About Me

Hi, I’m James Q. I got sober on January 15, 1982. When I get time I’ll tell my whole story here, but for now, here’s a little info.

I was about 13 or 14 when I started drinking. Shortly after I started smoking pot. Then came everything else that could get me high. The feeling number outers. My dad was an alcoholic addict, as were my older brother and one of my older step-sisters. Jack Daniels and beer were my regular friends, and I had lots of drinking, drugging adventures (jails, mental hospital, foster home, boarding school, etc.).

I was a pathological runaway and liar. Slept in abandoned houses, alleys, bus stops, unlocked cars and other seedy places. Blacked out and woke up in weird places with weird people doing weird things. Even woke up in my vomit once and almost suffocated. That was stinky. By 20 I was a wake and baker (those of you with that habit know what I’m talking about). Did I mention I was a dealer and thief too, I was.

In January of 1982 I got sober but didn’t really enter the rooms of AA for 7 years until my brother overdosed on heroin. He lived, and it was a visit to his hospital that brought me into AA. White knuckling it for 7 years left me hollow and miserable, a phony and fake, with no fellowship or support system. A dry drunk, with nothing to help me numb out my feelings of despair.

My whole world had been built on a faulty foundation, it was time to tear it down and start a new foundation with the help of AA. This started in 1989. I got a sponsor, worked the steps, got sponsees, went to meetings and, and many other good AA’s do, I became a two-stepper (I’m powerless, screw the rest of the steps, let me help others). As such, after being sober for 15 years, I still found myself struggling to make my relationship work with my wife. You see, sobriety and AA wasn’t enough to make me into the loving husband my wife wanted to share her life with.

In 1997 I claimed my seat in Al-Anon -thank God, because I would need it when, in just a few short years, my wife got sick of me and filed for divorce. Working the Al-Anon program with my now recovered brother, while on a surfing trip in Ixtapa, Mexico, allowed me to find my part, make amends to my wife, and ask for a second chance, whereby I asked for her help in trying to learn about intimacy (my brother calls it “Into Me You See”). Al-Anon literally saved my marriage that time.

So things started to get better, but I still was desperately searching for emotional and spiritual sobriety. In 2002 my wife and I had an argument. During the argument she told me that perhaps I should work a program. I told her “I am 20 years sober, what are you talking about”. She laughed and said “Okay Mr. 20 Years Sober Man, tell me what your program is?”. To that I stuttered, “My program. My program. My program is… I don’t have to tell you my program. You’re taking my inventory!”. She simply said “I thought so”.

That was the turning point for me. I was determined to get a program so she could never say that to me again. That also was the point at which I began to find emotional and spiritual sobriety. Today I love my life. I yell out “I LOVE ME LIFE” every morning after I get off my knees in prayer. I love it because I work it almost every day of my life (I’m sure not perfect and do miss a few). I have this spiritual backpack that I take to Starbucks every morning. I take out my journal and all my books and go through them. I try to send out spiritual spam every day to everyone who has asked to receive it. It’s a quote from something I read that inspired me that day.

I take the action. I clean house in my journal and trust God. As a result I have the greatest life I could ever imagine. So guess what? I’m going to keep working this program. Growing it and growing me, one day at a time. Thanks for reading my story and I’m grateful to be on this road of recovery with so many wonderful people!

31 thoughts on “About Me

  1. WOW!!

    James, I’m proud to call you my sponsor, Friend and Brother in Recovery.

    Just checking in to tell ya, I love you bro.

    Thank you for creating this site and for the spiritual spam.

    Tarpon Springs FL

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    • Phillip, I’ve had the great gift of being in your life longer than anyone else in AA other than Mike M. It’s me who is honored to be your sponsor and on this road of recovery with you. You are truly and inspiration to so many in AA – keep on shining the light bro – love you, James

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  2. Dear James,
    What a suprise to have discovered this wonderful website that you have. I’m really excited to have found your guidence in my spritual recovery. Looking forward to many good things to come. God Bless.

    Sincerely,
    Nic S.

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  3. James- Like many others, I want what you have. Thank you for the direction you have given me. I love you & I love my life :)

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    • You’ll have to tell me a little more about yourself. Just reply to this and I won’t post the reply. If you include an email we can communicate that way. :-)

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    • Aloha Rose Marie. I’m guessing from your user name you’re a woman. I’m sorry I don’t sponsor women, but I’m happy to pass on any help I can give you. Not sure where you’re from but I might be able to put you in touch with some great women sponsors. If you would like, send me the area or city you live in (not the address please), and a contact email, and I’ll try to help. Also, I won’t publish this info on my blog. Have a great day, and I apologize for the late response.

