Steve welcomes Jimmy to share their experience, strength, and hope with you, along with advice on getting and staying sober.
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Hi everyone. And welcome to gay. A podcast about sobriety for the LGBT plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-Martin. I am an alcoholic and I'm grateful for my sponsor. Always being there to walk me through the steps. As of this recording, I am 335 days sober or 11 months to the day. And today we're welcoming a guest to share their experience, wisdom and hope with you. Welcome to the show.Jimmy:
Hey, congratulations, Steve. Wow. 11 months. That's amazing that oh, 11 months is a total milestone. That's so exciting. Congratulations. Yeah. Yeah. Why don't you introduce yourself to the listeners? Yeah, I'm Jimmy Adams. I'm an alcoholic and drug addict. My sobriety date is July 29th, 2016. So I, I looked it up it looks like 2099 days. So I didn't realize that I passed the 2000 mark, which was kind of an exciting bit of news for me today. Kind of kind of boosted my day, a little bit saying that. Excellent.Steve:
Well, then let's jump right into the thick of it and tell us what your journey with alcohol and addiction was like.Jimmy:
Oh gosh. Yeah. Right into the thick of it. All right. Well, what it was like, what happened? What it's like now? What it was like, you know, I got sober at 25, which, you know, I I'm grateful that I had a, really a relatively early on into sobriety, you know, I I'm glad that I did continue much longer than I did. So you know, my, my journey with alcohol really was from age 18 to 25. So I had my first drink. At a party, my freshman year of college, until that point, you know, I'd worked really hard. I was, you know, a straight a ish student you know, working to get into the university of Michigan, a pretty good school here in in this state. You know, luckily got in, I done all of that work and and then like so many of us, once I once I found myself kind of unleashed and in a sort of pseudo adult, I discovered alcohol. I discovered the the effect that it had on me. I discovered the way that I was able to to lose my inhibitions and you know, that was a major turning point that, that, that welcome week, that first week of college. So right away, I was able to see, okay, this is a whole lot of. This is this is going to be a really good time and could potentially be very dangerous for me because you know, as I was looking around, I was also seeing that not everyone around me was, was drinking to excess. You know, I, I, I kind of quickly caught up to speed while, you know, others maybe had some experience you know, prior to that I made sure to make up for lost time and went pretty hard right out of the gate. You, my freshmen year was, was a little bit Rocky and, you know, everyone, every young adult, you know, entering into a new chapter is going to experience those pains of transition. And you know, I was I was very much in that group, I had a pretty Rocky social and developmental year. Right. And you might, academics were okay at that point. But I was You know, drinking at every opportunity. And you know, that point 18 years old, every opportunity really, by like on the weekends, I joined a social group on campus a singing group. And the joke internally was that, you know, actually we were we were like a drinking club with this taking problem, and this is like a very storied. Group on campus, like they'd been around for 150 years. So then I was like, all right, sweet. I found my people. And you know, it was a men singing groups. So I was, I was navigating a whole lot of change and I was navigating a whole lot of questions about myself. And I found that, you know, that jumping in. To the bottle was a great way to Sue, you know, we know this you know, those of us listening or, you know right here talking to each other, like, no, that, that was a self-soothing. So, you know, that was, that was one year in the gosh, like seven years of my, my my drinking and using experience. And it really kind of just accelerated. So by the time I got around my junior year, I was so much more interested in in drinking and, you know, my family was even calling that out. Like my mom was like, do you just want to live in Ann Arbor? And I'm just like live there and maybe not spend money on school. Like would, would that be a better option than than what you're doing? Because you know, you're, you're facing you know, like academic. Discipline. And that's what ended up happening. I, I was very gently. It was very gently recommended to me that I take a semester off twice. This happened twice. I didn't learn my lesson. I did learn my lesson the first time. So you know, that's around that junior year, senior year when I was like, okay, well, yeah, writing's on the wall here. Like, I am so much more interested in being. You know, being, I think interesting was what I was really going for. Like I studied kind of unconventional, not normal topic. I was, I was studying arts and ideas and the humanities focusing on gender and poetry. So, you know, that was really an opportunity for me to romanticize like, oh, well, I'm just, I'm a poet. I. I drink a bottle or two of wine, and I just write poetry and I destroy my apartment, creating art and stuff like that. So, you know still, even at that point, it wasn't registering as dangerous for me. Until this, you know this really significant moment where after a long day working at a local restaurant, I was like, well, you know what, I really need, I really need a drink. And I was, you know, biking through