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

Hello, I'm Paul, and I've realized that alcohol is shit. Alcohol isn't what I thought it was. Alcohol used to be my best friend, until it turned its back on me. When I first started drinking, I could have a couple and then stop, but within time stopping became a struggle. I've tried to set boundaries on my drinking like never drink alone, and not before 5 pm but eventually found myself drinking alone before 5 pm, oops. When I'm not drinking, I'm thinking about alcohol. When I am drinking, I think I should probably quit. After grappling with alcohol for over a decade and a summer from hell in 2014, I decided on September 7th, 2014 to stop drinking and haven't looked back. I started the Recovery Elevator podcast to create accountability for myself and wasn't too concerned about if anyone was listening. Five million downloads later and the podcast has evolved into an online recovery community, in-person meet-ups retreats and we are even creating sober adventure travel itineraries to places like Peru, Asia, and Europe! 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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Recovery Elevator | Stop Drinking, Start Living. | Alcohol, Addiction & Life in Sobriety | Recovery Podcast
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Now displaying: Category: Self-help
Jan 14, 2019

 

Lucy, with 65 days of sobriety, shares her story.

 

Do I need to avoid social situations where alcohol will be present? 

 

The answer is yes, then no, then yes.  Sorry if that’s confusing. I explain better in the episode.

 

On January 1st, I launched the 3rd private, unsearchable Facebook accountability group.  All Café RE signups starting January 1st-January 31st will be placed in the new group.  This group will be capped at 300 members to ensure intimacy.  For the entire month of January, you can use the promo code 2019 for 75% off registration. 

 

[8:40] Paul introduces Lucy

 

Lucy, with 65 days of sobriety, lives in London England.  She is a freelance makeup artist, which she loves doing.  She is single, likes walking, hiking, cooking, and drawing.

 

[11:30] Give us a little background about your drinking.

 

Lucy had her first experience with alcohol at age 12.  Her drinking kicked into full swing after she was 18, when she began working in bar and nightclubs.  She feels that it was a very quick descent into binge drinking and blackouts.  By the time she was 21 she found herself drinking alone more and more.  She lost every bar job she had because she would not show up for work because she was hungover.

 

[17:34]  Lucy’s first venture into sobriety.

 

At age 26, after moving to London to be a full-time makeup artist, Lucy realized that she might lose the career she loved if she continued to drink.  She tried AA, but it just didn’t resonate with her.  Within a year, after white knuckeling sobriety, she went back to drinking.

 

[20:01]  Her rock bottom.

 

Lucy had a suicide attempt at age 30, which she feels was a cry for help.  She regrets what she put her family through at that time.

 

She then had a second try at sobriety, and found that she had a lot of anger and resentment toward drinkers.

 

[23:40]  Since then, Lucy has realized that each relapse has taught her something.  She cannot moderate her drinking at all.

 

[27:50}  Did you attempt to moderate your drinking?

 

Never doing shots.

Having three blood alcohol calculators on her phone.

Avoiding going out as much as possible.

 

[44:28]  What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

 

Not drinking, staying connected, putting sobriety first.

 

 

 

 

[45:04]  Rapid fire round.

 

  1. What is your worst memory from drinking?

 

That night in the hospital after her suicide attempt.

 

  1. What was your “oh shit” moment?

 

My 10th blackout in a row, and a four-day hangover.

 

  1. In regards to sobriety, what is the best advice you’ve ever received?

 

Find your tribe.

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners?

 

Believe in yourself, you’re stronger than you know.  There’s a way out for everyone.

 

     

[46:45]  You might be an alcoholic if . . .

 

            You factor in an extra 100 pounds ($150 US) for every time you go out drinking

            Because you never know in what part of the city you’ll wake up, and you might

            need to call a cab.

 

 

 

This episode is brought to you in support by Robinhood. Right now, Robinhood is giving my listeners free stock such as Apple, Ford or Sprint to help build your portfolio. Signup at elevator.robinhood.com

Jan 7, 2019

Jeff, with over 2 years since his last drink, shares his story…

That could never happen…

Analysis of the famed James Bond movies reveals that James Bond is a full-blown functioning alcoholic living on borrowed time. 

“There is strong and consistent evidence that James Bond has a chronic alcohol consumption problem at the severe end of the spectrum… His workplace, MI6, needs to become a more responsible employer and refer him to support services and change their corporate drinking culture.” 

The amount of alcohol that James Bond is consuming in the films is enough to leave someone far too disabled to engage in any kind of crime fighting. 

SHOW NOTES

 

[7:07] Paul Introduces Jeff.

Jeff has been sober just over two years.  He’s 43 years old and lives near Denver, Colorado.  He is married with one adult son.  He and his wife enjoy Netflix, boating, and writing.  He is the same guest as a previous guest, episode 104.  He is a genetic researcher.  He is extremely busy, with three jobs.  He found that most people just drink in their downtime.  He went from habitual drinking around age 34 to a downward spiral once his wife left him.  There was a DUI, and a crash.  It enabled him to reboot. 

 

[12:20] What happened during that five year period where you drank normally, but the obsession was still there?

He was still micromanaging the quantities of alcohol that were available to him.  He was constantly making sure that consuming alcohol was going to be part of the plan and available just in case.  Even though he found like he had a new life, he included alcohol in his activities. 

 

[14:00] Did you try to moderate your drinking with rules?

Definitely.  Switching from hard alcohol to beer, or only on the weekends.  They seemed to break all the time.  Other parts of his life were great at the time.  His step daughter had a stroke, but when those three days were up he craved alcohol.  He realized he was using alcohol to take a break from difficult emotions and he figured out that he needed to try and find a better way.  He realized that he wanted someone else to step in and help him control his drinking.  He emptied a bottle and kept it around as a reminder of his efforts to get sober.  He discussed it with his wife, and they had a great conversation.  He’s grateful that she met him in the middle of his struggle.  She knew who he was and what he was dealing with.  She agreed to get sober with him to help him along, even though she didn’t have a problem. 

 

[22:50] How important is it to have your significant other or spouse on board with your decision to get sober?

Incredibly important.  There were times when he wanted to crack, but she was there to support him.  They agreed to find alternative ways to get through the holidays, etc.  It is better, to be honest than to be hiding it. 

 

[24:21] What is it like for you in the different stages of sobriety?

In the first 90 days, everything is new.  He binge listened to podcasts to help him rewire his thoughts.  He spent the first six months just learning.  In the first year, you are testing whether or not you can do things without drinking.  He was surprised at how much his brain came back online.  He found himself to be highly creative.  Sobriety has been a surprise.  The second year found him being a lot more available in his business.  He found surprising success in his business.  One never stops growing.  He began to look at his priorities.  He had to decide which areas of his life needed growth.  The second year is way more empowering.  You start hitting your stride and liking yourself more as a person. 

 

[33:06] What’s the most challenging thing you’ve encountered in sobriety?

