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

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





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Now displaying: July, 2016
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.


(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



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



            -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



     -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



            -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.




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.





  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.



  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.


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.

[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,

[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,

[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:

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 -


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:

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?


  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:


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
  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 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:

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:

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


Jul 4, 2016

Ty, sober since March 2008, shares how she implements service into her life to stay sober.

I want to give a huge personal thank you to Ty for helping me with the Recovery Elevator podcast. I can't do any of this alone. Thank you Ty.

Also in this episode I interview Jesse from My Sober Roommate.


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

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