why you need to be selfish in your recovery

Stewart Michaelson is one of the very active members in our SHAIR private accountability group, and he is loud and proud about his journey in recovery.

He is also a member of the SHAIR Space Empowerment Network and has launched his own recovery platform called Ask Me 4 My Help – Join the nation recovery!

Listen to Stewart’s story now!

CLEAN DATE: Sept. 25, 2016

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Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!

Daily Routine

Recovery is number one in Stewart’s life. He starts his day at 5:30-6:00 am. He exercises on his elliptical machine for 45 minutes while listening to his favorite podcasts (including SHAIR). He meditates afterward and then goes downstairs for breakfast. Stewart was in car sales, but he has pushed all his chips into recovery. He is working on his coaching course and will obtain his certification this spring.

Spiritual Condition

Stewart wears a chain with the Serenity Prayer engraved into it. It was a special gift from his current girlfriend and he has never taken it off since she gave it to him. It’s what keeps him grounded and helps him to focus on his #1 task, which is to stay sober. It also reminds him to be kind to himself and others.

The First Time

Stewart’s dad was a drug user, and Stewart remembers how his dad kept his stash in the freezer. Once time Stewart decided to try smoking it. His sensations were heightened and it was a good feeling, but it wasn’t something he especially liked.

He experimented with alcohol to try to be part of the group. Beer wasn’t his thing at all, and he remembers he had to drink twelve beers just to get rid of the taste of the beer. It was winter in his hometown of Montreal, so it was a good feeling to have the alcohol warming the bloodstream, but Stewart didn’t develop a serious problem with alcohol until later on in life when he started working in politics.

Stewart’s Story

Stewart’s father was not only a drug user, but a cruel and abusive man. His father never stopped antagonizing him as a boy. On top of that, Stewart was taunted and teased in school.

He could do nothing but suppress it. Back in those days there were no resources and no one talked about it. Stewart now knows that this childhood trauma was the root of his craving for alcohol.

That was the beginning, even though I didn’t know it. This was the beginning of my descent, my spiral.

Stewart recalls three major events with alcohol in his life where he should have stopped and didn’t.

The first time, he crashed his car into a huge highway sign causing $20,000 worth of damage to his car and getting him a DUI. This was just a preview of what was to come.

The next incident was when he went to see a woman in Ottowa. At this time, he was drinking two bottles of wine a night and eight bottles every weekend. He also routinely drank and drove.

His plans didn’t work out that night, and angry, he continued to drink. He ran his car into a wall across the street from his house. He went to bed like nothing happened and woke up to an enraged neighbor. The possibility of killing someone was very real, but he still didn’t stop.

The third event involved his marriage. His wife never knew he drank. He hid it from her. She had no clue who he really was. She claimed he got violent when he drank and this lead to a doomed relationship that only lasted three months.

My marriage was a lie from the start.

Stewart only ever told his therapist and doctor about his drinking problem because he knew they’d have to keep his secret confidential. But he finally found AA and took off his mask. After being brutally honest with himself and accepting who he was, what he did, and why, Stewart has cleared his blockages and lives for the now.

I’m Stewart Michaelson and I’m an alcoholic and I’m proud to be that way.

What kept Stewart from getting clean?

Stewart first attempted sobriety because his wife gave him an ultimatum. He wasn’t recovering for himself, but for someone else. This was the wrong reason and that was why he kept failing.

That aha moment

Stewart didn’t have a definitive “rock bottom.” His aha moment happened when he admitted to himself that he was an alcoholic and began screaming it at the top of his lungs to everyone.

Favorite Books

  • The Addicted Lawyer: Tales of the Bar, Booze, Blow, and Redemption by Brian Cuban
  • Choose Yourself Be Happy, Make Millions, Live The Dream by James Altucher
  • The Secret to Success: When You Want to Succeed as Bad as You Want to Breathe by Eric Thomas

Best suggestion

Keep coming back.

Don’t ever let yourself get too far ahead of yourself. Don’t ever think that you’re cured. You’re managing something. And with the right tools everything will work out.

Suggestion for newcomers

Be selfish. You were selfish in your addiction. Be selfish in your recovery.

Because it’s all about you. Once you’ve taken care of you then everything is going to be taken care of.

We SHAIR our stories every Tuesday so subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher Radio!

See you then!


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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.