Recovery Elevator | Stop Drinking, Start Recovering. | Alcohol, Addiction & Life in Sobriety

Hello, I'm Paul and I've come to the realization that me and alcohol no longer get along. When I start drinking, I cannot stop, despite how many times I tell myself I'm only going out for just a couple. I've lost that battle 99 out of 100 times. I've tried to set boundaries on my drinking like never drink alone, and not before 5pm but several times found myself drinking alone well before 5pm. When I'm not drinking, I feel fidgety, contentious and anxious which eventually leads me back to the bottle. After grappling with alcohol for over a decade and a summer from hell in 2014, I decided on September 7th 2014, I HAVE to stop drinking. The Recovery Elevator Podcast is a medium to help keep me sober in addition to helping others struggling with alcohol quit drinking and maintain a healthy recovery. Don't make the same mistakes I did in early recovery. Hear from guests who are successfully navigating early sobriety. It won't be easy, but you can do this.
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Recovery Elevator | Stop Drinking, Start Recovering. | Alcohol, Addiction & Life in Sobriety





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Now displaying: 2015
Dec 28, 2015
Micheal Hilton, with over 10 years of sobriety, discusses his recovery portfolio.  Micheal Hilton is a leader in the recovery community and does personal coaching with his company Breakthrough Coaching.
60 minutes recently did a segment on addiction.  Micheal Botticelli, the "Drug Czar” is someone who from first hand experience knows the intricacies of alcoholism and addiction. Here are some key points of what I took from this segment.
  • 40 years and a trillion dollars, nation has little to show of the war on drugs.
  • 21 million americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol and nearly 1/2 of federal incarcerations are in for drug crimes. “can’t arrest addiction out of people.” “We have learned that addiction is a brain disease.” “ We can’t expect cancers patients to just stop having cancer.”
  • Addicts should be patients and not prisoners.
  • Michael Botticelli has created a high school for teens in recovery in Massachusetts.
  • Convicts can choose rehab over jail and this actually reduces crime.
  • in 1998 crashed his car and woke up hand cuffed to a gurney. Alcohol free for 27 years.
  • Oversees 26 billion dollar budget across 16 government agencies. Over 1/2 of the money goes to drug enforcement.
  • Says the heroin crisis was created at home. Pain scripts have risen from 76 million in  1991 to 207 million in 2015.
  • More than 120 americans die of drug overdoses each day.
  • Tried an experiment in 2010 with the quincy police department. Officers are armed with Naloxone. A nasal spray for an overdose. Also changed laws called the good samaritan law.
  • Today, 32 states have adopted similar laws and more than 800 police departments carry Naloxone.
  • In Massachussets, Botticelli has made treating addiction routine health care.
  • The affordable care act requires the most of insurance companies to cover addiction treatment.
  • Substance abuse is one of the only disease where we let people reach their most acute point of the disease or “bottom” before we intervene.
  • Botticelli prefers the word disorder instead of addict.
  • Sees a model in the attitude towards the stigma with the gay rights movement. He was more comfortable being a gay man, before saying he was an alcoholic. “We have more work to do.”
  • over 1/2 a million a year are killed by legal drugs. Alcohol and nicotine.
  • Botticelli is not in favor of legalizing marijuana.
  • Grew up as in insecure kid.
  • A very wise judge said you can either get care for your drinking problem or you continue the path of this criminal behavior.

You Might be an Alcoholic if...


You keep a note pad by the phone so you can take notes about your drunk dialings, but then you can't read your handwriting

You're now sober but want to wear a sign on your shirt that says you are enjoying a piece of gum to merely blow bubbles, not to cover up the vodka smell



You buy canned beer so you can hide it in your bag without anybody hearing the glass clinks



If you log into MyFitnessPal as soon as you wake log in the calories of the 8 double whiskeys you'll be drinking know how much not to eat today.



If after a night of drinking an entire 26er of scotch, the only thing you can think of is "what am I going to drink today?"


Brian in KC, MO

You might be an alcoholic if it's your turn to be the DD, so before the baseball game you pound beers at the tailgate before the game hoping it carries you through to the end of the game....but then the game gets rained out in the 5th inning and you are still too drunk to drive home.


