JeannaItoday’s episode, we have something really special. [00:01:00] I’ve heard it before, and in fact, when I first heard your story, all I wanted to do was come up and talk to you and have a conversation and share [00:01:15] how I connected. Can you tell the audience what this talk is about and what we’re going to hear today?  

Vince: There was an event back in September of 2018 at a place called [00:01:30] Common Ground in Daphne, Alabama. It’s a 12-step meeting house. The event was called “The Family Afterwards.” It was an all-day event with a bunch of family fun. There were an Al-Anon speaker and aAA speaker [00:01:45] that were there to tell their story. I was invited to tell my story as an AA speaker 

Jeanna: I wanted to say part of the reason we wanted to share your story and stories like yours are why we’re doing the podcast. What happened to me was that I connected with it, [00:02:00] and I saw myself as not quite such a bad personnot quite such a mess on Wheels. It’s because I was able to hear your story. I did not hear this particular talk, I but I did hear [00:02:15] another one like it, and these stories are so important for our recovery. So, what are we going to do? Are we going to just jump on in and listen to the talk?  

Vince: Yeah, we’ll start that. But before we start, I want [00:02:30] to say that you and I both have a very strong opinion that when it comes to that we need to honor the tradition that when it comes to press, radio, TV, and podcast that we remain anonymous in AA [00:02:45], and we tap dance all over that with this talk. We try to mention 12steps instead of AA as such, but this is an AA meeting, and by no means do I want to put myself [00:03:00] out there as a representative of anything about AA, but we’re going to do it because I think it’s important that people know who we are and our stories. Let’s kick this thing off.  

I am an alcoholicVinceMy name is Vincent, and I am [00:03:15] an alcoholic.  

I’m going to tell my story a little bitI’m going to invite you to read between the lines because I’m going to endeavor to be entirely appropriate, [00:03:30] and if you say is he talking about that, go, Yeah. 

January 14, 1994, was the last time I had a drink of alcohol, so I’ve been sober for a little over 25 years. I drank [00:03:45] and drugged for a long period of timeI’m very alcoholic. I love cocaine. I was also a band directorjunior high and college band director, and did that for a bunch of years. [00:04:00] That’s kind of my background. I lived a double life as an alcoholic and drugger while getting up and being an upstanding teacher. In fact, in the [00:04:15] heyday of my use, I was the drug-free school coordinator.  

Don’t do what I do. Do what I say do, right? [00:04:31]  

I lived that dichotomy, that split, my whole life. In fact, I was very comfortable with that because of what happened to me as an early child. My first memory is of my daddy’s best friend abusing me in the most [00:04:46] insidious way that I know is possible, and that shaped the rest of my life. I was never ever the same again.  

It reminds me of Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty [00:05:01] had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  

I never was able to put myself back together after that time. My egg was cracked from that moment on. There were [00:05:16] several other incidences that went on, but from that time, it was like I was a boiled egg, and somebody took a spatula, and the pieces never fit againAt that time, had to start splitting off parts of me [00:05:31] because it was the friend of one of my caretakers. My caretaker was also a rager, so there are all kinds of abuse, and I’m not saying that this is the only kind of abuse, but it’s the one that had [00:05:46] the most profound effect on me. Because of that, I had to split off parts of myself. couldn’t live with the reality of what happened to me. Because I had been introduced to a subject before I was physically, spiritually, [00:06:01] mentally, intellectually, and emotionally ready to deal with it, I was robbed of some of the most basic innocence that a person can have, and so I had to start splitting off parts. 

[00:06:16] One of the first things I did was repress that very deep in my mind. I had to gloss over it. It became a glossy ghostie image of feelings, the horror of the terror that went on. As I grew up, [00:06:31] I found myself in ways that I did not understand because I had repressed it. I acted totally inappropriate, and that caused problems for me. 

I was introduced to alcohol when I was about 20 years old. I mean I drank [00:06:46] a little bit before then, but my daddy was so tight on that, I didn’t lose control. When I was grown up and got out of the house, I got introduced to alcohol. Alcohol was the fuel that I needed, alcohol and drugs. When I poured alcohol on my core [00:07:01] base problem, I did not give a crap. It didn’t hurt. AI’ve heard people say, I could dance. This insecurity and this stuff left. I felt like I could be human. Drugs felt the same way. [00:07:16]  

As I grew up and got married and did all the things that I did, when all these inappropriate type behaviors would jump on my back like a monkey and I became in conflict, I’d pour liquor [00:07:31] on itand Katie bar the door. That behavior spiraled out of control.  

