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

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. Similar to other recovery podcasts like This Naked Mind, the Shair Podcast, and the Recovered Podcast, Paul discusses a topic and then interviews someone who is embarking upon a life without alcohol.
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Now displaying: Category: self-help
Aug 13, 2018

Chris, with 96 days since his last drink, shares his story...

In sobriety, it's possible to become more in tune with the inner workings of our minds.  By stopping the intake of a numbing substance, our minds and bodies become more sensitive, and with that sensitivity comes a glimpse into the processes and systems that run under the hood. Our emotions and how we handle them (or, in early sobriety, often we will see how our emotions are handling us!), the physical sensations that return as our body heals, and how our subconscious mind has an impact on our every waking moment.

In practices like meditation, we can begin to see how our thoughts can interrupt our every waking moment.  As we examine further, we can see that thoughts have a big impact on how we see ourselves, the world and, ultimately thoughts can make up who we are.

To learn to manage your thoughts, follow Paul's first steps: 

- Trust that your body knows best. - Your mind is a secondary organ to your body.  You may think you are in control, but the mind is a tool that works for the body, not the other way around.

- Learn to quiet the mind. - In the early stages of recovery, especially, it's important to recalibrate your sense of stillness.  Chances are in the throws of addiction you have lost your center.

- Don't get hooked – When you become aware of a thought entering your mind, simply notice it for what it is and let it float by.  You can use a safe word to remind you to come back to the present moment.  “Here”, “Stop”, “Thoughts..”

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[12:48] Paul Introduces Chris.


Chris is 37 years old, lives in Arizona.  Chris is married with two kids, has two dogs, is a musician and likes to ride his motorcycle. 

 

[14:33] When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking?  Why did you decide to quit?

He realized that alcohol had a hold on him.  He couldn't stop.  It was affecting everything.  He felt like the party was over.  He went to get beer after his kids were asleep.  Suddenly he realized that if he had gotten a DUI, no one would be able to take care of his kids.  He asked a friend in recovery to help him get cleaned up.  He started going to AA.  He would get 30 days and then relapse.  He worked at a bar and was drinking non stop.  It started to take a toll on his body. 

 

[18:56] When did your attempts to quit begin to get some traction?

He would try to moderate.  He switched to wine.  They moved to Arizona, and he wanted to use the chance to get clean.  He found himself isolated and depressed, and anxious.  He used his exercise to earn his drinks.  He kept repeating the cycle. 

 

[21:23] What are your thoughts on the “geographical cure”?

He thought he was going to start over in a new place, and leave the negativity behind.  He started working quickly after the move.  Anxiety started to set in, he felt uncomfortable being alone and bored.  He turned to alcohol.  Alcohol was the ice breaker in social situations.

 

[22:47] What would you consider to be your rock bottom moment?

He feels that he had many.  Every time he would wake up feeling ashamed was a rock bottom moment.  He felt that he couldn't escape alcohol's grip and he was scared.  He wanted to quit but felt that he couldn't.  The night would start with one beer and end after multiple. 

 

[24:30] What changed this last time to ensure your success so far? 

He had researched a medicine called kambo.  He had read that it would help him quit alcohol.  He found someone in his local area and he signed up to try it.  The scrape the venom off a frog from the amazon.  The practitioner lights the tip of the incense stick, then marks your arm, then applies the venom to your arm.  He didn't hallucinate, but had intense bodily sensations.  It's a giant purge.  He puked like crazy and felt a sharp pain.  He found a blockage, and puked it out.  He did another purge that evening and hasn't craved alcohol since. 

 

[31:39] Have you noticed any other improvements in other areas of your life? 

He's less stressed.  He tries to block negative energy.  He lets things roll off and relaxes. 

 

[33:19] Did you try any other resources to quit?

He tried AA.  He didn't click with his local group.  He liked the online group better.  The plant medicine was sort of a last resort for him.  He thinks it was a reflection of the amount of desperation he had at the time. 

 

[36:00] What's your proudest moment in recovery?

He was around 50 days in sobriety.  He took his son to a Metallica concert without drinking.

[36:45] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

Continuing down the path.  He wants to be of help to anyone trying to get sober.  He is into the plant medicine world. 


[39:20] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    A huge fight with his wife. He threw glasses at the wall. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Continuing down the path. Staying active in the online group. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE Blue. Talking with more people. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    It's easier to stay sober than to get sober. Don't take yourself too seriously. 

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just do it. Go for it.  Take your time, get comfortable.  Find the path for you. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “If you have to put venomous frog poison in your skin to get sober..”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

You Are the Placebo – A book by Dr. Joe Dispenza

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Aug 6, 2018

Jodi, with over 100 days since her last drink, shares her story...

You’d think that when dealing with something as simple and common as water, there couldn’t be any confusion.  Water is water, right?  It turns out that not all waters are created equal. 

Water comes in many forms and despite what you might think, the differences aren't just regional nomenclature.  There are distinct differences between these types of water, and while they are somewhat slight, they’re enough to merit their own name.  Here’s what you need to know:

Mineral Water

Sparkling mineral water comes from a natural spring which contains various minerals, like salts and sulfur compounds. It's defined by its "constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source." Minerals aren't added to this water and neither is carbonation (with the exception of San Pellegrino, which has additional carbonation added by the bottler). That means that the bubbles in these bottles are completely natural. You would typically drink this water as is (not mixed in a cocktail), since it's a tad expensive and has a slight mineral-y taste.

 

Seltzer Water

Seltzer water is just plain water that has been artificially carbonated. This water, which contains no sodium salts, gets its name from the German town of Selters, which was renowned for its natural springs. Seltzer water was first introduced as a cheap alternative to sparkling mineral water -- and it still is an economical option today.

 

Club Soda

Seltzer water and club soda are very similar, but there is a notable difference between the two. Unlike seltzer, mineral-like ingredients are added to club soda to enhance the flavor. If you look on the list of ingredients, you'll likely see potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate listed.

 

Tonic Water
Just because it contains the word water in its name and is carbonated doesn't mean that tonic water is in the same category as bubbly waters. Unlike the other carbonated options, tonic water has a distinct flavor and it certainly can't be swapped out for carbonated water. Tonic water is a bitter drink, a result of the addition of quinine, which pairs particularly well with gin. Also unlike the other waters, Tonic contains calories -- about 130 for 12 fluid ounces.

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:05] Paul Introduces Jodi.

 

Jodi is 34-year-old artist and musician living in Detroit, Michigan, with her dog.  She has a podcast called “Detroit Craft Academy”.  She went to art school for photography originally. 

[12:20] How has sobriety affected your personal relationship with your art? 

It's been a little difficult.  She had a romanticized definition of what an artist was in her mind that involved drinking.  She feels it was learned.  She no longer buys into it.  She's realizing that her art is now better with a sober mind. 

 

[14:25] When did you first realize you had a problem with drinking, and how did you quit? 

She grew up straight edge.  She started drinking with a guy she met.  She enjoyed alcohol after she tried it.  She feels that she's always had an addictive personality, which worsened after she started drinking.  She was always at the bar before and after class during school.  She began hanging out with musicians.  She began to black out, and felt that she was time traveling.  She would have to investigate to find out the events from the previous night.  She had a stint of sobriety for two years as her boyfriend turned out to be an addict.  She started again at 22 and hid it from her partner.  She tried to go to AA. 

 

[20:25] Did you experience a rock bottom?

She had many.  She didn't consider them rock bottoms because she wasn't ready to address the fact that she had a drinking problem, and she also thought that it was typical artist behavior.  She associates her addiction with “Large Marge” from Peewee Herman. 

 

[22:29] What was different about this particular attempt to quit that's been successful so far? 

Before quitting she had been dealing with depression and a relationship with an addict.  She experienced some trauma.  She started seeing a counselor.  The counselor didn't know that she had a drinking problem.  Alcoholism runs in her family.  Alcohol dulled the emotions she didn't want to feel and enhanced the positive ones, but the depression didn't go away.  She tried many things to get rid of it but they didn't work.  She tried to quit drinking for a month and felt amazing.  This time something different happened.  She recently tried a sensory deprivation chamber.  She heard a voice tell her to quit drinking.  She feels her consciousness shifted.  She calls it the voice of silence.  She told everyone she knew that she quit drinking, creating accountability.  Everyone has been supportive.  She started changing her group of friends.  She started going to AA.  It's been great.  Every meeting has been different. 

 

[38:44] What have you learned about yourself in sobriety so far?

With her shift in consciousness, she is trying to be open minded.  She's learning how to break down her strict boundaries.  We are bigger than the boxes in which we put ourselves.  She's open to not pleasing everyone. 

 

[40:25] How is your depression now that alcohol is removed from your life?

She still suffers from depression, but she changes how she responds to it.  Before she would turn to drinking, and now she tries to face it.  She's finding different ways to deal with it.  She goes for walks, calls her sponsor, focuses on art.  She's considering medication. 

 

[42:42] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    All the holes in her memory. Playing detective to figure out what happened the night before. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She realized that her only desire to go out was because she wanted to drink, and she had to drink to have a desire to go out.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    One day at a time. She journals a lot. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE, honestly.

 

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Don't beat yourself up if you fail. You won't see the successes if you concentrate on the failures. 
  2. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Tell everyone. Tell the bartender to punch you if you order alcohol.
  3. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you lose your car, and then go to the police to help you find your car, and drop you off, and you think it might be a trap.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode is brought to you by Zip Recruiter. Right now, listeners can try Zip Recruiter for free by visiting Ziprecruiter.com/elevator

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Jul 30, 2018

Craig, who has been sober since 9/21/16, shares his story.

The unprecedented success of this podcast mirrors a simple approach to recovery.  Just show up and continue to show up. 

The future of Recovery Elevator is promising!  The plan is to migrate the growing community over to a private forum and away from facebook.  The focus will be on creating many local groups, in-person meet-ups, sober travel, and sobriety events .

SHOW NOTES

[14:00] Paul Introduces Craig.

Craig is 40 years old, from central Scotland.  He's married and a father of two.  He works in flooring and is a part time Taekwondo instructor.

 

[16:53] When did you realize you first had a problem with drinking?

He started when he was about 14.  His family moved a lot.  Alcohol was a big presence.  His first binge was extreme and he had to go to the medical center.  He started to drink a case per night.  Eventually whiskey entered the picture.  He became more isolated.  He couldn't relax without alcohol.  He would drink with colleagues after work and it progressed into something very difficult to control. 

 

[23:07] How did you achieve your 9 weeks during your first attempt at sobriety? 

He ended up in the hospital after a suspected heart attack.  After some liver tests the doctor gave him a pep talk.  His first attempt was sheer will power. 

 

[24:48] What led to the following relapse? 

He wanted to celebrate his 9 weeks by drinking.  After he did not really try to self moderate.  Eventually after a binge on a trip to Mexico he woke up with a painful hangover and decided that he couldn't do it any more.  He sought out recovery sources online and discovered the podcast.  It resonated with him.  He realized he wasn't alone.

 

[27:47] Once you made the conscious choice, how did you stop? 

His realized he was a bad example for his son.

 

[29:40] What were some of the other recovery resources you found?

Recovery Elevator, also Omar and Shane Ramer, the Sober Guy podcast, and the Share Podcast, the Good Dad project and Sean Croxton's Quote of the Day.  

 

[30:30] Walk us through the early stages of your recovery. 

He had two difficult episodes with Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptom (PAWS).  Fatigue, mood swings, depression, anxiety, loss of concentration.  The first one was about six weeks sober.  He went to his doctor and said he wasn't feeling well.  The doctor suggested AA.  He realized there is life after drinking. 

