Jeff, who has been sober since Dec 5, 2016, shares his story……
Paul starts the show recounting his 2 weeks visiting Hope Rehab in Thailand. (www.hope-rehab-center-thailand.com)
What I learned in Rehab
- People came for other drugs but quickly realize that alcohol was the real issue
- Most people were still in denial of their addiction and will not stay sober
- A lot of the clients were just going through the motions
- Addiction does not segregate; there were people from 4 continents, lawyers’ doctors, social workers, accountants, etc.
- Thailand is hot and wild pythons are a real thing
- Alcohol is communal. I have the same story as a guy in Malaysia and we had an instant connection within 5 minutes
- We are the lucky ones
- Some people are close to hitting the “fuck it” button at all times
- If you experience mild depression once, you have a 16% higher chance of experiencing it again.
- It takes your body 3 days to recuperate from 20 minutes of stress
- The old saying, “It takes 21 days to learn a new habit,” is a myth. It really takes 66 days. Once a habit’s circuity is created it can never be unlearned, but a new habit can be started.
- NVC or non-violent communication is the way to solve 99.4% of problems.
- Watching TV does not lower cortisol levels, but reading does
- Cortisol from stress impairs learning new things and problem solving
- The ego lives in the past and future, only the heart can live in the moment
- Even though the Recovery Elevator podcast is free and rehab may/may not be free, we’ve all paid a tremendous price with our pain and suffering
- The road to and in recovery narrows
- The problem is not the problem
- We need to find a way to stop the relationship with the chemical alcohol. It boils down to us not being satisfied
- I am not powerful and I am not special when it comes to alcohol.
- Step 0 = Trying everything to drink like a normal person (moderation, only beer, no hard alcohol, etc.)
- To quit drinking, we only need to quit one thing. Everything!
- The solution to quitting drinking is to have a spiritual experience without alcohol
- You must find a higher power and it cannot be yourself. Your ego is not your amigo!
- There is a lot of laughter in rehab
- People stop maturing emotionally and spiritually once addiction takes hold
- Resentments are offensively dangerous
- You do not have a chance at sobriety unless responsibility falls on your own shoulders
- Buddhism basically consists of 5 pillars that prevent harm to ourselves and others
- There is an AA waltz; 1 step, 2 step, 3 step drink. That damn 4th step.
- Addicts and alcoholics are a sensitive group of people. I was a summer camp counselor in 2007 and it felt at times we were dealing with teenagers. Tammy said this, and Roger said that.
- Sometimes we will worry over not having anything to worry about. Don’t worry Paul, there will always be something to worry about
- We tend to not relapse over divorce, bankruptcy, or a family death. A broken shoelace? Bring on a drink!
- A counselor asked a group to do an exercise each night for 1 week. The following week only 20% of the participants had done as the counselor has asked. The counselor then responded with “and that is why only 20% of you will stay sober after rehab, the majority don’t go through the work.”
- My addiction told me that I didn’t need to do the rehab work since I have been sober for over 2 years. Nice try Gary (my addiction).
[ 9:28 ] Jeff’s full e-mail to Paul is posted on the Recovery Elevator blog
[ 10:30 ] Tell us a little about yourself and when your last drink was.
Jeff – My last drink was on 12/4/16. I am originally from Denver, married and have a 17 year old son. I am entrepreneur who likes to fish and wakeboard.
[ 11:48 ] Did you ever try to put rules in place in order to control your drinking?
Jeff – I really had not tried to stop until this past fall. I would only spend a specified amount of money on alcohol or only drink on the weekends. This tango dance with booze never worked.
[ 14:08 ] Why do you call yourself a high bottom drinker?
Jeff – It took me a long time to label myself as a problem drinker. I got married young, I owned a small business, and was a normal drinker for a long time. I was able to justify my drinking because my life was good up to a point.
[ 17:57 ] When did you realize that you were not a normal drinker?
Jeff – By my late 20’s, my drinking was really progressing. I was living for the weekend parties with my neighbors. This was normal behavior among all of us. We would also hold church services at the house in which drinking was included.
[ 21:43 ] Walk us through your first DWI.
Jeff – We had gone out with all of the neighbors. Our designated driver had started drinking so I offered to drive us to the next restaurant. When I was pulled over, it was more embarrassing than anything. By 2008-2009, I was suddenly divorced and had primary care of my son. I was full of self-pity and this justified my drinking. Later that year I was out drinking and called my cousin to come pick me up. She had a few cocktails at the bar as well. She was driving us home later and swerved off of the road and we hit a concrete barrier. I still continued to drink after this.
[ 28:47 ] Paul and Jeff discuss how he successfully cut back drinking in 2016
Jeff – I still did not think that I had an alcohol problem. I thought it was more of a relationship problem. My current wife’s child was in the hospital and I suddenly thought that I did not want to end up there because of my drinking. I had a good marriage and a rock star son. I did not want to lose everything that I had.
[ 33:27 ] Tell us more about your obsession with alcohol.
Jeff – I could not get past the first step of admitting that my life was unmanageable. I still think that I can manage my life, just not as well. I finally realized that I couldn’t manage my life if I were dead. I started listening to the RE podcast.
[ 38:42 ] How do you feel now?
Jeff – I feel great on most days. It was hard over the holidays and I’ve had to break old traditions that involved alcohol. My wife keeps me accountable and suggested that we make new traditions. The RE podcast helps remind me of where I was.
[ 41:57 ] Rapid Fire Round
- What was your worst memory from drinking? I was supposed to be the Officiant at a friend’s wedding. I was feeling really down towards marriage at the time and proceeded to drink all night before the wedding. I was not competent to perform the wedding the following day.
- What’s your plan moving forward? Keep listening to podcasts, reading Annie Grace’s book, “This Naked Mind,” and staying open to what my higher power has in store for me
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? Listen to RE podcast episode 99. Ask yourself, “Which person do you want to be?”
********If you want to stay sober, you’ve got to do the work********
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Send us an e-mail if you would like to volunteer at Hope Rehab in Thailand
“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”