You hear people in the room say they are real alcoholics. My friend, Fred, back there says he’s a mild [00:07:46] alcoholic. Well, I like to say I’m a fake alcoholic. Alcohol is not my primary drug. Neither is drugs for that matter. I have another primary modality of acting [00:08:01] out from that time period 

When I got into treatment, I was introduced to the fact that I could not drink or drug anymore because when I did, I lost the ability for me to control my brain, [00:08:16] and that was not a good thing. It was a slippery slope. Any morals or values or anything I had did not matter.  

Trauma and the alcoholicMy first wife had enough of my behavior. We went to a [00:08:31] therapist, one of the best in that particular fieldhstudied with Masters and JohnsonHe’s big deal. I got introduced to my problem. I got introduced to some of the early childhood memories of what went on and how [00:08:46] I was affected and why I did what I did. That worked. It worked to the degree that I understood that I had a problem, that it wasn’t my fault, and that the emotional issues that came up were because of that incident. I was also told to get involved [00:09:01] in 12steps. All of them. 

Like most of us do, our ego returns after about three weeks or six months. Things got so much better, and I did not need a 12-step program or AA. During that [00:09:16] time, a lot of the need to drink had gone away, so I was doing pretty good and decided to go back to college and work on my Ph.D.  I did, and I almost got that, but I got a job at a local college where the music [00:09:31] department was about ready to shut down. They had 11 music majors. In the two and a half years that I was there, I promoted our work. We had 67 music majors to start a band program where none existed. It was awesome. It was sounding good. [00:09:46] I was starting to make a name. Things were starting to go well, but because of that deep core shame that I felt because my Brian had been smashed and all the pieces did not fit together, because of that deep core shame [00:10:01] I had, I couldn’t handle it, and I sabotaged it with a student that was there, a young lady. The president had an exception with that, and I got fired.  

went to treatment [00:10:16] again with the lady that saved my life. You just heard her talk. She’s got 50 years and moving on. I owe that lady a lot for what she did for me. She said you got to go to AA meetings. You got to go to Al-Anon. [00:10:31] Iit’s got an A in it, get your butt to the meeting, so I did. This time I was willing. If she had told me to stand on my head in my undershorts on Government Street, I would have [00:10:46] done it.  

I got into the 12-step program full-fledged. I remember in the intake she said, “and you need to go to a meeting a day. Now here I am, 40 years old sleeping on my mom’s couch, don’t [00:11:01] have a job. I’m depressed. I can barely lift my head up, and she says, you got to get to a meeting day. And I said, ain’t got time.” The delusion was alive and well. You don’t have time. I don’t have time. Yeah laugh, [00:11:16] but soon was going to 11 to 15 meetings and when the wheels start wobbling on the wagon, I go to a lot of meetings a day. I’m going to a lot of meetings today because of what I’ve been through the last year and a half. 

A lot of people want us to get up here at this “Family After and say, Yeah, AA. [00:11:31] Everything’s great. I got sober. I made a lot of money. I got a beautiful wife. I got a big home. It doesn’t always work that way folks. The last year and a half of my life have been the hardest that I’ve ever had to face. [00:11:46] What I’ve learned is even with all the therapy and the feelings and all that sort of stuff, I could not change my behavior until I joined this community of AA and other groups—until I join the community, [00:12:01] until I worked the steps. Working the steps was the key.  

In my 25 years here, I’ve worked with a lot of people. We kind of gravitate togetherthose of us who have these same problems. I’ve had a lot of people [00:12:16] that I have worked with have had this problem. One of the things that I know, and this is why my story that I just told fits in with “The Family After.” This is why it’s [00:12:31] an inside issue. This is not an outside issue at all.  

Chronic relapsers 

Becoming alcoholicI’ve never run into one that I’ve worked with or that I’ve seen other people work with that did not have an issue of childhood insidious [00:12:46] abuse. I’m not saying all because I haven’t worked with all of them. I’m just saying all of those that I have worked with. Its this Insidious abuse that happens at this core development that smashes us, that keeps our brain from working [00:13:01] correctly, and that causes a lot of us to turn to alcohol, drugs, and to all kinds of stuff, and the real Insidious nature of this and where I am. 

