Hear the true story of my life in Speaker Meeting 2017 with the most interesting and explicit parts included! If you've been to recovery meetings and heard what's called speaker meetings, for example groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, etc., then I hope this format will be extremely comfortable for you. This will be where I share inside the most challenging problems I've had in my life, things like my sex problems, my alcoholism, my gambling and money problems, my eating problems, and inside struggling with my emotions. Then I'd talk to you about how I've recovered from these problems and I'm living a healthy, happy, sober, vital life today filled with wisdom, unconditional love, and joy in asking and receiving the help I need each day. Watch on DTube or read here!
Watch Speaker Meeting 2017! Chapter 1: Welcome video on DTube
Originally I filmed the videos for Speaker Meeting 2017 to make a book and a video course. Getting it uploaded and converted to a book has been a nightmare from spending thousands on conversion to a book with almost no sales to rejections on Amazon Prime for formatting to Skillshare not allowing me to put the sex, alcohol, or gambling sections up, and now YouTube refusing to show ads on most of my new videos. For the first time today I make the full story of my life available 100% for free starting with chapter 1: welcome here exclusively on DTube and Steem! If you use Audible or Amazon you will also find Speaker Meeting 2017 available there! Thank you for starting this journey with me!
Chapter 1: Welcome
I found that going to Alcoholics Anonymous and listening to speaker meetings has helped me out fantastically to identify with things in my life that I have in common with the speaker. Once I've identified these things in my life, then I know what I need to get help with, I know what I need to work on, I know what issues I have, I know what good things there are in my life. I have gratitude for all the beauty in my life, I have gratitude for the differences. For example, as a speaker meetings, people talk about being divorced and losing their families. I feel very grateful that I'm married and have a child today that I live with and have a wonderful life with today.
I hope I've made this with the purpose for you of helping you look inside, giving you the courage to look in your own life today and find every single opportunity for improvement, find every single thing you're grateful for. Take inventory of your whole life. Be free of the things you don't want anymore, and enjoy and love all of the things you do want and you do love and you do enjoy in your life today. I was thinking a while back that it would be nice if going to things like speaker meetings and AA that if there were authors out there who just put out books that I could read inside their lives and hear about all the nastiest, most challenging, worst, shameful things they've been through in their life.
I know there are lots of authors, I've read their books. If they put out something like this, I would really, really want to read it. I'm sure other authors have put things out like this and I haven't seen any yet. I've seen lots of authors who shared a lot of details of their life who've inspired me and then I was realizing you know what, why don't you do a book like that. I thought, "Why is it got to be me? Why do I need to do this book? I like to just read other people's books like this. Why not you? Why don't you go share everything in your life? It's so interesting, Jerry. It's so ridiculous. It's so fun. It's so sad sometimes. Why share all these things? Why not just say the past is the past and I'm done with it?"
These things I've been through are my greatest asset for being of loving service to you today. The times in my life I've been so ashamed, I could barely stand to take another breath. How did I get that way? What happened? What led to that? How did I get out of that? I hope this will be inspirational for you because the more people I've listened to share in Alcoholics Anonymous about their lives honestly and not hide the nasty things they did but to share that those things they did motivated them to seek help.
I'm grateful for all the people who've contacted me online and shared some of the awful things they've been through in their lives because that motivated me, you know what, I need to share more. I want to give you everything I've got. I want to give you the opportunity to see inside what today is a beautiful life that you might look at. I'm grateful I have two million likes on Facebook, a hundred thousand plus subscribers with 11 or 12 million views on YouTube, hundreds of thousands of people that have purchased my course online. You might look at my life today and just say, "Wow, what a beautiful life. You've got everything you could possibly want. You have a wife that loves you, an amazing daughter, a family right across the street. You've got your job. You can play around in your bedroom each day and make better money than you've ever made before."
I have a life where I have everything I could possibly want today. I have a life where nearly every waking moment is an absolute joy and exciting adventure. Yet, I've gotten through some painful misery to get to this point. I've gotten through difficult things in childhood, having been curious about my sexuality in childhood, getting stuck in my room and grounded and isolated from my family for a month. I've been through inappropriate activities with various people in my life in lots of ways and places, and I will go into complete detail about that as is relevant to each of my challenges from sex to alcoholism to the gambling and money problems to over in the food section and even in the emotions. I will go into these things in complete detail without glossing over or just simply passing through the most relevant and important details.
Since this is created as a non-fiction, I will do my best to not involve anyone else and to keep things strictly on me and to keep the focus on looking inside because if all of us simply look inside and fix our own issues and ask help honestly from our fellows, human beings without hiding and manipulating and trying to look good, if we just look inside and ask for help, in my experience, that comprehensively fixes what's wrong. What's wrong is disconnection, disconnection from the others, feeling like you're a separate, lonely human being. I hope this will be very useful for you in letting that feeling go. Getting rid of that feeling that you're all alone, getting rid of that feeling that no one understands because in my experience, everyone honestly understands.
If one person will honestly share their life with another and not just skip over the things that are actually important to them but then that they hide and don't tell anyone about, I feel that most all of us can understand each other. I'm grateful to be feeling like this today because a lot of days in my life, I felt miserably alone. Loneliness to me is the top emotion, the top feeling I work to avoid today. I do anything to stay sober, to not live my life in a way that's unhealthy and just a wrecking ball on the world. I've got to living that way after living a selfish, self-centered, lonely life for most of my adult life.
