Conversation with Kip Shubert
“48 year old father of 4 and recovering alcoholic living in Tulsa, OK. Motivational Speaker, Teacher, and Writer who is sharing my experience, strength, and hope. Helping people find their purpose, find their faith, and find purpose in recovery. Going all in to share my message and to help people win!”
“It is a path of constant grace and continued growth. One that may continue to have twist and turns, even storms, but by grace I am safe and by faith I know that it is all opportunities for me to experience growth. The path is exciting, unpredictable yet always with a sense of peace and serenity.”
Liv: You mention in the first post on your site, Lets Do This: ‘through my experiences, my successes, and my failures I hope to help guide others to the path God has set me on – Serenity Road! Lets do this!’, how would you describe that path? And walk me through how you propose to guide others?
Kip: It is a path of constant grace and continued growth. One that may continue to have twist and turns, even storms, but by grace I am safe and by faith I know that it is all opportunities for me to experience growth. The path is exciting, unpredictable yet always with a sense of peace and serenity.
I intend to help others by sharing not only in depth about my story but the message in it. Taking phases of my life, what I have learned, and offering it to others who may apply it and learn from it. It in turn helps me and provides me learning and growth as well. 12 stepping. I am in the process of writing content, diving into the details of my experiences and sharing how I got better and found purpose in life, as well as adding what I have learned from the countless others in recovery and who have encouraged me in this process. The content will be in the forms of checklists, guides, worksheets that will be free to download. I will also be engaging in groups, challenges, courses that will be free and paid that go into depths of finding and fulfilling our purpose in recovery. Video series that do the same as the written content. Examples of speaking engagements to bring the story in person anywhere I can. Featured Warrior each month to promote their site, page, story. Some other changes to make the site more user friendly and provide helpful information that will be of use to visitors. We will also be offering lifestyle and recovery coaching for people who want to change their life to a life of purpose and then for people who need help and/or are struggling in recovery.
Liv: You moved on to say that once the desire to stop using had been removed, that you had learn to ‘think, act, and live in a way that to me was the polar opposite of the way my life had always been.’ Tell me about the difficulties you experienced in your old way of thinking – what did it look like?
Kip: Most of it was learning to rid myself of all the selfish actions, thoughts, and behaviors. God’s will for my life not mine. I also had to learn to love myself. To be ok with me and accept all of me. Celebrate the good and be honest, open, and willing to change the bad. The acceptance paragraph on pg 417 in the Big Book was of great help to me in early recovery as well as today. I didn’t need to manipulate others into telling me I was ok. I didn’t need to smother relationships for approval to know I was ok. I needed to know I was ok, by myself and from myself. I would need to be told, things were ok, constantly. I would tell things in a manner to get people to feel sorry for me so that I could hide the guilt and shame I felt. I also had to meditate daily on getting rid of selfish action and thoughts. Not doing something for others or saying things to illicit a certain response to build my ego and self esteem.
I had to learn to do things for the right reasons and because it was the right thing to do, irregardless of what, if anything, it did for me. I so badly wanted to fulfill my purpose in life and find love that I jumped into a relationship, quit teaching, moved a few hours away from home to pursue it. I connected with someone who had some broad overall views of mine, but hid their drinking from me. It came down to seeing a ladybug in my classroom in the winter. An animal sign that true love was coming and to go all in. So what do I do, make a completely irrational decision as 9 months sober, telling myself all the signs pointed to the right choice. God must be directing me. It was only my selfish nature to have what I wanted in my way instead of accepting life a day at a time and letting and learning how God will manifest His will into my life.
Liv: And, conversely, what does acting out of love look like today? How do you go about ensuring you act in this way and not react to life?
Kip: This may sound simple but acting in the way that God would. Loving your neighbor as yourself. For example, I cannot see my little girl right now due to a court order. It has been 2 and a half years and there is no reason for it to be in place. Through the court it will be removed shortly but it is still in place just out of benefit and spite to my ex. Not for my daughters well being. I could react in anger or resentment. Instead I react in love. I am to love everyone as God does and if God forgives me who am I not to forgive someone else. Easier said than done. But it does more for me and my serenity on a daily basis to live in love rather than hate. I ensure I continue to live this way by staying with my program of daily reading and meditation, meetings, and church. Taking daily inventory and today I am able to even recognize a wrong reaction and put into proper perspective quickly to keep my attitude and focus positive and peaceful.
