Pod 59 Chris Shipley
Thank you for coming back to listen to the alcohol tipping point podcast. I am your host Deb Masner. And today is a special episode with my brother and I just wanted to record this intro. To give you a little bit of background about our lives and, and just give some context into the story that my brother Chris has to tell. So we are a family of five. My parents got married. They actually eloped the day after my mom turned 18.
And then they had three kids by the time my mom was 21. So super young. Married. Beautiful people. They are still married to this day. Which is pretty amazing. All things considered. And so in our family, there's my oldest brother, Chris, who is four years older than me. And then my sister, Becky.
Who is two years older than me. And then I'm the youngest. Which if you know me, you'd be like, yeah, she's the youngest. So a really tight. Tight sibling group, basically. And we all grew up in Idaho. We were born in Lewiston, Idaho, which is just a Paper mill town, small town in Idaho. And then we moved up to Moscow, Idaho.
So that my mom could go to graduate school for counseling and psychology. And my parents opened a restaurant there. And all three of us kids grew up working in the restaurant and just working really hard together, but also growing up in this college town. This party town. Where we all started drinking at very young ages.
Well, I shouldn't say all because my brother. I started drinking very young. I started drinking very young. My brother and I, as you'll hear more about his story. Went on to have more problems with drinking and just decide to take it out of our lives for good. My sister is one of those people that could take it or leave it. You know, she's one of those.
People about alcohol. Which is, is interesting. We've had a lot of deep conversations about that. With my brother, we both just realized alcohol was taking more than it was giving. And we both. Worked on our drinking for years and commiserated with each other, for years about it, he would take breaks and then I would take breaks. And, you know, I just happened to have my alcohol free life stick earlier than his he just celebrated one year alcohol free in April.
So I am super proud of him. I'm proud of him for sharing his story. He actually hadn't told. The rest of the family or my sister that he had quit drinking. And I remember talking to my sister about it and she was like, I had no idea. Like, I didn't know. She felt sad. She said it made her sad that Chris and I had.
Struggled with our drinking and how to talk about it. And I just think that's so normal and he just told her, well, then we that's, we did what we were supposed to do then, like, it's something that you don't. Oh, you don't talk about, and you don't want other people around you to know. That you were struggling or that.
This is your thing. So I hope that. Listening to my brother's story just gives you inspiration. Just knowing that. You are influencing people around you, whether you realize it or not. My brother and I both made it okay for each other. To quit drinking. We normalized it for each other and now, you know, I'm normalizing it for you.
As you're listening and he's sharing his story and normalizing it for other people. So I want to thank you for listening to the show. And without further ado here is my episode with my beautiful older brother, Chris Shipley. Welcome back to the alcohol tipping point podcast. I am your host maze, ner registered nurse health coach and alcohol free bad-ass. And today is a very special episode with my brother, Chris Shipley. He is an accountant, a father, a dad, and he is one year alcohol free. So congratulations and welcome to the show, Chris
Deb ATP: So you just had your one year alcohol free anniversary. What date was that?
Chris: I think it was all as last year's Easter and I think it was actually April. I think it was April 4th.
Deb ATP: Okay. April 4th. Just go with it for four. That's a good day.
Deb ATP: well, I am, I'm so happy for you and I'm so proud of you. I mean, I know that we have had our conversations about drinking for years.
It seems like, and either you've kind of been on a break or I've been on a break and now here we both are living alcohol free. But I haven't like heard your full story, like how it started. So can you share just like what drinking was like for you?
Chris: Sure. Yeah. You know, at first it was really, I had a pretty good relationship with drinking and honestly I really enjoyed it.
And I remember alcohol being involved in my life really since being a little kid and hanging around ad you know, with him drinking beer after work Drinking beer, a soft softball. And then as I got older and as we would hang out, you know, I'd be able to like, Hey, can I have a beer? Sure. Or a drink, I guess it started with a drink, have a beer.
And then later on, I got to have like a full beer, which is a big deal and that it didn't seem harmful then, but now in this later stage of life being a little more healthy, just kind of having clarity, looking back, I can just see how alcohol is such a part of my, my identity of who I am and how I measured myself to be.
And so we moved in also. You know, as a young guy, my dad, my dad to me was Moses. He was the law-giver. He was really cool. And just like, this is, this is it, you know? And he was, he was a cool dude. I mean, you know, he worked at a junk yard, post auto parts, drove a pickup that he brought home on a wrecker.
