Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

My A.A. Speaker Tape (Terminally Unique, Pt. 17/21)

Published in Terminally Unique. Tags: , .

I don’t remember where I read or heard this, but it’s been said that getting sober and telling people about it like it’s something to be proud of is like walking into a room of unsuspecting people, unloading a machine gun, missing everyone, and asking for a pat on the back because you didn’t kill anyone. Putting “my story” out there is loaded with conflicting feelings, at least in part because of this sort of consideration. I’ve done a lot of regrettable stuff in my life, and I don’t mean to frame any recalling of it in a manner which undercuts the harm I’ve caused or portrays me in a particularly flattering way simply because I stopped drinking. That said, the point of this series hasn’t been to ask for a pat on the back after cleaning up my life. In part, I liken my purpose with it to something like the speaker meetings from Alcoholics Anonymous.

As outlined in a previous chapter, speaker meetings feature a longer-form presentation from a member of an A.A. group who presents a history of what life was like when they were drinking, what led them to quitting, and what their life has been like since seeking sobriety. During my time in A.A. I sat and listened to dozens of speaker meetings, hearing others relate how they got from there to here, while also sharing my own story numerous times in front of groups, myself. As something of a supplement to this project, it seemed fitting to share one of those occasions here. My home group had a practice of recording speaker meetings and making them available on CDs, offering support (or, honestly, just entertainment sometimes) for those who were interested. Not unlike every other aspect of A.A., I have my gripes with this part of the organization (or at least the strange A.A. subculture built around speaker meetings, or what’s referred to as its speaker circuit), but in sharing the recording, I hope to communicate why doing so in the presence of others who might just be starting their recovery journeys, or even those who are still struggling to take that first step, can be of value. This wasn’t the first time I shared “my story,” nor was it the last, but it’s a fine example of the process.

Hi, my name is Chris DeLine. I’m an alcoholic.

I wasn’t too sure how to start this, so I just wanted to relate it to the last time when someone asked me to speak publicly. It was about ten years ago and my former English professor invited me down to the University I graduated from. I was supposed to talk about blogging, because I had started a blog in college and it turned into like this good little side business. And I’m supposed to talk to students about how you two could self publish, and all this stuff, but the thing was, I I went down I still knew people from college, so I stayed with them and I partied pretty hard the night before. So that combined with my poor decision to wear this really heavy suit jacket and jeans–bright lights in this little auditorium thing–I sweat like crazy. And I sweat through my shirt to a point where I couldn’t take my jacket off stop the sweating because I had sweat so much. All of that’s really just to say I feel more comfortable here with you. If I do start sweating though, cut me a break because I’m still a little bit nervous.

John was telling me right before the meeting that the only thing I have to do here is just tell the truth. But as I was going through my story this week I kind of saw a thread with it and that thread sort of–it’s a repeating thing where I’m constantly at this… I have this internal struggle where I don’t know who I should be so I try to be somebody, but that’s in conflict with who I am. And who I want you to think I am is even more in conflict with who I want to actually be. And that is just hand-in-hand with like my drinking and that started when I was 16. So, going through high school just a typical teenager, not sure of all that stuff–who I am, who I want to be, who I want other people think I am–I wasn’t doing good in high school so I started doing this work program where I didn’t have to go to classes. And so I got into this restaurant where I was doing a chef’s apprenticeship. And for those of you who know cooks, you know the restaurant industry, you know people kind of party pretty hard. Add to it that I lived in Canada. The legal drinking age was 18. I was 16, so I was close, but if you are 16, you’re out with people who are of age, on quote-unquote school nights going to bars at one o’clock with a big group of people they kind of just, “hey probably 18.” So I got away with it. Right out of the gate though I hit it pretty hard and I would be that guy who’s like a mess, throwing up, blacking out, passing out, you have to take care of me because I’m not going to take care of myself. That kind of guy.

My family didn’t drink and they kind of imposed this idea like I shouldn’t drink either. Because my mom’s dad was an alcoholic who gave that up for religion when she was young. My dad’s dad, he died from alcoholism. And my dad’s mom–she was just an abusive alcoholic who somehow lived until she was 90. So, putting aside their general instruction for me, I took it to be like, okay, not only do I want to be this rebellious kid to go against my parents’ wishes, but once I started drinking it helped me feel like I was fitting in. And I hadn’t had that for a long time. So that’s really what hooked me is that sense of camaraderie, of I’m fitting in with people, makes me feel good, make me feel like this is where I belong.