Liv: I love the sensory experience that you explain in your post, In the Midst of Mountains, and the fact that you are present for life today. Tell me about the riches of being present today?
Kip: Being present in each day allows me to be grateful for the little things in life. The mundane, as Mark Goodson, talks about on his site The Miracle of the Mundane. It gives me the opportunity to grow since I am able to see my success and failures in that day simply as learning opportunities. Enjoying a cup of coffee at 5:30am as I read. The laughter and smiles of people around me. The beauty in our world, of nature, in a simple drive to work. The power in my purpose as I am surrounded by 125 people a day in my classroom to influence. Working through a stressful situation and the pride in it, rather than running from it. The ability to use all my senses to experience what is in that day rather than numbing them in booze to not feel. Feeling pain and joy, losing and winning, without guilt, shame, or the need for co-dependency but to just BE and FEEL.
Liv: You talk of the overcoming of obstacles and using that experience to tackle future challenges. What have been some of the obstacles you have overcome and how have you translated that experience in moving forward, facing any new challenges?
Kip: Coming out of rehab I had lost my home, my car, my kid, only thing I kept was my suitcase and my job. I spent the first three months paying back money I had squandered and owed and bounced around from couch to couch of any friend that would have me. Most days I did not know what and how I was even going to eat.
By going through those struggles I learned how resilient I was. I learned the strength that was inside me. I was able to test my faith and see how it could propel me when I really activated it. At first, I learned that if all I did was not drink that day it was a success. I focused on the positive and believed that if I followed my program that the promises would come true. It didn’t happen overnight but the more I worked it and applied it in daily life the more life fell into place. When I quit my job and moved thinking God was paving the way that was really all my wishful thinking it happened again. The relationship imploded and I was left with nothing but the possessions in my car. I tucked my tail between my legs and headed to Tulsa because I had family there. I had to start all over again. It was tough and there were days where I wanted to give in but just knowing I had to keep recovering if I were to ever be reunited with Kamdyn, my little one, it was something that I just had to push through. This is where my spiritual awakening occurred I believe. I began to really look inside me and began to work on being the best version of me I could be one day at a time.
Many of the slogans of AA began to really make sense at this time for me too. Things became clear through that storm. Focus, Faith, and Action brought me purpose. Pursuit of that purpose gave my life meaning and thoughts of the alcoholic way of life began to become distant. I use that in daily life now and the battle to see my daughter again keeps me warrior ready. I supply the right action and God says He works for the good in all things always. I just rely on the promises and do the work and that never fails me. I always win, even when I lose.
Liv: In order to keep plugged in, to our source of strength (what ever form that takes), you suggest practising acceptance vs expectations – what does that look like?
Kip: Second paragraph pg 417 Big Book. All people, things, situations, are what they are and I accept them as they are. Its about control. I cannot control them so I must accept them. My focus in on what only I can control which is my actions and reactions. That also comes with leaving expectations out as much as I can. That way I am not disappointed, not upset, or disillusioned when people, things, or situations do not go my way. Whatever happens today it is up to me how I act and react to it and that I can use to get better as a person and also be fully available to help others.
Liv: I love the way with which you uncompromisingly talk so openly about your faith and your higher power being God. Tell me about how you integrate faith into recovery? Do you practise a specific religion? Or is it a god of your understanding?
Kip: I am Christian, not really sure that requires a denomination. To me the principles of recovery, especially AA, is biblical principles put into secular context so everyone can accept them. My faith is that I know there is a power greater than me and He can restore my life fully and that power to me is God. I admit to him and others my mistakes and by His grace alone I am forgiven. God doesn’t care about my past, He cares about today and if I am fulfilling my purpose. When I am ok with who I am, when I am happy and can love myself. When I know I am saved simply because I asked for it no matter how bad I may have been and that a new life of happiness and serenity are there for me if only I seek my God through my faith then theres no need to drown my pain or feelings in alcohol. When I see I matter, when I see my life has meaning then a substance to numb life becomes null and void as an option for me. My focus shifts to my purpose, its changed my perception, my mindset. When I am in a positive healthy state of mind I am thriving in recovery, but it is a mindset I must not quit on or take a break from. IT IS A ONE DAY AT A TIME THING.
