How One Dad Transformed His Life Without Drinking: Todd Kinney’s Discovery That Everything Is Better Without Alcohol

Episode 157 March 20, 2024 00:50:39
How One Dad Transformed His Life Without Drinking: Todd Kinney’s Discovery That Everything Is Better Without Alcohol
Alcohol Tipping Point
How One Dad Transformed His Life Without Drinking: Todd Kinney’s Discovery That Everything Is Better Without Alcohol

Mar 20 2024 | 00:50:39

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Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

Todd Kinney is an attorney who lives in Omaha, NE with his wife, four kids and two wiener dogs. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, golf, hanging out with his family (when they let him) and spending an unhealthy amount of time and money supporting the Iowa Hawkeyes. He quit drinking in 2019 and considers it the best thing he’s ever done for himself or his family. He is the author of I DIDN'T BELIEVE IT EITHER One Dad’s Discovery That Everything Is Better Without Alcohol. 

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Find Todd: https://www.toddkinney.com/ Instagram: @tkinney111 

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: Welcome to the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. I'm your host, Deb Maisner. I'm a registered nurse, health coach, and alcoholiday free badass. I have found that there's more than one way to address drinking. If you've ever asked yourself if drinking is taking more than it's giving, or if you've found that you're drinking more than usual, you may have reached your. [00:00:20] Speaker B: Own alcohol tipping point. [00:00:22] Speaker A: The alcohol tipping point is a podcast for to find tips, tools, and thoughts to change your drinking. [00:00:28] Speaker B: Whether you're ready to quit forever or. [00:00:30] Speaker A: A week, this is the place for you. You are not stuck and you can change. [00:00:35] Speaker B: Let's get started. Welcome back to the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. [00:00:44] Speaker A: Today we have Todd Kinney. [00:00:46] Speaker B: Todd is an attorney who lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife, four kids, and two wiener dogs. That was a fun fact for me because I grew up with wiener dogs and I have one. Well, he's a rescue dog. He's like a mix. But anyway, I'm a fan. In Todd's free time, he enjoys traveling, golf, hanging out with his family when they let him, and spending an unhealthy amount of time and money supporting the Iowa Hawkeyes. He quit drinking in 2019 and considers it the best thing he's ever done for himself or his family. Todd is also the author of I didn't believe it either one. Dad's discovery that everything is better without alcohol. So welcome, Todd. So glad you're here. [00:01:37] Speaker C: Thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here. [00:01:39] Speaker B: I felt like I need to emphasize Iowa because a lot of people get Idaho and Iowa confused. [00:01:47] Speaker C: I think you're right about that. It's hard to believe that they're not very close to each, so. But people do get it confused. [00:01:54] Speaker B: Yeah. One is like corn and one is potatoes. And anyway, for people that don't know, I'm in Idaho. [00:02:04] Speaker C: I am in Omaha, Nebraska, but went to school at Iowa, and they even sold a shirt in the bookstore when I went to college there that referenced Idaho and kind of made fun of the fact that people mix up Idaho and Iowa. [00:02:18] Speaker B: Yeah, we have the same shirts. It says Idaho, not Iowa. [00:02:23] Speaker C: Oh, that's funny. [00:02:25] Speaker B: I love it. Okay, well, I want to thank you for writing this book and just giving your perspective as a dad, as an attorney, as someone who just reached their quote unquote tipping point with alcohol and unwound the habit. And I just think it's so great to hear different stories. And we get a lot of women's quitlet and from a mom's point of view. So I appreciate hearing from the dad's side. So thank you. Thank you for writing that book. [00:03:01] Speaker C: Yes, well, thanks for having me. And one of the reasons why I wanted to write it, it's not geared towards males. I do have a chapter in the book that's about giving up alcohol as a male and kind of what that's like and how closely tied to my identity that was. But almost all the quitlet I read when I was early on and quitting was from women, and I enjoyed all of them, and they all helped me. But you're right, there doesn't seem to be a lot of male voices out there. And I think we males have more difficulty sometimes than females in opening up conversations about this. I mean, it's hard to open up a conversation about this no matter who you are. But males in particular seem to, I think, struggle with that a little more. And so hopefully having my story out there can help other males or females feel a little better about coming forward and telling their story. [00:04:01] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, why do you think that is? Why do you think it's harder for the guy? [00:04:08] Speaker C: I think some of it goes back to kind of the age old adage that guys just have trouble talking about their feelings more. I think some of that's changing. I hope it is, but I still think there's a lot to that. I think the other part of it is kind of what I talk about in that