Sara, with a sobriety date of January 16, 2019, shares her story.
On today’s episode Paul shares an internet meme that he saw and loved…
“Only in my pain, did I find my will.
Only in my chaos, did I learn to be still.
Only in my fear, did I find my might.
Only in my darkness, did I see my light.”
Starting to see a theme, Paul added a few lines…
Only through my self-loathing was I able to love myself.
Only through my fears was I able to see how little it has ever served me.
Only through guilt was I able to see that all humans make mistakes, and I’m human.
Only through shame did I realize I don’t owe anyone in life an explanation, ever again.
Only through my failures was I able to see what I was doing wrong and then make the necessary corrections.
Only through blacking out was I able to recognize the misery with living without light.
Only with a crushing headache after a heavy night of drinking was I able to appreciate a clear mind.
Only through my addiction was I able to see the path that I didn’t want to take and clearly see that path that I did want to take.
The trend we are seeing here is called ‘the backward law’. It when we experience the suffering before we experience the bliss on the other side. This is also Newton’s first law of motion.
If you ignore the nudge to quit drinking it will quickly become an elbow to the shoulder, a kick to the groin, then a full Andre the Giant body slam.
[10:00] Paul introduces Sara.
Sara with a sobriety date of January 16, 2019, has been sober for 4 months, 22 days. She is from Melbourne, Australia. She is 36 years old. Sara is single and is studying counseling and coaching. She loves to read nonfiction books on human behavior, phycology, self-development, and relationships.
[13:00] Give us a background on your drinking.
Sara started drinking at the age of 13. She says from the beginning she couldn’t moderate and that alcohol gave her a sense of belonging. Over the years she found herself gravitating towards friendships with people that liked to drink. All her friends liked to party but she had a vague feeling that wasn’t a healthy way to live.
[14:31] When did you first have the notion that it wasn’t a healthy way to live?
Sara says it was a long time before she realized it wasn’t a healthy way to live but she did know was that the repercussions from her drinking were terrible straight off the bat. Every time Sara drank, she would do something she was ashamed of. She never had an off switch and never had a time when she was a ‘normal’ drinker.
[15:25] Talk to us about your 20s.
By the time she was 17 Sara had a calendar on the wall and was ticking off days that she didn’t drink. She could only get 2 days straight and found it frustrating why she couldn’t get more. This caused her to feel shame and inadequacy as a human. In her 20s she was a bargirl. She would go to the bars with her friends or alone. At 21 she felt the desperation of not knowing what to do about her drinking, she found herself on her knees at a park begging for help. Her prayers were not answered and she continued to drink and continued to do geographicals within Melbourne.
At 28 Sara decided to go overseas. She was struggling with her purpose in life and thought she would find herself and sort her drinking out. Instead of finding herself she just found a whole lot of bars. Looking back on that time it feels like wasted time because instead of seeing the world she just drank.
[20:25] When did you decide to go back to Australia and that maybe quitting drinking was part of the grander scheme of things?
Sara had actually gone to AA when she was 23 and had given up drinking for about 6 months, so she knew AA existed, so she ended up going back to AA in Scotland and England. She had stints of 6 months and 3 months sobriety and says that was some of the most joyous times of her travels.
[20:55] What do you think happened after those 6 most joyous months?
Sara says her headspace happened. It told her she was cured and that she had evolved in those 6 months, and could drink moderately.
[21:45] So did you then make it back to Australia, is that where you got sober?
In 2012 Sara returned to Australia. Once back in Australia she pulled away from the pub crowd and was spending more time with just her friends or at home, so she was getting in less trouble but her drinking became more of a daily thing. In the last couple of years alcohol was the only thing that would make her happy.
[25:10] Was there a rock bottom moment on January 15, 2019? Tell us what it was like on January 16?
No, Sara was sick and tired of being sick and tired. She says she started out on the pink cloud and that lasted about 2 months. She went to an AA meeting on day 1 because she knew that the times she had the longest stretches of sobriety was when she was active in AA. She is still active in AA.
[27:15] What was the first month like? What was different this time?
She said she was not running on fear but that there was a healthy fear there that reminded her she needed to do what she could. Instead of looking for the differences at meetings she was looking for the similarities. She realized that she was not reaching her full potential when drinking alcohol.
[30:30] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?
To become more of a dedicated student with her counseling. She loves to dance and wants to get back into doing that.
[37:08] What results are you seeing from the communication between your adult self and your child self?
Old beliefs are getting brought up and Sara is able to see why she responds in certain ways to certain triggers. She is hyperaware of her triggers now and is addressing them.
[39:10] Why do you think you drank?
Sara’s says her parents met in rehab so she feels there is some genetics that come into play, along with some childhood trauma. Alcohol helped her feel like she belonged.
[43:15] What are your thoughts on relapse?
Sara feels that relapses are par for the course and her relapses taught her so much, she didn’t realize that at the time, but looking back now she recognizes it.
[44:43] Rapid Fire Round
- Worst memory from drinking?
The no memory memories. The moment of dread and horror while trying to piece the night together.
- When was your oh-shit moment?
I was in Scotland and I was gifted a free week’s trip on a yacht. I hadn’t been drinking for 6 months and I decided I would drink at sea. The first 6 nights were fine…night 7 found her sneaking onto a cruise liner, stealing bottles of alcohol, getting caught, and waking up in a 90-year-old lady’s home but not knowing where she was.
- What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?
I want to thrive and lead a joyous and fulfilling life.
- In regards to sobriety what’s the best advice you’ve received?
One day at a time.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?
Get really honest with yourself, ask yourself, “how long have I been trying to moderate? And has it been working?”
- You might be an alcoholic if…
It’s 3 AM and your ex-boyfriend’s housemate finds you outside of the house, ¾ ways up a tree, and when he asks you what you are doing you say, “I’m being a ninja”, and you proceed to fall out of the tree onto the ground and laugh like a maniac.
Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019
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