Kevin took his last drink April 11, 2020. With just over 3 months away from alcohol (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF).
Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You…..
Receiving feedback and how to do better. After a negative comment / feedback from a listener, Odette took the comments and the feedback and is seeing this as an opportunity to do better. It seems these days that “do better” is being used more and explored. This was the universe remining her that she is worthy, the listener is worthy, and everyone is worthy. She has gratitude and love for the listener because they allowed to her see something from a different perspective. If you have feedback, please send an email to Odette.
[7:23] Odette introduces Kevin.
Kevin is 59 and originally from Philadelphia, he has lives in Florida for the past 20 years. He’s a printer and works for the schoolboard. He’s married and loves cooking, traveling and doing charcoal portraits.
[9:13] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking?
Kevin said that when he was 7, he became the drink maker at his grandparents’ card games. He would have some whiskey and ginger ale himself. In 4th grade he was bullied, so he would go home at lunch to eat but also to do a few shots of liquor so he could deal with that. In high school he fell in with a crowd that drank and also sold drugs. He continued in that pattern until he met his now wife at the age of 33. He quit the drugs, but his drinking continued to escalate. In 2017 he spent 3 days in a psych ward, leaving there he sent to AA and a counselor, but it never really took, and he relapsed.
[12:26] Did anybody notice that all this was happening when you were so young?
Kevin said that he was a latch key kid, so his use of alcohol wasn’t noticed. And when he was in high school, he was always out of the house and with friends, so again, it wasn’t noticed. However, he says that while in high school he knew he had a bad alcohol problem on his hands.
[14:22] Did you ever reach out to somebody in those early days or was alcohol normalized in your family?
Kevin said his grandfather owned a bar and his parents had an active social life and he was a bartender at different points, so alcohol was always a part of his life.
[15:03] How did alcohol cause conflict in your marriage(s)?
Kevin said in his first marriage they were both very immature and it wasn’t ever going to last. With his second wife, he emulated her and wanted her to be proud of him. It never worked out however and he felt he was always disappointing her.
[16:40] What happened that made you want to reach out and get help?
Kevin said there were a lot of moments. Between injuries, unhealthy arguments and car accidents there were lots of red flags. He always thought he had it under control. He doesn’t have an off switch.
[18:55] What happened in April of this year?
Kevin said this time he wanted to get sober and committed to AA, he didn’t have another second chance in him. He was tired of playing the alcohol game, wondering where he would get more and having alcohol control his life.
[20:49] What do you do when you get a craving?
Kevin said he changes his environment right away. He gets out of where he is and tries to get a new headspace. In about 30 minutes time the craving is gone. He doesn’t call them alcohol cravings, but more the idea of alcohol gets in his brain.
Kevin uses the Merriam Webster app and it gives him a “word of the day”. He takes that word and tries to apply it to his sobriety throughout the day. This gives him a fresh perspective to sobriety over and over.
[23:00] Tell me about your family dynamics?
Kevin said for 24 years he was a tornado leaving a path of devastation through his marriage. They are trying to figure things out and he wants his wife to be happy and have a good life.
[26:02] What is your favorite thing about the AA program?
Kevin said the communication and connection with other people in recovery.
[28:20] Are there any other resources that have been helping you in this journey?
Kevin said he always has something going on to fill his time. Between podcasts and reading or going to meetings.
[28:58] What’s your favorite NA drink?
Iced coffee, with coffee ice cubes.
[29:36] Did you notice a change in your sugar intake?
Kevin said he never had a sweet tooth until he stopped drinking. But now he adds honey to his oats! He’s trying to scale back his sugar intake.
[30:52] What’s your go-to response when someone offers you a drink?
Kevin said he tells people “I’m an alcohol and I’m living it sober”. He has no reservations about telling people.
[31:30] Do you notice any pushback from people who you tell?
Kevin said the friends he has in Florida are accepting and have been nothing but positive.
[33:07] What are you excited about right now?
Kevin is excited about the future. He wants to get involved with helping other people in recovery.
[34:47] Has your sleep improved?
Kevin said he wasn’t a great sleeper throughout most of his life, so while that pattern remains, he’s no longer sluggish and his body doesn’t hurt. He feels rested.
[31:30] Do you have to do virtual meetings during the pandemic?
Kevin said his room has been open throughout the pandemic and he is a little unsure if he would have had success doing virtual meetings. He needs the in-person/human connections.
[39:28] Have you been able to identify triggers?
Kevin said he drank for so long that he’s unsure if he actually has triggers. He drank simply because it was part of his life.
[41:13] Rapid Fire Round
- What is a lightbulb moment you’ve had during this journey?
Realizing he could go through the day without alcohol.
- What would you say to your younger self?
Love and value yourself. You matter. You have something to offer.
- What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Coffee with chocolate covered espresso beans on top.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze?
It’s important to stay focused and keep your sobriety in front of you. Stay focused on your interests and keep your mind active. Stress is a killer.
You may have to say adios to booze…
If you come back to your table from an open bar with 4 drinks and 2 shots in your hand and ask if anyone wants anything themselves.
Odette’s challenge this week:
Try to build a practice around your negative self-talk. Swap out the negative with a kinder message for yourself. Give yourself the love you need.
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