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February 1, 2024 33 mins

Elliot's journey from the depths of addiction to the peaks of recovery embodies the very essence of transformation. Join us as we follow the footsteps of a Restoration House graduate whose tale of reconnection with his family through sobriety and divine grace unfolds. During our conversation, it became evident that trusting a higher power and the recovery process enables one not to cope with life but to engage with it. 
 Elliot illustrates that our most significant challenges often serve as the path toward aiding others. His beacon of hope stands tall, affirming that every story, every voice, has the potential to ignite hope and mend broken spirits.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome back to Unpolished Recovery.
My name is Trey.
Most stories of recovery startwith how bad addiction was, how
they entered recovery and howgreat life is now.
That's a polished story.

Speaker 2 (00:12):
My name is Chris.
I'm your co-host of UnpolishedRecovery.
Our guest today is named Elliot, which I'm excited that he was
able to come back and visit withus.
Just to kind of set the theme.
Elliot's a graduate ofRestoration House.
He has transitioned on his own,still continues to work a
program involved in the recoverycommunity actually sponsors

people in our program too, so Iwas really excited when he
agreed to do it.
Elliot, do you want to kind ofjust tell us a little bit about

Speaker 3 (00:47):
Well, my name is Elliot.
I'm originally from Charleston,south Carolina.
I got here in Nashville I'mgoing to just go ahead by way of
North Carolina.
That's where I had moved to andstuff A little bit of myself
Went to college.
I've been married a couple oftimes, I have a daughter, a son,

and I have four grandkids, andtoday they're all in my life and
I owe all of that to the graceof God and the fellowship that I
attend, which is AA.
And then I got to definitelylet you know that coming here to

Restoration House andgraduating and going through
this program gave me afoundation to where it allowed
me to just not exist.
But I live today and I liveclean and sober and I enjoy it

to the fullest.

Speaker 2 (01:53):
Well put.
We live today, so you would.
Actually I have the luxury.
Like most guests, I know thestories before coming in.
That's why we use people that'scome through Restoration House,
because we have just anabundance of wonderful people
with amazing stories justovercoming just terrible times

and all the stuff.
But I met you in the DavidsonCounty Jail.
How long did you attend classesthere before you came here?
Was it a year?

Speaker 3 (02:23):
It was almost a year.
Yeah, I did 365 days in jail.
So when I got the opportunityto get an application to come to
Restoration House and then gothrough the BRIC program, I
started and heard your story andjust attended those classes and

It really just set a foundation.
One thing that happened thosejournals.
I remember I'd ask you could Iget some, and stuff like that.
And I continue.
I've got like three notebooksnow.
So that's been a big part of myrecovery and just an

opportunity just to let go.

Speaker 2 (03:10):
Well, I knew the first time I met you, when you
first come in our basic recoveryclass, you chaired that.
You had been in recovery, youwere familiar, had some success,
just made some.
But you could just you cannever predict what someone's
going to do.
I won't say that, but you cansee defeat in someone Like

you're one of those guys like Iwant this to work.
Whatever I got to do, I'm allin and since day one you're
asking for extra stuff.
You were looking inward insteadof outward and I could see the
fire in you.
But getting back to where soyou'd worked a program, for how

long did you stay clean?

Speaker 3 (03:54):
I've been in and out for years.
I've been.
I'm an addict and even though Iwent through my process of
getting clean and sober throughAA I just tell people I'm a
straight addict but whateverworked and that worked for me
because I heard my sponsorsspeak at a meeting, you know,

and we just clicked.
And so I've been in and out, inand out.
This last time I had about two,a little over two years clean.
But I'll tell you this rightnow, with, like, I got this gift
of desperation this last timeand what I realized now and then

is like, deep down inside, Ialways knew I was going to use
again, I was putting up withfront and stuff.
So this time I really said aprayer, I said God help me.
And things just startedhappening.
You know, meeting you being inbrick, coming to restoration

house, falling the rules to thebest of my ability.
It wasn't always easy.
Yeah, I got a dart one time,but I knew full fact that
regardless of what happened, Iwasn't going to put no drugs,
alcohol in it.
So I started learning, you know, and I realized that.
You know, I used to hear peoplesay this years and years oh,

the drugs and alcohol, ornothing but the symptoms and I
was like really I got a problem.
But then once I got in recovery, like this authentic recovery,
I understand that I medicated onsome things that was deep down
inside that I wasn't willing tolike look at.
And that's me.
So, you know, working with mysponsor, working through the

steps, and then after Icompleted it, it was like man, I
wanted to give back.
So, getting sponsors continuegoing to meetings, doing service
work with my home group, and myGod, it just like showed up and
showed out.
You know, the promises sayswe'll be amazed.