 

[35:39] When did you begin implementing what you learned into your recovery? 

He started listening to motivational podcasts in addition to recovery podcasts.  He started to see things in a different light.  He joined different online communities and enjoyed being able to bounce different ideas off people in the forums.  He examined his internal dialogues and focused on self love.   

 

[40:36] What advice do you have for someone who is on day 1 right now? 

Day 1 is where the adventure starts!  Let's look at how we can get you to day 2 and beyond.  1 day at a time.  Break it down into pieces.  Get through the cravings.  The numbers don't matter, you're already worth it.  Beating yourself up doesn't work.  Nobody's recovery is exactly the same. 

[44:43] Is there anything you would have done differently in your recovery?

No.  He feels that he had to go through what he went through to get to where he is.  He is grateful for the doctor's presence in his life.  He doesn't regret drinking either, but he's glad he stopped. 

[46:16] What have you learned about yourself in recovery? 

First all, I'm good enough.  Secondly, I deserve this recovery and all its benefits.  Everyone deserves it. 

[46:56] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

He's got more of a “fuck it” list.  If he wants to do something he's going to do it.  He's going to keep living and spending as much time as he can with family. 


[49:40] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Not remembering three days from being 14 years old after a binge.

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

    Before his trip to Mexico, he drank heavily and woke up fearing death. He realized that he needed help. 

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Let's get 644 days in the bag and he'll deal with 645 days tomorrow.

  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    From Hank at Hope Rehab, “Take the cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth.”

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Don't try and do it alone. You need the community.  You need accountability with the right people, the ones that can actually help you.

  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you drank so much that the next day you start going into DT's at 3pm the next afternoon.”

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Recovery 2.0 A book by Tommy Rosen
Hope Rehab A recovery center in Thailand
The SHAIR podcast – a recovery podcast
That Sober Guy podcast – a recovery podcast

The Good Dad Project - podcast

Sean Croxton's Quote of the Day - podcast

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

Jul 23, 2018

Problems are a part of life.  When one problem is resolved and filed neatly away a new one arrives to take its place.  At times, our problems in life may seem overwhelming.  When the pressure is on and things get difficult, often our response is avoidance or escape. 

In sobriety we learn to neither rely on fight nor flight when things get tough.  Instead, we consciously engage in the life long practice of facing our fears.  We have a choice.  With courage, acceptance and humility we can find the strength to deal with our problems. 

Kelsey, with 94 days since her last drink, shares her story..

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:10] Paul Introduces Kelsey.

Kelsey is 26 years old, from Utah.  She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her boyfriend and two dogs.  She manages a coffee shop and runs a business producing handmade clothing.  She likes the outdoors and sports.  Sewing has been therapeutic for her since she quit drinking. 

 

[10:56] What was your drinking background, and when did you first realize you wanted to quit?

High school.  She used to be scared of drinking.  She used to have an eating disorder after a move to Arizona.  Her drinking slowly progressed.  She got a DUI in Arizona and served some time.  She continued to drink after.  It escalated.  Her hangovers turned into withdrawal.  She did outpatient therapy.   She tried to get sober multiple times.  Never really tried AA.

 

[16:22] Did you experience one addiction morphing into a second? 

Yes.  She went to therapy for the eating disorder and didn't really recover fully.  Alcohol helped her feel better.  It was a slippery slope. 

 

[17:30] What were your previous attempts to quit drinking? 

She tried cold turkey.  It didn't work.  She was searching for programs because she didn't like the higher power aspect of AA.  She found “Moderation Management”.  She didn't feel accountable.  It's an online forum with a workbook.  The rules never worked for her. 

 

[21:40] Why do you think you were drinking for a week straight?

She was tired.  Initially it was fun, but it became frequent blackouts and very negative.  She is a busy person and it was difficult for her to sober up.  Her brain was forcing her to use alcohol to relax. 

 

[23:20] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

She started at her boyfriend's show, and ended up drinking for a week straight.  Her mother tried to help her.  She had work obligations and the drinking got in the way.  She tried to hide it from her mother.  She's grateful that she didn't get into any accidents. 

 

[24:42] Was there more than just being sick and tired? 

She realized that she had other aspirations and she wouldn't be able to achieve them without removing alcohol from her life.  She realized that the path of drinking would ultimately lead to her death.  She chose life and happiness.   

 

[26:37] How did you implement the choice into your life?

She feels like she's grown up a bit.  She didn't struggle with cravings.  She reflects a lot on how good it feels to be sober.  She's choosing to focus on the positive parts of the journey instead of just the negative.  She chooses to paint a new picture and reprogram her associations with positive memories.  The first 24 hours were difficult.  She felt guilty and anxious.  Second day feels more optimistic.  Third felt better.  It continues to get easier.  She started going to meetings and it really helped her solidify her plans for the future.  Every day gets a little bit better.   

 

[29:00] What are you thoughts on relapse? 

It's always a possibility.  She resolves to try her best and not to feel guilty. 

[32:44] How have you address self loathing in recovery?

She is talking more than before.  She's never been good at talking about her feelings.  She's had to learn to express herself.  She's able to recognize when she's triggered and now she reaches out to loved ones when she is feeling down. 

[34:20] What is your plan moving forward in recovery?

She is trying to be less negative.  She wishes she could drink normally.

[35:10]  Is there anything you wish you could have done differently? 

Giving therapy more of a chance and giving things more time.  Being okay with results coming slowly.  Taking it as it comes. 

[35:55]  What have you learned about yourself? 

She can handle a lot.  She used to be more anxious because of alcohol.  She feels more calm.  She gives herself credit for being able to handle stress well. 

[37:05]  Are you in the pink cloud phase?

She isn't sure.  She experiences sudden bursts of emotions, and is still generally processing.  

[38:24] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The moment she had to go to the ER.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When she started blacking out after only 3 drinks.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She would like to go more to AA.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator podcast. It fits nicely into her commute.  Moderation Management website online chat. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    From a lady in AA that has 45 years of sobriety. There is no gold medal.  You always have to keep trying. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Alcohol does not define you. You are so much more than your relationship with alcohol. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “Your boyfriend's niece points to your drink and says it's your drink”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Today's episode is brought to you in support by RX Bar. Visit rxbar.com/elevator and enter the promo code elevator at checkout for 25% off your first order.

When Things Fall Apart – a book by Pema Chodron

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

Jul 16, 2018

Is knowledge alone enough to quit drinking?

“To know and not to do... is not to know.” - Buddhist Proverb

Are we able to successfully quit drinking by devouring books, blog posts, podcasts and internet articles?  The facts about the dangerous nature of alcohol can be quite sobering.  Though education is never a waste of time, knowledge alone is not enough to keep you sober.  It can inspire, reinforce, or encourage you to quit, but it is not enough.  Self knowledge is no match for our unconscious mind, which is where most of the internal workings of our addiction lie.

Sobriety requires knowledge, action and community. 

Ky, with 10 months since her last drink, shares her story..

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:40] Paul Introduces Ky.

Ky is from 28 years old and is from British Columbia.  She works 3 jobs and enjoys, cooking, comedy shows, movies, and crossword puzzles.

 

[12:50] When did you first realize you had a problem with alcohol?

She started drinking around 12 years old.  She thought “This is it!”  She thought it was something missing from her life.  Now she realizes that many of the friendships she made through drinking were empty.  She feels like she has been drinking most of her adult life.  She feels like a baby in sobriety.  Her dad was an alcoholic.  He still drinks.  In her early 20's she drank more after a sexual assault.  She had an alter ego while drunk.  She moved to Hanoi, Vietnam but found that she couldn't escape her alcoholism as she experienced a bump in income.  Her drinking became more necessary.  She eventually attempted suicide but kept on drinking. 

 

[20:50] What was your mindset like before your suicide attempt? 

She had felt stuck and empty for so long.  She felt like she had been searching for something to make her feel good for her entire life.  When she moved back to Canada she experienced a loss of purpose and increased boredom which lead to more drinking.  She always assumed she would die at 27.  Now she sees it as juvenile. 

 

[24:38] What was the thinking before you attended your first meeting?

She really wanted it to not work.  She went to an AA meeting just to give herself permission to drink after and she was blown away by how much she identified with the people there.  The mental health side of her therapy has helped her.  She's now able to decrease the negative voice in her head that tells her she isn't good enough or that she can't do it.

 

[30:00] Are you living more in the present?

Absolutely.  She was blown away when her therapist said that she wasn't her mind.  She started practicing meditation and has learned about deeper dimensions of life. 

 

[32:12] Walk us through your first few days of sobriety.

It was really hard.  The first week was difficult.  She didn't realize how hard it was going to be.  She would set appointments with herself to keep herself busy.  She knew she needed to get sober.  She had nothing left on the drinking side of life.  She was fully committed to sobriety because the other option was death, for her. 

 

[35:18] How do you handle cravings?

The first few months were filled with cravings.  She would ask for help in the morning and say thanks at night.  She still gets cravings, but they get weaker and shorter.  Her brother helped her get through the difficult ones. 

 

[39:04] What is your plan in recovery moving forward?

She keeps things simple.  She starts of with meditation in the morning.  She focuses on gratitude.  She still goes to meetings.  She focuses on things that are good for her.  Her life feels more full. 

 

[39:38] What is your take on the 12-step program?

She hates the higher power / god aspect of it.  She still identifies as an agnostic.  She just removes the parts that are offensive to her.  She just focuses on meditation and meetings.  She reminds herself that she's not alone and focuses on what she needs to do. 

[40:43] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Too many. When she showed up to her job after a 3 day bender.  She told her colleagues that her bf had beat her up but later on remembered that she had actually beat him up. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    That weekend where she was trying to drink on pace with her brother and limit the amount she drank. She realized that if she can't control it, she was going to have to give it up for good. 

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The AA meetings. She also loves podcasts and her therapists.  The Joe and Charlie Big Book Study, The One You Feed. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Just don't drink today, under any and all conditions.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just try it. If you don't like it, you can always go back to the way your life was before.  Life without alcohol is so much more fulfilling. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you realize that all of your social media posts are related to booze.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Beyond the Influence – a book by Katherine Ketcham

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Jul 9, 2018

Today we hear from Jade. She's 27 years old, from Kentucky and has had her last drink on April 14th 2018.

The Ego:  The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and unconscious mind.  It is in charge of reality testing and gives us a sense of personal identity.  The self concept.  A collection of beliefs that serve as the foundation for our bearings in life. 

A healthy ego can serve to give us something to lean on when times get tough.  We believe in ourselves and are capable of handling adversity or difficult emotions.    

An unhealthy ego can cause us a lot of problems.  When an ego gets unhealthy, it can keep us from living in the present moment because we harbor beliefs about ourselves that aren't congruent with reality. 

Letting go of an unhealthy ego is a big step in recovery. 

Jade, with about 2 months since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:15] Paul Introduces Jade.

Jade is a 27-year-old liquor store manager from Kentucky.  She has a dog, and enjoys the outdoors, playing the piano and reading. 

 

[13:00] When did you first realize that you had a problem with alcohol?

She started at 16.  She realized she had a problem at about 25.  She was in a failing relationship and was dealing with a lot of stress.  She turned to alcohol.  She made a first quit attempt, and during those 40 days she realized that her relationship needed to end.  After relapse, she made friends with people who drank as much as she did.  Many parts of her life revolved around alcohol.  Once she started she realized she couldn't stop. 

 

[17:40] How hard was it to only have 1 or 2 drinks?

Once she started, if she couldn't continue she would get irritable.  At first alcohol was very social, but eventually she didn't want to be around people when she was drinking.  She started only getting drunk alone. 

 

[20:30] Did you make any attempts to moderate your drinking?

