Episode 328 – the quality of my relationships with other people in the world is limited by the quality of my relationship with myself.
Adam took his last drink on December 13, 2019. He is from Massachusetts, and he is 37 years old. This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF).
Season 3 of the Recovery Elevator podcast begins June 21st. We are focused on having fun, staying authentic and helping others along the way.
Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.
Odette spoke about early sobriety and thought shifts. Early sobriety can be exhausting because your body is resetting, and your thoughts are playing tug-o-war. You have permission to be tired in early recovery. The mental work is exhausting. Odette referenced Melody Beattie and the Language of Letting Go. Letting go of fear is at the core of codependency. Fear can help you protect yourself. In recovery, waving goodbye to fear allows you to embrace safety, trust, peace, and acceptance. Pay attention to healthy fears and let go of the rest. We can trust and love ourselves.
Sometimes what is best for us feels wrong. We oversee letting go of what doesn’t serve us anymore. Peace begins within you.
[8:15] Odette introduces Adam
Adam took his last drink on December 13, 2019. He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife and two young children. He is a lawyer. He loves running, hiking, reading, and playing with his two girls.
[9:51] Tell us about your history with drinking?
Adam said his first love was marijuana. He smoked during high school. His mother died suddenly when he was in college. He stopped smoking pot when he went to law school due to the conflict with legality. Slowly alcohol crept into his life. After a few years, he muted his feelings and pressures at work with alcohol. He quickly started moderating. He moved to Massachusetts and intended to stop drinking, but he was isolated, and his drinking escalated.
[12:28] What was your mindset around alcohol?
Adam said for him it was always numbing. He liked to drink alone. He struggled with family issues including shame, vulnerability, and food issues. He took on some of the behaviors he saw in his family.
[14:00] Did You have food issues as well?
Adam said he did struggle with weight as well. In junior year of high school, he lost 70 pounds. He loves running and that has helped him manage his emotions. He has been choosing mediation in the past year.
[15:21] How did your drinking evolve?
Adam said by 2014, he went to his first AA meeting. He spoke to his therapist about drinking, but he wasn’t ready to deal with it. He developed a pattern of lying about his drinking and he would get caught. He tried to control his drinking by buying nips.
He wanted a state of numbness without heavy consequences. He described an out of body experience about starting to drink and drive and hide bottles before he got home.
[17:45] Was your shame progressing?
Adam said it was terrible. He felt like a total failure. He was taking risks, putting his daughter in danger. The weight of the shame was huge.
Things came to a head when his wife was pregnant with their second child. He recalled lying about sobriety time and taking coins for a year of sobriety when he hadn’t achieved it. He brought the coins into the meeting and told them he had lied. He was accepted, given hugs and it opened the door for him to transition from shame to guilt. He was still drinking and hiding. Anticipating coping with a newborn prompted him to ask for a bigger level of help. He went to rehab to get well.
[22:51] Did returning the coins change how you approached drinking?
Adam said it opened the door to imperfection. He read “the Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. He learned that the quality of relationships with other people in this world were limited by his relationship with himself.
If he couldn’t learn to love himself, his relationship with his wife would suffer. He knew he needed to take 30 days away to have the space and room to learn to love himself.
[24:58] How were things when you returned home?
Adam has found freedom from his self-imposed “control” cage. When he returned home, he had a lot of trust to rebuild. He spent 15 hours a day changing his mindset while in rehab. When he returned home, he realized life went on. In the beginning he resisted several things. His wife asked him to put a breathalyzer in the car because she was concerned about him driving the children while intoxicated. Today he embraces that completely, but at the time his ego resisted the suggestion. He had to learn to ask for advice versus selling his excuses to others. He and his family have been safe for over a year. He has rebuilt trust and freedom with his family.
[30:53] How were the first few months?
Adam said he had very few cravings. He is active in AA. He attends four virtual meetings a week. He belongs to a gratitude group and shares three things he is grateful for every day.
[32:55] What role does exercise play in your recovery?
Adam ran when he was drinking. He works out now. He uses the peloton app and looks forward to running when the weather improves.
[33:39] Tell me about your meditation practice.
Adam dabbled in meditation for a while. In treatment, he focused on developing a meditation practice. He embraced the mantra, “I am worthy of receiving all of the love the universe has for me.”
He had some life changing moments with meditation, mantras and breathwork. Things just clicked. Adam meditates daily for a minimum of ten minutes. He loves how he can change how his body feels just by breathing. He knows it is worth it to try new things and invest in himself. Willingness is critical for him.
[37:55] How have your relationships evolved in recovery?
Adam referenced AA’s promises and said he could not have designed what his life is like now. He wakes up after disjointed sleep and realizes how lucky he is to experience his daughters. The last year (COVID) has been a gift with a new child, homeschooling, juggling careers and has helped his marriage.
[40:51] Is parenting triggering for you?
Adam said he doesn’t want to drink, but he often wants to escape. He leverages meditation to help him overcome those temporary challenges of parenting.
[42:44] What is your response when someone offers you a drink?
Adam feels very comfortable. He brings his own drink anytime he goes out, so he doesn’t risk having to look around for something.
His wife had a glass of wine after a year of not drinking (due to pregnancy) and didn’t like how she felt. She is joining Adam to be alcohol free.
The only thing Adam misses is the escape.
[46:33] What is something unexpected that has happened during your journey?
Adam said he experiences more joy daily than he thought was possible.
[46:44] What are you looking forward to?
Adam loves live music, specifically Fish and the Grateful Dead. Both bands have a big sober following. He wants to go to a concert and attending a fellowship meeting during a set break to experience live music and sobriety.
[47:54] Rapid Fire Round
- What would you say to your younger self?
You are worthy of receiving all the love that the universe has for you.
- What has recovery made possible for you?
Everything. Addiction is giving up everything for one thing and recovery is about giving up one thing for everything.
- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Ben & Jerry’s oatmeal cookie.
- What are some of your favorite resources in recovery?
The book, The Four Agreements. His sponsor and his sober community have been tremendous assets.
- What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze?
There is nothing in this world that is worth more than an investment in yourself. Once you do that, you will have a life you can’t imagine.
You may have to say Adios to booze if …
If you find yourself drinking at an in-person AA meeting.
Odette challenges listeners to take out your journals and explore this prompt. When do I feel at peace? Is it easy to stay there? What do I run toward when I find myself unable to stay at peace?
Creating a new mindset takes more than quitting drinking. Learn more about yourself.
Check out our YouTube channel for a recipe for Tamarind limeade – lots of laughs!
You are not alone, together is always better. Peace begins with you.
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