Episode 319 – When I was stressed out at work or stressed by a social situation, alcohol would fix it temporarily, until it didn’t. Now I’m accepting moods, feelings and phases come and go and it’s all okay.
Korie took her last drink on March 21, 2019. She is from Texas and is 32 years old. This is her story of living alcohol-free (AF).
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Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message
Rediscovering your life beyond recovery. You are all unique. We are more than a drinking problem; we are more than recovery. The life we now enjoy would disappear if we returned to drinking. It is easy to feel uniqueness –submerged in recovery. In sobriety we don’t know when things will get better, but they do. Sobriety is a piece of your whole life. We all have the opportunity to learn and re-learn who we are.
Maintenance is important to secure your sobriety. If you stay the course, you get to graduate. You always focus on maintaining sobriety, but it’s not all day every day, it becomes a piece of your broader life. There are so many benefits to being present in sobriety – you can have your cake and eat it too.
[8:12] Odette introduces Korie
Korie said her last drink was 3/21/19. She grew up in Austin, Texas and is 32 years old. Korie was abroad and lived in Japan and Singapore and came to the US when she was 6 years old. She is engaged and just bought a home outside of Austin. Pre-quarantine, Korie was a social butterfly. Now, she stays home more than she used to and loves getting outside, running, reading, drawing and anything artsy.
[11:46] Tell us about your history with drinking.
Korie doesn’t remember her first drink of alcohol. She would have a sip or two of her Mom’s wine and thought it was disgusting. In high school she was in a few programs that required her to sign a contract saying she wouldn’t drink or party. She followed the rules. In college she remembers drinking, getting dizzy, self-control was gone, and she didn’t want it to stop because she liked the feeling. She didn’t drink often.
She worked in the restaurant industry which breeds lots of drinking. It felt normal, until it didn’t. When she graduated from college, she moved to Spain to become an Au Pair and drank a lot there. She remembers staying out all night, being hung over and thinking she may have a problem and her drinking wasn’t normal. The nightlife continued when she returned to the US. She remembers getting drunk, getting sick and making bad decisions?
[15:13] What thoughts were you having about your drinking?
Korie felt pretty justified because she judged her drinking based on what other people were doing. She knew it wasn’t who she wanted to be
It started to feel not right. When she left the restaurant industry, she recognized it wasn’t normal to drink every night. She had a broader circle of friends to compare herself to. She was working as a virtual concierge and was calling in to work, saying she was working from home, but just too hungover to go in. She realized she was still drinking like she had in her twenties. She never wants to experience an emotional rock bottom again.
[18:46] Did you ever talk to anyone about your drinking?
Korie said a former boyfriend spoke to her about her drinking. She got defensive and thought he was a bit paranoid. Looking back, she realizes he was right to be concerned. At 24, Korie verbalized concerns to her best friend, but kept drinking. She started asking questions to people who went to AA.
[20:48] Did you ever attempt moderation?
Korie took a few weeks off of drinking before she stopped altogether. On March 21 she had three glasses of wine and realized she couldn’t stop. She knew the urge was so great and knew she was powerless over the urge. She stopped then and that was it, she was done.
[22:40] Have you asked yourself why you drank or why it was so hard to stop?
Korie said it was a variety of things, but the feeling of not belonging and trying to numb that feeling was at the top of the list. Toward the latter part of her drinking, she began to feel less than when comparing herself to her friends and alcohol helped … until it didn’t. Korie’s self-esteem has substantially improved since she quit drinking. Her skin is clearer, she feels healthier, happier and she isn’t so self-conscious anymore.
When Korie was stressed out at work or stressed by a social situation, alcohol would fix it temporarily, until it didn’t. Now she is accepting moods, feelings and phases come and go and it’s all okay. Korie works hard at being accepting of others.
[30:17] How did things change for you after you quit drinking?
Korie said she felt different, it was black and white, and she knew she couldn’t drink anymore. She listened to several podcasts, read some blogs and followed sober people on Instagram. She decided to check out an AA meeting near her home and it was all women. It was exactly what she needed at the time and she appreciated everyone’s honesty. Nobody glossed over their emotions. In addition, she started going to Sans Bar which is an alcohol-free bar. She was scared, but met the owner, Chris Marshall, and felt welcomed. She was very connected with the sober community in Austin until Covid hit. Now podcasts and connecting with friends keep her sober.
[35:26] What do you do when you get a craving? What tools work for you?
Korie doesn’t get cravings often and has learned she is usually hungry when she gets a craving. She eats and drinks water. When it’s an emotional craving, she turns off her technology, goes for a walk or connects with friends. Vocalizing the craving gives it less power and the cravings pass within 20 minutes.
[36:36] How did your family and friends react to your new lifestyle?
Korie told her best friend who was supportive and didn’t make a big fuss. Their friendship became closer. Some of her friends were surprised and asked why she quit drinking, but she never heard anything negative. Her friends make sure to have AF beverages. Her parents have been very supportive, particularly her Dad. Her mom respects her choice but doesn’t completely understand it. Dating after sobriety was a challenge. Several dates ended quickly. Her fiancé is supportive and asks lots of questions; he is a great partner.
[40:02] Did you experience fear of missing out (FOMO)?
Korie said absolutely, but within a few weeks she would hang out at Sans Bar. She went out, drank soda water with lime, and loved that at midnight she went home, instead of to the next bar. Post quarantine, she has no FOMO at all.
[41:45] Has your sleep improved?
Korie said she slept through the night immediately and she stopped grinding her teeth. Her dog interrupts her sleep occasionally, but her sleep is dramatically improved.
[42:25] What do you say when people offer you a drink?
She says no, thanks. Early on she said, I don’t drink – as a way to be accountable. Now she just asks for a Coke or a Topo Chico. Most people don’t bat an eye.
[43:04] What is your favorite AF beverage?
Coffee with almond creamer – iced or hot. She also loves sparkling water.
[43:33] Do you have any triggers?
Korie said work stress is her biggest trigger, particularly at the end of the day. She takes a step back and practices calming the trigger or craving.
During the summer when it’s hot, or after a run, she often craves alcohol.
[45:34] Rapid Fire Round
- What are you excited about right now?
Korie is excited to talk to Odette and get her story out there. She is hoping to help others and excited about getting her two-year chip.
- What books are you reading?
Korie is reading the John Adams biography and she loves American history. She also reads the Bible regularly.
- What is a lightbulb moment for you in this journey?
I am ok just the way I am and people like me when I’m not drinking.
- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Moose tracks. It can be found in the Northwest. It’s chocolate fudge, peanut butter cups and chocolate chips in vanilla ice cream.
- What piece of guidance would you give listeners who are considering ditching the booze?
It’s worth it and your life doesn’t stop. It’s so worth it.
You might have to say adios to booze if …
You are so hungover, that the next day you are throwing up at 8 PM.
You are more than this struggle, not just your drinking struggle, but any struggle. Leverage recovery to your advantage to build a foundation and you can be whoever you want to be. Recovery is a lot of work, particularly in the beginning. Keep your head up, don’t get discouraged and remember it gets better.
You are not alone and together is always better. You are a bright star in the universe. Shine on!
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