Even after meeting the angel that is my wife, then my behavior still didn't just go away. I started to become lonely and isolate and push my wife away to continue to be sick the way I was. Thankfully, my wife's infinite, unconditional love is a huge factor and what helped motivate me to finally seek help and realizing that she was being pushed to the limit by my behaviors and I couldn't stand to keep hurting her anymore. And as long as I kept hurting her, I couldn't stop hurting myself either. Every time in fact I was hurting myself, I was hurting her. See, the selfish person doesn't realize when they hurt and beat themselves up, it hurts the people around them.
I realized today when I'm in a horribly morbid mood, when I'm just struggling to get through a day which is not very often today but still happens, I realize that's hurting everyone around me. It's hard to see my wife feeling the same way, it's hard to see my daughter screaming and crying and frustrated with life. When she's in pain, I'm in pain. The way for all of us to heal, in my experience, I look inside, I ask for help, I ask for help from anyone available to give the help, I receive, I open up to receiving the suggestions as to a different approach I could take on a day to day basis.
The way I used to live my life didn't work very good and I've learned today much better ways to live my life. For example, I get down on my knees and pray. I ask to stay sober, I ask to turn my will over to the collective, to the universe, to God, to whatever term you prefer. I asked to be of service today. I make a decision to live my life based on service. What can I do for you instead of getting up right away and thinking about what does Jerry want today? What would make me happy today? What can I do to change the way I feel today? What can I do to get the way I want today?
Today, I have a different way to start the day out and I have a different way I respond to problems today. That is a miracle because for most of my life, I was basically just a big baby. When something didn't go my way, I found an adult way of whining and crying about it which was pouring out a bunch of liquor and or finding some lower companionship or going and gambling somewhere and trying to get high off of the money or stuffing my face up with a bunch of ice cream or whatever sweets I could get my hands on, a whole box of Oreos. Or it was just laying in my bed and poor me, I'm so depressed, life isn't fair.
The more I've looked at my life, I don't have time to fool around with that anymore. My time is up to be a sick, suffering, miserable person in the world. I came here to help. I'm here to learn how to love. One of the things I love about listening to near-death experiences is the continuous, consistent reference to the reason we are here. The reason we are here is to learn how to love. To love unconditionally. To help the others. Absent of helping, my life has no purpose and that's why life is so confusing and difficult if you're not focusing on the help, the service, on what you're giving to others. Life really does have no purpose.
Imagine an ant walking around that wasn't concerned with the anthill, an ant that didn't care about bringing the other ant's food, an ant that didn't care about helping build and maintain the anthill and make sure the queen was fed so that the queen could lay eggs and make new ants. Imagine an ant that just wandered around. It didn't care about the anthill. It would be sick and go off and die on its own. The ants, their whole existence from what I can see, they all work to serve the anthill. To me, my life makes sense when I'm here to serve the collective, to serve all human beings and maybe all life in the galaxy. I'm here to learn how to love everyone else.
What I hope you'd get out of listening to this or reading it or watching it ... I'm trying to get this on Amazon Prime, on Skillshare, on Netflix maybe even as well as in audiobook on Audible and a book on Kindle which you can use electronically, and then a paperback through CreateSpace. I'm trying to get this in every single format. However you prefer to consume it that it's available for you. I found that when I'm aware of my collective purpose, my life is very clear. I don't have all those. It's confusing when you are trying to just how do I feel better, how do I look good today. That's confusing because it's empty, it's shallow, it's not fulfilling. You always have to keep chase something new.
My friend asked me the other day, "How do you stay motivated all the time?" I think about what am I doing to make this earth a place I would want to be born into again. What am I doing to help every person on earth be a happier person? Well, how am I living today as an example of what I'm hoping to teach and share? I have infinite motivation today because I love you. I want you to have an amazing life. I want you to live life to its fullest. I want you to have life in abundance. I want you to have everything you've ever wanted. I want you to feel like you're good enough. I want you to know you're good enough. I want you to experience the same love and peace and joy I have everyday.
There's nothing in my life I would deny you. If you want a partner that's perfect for you that's just an angel in your life, I would love for you to have that. If you want a family, if you want friends, if you want meaningful work everyday, if you want time to create and play around and enjoy life, I would love for you to have all of that. That is what has brought me here to do this with you today. This is the purpose of the Speaker Meeting 2017, to watch, to listen, to read something that helps you, that's useful for you the same way is so many books I've read and listened to and videos I've watched that'd been helpful for me. That's why we're here.
Now, I'll try and give you a brief introduction to my life along with the cleaner versions on my sex, alcohol, and gambling issues. Then the following sections, unless you're on SkillShare which does not allow explicit content, the following sections then will go much deeper in those issues with the explicit details. I'm Jerry, or as I say at Alcoholics Anonymous everyday, I'm Jerry, I'm an alcoholic. For here, I'm Jerry Banfield and I'm an alcoholic. I've had a lot of problems eating. I've had a lot of challenges as far as sex. I've had a lot of compulsive gambling in my life. And I've had difficulty processing a lot of emotions, things like depression, anxiety, fear, anger, frustration. All of these things are a big part of why I'm here with you today.
Today, I have more freedom than I've ever experienced from all the things I just listed and yet, I go to an AA meeting every single day. Now, while Alcoholics Anonymous is about anonymity and the 12th tradition says that anonymity is the foundation of all of our principles and that the 11th tradition says that we will remain anonymous at the level of press, radio, and films, I do not represent Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm telling you as a fact of my life. This is about Jerry Banfield and the fact of my life is that I go to Alcoholics Anonymous.
