“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart
Paul discusses his difficulties in quitting smoking, and it’s parallels to quitting drinking. Alcohol is not your friend. Stop drinking cold turkey, and don’t try to a taper off strategy. Rip the Band-Aid off. Get rid of the booze from your house. At this moment, you are not stronger than your addiction. One day at a time. Thinking must be flipped. Quitting drinking is an opportunity to get your life back, not a sacrifice. Write down a list of pros and cons from quitting drinking. Don’t worry about your weight initially. Get through sobriety first. Schedule personal time for exercise. Life happens, and we need to build up our coping skills muscles without alcohol. Accountability is the underlying theme of this entire podcast. Celebrate the milestones, and be happy with your progress.
Leah, with 19 days since her last drink, shares her story.
[11:20] Paul Introduces Leah. My last drink was June 3rd, so my sobriety date is June 4th. I am 34; I have been married since 2010. I have a 6-year-old daughter, and a 2-year-old son. I’m not really sure what I do for fun; I’m still figuring that out.
[13:01] Paul- When did you realize that perhaps you had a drinking problem?
Leah- I grew up with drinkers. My dad will still get wasted and he is in his 70’s. I would watch him pass out at the table at 7:00, and that was normal. It really hit home over the past few years. I would go to bed drunk, and wake up foggy and disconnected from everybody. I didn’t drink to relax; I drank to feel normal again.
[17:35] Paul- With 19 days of sobriety have you noticed an uptick of being mindful and present in the moment?
Leah- Absolutely. I want to give a spin on my story as a mom. It is hard to have moms admit that they are an alcoholic. As a mom, I would watch other moms accomplish so many tasks, and didn’t know when they had time to drink. Now I have all this energy to do things. I took my 2-year-old running.
[20:28] Paul- 19 days ago was something building up? Was there a rock bottom moment?
Leah- I didn’t want to quit drinking. I wanted to change my life to accommodate drinking. For the past 2 years we have had some family issues. I am not the person I wanted to be, and it started to impact my happiness.
[27:58] Paul- What was it like the first 24, 48,72 hours?
Leah- I had thought over the past year that I wasn’t physically addicted. I had a habit, and I had to create a new habit. Now I drink coffee when I get home instead of wine.
[35:08] Paul- If you had an open schedule, would you go to an AA meeting?
Leah- Yes. I am skeptical, but I have gotten to the point where I realized you can get something valuable from whatever is out there. You can make anything work for you if you have that desire.
[39:17] Paul- What’s on your bucket list in sobriety? What do you want to accomplish with this new life.
Leah- Be present, be engaged, and mindful. Get fit, and spend quality time with my family. I would like to wake up earlier, and center myself. Checking in with like-minded people will be important. I would like to add meetings to my resources.
[42:55] Rapid Fire Round
- What was your worst memory from drinking? There was one night where I thought I was losing my mind. Screaming matches with my husband. I was losing the grip on reality.
- Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? Waking up with my hands shaking. The times I would stop to get a “juice box” on my way to pick up the kids.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery? Recovery Elevator podcast. Something to hold onto when you need it. Something you can grab when you need a reminder.
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? Writing a goodbye letter to alcohol. My relationship with alcohol is over. It’s time to break up. If I need to go back, alcohol will be there. I don’t want to go back.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? If you’re thinking about quitting, it’s probably something you need to do. You’ll get there on your own time if need be.
- You might be an alcoholic if the running joke is you fall asleep on the toilet multiple times.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Thanks to Kathy Von Lintel for doing the show notes the past 6 months!
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“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”