Liz, with a sobriety date of July 8, 2017, shares her story.
Workshops for the Bozeman, MT, retreat in August are lined up! There are still a few spots left! You can find more information about this event here
On today’s podcast Paul talks about a common misconception people have as they move forward in a life without alcohol. That misconception is that when we get sober, we will finally find out who we really are. But that isn’t how it works. We do get to that point, but first we must find out who we aren’t.
During this phase; people, places, things, ideas, thought patterns, identities, that are no longer in line with your new direction in life will start to fade away. Just allow this process to happen. Recovery is all about action, but this is a process of inaction. This is a recurring process.
[10:05] Paul introduces Liz.
Liz is 29 years old and is originally from Indiana but is now living in Frankfurt, Illinois. She is a licensed, board certified, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. She is married. For fun she enjoys working out, hiking, yoga, reading, going to concerts, and she is a big foodie.
[11:00] Give us a little background about your drinking.
Liz started drinking when she was about 12 or 13 years old. She was an only child and grew up in an abusive household, with addict parents (who are still active in their addictions). She was sexually abused by her father and his friends between the ages of 8-10. All of this trauma laid dormant until Liz was 21 years old.
Liz’s father would give her drugs and alcohol whenever she would ask, she believes it was his way of keeping her numb, so that she would never speak up. Her house was the party house in high school, and even middle school.
Liz dated an ecstasy dealer, which led her into an ecstasy addiction and an overdose. At the age of 20 she went to jail for underage drinking. She moved to Chicago when she was 21. She was working and going to school full time, and drinking.
[16:55] You are the first person interviewed that has said they always knew they had a drinking problem, please explain.
She knew that when she started drinking at 12/13 years old that she was drinking to cover something up. It was always a numbing agent for Liz, never a feel-good agent. It was just the way I coped with everything. Knowing she needed help she found an addictions counselor in Chicago. Within the first session the counselor was telling her she was an alcoholic and addict, needed AA and to enter inpatient treatment.
She continued to go to therapy, but did not enter into inpatient. It was during this time that the sexual abuse from her childhood started to surface and her drinking and drugging intensified.
[20:24] What was it like when these memories started to bubble up?
Liz says this is when the downward spiral of her addiction really started to intensify. She was still going to work and school, but was blacking out nightly. If she didn’t go to bed drunk, she would have vivid night terrors.
[22:23] Tell us about what it was like when you were meeting with the hypnotherapist.
She assessed Liz, told her she needed AA and to stop drinking and basically told her she was not willing to work with her unless she stopped drinking. Liz told her she was unwilling to stop drinking and insisted on the therapy. The therapist agreed to proceed although she told her she may not get much out of it due to her alcohol consumption. Liz showed up for every appointment, about twice a week for 6 months. It was the most intense therapy Liz has ever gone through. She relived the trauma and was able to heal from it.
[24:45] What happened next?
She continued to see the therapist, continued to drink, and she finished school. Once she was done with school she moved to Illinois. Her drinking//drugging slowed to the weekends, although she was still blacking out and her weekends were spent hungover. She tried moderating. She started breaking out in hives when she would drink. It did not matter what she drank, or how much. One drink would lead to hives from head to toe. So, she started taking Claritin before she drank, so she could continue drinking without the hives. Her hangovers started to get worse and last longer.
She got engaged in 12/2015 and married in 8/2017. July of 2017 was her bachelorette party weekend, and July 8, 2017 is her sobriety date.
[31:16] What was it like in early sobriety?
She remembers being really scared to go anywhere, not wanting to explain anything to anyone. Feelings were new to her and made her nervous. She continued with her therapy during the first year of sobriety. She did AA for about 6 months.
[35:00] Talk to us about how acupuncture can be helpful in sobriety.
Acupuncture can help release endorphins, increase serotonin levels, help get people off of anxiety meds, and help with overall cravings.
[37:25] How has your life changed in sobriety?
She finally feels content, no longer feels restless.
[40:10] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?
Liz wants to travel; Australia and New Zealand are next on her list. She would also like to find a good yoga retreat to attend. She wants to help others and to be more open about her sobriety.
[42:19] Rapid Fire Round
- Worst memory from drinking?
Ending up in the hospital in Memphis for alcohol poisoning, also waking up and not having memories.
- Do you remember a specific ‘oh-shit’ moment?
When she couldn’t make it through a whole day of class without going across the street to the bar. Waking up without a phone or wallet. Getting arrested for underage drinking.
- What’s your plan moving forward?
Being more open about my sobriety and using my acupuncture background to help other addicts. Really being part of a good sober community.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
This podcast and hypnotherapy as well.
- In regards to sobriety what is the best advice you’ve ever received?
You are not defined by your past traumas. Drinking is not going to fix anything.
- The best parting piece of advice you can give the listeners.
Work on your shit.
- You might be an alcoholic if…
Alcohol gives you hives, but you take a Claritin and drink anyways.
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