The key principle in AA is honesty. So if I try and make it generic and say I go to recovery, that's not honest. I exactly go to AA and that is the foundation of what has given me the inspiration to make Speaker Meeting 2017. At the same time, I don't represent the opinions of AA, I'm just one person who goes to there. There's millions of people that go there and I don't even remember where I heard about AA. If I can be useful for you to hear about the 12-step program or something that's good for you, then I'm honored to be of service in that. I've also been told by other members, "Well if you drink, you make AA look bad." You're right and I present myself here to you to keep me accountable.
I let everyone in my life know I'm an alcoholic and now with this book, I let everyone who wants to know everything else about me as well. I believe in living a transparent life. There's no thought I will harbor in this head that I won't share with a person who needs to hear it. That encourages a lot better thoughts. That encourages the life that you see here in front of you. The willingness to have no secrets, no secrets at all. Nothing that I hold in my heart that I won't share and give out to the world in service. Now, that doesn't mean I just try and share for no reason. This is here for a very specific reason and I hope it's useful for you.
Now after 20 minutes of setting everything up, would you like to hear a little bit about my the usual where I was born and that kind of story? I have an aunt. She put things the most magical way I've ever heard before and it rings true for me. I'm going to blend what she said into what I say. We were at a family barbecue, the same one I'll reference in the food section later. We're at a family barbecue and she said that when she was five years old, they were having a discussion about where babies come from in her family. When someone asked her, they said, "What do you ... Where do you think babies come from?" She said, "Well for me, I was in heaven watching this family and I decided to come down here and be with you."
Now of course, her older brother laughed at her and said, "Well, you can go back to heaven. We don't need you here." While he laughed at what she said at the time, me hearing this 50 plus or so years later, I thought, "Oh, my gosh. She remembers that. She remembers that. That is incredible that she remembers that." Maybe that's why she's been such a grounded, connected, loving person her whole life. She simply never forgotten how she came here because me, I forgot completely about that. I took the view that I was a victim of my parents, then they were fooling around, messing around, and then I ended up here. They were out celebrating, my dad having won a horse race and here I am.
That's how most of my adult life, I look at it that I was some victim, that I was here and I just had to endure this life, that I got brought into here. I remember telling my parents when I was 16, "I wish I had never been born." But now, with what my aunt said, it rang true to me and that's my story, too because that sounds right. Now it doesn't right I was just a victim and random chance. It sounds right that I was in heaven watching my parents and I said I'm going to come down there and help them. They look like they need my help.
It's funny because I have a 17-month-old daughter today and it seems very obvious to me that she chose, she watched us and she came when she was ready. We would like to have additional children, and I feel the exact same way about that. They're watching right now. They will come when they are good, well, and ready. That gives a great peace about things instead of trying to force more children out of the world or out of God. Give me my second child now.
I believe that I came down from heaven seeing my parents, seeing everyone, seeing the whole world. I was looking down from heaven and said, "Here I come. I'm going to come down there and help." That I had a personal conversation with God before this about exactly why and what and everything related to this life. I chose to enter into this body. I chose to build this body up from nothing and to build it up to the exact way it is now. In fact, it looks exactly as I've intentionally crafted it right now. There's deep peace in that then because if I want anything to be different, I better do the work to make it and create it differently.
I am the grand artist in my life. This is the life I've painted. If I want a different one, then I better get to work painting a different one. That gives me huge peace in my daily life. Instead of this, is there an afterlife, I've thought a long time about my before life because I figured why even bother thinking about an afterlife, I've already experienced the before life and I sought to remember it for a long time as an adult. Now I'm grateful for that insight from my aunt because she's triggered off the memory in me. Now I look around at other babies and sometimes I see babies with parents who look like they're having a hard time and I think what a courageous baby, what a brave baby to go in the world with those two parents. Then I look back and say yes, you spot it, you've got it.
I'm a brave baby to have entered in the world with my two parents. My father who's passed on was an alcoholic and a drug addict. Mom had just got over a relationship. She was still getting out of a relationship with an ex-husband when her and my father met. By any account, the people at the race track that knew both of them said there ... Someone said they would've taken a million to one odds on my father and mother staying together. Those are the two parents I selected. I said, "Yes, you two are just perfect," and they are just perfect. My father and mother were married 30 something years. I like to be exact so it was just over 30, I don't remember exactly but I think they got married in '83 and dad passed on in 2014. I would say just about 31 years that they were married.
A absolute miracle. I must've helped with that, right? Or I made it more difficult sometimes. I chose to come down to the world with my parents who I love and I am grateful for, everything they did to raise me and to help me to be exactly as I am today. I'm very grateful for their love and their service because they've loved me when I couldn't love myself. They've shown me what unconditional love looks like so that I may share it here with you. My parents both gave a lot better than me and my brother than they received growing up in their households.
My father, as an alcoholic and a drug addict, he had a very tough life. He went to Vietnam and he put himself in a lot of bad situations on top of having been dragged into difficult situations by the US government. My dad was frequently known for he would like to gamble and drink and find lower companionship and then grab, get a whole bunch of money together and rip it all up in the bar and talk about how the government used money to control us. My mother was a veterinarian at the race track in the track that ... My dad raced horses. He raced harness horses. A harness horse, you sit on the back of it, not on the horse but the horse pulls a cart behind and then whoever wins, everyone has their horse pulling a cart with then the jockey sits in the cart behind the horse. My father, he trained and raised horses and my mother is a track vet and that's how they met.
