Chris, with 96 days since his last drink, shares his story...
In sobriety, it's possible to become more in tune with the inner workings of our minds. By stopping the intake of a numbing substance, our minds and bodies become more sensitive, and with that sensitivity comes a glimpse into the processes and systems that run under the hood. Our emotions and how we handle them (or, in early sobriety, often we will see how our emotions are handling us!), the physical sensations that return as our body heals, and how our subconscious mind has an impact on our every waking moment.
In practices like meditation, we can begin to see how our thoughts can interrupt our every waking moment. As we examine further, we can see that thoughts have a big impact on how we see ourselves, the world and, ultimately thoughts can make up who we are.
To learn to manage your thoughts, follow Paul's first steps:
- Trust that your body knows best. - Your mind is a secondary organ to your body. You may think you are in control, but the mind is a tool that works for the body, not the other way around.
- Learn to quiet the mind. - In the early stages of recovery, especially, it's important to recalibrate your sense of stillness. Chances are in the throws of addiction you have lost your center.
- Don't get hooked – When you become aware of a thought entering your mind, simply notice it for what it is and let it float by. You can use a safe word to remind you to come back to the present moment. “Here”, “Stop”, “Thoughts..”
[12:48] Paul Introduces Chris.
Chris is 37 years old, lives in Arizona. Chris is married with two kids, has two dogs, is a musician and likes to ride his motorcycle.
[14:33] When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking? Why did you decide to quit?
He realized that alcohol had a hold on him. He couldn't stop. It was affecting everything. He felt like the party was over. He went to get beer after his kids were asleep. Suddenly he realized that if he had gotten a DUI, no one would be able to take care of his kids. He asked a friend in recovery to help him get cleaned up. He started going to AA. He would get 30 days and then relapse. He worked at a bar and was drinking non stop. It started to take a toll on his body.
[18:56] When did your attempts to quit begin to get some traction?
He would try to moderate. He switched to wine. They moved to Arizona, and he wanted to use the chance to get clean. He found himself isolated and depressed, and anxious. He used his exercise to earn his drinks. He kept repeating the cycle.
[21:23] What are your thoughts on the “geographical cure”?
He thought he was going to start over in a new place, and leave the negativity behind. He started working quickly after the move. Anxiety started to set in, he felt uncomfortable being alone and bored. He turned to alcohol. Alcohol was the ice breaker in social situations.
[22:47] What would you consider to be your rock bottom moment?
He feels that he had many. Every time he would wake up feeling ashamed was a rock bottom moment. He felt that he couldn't escape alcohol's grip and he was scared. He wanted to quit but felt that he couldn't. The night would start with one beer and end after multiple.
[24:30] What changed this last time to ensure your success so far?
He had researched a medicine called kambo. He had read that it would help him quit alcohol. He found someone in his local area and he signed up to try it. The scrape the venom off a frog from the amazon. The practitioner lights the tip of the incense stick, then marks your arm, then applies the venom to your arm. He didn't hallucinate, but had intense bodily sensations. It's a giant purge. He puked like crazy and felt a sharp pain. He found a blockage, and puked it out. He did another purge that evening and hasn't craved alcohol since.
[31:39] Have you noticed any other improvements in other areas of your life?
He's less stressed. He tries to block negative energy. He lets things roll off and relaxes.
[33:19] Did you try any other resources to quit?
He tried AA. He didn't click with his local group. He liked the online group better. The plant medicine was sort of a last resort for him. He thinks it was a reflection of the amount of desperation he had at the time.
[36:00] What's your proudest moment in recovery?
He was around 50 days in sobriety. He took his son to a Metallica concert without drinking.
[36:45] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?
Continuing down the path. He wants to be of help to anyone trying to get sober. He is into the plant medicine world.
[39:20] Rapid Fire Round
Resources mentioned in this episode:
You Are the Placebo – A book by Dr. Joe Dispenza
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“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”