My Story for the 34th Time

July 20, 2022 marks thirty-four years since my last drink, so in the spirit of sobriety anniversaries, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my recovery story. It’s a story I’ve told many times over the years, but each telling is a little different as I continually gain additional insight and learn from my past. In this talk, I don’t spend a lot of time on my drinking years, but tried to focus more on my experience in recovery. Thirty-four years is a lot of time to cover, but I was able to break it down into three phases, each lasting about a decade.

During the first phase, AA was the center of most everything I did, and much of my time was spent with friends in recovery and activities related to AA. I call that my abstinence and stability phase. I stayed in that phase a little too long.

In the second phase my focus shifted to setting and achieving life goals. I think of that as my purpose phase. I wish I would have started that phase earlier in my sobriety.

My relationship with AA changes during the third phase. I also start podcasting and I become interested in the wider world of recovery outside of AA. I call this my post-AA recovery phase. I am happy and content with this phase and I love having the freedom to be me.

Thank you for taking the time to listen. I hope you were able to relate to my story or found something useful in what I said. This podcast means everything to me, and I’m grateful to you for listening and for being part of the Beyond Belief Sobriety community.


00:00 Introduction
02:27 Growing up in a military family
04:10 My mother’s mental illness
05:23 Feeling afraid of my father
06:18 Not feeling safe.
06:51 My first experience with alcohol
07:51 My first time getting drunk
08:41 Drinking becomes a problem
08:58 My mother’s suicide
09:32 Drinking accelerates
10:40 My recovery in phases
11:32 Early recovery “The Big Book Years”
13:16 My father’s death motivates me to set goals
14:32 Finding purpose
16:40 Living more of my life outside of AA
17:28 Questioning my beliefs
19:10 No longer comfortable in AA
19:14 Learning about agnostic AA groups
20:25 Starting a secular AA group
20:56 I want to make AA more inclusive and modern
21:14 Started AA Beyond Belief website and podcast
22:37 Burned out on AA service work
23:12 Recovery beyond AA
25:41 New attitude toward the 12 Steps
28:45 No longer a member of AA
30:03 Building a community around the podcast
32:50 Conclusion

Many thanks to Soberlink for sponsoring Beyond Belief Sobriety. Visit Soberlink at for more information.