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EP 14: Finding Help & Support for Substance Abuse with BK (Part 3)

Recovering from a substance abuse problem can feel impossible, but there are people and groups that are dedicated to providing help and support. Our guest, BK, is one of those people. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Advanced Alcohol Counselor in the state of Georgia and is committed to the recovery process.

In part three of our conversation, we talked in-depth about getting help. We’ll start with how to recognize you need help, the steps you can take to find the support you need, and what to expect from the meetings when you find them. We hope you or someone you know can benefit from the information that BK provides during each of our videos because this topic needs more attention.

Here’s some of what we discuss in this episode:
0:00 – When to recognize you need help
1:44 – How to get help
8:01 – What to expect from meetings
11:58 – Rules
18:13 – Is faith a part of this?
21:03 – Next steps for you

Featured Keyword & Other Tags

Substance abuse, recovery, drugs, alcohol, pain,

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Welcome to the catastrophic comeback podcast with American Injury Lawyer Clark speaks, helping you find hope, purpose and joy after a catastrophic injury.

Okay, so question number one, there's two questions. Question number one is if I have to ask myself if I have a problem, is it time? That's, that's alternative one, alternative two is, if it starts to negatively impact the things that I care about my job, my family, which of those things is the line in your mind, for where someone needs help?

I mean, I think both of those, because sometimes we are the first ones to identify, I might be having a problem with this. And no one else has noticed it before. You know, I have met with some family who said they had no clue that their loved one or their child was going through these things. Now, I will say sometimes it's there. But the denial is so strong, whether whether it's the individual struggling with the addiction, or it's the family who thinks this is going on, but somehow it's denial is easier than accepting it for what's really going on. That I think either way, if you're asking yourself, I might have a problem, then you should reach out for help in some way or another what works for you? Um, definitely, you know, if those outward consequences are coming, then yeah, it's probably time. You know, that's probably your answer that, hey, there is a problem going on.

Okay, so then if they are in that position, they've lost a child, they started out drinking a little bit, a little bit more, a little bit more, a little more and more. And then. And then they wake up and they find out, hey, I need to, they're asking themselves this question. Or maybe they had some kind of trauma, they've taken bit pain medication, the pain medication, they're having a problem, you know, with the pain medication, or maybe they've substituted for something else. And they recognize they're asking themselves one of these two questions. And they know, hey, I don't think I need help run. No, I need help. What do they do there?

Um, well, right now we have a we carry around a computer on our phone, right? I mean, that's probably the easiest way is to trying to think if you didn't have the information on addiction, what would you Google? I mean, if you could actually probably ask Google, I think I have an alcohol problem. Where do I go for help? I know, you know, there is. I'm trying to think like, if you didn't know, how would you come about finding a therapist, probably Google's the same way, a therapist in Wilmington, North Carolina, Wilmington that specializes in trauma in Wilmington, North Carolina, where the place you may be. There's meetings all over the world. So depending on where you are, you could just put meetings for alcohol or meetings for opiates. And that would probably be the best bet if you didn't have a family or somebody that you could say, Hey, I think I'm struggling. Will you help me find where to get help at? I know, here, we have some crisis numbers. But I have not been in North Carolina and seven years. So I don't know what the crisis number is there off the top of my head.

But I understand what you're saying. The point of it is, is it on a computer or on a cell phone or whatever? Wherever you are? You're in Charlotte here in Wilmington, if you're in Raleigh, whatever you type in the question, I'll kind of along tilde search, I have this problem. This is where I am. I need help. What should I do? You know? And there probably are things Okay, let's say you couldn't get to see a therapist someone like you for how long would it take you to get an appointment with someone like you? Well, I

work at a community service board. So once you come in, you get triaged, and you're seen for your behavioral health assessment within 72 hours. So we kind of get the ball going pretty fast now in private practice. I know there has been you know, you might have to wait a month. And that's the one downside because once somebody said, Hey, I think I have a problem. I need help. You have a very small window of getting that person help. So I know you could look for detox centers like if it is a drug issue, if you're filling so recital or homicidal, you can call 911 There's also the National 988 number, which is it's kind of is 911 for mental health and substance abuse?

Well, so and then and then also, let's say someone does not have suicidal or homicidal issues, they know they need help. They've called into appointments not for, you know, today's Sunday, for example, and that appointments not till the following Monday, eight days away, you know, what can what can they do during those eight days to try to make it before they just before the feeling goes away, and they just cancel that appointment continue with their abuse?