What has to happen is these feelings, and [00:13:16] if you haven’t had this you don’t understand this. At Alcoholics Anonymous, we laugh a lot because we got these people who tell us, Why don’t you just stop drinking?” If I could just stop drinking, I wouldn’t be here. wouldn’t have destroyed my life. [00:13:31]  

It’s the same thing with these feelings and these memories and this that grips you from out of the deep part of your soul. It grabs you and is all over you before you even know that it’s there. It’s affecting the way you feel and the way you think [00:13:46] and the way you relate to others. It isolates us from ourselves because we split off. It isolates us from others, and it isolates us from God. We have no one, and we’re by ourselves, and these feelings overwhelm us. 

I heard somebody [00:14:01] the other day refer to us as free bleeders. I get that, but to tell us to quit feeling, to quit remembering, to quit doing that is like telling an alcoholic, Why don’t you just quit drinking.” Can’t give away what you don’t have, [00:14:16] and if you haven’t had it, it is tough to understand why we do what we do and why we feel what we feel. We drink and we drug, and that takes our Humpty Dumpty brain and makes it worse. The fact that we got a few pieces glued together, in [00:14:31] a way, when we started drinking and drugging, that glue gets real weak and real wobbly and their egg really starts coming apart.  

Iwe’re going to have any chance of recovering, we have to stop drinking and drugging and doing [00:14:46] whatever else that we’re doing. Whave to stop, but here’s the problem and why we’re chronic relapsing. These feelings are overwhelmingThey come out of nowhere. They smack you upside the head. They hurt. You feel like you’re going to [00:15:01] die if you let them catch you, so you have to run as fast as you can. You have to run because you can’t let them catch you because they are going to kill you, and we just took away our main tool to deal with themdrinking and drugs.  

Whave to quit drinking and drugging to [00:15:16] deal with these painful memories and get what we need, but they overwhelm us. The only thing we know to do is drink and drug or cut or do whatever we can doact in, act out, anorexia, bulimia. There are all kinds of ways that people [00:15:31] smarter than me have tied this type of abuse that happens. Most of it, this is what’s insidious, most of it happened within the family.  

I’m not making that up.  

Our most guarded precious caretakers [00:15:46] who love us and whose job it is to make us feel safe and loved and kind are the very ones that are violating usThis is an Insidious family disease that keeps on giving because of the nature of what was done and because we have Humpty [00:16:01] Dumpty brains. We just do what was done to us. This chain goes all the way back. 

I know stories about my father, about my grandfathers. My great-grandmother took my grandfather and dropped him [00:16:16] off at an orphanage because she was a prostitute and could not take care of him. It goes back generations. We create alcoholicsdrug addicts, and anorexics within our family. [00:16:31]  

AlcoholicWhat do we do? We have this conundrum where alcohol is our main way of dealing with these feelings. You take that away and the feelings overwhelm us, so we drink and drug again over and [00:16:46] over.  

We have to stay sober long enough, so the feelings return, and then we have to be with somebody that knows us, loves us, accepts us, lets us free bleed [00:17:01] if we need to, and that won’t fix us. Someone that won’t shameus that’s done the work. Somebody else who has been there a little bit ahead of us who’s done the work. If we can work with those people and we can tie into a community where [00:17:16] we can stay away from drinking and drugging long enough for our brain to really and truly heal itselffor Humpty Dumpty to come together again—if we can do that, there is recovery.  

I am recovering. [00:17:31] I don’t act the way I used to actI’m not the same person. I have a message today of hope and of love, of grace and forgiveness, but I had to be willing to feel these feelings and deal with [00:17:46] this insane thinking. I had to give myself enough time away from alcohol and drugs and other stuff to allow that to heal. The only way I could do that was to plug myself into a bunch of great people that loved me and would hold my hand and shake [00:18:01] their head. And whatever I do, don’t go back to drinking and drugging again because you got to start over. 

What happened to us is not our fault. [00:18:16]  

Iyou’ve been doing this long enough you develop a certain empathetic sense. I can just see it in people. I can walk in, and within just a few minutes looking at them and seeing the pain and seeing what goes on, I can just look at them and know. [00:18:31] I’m sure they can look at me that way. 

You don’t go over and rip the thing off because A. you can be wrong, and B. that’s not the way to treat thisIt is so deeply shamed that it has to come from within. It can’t be pulled from without. I’ve had to have professionally trained crisis [00:18:46] prevention therapists to help. This is not a problem that just 12steps alone can help. I‘ve had to have therapy12-step, and community to deal with it, but it’s not my fault

It is my responsibility to recover. As an adult, [00:19:01] it’s my responsibility. Nobody else’s, and nobody can do it for me if I’m not willing to do the deal. Over and over in my life, I chose instant relief over deep healingover recovery. [00:19:16] Every time I make that choice, it hurts. At the end of it is desperation, hurt, pain, and depression. I have to be brave enough, and that takes people holding my hands, to have the courage to recover. You can [00:19:31] cure, and you can break the cycle that’s being passed on from generation to generation by our caretakers.  

