Problems are a part of life. When one problem is resolved and filed neatly away a new one arrives to take its place. At times, our problems in life may seem overwhelming. When the pressure is on and things get difficult, often our response is avoidance or escape.
In sobriety we learn to neither rely on fight nor flight when things get tough. Instead, we consciously engage in the life long practice of facing our fears. We have a choice. With courage, acceptance and humility we can find the strength to deal with our problems.
Kelsey, with 94 days since her last drink, shares her story..
[8:10] Paul Introduces Kelsey.
Kelsey is 26 years old, from Utah. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her boyfriend and two dogs. She manages a coffee shop and runs a business producing handmade clothing. She likes the outdoors and sports. Sewing has been therapeutic for her since she quit drinking.
[10:56] What was your drinking background, and when did you first realize you wanted to quit?
High school. She used to be scared of drinking. She used to have an eating disorder after a move to Arizona. Her drinking slowly progressed. She got a DUI in Arizona and served some time. She continued to drink after. It escalated. Her hangovers turned into withdrawal. She did outpatient therapy. She tried to get sober multiple times. Never really tried AA.
[16:22] Did you experience one addiction morphing into a second?
Yes. She went to therapy for the eating disorder and didn't really recover fully. Alcohol helped her feel better. It was a slippery slope.
[17:30] What were your previous attempts to quit drinking?
She tried cold turkey. It didn't work. She was searching for programs because she didn't like the higher power aspect of AA. She found “Moderation Management”. She didn't feel accountable. It's an online forum with a workbook. The rules never worked for her.
[21:40] Why do you think you were drinking for a week straight?
She was tired. Initially it was fun, but it became frequent blackouts and very negative. She is a busy person and it was difficult for her to sober up. Her brain was forcing her to use alcohol to relax.
[23:20] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?
She started at her boyfriend's show, and ended up drinking for a week straight. Her mother tried to help her. She had work obligations and the drinking got in the way. She tried to hide it from her mother. She's grateful that she didn't get into any accidents.
[24:42] Was there more than just being sick and tired?
She realized that she had other aspirations and she wouldn't be able to achieve them without removing alcohol from her life. She realized that the path of drinking would ultimately lead to her death. She chose life and happiness.
[26:37] How did you implement the choice into your life?
She feels like she's grown up a bit. She didn't struggle with cravings. She reflects a lot on how good it feels to be sober. She's choosing to focus on the positive parts of the journey instead of just the negative. She chooses to paint a new picture and reprogram her associations with positive memories. The first 24 hours were difficult. She felt guilty and anxious. Second day feels more optimistic. Third felt better. It continues to get easier. She started going to meetings and it really helped her solidify her plans for the future. Every day gets a little bit better.
[29:00] What are you thoughts on relapse?
It's always a possibility. She resolves to try her best and not to feel guilty.
[32:44] How have you address self loathing in recovery?
She is talking more than before. She's never been good at talking about her feelings. She's had to learn to express herself. She's able to recognize when she's triggered and now she reaches out to loved ones when she is feeling down.
[34:20] What is your plan moving forward in recovery?
She is trying to be less negative. She wishes she could drink normally.
[35:10] Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
Giving therapy more of a chance and giving things more time. Being okay with results coming slowly. Taking it as it comes.
[35:55] What have you learned about yourself?
She can handle a lot. She used to be more anxious because of alcohol. She feels more calm. She gives herself credit for being able to handle stress well.
[37:05] Are you in the pink cloud phase?
She isn't sure. She experiences sudden bursts of emotions, and is still generally processing.
[38:24] Rapid Fire Round
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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