Episode 318 - No matter what comes your way, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. So, live with it, don’t try to change it and do the next right thing.
Tony took his last drink on October 24, 2020. He is a 42-year-old Canadian. This is his story of living alcohol-free (AF)
Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message
Recently Odette has been asking listeners, what is a perk of getting sober? The answers have included, no hangovers, improved sleep, wallet and overall health.
Odette also asked listeners about the ripple effect, the not so obvious outcomes of living AF. The responses included:
Sobriety tools become life tools that help us become better versions of ourselves. Odette is more forgiving of herself and others. Her standards, for herself and others have changed. She is less of a perfectionist. She has more grace toward herself and others. She is more connected to her humanity and doing her best, day by day. She says what she really means, vs what she thinks she needs to say. She is okay with not being liked by everyone and aware of her tendency to be a people pleaser.
What are your unexpected perks of sobriety?
[8:50] Odette introduces Tony.
Tony took his last drink on October 24, 2020. He is from St. Paul, Alberta, Canada. Has 3 children: a son (18), a daughter (15), a daughter (10) and a stepson (23). He is currently a full-time student since his career came to a halt when he entered rehab last year. Tony enjoys anything outdoors, particularly tobogganing, snowboarding, skiing …anything outside.
He is currently separated from his wife.
[12:34] Tell us about your history with drinking.
Tony lost Mom when he was 13 in a tragic car accident. His first drink was shortly after that and by15 he remembers getting blackout drunk. Drinking made him feel bullet-proof. It helped him avoid the pain of grief.
He did well in school, he was an honors student. After graduating from high school, he followed his Dad’s working on the road. He would binge drink occasionally.
He got into the oilfield business. He said, you earn a lot of money, work hard and play hard. When he was on the road, he and his colleagues would party. His drinking was normalized because everyone did it. He and his high school girlfriend had a son.
When he returned home, his drinking was chaotic. He drank more, passed out regularly. His drinking felt normalized, because everyone was doing it.
His Dad offered him a job as a crew supervisor. He was trying to taper his drinking because his son was around, and his daughter was on the way. As he went into management he isolated more, which led to drinking when he got back to his hotel. He would average 5-6 beers a night.
He also began engaging with other women while he was on the road. He got caught and within four months, his girlfriend was done with him. He immediately jumped into another relationship; it was perfect because they both drank to excess. His drinking continued to escalate.
[18:02] You have mentioned your drinking was normalized. Did you have conversations with yourself about your drinking?
Tony said he believed his behavior was normal. He followed his father’s example. He saw his Dad as the best Dad in the world, his Dad never brought his problems home or drank after work. Tony went to more extremes than his father. He needed the alcohol to feel normal.
[19:46] How did your relationship unfold?
Tony was married within seven months and he got married to spite his first girlfriend who was the mother of his first two children. They welcomed a child after a year. Within 14 months, his wife asked for a divorce. He entered a 12-step program to save his marriage, but it about saving the relationship, not his own development. His wife filed for divorce and he went back to work on the drilling rigs. He went home and his doctor started him on Ativan. He drove home, blacked out and was in a head on collision with a semi-truck. He lost his arm in that accident. His wife never came to the hospital. He was devastated, but his drinking ramped up.
Tony started looking for a relationship, drinking 5 night a week, trying to rehabilitate after losing his arm and he was offered a job with his Dad’s company. His drinking continued to escalate, and he started losing days. On the surface he was highly functioning, making lots of money. He didn’t think his drinking was a problem.
[23:52] How was your heart feeling? Did you enjoy drinking?
