Ryan, with 90 days of sobriety, shares his story.
On today’s podcast Paul talks about the 3 major players when it comes to sobriety. The players are; the mind, the body, and the breath. Paul likes to call this the 20/40/40 rule, because that is how we should allocate the importance to these 3 major players.
The mind (20%) should be used as a radar to scan the body, do not try and use the mind to solve addiction. The body (40%) never lies, it is your unconscious mind. The breath (40%) is like your fighter jet. Once your mind has located where on your body your energetic mass has accumulated get in your fighter jet (the breath) and start building circuits in this area.
[12:15] Paul introduces Ryan.
Ryan lives in Sacramento, Ca. He works in sales for a large software company. He is 35 years old and got married last year. For fun Ryan likes anything outdoors. He enjoys snowboarding, hiking, running, and he is currently training for a half marathon. Ryan says he is an extrovert and gets a lot of energy hanging out and talking with people and friends.
[14:20] Give us a little background about your drinking.
Ryan had his first drink at 14 years old. Throughout high school he played a lot of sports and only drank on the weekends. His drinking ramped up in college. He joined a fraternity and was always the guy that you could count on to do crazy things. Looking back, he can see that his drinking ramped up in college and it never stopped once he was out of college.
Even though he would go periods when drinking didn’t seem to be a problem, he would then be back to blacking out again and drinking like he was in college.
[16:30] When did you start to realize that alcohol was a problem?
Ryan says that is tricky, because even though he would wake up and not remember things from the night before his friends were doing the same thing, and they’d be making jokes about it.
But when he was 21, he woke in the hospital and they told him he had a .39 blood alcohol level (BAC). Someone had called an ambulance. He says that that was probably not the only time his BAC had been that high. He felt the problem was the fact that he was blacking out, and that is what he tried to address, which is why he continued to drink for the next 10-15 years.
[18:25] In your 20s was there a specific moment that you tried to take action in regards to your drinking?
Ryan says no. He felt he was in his 20s and he was having fun. He was still functioning and finding success in his career. He did try putting some rules on his drinking but says he never really wanted to stop drinking during his 20s, he just wanted to stop blacking out.
[19:30] When did you realize that to stop blacking out wasn’t an option, but that you had to address the alcohol.
Ryan says he doesn’t really feel he ever had quitting on the table until 90 days ago. He took breaks, but never with the intention of quitting. Even after being diagnosed with type I diabetes at the age of 29 he didn’t think he should stop drinking, instead his thoughts were, “will I be able to drink again?”.
[23:20] What happened 90 days ago?
More than anything Ryan says he was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. He also says his wife played a big role in it. After a work trip to Vegas and blacking out, losing his phone and credit card, and his wife not being able to get a hold of him he realized just how scared she was when he got home. Scared that something really bad could have happened to him. He knew then he had to stop drinking.
[28:15] What was the first week, the first month, after Vegas like?
He felt empowered and knew he was going to do it. He wasn’t sure how he was going to do it, was definitely scared, but knew he was going to do it. First and foremost, his wife said that she would quit with him. He started reading books about alcohol/alcoholism. He started looking at all the opportunities that giving up alcohol would bring.
[33:07] What are some of the big things you’ve learned in the last 90 days without alcohol?
He’s learned to be more present and more mindful.
[36:20] Do you know why you drank?
He feels it had to do with his ego and a sense of identification. Growing up he identified himself as an athlete, in college he could no longer truly do that. College was the first time he was away from his twin brother so he was building his own identity. He became the fun, social, crazy guy and he thinks that was his why.
[39:00] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?
Ryan doesn’t have a bucket list, or a list of things he wants to get done. He is just taking action in the moment when he wants to do something.
[39:38] Is there anything you would have done differently while getting sober?
He would have done it sooner.
[39:46] What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve encountered in the last 90 days?
He says it’s been the anxiety leading up to, and before, telling people about his sobriety.
[41:30] Rapid Fire Round
- Worst memory from drinking?
There’s no worst, there’s just lots of really bad memories. From being in the drunk tank, to the hospital, to passing out in random places.
- Do you remember a specific ‘oh-shit’ moment?
When I went to the hospital my senior year with that .39 BAC.
- What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?
I don’t have a true plan; I think that’s part of the plan. It’s not that I’m focused on just being sober. I’m focused on being the best version of myself and that just happens to include sobriety.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
Honestly, this podcast and my wife.
- In regards to sobriety what is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t let the past dictate your future.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?
Stop worrying about if you’re an alcoholic or not, who cares about the labels? Ask yourself, does drinking cause you problems in any part of your life? And if so, then it’s a problem and you can fix that problem by not drinking.
- You might be an alcoholic if…
You refuse to listen to someone’s story about sobriety because you don’t actually want to stop drinking alcohol, you just want all the problems from drinking alcohol to magically go away.
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