How I Cured My Atheism

How I Cured My Atheism

Today’s blog entry is from Bobbie Malatesta.  Bobbie has been a member of Café RE since February 2020.  Bobbie just celebrated 4 years alcohol free and is a big source of support to her Café RE UP group!

 

How I Cured My Atheism

By: Bobbie Malatesta (Café RE UP)

 

Recently, someone shared a beautiful acronym that I wish I had earlier in my spirituality journey.  Before I get into that, please allow me to explain a little of my history in this department.

 

In my family, we had the Italian and Polish grandparents that were traditionally Catholic. My parents didn’t make us be Catholic except for when we went to weddings and funerals of course.  I was given the option to choose what religion I wanted to be.

 

At age 10, I decided to get baptized a Baptist. I was to stand in a sunken tub in the church and get dunked by the clergy and that would be that, right?  Well, not exactly.  I begged the man baptizing me to hold my nose when he dunked me.  Guess what?  He didn’t!! 

 

And so began my atheism.  How could I trust this God if his person couldn’t even help me with my minor little request?  Staying true to my disbelief and anger was easy as my life unfolded.  Trauma, tragedy, death after death, abandonment, and all the other bull-oney that life has to offer seemed to start and never stop in my life.  How could there possibly be a “”God” if all these bad things kept happening to me?

 

And so my life went. 

 

 

Once I joined 12 Step and had to memorize the Serenity Prayer, it got a bit more challenging.  Any time my GA crew wanted me to kick off the prayer, they expected me to say that “G” word but I didn’t want to talk to him.  I still didn’t believe in him.  On account of my big mouth and the fact that one of the principles in the program is that you don’t have to believe in the G word per seh, we found a compromise.  Whenever I started  the prayer, I addressed the Universe.  Eventually, some of my fellows would start with Universe too, in support of me. 

 

Things were going along just great until I got to Step 11. “ Sought through prayer and mediation…. conscious contact with GOD….”  Oh Sugar!  It was time to revisit this whole God concept for me. Long story short, I started going to church, meditating and doing the work so I could “graduate” Step 11.  

 

One of my favorite parts of doing this “work” was being in recovery communities like Café RE.  Working on Recovery Dharma, Sober travel trips with beautiful peers, learning from Patrick and appreciating the landscape of Bozeman all contributed to what is defined as spirituality to me now.  I can see God now in the essence of people, sunsets and sunrises and music.  The key is it doesn’t have to be labeled as god, universe or any other word in particular. 

 

 The end result was that for me, I now believed in a God, and I still choose to call her or him, Universe.  

 

Now, I have embraced and want to share GUS

 

GUS was there all along and I heard about him when I was supposed to, recently at a conference. 

 

GUS stands for:

God

Universe

Source/ Spirit

 

I am believer that there is no one right way for anything, including our own spirituality.  This is not meant an insult to anyone’s faith or choices, but to offer a solution to anyone who might be stuck on this premise like I was.

 

Either way, GUS got us, no matter what you call her/ him/ it.

Thanks for letting me share!

With Love & gratitude,

Bobbie

 

Sharing Shame, YIKES!

Sharing Shame, YIKES!

Today’s blog entry is from Dustin Wade, who has been a member of Café RE since March 2021.  Dustin has been alcohol free since January 30, 2020.  He is very active within his Café RE UP group and on our community chats.  

Towards the end my drinking progressed to the point that I started drinking as soon as I woke up.  I knew this was taking me down a dark path. 

 

This behavior started when I was newly divorced, single and could do whatever I wanted.  Why not start drinking first thing in the morning?  Fast forward, now in a relationship (with my now new bride!) I would have an hour or two to sneak some in before she woke up, and the sneaky behavior began! 

 

My drinking continued at work, filling various water bottles with wine, beer, and vodka to drink in my office.  Going out to lunch, and sitting at the bar to drink more.  I would keep the buzz going until I went home.  Then I would try and hide the fact that I had been drinking all day.  Oh, then there were days I would lie about working late and hit the bar again on the way home.    

