Tricia, with 30 days since her last drink, shares her story….
Congratulations Recovery Elevator on 100 episodes! How did we make it to 100 episodes? How else, but one episode (day) at a time.
Problem drinking that becomes severe is often given the medical term alcohol use disorder or AUD. Some interesting studies from the NESARC show that in 2012, 7.2% of the population surveyed had an alcohol use disorder (article found here: www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders.)
Europe also has an organization (the ECA) who conducts alcohol related surveys. They found that although people in Southern Europe drank larger amounts of alcohol, they were able to moderate their drinking. In comparison, there were more alcohol related fatalities in Northern Europe. Could this be because of binge drinking? Perhaps the folks from the South can drink 1-2 glasses of wine with their meal while people from the North are drinking larger quantities in one sitting? We will let the ECA draw that conclusion.
[ 8:23 ] Paul Introduces Tricia who’s last drink was approximately 30 days ago
[ 9:00 ] When did you realize you had a problem?
Tricia – I knew I wasn’t a normal drinker even at the age of 23. I always knew that I would have to quit one day. I never drank just for the taste, it was always to get drunk. Once I started drinking, I could not stop.
[ 11:28 ] Did you ever put any rules in place in order to control your drinking?
Tricia – I tried switching to a drink that I did not like. This never worked and I would end up doing shots of something else. My fellow drinker friends thought this was a great idea! I was always into fitness and nutrition so I would make sure my daily caloric intake would allow for booze.
[ 15:41 ] Tell us about yourself?
Tricia – I am 35 year old chef who now owns her own business. I have always been a runner but also enjoy anything in the outdoors, such as skiing and snowboarding. I like to knit and cross stitch Gangsta Rap lyrics into items for friends. My only hobby before was drinking. I would work and drink. That was it.
[ 19:18 ] Did you have a bottom?
Tricia – I was a high functioning alcoholic. My bottom was very high. I would always pretend that I wasn’t drunk or that I didn’t have a hangover. My motto was, “I’ve Got This.” When I went on a 3 day binger, 30 days ago, I was so hung over that I could even fake it. I had to stay in bed all day. That was the first time I experienced the physical withdrawals of sweating, fever and shaking.
[ 22:15 ] How did you reach the conclusion that you did not have control over alcohol?
Tricia – My friends and I were going out one night and rented a party bus. I was terribly anxious for weeks up until this party. I was afraid I would drink too much and black out. The black outs were getting to be very common. I ended up drinking too much and woke up the next day with bruises all over my legs. I did not remember falling down but obviously it had happened.
[ 24:48 ] Did alcohol play a role in your divorce?
Tricia – there were many other factors but both my ex-husband and I drank. When we fought, we had usually both been drinking. I wasn’t supposed to be the drinker of the family. My brother was the center of attention since he had the alcohol/drug problem for years. I was the over achiever who still managed to get to work on time and function normally. Until I could no longer fake it.
[ 26:56 ] How did you get to day 1 without a drink?
Tricia – I had not planned on stopping drinking entirely. It basically snuck up on me. I had that terrible hangover and the physical withdraw symptoms so I called my brother who is now in recovery. He is very supportive. I went on-line and found the RE podcast and starting listening and hearing similar stories.
[ 30:28 ] What does a day in the life of Tricia look like?
Tricia – I started going to AA meetings. I ended up being late to my first AA meeting because I went to the wrong room. The security officer at the church shouted to everyone that the AA meeting was in the other room. Even though I was 10 minutes late for that meeting, I was really 10 years late in trying AA.
[ 34:51 ] Rapid Fire Round
- What was your worst memory from drinking? the blackouts and everything that I do not remember
- Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? trying to moderate and being fearful that I would over indulge and put myself in danger
- What’s your plan moving forward? Every morning I read the Big Book pp 86-88. I meditate on those pages. I am also reading a book by Tara Brock called Radical Acceptance.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery? AA meetings and connecting with other alcoholics
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? keep an open mind and forget everything you think you know. Do not try to do this alone.
- You might be an alcoholic if….
- you need alcohol to do simple tasks
- you put vodka in your water bottle to go to the gym
- you think you are an alcoholic
Paul ends the podcast with some questions for the listeners: What type of role does or did alcohol play in your life? Does alcohol dictate your life? Be honest with yourself.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Paul will be speaking at a “This is My Brave” even on 1/22/17. The event is at the Moss Theater @ 4pm. The address is 313 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA. Tickets can be found here: www.bfrb.org
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“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”