Episode 477 – It Can Be Done


Today we have Jim. He is 44 and lives in Silicon Valley, CA. He took his last drink on February 20th, 2024.


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[02:27] Thoughts from Paul:


Paul is coming up on ten years without a drink. He has attended many social situations without consuming any alcohol. When he told people he wasn’t drinking, the question he got was “Wait, you’re not drinking?” said as more of a statement of astonishment than anything. As in the impossible was happening right before their eyes and they were surprised someone could still have a good time without drinking.


A major factor of why ditching the booze can be so hard is that the thinking mind will tell you it can’t be done. The biggest reason for this is that an alcohol-free life lies in the unknown. The mind and the ego crave the known.


But it can be done. If you are on day one, a series of day ones, Paul reminds us that yes, it can be done. But for how long? A morning, an afternoon? A week? A month? A year? We are only ditching the booze one day at a time. Addiction forces us to confront the thinking mind. Addiction forces us to tease out who is who in the thinking mind. It forces us to locate and meet ourselves.


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[08:55] Paul introduces Jim:


Jim lives in Silicon Valley and is a software engineering manager for a large tech firm. He is 44 and happily married for 21 years with three young kids. He enjoys skiing, learning woodworking, and completing task lists.


Alcohol was a non-issue for much of Jim’s life. He tried it a few times when he was in his early teens, but he didn’t enjoy it much. He didn’t drink in high school or college and then drank very sporadically throughout his 20’s.


In his 30’s, the company he worked for would have gatherings at the end of the week where alcohol was provided. Jim says this was where he started enjoying drinking. Over time it progressed and there were some negative consequences for Jim at work and he started suffering with anxiety and depression. At the time, Jim felt like he was living multiple lives.


COVID era was a difficult time for Jim. He was working from home and had little to do so he found himself drinking more. When work became busy again, the distractions at home drove Jim to rent an office where he was more isolated and drinking earlier and earlier in the day.


On the way to a bible meeting one day after having a few drinks, Jim realized this wasn’t a great idea and decided to check out an AA meeting instead. He says that he went to several different types of meetings over the course of the year before anything really stuck for him.


Jim feared telling his wife about his problem, but knew he had to do it. Her initial response was not believing that Jim really had an issue with alcohol but started to feel betrayed when she realized how much he was hiding from her. Jim was determined to tackle the addiction and created his own path. This includes listening to podcasts and journalling every day. He has had a series of stops and starts in his recovery but feels that was part of the learning process and utilizes past journal entries to remind him of why quitting is the best thing for him.


After a recent relapse he started to feel very hopeless and knew he couldn’t continue on this path. Jim has leaned into his faith and scripture in addition to his own past journal entries to help him gain the resolve to try sobriety again. He is a member of Café RE and has an accountability partner which has helped him a lot.


Jim’s best sober moment: when his wife told him how proud she is of how far he is come.


Jim’s parting piece of guidance: if you get stuck, it’s ok, but you just can’t stay there.



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