He had a motorcycle that he brought home one day. I still remember, and it was a X, T 500. It was like black and silver. And he would take me riding on that, down to the salmon river. And, you know, I mean, dad was a bad-ass and I was like, I want to be like dad. And when we moved from Louis tin up into Moscow, that was sixth grade and junior high, so formidable years, and it was kind of a Oasis, but that Oasis was really punctuated.
Pretty good times with dad going, hunting, going down to that, to Louis and maybe to watch cousin play baseball, but each of those situations was also included alcohol and beer.
Deb ATP: So this stuff, I don't know, really like you were drinking beer with dad when you were 12.
Chris: Is that what your, well, when I say drinking beer with dad's like, Hey, could I have a drink of your beer?
Sure. And if I got to have a beer, it was a big deal, but it wasn't like, Hey, no, don't don't be doing this. It was like, yeah. I mean, I still remember like crawling into the driving around with dad. We had a split window in the back of the pickup. And I would crawl back in there and grab him a beer out of the cooler.
And then when he would finish those, he would throw them over the hood of the rig as we were driving to Atlanta in the back. Perfect. I go, I got you and I'd go get him another one. And we would just have these great road trips. So just tooling around in the woods drinking, bear, listening to music talking, you know, our uncle would be there and it just be telling these stories.
I just be a kid just soaking this all in. And then as I got older and those times with dad got less and less, they were really kind of like a night sky. So those were kind of like stars and, and a night sky. There's a lot of darkness, but also those times of hanging out there were pretty bright. I really enjoyed that time and there, it always involved alcohol and that time summers on the Oregon coast with my grandfather and there'd be a lot of drunks around and he would tell him was like, look, this is, this is dangerous stuff.
And to him, dangerous was hard. Alcohol beer was okay because he didn't have a problem with drinking beer, but hard alcohol, you get the hard alcohol and it's just the downhill thrill. So I always equated alcohol again. It's not dangerous. It's okay. Look, I was a fairly decent student in high school and I worked hard, but also I hung out with older kids and we would, after school go drink.
And in junior high, sometimes we would drink during lunchtime.
Deb ATP: Yeah. Did you make your own home brew in junior high or was
Chris: that it was awful, but it gets you drunk.
Deb ATP: You did. You did make like moonshine.
Chris: Yeah, of course.
Deb ATP: In like
Chris: seventh grade. Well, no that'd be ridiculous.
Deb ATP: Eighth
Chris: grade, I think. So it was ninth grade.
Yeah. I don't, I wasn't driving at the time I got it. I kind of viewed look, I was a good kid, but I also viewed kind of living on the outskirts of the law was kind of what you did. I rode my motorcycle to driver's ed.
Deb ATP: So drinking. Do you like when you were younger was really tied to dad and just being with, with God, with the
Exactly. Hey, I can still remember. Beer that I had after work. Like I still remember like one of my best beers. It was a chorus line, which is a terrible beer by the way. But I was with a friend of mine, we got done cutting a bunch of firewood. I mean, this is just shit. I just like to do, I mean, I like to run a song, cut firewood and just get, you know, if he told me that, would it be a CPA?
I'd be like I kinda doubt it. But anyway, so we cut, I don't know, three core to firewood that day terrible amount, but a decent amount of wood. And his dad was drinking a bear and he's like, all right, you guys want a beer? And this was like a big deal to him. And I was like, I grew up drinking this stuff.
Hell yeah, throw me one. He threw me a beer, caught it in my hand. I opened it up and I just buried that beer to drink. And it was just mixed with, with. The essence of sawdust two-stroke oil, the salt from my sweat with this cold beer. And it's just another dude, this other guy just handed me this beer and he just looked at me.
He's like, damn. It's like, well, all right, you're not ordinary kid. And I was like, yeah, try it. I'm a guy who works hard and can, and can drink and have a good time. And that was my relationship with alcohol for a long time. It was hanging out with friends working hard. And then also, you know, I like to, it's not good to twist it.
I had a good relationship with alcohol. It was fun. I would, I would drink and I would have a good time. Then it, it got put on pause. For just a little while I, I got, I got, I got married. I quote unquote, found religion. I was like, all right, I'm not going to drink anymore. And then, and then it just started kind of creeping back up and it just started getting a little more than a little more and a little more.
And it really wasn't like fun anymore. That's one thing I noticed, I was like, this isn't really fun. And then I still kept doing it. And so the same thing, like I'd go down and see data and Boise like, oh, I have a drink together and I'd have fun doing that. But when I went out on my own, I no longer was tethered to this responsibility that I had far as getting up in the morning and going to work.
