Mary, with 3 years since her last drink, shares her story….
We all think that the cities we live in should be on the “Nations Drunkest Cities” list. The state of Wisconsin wins the prize for the largest number of cities on this list. Listed below are a few of the favorites:
- Greenbay, WI
- O’Clair, WI
- Appleton, WI
- Fargo, ND
- Missoula, MT
- Iowa City, IA
- Lincoln, NE
- Milwaukee, WI
[6:31] Paul Introduces Mary
Mary – I am 3 years sober, live in Louisiana and am married with 5 children. I like to run and bike and am currently raising puppies. I am a college student and am enjoying getting to know my new sober self.
[9:32] Mary tells the story of her younger 13 year old self
Mary – I was 13 years old and baby-sitting an infant. I invited some friends over and we started drinking. I left the baby in her crib and we drove around. I backed the car into a ditch and hit a palm tree. The police ended up bringing me home.
[12:23] Mary describes her drinking habits
Mary – I was a daily beer drinker and would try to abide by my rules of not drinking before 5 pm. This never worked. At night, if I couldn’t sleep, I would have a drink. If I woke up later in the night, I would have another drink. Pretty soon my window of “not drinking” had shrunk.
[14:00] Did you see any signs that you had a problem?
Mary – If I went out, I would immediately have to have a drink and was always looking for the next one. I would start my night with some drinks at home. In my 20’s and 30’s, I surrounded myself with other drinkers so it seemed normal. My drinking really took off in my 40’s. I started noticing I had a problem more when I became a mom.
[17:21] What was the progression like into alcoholism?
Mary – 1 drink was never enough. I started focusing more on when I could have a drink. Alcohol helped me cope with life. I hated myself.
[18:03] Tell me about this self- loathing
Mary – I used to think “this is as good as it gets?” I had accepted that my life was going to suck.
[18:45] Did you have a bottom?
Mary – I had grown sick and tired of drinking. My family called me out as being drunk when I was slurring my speech. A close friend of mine went to rehab. I stopped drinking in order to support him. As each day passed, I could not believe that I was still not drinking. I went to Al-Anon in order to further support my friend.
[21:05] How did you do it?
Mary – I kept going to Al-Anon. When I visited my friend, he took me to a meeting. As I sat there listening, I realized I wanted what they had. I worked the 12 steps. My life has changed to being joyous and free. It is freeing not having any more secrets.
[24:00] Paul and Mary talk about being sober emotionally
Mary – It felt good to get rid of all of my secrets. I listened to other people in the program and did what they said. I wanted to be happy and try to remain teachable.
[27:23] Describe a day in your life
Mary – I pray every morning and evening. I also meditate (U-Tube 11th step guided meditation). I reach out regularly to friends in the program. I listen to AA recordings (Joe and Charlie AA tapes), read The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
[30:00] What is on your bucket list?
Mary – Continue to share my story, bring hope to others, and be of service to others.
[31:21] What have you learned the most?
Mary – That I am OK just the way that I am. I am trying to have a good life and do the best I can.
[31:57] What are your thoughts on relapse?
Mary – For some people, it is an important part of their recovery. I try to accept just this 1 day that I have and not “future trip.” Relapse can be an important learning tool in recovery.
[33:00 ] Rapid Fire Round
- What was your worst memory from drinking? leaving that sleeping baby alone when I was 13 and driving around while drinking
- Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? at my daughter’s 16th birthday party, I was too drunk to drive but did anyway. I hit the curb and flattened my tire.
- What’s your plan moving forward? keep going to meetings, keep breaking the stigma
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? keep falling forward, everywhere I go, there I am.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? Continue to move forward, talk about it, give voice to your pain
- You might be an alcoholic if… you take the computer test “Are you and alcoholic,” and focus on your No answers.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free
bmjopen.bmj.com (article on how women millennials are catching up to men in their alcoholism)
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!”