Episode 320 - Keep an open mind and see what happens. Reach out to people, make sober friends, and you are going to find your way. Just let go.
Cassie took her last drink on August 29, 2019. She is from Colorado and is 30 years old. This is her story of being Alcohol-Free (AF).
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Finding Your Better You – Odette's weekly message
Odette has been speaking with many people who got sober and stayed sober during the pandemic. She is amazed and impressed with these folks making major life choices to ditch the booze during a global crisis.
Odette wants to remind you …. you can do hard things.
As Covid begins to recede, Odette can't help but wonder what post-Covid sobriety will look like? As we return to normal or the new normal, how do we prepare for what's next? Odette likened this to her rehab experience and working with her rehab team to develop a treatment plan when she left rehab. Many people fear leaving rehab because you are going back into the real world without the safety of a controlled, safe space.
What does your treatment plan or sobriety toolbox look like for the "new normal" after COVID restrictions have subsided? What boundaries and guidelines do you need to set up for yourself?
Proper preparation prevents poor performance – thank you, Odette's Dad, Carlos.
Develop a plan to protect your sobriety.
[07:53] Odette introduces Cassie
Cassie's last drink was August 29, 2019. She is celebrating18 months and switching up some of her tools to maintain sobriety. Cassie leads Café RE's "young people" chat.
Odette was recently contacted by a 19-year-old trying to find his place in sobriety. Cassie said it's incredible for someone so young to start a recovery journey. She encouraged all young listeners to keep an open mind, reach out, find sober friends, let go, and you will find your people and your way!
[11:12] Tell us a bit of your background.
Cassie is 29 years old, living in Denver, and is a receptionist for a urology clinic while pursuing her Bachelor's in nursing. She is doing pre-requisites now. She lives with her boyfriend, recently bought a house, and has two dogs. She loves snowboarding during the winter, paddle boarding, hiking, and rock climbing during the summer and hopes to explore dirt biking soon.
[13:14] Tell us about your history with drinking.
Cassie had her first drink at thirteen. One of her first memories is stealing peppermint schnapps with a neighbor at her parent's house. She got alcohol poisoning, and her mom sent her to middle school the following day with a hangover. She had to clean up her mess after school.
By freshman year of high school, she continued to drink with friends and consumed on the school bus on the way to school. She was suspended for drinking.
Before eighteen, she was in legal trouble for drinking and quickly building a party girl's reputation. She was all-in with alcohol; she never drank one or two drinks. She drank to fit in and did not fit in with the nerds or the popular crowd. She would hang out with the skaters, smoke pot, and throw parties at friend's parents' houses when they were out of town.
She got into the music scene, particularly raves, and traveled across the US to music festivals to catch different artists. She doesn't remember many of the concerts because she was wasted.
[16:28] Were you aware that your drinking was becoming a problem?
Cassie said she was not self-aware. She knew she was a troublemaker, but her friends drank like she did. During her formative years, she didn't go to class much. She dropped out of college because partying was her priority.
[17:58] How long did that chapter last?
Cassie said awhile, probably ten years. She still enjoys music but can now enjoy music sober.
[18: 33 ] Did you have to transition into adulting?
Cassie was always working during that chapter, and she changed jobs a lot because of the seasons. She started working in the medical field in 2015, and she relaxed her drinking a bit.
[19:48] Did anything happen in your life that forced you to grow up a bit?
Cassie said getting into the medical field was a real transition. She had to deal with patients and knew she had to be responsible. She was living with friends and wanted to take care of herself and maintain independence.
[21:14] How did your relationship with alcohol evolve?
Cassie said during the music festival chapter she was binge drinking because there were no rules. She transitioned from being a binge drinker to having beers after work and being a weekend warrior. Her drinking eventually got out of hand. She was only drinking on the weekends, and she tried to moderate. She leveraged the gym to keep her AF during the week. Moderation didn't work for Cassie.
One of her roommates, a dear friend, passed away in a kayaking accident. She believes it may have been alcohol-related. It became a big turning point for Cassie. Her other roommates drank heavily to cope with the shock and grief. Cassie became a pillar of strength for them. She binged occasionally but started to see that drinking wasn't what she wanted for herself. She moved back home, and her parents were also heavy drinkers.
Her drinking escalated, and within a year, things completely fell apart. Cassie lost herself. Going to brunch to drink in the morning or pre-gaming a baby shower with alcohol felt normal. She started sneaking beers in her room, so if she woke up in the middle of the night, she would have alcohol close at hand. Cassie is still working through feelings and learning to stop blocking her emotions.
[29:44] How did this progress into you deciding to quit?
Cassie said she wasn't working at the beginning of 2019. She was drinking beer in her bedroom, taking tequila shots and not eating regularly, taking showers, or going to work. She lost her will to live.
One day her Dad came into her room and asked, "what do we need to do?" Cassie was afraid of the withdrawal. She went to the ER, then to medical detox for a day. She stayed home for three days, got rid of most of her belongings, and moved to Phoenix to live with her mom. She had some starts and stops in Phoenix. Then her mom moved to Texas. Cassie moved back to Colorado and told herself, "I've got this." Her drinking advanced rapidly. She had a four-day bender and told her step-mom she needed to go through detox again. She did, and she hasn't had a drink since! Cassie said the second time, she knew it was time to own up to it and take some action. She didn't want to die.
[35:48] What was your plan after leaving detox to start stacking days?
Cassie moved in with her sister's Dad. She wanted to move to a sober environment. Her Dad and step-mom continued to drink, and she didn't want to ask them to stop. Her step-mom referred her to Recovery Elevator and offered to pay for her first month if she wanted to check it out. The Facebook group helped her stay accountable, and she went to her first sober meetup within 30 days. Making connections helped a lot. She also saw a therapist for the first six months. She began getting more involved in Café RE. At about a year, she started hosting webinars. Now she is doing a lot in the recovery community because it keeps her focused on her sobriety. At six to eight months, she felt a shift. After a year, she had experienced several FFT's (F*ing first times) – first concert, first wedding, etc. Now she is exploring past traumas and learning what caused her drinking. She is going to AA meetings, looking for a sponsor and reading, "Recovery" by Russell Brand. She enjoys the structure of AA. Cassie has big plans for the future and hopes to eliminate the stigma of addiction and let people her age know that sobriety is fun! She is excited about the future. She wants to build a family, re-write her family's sobriety trajectory, and inspire others along the way.
[46:16] Do you still get cravings?
Cassie said yes, but the cravings are seasonal depending on what's happening in her life. Cravings are more of a fleeting thought now, and her sober circle helps her stay accountable. She is aware that cravings often come with change and external factors. If she lightens up on the self-care, the cravings creep up. She knows what tools work and can anticipate what's coming and how to manage it.
[50:11] Rapid Fire Round
You are worth it. Have faith, and everything will work out the way it is supposed to.
It's currently Snicker's ice cream bars.
The more you connect, the less you think about alcohol.
Being able to do what I want at any time of day because I don't have to worry about drinking.
100% yes! It's one of the best experiences.
You might need to say Adios to booze if …
You wear a hoodie to sneak alcohol anywhere, including your room.
Make time this week to create your post-Covid plan. Plant a seed, create steps of action to set yourself up for success. Write it down, share it with a friend, have your own back.
You are not alone, together is always better. Sobriety is our super-power!
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