Arlina took her last drink on April 22, 1994 and has been alcohol free for 25 years. This is her story.
On today’s episode Paul discuses an article that a listener sent him regarding the term, ‘sober curious’. This article was published in the New York Times and can be found here.
What is sober curious? The term is pretty straight forward, it refers to those that are curious about exploring a life without alcohol. But it can be unpacked even more. To some, sober curious may mean that they never had a drinking problem, but they had a problem drinking. In the article the author describes the sober curious as young professionals that are kind of, just a little bit, addicted to booze.
Paul feels that that bulk of this demographic of sober curious people are what would be referred to as high bottom drunks. They are beginning to experience consequences from their drinking and they are becoming curious to what a life without alcohol would look like.
[9:30] Paul introduces Arlina.
Arlina is 50 years old and had her last drink on her 25th birthday. She grew up in Silicon Valley. She is married and has 2 sons. Arlina has a podcast, enjoys yoga, hiking and going for walks. She is soon to be the owner of a bulldog puppy.
[15:05] Give us a background on your drinking.
Arlina says she feels her drinking was garden variety. She started drinking at a young age, between 8-10 years old, and says she didn’t realize how bad she felt until she felt good from drinking. She says from her first drink to her last she wanted to be anybody but herself.
[19:00] Was there a rock bottom moment that led up to you having your last drink on your 25th birthday?
Arlina says she had a series of rock-bottom moments. She never knew what emotion to expect when she would drink, she would either be crying or fighting. Even after a night out with her sister, in which Arlina got drunk, punched her windshield a couple times, breaking it, kicked her sister (who was driving) in the face, her sister getting help from the neighbors, the police being called, and waking up with that incomprehensible demoralization, it took hearing that her sister had gone to Al-anon for her to connect her drinking with alcoholism. Arlina wrestled with that thought for 2 years.
[23:20] Talk to us about when you finally reached that conclusion.
Arlina says it was a very humbling experience because she had defined alcoholism as something so negative. Hating who she was anyway and then adding alcoholic and drug addict to it was overwhelming. What had been her solution had become her executioner.
[25:55] What was it like in early sobriety?
Arlina says it was overwhelming, but that she was relieved of the obsession to consume alcohol the day after her birthday. She discovered she was kind of high maintenance. She needed a morning routine, turning her life and her will over to God, and had to nurture a conscious contact with God throughout the day. She attended a lot of meetings a week and service played a large part.
[31:22] Let’s talk about the why behind your drinking. Do you agree that alcohol is but a symptom?
Arlina agrees 100% that alcohol is but a symptom. She says she las learned that the brain will try and protect you from your pain, and if you can’t get out of it, it will develop a distraction, and that could be alcoholism or any other addiction. Time does not heal all wounds; pain waits and lessons are repeated until they are learned.
[37:27] Earlier you talked about chasing a feeling, how do you chase that feeling without alcohol.
Arlina says the feeling that she was chasing was relief. She likes to feel happiness and joy and she finds that in the service work she does. When she can do something to alleviate someone else’s suffering she feels like she is fulfilling her purpose and that is when she feels the most joy.
[42:00] Talk to us about your podcast, The ODAAT Chat. **Arlina also has a website by the same name and you can find it here.
Arlina originally started a sales podcast, but says it was really on her heart to do one on recovery. She was conflicted because in the 12 traditions it says to maintain our anonymity at the level of press, radio and film. Following the tragic death of a friend, who had attended a 6 AM meeting called ODAAT, she decided to be bold and follow her heart. The podcast has added some pressure but also has brought joy to Arlina.
[46:40] Rapid Fire Round
- Worst memory from drinking?
Puking my guts out at a San Francisco Giants game in front of a whole bunch of fancy people.
- Year 26, how’s it going to happen?
It’s going to happen one day at a time. This morning I went for a walk and broke out an amazing book called Jesus Calling and read that. I drew my Gabby Bernstein card and I use the Headspace app to do some meditation and I find if I do that routine in the morning my day goes so much better.
- In regards to sobriety what is the best advice you have ever received?
Follow your heart.
- What parting piece of advice can you give to listeners?
Open your mind and your heart and you’ll be amazed before you are halfway through.
- You might be an alcoholic if…
You end up in an AA meeting.
Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019
Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 500,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR.
Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free
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