The lake trip was the most challenging.  He was isolated on a boat, and everyone was drunk.  He would climb up to get cell reception and check in with his internet support group.  He felt incredible when he made it through without drinking. 

 

[35:09] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

He’s working on a book that involves sobriety.  He wants to learn how to schedule unproductive time.  He feels too busy.  He feels like he’s still learning.  He isn’t involved with formal recovery groups.  He’s still trying to explore the depths of who he is. 

 

[39:28] What are your thoughts on relapse?

It’s all an experiment.  How would it feel to spend a long time away from alcohol?  The results have been that sobriety is the way for him.  He feels better, more empowered. 

 

 

[42:00] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Not officiating his friend’s wedding.  He was trying to prepare the wedding, and he was in a dark place and dreaded the whole process. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    He is excited to live one day at a time. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator, and Cafe RE.  They are his support group. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    “And remember, you don’t drink anymore.” 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just keep at it.  It takes grit.  You can’t think your way into sobriety.. you have to act your way into changing your thinking.  Be patient; it takes time. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “...you stash shooters in your friend’s son’s coat while going to a football game because he’s less likely to be searched than you are.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode is brought to you in support by Blinkist. Right now, my listeners can try Blinkist for free. Visit blinkist.com/elevator for your seven-day free trial. 
 
This episode is brought to you in support by Care/Of. For 25% off your first month of personalized Care/of vitamins, go to TakeCareOf.com and enter the promo code ELEVATOR

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!”

 

Dec 31, 2018

Warren, with 48 hours since his last drink, shares his story…

12 reasons why sober is better:

1 - Look your best.  
2 - Look and feel properly rested.
3 - Alcohol fixes things you didn’t notice were broken. 
4 - Make the most of your time. 
5 - Build better relationships.  The opposite of addiction is connection.
6 - More confidence.  You can do anything you put your mind to. 
7 - Less fear!
8 - Save your money. 
9 - Be more present. 
10 - Avoid unnecessary disasters. 
11 - Create the future you want. 
12 - Improved memory


SHOW NOTES

 

[8:20] Paul Introduces Warren.

 

Warren is 40 years old, from Martinsville, Virginia, and has been sober for 48 hours.  He’s married with two children.  He is the executive director of a domestic violence outreach program.  He also owns a sound company.  He enjoys fishing and camping, and the outdoors.  He thinks you shouldn’t always believe what you think.  He’s struggled with worrying about what other people think. 

 

[12:09] Give us a bit of background about you drinking. 

He started drinking relatively young.  His parents both drank, and were very social.  They were involved in politics.  He and his cousin found some champagne and they drank until they blacked out.  He always felt different from everybody else.  When he put substances in his body, it made him feel right.  So he would drink/use every chance he got.  Once he had a son he began to drink heavily.  He attempted to quit drinking.  He was in a car accident.  When he got out of the hospital, he began to drink again and also use other drugs.  His gf/wife was fed up.  He tried to quit cocaine, and it just made him drink more.  One thanksgiving he woke up in his yard covered with blood (it was from a deer) and it freaked him out.  He went into an outpatient program.  They recommended AA.  He got into it.  He stopped going to meetings and started smoking pot.  His wife left him and he tried to commit suicide.  He went into another program.  He decided to get back into AA.  He got into another relationship with someone in AA, and it ended badly which made him stop going.  He was in debt.  After two hours of sobriety, he decided that he had it under control.  He relapsed, and when he did it was as if he had never stopped.  He felt like when he controlled his drinking, he didn’t like it, and when he liked it he couldn’t control it. 

 

[23:50] What’s your plan for getting past it?

To try and stay connected with people.  He might go back to school.  He wants to help people somehow.  He studied social work, which paid but was a heavy responsibility.  He recognizes that if he can’t find balance he is at risk of losing his job.  He’s thought about getting back into AA again.  He is worried about the stigma.  He’s worried about anonymity.

 

[25:57] What are some lessons you have learned about yourself so far in this journey?

He now believes that there is an all powerful god that cares about him.  When he got to chapter 4 in the big book, he realized that his idea of a higher power wasn’t helpful.  He associated prayer with drinking.  He needed to see that prayer can exist without drinking. 

 

[28:59] When you get cravings, what do you do?

Right now he is trying to binge listen to the podcast.  Helping other people stay sober helps him stay sober as well.  There is no one correct answer. 

 

[30:47] What would you like to talk about right now?

How blessed he’s been since he started recovery.  He’s in a new world where he can help other people and even though he doesn’t know the plan for his life, he’s okay as long as he stays present and awake.  He has learned that the problems arise when he thinks too much, or when he focuses on himself.  As long as he is useful to other people, it’s easier. 

 

[33:47] When are you going to get your help and how?

He’s been researching counselors in the area.  He agrees that he needs to focus on helping himself help himself.  He wants to relieve the pressure that he puts on himself.

[36:22] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The mornings when he would wake up and he would have no memories. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Gradual moments over the last 18 months or so.  Watching the rules he set for himself continually break.  When he realized the progression is real. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To “Fill my bucket”.  To do what’s best for me.  One day at a time with no substances.  

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

    You have got to take care of yourself.  You can’t help anybody else if you’re all jacked up. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Don’t wait too long.  The longer you wait the harder it is to stop.  Surround yourself with a community of people who are sober and will show you how it’s done. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “You wake up naked in the living room and you’re lying on the floor with no idea how you got there.”  

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android
Have you filled a bucket lately - A book by Carol McCloud

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

This episode is brought to you in support by ZipRecruiter. Right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free. Visit Ziprecruiter.com/elevator

 

 

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

 

Dec 24, 2018

Jeff, with over 38 days since his last drink, shares his story…

During this festive holiday season, we will, no doubt, we encouraged to drink at one point or another.  We can’t think ourselves out of long-term addiction, but in the moment, there are tools we can use to help gives us the ability to say no.  Follow the drink, and play the tape forward.  There is plenty of data behind us to help us make an informed decision.  If I have this drink, what will happen?  Remember why you quit in the first place and remember all of the positive benefits you have experienced from sobriety. 

We all know alcoholic beverages can pack in the calories, but does alcohol have any nutritional value?  It’s safe to say that a Twinkie has more nutritional value than any alcoholic beverage.  By not drinking, you are not denying yourself of any vital nutrients.  In fact, alcohol inhibits general digestion in a big way. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:57] Paul Introduces Jeff.

Jeff has been sober for 38 days.  Jeff is 27 years old, from Quebec City, Canada.  He has a corporate job and also works in digital marketing.  He is trying to transition to doing his digital job full time.  He owns a dog and enjoys sports and reading.

 

 

[10:30] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He started when he was 13 years old.  He never felt in control.  He was shy and insecure.  Marijuana was his drug of choice for a long time.  When he would try to quit smoking marijuana, he found himself drinking more.  When he would travel for sports he would notice that eventually he would revert to the same substance abuse patterns. 

