Dismantled Life : A Podcast about Addiction and Recovery

036 - Jeff Stroud is 31-Years Sober

February 23, 2021 Anthony Capozzoli Season 2 Episode 36
Dismantled Life : A Podcast about Addiction and Recovery
036 - Jeff Stroud is 31-Years Sober
Show Notes Transcript

My friend Jeff Stroud is 31-Years Sober.   Do the work.  You can do it too.

Twitter @Lifedismantled

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Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (0s):
My name is Anthony Capozzoli and this is the Dismantled Life podcast where we share stories of hope, love, and strength from the darkness of addiction, into the sunlight of sobriety. These are stories from people just like us who have lived through the pain and made it no matter how bad it gets. Just know that you can and will recover. It takes work. It takes hard work. Each week. We talk in detail about what it takes to make it what it takes to beat your addictions. I am a recovering addict from alcohol, cocaine and nicotine. My addiction started in eighth grade. I am now 50. I had over 40 years of very bad habits to break. I hit rock bottom hard, more than once I nearly died, I would have left my wife and two young children behind I've been clean and sober for nearly three years.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (48s):
I completely dismantled my entire life and we built it from the ground up. I believe to make it in recovery. It takes a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual approach. It takes a positive mindset. It takes hard work. It takes a village. Join me weekly to learn from my silver superhero guests and the dismantle life podcast. Subscribe and follow on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to your podcasts. Check me [email protected] Email [email protected] Anytime. Please be sure to leave a rating and review anywhere you listen to your podcasts. And let me know if you want to be on the show, happy recovery.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (1m 29s):
The goal of the podcast is to help people find, stay, or get back on the path to sobriety through positive stories of strength and love of the guests, because it's, I think these kinds of stories are best told or best experienced from people that have been there done that. This is one of those things that I do believe that a doctor who has never experienced any level of addiction or recovery would just have a hard time understanding what it's like to be in our shoes, Right. And lesser work, you know, unless they work directly with alcoholics. And I don't think they have the same experience that they had, you know, back in the thirties when the men were going into the hospital and being treated, but basically they were being detox, tied up, you know, until they, they were calm enough to be able to get whatever medical treatment that they needed and clear their head, you know, but today I don't think that the medical community you're right.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (2m 34s):
I think today the medical community doesn't have the patience or the tolerance for people that are drinking and using drugs The day that that's the whole purpose of the show. I always like to start with the beginning and by that, I mean pre addiction. I, like I mentioned, I am not a doctor. I have zero medical experience. I just lived through this myself. And I know that I've got a story before my story that led me into the path of addiction. So I'm always curious where people started. Some people have had their first drink at five or six years old, believe it or not. And others have a little bit of a different path. So I'm always curious, perhaps you could share where things kicked off for you.

Jeff Stroud (3m 15s):
Probably my parents had actually, we used to have backyard parties. My father was in printers in the union printers union and he, and we had a pretty good size backyard. So we would have barbecues and, and so forth. And so, you know, and there, so there was beer kegs and cocktails and things like that, but it was neighbors and friends and friends and people that worked with them, you know, but just generally socialize. So there was probably, you know, there was probably alcohol around and we probably sip a beer here and there as kids, but I don't really remember drinking until I was probably, well, I was probably about 16 or 17.

Jeff Stroud (4m 1s):
My at the time my girlfriend's father had built a bar in his basement, actually built half a boat in his basement as a blower anyway, which was kind of cool. But anyway, you know, so, you know, I was 16, 17 years old and we could drink in the basement as long as we, you know, if we got drunk, we could just fall asleep on the floor or wherever we were, you know? And, but then she went away to nursing school. So I used to go up to Trenton, New Jersey where she went to school and we used to drink with the girls because, you know, girls were, they were in college. So, you know, it's like, but I still wasn't in college yet. I was still in high school. She was a year older than I was.