Well, one great thing about Wilmington is there's probably 100 meetings going on. And there's probably 200, maybe more than that in Wilmington. So if you go online and look for a meeting, go to a meeting. And they have them, they used to have a beach meeting that starts at like seven o'clock in the morning. And I know there are meetings that go on and till 910 o'clock at night. There's also a great app called in the rooms. That is an app and it has Celebrate Recovery and it 12 step meetings, there's always someone that you can talk to who has the experience you're going through, that would be a great way you can go to the hospital, if it's like drug related, and you really can't take it anymore. But then again, you might get placed somewhere that day, but then you might get turned away to I think, you know, our health care definitely needs some help when it comes to addiction and getting somebody in immediately for help when they're asking for it. You know, and not everyone has insurance. So that's what's great about our 12 Step meeting is they're free. They usually at the end ask for $1 that pays their rent or for coffee, stuff like that, you know, in since COVID, you can do meetings online, and they're all over the world. So it might be 12, or one two in the morning here. But somewhere else, it's 1pm. And there's a meeting going on? I think, yeah, I've done a few of them. And like Ireland's Switzerland, California. There's a couple more. But it's kind of cool to listen that you know, they might be halfway around the world, but they still think or struggle with the same things that I'm struggling with here in the United States. Because, you know, addiction is not just the United States issue. It's all over the world.

What would I expect from a meeting, let's say, let's say someone is in this situation, and it's two o'clock in the morning, and they're they know they need to make a change. They knew they need help. There, they're listening this podcast, they've decided, Okay, I'm gonna reach out to someone. What would they expect from plugging into this meeting in Ireland or whatever?

Um, well, most of them when you like, for instance, I go to Narcotics Anonymous. So it's virtual na.org. They have meeting, Narcotics Anonymous meeting all over the world. There's usually like 3000 of them in one day. So you type it in and you go into it, and it'll say find the meeting, you click on sign in the meeting. Now it takes about a minute for everything to load, because there's so many meetings. Sorry, I live by train restring gone by. But then you most of them work off the zoom. And you don't even have to turn your camera on. If you don't want to, you can just listen. So basically kind of like they're listening to this podcast right now would be what online meeting format would be. Any 12 Step meeting starts out with some readings, depending on what fellowship you're in. And then after the readings are done, they open up the meeting two people who who want to share and then you share. And then about 10 minutes before the meeting any time though in the meeting, they'll think everyone, they'll give out key tags. They'll pass the basket around asking, oh, any 12 Step fellowship has key tags or key chips to help you keep up with your claim time. So and again, I worked Narcotics Anonymous so I'm very familiar with those. So the white one On is the surrounding surrender, like that's the first one. And that you know that ship, you can pick up under the influence within your first or if you're in your first 30 days. And then you know, after 30 days, you get a Key Tag 60 days, 90 days, six months, nine months, one year 18 months, and then one for two years or more.

Okay, so, so if someone plugs in to one of these meetings, and they hear, you know, the initial conversation, and then they have a sharing time or whatever, what can what can they expect if they're, if they're, if they're trying to, like I can imagine, like if I was a heroin addict, for example, and I plug into one of these meetings where if I'm an alcoholic, and I plug into one of these meetings, not to take that next drink? Will that meeting keep me from taking that next drink?

It can. I would say if you're new and you're in a meeting, whether it's online or in person, they usually will ask Is anyone in their first 30 days of recovery, I would say raise your hand and say hi, I'm bringing on my attic. Because what happens then, if you're a female, the females in that they will write their number down and give it to you at the end of the meeting. And then if you are a male, the males will write down phone numbers and give it to you. And yes, if you use those phone numbers, if you want to drink or want to use in you call someone and talk to them. Most likely you will stay clean or sober through that it is the power in one addict or alcoholic helping another.

Okay, well, that sounds good. What what are some of the rules? Okay, so so if someone does join a meeting, participate in a meeting? What are the rules for being in it? If you're going to avail yourself to the benefits of that meeting? What responsibilities do you have going into that meeting?

Really don't I mean, every meeting says something. Now those of you have drugs on your property, please dispose of them and come back. Don't sell your cigarette butts down on the ground clean up after yourself. Some of them don't allow cussing, but most of them do. It's not it's really you just come in and sit down and you're gonna get out of it, what you put in it. I mean, of course, no findings, nothing like that. But you don't have to be sober to go to a 12 step meeting. Because the hope is a charity. Oh, yes. Now that that is a big one. I can say that I was at that meeting. But I can't say that I saw you at that meeting. You know, and that comes into the anonymous part that is in Alcoholics Anonymous Narcotics Anonymous. And, you know, they do have professional meetings, if you are professional, and you don't want to go to a normal meeting. They do have those as well. You know, and I would say if you're in a meeting, and you see somebody, you're like, oh, gosh, well, they're in a meeting too. So evidently, y'all have something in common.