The thing that I like to tell my people when I talk about feelings, feelings is like a visitor [00:19:46] that knocks on the door. You can play quiethope they go away. You can put a few more locks on the door. You can run around and go to the liquor cabinet and get drunk, so you won’t have to open the door. But the feelings are going to be thereand it’s going to knock, and it’s going [00:20:01] to knock louder, and it’s going to knock louder. You’re eventually going to have to go over and open that door and let the feeling in. 

Here’s what most of us do. When the feeling comes in, we invite him to sit down. We asked him if is wants a glass of tea and a sandwich, [00:20:17] and we spend a lot of time with it. That’s not the purpose of feelingsYou have to invite the feeling in. You have to Look it in the eye and say welcome. There’s a back door. Thanks for coming.  

I have found that when I invite the feelings in and take a [00:20:32] look at them, when I let them bring to me whatever message it is that they have to bring, that when they hit the back door, there’s some mystical, not magical, some mystical healing that gets left behind. Something changes. [00:20:47] Something heels. If I keep that feeling locked out, it doesn’t happen. It has to come in. It has to tell me what it has to tell meAnd it needs to get its butt out just as quick as possible, but not before it leaves the gift behind. 

A lot of people in this disease [00:21:02] say it’s nothing but memories, and you’re making it up. Well, we got a Humpty Dumpty brain, and it’s all foggy. And yeah, we might conglomerate two or three different events and put them into one. God blessed. I was a five-year-old. [00:21:18] I was five years old. You expect me to think and relate like a freakin adult. Five years old.  

It’s not the memory that’s important. Is this horrible terror, this overwhelming terror that we feel. That’s what we have to [00:21:33] deal with. That’s what a lot of us can’t control. 

Before I close, I want to thank the committee for asking me here. I know I’m not your usual AA guy, and I know people have feelings when I talk, especially if your singleness of purpose kind of person, but I believe with all [00:21:48] my heart that this is what I’m called to do by God. This is my mission in life to tell this story, to tell on the abusers that abused me, and tell you all that there is hope. There is relief. 

There was a lot of faith by this committee put into me, and it humblesabsolutely [00:22:03] humbles me. All of this has happened in my life because of what I’ve done. It’s given me purpose. You all see Vince living his purpose being able to share what was done to me and what I’ve done and how I’ve healed and how I can help others heal. [00:22:18] This is my purpose, right here.  

Everything that’s happened to me is the sum total of who I am today. I am not perfect. I’m a Marshmallow with a porcupine outside. I’m ridiculous, but I’m really pretty happy with how this Humpty Dumpty [00:22:33] has turned out. Thank you for your attention.  

Jeanna: Well, here we are back and Vincewhat a great talk that was. [00:22:48] How does it feel to be so vulnerable?  

Vince: It doesn’t feel good at all. I struggle with that every time. Over my 27 years of being involved in this, I’ve told my story probably [00:23:03] 30 timesat least once a year or something for a while. Sometimes twice a year, and always feel afterburn. This is the first time that my story is going out there in the podcast. Different people that are not [00:23:18] necessarily in that room are going to hear it, so it feels really vulnerable that scary, but there’s healing every time we tell those storiesevery time we talk about that.  

I always get a lot of positive feedback, [00:23:33] but it always feels scary. And there’s always, well, I wish I had said that, I wish I hadn’t I said that. You have to remember that the feelings and stuff are what’s important, but some of my memories and some of the stories that come out of my family and stuff, sometimes you think, I wonder if that was true. Should have said that? Should have told that because it affects more than just you, but [00:24:04] it is what it is.  

Jeanna: Yeah, and it’s healing for more than just you. There’s a lot of healing that goes inside when you tell your story, but on the outside, and that’s what I was talking about before we heard the talk, I made that [00:24:19] connection with you. There was some healing inside of me, as well, being able to listen to you talk and to you being so vulnerable. When I heard you tell your story the first time, all I kept thinking was, [00:24:34] Wow, how brave is that? I was early in recovery, so I hadn’t heard too many stories at that point. I’d only been to a couple of Friday night meetings. I heard you were going to speak and made sure to be [00:24:49] there because I wanted to hear your story. Then was floored after I heard it by how honest you were about what had happened to you and your past.  

