Mark, took his last drink on April 19th, 2019 - This is his story.
On today’s episode Paul shares the status on his upcoming book release! Alcohol is Sh!t should be launched the end of July – to mid-August. Graphics for the front cover, the back, and the eBook are done. Thanks to everyone that voted on the tagline and subtitles…this is what we came up with; How to ditch the booze. Reignite your life. Recover the person you were always meant to be.
Paul also talks about calming the mind through meditation. The word meditation comes from the word meditacioun, which means to ponder, and it has been around for a very long time.
What is meditation? Meditation is about letting thoughts go. It is about loosening the energetic ties to the past and the future. It is about being present and focusing on what is, the reality you are currently witnessing. Meditation is about lowering brain waves to a more relaxed state. Meditation is a skill and it takes practice.
What meditation is not. Meditation isn’t not thinking. It isn’t about obtaining or getting anything, or discovering who you are. It is not going into a trance. Meditation isn’t selfish, it all starts from the inside out. 😉
[15:50] Paul introduces Mark.
Mark lives in Perth, Australia, which is one of the most remote cities in the world. For work he is a financial professional. He is 43 years old, married with 2 daughters. For fun Mark likes to camp, exercise and read.
[18:45] Give us a background on your drinking.
Mark started drinking in his teens and he says he pretty much to a liking to it right away. It made him feel like a different person and got him out of his shell. In his early 20s he went to college and continued drinking there. There was about 3-4 years during his 20s that he got really serious about running and would quit drinking for 49 weeks a year while he was training.
Mark says that once he stopped taking his running so serious, stopped the training, and got a job that there was a turning point and his drinking started to creep up to just about every day. Mark was in his 30s now.
In 2017, at the age of 41, Mark had his real first attempt at sobriety.
[20:50] Was there a rock bottom moment in 2017 that propelled your attempt at sobriety?
There wasn’t a rock bottom moment for Mark, he says it was more like a series of bad nights. He started to realize that his drinking was involuntary and he felt like it was something that was just happening to him.
After one night in particular where he drank 2 bottles of wine and getting to work late feeling horrendous, he decided he had just had enough. After doing some googling on cutting back and found a website called Hello Sunday Morning, where people posted about cutting back. The website encouraged doing a 3 to 12-month time of no drinking. Mark decided to try the 3 months and after successfully doing that and feeling good he decided to go for the 12 months.
Looking back now he says it was a really good year. He got healthy and got a lot done at home and at work. But something was missing.
[22:22] Go back a little, when did you start to realize that it was getting harder to stop once you started?
Mark drank beer and wine and would find himself drinking whenever he would meet up with someone. And he didn’t just drink one or two, he drank hard. It was almost as if he was running his life around alcohol. He would never meet someone at a café, he would always meet people at a pub or bar.
[24:15] So you’re cruising through 2017 dry, on willpower, how much time did you get?
Mark says he didn’t make it the 12 months. He made it until mid-August, the same time he and his wife bought their home. He celebrated that purchase with a bottle of champagne. He says as soon as he had that bottle of champagne the wheels came off. He also felt that because he went 8-9 months without drinking that he had changed his relationship with alcohol. About a month after drinking the bottle of champagne he was back drinking just as hard as before.
[26:00] Once you were back to drinking hard a month later did you stop and think ‘oh shit’?
He really didn’t. He just got back into it and by 2018 he was telling people that after his dry year he was back to drinking and that he had a different relationship with alcohol, which he now thinks was a supreme exercise of self-deception.
[26:50] When did this self-deception end?
Mark says really only this year, around April 30th. After sharing a bottle of wine with his wife on April 29th she went to bed and he went outside with another bottle of wine. He started to think about what he was doing and started to get angry. He thought about what a great year 2017 had been and now there he was by himself drinking himself to oblivion. It was a feeling of self-disgust. He went back into the house and said, to himself, that he was done, again.
[28:45] What do you think was different that time?
Mark says its really hard to explain, but that he realized that there was no sense of joy drinking that bottle of wine.
[29:45] Talk to me about how you realized that there were no hopes in moderation.
In 2017 when he was reading blogs on that website a lot of people talked about AA. He didn’t really like the idea of AA because of the religious aspect and the surrendering part. Now fast-forwarding to 2019 he started to understand what the surrender thing was about. He has decades showing that moderation does not work for him.
[32:30] What was that first week like after April 30, 2019?
It was just a different feeling that this time it’s not a 12-month test of willpower. This time Mark just had to accept that it was over between him and alcohol. He says it felt liberating to just admit that he’d had enough and that he didn’t want to be involved with alcohol anymore.
[34:25] Talk to us about the accountability you set up this time.
His wife was the first person he told, and he waited a few weeks before even doing that. He was nervous and shaking but she told him she was proud of his and has been supportive. He has also told some guys at work and has found support there as well.
[39:48] Have you had any intense cravings since April 30, 2019?
Mark says that the cravings have not been bad, surprisingly, but he does drink non-alcoholic beer and wine and he feels it helps.
[46:00] What is on your bucket list in sobriety?
To enjoy each day and the simple pleasures that come with being sober.
[46:55] Rapid Fire Round
Getting really, really, passing out drunk on my 40th and being told the next day that my oldest daughter, who was 5 at the time, was just standing there looking at me with a sense of distress.
That moment out in the backyard when I was sitting there with a 2nd bottle for no good reason at all.
I have more accountability to put in place, a few more people to talk to about it. I really do want to engage more with other alcoholics.
I’m on a blog website called Booze Musings and I have a few things on my reading list.
When I think about drinking just play the tape forward. Remember who you are. If I want that, then I can’t have this.
When its your shot for beers you buy yourself 2.
Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019
Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020
You can find more information about these events here
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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“Recovery Elevator – It all starts from the inside-out.”