This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.

Dec 25, 2015
In this episode we heard from 33 year old Autumn, explains how she has been a successful student and a mom in sobriety.   According to an article from the Los Angeles Times, Steve Sarkisian is suing former employer University of California for improper dismissal when he was recently fired as Head Football coach due to his drinking problem. Coach Sarkisian is seeking monies of $30,000,000, which he feels is properly owed to him due to California state laws. Here are this weeks "You Might be an Alcoholic if's" Tommy- You wake up mid black out and you’re being arrested.   Richard- Indiana If you leave a message at work while blacked out saying you’ve been up all night throwing up and you won’t be in to work the next morning. Only when you wake up, you forgot you called in sick and the first thing the boss says to you is, “Richard, I thought you were vomiting all night and weren’t coming in this morning”?   Shelly- If you tell your family on Christmas Day that this is your big hurrah before quitting, and then everyday until New Years you sneak beer and pour it into a large mug to hide it.   Racheal- If you've gone two weeks sober, and then you decide to have wine at lunch while out with your (sober) husband, and the minute you decide to have that wine you are instantly irritated that the server is taking too long to come back to take your food order. At this moment, you can no longer hear anything your husband is saying, and then you drink your glass in 10 minutes and order a second one while he's in the bathroom so he doesn't judge you.   Carrie- You cut the end off the wine bag and drain it out so you don't ware any. This podcast episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.
Dec 21, 2015

33 year old Autumn, explains how she has been a successful student and a mom in sobriety.

According to an article from the Los Angeles Times, Steve Sarkisian is suing former employer University of California for improper dismissal when he was recently fired as Head Football coach due to his drinking problem. Coach Sarkisian is seeking monies of $30,000,000, which he feels is properly owed to him due to California state laws.


Dec 14, 2015

In this Episode Shannon, who is a high bottom drunk explains how she made it to nearly 80 days sober. She mentions she loves Karaoke and you can check out Jimmy Cliff's "I Can See Clearly Now" on YouTube because that's how we both feel these days!


While listening to the Bubble Hour Podcast a few weeks ago on my drive home for Thanksgiving, I heard some great ideas on how to stay sober over the Holidays. One of the segments was how to respond when someone offers you a drink at a Holiday party. I heard from great responses, but none of the answers were the truth. What I have learned in recovery, is the best answer is the truth. The truth is liberating and you will be surprised by the lack of questions you will get after telling someone you don't drink. Most people are happy for you, and encourage your decision to not drink. A small percentage will give you flack, and this is a great way to quickly find out who are not your friends. Another small group will become inquisitive and start asking questions like, how much did you used to drink? Or, why are you not drinking? These people are asking for themselves because they have been questioning their own drinking habit.

But here are 77 additional tips on how to stay sober over the Holidays. I do not claim for this to be a full and comprehensive list, and with certainty, I can predict leaving out some very important ones. But here ya go.