 

My car got towed one time and I lied about having to ‘work even later’ so I could get it out of the impound lot.  With the drinking all day, that meant I did a lot drinking while driving, and never thought twice about it!  While at the same time judging others who did it too. 

 

Day after day, the shame ran deep.  

 

Shame kept me drinking for far too long, and my drinking routine caused some significant weight gain.  It embarrassed me.  I was always the skinny kid growing up, so I felt like everyone was judging me.  Growing up my family didn’t open up and talk about our struggles.  This contributed to me letting the shame of drinking build up inside.  Eventually, all the lying and drinking all day caught up with me and I had to face the music.  When my fiancé found some hidden alcohol I had to share what had been building up inside for so long.  Unable to hide behind a lie, I had to tell her how much I was drinking.  Finally talking about this big secret I’d kept for so long I felt some burden being lifted. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do! 

 

I had always known that day was going to come.  Part of me wanted it to happen this way, and part of me wanted to go out with a big rock bottom.  A few days later, I stepped into an IOP (intensive outpatient program) and shared my shame of abusing alcohol with total strangers.  Once I did it was like something reached into me and lifted this huge burden buried deep inside.  I wept.  It was so emotional hearing the words that I had a problem with alcohol come out of my mouth. 

I quickly learned how powerful sharing shame could be.

 

Sharing shame can come in many forms, and you may want to know who your audience is before sharing.  It might be with loved ones, close friends, AA meetings, your sponsor, therapists, rehab programs or publicly, like on the RE Podcast.  It might be a post in a private Café RE group or a share on a Café RE chat.

A big share for me was doing the Café RE member spotlight, where I shared my story with the group. 

 

Along the way, I was listening to other shares, and with everyone, there was something that resonated with me, and comforting to know I wasn’t alone.  For this reason, I continue to share, because you never know who may need to hear what you have to say.  What I realize now, is that I have shared shame is safe places, and I knew the audience.  I think this is important to note.

        

There is a lot out there on sharing shame.  Here is an excerpt from psyche.co website about sharing shame: ‘Sharing about our shame can help us realize that others will accept us despite self-perceived flaws. Further, sharing often provides a space where others open up and actually relate to our experiences, which decreases the sense of aloneness and can increase our trust in opening up to others.’ 

This last part of the quote really hits home, the decrease in a sense of aloneness has been huge for me, and bright spot in my recovery.  Likewise, my increased trust in opening up to others has allowed me grow and learn.  There was certainly no growth when I just bottled things up inside, with no outlet other than drinking.  

I will leave you with this quote by author Ann Voskamp, ‘Shame dies when stories are told in safe places.’

Have you shared your shame?

 

 

       

        

 

Alcohol, the real reason I lost my nursing license.

Alcohol, the real reason I lost my nursing license.

Today’s blog entry is from Paulette Vantrease, who has been a member of Café RE since July 2023.  Paulette has been alcohol free since March 22, 2023 and is active within her Café RE OG community.  

“I blamed covid for leaving nursing, but alcohol addiction forced me when I lost my license.”

I stood on a stage about to give a speech to a few hundred festival attendees, I hated speaking in front of a crowd; I still do. But the topic was about something I knew personally, and I had lived it for many months. I felt a sense of comfort and pride in what I was going to say. Writing the speech and practicing it out loud was cathartic. I hoped I could sincerely convey all the emotions I felt up to and on that day. My head was clear, my heart full, and I was sober for several weeks that day.

On September 11, 2021 I was asked by an acquaintance to speak at a festival.  Asked to speak about my experience as a nurse in the emergency department during the pandemic. The worst of covid had passed by then though fear and caution remained throughout our community and much of the country. My focus was on what I saw and lived through in the ER, dealing with non-believers (including a few of my own siblings back home), and the raw emotions felt during and still to that day whenever I thought of those difficult shifts in the hospital.

 

What I omitted in that speech was my struggle with alcohol throughout the entire span of the pandemic.

 

As ER nurses…

 

As ER nurses we deal with people every shift who are at their very worst: mildly or critically ill or injured, in psychiatric crisis, actively dying, and just about everything else you can imagine. We are hardcore adrenaline junkies who thrive on the chaos the department gives us. We willingly work in an environment no one wants to be, most certainly the patients.

