Libby, with 112 days of sobriety, shares her story.
Paul talks about a trend he noticed in the airport bookstore. Amongst the ’20 best sellers’ there were several books with clear, unambiguous titles. Our society is collectively starting to wake up and are looking for ways to unf*ck ourselves. He says that all of these books, including the one he is currently writing, are not fulfilling a trend or a niche, but that it’s a movement.
Paul recently read an article titled the Age of Anxiety in the New Republic,
According to studies by the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 20 percent of Americans experience an anxiety disorder in a given year; over 30 percent experience an anxiety disorder over the course of their lifetimes. And the rate is rising: The American Psychiatric Association, in a May study drawing from a survey of 1,000 American adults, diagnosed a statistically significant increase in national anxiety since 2017.
But listeners listen closely, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with you. Never has been, never will be. This anxiety is a good thing. This collective state of unrest will eventually show us the way.
This jittery national mood has given rise to what Rebecca Jennings at Vox has dubbed “anxiety consumerism”—the rise of a plethora of products, from fidget spinners to essential-oil sprays, to weighted blankets. Perhaps the most well-known product to fall into this anxiety consumerism category is alcohol.
Those who struggle with addiction are the trailblazers in the collective unf*ck yourself movement. Not just for those who grapple with addiction to alcohol, but for everyone.
[7:15] Libby how long have you been sober?
She has been sober since October 23, 2018, giving her 112 days of sobriety.
[7:40] In these last 112 days what is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered?
She says that the cravings and the obsession to drink in the first couple months was definitely the toughest time.
[9:00] Paul Introduces Libby.
Libby is 32 years old and lives in Louisville, Kentucky. She is an interior designer and is currently waiting tables at night. She has been married for 5 years, has no kids, has a dog named Boomerang, and a cat named Brice. For fun she works out, does crafts, is decorating her house, and enjoys hiking when the weather is nice.
[11:05] Give us a little background about your drinking.
Libby had her first drink at 15 and throughout high school she drank on the weekends. By early 20s she was drinking daily, but still highly functional, holding two jobs. She was coasting by until 2017 when she got fired from a job. Libby says this is when her drinking ‘got wheels’.
[12:30] What led you to seeking out alcohol to alleviate the pain?
She was fired suddenly, in a hateful way, and she had never gone through anything like that. She was devastated and started drinking all day. After a couple of weeks, she was experiencing morning tremors, or shakes, which she had never experienced before. By the end of 2017 she was drinking in the mornings just to function. During this time, she tried out AA a couple times and decided she just wasn’t ready.
[14:50] What was it like when you went to the AA meeting?
Before going into her first AA meeting Libby had the shakes so bad that she had to have a shot of alcohol. She didn’t really have any intention to stop drinking, she just wanted control over it. She wanted to stop drinking during the day and get control of her life again and just be a functional drinker. Fast forward to 2018 and she had managed to cut back on her drinking, only drinking at night. That lasted a couple months. In April 2018 she found herself drunk at work and went home and told her husband that she needed to get into a treatment program, that drinking had taken control again.
The next day, after drinking, she tried to get into an inpatient treatment program. The first place turned her away because they didn’t take her insurance, the second place allowed her to stay for 3 days for ‘medical detox’ and then released her due to her insurance as well. After being dry for 3 days she thought she had things under control, but she picked up right where she left off.
[21:40] Take us through the next steps in your journey.
Not having a day job Libby was able to drink all day. After about 2 weeks her husband, tired of coming home and finding her drunk on the couch, packed his bags and left. He called her best friend and told her that Libby was in trouble, but that he didn’t know how to help her. Her best friend made some phone calls and found a free center, The Healing Place, that would take Libby. She stayed there for 4 days while she detoxed and went home. Back at home she stayed sober for 11 days and then again was right back to where she left off. After showing up at work drunk and hitting what Libby calls her first bottom, she went back to The Healing Place and stayed for 30 days.
[26:35] Take us from when you got out after your 30 days up to your sobriety date.
After about 74 days of sobriety, meeting with her sponsor and going to 3 AA meetings a day Libby found herself at the liquor store buying a bottle without giving it any thought. Looking at this as a ‘slip’ she got right back on the wagon and back to her meetings. Sober for another 46 days she then relapsed, drinking for 6 days straight. This was her 2nd bottom, this binder ended on October 22, 2018 and she has been sober ever since.
[28:40] How do you look at those ‘relapses’?
As lessons, she learned that they start in her head first. Now when her thoughts start going in that direction, she recognizes it and has a new method to deal with it.
[33:15] Why do you think you drank?
She said that in the beginning it was just because she enjoyed it. During her 20s she had a lot of trauma and it helped her feel better. Drinking became a habit, then she physically depended on it.
[34:40] Paul and Libby discuss what steps she can take to protect her sobriety while her husband continues to drink.
[40:55] I’ve seen where sobriety thing is contagious, what are your thoughts on that?
Libby agrees, attraction rather than promotion.
[42:50] What have you learned about yourself in this journey?
She has learned she is a lot stronger than she thought she was.
[43:30] Rapid Fire Round
- What was your absolute worst memory from drinking?
Libby describes her last couple days of drinking.
- What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?
I am going to continue working the AA program and working with my sponsor and I want to eventually help other people stay sober.
- In regards to sobriety what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t believe the lies.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?
Give AA a shot.
- You might be an alcoholic if…
You drink mouthwash in the morning to try and get rid of the shakes before work.
A pint of beer takes 15 minutes off your life
For someone in their 40’s every glass of alcohol above the suggested weekly threshold of 5 shortens their life by 15 minutes. Alcohol is shit.
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