Tiffany took her last drink on July 14, 2018. This is her story.
On today’s episode Paul talks about the DUIs he didn’t get. For those of you that may not know what a DUI is…it is Driving Under the Influence, with a BAC that is higher than .08.
Those missed DUIs, going all the way back to one in 2006, in which he was following behind a friend that was drunk behind the wheel, rolled his vehicle and passed away with a BAC of .33…were a contributing factor in Paul telling himself he didn’t have a drinking problem.
He told himself he didn’t have a drinking problem because he didn’t have any DUIs. Paul has said, ‘the only line you can cross, but cannot come back from, is death’. He hopes that Adrian’s story can help save the life of someone listening to this podcast.
[16:05] Paul introduces Tiffany.
Tiffany is originally from Connecticut but has been in Maryland for the last 10 years. She is a property manager and a licensed captain. She is 35 years old, single and has no kids. She enjoys hiking and recently has discovered she likes to macramé, and has been doing a lot of that. DIY crafts and projects around her house bring her joy.
[18:15] Give us a background on your drinking.
Tiffany started dinking when she was in 7th grade. Drinking was the not the norm for her family or in her household growing up. It wasn’t until she was in junior high and spending more time at friends’ houses that she was exposed to drinking being the norm. Jr. high and high school was a lot of binge drinking on weekends. Towards the end of high school Tiffany was more interested in being at work, she was working at a horse farm, and partying with her friends than being at school. Work and partying became her priority and school was at the bottom of the totem pole. She says she was a big pothead and felt that she could take, or leave, alcohol.
[20:50] When did you reach the moment when you couldn’t take it, or leave it?
In 2006, when Tiffany was 21, she left everything behind and moved to New Zealand to work on a schooner. She says that is when the switch happened. Wine was everywhere. She started to think of drinking as a reward for having a hard day, rather than just something she would binge on.
[22:45] Talk to us about the years between 21 and 34.
While on the schooner they went through a bad hurricane during a voyage. Tiffany says it was terrifying, and it was at that time her drinking shifted from drinking as a reward for a hard day, to drinking to get out of her head. She says she came home from that experience different, and that it is still something she is working through.
It was at this time she was drinking to not feel her feelings, and she started to isolate rather than drink socially. In 2007 she moved to Baltimore and moved in to a neighborhood that was filled with bars, making it easy for her to drink and not be questioned.
[26:00] Get us up to speed closer to your sobriety date.
Between 2009-2012 not a lot really happened. Tiffany says her drinking stayed about the same, she was still isolating amongst her group of drinking friends. In 2014 she got into a relationship, that didn’t work out, but it was the first time she had ever heard someone refer to her as an alcoholic.
[26:45] What was it like hearing that?
Up until that time she says she had had a lot of nights that she regretted but that this was the first time she felt embarrassed. This prompted Tiffany to lean into her isolation and she let all the self-negative talk that she had for herself beat her down.
In 2017 she was so depressed and isolating that she was afraid to leave her house unless it was for work. Because she couldn’t control her drinking, she felt like she was failing in everything other than work.
[28:44] You said you knew you didn’t want to drink, but that all you knew was a life with drinking…talk to us about how that felt.
It was insanity. A snapshot of what felt like a normal day for Tiffany involved her waking up with a hangover, feeling like hell, getting herself together for work and then crying the whole way to work because she did not want to go home, because she did not want to drink again that night. Her anxiety was crippling and things just didn’t get any better. She lived like that for 3 years.
[30:20] What tipped the scales?
November 2017 Tiffany says she was at her bottom and she came across the Recovery Elevator podcast. She hit play and binge listened to the episodes for a solid 2 weeks.
[33:55] What happened between November 2017 and July 2018?
Tiffany signed up for the RE Facebook group in June 2018 and made it 30 days AF. On day 31 she walked into a store, thinking, “I got this”, and bought 5 bottles of wine and drank for 5 days. She then decided she was done, drank all the alcohol in her house, and on July 14th 2018 had her last drink.
[44:00] So you got sober outside of AA?
Tiffany says that 12 step meetings are not for her, at least not right now. She finds her peace and healing when she is outside of the rooms. Knowing that she does need to talk to people and dive into some things
she did start talk therapy.
[45:56] What’s on your bucket list?
The Asia trip is definitely being added. Tiffany says she just wants to be happy.
[47:47] Rapid Fire Round
- Worst memory from drinking?
My 18th birthday. I got so drunk I fell down the side of a mountain and my friends had to drive me home.
- When was the moment you knew you needed to quit drinking?
That is a toss up between when I heard my ex say I was an alcoholic and when I started listening to this podcast.
- What is your plan moving forward?
Keeping connection and staying social. I’m making the point to keep networking.
- What is your favorite resource in recovery?
Definitely Recovery Elevator podcast and the Café’RE group.
- In regards to sobriety what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
That it’s ok not to have perfect day.
- What parting piece of advice can you give to listeners?
If you think you have a problem you probably do.
- You might have a drinking problem if…
At the age of 15 you realize that if you only take shots, you don’t feel full, so you can drink more.
Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019
Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020
You can find more information about these events here
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