So to me, it's like, you know, life's too, this, these are these issues are too important to be encumbered by pride or shame or embarrassment. You know, we all are struggling with something, everybody has some kind of challenge in their life that they're trying to deal with, whether it's alcohol, drugs, food, whatever, you know, like, everybody's got some stuff that they got to deal with, you know, so so. So, if someone were to go and enjoin a meeting, should they? And you've been in you said, You've been in countless of these meetings. Have you ever felt like you were judged?

I mean, honestly, I mean, sometimes I guess, but sometimes I think it's more me and I'm in my head, and I'm judging me. So therefore, I think everyone else is judging me. But I mean, if you as a whole No, no one in that meeting is really judging you because we're all there for the same reason. And everyone. Now there are different meetings, some of them will be open. And if it's an open 12 Step meeting, then anyone can go family members, someone who wants to learn more about a 12 step meeting, but if it is a closed meeting, then everyone in there is an alcoholic or an addict. So there shouldn't be no shame behind it. But I know a lot of times, especially with addiction You know, we don't think normally, so somebody could look at us from across the room, and we're automatically gonna go, Oh, they're talking about me or they're thinking bad things about me. And, you know, definitely, ego is going to keep you out there using an ego is going to kill you. So I know it can be very scary coming into a meeting and not knowing anyone, but it can also be the best gift you can ever give yourself.

So the way I kind of feel about it is even if somebody judge you, what do you care, you know, you're still getting what you want out of it, which is the benefit of the people who aren't in the good people in there who are trying to help, you know, so if there's, if there's a isolated individual in there, who's somehow gonna judge you for making the mistakes that you've made, and, you know, ignore them and still get the benefit that you can get out of this experience? Is that a fair way to look at it? Or is that naive?

No, that's fair. And I mean, I'm hoping if you're in a 12, step meeting, you know, everyone's going to be a welcoming to you, because we all remember what it was like to walk in in that room for the first time. You know, and I was shocked, because we are huggers, you know what I mean? So you have all these people hugging you, which if you're not used to, can kind of be like, uh, you step back for a moment. But I'm just, you know, grateful that I give myself a chance. And I went to meetings. And, you know, I didn't love myself, when I first got into recovery, I couldn't look in the mirror, I'd look down at my feet. And I'm just so grateful that the people in the rooms like, they loved me, and so I could love myself.

So it sounds like to me that the strength of the entire process is the people. And so I don't mean to suggest for a second that people there are going to judge, you know, but what I imagine is that people who are hesitant to go to the meeting might think, what if somebody is going to judge me or look down on me? What if I have status? Or what if I have an pride or an opinion of myself? Or if my kids think this or my family thinks that or my co workers or other, you know, then they would be hesitant? So I'm just thinking, okay, even if there was a jerk there, who was like, gonna look down on you, for whatever reason, you no big deal, get your get to get what you came to get out of it and move on, even if that's a very unlikely scenario.

Yes. And I mean, like, I kind of said that, if you're sitting in the meeting, worried what this person is going to say about you? Well, they're sitting in the meeting, too, right. So they don't really have no room to judge or point the finger because they're in the same recovery meeting that you're sitting in?

Well, in my thought, also is anybody that, you know, you just got to be careful, people have to be careful about looking down on other people for their particular situation. Because life has a way of humbling those kinds of people. So I don't think that should dissuade anyone from participating in one of these types of events. Okay, well, let me ask you, let me ask you, this, these these meetings, are these faith based meetings? Or is spirituality a part of this? And, and how does that work? i

They are not faith based they are they have a spiritual aspect of it. Um, where if you know, in, we use the knowledge, the terminology of a higher power, and a higher power is what you make it to be. It's yours, it's individualized. So I might believe one way you believe one way, that's okay. Because that's the beauty of a higher power.

So So if I'm a Christian and I can participate in this meeting, or maybe I can find a meeting that specifically for Christians, if I'm, you know, a, you know, Jewish, and maybe I can go find a meeting that's for is that a thing? Or Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim or whatever? If somebody who's a, who's an atheist or agnostic, they could they could do the same thing? Yes.

Well, everyone that you've mentioned, I have met in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting before because they liked the concept of a higher power. AAA does use the word you know, they talk about a God of your understanding where our wordage is higher power, or Well, I guess we do in some of it says it uses the word God but it's not. I guess, like the Bible God that you would think unless that's what works for you.

