Chris, with 11 months since his last drink, shares his story……
Does alcohol relieve our fears? Absolutely not. It may initially feel like it does but what booze is really doing is taking away our survival instincts. It removes our ability to face our fear (and fear is there for a reason). We become the turtle hiding away in its’ shell. Or worse yet, alcohol takes away our inhibitions which can put us in dangerous situations. It doesn’t make us courageous. We may feel like Superman after 1-2 drinks but who stops there? Alcohol impairs our judgement and we end up attempting to fly like Superman, but without a cape.
[8:58] Paul Introduces Chris.
Chris – I have been sober for 347 days and it feels great! I am 45 years old and live in Portland Oregon. I am married with a 12 year old daughter. I like to travel, spend time with my family and watch stand-up comedy shows.
[10:27] When did you first realize that you had a problem?
Chris – I started noticing that I drank too much in my early 20’s but for the last 2 years I could not go without alcohol for a week. When my sister got married, I was pretty much in a blackout the entire week. My final bottom came after a vacation in Hawaii. On the last day I went on a total binge and couldn’t even be out in public. The day was entirely wasted and I had to sleep it off. I told my wife that I needed help and could not do it alone.
[14:11] How did your wife react?
Chris – We had both been trying to cut back and since she works in the healthcare field, she knew of some phone numbers I could call. I contacted the support line and was seen by a therapist the following day. I honestly told the therapist how much I had been drinking and he informed me that I was destroying my liver. This was a good thing for me to hear. It made me realize just how bad my drinking had gotten.
[17:53] What type of treatment did you receive?
Chris – I saw a therapist pretty quickly and then told my wife how much I had been consuming. She was surprised when I told her I had been hiding it.
[19:25] What was your first week of sobriety like?
Chris – The first few days were physically rough but after the 1rst month I felt great. Mentally, it is still tough. I still have days that feel fuzzy. Drinking caused me to lose that spiritual light.
[21:33] How are your relationships now?
Chris – my relationship with my daughter is better than ever. I am finding new layers to me by reading and doing self-help work. My wife and I are working on our relationship.
[22:33] What have you learned about yourself?
Chris – I can survive discomfort and unhappy feelings without drinking. It is OK to not feel good sometimes.
[24:45] What does a day in the life of Chris look like?
Chris – I check the RE face book page every morning. I am learning to meditate but at least try and take some time to myself each day. I also go to SMART recovery meetings once a week.
[27:00] What are SMART meetings like?
Chris – the meetings can vary. Some follow the SMART handbook and they help you look at your priorities and choices. Other meetings are more like open discussions. You can talk about anything. The basic premise is that you can control your reactions.
[30:00] Have you had any cravings?
Chris – They are a lot weaker and occur less frequently now. I made changes to my life like not going to bars. I also always have an escape plan if needed. By planning ahead, I do not put myself in any drinking situations if possible. If someone offers me a drink, I simply say “No thanks” or “Drinking isn’t working for me right now.”
[35:11] What are your thoughts on relapse?
Chris – This addiction is tough. I am not sure why I haven’t relapse just that I haven’t for today. I think relapse is more common when you are not fully ready to embrace sobriety.
[37:13] Rapid Fire Round
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“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”