Jeff Stroud (4m 41s):
Yeah. I remember getting, you know, drinking garbage stuff, just things that were too sweet and getting awfully sex and stuff like that. You know, it wasn't a daily thing, but I was drinking it wasn't until I went into service when I was 20 years old. And I was, no, I wasn't old enough to drink really. But in Colorado they had what they called three, two beer and they had three tube beer bars where you could go and drink that beer or whatever, until, you know, to a young person who really didn't drink much.

Jeff Stroud (5m 21s):
And it's like, well, if you drink enough of them, you can get drunk.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (5m 25s):
So you're talking about, they just do like low dosage beers and that that's kind of the safe way into the drinking establishment, but it really,

Jeff Stroud (5m 35s):
But it was just outside of the, you know, just outside of the base. So my, my base buddy, and I would go over there and hang out and watch films or whatever they were having and have snacks and stuff. And I remember getting pretty buzzed and I, it was amazing. And I said, you know, if I could hold this feeling, whatever that feeling was like euphoria or whatever, for every time I drank, I would do that. So I don't know if I started to search for that. I think in some ways I did, you know, when when's the next real fun. Hi. You know, but of course, you know, I went to back the bet, you know, I went back to base and went to bed and actually ended up throwing up all over myself, you know?

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (6m 21s):
Yeah. I totally get that. I mean, because you're learning the tempered controls and you're only remember the good stuff if that's, you know, most people do exactly what you just described. I mean, there is no control you drink until you just can't drink anything.

Jeff Stroud (6m 34s):
Right. Yeah. We were, you know, I was a teenager. I was basically, I was really sad. I was 20 years old. So, but so, you know, and I hadn't been away from my family. I went to Catholic school, grade school and high school. So I was, you know, a good little boy basically. And you know, when I was finally free of my family, I, and not that it was bad or it was actually, my family life is pretty good. It's just, I just knew that freedom. I was the middle, I'm a middle child. So everything was expected that I, that I was a good kid, whatever that was, whatever that is anyway. But so it sort of started from there. I mean, it really started to pick up once I was in the service and actually I got married and then I came out, I'm a gay man.

Jeff Stroud (7m 21s):
I've been a gay man since I was 20 little over 21, about 21 years old actually came out.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (7m 27s):
So did you come out while you were married?

Jeff Stroud (7m 29s):
I came out while I was married. And in the service, this is 1970, 72.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (7m 38s):
You must have had a rough couple years. Jeff. I would imagine my goodness.

Jeff Stroud (7m 42s):
Is it really that bad? I didn't, you know, it really, you know, at that time, it's like, yeah, they were, you know, they were still, and they were, they were chasing, you know, they were chasing the guys up the people out for, you know, for being gay. And actually my second boyfriend actually was worked at the military, but actually worked at the Academy. I was in the air force at the air force Academy who was being investigated, man. So he was a little scared and he said, you know, what if I told her, if I've told everyone, if I told on everyone that I know who's, so-called gay, there wouldn't be anybody left in the plate.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (8m 22s):
It, you know what, I always wonder not to get sidetracked, but who gives a shit in the military if you're gay or straight or whatever, I don't know why they're so hell bent on it. I know that things are different today. It takes time to get there. But my goodness, I mean, kudos to you for coming out then, because I have to say that for lack of a better way to put it, that takes a lot of balls because talk about flipping your life upside down.

Jeff Stroud (8m 44s):
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I, I, I sort of knew and my, my future or your color, my future ex-wife, you know, we had talked about when I was a teenager and I was aware of my, my inclinations, basically my attraction to men, but, you know, and, and I, and we said, you know, well, we'll see where it goes. And basically that's what we did. And so when I got to a point where ally was actually cheating on her and I was having an affair with someone, I graciously said, I'm, you know, I told her what was going on. And I said, I'm leaving you for the sky. Right. Shocking and pissed her off.

Jeff Stroud (9m 24s):

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (9m 25s):
I would imagine so, yeah, I think it'd be, you know, anybody getting that news regardless. I think it's the infidelity layer. That would be the most.

