Our guest today is Arlina Allen. She’s the host of the ODAAT Chat Podcast and has been clean and sober since 1994. Arlina was a binge drinker who used to believe finding puke on her shoes in the morning meant she had a great time. Alcohol brought out her alter-egos. She never knew which one of them was going to show up at the party, and she didn’t remember what they did either.
Arlina always thought her life would straighten out if she found the right man, but Prince Charming never came to save her. Nothing changed until she removed alcohol from her life.
Listen to how she replaced alcohol with connection and is now starting the Sober Life School.
CLEAN DATE: April 23, 1994
Listen to Arlina’s Story
Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!
Arlina Allen had good parents who didn’t drink. Her dad was from Kentucky and her mom was from Mexico City. Her house was half, “Praise Jesus” and half “Aye Dios Mio.” Unfortunately, her parents divorced when she was seven years old and she lived with her mom and her more compliant, obedient older sister.
Arlina remembers the first time she got drunk. She was ten and her mom went out on a date. There was a dusty bottle in cabinet full of brown liquid. Arlina mixed it with juice and chugged it. From the first sip, it burned all the way down. Once it hit her stomach she felt warmth spread through her whole body.
I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I felt really good.
Arlina threw up afterward. Her sister cleaned her up, put her to bed, and never told their mom what happened. This began their codependent relationship that would stretch into adulthood.
Arlina became a hardcore party girl. When she binge drank, three later egos would emerge—Badass Betsy, Wimpy Wendy, and the notorious Slutty Karen. Arlina was either fighting or crying, and she never knew who was going to come out once the alcohol drenched her system.
Arlina thought the solution to her problems was to fall in love. She bought into the fairy tale fantasy. She was waiting for Prince Charming to walk into her life and save her. This began a love addiction that was just as intoxicating and destructive as any other addiction. She kissed a lot of frogs, always overlaying her ideal vision of her prince on whoever she was with. She never saw the real person, only an illusion.
In her quest for a prince, Arlina went through great lengths to look good on the outside. However, inside she was not growing. She smoked so much marijuana that she had to get up to hit her bong in the middle of the night. She was rarely not high. If she was ever sober, it was a strange reality she was not used to. She continued to go out to bars and drink to excess. The only reason she didn’t get a DUI was because her married boyfriend was a sheriff.
Arlina was in sales and felt that drinking was part of her job, but she started performing poorly and was losing her boyfriend because of her obsession with alcohol. She was so depressed, she quit eating and was reduced to skin and bones. The harder she tried to change, the worse it got, and she didn’t know why.
Her boyfriend finally ended their relationship. Her sister took her out that night and Arlina got really drunk. She doesn’t remember most of the night and has pieced it together from second hand accounts.
As Arlina and her sister were going home from the bar, they drove past her ex-boyfriend. Arlina lost it. She punched the windshield and broke it. She tried to jump out of the car. She ended up kicking her sister in the face and giving her a bloody nose. She was completely out of control.
Her sister had to pull over and run to the nearby house of a childhood friend. They called the cops and the police came, but they let Arlina go home in the end.
When Arlina woke up, her sister told her the whole horrific story of what happened the night before. Arlina was demoralized and at her lowest low. She had hit her bottom.
Then Arlina discovered that two of her customers were in the program. They shared their experiences with her and broke down some of the 12 Step concepts. Their words clicked in her head and she went with one of them to her first AA meeting.
It’s not well persons anonymous. It should be fucked-up crazy peoples’ anonymous.
Arlina always wanted to know why she did these terrible things. It was only in the rooms that she found out that her problem with alcohol was a disease and that only a higher power could remove the obsession. She thought love was going to save her, her Prince Charming from the fairy tales. The truth is love did save her, but it was the love of the people in the program.
I was self-centered, but completely incapable of self-examination.
Arlina thrived in sobriety and started a podcast called Sales Polish, but deep inside she knew she was meant for a higher purpose. She felt her calling was to start a recovery podcast. She worried about the anonymity factor, but then one of the women from her meetings died in a car accident. The tragedy was pivotal because Arlina realized there was no later. She had to follow her dream now.
What kept Arlina from getting clean?
After giving up alcohol, Arlina continued on “marijuana maintenance.” She thought she was okay, but she had a moment of clarity when she knew she was powerless over marijuana as well.
I thought I was stupid. Turns out, I was really just stoned.
That aha moment
When Arlina first got sober, she moved out of her boyfriend’s house to her mom’s. She had to sleep on the couch. She was wallowing in her wreckage and felt very low and depressed. Her attitude lead to her treating her mother and sister badly. She went outside and walked the dog. It was just her and her dog and she knew she was powerless over her behavior. She went back to meetings and it all turned around from there.
Our minds govern our entire lives and we don’t take care of our brain.
Arlina urges others to ignore the ego.
Follow your heart. When your message moves you, you will move the masses.
Suggestion for newcomer
Surrender to the process.
See you then!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.