Jennifer, with 568 days since her last drink, shares her story…
Tracking your sobriety time – Do the numbers matter?
To begin with, know that it’s not a competition. We’re going for quality over quantity! We quit alcohol because we want to improve our lives. The end goal isn’t in the numbers, but in the increase in one’s quality of life. Removing alcohol was the first step in a journey of getting to know ourselves, finding out what we really want from life and making the best of each and every day. The real tracker is how you feel about who you are, where you’re going and what is meaningful in your life.
[9:52] Paul Introduces Jennifer.
Jennifer is 36 years old from Cleveland, OH. She has 3 cats and runs a business walking dogs.
[11:52] Describe to us your background with drinking.
She started drinking at 15. She always thought it was normal to binge drink. She thought it was a part of youth. Her drinking held pretty steady until her mid 30’s. She realized that we live in a drinking culture. She has often struggled with codependency. She never thought she was the problem. She always thought it was other people.
[16:29] Where was your lightbulb moment indicating you had to stop?
4 months before this recent attempt, she appeared on a podcast about addiction and codependency. She grew up with addiction in her family. She had to be the parent as a child. She had a negative image in her head of what an addict was, and because she wasn’t close to that image, she wasn’t able to see the progression of her own addiction. She began to realize that addiction has many forms by listening to other people’s stories and it gave her permission to acknowledge her own addictive behavior.
[21:52] How were you able to finally make the change when the time came?
She was exhausted by the idea of continuing to drink. Her own drinking behavior started to wear her out and she became tired and resentful. She wanted to be able to enjoy activities without alcohol. She went through a breakup and had to seek out grounding. Her hangovers were getting darker and more difficult. She began to fear the impact it was having on her health. She couldn’t handle the shame and embarrassment. She found Recovery Elevator and it helped give her the confidence to try and quit. She realized that she’s not alone. She didn’t really connect with AA when she tried it. Her first year of sobriety she kind of transferred her alcoholism to workaholism. She didn’t realize there were options other than AA. She didn’t realize how much she needed people until she started talking to other people about being sober.
[31:30] How did you manage your early recovery?
She became hyper focused on her work. She tried to avoid social situations so she could avoid alcohol. She lost some friends.
[35:05] What are you working on now in sobriety?
She is working on maintenance. She wants to achieve big things in life but she’s trying to keep simple and to focus on taking care of herself and relaxing. She’s learning how to be kind to herself. She’s working on being able to regulate her emotional life. She realized that she used to be too focused on what others thought about her. She feels transformed on the inside, even though there is little change on the outside.
[41:00] What is the “Shift Doughnut”?
She used to work at the doughnut shop in Cleveland. She would just get a doughnut after her shift. She called them “shift doughnuts” but her coworker helped her realize that she was just stealing doughnuts.
[42:10] Rapid Fire Round
- What was your worst memory from drinking?Shortly after her 30th birthday, she went home with a lover and was raped after she blacked out. She tried to ignore it for a long time but in sobriety it bubbles up to the surface.
- Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?She invented the Triple Pipe Classic, which is when you lose control of all bodily functions.
- What’s your plan moving forward?Learning to like herself, love herself, deepening her meditation practice. Learning to go slower and relax. She’s looking forward to the Café RE trip to Peru. She wants to travel more and do more things with her life.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery?An app called Marco Polo. It’s like having a little therapist in your pocket. She feels like she is able to see thought patterns that she missed before. It’s easy to connect with people.
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?Early in sobriety, someone said “You know you can start your day over at any time..”
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?Don’t compare yourself out of recovery. Your recovery is your own. The only opinion of you that matters is your own. Alcoholism is a symptom of things not going well. Be grateful for the opportunity to sort yourself out. Also, be open to the idea that you may not know yourself like you think. What if you’re wrong about yourself? The story tape reel repeating in your head about yourself might be completely wrong. Be open to a new and better and you.
- You might be an alcoholic if…“you post a video on your social media channels of you home alone, drunk, dancing to Lady Gaga and juggling cigarettes.” Or “if you complete a Triple Pipe Classic”
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”