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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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Recovery Elevator | Stop Drinking, Start Recovering. | Alcohol, Addiction & Life in Sobriety
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Now displaying: December, 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!”

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