VinceWhave to be with all of this stuff. There’s that saying, [00:25:04] we’re as sick as our secrets. In the 12-step rooms, if it’s not safe to talk about it there, where is it going to be safe?  

Jeanna: Exactly.  

VinceThat’s part of what you and I are trying [00:25:19] to do here—to help people that are sponsoring people. You don’t shut them down, right? But it’s scary to let somebody go that way.  

Jeanna: I have a couple [00:25:34] other questions that I want to ask about the talk. I’d like just a little further explanation in the talk. You mentioned that you were a fake alcoholic. Tell us about that. What do you mean by that?  

Vince: I am [00:25:49] such a sarcastic soul. Stuff comes out of me sideways sometimes, and we hear people say inside the room, I’m a real alcoholic. [00:26:04] had a lot of problems because when I first got into the rooms my primary problem was sex addiction and drinking had not been a problem for me for a [00:26:19] while. I got in the rooms, and I needed help. There were a bunch of AA meetingsmore than there were any other kinds of meetings, so I was going to a lot of them. [00:26:34]  

Being new and not understanding a lot of the stuff that was going on, I probably shared too much in those early meetings. There were a lot of people that basically tried to shut me down. I had to learn how [00:26:49] to kind of go underground with some of that. There were other people that would help me out, but there was this real singleness of purpose with AA, and they [00:27:04] always refer to themselves as real alcoholics. It made me feel unwelcomedthat maybe I hadn’t earned my seat.  

Then I ran into the tradition that said the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. [00:27:20] That was important to me because then I realized they couldn’t run me out because even though alcohol had quit being a really big problem for me, I knew that I could never ever drink again because to drink was to break down what little bit of control [00:27:35] I had over the impulses that were going on in my brain and that would be the doorway, the threshold, leading back to my other problems. Then I learned how to live my life without alcohol, and it got to be much more fun. 

[00:27:50] I never ever felt like a real alcoholic, so in a very sarcastic way in those meetings, I like to say I’m a fake alcoholic because if we’re going to have real alcoholics, then that must mean we have fake alcoholics. If you feel like a fake [00:28:05] alcoholic, keep your butt in the seat. Don’t let them run you out because the only requirement for membership is a desire to quit destroying your life. Nobody owns [00:28:20] the meetings. They belong to all of us even though we try to take possession of it. So that’s why and it’s just me being passive-aggressive thumbing my nose at them. Nanny [00:28:35] nanny. Poo poo. You can’t chase me out.  

Jeanna: Well, I think it’s important to identify that it’s okay to be in the rooms as long as you want to [00:28:50] quit drinking, That’s the important partIt’s not how heavy of an alcoholic you are or how light of an alcoholic you are. We hear that too. I’m a level one, or I have a high bottom. What does that mean? Are you a full-on [00:29:05] alcoholic? Then I hear I’m a real alcohol. When I first heard that statement, I thought well, what am I part alcoholic because I didn’t identify in the way that some people in the room do.  

What [00:29:20] I did identify with was that I can’t afford to drink anymore, and this is helping me, so I’m going to keep coming back. It was really important to feel that way. I fit the [00:29:35] term which was that I had a desire to stop drinking. So that’s awesome.  

The other question I want to ask you, and I wanted to point it out because this is a lot of what we’re talking about with the [00:29:50] podcast. It’s in our mission statement. That is there’s a connection between trauma and chronic relapsers. You mentioned it in your talk. Can you tell me a little bit about that? 

Vince: Yes. Trauma, [00:30:06] as I have worked with people that were chronic relapsers, I think a lot of it is because I talked about my childhood sex abuse some. I make that known because [00:30:21] I think it’s important within the rooms that people know what you struggle with, so they know where to go to get help. Who’s had some success with that. The ones that I have worked with a lot had some form of childhood sex [00:30:36] abuse, and then as we go, we find some people trauma period from childhood and [00:30:51] all kinds of trauma. I have a really dear friend of ours who as an adult was raped in one of the military services. This is in adulthood but it’s real intense trauma. [00:31:06]  

Just like in AA, as I mentioned in the talk, we’re told as drinkers just stop drinking. Sometimes those real deep feelings we get start percolating again, [00:31:21] and we’re told, don’t feel them. Just do this or do that but don’t feel.  

