AA Speaker Recordings - Rocketed.org
AA Speaker Recordings - Rocketed.org

Episode 130 · 2 months ago

Sheldon B. at the Boulevard Club 9/12/2022

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sheldon B. at the Boulevard Club, North Miami FL 9-12-2022

Gratefully Sober Alcoholic. My sobriety date is December, four of two thousand and five. I am a member of the East Naples men's group that meets, Oh, in about twenty minutes in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Like good alcoholics, east Naples men's group meets in Pembroke Pines every Monday night at seven thirty PM. I have a sponsor, my sponsor has a sponsor, he has a sponsor, he has a sponsor and I have a beautiful relationship with each and every one of those wonderful, Wonderful Sober Gentlemen. I'm a gratefully sober alcoholic. My name is Sheldon. All right, so how long do I have? It's a two hour meeting. Right, alright, perfect, all right, excellent. Thank you, Shane for inviting me. I'm sorry the other three guys backed out on you and I was the last pick on the list, but we'll try and make this worthwhile. Um, I I hate going through the whole drunken log thing because my story is my story, which is no different from your story or your story. I just couldn't drink successfully. The thing that I love about this room is right around the corner from here. In the late seventies and early eighties, I used to buy quayluds at one of these clinics right around the corner from here. So that just shows you that I've been around for a little while. I used to work at a clothing store on a hundred and sixty third street. Called ahead of time and if you guys grew up in the neighborhood, I may have buttoned and zipped your jeans at some point in time. Uh, it was. It was a wonderful time in my life. Um, you know, I came to work, my boss handed me a hundred dollars, go next door to the barbershop and pick up sun white powdery substance so we can get through the morning. My drinking career started very, very, very young. Um, my dad was a professional musician and, uh, I came from a...

...quite dysfunctional family. I have an older brother. My mother told me at a very young age that my brother was better looking than I am, that he's smarter than I am and that I'm going to have to work twice as hard if I'm going to even make it in this world. Wonderful Way to start, but it even goes further back than that. All right, in the Jewish religion it's a great deal to be born on the Sabbath. So if you go back to my birthday, back in nineteen sixty one, it was a Friday night and the Sabbath starts at sundown. On Friday night I was born two minutes before the sundown. My grandfather, may he rest in peace, went to my mother and said you couldn't wait two more minutes. So the resentment started right from the very, very start. I was definitely behind the eight ball before I even had a chance to breathe my first breath of air. But you know what, these are things that I've learned are beyond my control. So we'll go to six months before I attended my very first meeting. Six months before I attended my very first meeting, my dear, stweet friends Stephen and Bridget. They were really, really good friends. They bought drugs from me, they paid in advance, they shared with me and bridget started coming to these meetings right and she comes up to me. We're going out for dinner one night, the four of us, the woman formerly known as Mrs Burman and I and Stephen and his ex way. We're going out for dinner and bridget comes up to me and she says started going to these meetings, you know, these alcoholics, anonymous meetings, and they've really taught me a different way to live my life and how to deal with my stuff. And I of course turned her and said, don't they talk about God and all that stuff? She Says No, it's more spiritual than...

...it is about God, and I of course blew her off, saundered over to the bar, had another drink. Six months it got progressively worse, as it always does, and we had Wendy's wedding. Wendy had a wedding at her house. They swear to me that there was a reception, that there was actually a service before the reception. I have absolutely no memory of that service whatsoever. They tell me the bride walked down the aisle and everything there were. I have no recollection of that service ever happening. Here's what I do remember. There was a reception. They handed out those red and Blue Plastic Solo Cups. You guys familiar with those Solo Cups Right, those big ones nice and I heard my absolute two favorite words open bar so quickly everybody queues up, gets in line. I get to the front of the line, go figure, and I put my cup down in front of the bartender. He puts way too much ice in the cup and fills it with vodka. I've quickly finished that. Come around to the circle again. There's a hundred people at this wedding and the bartender has the audacity it turned to me and say you're back again. He would think like he knew who I was, so of course I was. A couple of things happened that night that really shouldn't happen to you at a wedding. Don't get into a wrestling match with a five year old. They get very, very upset and very cranky and they blame you for your behavior. Um. Don't take hundred dollars champagne glasses and throw them against the side of the house because it doesn't look well. Don't engage in smoking nonconference to prove materials outside the bride's house while her neighbor, who happens to wear a green outfit that says Broward Sheriff's office, is standing outside and watching you. And yes it does, Kelly,...