Well, they both ended up losing their jobs as a result of me, you're welcome, because then when they were together, their love, dad decided he couldn't stay at the same track as mom. Then when they fell in love, they couldn't both work together. Then when I came along, mom wasn't able to work anymore so they're both were out of jobs and dad then didn't have any money to offer. Mom had a great deal of professional skill and opportunity and the best way she could see to provide for little me was to go in the army because she knew if she went in the army, she'd be able to provide for her family indefinitely. That's what my mom did. We were all born. My mom and dad were all born in Michigan and my mom went in the army right around when I was born.
We moved over to Texas for my mom to get started and then to do basic training. Then we went out to New Mexico. I guess it was actually she did the officer training program or OCS or one of those acronyms. Then we moved out to New Mexico to White Sands in Missile Range where then dad told me about an experience he had, because cocaine was one of my father's drugs of choice. Dad talked about an experience he had where he prayed to got to relieve him, to never do it again and all of a sudden then, dad never did cocaine after that. He asked God to remove the obsession from him and it was gone.
Now, dad didn't stop drinking right after that but dad at least was able to stop doing drugs after that which was a miracle and maybe that's the reason why I never got into doing drugs because maybe my father had already handled that for me. Maybe I grew up without ever remembering dad doing drugs. Maybe that had a huge impact. After moving to White Sands, my brother came along and the whole family moved to Okinawa in Japan, near Tokyo where my mom served there as a captain for around three years or so and that's where my dad quit drinking.
I remember dad, he'd get drunk and he'd be drinking when he was taking care of my brother and I while my mom was at work. He'd drink all throughout the day and then mom would come home and dad would go out to the bar, and then who knew when dad was going to come home. Dad might come home at two in the morning from the bar and yell and rage and scream and punch a clock or something if mom said about what time it was. I remember laying in my bed being afraid and now knowing what was going to happen. Thank God, that's when dad realized he was going to lose his family if he didn't stop drinking.
Dad stopped drinking without going to Alcoholics Anonymous or anything. I guess he'd had some bad experiences with it during his time in the mental hospital. Well, as a little boy, I wanted to grow up to be just like dad and I got a lot of being just like dad. I also got a lot of being just like mom too which is a big part of why I'm so inspired to have a career and work and be helpful for you. When I was six years old or so, we moved to Auburn, Alabama. It was a beautiful place to live as a elementary schooler. I had lots of fun at school. We had a nice three-bedroom home with one bathroom and a huge backyard my brother and I played in. We had a ton of fun. There were kids at the bus stop. It was a great place for making friends and growing up as a kid.
Now I started to get real curious about my male body parts at the time and at around eight years old or so, my dad got really upset with my curiosity as far as my own body parts. I got grounded for a month where I was not allowed to even eat dinner with the family. Everyday, I was to come straight home from school and stay in my room until bedtime. That was one of the parts of life that I guess I wasn't prepared for as a child and that is where I guess I started feeling like I didn't belong, like I was a bad person somehow. That then laid the seeds for these things to grow and develop there. That condemnation of my completely ordinary behaviors as an eight-year-old boy, that condemnation put down on me by my father, I would say that had quite an impact on my entire life going forward. Yet, my father did a lot better than he received growing up, so I love my father and I'm grateful that he has helped give me such assets I'm able to use to help you here today.
I will explain much more about these things in the following sections. Thankfully, mom came to the rescue after about a month in my room coming home from work one day. Mom demanded that dad let me out of my room and return to life with the family. She was tired of not having me at family dinner. She is tired of me not getting to play with my brother. She felt like that this was destroying the whole family by having me in my room and grounded. She said something like she didn't care what I done, it was time for things to be forgiven and move on. I'm grateful that I've thought of my mother as my savior lots of times in my life, that mom will always be there to help me out, to bail me out of trouble. I'm grateful for that today, for that unconditional love from both my mother and my father. That my father would love and respect his wife so much to change his mind. I'm grateful to be here to have this to share with you today.
Now, after me moved to Auburn, we moved to San Antonio where my mom was the executive officer of a veterinary unit and I had tons of fun there. I was a completely normal healthy child still because children and human beings generally are so resilient, we come back. I had a wonderful life. My parents, I never wanted for anything. They even allowed me to talk them into getting things like basketball jerseys which are really cool at school, getting the newest shoes. I had everything I could possibly want. I had a wonderful life.
Then the things with my body started to come up again after years since getting in trouble for my curiosity before. At sex ed in sixth grade, they brought up all these things and my body curiosity returned and that's where I would say all of my addictive behavior started. Because I had this body shame that was conditioned into me before that as soon as all the stuff came up again, then I didn't feel safe talking about anyone with it. I was committed to absolute secrecy, that I would discover my body in complete secrecy. I would not ask my parents or even anyone at school anything about any of this stuff.
I started building a shame around my body curiosity and by the time I was 13 years old, I had my first addiction. That was just an addiction to my body, that I would do whatever it took to satisfy its cravings whatever they were. Whether that was for food or for sex or later, for alcohol or for things like gambling. I just decided, I remember the exact moment and I said I would no longer fight cravings or desires. I would simply give in and do whatever it took to feel good. This is where all the other things came into play. By the time I got to high school, I was so afraid of being punished by my father again and being stuck in my room or grounded or isolated from the family, I was so scared straight, you could say, that I did not drink at all in high school.