Coming out with Faith
Liv: Have you had any negative experiences of talking in this open way? And, if so, how did you deal with that?
Kip: I have had just a few attack me based on their own perception of a comment I may make. I have found that it could be out of ignorance but mostly it has been that I have not met their standards or their expectations of what they believe to be true. They cannot accept that there may be people who believe differently so they attack. I see it just as insecurity and fear of what they don’t understand or want to try to understand and also I have had my roommate in rehab get upset over it. He says Jesus failed him and who do I think I am to live this way and speak about my sobriety and faith like I do. In that case I actually just think he is reflecting his own anger at himself for relapsing over and over again. I just love him, tell him I am there for him and Jesus always wins for me. If he ever wants to spend some face to face time with me and talk about it then to let me know. That also usually comes with a phone call when he is drinking so I don’t hold it against him. We did dumb, irrational things when drinking, so I know where he is and can relate.
Liv: Tell me about the faith challenge?
Kip: It is the 21 day Fistfuls of Faith free challenge. It is a 3 week challenge that will explore what faith is and how it can benefit us in our daily life. Then we learn how to activate that faith into our life so that we have what we say. That the promises do come true in our life. Everyone can believe, have faith, but that faith must be put into the proper action to unleash the power that is behind it. The purpose is that after the 3 weeks people will grow into what faith means to them and be able to unleash the power of it into their lives on a daily basis, allowing them to be introduced to a life of meaning and purpose. FAITH, PURPOSE, LIFE
Liv: What does living on purpose look like?
Kip: Living intentionally and in control of your actions and reactions. Making each day count and not just coasting through life or watching life happen. Actively in the game to make a difference and helping people to win.
Liv: Talk to me about running to win?
Kip: Running to win really just means giving your best. When we run to win doesn’t mean we always will. It means we gave our very best and went all in on that race. We did all we could to prepare and gave ourselves all the advantages we could to be successful. Focused on the prize and not being distracted by life and its problems. So that even when we lose a race, we still win. When we allow ourselves the freedom to go all in, without fear or doubt, we learn, we grow, we become stronger, we become warriors. Failure is only a step to success. Hence Warriors On Purpose.
Liv: What have been some of the wins of coaching people to achieve their potential, of living on purpose?
Kip: Just seeing the lights come on. Knowing that what I have experienced in life not only has changed me but has encouraged and uplifted others to recover or in their recovery as well. That alone gives my life meaning which feeds my soul and makes me hungry for more. Most important thing that keeps me sober. It has meant a lot to see some young people who I used to coach and teach, come to me knowing my story and have the opportunity to lead them to recovery and their purpose. It has also had a ripple effect on my family and older kids, just the fruits of sobriety and living right. Bottom line is that it is my purpose, the purpose we all have to help others, and that gives my life meaning which lets me win, no matter what the day or life brings. Another win is the relationships I have been able to develop in the recovery and online communities. People who understand me and I relate to and are a wealth of support and knowledge. Truly lets me know that my life matters and its my job to make sure that I am sharing the light I have been given to anyone or any place that is in darkness.
Liv: What is your relationship with food in recovery?
Kip: Well for the first few months I was just lucky to eat. The first two years I ate junk and sugar cookie dough was my weakness. I didn’t eat but once a day and I think just regulating back to a healthy lifestyle, my eating took backseat. This past year, things really fell into place, finances where no longer an issue and I began to eat 3 meals and eat all I wanted. This summer I looked in the mirror and said hello fatty, this is gonna change. So know I am exercising regularly, eating healthy and at home and not take out, it has improved the way I feel and my confidence and I have found that I can incorporate the same tools of recovery into being strong in a healthy way of eating also.
Kip: Ceasar salad, spaghetti and meatballs, and a cannoli
- My bible,
- My church (GUTS church in Tulsa, OK. www.gutschurch.com, you can watch services online anywhere in the world, its awesome),
- My AA group,
- The Big Book,
- Using my blog and website as a 12th step so that I remember who I am and pass all I can along to someone else.
Thank you Liv. I hope I was able to be specific enough. I am grateful to be included and my prayer is this will reach who it needs to and will help make a positive impact on their life. Keep up all your doing, you are an inspiration to many.