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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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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 26, 2016

Bubba, with 1 year since his last drink, shares his story.

SHOW NOTES

Cognitive dissonance = the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.  “First they ignore you, than they laugh at you, than they fight you, than you win.”  Sobriety is measured one day at a time and if we take it slowly, we will be the winner.  Tell your addiction this quote, over and over again.  Our minds keep telling us the tricky stories that keep us drinking.  This is exhausting.  It’s like holding 2 conflicting beliefs.  How can we break through these conflicting beliefs?   Hang out with people that are on the same path as you.  Educate yourself.  Read, read, and read some more.

 [ 8:51] Paul Introduces Bubba.

Bubba has been sober for 1 year and he’s feeling great.  He had been drinking so long that he did not realize just how much it was affecting his life until he quit.  He enjoys photography, the outdoors and riding his Harley.  He has also lost approximately 46 pounds during this past year.

[12:04] When did you realize you had a problem with alcohol?

Bubba – one of my earliest memories was when I came out as gay at the age of 29.  I thought that I wouldn’t drink as much since I no longer had that stress.  I thought it would be the magic switch but I still continued to drink.  About 4 years ago, I started to try and moderate.  This did not work.  For the next 2 years I was always telling myself that I could drink that night and stop the following day.

[14:14] What was your bottom?

Bubba – one day I starting drinking at 6am and just kept going.  Instead of going to bed, I continued moving from bar to bar and did not make it to work.  The next day I woke up and was officially done.  My journey had started.

[16:35 ] What were some of the rules you tried to put in place in order to moderate your drinking?

Bubba – I’m not going to drink during the week and this will satisfy my desire to drink.  My drinking voice had become so strong that it just over rode any common sense.  My conscience mind knew I was doing something wrong, but my un-conscience mind wanted to continue drinking

 

[17:45 ] What were you feeling that day after your all night drinking bend?

Bubba – I was so hungover it was unbelievable.  I had just had enough and couldn’t take it anymore. 

[20:00] How did you stay sober during that first month?

Bubba – I listened to RE podcasts back to back.  That really kept me going that first week.  I kept telling myself to try for another week, and then try again for another week.  I had to keep convincing myself that I was not going to drink.  I had friends wondering why I wasn’t at the bar.  These are no longer my friends.  They were just my bar friends.

[21:56] How does it feel to be so open about being gay as well as open about being in recovery?

Bubba – feels fantastic!!  Being so open helps me to be accountable.  My friends and family all know what I am doing and it helps keep me sober.  Defining myself as an alcoholic was surprising to some people since I was just known as a heavy drinker.  I knew that I had a problem and that was the important thing. 

[25:00 ]  Describe your relationship with your grandmother

Bubba – I was self- medicating for the pain that my grandmother made me feel.  She was able to make you feel horrible very easily.  Constant little digs.  I would try to avoid being with her which caused tension among family members.  At some point you have to learn to just let it go.

[27:45 ] What are your recovery tools now?

Bubba – keeping myself busy, workout every day, spend quality time with my friends.  I also utilize what other Café RE members are doing and saying. 

[ 29:57 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  Waking up in my lazy boy covered in beer too many times
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? Whenever I would wake up the next morning and say to myself, “Oh shit, I drank too much last night.”
  3. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? Café RE, I’m trying to also integrate AA meetings into my life
  4. What is your plan moving forward? Continue to do what I do, maybe more charity work, trying to be helpful to others, and just keep moving on
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? You are the only 1 who can force yourself not to drink everyday
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? Stick with it, it does get better, things that you do not even know are wrong now will correct themselves
  7. You might be an alcoholic if….. you slam 6 beers before you go to the bar because you do not want to have to wait once you get there.

“Spread your Wings and Fly – Focus on What You Can Do”

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Book of the month = The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meetups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code Elevator.

Promo Code: Elevator

 

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Dec 19, 2016

Wynn, with 28 years of sobriety, shares his story...

SHOW NOTES

Tis the season to be jolly and sober…..

What are the differences between food cravings and alcohol cravings?  Our gut sends signals that tell us to eat.  We can only go 14 days without food and 80% of our serotonin is created in our gut.  This feeling is very similar when we are craving a drink.  The mind starts chirping and gives us false ideas of how good a drink would be.  The problem is that when we start drinking, the need is never satiated with only 1 drink and thus the saga continues.  The main things to keep in mind is that food keeps us alive.  Alcohol is nothing more than a poison in its’ basic form.  Food also helps build muscle.  Alcohol transforms your body into Barney from The Simpsons.  We all needed food to survive from the beginning of our lives.  Obviously we can survive without alcohol.  Finally, food satiates our hunger cravings.  Alcohol cravings are never satisfied until we are beaten to a pulp.                                                                      

[ 6:20  ] Paul Introduces Wynn. 

Wynn is a retired engineer.  He has been married 3 times and has a total of 5 children.  He currently lives a wonderful life in sobriety, although in his previous life he did many “unlawful” things in which he was never caught. 

[ 9:15 ] When did you realize that you had a problem with alcohol?

Wynn – the first time I drank was at 12 years old and it just felt magical.  I soon became known as wino Wynn.  I came from a good family.  Neither of my parents were alcoholics however, the disease was there with my aunts and uncles.  Unfortunately my brother was also an alcoholic and his life ended too soon.

[ 14:22  ] Paul asks Wynn, “How do we know when alcohol is trying to convince us that we do not have a problem.”

Wynn – you will know when the change happens.  Recognize the pain and do not hide from it.  Own your problems.  Your HP is showing you what your pain points are.

[ 18:00 ] Wynn discusses an interesting visit with his psychiatrist.

Wynn – my psychiatrist was asking me what I thought was important.  I told her that my car, my money, and my house were important to me.  She asked if I knew exactly, down to the penny, how much money I had in my account.  I could not tell her.  She then asked me if I knew how much booze I had at my house.  I was able to tell her the amount and type of alcohol, down to the drop, that I currently had in my home.  I realized that there was nothing in my life that I kept track of, like I kept track of alcohol. 

 [ 19:00 ] When was your bottom?

Wynn – I was putting up a new house and borrowed money from some shady characters.  I signed a life insurance policy as collateral and walked away with a paper bag full of money.  I knew that that bag of money would be my coffin if I did not pay it back.  If I drank that money away, I would be dead.  Once the house was completed, I paid the money back and tore up the life insurance policy.  I started to read The Big Book and found it incredible.

[ 24:00 ] What did you do then?

Wynn – Even though I was talking the talk of AA, I was not walking the walk.  I had lost my house, my family and my companies.  I was 3 years into AA when I finally got a sponsor.

[ 25:32 ]  Paul discusses terminal uniqueness and how dangerous it can be.

Wynn – you have to be trustworthy enough to believe that your HP will take care of you.  Everything that happens is exactly how it is supposed to happen.  You have to pay attention.  I soon realized that my problem with misery was really about myself.  I had fear, control and domination issues.  We cannot play God.  God is willing to be anything we need him to be.

[33:23]  Paul asks Wynn if he has every had a close call in 28 years.

Wynn – Yes, I was at the airport and had just been fired.  There were no flights outbound and the clerk literally poured me a shot of whiskey.  He was handing me my new ticket in 1 hand and the shot of whiskey in the other.  I found myself reaching for both when suddenly I heard a voice that told me not to reach for the glass of whiskey.  I grabbed the ticket and left.                                                           

[ 36:40  ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  Jail
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? Too many times I woke up in the hospital or jail.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? Keep redoing the 10th step
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? All of my sponsees’ who stay sober and watch them carry on the message
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? Stop digging and put down your shovel  
  6. You might be an alcoholic if?  You know more about the quality and quantity of alcohol at home, than you do anything else.

[ 41:00 ]  Paul ends the show with a shout out to Brandy – for hitting her 1 year of sobriety mark.  He also shares a story about a recent airplane experience.

A flight from Orlando to Denver reinforces Paul’s conviction to remain alcohol free.  It is never fun to have to sit next to 2 drunks on a plane.  Even worse is to be escorted from the plane by the police. 

 Resources mentioned in this episode:

 

RE Retreat – Bozeman Montana – August 24-27.  Check the website for details

 

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meetups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code Elevator.

Promo Code: Elevator

 

recoveryelevator.com/survey

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Dec 12, 2016

Melissa, with 1 month of sobriety, shares her story...

SHOW NOTES

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….

Many of us believe that we cannot quit drinking.  “I am the life of the party, that’s just who I am!”  (I bet the crowd around us would beg to differ but that’s besides’ the point.)  Life will not be fun if I do not drink.  Yeah right- blackouts, hangovers, depression, and anxiety; now that is fun.  Paul reviews the time in his life when he owned a bar in Spain.  You heard correctly.  Paul C = Bar Owner.  Seems like an entire lifetime ago.  Listed below are the pros and cons of that time period in Spain:

Pro’s - I didn’t die, it accelerated me towards my bottom, I learned to play some fancy Flamenco guitar chords

Con’s – Ambien and booze are not a good combo, missed out on many opportunities/road trips with the senoritas, playing football after being awake for 30 hours straight (the next Peyton Manning? I think not), blackouts, blackouts, and more blackouts, DUI, re-introducing myself to a previous hookup (ouch!), contemplating a 5th floor sky dive                                                                   

[ 8:38  ] Paul Introduces Melissa.  How long have you been sober?

Melissa – 30 days.  Melissa explains her background.  She is a bartender, married, with 4 children.  During her free time, she likes to go to the gym. 

Paul asks Melissa what it is like being a bartender.  Melissa has been in “The Industry” all of her life (Industry = restaurant, club or bar scene). She felt that bartending would be the way to go early on because of her love of drinking and it seemed fun.  Melissa’s family are serious drinkers so she grew up in that environment.  She thought normal drinking was boring.  Melissa states that when you are in “The Industry” you tend to share similar stories of drinking and it justifies your own behavior.

[ 13:54 ] What is it like bartending with 30 days of sobriety?

Melissa – It’s been easier since I left Las Vegas and now live in Pennsylvania.   The environment is also easier.  I work in a fine dining establishment instead of a Las Vegas casino.  I am used to going through shifts without drinking but would always drink after my shift ended.  One of my go to drinks was a kids’ cup filled with ice and straight vodka.  Five minutes from home, I would down it.

[ 17:54  ] Staying sober is easy when drunk people are idiots

Paul and Melissa swap stories about working in the industry surrounded by drunk people.  Do your local DJ a favor and do not request any more Michael Jackson songs!

[ 18:47 ] What was your bottom?

Melissa – I was attending a birthday party and had brought my 14 year old daughter and her friend.  We were staying at a hotel so there were no limits.  My daughter and her friend had to come get me from the bar downstairs.  She video-taped me while feeding me chicken nuggets.  I was a mess and my daughter thought it was hysterical.  I didn’t want her thinking that that situation was OK.  Our family culture was turning into a dangerous life.

[ 23:55 ] Paul and Melissa discuss the tragic death of her sister

Melissa – she was drinking and driving and attempted to go around the car in front of her.  Her car was hit.  The accident caused her to break her neck.  She was only 21 years old when she was killed.  My sister’s story, however, did not stop me from continuing to drink.

Paul – we have all had plenty of “You would have thought (…insert tragic event here…) moments that should have stopped us from drinking.  Fear can get you sober but it cannot keep you sober.

Melissa reviews her history of trying AA and remaining alcohol free for 2 years.  During that time she picked up a pill addiction.  After 2 years she was drinking and taking pills.  She weaned herself off of the pills and suffered heavy withdrawal systems.  She did not think she was an alcoholic because she was able to stop while pregnant with all of her children.  Once the children were born, however, the pressure of motherhood soon had her reaching for the wine bottle.

[ 32:48 ] How have you made it to 30 days?

Melissa – RE podcast, constantly reminding myself of my worst drunk moments and comradery with other recovering alcoholics.

[ 42:35  ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  Celebrating my 36th birthday and waking up in the hospital not remembering a thing
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? Too many CRS (can’t remember shit) moments.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? To find a local AA meeting and do the 12 steps.  Time to locate those weeds and pull them out!
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? Listening to the Big Book will driving and listening to various recovery podcasts
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? Inside of every alcoholic’s home are 2 doors with different paths.  Behind door #1, there is a monkey who is going to kick your ass down a shorter path.  Behind door #2, there is simply a longer path.  It’s time to choose door #2!
  6. You might be an alcoholic if?  You have company over and you are sneaking gulps of vodka in between your glasses of wine.

[ 41:00  ] Paul ends the show discussing 3 main themes

Man in the Mirror – drinking causes us to not want to see ourselves in the mirror.  What often reflects back is shame and disgust

False Dreams – drinking brings about the notion of false dreams.  The actions needed to make these dreams come true are taken away by booze

Geographical Changes – Paul sells his bar in Spain and moves back to the states, eventually ending up in beautiful Bozeman MT.  Recovery is an opportunity to change the course of our lives.  It’s time to change everything in order to get there.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meetups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code Elevator.

Promo Code: Elevator

 

recoveryelevator.com/survey

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Dec 5, 2016

John with 17 years of sobriety and Adrianne with 11 years, share how they did it.

This is their story...

SHOW NOTES

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is a brain disorder, not a behavioral problem.  This is nothing new so why are we still talking about it?  Probably because even though society is starting to finally believe that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing, the stigma attached to addicts remains the same.  Wake up people!  The studies have shown that addiction can be defined as a primary disease, not an emotional or psychological problem.  Our brains become rewired and our choice to pick up flies right out the window when we are in active addiction.  Our real choice happens when we reach out for help.  It is never too early to reach out.

[ 8:27 ] Paul Introduces John and Adrianne, authors of The Painting and the Piano.

John, sober since 1/5/99 and Adrienne, sober since 7/11/05 currently live in Florida.  For the past 3 years they have been working on their story of survival and love.  Their book, The Painting and the Piano is like a divine intervention of how they first met and their lives together through the recovery process.  John feels that they were chosen to get sober and to pass this on to others.

[ 17:00 ] What was your bottom?

Adrianne – my daughter had to go to the ER after an accident at school.  I stopped home before going to the hospital in order to get my pills.  I didn’t know how long I would be at the hospital with her and was afraid I would be sick without my pills.  My need for the drugs was more powerful than getting my injured child to the ER.

John – driving out of my driveway and seeing my 2 small children looking through the window at me.  I knew I was leaving to get another drink and going to have a possible affair.  I left anyway and that memory still haunts me of their faces.  Looking at myself in the mirror and seeing an 80 year old man looking back was another bottom.  I had 3 DWI’s, was losing my business, my friends and was drinking around the clock without bothering to eat.

[ 20:11 ] Do you feel that you can skip any steps in the recovery process?

Adrianne – No, all of the steps you go through were meant to happen and lead you towards your bottom.  This needs to happen.

John – Everyone’s bottom is different and how we get there is also different.

