Real Sobriety Ep. 64
Jeff Bezos Saves Real Sobriety
Thank you all for your patience and support as we dealt with some unexpected technical difficulties on the Amazon.com platform. The Real Sobriety DVD is again available to be purchased.
Todays topic is going to be a little different from any other Real Sobriety podcast. I’m going to share the story of how Amazon.com suddenly removed our inventory of Real Sobriety DVDs and cancelled our listing on their website. It is a remarkable story of mistakes, anger, resentment, acceptance and , eventually patience and persistence winning in the end.
About two weeks ago, I received an email from Amazon Seller Performance notifying me that they had received a complaint from a buyer that our documentary film, Real Sobriety was a counterfeit, inauthentic product. I have no idea why someone would do this. Now, for the past year or so, Amazon has been cracking down on intellectual property violations, and removing pirated, unlicensed and counterfeit books, videos, music, and DVDs. Removing our DVD was probably a mistake, and I figured I would just respond to their email, explaining that we were the producers and distributors of the film, and all would be well. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Even after multiple phone calls, emails, chats and faxes, providing Amazon with all the documentation required to have our listing reinstated, they ruled against us, and threatened to remove all our products and selling privileges on their platform. We also independently publish other books and films, mostly about scuba diving and outdoor adventures, and like every other small media company, Amazon is our number one sales platform. It would be devastating to our business if we could not sell on Amazon.
After a week of being pissed off, and angry, I just meditated on it, and decided that this was one of this times when I had to, as the serenity prayer states: Accept the things I can not change. It was over. I’d have to build some other online platforms on which to sell the DVDs. I decided to move on to other projects.
Unknown to me, my wife, who sat and watched me fighting for the Real Sobriety DVD for a week, sent a heartfelt email directly to the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. In it, she explained the whole production and distribution situation, but, she also told him about the messages and letters we receive from people getting into recovery, for whom the Real Sobriety played a big part in their recovery. She told Mr. Bezos that treatment centers, therapists and counselors were showing Real Sobriety to their clients as part of their treatment curriculum.
And, he answered. Yes, Jeff Bezos, one of the most powerful people on the planet took time to look at our situation, and he instructed his people to reinstate the sales of the Real Sobriety DVD.
It took a few extra days to work it way through the Amazon system, but as of now, the DVD version of Real Sobriety is once again available. Thanks to my wife, who I know cares about people in recovery, because after all, she married one, and thanks to Jeff Bezos, a powerful billionaire who saw the potential good that a small movie was making in people’s lives.
So, after being angry and resentful, I finally arrived at acceptance, and that is where the positive change happened. Some things are worth fighting for when they serve the greater good.
After the preview, you can select to rent or buy/download. You can still buy the DVD by clicking on the image and links in the sidebar menu. Thanks!
This podcast was recorded in the parking lot of an airport, so there may be some extra sound effects!
Removing the Stigma of Addiction. For those of us in long-term recovery, it is up to us to live happy, successful lives, and be an example of what we can accomplish. We can choose to not be stigmatized by societal biases about addiction recovery.
A mid-summer addiction recovery rant. And, like most rants it runs overtime and sounds a bit crazy. I share my thoughts on new U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions and his ramping up the failed War on Drugs, the positive possibilities of the natural supplement Kratom, and how some authorities are refusing to respond to emergency overdose calls. The take away? We must look after each other, now more than ever.
These 3 words: Be Here Now were some of the most powerful and inspirational that I heard in my early recovery. There were a lot of similar expressions, like Keep your head where your feet are, Take it one day at a time, Live in the now, Wherever you go – there you are, Just for today, and on and on.
As much as I like meaningful words, I just was never much of a sloganeer. These sayings were fine for bumper stickers, but I always interpreted them as “AA sales pitches.” Like “keep Coming Back, It Works If You Work It.” I always hated that one because it assumes that if I go back out, if I relapse, it is because I was a failure and I failed at working this miraculous AA program. I didn’t “work it good enough.” So, these sayings and slogans may have been well-meaning, but to me, they represented an ideal to which I often fell short. They set me up for failure.
And, the fonts and typesetting were horrible. They looked like they were right out of a Byzantine monastery. I couldn’t relate intellectually, spiritually, or artistically.
I was at an old book store at a dusty market in Fergus, Ontario. The stall had all sorts of metaphysical and new age titles. And, it had an interesting thick book with a beautifully designed cover illustration. It was an intricate line drawing, white on a purple background. The title was
Wow, that’s it, I thought! That’s as simple as recovery can get Be Here Now…
I opened the book and found dozens of short essays illustrated by someone who was obviously familiar with a vast amount of hallucinogens. The author was Ram Dass, who I later discovered was a former Harvard professor, a friend and fellow traveller with the more famous Timothy Leary. Dass’ former name was Richard Alpert, until he undertook several spiritual quest to India and the east, and he transformed from a tweed wearing, pipe smoking Harvard intellectual, to a simple follower of truth. This book sung to me. I had to buy it. I think, after the US to Canadian exchange rate was factored in, it costs me $7.95 That’s Cheap for a new philosophy on life.
This book made a huge difference in my life. It helped me understand and become comfortable with my own truth. And here’s the truth I learned. I’ll tell you now, in case you can’t find your own:
We can control nothing outside of the two square feet we each occupy on this planet.
Put your hands on top of your head and look down at your feet. There you are. No bumper sticker or poorly designed slogan required.
You can click on any of the “Be Here Now” links in this post and order your copy of Ram Dass’ book.