I could really tell myself
Deb ATP: when you went out, you mean when you got your own business, when you open, is that what you're saying?
Chris: When you, yeah, right. Yep. I did that like right before COVID. So right before COVID hit a couple of years ago, I was like, I'm just going to go out on my own. I'm not bike by myself here, but I'm with a group of other CPAs.
And so I'd no longer had this responsibility tie me down to go to somebody else. And I, I really, I really noticed a conversation in my head changing and it was like, you know what, I'm free. I could do whatever I want to do. Like if I want to leave this afternoon, I can. In fact, I've worked pretty hard today already.
I'm pretty sure I can go drink some beer. And I would tell myself, I'd wake up in the morning. I'd go to the gym. I'd work out. I was like, all right, if I could do the 2 25, which is not like a lot of weight, it's just squats. You know, it was like, if I could do the 2 25, I'm still okay. Soon as I can't start lifting anymore, then I probably should start toning down the drain drinking.
And I just noticed this conversation in my head more and more. Because it wasn't much more than I think it was like six or four years prior to that, I had actually some really good counseling cause my marriage fell apart, but I actually got a hold of a really good counselor. And she really helped me with listening to who I am and my inner dialogue of how I talk.
And so there was a couple of turning points where I'm like, man, my conversation is all around alcohol. That's how I'm the dead define everything. And I would become home and I thought I'd be tired from work. I was tired because I was drinking. And then you started your journey. And honestly, I thought that thought, well, we'll see how far this goes.
Like, like, all right. Cause we had both started and stopped multiple times or slowed it down. I don't remember even talking to daddy, he's like, ah, just drink a couple of light beers. And I couldn't, I just couldn't, you know? And then that's when I realized that I don't know, every once in a while, you know, that recycling bin you got and it's like, damn, there's a lot of, but this is just me here.
You know, Heather doesn't drink that much. You know, my wife, she, you know, and, but I, I really did. And it started to be where, you know, I'd be drinking at work. I was like, wait a minute. Nobody else here is occasionally they would have a beer, but not consistently, like I would. And so it just came to a point where I started to make a decision to stop, which was around January.
And I was like, this isn't happening. Continuing to make excuses and that voice on my head is getting louder, a little more clear, and I know, or this path is going to lead. I was like, I know where this is going to go. This is one of those people I want to be out of shape. I want to look back and I'm like, I ain't done shit.
I barely kept a business together. But you know that alcohol w what's that, what's that one that you told me to do it wasn't alcohol anonymous, but it, she had the alcohol. Yeah. Yeah. There was a couple things. When I went through that or the penny just started to drop and you know, the old saying like, Hey, when the student is ready, the master will appear.
I think I, because I heard all of these things before, but I think at that time in my life, like I was ready to make a change. And then I think as one day I decided like, you know what, I'm, I'm just doing it. And Easter just felt like a good breaking time. Cause I was leaving to go down a Moscow and was like, okay, I can get, if I can get through this weekend, I'll be okay.
And I signed up for this thing at the gym, like, I don't know some spring thing. It was three day. I had no idea of going to things that they had, but I thought I need to do something outside of myself. That will be an outside. Basically. It'll be an attestation to what I decided inside that is outside of the.
Okay. So I went and signed up for that. I went to zero meetings, but for me, I knew it was important. So it was like a hundred bucks. So I put down a hundred bucks for this stupid thing, some weight loss contest. I did not care about that at all. And so I went through, I did that and went my 15 days or fifth God, what was it?
I can't remember. Now. It might've been a month. Anyway, I went through that bad boy, finished it out and I thought, okay. I went through a month. I was like, I think I can keep doing this. And it wasn't easy, but I was able to do it. And I just noticed, I still need a lot of those dopamine hitters. Yeah. I found myself comforting myself through food.
Sometimes it's just being on the internet, you know? But slowly it just kind of turned the curtain. I think once you get past at 30, 60, 90 day marker. You're like, you know, I think I could do this. And then I really wasn't looking at it as one year. I was just taken it simply as they say, just one day at a time, you know, and I wasn't being mean at myself.
It was, it was really because I made a decision that I was worth it. And that knowing who I am is worth knowing. And there's, there's a hope there. And I don't think I would have had that if I didn't have that prior counseling. And just a lot of the other examples that I had around me and a sister you know, to some other people on podcasts, there were other examples of guys.
