Episode 364 – Booze Cruise
Today we have Ben. He is 41 from England and took his last drink on September 26, 2021.
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Highlights from Paul
Paul shares some highlights from Recovery Elevator’s recent trip to Costa Rica. The group wound up on a booze cruise, remained sober, and had more fun dancing, swimming, and connecting than others who were drinking. The group trusted Paul and had a blast.
Anxiety and depression often happen when we feel disconnected. Paul described driving through Montana in a location where people waived to one another on the road. That simple gesture was a form of mini-connection; it feels good and elevates dopamine levels in a healthy way. When you perform an act of kindness, it always provokes another. Paul suggests waiving at someone at a stoplight and reminds us that the opposite of addiction is connection.
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[11:29] Ben looks at not drinking as an opportunity, not a punishment. The work inspires him, and it feels like a reward.
Ben is a musician; he’s single and age 41. He loves reading, movies, exercise, board games, video games and aspires to get into amateur dramatics. He no longer needs alcohol to have fun, experience life, and do the things he can write songs about. His mindset is now hopeful and optimistic vs. trapped and hopeless.
Ben started drinking as a teenager at a party. He was under lots of pressure because he was into rock music, had long hair, and nobody approved. Drinking gave him an escape. He never drank when he played because he enjoyed the euphoria of performing. It was “game on” at the afterparties. He developed an eating disorder, which led to binge eating, drinking, and then starving. Hypnotherapy helped his eating disorder, giving him a sense of peace. Writing down what he ate to address his eating disorder helped Ben identify patterns in his drinking.
As his drinking progressed, it began to impact his performances. He often drank on the tour bus all night and partied into the next day. Anxiety, paranoia, and confusion crept into his daily life. He was constantly looking for something fun and continued drinking to avoid reality. He began drinking alone, which impaired his ability to enjoy music. Consequences began to emerge. Ben explored AA, and he was initially put off by those who continued coming to meetings after decades of sobriety. During his first share, he broke into tears. He was shaken to discover how much alcohol meant to him. His drinking progressed, and he became reckless. At some point, he recognized he was powerless over alcohol.
In 2021, Ben had three scary incidents that involved his work, health, and a friendship. He was scared sober. Initially, it wasn’t difficult. Finding a new addiction or habit was his initial plan. He spent hours playing computer games and was grateful because those hours were time he wasn’t drinking. Ben treats his sobriety like the levels of a computer game, adding new behaviors with each progression.
Odette speaks about “The Happiness Trap,” a book she is discussing with her therapist. It debunks the myth that we are supposed to be happy all the time. The daily actions we take allow us to feel joy, pain, and boredom. Even uncomfortable actions propel us toward a life we want.
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