Jim took his last drink April 7, 2020. With just over 70 days (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF).
Today Odette opens talking about finding the better you and her own take away from Holly Whitaker’s Quit Like A Woman. She focuses on what Holly says about when a craving strikes. Learn to relax into the craving rather than distract.
Set aside the story
Investigate what is happening in your body
Name the sensations
Let’s set the scene: You have finished your 100th zoom call of the day and you are ready to relax for the night. You want to pour a glass of wine. Here is how to implement RASINS.
Admit the craving, allow the craving to build, set aside the negative thoughts telling you that you suck. Maybe try a meditation practice. Focus on how your body is feeling. Is your heart racing, are your palms sweating? Ride the wave of emotion, this is manageable.
[7:12] Odette introduces Jim.
Jim is 71 years old and he lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He is about to retire fully from his career in public education. He’s been married for 47 years and has 3 children and 4 grandkids. He enjoys hiking, reading, swimming and volunteering at church and in schools. He has recently picked up golf too!
[11:33] Can you give listeners a history on your drinking?
Jim said he began drinking in high school and also drank in college. He joined a fraternity and soon after stopped going to call and flunked out. His father told him he was not welcome at home, so Jim joined the Merchant Marines after that. He said that although drinking was prohibited on the boats, that was far from the reality. After a winter in the Merchant Marines he was drafted into the Vietnam War, however his college agreed to re-admit him. Once back in college he was right back where he started. He did meet his “beautiful bride” while in school and she got him going back to class and he did graduate. His chosen career was something that he felt was more important that his drinking. So, he didn’t drink before work, but after work, all bets were off. Once he began to approach retirement, he had more time on his hands and the habits of college drinking returned.
[15:14] Do you remember your emotional state when your father told you that you weren’t allowed back home?
Jim said at the time he was very resentful and thought his father was not loving and caring. He felt his father was putting his own reputation and career over Jim’s circumstances. Looking back on it, Jim can say he knows that his father made a great decision.
[22:15] Did you notice your relationships changing/eroding?
Jim said his own ability to be a pleasant person when he was drinking was almost non-existent. He had a lot of irritability over very little things.
[25:38] Do you still have cravings?
Jim said he still has cravings. He uses HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) when a craving strikes. He then reflects on the thought and feeling and reminds himself this will happen and to “not let it shake your tree” because this will pass.
[27:29] How did you find Recovery Elevator/ resources for this journey?
Jim said was listening to NPR shows and thought that there must be something recovery specific out there. He found Recovery Elevator from a google search and made it a part of his every day.
[28:50] Did you notice you had to change certain aspects of your entire routine?
Jim said that he wakes up every morning and looks at a stack of notecards he has created. He reminds himself every day his reasons why he’s stopped drinking. He focuses on reading and reddit subs and meditation.
[33:46] Do you find nighttime to be a more challenging time of the day?
Jim said he doesn’t struggle at night. He also had notecards on his bedside table. He tries to end every day thinking about what he’s grateful for and on a positive note.
[34:44] Have you notice changes in your sleep patterns?
Jim said yes. His dreams are clear and amazing. He sleeps more soundly.
[37:23] What have you learned about yourself that has really surprised you?
Jim said he used to have a lot of self-doubt if he could do this. He’s learned we can all do this.
[39:00] What are you excited about right now?
Jim said he feels like a new person in life and so the possibilities are opening up. He’s no longer shackled by alcohol. His schedule is open.
[40:54] Rapid Fire Round
- What is your favorite NA beverage?
- What is a drinking myth you’ve seen debunked?
If you’re old there’s no sense in trying to stop drinking. (not true!)
- What would you say to Day 1 Jim?
Jim as you walk through day 1, walk through that door, it’s going to be awesome. You will not regret one second of this.
- What are some words of wisdom you can share with listeners?
I could have done this sooner, just let it go. There’s a family out there ready to help you. You can do this.
You may have to say adios to alcohol…
Adios, good riddance and see you later alligator!
Odette’s challenge this week:
Write down the meaning of RASINS and put it into practice this week.
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