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Paul Introduces Julie
Julie has been sober for 118 days. Julie is 46, she grew up in Annapolis and Germany. She has been working with the same marketing company for 20 years. Julie is on her 4th year in a relationship with a great guy who is a normal drinker. She loves to stay active and be outside.
What are you going to do differently this time?
Julie was sober for 129 days before relapsing at a wedding. Now, the next thing for her is to get to 130 days. Julie was “white-knuckling” it, doing it all on her own. This time around, the difference is that Julie is reaching out and connecting through Cafe RE, sober friends, and she is holding herself accountable.
Julie speaks on how to tell your friends, “I don’t drink,”
Talk to me about your bottom?
“I let down a friend. I had promised to help a friend at a certain time. I drank. And I passed out… Sleeping through my commitment.” Despite many other signs that somehow didn’t get Julie to quit for very long… this was the final trigger. “I’d have many incidents where I would stop for one to three days, but this last one was it.”
What were your drinking habits like?
“I was a wine drinker. When one (referring to either 'red' or 'white') would present a problem to me, I would switch. Sometimes it was ‘red’ and then it was ‘white.’ I don’t like beer or hard liquor. In High School I felt that my shyness was hurting me, so I started drinking to “loosen-up.” Come college, I’d be the one passed out on the couch. It never occurred to me that I had a problem. In my 30s, it got pretty scary. I started drinking alone. I just took the ball and ran with it.”
Did you ever try to “cut-back” and put rules in place?
Julie played games. The ‘red’ wine, ‘white’ wine game. She wouldn’t keep wine in the house, but would play games where she based her whole lifestyle around the wine shop hours. She used day/time constraints to “control” the drinking… Shockingly, it didn’t work. “I remember standing on my front porch thinking, drinking is my biggest problem ever.” Julie used to drink to calm her anxiety, but what she found was that drinking actually caused anxiety.
Walk me through the start of your sobriety.
“Whatever works for you, grab it and go with it!” Julie does not participate in AA, but sees it as a very valid way to support a sober journey. Julie uses the Cafe RE Facebook group to connect and create sober like-minded friends. Julie reads a lot of books, listens to podcasts, and connects with others.
What does your recovery portfolio look like today?
“In recovery, I have a whole lot more free time.” Julie is very connected to Cafe RE’s Facebook Group (unsearchable and private group).
“That’s the thing I didn’t know about our problem, it doesn’t back dial. It just picks up right where you left off.” - Julie
“There is no better time to get sober. If today is the very best day to quit alcohol, do it.” - Paul
“You might be an alcoholic is you shop for the test online that is going to tell you that you aren’t an alcoholic.” - Julie
We can learn from the past. Although some stories are not so bright, we can learn from the successes and the tragedies of others. Some of the musicians below made it and are still able to share their art and creativity with the world... Unfortunately, some were not so lucky and left this world too early.
Steven Tyler - The Aerosmith frontman maintained sobriety for 12 years when he became seriously clean in 1988. Though that streak was compromised by a relapse into prescription drug addiction in 2006, Tyler checked himself into the Betty Ford Clinic three years later and has said to be dedicated to his sobriety ever since.
Neil Young - Young finally commented publicly about his sobriety two years ago, stating that he had achieved sobriety in 2011 after decades of alcohol and drug use. According to Young, he wanted to see what his life would look like from a sober perspective and has been going strong, viewing life with a new lens for over three years now.
Eric Clapton - Clapton, who has made a career off of his work with Cream as well as his solo work, has been sober since the late 1980s. He is publicly dedicated to recovery, holding benefit concerts and acting as founder of Crossroads Centre, an addiction treatment center in Antigua.
Elton John - Elton John has been sober for over 20 years. The main source of inspiration for his own sobriety was witnessing the death of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager and poster child for HIV/AIDS. John felt that as a gay man he needed to get his life together to help those suffering from HIV. According to many different sources, John claims that getting sober has been his greatest achievement.
Ringo Starr - The drummer from The Beatles has been sober since the 80s-- a time which he has referred to as an “alcoholic haze.” Today, he exercises three times a week, practices daily meditation and is a vegetarian.
Tom Waits - Known for his booze-drenched voice and persona, Waits has been sober for over 20 years now and credits his wife Kathleen in helping him get there. The singer went to AA and though he’s happy to be in recovery now, says that it was a struggle.
Keith Urban - Keith Urban has battled with drug and alcohol addiction since the 90s and also salutes his wife, Nicole Kidman, for intervening and helping him achieve sobriety--though he also indirectly attributes her to be the cause of his relapse. After being sober for six years in 2004, Urban found himself drinking again after marrying Kidman and having to cope with time apart during her filming obligations. One day, after returning home from a shoot, Kidman staged an intervention. Urban reentered rehab in October 2006 and rededicated himself to sobriety.
Anthony Kiedis - Kiedis, the singer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has been sober for years after having grown up alongside an addict (his father) and later becoming one himself. Now, he’s dedicated to fitness and Men’s Fitness has listed him as having one of the best rock star abs.
Chris Martin - Coldplay’s front man openly talks about the days when he used to use, but he is now dedicated to clean and sober living. In fact the musician doesn’t even drink coffee today.
James Hetfield - The Metallica singer entered rehab in 2001 and has been sober ever since. His journey has been documented in the film Some Kind of Monster.
Moby - Moby is known for his straight-edge Christian (though he’s not really Christian) look but this musician had more passed-out drunk moments than revelations in the 90s. After fearing that he was going to lose his memory from all the drug use, he left New York a few years ago to start over in LA and began attending AA meetings.
David Bowie - Bowie spent decades off the wagon due to a heavy cocaine addiction, but finally kicked the habit sometime in his 50s. Now, at the age of 68, he is enjoying a full life in sobriety with model wife Iman.
Amy Winehouse - Honorable British musician Amy Winehouse died of an alcohol addiction in 2011. Known for her eclectic style and deep contralto vocals, Winehouse had much going for her but turned to drugs and alcohol due to stress and her sad life story. ***Tune in to RE81 for a full story on Amy Winehouse, her struggle and ultimate demise from alcohol.***
Whitney Houston - Singer Whitney Houston, cited by the Guinness World Records as the most awarded female act of all time, was repeatedly in and out of rehab. She passed away in 2012, allegedly as a result of her addiction.
Flava Flav - Rapper Flava Flav has had his license suspended as a result of DUIs at least 43 times.
Billie Holiday - Holiday suffered from alcoholism for most of her life. She died of pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by alcohol induced cirrhosis of the liver on July 17,1959. She was 44 years old.
Bon Scott - AC/DC singer Bon Scott died of alcohol poisoning combined with choking on his own vomit after night of heavy drinking on February 19, 1980. He was 33 years old.
Hank Williams (the original) - On January 1, 1953, Hank Williams died as a result of hemorrhages in his heart and neck. His chronic alcohol abuse was believed to be a factor in his death at age 29.
Jim Morrison - On July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison died of a heroin overdose after a night of heavy drinking (accounts are hazy and disputed, but we’re going to allow his inclusion). He was 27 years old.
John Bonham - On September 25 1980, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died after drinking over one liter of vodka. He died choking on his own vomit. He was 32 years old.
Keith Whitley - Country musician Keith Whitley died of alcoholism on May 9, 1989. His blood alcohol level was .47 at the time of his death. Whitley was 34 years old.
Lester Young - On March 15, 1959, Jazz musician Lester Young died from heart failure after years of alcohol abuse. He was 49 years old.
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