Before we're halfway through,I've got some stuff like right
off the bat.
And what I realized today,chris, is that you know, when I
pray, you know I come from achurch background.
My parents were PK, so I wasalways talking man.
You could pray anywhere.
But for me today it's adifference.

When I get up in the morning,the first thing I do is I get on
my knees, you know, and it's adifference between just praying.
You know I'm, I turn my willover to the care God every
single day, because I know meand I, even though I'm clean and
sober, and so I still- haveissues, you know.

But I realized today, Chris,that I do not have to drink a
drug over nothing.
You know what I mean.
And so one of the greatestgifts is that gifts of
desperation, but just to be ableto show up today in people's
lives, that I love and love me.
It's amazing man I'm talkingabout like truly amazing.

Week after last, my son is 17years old, chris.
I had not seen him since he waslike one and a half.
I flew out to Orlando, florida,and watched him play in this
I'm talking about the first day, the first game, the first game
about five minutes.
I'm hoarse and stuff.
He had his bags packed.

He stayed with me the wholetime and man, god, just like you
know, restored that with me andhim.
It's like man, that's amazing.
So, you know, in the same thingwith my daughter and my
grandkids, we talk every day.
They call me grandpa and I'mlike, wow, you know.

And before I got here toDavidson County, man, when I got
locked up because of warrantshere, man, I was living down the
bridge in Charlotte, northCarolina, drinking and smoking
crack every day for years.
And so, you know, I tell peopleat the time it's like look, it

If you work it Today, Iunderstand what that means.
You know I used to be like whatare they talking about?
But it's like getting a sponsordoing the step, work, um, and
developing things that when lifeshows up because it does, it
I have tools, I have thingsthat you know, I rely on.

I trust God.
I talk to my sponsor every day.
Y'all taught me that, havingsponsors, I just don't want to
be talking and, yeah, I want toshow them living it, you know.
So that's very big and that'swhy, you know, when I met you, I

was just like wow, I alreadyknew that, like we just clicked
because, like you know, somepeople say the spirits or
whatever, but you know, real,recognized, real, and so it's
just been an awesome journey.
Things that are going on with meman, like Friday.

Normally I work on Fridays, butI'm not this Friday.
I'm going to get my licensehere in Tennessee.
About a month ago I was comingout my Saturday morning meeting
and the gentleman was likeElliot, can I talk to you?
I was like sure, he's like man,I just love the way you share.
You've always like encouragedme.

I see you out here working withSponsies.
He said well, I'm about to gobuy a new car.
And he was like I just feellike you can use it and God told
me to give you this car.
So he gave me a car.
So I'm like, wow.
So, man, that's just, I call itmy blessing car.

And you know I had it, but Irefuse to drive or do anything
until I got my license.
And you know I just wanted to,I will, I'll do things.
That's right today, you know Idon't try to be sneaky and stuff
So, um, that's something newfor me too, man.
So you know life is great and Idon't take no, I mean, I know I

put in the work, whatever, butif it hadn't been for God, I
mean, you know, I gotta plugthis in with restoration house.
My mother was a preacher and andin her things she would always
talk about restoration.
So when I first got here, whenI told my siblings, I said y'all

never guess what the name ofthis place is.
It's called restoration.
And I was like, wow, so I havea older sister's got like coming
up on 21 years, clean, she'slike into recovery, she's a
clinical psychologist and shehas a Side business to helping

Is called restoration, one-stop.
So you know, um, I'm justeternal grateful.
I tell people like I'll neverSay nothing bad about
restoration on, and I won'tallow other people to say it
because let's like Y'all gave mean opportunity, y'all gave me a

chance to come here and like,um, get a foundation, the
bridges and stuff.
I was like, wow, that reallyHelped me.
And I tell people all the timeto really get a program of
recovery, if you, buck, or youhave a problem with the

spiritual side, you really haveto let go and let God you have
to find, did people say, a power?
I'll grade it in yourself.
And that is so true because,like I Don't think the way, I
think no more, and I don't whatto say y'all have.