[ 23:00 ] John talks about patience

Take time in your relationships.  Advised to wait for 1 year before dating.  Patience is super important.  Let patience be your virtue.  12 steps should be looked at as an opportunity for personal growth

[  26:53 ] What is on your bucket list for sobriety?

John and Adrianne – this book, educating others on the steps and the AA culture, doing more podcasts, and helping as many people recover as possible.

Adrianne – I would also love to work in the judicial system.  There are so many children that are pulled from dysfunctional homes, only to be placed back in them too soon.

John – I believe that 95% of our issues go back to some type of childhood trauma.

So what happened to privileged Paul C who grew up in Vali Colorado?  Hmmm, might have to think that one over a bit.

[  30:00 ] Adrianne shares about her physical pain

I was born addicted to heroin.  Later on after years of back pain, I became addicted to pills.  All of the surgeries lead to harder addictions.  It was a perfect storm of the emotional “F it’s”

[ 34:14  ] What advice would you give your younger selves?

Adrianne – stay off the pity pot!

John – there is no shame in asking for help.  Do it now.  Change 1 thing every day.

[ 38:25  ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? Adrianne – When I stopped home before going taking my daughter to the hospital in order to get my pills.  John – the memory of my children’s faces as I drove out of the driveway on my way to drink
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? Adrianne – breaking down in front of my counselor and realizing I had a problem.  John – drinking in the mornings just to stop the shakes
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? Adrianne – continue to be of service.  John – reaching just 1 person, paying it forward.
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? Adrianne – don’t be afraid to ask for help.  John – stick around for the miracle

Resources mentioned in this episode:

www.paintingpiano.com

www.asam.org

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meetups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code Elevator.

Promo Code: Elevator

recoveryelevator.com/survey

Sobriety Tracker

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Nov 28, 2016

Stephanie has been sober for nearly 5 years... This is her story…

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:
www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/
This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE!

SHOW NOTES

Why do some go down the path of alcoholism faster than others? Why do the wheels come off at different times for all of us? Is it an 'addictive personality' disorder? Well, truth is, we can't find real scientific evidence to prove that an 'addictive personality' is a real thing. What we do know is that genetic makeup combined with environmental factors that someone is living with have huge factors in whether or not someone will become addicted to alcohol. For Paul, the wheels came off right around age 21, but there is no way to determine if and when someone will become addicted to alcohol. There are many envrionmental factors that can slow down or speed up this factor...

[ 7:25 ] Paul introduces Stephanie.

Stephanie has been sober for almost 5 years. She got sober December 31st, 2011. She is 33 and from Alabama. Stephanie works in a Bradford treatment center. She loves to run, kayak and hangout with her family.

[ 8:12 ] Do you have a pink cloud? 

Stephanie tries to make her own 'pink cloud' every day in that she looks for the positive in everything. She is aware of the things she is grateful for and recognizes where she could be if she didn't have her sobriety.

[ 14:09 ] Stephanie talks about her drinking experience and the associated health problems that she dealt with. 

[ 23:04 ] Stephanie's Mom and Dad took her to a treatment center on December 30th, 2011.

[ 24:39 ] Do you think you could've gotten sober without rehab?

"For me, I don't think I could. I had to be removed from my situation, completely removed. I had tried little things here and there, but I didn't know coping mechanisms. I know people can do it, but I just know that I couldn't have done it."

[ 25:35 ] Stephanie talk about her program. 

Stephanie was able to relate to the AA program. She has had the same sponsor for almost 4 1/2 years. "It was necessary for me."

[ 26:41 ] Can you pinpoint one rock bottom moment? 

"After totalling my car and trying to hide it..." Stephanie was making frequent trips to the liquor store to buys half pints of vodka. When she started drinking in the morning, she realized something had the change.

[ 33:04 ] Walk us through a day in the life of Stephanie.

"Usually I wake up and do a reading from the Hazeldon Foundation and I use an app called 'My Spiritual Toolkit. I also have a page saved on my phone which has a prayer for each step. Then I'll take some quiet time. I'm not very good at meditation." Stephanie takes time to herself in the mornings. She gets up early and tries to go for a run before heading into work. At work, she tries to take 3-4 minutes just to breath and calm down. At the end of the day, Stephanie takes time to reflect on her day, looking for the positive and places where she can do better tomorrow. "I try to get a lot of sleep. I need my 8 hours of sleep and my prayer and meditation time."

[ 36:09 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? "Pancreatitis... That was pretty horrible."
  2. What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward? "To not stay stagnant. To change and grow and try to help others as much as possible."
  3. What's your favorite resource in recovery? "The Big Book, My Spiritual Toolkit and that prayer page."
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? "Continue. Make a continuous effort to put one foot in front of the other."
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? "Do it. Seek treatment if you can. Ask for help and know that you don't have to be alone."

“You Might be an Alcoholic If…”

"...You are waking up drinking vodka a 6am and hiding bottles all throughout your room!" 

Resources mentioned in RE 93:

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Hazeldon Foundation Digital Resources

My Spiritual Toolkit

Podcast Resource Info - 'Addiction now defined as brain disorder, not behavior issue'

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Nov 21, 2016

Sara, with 5 months and 10 days of sobriety, tells us how she did it.

[9:21] Paul introduces Sara

Sara has been sober for 5 months and 10 days, or a total of 163 days. Sara is feeling better than she has ever felt, which is a common response in early recovery. Sobriety has not been all wonderful colors, tastes, and smells. Sara's experience  so far has been overall great, but not without challenges; she has had to overcome some adversity. Which is a very big foundational pillar of life, as nothing comes easy in sobriety, and getting sober is a blind leap of faith. Sara is originally from Louisiana, currently living in New Jersey, she is a psychiatrist who is married with no children. For fun, she does everything she used to do but is learning to do it sober. One of her best sober activities she has enjoyed was attending a Coldplay concert, in which she remembered every single minute. The concert was amazing, as was Sara's first sober football game, feeling every emotion so much more. One not so cool activity in sobriety was joining friends bar hopping after a football game. Sara struggled, but realized she is no longer "that guy" and could drive home sober. 

[13:21 ] Talk to us about your Elevator. When did you hit bottom?

Sara made small attempts to stop two years prior to her sobriety date. During that time, she read a book titled "Freedom from Addiction," which inspired her; only until an invite to socialize and drink. She would start again and not be able to stop. Eventually, Sara was at a happy hour followed by dinner with lots of drinking. She thought she was good to drive home. She ended up in an accident after which the entire night was a blur. Realizing that she could lose her life and career, even though there were no legal ramifications involved. Sara realized how lucky she was to come out of that situation safe and not in a legal battle. Paul shares his driving while intoxicated experiences. Sara woke up the next day and through the next week she was dazed and confused her memory was foggy as she was self-blaming herself. Everting in her life was going well other than drinking, she questioned why she was sacrificing everything for drinking.

[16:27] How much did you drink?

Sara drank vodka in airplane size bottles, they were easier to consume, leaving no evidence. She would usually drink a few throughout the day, over time it progressed. Her consumption amounts were often up and down, Sara was never one that could have just one or two at dinner, she would always continue drinking through the night. When she decided to stop drinking, she was up to 6-7 drinks per night, and was starting early in the day. For Sara, her disease progression was more about the time of day she started rather than the amount. Usually a couple glasses of wine and some shots of alcohol. Sara tried to put multiple plans of control in place; only drink on the weekend, only after work, no hard liquor. Paul realizes the question of control is a dumb question. The thought that one day we can drink normal must be dismissed.

[19:38] How did you do it? Walk us through the first day, the first week.

Sara's first week she doesn't remember much, but had a lot of family events and weddings with open bars where she was put to the test. After she got through all the events without a drink, she wondered why she drank when she was loving everything she was doing sober not understanding why she ever started in the first place. Sara's first few months have been filled with new activities; biking, hiking, gym. She has replaced drinking with trying new things.

 

[21:00] Tell us about your program.

Sara didn't enlist any kind of program. Yet, even before the accident she was listening to sobriety podcasts, as she was contemplating sobriety. Sara then found RE which became her program. While doing her morning routine she has the podcast playing as her preferred recovery resource, along with fitness and other new routines. Paul reminds us that willpower is exhaustible and finite, eventually running out, leading to relapse. We need a daily affirmation to remember why you don’t drink.

[24:07] Sara shares her fears about being "found out" on the podcast: Being a psychiatrist and worried about people learning of her addiction. A lot of friends still don't understand, and see alcoholics as worst case scenario. Images of bums is the picture normal people have. Sara knows that is not alcoholics are like, but struggles with the stigma even though she knows that is ridiculous. Paul sees Sara's alcoholism as an untapped asset in her career. Sara chats with addicts face to face in a hospital setting and listens to their struggles. Many of her patients have been through been recovery. Sara's advice to her patients is to take it one day at a time, she tells them about podcasts as many haven't found a program. She is also able to offer resources that she uses herself. Paul suggests she uses her own experiences. Sara hopes to get to that point. She remembers to focus on the similarities not the differences. She is just not realizing that she has a problem. Paul is curious when she will get there. Sara realizes she needs to get rid of the fear of judgement. Paul shares how he came out as an alcoholic. Everybody knows somebody in recovery. Paul feels within time her superiors will admire her strength. What if she tells her first patient tomorrow? Sara was trained to never put focus on yourself, but you make exceptions to help with the rapport of the patient. How prevalent is addiction in the ER? Most of the ER is filled with intoxicated people, or those who are experiencing withdrawals; mostly in the evenings on weekends, and during the holidays. Paul knows counselors who have succeeded because they are also in recovery. Sara feels like telling Paul was her first big step going out into the digital world. Sara wants to connect with more people, and thinks she is in the right direction to come out of the closet about her sobriety.

[32:02] How do you stay sober today? Sara is awake at 5 AM does yoga, meditation, and plans her day. Sometimes she works out. After work Sara comes home and starts her evening routine: working out, meditation, and/or some planned quality time with friends and family, tennis lessons, or something new. Sara hopes to try out martial arts. She plans to do something new every few months to continue to grow and bring happiness to life.

[33:00] What is on your bucket list at one year? Sara hopes that after one year she is more involved in the sober community; she doesn't have any support right now. Besides Cafe RE. She plans to surround herself with more people like her.

[33:57 ] What have you learned about yourself through sobriety? Sara learned that she doesn't need alcohol to have a good conversation with people, she is OK just being herself. That has been the most intoxicating thing about being sober. Everything is even better without alcohol.

[34:41] What are your plans to stay sober during the holidays?

Sara thought the holidays would be hard, luckily for her she has a lot of family functions that were once her crutch, have become growth experiences. She doesn’t even think about drinking anymore; she auto looks for non-alcoholic beverages. While she misses the one glass of wine once in a while, she is content with beet juice now in a wine glass.

 

[36:01] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? Night of car accident and the day after; blackout
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? Sara has had a lot, mostly waking up not remembering what she did
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? Using Recovery Elevator and other podcasts. Paul recommends the Bubble Hour podcast
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? Taking it one day at a time
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? Stop trying to define if they are an alcoholic or not, wasting too many thoughts. Not drinking makes your life better

“You Might be an Alcoholic If…” Your idea of dieting is doing straight shots instead of mixed drinks.

Paul’s Life Hack: ?

7:10-8:40 PM 11/17/2016 - - - 6:10 - 6:50 AM 11/19/2016

Nov 14, 2016

 Sasha has been sober for just over 5 years... This is her story…

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:
www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/
This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE!

SHOW NOTES

12 ways to help you stay sober through the holidays. Last year, in Episode 43, I introduced a long list of ways to stay sober, and now, it's a year later. This holiday season, don't beat yourself up! Maybe you only get 1 day, but shoot for all the days, and if you miss a day, get back on the wagon without beating yourself up... Be kind to yourself. The holidays are about giving, give yourself kindness.

12 Ways to Stay Sober Through the Holidays:

  1. Meditation - All of the following activities have a meditative and creative quality; guitar, piano, painting, woodwork, organizing, stuffing envelopes, whatever it is for you.
  2. Water - Hydrate! First thing I do in the morning is drink about 35 oz of lemon water.
  3. Give yourself a Hall Pass! I plan on eating 70% of the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving Dinner this year
  4. Exercise for 10 min during the first hour of the day. I stretch, do band work, and pushups.
  5. Practice visualization. I practice saying no to drinks and practice making good decisions in my sobriety.
  6. Tell someone no and put yourself first, i.e. "I will not be driving your ass around on NYE."
  7. Shovel snow or push dirt around. Think, "Service, service, service."
  8. Talk to yourself.
  9. Start doing something small and then in two years tell me how much of a difference that has made in your life.
  10. Turtle and not the hare. I'm playing the long game.
  11. Connect with your Community daily - Café RE.
  12. Share!

 

[ 12:34 ] Paul introduces Sasha.

Sasha's last drink was a couple days before Sept. 2nd, 2011...Sasha is from Washington D.C. She is 31 and has her own coaching business. For fun she likes to hangout at home in her pajamas, being a mega-introvert!

[ 14:38 ] Talk to us about your Elevator. When did you hit bottom?

September of 2011 was the culmination of a long summer of heavy partying. "I was sitting in my therapists office with my head in my hands trying to recap my summer which I couldn't remember. My therapist handed me an AA flyer and slowly I started going to a weekly meeting."

[ 17:01 ] How much did you drink? Talk to us about your drinking habits.

"I was an all or nothing binge drinker. I probably partied one night on, one night off. When I went out, I drank as much as I possibly could. As soon as I had 2 or 3 drinks there was a switch, there was no off button."

[ 27:17 ] How did you do it? Walk us through the first day, the first week.

"I dropped into an AA meeting to listen. I heard stories of human suffering, pain and joy. It was like a humanities class. People were honest and really told the truth about how they were feeling." Sasha talks about how isolating alcohol is and the antidote was really learning to connect and let her walls down. Sasha was going to one 'speaker' meeting a week. She got a sponsor after 10 mos.

[ 30:43 ] Sasha talks about her experience as a 'dry drunk'.

[ 31:07 ] Tell us about your program.

"Principles of recovery flow throughout my day. I like to let things flow. I wake up with a prayer. I have daily readers (an app and a book) that set the tone for my day. I make several 12-step meetings a week and try to meditate for 10 mins. a day." Sasha also does yoga. Yoga has been crucial to her recover journey, connecting mind, body and soul.

 

[ 40:02 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? "The summer before my freshman year of high school. I drank 2 beers and passed out."
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? "Chronic stress from acting so poorly."
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? "Sit with my self. Sobriety is all about staying with myself."
  4. What is your favorite resource in recover? "The Hazelden App. The books "The Language of Letting Go" and "Journey to the Heart," both by Melody Beattie. Yoga and 12-step meetings."
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? "When in doubt sober is always a better choice. Sobriety never hurt anyone."

“You Might be an Alcoholic If…”

"You spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince yourself that you're not an alcoholic."