chapter in my book. I felt when I was thinking about quitting drinking, that that meant giving up my identity as a male. I mean, it was so closely tied to me as a guy and what I thought of myself as a man. And I was like, am I even still a guy if I don't drink? That's what guys do. That's what I do with my friends. That's what we do when we get together. I had so wrapped up into my identity as a male that the thought of going without it just kind of rocked that whole image in my head of like, well, what kind of person are you? What kind of guy are you? It seemed less manly to me to not drink alcohol. So I don't know. I think it's a couple of things, and I think we have a harder time maybe turning inward and examining what's going on inside ourselves than women do. We're not as good at forming communities, I think, as women are. And so we tend to stay out on our own a little more, even though there's a lot of us out there all struggling with the same thing. We just don't talk about it as much. So I hope that's changing. It is. I think slowly, but hopefully it's changing. [00:05:49] Speaker B: Yeah, I hope so, too. I think that's interesting that you brought up identity, because I think a lot about my identity as a drinker, but I never wrapped together moms drink. Well, I mean, there's the whole mommy wine culture, but I never put together, like, being a woman means you drink. That's just so interesting to me because I think women for a while didn't drink, and then we started to because it was kind of a sign of, we can do what men do, but I didn't think about, oh, but this whole time, men have been the drinkers. [00:06:32] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:06:33] Speaker B: Traditionally. Yeah. [00:06:35] Speaker C: I mean, there's so much wrapped up in drinking in our society, and there's so much wrapped up in the messaging and the barrage of messages we get from very young ages. And it's kind of fascinating how the kind of mommy wine culture evolved, because I think it was a very concerted effort from the alcohol industry to start targeting women, and it worked. It was extremely effective. And they never really had to do that with males because, to your point, males just always drank for men and for women, it carries its own. I mean, there's a lot of crossover, but there's also some unique baggage that comes with each. And for a while, I thought, I'm a white male who's enjoyed a lot of just privileges in my life just because of when I was born and how I was born. And for a while, it felt a little silly, like, complaining about why I don't see very many men out there talking, kind of looking for my people. That felt kind of silly as a white male doing that. But after a while, I realized alcohol issues touch everyone. It doesn't matter if you're male, if you're female, if you're young or old, where you come from, how much money you make, what you do for a living, it doesn't matter. None of that matters when it comes to alcohol issues. And so I kind of realized, look, it affects males just like it does everyone else, and so we need to talk about it as males. [00:08:13] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, and I think that highlights how other. Because in this instance, you're a minority. Right. But in the bigger scheme of things, you are not. And so that just makes me think of still, even within the sober culture, we'll just call it, people do want to find other people that look like them. And that's why there's, like, these LGBTQ groups, and there's women only groups, and then there's groups for people of color and all of that. So it is helpful. I mean, people just naturally do want to find other people that are similar to them and get it as made. [00:08:57] Speaker C: It can make a big difference. There's a story I tell in the book about an exchange I had with a fellow attorney in a mediation in Florida. This was, like, probably four or five months before. You know, we were about the same age. We had kids about the same age. We both worked at very similar law firms. We did very similar jobs. We were just kind of two people in the same phase of our career. And he just happened to mention in passing, almost during a side discussion during this mediation, that he had given up alcohol when his oldest turned 13. And that was kind of it. He just kind of mentioned it. But that comment stuck with me more than I ever thought it would. And in hindsight, it was almost like he was giving me permission to go down that road of thinking about quitting for good. As I saw across the table, someone just like me in my position, and I thought, oh, my gosh, he gave up alcohol, and here he is sitting in the flesh. She lived to tell about it. Maybe I can do that, too. And it was really an impactful comment he made that I kept coming back to over the next few months when I was debating whether or not I should give up alcohol for good. [00:10:21] Speaker B: Wow. Yeah, I remember reading that. And then you reached out to him. How far out were you when you reached out to him again? [00:10:31] Speaker C: I was a few months. It was, let's see, probably four or five months. And I had gotten to the point where I started thinking I was just going to take a break for some amount of time. And then a couple of months into that, I decided, okay, I'm done for good. And so it was about a month or two after that