Kelly, with 8 days since her last drink, shares her story…
“Addiction gets harder and harder and ends in death. Sobriety is hard work too. But it gets easier and easier and ends in life.” – Andy Ziegler
In this passage to sobriety, expectations do not always line up with reality. In reality, it takes years for an addiction to take hold. The healing process takes equally as long. The negative thinking and behavioral patterns didn’t set in overnight, and won’t be lifted overnight. It’s like turning a battleship. We let go and reprogram gradually, a little bit each day, and that happens by making daily decisions that lead us down the road of self-love and health.
[07:03] Paul Introduces Kelly.
In Fort Myers, Florida, 32 years old, sober for 8 days. Happily divorced. She is a mother, has a 4-year-old daughter. She is learning who she is as a sober woman and mother.
[9:06] What lead to your decision to do the interview?
She wanted to keep trying different things until she found something that worked. She wanted to step out of her comfort zone, not feel ashamed, and not keep it from people. She wanted to share her story. She wanted to face her fear of vulnerability. She’s nervous, but ok.
[11:32] Give us some background about your drinking.
Her issues with addiction started quite some time ago. She started as a smoker at 15. Her first drink at 21. She dabbled in some other drugs. She was in a toxic relationship and she started to drink more to cope. She went on antidepressants. They got married and they started to do other drugs as well. They started doing heroin daily. She stopped two years ago. She got divorced and moved out. She moved into her own place. She started to feel lonely and began to drink more. She switched to liquor. She drank a lot during hurricane Irma. She would tuck her daughter in and wouldn’t remember. She gained about 35 pounds. She almost got evicted from her apartment because she used some of the money for alcohol. She found herself hiding in her bathroom doing shots one night. She was ashamed of her behavior. She realized that she and her daughter deserved better and she got clean for almost a month. On the 23rd day, she thought she would reward her sobriety with a drink then found herself back in the grips of alcohol.
[21:50] Did you attempt to moderate?
She did. She tried to limit her drinking to Friday happy hours. When she tried to stop and moderate, she realized that it was difficult. She realized she was craving alcohol.
[23:38] Have you explored the deeper causes of your drinking?
She had a crutch in life. Some sort of substance has helped her get through the difficult parts of her life. She thinks her life hasn’t even been that terrible. She’s been relying on substances. Her deeper issues are struggling to be a single mom, dealing with stress. She is trying to get to the root now and to find healthy ways to deal with life. Deep breathing helps. She listens to audiobooks and podcasts. Previous attempts at sobriety felt like giving something up and this time feels different. She isn’t going to “white knuckle” it. She realized that she doesn’t need it.
[28:17] How have you gotten through the tough times without alcohol?
She talks about it. She reaches out before she reaches for the bottle. She just has to tell someone how she’s feeling. She’s used a 20 minute timer. Just take a minute, be present, breathe, set a timer, listen to 5 minutes of something else. Just stop the impulse. Easier said than done, but trying to turn off the quick impulsive thinking that has led to trouble in the past.
[30:24] Walk us through a day in your recovery.
She wakes up early. She is trying to not put too many expectations on too early. She’d like to start meditating or doing tai chi in the living room. She listens to a podcast on the way to work. She does about 10 minutes of reflective meditation and keeping a journal. She goes to weekly meetings on Wednesdays. She will exercise on her lunch breaks.
[33:03] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?
She wants to get to 30 days. She feels like one month is a good marker. She wants to lose some weight, and be there more for her daughter. She would like to be able to attend happy hour and be okay with not drinking. She looks forward to waking up and getting through the day before with no crutch.
[35:49] What would you consider your rock bottom moment?
She’s never been arrested, and she hid it well. The night where she hid in the bathtub and drank shot after shot. She felt taken over.
[36:30] Rapid Fire Round
- What’s the best advice you have ever received regarding sobriety?One day at a time. Just worry about the now.
- Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?The night when she could not remember putting her daughter to bed and she woke up on the couch.
- What are your thoughts on relapse?Forgive yourself. It’s a normal part of recovery.
- What’s your proudest moment in sobriety?
Making it a full week without drinking.
- What’s your favorite resource in sobriety?Cafe RE!
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?Today is the best day not to drink. Don’t wait, don’t put it off, just begin. It’s a journey.
- You might be an alcoholic if…“You’re pounding shots alone in the bathroom before company comes over because you’re scared of them seeing you drink.”
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free
This Naked Mind – A book by Annie Grace
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!”