Jeff Stroud (9m 33s):
I had morals even striking, you know, and then, but

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (9m 36s):
I wasn't drinking that much. You know, I hadn't

Jeff Stroud (9m 39s):
Been drinking that much, that I didn't give a crap anymore. You know, it's like, I was, I was honest with her and I said, this is, this is what I, this is what I think I need to do. And we talked about this and I said, I'm leaving, you know, I'm going to go and live with this guy. Yeah. And I was still in the service.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (10m 1s):
Did the service give you a hard time about this meeting?

Jeff Stroud (10m 6s):
I didn't, you know, I was only in a list of, well, my second boyfriend was an Alyssa man too, but that's what I said. He worked at the Academy, so he had a little more difficult time. So there was a little, that was a little tricky. Yeah. Because people were probably following him around in some sense, because he lived with me, we lived together in an apartment. So it was like, I don't know. I don't think we had a two bedroom apartment, but we might've, but you know, and that got a little that, you know, the fact is that he was drinking as well. And because he was scared, even though he's not gonna admit it, but so, you know, drinking actually became part of my social life.

Jeff Stroud (10m 53s):
Being a gay man was being a game. Well, still a big thing was going to bars. I mean, that's where you met people and you know, and it was a social lubricant. It was also a lubricant to get laid. You know, if I drank enough, I didn't give a shit everybody.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (11m 9s):
Yeah. I mean the drinking for social lubrication and, and to put your guard down, so to speak to maybe perhaps not to make bad decisions regardless.

Jeff Stroud (11m 19s):
So it was just kind of like, that's where, that's where it went, you know, basically. And

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (11m 26s):
Were you drinking or your boyfriend drinking to, I guess, mentally or emotionally deal with the stress of what you were going through as gay men or?

Jeff Stroud (11m 38s):
I think he was more than I was. I was just drinking because that's what I thought I was supposed to do. You know, as I said, you know, it's going out, we were going out, he worked at a bar, you know, because he was sort of laid off sometimes. And he, he at the bar and there was only two bars in Colorado. It was in Colorado Springs. There was only two bars in Colorado Springs at that time. So he worked at one and I would go down the road to the other one and then he would like get jealous and stuff because I was out somewhere else and he couldn't see me. Right. So that was kind of crazy. So that sort of became a little abusive because he would come home and he would be little tagged from after work and being pissed off because I was out and about doing something else.

Jeff Stroud (12m 22s):
So you can see, and, you know, under the influence of alcohol things got a little crazy life just carried on that way. I mean, it's like, I think I went from bar to bar for ma Perth man demand and demand, no relationship to relationship. I actually, I actually came home because the relationship got to, to uncontrolled. And I basically came back to New Jersey because that's where I was from. And I was, have nothing left. I mean, I was in that relationship and I needed to save my butt. Was it,

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (12m 55s):
You left the Colorado Springs to come back to New Jersey because there was physical or emotional abuse or both in the relationship?

Jeff Stroud (13m 2s):
Basically, both, both in some ways he answered that he would come home and he was drunk and he was belligerent, basically in some ways I have a start, an argument or a fight because if I got him overwhelmed, he would have an asthma attack, which would slow him down because he was going to try to get violent,

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (13m 27s):

Jeff Stroud (13m 28s):
So I was like, I called home and said, I need to come home. I need money to come home. And I packed my bags and came home. Yeah. But that's only the first time that, that that happened anyway. But, and I just lived that way until I was my story. Actually, my recovery actually begins late 30. I was actually 37. And

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (13m 52s):
You drinking every day and drunk six days a week. Cause I, I was pretty much drunk and doing cocaine six, seven days a week.

Jeff Stroud (13m 59s):
Yeah. I used to say, you know, I don't think I was ever sober at the end. I was, I worked in a bar and restaurant and you know, we all went out, we all went out drinking after work. I thought drinking was just sober or, you know, was a, was, you know, it was a social thing. So we had parties, we had a nice little apartment and a yard where we could have, you know, beer parties or whatever. And that's what we did. You know, I actually had gotten arrested. I was, I drove the guy, a bunch of the guys home from work from the restaurant after we had been partying somewhere, either at the restaurant or down the street at another restaurant.

