Aaron, with over 1 year since his last drink, shares his story…
[12:30] Paul Introduces Aaron.
Aaron is 39 years old, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s been sober since October 16, 2017. He’s married with two children. He works in HR and Recruitment for a small company. He likes home improvement, the outdoors, gardening. He likes to restore and repair his house and cars.
[15:30] Give us a little background about your drinking habits.
He has drank every day more or less since college. There was a strong drinking culture at his college. He made a lot of friends through drinking. It extended to his work after college. He associated alcohol with being social. Alcohol made its way into all of his activities. He didn’t know how to regulate it. He struggled to care for his children while he was drinking a lot. He couldn’t concentrate and was getting cold sweats. He decided to start regulating. He read a book that asked him to regulate but it didn’t work for him. He realized that he need to change.
[19:53] Did you have a rock bottom moment?
Many. He skipped along the bottom. He always had a way of getting out of trouble, which gave him a false sense of accomplishment. Rock bottom for him was realizing that his life had become unmanageable. He would have beers in his basements, and he called them his “morning beers”. He realized that it wasn’t where he wanted to be. He went to his first meeting, and he judged everyone there. He started to get something out of it by the time he was in his 3rd meeting. While in recovery, he started to feel like he had a split personality. He was cleaning out the garage and he found some camping gear. He found a box of alcohol. He pulled it out decided to hide it. He would lie about going out to his garage to work on something, but he was really going out to drink. He felt bad because he was lying about it. He argued with himself out loud and realized he had a problem. He went to a meeting and was honest about his relapse, and since then he has been sober. He began to work with his AA program. He started to understand himself a lot more. He became more in touch with his intuition. He’s realizing that it’s more important to be in the now. He now knows that his intuition will know what to do in situations that would previously baffle him. He’s less stressed and much more happy. He has more responsibility, but life has gotten more fun.
[30:21] How have you started to change your inner dialogue?
He started to get into emotional intelligence. It is a way of living that has many parallels with the 12 steps. He realized that his past didn’t have to affect his present. He realized that his suffering was all in his head. He started waking up earlier and going down to watch the sun rise. He found meditation and peace and he started to forgive himself. He realized that he was blessed to be a part of the moment. He stopped worrying and focused more on acceptance. He doesn’t worry about the future as much. He is grateful to be here now.
[35:28] Have you figured out the “why” behind your drinking?
It started as just a way to cope with anxiety, but it eventually became a part of his identity. The “why” was part lifestyle, part insecurity, then eventually addiction.
[36:17] Walk us through a day in your recovery.
He gets up early. He tries to shut his mind off. He enjoys daydreaming and spending time with his kids. She asks him profound questions, and he’s happy to be a part of her childlike innocence. He works, also. He enjoys the new freedom he gets with his new job. He goes to AA meetings twice a week. His days are filled with things he loves, or loves working on.
[39:04] What’s on your bucket list in recovery?
He wants to go on the RE Peru trip. He wants to keep his life manageable. He wants to eventually retire so he can travel and wants to be a part of his family’s life for as long as he’s around.
[40:11] Talk to us about the text that was meant to go your sponsor, but accidentally went to the president of your company.
He was laid off, and started to offer what he did independently. Many people were approaching him because of how many people were laid off. He wasn’t taking sides, but he said talking about how difficult things in life can be positive. He was reading a text from the president. He wrote a long winded text to his sponsor, with thoughts about his job, and his boss replied. He immediately wanted to delete it. They talked about it and he ended up giving him a sizeable contract as a result.
[43:29] Talk to me about the pennies in your car.
He kept pennies in a tray in his car, because he had heard an old wives tale about sucking on a penny to throw off a breathalyzer test. Whenever he got pulled over he would throw the penny in his mouth to suck on. When he got sober, he saw the pennies in his car and he realized he didn’t need them to he cleaned them out.
[45:02] Rapid Fire Round
- What was your worst memory from drinking?When he woke up at 4am, his infant daughter was screaming for a diaper change. His hands were shaking so badly that he couldn’t do it, so he ran downstairs to get a drink so he could function.
- Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?The people at his work approached him and told him that if he ever decided to stop drinking they would support him. It was an indication that other people could tell that he could drink heavily.
- What’s your plan moving forward?
Once your cup is full, and you don’t know how much more can fulfill you, the cup just gets bigger. He wants to live a life of enrichment and fulfillment.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
The Recovery Elevator podcast has been great. Also, AA.
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?Get honest with yourself about it. It’s okay as long as you learn from it.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?Don’t quit before the miracle happens.
- You might be an alcoholic if…“…if you keep pennies in your car to throw off breathalyzer tests, and if you drink boxed vodka from a solo cup with a mixture of powdered gatorade and hose water in secret.”
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!”