So is it somebody who doesn't necessarily have the same faith as you is not going to be judged or ostracized or vilified because they don't share your faith? Reason for anybody to know come to one of these meetings.

Correct. My old sponsor was atheists. So she use the power of nature are some people use the group as a whole as their higher power. Because a higher power can be anything as long as it's not a person, because you know, we're all human. And if you put some person on a pedestal, then most likely, I mean, they're not perfect, they're gonna, you know, you're gonna get your feelings hurt. So, you know, religion does not matter if you have it great. If you don't have it great. It's set up like that. Now, if you are a Christian, or you want faith based recovery, there is Celebrate Recovery. Here we have war, which is recovery and worship, no worship and recovery. You know, so there are faith based meanings. For if you believe that way, and you want to find those meetings.

Okay, well, let me ask you this. So let's say there's somebody listening right now. And they have they're struggling with these issues. And they recognize from the things that you've said that they have a problem, and they draw strength from your example, that they can address it? What are the steps that they should take? Right now, in order to try to? If we had to, if you could, you could talk to them right now and say, let's, let's put together a plan for getting you through this into a healthy place. What would that what would that look like? One,

I want to say, I'm really proud of you. Because I know it's really hard. And it takes a lot of courage to even reach out for help. And what I would suggest you do is Google to find a 12 step meeting in your area. And if it's Alcoholics Anonymous, cocaine anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous Celebrate Recovery, those are kind of the wordage that you would use when looking for it, because every area has a certain has an area and you will find 12 step meetings. So I would suggest you look and find a meeting. And even if you know, if you are a drug addict, in the only meeting you can find is Alcoholics Anonymous meeting go, it's okay, it will be fine, just get to a 12 step meeting, while you were there, say, Hey, I'm new. And I really need some help. So you can get some phone numbers. So I would get those phone numbers. And I would start calling them like after the meeting, maybe text, hey, I got your number, or, you know, nice to meet you or whatever, just to start building that relationship up. Depending on what you're using, you might need to be medically detox. So maybe going to your primary care doctor and talking to them about what the issue is in what you are using. So if you need to be medically stapled, because there are some drugs that call that have a risk of death with them. And one of them is alcohol and benzos is the other one. I mean, opiates could cause death as well. But most likely it's more than alcohol or if you're coming off of in a benzo I would also maybe you know, reach out for a therapist. Because a lot of times using is just a symptom that we're either covering up or running from or we can't deal with it. So you know, doing looking for that therapy aspect would be helpful. Take a walk, start walking or going to a gym. Go to the library and research something, anything that keeps you busy, which in Wilmington, you have the beach, go sit and watch the beach. Let's see. I think that's kind of the gist of it, is what I would suggest doing you know staying busy finding accountability, someone to talk to that can talk you through the urges when they come. And the easiest way to find them is in a 12 step meeting.

What are the qualities someone's going to need to get through this like when you just take when you describe this process, it sounds like to me that you're going to need you're gonna need to be open, you're gonna need to be honest, you're gonna need to be vulnerable. You're gonna need to give yourself you know, space to in the resources that you need and recognize that you maybe can't do this by yourself that you might need other people You're need to be committed, you're gonna need to be strong, you're gonna need to be connected. What else comes to mind?

Well, I mean, I think in the beginning, you just need courage to get to that meeting. Because if I start listening all these, I don't want to overwhelm anyone. So, one courage and hope, and yes, willingness that, hey, you can do this. And then I mean, yes, you're gonna need commitment. And you know, I like to say, put the bat down, stop beating yourself up, you're not unique, you're not the only one who's done the things that you've done to get drugs or support your habits. You know, we've all been there and done those things. There's no need to be shameful. I can guarantee you there's nothing. If you were sitting in a room of eight people who are in recovery, and you said, I did this, probably everyone at that table is gonna go like we've been there, we've done that. I know, that was something in the beginning for me thinking I'm just this horrible person because of the things that you know I did to us, or I didn't have my son for a little bit. You know, that's heartbreaking to know that I could not take care of him. And you know, then you if you've never walked in those shoes, other people, I'm sure it was like, how could she do that or, but until you've walked in those shoes, you don't have a right to judge anybody. You know, but the hope is, if you come in and you stay clean, I promise you, you'll get your family back, your kids back the job, the beautiful house, the vacate the whatever, you'll get yourself back for one, you know, I'm grateful that I have a life that I want to live today. I'm not just existing and going through the same pattern of okay, I'm awake now. How am I going to use today in it's exhausting to have to do all of that. So that's what I would kind of say that you need and just quit. Quit beating yourself up. I think that's number one.