...yes it does. Everybody Know Kelly. That's Kelly. Al Right, it does. Thank God it doesn't have to take me there anymore. Oh but it did, oh but it did. And the bottom line don't drive home, don't drive home. But I did drive home that night and for some reason God was looking after me and I got home safely. A week later, some friends of ours got together and had a lunge engagement with my ex wife and said, we think Sheldon might have a problem. See, I was always that functional alcoholic. I always went to work, I always I always found a way to make a living. Didn't keep jobs for very long, but I always found some alternative way to earn a living. Somehow I kept the lights on, but I came home. So a few of our friends got together, sat down with the ex wife and said, we think Sheldon might have a problem. And I came home from work that Friday night from work, sauntered into the house, stuck my head and the freezer took a long pull off of my frozen bottle of Tequila. Honey, where are we going tonight? She turned to me and said, let's go for a drive. M Hm. So, for those of you who are familiar with the area, the drive took us to a parking lot where there was a lows hardware store, where we went there at about seven o'clock and we probably got home about eleven thirty. And the conversation went like this. Either you're going to get straight with me and tell me exactly what's been going on, or I don't need you in my life. The children don't need you in their lives, our friends don't want you in their lives and please get as far away from all of us as possible. You know, we talked in a a about that moment of clarity that we have when we're sitting there and all of a sudden the fog just lay us and we're saying, how did...

I get here? Well, that was my moment of clarity and I turned to her. You See, I was in denial for the longest time. My Dad was an alcoholic. I saw what an alcoholic looked like. I've seen my mom fly down a flight of stairs. I've seen my father fly down a flight of stairs. I've seen my mother chase my father with a knife. I've seen my father chased my mother with a knife. I've seen many food objects fly across the kitchen at the request of either of them. Stuff that a kid should never ever see. But I denied for the longest time that I was an alcoholic. But for some reason I had that moment of clarity while I was sitting in that car in that parking lot and I turned to her and I said, I'm an alcoholic, I have a problem with alcohol, I can't drink. I had remembered that conversation that I had with bridget and it rang. It rang a bell in my head. There were many bells ringing in my head that night, but that happened to be an important one. The follow in morning I went to talk to a professional. You know, sometimes we have to seek professional help and that's acceptable. So I went to talk to a professional. For some reason, that professional and I sat down and talk for an hour and her determination was that she didn't think I needed to go to one of the homes for recovery. She thought that I could try it on my own and I tried it and I left her and I went straight over to bridget's house and I sat in her backyard with her. You see, she had been cleaning sober for about six months by this time, and we sat in her backyard and she put a bottle of water down beside me and I went through it all with her and told her what had gone down and she put that bottle of water down beside me and she looked at that bottle of water and looked at me and she said, if that was a bottle of vodka, would you be able to not drink it? And I said no, I would have to drink it. She said, congratulations, you just completed the first half of the first step of alcoholics anonymous, because I know I am powerless over alcohol and at...

...that point I realized that my life was truly unmanageable. The following morning, it was a Sunday morning in December in two thousand and five and I met bridget a starbucks to Weston and we drove over to the old West brower club which was on state road eighty four, and I went to the morning after group of alcoholics anonymous, and the meeting started exactly the way we started the meeting tonight. Thank you for your service, brother and said, is anybody here attending their very first AA meeting? And I stuck my hand up in the air for the very first time and I said my name is Sheldon and I'm an alcoholic and if I tell you, as I'm sitting here tonight, I felt that eight hundred pound guerrilla just jump off my back. I never had felt that freedom that I felt that morning because, as far as I'm concerned, getting up and picking up that white chip is the most humbling experience a young alcoholic can ever encounter. And I did it. And the entire meeting was centered around everybody's first meeting and everybody spoke about their first meeting in a a and suddenly I felt this fellowship and these people all around me that embraced me and they wanted me to be there and they came up to me after the meeting and they shook my hand and they handed me a big book and they gave me paved pieces of paper with phone numbers on them and they said, if you feel like drinking, please call us before you drink and please come back tomorrow. That was a unique experience for me because nobody wanted me anywhere. My family didn't want me, my friends didn't want me, my bosses didn't want me. There wasn't anybody left around me. You See, my life had become like you know how a grenade works, right? You take a grenade and you put it in the middle of a circle and...

