Will took his last drink April 10, 2018. With just over 2 years 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…..
Navigating through tough times. Removing alcohol allows you to actually do something about a problem, however sometimes without alcohol in front of it, a problem can present more clearly. It’s hard to do the hard thing and easy to pretend our problems aren’t really there. We have a choice to accept the problem (the storm) as it presents itself and its aftereffects as part of a life without alcohol.
[7:01] Odette introduces Will.
Will is 43 and lives in Queens, NY. He’s an IT consultant and married with a dog. For fun he loves to be outdoors, surfing, live music, cooking, biking, running and traveling.
[9:34] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking?
Will said he was 12 when he has his first drink on vacation, but he considers his real entrance to alcohol was around the age of 15. It dissolved the anxiety he felt in social situations. In college he went full force into drinking and it quickly became a daily habit. He sought out others who drank like he did.
[12:57] Were you a high performer in school?
Will said alcohol did impact his school work. He had no direction for what he wanted to do the rest of his life. He found himself drinking in exchange for doing things he loved.
[14:22] What happened after college?
Will said followed a band he loved around the country and fully fell into the drinking and partying culture.
[16:18] Did you ever question your drinking?
Will said no, because he had surrounded himself with a culture of drinking and partying. So, he was around it and it was normalized within his circle.
[18:23] Walk me through your next life chapter?
Will said he moved to Washington state with his now wife and went back to school. There was less drinking, and he was able to focus on his schoolwork and life. He found some balance mixed in with the pockets of crazy times.
Once he finished school he moved back to New York and began work, but also was staying out late drinking. He noticed the change in his physical alcohol dependance at this moment.
[22:34] Did you introduce moderation rules?
Will said he attempted moderation at home and it simply evaporated over time.
[23:21] Did you start having conversations with your wife about this?
Will said him and his wife were both “in it” at the time. (She is also now in recovery.) There was enabling happening and it was difficult to navigate.
[24:05] Did you have a rock bottom?
Will said he sought out a doctor to prescribe him something to help him get through the physical dependency. However, looking back, that was just another layer onto addiction. This went on for years with a chaotic life and drinking. He sought treatment after two friends expressed concern in 2016.
He did a 28-day inpatient program. While he wasn’t ready fully for recovery, but at the same time wanted to change his life. He made it through but relapsed within 60 days.
[29:14] Walk me through 2016 – 2018.
Will said he was trying in those two years, but it seemed impossible. While he was in and out of the AA rooms, he wasn’t doing the work that he was told was needed.
April 10, 2018, he entered a detox again after 3 days of a mental psychosis.
[33:13] What changed this time?
Will said there was enough pain in his life, he realized he needed to make a change.
[34:30] Do you still get cravings?
Will said not really, he gets fleeting thoughts.
[34:40] What your biggest way of coping with uncomfortable feelings?
Will said you get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Once he started to take his sobriety seriously, he accepted the program he was being told to work. He can now make sense of his feelings without alcohol numbing them down. There’s purpose in the struggles we go through.
[37:45] Have you healed the nerve damage in your feet at all?
Will said the rest of his body has healed which helps the pain overall. That makes the nerve pain manageable as a whole. He looks at the pain as a high power telling him to move. So that’s actually the gift that came from all this.
[40:12] When you left treatment, what was your plan?
Will said he jumped into AA. He was open to anything recovery related.
[43:55] What’s your favorite NA drink?
Will said he’s a club soda guy. Nothing fancy.
[44:27] Have you ever gotten push back from people?
Will said no one has given him pushback on his desire to lead a life without alcohol. But also, that’s a little telling to the condition he was in, everyone could see he needed help.
[45:47] Rapid Fire Round
- If you could talk to day 1 Will, what would you say?
You’re 100% worth it and you are a lot stronger than you could ever imagine.
- What are you excited about right now?
Grateful to have the tools that he has and to see where this takes us and the ability to give back.
- What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Salted caramel anything.
- What are your favorite resources outside of AA?
Café RE, podcasts, self-help books, an in-person community
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze?
Life on the other side is beautiful. There’s a life to be had out there.
You may have to say adios to booze…
If you’re curing your hangovers with more alcohol, that’s something that’s hard to come back from.
Odette’s challenge this week:
Take some time to access the challenges you are dealing with right now. Make a list of things you think you’ve been doing to navigate the situation. Don’t judge yourself, just write them down, edit as you see fit. If there are things on that list you don’t like, make a plan to change it.
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