3 years alcohol free
Welcome back to the alcohol tipping point podcast. I am your host Deb Masner. I'm a registered nurse, health coach and AFBA. That's alcohol free Bad-ass. I wanted to come on the show today and record because today is January 1st, 2023, and this is my three year alcohol free anniversary.
And I've just been reflecting a lot on the last three years and thought I would share some of what got me here and what keeps me here. What keeps me alcohol free and keeps me sober. So. Aye. Obviously got sober in 2020. After many, many, many, many starts and stops many day ones. And I was actually just talking to a friend of mine about how.
I've kind of forgotten how those first days feel and how. Scary. It was and how stuck I felt and how. Just miserable. I felt I was really in that shame spiral. I was really, really beating myself up. Because honestly, I have been trying to change my drinking for years and just never, never successful. Never quite getting it.
And the reason why I shared some of that has faded is just to let you know if you're listening and you're trying to change your drinking. That it does get better. It really does that. You really can do this and, and you won't feel. So terrible. And you won't feel stuck in that shame spiral. You will get out of it. And there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Like the same that this darkness. Is a hallway. It's not a dead end. So. I just thought I'd shared some of my journey, how I got here. And hopefully it will help you to, I don't really have this organized at all either. I'm just rambling. Well, that's what I do sometimes. Anyway. So I did start drinking at a really young age when I was in junior high. I remember sneaking.
My parents and my friends, parents, Jack Daniels, we would water down their bottles of liquor and put them back in the liquor cabinet. I don't know if they ever noticed.
But all of their liquor would end up being like 50% water, 50% alcohol. And I just remember really liking the feeling right away. And just wanting to keep doing it. Wanting to keep drinking, wanting to keep finding that, finding that escape. And it was a fun thing for me. It was fun and it was what everyone was doing. I grew up in Moscow, Idaho, that's university of Idaho.
Which was a big party school. Also, we were right next to Washington state university, another big party school. And so. In high school, it was partnering, partying with other high school students, but also partnering with college students. I worked at my dad's restaurant and we had a lot of college students there. So.
Drinking was always around and it's just what everyone did. So I thought. And then. You know, I even at that time, even in high school, I remember taking a class. I was able, because we were at the university of Idaho, I was able to take some college classes in. My senior year of high school. And I took a psychology intro to psychology class, and then I took an addictions class to.
Because even then I was very interested in. Alcohol alcoholism. Did I have it? Did I not? Was it a disease? Was it not? And I remember how to write an article about whether it was a choice or a disease and. I can't remember what I decided. I think I put disease. And.
For me, I think always investigating. The role of alcohol, of investigating. Alcoholism. And I'm just saying, quote unquote, because now we don't use that term. We use alcohol use disorder and it's on a spectrum from mild to moderate, to severe. But back at the time. That word. Our alcohol alcoholism alcoholic.
That actually kept me really stuck and didn't move me forward because I would investigate it. Like, am I an alcoholic? Do I fall up under that? Do I have this disease? Do I not? And I would find all this evidence that no, no, I, I was doing just fine. I was getting good grades. I was. Holding down a job, you know, everything was fine. Yes. I overdid it.
But no, no way could not be an alcoholic. And so I share that just. To let people know, like you don't have to be an alcoholic. You don't have to have a problem with drinking. You don't have to have a drinking problem to quit drinking. Now we know so much more about the effects of alcohol on your health, on your physical health, on your mental health. That.
You can just stop drinking because it's a poison, it's a carcinogen and it's shit for your health. But at the time, I was really in that mindset of. People don't quit drinking, unless there's something wrong with that. That there's something broken with them. And I just refused to acknowledge that there was anything broken with me.
And. It's interesting. Now, as I reflect back on thinking about that, I, I do agree that there is nothing. Wrong with you. You are not broken. And alcohol itself is a very addictive drug. It's a very harmful drug at artificially inflates. All your dopamine levels. There's just so much wrong with this substance.
But for me, what I really had to do was marry those concepts of yes. Alcohol is shit for your health. And yes. It's my. Problem. It's my responsibility. I still have been choosing to drink. So what was so helpful for me? I remember reading Laura McCown's book. We are the luckiest and she has this statement of nine things that she has in the front of her book.
