Episode 327 – trying to stop and think about, is alcohol serving me? I don’t have to decide right now, I need to get back to basics.
Chloe took her last drink on June 7, 2020. She is from the UK and is 32 years old. This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF).
Odette gave a shout out to Brainwashed Coffee that is one of the sponsors of the Bozeman retreat. They also donate 50% of their proceeds to those in addiction recovery.
https://www.brainwashedcoffeeco.com/ Promo Code: elevator for a 20% discount.
Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.
Odette spoke about growing up with her brother, Charlie and playing lots of video games. Odette talked about trust and video games. Trust is earned. The more you do the next right thing and protect your sobriety, you get to the next level, just the way you level up when playing video games. Facing recovery with fun instead of fear helps you recognize your increasing skills that come with practice.
[6:09] Odette introduces Chloe
Chloe took her last drink on June 7, 2020. She said it has been a crazy journey. Chloe is 32 and lives in the UK. She has a dog, and she loves walking the dog, running, anything active.
[7:16] Tell us about your history with drinking?
Chloe started drinking at age 15. She was a binge drinker like many of her friends. She didn’t see it as a problem until her mid to late twenties. She started listening to the Recovery Elevator podcast. She reached one-year of sobriety and had a relapse that was lengthy. As of this recording she has 8 months of continuous sobriety.
[8:19] What put you on the trajectory to quit drinking?
Chloe said she wanted to drink more than she could get away with. As her moderation journey continued, her drinking got worse. She got depressed and was in a bad relationship. She attempted suicide and was put into an inpatient program for depression. She was sneaking alcohol while in the program but didn’t relate the correlation between drinking and her depression, she found AA and discovered she could have a happy life without drinking.
[11:01] Did the doctors treating your depression ask about your drinking?
Chloe said she played down her drinking. She thought everyone did that. Alcohol was such a crutch, and it was something she looked forward to, so it was hard to get her head around stopping.
[12:30] How did you end up at your first AA meeting?
Chloe said the more she tried to moderate, the more out of control her drinking became. She answered yes to every question on an alcohol quiz. She was able to relate to what people in AA said. They were able to have a happy, functional life without alcohol. It helped her change her thinking about drinking and her depression.
[14:49] What happened after your first AA meeting?
Chloe stopped drinking for a bit, then relapsed. She went into a second treatment program and got sober. She worked the steps. She achieved a year of sobriety. She started drinking after getting into a relationship with someone new. He was a drinker and she wanted to share that experience. Over the next 18 months, her drinking became progressively worse. Her thinking was muddled. She read Paul Churchill’s book; Alcohol is Sh*t! She realized she didn’t need to figure out if she was powerless, yet. She needed to get back to basics and keep trying. Even one day of sobriety is progress.
[18:08] Did the desire to fit in influence your relapse?
Chloe said she thought she could have fun with alcohol and stop again. She didn’t realize how insidious it is to continue starting and stopping over and over. Sobriety is precious. She felt crazy. She would listen to sobriety podcasts, then drink at night. She learned a lot of lessons through drinking.
[21:54] Did you share your sobriety with people outside of AA?
Chloe said she did share her quest for sobriety with the person she was in a relationship with. She had to get support when she returned to sobriety. She has great friends in AA and her family is supportive as well.
[23:02] Did sobriety help your depression?
Chloe said about six months into sobriety she noticed the feelings of joy and gratitude that she hadn’t experienced before. The depression was gone. Her life had meaning and a reason to go on.
[24:46] What motivated you to quit again?
Chloe said it was during lockdown and things were bad. Lockdown accelerated her drinking. She drank three bottles of wine a day, passed out and kept repeating it day after day. Her last night of drinking, she drank so much, she got into a fight and got violent with her partner at the time. She called the police, and they took him away. The next morning, she realized she was the one with the problem and it couldn’t happen again. The risk was no longer worth it. She felt done and resigned. She threw everything she had at sobriety. She went back to AA and attacked sobriety, stacked days and she is grateful it’s working. The first few months were tough, now she doesn’t have to work so hard to stay sober.
[28:11] Do you realize how amazing it is that you pulled it together?
Chloe said her self-esteem was strengthened. She knows she can do hard things and other things she didn’t think were possible.
[30:21] Did you start going back to meetings?
Chloe said, not immediately, but now she can attend in person meetings. She has friends in AA, she connected to people on Instagram, listened to podcasts and joined Café RE.
[31:32] How do you manage cravings?
Chloe said she is learning not to freak out. She doesn’t overthink the craving. It’s normal. Cravings are just a thought. She plays the tape forward, exercises and reaches out to friends.
[33:55] Do you get any negative feedback from others about your sobriety?
She said, not this round. In the last round a co-worker said he didn’t trust anyone who didn’t drink.
[34:45] Have you overcome the concern about having fun sober?
Chloe had to rethink her mindset about sobriety and looks at it as a joyful, amazing journey of growth and possibility vs. misery and deprivation. She has more energy, more enthusiasm, more interests, more people in her life.
[37:34] Have you been able to identify triggers?
Chloe said stress and celebrations are her biggest triggers. She recognizes that drinking is no longer a celebration. The pause is so important.
[38:58] Rapid Fire Round
- What would you say to your younger self?
Keep trying no matter what.
- What is your go to response when someone offers you a drink?
She hasn’t faced that because of lockdown. Her planned response is, yes please, I’ll have a sparkling water.
- What has recovery made possible for you?
Everything. When she was drinking, she was doing nothing. She is training for a marathon, starting a new career and happily single.
- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
All ice cream. She hasn’t had a bad one!
- What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze?
Keep putting in the action, stacking the days and the result will come.
You may have to say Adios to booze if …
If you are listening to podcasts about sobriety.
We have your back. We are your safe container. The journey comes with different levels. Hit the save button when you get stuck. Take a breath, ask for help. Nothing great is ever done on our own, sobriety takes a village. Have fun along the way and trust the process.
Remember that you are not alone and together is always better. We can do this!
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