Jeff Stroud (14m 47s):
And I, for some reason I drove people home around the block and I was coming back to the parking lot at the restaurant and I got stopped by the police. So I got a DUI the first time for that. Of course I had drinking. I had gotten arrested several times through the years. I actually totaled a van, a conversion van because I miss, I, you know, I misjudged my, my turn into the highway and totally rammed into the abutment or whatever it was and stuff like that. Then that was, you know, sometime earlier in, back in the day, they didn't actually, you know, it's like, they actually told me, you know, I walked away from the car and I called the police and I called my friend and he, he said, well, you're in enough trouble already.

Jeff Stroud (15m 35s):
So we're not going to give you anything. You know? So now that was the way things were. But this time I got a DUI, this is in, you know, a 86, 87. So they made me go to driver's education and therapy or whatever they've called, you know, whatever they were calling it at that time. And that was probably the first time that someone suggested that maybe I drank too much.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (16m 3s):
Was that news to you? Was it something you were hoping to hear one day, someone to kind of break you free, so to speak of your own chains? Or would you surprise by that insight?

Jeff Stroud (16m 14s):
It was the second time, actually, when I got arrested for probably public indecency or punk public drunkenness, I was at the bar down the street and my partner was gone to get the car for something I w Oh, I know what it was. I left there, I left the bar to go to cash or something. I got arrested. I was drunk. I was blacked out because I didn't know I was arrested until my partner came to pick me up and drive me home. And I was, I was pissed off. I said, what was I doing? I don't know what I was doing. I could have been urinating on the street. I could have been taken off my clothes. Cause I happened to when I got drunk, you know, it was like, you know, so I was just, you know, I was pissed off and angry and frustrated.

Jeff Stroud (17m 5s):
And my partner said to me, something, you have to do something. This isn't working anymore this way. You're not, you know, neither one of us are happy. I mean, he, you know, I basically taught him how to drink properly. I mean, I thought I was, you know, I thought we were, you know, we would go out to dinner. We had wine and in order herbs and cocktails and all kinds of crazy stuff. And he, he taught me how to smoke pot. I went in, do drugs, really? I, Doug, I did drugs when people had them. Yeah. But I didn't go search for them. No, I didn't go to the wrong side of the tracks to find drugs or even to pursue them. If somebody had them, they said, you're, you know, when it share, you know, share drugs or whatever, or split something or other than that, but he was a pothead.

Jeff Stroud (17m 51s):
So there was always pot in that house. So I used to say, you know, every morning I got up made coffee and smoked a joint, you know? And then when I went to work after by four o'clock then, you know, and then I was drinking my, my eight. So that second time of getting arrested for drunk and disorderly or whatever it was, that was the time it didn't happen right away. I thought about it. And finally I said to something I, something had to happen and I had the material from the prior time. And then I called the night, you know, I said, is there, I think there was a list or, you know, an AA listen, one day I decided to get in the car and go look for an AA meeting,

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (18m 42s):
Realized being arrested for drunk and disorderly and not remembering. It could absolutely be a rock bottom. I mean, I've talked to many people who had a very Rocky rock bottom. I'm one of those, a very light rock bottom where they they'd never really. And I'll say, I don't mean truly like I'm judging. I'm saying that they don't hit very hard. It's a very soft

Jeff Stroud (19m 2s):
Right. Finally went in, started my recovery. And I would hear those stories of all of this horror that people lived through. And I'm like, well, I'm not like them. I wasn't like them. You know? And I did, you know, and when you hear those stories like, well, I never did that or I never did that. Does that make me an alcoholic? Maybe I'm not, you know, maybe I'm not, but while I listened to what people were saying, and, and in the, in the 12 and 12, the little step book of alcoholics anonymous, they actually saying that, you know, you don't have to have the high or the low bottom drunk that you've lost everything that you've lost your life.