When we stopped drinking, drugging, cutting, and acting out—overeating, undereating, [00:31:36] whatever we do to deal with the pain in our lives, when we quit doing that, our primary tool of dealing with that is gone. I know in the case of [00:31:51] drinking and stuff, we get going for about 6 months or a year or so, and if we do not develop coping mechanisms or ways to deal with that pain that [00:32:07] bubbles up from with inside of us, eventually we get to the place where we return back to the last tool that worked for us which was drugs and stuff.  

We keep those secrets. It’s so locked up inside of us, and we don’t talk [00:32:22] about them, or we hook up with people that tell us not to talk about them. We will eventually turn back. Also, we have to learn about how to talk about them because I found that sometimes just revisiting [00:32:37] them as they come back up re-traumatizes us. It makes the trauma worse. Sometimes as a sponsor I recognize that this person really needs professional help, something beyond what I can give. I’ve been there. [00:32:52] I’ve done that, but that doesn’t mean I’m a professional We have to get into a place through professional help and stuff where we can revisit those memories and those feelings without its re-traumatizing [00:33:07] us. It’s in the telling of those stories over and over again. If we don’t retraumatize ourselves, then it gets better. 

JeannaRight?  

VinceWe need professional help [00:33:22] to get past that sometimes. Then after that, we need communities of people that go, Yeah, me too. I’m here. I’ll listen to it again. In fact, after you tell me what happened to you, I’ll tell you what happened to me. OI’ll go first.” Then we learn [00:33:37] that it’s okay and that it’s just feelings and that we don’t have to retraumatizeThat’s what I want to do in this program is bring in other people to tell their stories. I got so many friends and so many wonderful stories about their abuse and stuff and what they’ve [00:33:52] done and how they quit re-traumatizing themselves and their path out. I just really want to give a voice to that and then help sponsors who are dealing with that who might not [00:34:07] have that experience to know that it’s okay. 

[If you are looking for a community of people who struggle with trauma and addiction, join me on my Facebook group.]

JeannaI think this is so important. I’ve heard the statement if you want to find a trauma survivor, go to a 12-step meeting. They are there, but we’re often not [00:34:22] allowed to talk about that, and not everyone wants to hear it. I think maybe some of it is that people are afraid of being triggered into remembering their experience, but [00:34:37] it’s one of the places where we need to be willing to be free to talk about it. You sometimes say the message is in the mess. 

Vince: Yeah, we hear a lot in there to share the message, not the mess. [00:34:52] I like to say, but what if the message is in the mess? I understand a lot of that and the details and stuff can certainly be done one-on-one. But if we don’t talk about this some, you don’t know, especially when it comes time to tell our stories. It’s a real trick bag, [00:35:07] and I don’t know everything, but I do know that a lot of what I’ve done, people have come up to me and say they got help.  

JeannaThat’s specifically what I mean. I felt pulled to you after the first time I heard you speak. I felt pulled to you because there [00:35:22] were so many things in your story that fit with my storynot exactly but It was enough that I was drawn to you. That’s what’s important about identifying yourself, not that everyone [00:35:37] should have to identify themselves, but when you identify yourself, when you’re willing to do that and to be vulnerable, then you are going to help someone else. You are going to.  

Vince: I feel so strongly about what you just said, Jeanna, that this is the reason I’m doing [00:35:52] all this. It’d be a lot safer if I just went quietly into that. Good night or whatever that poem is. This is my purpose, my calling, and I’m going to risk the criticism and [00:36:07] whatever comes my way because somebody might get helped. [For more about what we do, visit our home page.] 

JeannaThat’s an absolute connection. I used to talk about it—not a lotbut I exposed myself when I was teaching English. I had students who would want [00:36:22] to talk about it, and I talk about it with them without going into too many details, but you know that me too,” it’s okay to talk about it. 

VinceIn the rooms, especially during this time, we’re right in the middle of a pandemic. [00:36:37] In our meeting rooms, we’ve been losing about one or two people a month to either suicide or drug overdose or whatever. It’s important that we get help, that we break the secrets, break the stigma [00:36:52] and help us come together and know that we’re okay. That we’re going to get this, and we’re not by ourselves. I feel so strongly about that. Well, we’re definitely out of time on this one. 

JeannaHey Vince before we go, I want to [00:37:07] ask our listeners to go ahead and subscribe on their favorite podcasts listening platform, so we can get the word out and more people can hear our stories.  

Vince: And the other day I Googled “Back Porch Chats,” [00:37:22] and I found us, so you can just Google and find us on different platforms, Back Porch Chats. Share with your friends. This is so exciting.   

Jeanna: Yes. That’s about it, huh? [00:37:38] That’s about it. All right. We’ll see you guys next time. 

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