She would skip if she was super hungover.  She switched from beer and wine to liquor.  She figured it was less calories and better for dieting, and more concentrated so it was quicker getting drunk. 

 

[22:50] How did you end up quitting? 

She had been trying for two years.  She started reading and listening to podcasts.  She browsed the r/stopdrinking subreddit.  She figured out that she couldn't do it alone, and that she needed to join a community.  She made the step to reach out.  She didn't think she was worth sobriety and she didn't think anyone would care.  She found out the exact opposite was true.  It has been easier than she thought.  The community made the difference for her. 

 

[27:45] Have you had any cravings?  What did you do? 

She had many.  She would post on Cafe RE and engage the community there.  “Playing the tape forward” helped as well.  The loss of control always bothered her when she was drinking. 

[29:35] What have you learned most about yourself in sobriety so far?

Her emotions aren't permanent.  When her emotions got difficult in the past, she thought they were going to last forever and she would respond by running away from them.  Now she is learning how to deal with them in a healthy way by sitting with them and listening to what they have to say.  She doesn't need to reach for a distraction.  She doesn't have to run away from her own mind as much. 

 

[31:31] What is the biggest challenge you've faced so far in sobriety?

Getting out of the routine.  She feels like something is missing. 

 

[33:42] Walk us through a day in your recovery.  What's your plan to keep adding days?

She tries to get up earlier to get a good walk in with her dog.  She takes care of her dog, plays her piano.  She disperses recovery nuggets throughout her day to help get her through. 

[35:19]  So you were a manager at the liquor store? 

It hasn't been bad at all.  She feels like she's made up her mind and doesn't feel any temptation.  She is now able to identify the alcoholics that come in.  She appreciates the flexibility she gets with her job and is able to also study. 

[39:40] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Blacking out and not remembering what happened.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Instead of getting hangovers she was getting alcohol withdrawal with anxiety.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She wants to go to more meetings to meet sober people.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    She felt like a burden asking people for help. Someone told her that by sharing her struggle it helped other people to stay sober. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    To reach out and find a support system. She was surprised by the amount of support she received. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you leave your job at the liquor store to drive to the other liquor store across town to buy alcohol so your co-workers don't know how much you drink after work.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This podcast episode is brought to you in support by Zip Recruiter and right now, my listeners can try Zip Recruiter for free. Go to www.ziprecruiter.com/elevator and get started today. 

This Naked Mind – a book by Annie Grace

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

 

Jun 25, 2018

Alcohol and Anxiety

Today we will look at anxiety and the role it plays in alcohol addiction. 

Anxiety is inevitable, but we can change what we do and feel about it, ultimately affecting the level of severity we experience and the frequency of attacks.  It shows that we care about what is going on.  Anxiety is a tool we inherited from our prehistoric past that let us know that we were in danger.  It is useful and necessary, and is a natural part of life. 

Unlike normal anxiety, chronic anxiety does not have roots in the present moment.  Chronic anxiety begins when the anxiety becomes our default modus operandi.  The conscious mind focuses on the anxiety, fueling it and allowing it to expand and become consuming.  We find ourselves on a hamster wheel of potential causes, cures, analyses, and ultimately, fear and discomfort.  It surfaces for, as far as we know, no apparent reason.  We make attempts to repress or sidetrack it. 

Drinking is one way that many try to deal with their anxious feelings.  While we are drinking, it feels like our problems temporarily disappear.  When we look more closely at the way alcohol changes brain chemistry, we see that all it does is slow us down and weaken our higher faculties.  In the relatively short long term, alcohol usually makes our problems worse by increasing our anxiety and having a negative impact on our overall health. 

We have the ability to naturally rewire and change our brains.  When we make the decision to quit drinking, over time we can reverse many of the negative effects on our brain chemistry and overall health.  Our brains are able to find a new and more healthy version of homeostasis with less anxiety, less depression and more clarity.

Chris, with almost 1 year since his last drink, shares his story

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:40] Paul Introduces Chris.

Chris is 36 years old, a power plant operator, lives in North Dakota. He's married with two kids and a dog.  He enjoys camping and boating, cooking, photography, and woodworking.

 

[13:40] What is camping like now that you don't drink?

Alcohol took over his life.  Now he feels more present for his kids.  He feels his life is more enriched.  He enjoys more of nature.  He is happy to have quit. 

 

[16:00] When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking?

A while ago.  He craved it since he started in high school.  It started social, and it gradually progressed.  In the military, he went to Korea when he was 21.  Being far away from friends and family was difficult and and he drank more.  He suffered from “terminal uniqueness”.  He felt he was different from the people around him.  We lie to ourselves and focus on the differences, further isolating ourselves from the community around us.

 

[23:55] Did you ever have a rock bottom moment?  How much were you drinking?

He was drinking a case of tall beers almost every week.  His wife had been giving him ultimatums for a while.  He started to drive drunk on a regular basis.  He was regularly drunk, or if he wasn't, he was experiencing intense anxiety.  He would regularly yell at his kids.  He was terrified about what he was becoming.  His wife turned toward the church and he turned toward alcohol.  He and his wife had a blowout over drinking and they separated.  He read a few AA books.  He moved out to the camper.  His faith suffered and he had to see his pastor.  His wife explained how much he was hurting her.  He went to see a counselor and started to unload his emotions.  He eventually found an intensive outpatient program that helped him quit. 

[31:38] Will you share a little of what you learned in your outpatient program?

Neuroplasticity, how your brain becomes dependent on chemicals.  He learned that it wasn't a moral failing, and he felt relief.  He started to relate to the other members in the group.  His wife filed for divorce, and it helped him apply himself in the program. 

 

[37:15] Where did you get the strength to move forward?

The gift of desperation.  He didn't know what else to do.  He saw that this was an opportunity to change and he applied himself.  His faith life had dried up and he became inspired after reading “Bill's Story” from the AA book.  He started to get better rest.  As he worked the program his feeling of higher power returned.  He realized how much he had hurt his wife.  He was lucky enough to have counselors and friends in his life that helped him get through it.  He started to focus on his actions and not the results with his kids and his wife started to come around.  He started to do the work for himself and not for her. 

 

[45:42] What have you learned most about yourself in sobriety?

That he's worthy of love.  He's worthy of a happy life.  Life is worth it. 

 

[46:20] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

To continue.  To continue to work on his marriage.  To continue to make memories with his family.  He wants a future for him and his loved ones.  He wants to help other people with recovery. 

 

[47:51] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The many ways that he hurt his wife and kids. He'll never forget hurting his loved ones. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Last summer when he chose drinking over his wife.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To continue to work a program. He likes to keep his sponsor close. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    You don't have to be sober for the rest of your life, today. Take it a day at a time. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just be honest with yourself. Stop lying to yourself.  Don't listen to the voice of addiction.  Tell someone that you trust.  Accountability and community is key. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You go to sleep drunk, and wake up with less eyebrows and more penises drawn on your face.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This Naked Mind – a book by Annie Grace

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Jun 18, 2018

Compassionate Curiosity: a way we can get to the root of why we drink.

The problem's not that the truth is harsh, but that liberation from ignorance is as painful as being born. Run after truth until you're breathless. Accept the pain involved in re-creating yourself afresh.” - Naguib Mahfouz

One of the biggest root causes of addition is self loathing.  Feeling like we are not worthy or that we are in any way less than others is a belief often found at the center of our addictive behavior. 

The cure for self loathing is self compassion, or self love.  Replacing the habit that is self judgment with forgiveness, the mental rigidity with an intention of being open, or the repetitive criticism with positive messages that we can do this are some of the first steps toward distancing ourselves from addictive tendencies. 

We begin with a process of self examination, wherein we compassionately do so without judgment. 

“There is no moving forward without breaking through the walls of denial.” -Gabor Maté

Kim, with 1½ years since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[1:30] Paul Introduces Kim.

Kim is 37 years old from Arkansas.  She's been sober over 1½ years. She's married with 3 kids.  She works as a counselor.  She enjoys her spending with her family, reading, and Kintsugi. 

 

[6:05] When did you first realize you had a problem with drinking?

She experienced complications with her pregnancy.  With that came a prescription of pain medication.  After she went through the pain meds, she noticed that she couldn't stop drinking. 

 

[9:06] Did you try to put any rules into place? 

From her work with addiction, she knows that putting rules into place is addictive behavior.  She was probably going through a half gallon of vodka per week.  She attempted to quit throughout 2017.. nothing really stuck. 

 

[10:35] What were some lessons you learned in your previous attempts to quit?

She has a stubborn personality.  When she tried to quit using her will power, she failed.  It scared her.  She started researching different podcasts, and found Recovery Elevator.  She was worried that she couldn't do it alone.  She began to find other stories and realized that she was on a slippery slope. 

 

[13:20] How were you able to quit successfully?

She realized that she needed to remove triggers.  She tried to eliminate stress.  She hired someone to help her with small duties. 

 

[15:50] How are you able to maintain professional distance in your job working with addicts?

When you work in a field where you give to others, you have to make sure that you are ok first.  You have to give to others what you can spare, not what you need. 

 

[17:00] Walk us through the early days of your recovery. 

The first month was difficult.  She had lots of cravings.  She tried to keep the memory of her difficult year close.  She would use the brainspotting technique.  She knows people can relapse after years and years.  The addiction waits to see where the hole is, and that's where it gets you. 

 

[23:50] Are you able to be open about your own recovery with patients?

Reaching out to Paul helped her realize how she was in denial about her addictions.  She shares her recovery experience with some patients, and it's been much more helpful. 

 

[24:40] What are the common hangups that your patients have?

The biggest struggle is the stagma and the shame.  Also, the surrendering to higher power. 

[27:10] What is the biggest thing you've learned about yourself?

She needs to show herself the same compassion that she gives to everyone around her. 

[27:40] What has been your proudest moment in sobriety?

Sharing with her clients.  Showing them that she also struggles with different things. 

[28:28] What are you looking forward to in Peru? 

Seeing the beauty, and being a part of a recovery community. 

 

 

[29:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Pre-parent: 17yo, on vacation with family in Mexico.  Parents lied about her age so she could drink at the resort.  She hung out at the bars.  On the last night, she was sexually assaulted. 

    As a parent:  She used to drank in front of her young child.  Her child began to copy her drinking behavior by drinking his water in a small cup with a straw. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She would like to be a voice for recovery with mental health professionals.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Her faith is strong and it helps her in her darkest moments. 
    The Miracle Morning.  She does it daily no matter what.
    Recovery Elevator podcast.  She looks forward to listening weekly. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    You can't do this alone. The magic happened when she reached out. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    A quote by Carl Jung.. “What you resist, persists. What you can feel, you can heal.”
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    While listening to someone else's story you think to yourself that you need to remember it in case you relapse.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Audible is offering my listeners a free audiobook with a 30-day trail membership. Go to audible.com/elevator and start listening. Or text ELEVATOR to 500-500.

In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts – a book by Gabor Maté
When Things Fall Apart – a book by Pema Chodron
The Miracle Morning – a book by Hal Elrod
Kintsuji The japanese artform of “golden joinery”.
Brainspotting – a theraputic technique
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Jun 11, 2018

Burn The Ships

For many people, the answer of what is it that is holding us back in our lives isn’t exactly obvious. The question of what is blocking us from obtaining that inner peace we deserve can be difficult to answer for some. The good news is that if you’re listening to this podcast, the answer is most likely alcohol is what’s holding you back any it may be time to “burn the ships”.

Fran with 16 months since his last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:00] Paul Introduces Fran.

Fran is 43 years old from Indiana, but originally from Cleveland.  She's married and a mother of 2.  She's a program director and massage therapist.  She is an entrepreneur and loves yoga and the outdoors.  She also likes to work in her yard.  She previously had 3 years of sobriety during her 20's. 

