Andrew took his last drink June 02, 2020. With 9 days (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF).
Finding the better you with Odette. Today’s topic: Setting boundaries.
According to https://positivepsychology.com/ Healthy boundaries are those set to make sure that you are mentally and emotionally stable. You can also think about it as our boundaries might be ridged, loose or completely non-existent. The lack of boundaries may indicate that we do not have a strong identity or that we are intermeshed with someone else or something else: insert alcohol. Odette lobbies for protecting your energy, which is a version of creating boundaries. Set and honor your boundaries. When you set new boundaries and start living them it might feel uncomfortable, and that’s normal. It gets easier and better when you stand up for yourself and share your boundaries with others. Check in with yourself often.
[8:25] Odette introduces Andrew.
Andrew is 37 years old and lives in Brisbane Australia. When Andrew and Odette first began talking about scheduling this interview, Andrew had more than 35 days AF. He did some field research and is now back with 9 days AF.
He drives trucks for a living, is married and has 3 boys under the age of 7. For fun he likes to ride his trail bike.
[14:19] Can you give listeners a history on your drinking?
Andrew’s first drink was at age 13. Instantly he fell in love with alcohol. He liked the person he became when he drank. When he was 15 he worked in construction with older guys and that gave him access to alcohol. As an adult the drinking increased and increased, but he never thought it was a problem until his late 20s. Andrew has known over the past 10 years that he didn’t drink normally. He drank more than people and alcohol became an identity. His first son was born when he was 30 and he tried to grow up. Andrew noticed he couldn’t stop drinking.
Andrew said his relationship changed from having fun as a couple to serious and his wife mentioning that it needs to be different. They couldn’t go to the shops without his kids mentioning “oh we need to go to the bottle shop for dad”.
[21:34] Did you hit a bottom or what made you decide to pursue an AF life?
Andrew said all the relationships in his life began to fail. He never blamed the alcohol but blamed the other person. A few years ago having a surgery that required him to stop drinking 2 weeks prior and his wife laughed at that suggestion. He wasn’t able to stop and drank up to surgery and that’s when he realized it was a problem.
[22:40] Did you seek help when you decided to try and stop drinking?
Andrew said he simply decided he wasn’t going to drink. He did reach out to a doctor who prescribed some pills that didn’t have any effect. His drinking continued on and off over the next few years. He often found himself googling if he was an alcoholic or not. This led right into the current COVID pandemic. Andrew decided he wanted to find a better life for himself, his wife and his kids.
[24:00] Did you attempt moderating before quitting?
Yes, Andrew said he tried to moderate his drinking. Being a truck driver for a living, he always had to have 0.0% alcohol to drive. He tried to promise himself he would only drink on weekends, but instead worked out how many drinks he could have in the afternoons and still have 0.0% alcohol level for work the next morning.
[26:06] Can you expand on the 6 week dry camp associated with your work?
Andrew explained that it wasn’t a company sponsored event. It was the work he was doing at the time and they lived on campus for a period of time. The campus he was on, was dry. He made it the 6 weeks, and on his way home he stopped for alcohol. He picked up exactly where he left off even through he was feeling proud for making it the 6 weeks.
[28:06] How had fatherhood changed?
Andrew said he’s more present now and is noticing how much his wife had been picking up in the area of childcare. He worries about different things now and he cares more about what is right and wrong.
[28:06] Tell us about a day in your life right now, what tools are you using?
Andrew said he’s still learning, this is a new journey for him. The traditional help isn’t available right now, everything is only online. He has discovered podcasts and listens as much as he can. He hopes to join an in person AA group.
[34:23] Have you received any negative feedback around your decision?
Andrew hasn’t received one negative comment from the people he’s told. Everyone is supportive, from family to friends to work colleagues.
[37:46] What possibilities are you excited for?
Andrew said in the long term he wants to have better and different relationships with his family. He’s looking to purchase a home with the money he’s saving from not drinking.
[38:54] If you could talk to Day 1 Andrew, what would you tell him?
You will encounter slip ups, but don’t beat yourself up. It‘s ok to not be perfect. Every day you don’t drink is perfect. There are no wasted days.
[39:40] Rapid Fire Round
How different the world is sober. These a lot of good in small things.
Knowing that I have enough strength to actually do this.
Just jump in and try. Build the muscle, keep working at it.
You may need to ditch the booze if...
You drink drive on the way home, but you actually ride a motorbike.
Odette’s challenge this week:
Set a new boundaries and try it out!
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“Recovery Elevator – When you say no to somebody else, you say yes to yourself. Remember to stay weird and protect your energy- I’ll see you next Monday.- I love you guys”