Jeff Stroud (19m 47s):
You've lost your car. You know, you lost everything. But when you've had enough, you've had enough and I had enough

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (19m 55s):
That's right. I think that the main takeaway is that everyone's story is different, but if you're drinking or doing drugs compulsively, or like you said, you've had enough, whatever that means, the traits, your traits are the important thing. If you're getting up every morning, rolling and smoking a joint with your coffee and then immediately hitting the bar after work and that you don't have an option, but to do that, then you know, that's something to consider and I'm not here to tell anybody what is, or isn't alcoholism or a drug addiction. That's for everyone to decide. But, but I, I agree with you. I think that many times people dismiss addiction because it doesn't fit into the criteria of an afterschool special, which is very dangerous.

Jeff Stroud (20m 39s):
Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And that's the stories that we hear, you know, and people still say that today, and it's much the literature there out there in recovery, this stuff you can look up and it's like, you know, people think that, you know, the drunk down the, you know, there's, there's a couple that live down the hall from me and it's like, they're, you know, they're in the cups of their, their alcoholism. And he smells awful, you know? And, but he's always friendly, you know, he's a friendly, drunk down the, down the hall, but you know, it's like, I don't, you know, and I feel sorry for them. And it's like, I don't want to feel that way, but try to reach out to them before.

Jeff Stroud (21m 20s):
But you know, that's the story. As I was saying, I heard what I needed to hear. The first time I walked into a meeting, I was late for my first meeting because I didn't know where I was going. And I didn't know that I was an alcoholic, but they told me that I was, or I might be. And so I examined that. And when I heard that, you know, I don't have to have this low bottom living in the street, you know, losing all my things, being arrested thousand times. And even in early recovery, I used to sit there at meetings going, because I didn't really understand the obsession for people who had been sober for a while, who stopped going to sub doing the work.

Jeff Stroud (22m 7s):
You know, they stopped going to meetings. They stopped doing the fellowship. Their life got good again, you know, they, you know, they got the car back, they got a job back, their wife came back, the kids all came back. Everybody loves them again, you know? And then they, then they go out

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (22m 25s):
It's one time, one bad decision. You got to keep doing the

Jeff Stroud (22m 28s):
Right. So it's like, Oh, well maybe I can drink again. Or, you know, I'm at a party and somebody sticking a drink in my hand. And it's like, well, that's, yeah, I didn't understand that at first. And I'm like, what the hell is wrong with those people? Are they crazy? Yes. They have the disease of alcohol. Okay.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (22m 44s):
They absolutely do. And I I'm one of those people I know I have to put myself in winning situations. If I have one drink, the rest of the dominoes of my life will fall over in a very bad, ugly way. I'll call my drug dealer. I'll go buy cigarettes. I'll get a shit ton of alcohol and other want a fucking bender that that'll probably kill me.

Jeff Stroud (23m 3s):
Me a lot. It takes me a long time, but it took me a while to like, Oh, okay, I got it. Now. I figured it out. It's like, it's not that I have to do that mean even for awhile. I even thought, you know, early in recovery, I thought, well, because everybody talked about going to rehab 30 days for three months or nine months or whatever. And I'm like, I didn't do that. I came right off the street. Cause I wa that's what's at my bottom was fairly high and I didn't really need the detox that way. Of course I've had headaches and I was probably jonesing for sugar or whatever, you know, whatever I need it. I don't really recall at this point, but I kept thinking maybe I need to go to rehab just to what it's all about.

Jeff Stroud (23m 47s):
But when I realized I don't really need to do that either I went to D rehab to interview for jobs. Cause I thought I was going to do a counseling, but that's the only reason I went to injure rehab. You know? And I, you know, I went to rehab, so to speak as well. So