 

[13:10] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

Most recently, a few days before his quite date.  He went to a bar with the intention of only having a few drinks but ended up staying the entire night, consuming many drinks and then driving home afterward.  He feels that one can’t quit until the subconscious figures out there is a problem.  He needed to re-evaluate his relationship with alcohol.  He started with a 30 day sobriety challenge.  He recorded a video of himself to help remind him of why he was quitting.  He watched a lot of sobriety videos on YouTube. 

 

[21:30] Did you follow a program for your 30 day sobriety challenge?

Yes, he followed a program from James Swanick.  He sets a daily reminder to help keep him grateful and motivated. 

 

[27:27] Elaborate more about the idea that sobriety has to be a choice for a better life.

Make sure that you don’t just stay home.  Don’t deprive yourself of pleasures.  You need the brain to realize that it can be sober if all sets of circumstances.  He went to a hypnotherapist.  He convinced him that everything had to be a conscious choice, and that there were choices happening in his life that he didn’t consider.  He had to switch the words from “have to“ to “choose to”. 

 

[32:06]  Have you had any cravings or challenges in early sobriety?

He keeps listening to podcasts.  He is doubling down on what is working.  He is reminded of his gratitude and how much energy he has.  He hasn’t experienced any cravings.  His toughest moment was during a doubt of depression caused by a relapse dream.  He reached out to the Cafe RE community and got support right away.  Just talking about helped him a lot.  Cravings are normal and just talking about them will make them go away. 

 

[35:26] What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

He wants to execute his business ideas.  He wants to share his story.  He wants to help other people quit alcohol and drugs.  He loves traveling and sports.  Sobriety gives him the energy and emotional intelligence to reach his full potential.  

 

[36:48] What have you learned about yourself in the past 30 days?

Being vulnerable is being courageous.  He has tried to act tough in the past and now he realizes that reaching out and asking for help is the better path to take.  This is what true courage is about. 

 

[38:25] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Just waking up so feeling so terrible and realizing that he could have lost everything. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    On his first day of sobriety, recording a video of why he wanted to quit, and the emotional outpouring that came with it. 
     
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Keep doing what’s working.  He tries to keep his thinking positive so he doesn’t look for something to help him cope with the pain that comes with negativity.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE.  He enjoys connecting with the community.  Also sobriety videos on YouTube. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    To not associate with the word “alcoholic”.  He preferred to say that he was a sober person with a drinking problem.  He’s still understanding that he has an issue but it helps point him in the right direction. 

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

    Rewire your subconscious.  Also stack your resources.  Don’t put all of your sobriety eggs in one resource basket.  Create accountability. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    ...it’s Sunday night and you have consumed 14 beers.  You talk to your mother on the phone and she can’t tell that you’ve been drinking.” 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

30 Day No Alcohol Challenge - a 30 day sobriety challenge by James Swanick
Beyond the Influence - a book by Katherine Ketcham
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!”

 

Dec 17, 2018

Walter, with 2½ years since his last drink, shares his story…

The Cure to Addiction…

Is it possible?  Are we close to a cure?  No.  AA was founded in 1935, and since then we still don’t know what causes it or how to treat it.  A holistic cure will attack/treat the root causes.  

The Rat Park experiment by Bruce Alexander points to the conclusion that the causes of addiction are social and environmental, rather than genetics or chemical dependency.  In the study, the addictive tendencies were eliminated when the stress was reduced and the environment changed. 

Johann Hari’s Ted Talk says that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection.  Addiction is not about the pleasurable effects of substances, rather it is a symptom of the user’s inability to form deep connections with other human beings. 

The phenomena that is addiction will likely die out in a global community whose only borders are the sky. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[16:19] Paul Introduces Walter.

Walter is 47 years old, in Waco, TX.  He’s been sober for over two years.  He works in real estate.  He is divorced and has a son.  He likes hiking, movies and reading.  He feels more present with his son now that he is sober.  His son had just turned 3 when his wife left. 

 

[19:22] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He came from an alcoholic family.  Both his dad and uncle both died from alcoholism.  His mom got sober when he was 15, right around the time he started to drink.  He was a binge drinker.  He went to a party school in Colorado.  He moved back in with his parents and began to drink alone.  He drank his way through his 20’s.  In his 30’s, he married his drinking partner.  They had a child.  She didn’t want to be a mom.  He wanted to clean up.  They split.  The first 90 days were tough.  He also quit smoking.  He relapsed but hasn’t relapsed since then.  He is now serious about sobriety.  He’s active in AA.  He just went to Peru with Cafe RE. 

 

[25:15] At what point did your drinking partner relationship turn? 

They were a rebound relationship.  They had a lot in common.  She was a great adventure partner.  They had a similar relationship with alcohol.  They helped each other hide drinking from other people.  He feels the presence of his son saved his life. 

 

[29:40] Did you try to moderate?  Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

He definitely tried to moderate.  He always knew about recovery because of his mom.  When he drank at a friend’s house he woke up and realized he had a problem.  He and his wife got divorced.  They made it painless, and were both fair.  They focused on their son and his needs.  He’s glad he didn’t stay married to another alcoholic. 

 

[34:11] How did you know that this time would be different?

Every previous time before this one, sobering up in a jail or spending time in a hospital, he always thought it was bad luck.  He still felt in control.  At first he went to AlAnon because he thought his wife was the one with the problem, then he realized that he was also an alcoholic.  He came out to his mother and spilled everything to her.  He needed to tell people he was an alcoholic. 

 

[37:45] What did early recovery look like for you?

He didn’t know of any other options other than AA, so he jumped in pretty quickly.  He started to work the program, and he feels lucky that he has met some great people.  Reconnecting with men in sobriety has been good.  He has found hope and resilience. 

 

[40:49] What was the Peru trip like for you?

It was an awesome opportunity on so many levels.  He didn’t really know most people when he arrived.  He got to know everyone there a little bit at a time.  It was not an easy hike but it was worth the trip. 

 

[45:48] What is your recovery like after 2 years?

He is addressing his underlying fears that lead him to drinking.  His feelings of not being good enough or not being loved.  He still deals with a negative inner dialogue.  He feels more self aware.  His interactions with people have changed.  He used to live for comedic validation.  He’s more accepting of himself and the present moment. 

 

 

[50:50] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Waking up in jail on his 5th wedding anniversary. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    drawing a blank
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Keep taking it one day at a time.  Keep doing what’s working.  Keep looking for opportunities to be present for people. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    AA, and sober traveling.  He loves meeting like minded people. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Focus on what you can control.  Accept what you can’t.  Know the difference. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    It’s ok, just keep trying.  When you’re ready, it will happen.  You don’t have to hit bottom first. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “...if you get arrested on your 5th wedding anniversary.”  “...if you’re using a fake ID to buy booze so you can drink by yourself before you’ve turned 21.” 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode is brought to you in support by ZipRecruiter. Right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free. Visit Ziprecruiter.com/elevator

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!”

 

Dec 10, 2018

Asaph, with over 6 weeks since his last drink, shares his story…

A link to the mentioned Russell Brand podcast episode with Gabor Maté. 