 

Resources mentioned in RE 91:

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Connect with Sasha:

www.sashaptozzi.com

Hazelden App

The Language of Letting Go - by Melody Beattie

Journey to the Heart - by Melody Beattie

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

 

Nov 7, 2016

Christine has been sober for 129 days... This is her story…

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:
www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/
This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE!

SHOW NOTES

What is a dry drunk? It is someone who just doesn’t drink anymore, who has 'quit' using sheer willpower... ***Spoiler Alert*** Willpower eventually runs out. We need a program, something and someone to fall back on to support us. Your program can look completely unique to yourself and doesn't just have to be AA (although many do recommend it).

When you quit using sheer willpower, sure, you become healthier, physically feeling like you’ve been born again and the memory of passing out in a Cracker Barrel buffet line begins to fade. You'll start to gain confidence in your recent found 'sober' success and you say to yourself, "I did this. I quit. I got this." (Uh-oh, those three little words, think RE #86... Problem right there!) Eventually, we will forget entirely about the Cracker Barrel buffet line, which is a problem because, A – their cornbread is fantastic and, B – that was the reason you quit drinking. That was not a highlight in your life.  Studies show that humans have selective memory and we tend to remember the good things (i.e. the Cornbread) and not the bad things (i.e. the Ambulance, the Buffet Line, and the Cracker Barrel experience).

As a dry drunk, when we quit drinking, our genius plan is to simply not drink, thinking that one day we’ll be able to drink normally again. If you have this thought, don’t worry, every alcoholic has, but the dry drunks don’t ever address this or relinquish the thought. The key is to surrender.

This is what I call 'white knuckling it'. I think everyone is white knuckling it when they quit drinking but the dry drunks keep white knuckling it. Right about the time when all the physical healing has taken place (for me, it took over a year), is when the true white knuckling takes place. It’s when Gary (Paul's alter-ego) starts to make an appearance. It’s when 'we' start having the internal dialogue of justification. It’s when our unconscious minds have seen the barrage of alcohol adds on social media, television, and everywhere else our open eyes and ears look. This is when the cognitive dissonance starts to take place... Translation, we need help! We can't do this alone...

[ 08:12 ] Paul introduces Christine.

Christine's last drink was June 13th of 2016, about 129 days ago. She has been sober for just over 4 months. Christine grew up in a small town in central Michigan. She is now studying chemistry at Montana State University and is almost finished with her Ph.D. She loves hunting, fishing, camping and anything else outside...

[ 09:23 ] Paul talks about first meeting Christine in 2011 when he was a dry drunk and how she helped him in 2014 to make a change after hitting his bottom.

Christine remembers that Paul was hurting so badly and she was so glad that Paul gave her a call. There were lots of tears, lots and lots of tears (and it wasn't just the horses and pastures they were passing causing an allergic reaction) as they drove down canyon from Big Sky Ski Resort where Paul was DJ-ing a wedding. Christine urged Paul to call his mom, dad, and brother, to seek support... Christine has been an integral part of Paul's sobriety.

[ 14:03 ] Talk to us about your Elevator. What was your bottom?

"Bottoms are always defined differently... I had decided back in December of 2015 to quit drinking. I stopped drinking for 2 weeks before deciding that I wasn't a 'quitter'! I picked right up where I left off. I wasn't fully committed, I hadn't taken the steps I needed." In June, Christine had a "what am I doing with my life" moment on her way to fishing... She had a couple beers on the road and stopped to let the dog out before getting to the fishing spot, where she realized that her bottle of whiskey had spilled everywhere. "I was horrified, my heart started to flutter and I started to panic..." On the way back from fishing, Christine smacked a deer. This really opened her eyes as so much more could have gone wrong... Christine took this as a sign that it was time to make a change.

 

[17:51  ] How did you do it? Walk us through the first day, the first week.

"Those first few days were such a blur. I started intensive outpatient therapy (IOP)... I was a wreck. The IOP really helped. I had a friend in West Yellowstone who I relied on heavily during my early days of sobriety. I spent a lot of time on the fishing boat out in the middle of nowhere."

[ 19:36 ] Christine comments on how important it is to get outdoors... 

"Fly fishing has just become my absolute passion. To this day, anytime I feel wrong, or off, or I have cravings, I throw whatever I'm doing to the side and head to the river." Since being sober, Christine has not torn any waders or taken any 'accidental' swims in 43 degree weather! Fishing has taught Christine the beauty of being totally present.

[ 22:51 ] How much did you drink? Talk to us about your drinking habits before you quit.

"I was on an exponential curve downwards... That last month of drinking was just sliding... I was finishing almost a bottle of whiskey a day."

"I'd use booze to handle work, to handle stress, to handle literally everything..."

[ 24:31 ] Christine talks about her bipolar diagnosis.

Christine is diagnosed with bipolar II, which is an elevated state of mood... "My doctors and counselors kept telling me that I drank too much... They told me that my moods, the ups and downs, would improve if I stopped drinking. Alcohol would just make the highs higher and the lows lower... I could just drink and drink and drink when I was in a mania state, but when I was depressed, it would drag me down and down and down..."

Christine got honest with herself and those around her...

[ 29:40 ] What changes did you see?

"The biggest part was telling people about it. When I didn't have the strength, I had other people to keep me in line. I don't think anybody can do it alone." Christine lost 25lbs. just from quitting drinking. Going to bed at night is still challenging for Christine, but it's a lot better than pounding shots to blackout. "Some days are still absolute hell, my emotions get the best of me... These are the hardest. Sometimes I head into work at 3am to keep me from drinking."

[ 33:29 ] Walk us through a day in your life and how you stay sober today.

"I don't really have a day to day sobriety plan. I haven't fully gotten on board with AA, but I do go to a Friday and Saturday AA group at 9pm. I have a bunch of friends there. I listen to this podcast and participate in the Facebook Group... So many times I have looked at that and have been so thankful. I see two different counselors, an addiction counselor and a mental health counselor. Honestly, I'm so busy that I just dig my head into what I'm doing and be there and be present."

[ 35:38 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? "I was 16 and I was binge drinking. I pounded 8 shots of UV-Blue and 10 minutes later was puking blue... My mom was not so thrilled."
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? "When I smacked into that deer... I realized it was time."
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? "To keep sober. I consider future events that could be triggering and talk out a plan to stay sober, making sure that I have an out."
  4. What's your favorite resource in recovery? "My group at the Alcohol and Drug Services here in Bozeman, MT."
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? "Get an accountability partner, giving them permission to call you out on your crap!"
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? "Dive in. Do it. Don't give up. It's going to suck at first, but a week from now it'll be better, just keep going."

“You Might be an Alcoholic If…”

"If you try to drink the split whiskey in the bottom of your cooler that's mixed with the water...." (Thanks Paul!)

 "If you start selling your fly rods so you can buy another bottle of whiskey." - Christine

 

Resources mentioned in RE 90:

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

 

Oct 31, 2016

 Zach has been sober for 3.5 years... This is his story…

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:
www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/
This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE!

SHOW NOTES

"You gotta get through it to get to it..." Open your eyes and start to notice those around you. Often, you'll find others who don't drink. Talk to them, discover why they don't drink... Some of these people quit for religious reasons, some for health, and others for personal reasons. Some are able to just quit on the spot, others not so much. Yeah, not all of us are so lucky to just suddenly decide to quit drinking... These individuals who do own up to their problems and the fortunes in their life. They take ownership. There are tons of studies highlighting different stats on sobriety (check out the links in the show notes below).

[ 10:53 ] Paul introduces Zach.

Zach has twin boys and has been sober for 3.5 years, his last drink was March 9th (4 years ago) at about 3am. Zach is 27, and born and raised in a small city just North of the Atlanta area. He has been married for two years. By day Zach is a marketer and by night he is a self-proclaimed beat-boxer for his kids.

[ 13:28 ] Talk to us about your Elevator. What led up to you quitting drinking?

"I quit 1,000 times in my own head... It's a revolving circle." Zach started drinking when he was about 12 years old, when he had about 3 Budweisers and remembered waking up in the pool. "I remember at that point wanting to make my life all about drinking." Zach continued to drink all through high school... Zach got expelled from school for the last half of his senior year due to drinking. "That's kind of where I kick-started my 'drinking career'." Zach was 19 when he got his second arrest due to drinking and had to spend 30 days in jail. This was the first time when Zach thought, "Ok, this is me, this is alcohol."

[ 18:25 ] What were your drinking habits like?

The second Zach got out of jail he found a Bud Ice in a friend's fridge and was at the bar that night, still underage. Zach usually took Mondays and Tuesdays off... In his early 20s it shifted to needing a drink to feel calm. "I started buying airplane bottles of rum. I was living with my girlfriend at the time and she knew I drank often, but I would drink all day long when she was gone and then pop a beer open when she came home in the evening, acting like it was my first drink."

[ 21:31 ] Did you ever try to moderate? 

"I'd kick liquor away and just focus on beer. I'd binge drink real hard on the weekends. Right at the end of 22 I started diving into other substances... I got into meth and then I didn't have to drink. Once I made that leap I felt really defeated." Zach's own father introduced him to meth. (Unfortunately, his dad is still walking that story.) Thankfully, Zach didn't get addicted to meth and was able to back off of that substance, which let the drinking pick back up.

[ 25:02 ] Alcohol is an extremely addictive substance. How do you feel about that?

"I completely agree. It was like relearning to walk and talk (on choosing sobriety). Everything used to spike my interest in drinking... It's so highly addictive."

[ 26:36 ] Zach talks about his father and living with a family of addictive patterns.

[ 28:56 ] How did you do it? Talk to us about how you got sober.

"It was just an ordinary night... I got home at about 3am. I had to crawl through the window because I couldn't find my keys. I slept in 'til about 10am and awoke to missed calls from my girlfriend..." Zach had missed her Crossfit competition, something that was extremely important to her. "It was like the 10th time I had missed something. She was broken... Mentally, I couldn't tell another lie. I was exhausted." When she came home later Zach broke down and asked for help.

Those first few months were tough. "I was trying to fit in, I was not answering any phone calls. I was rationalizing it... I was white-knuckling it for about 2 mos. I was just a dry drunk..." Zach ended up at an AA meeting on his way to the liquor store... He was blown away by the diversity of the room and yet everyone was telling 'his' story. Zach discovered his first glance of hope at this AA meeting. "You can have a better lifestyle, a better life."

[ 35:23 ] Zach talks about getting a sponsor and working his program. Buddy, from RE #67, became Zach's sponsor. 

[ 37:53 ] How do you stay sober today?

"I try to get up earlier than my kids so I can read... If I meet with Buddy we go through the step work, the stories or just kick it and drink some coffee... I try to hit 3 meetings a week, it allows me to share. It helps me hold myself accountable. I'm involved in a non-profit, Orphan Aid Liberia. Humility has been a big word in my recovery... Now, I can actually look outward and give back."

 

[ 41:23 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? "Blue light. Anything to do with a cop."
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? "Woke up one morning, my head was hurting so bad and I couldn't find a bottle opener to open a Corona, so I smashed the bottle on the counter to get a drink."
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? "To do daily amends, doing the next right thing day after day and just trying to give back."
  4. What's your favorite resource in recovery? "Besides Buddy, is having AA to fellowship with."
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? "Let go or get dragged."
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? "There's nothing quite like the experience of sobriety... Sobriety has given me so much more than I ever thought. You deserve this. You deserve to live whatever life you want to."

“You Might be an Alcoholic If…”

 "Your job gets in the way of your drinking." 

 

Resources mentioned in RE 89:

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Recovery & Rehab Links:

Join Recovery Elevator for a Recovery Retreat Summer Camp Style in Bozeman, MT! Stay tuned... More information to come!

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Oct 24, 2016

Val has been sober for 6 months... This is her story…

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:
www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/
This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE!

SHOW NOTES

If you drink enough alcohol over time our brains will change due to the response to alcohol. Some of the damage is irreversible, thus proving that you can pick up right where you left off (upon relapse). This is because there is still a dopamine hypersensitivity. Relapse is part of Paul's story… After being sober for 2.5 years, Paul got another 8mos. of drinking under his belt, picking up right where he left off. There was no ramp-up phase because Paul's brain is hyper-sensitive to alcohol. Good news! Even though in the brain there is this environment where dopamine hyper-sensitivity still exists, if you don’t drink then it’s not activated. This change is irreversible, but, if you don’t drink then it doesn’t react… Check out RE 87 for more detailed info on dopamine and our crazy brains.

 

[ 06:34 ] Paul introduces Val.

Val took her last drink on April 8th, 2016, just about 6 months ago. She is 44, married, and has 3 kids and one grandchild. She is originally from Billings, MT and has lived in the Big Sky area for 20 years. She loves to bake, knit, garden, camp, hike and just be outside.

[ 09:25 ] Talk to us about your Elevator. When did you hit bottom?

“Well, I’ve hit many bottoms in my life, but I finally reached that point where I knew I needed to change or else I was going to lose everything.” This was not Val’s first attempt at quitting drinking. She first tried to quit in her mid-20s when she decided to start having kids. Val quit drinking for 8 years, but was miserable. After owning a restaurant and dealing with the stress of that, Val broke down and started drinking again… After 8 years of sobriety! “That’s just how I dealt with stress. (Drinking) was the only way I knew how."

[ 11:03 ] What is a dry drunk?

“I was not drinking, but my mind was still crazy. I was still trying to control everything around me, I didn’t understand life and I always felt that life was out to get me, that I was the victim.” Val explains her unhappiness as afraid of people, not being comfortable in her own skin, not having a higher power and trying to do everything herself… Now, Val is asking for help. “Before, I felt that I was a failure if I had to ask for help. My expectations that I held were so high and I could never meet them.” 

[ 12:57 ] How much did you drink? Talk to us about your drinking habits.

Val was drinking at least a bottle of wine a night, and more like two bottles a night. “Because I was drinking wine, I thought it was not a big deal, that it wasn’t a problem.” Val tried every rule in the book: just on the weekends, or only in the evening... “When I started drinking during the day, that’s when I started having oh-shit moments.” Val always used the stress of work to qualify needing a drink.

[ 14:30 ] Val talks about losing her restaurant and the feelings of failure and stress that accompanied the experience.

[ 15:48 ] How did you do it? Walk us through the first day, the first week.

“The first day was a morning that I was so sick that I couldn’t go to work. I was so sick, sicker than I had ever been. It was a Tuesday night, and I was just sitting at home watching Netflix.” Val was watching Amy (the Amy Winehouse documentary) and discovered that Amy had died from alcohol poisoning… Val had a huge wakeup moment, realizing that the same thing could easily happen to her. Val white-knuckled it for about 30 days before she started drinking again. After connecting with Paul on a webinar, she accepted help and went to her first AA meeting.

[ 18:59 ] Tell us about your program.

