Episode 437 – Inner Conflict
Today we have Mark who is 45 from Connecticut and took his last drank on January 15, 2023.
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[01:55] Highlights from Paul:
It is impossible to avoid conflict in a human life. All attempts to avoid it, will only result in more conflict. It built into the human experience. After all, we are reconciling the Yin to our Yang on a daily basis. Somedays the dark side says take a seat, and the next day, we welcome the light.
Addictions take hold when is there is intense inner conflict. When parts of our personalities are out of balance. Or when parts of us are screaming for attention because we are in pain. In addition, this inner imbalance is a representation that the whole of society is out of balance causing many of us to question “what the hell is going on?”. Your individual unrest is not separate from the whole.
And how do we solve the “what the hell is going on” question? We do the inner work. We face this inner conflict. We learn from it. We recognize what the addiction is trying to force us to do.
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[10:39] Kris introduces Mark:
Mark is 45, lives in Connecticut has five months alcohol free at the time of this recording. He is married and has two dogs and a cat. He works in marketing and customer experience. For fun Mark loves to hike, ski and garden.
Alcohol has been part of Mark’s life for as long as he can remember. At a very young age his dad gave him a sip of his beer and Mark liked it. Mark didn’t drink much until his senior year of high school when he came out as gay. He and his brother would go to the local bar on the weekends in an effort to connect with others like them.
Mark’s drinking progressed throughout college, but he had the “work hard, play hard” mentality and tried to limit his drinking to the weekends while being productive during the week. This continued through the beginning of his career. At many of his work events, it was seen as abnormal to drink more than two drinks. Mark found himself always wanting to leave these events in order to go find more alcohol. Later at another job the culture was different where everyone drank like Mark wanted to. Alcohol was always present in his day-to-day life, so he didn’t need to hide it.
The consequences of Mark’s drinking started to impact his life. He was drinking daily and even more on the weekends and vacations. He became fearful as he had more experiences of blacking out. Mark feels that the fear came from not being comfortable with himself. After being able to stack some sober days, he realized the fear came from self-loathing. As he started evaluating how he ended up drinking so much he realized he had become a people pleaser but drinking made it harder and harder to live up to expectations. He started feeling shame around his drinking.
Mark started his journey by trying Dry January, listening to podcasts and reading books. Mark found himself in a cycle of gaining some sobriety time and then getting derailed. He reached the point where he didn’t enjoy drinking anymore. Mark sought out a therapist who helped him recognize that he was doing it alone and pushed Mark to attend AA and find community. He struggled to connect with AA and decided to try Café RE. Once Mark realized that this couldn’t be done alone, he was able to push his fear aside and explore recovery with a community.
Mark’s plan in sobriety moving forward: to continue making connections, making sobriety a priority every day.
Mark’s parting piece of guidance: don’t give up and be willing to try everything. It will be scary but it’s worth it.
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We took the elevator down, but we’ve got to take the stairs back up
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