Gratitude, what is it good for?... everything. 

Gratitude is a topic that needs to be continually covered in recovery.  It’s a box in recovery that will never be checked, because it is ongoing. 

How do we create a mindset of appreciation?  Apply some conscious attention to the things in your life that are there for you, whether it be people, or your left elbow.  Don’t take things or people for granted.  Remove or avoid the sources of negativity in your life. 

Gratitude is good for our brains.  It positively stimulates the hypothalamus.  We can’t function without grace.  We are wired to be a grateful species. 

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things in our lives, but what about the not so good times?  Gratitude can help us get through life’s challenges.  In fact, we can even become thankful for them.  Challenges and obstacles become our teachers and often send us on paths we wouldn’t always go down on our own. 

We can, and must, find joy in everything. 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:58] Paul Introduces Asaph.

Asaph is 37 years old from Windsor, Ontario.  Sober for over 6 weeks.   He was raised in a cult called “The Children of God”.  He lived in India, and had 5 children.  He and the wife split, and that’s when he began to drink heavily.  He’s a waiter, though he pursues art as a professional career. 

 

 

[16:15] Give us a little background about your drinking.

He began to hit the bottle hard when his marriage fell apart.  He was around age 31 when he had his first drink.  He left the cult around 28.  He remembers alcohol being a guide, allowing him to be himself.  When he explored recovery, he learned that he had a lot in common with other people.  He tried to moderate, etc.  He would black out and swear that he would never drink again.  He found himself going against his word. 

 

[23:13] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

He feels that he had many.  He realized that rock bottom was a moment when one decides that enough is enough. 

 

[25:20] How did you finally end up quitting?

His sister helped him sign up for rehab.  She convinced him that he had a problem.  He had many relapses.  He realizes that he can learn from them. 

 

[30:30] What are some of the lessons you have learned in relapse?

We need one person to be 100% vulnerable and honest with.  He needed to get out of his own head a bit.  He finds it spreads into other relationships as well. 

 

[32:45] What is a typical day in your recovery look like?

He listens to recovery podcasts.  He enjoys Cafe RE.  He recognizes when he wants to feel isolated. His default setting is alone.  He needs human contact to keep a more positive perspective. 

 

[35:51] Have you figured out why you drank?

It was his default coping mechanism for everything.

 

[37:10] What have you learned about yourself in recovery?

His recovery is directly connected to his entering the public world.  Drinking became the way he discovered the outside world.  He wants to get his business up and running.  He feels like he can do anything that he puts his mind to. 

 

[39:40] Have you had any cravings and what do you if they appear?

He believes cravings don’t last more than 20 minutes.  They used to paralyze him because he thought they were forever. 

 

 

[40:50] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Woke up half drunk and he knew that he was powerless to a bottle of vodka by his bed.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When he lost his driver’s license.  He looked back in hindsight and he realized that something worse could have happened.  The moment was gradual. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    He will continue to do what works.  He uses Cafe RE.  He wants to surround himself with people and books that continue to inspire him. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    A million little pieces by James Grace.  Black Castle.  My Fair Junkie. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    The idea that you can put the shovel down whenever you want to.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    If you relate to a lot of the bullet points when you google what a alcoholism is like, you probably have a drinking problem. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    .. you are drinking in the middle of the night because you feel you can’t go without it.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android
Russell Brand Podcast - the mentioned episode with Gabor Maté

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

 

 

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

 

Dec 3, 2018

Patrick, with 10 years 2 months since his last drink, shares his story.

SHOW NOTES

[10:50] Paul introduces Patrick

Patrick is 37 years old, and is from Brooklyn, New York.  He’s been sober since August 23, 2008.  He is married and has no children.  He works as a stand up comedian, recovery coach, and a video editor.  He likes to try to squeeze in a good meal between shows, visit friends, and snowboard.  He would like to get better at rollerblading.

[14:08] Give us a little background about your drinking habits

He did not drink until his freshman year in college, because he has a family history of alcohol abuse.  When he tried alcohol for the first time, he loved the way it made him feel.  Alcohol became problematic within his first year of drinking.  When he was drunk, he became unpredictable: he was the guy who took off his clothes and climbed buildings.  Despite getting warnings from counselors, he continued to drink for the next 8 years.

[30:40]  What finally made you make that decision to go into sobriety?

While at a baseball game, he told his friends that he wasn’t going to drink.  His buddy said, “but you can have just one,” and Patrick said, “of course I can have just one.”  6 hours later, he was ejected from a bar for being too intoxicated.  The next morning, his girlfriend told him that he had to move out.  That became his sobriety date.

[41:00]  In the last 10 years, have you noticed any cross addicitions?

He definitely needs to look out for working too much and not eating in a healthy way.  When stressed, he turns to ice cream.  He’s realized that since he was a kid, he’s tried to change how he feels on the inside by using things on the outside.

[44:10] Is there something that you have done differently while getting sober?

He would have gone to 12 step meetings immediately.  Learning the idea of doing the next right action sooner.

[ 48:48 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

The trip to Italy when he became “a monster” and his girlfriend threatened to leave early.

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

He was moving out of an apartment a few years before he got sober, and he realized that no one, neighbors, roommates was unhappy that he was leaving

  1. What’s your plan moving forward?

Staying true to sharing his story through his comedy

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

 

The phone.  Calling other sober people and being available.

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

Show up with integrity.

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

If you’re going through hell, just keep going.  This too, shall pass.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if...

If you’re doing “sober October” for the 10th year in a row, and you rarely get through a few days of it, you might be an alcoholic.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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!”

 

Nov 26, 2018

Aaron, with over 1 year since his last drink, shares his story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[12:30] Paul Introduces Aaron.

Aaron is 39 years old, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He’s been sober since October 16, 2017.  He’s married with two children.  He works in HR and Recruitment for a small company.  He likes home improvement, the outdoors, gardening.  He likes to restore and repair his house and cars. 

 

[15:30] Give us a little background about your drinking habits. 

He has drank every day more or less since college.  There was a strong drinking culture at his college.  He made a lot of friends through drinking.  It extended to his work after college.  He associated alcohol with being social.  Alcohol made its way into all of his activities.  He didn’t know how to regulate it.  He struggled to care for his children while he was drinking a lot.  He couldn’t concentrate and was getting cold sweats.  He decided to start regulating.  He read a book that asked him to regulate but it didn’t work for him.  He realized that he need to change. 

 

[19:53] Did you have a rock bottom moment?

