Welcome to the Boiled Owl Coffee Club!
The Boiled Owl is hosted by Don and Sam, both members of Alcoholics Anonymous who like listening to other alcoholics’ experience, strength, and hope. We both do this often via podcasts and speaker tapes (well, CDs and MP3s) while working or driving. While there are many recordings of speaker meetings, we found locating podcasts a bit more difficult. So…… Rather than just complaining about it (you know we did!), we decided to take action.
We both attend a Saturday morning men’s AA meeting and go to coffee afterward. Sometimes it’s just the two of us, though often it’s several more. The conversation there is always wide-ranging and invariably full of recovery. The Boiled Owl is our attempt to recreate the environment of the coffee shop meeting-after-the-meeting. Since it’s not completely ad-hoc, we have to structure it a bit, but soon the flow of conversation takes hold and it then goes where it goes.
We start with a little banter, introduce our guest, and then ask them a question about why they’re in AA. This one question kicks off the conversation and we chat for 20-30 minutes. We close the podcast with “Ask the Old-timer,” where a question is posed to Don. For our initial episodes, we made up the question. The goal is for YOU to ask a question! Send us your question via email@example.com.
New episodes are posted on the 1st and 15th of the month.
Ways to Listen/Subscribe (for FREE, of course!)
Tell your smart speaker to “Play Boiled Owl AA Podcast.”
- 049 Tyler
- 048 Roberta
- 047 Alan
- 046 Chris
- 045 Amber
- 044 Scott
- 043 Jean
- 042 John
- OMG It's Here Again Holiday Special
- 041 Karen
- 040 Steve
- 039 Molly
- 038 Buddy
- 037 Viki
- 036 Hunter
- 035 Candy
- 034 Josh
- 033 Myra
- 032 Tom
- 031 Judy
- 030 Doug
- 029 Blair
- 028 Steve
- 027 Shandale
- 026 Carol
- 025 Pierce
- 024 Rita
- 023 Hank
- 022 Surgery Special
- 021 Michelle
- 020 Tom
- 019 Nicole
- 018 Charles
- 017 Doug
- 016 Wayne
- 015 Alex
- 014 Wilson
- 013 Mariah
- 012 Randy
- 011 Chris
- 010 Kevin
- 009 Tammy
- 008 Jimmy
- 007 Nathan
- 006 Ches
- 005 Kenneth
- 004 Willie
- 003 Miranda
- 002 Thomas
- 001 Philip
Tyler first got sober at 17. He worked the steps and even started an AA meeting in Wilmington, NC. NCCYPAA was an important part of his recovery. He went back out; it got worse. He was homeless and emotionally, mentally, and physically broken. He went to jail and rehab many times. His father, a drug counselor, asked him to give it one year. He did. He moved to High Point, NC, where he joined NA and worked the steps.
Tyler’s home group is the Awakenings Group of NA in Greensboro, NC. He’s been clean & sober since 11JUL2017.
Roberta got sober in Brooklyn, NYC. Being fired led her to the rooms of AA, an organization she’d never heard of. Her neighbor had just started and told her about it. She’d tried to quit on her own and was miserable. Alcohol was the glue that held her life together. She was a drinker from 18 to 38, with a career that allowed her to drink at lunch. Roberta was in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. She was 15 years sober then and wanted to get drunk – to not feel. The AA community supported her and she stayed sober.
Roberta’s home group is the Greene Street Group in Greensboro, NC. Her sobriety date is 17AUG1986.
Alan went to two meetings at 17, but wasn’t ready. At age 25, he went to meetings for about 2 weeks before picking up a start chip. His attorney suggested AA. In the second meeting, he got hope. He was 12th-stepped as he was trying to “slide out” at the end of a meeting. The “God thing” was an obstacle. A candlelit meeting was really helpful to him.
Alan’s sobriety date is 17NOV1983 and his home group is Summit Fellowship Men’s in Greensboro, NC.
Chris was ordered to go to AA by the courts, but he didn’t need it then; he was just unlucky. 6 DUIs later… He started going to AA again in 2000 and also going out to eat with members after the meetings. He went to AA meetings in a clubhouse and would stay there all day. When he moved, he checked out AA and didn’t feel it – didn’t get a sponsor or go to meetings. He drank shortly thereafter, started over and got a sponsor. He found it harder to get sober the second time.