that I decided I was done for good. I think that I emailed him, and I wanted to let him know that his comment had an impact on me, because like I said, I kept coming back to it. I wanted him to know that I appreciated him telling his story. Even if he may not have thought he was really telling his story. I wanted to let him know that. [00:11:12] Speaker B: Wow. Yeah. You just never know how you can know. Wow. [00:11:17] Speaker C: I know. [00:11:18] Speaker B: Well, let's hear your story. Like your story with drinking and then unwinding the habit. [00:11:25] Speaker C: Yeah. So my story is, I grew up in a very blessed childhood. I had two loving, caring parents who were always there. I had three siblings. It was your typical upper middle class household. No real childhood trauma that I went through. Both my parents drank. My dad drank more than my mom. But alcohol in our house was just something that was kind of always there. There were no outward consequences from anyone's drinking. I grew up thinking alcohol was just something you do, and it was something social, and it was something that you do when company's over and something you do on the weekends and something you do when you're celebrating something. I just thought it was a normal, everyday part of life. And so as a teen in high school, I drank. I'd say I was probably fairly typical teenage drinker. I don't think I drank a lot. I don't remember. You hear some people's stories and they talk about taking that first sip of alcohol and just kind of transporting them into another world where they're like, this is where I'm meant to be. I didn't have a moment like so, but I did grow to like drinking. I'd say it took off a little bit in college, as drinking does for some people. I went to school at University of Iowa, and drinking, like at a lot of places, was a very central part. Binge drinking was a very central part of the whole college experience. It was just something that everyone did, and that's what college is, where kind of my drinking patterns started to emerge that would then stay with me into adulthood and some of the patterns that eventually led me to question my drinking. But in college, I wasn't paying attention to them. Drinking so prevalent that it's hard to stop and look inward and realize you're drinking. It could be problematic because everywhere you look, there's someone who's doing the same thing or drinking more than you. But in college, I was the drunkest one in the room. More often than not, I was constantly thinking about drinking. Even when I wasn't. I was always in a hurry. I was in a hurry to start drinking, and I was in a hurry to keep drinking. Once I started, I just didn't have an off switch. A lot of people have something in their head that after a few drinks, tells them to slow down or stop, and I don't have that. And what I had was something that told me to keep going because the party was just getting started. And so I worked hard in college, got decent grades, drank a lot, and was kind of your typical college experience. Then went on to law school again, more drinking. I thought law school was going to be a little more serious than college, and I figured the drinking would taper off a little bit. And I was very wrong about that, both personally and kind of. Around law school, everybody drank, and almost everybody drank in law school. It seemed like the work hard, play hard culture was even more pronounced in law school. And so I graduated law school, began my professional career. My drinking never really changed all that much. I mean, I was drinking less when I was 30 than I was when I was 20, but the patterns that emerged in college were still there. I still drank too much more often than I wanted to. I still had trouble controlling how much I drank. It was still difficult for me to control how much I drank. I still was very obsessed with, how many drinks have I had? How many more can I have? How many should I have denied? When should I stop? I mean, that was so much work. And if I wasn't drinking, I was either recovering from drinking or thinking about the next time I was going to drink. For the last, probably ten years, I drank. For the most part. I did not drink during the week. I was mostly a weekend and social drinker. But again, the patterns were still there, and it was taking its toll. And what originally got me evaluating my drinking was, in 2013, my wife and I were fighting a lot. We were bickering a lot, and things were off. And I was concerned that when we would argue, I would go from calm to agitated to just shutting down really fast. And I normally didn't do that. I was normally the one that wanted to talk stuff out, and we were getting in a rut and a bad pattern of me just, like, getting mad and shutting down. And so I decided to go see a therapist to talk about that. And five minutes into my first therapy appointment, we were talking about my drinking. And so, in hindsight, my stated reason for going to see the therapist was, well, I'm not getting along very well with my wife. In hindsight, a lot of the underlying issue was I was having an internal battle with my drinking. It was getting to the point where I was like, I need to do something about this, because it's causing problems in my marriage. My wife and I would kind of have the same fight over and over again. We do this morning after drill, where I would walk on eggshells trying to figure out how mad she was from the night before. I was trying to piece together the night before. That's awful. I did that so many times and thought it was just kind of a thing you do when you drink too much. Before I realized, you don't have to do that. But it's terrible doing that, like, every weekend or most weekends. And so my therapist at this very first meeting, suggested a 90 day break from alcohol. And I literally thought she was asking me. I felt like she was asking me to run into a burning building because a 90 day break scared the crap out of me. I was willing to take a break. 