When I go through my feelings, Idon't let what I feel dictate
what I do today, mm-hmm.
And so you know, when I gotback from Florida, I had a
situation with my son's motherI'm talking about awesome time
just like priceless and justthat quick man, a double
shoulders head, and like Iwasn't perfect at the time, I

Snapped and I was like whoa, andthe first thing I did was call
my sponsor.
Well, the second thing I do iscall my sponsor.
First thing, I was like Godforgive me, and then I made
amends, even though it wasn't myfault, but I took this
It's like you know what I'm notgonna allow what God has for

good, because of my attitude orwhatever.
It's like you know I have nocontrol over people, places and
things today, and I trulyunderstand that today and that's
that's a blessing to.

Speaker 2 (13:11):
I'm one of those guys that struggle with the
spiritual aspect.
You know that.
You know I knew best.
You know, and it worked outjust wonderful.
I'll tell you that now 20, somefelonies, but today, like just
being that concept that hey,there's a force out there that's
not limited by my imperfection,my defects, who's fully capable

of running the world, don'tneed my help.
You know, I used to fightagainst that, but today I'm like
well, I tried to run the world.
I wasn't really good at it.
You know, I didn't havequalifications, but it's a load
off today that I don't have tohave it figured out.
You know that I have a higherpower that Runs the world.
I just have to do my part.

Show up every day, you know, dothe things that it takes to
continue to be humble.
Keep that fire, thatdesperation.
I think that's one reason why Iconnect with you.
We kind of similar, you know,wish we had got this one.
I know it but you know we had alot of lessons and research to
do, but that we had experiencedsome success.
We seen the stuff that we weredoing, work, but we were just

missing that desperation.
I tell everybody that's themagic ingredient.
That was why I got it when Idid is because I finally got
desperate enough to Be open tosuggestions, quit trying to
figure it all out Listen, peopleknew better and then just
practice some basic steps, goingto meetings, and then I'm old
country boy, I don't fix stuff,it ain't broke right, it's still

I'm gonna keep doing it becauseI I can't afford to take any
chances with it anymore and youknow, you know, you just always
been that guy like you alwayshad this slide about you.
People see it, you know, andthat's why I was glad our
Finally, because I know you'rea hard worker and Did you have
questions right?

Speaker 1 (14:59):
Elliot, I'm well just to let you know where we're at.
You've worked out of the orderof our typical prompt because
you went straight in and told usabout the the joys of life
today, and I'm really, I reallylove hearing that.
So I'm curious what'snoticeably different about you
Because I'm guessing that youhaven't always had this joy

about life, noticeably lovingwhat your life today.
What's different now?
Or like, or can you tell usabout like, what was the Elliot
that we don't know?

Speaker 3 (15:37):
I have had people in my life like significant others,
like some of the names, thatElliot, old summer been large
bear the Elliot, that was like IWould use the word scurvy.
I was a liar, a cheater, amanipulator, couldn't be trusted

I Hurt people and Today IUnderstand that.
First of all, everything I wentthrough it wasn't for me, it
was because God knew I canhandle it.
So I know that everything Iwent through is to help someone

Today, and the most notablething that's different, um, I
show up today.
Um, I Wow, that's a goodquestion.
It's just like I don't want thepain, no more.

That pain is like, ooh, likewhen I told y'all I lived under
a bridge.
I'm talking about like livedunder a bridge with rats and
stuff and coming down thatbridge from under it, thinking
that was normal, that thedisease and the lifestyle had me
like really confused and I'vealways had people that I was

like man.
I tell them I'm homeless andthis and that and like really,
and like you know.
So I started having to believein myself and that came from
trusting God and then trustingthe process and so forth.
You know, my sponsor alwaystell me it's like you know, I

only just stay out of God's way,you know.
But well, don't you know?
So it's just when they talkabout a simple program for
complicated people, I know whatthey're talking about.

