Kris took his last drink on August 9, 2017. At just over 1000 days (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol-free (AF).
Odette opens the podcast talking about beginner emotions, also called day one emotions. “You can be brave and afraid at the same time.” Feeling scared and uncertain is natural and part of the process. Embrace those feelings and you can go far.
[5:26] Odette introduces Kris.
Kris is 38 years old, married with 2 children and a dog. They live in central North Dakota and he is a power plant operator. For fun he loves photography, videography, staying warm in the winter, and camping in the summer. ND summers are the best.
[8:28] What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
As kids, Kris and his brother would always go for vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, roasted salted peanuts, and Smarties as a topping.
[10:00] Can you give us a background on your drinking?
Kris said he started drinking in high school, he was shy and quiet in High School and this brought him out of his shell. He felt like he could be himself. He joined the Air Force out of high school and alcohol continued to help him forge bonds with others.
While he was stationed in Korea, he says he began using alcohol for more than just fun and instead used it to cope with depression. They lived by “work hard, party hard” while stationed there. He felt lost when he came home and struggled with his identity.
He says the last few years of his relationship with alcohol was really a disaster. He didn’t want to stop, he was hiding his drinking and his relationship with his wife was falling apart.
[22:48] What happened after your wife told you that you had to stop drinking?
Kris and his wife separated after that and he experienced an “Oh sh*t” moment. At the same time, he began having a willingness in his life to make and action change. He signed up for a treatment program.
[25:34] How did you feel after you realized that you had to do this? When did the decision to get sober become yours?
Kris said it was during treatment. Working with counselors he learned that he needed to take responsibility for everything. He also met with a pastor who encouraged him to start praying every day. He began asking God to help guide him. He learned the burden of his past doesn’t have to hold him back from his future.
[30:50] Do you still have cravings? How different is from the beginning and how is it still similar?
Kris said for the most part he only has moments where he romanticizes drinking. He reminds himself that it’s never one drink. Exploring the truth of what it is, sets him straight. He notices that it’s more about behaviors than actual cravings. Being short with his kids or tense with his wife. Because he now actively works on these things, he’s able to more quickly correct the action. Both Kris and his wife, in their relationship, work on these things. They are both more tolerant of each other.
[40:34] Walk us through a day in the life right now. What does working your recovery in this type of crisis look like?
Kris is considered an essential worker, so he’s still going to the office every day and his wife is a teacher, so she is homeschooling their children. Kris says his recovery is very similar, he just isn’t getting to as many face to face meetings as usual. He’s recently begun working with a sponsor again, so they are connecting a lot. He’s staying connected with Café RE, his sponsor, posting videos, showing support to others through the Facebook pages and Marco polo’ing.
[43:23] How do you keep this journey fun?
Kris chooses the tone for his life. He celebrates the milestones with his family, he stays connected with his friends in the sober community, he goes to events, and this past fall he hosted his own independent Café RE meetup. He surrounds himself with the people he loves and can be himself and let loose now th