Brian took his last drink September 18, 2019. At 213 days (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF).
End of Season 1
After 276 consecutive Mondays & 5 years, Paul is stepping down from the podcast and is handing Recovery Elevator over to a new and talented voice. He recaps his next steps and an overview of what the last 5 years has brought him. With 2076 days at the time of recording, Paul is filled with gratitude for all you listeners. Because of you, he is filled with enough. We are all in this together.
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[13:36] Paul introduces Brian.
Brian is 45 years old, married and lives in Easley, SC. He is married with two children. He was in the Army for 17 years before moving to the South. For fun Brian likes to golf, ski, snowboard, BBQ his own meats. He also does podcasting and some PA events.
[17:20] Give listeners some background on your drinking.
Brian didn’t drink until he had almost graduated High School. He drank and got drunk the very first time. He said that was a theme throughout his drinking. He drank to get drunk each time. He went through military training and service and returned home to finish college in Baltimore. He was asked to leave after 2 years due to a 0.0 GPA the previous semester.
[21:16] When did your drinking progress?
Brian said there were waves of drinking. It picked up in his 20s after leaving college. Bartending made it easy to drink a lot. In 1999 he had to call out of his job a few times due to hangover. At that time, he saw there was a problem with his drinking and got sober for about 8 months from alcohol. In 2004, he tried to quit alcohol again for about 7 months. In 2007 he got into some legal trouble but during that his now wife became pregnant with their first child. He says his daughter saved his life.
Thorough out this time, Brian says he would often be spoken at work about his behavior during events that involved alcohol. And in 2020 at an executive weekend event, he spent the entire weekend drunk. He said he was spoken to a few times throughout the weekend and that next week was his last drink with his cousin.
[30:55] Let talk about your last drink.
Brian said it was in his mind that something needed to change. He ordered a craft beer, and it didn’t taste good. He ordered a second, it didn’t taste good. At that moment he knew something was going to change.
[35:15] What was September 19, 2020 like?
Brian was familiar with the sober fellowship in his area and he began attending meetings immediately. However, this time, he felt very good about his decision to stop drinking. There was a sense of relief and peace that his suffering was over.
20 years of ups and downs and trying to get sober, culminated in this last drink in September 2019.
[40:43] In the first 60 / 90 days how did you get past some cravings?
Brian said that while he didn’t have cravings exactly, he had thoughts about drinking. Many of them situational. He’s forcing himself to remember the bad and not romanticize the good. Playing the tape forward helps to remind him of the bad. Seeing how that one romantic moment turns into a day of regret the next day. This time getting sober, Brian knew he needed to do something different and approached it in that manner. He put more effort into his getting sober.
[46:26] Do you recognize the profound leaps and bounds you have made over these past 7 months?
Brian said he has put the work into himself to try and find out who he is. Removing the masks worn and breaking down the facades of who he thought he was to find out who he truly is in this life. He tries to meditate every single day for 30 – 60 minutes a day and has been reading a lot more, both of which center him. All of this to try and put aside the ego.
[48:34] Comment on some other experiences where you have said “that’s no longer me / who I am”
Brian has seen a change in his personal relationships. In the past he was short to show his temper and is choosing to not be that person any longer. He now finds his stoicism a strength, while when he was drinking it was a weakness. While still drinking he bottled up his feelings which would then tumble out while drunk in an overexaggerated manner. And now while sober, he’s allowing himself to feel the feelings and understand more what they are telling him. Brian lets himself be sensitive and he can respond rather than react.
[52:50] Rapid Fire Round
- What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?
I never knew who I was until these last 7 months.
- What is a memorable moment a life without alcohol has given you?
Rekindling my relationship with my kids.
- What’s your favorite AF drink?
Seltzer water. Cranberry lime specifically. And Kombucha.
- What’s on your bucket list in this AF life?
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?
Keep going. Even if you slip up, don’t beat yourself up. Every moment is a new moment to change.
You might need to ditch the booze if…
If your fraternity renames the yearly Biggest Partier award after you and disqualifies you from winning it.
Please give this new voice a chance, please listen for at least a few episodes. Please let us know your thoughts. Paul has asked this person to honor the mission of the podcast, shedding the stigma surrounding addiction. And also to honor the path this new direction takes.
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- Ditching the Booze – The What, the Why and the How. We will be offering this again, starting 8/4/2020 and 11/3/20. It’s free for Café RE members. Not a Café Re member? Sign up here and use the code OPPORTUNITY for waive the set-up fee.
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
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“Recovery Elevator – You took the elevator down, you gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this- I love you guys,”