Garrett, with 16 days since his last drink, shares his story




[ 9:15 ] Paul Introduces Garrett.  I’ve had stretches of sobriety, I had 14 months, and I’ve had 3 years.  I live in Southern California, in Santa Clarita.  I work in outside sales, which is a non-structured job perfect for an alcoholic with hangovers.  I’m 43, married, like going to Dodger Games.  I have 2 kids, 1 in high school, and one in junior high.



[10:45] Paul– What was the impotence behind you quitting alcohol for 3 years, and then for 14 months?


Garrett- The hangovers for me are the body’s way of saying you’ve put a bunch of poison willingly in your body, and this is the result of it.  I would be laid out for a full day.  Thinking in the moment there is no possible way this could happen again.  The feeling in my stomach, I can’t move, or get out of the bed until 4:00 or 5:00 in the evening.  One of those times I stopped for 3 years, didn’t go to any program.  I lost weight, and started drinking again without any reason.  I would romanticize drinking, and once I got the buzz, there was no way I could stop now.  I would have to drink to continue with only a short window of feeling good.  The cost of that was being completely laid out the entire next day.


[13:35] Paul–  What was it like when you first drank after 3 years? Do you remember the first night?  Did you pick up right where you left off?


Garrett– No, not really.  It was a gradual thing, a slow buildup.  My elevator is kind of chaotic; it’s like the elevator at the tower of terror at Disney world.  At that point it was gradual.  I would wait for people to go to sleep, get a six-pack, and when that was gone, drunk drive to the liquor store and buy some more.  I would start with a bottle of wine, then I would go back to the store for tall boys.  I don’t know how many I would buy, but I would wake out, the room would start completely shaking, I would close my eyes, and that would be it.


[15:45] Paul-  Garrett you mentioned a word earlier that I would like to explore- Fascinating. You would tell yourself I’m only having a couple, but then just game on.   Can you tell me more about that fascinating part for you?


Garrett- It was complete and total amnesia every single time.  Forgetting the hangovers.  The amount of times I would lose not doing the things I wanted to do because I would be hung-over.  Because I’m not a bum in the street, I didn’t feel I was a true alcoholic.


[19:30]  Paul- Was there a rock bottom moment 16 days ago?   How come you quit drinking?


Garrett- It wasn’t a single rock bottom.  I have season tickets for the Dodgers.  If there was ever a sport made for sitting and drinking beer it is baseball.  The beer vendor at the stadium recognized me; I would have to go different vendors because I was embarrassed.   The drunk driving home from the games, then going to bars, then drunk driving home again.  I dented the garage with my car, and realized with a moment of clarity that this sh#t has got to stop.


[22: 01] PaulBefore I hit the record button you mentioned you felt like you were ping ponging back and forth between:  Am I an alcoholic?  Do I have a drinking problem?  Tell us more about that.


Garrett-  It was a stretch of a few days where I would just continually have a few days (of sobriety), and then I would be like “I’m not” because I would have a few days and that proves it.  The hangover goes away and I would think I’m not (an alcoholic) again.


[ 24:00] PaulIs it harder this time around, do you remember?


Garrett– This time I’ve got 16 days.  I’m trying to arm myself with some resources.  I’m in a Pink Cloud at the moment.  History does repeat itself, and I have a plan to address what I know is going to start coming down the road.  The key thing is accountability.  I never had accountability with another person.  I think if I were not anonymous, I wouldn’t have taken that first drink on the New Port Harbor cruise after 14 months of sobriety.


[27:57] PaulYou mentioned you had a bad experience with AA, tell me more about that.


Garrett–  I was raised Christian evangelical, about 10 years ago I broke with that, and I am an atheist now.  I saw a lot of the judgment, dogma and there was trust that was broken in AA.  That combined with the God thing I’m still wrestling with.  I need to focus on the positive.  I’m ready to explore going back to AA, maybe a different meeting time.



[30:14] Paul–  With 16 days of sobriety, what have you learned most about yourself?


Garrett–  This time around is more of a sense of inner peace.  What I’m realizing now is that I don’t have to keep living the way I was living.  There’s no reason I have to pick up a drink again.  My life does not have to be how it’s been.  I’m choosing not to drink.  When cravings strike, I’ve been setting a timer on my apple watch to allow the 20 minutes to pass.


[34:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

Waking up and having to tell my wife that I was too hung-over to go down to my mom’s house for Easter.  Then spending the entire day in a state of despair.

  1. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?  Back in college when I just got too hung-over and missed a final.  That was the first “oh-shit” moment.
  2. What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward? Accountability.  Reaching out and talking to other alcoholics, and seeking ways to help each other.
  3. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? Podcasts, Recovery Elevator, and the big book on my kindle.
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? You don’t ever have to drink again if you don’t want to.
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?  If you were thinking about getting sober… I would say: Do it, you’ll never feel better.
  6. You might be an alcoholic if:  Every night after you down many many bottles of beer, that you put those bottles of beer in a trash bag, put them in your trunk, and then the next morning drive them to a dumpster so that your wife doesn’t find out that there were all these empty bottles of beer in the trash can.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Recovery Elevator Retreat

Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! – Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to



“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”


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