this farmer's market parking lot here in town and completely blitzed and hit this low line chain, went over the handlebars, hit my head and ended up then. In the hospital for a couple of days, right? Like I had like a skull fracture and a cracked vertebrae and like these really like not great things. And and was pretty banged up as a, as a consequence of how much I was drinking. And and you know, at that point it still didn't register. It still didn't really like kick in. I was like 21, 22. I was like every 20, whether a 22 year old does this, it gets fall down and drugged. Like it flips over their handlebars. And then people around me were starting to say, actually, no, we're not doing that. We didn't do that when we were here. And and you know, I I continued on word. I, I harmed some core relationships and a romantic relationship. I was always looking for, for love outside myself, not really knowing, you know, myself well enough to be able to to, you know, connect to my own spirit, my own my own sense of self. So I was like, how dare you leave me? And like, you know, I was struggling. So you know, that's kind of wrapping up that, that college experience kind of Rocky, you know, not so glamorous. I got into a couple more scrapes and, and you know, I remember this, this last opportunity, right? To finish up my undergrad experience. And you know, this last opportunity was in 2014, I'd already kind of pushed out that timing. Quite awhile. We hear what five, five and five plus of undergrad. And like still no degree getting kicked out a couple of times, drinking a ton. And I, you know, finished up this last semester, went to graduation. I had my name written in the graduation book, but like, you know, I didn't do my finals cause I was like, I was too interested in drinking. So I failed these last classes and and sure enough, when you, when you don't meet the credit requirements, they don't give you a diploma. Right? Like, you know, I was like, there's definitely going to give it to me. No, no problem. Well, yeah, it was a problem. So. Eight credit shy United showed up to my graduation. It all a little bit tipsy. My family was like, how did you get here? I was like, don't worry about it. It's fine. You should drive me home though. So you know, wrapped that up and then, you know, without school getting in the way, I really I really let myself go into some, some. Self-discovery right. Or or, you know, much less self-discovery as like trying to discover some darker parts and darker elements of myself. And, you know, I, I I looked back at that now. Recognizing that I hadn't yet reached a point of desperation. I hadn't yet reached a point of meeting to change or seeing the need to change. And I wanted to adjust a little bit more paint and, you know, I, I know that I kind of jumped right into like, you know, this young adulthood, but to that point, I like been living a pretty comfortable experience there. You know, my, my upbringing was relatively. Comfortable, stable. I never really wanted for anything. My family was intact. So, you know, I was like, well, yeah, sure. But let's just keep the pain coming. So then I found drugs and you know, I, wasn't interested in a lot of drugs. I was interested in, in one drug. I was interested in crystal meth and and I then found myself using that in the weekends, in the off moments whenever I had an opportunity to and continue drinking. So you know, In September. 2015. I, you know, I hit what we would think of as a rock bottom. Right. So, you know, overdosing on this on this substance, on crystal meth you know, doing so much damage to my body, drinking, to access you know, boned me up. Yeah. In the hospital where I also learned at that point, that like, in addition to, you know, those Oprah dose, I would also like had scabies. I also found out that I was living with HIV. So major life moment, you know, it happened there. And I kind of looked around it and I was like, okay, well, yeah, it seems like either I could continue here on this path or. I don't know, like get sober and you know, remembering that my sobriety date is and Nichelle 2016, I wanted to continue just a little bit further. So continue. I did. And and use just a little bit less after stringing together. Like, I don't know, three weeks of of sober time. And you know, one of those was because my mom was staying with me to make sure that I was like, okay. And helping me sort of put my. So had a little bit of career advancement. You know, I'd been working in hospitality for a very long time. You know, finally was in a position that I was like, sure. Yeah. I seem like a great candidate to manage one of your businesses. And you know, this is a group that I'd been working with for for a long time. I started when I was 18 and here I was, you know, 24 ready to, to try to become serious, try to become. So, you know, my, my my 25th birthday rolls around July 21st and like any good alcoholic drug addict, I, I took a few days off work and just went as hard as I possibly could, which then ultimately, I ended up in me losing my job or like, listen, we, we know you, we love you, we see your potential and we can't even recognize it within your right now. So the best course here would be of course, the part ways. And I was like, yeah, that sounds right. So, you know, let's part ways. And it was suggested to me that I seek out some, some treatment. So I got involved with the local. Treatment center and you know, it was, it was really this kind of divine alignment this, you know, this kind of group of people that were in the right place, answered the