Tony said he was transitioning from enjoying drinking, but once he was intoxicated, he was going through the motions. Most of his happiness was just pretending. He also realized his arm was never going to grow back. He gave up on life. Within two years, he met his current wife and they really hit it off. He was honest about his journey and he was happy initially. His co-dependency continued to emerge. He proposed and got married. His drinking slowed down, but he wasn’t happy with his life, his promotions, his income, his car, nothing was ever enough. A friend invited him and his wife to a music festival and Tony let loose. After that, his drinking ramped up. He was the life of the party and everything felt real again. He got a job working for the government so he could be home. The money wasn’t great, and he started drinking every night in the garage. He often fell asleep in the garage. The alcohol stopped working, so he started smoking marijuana. Marijuana became a pattern, but within 5 months it stopped working. He started doing hard drugs, specifically cocaine.
He recognized in 2019 that he needed to go to rehab because he was addicted to cocaine. He hid his cocaine addiction well from his family. He discussed it with his wife and went to a treatment center in January of 2020 with the intention of getting clean and saving his family. Upon discharge, he worked his program and got a sponsor. He returned to work and within 45 days he relapsed. He went to Fort McMurray (a hot bed for addiction) and when he returned home, he picked a fight with his wife, drank 40 ounces of Scotch, destroyed the house and had suicidal ideations. He had a plan to kill himself with heroin but was pulled over by the Royal Canadian police and woke up in a jail cell. While in jail, he had chest pains and was hospitalized. The doctor advised he was having an allergic reaction to the alcohol. After he was released, he lost his job. Tony continued to have suicidal ideations. He asked his son to take him to the hospital and he was admitted to the psych ward and was sent to a treatment facility. He opened up and got honest. After he was released, he decided to go back to school. He moved to BC, enjoyed school, isolated himself and relapsed.
On October 23rd, he took his last drink/drug. He had a gun on one side and a phone with his sponsor’s number on the other side. Within a few hours, he called his sponsor and began working his program and the steps. He now lives in Medicine Hat and he says every time he tells his story, it gets a little bit lighter.
[37:03]. What has been the contributing factor to your resilience?
Tony said his resilience comes from his Dad. His Dad is his hero; he always gets up after he falls down. He quit drinking and never picked up again. He made it through many challenges and helped Tony to realize who he is.
Tony has pushed his Dad away several times which he attributes to addiction.
[39:34] You have said that your life is re-starting, does that give you hope?
Tony said that in the last 75 days he has never been happier. He had lots of time not drinking before, but he wasn’t working a program. He is so glad he never picked up that gun and he his son are now best friends.
Tony is proud that he has been able to put the substances down and rebuild his life.
[41:18]. Tell me how your body has responded to sobriety?
Tony said he was fortunate because he detoxed before going to treatment. He never went on benders, so the physical detox wasn’t terrible (the cold sweats, shakes, etc.). In sobriety, he lost 20 pounds, he is hiking and tries not to beat his body up. He tries to get good sleep and helps his body and feels amazing.
[43:54]. Tell me about your spirit. How have you healed emotionally?
Tony has two sponsors (NA and AA). He speaks with one for 30 minutes minimum, daily. He also talks to another addict or alcoholic daily. He believes it is important to stay connected. He goes to AA and NA meetings. He sees a therapist once a month and a trauma counselor once a month.
His sponsor has told him, no matter where you are, it’s where you are supposed to be. Deal with it, don’t try to change it and do the next right thing.
[48:18]. Rapid Fire Round
Completing my schooling so I can enroll in an additions counseling program.
Don’t give up on yourself. You will have bad days, but there are more good ones.
Vanilla with chocolate syrup and sprinkles.
Yes, but I prefer McDonald’s coffee.
No matter what you are not alone. Give those that reach out to help you a chance. Let them love you until you can love yourself.
You might need to Ditch the Booze if ….
You are drinking Jack Daniels and Coke out of your prosthetic arm.
Odette’s Weekly Challenge
Odette continues to find unexpected joys in being sober. She is learning to slow down. While she still has a full plate, she isn’t looking for extra things to fill up her time. She likes herself, so she doesn’t have to hide anymore. She chases the pauses and feels her feelings instead of chasing the highs. She knows she is not perfect and has learned to appreciate her progress.
Remember you are not alone and together is always better. This journey is full of unexpected surprises. Enjoy the ride!
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