Many.  He skipped along the bottom.  He always had a way of getting out of trouble, which gave him a false sense of accomplishment.  Rock bottom for him was realizing that his life had become unmanageable.  He would have beers in his basements, and he called them his “morning beers”.  He realized that it wasn’t where he wanted to be.  He went to his first meeting, and he judged everyone there.  He started to get something out of it by the time he was in his 3rd meeting.  While in recovery, he started to feel like he had a split personality.  He was cleaning out the garage and he found some camping gear.  He found a box of alcohol.  He pulled it out decided to hide it.  He would lie about going out to his garage to work on something, but he was really going out to drink.  He felt bad because he was lying about it.  He argued with himself out loud and realized he had a problem.  He went to a meeting and was honest about his relapse, and since then he has been sober.  He began to work with his AA program.  He started to understand himself a lot more.  He became more in touch with his intuition.  He’s realizing that it’s more important to be in the now.  He now knows that his intuition will know what to do in situations that would previously baffle him.  He’s less stressed and much more happy.  He has more responsibility, but life has gotten more fun. 

 

[30:21] How have you started to change your inner dialogue? 

He started to get into emotional intelligence.  It is a way of living that has many parallels with the 12 steps.  He realized that his past didn’t have to affect his present.  He realized that his suffering was all in his head.  He started waking up earlier and going down to watch the sun rise.  He found meditation and peace and he started to forgive himself.  He realized that he was blessed to be a part of the moment.  He stopped worrying and focused more on acceptance.  He doesn’t worry about the future as much.  He is grateful to be here now. 

 

[35:28] Have you figured out the “why” behind your drinking?

It started as just a way to cope with anxiety, but it eventually became a part of his identity.  The “why” was part lifestyle, part insecurity, then eventually addiction. 

 

[36:17] Walk us through a day in your recovery. 

He gets up early.  He tries to shut his mind off.  He enjoys daydreaming and spending time with his kids.  She asks him profound questions, and he’s happy to be a part of her childlike innocence.  He works, also.  He enjoys the new freedom he gets with his new job.  He goes to AA meetings twice a week.  His days are filled with things he loves, or loves working on. 

 

[39:04] What’s on your bucket list in recovery?

He wants to go on the RE Peru trip.  He wants to keep his life manageable.  He wants to eventually retire so he can travel and wants to be a part of his family’s life for as long as he’s around.

 

[40:11] Talk to us about the text that was meant to go your sponsor, but accidentally went to the president of your company. 

He was laid off, and started to offer what he did independently.  Many people were approaching him because of how many people were laid off.  He wasn’t taking sides, but he said talking about how difficult things in life can be positive.  He was reading a text from the president.  He wrote a long winded text to his sponsor, with thoughts about his job, and his boss replied.  He immediately wanted to delete it.  They talked about it and he ended up giving him a sizeable contract as a result. 

[43:29]  Talk to me about the pennies in your car.

He kept pennies in a tray in his car, because he had heard an old wives tale about sucking on a penny to throw off a breathalyzer test.  Whenever he got pulled over he would throw the penny in his mouth to suck on.  When he got sober, he saw the pennies in his car and he realized he didn’t need them to he cleaned them out. 

 

[45:02] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    When he woke up at 4am, his infant daughter was screaming for a diaper change.  His hands were shaking so badly that he couldn’t do it, so he ran downstairs to get a drink so he could function. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    The people at his work approached him and told him that if he ever decided to stop drinking they would support him.  It was an indication that other people could tell that he could drink heavily. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Once your cup is full, and you don’t know how much more can fulfill you, the cup just gets bigger.  He wants to live a life of enrichment and fulfillment. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The Recovery Elevator podcast has been great.  Also, AA. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Get honest with yourself about it.  It’s okay as long as you learn from it.
     
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Don’t quit before the miracle happens. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “...if you keep pennies in your car to throw off breathalyzer tests, and if you drink boxed vodka from a solo cup with a mixture of powdered gatorade and hose water in secret.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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!”

 

Nov 19, 2018

Dan, who doesn’t practice abstinence based recovery, shares his story…

Link to the Fox News article mentioned in the episode


“To be human is also to suffer from addiction. The particular vices vary as do our degree of addiction to them, but it takes precious little searching to know we’ve all got something unhealthy that pulls at us.” - Mike Kerrigan, Fox News

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:08] Paul Introduces Dan.

Paul doesn’t practice abstinence based recovery, and had a drink a few weeks ago.  He’s  28 years old and lives in New York City.  He runs a channel called Recovery X and Spooky Digital.  He does MMA.  He has a family.  He practices mindfulness. 

 

[12:48] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He started drinking when he was 10.  His brother was getting married, and his parents allowed him to have a couple drinks.  He got really drunk.  He got a lot of attention and had a lot of fun.  His family started to warn him about alcoholism but he didn’t yet understand.  He would occasionally steal his father’s prescription medicine.  He had behavioral problems at a young age.. he would get in fights.  He started a school riot between different grades.  He always looked up to the trouble makers.  They got attention.  He has a big family, and he felt like he always had to fight to be noticed.  He was kicked out of 8th grade for stealing money from another kid.  He was sent to a private boarding school.  He was kicked out for fighting.  He went through all kinds of behavioral modification programs.  He felt abandoned by his family.  He noticed that his brother had a different strategy than him. 

 

[18:33] At what point did you realize that you were using alcohol to self-soothe?

He wanted to keep getting kicked out of private schools until his parents would run out of options and send him to public school.  He began to drink more once he got to high school.  It helped him reduce his anxiety.  He ended up getting arrested after a fight, and was sent to rehab in Los Angeles.  It was his first experience with a sober lifestyle.  He was 16.  He saw young people in recovery.  He stayed out there for a while and would go on and off about wanting to be clean.  He was arrested after a drinking related incident that turned violent.  Alcohol always lead to destruction in his life.  He had a problem with his thoughts and feelings and emotions.  He also had an inability to deal with stress and relationships. 

 

[23:53] Tell us more about the thinking problem. 

His experience has been that the drugs and alcohol have been the solution to the problem, which was thinking or avoiding his internal dialogue.  He experienced a lot of internal conflict, different conflicting voices.  Now he has to be really strict about what he thinks, and what he allows to come into his mind.  He had to learn how to challenge and to reframe every negative thought and to turn it into something positive. 

 

[26:17] At what point were you able to detach from the negative thoughts?

He doesn’t differentiate the thoughts from himself, he thinks it’s all him.  He thinks the mind is only about 10% of the entire brain, but it thinks that it’s all of it.  “It’s like a stowaway on a ship saying it’s the captain”.  He had to make friends to his subconscious mind and tell it that he’s listening.  He started meditating regularly.  It helps him get better at reframing thoughts. 

 

[30:17] Did you experience a rock bottom moment to push into sobriety?

Many.  So many times in so many different ways.  If he had to pick one it would when he was getting violent in a relationship with a woman.  He realized he wasn’t raised that way and that he violated some sort of a core value about respecting women.  It made a tear in his psyche and he felt something growing through the cracks. 

 

[32:32] Tell us about the lack of abstinence in your practice.  How does one successfully embrace the grey area?