...in that circle is everybody who you've ever touched while you were in your disease. The people on the inside ring of that circle, they're your family and your relatives. The people on the next ring are probably your friends and closest for closest relationships. People on the outside of that ring are probably going to be Your Business Associates and people who you've heard along the way. And you pull the cord on that, on that grenade, and it explodes and shards of Shrapnell come off of that grenade and they violate and completely maime everybody around you. That was my disease. That's what happened in my drunkenness. That's what happened while I was drinking and drugging. I destroyed so many lives. I lied, I cheated, I stole, I did everything to earn my seat. So I walk into that first meeting and they welcome me and I feel welcome and I'm feeling warm. The next night I go to the east Naples men's group seven thirty meeting. My Buddy comes over and tells me about the meeting. I give him eight different excuses why I don't want to go. I gotta work out. And I went up to him after the meeting because I saw people having fun, I saw people enjoying life, I saw people laughing and drinking coffee and really loving life to its fullest and they were sober and I wanted what they had and I went up to Paul and I said, will you be my sponsor, and he said something to me that really still resonates with me. He looked me square in the eye and he said, are you willing to go to any length? I had no idea what that meant at that time, but I was willing. You see, can't and I had drunk their last drink and when we hit our bottom, we know we hit our bottom. And I hit my bottom. I hadn't card enough pain to know that I was done. And he asked me if I was willing to go to any length, and I was and he worked with me and we went through the second step and I recognized the first thing...

I had to recognize. I said I was freaking insane. Man. The only way that I can be restored to sanity is to recognize the fact that I was insane and I was insane, but I saw the lines that these men were living and I found a power in that room that I had never encountered before and it was absolutely wonderful. And then I went through my third step and I read that line in the prayer with where it says relieve me of the bondage of self, bondage, handcuffs. Right. I thought my bondage was alcohol. My bondage was so much more than just alcohol. It was anything that would get inside of me so I wouldn't feel what was inside of me. Whether it was alcohol, whether it was drugs, whether it was women, whether it was money, whether it was material law objects, whatever it was, I wanted what you had and I was willing to go to any length to get it, no matter whether I had to lie, cheat steel to get it, I was willing to do it and I needed to find a god of my understanding to relieve me of that bondage. And, having gone through that, I did. I found a god at that time. See, it was the God that I was born with. It was the Jewish God that my mother told me about. That said, if you're a bad boy, God's going to strike you down. That fearful God, it has evolved since then and I'll continue that as we get deeper into this. And I sat down and I started working on that painstaking inventory, that deep dive into my gut that helped me realize the exact nature of why I behaved the way I did. And I put that list together and I did my columns of harms done to others and everything that had transpired from my...

...childhood right up until well, actually, we revisited it, so there was an even deeper dive and I sat down with Paul in the most hallowed place to go through a fifth step, a chicken wing restaurant in pembroke vines. And yes, yes, I got on my knees and I said that prayer before I engaged in reading my stuff to him and I got through it and when we finished, we walked out of the restaurant and I have to tell you, there was a lightness in my step. I felt like I truly belonged to a A. I felt like I was a part of this program at that point in time and it helped me realize a lot of things. It helped me realize defects in my character that I really wasn't aware of or maybe that I should was aware of, but I actually denied for a long time that low self esteem, big ego, people pleasing, as Russell put it so eloquently, you know, spending money that I didn't have to buy things that I didn't need to impress people that I didn't like. The first time I heard him say that, it just knocked me off my feet because it was so dead on accurate. To define me, you know, when he talks about, you know, getting the new car, I would always get the new car and it would be a great new car for at least two weeks and then it was just a freaking car. And then I saw you driving a new car and I wanted with you head. So I was sick of my car. So how do I get out of my car to get into your car? Because you can't have a better car than me. I need to have the biggest, baddest and best of everything. That was my low self esteem, that was my big ego. I didn't realize these defects of character until I truly went through it, and that's why when we talk about it separating the men from the boys, it's because it comes to the realization that we just got to grow up. We can't be kids anymore. We gotta take responsibility for our actions. I had to take responsibility for...