90 days was much longer than I had in mind. I mean, like, a month maximum was what I had in mind, and that was kind of what I was prepared for. And when she said 90 days, I'm like, why do we need to do 90 days? That seems like a long time. And she said, you need that much time to kind of let some of the benefits sink in. And you need that much time to kind of feel what it's like to live a life without alcohol. And I was like, well, that still seems like an awful long time, but I was at a point where I wanted to do something. And so I told myself, she's a professional. Trust her. And so I committed to a 90 day break, and it was good. It wasn't too difficult physically not to drink. It was weird. Not drinking. It felt weird. There were definitely times where I'd sit down and watch football game, and I'm like, where is my beer? How do people watch a football game without a beer in their hand? But again, in my mind, I knew I'm a pretty goal oriented person, and if I set a goal for myself, I can be pretty disciplined about, about meeting it. So I had no intention of quitting. I just wanted to get through this 90 days, and my goal was to change the way I drink. That was the whole goal of that 90 days. I'm going to fix this. So I got through that 90 days, and I learned some things about how I drank. I really became aware of physically how fast I drank. I would finish a beer, and other people at the table would only be halfway through theirs. And, of course, when I get halfway done with a beer, I'm thinking about, where am I going to get my second drink? And when I'm halfway through that one, I'm thinking, where am I going to get my third one? And so I realized that I physically drank faster than most people. I realized that other people did not drink as much as I did on just a random night out. When you go out to dinner, a Friday night out for me was two or three drinks at home. Then you go out to dinner, two or three drinks at dinner, and then you go somewhere after dinner and have some more drinks. And I realized some people just go out to dinner and they have, like, one or two drinks, and then they go home, which I thought was like, blew my mind. But I discovered apparently that happens. And so I got through that 90 days. I was like, you know what? I've got some hacks that I realize I need to employ. And I'm a changed drinker. I've changed the way I drink, and this is great. And that worked for a while until it didn't, and I started to fall back into old habits. As happens, I think about two years later, I did another 90 day break that I imposed myself because I felt things getting loose again. I was like, okay, I need to do something or I'll be right back where I was. And so I imposed another 90 day break. That was fine. But again, I was just getting through it. I had no intention of quitting. I was doing it as sort of a self imposed punishment and to tell myself, look, I don't have a drinking problem. If I can take 290 day breaks from drinking, who does that? Who has a drinking problem? I'm fine. So I did that again and again. That works for a while, but until it didn't and old habits started creeping in. And spoiler alert, for anyone out there who drinks anything like I did, trying to moderate just was never going to work for me. I tried it all. I hoped it would work. I really wanted it to work. I spent six years trying to fix the way I drink and trying to fix my problems. And I think I needed to go through all of that. I wish it hadn't taken six years. But on the other hand, I just needed to. I needed to go through all of it to finally come to the realization that none of it's going to work to the extent I want it to, and it's never going to work because of how my brain deals with alcohol. And so come like 2018, 19, I could feel my drinking getting loose again. I quit in the fall of 19, and I'd say from most of that year, I was in a different sort of analysis kind of phase. And again, I didn't realize all of this at the time, but in hindsight, my mindset then was, I've got to do something about this. I don't know what. I don't want to delve into that right now, but this can't continue. But it did continue for most of that year. But there were a couple things that I always say. I didn't have a flaming spectacular rock bottom, but I had a lot of nudges along the way that got me to the point where I decided to quit. And a lot of those nudges involved my kids, and my oldest was, he was 14 when I quit. So my third son was 13. We had another one who was eleven. And then my daughter was seven at the time. But at least the three boys, they were at the age where they knew when I was drunk, they knew when other adults were drunk. They kind of knew what it meant. They had seen me really drunk a couple of times, which really bothered me. I hated that. There were a couple of nights where I came home and had conversations with them that I did not remember, and that made me feel awful. I hated that. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I wanted to take it back. I wanted to rewind. And I hated how that made me feel. And I knew that even though I hated that more than anything, I also knew that with 100% certainty it was going to happen again, because I had enough information in the bank and I was familiar enough with my drinking that I knew it was going to happen again. It may not be for two months, it may not be for four months. Maybe it was six months. But I knew there was going to be another night where I came home and my kids saw me too drunk. And I was like, why is that acceptable? Why are you standing for that? Why are you going to continue doing something that you know is going to put you in a position that makes you feel as awful as that makes you feel? So the kid stuff was really hard to run from. I could bs my way out of a lot of stuff with my drinking. I could not bs my way out of the kid stuff and how it made me feel as a dad. I just couldn't run from that. And I had a moment with my oldest about three months before I quit, where we went to a baseball game, and it was me and a friend, and then, like, four or five kids, four or five of his friends. And I had driven everyone down, and I was driving everyone home, and we all had different seats at the baseball game, and so we scattered for the game and then met up in the concourse after the game to walk to our car and go home. And I actually had not drank very much that day, and I was fine to drive, but my son hadn't seen me for much of that. And he, when we meet up in the concourse afterwards, he says, dad, do we need to take a blueberry home? And I said, no. Why do you ask that? He said, well, sometimes when you and Mr. Smith get together, you can get kind of rowdy. And I was like, no, buddy, it's fine. And, man, I could not shake that comment the rest of the day, it was the last thing I thought about when I went to bed that night. It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up the next morning. I just thought, what am I doing as a dad that my oldest son feels the need to ask me if we need to take an Uber home because he's seen me drunk before? That put me in my place again, I couldn't run from that. I was like, what am I doing as a dad? Can't I do better than that? And that hit me in a way that few things had. And I knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn't being the best dad I could be. And again, I couldn't run from that. Fine. I want to do stuff that hurts me or affects me as a person, that's one thing. But when I'm doing stuff that is affecting my kids and affecting my ability to be the best dad I can be, that's a problem. At least that was what was going on in my head. I'm like, that, okay, that's something you need to do something about. You need to do something about, like, now, not in a year. And stop rationalizing it and making excuses for yourself because you get one shot with these kids, and parenting is hard, and why are you doing something that's making it harder? So that happened about three or four months before I quit. And then the last weekend I had drinking was one down in Arizona with some good family friends. We were celebrating someone's 40th birthday. It was adults only. My wife and I were down there. They were down there. Our friends were down there. My parents were down there. And there was a night where I was drunker than everyone else. We were just getting ready to eat dinner. My wife was trying to convince me to go up to the room and retire for the night. I was telling her she was crazy and nagging me and just leave me alone because it's fine. And she whispered something into my ear. She said, your parents are staring at you. And I was like, what? And she said, your parents are staring at you. And I dismissed it in the moment, but like the comment my son made, the first thing I thought about when I woke up the next morning was that comment, and I couldn't get it out of my head. And my parents are two of the most loving, compassionate people you'll ever meet. So I wasn't thinking that they were looking at me with disgust and disappointment and shame. What I was thinking was, they were looking at me and probably thinking, there's our 44 year old adult son with four kids of his own, the drunkest in the room at a birthday party while his wife tries to get him to go up to the hotel room. And I thought they were probably sad for me, and they probably were looking at me just with sadness and maybe some sadness for my wife having to deal with me. But the feeling of, even as a 44 year old adult, the feeling that I did something to make my parents sad just wrecked me. And again, was something I could not run from. And it was after that weekend where I just said, how many times are you going to do this? How many Sundays are you going to wake up and be like, man, I drank too much last night. I can't believe I did that. I said I wasn't going to do that. My wife's mad at me. I'm wondering if I made a fool of myself. All the shame and the embarrassment and the regret. That cycle is going on again. This was a new level because of what my wife had said about my parents. And I want to crawl out of