 

[11:15] What made you seek out a sober life initially?

She injured herself as an athlete and then got into the restaurant business.  Initially it was fun, but then she began drinking on the job.  She realized her life was empty and she became depressed again.  An ex of hers helped take her to a 12 step meeting.  It worked until she stopped actively working on her sobriety. 

 

[14:14] What was your initial attempt at sobriety like?

She was able to ground herself in who she was, with a clear mind at a very pivotal time in her development.  She met other women in recovery and it felt a bit like a clique.  She didn't feel like she fit in.  After graduating college sober, she started doing some internet dating.  She met her husband and relocated to Indiana.  She had her first child, then started drinking shortly after the child was born.  She felt dislocated.  She transitioned back into semi-regular drinking, which eventually lead to excess. 

 

[20:02] Did you experience a bottom moment?

She had many.  She would fight with her husband.  She blacked out at a baby shower.  She fought with her family and her husband's family. 

 

[26:37] What was it like when you first quit drinking?

It wasn't easy.  It was a process that took time.  Initially motivated by weight loss, she felt like she was talking about it all the time.  She realized that she could not go a day without drinking.  Her husband was suffering from throat cancer and she started taking his pot pills after he recovered.  She tried to substitute them for alcohol.  She thought pot could get her sober. 

 

[28:49] Did that help?

No.  The anxiety and depression was worse.  She became suicidal.  She went back into recovery.  She started listening to Recovery Elevator.  She hit the gym.  She found herself back at AA.  She's more committed this time, and this time it's “no matter what”. 

 

[33:26] What is your recovery portfolio like today? 

She focuses on gratitude.  She reads and meditates.  She does yoga before work.  She realized that other people around her now have permission to focus on their health, as she leads by example.  Her marriage has improved a lot. 

 

[37:06] What is it like to be a healer and to help people release tension and bad energy?

It's a gift.  When she's able to be present, it helps them let go.  As a sober person, she now honors and respects her own body and leads her clients and students to the same. 

 

 

[38:54] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Seeing the despair on her child's face and she witnessed her mother being drunk.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Stopping to buy alcohol on the way home from the gym, and opening the bottles before she got home.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Her sponsor.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    It's going to get better if we stay away from alcohol.

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    It's okay. It's okay to give it a shot to see what it's like.  It's not as scary as it seems.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You're so incapacitated by alcohol that your family thinks calling your reverend is the only way to get you to go home.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode is brought to you by Simple Contacts. Visit www.simplecontacts.com/elevator and use the promo code elevator for $30 off your first order.

The Language of Letting Go a book by Melody Beattie

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Jun 4, 2018

Bravery:  Ready to face and endure danger or pain.  Showing Courage.

Many times in life we come face to face with our next step.  We can see clearly the path ahead that will lead to our next “level up”.  We can know everything there is to know about our plight and circumstances.  We can possess the very map that will lead us to the next door.  But when the time comes, sometimes we hesitate to open it.

In sobriety, you have to be willing to fail.  People who seek sobriety are a particular kind of brave.  They imagine another way to be and actively seek it out, even if it means going against the grain or swimming upstream.

It's important to note that being brave and/or courageous does not mean being without fear.  Feeling fear is not only normal, but it's an important part of the process.

The growth we seek lies not in running from fear, but in embracing it and, if possible, learning from it.  Fear can be a profound and necessary teacher.  Bring brave and courageous means that instead of avoiding fear, we compassionately face it and move forward with it as an ally in our sobriety portfolio.

Individual bravery becomes amplified and much more powerful when supported by the collective bravery of the sobriety community. 

Beth, with 6 months since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:50] Paul Introduces Beth.

Beth has been sober for just over 6 months.  She's 39 years old.  She's a mother of 3 from New Jersey.  She's a special education teacher.  She loves the outdoors, sports, art, and music.  She is learning skateboarding from her 9-year-old nephew. 

 

[11:38] When did you realize you had a problem with drinking?

 

 

 

She started drinking heavily in college in an attempt to deal with social situations and have fun.  She always felt different from other people, and was also dealing with a recent death in the family.  She had easy access to alcohol in school.  She moved to New York City right before the attack on the World Trade Center.  She used alcohol to deal with stress and difficult emotions. 

 

[16:40] Did you ever try to put any rules into place to moderate?

Yes.  She would try to regulate the times she could drink.  She would try to regulate when she was allowed to drink hard alcohol. 

 

[18:25] How much were you drinking before you quit? 

She drank nightly.  Red wine helped her deal with stress when dealing with her kid's homework. 

 

[20:15] Did you reach a rock bottom? 

She drank while taking her kids out for Halloween.  She drank a lot and experienced a bad hangover.  She began to worry about whether or not she was a good mother.  She discovered the podcast and began to listen.  She decided to become sober and joined Cafe RE. 

 

[26:20] What was it like at first when you quit?

She was excited.  She told a few close friends and family members.  She wanted to get back into running.  She felt great.  She avoided concerts and other places where she used to drink.  She did whatever it took to not drink. 

 

[28:45] Have you changed your mind about AA now that you're sober? 

It was a complete 180 degree change.  She began to feel more connected and she related to them more than before.  She is looking forward to expanding her recovery community. 

 

[33:45] How has your perception changed?

She knows she's on the right track, but she is starting to fear relapsing.  She is trying to break free from her perfectionist mentality.  She is facing and processing a lot of shame from her past.  She appreciates the benefits from her newly found clarity. 

 

[37:50] What happened when you accidentally posted your sobriety on Facebook?

She received some unexpected messages of support from different moms in her social network.  She gave others the info for getting help. She believes alcohol is a real gateway drug. 

[41:24] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Her birthday in NYC. After a night of dinner and drinks, she passed out on the floor next to her apartment door. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She went to a concert for her daughter's birthday. She needed beer badly.  She made her kids wait in line forever so she could get a beer. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To continue staying healthy. Be more present with her kids.  Get more organized.  Find comfort within herself.  She's more happy with who she is. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE group because it will forward you to other great resources.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    If one drink is not enough, then it's time to stop drinking. The poison has already begun to take effect.  It's not worth it.  Trust your gut.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You're pregnant, and you haven't told anyone. You say you're not drinking to someone, and they assume you're pregnant because you usually will always have a drink.” 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

May 28, 2018

The path of sobriety is not always easy.  Many of us will stumble, fall, relapse and find ourselves back at square one.  It's not the end of the world.  When we relapse, we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and, if necessary, reinvent ourselves. 

Tamara, with 48 days since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[3:57] Paul Introduces Tamara.

Tamara is 31 years old, from Nashville, Tennessee.  For fun, she enjoys cooking, the outdoors, and spending time with loved ones. 

 

[7:00] When did you realize you wanted to quit drinking?

Her first drink was on her 21st birthday.  She drank through her 20s.  She had alcohol abuse in her family.  She thought her family was wrong by hiding alcohol from her. She thought it was fun.  The progression of her alcoholism snuck up on her.  She assumed it was healthy and normal.  She went through a big period of change that left her unsatisfied.

 

[15:30] Did you put any rules into place when you tried to quit drinking?

Yes.  She would try to limit other bad activities and use drinking as a reward.  She tried to abstain for a month with a friend.  She convinced herself to keep drinking.  Each year the rules would narrow until she stopped trying to do her cleanses.  She began to realize that she had a problem but she kept trying to fix other areas of her life, hoping it would fix her drinking.  Her ex told her about recovery elevator.  After listening she realized that she wasn't alone. 

 

[22:28] After drinking, what was it like without alcohol?

Weird.  She experienced physical withdrawal symptoms like anxiety.  Then she felt great.. experienced a pink cloud. 

 

[24:40] Has everyone in your life been on board with your lifestyle change?

No.  Her family and coworkers have been supportive but not everyone. 

 

[26:45]  What do you think brought on your relapse?  What did you take away?

She went on a work trip.  Everyone else was drinking.  She didn't yet have her recovery ingrained enough to handle the environment.  She now is working on a more holistic recovery strategy. 

 

[29:23] Walk us through a typical day in your recovery.

She tries to work on her recovery daily.  She says the prayer of serenity.  She meditates.  She tries to avoid negative news and media.  Her morning routine helps her stay in the right frame of mind to handle anything life can throw at her. 

 

[31:20] What have you learned about yourself in sobriety so far?

She learned that she deserves the things that she wants.  She sees more of the bigger picture now.  She's not afraid to relate to different kinds of people.  She focuses more on her values and ignores the noise.  She makes more of an effort to show up and work on herself first. 

 

[32:50] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

She wants to work the steps.    

 

[33:30] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She started cutting herself to help deal with the deep depression she was experiencing. It helped her feel in control of herself.  One night she cut herself too deeply and she had to go to the emergency room.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She's going to continue to work it to her best ability. She wants to continue adding tools to her recovery portfolio. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE. The community in your online recovery community. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    “What is your motivation?” When there is no clear-cut ethical guide, she has to get to the bottom of her own intentions. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    You are not alone. The recovery community is huge and willing to share with you.  Share your story.  There is no shame. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “when discussing oral surgery with your physician, your first concern is how quickly you will be able to drink wine afterwards.”

    “What's in the water bottle?  … vodka.. just kidding!  .. it's actually vodka.” 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

May 21, 2018

Please listen with an open heart and open mind.

- Paul

May 14, 2018

Has addiction always been a problem? 

Alcohol has been around for thousands of years, but has alcoholism? In Gabor Maté's book, “In the realm of hungry ghosts” he states:

“The precursor to addiction is dislocation... the loss of psychological, social, and economic integration into family and culture.. a sense of exclusion, isolation and powerlessness.  Only chronically and severely dislocated people are vulnerable to addiction.  The historical correlation to severe dislocation and addiction is strong.  Although alcohol consumption and drunkenness on festive occasions was widespread in Europe during the middle ages, only a few people become drunkards or inebriates.  So what happened?”

Dislocation became more prevalent during the rise of industrial society in the 1800's.  As traditional familial or cultural roles weakened, alcoholism became more widespread. 

The effects of this can be seen not only in the US on both immigrant and native populations, but also in the native aboriginal cultures of New Zealand and the rising number of addicts in China as it struggles during periods of rapid growth.

Caroline, with over 1 year since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:50] Paul Introduces Caroline.

 

Caroline is from New Zealand, 40 years old, married and a mother of three.  She enjoys reading, she is the new owner of a pub. 

 

[11:15] When did you first suspect that you had a problem with drinking?

She started at 13 or 14.  She knew pretty early that she drank more than most.  As she got older she used drinking as a coping mechanism.  She surrounded herself with other drinkers.  Had an epiphany when she came upon the book “Mrs. D is Going Without” by Lotta Dann.  It changed her definition of an alcoholic and made her reassess her own drinking.  

 

[14:25] Did you ever try to quit prior to your successful attempt?  Did you moderate or put rules into place?

She tried it all.  She drank heavily in university.  As she got older, the hangovers became unbearable and her depression got worse.  She began to rethink her drinking in her late 30's.  She tried to moderate with restricting the day of the week or the type of drink and it only got worse. 

 

[16:00] Was your drinking tied in with your depression?  How were they linked?

She would always feel shame and embarrassment the days following a bout of heavy drinking. 

 

[17:17] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

She had many.  One that stood out, she was studying and driving into town with a hangover for the 4th week in a row.  She realized that she can't moderate and that it was having larger consequences than she liked and she decided to quit.  She quit for 100 days, thought she was cured, relapsed and went back to drinking.  Then she woke up and realized she had a problem.  She wasn't going to wait for something more serious to happen before she quit.