That kind of leads into… so, barely graduated high school, took a year off–just took a year off. I had no intention of doing anything so I just worked in a warehouse, drinking, and then like pushing boxes around sweating all day. It was terrible. I was like, maybe I should try to go to college, and then when I went to college I just relied on my ability to drink as like my introduction. Like, “hey, I like to drink, do you like to drink, because I like to drink, and I can drink some, if you want to drink some with me, we can drink together.” And that was the only way I could introduce myself to people. However, like it quickly escalated even more–so that’s that progressive part of this which just keeps going. The thing was, the more that I drank, the more I silenced that part of my intuition, through that process. And that really created this divide between silencing who I am and who I want to be… in lieu of this person who I want other people [to think I am]… Like, I’m this cool badass dude who’s drinking all the time to black out and I’ll go to class drunk ’cause it’s cool and I’m partier. That’s someone who I was projecting, that’s not who I really wanted to be. So with that I became less and less comfortable with myself and this cycle continues and I used alcohol more to like silence that.

So, ultimately, the other thing it did was it inflated this sort of depression that I had. I’ve tried to think back to when I first really felt this stuff and it was around the fifth or sixth grade where I just felt like these waves of sadness and depression. And in college, depending [on] what I just said about the sort of smothering of my intuition. I became super sad and I’d go through waves of just depression. I thought it was part of, you know, you drank a depressant to extremes–that’s gonna happen, you have the hangover, you’re gonna be bummed out, it’s part of it. But it got worse and I started picking up on other ways of coping, like self-harming, like, I cut myself, and I have like these burns on my arm, like it’s not stuff that is too healthy. But all through that I still somehow considered myself more of a binge drinker than someone who had a problem. Because that stuff is not a problem, for some reason, in my brain. I was at least comfortable with that term and I kind of carried it through graduation.

I made the decision to go and live at home after I graduated so that I could just put all my money against my student loans. I was like, that’s a smart thing to do. So I got this job at this Midwestern, kind of retail–sort of kind of like Home Depot. So, I was a hardware manager, and I worked 10-12 hours a day on my feet and then we would go kick it after work and drink at the bar until like 2:00 in the morning. That turned into… sometimes, when my shift wouldn’t start till 10:00, I would have a couple drinks before work. Then that turned into sometimes I would drink at lunch by myself. And then that turned into sometimes I would just try to be a little bit buzzed all day. So progression, right? Progression. All through this time though I still had that website thing that I talked about. And so one of the cool things that I really got a kick out of was writing about music, like I could write reviews, and I could go out and review shows and stuff. So, I can get into concerts for free, and the concerts are a great excuse to party. So, get drunk before the show, hopefully make notes on whatever paper I had with me at the time so I could record it after the fact and pretend like I was there. Because I was a million miles away in my head. One night though, I got kicked out–I’m in Minneapolis at this time–I got kicked out of First Avenue, which, for Prince fans, that’s where they filmed Purple Rain. It’s a cool club. This girl who I was seeing at the time and the friend who introduced us, they were trying to track me down because I–not only did I get kicked out, but I stormed off, from what I’m told, and I couldn’t remember where I parked, so I was like drunkenly wandering around Minneapolis. No cell phone, this is just before cellphone… like, before I got a cell phone, at least. They couldn’t find me and they didn’t want me driving home, which is why they were kind of chasing me. All I remember is I woke up the next day. It was like 9:00 or 10:00, I was at the girl’s place, and I was supposed to be at work at 6:30 in the morning. So, in this daze, I started driving to work. It took 45 minutes to get to work, so thankful I didn’t… one of the myriad times where I drove drunk, thankfully nothing happened there, but I got to work. You know how you have like that taste in your mouth of like, whew that was a rough night last night? I had that. Still [had] the clothes on that I had from the night before, smelling like I can only imagine I smelled, and like hey I’m here five hours late. And they’re like, well, alright. And I’m like, well I think I need to go to the restroom, and so I go and sit in the restroom and as I’m sitting there like my stomach just starts hurting like I’ve not experienced before. An, like, oh this is not right. And I’m like, you know what, I’m not feeling great. And [they’re] like, we know, you should go home. And I get home, and my stomach still hurts. And it’s not nausea from like vomiting or anything, it’s not like I’m sick. My dad brings me to the the urgent care and they’re like “you need to go to hospital because your appendix is about to blow up.” So, I go to the hospital, get that taken care of–immediate surgery–and the reason for this story isn’t, like it’s a drunkalogue, it’s because I used the consequences of drinking so often as an excuse to run away. I quit the job. I didn’t go back to it. I hated it, but I didn’t tell them in a professional adult way, I’m not satisfied here, you’re not giving me what I need, and I need to move on. I was like screw this, I’m not coming back because I already have one foot out and now I don’t have to come back because I need to take time off for this surgery I just had… which is like, what, a day?