There's not a lot of guys out there that talk about this stuff. There's a few and you kind of hear them on the side, like, oh, I don't drink, but it's not like what, they, it's not their lead off conversation. It's like, hi, my name is Chris. I don't drink, you know, it's, it just really doesn't come up.
Deb ATP: Well, you, you had talked about it being so tied to being a man, like it was tied to sports and hunting and working hard and, and you earned it like at the end of the day, your hard work day, you know, just, can you talk more about that experience of, of men and drinking?
Chris: Yeah, sure. I mean, far as it relates to me, it was, it was definitely a culture that I grew, that I grew up in and that I witnessed is that, you know, if you weren't drinking, it was kind of like, well, what were you in when. But then you really were part of this club here, you know, that you really didn't share in my experiences.
I definitely couldn't relate to some honestly, I don't think I could really relate to somebody that didn't drink.
Deb ATP: I know, I felt maybe I feel like maybe I miss some friendships or opportunities because I was kind of the same. It was like my litmus test. If someone could be my friend or not like, are you a drinker?
Do you love to drink? Okay, we're
Chris: cool. Plus
Deb ATP: growing up in Moscow college town, a drinking culture was huge there. I mean, not just the, just not just the men stuff, like just that culture, that high school we went to U of I working at our dad's restaurant, which was huge party culture. I mean,
Chris: I don't know.
Yeah, it was, it just kinda permeated all around you. I mean, I even remember talking to dad, he was closing down the restaurant and then when they were closing down the books, he'd always be drinking beer. And just, I remember him, Dan, I think, I can't remember what mom wanted him to do. Maybe join some calls or something.
I can't remember. It might've been the Mormon church. He's like, I ain't doing that. I want to tell somebody you can't drink some beer. And I was like, yeah, I know it. Like, can you imagine not drinking beer? It was, it was log like unfathomable. You know, I just there's times when I think about this now, I, I, I, haven't gone hunting in such a long time when it comes around the fall.
I think about it. And not that I really want to go out and just, you know, come down an animal and skate it out right. And survive off the land. But I do miss that going out. Side that mountain air. I I'm just, I'm actually just reacquainting myself now with who I am and the outdoors without alcohol. It's weird.
It's a little bit different. And there's times where I have to just stop and pause and go like this is, I just don't. This is weird. That not weird in a bizarre way. That's bad in a way. That's like, I am experiencing this at a completely different level that I at one time kinda mocked. And now I'm like, wow, this is, I can enjoy being outside out.
Alcohol is one thing too, that kind of the penny dropped on me too. I remember in health class, Mr. and he. It's somebody that class asked the question and I had had that same question. They said like, Hey, if alcohol is such a depressant, why would he drink this? He feels so dang good. And people are up and party and like woo hoo and it around.
And it was one of those conversations in that whole experiment where I talked about that brain chemistry that you have, you put that depressant in, Hey man, your body's going to try to stay at home out, you know, homeostasis. So it's going to kick up the feel good feelings and those hormones that's going to overcompensate.
So you're going to have this collision, this confluence of depressant, or kind of like, oh, this a little bit of a mellow Connie, which I I'm drawn to Mela Connie and the dark side I am. I'm just, I'm interested in it. And then also you, they got that good feeling side of it too. And it's like, oh yeah. So you just got to got this mysterious, good feeling like a hug, you know, it's like, I feel good, but also mysteriously.
I'm also just a little like, wow, Hey man, what's going on here? And I was walking in the park and I realized, just taking a couple of steps. It's like, Hey, wait a minute. You know, all those good feelings, those are already in me. They can come out, you know, through exercise, the appreciation of good art conversation being around people who you love, you know?
And so that's
about not having alcohol and, and back to this idea of like examples of, of being a man is like, whoa, like, Hey, you can, you can do this. You can have these feelings. No alcohol, you can have these relationships without alcohol and, and yeah. Back to relationships like, oh geez. I, the only reason I had relationships with other people that didn't drink is it.
I happened to run into my freshman year of college. They wanted somebody to be in their dorm room. There wasn't a stranger. They'd rather have me who they knew through high school, but never hung out with than a complete stranger. So I hung out with dudes that didn't drink. And then later on Rob, you know, we got a little trailer together on some of my dad's, you know, one of those pieces of property that he owned.
And I lived, we lived together for God. This sounds homoerotic here, but we to live together, but we did, we lived together for our whole entire career of college. And that was a big point for me. I was like, wow, it was until this.
And, you know, so I worked at a gym and the guys that I worked out with, they didn't drink, but that was my gym friends. And they did those two worlds did not mix at all.