 

[21:00] How did you quit?  What were your first few days like?

She thinks drinking stunned her emotional growth.  She had to relearn how to deal with stress and emotions.  She had to learn how to be kind to herself.  She had been previously been through some emotional trauma and the emotions bubbled up when she was sobered up.  She finally processed the emotions and did some soul searching and now she feels lighter. 

 

[26:06] Can you think of an example in early sobriety in which you had to try a new coping mechanism?

She always thought she wasn't good enough.  The night her husband was injured she was pregnant and she almost lost her daughter and husband on the same night.  When it bubbled up  she cried and released the feelings. 

 

[27:35] Walk us through a typical day in your sobriety.  How are you going to get to year 2?

She is more kind to herself.  She's made some friendship in online communities.  She is interested in developing and maintaining real life connections with sober and like-minded people. 

 

[28:45] Why is it important to have those real life connections?

She feels she can relax and be herself with no shame or judgment.  Everyone supports one another.  She laughs with her friends and truly enjoys being sober. 

[30:20] What have you learned most about yourself in sobriety?

That she's okay.  Her relationship with herself and her inner world has changed.  She is now more content and proud of herself. 

[31:08] What's on your bucket list going forward in sobriety?

To continue to develop real life friendships.  To focus on her health and family.  To raise her daughters with healthy inner dialogues.  To instill awareness in her family that there is another way.  To lead by example. 

[33:50] How did you end up buying a pub?

She wasn't looking for a pub specifically, but it was just something she always wanted to do.  They're changing it to be more of a family friendly place. 

[35:33] What will you do if you encounter an alcoholic in your restaurant? 

At first she was shameful about having a problem with drinking.  She met someone with a problem and just reached out to them to let them know they were available. 

 

[37:30] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The lack of memories.   Her imagination would fill the gaps and it wasn't pleasant. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    The hangover after she relapsed after over 100 days sober.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To continue to develop sober friendships. Keep pushing herself in positive directions. 
    To keep living life and stay fit and active.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Living Sober, a free online sober community based in New Zealand.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Make the decision. You accept the step to move forward.  It turns off the head chatter. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Picture yourself in 5 years time as a drinker. Create a vivid detailed picture.. are you still drinking?  What are your relationships like?  How do you feel?  Now picture your sober future.  How are they different?

    You might be an alcoholic if...

    you gulp down a first glass of wine before pouring two glasses of wine to bring out to your husband. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts – a book by Gabor Maté
Mrs. D is Going Without – a book by Lotta Dann
Living Sober – A free online sober community

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

May 7, 2018

When we are in the throws of an addiction to alcohol, the effects go beyond just us.  They affect our family and those closest to us. 

After running the podcast for 3 years, Paul has begun to notice patterns emerging.  One of the biggest patterns he noticed might be the key to successful sobriety:  Accountability.  Getting sober can be daunting, and the people around you are owed an explanation.  The act of saying it out loud not only makes it real, but makes others aware of what you are trying to achieve.  They can help keep you on track when things get difficult, and if your drinking has hurt anyone else in the past, it can be the first step towards forgiveness. 

Telling the people in your life that you are trying to get and stay sober is probably the most important thing you can do to affect your chances of success.

Amy, with 422 days since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:30] Paul Introduces Amy.

 

Amy is 33 years old, from Wisconsin, married with 3 kids.  She works in human resources in healthcare, but is about to leave her job and focus on her family full time.  She likes yoga, and the outdoors. 

[12:00] What are your plans now that you are sober?

She wants to get more involved in her community.

 

[13:00] When did you realize it was time to quit drinking?

She was having a hard time moderating, was losing control. 

 

[13:33] What rules did you have in place during your moderating phase?

She and her husband tried only drinking on weekends, only when at restaurants, only certain kinds of drinks, only on payday, etc.  It didn't work. 

 

[16:30] Is your husband supportive of your decision to get sober?

Yes.  He helps by not drinking around her and by keeping alcohol out of the house. 

 

[17:07] When did you start drinking?

In high school.  It got out of control in college.  She adopted a party girl personality.  She was drinking 4 beers a night.  It progressed into a problem once she went through her first divorce.  She felt hopeless and used alcohol to cope. 

 

[21:57] How did you decide to quit?

She was drinking daily, feeling terrible.  Some good things began to happen and she felt that it lifted her out of her funk.  She got a new job, which enabled her to pay down her debt and she started taking care of herself again.  She fell in love.  The drinking was still crazy and she couldn't control it.  She tried to take a break, but it wouldn't work.  She was writing a lot in her journal, then went on an 8-day binge.  She woke up from that and had hit rock bottom.  She decided to quit on that day.. the difference was that she was ready to accept her situation. 

 

[27:30] What was it like to reach the point of acceptance?

It was liberating.  Acceptance brought self forgiveness, which enabled her to start moving forward in a new way. 

 

[31:30] How did you do it?  How did you quit?

She started to binge listen to recovery podcasts, she read This Naked Mind.  She focused on being kind to herself.  She reached out to sober friends and family.  Connecting with close relatives and friends helped boost her confidence.  They helped her get through the first few weeks.  She began to see the bigger consequences of drinking on her health, career, relationships.  Her husband supported her fully. 

[34:37] At what point did you begin to see the benefits?

Day 2.  The first few weeks there were headaches, sleep issues, etc. She experienced the pink cloud.  She found out she was pregnant the month she quit drinking.  She started looking at the bigger picture.  She experienced normal activities as a sober person and was amazed at the difference. 

[39:46] What's on your bucket list?

She's excited to be a stay-at-home mother soon.  Many of her friends are reaching out to her in support of her sobriety. 

 

[42:33] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Going to a concert and getting drunk, getting into a fight and walking around completely blacked out.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She woke up one day with a damaged car but didn't remember what caused it.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To really stay active in her community. To focus on her family.  To meditate more.  To exercise.  Hang out with the family.  Reading in the evening to wind down. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Put your sobriety first. Before kids, marriage, career. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Educate yourself about alcoholism. The truth will give you the confidence to go forward knowing what you have to do.  Life is too short to be drunk. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    You fear being a stay at home because you assume you will be drunk the whole time.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Today's podast episode is brought to you by Zip Recruiter and Casper.

Try Zip Recruiter today for free.

Get $50 off select mattresses by visiting Casper and us the promo code Elevator

This Naked Mind A book by Annie Grace
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts – A book by Gabor Maté
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Apr 30, 2018

The alcohol industry gives the government funds to prove light drinking is safe. 

In today's era of information overload, it can be difficult to sort the truth from the strong opinions.  As the lines between journalism, science and advertising continue to blur, it can become difficult to know where to stand when one can find a seemingly reputable article or study to support any side of any opinion. 

The alcohol industry is no stranger to the ways of public relations.  The NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) is a government established institution that funds approximately 90% of research on the effects of consuming alcohol in the US.  Regarding a recent study on the effects of light drinking, it is no surprise to find out that $67 million was provided by 5 big alcohol companies, most likely to ensure that the results of the study fell in line with their message that alcohol is good for you. 

Remember that alcohol is still poison, it's still bad for you, and consuming alcohol still has real consequences, despite the what the heavily funded opinions of the alcohol industry would lead you to believe.

Daniel, with 128 days since his last drink, shares his story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:37] Paul Introduces Daniel.

Daniel is 43 years old, has a girlfriend and an 8 year old daughter.  He works in telecom sales and enjoys biking, running, and reading. 

 

[14:10] When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking?

In his early 20s.  Alcoholism runs in his family.  He started drinking regularly in high school, then it became excessive in college.  In his mid 20's he began drinking in solitude. 

 

[18:15] Talk to us about the 20 years you were drinking. 

There were phases where he would think he was okay because he was functioning, but he would occasionally binge drink.  He drank less after he got married in his late 20s but it eventually ramped up again.  When he was binge drinking he wouldn't eat. 

 

[20:28] When did you first attempt to quit?

He started going to AA in his mid 20s but he wasn't ready. 

 

[21:10] Did you experience a rock bottom?  Did you have a faulty off switch?

No, it was gradual.  He would drink before work.  He slowly lost control as depression and anxiety set in.  He finally talked to his family and decided to go to a inpatient detox facility.  It was difficult to stop once he started.  He started drinking again after 25 days sober, thinking it was different. 

 

[26:30] Tell us about your experience with the incredibly short memory (ISM).

He would find himself returning to the hospital after a short time away. 

 

[28:33] What inspired you to quit, most recently?

His family.  He spent some time away from them and it inspired him to quit.  He experienced moments of clarity and made a decision.  He found some supportive people to help him. 

 

[32:02] What were your first 30 days like?  How did you deal with cravings?

He drank a lot of seltzer water and non-alcoholic beer. 

 

[34:10] What is a typical day in your recovery?  How have you made it to 128 days?

He found a local AA group, and got a sponsor.  He reads a lot.  4 or 5 AA meetings a week. 

[41:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    A horrible physical detox.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    He was drinking at work.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    He wants to stay accountable, and tell his story. Keep reading and learning. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The books, podcasts, AA
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Follow your drink to the end. You'll start with one drink but end with a three-day bender. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    If you're listening to RE, most likely you're heading down the path.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    If you go home and drink 8-12 beers, but then hide the cans so no one sees how much you drink, even though you live alone.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

LINK TO STUDY ARTICLE

Recovery A book by Russell Brand
This Naked Mind – a book by Annie Grace
The Untethered Soul – by Michael Singer
Girl Walks Out of a Bar – by Lisa Smith
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Apr 23, 2018

A quote from “Drinking: A love Story” by Caroline Knapp sums up the theme for today's podcast: 
“Early sobriety has the quality of vigorous exercise, as though each repetition of a painful moment gone without a drink serves to build up emotional muscle.”

Life will happen.  We can't control what challenges life will send our way but we can control how we respond.  Each passing trial is an opportunity to build one's sobriety muscles, which get stronger over time as healthy habits and ways of thinking become more deeply ingrained. 

Quitting drinking is difficult because not only is alcohol physically addicting, but we often turn to alcohol to help us cope with life's many challenges.  In sobriety, we find an opportunity to learn new coping skills and rewire our brain to handle difficult times without turning to alcohol for help.

Samantha, with 18 days since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[7:20] Paul Introduces Samantha.

 

Samantha is 27 years old, from Louisiana.  She has a girlfriend and a cat, works at a lawfirm, likes music, travel, reading and listens to podcasts.  She's a geography student, returning to school to finish her degree. 

 

[8:30] When did you first notice that you had a problem with drinking?

 

In her early 20s.  She used alcohol to deal with her anxiety.  She thinks alcohol is a big part of society in Louisiana.  She has family members that struggle with alcohol.  An abusive relationship drove her to drinking more than normal.  All of her friends seemed to drink a lot. 

 

[12:35] What did drinking a lot look like for you? 

Mostly just wine, and eventually whiskey, which became her alcohol of choice. 

 

[13:07] Did you ever put any rules into place to try and control your drinking?

Yes, she would buy smaller bottles or only drink on weekends. 

 

[13:50] What was your rock bottom moment?  Why did you decide to quit?

Sick and tired of being sick and tired mostly.  A therapist refused to see her while she was drinking.  She was angry.  She refused the rehab and kept drinking.  A different time she had written in her journal about quitting drinking, only to go out later that night and black out again. 

 

[18:34] What was it like to break that promise to yourself?

She woke up and felt terrible, shameful, embarrassed. 

 

[19:55] How has sobriety affected your borderline personality disorder?

Her emotions are normally intense and fleeting.  Alcohol helped her maintain an even keel.  Without alcohol, she's switched to Zoloft.  It's difficult to deal with strong emotions without alcohol.  She's now optimistic about her future and has decided to go back to school, realizing that alcohol was getting in her way. 