He finds binary thinking in the recovery community.  The more we can be inclusive and the more we can embrace the idea the abstinence based recovery isn’t the only way the more people we can reach and the more people we can help.  A big misconception about harm reduction is that one needs to be completely sober.  Abstinence is a goal, but we’re really looking to improve our health and our lives on a daily basis.  The goal has been to monitor his mental health on a daily basis.  He started doing DBT (see links below).  Part of that is keeping a record of your emotions and thoughts throughout the day.  He takes notes about what happens in the day.  Our memories are often distorted and the diary helps eliminate that and keep everything straight.  He can see the patterns that lead to substance abuse. 

 

[36:41] When you drank recently, how did you feel when you woke up the next day?

Alcohol can beat you up, but you don’t have to do it yourself.  Have compassion and keep it moving.  Don’t get stuck in the self loathing.  Tell yourself positive things. 

 

[38:47] Tell us more about DBT. 

DBT stands for Dialectical behavior therapy.  It’s a therapy with mindfulness at its core.  If one is more mindful of one’s thoughts, one can see the patterns and opportunities for reframing.  If someone ahead of you shuts a door in your face, the first reaction might be anger, but if we can see that we are assuming the intent, we can reframe it as a more innocent situation. 

[41:05] Talk to us about abstinence being the goal. 

Abstinence is one of the goals.  The real measure of success is in your life.  How are you treating other people?  Are you being kind and helpful?  How are you feeling? 
[43:03] Tell us more about Recovery X. 

They are offering free recovery resources to people in need.  They offer as many voices involved as possible.  They help people find recovery resources in their area.  Initially his passion in life was communication.  When he was a child he was bad at it.  He always wanted to understand communication.  After being in recovery, he realized that he could combine communication and recovery to be the most use to people in the world.  They want to provide trusted sources and resources that are are not scams.  Real authentic honest trustworthy programs. 

[48:55] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Focus on mastery, and continue to stay out of the results and just hone the skills. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator, and RecoveryX.org
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Have compassion for yourself and just keep showing up and doing the work and you’ll get there.

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

    Love yourself like you would love somebody else and reach out to people when you need help.  If you’re on Day 1 today, I would say have compassion for yourself.. you are fighting something that isn’t easy (it isn’t supposed to be) and I encourage you to keep at it.  Don’t give up.  It gets better, it’s a skill. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    ...you go somewhere on vacation and end up on probation. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Recovery X:
Website 

 

Video

Facebook (where we shoot live)

Youtube

 

Audio

Spotify

iTunes

 

Additional links mentioned from Dan

Recovery X Facebook Group where they post behind the scenes footage and people interested in recovery can connect with others.

 

Learn DBT Group on Facebook is a free community Dan runs, where people in recovery from a variety of mental health disorders can come to learn about DBT, get support and find free resources.

 

Personal Social Media for interviewee Dan

websiteInstagram, or Facebook.

This episode is brought to you in support by Robinhood. Right now, Robinhood is giving my listeners free stock such as Apple, Ford or Sprint to help build your portfolio. Signup at elevator.robinhood.com

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!”

Nov 12, 2018

Corey, with 5 days since his last drink, shares his story…

The mentioned article from the Irish Times

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:48] Paul Introduces Corey.

Corey has been sober for 5 days.  He’s from Minnesota, now lives in Boston.  He’s 25 years old and is working full time.  He likes to exercise.  He loves music, plays guitar and piano.  He has an upcoming trip to Columbia, is learning Spanish.  He feels confused with life now that he has left the structure of school.  

[13:31] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He started to drink a lot more during years in college.  He started to experiment with weed in high school.  He began to drink or party when he should have been studying.  He didn’t realize there was something wrong at the time.  He used his computer to avoid academic responsibilities.  He was okay with it as long as he continued to deliver on his academic duties.  He felt like he coasted through college and also began to coast through his first jobs.  He found himself in the same behavioral patterns.  He didn’t know where he was or what he was doing.  He lost a romantic partner because of his partying.  He drowned his feelings with drinking.  The feelings came back up after a few months.  He was caught in a weekly cycle of drinking and depression.  He used a notebook to think out loud and he wrote down that he wanted to quit drinking and smoking to be comfortable with who he was.  He devised a plan.  Last year he tried to knock out one of the three (weed, tobacco and alcohol).  He was so focused on change that he was able to quit tobacco.  Before a family trip he felt suddenly depressed.  He began to drink alcohol to try and cope with his feelings. 

[22:10] How were you able to quit all 3?

He set a new year’s resolution to quit alcohol.  He ended up getting a therapist and it has helped a lot.  He went down to New Orleans and it broke his sobriety streak.  He felt guilty.  He let himself down.  He is now searching for a way to enjoy friendships without booze being involved.  Over the summer, he loosened his grip on quitting a little bit he hasn’t been able to shake it.  He went to a Halloween party and was drinking, and didn’t feel good.  He just decided to leave.  At home he was depressed and began googling ways to end his life.  He feels that is his rock bottom. 

 

[29:51] How will you manage your drinking on your upcoming trip to Maine?

He doesn’t have a real concrete plan.  He knows there will be temptation.  He’s not sure what to do about it.  He will try to text them and tell them that he won’t be drinking. 

 

[32:48] What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?

He bought some books.  He wants to read those.  He’s listening to podcasts.  He wants to continue to learn and journal and continue to move forward.  He’s concerned about his upcoming trips, but he’ll do his best and try not to judge himself. 

 

[37:46] How have you been getting past cravings?

Having some sort of healthy beverage on hand. He drinks tons of water. 

 

[39:03] What is on your bucket list in sobriety?

He wants to record a full album and get better at guitar.  He wants to make the most out of his international trips coming up.  He wants to quit also because he wants a family. 

 

 

[40:34] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The incident where he drank and almost indulged in suicide. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When the denial ended and he got depressed.  He drank to go to sleep.  He realized he was damaging his health. 

 

  1. What’s your plan moving forward?
  2. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator podcast.  He loves the format.  He likes to hear about other people’s stories. 
  3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    To take it one day at a time.  If he does today and then he does tomorrow, he doesn’t have to worry about the future. 
  4. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just to get out of the trap of associating college with partying.  It’s going to catch up to you. 
  5. You might be an alcoholic if

    “...you always pick up a 30 rack of beer multiple times in a week when you go grocery shopping.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Support for this episode is brought to you by RiaHealth.com. Visit Riahealth.com/elevator and enter the coupon ELEVATOR for $25 off your first month.

  • Ria is growing to cover all 50 states. Currently we are able to treat people in the following states: California, Florida, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee
  • Ria’s program is month to month, so there’s no commitment. Most Ria Members stay with the program for about one year once they achieve their goals.

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!”

 

Nov 5, 2018

Kellie, with 2 months year since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:00] Paul Introduces Kellie.

Kellie has been sober for 28 days.  She’s 43 years old, married with two children.  She’s a real estate broker that enjoys puzzles, reading, cooking, running and hiking, and her animals.    She tried alcohol for the first time around 10 years old.  She dabbled in different drugs in her teens.  She drank through her 20’s.  She had her son at 26.  She cleaned up her act and became a stay at home mother.  In her late 30’s she had weight loss surgery.  She was in the hospital and something happened to her brother.  She bought a bottle of wine.  Her drinking gradually escalated after that.   