Deb ATP: Yeah. So I mean, it, even though it was tied to like dad and growing up and masculinity or whatnot, you did have examples of friends and male friends who didn't drink.
Chris: Oh yeah. They're out there. You know, I don't, but they were just, weren't part of who I was going to be, you know, I was like, oh, that was good for them, but not for me, you know, I'm going to keep on drinking.
Deb ATP: Yeah. Tell me more about like how you quit drinking and what was helpful for you.
Chris: Well, I think the one thing that was really helpful was, was going through that counseling, having that language that I had now.
I was really important and you really have to make that decision for yourself. You can't make it for my family. I mean, they're, they're going to benefit for those better off for it. If you're doing it for them, if you're going to do it for the gram and I want to pose my sober store, look, I love it when people share their sober stories.
But if your whole point of this is just to have this journey before anything other than for your own self, I really wonder about its lasting power, because we are told there's so many lies that I remember hearing just about how you actually validate you yourself. You know, from like a religious standpoint and then there were completely false and that's what was so great.
I mean that whole subject on counseling would take up a whole nother episode here. I don't, I don't want to get too into that, but what you are told and there's quote unquote, Protestant, Christianity is such a bag of bullshit. Oh, sorry.
Deb ATP: Tell me more because well, for those listening, we didn't grow up religious, but you, but you kind of found religion later
Chris: in life.
I, I did later on a, in college, I was living with Rob. He always asked me to go to church with them. And one day I did and I've always been a spiritual curiosity type of guy, you know? I mean, that was, I've always been interested in that kind of stuff, but I really wanted no part with you. Quote, unquote, I'm dressing up and going to church.
I know a lot of those guys because they'd come out drinking and I knew a lot of them were fake. I think there's one thing in my generation. It's like I grew up in the skateboard culture when it came out, we were big on no posers. I that's still bugs. And when people put on fronts or PO, I just, it still bugs me th that continuing on.
So I never got into religion through religious reasons. I went in there really searching for God, man. And I had no idea that there was religious programming that would be going on and not even really being aware of it. So I went in, I went to, I went to church, but man, I was all about finding God and finding Jesus and really reading the Bible.
And I didn't know about denominations. I had no idea about. Catholic Protestant. I had no idea. And after I graduated, I thought that that's the legit person do here. I was like, I want to be a missionary. So some guy came to our church and said, Hey, do you want to be a missionary? It's going to be really difficult.
And I was like, fuck, like, why are you recruiting for, you could have just called me. I would have done, like, I'm, I'm ready to go. And he goes, really? I go, yeah. So I did it. And during that summer, you know, this is another thing where dad, dad is cool. He was not super onboard, but I remember,
and all of a sudden I'm changing. I'm not drinking. I remember my friend, Jesse. I saw him in the parking lot and he's like, Hey man, I heard you found Jesus. I'm yeah. You know, somebody live life. I mean, it took a big change and, and look, and I loved reading the Bible and I loved my, my, I loved how I knew Jesus and I went on and I did my missionary work.
I raised as much money as I could. I didn't raise as much money as they told me to. And so I just got on a plane and flew down to Florida and I called them from there. I thought they're not going to send me home. And so I had the support that I needed and the support was to help me with living expenses while I was in the country versus out of the country.
And I was like, well, shoot, I don't need this much money. I'm not going to be here. And it's like, we're sharing a part with a bunch of dudes. So anyway, I, I, I did that whole thing and I want to just speed up this story. Like a son of a gun here. I did that missionary. I was dating this girl who's now my wife, she ran track.
And she did grow up with a lot of religious programming. I made serious programming. And when I came out of that, came back home, a guy that was going to go work without the church. He was let go from the church and I walked across the street, got a job, working construction with the guy I knew Ralph and I thought, screw it.
I'm not going to process this at all. And what I was taught, what was so appealing to me with this religion, the religious side of it was that, Hey, you're a new creation in Christ. And then I was like, awesome pride line. I stepped over it, all that stuff from my past SIA, Tony didn't have to deal with it by the way.
That's not how this works at all. And then, so it kind of fast forward. I had some, some pretty just after I got married, I got really depressed. No, I went and, and I, I joined the Marines. I, I got, I got, I went to be an officer and I went through OCS. And at the end, I was like, man, this isn't me, this isn't me.
So I didn't take my commission. And, but during that time I came underneath a lot of stress and I found myself associating from myself under stress. I was having out of body experiences and I didn't know what was going on. I had no word for that. I just knew that like, something's wrong with me? You know?