Speaker 2 (17:39):
Fair enough, we got a program full of that.
This one clue to the guy.
But you know, I think when youtell that stuff, the word that
kept popping through my head isfreedom, very old Freedom.
You know, one time we thinkwe're free because we're doing
whatever we want, you know, butthis is responsible freedom.

That's what I hear when youtell those things.
You're free to feel, but youdon't have to react to it.
You're free to make a positiveimpact.
I tell people all the timenegativity is contagious.
Yeah, you can count on it.
Positivity is contagious too.
It is, you know, and I have todecide every day who am I gonna

And I believe all that stuff wehad to work through it, you
know, and I know you have,because you worked a program as
Is that that wasn't who weintended to be?
Mm-mm, definitely not.
Today we're closer to who wewere created to be.
This is the real us.
It's still a process of gettingto know that, I think, for all

of us.
I think there's plenty of, likeyou said, life happens.
They don't need your permission, you know, but we can get
better suited to take, you know,the punches and being able to
get through it and stuff aroundit or running through it.
So you know, I've seen thegrowth in you but like when you
come in, you were ready.
You never gave up.

You know one difficulty Cause.

Speaker 3 (19:03):
One thing I know is the enemy don't when you ain't
gonna let you walk away free andclear.

Speaker 2 (19:09):
No, it's not.
You know, I've learned that inmy life.
That's why I know I'm doingreally good is when the
hospitals come the.
You know it's living contraryto the world that we lived in
before and I believe we'rebetter suited today to take
those challenges.
So you know, I just I talked tosomeone in my class today and

he reminded me of you a littlebit.
It's just weird.
You know you come today howthings work out and I said I've
got somebody I want you to meetwhen you get out.
I think you're gonna be able toreally connect with him.
I said you know up to youwhether you in him, whether you
wanna ask him to sponsor you,but I think you'll see exactly
where you're coming from.
But he was a guy similar, youknow, a smart guy.

He didn't end up in addictionbecause of lack of intelligence
or moral fiber, you know it.
Just the city we learned tostart dealing with life, with
chemicals and.
But you know I'm so glad thatyou're working with some of our
guys that I want them to catchthat desperation and you know,
the fact that you're not here.

you were here about nine months,10 months, and then you know
you transition and, if you don'tmind me saying, like your
roommate's in recovery too andyou kind of you know, still
actively involved.
What would be so if you had toget it down to just a quick list
, like the things?
You're not in a program anymore, you're living life.

What are those key things thatyou have to continue to do on to
keep this momentum going?

Speaker 3 (20:41):
Okay for me.
I'm always saying this first,trust God.
I go to meetings on a regular.
I continue.
I like if I get three meters aweek, I'm like, oh, I continue
to call my sponsor.
I pray every day.

I journal every morning andnight, I read like the big book,
I read the Bible and they gohand in hand with me.
You know I get involved withservice work, you know, and I

just stay out of God's way.
You know this is like everysingle day, every day, because I
don't take it for granted.
I know that I've been given.
I've been living two lifetime,two life in my lifetime, you
And so you know we're callingmy family and siblings.

You know my uncle in Charlestonjust celebrated 80 years.
His birthday was Saturday so alot of family members came from
I wasn't able to make it butyou know I called them and my
uncle told me he's like you knowwhat he said.
I've always kept you my prayersand stuff and that was so like

that meant a lot to me.
You know I have nieces andnephews, and grandies and
nephews like we talk on aregular.
You know it's just a joy andyou know to hear people tell me
it's like, man, we're proud ofyou, we always knew it was in
you and stuff.
And I was like you know whatthat's better than like anything

I've ever experienced.
You know, instead of like themhiding from me or me hiding from
them, you know, it's just, it'sjust amazing.
You know very amazing.
And you know I would all to Godinto the fellowship and I tell
you, restoration house y'allhave like wow, it's like a

You know, definitely.
You know, when I graduated andyou know, you know I was leaving
Pasadena told me it's like,don't be a stranger.
So I was like, wow, that meanta lot to.
So you know, I see a lot ofguys and meetings and stuff or
just all.
So it's just, it's great, man,to see them still doing what

they're supposed to do and stuff.
And you know we've had some thatfall and you know, when you get
close to people in recovery,it's like, oh, you think, man, I
wish I could have saidsomething, but then I realized
it's like that's their process,man, they got to go through it.
Man, you know it's a harshreality.
They say some people got to diefor us to live.