Well, BK, Brandy, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. I think you've provided some really helpful information to people who may be struggling with some of these issues. So thank you so much for joining us today.

Well, thank you so much, and have a good day. All right, you too. Thank

you for joining us, and we'll see you next time.

Transcript

Welcome to the catastrophic comeback podcast with American Injury Lawyer Clark speaks, helping you find hope, purpose and joy after a catastrophic injury.

Okay, so question number one, there's two questions. Question number one is if I have to ask myself if I have a problem, is it time? That's, that's alternative one, alternative two is, if it starts to negatively impact the things that I care about my job, my family, which of those things is the line in your mind, for where someone needs help?

I mean, I think both of those, because sometimes we are the first ones to identify, I might be having a problem with this. And no one else has noticed it before. You know, I have met with some family who said they had no clue that their loved one or their child was going through these things. Now, I will say sometimes it's there. But the denial is so strong, whether whether it's the individual struggling with the addiction, or it's the family who thinks this is going on, but somehow it's denial is easier than accepting it for what's really going on. That I think either way, if you're asking yourself, I might have a problem, then you should reach out for help in some way or another what works for you? Um, definitely, you know, if those outward consequences are coming, then yeah, it's probably time. You know, that's probably your answer that, hey, there is a problem going on.

Okay, so then if they are in that position, they've lost a child, they started out drinking a little bit, a little bit more, a little bit more, a little more and more. And then. And then they wake up and they find out, hey, I need to, they're asking themselves this question. Or maybe they had some kind of trauma, they've taken bit pain medication, the pain medication, they're having a problem, you know, with the pain medication, or maybe they've substituted for something else. And they recognize they're asking themselves one of these two questions. And they know, hey, I don't think I need help run. No, I need help. What do they do there?

Um, well, right now we have a we carry around a computer on our phone, right? I mean, that's probably the easiest way is to trying to think if you didn't have the information on addiction, what would you Google? I mean, if you could actually probably ask Google, I think I have an alcohol problem. Where do I go for help? I know, you know, there is. I'm trying to think like, if you didn't know, how would you come about finding a therapist, probably Google's the same way, a therapist in Wilmington, North Carolina, Wilmington that specializes in trauma in Wilmington, North Carolina, where the place you may be. There's meetings all over the world. So depending on where you are, you could just put meetings for alcohol or meetings for opiates. And that would probably be the best bet if you didn't have a family or somebody that you could say, Hey, I think I'm struggling. Will you help me find where to get help at? I know, here, we have some crisis numbers. But I have not been in North Carolina and seven years. So I don't know what the crisis number is there off the top of my head.

But I understand what you're saying. The point of it is, is it on a computer or on a cell phone or whatever? Wherever you are? You're in Charlotte here in Wilmington, if you're in Raleigh, whatever you type in the question, I'll kind of along tilde search, I have this problem. This is where I am. I need help. What should I do? You know? And there probably are things Okay, let's say you couldn't get to see a therapist someone like you for how long would it take you to get an appointment with someone like you? Well, I

work at a community service board. So once you come in, you get triaged, and you're seen for your behavioral health assessment within 72 hours. So we kind of get the ball going pretty fast now in private practice. I know there has been you know, you might have to wait a month. And that's the one downside because once somebody said, Hey, I think I have a problem. I need help. You have a very small window of getting that person help. So I know you could look for detox centers like if it is a drug issue, if you're filling so recital or homicidal, you can call 911 There's also the National 988 number, which is it's kind of is 911 for mental health and substance abuse?

Well, so and then and then also, let's say someone does not have suicidal or homicidal issues, they know they need help. They've called into appointments not for, you know, today's Sunday, for example, and that appointments not till the following Monday, eight days away, you know, what can what can they do during those eight days to try to make it before they just before the feeling goes away, and they just cancel that appointment continue with their abuse?

