atmosphere of Recovery
Thanks again for your SHAIR Dr. George!
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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