Eventually I landed another job, and I moved out and moved into my own apartment, but that just led to… like, okay, so where I would have to hide my drinking from my parents while lived with them, now it’s just free-range. I can do whatever I want. And so that just meant I drank every night. A friend of mine eventually… I was talking to him about stuff, and he–so this is 2007ish–and he introduced me to the Big Book and he said something which is very common, I’ve heard: you don’t have to agree with it, just read it, just check it out. And I saw myself in it. There’s the bit about you just turn to wine instead of liquor or beer and I remember, not a week before, I had come back from Trader Joe’s with a case of wine because I’m like, well, it’s just wine. But it’s a case of it. It’s not like the proper modification of drinking habits that a normal person would go through. So I did that but I was like, nah, that’s not me, I’m not ready to give it up. And at the same time–just going back to the start where I have this person in my head who I think I should be–I’m like, you know what? I need to be more adult. So I bought this condo. Like, I’m gonna have a place to call my own. And I did. I got this place to live and it immediately just made me the most lonely person. Even though it’s not any different from living at apartment, it was like this was supposed to be something to deliver me some freedom, some happiness, some joy? I don’t know, it didn’t. And the job was not satisfying at all. The best part about it was that occasionally we had vendors that we worked with who would take us out for happy hours. And for those of you who have experienced those free happy hours, while you were drinking, I’m sure you probably have some version of this story where last call comes and you’re like, hey can I have another whiskey Coke? Yeah. Can I make it a double? Yeah. Can I make it a triple? That was every single time, I was making an ass out of myself in front of all of the management just pushing it for no reason when I can drink it home for free, or relatively free, just being stupid about it.

And really I just saw myself going nowhere at this point ’cause I did what I thought I was supposed to do as an adult. I bought a house, I had a job, had most of my student loans paid off–if not all of them by that point because of that year that I lived at home. And I was miserable. And so, kind of at the the tail-end of that that job, I got a call from a couple of friends of mine from college one Saturday morning. It was around 10:00 or 11:00 but I had already been drinking pretty heavy by then, so when they were like, hey we’re gonna go see this blues guitar player we know, who we’ve all like partied with before, a couple hours away, you want to come and join us today? Like, yeah, I definitely want to. So I made the decision to stop drinking vodka, which I had, I was like, I’m just gonna switch to wine while I drive down there because that is safer than vodka.

So, I got pulled over in southern Minnesota in a small town. I had been swerving and they had some kind of summer parade day. So patrol is just everywhere because everybody’s out in the town and someone called me in and as I got pulled over [a] very nice patrolwoman comes up and I offer her a drink. Like, are you drunk? Yeah, you want some? It’s funny but it led to a really shitty week. I had five days in detox and then because of the timing of things it was over a [long] weekend I had three days in county jail. And then I had my parents–I was so embarrassed–they came to pick me up, my vehicle was impounded, I went back home, and then I was supposed to start going back to this job that I didn’t like to pay for a house I didn’t want and to get there now I had to ask friends from work to drive me because I lost my license. So, something’s got to give here. And I started going to therapy and I started taking antidepressants because I want to throw everything at this that I can and for several weeks I remember it was like this fog, where I had my head down at work. I wasn’t myself. I could visibly see that people were like worried about me at work. And through all of that so I have this pending court date two hours away in a small town, I’m like, you know what makes sense right now–I should probably die because… my family, they’ve got to be tired of me; I’m not a good employee; my friends worry about me. And, so, I made that decision. And I relate it here because that goes hand in hand completely with the drinking for me is that sadness. Drink under the guise of partying, but on the inside, I go home and it’s like putting the gun on on yourself.

So one night I did what I thought was sensible and before putting together, a few things… I’m like, you know what? If I die, when I die, my parents [would] probably be like, why didn’t he leave me his computer passwords? So I wrote those down with a suicide note and I took a bottle of Tylenol PM. And I remember I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t–my legs weren’t really working. I was dry heaving so I crawled to the bathroom–weird, weird experience. My dad came to get me, or came to visit in the morning, and saw kind of where I was at. And it took him like eight hours to convince me to go to the hospital. So eventually [we] made it there. A week in–not the ER, but intensive care–I had some, I had some liver issues from that, believe it or not. And then once I kind of leveled out there and I didn’t have to have some kind of transplant, they’re like, well you still tried to kill yourself, so we got to send you to the mental ward. So I was there for a couple weeks and then through that time I was given kind of the next step from that binge drinker label. I was given… I had an alcohol dependency, that’s what they told me. That and major depressive disorders. So I was like, great, now it’s all explained. I’m not a non alcoholic, I’m not binge drinker, I just have a dependency. And I’m really sad. So it makes perfect sense, right?