 

[23:40]  How has your behavior changed since you've quit? 

She goes to bars less.  She is looking for more things to do at home.  She's trying to fill the void left by alcohol with healthy activities. 

 

[24:40] Is your partner trying to get sober?

No, she wants to stop but she is continuing.  It's difficult to see her continue, not because it makes her want to drink, but because she sees the effect alcohol is having on her. 

[27:06] What benefits are you getting from quitting?

Her skin cleared up.  She's lost weight.  Her emotions are easier to handle.  She's now able to see that one drink may start well but it will lead to a terrible conclusion. 

[30:27] Have you lost anything to alcohol?

She feels like she lost her dignity.  Various memories from drinking make her feel shameful or embarrassed. 

[32:30] What advice would you give to your younger self?

Not to smoke or drink ever!  She received info about substances while in school, but feels like it had no impact.  She would tell herself to love herself.  She thinks loving oneself is the root of many of the decisions we make. 

[35:04] What is your proudest moment so far in sobriety?

She was told that she was a great student by an old professor.  Also, she went to a bar and didn't have any drinks. 

[36:30] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    During a flood in 2016, she was caught in a flash flood and had to be rescued while drunk.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Her gf showed her a picture of her sleeping on the ground.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She is going to connect with and stay close with sober friends. She will focus on her goals.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Other sober people. Podcasts:  Recovery Elevator, The Mental Illness, Happiness Hour, Crazy in Bed, Your own Magic,
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Keep your goals in front of you. You can always go back to drinking.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Any amount of time drinking is a win. If you mess up, don't beat yourself up about it. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You get drunk at 10am at your grandmother's birthday party.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Drinking: A Love Story By Caroline Knapp
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – by Mark Manson
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Apr 16, 2018

“Do I have a drinking problem?”  Part II

The first episode under this particular theme came out back in March of 2015. 

In “Drinking: A Love Story” by Caroline Knapp, a questionnaire is presented that will help you determine whether or not you have a drinking problem, and if yes, at what stage your drinking problem is.  See the questions below:

1.  Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed or have had a quarrel
with someone?
2. When you have trouble or feel under pressure, do you always drink more heavily than usual?

 

3.  Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink?

 

4.  Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though
your friends say you didn’t pass out?

 

5.  When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others
won’t know about it?      

 

6.  Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available?

 

7.  Are you more in a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be?

 

8.  Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking?

 

9.  Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your drinking?

 

10.  Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently? 

 

11.  Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough?  

 

12.  Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily?

 

13.  When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking?

 

14.  Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your
drinking?        

 

15.  Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or
cutting down on your drinking?        

 

16. Have you ever tried to control your drinking by changing jobs or moving to a new location? 

 

17.  Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?      

 

18.  Are you having more financial, work, school, and/or family problems as a result of
your drinking? 

 

19.  Do more people seem to be treating you unfairly, without reason?

 

20.  Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking?

 

21.  Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a
“little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind?     

 

22.  Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to?   

 

23.  Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time?
24.  Do you sometimes feel very depressed and wonder if life is worth living?

 

25.  After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there?

 

26.  Do you get terribly frightened after you have been drinking heavily?

 

Know that actions often speak louder than words.  If you are listening to a recovery podcast, filling out a recovery questionnaire, wondering whether or not you have a problem, then chances are your actions are telling you that you do.  That conclusion is an okay place to be, too.  Better to realize it earlier than later so you reach out and get help if you need it. 

Darla, with 3 years since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:00] Paul Introduces Darla.

 

Lives in Grand Junction, Colorado, 52 years old, mother of two. 

 

[13:00] When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking?

Drinking has been a part of her life for a long time but it never had power over her until her mid 40's.  It happened gradually.  She tried to control it with rules, but despite her efforts it continued to escalate. 

 

[16:00] How old were you when you put limits on your drinking?

Around 45 she drank regularly and 46 it progressed. 

 

[16:54] Was there a specific stressor in your life at the time? 

The end of her marriage.  Her therapist advised her to get a divorce.  She had to get a restraining order.  It was easy to lean on drinking because she grew up around it.

 

[19:15] Did anyone in your family history struggle with alcohol?

Her father's side.  Her grandfather, father and brother.  Others have issues with other kinds of addiction. 

 

[22:13] What were the rules you put in place to try to reign in your drinking?

She tried to limit the day of the week.  Her targets kept moving as she kept breaking her own rules.  She felt like it was against her will. 

 

[23:33] Did you ever attempt to quit before this attempt?

Not really.  Despite a DUI, a court order to stop drinking, and CBT classes she continued to drink.  When she quit, she was “white knuckling” it.  She had moderate success but then binged at a holiday party, which lead her to another DUI and waking up in jail.  The consequences terrified her and scared her enough to quit. 

 

[31:00] How did you end up quitting? 

She called a family attorney.  She went to therapy, both individual and group.  She ended up in AA. 

 

[32:45] What do you do when you get cravings?

She recognizes the thoughts that lead to relapse.  She still feels powerless against alcohol. 

[34:15] What unpleasant things did you have to do to stay sober?

She went to AA.  She didn't want to admit that she was an alcoholic.  She didn't want to admit that she was afraid.  She had to accept the circumstances. 

[35:35] Has being in recovery helped you at work?

It gave her a level of compassion others may not have.  She can help guide people toward resources.  She's letting people know about it slowly, especially at work.

[40:20] Why are you going to attend the Cafe RE trip to Peru?

She wants to challenge herself.  She wants to seize new opportunities. 

 

 

[41:22] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Waking up in a jail cell and not remembering how she got there.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Going in to work hungover, knowing that she wasn't able to drive.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Keep doing the one day at a time.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Meditation, exercise, activities, service / helping others.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Get out her own head and to help others. Helps with cravings, anxiety.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Examine yourself. Are you willing to do whatever it takes? 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you come to in jail, in a suicide suit, and you wonder where the rest of the bottle is.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Drinking: A Love Story – A book by Caroline Knapp
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Apr 9, 2018

Do the medications work?

Paul reads messages he received from different podcast listeners about their experiences with some of the various medications often prescribed as quit aids for quitting drinking. 

Though they are not known to be an effective all-in-one cure for alcoholism, they appear to be a positive piece to the recovery portfolio for some. 

Ed, with 11 days since his last drink, shares his story:

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[6:20] Paul Introduces Ed.


Sober for 11 days.  Has been on Naltrexone for 6 years.  40 years old.  Research scientist, molecular biologist.  Has two young children.  Really enjoying his work.  Started to drink more seriously during mid 20's. 


[10:13]  At what point did Naltrexone enter the picture?

During his mid 30's.  He was falling down stairs and wetting his bed on the weekends, yet he was still in denial.  He sought out a medicine to help with his hangover symptoms, found the Sinclair method on the internet. 

 

[13:05]  Did you go straight to Naltrexone or did you try other methods first?

He went to his doctor and asked him about Naltrexone.  He had tried AA but didn't like it.  The doctor was cautious, but gave him the green light. 

 

[15:10] Having used Naltrexone, what is your take on alcoholism being defined as a disease? 

Alcoholism is definitely a disease.  It runs in families, etc.  People who don't have the disease don't understand what it's like.  People drink for different reasons, but once addicted people are equal. 

 

[17:16] Where is the disconnect between the recovery and medical communities?

Not enough research in general, and in recovery methods.  The numbers we are working with today probably aren't the whole picture.  Not tied into addiction in general.  One thing he wants to emphasize is that Naltrexone should not be used by an alcoholic to try and drink like a normal person.  It can help someone quit but should only be used for that.  If you are already quit, stay quit. 

[21:22] If it feels more or less under control at this point, why aim for total abstinence?

He isn't getting anything out of it at all anymore.  He feels the overall force of alcohol in our lives is destructive.  He feels great. 

 

[24:44] Where are you at with cravings? 

Cravings are decreased with Naltrexone.  He likes not closing the door completely because he feels like he can fit in.  It's easier to just have a little bit. 

 

[26:08] What about your friends who had a negative experience with Naltrexone?

One friend ended up going on Naltrexone.  He used it moderately and it had negative effects.  Moderate reward can be more addicting than regular reward. 

 

[29:00]  Are you tempted to not use the pill?

He's tempted but has never broken the rule, which is why he feels he's been successful so far.

[30:09]  How does your routine work with the pill?

He just takes it every day. 

[31:15]  Do you agree that Naltrexone only cures the physical part of alcohol addiction?

Yes.  It's why it may not work for everyone.  It only address the physical part, but doesn't address the mental and spiritual parts of alcohol addiction. 

[35:20]  Do you think it is fear that is keeping you from aiming for complete abstinence?

It plays a part.  It's difficult to leave behind.  He recognizes the fear but knows that he's strong enough to overcome it and move forward with his life in a healthy and positive way.

 

[36:07] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    On a ski trip, he drank much more than everyone else. He wet the bed in front of all of his friends. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Out with friends, he realized he was the drunk that everyone used to compare themselves to.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Keep working on the mental and spiritual aspects of this.  Aiming for abstinence.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Online forum: Sinclair method. 

  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Can't do it alone. Hear the stories.  Reach out. 

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Alcoholism is a monster. Don't underestimate it.  Try AA, etc.  Don't give up. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    you find yourself in Safeway buying 3 tall cans of Miller high life and behind you is a homeless man in line buying the same thing.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This podcast episode was brought to you by Zip Recruiter. Visit ziprecruiter.com/elevator and try it for free.

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Apr 2, 2018

Why do we drink? 

When we no longer drink alcohol, the many reasons we used to drink come bubbling to the surface.  What may have started out as a fun activity or a social lubricant often morphs into a way to (not) deal with life's problems.  The barrage of pro-alcohol messages from media and society has the potential to pull the wool over our eyes as the addictive nature of alcohol quietly gets the better of our innocent intentions.  

Alcohol promises to help you numb the pain, lower your inhibitions or distance yourself from your problems, but the effect is only temporary.  In fact, it often breaks the aforementioned promises and will usually make a bad situation worse.

The avoidance of difficult emotions or situations is likely futile.  Choosing to face your problems seems daunting when we are used to drinking them away, but gets easier with practice.

Briddick, with 112 days since his last drink, shares his story:

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:08] Paul Introduces Briddick.

Briddick is 33 years old, lives in Bellingham, Washington, works in Real Estate, has a girlfriend and a step-son, plays soccer, plays guitar, travel and the outdoors. 

 

[11:15]  What was it like for you being self employed?   

Heavy drinking was normalized.  There was no boss to tell him to stop.  Everyone was doing it. He used alcohol to unwind.  

 

[13:00]  When did you first start to realize that you might have a problem with drinking?

Late 20's.  He started in high school, but it gradually escalated until he had difficulty stopping once he started.   

 

[14:50]  What was it like to drink before soccer games?

For 3 years, he drank before sports.  He thought it was normal.  He felt terrible physically.  He feels lucky that he didn't hurt anyone during sports or driving.   

 

[16:18]  Did you attempt to moderate your drinking, and to what success?

He would avoid drinking in the morning, and avoid hard alcohol.  After 3pm it was free for all.   

 

[17:38]  Tell us about your anxiety attacks in your early 30's. 

Panic attacks are the worst.  You feel something is terribly wrong but you don't know what it is and you can't fix it.  Right around lunch time he would get panic attacks.  The anxiety attacks went away when he quit drinking. 

 

[19:48]  What was your reaction to removing alcohol from the situation?

Floored.  The anxiety went away.  The weight stays off.  He sleeps better.  He feels more emotionally stable.   

 

[21:13]  What was the time frame like for you in regards to the anxiety?