 

[16:48] Would you say you had an issue with food prior to the surgery?

Absolutely. She ate mostly healthy food but she would eat large quantities.  Her drinking began to affect her son.  She tried to moderate her drinking but it didn’t last very long.  She finally went to an outpatient treatment for 3 and a half weeks.  She was one of the only people there voluntarily and she didn’t like most of the people there.  She was focusing on the negative.  They would focus on the alcoholism in her family. 

 

[22:30] Tell us about the transfer addiction. 

They are checking to see if you will switch to a different addiction rather than food.  She feels that she has an addictive personality.  She would run even if she was experiencing pain or other issues. 

 

[28:00] Tell us more about the outpatient program. 

 

Her drinking got progressively worse.  She realized that she had to get it under control for her son and family.  She was afraid of what her alcoholism would be like once she had an empty home. She experienced aversion therapy.  She was slightly sedated, and they interview you.  Because of the drugs she had to answer honestly.  She did the electro shock therapy as well.  They condition you to experience negative feelings from interacting with alcohol.  It successfully eliminated the cravings. She was skeptical but now she thinks about it as a miracle.  

[33:22] It sounds like they are trying to punish or shame the alcohol out of people. Is that right?

Even though the treatments were extreme, it was a positive environment over all.  People were there because they wanted to be.  The nurses and doctors were there to help you get and stay sober.  They don’t focus on you being an alcoholic.  They focus on you being sober. 

 

[35:08] What’s the “why” behind your addictive behavior?

She knew why she was drinking.  Substance abuse runs in her family.  She and her siblings were abused mentally and verbally.  The food became a coping mechanism.  When it stopped working, the booze became a problem.  She always knew why she drank.  She attends meetings to take care of herself.  The depression and anxiety is her why.  Now she’s focusing on the why.  The aversion therapy makes you not want to drink, but it’s still the same in that it only takes 1 drink to get back to where she was. 

 

[40:09] What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

Just to do the next right thing.  Take care of herself.  She’s focusing on what she needs in the moment.  Getting up in the morning and doing the things that she knows will keep her sober.  She is trying to be more aware.  She sees her self-talk and is trying to keep it in check.  She combats the negative thoughts with positive affirmations. 

 

[42:38] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

She wants to run another marathon.  She wants to be sober for her son.  She is trying not to think too far ahead. 

 

[43:16] What have you learned about yourself in sobriety?

It is possible for her to be sober.  She was always worried that she would be an addict for life because she had seen it manifest in different family members.  She now focuses on the important things in her life.  She realizes that alcohol isn’t the most important thing in her life. 

 

 

[44:04] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Blacking out.  Her husband left to go get take-out.  While he was out she passed out and her son found her on the floor. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Making her a co-conspirator in her drinking.  The two of them had to work together to hide her drinking from her son. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The people in the recovery community.  She met many kinds of addicts in recovery and she relies on them to help her stay sober. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Tell other people about recovery.  You have to do it in your way and do what works for you.  AA wasn’t for her and she’s glad she tried Shick Shadel. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Do the next right thing.  Just think about right now. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “... if you go on vacation with your kid and you spend the entire time drinking instead of spending time with your child.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Robinhood is giving my listeners free stock such as Apple, Ford or Sprint to help build your portfolio. Signup at elevator.robinhood.com

Right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free. Visit Ziprecruiter.com/elevator

Shick Shadel Hospital
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!”

 

Oct 29, 2018

Nel, with over 1 year since her last drink, shares her story…

Drinking is more than the average habit.  To reduce our problems with alcohol to a “bad habit” is missing the bigger picture.  We drink for a variety of reasons.. for example: to cope, to ignore, to numb, to hide. 

Digging ourselves out of alcohol dependency actually requires the changing or removal of several habits.  We need to change the way we relax.  We need to change the way we deal with difficult emotions.  We need to become more conscious, aware, and in the moment.  We have to slowly remember the version of us that didn’t need anything to be okay.  We have to change everything. 

When one finds themselves in the grips of alcohol, it probably takes more time, effort, and patience to return to our emotional center than it did to lose it.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and there are many lessons to be learned along the way, but with patience, persistence, self-love and an open mind, we can find ourselves looking back on our time with alcohol as a distant and remote dream.  

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:40] Paul Introduces Nel.


Nel is 52 years old, from Shannon, Mississippi.  She now lives in New York.  She’s married.  She’s a personal trainer that loves sports, particularly fantasy football.  Dolphins are her favorite sea animal. 

 

[15:05] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

She started around 16.  Her parents died when she was young.  She had a chaotic upbringing.  She could never relax.  She started drinking after her parents died.  It helped her relax and she loved it.  She drank mostly on the weekends with the intention to get drunk.  She went on to college and started drinking a lot more.  She met her first husband her senior year of college.  He helped her finish school.  She was already beginning to drink a lot.  She always knew that she drank more than other people.  All of her friends drank.  She has alcoholism in her family.  She partied a lot in her 20s.  She worked and took care of herself.  Drinking remained a lower priority.  She divorced her first husband in her early 30s.  She moved back to Mississippi to be with her sister and help with her family.  She felt happier generally, but was always managing her alcohol.  She met her second husband at 35.  She moved to New York.  Her new husband was a normal drinker, and it made her realize how much she drank.  It caught up to her, and began to experience physical symptoms and tried to switch to marijuana.  She smoked pot “like she always wanted to drink”.  She knew in her heart that she was making bad choices.  She continued to function despite how she felt.  She would blackout multiple times.  She would experience “brownouts” after a few drinks. 

 

[22:47] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

She realized that she couldn’t trust herself anymore.  She would get stoned and pick up her nephew from school and she realized she was going down the wrong path.

 

[25:28] Talk more about what it meant to lose trust in yourself. 

She was frightened.  Her biggest pillar of safety in life was her ability to self-regulate, and once she began to lose that she became extremely worried.  She was negotiating with herself, and never winning.  After the first line was crossed, the progression sped up because the anxiety kicked into overdrive. 

 

[27:35] Did the drinking help you with the fact that you were flying solo in life?

She was trying to quiet the voices in her head and the anxiety and fear.  She used it as a coping mechanism, as medicine. 

 

[29:10] How did you end up making the change and finding your way out? 

She wants to live a life that her family members can look up to, as an example.  She realized she was off course.  She didn’t want to go out like her parents.  The next step was to put smoking and drinking down.  Ever since then, she believes that God has been helping her.  She began to do research about alcoholism and realized she had a problem, and that she wasn’t alone. 

She is on the podcast because she wants to shed the shame.  She didn’t know many in recovery before.  She wants to reach out and let people know that there is a way out, and that they can do it. 

 

[34:08] How did you keep the change going?

