Episode 463 – Addicted to not Being Addicted



Today we have Zach. He is 34 years old and lives in Richmond, VA. He took his last drink on July 18th, 2023.


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[04:14] Thoughts from Paul:


Today we are talking about change.

Research suggests that only 9% of people that make New Years resolutions complete them. Many quit well before February even starts. The main reason that these resolutions fail is our energies swing all the way to one side of the spectrum. In other words, we are out of balance.


With drinking, we find ourselves addicted to alcohol. Then the mind comes up with the idea that we need to not be addicted to alcohol, then we become addicted to the idea of not being addicted. This is equally out of balance. So that’s the word I want to plant with you today as we begin the new year is balance. On our sobriety journey, we cannot fight, or go to battle with an alcohol addiction.


So, in terms of quitting drinking and not going overboard in the theatre of war against yourself, let’s keep it simple. All you have to today is one thing, that is not pick up a drink. Are we quitting for a lifetime? God no. That would be out of balance. We are only quitting for today.


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[10:36] Paul introduces Zach:


Zach was originally from California but currently lives in Richmond, VA. He has two sons who live nearby with their mother. He is a technical writer for the federal government. He enjoys the gym and spending time outdoors.


Zach grew up in a home where alcohol wasn’t very present. He attended a small college where it wasn’t very prevalent either. He took his first drink after finishing college and was a normal drinker throughout his 20’s.

Drinking didn’t become a problem for Zach until he was laid off of a job and his mental health started suffering. He was processing things from childhood and started having panic attacks and his sleep was an issue. He started drinking to help him sleep but over time it progressed to a daily habit.


Zach says he got a wake-up call when he and his wife split up. He was able to get a few months of sobriety, but he ended up back drinking after the divorce was finalized. He had relocated for a new job and didn’t know anyone. He had too much free time to drink heavily when he wasn’t spending time with his kids.


Zach was drinking at work and ended up having a meeting with HR where he finally told someone he had a problem. While he felt relieved to share this, he still struggled to quit and eventually lost the job. After his lease was up, he moved out of state to stay with some friends that were going to help him get back on his feet.


When he relapsed while the friends were out of town, Zach ended up trying Antabuse to help him quit drinking once and for all. He attended rehab and then went to sober living. After a while he decided he needed to move back closer to his kids and was able to find a place in Richmond with the help of a friend in recovery.


Zach tried a few different recovery modalities, but AA ended up working best for him. He got a sponsor who he has spoken to every day since they met. His sponsor has helped him realize that he cannot return to drinking. Zach is starting to see the benefits of not drinking, both physically and mentally. Community has been vital to Zach and his recovery.


Zach’s favorite resources: an app called The Big Book, and the RE podcast while at the gym.


Zach’s strategy to beat a craving:  a walk and a phone call.




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