Info

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.
RSS Feed
Recovery Elevator | Stop Drinking, Start Recovering. | Alcohol, Addiction & Life in Sobriety
2017
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: November, 2016
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!

 

1