And it says it is not your fault. It is your responsibility. It is unfair that this is your thing. This is your thing. This will never stop being your thing until you face it. You cannot do it alone. Only you can do it. I love you. I will never stop reminding you of these things.
I remember reading that in. January of 2020. Which, as you recall, here we are three years out. And for me that was, that was what clicked. That was how I can move forward. That it's unfair. This was my thing. And it would never stop being my thing until I faced it.
And I think. I was finally able to, except that. Drinking no longer serve me. That I couldn't moderate. If I could have, I would have said that a lot about moderation. If I could have married it, I would have, but I didn't want just one. What is the point of one, honestly. Even now I'm like, fuck that.
Well, I never want to just one. I always wanted more. And so I just had to get to a point where I was just done with drinking. And I think for a lot of people that takes time to get to that point. It really, really does. Because there there's still something you get out of drinking, you know, you. You do get a bus, you do get numbed out.
You do get to tap out right? And so once you're able to accept that, You're not going to have that buzz anymore. And that's okay because the trade-off is so much bigger. Then you can move on. But I don't think that you get to that point until you give yourself breaks from drinking. I don't think you get to that point until you start to explore your relationship with alcohol.
And you can do that by listening to these podcasts, you can do it by reading Quitline. You can do it by joining a group. You can do it so many different ways. And you don't have to be perfect about it. And so I think that is what keeps people stuck. And I think that, I mean, I know that is also why I.
Say practice, practice, not drinking. You don't have to be perfect. Just see what it's like. See what it's like just for today. Not to drink. Okay. See what it's like for a week not to drink. See what it's like for a month. You don't have to quit forever. I mean, there's no guarantee. Forever. I did hear Annie grace talking about.
How she doesn't say, like, I'm done drinking forever. Like I'm done. And the reason why it was because how would she know when she hit her goal? How was she? No, she would be dead. And so to me, I'm like, just for today, just for today, I'm not drinking. I feel more solidified in, in my alcohol freedom and my sobriety, I feel okay. Calling myself sober. I know that for a lot of people that doesn't resonate with them.
And that's okay. You just need to find what resonates for you. And so. Aye. I think that the journey of getting to being alcohol free, I think I had to go through that to get to where I am now. I had to, I had to have those day ones again and again, I had to learn. Again, and again, that drinking wasn't serving me.
And I had to unlearn. All of the benefits. I thought out-call was giving me, you know, I, I thought that it was relaxing. I thought it was making me more social. I thought it was reducing anxiety and I had to unlearn all that. And that takes time. That takes a lot of time. I mean, I was drinking from when I was 13 until 40.
Too. 43. I don't even know guys. I'm 45 now. For day five. What was decades, decades of drinking. And so it takes a lot of time to unwind that. I will say that. Once I started questioning my drinking and really questioning it and taking breaks and doing like the, this naked mind and the alcoholic experiment.
Then I, I opened some door in my mind and I can never go back to normal drinking. I could never drink with that. Consequences without feeling like shit without. Just knowing that it wasn't right for me. I could never go back to drinking normally. It was just like, I knew too much. It was like, ignorance is bliss in a way. And so once you opened the door to like, is drinking no longer serving me then.
There's no going back because the answer. It's usually always, yeah. Drinking is not serving you anymore.
And so. What made it stick in 2020? Is is all those day ones is all that practicing is all that learning, all that reading. That's what led to making it really stick. I also got sober in the pandemic. And for me, that was a gift because there were no social events. Everyone was like, hold up in their houses.
And I know that for a lot of people, that's when they started drinking more. And for me, it was opposite it for me, it was easier not to drink because I had to be there for my kids. I had to be there for the homeschooling. Quote, unquote, I had to be there for work. I mean, you guys, I work as a nurse.
It was kind of interesting because a lot of our area we're in Idaho, the pandemic hadn't really hit them. So. We got furloughed. And ours got reduced and it, or we would just work the nursing call lines or just do alternative things because the kind of nurse I am, I'm in corporate health and wellness.