So, through that process though, if you’re in a hospital for that long you have a lot of time to read. And I read the entire Big Book from cover to cover, with all the stories and everything. I also read–because I’m I’m clearly in a place where I can heal myself, I read the Mayo Clinic book on depression, like, I got this. But through that I was very concerned about my future as it related to treatment because I knew I wasn’t going to get out of the mental ward without something. And I saw AA as religious conversion. When you are in a place like this, with people, that’s where it’s like that we program, but when you’re in the mental ward by yourself and you are already cynical, that I program really paints the Big Book in a different shade. And that kind of like left me in a different position as it related to AA for several years. I flat out did not like it because of what I read under that like that headspace. So I fought. I didn’t want to go to a 12-step treatment, so I stayed in the mental ward longer. I stayed with crazy people so I didn’t have to go to this thing. So I went to an alternative health treatment center. And, so, 21 days [it may have been 28 days]. Did that. Then they wanted to put me in a halfway house and stubbornly again I’m not going to a 12-step halfway house, so my parents they signed off on me, that I could stay with them as long as I went to an outpatient treatment. So for 12 weeks I did that.

Through this whole process my work was like, hey, we’re with you. You’ve got a job when you’re ready to come back. They couldn’t have been more supportive and I couldn’t have been more embarrassed of who I was. Like, I have several weeks where I am like the gloomiest Gus and then I disappear for a few months… It doesn’t paint this idea of a good person in my head, so I’m so embarrassed, I’m like, no I’m just gonna quit. And instead what I’m gonna do is I’m going to fall back on again this website that I had built because I can be some kind of writer.

And so I just kind of ran with that. I got a job working for the Twin Cities version of the Nashville Scene, did that, kind of put my own thing together, and got another small apartment. It was kind of rough but I was making it work again. And I was not drinking. And then a company, it was Samsung or something, flew a bunch of people down to Austin, and I was one of them–to write about some shows that were happening. And so I went down with all these people who I had only known online, so it was cool to meet them in person, and then one day we’re walking back to the hotel and we come across a Japanese restaurant, we stopped in and they’re like, hey, let’s just have a sake bomb. I’m like, absolutely ’cause I’m okay now.

I’m not okay. I had one drink that night and I was probably okay for a while. Like, okay. But it just led back to where I was at before, except this time I had no job to go to because I could work from home. So the little bit of money that I was making, it was enough to afford a basement apartment in a downtown Minneapolis brownstone building where I shared a closet with the janitor staff. But it also afforded me the ability to stay up all night drinking and wake up at noon. And that was more important to me than trying again.

I wanted to share this quote because it’s stuck with me. Kurt Vonnegut goes, “beware the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.” That was me like right there. I had the biggest opportunity to turn my life around. My house didn’t get foreclosed on while I was going through treatment. I was able to sell it in 2008 and make a profit. I didn’t lose my job, so I essentially I had an income while I was in therapy, while I was in the hospital. They did everything they could to save my ass for me and then I got out of this and now I’m self-employed and I’m young and I’m healthy. My body didn’t die on me when I tried to kill it. And then I go right back in, like round two.

I tried to do that for a while and then what perked up for me was like that… I’ve heard in here before, that [saying], egomaniac with an inferiority complex; I feel like I’m a piece of trash but I deserve more from you. And so at the paper, papers are having a hard time just in general–their advertising goes down, they’re like, we can’t pay you as much. I’m barely getting anything in on time. If I’m getting it on time the work, I’m just churning it out. It is terrible. There’s nothing that I look back on from that period I’m like proud of that. But still, I was like, I deserve more money so I’m just gonna quit. And not only am I gonna quit that, I’m gonna quit my website. Not only am I gonna quit my website, but I’m gonna move to Canada again because the geographical change is gonna fix all this.