Within the first week.  He had a breakdown that lasted for three days.  “A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul.”  There is a normal amount of anxiety in anyone's life.  Meditation helps. 

 

[23:59]  How did you do it?

He knew inside for years that he was an alcoholic but didn't want to admit it.  He eventually admitted it and had a breakdown.  He took it seriously, and treated it like stage 4 cancer.  He went to meetings with a friend.  The friend is not his sponsor.  On step 4. 

[27:28]  What have you learned most about yourself since you've quit drinking?

That he can do it.  I can make the choice to not drink today.  It's not about willpower. 

[28:41]  What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

He started playing guitar again.  He's learned that he can only focus on one thing at a time.  He wants to run a marathon.  He wants to keep traveling.  He is finding joy in the little things. 

[30:15] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Waking up with shaking hands and realizing that he was powerless. He regrets rude behavior and drunk driving. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?


  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Staying close to his sponsor and the steps. Enthusiasm can't be your primary engine.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The AA community. RE podcast. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (in sobriety)?

    You don't have to stay sober forever, just stay sober today.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Get off the fence. Admit it if you can't stop and if you can't stop, be serious about it because it will kill you. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    you find empty wine bottles in your car's glove compartment and side consoles that you don't remember.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Mar 26, 2018

“Your addiction will lie to you in your own voice.”

Your addiction will often appear to you as a voice in your head that sounds like your own rational thoughts.  It will tell you that it's not really that big of a deal, that you are really in control or, in many cases, will conveniently wipe your memory (the ISM or “incredibly short memory”) so you won't recall what a tough time you had getting through that last hangover. 

Be on the lookout for justification phrases such as:

“But I didn't really have a problem before”
“Everyone else drinks like I do”
“This next time will be different”
“I've quit once, I can quit again”
“The only person you're negatively affecting is yourself”
“I'm cured! I just went [X amount of time] without drinking!”
“Everyone else is having so much fun”
“I got this.”

Stay vigilant in protecting your subconscious mind from thoughts like these and you will have an easier time avoiding relapse.  It's much easier to stay sober than it is to get sober, and staying sober isn't always easy. 

Mike, with almost two years since his last drink, shares his story

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:05] Paul Introduces Mike.

Sober over 600 days.  37 years old, from California.  A professional musician that has worked in California, Boston and around China, as well.  He now lives with his girlfriend in Hong Kong.  Mike does for the show notes for each podcast episode. 

 

[11:10]  You quit drinking and smoking at the same time?

Yes.  Smoking was getting in the way of his singing.  He read Allen Carr's “Easy Way To Quit Smoking” and at some point he realized that he wouldn't be able to quit smoking without quitting drinking.  He committed to 30 days.  Felt great so he kept going.   

 

[13:58]  When did you realize you were going to have to quit drinking also? 

When he moved in with his girlfriend.  He realized that his actions were having consequences that were affecting other people, and that if he really cared about this person and himself, he would have to clean up his act.   

 

[15:45]  What were the indicators that you had a problem with drinking and/or smoking?

He had a therapy session, and the therapist helped him realize that his problem was the drinking, and not what he had thought. 

[18:27]  At that point, did you attempt to quit or moderate?

Yes.  Upon advice from his father, he tried to moderate his drinking by only drinking during work hours.  It was a form of torture as his whole day became centered around waiting for work to begin.  Eventually it lead to him breaking the rule and drinking all day for weeks.   

 

[20:23]  So the willpower technique was torture?

Yes.  While the rules were in place he found himself constantly distracted and thinking about drinking.  His brain was hijacked by both tobacco and alcohol.   

 

[22:40]  How did you get through those difficult cravings after you quit?

He started learning martial arts, and it gave him the tools he had been missing.  Previously, he had been using alcohol to relax intense feelings of anxiety or discomfort, but now he was able to use the techniques that he learned at the martial arts classes. 

 

[24:25]  Was everyone kung fu fighting?

In Hong Kong, not as much, but globally, yes.. more people are practicing Kung Fu now than ever before.   

 

[26:54]  What do you do when the uncomfortable feelings or cravings come?

He focuses on the physical sensations of the craving.  He tries to keep his body from becoming static, and thus paralyzed by the craving.  He breathes, moves, walks, gets fresh air, whatever is necessary to keep the craving from tensing him up. 

[29:19]  What is it like to continue working in the nightlife now that you're sober?

When you're still drinking, even the thought of trying to quit seems like an insurmountable task, but once you've quit and, inevitably, you change the way you see things, the environment in which you were in before is not what it seemed.

[32:30]  What's on your sobriety bucket list going forward?

He's interested in the physical activities he always turned down while he was drinking and smoking.  He wants to travel more and say yes to the things he said no to in the past. 

[34:05]  What is it like to not have the addiction causing you to feel unsolicited fear?

It's liberating.  There are so many positive experiences to be had in life.  Sobriety is an opportunity that begets other opportunities. 

[34:53]  What is it like to be in recovery in Hong Kong?

 

He knows someone who has been to AA in Hong Kong but he hasn't been to any meetings himself, yet.  He found solace in online resources, and he considers his online communities to be his recovery community. 

[37:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    A really bad hangover in which he could barely function.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    His skype call with the therapist during which she pointed out that his main problem was probably drinking. Before that conversation with her, he had asked his friends about his drinking and they had all reassured him that it was normal.  She was the first one to point out that it was probably the cause of his issues. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To continue to set my priorities on health, not overdoing it, to take it a day at a time, never say that “I got this”, to stay vigilant and positive.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The Recovery Elevator podcast, That Sober Guy podcast, Belle's One Minute Message podcast. The Allen Carr books. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (in sobriety)?

    To begin today. If you are suffering, definitely begin today.  Don't be afraid, it's better on the other side. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    To begin, to stay focused and to not beat yourself up.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    it's ever an absolute emergency that you don't have alcohol, and you find yourself planning accordingly.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Easy Way To Quit Smoking A quit aid by Allen Carr. 
30 Day No Alcohol Challenge – A quit aid by James Swanick
Standing at the Water's Edge – A book about creative immersion by Dr. Anne Paris
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Mar 19, 2018

If you haven't done so already, make sobriety your number one priority. 

It may seem selfish to prioritize yourself over other things, but to really be present and of service to our loved ones and the community at large, we must take care of ourselves.  When we root ourselves in something real, concrete and bigger than ourselves, our daily struggles and problems often feel small by comparison. 

“Everything's going to be okay as long as we don't drink.”

Ryan, with over two since his last drink, shares his story..

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:10] Paul Introduces Ryan.

Ryan's been sober for over two years.  He decided to quit after a trip to the hospital. He's from Dallas, TX.  Works for an ad agency.  Has a 3-year-old son.  Has a dog.  Is currently focused on raising his son.  He and his wife enjoy scuba diving. 

 

[12:45]  When did you first notice that you had a problem with drinking?

It began in college.  He noticed it affected him differently than other people.  He experienced withdrawal symptoms early on after casually drinking.  A trip to the doctor put things in perspective for him.  The doctor asked him to quit for 30 days, and he realized that he couldn't stop. 

 

[17:41]  What age were you when you realized you had a problem? 

Late 20's.   

 

[18:10]  So what happened from late 20's until now?

He tried many different things.  A therapist diagnosed him as depressed.  He was medicated.   They assumed the problem was something other than alcohol.  He drank while medicated and had a psychotic episode.  He cut out the medication but kept drinking.  He had a week to himself and he drank the whole time.  His anxiety increased dramatically.  He started hiding his alcohol from his partner. 

 

[23:20] Did things change when your child was born?

Eventually.  The morning he found out his wife was pregnant he tried to quit.  His drinking got worse.  As the due date approached his fear increased. He made sure he had emergency alcohol nearby in case they had to run to the hospital.  His worst memory from drinking was being drunk for the birth of his child. He kept drinking after the birth.  His wife got involved and tried to help him quit.  He continued drinking even while seeing his therapist.  Finally went to detox and felt like he was saying goodbye to his best friend.  He did an intensive outpatient program.  Joined AA.  Started working the steps. 

 

[32:05]  Talk to us about the time between your treatment and your sobriety date.

He relapsed once.  He learned that a relapse happens long before your first drink.  He thought he just needed time, but he learned that his thoughts lead to his relapse.  He began hiding liquor again.  It came back in full force.  He realized what he had given up by going back to drinking.   

 

[34:35]  So how did you end up quitting again?  What is your recovery like today?

The relapse made him realize that he was powerless over alcohol.  He stepped up his commitment to AA.  He found sobriety groups to be a part of.  His family responsibilities fuel his sobriety. 

 

[37:00]  What was it like to include your partner in your sobriety? 

It was a great decision.  It tested the relationship, but they came out stronger.  She quit drinking as well.   

 

[39:10]  What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

I just want to be my best. 

[39:40]  What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

It's all about making the next right decision.  Focus on what one can control. 

 

 

[40:45] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    During his last relapse, he realized “I don't got this”.

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    His family. This podcast is his favorite. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    “KISS”. Keep it simple stupid. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    If you can do this, you can do anything.. and you can do this. You're gaining more than you're giving up. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    you end up in the hospital because you didn't drink.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Mar 12, 2018

 Step Four – “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”

The Recovery Elevator Podcast isn't affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous, but we cover the steps due to listener demand. 

For easy lookup: 
episode 142 was Step 1
episode 146 was Step 2
episode 152 was Step 3. 

The fourth step is probably everyone's least favorite step, as it involves things we don't want to do... face our past, our mistakes, our scary thoughts, emotions and current problems.  Though it can be scary, it is still one of the most important steps in recovery.  Alcoholism is merely a symptom of underlying inner conflict, delusions and/or flaws in our character that need to be faced, and where possible, overcome.

The key is honesty.  While working step four, we get a new perspective on the bigger picture and see ourselves and our behavior in a new way that helps us to move forward without fear and allows us to embrace a healthy self-image. 

This step is all about bringing unconscious behavior to light.  We gradually realize that only we can change, and not change others.  This step is meant to be done with your sponsor. 

Kerry, with 12 days since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[13:25] Paul Introduces Kerry.

Kerry lives in Los Angeles, is 47 years old, is married, has two children and four dogs.  She loves reading, the movies, traveling, and book stores. 

 

[17:40]  When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking?

In her 40's.  She started in her teens, and as an adult, she drank daily.  She struggled to stay sober while she was pregnant.  Her drinking ramped up after her second child, in her 40's.   She thought her drinking was normal, so she found it hard to believe she had a problem.

 

[22:00]  What were some of the rules you put in place?

She tried to only have a glass of wine with dinner, but it didn't work.  She tried to insert a glass of water between each glass of wine.  The rules didn't work, which only made her feel down on herself.    

 

[25:00]  When was your first attempt to quit?

2 and ½ years ago.  Her friends invited her to AA meetings.  She “white knuckled it” about three weeks.  Relapsed.  This added more shame, which leads to more drinking.  She kept trying and has been in and out since then. 

 

[27:20]  Was there one moment that changed it for your or was you generally sick and tired?

She was sick and tired.   She became ashamed when her daughter witnessed her really drunk. 

 

[29:00]  What are some of the things in your recovery portfolio and what will you do to make it stick this time?

She wakes up early and meditates.  She reads a chapter of “Living Sober” every day.  She reaches out to sober friends.  She goes to meetings occasionally. 

 

[32:49]  What benefits do you see with 12 days in sobriety?

More energy.  Better sleep.  No hangovers.  Being more aware and present for her kids.  Better memory.  

 

[34:41]  How are you overcoming the internal dialogue that is trying to convince you to drink?

