Cormac O Donoghue joins us on The Share podcast. I met Cormac on a Sunday morning That Sober Guy meeting about two years ago. He is amazingly active in our SHAIR Facebook private group and after all these years of service I wanted to get Cormac on the show. Plus, the man is fucking hysterical, so we’ll probably spend most of this interview laughing.
Listen now as Cormac takes us through his horrific battle with drug addiction and his amazing and inspirational journey into recovery.
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Questions and Answers for the Newcomer:
Omar: What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean, when you first got introduced to recovery?
Cormac: Addiction, addiction. It lied to me, it lied to me, it lied to me. And here’s something, we touched on there again, and I’ll touch one time again. People go on who don’t know about … “It’s a cult,” or whatever. You know what? When you first go in, maybe it is. But you know what’s a bigger fucking cult? Alcohol and addiction. But after a while, if you go in, and if you go to enough meetings and you go through it all, you get freedom, and no one controls you.
I’m one of those people, when I walk into a meeting, if I’m not right to do the chair and I’m asked to do the chair, maybe I’m not bad, I don’t want to pollute the room, I’ll tell them, “No,” because AA gave me the ability to say, “No.” AA gave me the ability to be free. AA gave me the ability to do everything. So you know what kept me, from getting sober, I suppose not being able to accept that I needed to change myself, you know?
And you know one last thing that kept me is, well, was being too self-centered, in the sense it all had to be about me. It had to be all about me. When I actually laid back and realized that, “You know what? Maybe my mother needs to talk about our problems. Maybe fucking this poor girl, who didn’t get a chance, talks about his problems. Maybe some days it’s not all about fucking me, you know?
I am not God, you know? I’m not God. I’m a fucking nice, sexy Irishman, but I’m not God, you know? That’s the story.
Omar: So, number two. At what point did you have a spiritual awakening? That “a-ha” moment in recovery, when you accepted you were powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?
Cormac: I’ll tell you what, I often go to all the meetings, after a year or two. Maybe two years ago, I was down on a beautiful island off West Cork, off Cork. Beautiful, small, little island, you know? Beautiful summer’s day, you know? I was walking down a country lane, and a swallow flew past me, and it was just beautiful, and even stared off. Something about that, you mentioned it was spirituality. Something came over me that day. Something was released. Something that was beautiful.
The world, after going through so much pain, you look at flowers different, though. You look at everything. You breathe, you smell, it’s beautiful, you know? And I want to live in a world where fucking swallows fly past me, and fucking pretty girls wink, and the world is beautiful. That was the moment, though.
Omar: All right, brother. Okay, so number three. Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer, that you would recommend in early recovery?
Cormac: The one book was remembering, I think you mentioned on your show a couple times, that picture book “Black Dog”? It’s just a picture book about depression. Pictures, because you can’t read anything else. And, besides that then, I suppose, actually, I tell you what, I read a book called “Shogun” by James Clavell. Nothing to do with recovery, but I tell you what? It was a big novel, and it was in one of my centers, and it got me out of my head, you know?
Sometimes it can’t always be about addiction. Sometimes, you just need to get out of your head, in a healthy way as well, you know?
Omar: What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Cormac: That your family is six months to a year behind you. I went to, my mother sent me to see a priest, and he was in recovery himself. And this was after countless attempts, I was like “Why won’t my family trust me?” He said “Well, Cormac, the family is six months to a year behind you.” You know? In the sense that, a lot of us, when we get around first, and this or that, we’re wondering, after three or four weeks, we’re wondering why our family is not trusting us. It can scar you, and your family has been scarred, and it takes time. Trust needs to be built up. Trust needs to be built up.
So, don’t get too annoyed with people, if they don’t trust you for the first few months. That really helped me, you know? That really helped me, and the best suggestion, as well? You know what? Have fun. Have fucking fun. Have fun, go have fun, and laugh. Do you know how we get more people into these fellowships, and into this recovery? By laughing. By joking. Acting normal.
There’ll be those group of people when you’re out in a restaurant, and you’re just laughing, and say “Look at those people over there. Oh, Jesus, they’re not even drinking. What? You mean they’re not drinking, but they’re laughing so?” Be that fucking person. Laugh, have fun, fun, fun.
Omar: If you could give a newcomer only one suggestion, what would it be?
Cormac: No one’s going to do it besides you. No one. You know? No doctor, no treatment center, no nothing. It’s going to be you. And when in doubt, if you’re in doubt about something, don’t do it. If you’re in early recovery, and you’re bored and worried about going to a party, don’t go to the party. And if you want to get to a meeting, go up to the door, to the meeting.
The house is your enemy. Don’t stay in your thoughts. Get out. Socialize among people. Just do it. If you’re listening to this podcast in the gym, or even at home, sitting on the couch, and you’ve left a choice, go out the door. Try to get yourself to a meeting. It doesn’t matter. I know we spoke about AA earlier, but whatever fellowships you’re involved in. Go out. Do it. Do it.
Also, another suggestion I want to tell. If they can, if a person can, try to get outside to help, as well. It’s not all about meetings. It’s not all about step work. Sometimes, people need counseling as well.
Facebook – Cormac O Donoghue
Living with a Black Dog: His Name Is Depression – by Matthew Johnstone
Shogun (Asian Saga) Mass Market – by James Clavell
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.