I want to give you some tips on how to stay sober if you’re a man over 50. Women are obviously welcome but gearing this towards men because I’m a man. I know what men need as far as staying sober, and I’ve had lots of years of good sobriety and been sober for 13 years, and I’m going to talk about my journey.
I was a pretty low bottom drunk, and in AA terms that means that I was pretty much homeless. I was getting drunk twice a day. I wasn’t eating food because I thought it would ruin my buzz, and I was hanging out with really shady characters that were homeless.
I could barely work, I was almost unemployable. I had a caregiving job two days a week. Couldn’t even care for myself but I’m caring for another man. I think the only reason I had that job was because I could drink at work.
So, my life was destroyed. I had a heart attack when I was 32 from alcohol, been fired from tons of jobs, tons of breakups with girls, you know, jail time, you name it, been there. And so I got sober without AA and I’m going to talk about what I did 13 years ago.
Basically, I got sober because I just hit my bottom and I knew it wasn’t because of the heart attack, it wasn’t because of the jail time, it wasn’t because of losing jobs and girlfriends, it was because I was shamed by another man.
He made me feel a lot of shame and guilt, which is why I was running from myself in the first place with alcohol.
He wouldn’t leave my house and I tried kicking him out, and he’s my girlfriend’s friend at the time and I didn’t even like him,
He was a skater punk and started making songs about me with his guitar, and I couldn’t kick him out because I was shaking in bed with alcohol withdrawals at 8am.
I slept in the nude so I couldn’t really get up and kick him out. That was enough. After hundreds of relapses and trying to get sober on my own, and using AA and everything else under the sun.
The thing that made me finally stop drinking was feeling enough shame and guilt, and just feeling so pathetic that I was done.
So the last day I drank I had two beers left, and I walked back home with those beers. I was at my girlfriend’s house and I was done. I just walked away. She was at work, and I looked back at that house and I was like this is the last time I’m going to step foot in this house.
I walked back to my converted school bus, which was my house and I had two beers left and I nursed those, and that was it. Those last two beers probably saved me from having serious withdrawals or even possibly dying from alcohol withdrawals.
You have to be careful with getting sober. If you’re drinking a fifth of vodka a day you could die from just quitting cold turkey. So definitely look into some kind of medical supervision or just wean off slowly if you can.
To be honest, the first two years of sobriety I was still smoking cigarettes, so I could still relax with a cigarette. Also, for a treat at night, I would have peanut m&ms so I had something to look forward to, I would look forward to a good cup of coffee.
I also loved saunas, you know, I got my gym membership back and I started to work out. When I got sober, I started to eat again and started getting my strength back but then I dove into my work, I got two jobs back to back.
I stayed away from any old drinking friends, any triggers to drink, people, places and things – you got to stay away from. But you really have to know that this is it for you.
You can’t go back. You can’t have any reservations. You can’t be like well if I just got that new job I could drink again or if I just got that new girlfriend I can drink again. You can’t have any reservations, you got to be done with it.
You have to absolutely be done, you have to hit your rock bottom, whatever that is, if anyone’s enabling you to drink – if you got drinking friends, you’re going to have to get rid of them.
Yeah, be very honest about this and you have to treat it like it’s life or death, because it is life or death.
Your friends will support your sobriety only for a little while, but they’re going to be two faced and they’re going to want to drink with you again, they’re gonna support you, they’re going to pretend to support you, but eventually they’re going to be like, Dude, come on, you’ve been sober for a month. Let’s drink.
You have to get rid of your old friends. So, I basically dove into my work, I started to work out again, and I like thrill, you know, most alcoholics are thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies, so I started to play racquetball. I loved racquetball, I started to play drums again.
So look into the things that you used to do before alcohol got in the way. Look up old hobbies or create new ones, join a drum circle, you know, hit that sauna after a hard workout, look into jogging.
You can get an awesome jogger’s high, and you can really start to get dopamine and adrenaline and endorphins from a really good workout, you could get endorphins from chocolate, you can get endorphins from cheese.
You know, look into healthy food, where you can get really good feelings from it, you can look into CBD oil to help out to help smooth the edges, look into chamomile tea and kava supplements and GABA supplements. Those things really helped me.
But, in the beginning, I still had vices, I still had cigarettes, I still had sugar, but eventually I cut out the cigarettes, and then I just had sugar, and then eventually I cut out the sugar by switching to stevia, which isn’t really registered as a sugar in your body.
Eventually you’ll start to get your life back and you can journal about it. Start helping fellow brothers and sisters with your story of how you got sober, do a vlog, do a journal, start documenting every single day that you’re sober, you know, how are you feeling? You’re gonna have a ton of emotions coming back in sobriety.
You might even want to check out a therapist. You can get a good therapist online, check out betterhelp. Look into CBT therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy because it’s stinking thinking that gets us where we’re at in life.
And if you don’t like where you’re at. I mean, look around, you know, are you hurting people? I’m sure that your girlfriend’s pissed off at you. Your mom’s upset with you, friends and family are concerned about you.
You have to take an honest look around and be like, you know, who have I hurt, because it’s not just you in this battle between alcohol and yourself. There’s lots of casualties in this affair.
So you have to really assess the situation and know that it’s life or death, and you got to stop. You got to stop today, I’m here for you I support you. Like I said, You gotta get all that nervous energy out and that anxiety.
Definitely hit up the gym, even if you can’t join a gym right now, go for a walk and then work your way up jogging. Look into interval training, hiit training, you know, get a home gym if you can, get a heavy bag and start hitting the bag.
If you like drumming, get a drum set. Again, if you like drawing, pick up that sketch pad, you know, start writing, get in touch with who you are, don’t find a new girlfriend right away.
You should be alone for at least a year or two, you really got to tap into that trauma that started you drinking anyways in the beginning.
I’m sure you have some trauma. Okay, maybe your dad was mean to you, maybe your mom left, maybe your parents got a divorce, maybe you were molested. Maybe you were bullied, maybe you have low self worth issues like I did. I still do.
We’re not going to be perfect once we get sober, but every single day start piecing those bricks back in place, start losing weight, you know, if you’re too skinny start eating healthy again, look into vegan protein, you know, look into vegetarian options.
Get away from the really dense foods. Treat yourself though you know if you have a good strong workout, have a steak after a workout, have a big steak.
There’s plenty of healthy options out there that can make you feel just as happy as the alcohol and the alcohol was a lie though, that depleted your nutrition, that depleted your life, that depleted your sanity, and it made me nervous and more anxious than ever. It didn’t help anything. It was all a lie. At the very end of it. So, I hope these tips help. Hang in there, hit that subscribe button if you’re new here, we’ll talk to you soon.
Erik C Johnson