Tim, with 2 days of sobriety, shares his story.
On today’s episode Paul talks about 2 articles that discuss alcohol use. Links for these articles can be found following the show notes.
The first article, published on May 7, 2019 in USA Today, says that alcohol use is soaring worldwide, with the average adult now consuming about 1.7 gallons of pure alcohol per year. Just in the past 27 years the total volume of alcohol that people consumed globally increased by 70%. Even though on a global level alcohol consumption is increasing, if you are listening to this podcast you have made it further than 95% of people out there. You are starting to make changes.
On the brighter side, an article published on January 17, 2018 in Bloomberg, reported that Americans drank less alcohol in 2018, for the third straight year. Total cases of beer, wine and spirits consumed in the US dropped by .8% in 2018. This was the third straight year that there had been a decline in consumption. So globally people are consuming more alcohol, but in the United States consumption is declining.
There’s a new term called ‘sobor curious’, which includes a large population that doesn’t necessarily have an issue with alcohol, but are waking up and are recognizing that maybe messages that big alcohol is telling us aren’t panning out to be true in real life.
[12:30] Tim, with a sobriety date of May 13, 2019, has 2 days sober. After having this interview scheduled for about a week Tim emailed Paul to let him know that he had drank. He felt like he might not be the ideal candidate to be on the podcast. After reading the email, Paul let Tim know that he is exactly who he wants to have on the podcast.
[15:10] Paul introduces Tim.
Tim is 36 years old and was born, and raised, in Boston Massachusetts. He came from an Italian family that was in the construction industry. In middle and high school, he developed a real passion for music. He dedicated himself to hours and hours of voice, guitar and piano lessons, which led him into a career in ministry as a worship leader. Tim got married at 19 and is still married to the same woman, they are about to celebrate 17 years and have 3 children. His career in ministry is in the past and he is working as a project manager for a company that installs high end woodworking beams and bookshelves.
[16:45] Give us a little background about your drinking.
Tim started drinking at 15 and the first night he drank he got alcohol poisoning. He spent that first night in the shower throwing up and blacking out. He says he was never able to drink casually. Getting married at the age of 19, to a woman that is a couple years older than him, meant that he had someone that could buy alcohol for him. In his early 20s he was drinking about a 6-pack a day.
At the age of 25 Tim attended his first AA meeting, just to see. By this time, he was drinking 8-10 beers a day. After listening to someone’s story at that meeting, he decided that he was not an alcoholic. Tim says he went to a few more AA meetings throughout his 20s, but he continued to drink and started to mix it up with hard alcohol and found his favorite drink, Captain and Coke.
As he moved through his 30’s, Tim and his wife started to have pretty regular arguments about his drinking. Tim says he was looking for his wife to put her foot down and give him an ultimatum, but that wasn’t happening. He tried to moderate, and that didn’t work. He had some periods, 3 – 6 months, when he did not drink, but once he would consume alcohol again it would take about a week and he would be right back to daily drinking.
[21:30] In regards to those times of abstinence, what was it that brought you back to drinking?
Tim would tell himself that because he just went 3, or 6, months without drinking, that he must have control over it. The thought of having a glass of wine with his wife, while they watch the sunset, would just seem nice. That first drink always took him back to where he left off, in a matter of weeks.
In his 30s Tim started hiding alcohol and lying about how much he was drinking. He was always calculating how he was going to get that buzz.
[23:46] Did you have a rock bottom moment when you knew you had a problem?
Tim had joked about being a black out drinker in his 20s, but it wasn’t until his 30’s that he discovered he was really blacking out. He would drink and come to and realize that he had driven or would come to and not know where he was or who he was with. When he was blacking out on a regular basis, he knew he had a problem.
[25:20] What happens next?
When Tim was 30, he had gotten a job offer from a huge church down in Atlanta. It was like his life’s dream, so they moved down to Atlanta. For the next 6 years Tim found himself counseling people about their drug and alcohol problems, while his drinking continued.
When Tim was 34, he went to a psychiatrist who put him on Adderall, he then was mixing alcohol and Adderall. He became addicted to the Adderall.
[30:10] Recently you had 7 months sober and then relapsed 22 days ago, tell me about that.
During those 7 months Tim was still taking Adderall and was smoking a THC vape pen. Although he was not drinking during that time he was still dealing with depression and all that comes with being an addict.
25 days ago, he relapsed, drank a lot, and crashed his truck. It was then that he went back to AA, got a sponsor, and was ready to take it seriously.
2 weeks ago, Tim’s father, who also struggled with alcoholism, but never admitted it, committed suicide. Shortly after this Tim went to a bar, had 3 beers, left and called his sponsor.
[37:30] You are on day 2, how are you feeling?
Tim says he feels great. He has energy in the morning and is getting up early to pray. He has been able to be honest with his boss, which has saved him from losing his job. He explained to his boss that he could not stay late after work because he is now going to AA, and his boss has been very supportive.
[41:00] Do you know why you drank?
Tim says alcohol helped him feel his emotions, it allowed him to cry. He wanted to ‘feel’ and alcohol did that for him.
[43:50] What are you going to do when a craving hits?
Tim starts each morning in prayer or meditation. He sets his day up and prepares for the cravings that he knows he will have. He also has multiple sponsors and a network of people that he can contact when one is not available. He listens to podcasts and also has people checking in on him.
[45:21] Rapid Fire Round
- Worst memory from drinking?
2 years ago, I made a big scene at a restaurant and embarrassed my wife and my friends. I stacked a bunch of dishes and smashed them on the table, I drank way too much and had to get thrown out.
- When was your ah ha moment?
It was something I heard on your podcast, someone said, “life isn’t happening to you, it’s happening for you”. That concept was so incredibly mind-blowing to me.
- What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?
To continue on knowing that if I am isolated, which is my nature, I will not succeed at this.
- What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
Paul I’m not saying this to blow any smoke, but I listen to multiple podcasts, and for some reason yours has been my number 1.
- In regards to sobriety what is the best advice you have received?
Stop feeling so fucking sorry for yourself.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?
Don’t wait. Not one more drink, it’s always one more drink, one more day…do it right this second because life it worth it.
- You might be an alcoholic if…
In the middle of the night, drunk, you are seeing fireworks in your rearview mirror only to discover you have driven the wheel off of your truck and the brake caliper and axel are scraping and shooting sparks 15 feet into the air.
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