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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

New episodes are posted on the 1st and 15th of the month.

Ways to Listen/Subscribe (for FREE, of course!)

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.

Wilson’s is active in two home groups: The Way Out and Young People, both in Greensboro, NC.

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.

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