my skin. I felt so bad about myself, but I just thought, how many times are you going to do this? It's not working. Whatever you're trying, you're not beating this. You're not changing. Here we are again. And I was just so sick of all of it. And I was like, enough. I've had enough. This is not serving me anymore. It's the balance, your title. The tipping point. I was at the tipping point. The negatives had started to outweigh the positives. I didn't decide in that moment that I was done for good, but I had decided, I'm taking another 90 day break. But there was something different about this one. Even at that moment, I knew in the back of my mind that I was done. I was not ready to admit that to myself, but I was just so disgusted with myself. I was so tired of the battle. I was so tired of this feeling like I had failed yet again, that I said, I'm taking a break. And that ended up being the last time I took a drink. So that was a very long answer to your question. [00:31:51] Speaker B: Well, I really appreciate it. I was just nodding along because I could relate to so much of it. The college drinking and then parenting and drinking and just having these moments with our kids where they're watching you and just the shame and guilt that I experienced with that. And my daughters. My daughters were ten and 13 when I quit. And also where you were trying to moderate forever. I spent decades, too, Todd. Like, if I can just find the magic pill of moderation if I can just be a normal drinker. Right? But like you said, I feel the same way. Even though it took me a long time to get to where I could be. Like, okay, I'm done. I've had enough. I needed all those breaks, all those day ones, all that analysis and data. I needed that to get me to where I am now. Even though it's so painful, when you're in it, it's so hard. So thank you for sharing that. [00:33:09] Speaker C: Yeah. Part of me wishes someone would have pulled me aside during that six years and been like, hey, I got a little secret for you. This moderation thing isn't going to work. Let me save you the time. But to your point, that wouldn't have worked. It wouldn't have worked. We have to get there, and everyone's journey looks a little different. But at the end of the day, everyone has to get to that point. And how everyone gets there is up to them. And some people, it doesn't take very long. For me, it happens. That's okay. I wish I would have quit sooner. I would have loved to have quit sooner. But you got to go through whatever you have to go through that gets you there. [00:33:56] Speaker B: Well, how do you. As a dad, I mean, we talk a lot about mom guilt. We never talk about dad guilt. I don't know why. But as a dad, how do you deal with kind of the guilt and overcoming the shame with your children now that you have this perspective? [00:34:14] Speaker C: Yeah, that's interesting you say that, that we don't talk about dad guilt because you're right. I don't know. The reason is I think we lay a lot more on women when it comes to child raising and all that than we do on men. That's probably part of it. But I really try not to dwell on that because it doesn't do any good. And I'm very proud of the decision that I did make, and so I kind of let that pride just overrule any guilt of not doing it sooner. I will say I really don't look backwards much at all, but there are times where I'll see people out with younger kids in the toddler stage or even the baby stage. And I do think, man, I would love to go back and do those stages over as a sober dad because I'd be such a much better dad through those stages than I was. So I do do that every once in a while, and that's when I see people with kids younger than mine who are thinking about giving it up. I just tell them, oh, my gosh, I'd give a lot to be able to go back and redo the stage of paragon you're in right now. It'd be so much better. It really would. So I try not to dwell on it because it is what it is, and I try to focus on the fact that I did do it, and I'm glad I did it when I did. But, yeah, the kids stuff, that's the one thing that I do find myself looking backwards a little bit. Parenthood is so there's so many different phases to it, and you feel like you don't know anything while you're going through it. And I don't know about you, but I feel like I haven't figured anything out until it's too late. So I feel like I maybe figure out a few more things going through those stages as a non drinker, but I try not to dwell on that too much. [00:36:24] Speaker B: Yeah. And I just want to add, because it's a question I get asked a lot, and that I think about a lot is it's separating, like, guilt from shame and telling the whole story. I feel guilt over a lot of the way that I drank or showed up as a parent, but it doesn't mean I was a bad mom. So I have to kind of tell the whole story of what kind of mom was I and not just focus on the bad parts. And then also, I think it's so powerful for our kids to see that we're not perfect and that we can overcome something like this. I think that is a huge lesson, and I hope that it's a gift for the kids, too, that you can change, you can make mistakes in your life, you can have redemption, and you can change, and it's possible. And we're humans and we're flawed, and there's no perfect parent or perfect person. [00:37:32] Speaker C: Yeah, I think that's a wonderful