“I read in the Big Book everyday if I can, usually before bed. I know a lot of people try to start their day with a reading, but I have a kid to get ready…” Val goes to her home group meeting every week, has a service position, meets with her sponsor every week and she is on a committee. Val chooses to stay involved.

[ 19:49 ] Do you feel more confident with 6mos. of sobriety?

We are all shaky when we step onto new foundations. “It is getting better, but I know I have work to do. I need to keep working on my program. I’m on the 4th step right now… Writing stuff out has been very helpful.” Val shares one of her resentments which is part of the 4th step, taking responsibility for her actions, emotions and experiences. “You need to forgive yourself in order to let the anger out… It feels awesome. I look at the world in a different way.”

[ 24:39 ] What have you learned about yourself through sobriety?

“I’ve been very dishonest with myself throughout life and I don’t want to be that way anymore. I just want to be who I am… I always felt that nobody would want to know the real me, but that’s not true, that’s the disease speaking.”

[ 25:46 ] What are your thoughts on relapse?

“Well, I’m only a drink away from relapse. It can happen so easily. I have to be sure to always call my sponsor if I have that urge to drink. I’m not hiding anymore… I’m interacting and asking for help when I need it.”

[ 26:24 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? “Not having a memory… Blacking out and not remembering what I did.”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “That morning I woke up so sick that I couldn’t go to work.”
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? “Continue working my program, make the relationship with my higher power stronger (accepting that I have a higher power) and I also think that I need to start worrying about what I think about myself instead of worrying about what others think.”
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “You can’t fix it right away, it’s going to take awhile.”
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “Just do it. Just get yourself to a meeting.”

“You Might be an Alcoholic If…”

“You pass out before the Amy Winehouse movie is over.”

Paul’s Life Hack:

Play the long game…

 

Resources mentioned in RE 88:

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Sobriety Tracker

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

The Compound Effect 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Oct 17, 2016

Kenny has been sober for 1 & 1/2 years... This is his tale...

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:
www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/
This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

 

SHOW NOTES

Why did alcohol stop working for me? (***Spoiler Alert*** If it still works for you, IT WILL STOP working.) I needed more and more of it to fill the same effects, a.k.a. the pleasure… We know that alcohol increases cravings in the brain by releasing dopamine… But, dopamine is actually the LEARNING chemical in the brain. Thus, it teaches us where to find pleasure… After we have found pleasure, i.e. tipping a bottle back over and over again, the body will eventually turn down alcohol to protect itself. Our brain is a beautiful system that has kept us alive for millions of years… How does it do this? The brain produces another chemical, which turns down the stimulation. I’ve learned that I have enhanced dopamine receptors. Now, if we lived in the age of saber-toothed tigers and always having to fight for our food, this would have kept me alive, however, not now and no longer! Over time, I needed more and more alcohol to get to the point of stimulation, of pleasure, I even needed it just to feel normal… This is an evolutionary mechanism built inside of us. However, the pleasure that we should be seeking is food, water, shelter, and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts! Not alcohol!!!

[ 06:18 ] Paul Introduces Kenny.

Kenny has been sober since April 3rd, 2015, about one and a half years. Kenny is 27 and grew up in a small farm town in California. He spent some time in Riverside, CA before moving to Montana to attend grad school. He is a PhD student, studying statistics. Kenny loves to work on his truck, build bikes and computers and wander around in nature, getting lost in the wilderness.

[ 07:30 ] Talk to us about your Elevator. What led up to your desire to stop drinking?

“It was a long, slow descent with a lot of bumps towards the bottom.” Kenny’s roommates started to notice and comment on his drinking habits. “Last March I missed classes because I was too drunk to get to class, this had never happened before… I had a BIG eye-opening experience and realized that this wasn’t just about me. I had to take responsibility.”

[ 10:02 ] How much did you drink? Did you ever try to put rules in place?

“It started when I was 21… I realized that it kind of helped me get my Math homework done. I’d have a gin and tonic or two, nightly or whenever I needed to get stuff done and then from there I was drinking like half a ⅕ of brandy in one afternoon.” This gradually progressed to being hungover or still drunk the next morning. Eventually Kenny was blacking out and waking up on a strange couch… “I came up with some schemes. I was supposed to call my best friend to stay accountable, which just led me to lying to her about how much I was drinking, which made me feel worse. My next scheme was that I got a little notebook, thinking that I could be accountable to myself and do it on my own…” This turned into Kenny tearing himself down and feeling guilty.

[ 15:33 ] Kenny talks more about his Elevator...

“I started talking to my new roommate who’s father had turned his life around after connecting with AA. She suggested that I give him a call, which I did. He completely understood the craving and how when I drank it was just never enough…”

[ 17:05 ] Kenny discusses “that feeling in your head.”

[ 18:08 ] What was it like when you quit drinking?

Kenny checked out a few AA meetings after talking to his roommate’s Dad… It took a couple times before he was ready to change his life. Sometime around April 3rd, 2015, there was a party… Kenny went to it having decided that he would try to drink just one drink and then go home. Kenny nursed that one drink for 1 ½ hours and was so proud that he took the opportunity to do shots with a buddy, waking up the next morning on a couch and not remembering anything from the night before… That next morning Kenny decided to give AA a shot.

[ 21:15 ] Kenny talks about his first experience at an AA meeting...

[ 22:00 ] Walk us through a typical day and how you stay sober.

“I usually get up at 4:00 or 4:30 am, I realized I’m a morning person! I make a nice big breakfast, take a shower and then head to school. I ride my bike and get to see the sun come up… In the evenings I try to meditate for 15 minutes or so and play my guitar.” Kenny has been working on mindfulness, trying to clear and calm his mind, becoming more aware of what’s going on inside his body. “I just close my eyes and focus my breath, just acknowledging what kind of breath I’m taking, just trying to pay attention to what’s going on inside.”

 

[ 35:17 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? “When I was visiting my mom for Christmas and I got a call from my housemates saying that they couldn’t put up with my drinking any longer and that I needed to find a new place…”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “That morning that I realized I was still drunk and didn’t make it to class, not only letting myself down but other students as well…”
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? “Keep doing what I’ve been doing, fitting in a meeting or two on the weekends and staying involved…”
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “Just don’t drink.”
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “Go connect with someone. Find someone else who has struggled with drinking and get to know them.”

 

“You Might be an Alcoholic If…”

“You’ve almost fallen in a campfire and didn’t know about it until the next morning when your friends tell you about it!”

Paul’s Life Hack:

Making decisions whether big or small is tough, so just eliminate a lot of the small decisions… Examples of stressful small decisions: “Should I drink tonight?” “How many drinks?” “What liquor store do I go to now?” “How do I sneak booze into the movie theater?” “How do I control my f****** drinking?” I no longer have to struggle over these small decisions because “I DON’T DRINK.” Make this one decision and the others are no longer relevant.

 

Resources mentioned in RE 87:

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Sobriety Tracker

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

Dr. Wolfram Schultz 

Dr. Daniel J. Levitin

Pop-Tarts Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Toaster Pastries

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Oct 10, 2016

Jenny has been sober for 13 months... This is her tale...

Resources mentioned in RE 86:

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Sobriety Tracker

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

 

SHOW NOTES

Ok, so you’re doing a pretty good job of following your rules, your systems, or you're experimenting with sobriety… Have you ever said the words “I got this”? "I would say these words over and over again while putting these rules, systems, games, etc. in place when trying to get sober on my own…" Paul was sober for over 2 years when those mean little words came back, “You know what Paul, we got this… We’re totally good.” And, DAMN IT! After two years of sobriety, we drank (me and Gary)... “We didn’t got this…” If you ever catch yourself saying, “Hey, you got this…” be very cognizant, very aware, and very, very cautious... "I got this," the three most dangerous words an alcoholic can say.

[ 05:33 ] Paul Introduces Jenny.

Jenny has been sober for just over a year, since August 25th, 2015. “My life is better than it was when I was drinking.” Jenny grew up in Helena, MT and currently lives in Bozeman, MT. She is married to an amazing man and has 4 kids, ages 4-14. She loves to run, workout and go to the gym. “If it involves exercise, I love to do it!”

[ 06:59 ] Jenny speaks about her drinking history.

The alcoholic tendency has always been there for Jenny… “I don’t think that ever in my life I had just one drink. It was always like game-on. In High School I was “the party girl.” Jenny knew she had to stop before she hit the absolute bottom.

[ 10:46 ] What was it like drinking and taking care of 4 kids? (Paul openly admits that he could barely take care of Ben, the Standard Poodle, when he was drinking…)

“When the drinking started to escalate, it was sort of the perfect storm. My husband is a firefighter and started working 24-hr. shifts… Things really started to get out of control. When I was drinking, I felt like I was the best mom in the world… But, I was really checked out. I was selfish. In the back of my mind I was always concerned with refilling my glass.” Saying those words, “Yes, I am an alcoholic,” was the scariest thing Jenny has ever said… "Admitting that I didn’t have all of my shit together…”

[ 14:06 ] Jenny talks about how admitting “I am an alcoholic” is liberating.

“That dirty little secret I had been carrying around... I had been doing all of these things to convince myself that I didn’t have a problem. I was volunteering, doing insane workouts at 5am (sometimes still drunk)... After, a lot of moms came to me and said, “Hey, I think I have the same problem.”

[ 16:43 ] Talk to me about Run for Recovery.

Run for Recovery is a run supporting Alive Again Life Recovery Mission which exists for the purpose of creating a safe Christian environment for individuals of all ages to fellowship, learn and heal from addiction and addiction-related effects. Running and exercising has helped Jenny so much through this process (choosing sobriety).

[ 18:39 ] How did you do it? What was Day 1 like?

“I just did it. I just quit. I went moment by moment, minute by minute. I binge listened to Recovery Elevator. After about a week I got into my crying phase. I was ashamed. I beat myself up over poor choices and poor parenting…”

[ 20:20 ] What other methods besides running do you use?

“Reading a lot, educating myself, and sometimes just forcing myself to sit still. Forcing myself to feel those feelings.” Jenny has found that her athletic performance has increased since being sober. “I feel one million times better than when I was drinking.” Working out is definitely an outlet for Jenny. “It’s definitely better than vodka.”

[ 29:06 ] What’s on your bucket-list?

“Half marathons, Spartan racing, keep volunteering, discover more about myself, and to be a little kinder to myself…”

[ 30:02 ] What have you learned about yourself?

“I’m a type-A, over-achieving, control freak, and working on being a little nicer to myself… We need to be nice to ourselves. We need to talk to ourselves like we talk to a friend. We really beat ourselves up.” Jenny has learned about what triggers her and how to manage cravings (they do come). She finds other things to do, like playing with her kids, going for a run, or just sitting with the craving and letting it pass.

 

[ 35:17 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  “4 or 5 months before I quit drinking, my husband and I went to Las Vegas. My husband went to bed and I went to the "gift shop," which just meant that I went drinking. I couldn't get the key to work to get back into the room and I ended up passing out just outside of our bedroom. My husband found me at 3am.”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “That panicky feeling that would come when there were only a couple of drinks left in the vodka bottle, and over-thinking my kids activities because it was going to affect my ability to drink.”
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? “Continue to volunteer and be of service. Get more involved with RE and really staying accountable.”
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? Cafe RE, the Bubble Hour, going to the gym, getting out of my own head, staying in the moment…”
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “You can do anything, you just can’t do everything.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “Set yourself up for success. Cut yourself some slack. Make sure you have a plan.”
  7. “You might be an alcoholic if you go to the liquor store and browse around, ask some questions, yet know full well that you’re going to go to the vodka section and buy something from the bottom shelf.”

 

Paul’s Life Hack:

Take your ball and go home. You don’t have to put yourself in precarious situations. You don’t have to drink just to appease others. Just take your cell phone and go home. Be kind to yourself. Take your ball and go home. Take your beach toys, your camper, your R.V., your whatever… Take it and go home.

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Oct 3, 2016

John has been sober for 5 years... This is his story...

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Sobriety Tracker

AA

Recovery Elevator Episode #1: Do You Have a Drinking Problem

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

 

SHOW NOTES

“In Episode 1 of RE, we (the human Paul & the dog Ben) do a test to determine if I am an alcoholic. The results… Blatantly clear. Yes, I am an alcoholic.” Paul found it extremely difficult to stop drinking after having just one drink. For about a decade, he lived in the pickle of “one drink was too much and 1,000 drinks was just not enough.” How the hell do you navigate that? Well, the answer is definitely, “Don’t drink.” Now, at Episode 85, Paul has an even better test to determine if you’ve got a drinking problem.

Preliminary steps before taking this self-assessment:

  1. Make sure you are hydrated. Drink lots of water (if you are already drinking a beer during this portion, then yes, you too are an alcoholic).
  2. Stretch out. Loosen up. Maybe even do some burpees!
  3. Make sure you’ve got enough lead in your pencil and ink in your pen!
  4. Take some deep breaths.

Paul’s Self-Assessment Test:

(***This is going to be the new metric moving forward, I guarantee it! No need to go spend a ton of money on any other tests...This assessment is free and accurate.***)

  1. Have you ever wondered, “Do I have a drinking problem?” YES or NO

***FEEL FREE TO PRESS PAUSE, GRAB A GLASS OF WATER, SHARPEN YOUR PENCIL, ETC., AS THIS IS THE HALF WAY POINT OF THE SELF ASSESSMENT TEST***

  1. Have you ever asked yourself, “Would my life be better without alcohol?” YES or NO

CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have just finished the Recovery Elevator self-assessment!

Answer Key: Listen to Paul on RE 85 @ [ 5:11 ] 

"Quitting drinking isn’t easy, but my life is exponentially better since I’ve quit drinking." In the previous 84 podcasts, there's a pretty good roadmap already laid out for you… Not only will your life improve (yes, there will be speed bumps), but the lives of those around you will improve too! In all honesty, these self-assessment tests are this simple. It’s not easy, but it’s better.

 

[ 10:25 ] Paul Introduces John.

John was born and raised and lives in Wichita, Kansas. He has a 3-year old son. He enjoys working on his car, experimenting with cooking, and comic books… He is engaged to be married to a woman who is also in the program (AA). John’s last drink was August 28th, 2011…

John kept trying to do it (quit drinking) on his own, but time and time again, it just didn’t happen! After telling himself, “I’m just going to have two beers..." 3 or 4 beers, a few mixed drinks, sake for the whole table (they were going to a bar after dinner) and a $400 bar tab later… "I woke up on the floor in my undies, covered in puke (puke in the hallway, puke in the bathroom)... I just felt that someone was telling me to get help.” John realized he just couldn't do this alone.

[ 20:29 ] When did you decide to first quit drinking?

“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I kept trying to do it myself, but I’d always find a “special” occasion to drink.” This is one of those things (choosing sobriety) where you actually have to do the work!

[ 22:19 ] “I think I got this.” John explains what this means for him...