Well, one great thing about Wilmington is there's probably 100 meetings going on. And there's probably 200, maybe more than that in Wilmington. So if you go online and look for a meeting, go to a meeting. And they have them, they used to have a beach meeting that starts at like seven o'clock in the morning. And I know there are meetings that go on and till 910 o'clock at night. There's also a great app called in the rooms. That is an app and it has Celebrate Recovery and it 12 step meetings, there's always someone that you can talk to who has the experience you're going through, that would be a great way you can go to the hospital, if it's like drug related, and you really can't take it anymore. But then again, you might get placed somewhere that day, but then you might get turned away to I think, you know, our health care definitely needs some help when it comes to addiction and getting somebody in immediately for help when they're asking for it. You know, and not everyone has insurance. So that's what's great about our 12 Step meeting is they're free. They usually at the end ask for $1 that pays their rent or for coffee, stuff like that, you know, in since COVID, you can do meetings online, and they're all over the world. So it might be 12, or one two in the morning here. But somewhere else, it's 1pm. And there's a meeting going on? I think, yeah, I've done a few of them. And like Ireland's Switzerland, California. There's a couple more. But it's kind of cool to listen that you know, they might be halfway around the world, but they still think or struggle with the same things that I'm struggling with here in the United States. Because, you know, addiction is not just the United States issue. It's all over the world.

What would I expect from a meeting, let's say, let's say someone is in this situation, and it's two o'clock in the morning, and they're they know they need to make a change. They knew they need help. There, they're listening this podcast, they've decided, Okay, I'm gonna reach out to someone. What would they expect from plugging into this meeting in Ireland or whatever?

Um, well, most of them when you like, for instance, I go to Narcotics Anonymous. So it's virtual na.org. They have meeting, Narcotics Anonymous meeting all over the world. There's usually like 3000 of them in one day. So you type it in and you go into it, and it'll say find the meeting, you click on sign in the meeting. Now it takes about a minute for everything to load, because there's so many meetings. Sorry, I live by train restring gone by. But then you most of them work off the zoom. And you don't even have to turn your camera on. If you don't want to, you can just listen. So basically kind of like they're listening to this podcast right now would be what online meeting format would be. Any 12 Step meeting starts out with some readings, depending on what fellowship you're in. And then after the readings are done, they open up the meeting two people who who want to share and then you share. And then about 10 minutes before the meeting any time though in the meeting, they'll think everyone, they'll give out key tags. They'll pass the basket around asking, oh, any 12 Step fellowship has key tags or key chips to help you keep up with your claim time. So and again, I worked Narcotics Anonymous so I'm very familiar with those. So the white one On is the surrounding surrender, like that's the first one. And that you know that ship, you can pick up under the influence within your first or if you're in your first 30 days. And then you know, after 30 days, you get a Key Tag 60 days, 90 days, six months, nine months, one year 18 months, and then one for two years or more.

Okay, so, so if someone plugs in to one of these meetings, and they hear, you know, the initial conversation, and then they have a sharing time or whatever, what can what can they expect if they're, if they're, if they're trying to, like I can imagine, like if I was a heroin addict, for example, and I plug into one of these meetings where if I'm an alcoholic, and I plug into one of these meetings, not to take that next drink? Will that meeting keep me from taking that next drink?

It can. I would say if you're new and you're in a meeting, whether it's online or in person, they usually will ask Is anyone in their first 30 days of recovery, I would say raise your hand and say hi, I'm bringing on my attic. Because what happens then, if you're a female, the females in that they will write their number down and give it to you at the end of the meeting. And then if you are a male, the males will write down phone numbers and give it to you. And yes, if you use those phone numbers, if you want to drink or want to use in you call someone and talk to them. Most likely you will stay clean or sober through that it is the power in one addict or alcoholic helping another.

Okay, well, that sounds good. What what are some of the rules? Okay, so so if someone does join a meeting, participate in a meeting? What are the rules for being in it? If you're going to avail yourself to the benefits of that meeting? What responsibilities do you have going into that meeting?

Really don't I mean, every meeting says something. Now those of you have drugs on your property, please dispose of them and come back. Don't sell your cigarette butts down on the ground clean up after yourself. Some of them don't allow cussing, but most of them do. It's not it's really you just come in and sit down and you're gonna get out of it, what you put in it. I mean, of course, no findings, nothing like that. But you don't have to be sober to go to a 12 step meeting. Because the hope is a charity. Oh, yes. Now that that is a big one. I can say that I was at that meeting. But I can't say that I saw you at that meeting. You know, and that comes into the anonymous part that is in Alcoholics Anonymous Narcotics Anonymous. And, you know, they do have professional meetings, if you are professional, and you don't want to go to a normal meeting. They do have those as well. You know, and I would say if you're in a meeting, and you see somebody, you're like, oh, gosh, well, they're in a meeting too. So evidently, y'all have something in common.