She knows it's her addiction talking and it helps her to compartmentalize the thought.  She uses meditation techniques to let it pass. 

 

[36:40]  How has it been with your husband? 

He's been supportive.  He also thought she was drinking too much.  He's compassionate and helpful.  

[40:35]  What's on your bucket list in recovery?

She loves traveling.  She intends to use the money saved by not drinking to fund a trip to Amsterdam.  She wishes to be more present for herself and her family.  

[43:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Before she got married, she went to a dinner party and got drunk. She left the party without telling anyone, and she threw up on the subway. 

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

    Her husband noticed that she was slurring her words and pulled aside to ask her to stop drinking.

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Keep up with the morning meditation. More meetings.  Find a sponsor and work the steps. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    She likes reading other people's stories. She's reading the books by Caroline Knapp and Sarah Hepola.  (See mentioned resources below)
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    “Follow the drink to the end”. One glass isn't just one glass.. it ends up with her throwing up and a terrible hangover. 

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just do it. Start today.  Don't set a date, just do it today. 

 

  1. You might be an alcoholic if...

    Y
    ou open a bottle of wine, pour out two glasses and pour the rest down the drain. Then, after you've had the two glasses, you go out to the liquor store and buy more wine to keep drinking.  

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions A book by Russell Brand

Living Sober – an introduction to AA and recovery.   
Blackout:  Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget – by Sarah Hepola

Drinking:  A Love Story – by Caroline Knapp
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Mar 5, 2018

“Enhanced Dopamine Receptors” or EDR

The word “alcoholic” carries such a stigma in today's society and also implies that one's addiction to alcohol is somehow different compared to other addictions.  A more accurate way to describe the situation of those struggling with alcohol or any addiction is that they have “enhanced dopamine receptors.” 

Jim, with 57 days since his last drink, shares his story

 

SHOW NOTES

[11:00] Paul Introduces Jim.

Jim is 47 years old, lives in Waukegan, Illinois.  He's a truck driver and a father, with a 12-year-old  son.  He enjoys reading and working out.

[12:37]  When did you realize you had a problem with alcohol? 

He always knew that he drank more than “normal people.”   Started drinking early at 14.  In recent years it became a problem.  Recently he drank an entire weekend. 

[14:30]  Are you viewing it as a permanent decision?  

Yes, and he arrived at that decision because the moderate approach never seemed to work.  “It's a hell of a lot easier to stay sober than to get sober.” 

[16:10]  Did you try to regulate your drinking in any way?

Yes, he put rules in place and actually followed them, but suffered the entire time.. and it made him realize that he had a drinking problem. 

[19:40]  Did you hit rock bottom?

He believes he's a high bottom drunk.  Most of the conflict was in his head.  His bottom was more of an emotional bottom.     

[20:55]  Were those emotions the reason you quit drinking?

His inner dialogue was mostly negative.  He drank mostly to silence his thoughts.   

[23:04] What were your repeated Day 1's like and how did you break the cycle?

He made a commitment to myself, to be honest about it.  He decided he wasn't going to let it beat him.  He gave himself permission to fail.  

[27:04]  How did you break the hamster wheel?

He went to AA; he joined online groups, he started going to therapy.  He made a “relapse prevention kit”.  The danger was usually boredom and over analysis. 

[28:50]  How do you deal with cravings?

He differentiates between cravings and urges.  He realized that they're temporary.  “Don't make a permanent solution to a temporary situation.”  The feelings will not last forever. 

[30:00]  What have you learned about yourself in your sobriety?

He says he still needs a lot of work.  He has to be vigilant to ensure he's pointed in the right direction. 

[32:30]  What is your proudest moment in sobriety?

Staying sober for this long.  He intends to keep going.  

[33:30]  What was the retreat like for you?

One of the best things he ever did.  He enjoyed it thoroughly. 

[36:25] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    As a teenager, drank tequila. Got sick, threw up his retainer. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When he drank all weekend.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Just continue on the path. Continue to learn. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    “Don't judge your insides by someone else's outsides.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Start stacking days. It's easier to stay sober than to get sober.  You're not making any sacrifices; you're gaining opportunities. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This podcast episode is brought to you by Zip Recruiter. Visit Ziprecruiter.com/elevator to post jobs for free.

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Feb 26, 2018

“Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting”

You can't always believe what you hear.  Just because we believe that everybody was kung fu fighting, doesn't mean that everyone was actually kung fu fighting.  In fact, upon further research, it turns out that no one was kung fu fighting in the original music videos for this song. 

The same applies to “Everybody drinks”.  When we drink, our beliefs about everyone drinking around us probably don't reflect reality.  We feel that we have no choice because, in our minds, we are surrounded by drinking.  Studies show that over one third of adults refrain from drinking alcohol and even more drink very moderately. 

In sobriety, we have an opportunity to redefine “normal”.  We are relieved to let go of the trapping idea that we are forced to consume alcohol to fit in. 

Anna, with over 17 years since her last drink, shares her story..

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:40] Paul Introduces Anna.

Anna is from Marin County.  She's a writer.  She has a cat, a boyfriend and a recovery podcast/company. 

 

[14:30] What are you working on right now? 

She realized that the publishing business was not for her.  She's now focusing on building her own audience and connecting with them and helping them directly. 

 

[21:25] When did you first realize you had a problem with drinking and/or drugs?

She realized she had a problem when she began using drugs in her apartment alone.  It got very dark and she didn't want to get sober but she realized that she had no other choice. 

 

[24:15] What kind of role did alcohol play in substance abuse? 

She never realized she had a problem because she was more focused on cocaine.  In rehab they tried to tell her that drinking was connected and she didn't believe them, which lead to relapse.

 

[27:26] Which drug had more of a grip on you at the time? 

 

It turns out it was both, even though she thought it was only cocaine. 

 

[28:00] Talk to us about alcohol being the gateway drug for you. 

While under the influence are alcohol, she lost her ability to say no to the other drugs. 

 

[31:15] What have you learned from your long term sobriety?

She learned how sensitive she is.  She learned that emotions are fleeting and won't last forever.  She's learned how to accept people for how they behave. 

 

[33:50] What role does self-loathing or self-love play in sobriety?

 

She believes that alcoholism is about ego-centrism and the spotlight effect. We assume everything is focused on us.  She learned that we can change our behavior and rewire our bad habits.  Forgive yourself for your mistakes, and break down the negative thinking. 

 

[39:16]  What would you say to someone on day 1?

Go to a meeting, connect with a sobriety community. 

[41:08]  How are you continuing to stay sober? 

She goes to a couple meetings a week.  She goes to therapy, she meditates, she exercises. 

[42:28]  What do you still want to accomplish in sobriety going forward?

She believes in visualization. 

 

 

[43:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    She accidentally snorted special K thinking it was cocaine.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Nothing special happened that day, but she just acted and got sober.

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    She loves “Blackout” by Sarah Hepolah. “Everything is horrible and wonderful”.  Also an accountability group. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Re-frame depression as discomfort. Life is a process of getting comfortable with discomfort.  We get what we want out of life when we stop insisting on it. 

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    You spend more time obsessing over alcohol or drugs.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode was brought to you by Casper. Visit Casper.com/elevator and use the promo code elevator for $50 off select mattresses.

Letting Go – David Hawkins

Light Hustler Anna's website
Blackout, Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget – A book by Sarah Hepolah
Everything is Horrible and Wonderful – A book by Stephanie Wachs
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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!”

 

Feb 19, 2018

Many of the stereotypes surrounding alcoholism don't match up with reality.  The image of the homeless guy holding the bottle in a brown paper bag and living under a bridge doesn't correctly represent the average alcoholic, despite the image's popularity.  Recent data shows that only 3-5% of alcoholics are homeless or on the street. 

As a group, alcoholics have enhanced dopamine receptors.  They tend to be overachievers, over-workers, over-thinkers, and over-creators. They come from many demographics and many age groups.  When Paul compiled the data for the RE podcast, he wasn't surprised to find a diverse pool of listeners, both married and single, educated and uneducated, rich and poor.

Kim, with less than 1 year since her last drink, shares her story:

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[12:42] Paul Introduces Kim.

5 months sober.  From Buffalo NY, lives in Chicago, 36yo, works in digital marketing.  Loves billiards, volleyball, spa and travel.  Currently working towards a masters in digital communication. 

 

[15:00] When did you begin to realize you had a problem with alcohol?

She fell ill and ended up in the hospital with a bleeding stomach.  The doctor recommended that she quit.  She quit briefly but ended up relapsing and found herself back in the hospital again.  Second doctor also recommended sobriety. 

 

[18:40] What was it like when the second doctor told you it was life or death?

The second doctor gave her lots of attention and encouraged her to get into AA.  She was humbled and blown away by the personal touch.  The doctor's previous patient was someone in the later stages of alcoholism and he warned her not to follow the same path.  She then got 8 months of sobriety after. 

 

[20:27] Did you end up going to your first meeting? 

She did.  She gave it a shot but it didn't feel like a good fit.  She didn't connect with the people. 

 

[21:44] How did you come to relapse after the 8 month period?

She took a trip to Mexico, and saw everyone around her drinking, which enabled her to justify having a few drinks.  She decided she was treating herself. 

 

[22:40] How was the rest of the vacation?

She didn't have any problems in Mexico, but she convinced herself that it wasn't a big deal and she opened the door to alcohol coming back in to her life.  She gradually slipped back in to her old habits. 

 

[24:25] What happened after you begin to let alcohol back into your life? 

She spent a lot of time hungover.  She spent a lot of money at IV ME

 

[25:16] Were you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

She was feeling run down and depressed.  At this point she knew better and she was disappointed in herself. 


[26:20] During your Labor Day holiday, were you drinking by yourself? 

Yes.  She felt left out and depressed.  She doesn't remember doing her Fantasy Football League draft. 

[28:33]  What was the next day like for you?

She called an Uber, but made it turn around because she didn't feel up to it.  Later that night she went to her therapist and he helped her see that she was choosing her behavior. 

[30:00]  Were you fully honest with your therapist? 

Yes, he knew about her behavior. 

[30:42]  Have you figured out why you were drinking?

She thinks it's because she wants to fit in and be included. 

[33:33]  What would you consider your rock bottom moment?

Definitely in the hospital.  Repeating the process, paying the money again even though she knew what the problem was.  This time she wanted it to be different.  She needed to know her other options.  She ended up finding Smart Recovery.  She began exploring other options she had never considered.  She finally clicked with a sponsor and has even flown out to visit her in person. 

[36:27]  What was the Dallas Cafe RE retreat like for you?

She loved it.  She found validation.  It made her feel more comfortable.  She found that there are other people just like her. 

[39:30]  What are your thoughts on Smart Recovery? 

It's more science based.  It focuses on thinking and behavior, goal setting.  It focuses on short term goals.  Everyone shares in the meeting. 

[40:53]  What is your proudest moment in sobriety?

 

Sharing her story to help others.  She's blogging and making videos and she's getting feedback.  She has a recovery website:  Brighter Mornings

 [41:49]  What was it like to publish for the first time?

She planned the release.  The accountability was scary for her.  She became excited at the thought of reaching people that might be struggling with alcohol. 

[43:15] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Waking up at an ex's house, not knowing how long she had been there or what she was doing there.

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

    Sitting in the I.V. Me facility, running out of money.

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To continue to research. Build a community. Keep her sobriety blog and brunch club. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The Happy Hour. The Naked Mind.  Smart Recovery.  Recovery Elevator.  Meeting new people in person and online from the sober community. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    It's not changing something, it's changing everything.

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Don't question it. Just do it.  It's not easy, but it's worth it. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    If you call into your job hungover on day 3.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Brighter Mornings Kim's recovery website

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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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