Cause when I was operating and I was healthy, I was very present. You know, I was a good little candidate. When I left there, they, you know, they're like, Hey, this isn't, there's a lot of people that dropped on requests that actually were just turds. They needed to drop. I'm glad that they did. There was an, I'm not saying that I was this greatest candidate top of my class by no means, but, you know, I really did care about my guys that I was with and I really did want to be a good Marine, but I was like, this clearly isn't for me.
And there's something fundamentally wrong with me. And I got, got, went back home and I've only been, I had been married less than a year and never, never connected with Heather anyway, you know, we just didn't have a good marriage. We didn't fight or anything. But how was wildly depressed? And, and so as she really, and it came to a point where it's like, we got to get counseling and then so we, we went to go get counseling.
There were like, Hey, we went to get church council. You believe in Jesus, she believes in Jesus. So you pray. I was like, yeah, well, it's Pratt whore. I was like, man, I must really be awful. Cause this isn't working for me. And it really came down to the last, I don't know we were each at our wit's end and somebody introduces this other counselor.
I had, I think his name was ed and the ham got quite a bit better with him and the stuff that he was tough on me. I was like, no way, no way. And he's like, yeah, you would never let this be along in the church. They wouldn't allow it. And it was a completely different version of Christianity than I ever heard of.
And I was like, this seems much, it makes much more sense to me. And then he moved away. And it, but the healing process wasn't done yet. And so there was another counselor that he recommended and her name is Beth., and she really helped me out. And the counseling that Heather and I, we both went to, went to her. But we never went together and it was never called marital counseling.
It was just called the inner healing. I don't, I don't even know if it had a name of inner Haley. We just went in and she talked with us. She prayed with us, but it was something completely different from anything else I've ever experienced. And I wasn't sure exactly what the call is or how to label this.
But one of the things that she really helped me with was a disassociation, you know, personally, you know, disorder and you can be on a spectrum on that. And I was on it, but not real heavy, but it's pretty mild. So whenever it's something stressful would happen to me, how I'd kind of zone out of it. And this is just being a little bit detached.
This is like where to you lose your agency. Like if you're no longer part of the conversation, the situation anymore, you're just, you're, you're, you're out of it. And it's a self-defense that you would have when you're younger, that most people would grow out of it, pretty sensitive person in that sense and pretty resilient on others.
But that part of me never really matured a lot of other parts of me too, but that was a big part of that never really matured. So really understanding that understanding about the identity of, of who I am and, and the idea of. Talking and forgiving and just working that out was fundamental. And it really gave me a language and a hope for who I am.
And when I say that it's not a Protestant Christian, you know, bullshit. That's what I mean. I there's a lot of churches out there to say like, Hey, you know, your feelings don't mean anything. You just need to move on. There's a duty that you have, you just need to do it. And there's a lot of the gospel that's not even mentioned.
And I would have to say now here where I am, it's much more. Orthodox, which sounds a little strange to say, but it's something that never hardly ever gets mentioned is about Orthodox Christianity. And that seems to me, to me much more in line with some of the counseling that I got and the language that I got of how this actual spiritual side of who we are and how we walk out.
This there's a life that we have with. And if you say it's like, are you believe in God and how this works out with, with Jesus, with holy spirit and with God is a completely different conversation that you have, then you would have sitting in a Calvinistic, you know, Protestant very religious programmed environment.
So that's, that's, that's the big difference between.
Deb ATP: Well, I'm glad that you got the help that you needed. And I think that experience of just being told to pray more, I think that does happen to people a lot. And some people who are religious go and have like a drinking problem do go to their church first.
Cause when you're get brought up in religion, it's like, go get help with church, keep it in the family or go get help through church don't you don't need any outside help. Like Jesus will save you.
So I'm glad that you kept trying and that you did find help and that you're now living by your
It feels good. And it's amazing. Why is it amazing? It's, it's kind of it, we throw around that term red pill, but it's one of those things I'm like, wow, this is, this is why it helped. It helped the penny drop on a lot of things. A lot of issues I had like with religion, I'm like, wait a minute, this can't be right.
We can have this. We can talk about religion. I mean, that's a whole nother topic here, but far as it relates to my drinking, I mean, that was a big part of having that internal dialogue within myself to say to myself that I'm worth being sober for, because that person of who you are sober is worth knowing.
