Juan, with a sobriety date of May 29, 2018, shares his story.
Congratulations to Kirk S. in Florida for hitting 1 year of sobriety.
This Friday, March 1st, registration for the Recovery Elevator Retreat in Bozeman goes live. Space is limited for this retreat. You can find more information about events here
After the interview with Juan, Paul will discuss detoxing from alcohol and how dangerous it can be.
Paul talks about cravings. What they are, what they represent, and what to do when we experience them. Also, are all cravings the same? In simple form, a craving is a desire to regulate our inner state with an external substance or behavior.
[9:25] Paul Introduces Bill.
Juan, with a sobriety date of May 29, 2018, is 32 years old and is from Los Angeles, CA. He is a personal assistant, and single. For fun Juan likes to play music (he is in a band), go to the movies, hike, workout.
[10:25] Give us a little background about your drinking.
Juan started drinking at the age of 19 to ‘fit in’. He had recently come out as a gay man and drinking helped him feel more confident and comfortable in his own skin. Touring with his band all over the country and world, drinking was the way he got rid of his performance anxiety. Around age 25 things started to get messy. Towards the end of his drinking his anxiety was through the roof.
[13:25] Tell us more about your anxiety.
At first drinking would calm his anxiety, but once he ‘went over the threshold’ he would start to get paranoid. The worst part was the fear he would have when waking up in the morning. His self-esteem was at an all time low. In May of 2017 Juan hit this internal rock bottom, got into a horrible physical altercation with a friend and knew something had to change.
[18:35] Walk us through what happened after May 27, 2107.
He went through a ‘dry drunk’ stage. He just stopped drinking, started avoiding going out, avoiding certain people and situations. It wasn’t easy and he was not feeling the benefits right away. He felt like he was on a diet and depriving himself. He did this for about 4 months and then felt like his relationship with alcohol had changed, and he decided to drink again. By his birthday in February his drinking was back to where it was when he quit.
[22:15] Continue from where you are back to drinking and your anxiety is back.
On May 28, 2018 he decided to try sobriety again. This time he would do it differently. He started to read books and watch movies about alcoholism. After about a month and a half, and at a friend’s suggestion, he went to his first AA meeting. Although he was nervous and uncomfortable, he immediately felt like he found what he needed. He got a sponsor and attends about 4 meetings a week.
[25:20] Tell us about your first AA meeting.
His first meeting was very small and intimate. It was a lot to take in and he left thinking he would go back, but still feeling confused. He continued going once a week for a while, ducking in and out, until it felt more comfortable.
[26:40] What advice do have for someone that is saying there is no way they could go to AA?
If you are open and ready AA can work for you.
[29:10] Walk us through a typical day in your recovery.
Juan wakes up earlier, prays, makes a gratitude list, goes to work, 4 evenings a week he catches an AA meeting. Everyday in sobriety is different but he tries to something of service for someone every day. He always tries to keep connection with someone throughout the day.
[31:40] What has been the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome in the past 7 ½ months?
It has been in just that last few weeks, he is transitioning out of his job that he has had the 9 years. It’s the first time in 9 years he is unsure about where he will be working. Although it is a scary time for Juan, he feels a lot calmer than he thought he would and is taking it one day at a time. He doesn’t think he would’ve been able to handle this situation before sobriety.
[35:05] What was harder, coming out of the closet as a gay man, or coming out of the closet as an alcoholic?
Definitely coming out of the closet as an alcoholic.
[37:15] What is it like playing music and being on stage in sobriety?
At first it was difficult because of stage fright. But now being nervous and being in the moment is a good thing.
[40:08] What have you learned about yourself in this journey?
He is more confident and enjoys people more.
[41:15] Rapid Fire Round
- What is your favorite guitar rift to play?
The intro rift in Smashing Pumpkin’s – Today
- What was your worst memory from drinking?
The fight he got into with his friend.
- Did you have an ‘oh-shit’ moment?
Coming home with friends in an Uber and feeling so alone and desperate.
- What is your plane moving forward?
Continuing with his step work, finding new sober friends and hopefully finding a whole new career.
- What is your favorite resource in recovery?
AA is the go-to for me.
- Regarding sobriety, what is the best advice you have ever received?
Letting go of control.
- What parting piece of advice can you give to listeners?
Contrary action, doing what you don’t want to do.
- You might be an alcoholic if…
Your bandmates on tour lock you in a basement because you are that out of control and everyone is scared of you.
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
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