phone. You know, I called the only sober people I could think of. And I was like, Hey, I don't know if I'm really interested in. I don't know if I'm going to do it yet, but it kind of seems like now is a pretty good time. Right? So I entered what I thought was going to be a five day detox and who knows where on what website? I read five days detox, but you know, that turned into into a three week stay, which, you know, relatively speaking was like super short because everybody else that I was. And this detox center with was like also then going on to three and four month a residential treatment program. Within that same community. And luckily here in Ann Arbor, we have this this incredible rich, robust, diverse you know, community of folks who are in recovery. And I was like, wait, this has existed this whole time. You mean to say that all of those people hanging out outside of that church, smoking cigarettes, or like sober that's wild. I, I had no idea. And you know, in that program, The the, the major benefit there was that in order to get out and not go on the on the van to the four AA meetings a day that we were going out to you, I needed to call people. I needed to get, I needed to get numbers. I needed to grow my circle and find supports to be able to say, Hey, I really want to get to Thursday evening fruits of recovery. Can you pick me up and take me and you know, that was that was something that that I think. Critical to me laying a foundation of strong recovery at that point was growing that community just by by necessity, by needing to so have, you know, somewhere in my, in my house, in my office, I've got like all of my little red books that like have all of the numbers and the listing of meetings. And once in a while I'll pull it out and be like, Hey, I wonder what they're up to. I should give them a call. So yeah, that, that was summer of 2016. And I, somehow I it's like a total mystery to me. I somehow was able to go from the depravity and the complete complete, like soulless existence that I was experiencing to, to something a whole lot fuller. And, you know, it started of course as, as as like something. A little less full something really scary, something that I wasn't sure about. And wasn't even really committed to, you know, again, it's like five days I can do five days. I couldn't remember the last time I was sober days. It was, you know, that three weeks of sober time. But before then it had been years, like, all right, I could probably do five days to three weeks to living in a transitional housing, giving up my. Starting a new job within really like recovery focused and centered and safe environment in another restaurant that focused a lot on on hiring folks in recovery. So, you know, 2016, that first year to July, 2017, I did exactly what everyone told me to do. And I built the foundation of of my life in recovery. Is by the book as I could. And with as many strong suggestions as I could. And yeah, here we are.Steve:
Yeah. And what would, what would you say are some of the positive changes in your life since finding recovery?Jimmy:
Oh gosh. Some of the positive changes in my license, finding recovery just about everyone. So you know, stop me if I go on too long here. Cause it's a pretty long list. You know, ultimately I went back to that organization that they'd been fired from a couple of years later. Like I helped open a restaurant. I managed a couple of other restaurants in the meantime, and then, you know, was able to, to reconnect with with the CEO. And she was like, Hey, well, what are you doing? Do you want to come back? And he's like, I mean, you don't want me back, but yeah, you do. And yeah, absolutely. I'll definitely come back. So I did, so you're not always able to, to reconnect with that tribe. I was able to to form relationships outside of that tribe as well, which I hadn't really successfully done before. Like I was kind of like a loner alcohol. Drug addict like relationships weren't really that important to me. But you know, I was able to get into a a long-term romantic relationship and then, and then close the loop on that and part ways with that romantic partner last year, and a loving, compassionate. Respectful way where now we're still family. You know, I never, again do either of us want to date each other. Right. But like we, we consider each other family. So comparing that to some of the tumultuous, parting of ways that I had when I was messy and drunk and high I. I feel like it's night and day, I didn't even recognize myself in the moment. Cause it was like, oh, I know how to do this. I like, I love this person. And I just, we're just not going to share a bed anymore. So, you know, that's, that was one of the greatest gifts. And then being able to really show up in and be of service to my community, to to, you know, other alcoholics and addicts out there. But you know, also just my community in a, in a way. And kind of broad sentence, like, you know, I, I think the, the strongest summary here is that, like, I was able to really discover myself through my recovery. I think that's the greatest gift. I was able to discover myself, embrace myself, embrace my vulnerability, learn. A whole lot about what what shame is, what emotions are, what what people do on a regular day to day basis, like creating routines and habits. You know, I, I've been thinking a lot this week about how our standards and our habits, you know, Are you kind of like directly manifested in all of the things around us, right. Like, you know, my, my physical body is a manifestation of my standards and habits. So, you know, I know that when I was when I had no standards really. We found like I wasn't going to 8:00 AM yoga every day at that, that wasn't, that wasn't happening. So, you know, now I can take care of of my physical body, of my spiritual self and then be able to share that light with others. Yeah.Steve:
Yeah. And looking back on your addiction, how do you feel your sexuality played a role in it?Jimmy:
Oh, awesome question. So you know, That's that's one that I think is going to take a lifetime to completely unravel. But what I've gotten to so far is is that, you know, I know my. My seeking out value through sex, especially was was one of the primary drivers of my addiction. Right. And, you know, I'm speaking more about my drug use because those environments, you know, like, you know, there are, there are groups, right? That like get together to do all sorts of things that. Probably we shouldn't talk about, but you know, I was, I was like really interested in exploring that and figuring out, okay, well, what does, how does, how does this element, like this interest, these kinks, this this. This sort of a desire, like really play into my life as a whole. And you know, how does that contribute to how I define my, my sexuality myself? So, you know, I think there's this incredible relationship and it was, it was certainly tumultuous and. Dangerous relationship where I was like using substances to kind of do the work. Right. But I wasn't really doing the work. I wasn't, I wasn't meditating. I wasn't figuring myself out, but I was like, I can use these substances to, to figure shit out here. And turns out that's not really the right way to, to do it.Steve:
Yeah. Well, and in terms of finding the right way to do it how do you feel your, your role in your sexuality has kind of settled into sobriety?Jimmy:
Well, you know, if I'm being entirely honest, I had to sort of start fresh. Right. I had to avoid I had to avoid the things that made me uncomfort. To begin because I, I knew that, like, that was a short path to going out. So, you know, now in, in my recovery, I, I'm just a whole lot more shirt of my whole self. So, you know, my, my sexuality is certainly being brought into that in this gigantic way. Right. Like that's, you know, it's not you know, my, my core. Primary quality, but it kind of comes in here in, in some substantive substantial ways. So you know, I guess kind of what I'm saying here is that you had through recovery. I was able to to do some healing around around my sexuality, just as a whole. And you know, I, I had. A couple of comings out, right? Like I came out as gay. I came out as a, as an alcoholic drug addict. I came out as living with HIV. So you know, those things, all all kind of, you know, took Amount of naivete. They took a certain amount of, I think, courage and bravery, of course, and boldness that I was like, I just got to get out here and say it because I want I want to be the representation that I so badly needed. Right. So now living really comfortably in, gosh, my thirties. I I think I entered into sort of this new phase, right? This, this phase of like, well, yeah, the things that were important to me when I was 20 and 25 no longer hold the same amount of weight my life. Does that make sense? Yeah.Steve:
It certainly does. And I mean, I loved watching you recover out loud on Instagram and share your stories, but also see their, how you're a mindset and life coach. Do you want to tell us more about that and how you found.Jimmy:
Oh, yeah. I'd love to, well, how I found it you know, I could have been naturally coaching and, and finding myself really magnetically drawn to sort of like coaching, you know, tricks and leadership. Right. I was like, okay, well, you know, the answer is always inside the individual. So that's going to help me with leading my team. So, you know, I, I had been running. You know, up until pretty recently, a successful restaurant, a couple of successful restaurants and, and, you know, I found that in order to grow as a leader, I needed to to be coach I needed to do strong coaching. You know, with my. Team that reported directly to me, to the team as a whole. So I was like, okay, I can really vibe with this. Like, this is, this is a cool way to look at the world. Right? So what a coach is doing and, you know, the kind of classic. Way of looking at coaching coaching is is, you know, they're building awareness right within the client, within the individual that they're working with. And as someone who needed to build a massive amount of awareness and actually a really relatively short period of time in order to, to live right. I was like, okay, I can connect with this. I, I see the power in this, so, you know, transformative life coaching, and I've certainly benefited from transformative life coaching, like, you know, has, has the ability to change a lot in, and in a pretty short. So that's kind of how I found it. I was like truly listening to a podcast. I'd never heard of a coach really before, or at least not consciously. And and it kind of clicked. I was like, oh, wow. Coaching. Yeah, that seems like fun. So, you know, I started pursuing, working with coaches. I started pursuing a coach certification program through A team that I really respected, you know, it's headed by John Maxwell, he's a leadership and development expert. So I was like, yeah, I'll take this. You know, a certification program and, you know, my coaching practice took a little bit of a hold while in 2020 and 2021, we were closing and reopening and closing and reopening and closing and reopening our