63 ways to stay sober over the Holidays

  1. Hang out with another alcoholic: That guy Bill was on to something there.
  2. Dedicate 5 minutes today, 10 minutes tomorrow, 15 minutes the next day and increase by five minutes each day on a dormant hobby that you used to love so much. This could be the guitar, model trains, knitting, or swimming. Endless possibility of fun things to do.
  3. Find conduits to your higher power: Forest, Snow, Trans Siberian Orchestra in a Starbucks coffee shop, painting and so much more.
  4. Music: Listen to music. Have you heard flamenco? It’s incredible.
  5. Write a letter to a friend. Not an email, but place a stamp on an envelope and send it out.
  6. Write down 5 things you are thankful for each day. My first sponsor requested this of me, and after 16 days, I had 8 things listed in my gratitude list. Not because I wasn’t thankful for things in life, but because sometimes these small, seemingly infinitesimal tasks were very had.
  7. Have a sit down chat with your addiction: Hey Gary, as you know the Holidays are approaching…
  8. Call a family member that isn’t immediate family and tell them how much you appreciate them. This could be a cousin, uncle, etc.
  9. When in a drive through (preferably not fast food), pay for the person behind you.
  10. Cartwheels: 94% of cartwheels result in laughter and a great time. The other 6% are broken coffee tables.
  11. Go to a 12-step meeting.
  12. Buy paint, a canvas, and start painting
  13. Go on a 3-mile walk/hike where there is no cell service. Or make it a point to leave your phone at home.
  14. Write down the goal of not drinking over the holidays. And then place this goal in a place you will see everyday like on your bathroom mirror or inside your gym locker (if you work out everyday).
  15. Volunteer your time at the animal shelter and walk some dogs. In Montana, you may even be able to walk a pig or goat. Dogs are service animals for a reason. Their company is therapeutic and they also don’t judge. You’re simply the “bees knees” since your taking them on a walk.
  16. Affirmation: Remind yourself daily that you will not be drinking because you have an allergy to alcohol.
  17. Read a book. More specifically, “A Drinking Story” by Caroline Knapp
  18. When someone asks if you want a drink at his or her Christmas Party, you respond with “is your snowmobile insured”?
  19. Stay a minimum of 300 feet away from Burger King, McDonalds, Arby’s Wendy’s and other fast food chains at all times. Actually the chili at Wendy’s is okay. But that’s it!
  20. Pray
  21. Say the serenity prayer out loud while looking into the mirror.
  22. Learn the serenity prayer in a different language.
  23. Make it a point to get outside of your comfort zone.
  24. Be okay with uncomfortable feelings. Take 10 minutes and feel your uncomfortable feelings. Embrace them.
  25. Get REal with yourself.
  26. Hot tea. Hot Tea Hot Tea. Tea that is not injected full of caffeine if possible.
  27. Listen to recovery podcasts.
  28. Read: Read and be a sponge.
  29. Go through your cabinets and remove anything with over 10grams of sugar on the carton. Also look for bags of sugar, powdered sugar, and stashes of Reece’s pieces.
  30. Cook brussel sprouts
  31. When someone asks if you would like a drink at his or her holiday party, tell them you don’t drink.
  32. When that person asks why you don’t drink, answer their question unequivocally.
  33. Ask siri to set the timer to 5 minutes. For the first minute, while in a calm still place, sit down, keep your eyes and just focus on sounds. Minute two, breath in for 5 seconds, and exhale for five seconds. Minutes three, close eyes and tell yourself what you are thankful for. Minute four, pump yourself up with affirmations like Paul Churchill, today we will something great and minute five, envision what you want your life to be like in 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, 5 years and 10 years.
  34. Write down your goals. 95% of people don’t write down their goals and 95% of or people, who write down their goals, achieve their goals. Think that one through.
  35. Wake up before the sun comes up fro five consecutive days.
  36. Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you physically have to get out of the bed.
  37. Write down who your recovery team is. This doesn’t matter if you are drunk now, or have 10 years of sobriety. Be clear with who is on your team in case of emergency. Have the baby bag packed by the door.
  38. Avoid self-loathing: in other words, don’t kick the crap out of yourself over your drinking. Alcohol does a fine job of this already.
  39. Get to know your addiction. My addiction is named Gary, and I fully respect him.
  40. Whoever or what ever that God thing is, just remember, you’re not it.
  41. Find a way to create accountability. Tell someone you are planning to quit drinking, or this Christmas you plan to have less than ten eggnogs.
  42. Don’t judge yourself. Be truly accepting of who you are.
  43. Call your sponsor and if you don’t have one, get one.
  44. Acceptance is the answer. My favorite paragraph in the Big Book. Find a way to accept your current situation.
  45. Get creative: Create something with clay, pick up a new instrument, use your mind to create something.
  46. Learn a new skill or task. You tube is a great way to learn new things.
  47. Remove temptations: There are the obvious ones like that bottle of Tequila in your pantry, but get rid of all the maple syrup in the house while you’re at it.
  48. Have an exit strategy at outings.
  49. Give up control.
  50. Hang out with that group of friends who implausibly seem to be enjoying themselves without alcohol.
  51. De-friend 5 negative or non-supportive friends on Facebook.
  52. Write goals down: Don’t drink today, build a fence, or write a book.
  53. Celebrate: Milestones are huge.
  54. Get back up on your feet.
  55. Reward yourself with a treat: The treat shouldn’t be booze or consist of more than 92% sugar.
  56. Stay busy.
  57. Remind yourself the last 256 times you planned to only have a couple beers tonight, didn’t end up as planned.
  58. Netflix, HBO, and Hulu
  59. Learn a new recipe. One that doesn’t need maple syrup to make it delicious.
  60. Check out some animals in their natural environment.
  61. Go Carts.
  62. Do the steps.
  63. Remind yourself, it was my brilliant ideas that got me into this predicament (if you’re in a predicament) so maybe I don’t have all the answers.