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  4. Wow! Great testimony… I am relating a lot to your story. I have 5 days shy of two years clean and I have gone to less than a hand full of meetings. However, I have a standing agreement with a close friend who is still using (heroin) that as soon as she is ready to quit, I will help her detox at home; rather likely a hotel. Despite not having gone to meetings, I want to be prepared for my friend. I love her so much and do not want her to fail; so I know somewhere in me that working the steps is necessary for lasting success. In your introduction to one of the worksheets, you offered to supply a Big Book if I could not afford it. I really would like to be fully equipped next week when this rapid detox takes place. I need something to distract her with and to also set her up with a mindset of positive progression. Please get back to me. Thank you.

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    • Aloha… Firstly regarding the Big Book. Many meetings offer them free of cost, and if you have trouble finding one, just respond back with your address (I will not publish it), and I’d be happy to send you one. You can also get it free online at http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/ and the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions is free online here http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/. Being sober now 31 years I have spent some time away from meetings. In fact, I went to only a few meetings during the first 7 years of my sobriety – and I can tell you from personal experience: I will never do that again. Working the program alone is not nearly as rewarding, from a life loving standpoint, as working it with others. It’s easy to see lots of differences in meetings, and get bored by others shares, and judge them, but the more spiritually healthy I am, the more I can hear the good stuff in the shares, and see the wonderfulness in the other drunks around me. Plus my ears are open to the secrets I often hear which I can apply to my life in order to better love it. I encourage you to try to find great meetings close by, perhaps smaller more intimate ones, where you can get to know those around you, and when you walk in the room they call you out by your name and make you feel welcome, a part of the group, and are truly grateful you are there to share your life with them. Lots of magic happens for me in meetings – especially in the men’s stags. Now, regarding your assistance in helping your friend detox. This is really an AlAnon issue. I’m not sure if you’ve attended AlAnon at all, but it’s a great idea for anyone sober, in my opinion. They say to try 7 different meetings before deciding if AlAnon is right for you – that was important for me to hear in the beginning because there are quite a few AlAnon meetings where I didn’t make feel welcome – rather I felt like the bad Alcoholic they were talking about. But eventually I found an amazing meeting, and AlAnon has been instrumental in helping me have successful relationships both with Alcoholic/Addicts, and the rest of the people in the world. AlAnon teaches us boundaries – how to stop doing those things that cause more harm to us and others, and when to separate from toxic situations (if possible, with love). The principles in that program are the ones I use in my interactions with others. I hope I’ve helped in some small way, and I apologize for not answering you sooner. I only recently remembered I had this blog. I’ll be more attentive from now on. James.

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  5. Please sign me up for spiritual spam!! debbiej277@gmail.com. I have been on your site for 2 days now. It is so awesome and such an inspiration. I just made 2 months. I live in a really small town so it is really amazing to get other insight and here what others in different areas have to say. If you can recommend anything else to me online, please load me up with an arsenal!! Thanks DebbieJ

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    • Ok. I’ll send you some sites I use and suggestions. I think you can sign up for this blog and will get notifications in your email. My spiritual spam is from my iPhone on group text so I would need a phone number. But it’s pretty much the same as what I post – sometimes the posts are longer to this blog. Us if you’re not on AT&T I think that the spiritual spam texts are broken up – kind of irritating ( bit I guess people handle it as they haven’t asked to be removed). Here are a couple suggestions:

      Stay in the center of the pack. Choose seats in meetings up front.

      Share often but keep it relevant to the program. Share a problem or experience, how you applied your (limited) knowledge of the program tools, and how that helped you. This is the essence if experience, strength, and hope.

      Get phone numbers of those who share and you like their sharing. Don’t be shy. Call them. Call at least three members of the program every day and ask how THEY are doing. Thank them for taking your call. This is the essence if service.

      Read at least one sentence from the big book and 12 & 12 daily. Journal every day and ALWAYS write a gratitude. Gratitude is a great insurance plan to stay sober.

      Get to a meeting EVERY day if possible.

      Exercise everyday, endorphins help you stay grateful and a healthy body helps your mind stay healthy.

