On today’s episode of The SHAIR Podcast we have Buddy C. joining us. Buddy battled with alcoholism for 6 years. During those 6 years his wife was ready to leave him, he developed pancreatitis and spends 6 weeks in the hospital undergoing 2 surgeries. He managed to survive these two surgeries and as soon as he got out of the hospital starts drinking again.
Buddy would then chronically relapse multiple times until he finally surrenders to recovery and ultimately finds God. Today Buddy is a pillar in his AA community living his life entirely in service to God. He has found his purpose in life and that is to help others on a daily basis. Buddies story is nothing short of a miracle. Join us now!
Clean Date: November 10, 2008
This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.
Here are Buddy’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Buddy: I try to start the day with recovery. I read, I do a group of devotions in the morning, and I also, and I want to warn you beforehand, I also do a lot of Bible in my recovery. When we talk about this you’ll hear about how I came along and how I started on a spiritual journey years and years ago. I use a YouVersion App on my phone and I do a lot of, I do the message version of the Bible and I do a daily, the New Testament through every day and I get a lot of what we talk about in AA out of what I read there and then I do all daily devotions and I get on my knees every day and I pray. That’s how I start out my day.
Then as far as exercise goes, I’m a runner and I try to run 2 or 3 times a week depending on how I feel. Age is catching up a little bit, I used to, could run through any kind of issue, now I have to pay attention to that. I do that, and I’m a long distance, so a motor cycle rider, that’s what I do as a hobby. I like to do rallies and I travel all over the US and riding motor cycle rallies. I do a good bit of that. It’s like a scavenger hunt on a motor cycle. Really it’s a lot of that and there’s …
Omar: A scavenger hunt?
Buddy: Yeah, like a scavenger hunt. We’ll have a rally, let’s say for example, I did one out in Montana, I rode out to Montana, about 1,000 miles a day, got out there and then we had a 36 hour rally while we were there and I covered about 1800 miles I think in that 36 hours. You have to go and you have different tasks to complete and then you have points based on what you do and it’s real good, I enjoy it and I do …
Omar: Yeah, it sounds like fun.
Buddy: … I do a lot of that. Yeah it’s a lot of fun. Actually, that’s how I found your program. I listen to podcasts when I ride and I was looking for recovery-related podcasts and came across you and I’ve really enjoyed your program.
Omar: Well thank you Buddy. We’ve enjoyed having you.
Buddy: That’s pretty much my hobbies and what I do now as far as work goes. I’ve been involved in real estate for a number of years. I’m 50 now, started investing in real estate in my early 20s so I started with rental houses and mostly now for a living, I flip houses now, a few houses a year so I’m still involved in real estate pretty active. It gives me a lot of time for service and working with folks in the program.
Omar: How is it specifically that you maintain that spiritual condition, that conscious contact with a higher power?
Buddy: I learned from the other guys in the program and from my sponsor and from the other people that I really learned when I got in, to stick with the winners, those that had something that I wanted, those are the guys I hung around with. I took this thing seriously, even though when I start telling my story, it took me 6 years of in and out before I was ever able to really start putting some time together. I knew that AA was the answer for me. What I do is I really try to base my life around service.
I found from the very beginning that I had to make it about something other than myself and I paid attention to the guys around me. I have one fellow that I learned a lot from. He travels a lot and he doesn’t catch a lot of meetings on the road and he said that what he does is he actually just finds someone to do something for even if they’re not in AA and it’s the first time I had heard that and I said, “How in the world would that help?” and sure enough it does help. If I make my life about something other than myself, God seems to get in there, and especially if I don’t know what to do next, we’re always told to do the next right thing, well a lot of times I don’t know what the next right thing is. When I don’t, I just try to find what’s the least selfish thing that I have on my plate, do that or find someone to do something for and as I do, usually I find my way.
That’s a big part of my recovery and that’s what I teach my sponsees too.
Omar: I think that’s spectacular and it’s 100% true. Any type of service, whatever you’re doing to help somebody else that takes you out of yourself is absolutely connecting you to a higher power.
Buddy: We know, from reading the Big Book, we know that selfishness is the root of our problem. We know that, for me to drink the way that I drank, I had to make life all about me. I had to, even more than what I would have normally, so that I was able to keep alcohol as my god really, because everything revolved around alcohol. I would have my appointments during the day, try to have those done as early as possible so that I could start drinking more as early as I could and alcohol just dominated my life.
Omar: Absolutely. Speaking of which, how much clean time do you have and when is your anniversary date?
Buddy: My anniversary date is November 10th of ‘08 so that’s just a little over 7 years. Now I started in AA back in ‘02 and so it took me 6 years, actually I started, yeah I started in ‘02 so it took me 6 years in and out before I was really able to put any time together. For my very first meeting, I knew that AA was the answer, that’s where I got my hope was that very first meeting. I saw people who I could tell drank like I drank and I knew that I was a lot smarter than them and I was able, if they got it, I knew for sure I could figure it out, which was a part of my problem. It took 6 years of in and out to make me willing to do what it took for me to stay sober.
That really goes back to that first step of being powerless. It took 6 years of getting beat up for me to be powerless to the point that God could step in and do something in my life and help me with this thing.
