Escaping the Vampire Lifestyle with Dennis Berry



Dennis Berry is a Life Mastery Coach and has been working with people worldwide for over 15 years.  He has been sober since April 8, 2003, during which time he became a successful businessman, athlete, and family man. His journey in recovery helped him find his mission in life, which is to help others achieve inner peace and success, and master every area of their lives.

In this Episode

  • Dennis took us behind the scenes of what he calls the “vampire lifestyle” that he led when he was working in restaurants – vodka and coke stashed in the freezer.
  • He was caught in a vicious cycle – waking up feeling awful and resolving to go straight home after work, drinking all day during his shift at the restaurants, and then finding himself at the bar after work – again – over and over – he didn’t know how to escape.
  • He got out of the restaurant trade at the age of 27 and got sober at 31 when (as he puts it) his life began…
  • Dennis got sober by going to rehab and doing the work – he did absolutely everything they recommended and it worked.
  • At Tribe Sober we recommend that people prioritise their sobriety and “throw the book” at it – listen to the podcasts, read the quitlit, stay connected with the community – do everything you can for at least 6 months and your life will change.
  • As Dennis says, rehab is about discovery but it’s only when he left that his recovery began – at the age of 31 Dennis was hungry for life.
  • He made the very interesting point that although ditching the booze can help us “recover” ourselves, for people like Dennis it meant learning to live his life for the first time!
  • That made me think of the fact that our emotional maturity stalls at the age that we start drinking heavily – so if we start drinking at a young age, we never get the chance to learn how to handle our feelings and our emotions.
  • We agreed that although AA can be a good start, we need to do the work and then go out and live – we can’t spend 30 years going to the rooms for meetings!
  • He feels that the best thing about AA is the community and all sobriety groups can offer this – connection is the opposite of addiction.
  • Fix the drinking and then you can address other parts of your life – this is called the Domino Effect. Check out Tribe Sober podcast episode 52 for more info.
  • Dennis came up with a nice analogy – if we are going through a divorce, an addiction, or financial problems we sometimes feel as if our life is falling apart. We should try reframing that because often it means that our lives are actually falling into place – it’s the beginning rather than the end.
  • That made me think of the JK Rowling quote: Rock Bottom became the foundation on which I built my life.
  • Dennis discovered that helping others gave him purpose – he wanted a life of service.
  • In his book “Funky Wisdom” Dennis uses the acronym HOW: Honesty (admit there is a problem); O = be open-minded; W= new way of life.
  • We’ve been taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but in fact, it’s a sign of strength.
  • He explained that when a normal drinker feels a bit tipsy, that will be a red light for him to stop – whereas for us dependent drinkers, we get a green light to keep going!
  • We talked about how the whole world is manipulated by various forms of marketing and he raised an interesting point about the placement of TV commercials – the news will pump fear into us for 10 minutes and then show us an ad for booze or junk food to trigger us to numb the pain.
  • As Dennis said, our subconscious mind is “running the show” and those limiting beliefs we hold about drinking being fun, etc, will keep us drinking. BUT the good news is that we CAN reprogram our subconscious which is what we teach in our 4-hour Zoom workshops.
  • Dennis talked about the dangers of cross-addiction – to smoking and eating sugary foods, for example. They are just another distraction to numb our feelings.
  • In fact, smoking and sugar will damage our immune system – and a strong immune system will help us to cope with cravings.
  • We need to stop the harmful habits and add in healthy habits – which can take up to a year.
  • Dennis believes in starting his day by getting “centred” and his 6 steps (which he explains in Funky Wisdom) enable him to get and stay centred.
  • These days he uses meditation, mindfulness, and CBT to process his feelings so he no longer feels the need to numb them away.
  • We talked about the importance of having a project when we get sober – we have to start building something worthwhile rather than just waiting for life to happen.
  • Building a purposeful and healthy life takes years whereas drinking is just a quick fix.

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The 11 Year Fact

Did you know that the average dependent drinker will struggle alone for 11 years before reaching out for help?

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