Chris’s sobriety date is 10JUL2002 and his home group is Radiance in Greensboro, NC.
Amber left her husband for an affair with her boss. Her boss said she was too messed up. She got a DUI and woke up in jail. She found herself drinking and calling rehabs – rehab would look good for court. She found more excuses not to go. She had 2 days in detox and then went to rehab. From there, she took suggestions: live in a women’s Oxford house, get a sponsor, get a network. She jumped into service in Young People in AA. She has a “super-full life today.”
Amber got sober on 15NOV2011 and her home group is Easy Does It in Greensboro, NC
Scott got sober at 40 in treatment. He moved to Los Angeles and his family stayed behind (divorce). It was 2 years before he returned. He called his dealer and asked her not to sell to him, then called her a month later; she didn’t call him back. His early sobriety was in LA, where he went to a meeting at the Screen Actors Guild and saw his old bartender… who became his sponsor. His 9th step to his wife was too soon and without his sponsor’s knowledge. The feeling of connection with his higher power before sobriety grew solid in sobriety.
Scott got sober on 03UL2002 and his homegroup is Summit Men’s Group in Greensboro, NC.
Jean started drinking at 15 and stopped at 45. She was home alone often and her body would scream for alcohol. She drank wine from a coffee mug. She was miserable when her husband was home because she had to be sober then. Her last drink wasn’t her choice. She went to a 28-day program and then a long-term recovery center for 3 months. She went to a meeting daily for 2 years. Speaker meetings were important in her early recovery – “Identify, don’t compare.”
Jean’s sobriety date is 12MAY1983 and her home group is It’s In The Book in Greensboro, NC.
John started with drugs at 13. In middle and high school, his friends could just do weekends but John couldn’t stop. At 14, he went to his first meeting (NA), did 90 in 90, got 6 months and did some stepwork. He tried many other times to get sober, but it never stuck. At 16, he was in treatment for 6 months and got drunk and high within 2 weeks of leaving. He considered suicide for a year and gave AA one more try. His 4th Step was a particularly powerful experience.
John’s sobriety date is 22JUN2013 and his home group is Young People in Greensboro, NC.
What?! It’s that time of year again?!??! Boiled Owl alumni, Alex and Miranda, join us again to talk about the holidays. Hold on, this one’s a hoot!
Reality set in after Karen’s husband left, furthering her drinking. Her first chip was a start-over chip. She didn’t understand sponsorship at first and then got a sponsor at 6 months. Gratitude was a big part of her early recovery. For Karen, Step 5 was public and painful but allowed self-forgiveness.
Karen’s home group is Big Book No Smoke in Greensboro, NC, and her sobriety date is 04MAY1997.
Steve came to AA on crutches, having jumped out of a moving car in a blackout. His first sponsor was assigned to him. He started drinking and using drugs at 11. He yelled at God, cursing him and then got a call from an AA member needing jumper cables. He went all-in after his first meeting and started helping newcomers at 2 weeks. He has a beautiful 12th-Step story about taking the train from work.
Steve’s home group is Serendipity in High Point, NC. His sobriety date is 01APR1989.
Molly just completed another 4th Step and is meeting one of her sponsors to do a 5th Step right after recording this episode. She goes to a jail meeting for women every Monday. A DUI in 2002 led her to getting sober 2 months later. Years before getting sober, she had a boyfriend in AA and, by living the AA program, he showed her what a sober life in AA can be like. A musician, Molly regained access to her talent at about 2 years sober and now is “performing behind enemy lines” frequently. Step 3 and the St. Francis prayer are very present in her life right now, particularly with the current political happenings.
Molly’s home groups are the weekly jail meeting and Women’s Experience, Strength & Hope in Greensboro, NC. Her sobriety date is 28OCT2002.
Buddy was in and out of AA for 6 years prior to getting sober. His alcoholic drinking started in his late 20s. Religion prevented earlier drinking. Drinking saved his life. A major health issue threatened his life and he quit drinking but with no program, he resumed. Ultimately, a DUI led to his coming to AA. He didn’t know anyone who drank like him; in AA, he heard a guy who did. Making amends to his first wife was a big moment in his recovery.
