Ruth took her last drink March 21, 2020. With 13 days of sobriety (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol free (AF) during a worldwide pandemic.
On today’s episode Paul discusses the sale of alcohol / liquor stores remaining open worldwide during COVID-19 and its effects. ODAAT: it’s not just for those who are living an AF life anymore. The quarantine is an invitation to examine our lives and find new pathways to joy.
Paul shares the details about his free guided meditation. To find those meditations, go here.
[13:25] Paul introduces Ruth.
They start by discussing the email Ruth had sent to Paul directly to ask him what his own thoughts were about living alcohol free during COVID-19.
[15:56] What were you feeling when you sent me this email?
Ruth became aware that the pandemic was going to be a test for a lot of people. She wanted to let people know that this isn’t a time of hopelessness . For her, this is a time to be grateful because of choosing to stop drinking.
She is 40 years old, grew up in Denver, CO but now lives in Switzerland. She is a single mom. While currently out of work, she normally is a manager at a small restaurant. For fun Ruth likes to be outside hiking or running. She enjoys a good movie and reading.
[24:53] Give us a background on your drinking.
Ruth began drinking as a teenager. She first got drunk at the age of 14 with some classmates. She drank for fun as a teen, had a boyfriend that was of age and could purchase alcohol. Ruth got pregnant with her first child at the age of 20 and that stopped alcohol in its tracks. She drank very moderately through her 20s. In her early 30s Ruth noticed that drinking seemed to calm her anxiety, stressors and worries. The association of alcohol and the calming of anxiety stuck with her. In 2014 she moved to Switzerland and began a new romantic relationship that was “very boozy.” Her drinking ramped up quickly, drinking daily and often early in the day.
[30:43] Was there a time during the escalation of your drinking that you questioned this path?
Ruth remembered even during the moderate drinking in her 20s, if she couldn’t have a beer or the stores were closed, it created a grumpy feeling. And at the same time, she felt that wasn’t the proper emotion to be experiencing.
[33:25] Can you think of a definitive moment when you said “I need to quit drinking?”
Ruth indicated that there were several attempts, but the catalyst was the breakup from her most recent relationship. She said to herself “if you can survive this breakup, you can stop drinking.” Ruth learned about how a breakup and alcohol withdrawal create similar feelings/reactions within the brain.
[40:30] Thirteen days ago was your day 1 and in the email you sent me you said it was the hardest day 1. Talk to us about this particular day 1.
Ruth said that because she had had 42 days of sobriety before the pandemic started and then drank at the beginning of the pandemic to quiet the noise of everything happening in the world, everything that comes along with drinking was magnified. Thinking about having to break the cycle of drinking again, and in the extra stressful time of COVID was overwhelming. However, she found herself back in a place of joy within 3-4 days, once the chemicals left her body.
[45:30] What is something you’ve learned about yourself along the way?
Ruth said that she had a lot of unrealized strength and through that found herself again.
[48:00] How are you filling your time currently?
Ruth said reading, listening to podcasts, cooking from scratch, running, walking, yoga, watching Tiger King and taking it easy on herself.
[49:21] Rapid Fire Round
Realizing her relationship was toxic as well as alcohol is toxic and how they were parallel.
Spending time with a family member recently and being 100% present.
Sparkling water and coffee.
Recovery Elevator podcast, This Naked Mind, the stopdrinking subreddit
Go to the Greenfield Festival in with her son sober and sober camping trips.
Don’t give up. Never quit trying to give up alcohol, no matter how many day 1s you have. Find and use all resources. It will eventually take if you keep trying.
You might need to ditch the booze if...
You go out for a couple drinks and wake up with confetti in the bed and you have no idea where it came from or how it got there.
You can read more about what the World Health Organization (WHO) says about using alcohol as a coping technique during this time of lockdown here.
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