Paul G with 10 years of sobriety, shares his story……
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is basically a type of coping strategy. It is being in the moment, paying attention and being present.
Why should we practice mindfulness?
Unfortunately many alcoholics have terrible coping skills and we can live entirely in our head. Mindfulness training can help us stay in the moment. It is the art of being, not doing.
[ 9:05 ] Paul C Introduces Paul G from Hope Rehab in Thailand. How long have you been sober?
Paul G – over 10 years. My first round of rehab happened when I was 19 years old.
[ 11:00 ] Tell our listeners a little about yourself.
Paul G – I am originally from Ireland but now live in Thailand. I am married and have a 10 year old son
[ 11:30 ] Did you ever try to implement rules to control your drinking?
Paul G – I did not have any rules in place at the beginning of my drinking life. Alcohol gave me comfort. After taking my first drink, I finally liked who I was and where I was. I moved to England and worked in a bar where I was able to drink all day long. A girlfriend convinced me to leave that occupation and I realized I had not gone a day without drinking in many years. I went to rehab for her, not because I wanted to stop drinking.
[ 16:14 ] Paul C and Paul G discuss his first stay in rehab.
Paul G – After I left rehab, I did not stay sober. I knew if I drank, I would lose my girlfriend. I chose booze over the girl. I got back into school and immediately went on a drinking bender. I was having panic attacks and suffered from alcohol induced depression. I was just hoping for someone to get me psychiatric help because I could not even complete the forms to have myself admitted to the hospital.
[ 19:11 ] So you basically drank yourself homeless?
Paul G – Yes, I was walking the streets and wandered in to a recovery house. They sent me to a dry house for 1 year and stated that I did not need psychiatric help. My panic attacks had all been alcohol induced. I stayed sober for 2 years.
[ 20:40 ] What happened after 2 years?
Paul G – I got sick of thinking and talking about recovery. I had been so enthusiastic in early recovery but was starting to feel like I was missing out on something. The mental obsession had returned. Perhaps I had opened that door again. I was going to bars with my sober friends but it was a very slippery slope.
[ 23:00 ] What was your bottom like?
Paul G – I drank for another 10 years because I felt like I had some control in the beginning. I did not end up back in that poor mental state so it gave me a sense of false confidence. Things eventually did go downhill and I moved to Saudi Arabia thinking that because it is a dry country, it would make it easier to stop drinking. My first day on the job, I was shown the bins where all of the illegal alcohol was stored. Booze was readily available and even stronger since it was home brewed. I knew that I would die if I stayed to I moved to Thailand.
[ 28:00 ] How did you get introduced to meditation?
Paul G – I have been into meditation for years. After every relapse I would always go back to meditation. My problem was that I was using meditation to escape reality instead of using in to get “into” reality. I would use meditation to get into a blissful state when it should be used to get grounded.
[ 31:22 ] How is meditation similar to mindfulness?
Paul G – Mindfulness is the ability to objectively observe our thoughts. It allows us to take a backward step and see our thoughts. Mindfulness is a part of meditation.
[ 32:11] What are some things we can do to enter into a mindfulness state?
Paul G – You need to bring your thoughts to a physical sensation. We use feel beads in therapy. With true meditation, you start to see how your mind has been tricked. The craving, which is that voice in our heads, is not always obvious. Mindfulness helps you identify what your brain is doing and the craving loses its’ power. Addiction is like having an allergic reaction to our emotions.
[ 37:35 ] Rapid Fire Round
******Congratulations to Allison for reaching 1 year of sobriety! You rock!******
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free
Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to email@example.com
Inside Timer App (mindfulness app found in iTunes)
Podcast – Hope Rehab Mindful Compassion Show (www.hoperehabcenterthailand.com)
“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”