Why do we drink?
When we no longer drink alcohol, the many reasons we used to drink come bubbling to the surface. What may have started out as a fun activity or a social lubricant often morphs into a way to (not) deal with life's problems. The barrage of pro-alcohol messages from media and society has the potential to pull the wool over our eyes as the addictive nature of alcohol quietly gets the better of our innocent intentions.
Alcohol promises to help you numb the pain, lower your inhibitions or distance yourself from your problems, but the effect is only temporary. In fact, it often breaks the aforementioned promises and will usually make a bad situation worse.
The avoidance of difficult emotions or situations is likely futile. Choosing to face your problems seems daunting when we are used to drinking them away, but gets easier with practice.
Briddick, with 112 days since his last drink, shares his story:
[8:08] Paul Introduces Briddick.
Briddick is 33 years old, lives in Bellingham, Washington, works in Real Estate, has a girlfriend and a step-son, plays soccer, plays guitar, travel and the outdoors.
[11:15] What was it like for you being self employed?
Heavy drinking was normalized. There was no boss to tell him to stop. Everyone was doing it. He used alcohol to unwind.
[13:00] When did you first start to realize that you might have a problem with drinking?
Late 20's. He started in high school, but it gradually escalated until he had difficulty stopping once he started.
[14:50] What was it like to drink before soccer games?
For 3 years, he drank before sports. He thought it was normal. He felt terrible physically. He feels lucky that he didn't hurt anyone during sports or driving.
[16:18] Did you attempt to moderate your drinking, and to what success?
He would avoid drinking in the morning, and avoid hard alcohol. After 3pm it was free for all.
[17:38] Tell us about your anxiety attacks in your early 30's.
Panic attacks are the worst. You feel something is terribly wrong but you don't know what it is and you can't fix it. Right around lunch time he would get panic attacks. The anxiety attacks went away when he quit drinking.
[19:48] What was your reaction to removing alcohol from the situation?
Floored. The anxiety went away. The weight stays off. He sleeps better. He feels more emotionally stable.
[21:13] What was the time frame like for you in regards to the anxiety?
Within the first week. He had a breakdown that lasted for three days. “A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul.” There is a normal amount of anxiety in anyone's life. Meditation helps.
[23:59] How did you do it?
He knew inside for years that he was an alcoholic but didn't want to admit it. He eventually admitted it and had a breakdown. He took it seriously, and treated it like stage 4 cancer. He went to meetings with a friend. The friend is not his sponsor. On step 4.
[27:28] What have you learned most about yourself since you've quit drinking?
That he can do it. I can make the choice to not drink today. It's not about willpower.
[28:41] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?
He started playing guitar again. He's learned that he can only focus on one thing at a time. He wants to run a marathon. He wants to keep traveling. He is finding joy in the little things.
[30:15] Rapid Fire Round
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”