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (24m 1s):
Thread here, I think this is consistent for anybody in recovery is you have to continue to do the work. When you start to believe that you're healed for lack of a better way to put it, you then let the lies creep back in and the addiction starts to win the fight. And then the addiction convinces you that you can have another drink or another line of cocaine or whatever the hell it is. And you can't, you just can not, I mean, you, you, because the other part of it is you'll dive right back into the deep end of the pole, right? Where you left everything off and you'll go right back to where you were. There is no, at least for the addicts that I know that are in recovery, there is no half steps. It's anyone that tries to believe that are convinced themselves of it is wrong.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (24m 44s):
And I, and I, I can say that because the other part of it to these, the other side of the equation is you might be around the wrong people again, because you're slowly trying to creep back into the addictive life. And you, all of a sudden, they're making tiny little bad choices that you are aware of, but you're not conscious of and you'll know the difference. And then all of a sudden, somebody tries to pass you a vodka soda or a vodka on the rocks, splashes soda with a cigarette in a line of below. And then I'm often a fucking racist. And I,

Jeff Stroud (25m 14s):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, and you know, and recovery being in recovery, I'm building a fellowship, you know, of people that are supportive of each other is one of the basics of recovery. These people that I hear, and it's kind of hard to tell on Twitter because that's where I mostly do on my own online kind of on, you know, social media and kind of re recovery stuff, say, I'm not sure what their status is of recovery and where, where, where they're getting their information. So you had kind of had the kind of pussy foot around trying to figure out, you know, are they going, are they doing AA or are they doing some other recovery process or they're not doing it.

Jeff Stroud (26m 2s):
And someone even said, the other day, I was on a call with, with, with Harriet Liz blizzard. Yeah. She's wonderful. Yeah. And the speaker said, these are the basics. Even if you're not doing AA, there's always work to, do they have a format to follow suggestions to follow. This is how you're doing and do those steps because those are the things that, that can keep us sober. You don't do them perfectly, but we do them to the best of our ability at time, you know?

Jeff Stroud (26m 45s):
And it's like, but you have to have some kind of emotional psychic change is what bill w and Dr. Dr. Bob calls, you know, spiritual experience, you know, and that throws people off. I don't know, the God stuff is scary to people. And it's like, the God stuff is actually what got me here. You know, it's like, Oh, well, I don't know what this guy's stuff is, but it sounds kind of fun the way

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (27m 12s):
I think people should trust the process, whatever their process is in a good way. I, you know, one thing you mentioned, I have found such joy in the person. First of all, I'm not a huge fan of social media, but I have come to enjoy it through sobriety and recovery, because of all the wonderful people that I've met that are in recovery and are so helpful and loving. And I've, I've read every single day. I go on social media, not because of the show, but because I want to throw some sunshine at people that post that it's their first day in recovery or their 10th day or their, or their 25th year in recovery, whatever it might be. And just to give them some love via a Facebook like, or a nice comment or a retweet, because that means so much to people, just that little juice you get emotionally, spiritually from people that are there to support you in a good way.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (28m 4s):
It's wonderful. And that for me is one of my favorite.

Jeff Stroud (28m 10s):
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. That's a great way to, it's sort of my early morning thing that I do because I do, I can do zoom meetings during the, you know, later in the day I have specific ones that, you know, I'm kind of old school I've been around for a while. So it's like, I still have to go to, I feel like I still have to go to meetings at eight o'clock at night or seven 30 or whatever. Cause I'm used to that. That's my routine. So there's, but I have, my home group is basically 7:00 AM in the morning, Saturday morning men's group, which took me a long time to be comfortable with going as a gay man.

Jeff Stroud (28m 53s):
I always felt that I was intruding on their space because I didn't, I wasn't sure that there was my own home homophobia, basically my own fear of being accepted as a gay man in a room full of basically straight men. Sure. But it's been one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had. They don't take any shit from me. They're not going to, you know, and they've been accepting, you know, it's like, but you know, I just had to, I had to come to even the, even with the time that I have, I was having difficulties with that when I first started to go there, but I love demeaning and I love the sobriety that was there.