Buddy got sober on 10NOV2008 and his home group is Sunday Morning Sharing & Caring in Cartersville, GA.
We know Buddy through http://www.dailyaaemails.com/.
Viki started drinking at 14 and was a round-the-clock drinker the last year and a half of her drinking. Being unemployed gave her time to drink like that. Her daughter left during her drinking and didn’t accept Viki’s amends; 8 years later, she did.
Viki grew up in church and taught Sunday school. Step 2 seemed to have nothing to offer – she thought she had a relationship with a higher power but didn’t. Step 2 started her looking at her relationship with her higher power and helped her gain a spiritual awakening of the educational variety.
Viki’s sobriety date is 10MAR2005 and her home group is Serendipity in High Point, NC.
Hunter got sober in 1996 in NA but wasn’t thorough on his 4th step. He started drinking again in 2003. In 2006, he came to AA and did things differently. In 2016, he backed off of his meetings, would arrive at the start of them and leave before the end. He had surgery and didn’t take the pain meds as prescribed. He experienced depression, too. He drank for 2 months and came back in 2017. He says he’s stubborn but will take suggestions. Hunter listens to 5th steps at a local treatment center.
His home group is Summit Fellowship Men’s group in Greensboro, NC. His sobriety date is 17JAN2017.
Candy tried going to a psychiatrist to help with her drinking. She was ready to end it all. She stopped for a while and then tried controlled drinking. She hid her drinking evidence from her husband. After going to a treatment center, she followed their suggestions when she left. Step 1 was very powerful for her. She stopped on her 4th Step and was ready to go out.
Candy’s sobriety date is 14JAN2012 and her home group is Step Lively in Greensboro, NC.
Josh first got drunk in 7th grade and chased that feeling until age 25. At the end of his drinking, he was violently ill a lot. That little voice in his head saying “you know you’re an alcoholic” grew louder and louder. Then it was, “You’re going to die. Are you ready to die?” He wasn’t. He called a treatment center and heard the first of many times, “We can help you.” He resisted sponsorship and the God stuff in Steps 2 and 3.
Josh’s sobriety date is 17OCT2000 and his home group is Radiance in Greensboro, NC.
Myra had her last drink in 1988 but continued to smoke pot occasionally over 4 years. A blackout drinker, her life was “pitifully out of control.” Going 30 days without drinking was a spiritual moment for her. At 3 months, she realized she trusted her higher power. In therapy, she found she was “not a big fan of Myra.” She’s going through a tough time; service, meetings, and fellowship are really important.
Myra’s sobriety date is 02JUN1994 and her home group is Language of the Heart in Greensboro, NC.
Tom started getting high and/or drunk at 11 and was a daily drinker in his 20s. He was living with his parents and got sober at 24 when his father suggested he go to an AA meeting. He detoxed for 3 days at a hospital and then went to treatment for 2 weeks – he felt safe there. He got 30 days and then the obsession hit and he drank. Tom had problems with “God” – a power greater than himself – and thought AA was going to trick him into it. Afraid to make amends to his mother, he did it anyway because he loves her.
Tom’s sobriety date is 30AUG2014 and his home group is Young People in Greensboro, NC.
Judy got sober on 01FEB1994. Judy’s mother was in recovery, so Judy grew up in AA. Her last drunk was at a Super Bowl party. She worked in the restaurant business – great for drunks! Her first AA meeting for herself was in Charlotte, where she met with one of her mother’s old sponsees. She moved to Wilmington 30 days later and got very active in AA there. Judy worked the Steps quickly and sponsors the same way. She had a wonderful random opportunity to make amends to someone when she ran into them while they were vacationing in Wilmington.
Judy’s home group is “It’s In The Book” in Greensboro, NC.
Doug needed to take a class to allow him to get his license back. He was arrested between making the appointment for it and going to it. Hearing AA members, he related and wanted to get sober. He wondered who he would be without his character defects. He found it surprising to be at business events an no one cared that he wasn’t drinking.
Doug’s sobriety date is April 30, 2006. Having recently returned to Greensboro, he’s shopping for a home group.
