Sasha took her last drink on May 19th, 2019. This is her story of living alcohol free (AF).
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Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding Your Better You
When Odette doesn’t want to forget something, she sends herself an email. Recently she found one to herself with the subject line: Positive Relationships. The body of the email said simply: “The biggest factor for cultivating resilience” (Season 17, Grey’s Anatomy)
We need resilience when embarking on this journey. Not just for this, but for everything life throws at us. Our journey is far from perfect, when we fall we need the courage to get back up and that’s why we need community. This is why together is better. Having one person in your corner can make a huge difference for you.
How many positive relationships to you have and are you fostering them?
[7:19] Odette introduces Sasha.
Sasha is from New Jersey and works in IT. She lives with her fiancé and their dog. For fun she likes to read, do jigsaw puzzles, meditate and collecting old books from estate sales.
[10:37] Can you give listeners some background on your story?
Sasha said she started drinking around the age of 18. It wasn’t anything that was intense, but she knew from the first drink it would make her be “her true self.” She got a DUI at the 20. Around 21 was when she started drinking alone. When she was 23/24 she was crying and falling apart every time she drank. Her thoughts were preoccupied with drinking all the time.
[13:48] Did the DUI make you question your drinking, or did you think that this was just something young people did?
Sasha said it was both. She knew she drank in a way that wasn’t normal but felt because she was so young it was also ok. Looking back she knew it should have been a big warning sign.
[15:36] Did you have any rock bottom moments?
Sasha said rock bottom was when she was drinking alone and miserable. She had the realization she was miserable but didn’t know how to get out of it.
[16:13] How did you get yourself out of the cycle?
Sasha said she was listening to the RE podcast and reading Eckart Tolle and doing the Sam Harris ‘Wake Up’ course and this gave her the realization she had a drinking problem. Her end goal when drinking was always to be drunk, so the solution was to have none.
[18:09] Was the podcast your first exposure to other stories of people’s drinking?
Sasha said after her DUI there was court mandated AA meetings and that was her first exposure. She loved hearing what people were going through because she could identify with them.
[21:20] What Tolle book were you reading?
She was also reading In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts which covers many of the same themes.
[24:54] Were you having conversations with your fiancé about your drinking prior to May 20th?
Sasha said she always minimized it, so they never had direct conversations about her drinking. When she told him, he was very supportive and zero judgement. They continue to have conversations about her drinking.
[26:27] Did you feel relief when you told him?
Sasha said yes, a tremendous amount of relief. She was so lonely in her drinking and to have him be so accepting was what she needed.
[32:05] How was it for you right after you made the decision to stop drinking?
Sasha said for her it was like a switch flipped. She was so happy to be free from alcohol that her “pink cloud” lasted about 6 months. It helped that so many other things fell into place in that time as well. Sasha received a promotion at work, they got a dog, she was connecting with herself, reconnected with old friends and all the small things put themselves in place. It was hard for her to imagine going back to drinking.
She had a craving around month 8, but was able to play the tape forward and that tool helped her not have a drink.
[36:27] What happened after the pink cloud? What other tools do you use?
Sasha said this time quitting was different, she was able to flip a switch. She no longer romanticizes drinking. But overall she hasn’t had the white knuckling craving this time.
[39:27] Did you have a routine in your day that you had to fill with new things?
Sasha said it was when she left work. In the past she would leave work and pick-up alcohol on the way home. At first, she was distracting herself with seeing friends and taking her dog for a walk or eating. Getting out of the house was really important.
[44:55] What type of responses did you get from people when you told them about this decision?
Sasha said most people were supportive. Every once in a while, someone questions the decision. Some of the people she used to drink with have also come out and admitted they are struggling and she has tried to point them in the right direction for resources.
[46:48] Rapid Fire Round
- What would you say to your younger self?
Give her a hug and tell her everything will be ok.
- What’s your favorite ice cream flavour?
- What has recovery made possible for you?
To live a life of peace and to be vulnerable with others.
- What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners thinking about ditching the booze?
Stick with it if you’re struggling to quit. The fact that you are even trying to do this right now is huge. Find resources that will work for you.
You may have to say adios to booze if…
it’s 2pm on a Tuesday and you’re googling, “Do I have a drinking problem?” with one eye closed because you can’t see the phone.
Odette’s weekly challenge:
Make a small inventory of your relationships. Which ones would you like to see changes in? Which ones would you like to cultivate?
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