Jeff Stroud (29m 40s):
Yeah. And, and I've found all kinds of support, which is really what I need it because a lot of my past couple of years have been spent alone. I took care of my mother for two and a half years with Alzheimer's and life just came apart and I needed to rebuild some. And you know, I had to lick my own wounds. Basically. I had my, I had my recovery, but I was doing a lot of it on my own. Yeah.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (30m 9s):
I think that's one of the things that a lot of us addicts are experiencing now are the struggles of having to do a loan because we're forced to the zoom meetings. You can't meet people face to face for. It's really been tough. Think that that's a common thread for many, many, many of us in recovery. Where you're, you feel more isolated than ever, even though there were, you know, you have the right communities and people are supportive through networks and phone calls and zooms, there's still something about a hug.

Jeff Stroud (30m 39s):
Oh yeah. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So we've got, you'll have to find some safety in that too, but you know yeah. I mean, there was a couple of guys that actually, there's a couple of meetings I go to, it's actually almost the same, same bunch of guys that are there and the same bunch of people are there, but there's two guys that actually have gotten sober in the last 90 days. Good for them, you know, through all of this, you know, and they've did it strictly on zoom.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (31m 11s):
I mean, it really is. That adds dimension, that many of us never had to deal with their struggle through it. Right.

Jeff Stroud (31m 16s):
Silly. You know, but that's the recovery. I mean, that's, you know, that's, you know, th these are people that, that found a way to use social media. If you want to call it that technology to, to continue to send out and to be of service. That's right. You know, and these podcasts, you know, this is a service, this is a search. You do a service, you're passing on the message. You're allowing our voices to get out there and do this thing.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (31m 54s):
I appreciate that. And that, that really is the goal of the show is to let people know that they're not alone, that people have struggled and overcome in very bad situations, have made it to sobriety and are willing to fight. And then I do have, you know, the one thing that, the main thing I tell people and forgive my language here when they're like, I just can't do it. I tell them to shut the fuck up and get sober. Like I hate to be so blunt, but end of the day, you have to be committed to your sobriety and make it work. Like you have to do the work. There is no shortcut. There is no hack. There is no top 10 sheets to do it. It's all crap. You have to do the work that there is no other way.

Jeff Stroud (32m 34s):
Absolutely. Absolutely. There is no other way to do it. It's like I tried. Can't just, you can't try recovering. It's like, did he try to get drunk? No, you just got drunk. That's it

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (32m 50s):
Actually, Jeff, that's a really good way to put it. Like, did you try to get drunk? No. You just got, yeah.

Jeff Stroud (32m 54s):
Drunk. I mean, we ended up beginning. You might've tried to get drunk. Yeah, absolutely.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (33m 2s):
Yeah. I remember it was fuzzy navels when I was in eighth grade. I remember. Cause we that's what we,

Jeff Stroud (33m 7s):
Yeah. Right. Pipers, Peachtree, schnapps, moons, sprints, and all of that. And try to get drunk in fact, but now tell people

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (33m 20s):
Th th you believe in yourself, there is hope you can make it. You just have to do the work. You have to be done. You, you don't have to.

Jeff Stroud (33m 29s):
I hit rock. Bottom is hard. Is the books. Yeah. It's not that you have to be done. You don't have to be, you have to be willing to be done. You have to say, yes, I have. Yes. I am an alcoholic. I'm an addict. And my life is unmanageable. I mean, if you don't admit that if you don't say that out loud to yourself and to other people, you're not going to do the work. You're going to just keep trying to find, find a way. And that's why basically that's what I said. When I, in the early days, when I heard those stories and I'm like, well, I'm not like them. So I had to find, I had to understand where my bottom was. I was sick of tired of being sick and tired.

Jeff Stroud (34m 11s):
I was, you know, too frustrated in my life, even though I had everything, I always thought I had, I wanted, but it wasn't enough. I was missing something in my life. And that was my spirit. I was drowning. My spirit, you know, in alcohol and drugs and pot, whatever. And any other kind of distraction I could find. Yeah.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (34m 38s):
I think I had a guest. She, her episode airs this Friday and she said something that I've been thinking about since we recorded a while ago and her episode airs Friday. But it, she said that it's not the addiction that killed her or was killing her. It was the secret of addiction. She was keeping meaning that she never faced her reality. She tried to hide aspects of her life to keep the addiction going. And you can hear it for yourself.