This is huge Recovery Elevator. The first Recovery Elevator meetup will be taking place in Seattle on Saturday February 27th, 2016. Details to come. Email for more info on this meetup.

This podcast was brought to you by Sober Nation.

Dec 7, 2015

Ferril from Party Sober clothing, with over 5 years of sobriety shares how has been successful sober entrepreneur.

Nov 30, 2015

In Episode 41, I talk about emotional sobriety which is a topic breached with trepidation because fully understanding emotional sobriety is near impossible and I have so much more to learn about it. Also in this episode, I interview Erik from Massachusetts who is doing a great job in recovery working with other alcoholics. He mentioned in his interview that it isn't a requirement to hit rock bottom in recovery, a concept I wasn't familiar with in 2014 when I hit my bottom. The bulk of the content for this episode comes from Elliot P who just reached 2 years of sobriety earlier this month. Way to go Elliot!

Nov 23, 2015

Felicia shares how she reached nearly 60 days of sobriety and we check back in with Robert who has been interviewed twice on the podcast.

Nov 19, 2015

Paul Joins Shane Ramer from that Sober Guy Podcast, Micheal from the UK  and Omar the Shair Podcast and talk about why they got sober.

Nov 16, 2015

Douglas Lail with the "Hello My Name Is" project, uses painting to help him stay sober.

Nov 9, 2015

Jessica Shares how she made it to 141 days of sobriety!

Nov 2, 2015

Anthony from Rise Together, with nearly 3 years of sobriety joins the Podcast.

Oct 26, 2015

Robert with 5 days of sobriety joins the podcast again. Robert was previously on episode 17 and he is determined to achieve sobriety.

Oct 19, 2015

Jason, with 4 years of Sobriety, climbs a 14,000 + foot peak each year on his sobriety date.

Oct 12, 2015

Omar from the Shair Podcast joins the show.

Oct 5, 2015

Matthew shares the Smart Recovery program and how counting years of sobriety isn't the best motivation to stay sober.

Sep 28, 2015

Tim explains about how Smart Recovery has helped him stay sober

Sep 21, 2015

Also in this podcast episode Lindsey shares how she made it out of her first 30 days of sobriety which she was in for over 4 years.

Sep 14, 2015

Also in this episode, Jon shares how he reached 103 days of sobriety without AA or a 12 step program. He does however, have his own program in place.

Sep 7, 2015

Jeff has been sober since 2013 and he shares how he made that dream a reality.

Aug 31, 2015

 27 year old Hollie shares her story in sobriety

Aug 24, 2015

Lisa, 39 and a mother of 3, explains how she has made it to 18 months sobriety.

Aug 17, 2015

This is the 4th part of the 4 part series called the other side where Paul interviews a non alcoholic who has been directly affected by an alcoholic. Diane is the the daughter of two alcoholics, the sister of an alcoholic who passed away earlier this year and a mother of a 19 year old alcoholic.

In this episode, we also hear from Ian, who shares how he has successfully made it to 18 months of sobriety.

Paul discusses how he made it 3 days in Las Vegas Sober through his fantasy football draft.


This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.

Aug 10, 2015

47 year old Claire, from Michigan explains how she reached 9 years of sobriety!

Jul 27, 2015

Shelly from Hawaii, who has nearly 3 months of sobriety, shares how she plans to be successful in recovery.

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