To John, this phrase means that he’s letting his ego tell him how to run things. “I tried on my own without a program, guidance or a schedule and it just wouldn’t stick. Ever.” When John got his 2nd DUI, he knew something was up… John knew that if he drank again, he would get behind the wheel.

[ 24:15 ] Talk to us about Alcoholics Anonymous.

John was completely blown away by the spectrum of diverse people that made up his first AA meeting, which was quite contrary to what he “knew” AA was going to be!

[ 31:08 ] John discusses weight loss, cooking and what he does with all his booze-FREE time!

[ 32:59 ] What’s your favorite dance move?

Thanks Paul for getting in some humor! In his sobriety, John has really enjoyed running, but he does not prefer the “Running Man,” and claims that the “Robot” is more his style...

[ 35:48 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? “I had the DUI 50-moped (the scooter I rode when I had my license suspended) and I had been drinking. I got on the moped… I just could not stop myself from drinking and driving.”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “That day that I swore to myself that I’d only have 2 beers at the restaurant and ended up wondering, “How the hell did this happen?”
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? “Keep going to meetings, keep being thankful for my sobriety, keep asking for more sobriety, keep being honest with my sobriety, and keep reaching out to people.”
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? “Right now, it’s the podcasts. I can take them anywhere. I can listen to it and nobody even knows.” John listens to Recovery Elevator, SHAIR Podcast, and the Bubble Hour.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “Look for the similarities. We all want to stay sober.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “Just do it. You’re going to want to find a reason to not start, to give it one more day. Just do it. Just stop. Today. Right now. Just stop."

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Drop us a line: info@recoveryelevator.com

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Sep 26, 2016

Elaine has been sober for 15 days… This is her story...

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

recoveryelevator.com/survey

Sobriety Tracker

AA

Elaine’s podcast: Throttle Podcast

  • Instagram: @throttlepodcast

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

 

SHOW NOTES

"Today, I want to talk about feelings…" Feelings. Fun, right? We often hear that “drinking is but a symptom…” But, what the hell does that mean? It means we have feelings, experiences, and other life situations that we don’t want to deal with, so we choose to cover them up with distractions, like drinking… “Two years and one week ago I used to drink all of these emotions away.” Through some serious research, Paul has discovered that dogs (thanks to Ben for being part of this study) can teach us something about these feelings. Ok, so it’s obvious that humans and dogs are different, but dogs can actually teach us how to lean into negative sensations and feelings… Take riding in a car for example, a dog (like Ben) will actually lean into uncomfortable sensations like curvy roads and the blowing wind. We can learn from our four-footed friends.

5 Strategies for Leaning Into Emotions:

  1. When you feel that negative emotion, lean into it.
  2. Don’t categorize emotions as good or bad, just notice that the emotions are here.
  3. Breath and count to 10.
  4. Recognize where these feelings come from and begin to let-go. Let-go of the sensation, let-go of the experience. 
  5. Know yourself. Begin to observe yourself from a 3rd-person point of view. Just watch.

 

[ 09:24 ] Paul Introduces Elaine.

Elaine’s last drink was 15 days ago! Elaine has lived in a number of cities across Canada. She’s in her 40s and does freelance work. She has been happily married for 25 years. She loves practicing karate (green belt), archery and riding her motorcycle. She is an introvert and an atheist. Elaine loves karate because of the mental part. “You really have to be focused and mindful.”

[ 13:44 ] When did you decide to first quit drinking?

“That’s a long road…” This time around, Elaine has joined AA. “My husband came home one day and told me a story about a great friend who was doing AA and it completely changed my view of AA.” Elaine didn’t feel that she had a rock bottom, but really resonated with the group the first time she joined an AA meeting. “I just couldn’t fool myself any longer. It’s a really open and honest group and I am an alcoholic.”

[ 17:31 ] What was it like, your first 24 hours, 72 hours…?

It was a Wednesday, the day before we were leaving for a trip to my husband’s family cottage, typically a long-weekend that involved drinking. “It was a white-knuckle weekend. I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself.” Elaine realized that in prior years the cottage was always an excuse to drink.

[ 21:26 ] Talk to me about depression?

Elaine has lived with depression since her teens. “When you mix alcohol with depression, it’s never a good thing.” During bouts of depression, everything becomes very arduous. Elaine now has the awareness to notice when depression is creeping up on her. “I used to start off with a couple of cocktails, have wine while making dinner and during dinner, and then finish off the night with a few night-caps. I would wake up the next day and feel terrible and would spend the whole next day beating myself up about it (the depression and the drinking). It was a vicious cycle.”

[ 26:44 ] What have you learned about yourself in the last 15 days?

Elaine has learned that it is okay to feel really vulnerable and that it can be really hard to ask for help, but that she is also stronger than she thought and can do this and ask for help often.

[ 27:56 ] What is your plan moving forward?

Elaine plans to continue going to AA meetings where she finds a lot of strength in sharing stories with others and building camaraderie. “I really value their honesty. I find that alcoholism is like depression in a toolkit sense. I make sure that I get enough sleep, and I incorporate meditation and mindfulness. Fortunately, I have built these practices up in dealing with depression.”

[ 29:47 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  “The things that I don’t remember due to blackouts.”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “So many! Waking up from being asleep and rather than going back to sleep I got up at 3am and made myself a vodka tonic…”
  3. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? “Other alcoholics, the Recovery Elevator podcast, and going to meetings.”
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “Stand up and take the 24-hour sobriety chip at the AA meeting.”
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “Get help today. Tomorrow things aren’t going to change. Don’t delay, just go get help today in whatever form that means to you.”

Life Hacks from Paul

  • You know that voice inside your head? - Change the way it speaks to you.
  • Replace “I’m an idiot” with “Oops, I made a mistake.”
  • Take responsibility for your actions. That alone can get you sober.

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Drop us a line: info@recoveryelevator.com

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Sep 19, 2016

Kendall has been sober for 130 days… Here’s his story...

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

recoveryelevator.com/survey

Sobriety Tracker

AA

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

SHOW NOTES

Paul on Lowering the bar… “I have a  podcast about being okay with the way things are, and I’ll admit, this episode is not perfect, there are some things left out.” Paul has been sober for 730 days. “Life at two years sober is better than life 730 days ago… My anxiety, that has pretty much gone away. But, on day 729, I had a near meltdown… The bar of expectations I had put in place for myself, had slowly risen up over the past 1 ½ years. On day 730, I realized that I needed to be kind to myself, to be patient and to get realistic. 2 years is not a long time, I still have so much more to go. On day 729, self-loathing showed up… again… I was so far out of my comfort zone, but that is where the growth happens, and that is where I have been for the past year and a half. So, I’m lowering the bar, I’m going to take the time to observe what I’ve done, what’s going on around me and enjoy the moment. What’s my plan moving forward? Well, I’m not going to change a darn thing.” Paul is taking this one day at a time… One day at a time…

 

[ 10:16 ] Paul Introduces Kendall:

Kendall is 28 and has been sober for 130 days. “It feels great, I’m free. I don’t have to carry the weight of being drunk.” Kendall is from Lawrence, Kansas and moved to Montana 5 years ago as a professional painter, in his free time he likes to head up into the mountains.

[ 11:25 ] What made you want to stop?

Kendall surrendered to alcohol on the anniversary of a death of a best friend who died from a drunk driving accident. Kendall reset his sobriety date after smoking a bowl after attending another funeral of a close friend.

[ 13:42 ] What were your drinking habits like?

“I would drink at least a 12-pack if not more. I’d start in the morning just to calm the jitters, then the moment I got off work the fun began.” Kendall used rules like “no hard alcohol,” “just O’Douls,” anything to maintain his sanity. “I got to drinking on the job, anything to keep my mind on alcohol.” After being dismissed from a family Christmas dinner, Kendall knew something was up.

[ 16:28 ] How did you do it? (on choosing sobriety)

Kendall utilized the rules of AA. “They spoke my language, they have a plan and they know how to do it.” Kendall felt connected once he got a sponsor, a home group and started doing service. “It works if you work it.”

[ 17:55 ] “Drinking is but a symptom…” Kendall dives into this idea.

[ 18:32 ] What was it like, your first 24 hours, 72 hours…?

“Oh boy, was that something else!” Kendall’s brain was so hard wired to drink. “The people in the world aren’t the problem, I always played the victim… It was all me. Selfish and self-centered.”

“The moment that you’re able to accept some humility, that’s when the freedom begins.” Now, in sobriety, Kendall feels like the world is brighter and clearer. He can focus, eat and sleep, and do the things we do to be able to take care of ourselves. “It’s crazy how I’m now able to read a chapter and comprehend what I’m reading… It’s a gift.”

[ 23:36 ] What have you lost to alcohol?

“I’d say I lost my job, an education, an opportunity for an education, family, friends, relationships…”

[ 24:50 ] Have cravings come and what do you do to move forward? Kendall will pray and utilize his sponsor. “One time I went to the Wal-Mart parking lot and pushed carts back just to do something, to get out of my head.”

[ 27:34 ] What does your recovery portfolio look like today?

“The moment I wake up, I pray. I have gone through “the big book and the 12 & 12”. The first 30 minutes of my day are all geared towards AA. I use the serenity prayer. The moment I get off work I go to a meeting, come home, cook dinner and go to bed. I like to keep it simple."

 

[ 28:37 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  “Christmas dinner when I wanted to see my family but I couldn't because I had been dismissed because of my habits.”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “The morning after I had been fired for drinking on the job and I had to go meet with my boss… I just couldn’t.”
  3. What is your plan in sobriety moving forward? “To serve others and keep going to meetings.”
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? “My sponsor.”
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “Keep coming back. It works if you work it.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give to our listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “Keep your head out of the clouds and feet on the ground. Go to your local AA meeting.”

 

QUOTABLES

“Sobriety is just straight up nothing.” - Paul

“Deep down I needed an answer, I needed a solution… Really, I needed to check into reality…” - Kendall

“I’m able to be Kendall, the Kendall that everybody knew that I could be when I put the bottle down.” - Kendall

“What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.” - Kendall

“You might be an alcoholic if after your 3rd DUI and losing 2 best friends to alcohol, you think you still don’t have a problem with alcohol.” - Kendall

“You don’t have to hangout with people you don’t like.” - Paul

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Drop us a line: info@recoveryelevator.com

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Sep 12, 2016

Chad, with 37 days of sobriety shares how he is doing it...

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meet-ups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Join Cafe RE in April for a trip to PERU! Trip details can be found here: http://www.recoveryelevator.com/peru/

Reddit Stop Drinking Forum - /r/stopdrinking

SMART Recovery

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

 

SHOW NOTES

Paul Introduces Chad

Chad has been sober for 37 days! Boom! Chad racked up about 2.5 years of sobriety in a previous life... "It doesn't get any easier. The best thing you can do is to get sober and stay sober." Chad is 25 and works in the communications field. He was born and raised in Atlanta and has lived all over the world. Chad is currently single (and recommends staying this way in early sobriety). Chad is really into backpacking... He got totally hooked during his time in rehab.

What were your drinking habits like?

"I avoided drinking and other habits until the summer before I went to college. I was afraid that something would happen to me if I drank. Little did I realize that that would become a self-fulfilling prophecy." Chad joined a fraternity in college and was drinking close to a 750ml of "nasty" Burnett's vodka a day...

Did you ever try to “cut-back” and put rules in place?

"You name it, I did it... But nothing ever worked." Chad went to rehab around age 22/23 to a place in the Pisgah National Forest, where he relearned how to live life -- survival techniques, meditation, etc. Chad attributes the program to his sobriety.

After 2.5 years of sobriety, what was your shoelace? What made you drink again...?

"Oh man, as with so many men in sobriety, it was a lady friend..." Chad was going on a first date with a girl that he perceived to be way out of his league... Chad was so nervous and remembered how embarrassed he would feel if he had to explain on a first date that he doesn't drink... Looking back, Chad now knows that honesty is the answer. "One drink led to two drinks... And three months later I was back to blacking-out..." The girl left Chad after two months when she realized something just wasn't right. Chad believes that he had this experience so that he could add it to the long list of reasons why he doesn't drink.

Chad talks about recovery and his recovery portfolio.

Chad is working with a sponsor (AA) as he feels that he needs to get relief quickly. Chad is working one step every week right now -- it's like a mini 12-week program. AA is working for Chad and he is going to keep doing it... Besides listening to the RE podcast (Chad's favorites are RE 67 with Buddy and any that highlight the newly sober). "These relationships that we form (in recovery) go way beyond the face value of most relationships. People in recovery can relate on such a deeper level."

When your next shoelace comes, when life happens, what do you plan on doing differently?

Chad is now asking for help. "It's admitting that you need help, that I need to reach out for additional resources. I see this as a sign of being a man." It's calling his sponsor, connecting with his recovery groups/contacts, and listening to the RE podcast. It is a courageous thing to be vulnerable and ask for help.

Who's your favorite Atlanta hip-hop star? 

Listen in to get an update on ATL stars from Paul & Chad!

  

Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  "In November of 2015, I got behind the wheel of my car and decided to visit a friend 4 hours away... Short of the long of it, I woke up in jail the next day in Raven Co. I was off by quite a bit..." 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? "37 days ago when a co-worker pulled me aside and asked me if I was drunk in a meeting. It was no longer a personal thing."
  3. What is your plan in sobriety moving forward? "Continue to utilize and build 'that' network. I'm so afraid to ask for help, so if I'm constantly surrounding myself with other alcoholics in recovery I know that I can always reach out for help."
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? "On Reddit - Stop Drinking sub-Reddit, where people can chat in a forum, and SMART recovery."
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? "Footwork. It's what action you're taking in order to stay sober the next day. Putting one foot in front of the other."
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give to our listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? "Listen to the examples that people have provided, examine the evidence and determine for yourself what you're willing to do to get back on track and to be happy because what you're doing right now clearly isn't working. Take an objective look and take action."

QUOTABLES

"When you make it through a craving, that feeling of accomplishment, that general good feeling... That's the new high that I'm chasing." - Chad

"I'm finally doing it for myself, not for other people." - Chad

"You might be an alcoholic if you get behind the wheel of a car with 2-bottles of vodka and end up floatin' in a canoe in Raven Co. where they filmed Deliverance... You might have a problem." - Chad

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Drop us a line: info@recoveryelevator.com

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Sep 5, 2016

Julie, with 118 days of sobriety, shares how she does it...

Resources mentioned in this episode:

RE needs your input! Follow the link below to fill out a quick survey to determine the future of the RE Podcast! Recovery Elevator Survey

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can have unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meetups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

Join Cafe RE in April for a trip to PERU! Trip details can be found here: http://www.recoveryelevator.com/peru/

 

Rockstars Who are Sober:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/recovery/12-rock-stars-proud-to-be-sober/#/most-popular

http://www.eonline.com/news/271628/amy-winehouse-s-cause-of-death-accidental-alcohol-poisoning-blood-level-five-times-the-legal-limit

Good reads mentioned by Julie:

Drinking: A Love Story, by Caroline Knapp

Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, by Gail Caldwell

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

 

SHOW NOTES

Paul Introduces Julie

Julie has been sober for 118 days. Julie is 46, she grew up in Annapolis and Germany. She has been working with the same marketing company for 20 years. Julie is on her 4th year in a relationship with a great guy who is a normal drinker. She loves to stay active and be outside.