The article “Alcoholism and Medical Professionals” states that 10-12% of healthcare professionals will develop a substance abuse disorder during their careers, including 1 in 5 nurses. It also states that the numbers are likely even higher due to vast underreporting. Drinking is the norm after a shift, most certainly after a particularly difficult one. Us night shift workers would often leave the hospital in the morning to go have “breakfast” at a local restaurant that served alcohol after 8:00 am. Food was often only an option.

To say alcoholism is rampant among healthcare workers, especially those in critical care areas, is an understatement. Alcohol is an easy outlet to numb the mind and body after desperately trying to save a young car crash victim only to watch him ultimately slip through your fingers. For me personally, drinking became my daily therapy session.

 

My first successful attempt at sobriety began in late May 2018.

I had been drinking daily and much to my shame and guilt even before work to feel somewhat normal. As William Porter describes in his book “Alcohol Explained,” our brains are essentially hijacked by alcohol and eventually we need to drink in order to simply function normally. It had got to the point where unless I drank my anxiety was unmanageable.  I would begin to withdraw from the effects of alcohol. And eventually withdraw I did. Hard.

As a nurse I took care of detoxing patients and knew all too well how dangerous it could be. So, on a trip out of town with a dear friend that May afternoon the symptoms began on the car ride and though I was completely in denial, I could not get to a hospital fast enough. It scared me shitless. In the ER as my blood pressure read 200s over 100s and my heart rate 180+, I admitted to the doctor that I had been on a very long bender and stopped cold turkey a few days prior. When he ordered 2 mg of Ativan, I believe the relief on my face was visible to everyone in the room, and as it entered my veins the calming effect was almost immediate.

I could not deny any longer what was happening.

The phrase “scared straight” entered my mind and stayed there for a very long time. Looking back on and remembering the physical symptoms of withdrawal kept me sober for over 20 months. In the hospital I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, had a cardiac catheterization, and put on a regimen of medications for my heart, blood pressure, and lingering withdrawal symptoms. I entered an outpatient program and went to my very first AA meeting. One would think that all of this would have kept me sober for the rest of my life. But sheer determination without any plan in place only lasts so long.

Complacency in sobriety is like a bomb waiting to go off, and mine was ticking away the hours. For months I had been planning a dream vacation to Hawaii.   I was set to go in early 2020. By then I had stopped going to AA blaming it on work constraints and subconsciously knew that I would drink there. The memory of detoxing had faded and the trip of a lifetime by myself was meant to be epic. The relapse there was epic as well. Queue explosion.

When I returned from Hawaii covid had begun to make waves as an up-and-coming new deadly virus. I had reached out to an old AA friend and somehow got back on track into sobriety. It didn’t last long. Covid hit with full force along with my drinking. I had countless attempts at sobriety throughout the pandemic however I simply could not sustain any stretches for long. It was a very dark time period for so many people including those of us trying to get and stay sober. Looking back, it is a blur of dying patients, daily chaos, uncertainty, and alcohol to numb it all.

In the summer of 2021 I was introduced to an online community called, “The Luckiest Club”.  By then I had given up on AA but knew I needed something, anything to help me get sober. The spiral down to daily drinking had its grasp on me and I was completely powerless. TLC was like a breath of fresh air for me. I had heard of different types of recovery programs such as SMART recovery, Sober Sis, Recovery Dharma, and the like. But this was unique, and I immediately fell in love with the forum. I attended the online zoom meetings, joined subgroups that interested me and began to raise my hand and speak in meetings, which I never did in AA. I was sober again and felt incredible.

During the speech I gave that September day in 2021 all the emotions and memories of covid came crashing back. A state politician was there listening to me and stopped me as I was leaving to thank me for my service. He said you could hear a pin drop while I was on the stage which at a music festival was quite the feat. Several other attendees thanked me, shook my hand, and even hugged me. In hindsight I knew I should have reached out to someone, anyone from TLC or AA or my friend who drove me to the hospital back in 2018. Instead, I ended up at the liquor store. I got obliterated at home. The old wounds were ripped open, raw, and I wanted to eliminate the pain. STAT.