So to me, it's like, you know, life's too, this, these are these issues are too important to be encumbered by pride or shame or embarrassment. You know, we all are struggling with something, everybody has some kind of challenge in their life that they're trying to deal with, whether it's alcohol, drugs, food, whatever, you know, like, everybody's got some stuff that they got to deal with, you know, so so. So, if someone were to go and enjoin a meeting, should they? And you've been in you said, You've been in countless of these meetings. Have you ever felt like you were judged?

I mean, honestly, I mean, sometimes I guess, but sometimes I think it's more me and I'm in my head, and I'm judging me. So therefore, I think everyone else is judging me. But I mean, if you as a whole No, no one in that meeting is really judging you because we're all there for the same reason. And everyone. Now there are different meetings, some of them will be open. And if it's an open 12 Step meeting, then anyone can go family members, someone who wants to learn more about a 12 step meeting, but if it is a closed meeting, then everyone in there is an alcoholic or an addict. So there shouldn't be no shame behind it. But I know a lot of times, especially with addiction You know, we don't think normally, so somebody could look at us from across the room, and we're automatically gonna go, Oh, they're talking about me or they're thinking bad things about me. And, you know, definitely, ego is going to keep you out there using an ego is going to kill you. So I know it can be very scary coming into a meeting and not knowing anyone, but it can also be the best gift you can ever give yourself.

So the way I kind of feel about it is even if somebody judge you, what do you care, you know, you're still getting what you want out of it, which is the benefit of the people who aren't in the good people in there who are trying to help, you know, so if there's, if there's a isolated individual in there, who's somehow gonna judge you for making the mistakes that you've made, and, you know, ignore them and still get the benefit that you can get out of this experience? Is that a fair way to look at it? Or is that naive?

No, that's fair. And I mean, I'm hoping if you're in a 12, step meeting, you know, everyone's going to be a welcoming to you, because we all remember what it was like to walk in in that room for the first time. You know, and I was shocked, because we are huggers, you know what I mean? So you have all these people hugging you, which if you're not used to, can kind of be like, uh, you step back for a moment. But I'm just, you know, grateful that I give myself a chance. And I went to meetings. And, you know, I didn't love myself, when I first got into recovery, I couldn't look in the mirror, I'd look down at my feet. And I'm just so grateful that the people in the rooms like, they loved me, and so I could love myself.

So it sounds like to me that the strength of the entire process is the people. And so I don't mean to suggest for a second that people there are going to judge, you know, but what I imagine is that people who are hesitant to go to the meeting might think, what if somebody is going to judge me or look down on me? What if I have status? Or what if I have an pride or an opinion of myself? Or if my kids think this or my family thinks that or my co workers or other, you know, then they would be hesitant? So I'm just thinking, okay, even if there was a jerk there, who was like, gonna look down on you, for whatever reason, you no big deal, get your get to get what you came to get out of it and move on, even if that's a very unlikely scenario.

Yes. And I mean, like, I kind of said that, if you're sitting in the meeting, worried what this person is going to say about you? Well, they're sitting in the meeting, too, right. So they don't really have no room to judge or point the finger because they're in the same recovery meeting that you're sitting in?

Well, in my thought, also is anybody that, you know, you just got to be careful, people have to be careful about looking down on other people for their particular situation. Because life has a way of humbling those kinds of people. So I don't think that should dissuade anyone from participating in one of these types of events. Okay, well, let me ask you, let me ask you, this, these these meetings, are these faith based meetings? Or is spirituality a part of this? And, and how does that work? i

They are not faith based they are they have a spiritual aspect of it. Um, where if you know, in, we use the knowledge, the terminology of a higher power, and a higher power is what you make it to be. It's yours, it's individualized. So I might believe one way you believe one way, that's okay. Because that's the beauty of a higher power.

So So if I'm a Christian and I can participate in this meeting, or maybe I can find a meeting that specifically for Christians, if I'm, you know, a, you know, Jewish, and maybe I can go find a meeting that's for is that a thing? Or Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim or whatever? If somebody who's a, who's an atheist or agnostic, they could they could do the same thing? Yes.

Well, everyone that you've mentioned, I have met in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting before because they liked the concept of a higher power. AAA does use the word you know, they talk about a God of your understanding where our wordage is higher power, or Well, I guess we do in some of it says it uses the word God but it's not. I guess, like the Bible God that you would think unless that's what works for you.

So is it somebody who doesn't necessarily have the same faith as you is not going to be judged or ostracized or vilified because they don't share your faith? Reason for anybody to know come to one of these meetings.