What are you going to do differently this time?

Julie was sober for 129 days before relapsing at a wedding. Now, the next thing for her is to get to 130 days. Julie was “white-knuckling” it, doing it all on her own. This time around, the difference is that Julie is reaching out and connecting through Cafe RE, sober friends, and she is holding herself accountable.

Julie speaks on how to tell your friends, “I don’t drink,”

Talk to me about your bottom?

“I let down a friend. I had promised to help a friend at a certain time. I drank. And I passed out… Sleeping through my commitment.” Despite many other signs that somehow didn’t get Julie to quit for very long… this was the final trigger. “I’d have many incidents where I would stop for one to three days, but this last one was it.”

What were your drinking habits like?

“I was a wine drinker. When one (referring to either 'red' or 'white') would present a problem to me, I would switch. Sometimes it was ‘red’ and then it was ‘white.’ I don’t like beer or hard liquor. In High School I felt that my shyness was hurting me, so I started drinking to “loosen-up.” Come college, I’d be the one passed out on the couch. It never occurred to me that I had a problem. In my 30s, it got pretty scary. I started drinking alone. I just took the ball and ran with it.” 

Did you ever try to “cut-back” and put rules in place?

Julie played games. The ‘red’ wine, ‘white’ wine game. She wouldn’t keep wine in the house, but would play games where she based her whole lifestyle around the wine shop hours. She used day/time constraints to “control” the drinking… Shockingly, it didn’t work. “I remember standing on my front porch thinking, drinking is my biggest problem ever.” Julie used to drink to calm her anxiety, but what she found was that drinking actually caused anxiety.

Walk me through the start of your sobriety.

“Whatever works for you, grab it and go with it!” Julie does not participate in AA, but sees it as a very valid way to support a sober journey. Julie uses the Cafe RE Facebook group to connect and create sober like-minded friends. Julie reads a lot of books, listens to podcasts, and connects with others.

What does your recovery portfolio look like today? 

“In recovery, I have a whole lot more free time.” Julie is very connected to Cafe RE’s Facebook Group (unsearchable and private group).  

Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  “I passed out in an Uber and the driver couldn’t wake me up when he got to my house so he called an ambulance.”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “I had a couple of these… My habit was that I would take my wine to bed. I wanted to be safe, so I’d take my wine to bed… If I woke up at 6am and there was still wine left, I’d finish the bottle.”
  3. What is your plan in sobriety moving forward? “I’m going to stick with Cafe RE, the facebook page, and continue reaching out and connecting and sharing with people.”
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? Besides Cafe RE! “Drinking: A Love Story, a book by a woman who has now passed away. She wrote about her drinking story in a way that I was able to connect with.” Julie also mentions, Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “Life is better sober.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give to our listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “You can do it. It is absolutely possible. You just can.” Julie recognizes that she is in early sobriety, “But, it is doable!”
  7. What did you lose to alcohol? “I lost a lot of self respect and I lost time. I lost evenings to red wine. But, the good news is as soon as you stop, you get those back.”
  8. What advice would you give to your younger self? “I wish I never started drinking. I was just fine the way I was, I didn’t need to fit it.”
  9. What’s on your bucket list? “My goal is to visit 50 countries by the time I’m 50, including going to the Galapagos and on a safari.”

QUOTABLES

“That’s the thing I didn’t know about our problem, it doesn’t back dial. It just picks up right where you left off.” - Julie

“There is no better time to get sober. If today is the very best day to quit alcohol, do it.” - Paul

“You might be an alcoholic is you shop for the test online that is going to tell you that you aren’t an alcoholic.” - Julie

 

SOBER & NOT-SO-FORTUNATE MUSICIANS

We can learn from the past. Although some stories are not so bright, we can learn from the successes and the tragedies of others. Some of the musicians below made it and are still able to share their art and creativity with the world... Unfortunately, some were not so lucky and left this world too early.

Sober Musicians

Steven Tyler - The Aerosmith frontman maintained sobriety for 12 years when he became seriously clean in 1988. Though that streak was compromised by a relapse into prescription drug addiction in 2006, Tyler checked himself into the Betty Ford Clinic three years later and has said to be dedicated to his sobriety ever since.

Neil Young - Young finally commented publicly about his sobriety two years ago, stating that he had achieved sobriety in 2011 after decades of alcohol and drug use. According to Young, he wanted to see what his life would look like from a sober perspective and has been going strong, viewing life with a new lens for over three years now.

Eric Clapton - Clapton, who has made a career off of his work with Cream as well as his solo work, has been sober since the late 1980s. He is publicly dedicated to recovery, holding benefit concerts and acting as founder of Crossroads Centre, an addiction treatment center in Antigua.

Elton John - Elton John has been sober for over 20 years. The main source of inspiration for his own sobriety was witnessing the death of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager and poster child for HIV/AIDS. John felt that as a gay man he needed to get his life together to help those suffering from HIV. According to many different sources, John claims that getting sober has been his greatest achievement.

Ringo Starr - The drummer from The Beatles has been sober since the 80s-- a time which he has referred to as an “alcoholic haze.” Today, he exercises three times a week, practices daily meditation and is a vegetarian.

Tom Waits - Known for his booze-drenched voice and persona, Waits has been sober for over 20 years now and credits his wife Kathleen in helping him get there. The singer went to AA and though he’s happy to be in recovery now, says that it was a struggle.

Keith Urban - Keith Urban has battled with drug and alcohol addiction since the 90s and also salutes his wife, Nicole Kidman, for intervening and helping him achieve sobriety--though he also indirectly attributes her to be the cause of his relapse. After being sober for six years in 2004, Urban found himself drinking again after marrying Kidman and having to cope with time apart during her filming obligations. One day, after returning home from a shoot, Kidman staged an intervention. Urban reentered rehab in October 2006 and rededicated himself to sobriety.

Anthony Kiedis - Kiedis, the singer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has been sober for years after having grown up alongside an addict (his father) and later becoming one himself. Now, he’s dedicated to fitness and Men’s Fitness has listed him as having one of the best rock star abs.

Chris Martin - Coldplay’s front man openly talks about the days when he used to use, but he is now dedicated to clean and sober living. In fact the musician doesn’t even drink coffee today.

James Hetfield - The Metallica singer entered rehab in 2001 and has been sober ever since. His journey has been documented in the film Some Kind of Monster.

Moby - Moby is known for his straight-edge Christian (though he’s not really Christian) look but this musician had more passed-out drunk moments than revelations in the 90s. After fearing that he was going to lose his memory from all the drug use, he left New York a few years ago to start over in LA and began attending AA meetings.

David Bowie - Bowie spent decades off the wagon due to a heavy cocaine addiction, but finally kicked the habit sometime in his 50s. Now, at the age of 68, he is enjoying a full life in sobriety with model wife Iman.

Not so fortunate Musicians

Amy Winehouse - Honorable British musician Amy Winehouse died of an alcohol addiction in 2011. Known for her eclectic style and deep contralto vocals, Winehouse had much going for her but turned to drugs and alcohol due to stress and her sad life story. ***Tune in to RE81 for a full story on Amy Winehouse, her struggle and ultimate demise from alcohol.***

Whitney Houston - Singer Whitney Houston, cited by the Guinness World Records as the most awarded female act of all time, was repeatedly in and out of rehab. She passed away in 2012, allegedly as a result of her addiction.

Flava Flav - Rapper Flava Flav has had his license suspended as a result of DUIs at least 43 times.

Billie Holiday - Holiday suffered from alcoholism for most of her life.  She died of pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by alcohol induced cirrhosis of the liver on July 17,1959. She was 44 years old.

Bon Scott - AC/DC singer Bon Scott died of alcohol poisoning combined with choking on his own vomit after night of heavy drinking on February 19, 1980.  He was 33 years old.

Hank Williams (the original) - On January 1, 1953, Hank Williams died as a result of hemorrhages in his heart and neck. His chronic alcohol abuse was believed to be a factor in his death at age 29.

Jim Morrison - On July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison died of a heroin overdose after a night of heavy drinking (accounts are hazy and disputed, but we’re going to allow his inclusion). He was 27 years old.

John Bonham - On September 25 1980, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham died after drinking over one liter of vodka. He died choking on his own vomit. He was 32 years old.

Keith Whitley - Country musician Keith Whitley died of alcoholism on May 9, 1989. His blood alcohol level was .47 at the time of his death. Whitley was 34 years old.

Lester Young - On March 15, 1959, Jazz musician Lester Young died from heart failure after years of alcohol abuse. He was 49 years old.

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Aug 29, 2016

Lo, with 7.5 months of sobriety, shares her story...

FYI! Alcoholism does not segregate. It is straight-up an equal, all around ass-kicker… Alcoholism does not care about your gender, race, social status, height, weight, athletic prowess, economic status or celeb status. Yep, that’s right, this mean celebrities can be alcoholics too! It’s just that you don’t ever hear about the list of celebs that fade away because their drinking habits become too much… They just literally fade away. Adios…

But, what you maybe didn’t know is the list of recovering alcoholics that run the Hollywood gamut. So here it goes, a short list of the Famous & Sober: Stephen King, Ben Affleck (rehab in 2001), Michael J. Fox, Jamie Lee Curtis, Diana Ross, Mel Gibson, Johnny Depp, Mickey Mantle, Eminem, Anthony Hopkins, and Harry Potter (became sober is 2010). 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meetups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

RE Community Forum

info@recoveryelevator.com

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

 

SHOW NOTES

[ 08:40 ] Paul Introduces Lo

Lo has been sober for 7.5 months. She is originally from Northern Minnesota with a bad (but proud) habit of moving back to Bozeman, Montana time and time again. “It has been a good place to keep coming back to.” Lo is a massage therapist. She enjoys running, hiking, coffee, theatre, and is rediscovering her passion for art. “There are so many more hours in the day now that I’m practicing sobriety,” comments Lo on making time for creativity and art.

[ 10:52 ] What brought you to the decision to stop drinking?

“I surrendered enough.” It took Lo close to a year to truly decide to get an AA sponsor and stick with the plan. “The previous day I had wanted to drink so bad. The next day it returned, so I drank. It was enough, the shame, the guilt, the wanting to commit suicide the next day. It was enough. My emotional hangovers were just so heavy.”

[ 14:29 ] Did you have any ‘plans’?

“Sometimes I would wake up and feel shitty enough that I didn’t want to drink. My therapist told me to try to have only x amount of drinks per week… I usually hit the mark by Monday or Tuesday. I would tally up the drinks at the end of the week, and I just never could make it…”

[ 17:23 ] How did you do it 7.5 months ago?

“I finally got serious with the program (referring to AA). It took me several months to come to the understanding that I was an alcoholic. It was time to take the program seriously.”

[ 19:45 ] Paul refers to the idea of “breaking up with the word alcoholic.”

Check out RE #75 for more on this!

[ 21:07 ] Lo speaks about her struggles, discovering who she is and what having a higher power means to her.

“I have to learn to trust it. To let go.” Lo finds relief in this technique, knowing that she has relief from her mind and anxiety.

[ 25:39 ] What does your recovery portfolio look like today? Walk me through a day in recovery with Lo.

Lo gets out for a morning run a couple times a week, drinks coffee, meditates, and tries to stay conscious of being connected to her higher power. Lo also stays in contact with people from the program (AA), texting, calling and just connecting.

[ 31:48 ] Lo talks about the ‘Pink Cloud’ that has not shown up yet.

 

[ 29:00 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  “Last summer when I drank TOO much. I wasn’t planning on drinking that evening and then had a suicide attempt.”
  2. What is your favorite Flow Riders song? “That’s a great band!” Paul is also a comedian...
  3. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “The same night that I had the suicide attempt. My actions were just going down a road that I wasn’t even thinking about.”
  4. What is your plan moving forward? “Keeping up with my friendships, connecting, going to meetings and listening to RE.”
  5. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? “AA Program and the Podcast (RE).”
  6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “The goal is not to feel better about life, but to stay sober.”
  7. What parting piece of guidance can you give to our listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “It’s worth all the hard work and it will pay off. Don’t quit before the miracle happens.”

 

QUOTABLES

“Adios alcohol, welcome back hobbies and passions.” - Paul

“If you’re concerned enough about your drinking and you’re at an AA meeting (you’re probably an alcoholic)” - Lo

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Aug 22, 2016

Randy, with 124 days of sobriety, shares how he did it.

Ponder this. We have been conditioned to think that alcohol is relaxing. Now, cue the visions of a Corona commercial; a couple on the beach, kicking back beer after beer… In fact this notion of “relaxation” has the exact opposite effect on our bodies.  Alcohol actually slows down your brain’s function, affecting two neurotransmitters, Glutamate and GABA. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells in the brain. It is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells, and under normal conditions it plays an important role in learning and memory. When we consume alcohol, Glutamate production slows W-A-Y down, completely bogging down your brain’s neuro-highways. GABA, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces energy and slows down brain activity. Alcohol increases GABA productions…. Folks, that is just not a good thing. This process starts instantly after just one drink… And stays with you long after you stop drinking…

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you receive unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via in-person meetups, unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.
  • RE on Facebook
  • RE on Instagram

Jason Vale’s book : Kick the Drink...Easily!

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link: www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

 

SHOW NOTES

[ 07:34 ] Paul Introduces Randy

Randy has been sober for 124 days (using the sobriety tracker). “It feels great, every day is a new experience.” Randy is from the East Coast (grew up in RI) and made his way around the world in the Air Force. Randy found his career through the military. Randy now works in aviation with the FAA in Guam, U.S.A. Randy is a hardcore cyclist, with a renewed passion for pedaling.

[ 11:29 ] What was your elevator like? What was your bottom?

“I’d been a lifelong drinker and never thought that I would have a problem, I thought drinking to some degree was healthy…” Randy made all  kinds of "plans"… a 30-day sober binge, operating in moderation, writing, using apps, etc… “IT DID NOT WORK!”… “I have that switch, once you turn it on, it doesn’t really turn itself off…”

In preparation for his daughter’s baby shower, Randy noticed that he went through a 6-pack within an hour… He quickly opened up the next 6-pack and shortly thereafter found himself drinking a bottle of wine… “The next morning I’m completely useless, I wasn’t there, I wasn’t available…” The shower happened and the next day I thought to myself, ”I don’t want to do this anymore, that continuous vicious cycle.”

[ 26:30 ] Randy speaks about his clarity and peace of mind being sober.

[ 26:59 ] What does your recovery portfolio look like today? Walk me through a day in the life of Randy.