Blair got sober on November 7, 1994, in Binghamton, NY, after being homeless, living in a car, and losing many jobs. He was in and out of jail for misdemeanors and faced a felony DWI charge. He went to rehab and began his journey into recovery. Court-ordered, he went to AA. Dry for a period, he saw AA members modeling what life could be like and it was attractive. He lived over a bar before and during his early sobriety – sold drugs in sobriety, too. He felt he was living a double-life and, at about a year sober, he stopped dealing and jumped into living the program.
Blair’s homegroup is Nighttime on Greene in Greensboro, NC.
Steve came to AA in 1999, but “the fuck-its” would always send him out; justified anger got in the way of recovery. The part in the Big Book about the actor trying to direct the show really spoke to him. Fourth Step work continues to help him see how he’s in conflict with things. Becoming a sponsor was a pivotal moment in his recovery.
Steve’s sobriety date is 18DEC2007 and his home group is Bethel in Greensboro, NC.
Shandale started going to AA at age 24 in 2009. She hid her drinking from her husband and suffered the misery of a secret/double life. She didn’t care if she died. During a hospitalization in 2009, she had a moment of clarity but continued drinking.
Shandale’s sobriety date is 04DEC2012. Her home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC.
Don and Carol knew each other before recovery. She used to steal Don’s beer stash at parties! Her job had free alcohol at national events and a member of management who was in Al-Anon asked her if she had a drinking problem – if she’d like to find out. After a DUI and an adventure getting out of jail, her husband showed her how much she’d hurt him. That was when she had a moment of clarity.
Carol’s home group is Open Channel in Greensboro, NC. She’s been sober since December 11, 1992.
Pierce has a drawer of start/surrender chips. A blackout drinker since high school, he was surrounded by alcoholics and that made his drinking seem normal. His wife got sober – he still drank, but not at home. He had a spiritual experience where “God just snuck in and said hi!”
Rita got sober in Chicago on April 18, 2000. She was a secret drinker who had alcohol hidden around the house. Steps 3 and 5 were pivotal for her.
Rita’s home group is Open Channel in Greensboro, NC.
Hank got sober in Hilton Head, SC, after 42 geographical cure attempts. He saw change/opportunity as it was happening and, when the US Marshals showed up, he was ready. He surrendered and began his recovery in jail with only a photocopy of chapter 5 from our Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.
Hank’s home group is the No Name Group that meets daily at 12:15PM at the YANA Club in Hilton Head, SC.
In this episode, we discuss our recent experiences with surgeries and major medical treatment. Blair joins us for his first time at the Boiled Owl and Doug (from episode 17) returns. Our conversation includes using and quitting pain meds, reminders of what it was like when we were drinking, support of friends in AA, and our experiences of moving through the challenges of these significant events.
Michelle first came to AA with her drug-dealing boyfriend when she was 18. At age 23, she came to AA for herself. Drugs were easier to get while under 21. By 22, she’d quit them and was only drinking alcohol. She was on the verge of losing her dream job. One weekend of drinking checked off all the rest of the lines she couldn’t let herself cross.
Michelle’s sobriety date is 16FEB2001 and her home group is Emerywood Group in High Point, NC.
As Tom’s alcoholism progressed, his emotional darkness grew. A blackout drinker, he would lose count after 2 drinks. Living in spiritual misery, he heard that still, small voice: “You don’t have to live like this anymore.” He needed it to end one way or another. Fortunately, he knew about AA by way of his father. Tom started his AA journey via online meetings and then went to local meetings.
Tom’s home group is Summit Fellowship Men’s group in Greensboro, NC.
Nicole is 10 years sober, having gotten sober at 26. Her first meeting was at age 16. At the end of her drinking, when alcohol stopped working, she might consume two fifths of liquor or get trashed off two beers. She came to a point where she’d rather die than drink. Her son was removed from her during her drinking. She has a daughter who was born in her sobriety.
This episode was recorded in July 2017. When published in December 2017, Nicole gave us a wonderful update: “And btw- my son decided a few weeks ago to come back into my life. I’ve seen him three times already. I’m so grateful!”
Her home group is Easy Does It in Greensboro, NC.
Charles got sober at 26 and is 2.5 years sober. He sought therapy first, thinking it was depression and that 8 or 9 drinks a night was normal. Fear drove him to AA – “How will tonight end up?” Laughter was a big attraction of AAs for him.