The rest of 2021 and 2022 was a continuous cycle of drinking.  I was depressed.  My drinking made my depression worse.  I tried numerous times to quit and even had a few stretches of sobriety interspersed. By then I had lost my nursing job and my license due to alcohol and was floundering with what to do with my life. In spite of admitted to a psychiatric hospital a couple of times for suicidal ideation the drink had me in its grasp. If there was a rock bottom, I think I hit it more than once.

I took my last drink on March 22, 2023.  The same day, I was admitted to the psychiatric hospital.   I didn’t have a job.  I was living with my son drinking away the days, foolishly thinking I was cleverly hiding it from the world. Upon my release I rejoined TLC, attended as many meetings there as I could, and immersed myself in reading and re-reading books such as “Quit Like a Woman” by Holly Whitaker, “Alcohol Explained” by William Porter,This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace and several others. I recently began listening to podcasts and joined Recovery Elevator as well. I now listen to several a day. Paul Churchill’s interviews on the Recovery Elevator Podcast are my new daily therapy. I place more tools in my sobriety toolbox as I discover them.  

Today, October 15, 2023, I am 207 days sober, and it is the longest stretch since 2020. I have found community and fellowship in TLC and Café RE. I have reached out to other members and met them in person. We text or talk on the phone, or message each other on the forum. I have a therapist who specializes in addiction who helps to guide me along in this journey.  What the future holds or if I will remain sober, I do not know.  I am unsure if I will, or even can, return to nursing.  As cliché as it sounds, I take one day at a time. Everything feels right though, as if the universe finally put everything in place, and it feels amazing. It IS amazing.

Peace, Love, & Joy

Paulette

 

A Message to Big Alcohol

A Message to Big Alcohol

406 episodes of the Recovery Elevator Podcast were released before there was an intro with the main message being addressed to Big Alcohol.  Why do you think that is?  That’s a lot of Mondays to not tell Big Alcohol what we think, (or where to stick it 😈).  Why wasn’t this addressed before episode 407: A Message to Big Alcohol…?

Well, like Paul said…we have limited time together and it feels like a better use of our time discussing how to build a new life that no longer requires alcohol, instead of fighting Big Alcohol, or fighting the past. 

In fact, although you may not feel like it right now…if you keep moving forward, if you don’t quit quitting, and you keep doing the next right thing, one day at a time…you may just find yourself thanking Big Alcohol for giving you the life you have today. Crazy to imagine, right?  I know it was for me.  But it absolutely is true today.  I am thankful for where my struggle with Big Alcohol has led me.  

 

So here we are…let’s call out a couple of things regarding Big Alcohol, and maybe, there is a way we can work together.

 

First off, let’s get real for a second Big Alcohol. We both know your business model doesn’t survive off normal drinkers. Your lights are on, your doors are open, salaries are paid because of problematic drinkers…aka: alcoholics. 

 

This is called the 80/20 rule in business and for Big Alcohol, it’s probably a 90/10 rule. This means that 90% of revenues are coming from 10% customers. 

 

Let’s take a normal drinker. This is someone who buys a six pack of Coors Light, drinks 2-3 beers, and the remaining 3-4 cans sit in the refrigerator in the garage for the next couple weeks or months. 

 

That is one type of customer. 

 

Then take the alcoholic.  This is someone who buys a 12, 18, 24, or 30 pack of Coors Light… daily. Where do you think your revenue is coming from? This question is rhetorical because they already know this. 

 

 

Big Alcohol, we bring this up because there needs to be accountability on your part…and here’s some reasons why:

 

◾️Yes, it’s the individual who is drinking excessively, but the data and science support that alcohol is the most dangerous and addictive drug on the planet.

It kills more people each year than every other drug combined. An estimated 40-75% of occupied hospital beds have underpinnings to alcohol. In 2010, a Doctor named Dr. David Nutt, hired by the British government, was tasked to put a harm score on the world’s 20 most addictive drugs. Alcohol came in at #1. In 1958 the American Medical Association classified alcoholism as a disease. 