“It’s staying engaged with the process and the journey of sobriety. I think about alcohol multiple times throughout the day, and then I just have to let it go…” “Yeah, yeah, there’s the beer (commenting on the coolers full of beer @ Kmart),” says Randy. "Just noticing these thoughts and letting them go, constantly reminding myself why I’m doing this. Cafe RE is the strongest network that I have. I’ve been to one meeting (AA), and it was a candlelight vigil. I just haven’t found myself showing up at meetings, just not yet anyways.”

[ 36:02 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? “The day that I ran my own sailboat on the ground. I haven’t shared this with too many people, I nearly lost my boat that day and it was absolutely alcohol related. I was boating under the influence and couldn’t execute all of the steps necessary to avoid the reef.”  
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “Oh many! The sailboat ride where I had my hand in the cooler for 8 hours was one for sure…”
  3. What is your plan moving forward? “More of the same. Reminding myself of all of the positive things that have come from leaving alcohol behind. And, living my life! Just knowing that I don’t have to have a drink to experience things.”
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “Listening to yourself. If it doesn’t feel right to you, then it probably isn’t okay.”
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give to our listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “Just to be honest with yourself. If you wake up with that heavy feeling like you’ve gotta take action, do it. Don’t beat yourself up, listen to yourself and take it one day at a time.”
  6. What brand of boat shoes would you recommend? “If you’ve got a boat, you don’t need shoes… unless you’ve got a staff…” You've got listen to really get it! 

 

 

QUOTABLES

“Enough is enough. I was tired of waking up with that dull, heavy feeling in the mornings.” - Randy

“I’ve got to take this one day at a time.” - Randy

“If you’re a real boater, you don’t need shoes.” - Paul

“Maintain a clean deck.” - Randy

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up. WE can do this!”

Drop us a line: info@recoveryelevator.com

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Aug 15, 2016

Annie has been sober for 2 years. She never thought twice about her drinking because she didn’t know enough about it. Annie started journaling about her drinking habits as an exploration in March of 2013 which enabled her to stop drinking in December of 2013. Annie is from Colorado and works in marketing. She is married with children and loves the outdoors (hiking, skiing).

[ 02:08 ] When did your Elevator hit its bottom? When did you finally decide to stop drinking?

Annie was living in London when her Elevator hit bottom the first time. Annie and her family were going to the London Eye (an amusement park) and she had decided it was a good idea to bring in two large beers, packed in her purse, to sip on. “I dropped my purse and the beers exploded, spraying beer all over my children and my parents.” "I had a 'What the fuck has happened, what am I doing?' moment right then.” On another trip, Annie was traveling all over the world for work, she comments, “You’d take off on the airplane and get drunk, and then I’d justify having drinks in the lounge… I was pretty much existing on coffee and alcohol. I realized that I had to get back into regular mommy life. I just remember sitting there thinking, Whoa, what is this?'"

[ 04:27 ] Talk to me about your drinking habits?

“The plans are my worst enemy! As soon as you start to try to stop something, it becomes even more tempting. It’s like putting yourself on a diet.” Annie had all sorts of ideas/plans: no drinking until 5pm, only having 2 glasses of wine (but after two she didn’t care how many more she consumed), trying to have a sober day... “I remember finding an excuse every single day to drink. I was driving myself further and further into separateness and defensiveness.”

[ 06:31 ] How did you make the change (into sobriety)?

“I didn’t seek help. I just didn’t know any better. I didn’t know what I didn’t know (referring to all the resources out there). I had a different kind of 'talking-to' with myself one day in the Heathrow airport, I decided to give myself permission to write about this, to explore this in a mindful way." Dr. John Sarno’s work really inspired Annie to dive deeper into understanding her need to drink.

[ 09:59 ] What was it like?

Annie’s research took her on a journey for 8-9 months. “I was still drinking during the research, but by the time I stopped, I had made peace with it. On an emotional level, I felt free.” “It was like being sick to save my life for about a month. There were a lot of tears and a lot of laughter and joy.”

[ 13:23 ] This Naked Mind - Control Alcohol by Annie Grace

Paul lets the Cat out of the Bag (meow!) - Annie Grace wrote, “This Naked Mind - Control Alcohol”. It is a MUST read for recovery.

[ 14:40 ] What was the push back like after writing a book that wasn’t based on AA?

“I questioned the word 'alcoholic' because in my research, any organism can become addicted to something. I took issue with this because we are all built with flesh, blood, bones, and cells… We are all the same. The word 'alcoholic' is really a solace for people.”

[ 20:12 ] Annie talks about the Hedonic Threshold and the fact that alcohol is just plain addictive.

[ 25:17 ] What is the difference between the conscious and the unconscious mind?

Annie speaks wholeheartedly about protecting her unconscious mind and understanding the need to have self-compassion, self-worth and acceptance in this process.

[ 31:15 ] Annie’s Projects

This Naked Mind - Control Alcohol is available on Amazon. She is also working on a second book that focuses on the first few years of her sobriety, highlighting techniques she used to maintain a clean and naked mind and keep the garbage out. Annie is also putting together a video-based course complete with worksheets and exercises that she hopes to launch this Fall (2016).

 

[ 32:12 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? [ 32:20 ] “Not having the memories. I don’t remember moving day and moving days are supposed to be special. I lost that day.”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? [ 32:52 ] “I had a lot of those. They were all at 3AM when I'd wake up and couldn’t remember how much I’d drank the night before.”
  3. What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward? [ 33:10 ] “Continuously protecting my unconscious mind, continuously asking “why” and “what.”
  4. What is your favorite resource in recovery? [ 33:33 ] “Ten minutes of watching my breath every single day.”
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? [ 34:11 ] “It’s more about living than it is about sobriety. Living alcohol free and living your life.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give to our listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? [ 34:56 ] “Right now, in this moment, FORGIVE YOURSELF. Realize that you’ve been caught in an addictive trap. The sooner you can get to a place of acceptance and love yourself through this, opens the journey to becoming sober.”

 

QUOTABLES

“There are so many people who are heavy drinkers, who don’t believe they are alcoholics, because we use it (the word ‘alcoholic’) as a shield to defend our addiction.” - Annie Grace

“Shame, guilt and self-loathing just don’t work. We need understanding, acceptance and love.” - Annie Grace

“Acceptance is the answer.” - Paul

“As soon as you start to try to stop something, it becomes even more tempting. It’s like putting yourself on a diet.” - Annie Grace

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Connect with Cafe RE

  • For $12.00 per month, you can unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via meetups, private-unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code Elevator.

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Connect with Annie - https://thisnakedmind.com/annie-grace/

This Naked Mind - Control Alcohol

Dr. John Sarno’s work

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

 

Aug 8, 2016

Westin, with over 3 years of sobriety shares how he did it.

Some of my best memories are those of camping with my family in Southern Utah. Camping growing up used to consist of fishing, catching lizards and snakes, watching the sunrise and sunsets.

It was a simple and joyous time that I spent with my family. These are fond memories. But, somewhere along the line, my camping experiences diminished, the joy of spending time in nature was replaced with Hot Dogs, Booze and Passing Out.

Last weekend, I was camping with Ben (my partner in crime, my four-footed friend), we had called it a night and crawled into the back of my truck in the woods of Montana. Now, these are real woods, mountain lions, grizzlies, etc. Nature is not to be taken for granted around here. Suddenly, around 2am, I awoke to Ben’s perked ears and sounds of snapping branches. The sounds grew louder as whatever was roaming the woods got closer… I reached for my headlamp… And...

GOATS! Rocky Mountain Goats, a herd of them… Now, if I had been camping with Hot Dogs and Booze I would have been PASSED OUT (probably face down in a pile of biting red ants at that!) and would never have experienced this beauty, this joy. The Goats brought me out of the truck where I was then able to see the expansiveness of the sky and the stars and experience the cooling sensations of the pine trees. Nothing needed to change. I didn’t need to drink a Keystone Light or 50 of them…

I am now getting back my memories and creating new memories that are more than just a party. Memories such as this that fill me up with satisfaction, connection, and awe.

 

AND NOW… onto the podcast!

 

SHOW NOTES

Paul Introduces Westin

Westin is from Indianapolis, Indiana. He is 33, has been married for 7 years, and has an amazing little girl who is turning 4 in September. “She is the most important thing in my life alongside my sobriety.” Westin works at an addiction treatment center as a “Recovery Coach.”

 

How long have you been sober?

Westin has been sober for 2 years and 363 days, he is 2 days away from 3 years of sobriety! “Right now I’m in a place where I have to count days again. I’m in a weird place where I just have to count.” says Westin on his sobriety.  

 

When did you realize it was time to quit drinking?

“My bottom was 3 years ago almost to the date. I woke up face down on my Mom’s couch, not knowing how I got there, and not knowing what happened over the past 24 hours. I was highly addicted to Klonopin and drinking on top of them. I looked up from the couch and just saw this look of utter disappointment on my Mom’s face. It was different. I had unknowingly gone through her medicine cabinet the night before, and found all sorts of pills in my pockets.”

 

What were your drinking habits?

“I was a blackout drinker from the age of 17. I was never trying to control it, I thought it was normal. I was proud of the amount of alcohol I could consume…” “But, I was physically addicted to it… Always struggling with anxiety and shaking. I couldn’t function without that first drink, and then the pills took over.”

 

What does it mean, when you’re back to counting the days?

In the early days of sobriety Westin was counting: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 1-year sober… Getting those next tokens, proving to himself that he could do this. “I needed the external motivation. From 2-years sober to just now I didn’t count, I didn’t need to, but now, I’m back to counting the individual days. I’ve been referencing my sobriety tracker, and just trying to get through each day. It’s not a comfortable feeling.”

 

The whole ‘God’ word in AA. That one word kept you from getting sober… Expand on that.

Westin discusses his “religious” philosophy and how he made AA work as an agnostic. Westin had been agnostic (without knowledge, an individual who does not claim to say whether God exists or does not exist) most of his life. AA taught Westin to own his agnosticism, his belief system. “I’m now more comfortable being honest and open with who I am, and AA taught me this. I found a way to make my beliefs, or lack thereof, work within the framework of AA.” The gift of desperation allowed Westin to take what works and leave the rest…

 

How did you do it? (on getting sober)

Westin went to a treatment center, Fairbanks Hospital in Indianapolis. “I looked at my wife and said, I think I need some help with this.”… “We tried to do a walk in, but like a good addict I had just finished the rest of my klonopin refill (half of the prescription), so I had to wait. I went through a 7-day long detox and then a 6-week intensive outpatient treatment.”

 

What emotions did you feel?

“I had anxiety through the roof. Drinking brought about terrible, terrible anxiety… But now, I didn’t have my self medicating procedures in place. I had to face it. My anxiety was peaked out for 6 months. Drinking was not an option.” “That was my first time going into treatment, I had been looking for a solution, and I just kept doing all the things that were recommended to me. I still struggle with social anxiety. I still can’t attend a basketball game or a big social event…”

 

What is your recovery portfolio like today?

“My recovery is inspired by my work, surrounded by people who are on this same journey. I don’t want to be that guy who is physically in shambles and I get to see that every day. I attend a minimum of 2-3 meetings a week. If I’m struggling, I hit the meetings hard.” Westin takes a holistic approach that includes: AA and the 12 steps, eating better, daily physical exercise, and alone time…

 

Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? “Waking up with the shakes, just yelling out in pain with the convulsion I was feeling in my body.”
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? “In retrospect, yes. I was drinking at my Mom’s house, everyone else had gone to bed and I’m up taking shots by myself… She comes downstairs and gives me that look like, “What is wrong with you?!” I was past the point of control.”
  3. What is your plan moving forward? “Continue moving forward one day at a time, continue being teachable, and sharing my experiences with others.”
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? “Meetings are really, really important along with interactions with recovery podcasts - Recovered Podcast & Beyond Belief - and the recovery community.”
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? “Take what works and leave the rest.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give to our listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? “If I can find a way to make this work, then literally anybody can. Anybody can find a way to make it for them.”

 

QUOTABLES

“I need to get plugged-in, connected back to my recovery network.” - Paul (on being in a recovery rut)

“Take what works, and leave the rest.” - Westin

You might be an alcoholic if…

“You continue to drink once everybody else has been asleep for hours.”

“If you are still thirsty at 2am in the morning.”

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Connect with Cafe RE

  • Cafe RE Meetup in Chicago Oct. 14-16 - If you’d like to join us, head over to Cafe RE!
  • For $12.00 per month, you can unlimited, private access to groups of like-minded people via meetups, private-unsearchable Facebook groups, and travel.
  • First month FREE with Promo Code Elevator.

Promo Code: Elevator

Recovered Podcast

Beyond Belief Podcast

Fairbanks Hospital

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

 

 

Aug 1, 2016

Simon, with 15 years of sobriety, shares how he did. Three years ago, Simon started the Hope Rehab Center  in Thailand and has been helping people change transform their lives.

The Conscious and the unconscious mind. I recently read the book "This Naked Mind - Control Alcohol" by Annie Grace and the chapter covering the how the brain worked was fascinating.

Conscious: Aware of something, knowing that something exists or is happening.

Unconscious: The part of the mind a person is not aware of but is a powerful force in controlling behavior.

Consciousness: Being aware of something within oneself. The upper level of mental life that a person is aware of as contrasted with unconscious process.

Warning: This may blow your mind...

 

  • The unconscious mind is responsible for desires
  • Studies show, we have two separate thinking systems. The conscious mind, and the unconscious mind
  • When we want something to change in our life, we usually make a conscious decision. However, drinking is no longer a conscious decision.
  • The unconscious mind doesn’t get the memo
  • Unconscious learning happens automatically and unintentionally
  • We are conditioned to think drinking enhances our lives and makes us happy
  • This is why when we want to drink less, our unconscious mind tells us to drink more. Insert major dilemma here.
  • We have been conditioned to believe in alcohol. To believe that me and some random captain would make it happen.
  • The unconscious mind is not logical. It’s comprised of feelings, observations. It’s the source of love, jealousy, fear, kindness and sadness.
  • When a person makes a decision to quit drinking alcohol, their unconscious mind is never in on that conversation. Gary, pull up a chair.
  • Studies dating back to the 1970’s indicate our unconscious mind makes 1/3 of a second fast than our conscious mind.
  • The unconscious mind controls the emotions. When someone tells yourself to stop having a bad day, that never works. But over time, this positive reinforcement can work.
  • Liminal thinking, which we will get to in later podcast episodes, is how will cover how to converse with the unconscious mind.
  • The unconscious mind is formed by beliefs, conclusions, assumptions, experiences and observations. Often time, it is far separated from reality which is where the conscious mind lives.
  • Our culture of drinking makes everything better has been ingrained into our unconscious mind without us ever knowing. One easy way to challenge this, which we often never do, is look for external validity. For example, the bud light makes you a better beach volleyball player. Go to a beach and try to find a real life example if this. It won’t happen.
  • We let the unconscious mind determine our thinking because we like certainty. In the conscious mind, there is so much unknown and that is always scary. The unconscious mind is a bubble of safety where we feel comfortable.
  • Why did I find it so hard to quit drinking? Well, I knew I wouldn’t have a good time at a social event sober, I knew I wasn’t funny, I knew I wouldn’t be able to chat with girls. I never stood a chance at quitting drinking unless a pain point was strong enough, aka, the bottom.
  • We can address this by bringing unconscious experiences, observations, assumptions and conclusions, into conscious thought. We do this through knowledge.
  • Before we drank alcohol, we were happy joyous and free, we didn’t miss it.
  • The Author Terry Pratchett says, we need to be able to at any time, accept that fact that we all could be absolute and utterly wrong.

