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June 15, 2024 10 mins
A PROGRAM THAT OFFERS FREE VODKA AND BEER TO HOMELESS ALCOHOLICS IN SAN FRANCISCO RECEIVED BACKLASH RECENTLY BY THOSE WHO QUESTION THE LOGIC OF FEEDING THE ADDICTIONS OF THE CITY’S DOWN-TRODDEN. WE SPEAK WITH ERVIN LEE,  FOUNDER OF A FAITH-BASED RECOVERY PROGRAM CALLED “FROM BEER TO THE BIBLE.”
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(00:00):
You're listening to American Medicine Today,presented by the Benati Spine Institute, featuring
internationally acclaimed inventor of the Benati spineprocedures, Alfred Benatti, MD. Once
again your host Kimberly Burmel Benati andco host Ethan Yuger. Welcome to American
Medicine Today. I'm Kimberly Benati alongsideEthan Yucker and world renowned orthopedic surgeon doctor

(00:22):
Alfred Benatti. So a program thatoffers free vodka and beer to homeless alcoholics
in San Francisco received backlash recently bythose who question, you know the logic
of feeding the addictions of the city'sdown trodden. Joining us to discuss as
Irvin Lee a man who knows athing or two about addiction and how to

(00:44):
overcome it. He is the founderof faith based recovery program called From Beer
to the Bible. Welcome to theshow. Thank you guys for having me
on to address the suppressing copy itis now before we actually get into your
store story, what were your thoughtsabout hearing that San Francisco was really planning
to give away alcohol to addicts?Well, nothing really surprises me. Anymore

(01:10):
about California. But I think theprogram itself is reckless, careless, and
unloving, because why would you givea person something that ultimately you are keeping
them in bondage to their addiction andcan ultimately lead to their demise. Absolutely,

(01:30):
and I'm going to look at mynotes here, it's estimated to cost
the city of San Francisco five milliondollars a year to manage alcoholism. Seems
like those funds could be used ina better way for say, actual treatment
and things of that nature, ifthey truly want to help the homeless and
the alcoholics. I agree with you, and I would say there are three

(01:52):
pillars that that money could be usedfor. One is prevention, the other
is treatment as you mentioned, andthen after care ongoing for those who have
suffered and recovered from drug and alcoholaddiction. I mean, as somebody who
has seen it firsthand, just howterrible substance abuse problems can be. I

(02:13):
mean, it doesn't make any sensethat the city would say, hey,
if you got a problem, comeon in, and then I don't know
how they're going to Not only isit not going to help these people get
any better, but a lot ofthem are just going to be like,
Wow, this is amazing. It'slike open bar. Anytime we want,
we can just walk in, pourourselves a beer, grab a shot of
vodka. Again, it's San Francisco, So I should expect nothing less from

(02:38):
Gavin Newsom and all those people outthere. Lucy Well, the thing that
I would say that it adds noreal value and part of recovering and getting
help for addiction, I know thiswell, is the ability to surrender and
say I need help. But ifyou're feeding and keeping me addicted, why

(03:01):
would I ever want to seek sobriety? Where's the motivation in that? And
the thing that really really upsets meis I look at it and as I
say, where's the compassion and where'sthe love in that? My goal is
to love God and to love others. That means all of the people who

(03:23):
exist on planet Earth, including thosewho are addicted to drugs and alcohol,
they need our love, our help, and I support more than most people.
Now, why don't you tell usmore about your story? Because you
really had it all. You hada great career at a fortune five hundred

(03:43):
company, prospering business, happy marriage. How did it all go downhill?
Well? I found myself with whatone would consider the American dream. I
had a business, I had time, I had resources, but I was
missing in my life was I feltlike the world lied to me. They

(04:03):
tell you, if you get thesematerial possessions, if you live in a
certain neighborhood, you'll be happy.So I found myself with everything the world
promised, and I was void.I was empty, I was depressed,
and I was without purpose. AndI like to say it this way.