 

◾️No amount of alcohol consumed is beneficial to the consumer.

This a myth that you, Big Alcohol, tries to perpetuate. In the Mid 2010’s the government funded agency the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) performed a study to see if alcohol consumption was good for you.

The answer was…YES.  Say whattttt??  🤯  However, it then became known the study was funded by Big Alcohol. No surprise the answer was yes!  🙄

In reality, no quantity of ethanol is good for you. The Huberman Lab Podcast has a fantastic episode about the effects of alcohol on your mind and body. The Stanford University Neuroscientists confirmed that no amount of alcohol is good for you.

 

◾️And let’s talk trash, garbage or waste.

A couple months ago Paul had new brakes installed on his vehicle and he rode his bike home from the mechanic after dropping off his truck. He took a scenic county road home for about 7 miles. While hugging the side of the road he was astonished by the amount of empty alcohol containers that littered the shoulder.

Keep in mind, this was in the part of the grass that had been maintained.  Paul said he guessed there was triple or quadruple the amount of empty bottles and cans in the taller grass. (Now to be fair, he did see empty gatorade bottles, and trash that was not related to alcohol, but he said if he had to guess it was a 10/1 ratio.). Paul estimated there was an empty alcohol container every 100 feet (and that’s a safe estimate). With some easy math that put 52 bottles, or cans, every mile totaling over 350 pieces of trash on his 7 mile bike ride. That figure would be way higher if one were to walk through the taller grass.

This past October Paul did a retreat in Peru. One of their tasks was to pick up trash around a sacred temple about 20 miles outside of Cusco, which once was the capital of the Inca Empire. They filled about 4 trash bags, and again about a 10/1 ratio of alcohol containers to other trash. 

 

Big Alcohol’s footprint is all over the globe; societal wreckage, physical disease, and in the form of excessive trash.

 

As human beings there is a goal that many of us share. That is to make this world a better place. 💚🌎
Big Alcohol, let me ask you this question, are you making the world a better place?

 

What impact are you having on society? On the fabric of family systems? Are you adding or subtracting to this world? Are you a net benefit? Or a net drain? What do you stand for Big Alcohol? Are you okay with your customers discarding your product waste into nature? Into my backyard? Into your backyard? Big Alcohol, your name, your brand, your message is on these containers that end up in our streams, rivers, and oceans. By all concerns you are still tied to the product, but you are not shouldering the burden after the monetary transaction has taken place. 

This.  Needs. To.  Change.   

 

As we all work on cleaning up our internal wreckage and chaos it’s time that you, Big Alcohol, start doing the same.

 

We here at Recovery Elevator are calling you out, Big Alcohol, to lean up your mess. A disproportionate amount of trash in nature is yours. It’s the RIGHT thing to do – to pick it up. We have a yearly service project at Recovery Elevator, and we’d love your help. Maybe take 1/2 a percentage of your marketing budget and help us out. 

 

Big Alcohol, if you want to work with us, we’re open to it.  Our email address is info@recoveryelevator.com.   

 

The Order of Healing

The Order of Healing

Let’s talk about the order of healing when you quit drinking. We’ll also put a time frame on it…more or less place holders for what you can expect.  As with everything in recovery…your time frame may not exactly match up with what is outlined here…but should be close!  🤏🏼

 

When we ditch the booze the healing happens in the reverse order as the destruction. 

 

When we slide down the chasm of addiction we are afflicted spiritually first, as that is the first connection that becomes severed.  Next up is our mental health, and then the physical body fails. The body can’t keep up with the amount of poison entering it and organs begin to fail, think liver and pancreas.

 

So the destruction happens spiritually, mentally and then physically.  

 

The healing happens in reverse. 

 

We heal physically, mentally and then spiritually. It’s a triage of sorts. Keep in mind there is always overlap. You won’t say, okay, I’m physically strong, now let’s work on the mind. In addition, the three will always be a work in progress.

 

Good news here, you don’t need to initiate the steps of this healing process. As long as you do the following, the intelligence of the body will take over. 

Here is what you need to do.

