Episode 443 –  A Different Type of Alcoholic


Today we have Kelly, she is 46 from Minneapolis, MN and took her last drink on June 18th, 2023.


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[02:57] Highlights from Paul:


When saying the word “alcoholic”, these images, and thoughts commonly come to mind:


Living under a Bridge. Brown paper bag. Homeless. Hopeless. Unemployed.


Some of this is accurate but studies show only 5% of alcoholics fit these descriptions.

The other 95% are high functioning, tend to be high earners, more educated, are healthier and have more stable relationships than average.


With the estimated 452 million alcoholics that don’t fit the stereotypical description of an alcoholic, this takes the saying you are not alone to a new level.


We justify or benchmark our drinking according to what an alcoholic looks like. I’m not that bad, I have a job, and money in the bank. We surround ourselves with other drinkers who don’t fit the alcoholic stereotype to solidify our own positions on the addiction scale. Now a classic trait of an addiction is that we are blind to where we actually are with the addiction process. The hole you find yourself in is probably deeper than you think. My recommendation is to stop digging. You CAN put the shovel down. Another classic trait of an addiction is the progression. We have 452 million alcoholics on the globe who are not living under a bridge or drinking out of brown paper bag yet.


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[09:30] Paul introduces Kelly:


Kelly took her last drink on June 18th, 2023, and has 6 days at the time of this recording. She is 46 and lives in Minneapolis. She leads software development teams for a living. Kelly loves the outdoors and enjoys running, hiking, and paddleboarding. She enjoys movies, music, and museums as well.


Kelly first tried alcohol at a party in 9th grade. Drinking was not something that she wanted to do but she succumbed to peer pressure. A year later she started spending time visiting her brother at college, and she enjoyed hanging out with him and his friends and started drinking more frequently. It was a good escape from the abuse she was dealing with at home.


In college Kelly was drinking and dealing with an eating disorder. She worked hard to overcome her bulimia but then her drinking ramped up after that. After college she married a fellow engineer, and they would drink heavily together. After they started having children and settling down, her husband was able to quit the excessive drinking, but Kelly was not.


While raising her children, Kelly was able to cut back on drinking and started putting rules around it. Her relationship wasn’t going well, and Kelly was going out more frequently and drinking almost daily. After a few drinking and driving charges, Kelly began to realize that she could no longer control it. Over time she recognized that she was starting to isolate more and then would go out to bars to find connection with other people.


Kelly has been able to have more gaps in drinking days over time and has been acquiring tools throughout the process. She is recognizing that she needs to treat her sobriety like a baby and nurture it daily. Each morning she meditates and uses the Reframe app. She attends AA meetings frequently and has recently found a therapist to help her with her childhood trauma.


Kelly’s plan for recovery moving forward: keep doing things that make her feel uncomfortable, attending more meetings, and new meditation practices.


Kelly’s parting piece of guidance: keep trying, be open to new resources.


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