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Jul 25, 2016

Paul, with 18.5 months of sobriety, shares how he did it. That's right, I'm breaking up with the word alcoholic and opting for a simpler less defining answer of I don't drink.

I got the idea for this podcast after reading the following article and I hope you like the show notes. As you can probably tell, I've had some recent help with show notes since mine leave much to still be desired.

COUNT ME OUT OF “RECOVERY NATION” - NEGATIVE SELF-IDENTITY IS THE CRUELEST STIGMA

(Stanton Peele: July 7th, 2016)

 

  1. The labels “alcoholic”, “addicts”, and “in recovery” dehumanizes people, both for the person

    themselves and their children.

 

            -Influence contributor, Meghan Ralston, wrote in her article (I'm Breaking Up With the Word

             Addict),

 

Agree - “Even in a chaotic stage of drug use, we are not “other.” We are women, we are someone's daughter, we continue to laugh, we continue to like jazz and cheeseburgers and comfy pajamas. We cry, we get so lonely, we hate sitting in traffic. Addiction can be wretched, no question, but we do not ever stop being human beings, even during the times in our lives when we are dependent on drugs.”

 

Disagree - “For many people, myself included, the word “addict” is incredibly harmful and offensive. You do not have my permission to call me an addict. You can of course refer to yourself as an addict, if you wish.”[1]

 

  1. Don't refer to yourself as an “addict.”

 

            -It's depressing

            -No one should highlight/define themselves by their worst trait or period in

             their life.

 

  1. These concepts arose in conversation between Dr. Peele and Talk Recovery Radio:

 

“Dr. Stanton Peele was today’s thought provoking live guest on Talk Recovery.… our show is meant to be a platform where all pathways to recovery are welcomed to be discussed… But today, that almost didn’t happen. There was an 'us and them' feel to the show… Why do people feel the word addict is stigmatizing?”[2]

 

            -Peele explains that the host seemed to feel that he was part of a movement

             that set people recovering apart from everyone else.

 

                        -Culture seems to encourage this separation.

                             -public policies

                             -celebrities' confessionals

                             -treatment circles

                             -recovery high schools

                             -etc.

 

            -Show host ironically wonders why there's a stigma towards addicts while he himself labels

              himself as one.

 

  1. Peele refuses to label himself by marching with Recovery Nation, a group that lets themselves be lead

    by their labels.

                        -”Thinking of yourself as an alcoholic causes you to behave the way you think alcoholics

                           behave.”

 

     -To quote Peele and Ilse Thompson,

 

“You are not your addiction; you are a valuable human being whose qualities endure and exceed your addiction. … It’s impossible to expect a person to achieve wellness by focusing on his or her faults and mistakes. Perhaps this is why conventional recovery asserts that people must remain 'in recovery' forever and continue to identify themselves as addicts, no matter how long they are sober.”[3]

 

 

-Today people seem to expect labeling. Peele states,

 

“Imagine a child with a learning difficulty looking at you and saying, 'I am retarded,' or 'I am stupid.' We would cry and hug them and tell them that wasn’t true!”

 

-Peele goes on to pose the question of why it is that people always discourage each other from

  identifying themselves by their problems or illnesses, except when it comes to addiction.

 

-While debating former head of treatment at Hazelden, Peele asked how he short-circuited his family

  heritage.

 

            -While the clinician had a cynically humorous answer, Peele gave his answer for the man to the

              radio show hosts. The method to preventing his children from taking on addictive traits was to

              raise them in emotionally and financially stable home, encourage them, provide for them, and

              allow them to be who they want to be.

 

            -What doesn't help children, is to burden them with the “destiny” that they would most likely be

              an alcoholic.

 

-The “tough love” approach often comes in too late, Peele says.

 

            -Before a child can misbehave during drug use, you ought to instill him with morals of

              responsibility to themselves and others.

 

-Peele is reframing addiction in an opposite direction from the “disease” mindset. He puts it like this:

 

“Addiction is not a consequence of taking drugs and drinking. Rather, it arises from the way in which these and other compelling activities fit into people’s lives and meanings.”

 

-To end the interview, Peele asked how the show host quit smoking cigarettes.

 

            -His response was that his recovery program didn't allow it, but also that it didn't allow him to

              call himself a cigarette addict. Rather, they insisted on the generic term addict.

 

            -He then was able to quit smoking (one of the  hardest substance addictions) without patches.

              This was because it didn't address smoking, or label them as cigarette smokers.

 

FOR COPYRIGHT PURPOSES

 

All content read here has been cited appropriately. The content is based majorly from the article written by Doctor Stanton Peele: Count Me Out of “Recovery Nation” - Negative Self-Identity Is the Cruelest Stigma of All. For original sources, please consult the bibliography located below.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

  1. Peele, Stanton Dr. “Count Me Out of 'Recovery Nation': Negative Self-Identity Is the Cruelest Stigma of All.” The Influence (blog), July 7, 2016. Accessed July 14, 2016.http://theinfluence.org/count-me-out-of-recovery-nation-negative-self-identity-is-the-cruelest-stigma-of-all/.

 

 

  1. Peele, Stanton. Recover! An Empowering Program to Help You Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 2015.

 

  1. Talk Recovery. “Interview with Doctor Stanton Peele (Facebook Post).” World Addiction Treatment Expert Dr. Stanton Peele | Last Door(blog), June 30, 2016. Accessed July 14, 2016.https://www.lastdoor.org/world-addiction-treatment-expert-dr-stanton-peele/.

 

4.Ralston, Meghan. “I'm Breaking up with the Word 'addict' and i Hope You'll Do the Same.” The Huffington Post (March 25, 2014): 1. Accessed July 14, 2016.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meghan-ralston/breaking-up-with-the-word-addict_b_5028999.html

[1]           Meghan Ralston, “I'm Breaking up with the Word 'addict' and I Hope You'll Do the Same,” The Huffington Post (March 25, 2014): 1, accessed July 14, 2016,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meghan-ralston/breaking-up-with-the-word-addict_b_5028999.html.


[2]                 Talk Recovery, “Interview with Doctor Stanton Peele (Facebook Post),” World Addiction Treatment Expert Dr. Stanton Peele | Last Door (blog), June 30, 2016, accessed July 14, 2016, https://www.lastdoor.org/world-addiction-treatment-expert-dr-stanton-peele/.

[3]                 Stanton Peele, Recover! An Empowering Program to Help You Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life (Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 2015).

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Jul 18, 2016

Ronnie, with 25 years of sobriety shares how he did it. We also discuss 50 ways to stay sober this summer.

 

Ronnie Marmo

Ronnie got sober a few times throughout his life, once at age 17 and again at age 20. At age 20, he found himself smoking crack on the sidewalk after 3 years of sobriety… One drink of alcohol was his gateway drug.

 

Ronnie’s background:

Lives in L.A. and works as an actor and director, running two theater companies. Check out 68 Theatre Company. Ronnie is 45 and married with a dear family… For more information on Ronnie and his work - ronniemarmo.com.

 

Take us back to age 20...

Was that your bottom?

For me, “I was out of control ever since I started drinking. I always drank and got high in the same way. I was never a social drinker, I had no interest in drinking socially.”

 

It went something like this - one gallon of vodka, one quart of Yukon Jack, and then I found myself waking up at a sober picnic. My sponsor asked me if I was humble enough… I said yes, and went back to rehab for the 3rd time.

 

What is it like being sober in your industry?

It’s like anything, many people are sober, once you start talking “our” language. Those who do drink and get high, it’s never an issue, but I tend to gravitate towards people who are sober.

 

Let’s talk rules: Did you ever try to put rules into place?

“I thought alcohol was a problem, but I didn’t think it was my biggest problem. I constantly negotiated with myself. Normal people don’t hide bottles. Normal people don’t wake up needing a drink.”

 

People have gone on retreats and think that anxiety is the issue, or depression is the issues, when underneath it is really the alcohol.

 

Literally, every day of my life I spent my day trying to figure out how to get more booze.

 

Do you remember your first intensive rehab?

“I hadn’t even seen the STEPS on the wall!”

 

Now, I have a healthy fear of booze.

 

Talk to me more about this healthy fear, I’m terrified of this stuff…

When I look at it, it’s rare that I glorify a drink. When I see booze, I get nervous. If I ever take a second to glorify it. I immediately think I could destroy my life. It happens quickly.

 

That thought is so fleeting, it’s not even an option.

 

Bill W. and Dr. Bob:

http://theatre68.com/

Playing in north Hollywood, CA

 

Soon to star in the movie, Back in the Day.

 

Walk me through a day in your sobriety:

I don’t go to as many meetings as I should, but I never miss my Wednesday home meeting.

If I do these things daily:

 

  • Give thanks
  • Reach out to a newcomer
  • Walk with love and grace
  • Attend a meeting

 

If I don’t do these things, life is just harder...

 

What are your thoughts on relapse:

It’s a weird disease because you have to self-diagnose it. It’s 2:30 in L.A. right now, if I had a drink right now, I’d be smoking crack by 7:30pm… Relapse doesn’t have to happen, but if it does, hopefully you can choose sobriety again quickly.

 

What would you say to your younger Ronnie:

“The sooner you can get past being so dependent on the drink or the drug the sooner you can get on with your life, doing what you really want to do.”

“No matter where you go or what you do, drink a lot of water and walk slow.”

 

What’s still on your bucketlist:

  • Doing what I love
  • Helping others
  • Shoot a movie in Italy for a summer...

All these items are attainable with sobriety.

 

Rapid Fire Round:

1.What was your worst memory from drinking?

Stealing my mother’s pocket book.

2.Did you ever have an oh-shit moment?

I had a spiritual awakening in the courtroom, asking the judge for help. The things that came out of my mouth were nothing that I had intended to say when I walked in.

3.What is your plan for sobriety moving forward?

Keep showing up and trying to be graceful, reaching out to others, and trying my best on a daily basis to stay with a formula that works. Keeping it super simple!

  1. Favorite resources?

Meetings

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Drink a lot of water and walk slow

  1. What parting piece of guidance can you give?

If you are thinking about it (getting sober) and it’s on your mind, there’s a really good chance that you should be doing it. Give it a really strong 90 days.

 

“You might be an alcoholic if…”

You might be an alcoholic if you steal from someone you love just to get a drink or a drug.

You might be an alcoholic if after 2 years of sobriety you take a drink and later you end up smoking crack.

 

Connect with Ronnie:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ronnie.marmo

Twitter: @Ronniemo22

 

50 Ways to stay sober this summer

 

  1. Wear sun screen – Lots of sunscreen
  2. La Croix Soda water. Drink lots of soda water
  3. Enjoy time in a hot tub / spring or sauna
  4. Beach trip: The small stream behind your neighbor’s house even has a beach
  5. Movie Day: The Anonymous People
  6. Scroll through your phone contacts and call someone you did wrong in the past. Don’t tell them what they did wrong, but what you did wrong
  7. Binge watch old TV episodes: Prefably not Mad Men, they drink like fish
  8. Yoga / Meditation
  9. Create a new sober drink concoction. Watermelon and milk is one I stumbled upon
  10. Do that fitness thing: Biking, swimming, whiffle ball, golf etc.
  11. Join a Book Club that actually reads the book
  12. Adopt-A-Pet, dog, cat, gecko
  13. Think of the most pressing issue in your life right now… and then write down what your part of it is.
  14. Go to a museum
  15. Pinterest - find new recipes or a DIY project on Diypete.com
  16. Google Mindfulness and what that really means
  17. Buy a new car; one that you have never drank in
  18. Learn how to shoot a bow and arrow
  19. Find something like Jolly Ranchers to subside cravings
  20. Build a pergola or Sauna at your house
  21. Gauge your emotional sobriety (in the future) by purposefully removing the staples out of your stapler
  22. Volunteer – be of service (This is a big one)
  23. Acceptance is the answer - period
  24. Take a look in the mirror and observe what you see. Get REal with yourself
  25. New Hobbies- Painting / Coloring
  26. Travel - take photos of you wearing your RE shirt
  27. Fundraise for the Recovery Elevator trip to Peru in April 2017
  28. Go to an outing wearing a shirt that says something like “sober as shit” so no one offers you a drink
  29. Listen to the RE Podcast episode 52 – one of my favorites
  30. Play a good natured joke someone
  31. Pay for the person’s order behind you – Regardless of what line you find yourself in
  32. Attend a 12 step meeting on the other side of town that speaks a different language
  33. Enjoy NA Drinks such as a virgin a piña colada
  34. Announce to the world you’re an Alcoholic via facebook and become accountable – the results will pleasantly surprise you
  35. Read page 471 in the big blue book: daily
  36. Once again, tell yourself acceptance is the answer
  37. Put your forehead on a baseball bat, spin around 15 times, and give the person closest to you a hug
  38. Google CBT - Charlie Beta Typhoid
  39. Jump rope – I’ve never heard of a relapse while jump roping
  40. We all know someone who should probably think about giving the bottle a rest. Invite them to Dairy Queen for their lunch specials from 11:30pm - 2pm and then take them to an AA meeting. They will most likely thank you later
  41. Water balloon fight - freezing balloons the night before is optional
  42. Watch the movie dodgeball with Ben Stiller, and then watch it again
  43. Third Eye Blind – All of it - #bestbandever
  44. Check out your local events calendar and go to an event you’re not interested in attending
  45. Laser Tag
  46. Take a sober road trip with another sober buddy of at least 100 miles each way. On your way, stop and say hello to me in Bozeman MT
  47. Get flowers or a gift card for someone you absolutely cannot stand to be around
  48. Ask yourself if you’re where you want to be in life at this very moment. If the answer is now, ask yourself if you’re willing to something about it
  49. Sunscreen – wear Lots of sunscreen
  50. Go get a natural high – sky diving, jump off the high dive at the local pool, go carts etc.
  51. Don’t Drink

 

Let me know at info@recoveryelevator.com how many of these you tried this summer!

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

Jul 11, 2016

Barb, with 15 days of sobriety, shares her journey.

I got the idea for today's podcast from an article sent to me from a dear friend that was in the Lush. Fitting publication eh?

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

 

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