      Thank the speaker at every meeting, even if the line is long. It shows respect and appreciation to them and builds self-esteem for you.

      Roll out of bed in the morning and don’t let your soles touch the floor. Get on your knees. Thank life or God or anything for another day of life. Take a moment to appreciate all you have, your sobriety and your aliveness.

      Insist on loving your life. Say “I love my life” out loud if possible as often as you can, regardless of if you do or don’t. That simple affirmation has changed my life.

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  6. Hi. Recognition is the first step to recovery. In this case, the goal is to recover and love in a way that makes you and those around you feel great. For me, it’s a reality most of the time. Of course, there are moments of relapse – when I speed in the car, get angry, say hurtful things, live in fear or regret, etc. however, as a result of havering and working a program rigorously and consistently, those moments are only blips in a life that is predominantly well lived and well loved. Being able to pull this off is the definition if success to me. It’s centering my life on spiritual principles – which our program talks about. Regarding sponsorship, although I sponsor some men as far away as the Phillipines, it wouldn’t be my first recommendation. My best suggestion is to have you contact me at my email and let’s see how I can help share my experience, strength and hope with you privately. We’ll see where it goes from there. I do believe, not that you’re both aware of what’s up and willing to change, that some direction and consistent action will help you start loving life and becoming the person you want to be. Send me your contact information and I won’t publish it on the blog. That way I can get in touch with you directly.

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  7. To communicate with me privately just send me your contact information and I won’t publish it on the blog. That way I can get in touch with you directly.

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  8. Thank you so much for this website!! I heard your sponsee Richie share in Newport last night and really heard my story. I am 7 years sober with sponsees and commitments and no real connection with anything bigger than myself. I feel very lonely most days. So I am reworking the steps with a new sponsor and going to integrate the “spiritual backpack” into my daily routine. I just ordered the literature I did not have, so now its just time to crack open the ones I do have and start digging! I will keep you updated on how I am doing.

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    • Your welcome. My experience is that by committing to the type of step work I do, and staying consistent on a daily basis, I have experienced a life beyond my wildest dreams. My levels of discomfort have gone from years to months to days to hours to just minutes now. Because I read so many motivating spiritual and program books about gratitude, my brain yearns to be there. And perhaps most importantly, I recognize discomfort when it appears and take action to get immediately back into gratitude. This is my recipe for loving life so much. Welcome to the life lovers club!

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    • Thank you for saying that. I’ve been giving this work to my sponsees and sending out these types of texts for years and finally just took the plunge and started putting it on a blog. I’m grateful to hear from you and others like you that it’s helpful. Have a life loving day!

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  9. Hi James,

    Thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope! I love your site and just downloaded all your step forms. I was at one time 16 years sober but…..my relapse lasted 4 years and I am now just over 5 months sober. I’m on a pink cloud again and loving sobriety and AA. What a gift, God’s grace. I’d love to be a recipient of your daily messages…how do I go about receiving them? Thank you again for all you are doing to help others.

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    • Congratulations on your recovery and I’m so pleased my site is helpful. I send out my spiritual recovery texts (which are also posted here) to people from my iPhone through a group text program. If you’d like to send me your phone number I can add it to my group list, and I’ll be sure not to approve it to be posted on this site. Have a great day!

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    • Your welcome! Glad you like it, great full for the chance to be of service and be a conduit of the good stuff – definitely ribs off on me!

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  10. Hello James, God Bless You for this site!! It has helped me in innumerable ways ~ you just cannot imagine. After having a good 11 years in AA, with what I thought was a good program, my life blew up in my face after 9/11. I stopped going to meetings a year later. Now, just a short 6 mos. ago, after being suicidal in sobriety (not fun being a dry drunk with no relief in sight except the thought of death) my life has taken on new meeting. After picking up a white chip for coming back to the meetings, I just recently celebrated 22 yrs. of sobriety time. I am blessed that I didn’t pick up during those 11 yrs. of dry drunkenness, God indeed had (has) my back because I sure as heck did not. Thank you again for this site. I use it daily in a variety of ways. It has given my structure, instruction and help in my new way of life. May God bless you in all ways….

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    • Grateful it’s made a difference for you. I can tell you that writing these blog posts makes a huge difference in my life. This helps me continue to carry the message and be of maximum useful service to others. Have a life loving day!

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