message. And I'm very open with my kids about my issues with drinking. And I want them to know, look, for whatever reason, and it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, but for whatever reason, these are my issues with alcohol, and you might have some of those, too. My oldest is a lot like me, and I do worry that he's going to drink similarly to how I drank, and he may have some of the same issues I did. Maybe he won't. But I'm very open about the issues I had with alcohol because I do think it's important that they know adults struggle, too. I found even beyond my own kids, their friends have been really interested in me quitting drinking. It's fascinating. It's been fascinating to watch kids gravitate towards this sort of thing. And it's been. One of my favorite kind of parts about getting sober is to watch their interest in it. I just think that's fascinating. And it's kind of driven home to me, like how much kids notice things with adults. I've read a quote. I have this dad book that I read every day. It's got, like, a story for each day. And one of the stories was. I don't remember the exact quote, but it was basically like, kids aren't paying attention to what you're telling them, paying attention to what you're doing. That's what they see, that's what they notice. And I thought, man, this quitting and watching the kids respond to that has really driven that home for me. [00:39:26] Speaker B: That's really cool. They can come to you and you're a safe person and safe place. My daughters are teenagers now, and she'll be a senior in high school. And I am like, I mean, we've already had some shenanigans, but I think about me in college and your college experience. It's like, oh, I just want them to be aware, and I want to be a safe person. I hope they can turn to me if they do find that they're struggling. [00:39:59] Speaker C: Yeah. And I feel like I'm that now for my kids. And I feel like I was that before to some extent. And I feel like I was a good dad before. When I was drinking, I was there for them. But there's levels to that that I didn't even know existed before I quit drinking. And what I've discovered since I quit is you think you were there for them when you were drinking. Wait till you see how it feels to be there for them when you stop drinking. Wait till you see how it feels to be present when you stop drinking. It's a whole nother level that I didn't even know existed. And the benefit of that not only is being there on that level for your kid, but it's also the peace of mind that I have knowing that I'm there for them in a way that I wasn't before and that there's never going to be a night that I'm unavailable because of my drinking. The calm and the peace and the contentment that that brings me as a dad is just priceless. [00:41:11] Speaker B: I agree. I agree because I thought that it was helping me, but there's so many times now that things will happen. And I'm like, thank God I'm sober. So many parenting things. I'm like, praise Jesus. [00:41:28] Speaker C: Absolutely. It happens all the time. And I was the same way. I thought drinking was almost a necessary part of parenting. Like, I deserve it. It takes the edge off. It helps me deal with stress. I thought all of those things were true. I think I say this in the book, having parented as a drinker and now a non drinker, it's not even close. What's better and what's easier? Not even close. You couldn't pay me enough to go back and parent as a drinker after experiencing both. And like you, I'd say, I don't know, once a couple of times a month, I have a moment where either the way I handle something big or small, I just think, oh, man, I dealt with that so much better than I would have four years ago when I was drinking. And so it's just a gift that keeps on giving. [00:42:32] Speaker B: I agree. It makes parenting easier, your relationships better and easier, work gets easier, all of that. Well, what would you say surprised you the most about quitting drinking? [00:42:47] Speaker C: Oh, man. I'd say the peace and calm that I have now, the inner peace and the inner calm that I have now I didn't know existed. I didn't know I needed it. That has been one of the biggest surprises. I'd say. Like, overall, bigger picture, the biggest surprise has been how much I enjoy a life without alcohol because that blew me away. I thought even when I made the decision to quit, I was at peace with the decision itself, and I knew I needed to make it, and I knew in my heart of hearts it was the right decision. But I also thought that I was signing up for a life that was going to be a little more boring and just a little duller than what I had been experiencing. And that couldn't have been further from the truth. I mean, it's the opposite of more boring. It's the opposite of Duller. It's the opposite of what I thought I was signing up for. It's so much better than what I was doing before that. It's really hard to describe if you haven't been through it yourself, because I wouldn't have believed it if someone tried to describe it to me when I was drinking, I would have been like, no, I don't think I believe you. [00:44:11] Speaker B: Same. [00:44:13] Speaker C: But it's been truly remarkable. And I found a way of living that I did not know existed. And it's so far beyond what I expected. And it's so much better than what I was doing before. I want