Travis Akers

In a Q + A with Travis, we covered these questions and I am so grateful to him for his honest open answers which give a real sense of who Travis really is. Twelve Step or Modern Recovery? Twelve-Step Did your drinking career start in your teens? College? Work? I began drinking my junior year of high school when I was 17. How long do you think you had a problem with alcohol before you took the decision to stop? I drank socially for 20 years, many times binge drinking, but I did not develop a true dependency and serious problem until 2017. You had no rock bottom-rehab but was there anyone incident moment that you thought, this can’t go on anymore, I need to make a change in my relationship with alcohol? After several days in a row of heavy drinking, hiding mini bottles in my car and around my house, and lying to my wife about how much I was drinking, I woke up one morning (with a hangover, of course) and said enough was enough. I was killing myself, destroying my family, and no longer living a purposeful life. Did you attend a local meeting on your first day or did you go further afield to avoid someone recognizing you? Almost immediately after admitting to my wife that I had a drinking problem and I needed to get help, I found a local meeting through a Google search and went. I didn’t care if anyone recognized me or not, I just wanted to be able to stop drinking. Did you go the traditional route of getting a sponsor? Funny story, my original sponsor actually ghosted me. He moved out of town, not telling anyone, including me, and I never heard from him again. I found a new sponsor at a meeting that I really enjoyed. It was with a person actually slightly younger than me, but who had a bit of sobriety under his belt. We connected and hit it off in the meetings, so I asked him after the conclusion of a meeting one night while we were all just hanging out and socializing if he would sponsor me, and of course, he said yes. Due to moving career changes and life circumstances, we eventually parted ways, and at this time I do not have an individual sponsor, but am part of a small group of men that essentially sponsor one another, keeping each other accountable, walking each other through the various seasons of life, and keeping one another sober. How often do you attend Online Support meetings/ In Person? Prior to the pandemic, I was attending five to six meetings a week or as needed. As in-person meetings began to transition to Zoom, I was attending three a week. Once in-person meetings resumed, I had a set schedule of three meetings a week, one at each of my favourite rooms, where I felt the most comfortable and had the most connections with other alcoholics. Now, I am living overseas, and in-person meetings spoken in English are rare, so I have returned to Zoom meetings until I return to the U.S.

Have you completed the twelve steps or are you still stuck on a step?! I completed the 12-steps, but I must say, I was stuck on Step Four for several months. That was the most challenging for me, as I took a moral inventory of myself I had to relive several moments of my life that had been intentionally buried for years. It was painful, angering, and I honestly still hate that step, but I know it is necessary. I also experienced a period of resentment and frustration during the eighth step. As I began to make a list of those whom I needed to make amends, pride took over, and I questioned why I needed to approach those who had harmed me. But it was through working that step with intensity and determination that I realized, their actions towards me were actually reactions to my actions towards them. When did you realise that there is no ‘them’ we in the sober community are all ultimately the same? The very first share that I heard in the rooms. As I was listening to the sharer I was hearing my story. And the next person who shared, and the next. Eerily, each share was all too familiar. Before I entered my first meeting, I believed there was no other person who had the same problems that I had with alcohol. When I left my first meeting, I knew I was not alone. Professionally has your decision to be public in sobriety had any consequences? I have only had positive feedback from those who know my story and situation. Never once have I felt a negative reaction and faced any form of disciplinary action or consequences during my recovery. Would you consider your employer to be supportive of your recovery? The same can be said of my employer. All too often people fear the response because of the stigmas that remain attached to seeking help, but the opposite can be said of my experience with the Navy. Because of my line of work and the requirement to hold a security clearance, I was required to inform my chain of command. I was frightened, to be honest; however, I only received encouragement from my immediate superiors.

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