(04:25):
I had time, resources, andno God. And that's a horrible place
to be. And I literally juststart to destroy myself through drinking. And
I mean walk us through sort ofyou know, the beginning of this,
because what I understand you actually thebusiness that you owned was a liquor store

(04:46):
chain, not saying they're mutually exclusive, but that had to have fed into
how you became such a heavy drinker. Am I right? Yes, I
would say so. But most ofmy life I have been in the beverage
alcohol industry. So up until threeyears ago, that's the first time I

(05:10):
did not derive any income from thesale, marketing, and distribution of alcohol.
So I was always around at whatI really didn't know and understand that
I was already predisposed to alcoholism.They estimate that about sixty percent of your
predisposition to alcohol is your family genetics. And I had a grandfather who was

(05:33):
an alcoholic. So alcohol really becamethe substance that I would use whether I
was happy, whether I was sad, if I had a good day,
argument with my wife. It waswhere I found my comfort. It was
where I found my joy. Andyou're supposed to find those things in My

(05:57):
belief is in Jesus Christ. SoI was fine being those things in alcohol.
And then I'm gonna tell on myself. I love to sin. I
love sin, I love partying,I love hanging out, and I love
womanizing. And alcohol made it easier. It numbed my conscious and a lot

(06:17):
of that stuff that so called funstuff that the world promises that will bring
you pleasure ends up actually doing moreharm. And what you don't see is
all the consequences that comes along withthose fleeting moments of sin fun. They

(06:38):
actually turn into pain consequences and itsfears, your soul, your mind,
you will and emotions, and alot of people fail to realize alcohol is
a depressed So I became depressed.So here I am sitting in the house,
I got a business, I gota beautiful wife, and I found

(06:58):
myself wanting to die. I actuallyasked the living God if I could have
death, and his reply was quickfasted in a hurry. He said,
no, I don't give death.I give life, and I need you
to get up. So I gotup, and I spent thirty one days
in treatment. And the reason thatmy wife and I started the ministry is

(07:23):
kind of twofold one. As Igot into twelve step recovery, I realized
that a lot of the agnostics andatheists had taken that over. And I'm
a firm believer in Christ, asI mentioned, and my wife also had
such a problem trying to identify theresources available to addicts and alcoholics. So

(07:47):
we sat out and said, afterour struggle trying to find a treatment center
a counselor, that we didn't wantanyone else to go through what we went
through to get me into drug andalcohol treatment. It actually took my life
forty eight hours to locate a treatmentcenter, and it shouldn't be that way.

(08:07):
And our goal is anyone who reachesout to us, we want to
get you within twelve to twenty fourhours. We want you walking into a
treatment center to find the relief thatyou need and the recovery. Yeah.
I think when the government starts strippingGod from the country, that's when free

(08:30):
for all's happen and there's no consequencewhatsoever, or at least that's what they
try to tell people. And youhave lived that harsh reality. Now you
talk about a spiritual sobriety kit.Can you delve into what you mean by
that. Yeah. When I gotto treatment, the amazing thing to me

(08:50):
was the twelve Step Recovery book didnot come with all the additional money that
I was paying, so you hadto buy that separately. And what happens
with a lot of people when theyget to treatment, they're at the end
of the road. They don't haveany money, or they have very little
money. So you've got to buyyour own Bible. You've got to also

(09:13):
provide your own toilet trees, andyou've got to buy the AA twelve step
book. So part of our kitis we put all of that together for
anyone who comes through our program sothat you have that. And then the
most important thing was my wife actuallytook my money and my credit cards when
she checked me in so I hadno money to buy snacks, which was

(09:35):
a humboly in experience for me whena guy had to lend me a few
dollars to buy me some chips andsoda. So we also provide those items
in our sobriety kit as well.Well. I think it's a tremendous thing
that you're doing, trying to helppeople really break addiction instead of feeding it

(09:56):
like they are in San Francisco.Thank you so much much, Irvin Lee
for being on the program and yourrecovery program from Beer to the Bible.
Okay, thank you guys. Well, that wraps up this segment on American
Medicine Today. Make sure you checkus out anytime anywhere on our streaming app.
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