I only went to one or two parties with permission of my father who picked me up promptly at the exact time I said I would be there. I was scared to death to take a drink, to smoke a cigarette, to do absolutely anything that my father might not like. I was very I got all the way through high school. I remember taking a security clearance for the US government going through and answering all the questions and thinking who needs to fill any of this stuff out anyway? I had never done anything on the list. In fact, I was a very healthy young man. If I just would've talked about some of these issues before they continued to get worse, I might never have experienced almost any of the things I talked with you about in the next sections.
Well, I didn't. The problem is when you have things you're ashamed of, that you've been condemned on, the desire, the tendency is to keep these things close and to keep these things a secret. You'll see going forward, I will keep nothing a secret from you. Now obviously, there's 10 plus hours of audio and video in this. I can't give you every single thing that went bad in my entire life, every single stupid or shameful thing I did. There's just not time for that. However, I hope I've given you the absolutely most essential ones, the ones you might say I care about the most and have caused me the most pain, the most grief, the most suffering. I hope then in doing this year after year, I will be able to over time to get every single thing out that's relevant without taking a hundred or 200 hours of your time.
When I went off to college, my addiction which had been managed at home because my parents simply wouldn't buy me whatever food I wanted. If I wanted to have an entire cake at 8:00 at night, they weren't going to go for that and I had to maintain secrecy with things like experimenting with my body. It had to be done in secrecy at only at certain as well, and I dare not mess around looking at inappropriate things on my parent's computer because I didn't have my own computer then and I was scared to death of getting in trouble. When I went off to college with complete freedom, all of my addictions were like seeds planted in a garden that going to college watered the garden, fertilized the garden and we brought a heck of a harvest up in just a few years in college.
All of my addictions which had just been little behaviors that needed maybe some counseling or some talk with another person to get back in a healthy way. In college, I still refused to talk with anyone about any of my shame and all of it just blew up. Every single thing got worse. That's when I started drinking. By then, the freshman year, I got through the entire year before this saying I don't drink and very firmly and still afraid essentially of getting in trouble with dad.
Well, I had so many failures dating girls that I hoped the alcohol would help me have sex. The first night, I drank and the second and the third and several the nights after were all hoping that having a few drinks would help loosen me up, that I might be able to have sex because it seemed that the girls would have some drinks and they would be in a perfect mood for it but me, I just didn't know how to get in the mood. I was so uptight, so rigid, and I had my shame about sex so close to my heart that I just couldn't hardly get with the girl. I'd go out with girls and I would ruin the mood somehow all the time because my shame would come up and knock things down.
That actually ended up working sophomore year. I met a girl and had a hangover the next day. I met her at a party and then the next day, I thought that would change everything finally getting with a girl, it changed nothing. In fact, it made things worse. From there, I had hoped that losing my virginity would allow me to be free of all my sexual shame. It did not. It made no difference. That left a certain kind of hopelessness to my life. After the initial elation wore off and I bragged to all my friends about it who lied to and said that that wasn't the first girl I've been with, but I lied and told them I've been with girls before.
When I shared that and the initial excitement wore off, there's this hopelessness that set in that nothing would fix how I felt inside. My drinking continued to escalate. My chasing after girls and my sex issues continued to escalate from there. The problem is you often you see these extreme things on the news or you'll hear about them and you'll think, "Well, how could someone ever do that?" Well, most people don't just start off doing whatever it is. There were a thousand little steps that were taken before that. Very often, in childhood, there were something done to the child and then more things in childhood and then a thousand steps later as the child continues to grow up and be able to make more of their own decision. A thousand of those little decisions later, extreme behavior becomes perfectly reasonable looking in the shoes of the person doing it.
I started taking a thousand little steps in college, watching one video after another that I shouldn't have watched, having one more inappropriate sexual interaction after another and these things continue to build on and build and build and build. One more night of drinking, another night of drinking, more stupid drinking nights and the shame which initially had been a little spot in my heart, a little blemish on my heart, a little problem continued to grow and consume. All these new things I did, this one little thing to feel bad about here, one stupid thing here, all of which I'll go into much more detail about. All these things continued to snowball and snowball and snowball.
When I graduated college, the hopelessness was there. I just felt like there wasn't any more to life worth living. I had already went and partied and not only that but I couldn't just keep going through life partying and hoping to have fun like I did in college. While I tried to stretch college out as much as I could and I tried to just keep acting the same way I was and it continued to get more and more painful as I worked. I had decided initially when I went to college, I wanted to be an engineer in the army. My mom was in the army and then when the US went and invaded Iraq, that changed my mind.
I thought it's nice to be in the army in peace time as my mom was in for mostly peace time most of her career, she went to a couple of war zones for a brief periods of time. Apparently, she slept through getting her plane shot at in one them. I then seeing that I would very likely be getting sent over to Iraq, I said, "You know what, maybe I don't want to go to Iraq." My father went to Vietnam, I don't think I want to go to Iraq. After just hearing the tip of the iceberg on dad's Vietnam experiences, I'd probably be better off not going to Iraq.
Thankfully then, I got out of army ROTC at the last minute right before I signed the contract. They also changed the terms three times of what they were going to offer me. And I figured after seeing what my mom had been through in 20 years in the army, why would I offer my life up to an organization that did not value giving me the truth, that continued to change what they would offer and give to me even before I committed. They offered first, you're going to have a full scholarship. Then well, three-year one. Then well, two-year scholarship. Well, maybe well just now that you're here anyway, why don't you just stay and we'll give you some partial tuition assistance. It's not my problem if funding got cut. I want what I was offered.