So I moved back up to where I’m from, Western Canada. And that move, I counted it. Since January of 2010 I have moved 14 times since then. It’s a lot of moving and I’d moved a lot before then so I feel really comfortable with that, like, you can’t escape this one by moving. I’m comfortable with saying that. As soon as I got the Canada I got to… Like, if we all have these bingo cards about our alcoholism, I got to dab some really rare squares when I got up there. I passed out and spent a night in a snowbank without dying and I also got kicked out of a place I was living because I was drinking. I got kicked out by a family friend. That had never happened to me before.

I was only up there for six months, but during that time I couldn’t find a good job, I was kind of just getting by so I’m like, well, again I’m just gonna go back to this website thing because I know I can make a little bit of money doing that. And somehow I secured a good advertising deal so I could get some income and I’m like, see you later Canada I got to move again ’cause this time it’s gonna be right. A friend of mine had moved here–I knew him from college–and I’m like how is it in Nashville? He’s like, it’s great! I’m like, where is Nashville? ‘Cause I just bought a plane ticket and I took the same suitcase that I took with me up to Canada, put whatever I had in it, didn’t tell any of the people who I had made friends with, or the guy who I was staying–I was sleeping in his unfinished basement–that I’m moving. I just told him, I’m gonna take a trip. And I never came back and I never told him. At the time, at least. As soon as I got down here, within a month, I was living at Capitol Towers downtown in a furnished apartment and I didn’t know anybody except my one friend and I was kind of just floating.

So I decided now would be a good time for a 30-day bender. And that one scared me. But it wasn’t the last bender. That wasn’t even my “bottom.” That kind of continued on for a couple years, just off and on like that. In 2011 I moved up to Iowa, thinking another change would be good. My best friend lives up there, I got a job… we were working customer support, so like a technical support line. And I remember–just speaking to how little that move did for me, in terms of fixing this problem–there was more than one occasion where I put somebody on hold, so you call in because you’re having a computer problem, I put you on hold so I can go puke. I need to do some research on this issue, I’ll be right back. I did that a bunch of times, like, I’m not getting fixed and I know I’m not. So I quit that. I quit Iowa because there’s not much there. I only ever seem to get in trouble in Iowa; that’s everywhere though. So I moved back home for just a minute. I sold my website so I had some kind of walking-around money. And I decided I’m gonna go on a tour of the States. So I got on a train, went to Montana, visited a friend, came back, went to Kansas City, kind of went around–I was like, alright, I gotta get back to Nashville. I’m healed now. I got this new pair of eyes on me so.

I came back to Nashville and it fell off the rails again. This time–this is like five years ago–I gave up. I was tired of fighting it, so a friend of mine, she called around… She wasn’t “one of us,” she just called some friends and was like, I got a place you can go. I lived close to downtown. I didn’t have vehicle because I didn’t want to work hard enough to afford a vehicle. And I went to 202 because I could get there on the bus in just a minute. And so for a couple months I frequented 202, I got a sponsor, I got my foot in the door with it, I started working steps, and then everything kind of clicked back with me about this is just religion, I don’t want to be a part of this. And look at me now, I’ve got a couple months I’m good and somehow I was able to step away from that and not immediately implode.

I was sober for about two years on my own. I was sober until… there’s always that dot-dot-dot… I met a girl and we had this long-distance relationship. So every time we saw each other it was kind of like vacation. She lived in Denver and one day, a beautiful day outside, she kind of planted a seed, she goes, I don’t ever see you like the person who you tell me you are. Like, I don’t see that drunken person who’s just a mess. I think it would be kind of fun to drink with you. Like, you’re a fun person. I was like, yeah it would kill me. Except several months later, I think two or three months when I saw her again, I was like, I think I’m ready, and then that first day it’s already back to–she goes to the restroom and I’m sneaking shots. Like, immediately. That first day. So that just, again, progressive, [it] got out of control. By the end of the year, so Christmas of 2014, another, just a week-long bender, where I had to sober up because I had already booked a plane home to Minneapolis to hang out with family. I was like, I can’t show up completely drunk, so I’m gonna sober up like starting at 4:00am the night before. And so I’m driving, I hadn’t been drinking for a couple hours, so I’m “sober” and I can’t see and I’m shaking. And [at] the airport it’s Christmas Eve everywhere and I have a couple delays and it’s like, that was not a wise decision.

And speaking again to like to this conflict between who I feel I am or who I am and who I feel I should be, somewhere along the way I was like you know what? I need a change of pace. I can’t move, but I’m gonna become a personal trainer because then I’ll learn how to take care of myself and that’ll fix everything. So then there’s like this internal struggle of… on the outside, I’m trying to become this like image of fitness, which I’ve never been in my entire life, who also drinks like crazy when I’m not around people so… There’s an internal disharmony that comes from that and it was just like driving me nuts and I couldn’t shake it but I still got jobs at gyms. I was still working and I was still trying to maintain this long distance relationship until it just gradually fell apart.