businesses. And finally opening my business that I, I was running you know, the that was closed for a year and I was kind of. In the other places around town. So you know, it was like, I don't have time for this. I barely have time to eat breakfast, let alone you know, take clients or be a professional coach. So. You know, after, after a lot of going deep in doing some discovery I was like, okay. Yeah, I think I'm going to, I think I'm going to pivot here. I'm going to take the big leap, build my wings on the way down. And I quit my job, which like zero out of 10. Do I advise that anyone does it in the way that I did. Especially anyone in like early sobriety, not, not like the most integrity full moment, but you know, it was, it was the moment and the right. For me to say, okay, I'm done here. I need to to move into, into this. So I take I take on a variety of of different clients and work with a variety of different people. Some folks in sobriety simple who are, you know, business owners, others who want to learn more about manifestation, right? Like without the woo, because that can be a really intimidating and sometimes off putting topics. You know, there some mindset work there that, you know, we as alcoholics know what it takes to shift our mindset, right? Like that's what we do. We, we take this old broken program and create a whole new program. You know, our mindset. We, we create a whole new way of looking at life of living our lives. Yeah, I think that really played a role in it as well. Had I not gotten sober a I wouldn't have lived to this point. I'm sure that or done so in a healthy, productive way, not behind bars or in an institution. And B I probably wouldn't have found this work that I, now, if I'm so-called.Steve:
That's excellent. And as someone who gives advice or coaching regularly, what's one piece of advice you would give to someone who's newly sober or sober, curious,Jimmy:
one piece of advice for someone who's newly sober, sober, curious. I you know, I'm going to lean into the classic, the trust, the process, because that will serve. Someone who's newly sober or sober, curious or just living and existing in the world. It will serve them for a lifetime because every time that we're getting into a moment of instability or confusion or uncertainty or fear or doubt you know, we can trust the process and the process is not always. It's not always graceful or glamorous or cute or something that we really want to share with everyone, but it's the process. It's, it's how we move forward. So yeah, trust and trust the process. That's it? Yeah,Steve:
no, that's great advice. And in recovery, we generally love our steps, traditions, and sayings. Do you have a favorite mantra or quote that you like to live by?Jimmy:
I, you know, one of my favorite. Prayers to live by is is what the, the third step prayer, so god, I offer myself to be to build with me, to do with me as that will relieve me of the bondage of self that I may bear witness to those in my health of the power. They love that. I remember like sitting in detox, hearing about this third separate and, and needing to like memorize it. Actually, I didn't need, I wasn't even on that step, but like one of my roommates was like, I gotta memorize this. I was like, oh, that seems cool. Let's try it. And you know, the reason that that's something that I live by is that that, you know, that saying to me that if. and I give my all right. If I, if I'm, if I'm giving over the need to control my outcome and, and really control my journey and just trust that there's going to be some guidance and that my, my path will be will be light and my path will be clear in front of me. I can make it through. And then by taking those steps and, and, and being on that journey, I can also I can also bear witness to others. Right. I can be an example. I can be that representation. So, you know, that, that one is really all for me about, about representation when I'm feeling low. And I don't really want to do something if I don't want to you know, show up for. Work or show up for a friend. Like that's a pretty good reminder for me that that I, I kinda got to, right. Like I gotta, I gotta be the example. I've got to be the role model that that I maybe wished I had in some ways, but also definitely had in early. Excellent. Well,Steve:
thank you so much. It was a pleasure getting to know you better, Jimmy. Tell the listeners how they can find you if they want more Jimmy Adams, or want to get in touch with you for maybe some coaching.Jimmy:
Oh yeah. A whole lot more. Jimmy Adams. So on Instagram, that's the easiest way to get in touch with. I think just searching Jimmy Adams mindset and life coach. It should bring it up. My handle is at underscore underscore Jimmy Adams. And if, if that doesn't do it for you. The Jimmy adams.com is my website. It sounds super ridiculous. Be Jimmy Adams. I, it was kind of like the only thing that didn't cost four grand. So I was like, I guess that's it. We'll see. So the Jimmy Adams or firstname.lastname@example.org. Excellent. ThankSteve:
you so much. And thank you listeners for tuning into another episode of gay. You can get in touch with us if you're interested in sharing your story or giving us feedback on the. By emailing email@example.com or finding me on Instagram at gay podcast. All of mine, as well as Jimmy's apps are going to be in the show notes. So you can also scroll up to see those and, but be sure to follow us wherever you're listening so you can get new episodes when they come out every Monday and Thursday until next time stay sober friends.