1️⃣.  Ditch the booze

2️⃣.  Fuel the body with healthy fuel. Food that is alive..aka:  greens, veggies, fruits, and try to cut down on meat. At least for a bit.

3️⃣. Cut back on sugar and caffeine intake. Here at RE we love our ice cream…so green light on the ice cream in the first 15-30 days, but try to cut back to 1-3x per week. Caffeine, 1 cup per day. This is mostly to help with relaxation and sleep.

4️⃣. Moderate movement. Walk, hike, jog, stretch, yoga, weights…for 20 min, 3x per week.

5️⃣. Here’s the fun part – Recovery!  This could be AA, we have Café RE, Smart Recovery, Treatment, IOP, etc.

 

On day 1 we begin healing physically. The cells in the back of the mouth, the throat, the stomach, liver and pancreas are the first to say, thank you!! 

Let’s talk about weight. If you lose weight, great!  But there’s a good chance you’re going to gain weight. Beer, wine, spirits are basically empty calories, or the same as a moldy gummy worm. You may see your body expanding in your first 30 days, which is beautiful. There is more of you to love. A book Paul recommends to help fuel your body properly is The All Day Energy Diet by Yuri Elkaim.

 

The physical restoration component is anywhere from 3-12 months depending on how far you rode the shit storm of addiction.

 

Then begins the real fun stuff…the mental work, which is anywhere from 6 mo -1.5 years. In active addiction there is chaos internally. There is no coherence with the body and the mind. After we find our footing physically, the brain seemingly is going to go haywire. You won’t naturally find yourself in the present moment, but this is the time to really focus on every task at hand. Washing the dishes is our recovery work.

 

A big part of the mental healing is letting the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis settle down. These three organs control the stress response. Cravings and moments where you’re triggered begin to smooth out once this stress mechanism comes back down to earth. 

 

The mind and body will thank you for getting off the rollercoaster of emotions and rock bottoms. Those are stressful and wreak havoc on our inner peace. At the tail end of the mental healing is when something neat happens. 

 

In fact, it’s extraordinary. 

 

This is when we have the capacity to recognize we are not the thoughts, but the one who experiences them. Or as Eckhart Tolle says, life is the dancer, and we are the dance. This is the bridge to the spirituality component of our healing. 

 

As the Swiss, 20th century analytical psychologist Carl Jung says –  we enter a spiritual dimension when we begin experiencing synchronicities in life. Or we almost see the bread crumbs confirming we are on the right path. Jung was a firm believer that there are no such things as coincidences and everything is connected. Or interdependent.  Both in the physical and the dream world. According to Jung, this metaphysical state of living occurs when we are in balance. 

 

When we are in a healthy dance with time and congruent with the natural flow of life, this is when those seemingly synchronistic events take place. They are quite powerful to be honest. They make you feel connected to something for sure. Paul says, to be fair, he did experience these synchronistic events before quitting drinking, but it was like once every couple of years and nowadays, it’s weekly and sometimes daily.

 

One reason why healing spiritually comes last is because it helps to make this connection in times of repose, sitting, meditating or focusing on the breath. 

 

Paul says, “I don’t know about you, but there was 0% chance I was sitting in lotus position to connect with a higher power in my first 2-6 months. Probably not even the first two years. Meditating for me at first, was absolutely brutal. But as I progressed, I began to enjoy it, and with some meditations, I would feel euphoria in parts of my body and once I think the best word to describe what happened was astral travel.”  – (He knows it sounds strange. 😜)

 

So…that’s the most common pathway when it comes to healing from a drinking problem.

 

There is a concept to describe the initial phases of this which is PAWS. Short for Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. This is your body, mind, heart, organs, and soul, recalibrating – finding a new homeostasis. Please don’t hit the eject button if you have a rough day or 20. After chaos, calm is always on the horizon. This is a universal law. PAWS lasts anywhere from 3 months to a year or two…. Yea it can be uncomfortable, but it’s preferable to the perilous road of addiction.

 

***Taken from Recovery Elevator Podcast, episode 404, host Paul Churchill***

 

5 MYTHS ABOUT SOBRIETY

5 MYTHS ABOUT SOBRIETY

Are you thinking about giving up alcohol?   What is stopping you?  