And you know, I don't wishnobody to die but, like you know
, we have once for me.
Once I accepted this, like Idon't want it no more.
I don't want to like, hurtmyself no more.
I had to do something different.
So you know what I mean.
I know I'll let go, I did gethigh and get things, whatever.

But how do you keep it?
And so today, chris, the joythat I have, the peace that I
have, it doesn't come fromhaving a job, having a place to
live, having a bank account, acar, now having my kids in my

It does.
It comes from just, it comesfrom God.
It comes from really knowingthat he's kept me and he kept me
for a reason.
So I want to fulfill that it's.
You know die will be done, sowish it will for me, god.
So that's a daily prayer for me.

Speaker 1 (24:50):
It sounds like you've prettymuch perfected your recovery
journey, or at least gettingclose to it and making the steps
to be successful every day.
I'm curious like when did thataha moment happen that you said
that you found that gift ofdesperation you're talking about

Speaker 3 (25:05):
Today I'm coming up on twoyears, march 30th so March 30th
of what?
2022, whatever the day they putthem cuffs on me and, like you,
got warrants in Tennessee andwhen I sat in that police car

and I'm leave my head on thatwindow and I was like God, help
me, I can't do this, no more.
And it wasn't the fact that getme out of jail or whatever it's
like really, man, like help me,and so having to sit in jail
for all those days or whateverthey say, god will do for you

what you can do for yourself.
So it's probably that firstnight and then, as the process
went in, the days when I justDeveloped this routine of just
like Taking time out of my dayand reverence and God and then

putting things in me that whenthe life shows up, I'm able to
lean back on it and stuff.
You know what that gratitudelist?
Am I truly grateful for myfamily, my friends, life, health
and strength?
And the answers is yes, so Idon't want to lose that.

So every day, when I don't putno drugs and alcohol with me and
that ain't even an issue, nomore it's like I didn't hurt
nobody, had to use nobody, and ILive to the best of my ability,
with the help of God.
So when I go to bed and I wakeup, it's like man.

I want some more of that, andso I live like that, one day at
a time.
That's a concept that I justlove.
You know, I plan and I dothings, but I live for today and
then I try to make it aproductive day.

Speaker 1 (27:14):
Yeah, have you struggled any in keeping that
same structure, like I'm surethat you had the opportunity to
keep the structure when you werein and then had the opportunity
to keep that structure herewhen it was a part of your
Accountability of being here.
But now you don't have thataccountability and I do it.
Yeah, I Would you say it's nota responsibility, it's a love.

Speaker 3 (27:35):
Now, it's a love.
It is.
I like that.
It is a.
It's a.
I mean I man, when I get up andhit my knee, whatever it's like
, I got my Notebook, my Bible,my big book, my 12 and 12.
I have other spiritual booksand stuff and they're right
there, so we call it a new wayto live.

Speaker 2 (27:57):
Yeah that's why we found a new way to live.

Speaker 1 (28:01):
And it sounds like those are as essential as eating
every day for you.

Speaker 2 (28:05):
I do that before I Tell you one thing there ain't
much More depressing thanleaving one jail to go to
another one.
I know from personal experienceyou finally get out just to go
to another one.
That, right there, that's agood indication.
I probably need to changesomething, you know, and but
they're all the same ain't agood jail out there, you know.
So there is a bad, and I thinkthat I think you actually gave

it a chance To build a life thatwas worth protecting.
You know we didn't always havethat idea and when I was
actively using and living that,you know it's.
It's hard every day.
You know, to be motivated whenyou Don't have hope, and you
know going to a program givesyou stability and then you start
to build things.

