Episode 451 – What to Say to Someone Who is About to Drink


Today we have Grant. He is 54 from Sacramento, CA and took his last drink on August 10th, 2020.


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[02:16] Highlights from Paul:


We are five weeks into our Q & A series. This week’s question comes from Sarah C. “What can you say to someone, so they don’t drink?” Or how to help someone not drink.


Paul gives us some tried and true methods that work and strategies that the Recovery Elevator team believe in. Here are a few suggestions that Paul shares with us:


Tough love does not work, so a tone or stance of unconditional love needs to be present when confronting a friend who is about to drink.


Quick note about boundaries. Talking with people that are drunk can be triggering, and little can be done. Ask them to call you in the morning or when they are sober.


Being there with your presence, whether it is in person, via the phone or FaceTime, or Zoom, is the best thing you can do to help them. Holding space provides a safe container for the person to feel the feels, sit front and center with a craving and not feel judged or criticized.


You can also ask them about their “why”. Having them be clear on their “why” again is never a bad idea. You can also remind them that alcohol has been ruined. Drinking while knowing that alcohol no longer has a place in your life isn’t fun.


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[10:48]: Paul introduces Grant:


Grant is 54 and lives in Sacramento, CA. He is married and they have two young adult kids. He enjoys hiking and the area he lives in has a lot of nice places he explores. Grant works in research and public policy work in California and now focuses on addiction and recovery.


Grant says his first experience with alcohol was when he was 12. A friend had procured a bottle of brandy and they both ended up drinking to the point of going to the hospital. He drank through junior high and high school with a group of friends on weekends. The drinking continued in college, and he started trying other substances as well. Grant says there weren’t many consequences.


When Grant was in his 30’s after they had children, he found that alcohol helped him take the stress off. He quickly switched from beer to vodka that was easier to hide. He was succeeding at work which stressed him out more than he realized. He says it took some time but eventually he was drinking in the morning just to feel normal.


In 2019 someone from HR confronted Grant about smelling of alcohol and he told them that he was an alcoholic. He couldn’t admit it to his wife initially but started looking for outpatient treatment. He was able to quit for a time but relapsed after a painful experience with work which found him resigning and taking a new job with a pay cut. At this point Grant had joined Café RE and left home for a little while to live in a sober living house. He learned a lot while he was there and realized that he was going to have to do things differently.


After sober living, Grant started a home breathalyzer program to help him stay motivated. A meetup with fellow Café RE members gave Grant another turning point and realized that he was on the right path.


In recovery, Grant started volunteering with a non-profit in the addiction and recovery field. He also started listening to another recovery podcast where he shared information about addiction and recovery. He left to work for the non-profit called Shatterproof which helps people find treatment and recovery with their Treatment Atlas. Grant also has his own website about addiction and recovery – Sober Linings Playbook.


[53:19] Paul closes the episode with a poem from Peter, a Café RE member.


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