I got out of ROTC and I really got lost after that. Up until that point, my life had went according to some fictional plan. I thought, "Okay, I'll just and go through and I'll do like my mother did." I really got lost and started to get sucked deeper into these bad habits and shame after losing my career purpose and forgetting about why I was here, and that my life started to get really dark and lonely from then. I went into criminal justice because my life was so dark and lonely, I thought maybe if I understood what's wrong with other people, I'll understand what's wrong with me. By this point I had a very firm foundation in believing there was something wrong with me, that the truth about me was there was something wrong with me.
I enthusiastically learned about all the things wrong with other people as I studied criminal justice in college. I enjoyed the classes for the first time in years hearing these court cases and I sought to go be a police officer. The problem was I did experiment with marijuana in senior year four times and the last time, it made me sick and I never did it again. That's a healthy reaction to something. The second time I drank, it made me really sick and I figured well, I'll do a better job next time. That's an unhealthy reaction to things.
As I went into graduating from college then, I got an internship at a federal court and then I wanted to be a police officer. The problem was that no department would take me given that I'd used marijuana within the last year. Then some departments wanted two or three years. I ended up working at corrections because they weren't that picky and they were happy to take any warm body who didn't have a felony charge and get them working inside of prison eight hours a day. I risked my life working inside of a juvenile correction facility which is one of the worst place you can possibly work.
I thought kids aren't going to be that bad. Adults, there might be some real criminals in there but kids, ah they're just kids. They're all under 18. It's no big deal. Exact opposite. If the adults in a correctional facility get out of hand, the correction officers, this is very simplified, of course, but the correction officers have methods they used to subdue them whether it's a taser or they just beat them. Whatever it is, they keep the inmates under relative control and have an adult understanding. There's a lot more leeway as far as my limited understanding to be able to discipline in a grown up correction system.
In the juvenile correction system, you punch a kid or leave a bruise on a kid, you can end up getting felony child abuse charges. I went into and worked in that prison on a daily basis and you weren't supposed to touch the kids at all. Now they would threaten you. They would come hit you. They would come punch you, push you around, and you had to be this really like fake tough because all the kids knew if you beat them up, they could get you in. One of the guys I went through the corrections academy, so to speak, with, he got arrested and taken out on felony charges for beating a kid up in the few short months that I was there.
That was a terrifying, scary work environment where I also was very physically ill. I had something like chronic fatigue or mono and I had all my organs swelled up. If one of those kids would've punched me in the stomach one day, I might've died. Meanwhile, I was drinking on the way into work to deal with all the emotions and fear and messed up parts of my life. All of this, I'll go into much more detail on. You're like, "Oh, my God. More than this detail?"
Then I went and visited my parents. I sobered up for a while because my life was getting completely unmanageable. I figured well, if I just stopped drinking for a little while, everything will get better, and it did. I ended up getting a job as a police officer. Since then, by the time I got it, it had been more than a year since I had smoked marijuana and I wasn't doing it anymore. I figured if I got sober and entered into the police department as a sober person, I could easily take all the test and say I didn't drink. That worked good. I got into a police department and they put me through the academy and then I got through my girlfriend from college dumping me then. That was extremely painful, more about that later.
This is where all my eating issues were really starting to pile up along with the alcohol. The gambling had already been a huge issue in college and the gambling was in the background. I'd go gamble with my friends. I'd take these trips. I had hardly any money, I was so broke, and then I'd go spend thousands of dollars going on a gambling trip with my friends. My life was just amazingly held together by some thread. Then I became a police officer at the university where I went to school and then things went just wild there. The night shifts, all the beautiful girls around and the drama at work, things got insane.
Finally, they sat me down one day and talked about all the crazy stuff I did which if you want, you'll hear a lot about that. They sat me down and asked what I was going to do about it. I was so sick that all of the baggage and crazy stuff, I didn't stop doing it simply because I became a police officer. I love the movie Training Day. I wished for more opportunities for that in my career. As you can imagine, they sat me down and I said, "You know what, fine. I'll just quit and I'll move home with my parents." That's what I did. I moved home with my parents and my life got miraculously better. Almost all my addictions seemed to get minimized.
My alcohol, I couldn't drink at home with my parents although I did find girls I could go out with and drink with them. Then my sex problems didn't go away because I moved at home. In fact, I was a just compulsive online dater by this point. I always had to be talking to some girl, going out with some girl. It was constantly telling my parents about one new girl after another. At one point, they finally stopped me and said, "Jerry, you can't tell us about any more new girls until you've at least been going out with them for a little while. We're tired about hearing a new girl every day or every week. We're sick of it. Just wait a little while before you tell us about them." So I did.
I worked out on a daily basis. I lost weight. My eating got better because I started eating on my parents'. It's amazing how just being in a loving environment can seem to fix and heal so many addictions. The problem is as soon as I got in there, I couldn't wait to get out and leave again. My parents were infinitely loving and understanding with me, so I moved out after living with them for about nine or ten months. I went to graduate school at the University of South Florida in Tampa. There, all my addictions seemed liked they've gotten better. They all seemed like they'd improved a lot. Well, give it time and they all came rolling back out in one ugly way or another.
The first year to graduate school and then I met my wife. See, I've been loved so much at home that I could finally understand and feel the right way. I could see and I was ready to then be a good husband. But then in graduate school, all my addictions, I thought just because my life had got better, they'd go away. They did not and they just simply came out in different ways. Well my drinking and then dating and being with my wife, while my behavior was a lot better than it'd been, a lot of the rest of my adult life, it's still simmering under the surface and threatening to go out of control.