Charles’ home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC.
Doug got sober in 1980 via treatment in the Navy. He was a blackout drinker from his first drink and he started drinking at 15. Being career military, he still suffered from what so many of we alcoholics do: “Don’t tell me what to do!” Doug’s spiritual awakening was of the educational variety.
Doug’s home group is Summit Fellowship Men’s group in Greensboro, NC.
Wayne got sober in Panama City, FL, on August 23, 1977. He picked up his first desire chip in December 1969 and then got drunk. In those early days, Wayne was stuck on Step 1 for a long time. Today, he still practices the 10th Step every day. Wayne has helped many people find sobriety through the program of AA. Wayne is currently without a home group. He resides in Greensboro, NC.
Alex started at 18 and got sober at 21. She tried every way to get sober. During detox, she hallucinated, seeing shadow people. She smashed furniture and mirrors. She had a major moment of serendipity at 1.5 years sober.
Alex’s home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC.
Wilson got sober at 17 after 7 years of drinking and using. He went to various schools during his using. He went into a recovery program and, upon completing it, found AA was where he got the experience, strength, and hope he needs. Now he’s over 4 years sober and living a life that’s getting bigger and bigger.
He directed us: “Put in a note that I’m single.”
Mariah started drinking and using at 11. She was forced to go to treatment when she was 15. Her last drink was in 2007. At 3 year’s sober, she finally surrendered. Holding off on amends almost got her drunk.
Mariah’s home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC.
Randy was in and out of AA for 3 years. In his years of drinking and drug use, he had memories and thoughts, but couldn’t put them together – confusion. In a blackout, we was injured in a fight. Desperation drove him to AA. When sober 8 years, he closed his business and moved from Palm Springs, CA, to Durham, NC, where he’s returned to school for personal growth. Randy’s sobriety date is May 29, 2002.
Randy’s home group is Common Solution Group in Durham, NC.
Chris joins us for another boiling of an owl! Drunktionary… Started drinking at 12. Blackout drunk. Sober since 1985. Chris’ home group is Summit Fellowship Men’s group in Greensboro, NC.
Kevin has been around AA since early childhood. He got sober at 17 and drank again at 25. He talks of his experiences with his child, cops, hospitals, treatment, surrender, and what works for him now.
Kevin’s home group is Easy Does It in Greensboro, NC.
Tammy stayed drunk all day as a single mom, losing her house and job. She experienced long blackouts. She was a daily drinker who started at 16 and quit in her late 30s. She shares about her powerlessness and making amends. Tammy is married to an AA member.
Tammy’s home group is Bethel in Greensboro, NC.
First sober in 1997 and then again in 2008, Jimmy tells of his first period of long-term recovery, relapse, and return to long-term recovery. He hid his relapse well until he had to ask for help. Prescription medication treatment for anxiety led him to ask why he should keep going to meetings. Eventually, he drank.
Jimmy’s home group is Free Spirit in Greensboro, NC.
Alaska to Connecticut to North Carolina, Nathan, a priest, shares what it was like and how he got sober. Nathan’s home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC.
Ches went to lots of meetings when he started and experienced a notable change early on. He also speaks of cleaning up financial wreckage and his favorite prayer. Ches’ home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC.
Our guest, Kenneth, talks about his recovery in AA and how general service is a big part of it. He knew early on he was an alcoholic. We speak about drugs – outside issue? Kenneth was in a major accident in his drinking days.
Sobriety Date: 02JUN2000
Home Group: Inside Out, Wilmington, NC
Sober 40 years and all of them in Greensboro, NC, Willie not only has lots of experience, strength, and hope, but he also knows lots of local AA history. Willie’s home group is the Summit Fellowship Men’s Group in Greensboro, NC.
Miranda tells us of her journey to AA and her life as a sober mom. Miranda’s home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC.
Thomas tells us of his journey to AA and of his sober life as a young person. Thomas’ home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC.
Philip tells us of his journey to AA and what his life of double-digit sobriety is like. Philip’s home group is The Way Out in Greensboro, NC. Philip refuses to believe Don’s story about the size of that Big Gulp.