...my actions. Here I am a parent with two children. You know, the family, the wife, the whole deal, everything that I resented for so long because it took away from my time drinking and drugging. I didn't realize what I had, you know. But I went through that and I heard a lot of people along the way and I didn't realize that in discovering those defects of character, it really helped me understand my actions and why I did the things that I did and to go through those fourth and fifth step and realizing the defects and coming to the part in the story where I have to make my amends. Uh Jeez, I wrote a script on paper on what I was going to say to my brother and I made a promise to Paul that any time before I made any amends, I would clear it with him first, because I think it's important that before you make an amends you should talk to your sponsor about it, because it's really interesting. When I started to get sober, I never heard from my drug dealer again. I never heard from the bartender again. I never heard from my old drinking buddies again, but I heard from you. I heard from you guys on a regular basis. And when I sat down and wrote out that script of what I was going to say to my brother, it went something like this, because I had thrown so many of those empty I'm sorries around that absolutely had no weight to them whatsoever. But to turn to him and say I'm responsible for the actions of my past. I've taken steps today to make myself a better person. I'm involved in a group and recovery that helps me understand why I behaved the way I did. I have a deeper understanding of myself and I have a deeper connection with God and I hope in time you and your family will find your way to forgive me for my actions and if you don't Im lately, understand. But please understand that I will pray for you and...

...hope for your your happiness and your health every single day for the rest of my life. And I read that to my brother and we both got really emotional and today we have an absolute wonderful relationship. I have a mother who, God bless her, is eighty eight years old and we both take care of her. She's in an assisted living facility. I handle all of her finances. I do the kid who would sneak into his father's bedroom at one o'clock in the morning while he was sleeping and steal a hundred dollar bill out of his wallet. I take care of all of her finances, all of her medical needs and I make sure that she gets to the hairdresser every single Wednesday and she gets there and she gets there because today I'm a responsible man and recover. So I made those amends. And you know, it's not easy to it's not hard to fall off the beam. I have a wonderful routine that I followed today. I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is connect with my God and I asked him to direct my thinking, in my actions and I asked him how I can be a maximum service to my fellow man and and it's really really interesting how life changes as we evolve. Four years ago, a little more than four years ago, I separated from that woman that I was married to for a long time. See, for the first twenty years we kind of just hung out together and had a really good time. I was party boy, she was party girl and we were having a grand old time and everything was grand. And then I woke up on that Sunday morning, and when I say I woke up on that Sunday morning, I sincerely woke up that Sunday morning and I wasn't that guy anymore. I wasn't Sheldon Party boy, I wasn't the hip, slick, cool guy work and had ahead of time anymore. I didn't have...

...the long hair, the beard and the ear ring and the Mustache and, you know, wearing the tight jeans and everybody in North Miami beach who hung out with at turnberry and the Jockey Club and the racket club and the cricket club. I wasn't that guy anymore. Here I am on this beautiful spiritual path, growing and growing closer to God and further and further away from who I was, until I realized that I was also growing further and further away from that relationship. Until finally we sat down and I turned to her and I said, listen, we're both in the final quarter of our lives here and we have an opportunity to really enjoy ourselves and I don't think you're best served with me. And I don't think I'm best served with you. And that was a difficult decision to make and we separated and I sat down with Paul and I told him what was going on. He said two things to me that we're really, really important. He said this is going to be the absolute most difficult time in your recovery. You'RE gonna have to find a connection with the true God of your understanding and you're going to have to get in service, because the more time you spend thinking and spending time between your ears and the more trouble you're going to have. And the pain came at me. The pain came at me at that in that divorce, and the God that I was born with, it threatened to nail me down if I was a bad boy, just didn't cut it from me anymore. I needed a kind, loving, benevolent, embracing, warm feeling God. And as I was curled up on the floor of my bedroom in the fetal position, I found that God, very different God than I was born with, more like a son of God, but truly a god of my under standing and...

