Jamieson took his last drink on August 7, 2019. With almost 10 months sober (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol-free (AF).
Odette opens the podcast talking about “permission slips” and specifically giving yourself permission to feel certain things. She quotes Brene Brown, “For personal permission slips, you are in charge of your own behavior – so you’re giving yourself permission to feel or act a certain way. It is setting an intention for how you want to behave in difficult situations.”
Here are some permission slips Odette gave herself after her first week as the new voice of the podcast: to be scared, to make mistakes, to ask for help, to feel uncomfortable, to fail, to succeed, to try again, to love myself. Writing these out she gained courage, the courage to run towards what she wants.
[5:23] Odette introduces Jamieson.
Jamieson is 28 years old and lives in Kansas City, MO. He works in special education and is starting grad school in the fall. He is single. For fun he enjoys making music, reading, playing video games, hiking, going camping, and traveling.
[7:49] Can you give us a background on your drinking?
Jamieson said he started drinking when he was around 13 or 14 years old. But at the time it was a shot glass worth of wine at dinner every night. The first time he was drunk was when he was 16 or 17.
He never really felt like he ever had a normal relationship with alcohol, but problematic drinking began around the age of 21. In college he was always trying to be cool like everyone else, alcohol was an easy resource to make him feel cool and ease his social anxiety.
[10:50] What happened after you noticed your drinking increasing?
Jamieson said it became very consistent and an everyday thing. At the age of 22, he went without alcohol for one year. After a year of being a dry drunk, he decided he didn’t have a problem and returned to drinking. He continued drinking until his last drink in August 2019.
[13:58] After your year sober, and return to drinking, did you know in the back of your mind that eventually, you would stop drinking?
Jamieson said in the back of his mind, he always knew something wasn’t quite right about his drinking. The quiet voice in the back of his mind slowly crept into the forefront of his thoughts and he couldn’t ignore it any longer.
[14:51] Was there an event that made you go sober again?
Jamieson said it was a combination of things. Between multiple rock bottoms/events and seeing his younger brother struggle with alcohol as well, he realized he needed to cut alcohol out.
[20:15] What was your plan on the day of your last drink?
Jamieson said to himself “let’s just see how long I can go” and at about 2 weeks’ time, he was feeling pretty good and went to a Refuge Recovery meeting. That was a turning point for him.
[24:50] You mention that Buddhism has really changed your life, can you chat about that?
Jamieson said he’s been interested in Buddhism for a long time but was never able to fully dedicate himself to it while drinking. Mindfulness and meditation are not friends with alcohol and substance abuse. Meditation has been a key component in his sobriety.
[31:47] What else is in your recovery toolbelt?
Jamieson said podcasts and focusing also on leading a healthier lifestyle/routines. Being on top of himself for the little things like making his bed and brushing his teeth daily. He’s also begun practicing yoga.
[34:29] Did you feel like there were new triggers for you when COVID began?
Jamieson said it had a big impact on his routine. His school was on Spring Break at the start and they didn’t return afterward. He said it was abrupt and unexpected at how quickly it happened. His routine was a large part of his “staying sane” in sobriety. The lack of routine pushed him to seek out more meetings.
[37:04] What are your thoughts on self-awareness growing?
Jamieson said he has noticed he’s much more self-aware since he stopped drinking. He has learned more about addiction and specifically alcohol addiction and his compassion has grown towards others. He finds himself being less judgmental.
[39:32] What’s a narrative in your life that you would like to re-write?
Jamieson said he felt for a long time his issues with substance abuse, anxiety, and depression were his fault. He was messing up his own life because he wasn’t a good person. Jamieson has worked on forgiving himself over the past 9 months. Through Refuge Recovery and Buddhism he has learned that it’s not your fault you are this way, but it is your responsibility to deal with it.
[44:32] You’re so young, how has stopping drinking changed your social dynamic?
Jamieson said his social life was getting worse with his drinking. All of his friends have been supportive. He finds he’s able to appreciate spending time with his friends and his family now.
[48:15] Rapid Fire Round
- If you could talk to Day 1 Jamieson, what would you say to him?
Be patient with yourself and know you are stronger than these problems and alcohol.
- What is a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?
Realizing that I don’t have to wake up every day feeling like garbage.
- What is a memorable moment sobriety has given you?
Every time I do something I couldn’t do while drinking.
- What are some of your favorite resources?
Refuge Recovery, Buddhist based recovery platforms, Recovery Elevator podcast, yoga, and AA.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?
If you’re struggling with drinking and think you have a problem, start looking into literature and different communities that are out there. When you find a community you like, put yourself in there. Try it for a little while without any promises.
You may need to ditch the booze if…
You’re so hungover and sleep-deprived you are barely capable of picking someone else up from rehab.
Odette’s challenge this week:
Write yourself a permission slip. Snap a photo of it, share on Instagram, and tag us @recoveryelevator on Instagram so we can give you a virtual high five!
Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:
- 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 to waive the set-up fee.
- You can find more information about our events
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee.
Sober Selfies!- Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to –firstname.lastname@example.org
“Recovery Elevator – We took the elevator down, we gotta take the steps back up, we can do this- love you guys,”