Thankfully, as I moved in with my wife and started my own business, I started to actually confront my addiction issues. Whereas I remember for example losing the police officer job, my dad saying, "Do you think that was because of alcohol?" I said, "No. It absolutely did not happen because of alcohol," when in fact, almost everything the police department had a problem with me doing had happened as a result of alcohol. In just continuing on with my life and not handling these things, they didn't change, they didn't get better, they simply stayed on the down low a little while. They seemed a little more managed and reasonable for a little while.
Well, after I ended up being married to my wife a couple of years and my dad had passed on, he had a heart attack first and then his health progressively went down hill and he passed on a year and a half later, going through my dad passing away was extremely painful. My drinking which had been decently managed after some arguments and conflicts with my wife and my sex issues had been good as they'd ever been because I, for the first time, had just an amazing relationship with my wife. Yet then when my dad got sick, everything started to get worse. I started to really hate. I didn't think it was fair, that I should have my dad who I loved so much that he was going to die.
My drinking and my video gaming and all the other issues escalated and escalated. Then by 2014, I could see that I was at a critical escalation point, that things either had to get better or I was going to do some things that I was going to find unforgivable. Once I've done those things, then there will be no going back and that would be it for me. That'd be it for my marriage, that would be it for my whole life. I realized I was right on the edge. It was either time to recover or die, that I didn't have any other options. I didn't even feel there was hope for recovery. I didn't feel there was hope to have a better life.
I just desperately prayed to God for help with the one problem I could see. The one problem I could see I couldn't do anything about. I said, "God, I'll do anything to stop drinking," because I realized I tried to stop drinking a lot of times. I tried to stop for my wife, I tried to stop to be a better worker, I tried to stop for my health, I tried to stop after my girlfriend dumped me, I tried to stop so many times to just be a better person and it never worked. I realized I couldn't just stop drinking. It wasn't that simple. Then as I've came in to Alcoholics Anonymous because after I had that desperate prayer, the thought that came through my mind was, "We'll, one of those Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, that might be part of anything, right?" Yes, okay. I guess that is part of anything.
I went to Alcoholics Anonymous and from there, I learned that these addictions were symptoms of my deep problem. My deep problem was disconnection and that being connected and as they say in AA, being connected to a higher power, being connected to all of humanity, the universe, life, being connected to inner body, being connected will fix all the other things. All these addictions and habits die and just become like weeds that need to picked out of a garden. Then the garden needs to be maintained and kept full of life and new weeds that come up need to be picked as soon as they sprout. Then the garden shall not become overgrown with weeds and then considered simply a weed garden and that's all that grows there.
Through going to Alcoholics Anonymous, I realized I needed to go fix all of these other issues in my life. I needed to work on my sex issues. I needed to work on my gambling and money issues. I needed to work on my eating and emotional issues, that all of these things had to be looked at. They had to be brought, out one bad habit at a time, one shameful memory at a time. Bring them out, look at it, heal it. The guy that wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, I think his name is John Gray. He had a saying that says what you can feel, you can heal. That's exactly what this journey has been, bringing things out of my closet, looking at it, healing it, forgiving it, and letting it go.
I very much done this with my physical possessions, too. Taking things out, looking at them, giving them away. Take things out that don't bring me any more joy, give them away. Take things out and share them with others to say, "You know what, do you have this in your closet, too?" Because I'm amazed today how many people there are that are sick and struggling and they're suffering and they're not telling anyone about it. They're going through their life, "I'm fine, I'm good, I'm great. Oh, my boss was a little mean at work today." Meanwhile, if they told you the real issues, you would either be aghast or you would be like, "Oh, well guess what, my real issues are ..." Then you could do some real work with the other person.
I've made this introduction to give you an overview of the big picture. Now I encourage you in going forward, if you're not interested in the sex issues or you're not interested in the gambling or the money, if you're not interested in the alcoholism or the food or the emotions, I encourage you to skip whatever it is you're not interested in. If you would like to hear the details of these dysfunctions and addictions, I hope this will help you to either identify your own issues or to be grateful that you don't have these issues.
What I went through an Alcoholics Anonymous is called a fifth step which is where you admit the nature of your wrongs to yourself, to another human being, and to God. The point of this is essentially confession. You share anything you've done with another human being and then you reconnect into the collective that way because that is an essential part of feeling whole, feeling like there's at least one other person out there who can share. If you want me to hear your things, then I've got a services link on my website at Jerrybanfield.com/services. You simply pay for the amount of time you want to talk to me, whether it's via email, whether you want to have a private call with me. You simply buy however many hours you want to talk with me and I will talk with you.
I charge for my time because I already go to Alcoholics Anonymous on a daily basis. I already help people for free one day at a time. I already have sponsees, I already have a sponsor, I already work with people at meetings when I can. I go every day so I already am giving as much away as I have to give. I ask if you want me to help you with your confessions, if you want me to help you and listen to what you're going through and share my feedback, if you want to essentially do a fifth step with me, then I ask you to help me maintain my business online and to hire me to do that service for you.
I contributed the church that I spent a lot of time counseling with the rector. I made a charitable donation. I felt that the rector did a lot of work to help me. I would help the church out with their needs in terms of money. I'm grateful today that my view on money has returned to sanity. Money is a game. It's a practical tool. It's not something to be used to fuel shameful habits like shameful sexual habits, alcohol or drug habits, whatever your case may be or to just go buy food you'll indulge on or to go be spent in emotional times to buy things that are comforting in the moment but bring long-term pleasure like shopping addictions, etc.
