One of the greatest gifts of my early sobriety was when I first heard Bob Earll speak.
I was sitting at my friend Mike’s recording studio in Calistoga. Mike recorded and sold for money other 12 step program seminar tapes, and he played for me the first Bob Earll cassette I ever heard. Wow what frankness and honesty.
Getting to sobriety was slightly different for me than it was for most people. I started going to therapy before I got sober. The only reason I got sober was that my therapist said she would no longer see me if I was still drinking and using.
So I was dealing with issues in therapy that weren’t being talked about in the rooms of AA. This was 1987. So when I first heard Bob speak, I finally knew that I wasn’t alone. Some of my friends who I had gotten sober with were giving lip service to the family of origin issues that I was talking about in therapy, but most of them did not want to delve into them with any depth. I didn’t particularly want to either, but I didn’t have a choice. That’s what was coming up for me from my unconscious. I was forced to deal with them because I no longer had the medication that I had used to suppress them.
So when I heard Bob speak about the abuse that was perpetrated on him and how he had a hard time not projecting it out into everywhere else he went, I felt like I had a brother, or a father. He felt more like a brother because he didn’t act like he was anything different than the newcomer who just walked in the door. I think by the time I first heard him he had like 20 years of sobriety.
So the quote that I used to open this post is the motto that I am working towards living by more every day. It is not easy when you live a life of hiding and not telling the truth all the time to tell the truth.
When you tell me your truth then I have permission, whether consciously or unconsciously, to pursue mine. To go where I don’t want to go. I don’t particularly want to be almost 27 years sober and starting over again. That’s where I am. I cry as I say this.
But when I hear my dear friend from high school tell me that their children are having to go on drugs to make it through the day then I have a responsibility to try to do something to help them. I don’t know what it is and I don’t believe that I can do it, but I don’t have a choice anymore. My road has become so narrow that I can only do what I was put here to do or I will die.
There are many of my friends who have been sober for a long period of time who every day weigh the cost of continuing on because of the pain that they experience psychically. We can’t be the only ones who are struggling like this. It’s just easier for us to notice it because we have the commonality of “recovery.”
Quotes by Bob Earll. The talk which is quoted here is available at