Nick, with 101 days of sobriety, shares his story.
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On today’s podcast Paul shares that he was recently interviewed on a podcast called, Self Made and Sober by the host Andrew Lassise. Andrew asked Paul what was the difference between his first 2 ½ years of sobriety and from September 7, 2014 on. According to Paul, that was a fantastic question with an easy answer.
The first 2 ½ years of sobriety was from January 1, 2010 through August 2012. On 1/1/10 Paul made a declaration to go 30 days without alcohol. When day 30 hit Paul was at a crossroads. He had started to lose weight, feel good, his face was less puffy, life just got better. So, he decided to go another month. Going into month 3 the pink cloud showed up. But during this 2 ½ years he had a mindset of lack. A mindset that he was missing something, couldn’t do something. And as with anything, when we approach a goal with a mindset of lack, with a mindset that we will be missing something, it is not going to last. After 2 ½ years Paul went to his first AA meeting and walked away thinking “I got this.”. 2 days later he drank, picking up right where he had left off. Those first 2 ½ years were based on willpower, which does not work.
On September 7, 2014 something felt different. He knew that he had to quit drinking. But his mindset was different. Paul wasn’t looking at giving up alcohol as a sacrifice, but rather that space was being created, and things (alcohol) were being cleared, for better things to come. This time he wasn’t doing it out of fear, he was doing it because there was a light at the end of the tunnel, an opportunity. That opportunity shows up every day. Instead of having a mindset of lack Paul now has a mindset of opportunity.
[18:40] Paul introduces Nick.
Nick is 29 years old and has been sobor since January 25, 2019. He says that that biggest lesson he has learned in recovery so far is personal acceptance. Nick is from Saginaw, MI. He says he is figuring out what he likes to do for fun, that right now everything is fun whereas when he was drinking nothing was fun. He enjoys being around people, disk golf, hiking, and meditation. He is divorced, a result of his addiction, but close to his family who live is Saginaw as well. For work Nick is about to start a new position with an organization called Families Against Narcotics.
[22:40] Give us a little background about your drinking.
Nick started drinking and using at the age of 14. From the first time he drank nick knew he wasn’t like other people. He realized he didn’t have an off switch. He says there was no slow progression in to alcoholism, that he was an addict the first time he took a drink. Throughout college he was binge drinking up to 5 nights a week, but that didn’t seem like a problem to Nick because that was what everyone else was doing. In 2012 his drinking and drugging amplified. But he was still doing well in school, still holding a job, still doing everything that looked normal on the outside.
[25:43] Sounds like there was some cognitive dissonance, tell us what that was like, how did that feel?
Nick said he felt powerless. He felt out of control and the only way he felt better was more drinking. There was a lot of rationalizing and minimalizing. In July of 2014 Nick went into rehab for the first time. In September 2014 his wife kicked him out. He moved back home and was doing drugs and drinking every day. On December 6, 2014 Nick overdosed. That put him in the hospital for about 2 weeks, and they weren’t even sure he was going to make it. He then went back to rehab and says that’s when there was a shift in his mindset. He finally accepted that he wasn’t in control and that his life was unmanageable. He entered into a 3-month inpatient rehab; the same one his brother was at.
[28:18] What did it feel like when you had that mind shift?
Nick said it was a huge relief, that it felt like he could let go and let God take over.
[31:15] Tell us what it was like being in rehab with your brother.
They were both there for 3 months but they kept them apart for the first month. After that they started to have some overlap with their programs. Nick said he had the mind shift but that his brother did not. On the plane ride home from rehab his brother purchased a beer. This made Nick angry and he told his brother that. His brother minimalized it.
[33:30] Take us from getting out of rehab in the beginning of 2015 to your sobriety date the beginning of 2019.
Nick has been active in recovery since getting out of rehab. He has had slip ups and relapses, never with the hard drugs, just with alcohol. The last time he drank was January 24, 2019.
[37:10] Talk to us about some of these slip ups.
It got to the point that drinking wasn’t fun anymore. Every time he would drink there was a lesson he would learn. The biggest lesson he learned from the slip ups was that alcohol was going to hold him back, just like the drugs would, and that he needed to be totally sobor to reach his fullest potential.
[40:35] Tell us more about the moment when you told your friends you were no longer drinking, and how it was after that.
The first few weeks his friends went out of their way to make him comfortable. What he had expected, that there would be problem or a change, was not the case at all. His friends stopped drinking around him at first, and things got easier fairly quickly.
[42:30] Why do you think you drank and used?
He thinks it was because he had a false narrative of who he really was. Alcohol helped numb it and made it easier to swallow that he wasn’t living his purpose. He also had a lot of emotional trauma growing up and he thinks that played a part.
[45:15] In the past 101 days have you experienced cravings and what tools have you used to get past them?
For Nick a craving is just a thought and it is all about changing that thought process. The cravings have been a lot milder than they were with the drugs. When he has a craving now, and is alone, he yells ‘STOP’, if he is with someone he thinks ‘STOP’ in his head.
[47:50] Tell us more about the Open Discussion, OD Movement, website.
After his grandmother’s passing in 2018 Nick wanted to do something to proactively try and address addiction. So, he created the Open Discussion Movement website, https://odmovement.com/ The OD Movement’s mission is to change the dialogue around addiction. You can find the OD Movement podcast by searching for it on most podcast platforms.
[56:00] Rapid Fire Round
- Worst memory from drinking?
Driving drunk and wrecking my car and waking up in the psyche ward.
- When was your oh shit moment?
When I woke up in the ICU after my overdose in 2014.
- What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?
My plan is to continue building the OD Movement and just continue doing the next right thing.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
The Meeting Finder app on my phone, I love that I can go to a meeting at any time.
- In regards to sobriety what is the best advice you have received?
You’re exactly where you need to be.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?
It gets better. You have no idea how great life can be until you live a life free from the clutches of drugs and alcohol.
- You might be an alcoholic if…
You wake up in the hospital and say, “man I shouldn’t have done that last night.”.
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
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