And I don't think people understand just how valuable. They are not valuable to make bricks and to be quote unquote productive, but really how special you are to who you are, to who God is. And to even to creation around you, you matter,
Deb ATP: you matter
Chris: exactly when you have that kind of, and then that when that penny drops for a person, I think it makes the fight that you have to help yourself. It's like effortless effort. It's it's not going to be easy by no means, but do you have that hope that you can persevere through that? It's going to make that sweat lodge worth sitting in for?
I still remember. I would do a lot of Sonatype. And just sweat out stuff and just, I would just be just thinking about these subjects and it's like, yeah. Why? And I really put in front of me a lot of the questions that I had, but the main question that came up was, why am I doing this? Why is this worth it?
And the only answer for me that really was able to replace drinking was because who you are, is worth it. And you get on the other side of this and you are going to have some, some pretty deep philosophical. You're gonna have some pretty deep oh, Hey man. Things, when you drink, you just, you feel so good when you drink, you know, You're going to have those silver and it's going to be even deeper and more meaningful than they have been.
Deb ATP: Yeah. Tell me how your life has changed in this last year.
Chris: Well, I would guess from the outside, it probably doesn't look a whole lot different if other people were observing me internally there's this new drive that I have go into bed, waking up. I have this new urgency in life. That time feels different to me.
That's a big difference unlike. Wow. I can't believe how much time I spent thinking about drinking, drinking, and recovering from drinking.
Deb ATP: I mean the bandwidth that it takes up in your head. It's it's amazing.
Chris: Oh yeah. Yeah. So now I'm, I'm a really, I mean, the difference now is like, okay, I really have some long-term like, why am I having this business? Okay. Why, why am I now wanting to, like, I'm really looking forward to understanding more about this whole Eastern Orthodox Christianity side of it that gets completely blocked off from the conversation about Christianity.
I'm like what happened in there? What's the history of that? What did other early people cause they had these questions too. What did they have to say about this? So I'm looking forward to getting into those kinds of subject matters. And so that's on the spiritual side. You know, physically, I'm not really interested in running iron mans or swimming.
In the leg or to, you know, to doing these kinds of things that I am interested in getting back maybe back into like a jujitsu practice, a movement practice. I really need that for my my back, I got a squirrely back and if I do something physical that helped balance it out, that really helped me.
And I like to do something where I can see some progression. So I'm really kind of getting back until not just quote unquote working out, but now it was like training with some real goals ahead of me. And now that I've kind of got past this year, I'm not subjecting myself to so much comfort food,
which I think is fine. And like, look there's times where I just came home from the store with a chocolate cake and I just ate that cake.
Deb ATP: Well, I don't, I mean, you bring up a good point. Like the first year is about sobriety and doing everything you can to just keep the momentum, not drink. And then the second year, like you're already talking about like, how can I grow?
You know, now, now that I've got that milestone under my belt, like, how can I grow spiritually? How can I grow physically? How can I, you know, just all those different things now.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. I kind of reminds me of that, that thing about, about that health. I remember in counseling and she was Salem, you know, where you're you're you're how do you know when you're healthy?
It's like, when you're thinking about growing, when you see growth, I mean, that's, that is hell. That's going to also be in a healthy relationship where you're growing closer together, your plant you're doing stuff together. It will naturally kind of. Progress. I mean, it just, it just it's like that effortless effort.
There definitely is discipline involved in this, but it's not a white knuckle.
Deb ATP: Agreed. Like it's, it's worth it. Just like you said, you're worth it. It's worth it. How, how has your relationship changed with your wife, Heather?
Chris: Well, yeah, she, she decided to quit drinking too, but she, her religion with alcohol is wildly different than mine, but which really makes it easier.
Boy, I can tell in a relationship, especially if it's a long-term relationship and just one side of it decides to go on the sober side of it. I could see where that would be difficult because I'm also seeing the other side of it, which, which I'm, you know, thankfully on in she's like, this is great. I'm going to quit drinking too.
I don't know. She really appreciated how. Much drinking was within identity and just how it intervened. All parts of me, we grow. W w we grew up thinking that if you're an alcoholic, you're dead on the street, right? Yeah. We never had a term for being like, Hey, I can't, I have an issue with drinking and it's like a really good virus.
It doesn't kill you. It still keeps you ride in that zone of like, Hey, if we take this guy too far down, he may quit on us. Let's just re this, just ride the clutch here a little bit, you know?
Deb ATP: Well, and like you were saying, like, you have your own business. You're S you're a CPA or an accountant. You're married.
You have a kid you're re you know, like, Yeah, you don't fit that stereotype of someone who has a problem with drinking.
