Raj took his last drink May 11, 2014. This is his story.
On today’s episode Paul zooms out and talks about the journey. If you are listening to this podcast you are an active participant in the center of the ring. Your conscious decision to ditch the booze places you in the center of the ring. Who is the critic when you’re in the ring grappling with alcohol? You are, but you can rewire those thoughts and become your greatest cheerleader.
Watch the video of the little girl not giving up here.
[16:05] Paul introduces Raj.
Raj is 54 years old and is from Las Angeles. He is divorced and has a 13-year-old son. Raj is an avid cyclist and says it keeps him sober.
[22:20] Give us a background on your drinking.
Raj says he didn’t really drink until college and even then, it was a very slow progression. In 1991 Raj started having adverse consequences to his drinking, such a getting a DUI and not getting hired for a job. In 2010, and the following 3 years, his drinking totally spiraled out of control.
[25:50] During this progression were you able to step back and see the writing on the wall?
Raj said he definitely did not. He said he lived in denial for over 20 years.
[26:46] Get us up to speed to May 2011.
Raj said he always performed well in his career; his drinking didn’t affect it. But in the summer of 2010 Raj had a serious biking accident and broke his ankle and was prescribed an insane amount of Vicodin. In a period of 4 months he watched his work productivity go to hell, actually getting put on probation at work.
Because work was always something that he could keep together, Raj said he lost it at this point. His drinking and drug use took off. That led to another DUI in May of 2011, which led him to the doors of AA.
[29:25] Fill in the gaps between your first AA meeting and May 2014?
Raj said he started going to AA and got a sponsor, but didn’t really do the steps. In 2012 he convinced himself that he didn’t have a drinking problem, but was still having blackouts and waking up in the hospital not knowing how he got there.
In November of 2012, after a locking himself in his hotel room while at a work retreat, causing a huge scene at the airport, and landing in the hospital again Raj was fired from his job. This led Raj to The Betty Ford treatment facility and Raj says this was his rock bottom moment.
Two more rehabs, another DUI, and Raj finally got sober in May of 2014.
[34:20] What happened next?
Raj said he started taking AA seriously, got a new sponsor that was pretty much an AA hard ass that took Raj through the 12 steps. Raj says he was just ready. He had to become humble, and willing to ask for help.
[38:05] What is an excuse that you used to tell yourself for why you couldn’t quit drinking?
One was he had a wine cellar, he had to drink all the wine. How would he deal with stress and anxiety?
[38:55] How do you deal with stress without alcohol?
Raj uses biking and exercise, AA meetings, talking to his sponsor, and spending time with his son.
[49:50] What do you think was one of the hardest things about quitting drinking?
Raj said it was trying to get the message down to his subconscious that he was no longer drinking.
[55:50] Rapid Fire Round
- What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?
That we can’t do this alone.
- What’s a memorable moment a life without alcohol has provided you?
My son was in a play at school and I was able to be present and witness it, and was able to tell him what an amazing job.
- What’s your favorite alcohol-free drink?
- What are some of your favorite resources?
The Big Book or AA is a terrific resource. Café RE UP, AA meetings when I am on the road especially.
- What is on your bucket list in a life without alcohol?
There are a bunch bike challenges that I want to do.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?
If you’re struggling at staying sober don’t give up.
You might need to ditch the booze if…
If you are driving drunk 300 miles with your 3-year-old child in the car.
Upcoming Events and Retreats.
Recovery Elevator LIVE: Dancing with the Mind – in Colorado – June 11-14th, 2020
You can find more information about our event here.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free
Sober Selfies! – Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Recovery Elevator – You took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up. You can do this.”