I've made all this with you today because since I went to Alcoholics Anonymous, since I've started to look at all these different things in my life, I have had and now have a life better than my wildest imagination. I have a life today that is amazing. Look, I'm able to get up. I'm able to talk about the things in this book or video class that many people determine to go to their grave with. I'm able to share these things out in public. I have gigantic trust and faith and love for you today. That is because I have that for all of life.
You're not special. I love everyone just like you as well and I love this body that I'm in today. It's not something disgusting that I'm ashamed of anymore. That's a miracle because the more I love this body, the better it looks, the better it feels, the better it operates. When I thought my body was something disgusting and nasty, it functioned like something disgusting and nasty. It hurt, it felt pain of cravings, it felt pain of laziness and sloth, it felt pain of gluttony and over consumption. It felt lethargic, it felt defeated. I'm amazed today at the life that's possible.
I will share this here with you as a part of my own recovery. I've done this meeting here to share the best of my experience with you so that you may get to use the things I've been through to help yourself. I know it took a lot of brave people sharing things in Alcoholics Anonymous. It took hundreds of people sharing intimate secrets out in open AA meetings that gave me the courage to even talk to one other person about their problems. It gave me the courage to talk to the specific people who shared in many cases. I figured if someone could share something awful that happened to them in their childhood, it was safe for me to share with them about what happened in my childhood. I figured if someone could share about awful experiences they've been through while they were drinking and how that impacted their life and their families and their jobs and their health, that I could go talk to that person and share those same things with them.
I'm so grateful for that today and I've set this up as what I hope is an effective tool for you to do the same thing, that if you would like to be free of those dark secrets that you may not even be conscious of. For me, going through this process has been similar to the movie the Butterfly Effect with Ashton Kutcher. I love that movie because the kid or the grown up when you look at it, he has these memories that he initially kind of blacked out on and then he goes back and remembers them. That's what my life has been like. If you're to ask me years ago about most of these things I described, I would've lied to your face because I didn't know any different.
Do you have a problem in alcohol? No. I can drink a lot and I can live my life. How about sex? Oh, I have a wonderful wife that loves me. I don't have any sex problems. What about eating? I eat whatever I want. I'm at a healthy weight which I would've told you but that was a lie. Most of my adult life, I've been fat and in the obese section for many years of it as well. I would've told you to your face that I was a healthy person who went to the gym and worked out and exercised and yet, you would've seen a fat person standing in front of you. I would've told you that I didn't have any gambling problems. I didn't have any money problems either that I didn't gamble anymore.
If you were to ask me about things like emotions, I would've told you that I was a grown up and I handled my emotions pretty well I thought most of the time. I would cite examples of where people had done things to me and I hadn't been nasty to them. If you asked about any other thing in my life, I would've told you I got it. I know what I'm doing. I would've not been interested in any suggestions you had to offer. I would've had no interest in you trying to help me do any better. Once I was humbled by my alcoholism and realizing that I could not get through one day without taking one drink and like it that wow, my life is so messed up that I literally have to poison myself to feel better. That's pretty bad. I'm insane.
Then it motivated me to see okay, there are sane people all over. What can they teach me? How does this person get through one day without taking one drink? How does this person get through one day without watching an adult movie? How does this person get through one day without eating any meat? How does this person get through one day without gambling or doing other irresponsible things with their money? I look around today and I learn from so many healthy, happy people in the world today, look and learn from everyone I can. I hope to be an example of both what it looks like to be healthy and happy today and what it looked like to be sick and crazy and insane in the past and how that transformation happens.
In the recovery part at the very end, I will talk in depth on what it was like when I came to Alcoholics Anonymous and all the things I went through transforming me, guiding me, how I went from being absolutely crazy and insane with a drink to getting some healing and getting a better life today. I'm grateful for my sobriety today. I'm grateful for my health and vitality today that it's ... What time is it here? It's 9:17 in the morning. I've already been talking an hour. I've already spent 30 minutes hanging out with my daughter. I feel fully alive, absolutely healthy, very grateful to be here. I feel just amazing this morning. This is better than I felt on 99% of the mornings in my life right here today and almost all the mornings that I felt this good has been in the last couple years.
I'm excited. I hope this will be an amazing experience for you. I hope to do one of these each year. This is the first year, 2017, I'm doing this. I hope to put a new one of these out each year that then if you start here or you've read a later version that you can evolve and go through the journey with me. That if you started with the 20/20 version, you can come back and see how this version compares to that version and that if you started with this version, you could see how things continued to be updated each year going forward.
Thank you very much for getting started with this here. I'm so excited. I would love to know what you think in whatever form you're able to share it, from a review or a comment or discussion, whatever it is. I appreciate your help with running my business online. You buying this or watching it however you're watching it is allowing me to be able to continue doing my business online which continues to give me the help and serve others anywhere on the world on a daily basis. Even I might even be able to help and serve people off the world. This might go out to people on Mars or across the galaxy. Thank you for giving me a chance today to do this. I hope you love it.
Now, I've guided you before. The next sections I'm going to put up are the challenging explicit sections full of my biggest problems and challenges and things that I hope you or the people in your life are well, I maybe hope that you don't have anyone in your life with sex, gambling, alcohol problems. But I hope if you do have that in your life or in the people's lives around you, you can identify the things I share as they relate to your own life. I trust your judgment on what to go through next. I trust your judgment on how to take care of your own life today because I'm trusted by other others to take care of my own life today. Thank you. I hope you love this and I'm so excited for the chance to be of service here with you today.