John took his last drink on August 31, 2019. With about 10 months (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol-free (AF).
Today Odette opens quoting from Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart”.
“Impermanence is the goodness of reality. Just as the four seasons are in continual flux, winter changing from spring to summer to autumn; just as day becomes night, light becoming dark becoming light again– in the same way, everything is constantly evolving.”
Everything that ends is also the beginning of something else. What happens when we see this chaos as harmony and change right now is the new normal. It takes time to get comfortable with change and this stage of life is a season. Let’s sit with it and see where we can go.
[6:53] Odette introduces John.
John is 38 years old and originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. John is also married to Odette and they have 2 children together. They live in San Diego, CA. For fun, John likes to surf, bike, run, or play golf… he just likes being active.
[11:19] Can you give listeners a history of your drinking?
John said growing up drinking was part of the culture of where he lived. He started drinking in high school on weekends and continued in college. His drinking changed when it became a post-work habit. He said he modeled his drinking after his parents: put your head down, do you work, have a drink after work. From the age of 25 – 38 he was drinking as a reward at the end of a day. However, he noticed that he was using alcohol to numb out other things in his life.
[14:00] Was there a moment when you noticed that alcohol was no longer working?
John said in his 30s was when he began to question if he had a problem with drinking. As his family grew, he saw a line in the sand. On one side of the line was keeping drinking and on the other side was his marriage and family.
Odette and John discuss their marriage and how each of their paths to recovery has followed along both together and separately at different times. They discuss the work they have done on themselves and as a couple.
[25:26] From an inside look what are some of the biggest differences?
John said a lot of his initial quitting drinking was about trying to prove a point, prove to himself and others that he didn’t have a problem with alcohol. Within a month it changed and began to leave alcohol behind for himself. He noticed improvements in almost all aspects of his life.
[28:51] Can you tell us about how fatherhood has been different?
John said when he was drinking, he would show up to parenthood not ready to parent. He was physically there but not there mentally or emotionally. He is now trying to make amends to his children now by being as present as he can be. Every connecting moment with his children is a cherished moment.
[32:13] Tell us about a day in your life right now, what tools are you using?
John said he’s a little bit of a lone wolf. He relies a lot on Odette as an emotional outlet. He does not struggle with cravings during the day, but at night when he’s “done for the day” is when he has to dig a little deeper. He focuses on spending time with his family. John drinking a lot of soda water and kombucha and NA beer.
[34:55] What’s your favorite NA beer brand?
He has an order coming from Athletic Brewing and is looking forward to trying it.
Two Roots, Straight Dank IPA- it’s a very hop-forward IPA.
[36:06] How has it been reintroducing yourself into social situations?
John said that the first few months were hard. There was a lot of pretending. Once he had the mind shift and was leaving alcohol behind for himself, it was a lot easier. There is a confidence that came with his decision.
[39:16] Have you received any pushback?
John said that his true friends are supportive. There’s the occasional random person who isn’t in the know that questions him, but not from a negative place.
[41:53] What possibilities in life are you excited about?
John said he’s just really excited to keep on this path and see where it takes him. He’s looking forward to his kids starting school, the next steps in his career, the fun trips they have planned as a family, and with his wife. There’s a positive future ahead.
[43:59] Rapid Fire Round
- What is a memorable moment you’ve had so far?
Surf trip sober over Christmas 2019.
- What are some of your favorite resources?
Armchair Expert podcast (Dax Shepard)
- What would you say to Day 1, John?
It’s going to be a lot easier than you think it is. Trust the decision. Strap in and lean in. Trust your wife.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give to others?
Just do it, hop in. Do it for 3 months and see what happens.
You may need to ditch the booze if…
You go on a camping trip with your wife and the last thing you remember is having a great time at dinner and then you wake up in a tent alone, with none of your family there.
Odette’s challenge this week:
What are you trying to hold on to right now? What do you think would happen if that changed? Are you not allowing yourself to enjoy it now that you have it out of fear that it will be gone? Everything that you have in your life right now is a gift if you choose to see it that way. So just think about that prompt.
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