 

Maybe you know that you have a problem with alcohol, that it is no longer serving you, it’s causing wreckage throughout your life…but the thought of quitting makes you nervous and scared?

 

Maybe you are sober curious.  Alcohol hasn’t really caused any problems  in your life but you still would like to see what living a life free from it would be like.  

 

And maybe you’re hesitant because of some of the myths, misconceptions and rumors floating around out there about what living a life without alcohol is like.  Societal stigmas exist everywhere.  And although there have been great strides and growth in the AF (alcohol free) movement in recent years it is often the fear of feeling stigmatized, labeled or judged that stops people from seeking out a life free from alcohol.  

 

Don’t fall victim to the many myths about sobriety.  Let’s look at some of them.  

 

1.  YOU HAVE TO LABEL YOURSELF AN ALCOHOLIC

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

First of all, what is an alcoholic?  It is an outdated term that the medical and scientific communities don’t even use anymore.  Instead it’s called alcohol use disorder (AUD).  AUD can be diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe…and the bar for mild AUD is pretty low.  Which makes it not surprising to me that a large chunk of my friends and family exhibit it.  

 

Second of all, you don’t have to label yourself as anything…labels are for file folders.  

 

Personally I am neutral when it comes to calling myself an alcoholic.  It doesn’t bother me.  I can take it or leave it.  But the word carries so much stigma and people have such a specific image in their head when they hear it…that it turns people away from getting help.  

 

Before I get hate mail from the ‘alcoholics’ out there let me continue.  I know that for some people identifying as an alcoholic is an important part of your sobriety…and there is nothing wrong with that!  GO TEAM ALCOHOLICS!  📣

 

2.  YOU “HAVE” TO GO TO AA

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

You also don’t HAVE to go to AA…but it’s perfectly fine if you do!    When I first decided to get sober…many moons ago…AA is the first place I went.  I think that is how it was for a lot of people, because there was a time that AA was all that was out there.  

 

AA is not part of my program currently, but it was as recent as a couple years ago.  I even held a service position for an entire year!  

 

What matters most is finding what works for and is the best fit for you. As long as it is keeping you sober, that is all that matters. 

 

3.  IF YOU ARE SOBER, OR CHOOSING TO LIVE A LIFE WITHOUT ALCOHOL, YOU MUST HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM.  

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

You don’t have to have a severe drinking problem to want sobriety.  You don’t have to have a drinking problem at all.  

 

You can just want to feel better.  Maybe you’ve decided that alcohol isn’t bringing anything positive into your life so you are just going to remove it from your life.  It doesn’t have to be awful to want better.  

 

Anyone, anywhere, with any kind of drinking habit can make the decision to stop drinking…there is no prerequisite for how bad your drinking has to get first.  

 

4.  YOU HAVE TO HIT ROCK-BOTTOM TO GET SOBER

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

You don’t have to hit rock bottom to want sobriety.  You don’t have to be suffering from the repercussions from drinking to want sobriety.  You don’t have to have lost everything…the job, the money, the house, the friends, the family… to want sobriety.

 

And can you really even say what your rock bottom would be?  Everyone’s rock bottom  doesn’t look the same.  

 

5.  SOBER LIFE IS BORING

 

FALSE 👎🏼 👎🏼. 

 

This preconceived notion could not be further from the truth.  Alcohol numbs our senses and feelings.  And guess what… when you numb the bad, you also numb the good.

 

Remove the alcohol and discover how much more time you have, how much more money you have.  Discover and rediscover hobbies and interests you once had.   You will discover your FOMO turn into JOMO.  

 

If you find that sober life is boring I hate to say it…your life is boring.  Make some changes.   Sobriety provides a greater amount of opportunities for freedom and fun than a bottle of booze could ever offer.

 

It’s not a no to alcohol…but yes to a better life.  Sobriety…there is probably no healthier, kinder, loving thing you could do for yourself.  ❤️

 

Until next time, be well.  

Kerri Mac 🤟 

 

 

 

Get the latest news from Recovery Elevator

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from team Recovery Elevator.

You have Successfully Subscribed!