Episode 411 – The Grateful Alcoholic


Today we have Lisa who is 65 from Atlanta, GA took her last drink on 11/17/2022.


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Highlights from Paul:


Paul didn’t understand a fellow AA member’s references to being a “grateful alcoholic”.  Only after getting to know Jim, did he understand what they meant. It took a few years for Paul to get to that point to be grateful for his addiction.


He reflects that our addictions are signposts trying to guide us to a more authentic life and that there are no such things as failures. They are learning opportunities and we should never give up.  We should trust the process of healing from the addictions, and we can all become grateful for the role that alcohol has played in our lives.


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[00:00] Paul introduces Lisa


Her last drink was November 17, 2022 – a little over three weeks from the time of this recording.  She says it feels wonderful, relieving, liberating, comforting, all positive things.


Lisa is 65 and lives in Atlanta area with her husband of 36 years. They have two grown children and remain close to them. She enjoys reading, travelling, exercise, nature and family time.


Lisa’s drinking started out on the weekends in high school.  She drank throughout adulthood and always knew she drank abnormally. She discovered she had her first blackout and fell when she was nearly 50.  That scared her into getting sober with AA but she feels she never did the work or found a good sponsor.  After one year, she thought she could handle drinking again.


Over the last two or three years she has known she needed to stop again. She was starting to notice the health consequences and began finding resources including The Huberman Lab podcast episode about alcohol, and This Naked Mind.

Journalling about her drinking past has helped her recognize some of what drove her to addiction.  She became aware that her drinking ramped up after she retired in 2015 as she felt a loss of identity. She has recently become a caretaker for her mother who has been in recovery since Lisa was 15, but they have never been close. She thinks she used alcohol for stress and anxiety relief over that and the loneliness she found in retirement.  Now that she knows that it is her brain reacting to the disease which she finds helpful to her recovery. She embraces that she must do things differently this time and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. She has joined several recovery communities and asked to be on the podcast. She has not shared her journey with her immediate family but plans to do so very soon.


In recovery, Lisa says that routine is vital to her success.  She exercises daily while listening to podcasts. She enjoys volunteering to stay busy.  Her faith is very important to her and she finds prayer and journalling helpful.


One thing she has learned in sobriety – she can find the courage to do hard things and is stronger than she realized

Parting piece of guidance – you can control your thoughts, just focus on what you are gaining, not what you are losing.


[00:00] Closing thoughts from Paul:


Paul encourages us to stop labeling things as a problem.  We need challenges to appreciate rewards.  He compares this to alcohol as being the invitation to step into a rebirth and make great changes in our lives for the better. He has yet to meet someone that regretted quitting drinking. Paul also revisits his thoughts on Big Alcohol and his view on legalization of drugs and alcohol.


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I love you guys.

We took the elevator down; we’ve got to take the stairs back up.

We can do this.


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