John, with over 1 year since his last drink, shares his story…
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.
By Mary Oliver
[8:45] Paul Introduces Randy.
Paul is a musician from Helena, Montana. He’s been sober for over 1 year. He’s 41 years old. He’s married with two sons. For fun, he likes to turn his obsessive side toward healthy activities. He’s exploring moderation. He stopped drinking after a horrible hangover. He tried to have a beer after some after about 6 months of sobriety. He realized that everything kicked back in. He got sober with willpower but realized that he can’t stay sober with willpower.
[17:09] At what point did you realize that you had a problem with drinking?
He has alcoholism in his family. When he started to perform in bands at 19, he refused to drink. When he moved to Montana, he discovered craft beer and the surrounding culture encouraged him to drink. In 2011 he quit drinking for 14 months. He considers himself an extrovert and gets charged up by talking to people. He realized that his drinking was an extension of his lack of emotional intelligence. He got tired of playing “hide the bottle”. He began to go to bed drunk every night. Hid digestion was a mess.
[25:13] What did you find was at the root of your decision to quit?
His body hurt. He was sick and tired of sick and tired. Telling people that he was sober was strange because he had histories with his bandmates. He changed his internal dialogue to harness his stubbornness, so he could use it to stay sober.
[28:07] Tell us more about the moment where you felt the weight drop off your shoulders.
He felt like he was coming to terms with the loneliness in his own heart. He began to explore the religious side of his life. He addressed his conflicted religious beliefs, and once he felt better about it he found the strength to quit drinking. He thinks addicts share the bond of the unquenchable thirst. We’re always trying to overdo it.
[33:00] Tell us more about not wanting to drink but wanting to be drunk.
As soon as the alcohol hits the brain, it kickstarts a physiological craving that can be shut off only by the removal of alcohol from the system. He realized that a lot of the bad behavior in his life was dictated by his addiction. He wants to meet the emotional needs of others. He wants people to know that they’re not alone. He believes there is freedom in commitment, but it has to be all in.
[39:06] How do you plan on addressing the excess?
He is in the process of addiction whack-a-mole. He switched to Adderall. To counter it, he’s now taking cannabis. He is dealing with the shame of wanting a buzz. Alcohol works until it doesn’t. He quit Adderall. He keeps looking for the next magic pill.
[45:00] Rapid Fire Round
- What was your worst memory from drinking?Arguing with his wife in the car. They weren’t married yet and she asked him about his drinking. He made his wife cry and felt terrible.
- Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
- What’s your plan moving forward?
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery?The recovery elevator podcast. Also, his sober friends. “Connection is the opposite of addiction.”
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?Use the obsessive part of addiction as a superpower. Apply your obsession to something positive.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?Ask for help. If it needs to be private, that’s ok. Ask people to help you stay sober. Don’t be afraid.
- You might be an alcoholic if…“…you play hide the bottle. If you’re drinking privately, it isn’t normal. Lots of people do it, but you can be free from that if you choose to be.”
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free
Sober Selfies! – Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to firstname.lastname@example.org
“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”