Omar: Well it’s December 1st now so you just recently celebrated 7 years right?
Buddy: Yeah, back on the 10th, sure did.
Omar: Well congratulations my brother.
Buddy: Thank you, thank you sir.
Omar: How old were you the first time you drank or used drugs and more importantly, how did that make you feel?
Buddy: I was 13, actually I was on a boy scout outing and one of the older guys bought us some tall Budweisers so I had me 2 Budweisers for my first drunk when I was 13. It really didn’t, it wasn’t the magic pill that you hear a lot of people talk about. For me it wasn’t. It was okay, I enjoyed it but I didn’t start seeking alcohol then. I really did not start drinking alcoholically till my late 20s early 30s. I went for a number of years without drinking and then once I did though it was on, so it didn’t take long at all.
For me, it wasn’t one of those things where I started pursuing alcohol immediately at that point, it didn’t work that way for me.
Omar: What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Buddy: I believe it just took what it took of, there was nothing keeping me from it, it just took all those drinks, it took all those issues, it took failed businesses, it took every circumstance I had to get me to the point that I was willing to submit, I was willing to give up and say, “Okay God, I can’t do this. I keep trying and I can’t.” I’m a big believer in providence. I really believe it just takes every drop and there’s no way I can short-circuit it. It takes what it takes.
When I have a sponsee go back out, I say, “Well, when you’re ready come on, we’ll do it again.” He says, “Well, you’re not upset with me?” and I say, “Why should I be upset? You’re a drunk.” I say, “If you’ve had enough, let’s get going and we’ll see and if you’re ready, I’m ready.” I just think it takes what it takes and there’s no way I could short-circuit it or say, “Oh, if this would have happened or if this …” I just think it was what it took, I really do.
Omar: Absolutely. I agree 100%. All right, so number 2, at what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that ‘ah-ha!’ moment in recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol but for the first time, had developed a hope that you could recover?
Buddy: It was at the first meeting that I mentioned. I really saw it there and the light bulb went on. Granted it took 6 more years before I was able to put any time together but I knew from that first meeting that AA was the answer, I knew that.
Omar: Beautiful, beautiful. Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a new comer that you read in early recovery?
Buddy: Yeah. It’s a very small book. I’m not a big reader. I listen to a lot of audio on my motor cycle when I ride and in the office too actually. I have 1 little book it’s called ‘Practicing the Presence of God’ and it’s about brother Lawrence. He was a monk in the 1400s in France and he has a very good, it’s a think little book, I buy them actually 10 and 12 at a time and give them to sponsees and give them out. It’s just a simple little book of how he learned how to practice the presence of God on a continual basis and it was very helpful to me, it’s called ‘Practicing the Presence of God.’ You can get it, you can also get an audio of that too. You can download that for free online. Google ‘Practicing the Presence of God’ brother Lawrence Mp3 if you like listening to audios and you can get that. It’s a great little book and I re-read it pretty often.
Practicing the Presence of God – Brother Lawrence
Omar: Wonderful, beautiful. Buddy, what is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Buddy: To surround myself with the program. To not only just go to meetings, not only keep coming back which we hear a lot but just surround myself with the program in every way possible, with CDs in the car, with screen savers on my computer. I’ve got verses and excerpts out of the Big Book taped to my monitors to having all these things around me all the time that everywhere I look, I see recovery. I have tons of audio on my motor cycle. I listen to, I’ve got the Big Book, I’ve got the whole New Testament, I’ve got the Twelve and Twelve, I’ve got Joe and Charlie. I can ride to California and back and never listen to the same thing and they’re all recovery.
Omar: I love it man.
Buddy: That’s the kind of stuff that I need around me and I have speaker apps on my phone that I can listen to speakers and I just surround myself with the program because you’ve just got to jump all in really. That’s the bottom line. Whatever it takes for you to jump in, you’ve just got to do it, because until, we read that half measures availed us nothing, I don’t think that means doing it wrong, and I think that means, we just make a half ass try at it. We’ve got to be in 100%. If we’re in 100%, God will meet us there. For me it just takes all of that.
Omar: Beautiful, beautiful. If you could give our newcomers only 1 suggestion, what would it be?
Buddy: It’d be what I just said. Just jump all in.
SUGGESTION’S FOR THE NEWCOMER!
“Jump all in, don’t hold back because as long as you hold back, this will not work.”
Omar: Be all in.
Buddy: Jump all in, don’t hold back because as long as you hold back, this will not work. That’s been my experience. As long as I thought I had any part of the solution at all, even a little bit of the solution, it didn’t work for me no matter how much I wanted it, how much I needed it, it didn’t matter until I was able to say, “God, I am powerless. I cannot do this. If it happens, it’s going to be you.” Until I was able to say that and along with the, I remember when I prayed the prayer, ‘God work your will in my life regardless of what it takes.’ When I prayed that, it started happening, it started happening, when I could sincerely say that and that took 6 years of getting beat up, and I hope it doesn’t take you 6 years … some people it takes longer and there’s, some people come and get 1 white chip and they’re done. Man, it took 6 years for me to say, “No, I can’t do it. I’m letting go.” I held on for that long and so I would say, just jump all in.
Thanks again for your SHAIR, Buddy!
See you then!
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.