And so we do health screenings and we do health coaching and wellness exams and things like that. Well, those things got put on the back burner, everything got put on the back burner. Which, which was good, which was really allowed me to protect my sobriety. And so.
I share that just to let you know, like, You can hunker down in your house and you can protect your sobriety too. Especially in those first days and weeks and months, what. Whatever break you're giving yourself. It is really, really helpful to just. Take yourself out of those situations that are difficult, that are challenging that's dinner parties. Those.
Birthday parties, those big events. What have you like. Really make it easy on yourself. So. The pandemic for me was a gift that way. So that I could really focus on just not drinking, just having alcohol freedom. And. I also knew that I wanted to help other people. I knew that. I could use my nursing, my health coaching, my eight years of education.
Just, I feel like I have a PhD in quit lit or. Addiction, whatever, just because it's been a lot of reading and a lot of discovering. And uncovering. And so I knew that once I got out. Once I got on the other side that I wanted to help people because I didn't want anyone to feel the way I did. And I'm so proud of.
The people that I have been able to help. I am. In awe of you all. I I'm so thankful for you for listening. I'm I'm so grateful that I get to help other people. This. Makes it all worth it. It really does. I have met some of the most amazing people across the world. I never would have met before. If I hadn't have opened myself up to this new world.
And I know it's scary here. We are at the beginning of January and there's been a couple of messages about, wow. I don't know why, but I'm really scared to do this. I'm really scared to quit drinking. And. I get it. I was scared to change to. And. Everything's scary until you do it right. And. Scary fear. That's actually the same kind of feeling as excitement.
For what's on the other side. And I can tell you unequivocally that on the other side of not drinking. It is so much better over here. I mean, it is. There's so much more energy I have and focus and. Just love for myself, honestly. I think that's a big thing is just learning to be more self compassionate.
And learning to be okay with myself and okay. With life on life's terms. And I can handle life so much better, so much easier. When I'm here and present for it. So much better. I do want to share this poem about everything is scary until you actually do it. It's by Sonya trigs Wharton. And I just happened to find it the other day. And I think it's really helpful.
So it goes like this. Everything is scary until you actually do it. Remember how afraid you were the first time you applied for a job the first time you had to make a presentation. The first time you spoke in public. Or do you remember your first date with your significant other. How afraid you were when you contemplated getting married or having children?
If you had to do any of the above things. You probably were scared, nervous, afraid. Maybe even terrified. Until you did it. And if you recall correctly, Probably don't turn out perfectly. But probably turned out. All right. You got through it. He didn't make a full of yourself. You live to tell the tale and other day.
And you may have even tackled the same event or something even harder the next time. And, you know, what gave you the ability to do it? The fact that you did it the first time. You don't go from zero to 60 when you've never done something before. You go from zero to five. And then maybe five to 10.
And then when you're feeling really confident from 10 to 20 and maybe then from 20 to 40, then 40 to 60. When you finally reached your goal. But you don't get there overnight. And you probably had to overcome your fears to get there. But you made it, you did it. And you live to tell the tow. Just keep that in mind. The next time you're presented with a new challenge that you don't want to do.
And you feel scared. Because everything is scary until you actually do it.
I just think that's so powerful. You know, We don't go from zero to 60 the first time. Well, we start to get better and better. We go from zero to five. And then maybe five to 10. Right. And that's what it's like when you quit drinking. Maybe you just quit drinking for one day. And then it's three days.
And then it's four days. You know, and then it's a month. And then before, you know, it. Maybe all three years. Like me.
So I want to thank you all for listening, celebrating this milestone with me. I.
I know that you can change. I really do I believe in you? I know that you are worth it. And I want you to know that.
Drinking. Does it make you bad and not drinking? Doesn't make you good. You are a good person, no matter what. If you're drinking or not, you are. Inherently good. You are worthy. And you can do this. You can do hard things. So. I am over here. Rooting for you. Please reach out. If you need anything, you can email me, Deb.
I'll call to pinpoint.com. And I just want to thank you again for listening and being part of my journey. And I wish you all the very, very best and I'm holding up a heart. This is what we always do at the end of our meetings. It's we make that heart.
The heart symbol with our hands. So I am just sending you lots and lots of love. Thank you so much.