Estevan J Zarate (Chuy) and the diagnosis that changed everything
Estevan J Zarate who goes by Chuy, is an actor, director, and coach from San Antonio TX that has been improvising for audiences for 29 years.
Currently, a resident of Austin, Chuy specializes in improv-singing and grounded/character-driven scene-work. He doesn't just perform, he's coached hundreds of kids, teens, students, and adults for years to multiple successes.
He's also my friend. As of this post on Nov. 5th, 2020, Estevan J (Chuy) Zarate has been sober for 1352 days.
This month, I've made the decision to have a no-drink-November. I do this occasionally, typically during stressful times, and our current political situation in the US has been stressing me out! So... here I am.
For me, and for many of you, alcohol is fun... but not necessary. Periodically you might overconsume, but you're able to balance the scales by having an Octsober, or no-drink-November like I am doing.
For others... and it's a surprisingly high number (alcohol-related disease and death are more common in the US than heart disease), alcohol use isn't a thing. It's all or it's nothing. It's Alcohol abuse and it has consequences.
In this episode of the Changed Podcast, Estevan J Zarate, or Chuy as I've always known him, shares the story of being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and how that changed everything for him, for his family... and for his survival.
Takeaways from this conversation
There are some warning signs that go with abusing alcohol: hiding your drinking, sneaking sips between tasks, and using alcohol as your go-to strategy for everything; from coping with stress and handling heartbreak to celebrating the mundane as intensely as the triumphant.
There are some warning signs that go with cirrhosis of the liver including yellowing of the skin, nose bleeds or bruising easily, and bloating or swelling.
There are lots of reasons to choose life over death. Even in the direst of times, it is worth the work to stay alive. And even more so if you're a dad, like Chuy. Unfortunately, those reasons aren't always obvious. Sometimes just sitting down and making a list of reasons to live is a task worth doing. If you're having trouble getting started... start small, or make it up. Your brain will come along for the ride eventually.
Links and Resources
If you suspect your relationship with alcohol is causing damage to your body, and your relationships and would like to stop before you are diagnosed with a deadly disease like cirrhosis of the liver,
you can find your local Alcoholics Anonymous at https://aa.org,
you can seek help through SAMHSA by visiting https://www.samhsa.gov/find-treatment or
you can call the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
On a lighter note, if you're interested in any of the improv resources we discussed in the first section of the episode
You can find Merlin-Works Institute for Improvisation (where Chuy and I used to teach together) HERE.
The Hideout Theatre, where Chuy and I have performed together many times is HERE.
The musical improv group we referenced from our shared festival experience at the Alaska State Improv Festival (in fact if you go to the festival website, the cover image has us and Chuy featured!), is BABE Improv, and our Facebook page HERE
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