everyone to experience it if they're interested. [00:44:32] Speaker B: Yeah. It is hard to describe because it's not like anything dramatically changes in your job or like, you still have the same job and kids and life, but it's just life is so much more enjoyable. I mean, people talk about the fog lifting or like wizard of Oz going from black and white to full color and all of that. It is great. [00:45:01] Speaker C: I think your bar for what constitutes enjoyment is lowered. Like, little mundane, regular old life things bring you joy that did not happen before, and that's just the start of it. That's just the everyday stuff. I feel like I'm in such a much better everything life. I have so much more confidence in my ability to handle whatever life is going to throw at me than I did before. And the peace that that brings is really something else. [00:45:40] Speaker B: Me, too. Because I'm like, if I can quit drinking, I can do. [00:45:46] Speaker C: Yeah. Yeah. Because I don't know if you felt like this, but I legitimately felt at one point in my life that that was almost impossible to. [00:45:56] Speaker B: Yes, yes. In fact, I was just reminded of my husband's. Like, we were talking to a couple or whatever. Why did this even come up? But we were talking about, Debbie has a thing for pigs that fly. And I was like, oh, my God. But then I was like, I do have some old pigs that are flying. But the reason why was because, you know the expression like, oh, that'll happen when pigs fly. And I thought, oh, that's all about making the impossible possible. And I thought, if I can quit drinking like pigs are flying. [00:46:38] Speaker C: It really does open your mind to doing something that you once thought was impossible is incredibly empowering, I have found. And it really does open your mind to what else is out there that I never thought was possible or what else is out there that's going to blow my mind. Like, this has. So it's been pretty neat. [00:47:04] Speaker B: It's so neat. Well, what advice would you give for someone who is listening to this? And they're like, well, I don't know, but I'm taking a break, or maybe I want to moderate or they feel stuck or what's just some general advice you have for that person? [00:47:20] Speaker C: I would say keep evaluating things. Keep asking questions, keep being curious. Keep looking inward, and be honest with yourself about what you're finding and what you're. Even if you. Even if it's uncomfortable, be honest with yourself. I would say trust your gut. If I look back. I had a little voice in my head for a long time saying, you might want to think about giving this up, but we shut that voice down. Shut it down for a long time. I'd say, don't be so quick to shut that voice down. Like, listen to that voice a little longer. Trust your gut. You don't have to commit to anything today. But if you're curious about it and you're finding some good things that are coming into your life with taking a break, then just keep going. Keep going for tomorrow. You don't have to keep going till next month. You don't have to keep going till next year. Just go for another day and just be honest with yourself. And the other piece of advice I would give is I have a chapter in my book called none of the bad things happened. And it's a list of a few things that I was 100% convinced that were going to happen and they were bad things. Like, people are going to stop talking to me, I'm going to lose all my friends, and I'm going to be boring, and I'm never going to make any memories again. All these things that I thought were going to happen, that were bad, that kept me from making that leap, and none of them happened, thought they were going to and they didn't. So hopefully that helps someone realize that maybe all the bad things they're afraid of happening are going to happen, because that keeps people stuck. I think it kept me stuck for a while. [00:49:13] Speaker B: Yeah. Well said. Thank you so much. Well, tell people about your book and how to find you. [00:49:19] Speaker C: So my book is called. I didn't believe it. Either. You can find it on Amazon or barnesandnoble.com, walmart.com. It's on my website, toddkinny.com also. And I'm on Instagram at tkinny. One, one, one. K-I-N-N-E-Y. Anyone wants to reach out and touch base on any of this stuff, I love talking about it. [00:49:42] Speaker B: Awesome. Well, I'm so glad that we got to meet and connect and thank you so much for sharing your story. [00:49:50] Speaker C: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it very much. I enjoyed it. [00:49:54] Speaker A: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Alcoholiday Tipping Point podcast. Please share and review the show so you can help other people, too. I want you to know I'm always here for you. So please reach out and talk to me on Instagram at alcohol tipping point and check out my website, alcoholtippingpoint.com, for free resources and help no matter where you are on your drinking journey. I want to encourage you to just keep practicing. Keep going. I promise you are not alone and you are worth it. Every day you practice not drinking is. [00:50:26] Speaker B: A day you can learn from. [00:50:28] Speaker A: I hope you can use these tips we talked about for the rest of your week and until then, talk to you next time.

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