Michael took his last drink on May 13, 2019. With just over a year sober (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol-free (AF).
Odette opens today asking the question: Is this working? There are obvious moments where it is easy to recognize that life without alcohol is working. When people say you look refreshed, you wake up not hungover and you start sleeping well. But what about the not so obvious moments? The moments that are hard, the moments you miss drinking? Yes, those are the moment when growth and change and abundance are there and about to bloom. Trust, be patient, and stay the course.
[7:23] Odette introduces Michael.
Michael lives in Springfield, Missouri, and works in construction. He is married with 2 children. For fun, he works, plays video games and spends as much time as possible with his family.
[8:24] Can you give listeners a background on your drinking?
Michael said he started drinking around the age of 14. He said it was something he was good at and within a year he was drinking a pint or more of liquor a day. He soon began drinking before school and after. In 2002 he joined the Marine Corps, which was his goal. In the military, he often couldn’t drink for stretches of time, so it became binge drinking episodes. But at the end of his 4 years in the Marine Corps, he realized he had a problem with drinking and asked for help. He was enrolled in a daily program through the military to learn about drinking.
After getting out of the military he worked construction, but then in 2008 re-enlisted in the Army. The 6 years he was in the Army, the drinking continued at a bottle a day, every day. He considered himself a very high bottom drinker because he was so high functioning within life.
[15:19] What was it that led you down the path to try going AF?
Michael said that he tried to stop multiple times over the years. He began to realize he wasn’t living his life to his best potential. He always tried to be the person setting the example for others, yet his inability to stop drinking was weighing on him. He needed to show that he could stop drinking for good. The idea that he couldn’t quit was his bottom.
[17:16] Walk us through what went through your mind on your day 1.
Michael said he woke up and said to himself “I need to quit, again.” He searched for podcasts that day and found Recovery Elevator. Podcasts allowed him to saturate his entire day with recovery. He downloaded the Sober Grid app and started reading that and the resources offered.
[21:13] How has your life without alcohol been different than what you originally thought?
Michael said he had a lot of fear about what he would do and who he would be not drinking. Once he quit, he was no longer avoiding emotions and in a fog. He was freed to just live his life. Michael has learned it’s ok to be sad or angry and that he will make it through.
[25:24] How has your family dynamic changed since you have been on this path?
Michael said that he’s happy and no longer hiding from his family. He’s a present and active member of his family and at a higher plateau of being a husband and a father. He’s always working on trying to be a better husband and father while at the same time learning to be a husband and a father for the first time since this is the first time through sober eyes.
[27:44] Walk us through a day in your life right now.
Michael said he wakes up, goes to work, and hangs out with his family. He prides himself on being an open person; he’s open about his sobriety, his PTSD, and his anxiety. He tries to lead by example and with being so open, he allows space for others to be open about their own struggles.
[30:22] What is your social life like now?
Michael said from the beginning he was honest about his not drinking with friends and co-workers. They were respectful and always offered not to drink around him, but he was always ok about around other people drinking. He said that he understood this was his choice and his alone. There were a few times he did walk away in the beginning, but now he’s comfortable around alcohol.
[31:55] What have you learned in this AF journey?
Michael said that he is really motivated and setting goals and accomplishing them. This past year has really reinforced this. He’s also rediscovering who he is as a person, not just an alcoholic.
One particular goal of Michael’s is to run a marathon.
[36:25] What possibilities are keeping you hopeful?
Michael said rediscovering daily life. He focuses on the little things in life and is finding joy in those things. He’s excited about mowing the lawn now!
[37:35] Do you still get cravings?
Michael said he doesn’t get cravings so much as he gets the idea of drinking still. Cravings are for the most part a non-thought.
[38:31] If you could talk to Day 1 Michael, what would you tell him?
Keep trying. Even if you don’t succeed today you can try again tomorrow.
[38:59] Rapid Fire Round
Being with my family after my father in law passed and really connecting with them.
That I am able to stop drinking.
Any recovery podcast, any app that helps you track your sobriety and music.
Just keep trying, we will figure this out. You will never succeed if you don’t keep trying.
You may need to ditch the booze if...
You’ve ever considered putting on a resume that you are a daily drinker but have never been late to work.
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