You know like, hey, this is theeasier, softer, general way.
This is so much better, youknow, and but it takes a minute,
you know it does.
Hang in there, leaning onpeople, leaning on God.
You know believing in thosepromises.
You know that.
You know it's amazing to me thatthe people never gave up on me,

including, you know, god, thatcuz I gave up on me.
So there was a lot and that'sgot to feel good.
All that family that never gaveup.
That you know, knew you coulddo it and they were there
waiting on you did.
You know that's got to berewarding.
You know to have that, but youknow it's hard to see it in

But like anybody that interactswith you, seeing what you, your
potential, you know If youcould just get your feet
underneath you, you know, and Ipersonally think You're just in
them again and I think God's gotsome things in store for you
that maybe you're not evenimagining yet.
Now, my life.

Speaker 3 (29:49):
Built that way.

Speaker 2 (29:50):
You know, at first I just glad I wasn't drinking and
getting high, you know.
And then, you know, fastforward a few years.
I have a lot today that I'mlike man, I never knew this was
in the card, what else is hegonna do?
You know, you get up, youexcited, like like you said, you
know the the truth is farbetter.
You know, like, so you know,I'm grateful you came in today.

You know I'm gonna Definitelylook for more opportunities to
get you involved in the programand and so that you can give
You know, yeah, a lot of peoplesay and they do that they're
grateful that we give them achance and we're happy too.
You know that's how I make it.
Another day is I try to extenda hand to someone else.

That's, you know, struggles insome areas I do.
But a lot of times they don'trealize is that it's a blessing
for you to have come throughhere to us, because it's a tough
You know, if you look at thestatistics, they're not
Promising we all know thatrecovery.
So we go.

You know we we deal with a lotof people and those that handful
of people that take it andreceive it and then they go give
it Like that's the fuel that weget to keep doing this when we
do lose somebody, because itdoes hurt.
We know it doesn't have to bethat way, but they have their
journey too.
So it's when people like youand some of the other people
we've had on the podcast comethrough, that's our fuel to keep

doing this.
That's a that's proof that, hey, this is worth it.
You know you never know when youplan to see like you're talking
You know you talk to someone.
You know they go back out.
But I know this everybody hadever talked to me when I was in
and out, in and out.
I never forgot about it.
I never forgot them.
I remember when I finally wasready, I remembered everything.

They told me yes, like you said, those are all moments You're
like is that what they meant?
Oh, why didn't I get this 20years ago?
I'm gonna save myself, but youknow I was ready when I was
So you know I'm grateful thatGod led you to our program.
I'm glad you left a mark on ourprogram.
I hope you realize you did.

You know the recovery is up anddown.
Being in a program ain't nodifferent.
But you left a mark, you know,and At least definitely with me.
You know I see you doing well.
It makes me want to go into thejails more, you know it wants
me to work with people more,because you know there's other
people that are ready to change.
I have that desperation.
They just need the opportunity,you know.

So I appreciate you.
I appreciate you coming in andsharing your joy with people and
telling them what life's likenow.
Um, because it is a it's alifelong journey.
It doesn't stop when peoplegraduate.
Like you said, there's work tobe done, you know.
I hope people today hear thatthat hey, man, he just got

Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1 (32:47):
Uh, we know that addiction is not going to get
better with tougher laws.
It's going to get better frompeople like elliot sharing their
story and being willing to helpothers, and so we know that
every person's story isimportant, is impactful and it
Thanks for joining us today.
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Let’s Be Clear… a new podcast from Shannen Doherty. The actress will open up like never before in a live memoir. She will cover everything from her TV and film credits, to her Stage IV cancer battle, friendships, divorces and more. She will share her own personal stories, how she manages the lows all while celebrating the highs, and her hopes and dreams for the future. As Shannen says, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it’s about how you get back up. So, LET’S BE CLEAR… this is the truth and nothing but. Join Shannen Doherty each week. Let’s Be Clear, an iHeartRadio podcast.

The Dan Bongino Show

The Dan Bongino Show

He’s a former Secret Service Agent, former NYPD officer, and New York Times best-selling author. Join Dan Bongino each weekday as he tackles the hottest political issues, debunking both liberal and Republican establishment rhetoric.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


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