...the God that I needed. And his right hand was there to lift me up and empower me and watch over me as I was going through that troublesome time in my life and he protected me and guided my path as I went further down the road through the divorce. The divorce ended up finalizing and everything went smooth through that. I tried to be the best I could be, in spite of the fact that, you know, I have no control over other people, their actions or their motives, but I can tell you that I did the right thing. I lost connection with my children for close to two years. I lost connection with my grandchildren for close to two years as a result of this, because of the role that she needed to play in this divorce. I felt that there were some things that I had left uncovered when I went through that first, fourth and fifth step, because there was still some fear, doubt and worry buried deep inside of me, and I sat down with Paul One night and I said, do you mind if I revisit this with you? I think I'd like to work a little harder, being rigorously honest and really getting through all of it, and I did so. Here we are revisiting my fourth step, going through it now with total, rigorous, thorough honesty, and I hook up with Paul and make the arrangements to go down to hear Russell speak one night. It was a Wednesday night. Went down to see Russell speak. This time, instead of the chicken wing restaurant, we found an even more hallowed ground. I kneeled on the floor board of Board of his car and said the fifth step prayer and we sat down in his car and drove all the way down to south Miami to listen to Russell and I went through my reading of all of my stuff and at the end of reading it, he said, do you mind if I comment on it now? I said, of course, I don't mind. What the Hell Might Pay Ang you for, unless I exept, you...

...know. So we went through everything and at the end of the night he turned to me and he said now go home and reflect on everything that we've talked about and get really quiet. I didn't do that. I didn't do that. This is the way my God works in me today. The following day was yum and keep poor, the day of Atonement and the Jewish religion, the day when Jews, who are very fortunate, they only have to atone for their sins one day out of the entire year. They can screw up all year long one day. Clean your plate. You're done. Go ahead and screw up again. We in alcoholics, anonymous. We got to make amends promptly. It's a little unfair, but hey, listen, it works for them, so I guess. So here it was, the Day of Atonement, Jum keep poor. I go and meet my brother in synagogue and wouldn't you know it, I'm sitting right up front listening to a rabbi speak in a language that I don't understand in a religion that I really don't follow anymore, but I'm in a house of worship and I believe my God is there. In the middle of the service, the rabbi turns to me and asked me if I would do an honor for the congregation and hold the Torah while he did his sermon. Tora First Five books of Moses. I did it and the rabbi sermon went on for about twenty minutes and I was sitting there hugging that Tora and if I tell you, there was a palpable energy that was coursing through me. I felt God within me as I was holding those five those five books, as I was holding those scrolls. I had never felt an energy like that before in my life. The following morning I was driving down to key west to an a a convention called Serenity in the keys. It's actually coming up this coming weekend and I'm fortunate at the car that I drive as a convertible, and I was driving down to key...

...west and I left the house about, I don't know, seven o'clock in the morning and I put the top down on the car and, if I tell you, I smelled smells that I had never smelled before. I saw colors that I had never seen before. There was a clarity and a beautiful air about me that was just absolutely incredible. And I was driving down to key west and I'm going across the seven Mile Bridge. I throw my hands up in the air and, if I tell you, I am just praising I am just praising the Lord for this unbelievable, beautiful creation in front of me and how fortunate I am to be able to enjoy it. So here I am today. I have a plausible, easy relationship with my ex wife. I have a beautiful, amazing relationship with Rachel m last Friday night, this past Friday night, I went to dinner at my daughter's house and shared dinner with her and her husband and my three beautiful grandchildren and there was a moment when I was standing in the kitchen and I hugged my daughter. She didn't want to let go over dad. I have a beautiful relationship with my son today and his wife and their beautiful baby girl. Families do heal. There's unbelievable promise in this recovery. I'll tell you. I have a life today. Is it absolutely perfect? Is it better than I truly deserve? Absolutely? Is it everything that I want, Ella, is it everything that I need? Yes, sir. Do I ask him for trust and guidance...

...every morning and allow him to guide my path? I do, and I praise him and I worship him and I'll tell you I'm able to pass this beautiful message on. I sponsor guys Rachel and I are constantly involved with people in recovery. We spend our days together in recovery. I own a business today that's unbelievable, beyond my wildest dreams. The name of the business has the word serenity in it, because my recovery is everything. The majority of my clients are people in recovery. They love me, they trust me, I've earned that. I am so grateful for this program it has given me. We read the promises in a lot of meetings and I go through all of those promises and there are so many, many more promises buried in that book. You know if you read twenty page and you read that central fact and in talks of out what God will give us if we keep on this beautiful path. Trust me, brothers and sisters, it's true. If I'm not a living example of what the gifts of sobriety can give you, I don't know what it is. Thank you so much for letting the ship.

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