Jeff Stroud (35m 7s):
Oh, sure. Yeah. It was so

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (35m 9s):
Crisply put because I, it dawned on me that I was doing the exact same damn thing. I was hiding who I was through and behind the alcohol and then the drugs and the cigarettes and that life that I was leading was fake. And that was my secret, you know? And then when I gave that up, they want to let people know that I really had a problem. I was an addict and this is what I was doing for better or for worse, because that is not an easy conversation to have with your spouse. As, as you know, you've had a very one that you mentioned earlier in the show at a different level, but still when you come clean, as it were that's, it could be the beginning of the end. But at the same time, it's the, it's, it's a very new beginning at the same time.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (35m 50s):
So it's a wonderful transitional moment that everyone needs to face because you have to have that first gulp, you have to say, Gulf, meaning air not drink. Oh boy, I'm doing this. And then all of a sudden you'll find that that little seed that you planted can grow into a very large powerful Oak and there's one,

Jeff Stroud (36m 12s):
Right? Absolutely. And you know, and you're, again, we're, you're not, we're not doing it alone. We're there for each other. We're there to help you, you know? Absolutely. And that's why we have these me, and that's why you have meetings and that's why you have the direction. So, I mean, put up the foundation of AA. And I think that most of all, the other programs are probably based on AA in some way. And on this program of AA on some, some way or other, how long have you been sober now? I've been sober. My anniversary date is June the ninth, 1987.

Jeff Stroud (36m 56s):
I've been third. I've been sober 31 years.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (36m 60s):
Wow. That is so amazing and impressive. And here's the one thing I'd like to say to the reason that grizzly sober veterans that have 30 plus years under their belt still go to meetings is to continue to do the work, but to give hope to the person who's there for their very first meeting and have hope

Jeff Stroud (37m 20s):
The recovery. It was like, you know, those old guys were sitting over there on the other side of the room grumbling and whatever, you know, and there was one guy, you know, they were still smoking. And in rooms when I first came in and was like, you know, it was sitting there smoking, it's got, and it's got its, you know, its got his canister is his oxygen cancer alongside of him drinking Coca Cola and just don't drink and go, you know, go to a meeting, you know, that's all you need to fucking do.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (37m 48s):

Jeff Stroud (37m 52s):
And I used to say, I hope I might recover is better than that. You know, because in the literature it does say, you know, your world will change. If you change your mind, you know, your attitude towards life. You know, it's like if you want to be old and crumbly and miserable, that's your choice. But the choice is, you know, there are promises that we will get better. We will have new ideas and, and life will change for us.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (38m 23s):
Definitely everything changes in a wonderful way because all of a sudden you'll realize that the days are beautifully longer and you'll have more time than you ever thought that you ever had before. And the day that you still have 20 hours in the day, but it feels like you've got 40 in a day because, because you, you able to do things and get things done and remember everything and you're not chasing the drink or the line or whatever the hell it is and things are great and they get better. And I am so grateful. You came on the show to tell me your story, because I have had such a wonderful time getting to meet all the wonderful guests who have been kind enough to tell me their story. I'm on the show to share with others in, in the line of service.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (39m 6s):
So Jeff, I thank you so much for doing it.

Jeff Stroud (39m 8s):
Thank you. No, it was great to be here and I probably sounded halfway.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (39m 13s):
Well you sounded great tonight. I mean, I really thought it was a wonderful story and I was so grateful that you told it and thank you again. I know that also I'd like to thank you for being so kind and helpful by the way, to get the word out with, or for me on social media, you're always kind enough to comment and repost and retweet things. So thank you for that.

Jeff Stroud (39m 31s):
Absolutely. You got to pass the message, man. I love it.

Dismantled Life Anthony Capozzoli (39m 34s):
But then you have a wonderful evening, sir. Thank you so very much for being on this journey and I look forward to staying in touch and getting to know you better.

Jeff Stroud (39m 41s):
All right. Great, Anthony. Thank you so much. Have a great night. You too. Bye-bye bye-bye.