Chris: Oh, Hey, they'd seen that. They said the same thing about getting counseling. You go to work. I do you take care of your daughter? I do. You love your wife? I do. Did you yell at her? Do you hit her?
Do you know, like, are you abusive? I was like, well, no, there's just, just, I'm just telling you there's no, there, I'm telling you I need help. It's like, well, according to our research, you're doing just fine. It's like, no, ma'am
Deb ATP: I do. I mean, I did kind of reach out for help or say something to my at my medical appointments and they were like, you're okay, because you are, you're a mom or you're working as a nurse.
Like, you're fine. Just maybe cut back a little. But it was always, it was, yeah. You're still married. Got any DUIs? No. Okay. You're fine.
Chris: Oh, I know. That's another thing. I was kind of like, like, like, you know what I can, I was like, I'm surprised I don't have a DUI
driven, but you drink a couple of heavy IPA's and it's like, you're right there, bud.
Deb ATP: I agree. Well, what what's what's what would you say to people listening and maybe it's another man listening and he is like, you, you know, maybe he's successful, but he's just like, God, I'm just drinking too much. What should I do?
What, what advice would you have?
Chris: No, I think what I would say is. Oh, man, this is, I mean, we, this is the great thing about people. We're all, we're all different and some people can handle it. I really kind of questioned that actually, but if somebody really wants to quit or really slow down, I'd say, Hey, try that, try that experiment, that alcohol experiment, get yourself educated to me that wasn't big.
The language that you had is so important and the language that I got from counseling and the language that I got from this naked mind, those two things together really helped push this along another pool. I think it really great is journal stuff out in this is where it's really. Okay. Being honest with yourself.
People like to say, like, I don't lie. I would say like, yeah, you do. You're not honest with yourself. It's impossible to be. I would say, I would say it's impossible for you to be honest with yourself in that where it's so valuable to be with a counselor,
especially in counseling that will push back on you because you'll be talking, I'll be saying stuff. And then all of a sudden I'll just start crying. I'll be like, where in the world is this coming from? And it's like, oh, I don't believe that I've been lying to myself
now. And then you start turning over those false beliefs about who you are. And I bet you dollars to donuts. You're going to have it. You're going to, you're going to see something new there about who you are. And again, The donuts that you, that you are seeing alcohol is getting away, getting in the way of that person, of who you really are.
I know that some people can modulate, but man, if you're to the point where you're really seriously asking questions about this, I bet you dollars to donuts. You can be on that road of Malays for the rest of your life, and you may not ever hit those bumpers. But again, that alcohol is going to be like a virus isn't going to quite kill you.
It's just going to keep him moving along, but do those steps to look at and to see who you really are. And if you need help doing that, do it, and be honest with yourself. And I bet you dollars to dump. Who you are, is not going to be compatible with alcohol. And then when you see that you're going to have a decision to make, is it you?
Or is it alcohol? And then when it comes down to that, that's on you and you need to make that choice. And when you choose you, the student is now ready and those resources around you will start coming to you and say yes to those resources when they come to you, that'd be my advice to them.
Deb ATP: I think that's great advice just in, and I think that's a good point.
If you're listening to this podcast or you're asking the question, then. Get some help take a break. Do 30 days reach out. I mean, there are so many resources now and just see what your life is like without it. And like you said, it is like a a virus that's not gonna kill you. It's just gonna make you feel pretty shitty for just under score
Yeah, it really does. I mean, there's, I haven't read that book, but how alcohol lied to me? I mean, alcohol will lie to you, man. Absolutely.
Deb ATP: Well, thank you. Thanks for sharing and coming on the show.
Chris: Yeah, man. Proud of you. You got a
Deb ATP: podcast,
what'd you say
Chris: you're doing it.
Deb ATP: Yeah, I appreciate you. Chris would always call me after the show each week and just talk. It was just nice to have someone to talk to that was just going through the same things and I appreciate your support and I'm so, so proud of you. And I think this is going to be helpful for a lot of people just to know they can change their drinking and it's better on the other side.
Deb ATP: someone wants to find you, how could they find you?
Chris: Instagram is probably the nicest way to get all to me. Cause it just seems like they're a lot more friendly people out there.
I check it fairly often because I'm interested in dudes fixing up pickup trucks and jujitsu.
Deb ATP: So if you want like an Idaho, if you need an Idaho guy, guy's guy to connect with.
Deb ATP: I'll leak. I'll link to your Instagram account and y'all can, if you want to connect with Chris, you can always email me too.