Correct. My old sponsor was atheists. So she use the power of nature are some people use the group as a whole as their higher power. Because a higher power can be anything as long as it's not a person, because you know, we're all human. And if you put some person on a pedestal, then most likely, I mean, they're not perfect, they're gonna, you know, you're gonna get your feelings hurt. So, you know, religion does not matter if you have it great. If you don't have it great. It's set up like that. Now, if you are a Christian, or you want faith based recovery, there is Celebrate Recovery. Here we have war, which is recovery and worship, no worship and recovery. You know, so there are faith based meanings. For if you believe that way, and you want to find those meetings.

Okay, well, let me ask you this. So let's say there's somebody listening right now. And they have they're struggling with these issues. And they recognize from the things that you've said that they have a problem, and they draw strength from your example, that they can address it? What are the steps that they should take? Right now, in order to try to? If we had to, if you could, you could talk to them right now and say, let's, let's put together a plan for getting you through this into a healthy place. What would that what would that look like? One,

I want to say, I'm really proud of you. Because I know it's really hard. And it takes a lot of courage to even reach out for help. And what I would suggest you do is Google to find a 12 step meeting in your area. And if it's Alcoholics Anonymous, cocaine anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous Celebrate Recovery, those are kind of the wordage that you would use when looking for it, because every area has a certain has an area and you will find 12 step meetings. So I would suggest you look and find a meeting. And even if you know, if you are a drug addict, in the only meeting you can find is Alcoholics Anonymous meeting go, it's okay, it will be fine, just get to a 12 step meeting, while you were there, say, Hey, I'm new. And I really need some help. So you can get some phone numbers. So I would get those phone numbers. And I would start calling them like after the meeting, maybe text, hey, I got your number, or, you know, nice to meet you or whatever, just to start building that relationship up. Depending on what you're using, you might need to be medically detox. So maybe going to your primary care doctor and talking to them about what the issue is in what you are using. So if you need to be medically stapled, because there are some drugs that call that have a risk of death with them. And one of them is alcohol and benzos is the other one. I mean, opiates could cause death as well. But most likely it's more than alcohol or if you're coming off of in a benzo I would also maybe you know, reach out for a therapist. Because a lot of times using is just a symptom that we're either covering up or running from or we can't deal with it. So you know, doing looking for that therapy aspect would be helpful. Take a walk, start walking or going to a gym. Go to the library and research something, anything that keeps you busy, which in Wilmington, you have the beach, go sit and watch the beach. Let's see. I think that's kind of the gist of it, is what I would suggest doing you know staying busy finding accountability, someone to talk to that can talk you through the urges when they come. And the easiest way to find them is in a 12 step meeting.

What are the qualities someone's going to need to get through this like when you just take when you describe this process, it sounds like to me that you're going to need you're gonna need to be open, you're gonna need to be honest, you're gonna need to be vulnerable. You're gonna need to give yourself you know, space to in the resources that you need and recognize that you maybe can't do this by yourself that you might need other people You're need to be committed, you're gonna need to be strong, you're gonna need to be connected. What else comes to mind?

Well, I mean, I think in the beginning, you just need courage to get to that meeting. Because if I start listening all these, I don't want to overwhelm anyone. So, one courage and hope, and yes, willingness that, hey, you can do this. And then I mean, yes, you're gonna need commitment. And you know, I like to say, put the bat down, stop beating yourself up, you're not unique, you're not the only one who's done the things that you've done to get drugs or support your habits. You know, we've all been there and done those things. There's no need to be shameful. I can guarantee you there's nothing. If you were sitting in a room of eight people who are in recovery, and you said, I did this, probably everyone at that table is gonna go like we've been there, we've done that. I know, that was something in the beginning for me thinking I'm just this horrible person because of the things that you know I did to us, or I didn't have my son for a little bit. You know, that's heartbreaking to know that I could not take care of him. And you know, then you if you've never walked in those shoes, other people, I'm sure it was like, how could she do that or, but until you've walked in those shoes, you don't have a right to judge anybody. You know, but the hope is, if you come in and you stay clean, I promise you, you'll get your family back, your kids back the job, the beautiful house, the vacate the whatever, you'll get yourself back for one, you know, I'm grateful that I have a life that I want to live today. I'm not just existing and going through the same pattern of okay, I'm awake now. How am I going to use today in it's exhausting to have to do all of that. So that's what I would kind of say that you need and just quit. Quit beating yourself up. I think that's number one.

Well, BK, Brandy, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. I think you've provided some really helpful information to people who may be struggling with some of these issues. So thank you so much for joining us today.

Well, thank you so much, and have a good day. All right, you too. Thank

you for joining us, and we'll see you next time.

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