She got a job in Florida. I thought hey, maybe I should move to Florida with you. She’s like… I don’t know. But, as I do, I kept forcing it, like I I think this is the right thing to do. I need to be doing this. I’m not happy here. Don’t you want me to be happy? And so we agreed that I would move there and I sold everything I had, pretty much, except for my bed. I was living in this apartment still, I quit one of my jobs, and then we had some conversations where–I’m very grateful that she came to this conclusion, because I hadn’t, that it wasn’t right and it wouldn’t work. And I was a kind of okay with it because I could feel it internally… like, you can only smother things so much on the inside, but I still used that as a springboard to self-destruct again.

Within a month I was on another bender. [with] this one I actually missed work and nobody could get in touch with me. So over a weekend I had two of those like 1.75 liter things of terrible whiskey, and I was just in that zone. And the progressive nature of this thing again… [in] those three days I went from being like, hmmm, I’m a little bit dissatisfied with my life to I’m burning it down. And I wouldn’t respond to anybody so my sister reached out to my ex-girlfriend. Have you talked to him? No. Ehe reached out to my friend. My best friend who lived here–have you talked to him? No. So he came to my place and saw this guy who’s just annihilated. Now the second I saw him I burst out crying and he sat with me for a couple hours, made sure I didn’t have any more liquor and kind of saved me from myself there. In the morning though that started the worst withdrawal I’ve ever had in my life. That was the last time I ever drank.

In the morning, however, I had the worst desire to die that I’ve ever had. It didn’t feel like it did, though, when I did try to kill myself and that is the part that scared me the most. One of the things I hear in here when people get their chips–tell us how you did it–this is why I have notes–it’s that gift of desperation. That was the most desperate moment of my life because I was literally creating a deathbed in my tub so that it when I cut my veins I wouldn’t bleed everywhere and wouldn’t make a mess for somebody.

Instead I called a friend of mine who works at one of YMCAs because I knew that she was in the program and I didn’t have anywhere else to go. So she set me up with two people, one of which was not my kind of dude. The other guy, closer to my age, he introduced me to this meeting, to the Monday meeting that I go to and that changed my life. It was that giving up though, that desperation, and actually finally listening to myself and saying respect who you are.

And what I’ve gained this year, or it’s been just about a year and a half, this has become such a valuable tool for me in my toolbox of life. Even though it was a mess and it was a silly decision, I learned how to take care of myself through all that [personal] training stuff. I learned in here how to take care of myself. I got community through here. I started going to therapy, I got a sponsor, I work the steps, my sponsor’s family has become like my family. I hung out with them Christmas Eve just packaging gifts for the kids. I got a job which forces me to get back out of my apartment to go somewhere to do something. I got everything I needed and I was so scared of it all.

Part of the stories are typically: so, what’s your life like now? A month ago, or so, my manager brought me into his office and sat me down. And he’s from Staten Island. He is deaf so he is very intimidating because he’s almost shouting at you all the time. He doesn’t mean anything negative, he’s just shouting. And he’s always high on coffee, he’s straight to the point, he’s got no time for jokes and so he sat me down for my annual review. I’ve been there a year and he explained to me how important I was. And he said how I’m looked at as a leader, people who come to me for personal things, private things, I’m just there for everybody whenever they need it. And I was blown away. I’ve never been in a job long enough to have an annual review and if I’d know that they were gonna be like that, I might have stuck around. And further, another cool thing happened this week. I’m on the verge of moving for a fifteenth time because I got approved for a house and I gonna try it again. Hopefully pretty soon. So that’s a cool thing, too. Good things are coming come along.

There’s a saying that stuck with me for a long time, it was related to [what] I was talking about at the top of this, which is, “the difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” But it dawned on me thatI don’t necessarily agree with that. I think the difference between who you are and who you think you are is what you do. Because for so long I thought I was this one person and I acted like that, and that’s who I ended up being. Through this program though I’ve started to get on track with that and I’ve started to put action towards who I really am. And that’s why I wanted to share. Thanks for letting me tell my story.

Terminally Unique - Alcoholism - AA - Addiction

Continue reading and listening to Terminally Unique here.

[The track opening and closing the episode is called “styles.” This “speaker tape” was recorded March 27, 2017 at the Brentwood Full Moon Group in Nashville, TN.]