She knew one other person in recovery.  Within 48 hours of her thinking about reaching out to her, she was out of her house and she coincidentally ran into her on the boardwalk.  She told her everything and she stayed with her for the next few weeks.  She went to an AA meeting and it was the best decision she ever made.  It gave her instructions, guidance. 

 

[37:27] Can you think of a time when self-negotiating didn’t work out?

She would go to a wedding, and tell herself she would only have two drinks.  By the end of the night she lost her shoes and couldn’t remember anything.  Towards the last few years she began to consistently lose the negotiations. 

 

[38:53] What’s your plan moving forward in sobriety?

Keep it simple, do what’s working.  She goes to meetings every day.  She knows the rest of her life depends on whether or not she goes to those meetings.  She feels more freedom now than ever before.  She’s accepted that she can’t think her way out of everything.  She meditates daily now, and she can easily meditate now for 15-20 minutes.  She’s off her medication, her health has improved.  She’s realizing that everything revolves around your thoughts.  You have to practice and put in the work, but the benefits spill over into everything else in your life.  She also focuses on exercise.  Staying physically active and trying to take care of herself. 

[42:44] Talk to us about the “why” in your drinking. 

A genetic component, but also her environment.  She was raised in an abusive household and was always anxious.  She had low self esteem.  She had voices in her head constantly criticise her.  She didn’t know how to handle life without an escape plan, and she felt like alcohol was something she needed.  She didn’t always have to have it, but she had to have access to it.  She didn’t realize that she wasn’t her thoughts.  She read “The Untethered Soul” and that plus her meditation practice has changed her relationship to her inner thoughts.  She’s excited to see her new potential.  When someone recommends a resource, give it a go! 

 

[47:45 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    She went to a party and proceeded to get smashed at a party.  She argued with her husband she isn’t aware about how she got back to her home.  The next day her sister just left back to Mississippi. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When she picked up her nephew at school totally stoned. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Her AA group.  The support and the knowledge that she gets from them.  She also loves Recovery Elevator. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Keep it simple.  Just one day at a time, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Don’t try to think your way out. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    What do you have to lose?  If you feel bad at yourself, what do you have to lose by trying to get sober?  You can always go back to your old way of life.  You have to be all in if you give it a try. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “...you’re at a baseball game, and you are more worried about the 7th inning when they’ll cut off the beer sales off.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Untethered Soul - A book by Michael Singer

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!”

 

Oct 22, 2018

Stephan, with 10 months since his last drink, shares his story…

Harm Reduction - The feeling of constantly downgrading addictions.  Most of us address one addiction at a time, and usually tackle what we perceive to be the most harmful addiction first.  Things improve with each hurdle.  The lessons we learn from each stage strengthen our ability to move on to the next stage. 

Often at the root of many of our addictive behaviors is essentially an addiction to thinking.  The majority of our thinking is unnecessary and just causes mental noise.  The thinking brain can take us to the worst case scenario in a matter of moments which can cause the body to respond with fight or flight.  If adrenaline becomes the main fuel that we use to get through our days, over time we will find ourselves with sickness and disease. 

The key is to find a way to shut off the monkey mind without resorting to extreme activities like skydiving, etc.  Practices that cultivate inner harmony like meditation, yoga, playing a musical instrument and a myriad of other endeavors that cultivate mindfulness can slowly calm the mind and switch off the incessant chatter. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:15] Paul Introduces Stephan.

 

Stephan is 33 years old and lives in Denver, Colorado.  He’s married with a daughter.  He owns a music school and is a freelance musician.  He also plays golf. 

 

[12:40] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He started after high school.  He started to drink when he began working as a musician.  He liked drinking at first.  He tried to quit a few times along the way and began to suspect that he was an alcoholic pretty early.  “Alcohol is the glue that binds phony friendships”.  He would exercise and reward himself with alcohol.  He used to live behind a bar and there was a crew of people that would go to the bar regularly.  For a few weeks he only drank on Sunday.  He began to feel a rift between the man he knew he was and his behavior.  It was exhausting.  His wife became pregnant and he used that as an excuse to drink every day.  His wife would say “Do you remember what you said to me last night?”  She knew he wouldn’t remember.  He felt shameful that he couldn’t remember.  There was a difference between what he knew he could be and what he was doing. 

 

[20:58] How did you ultimately end up quitting?

He had several failed attempts.  He stayed up at a wedding drinking by the fire.  He woke up and he had bitten off some of his dental work.  He felt like he was self-sabotaging.  He had some oral surgery to get his wisdom teeth removed, and his first question was about alcohol.  It all began to slowly add up.  Then he found the Recovery Elevator podcast.  He became mentally exhausted. 

 

[23:58] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

It all began to slowly add up.  He became mentally exhausted.  He knew he needed to be there for his new daughter.  He couldn’t imagine being still drunk or hungover as a parent.  There were complications with the pregnancy and he decided he was going to quit so he could be present while at the hospital. 

 

[25:00] How did the birth of your daughter affect your attempts at sobriety?

No magic recipe.  There was a decade of noise in his head already.  He began to lean in to the new role.  The birth of his daughter changed him, as well.  He feels like he has a huge gift that he has a daughter and that he has his wife.  He also visualized his daughter and his business as his purpose in life and his responsibility.  He is proud that he’s been sober everyday of his daughter’s life. 

 

[27:26] Have you experienced any cravings? How did you navigate them?

He had a family trip planned to New Zealand. He didn’t drink and he felt like a small kid with parental restrictions.  Then on another vacation, everyone else was drinking but he stayed sober.  The big challenges were easier, but the small situations were where he almost caved.  He doesn’t keep alcohol in the house.  His wife is really supportive.  He also eats a lot of ice cream. 

 

[31:25] Is there anything you would have done differently?

The next step is to reintroduce some fitness.  In the past, exercise was motivated by rewarding himself with drinking.  Now he wants to try it with a different intention with more longevity. 

 

[32:44] Tell us about the vision board. 

He was in a business development group.  They had an exercise where they passed around a tin of dominos.  The domino represents the one thing you need to change in your life/business.  The one domino that will knock over all the other dominos.  He put it on his vision board.  He realized that his domino was sobriety.  Since then he’s accomplished so much.  He believes in himself again.  Part of the static in his head was not believing that he could follow through on the commitments that he makes to himself.  When he finally “knocked over the domino”, he began to see other things fall into place. 

 

[37:06] Walk us through a day in your recovery.

Take it a day at a time.  Today is all that matters.  Don’t overthink it.  Stay in the moment.  He is looking into attending AA.  He will reach out to people.  He’s been making some sober connections.  He wants to give his songs to other artists. 

 

 

[39:23] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    He was at his best friend’s wedding.  He tried many new kinds of alcohol.  They were driven to stay at a houseparty.  He outdrank everyone.  He slept out in the grass.  He woke up with people taking pictures of him asking if he knew where he was.  He wandered into the neighbor’s house and used their toilet.  He fell asleep on a stranger’s couch.  She woke up and came down and found him there.  He was mortified. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Realizing that there is no controlling the beast, it needs to be slayed. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    His wife, and the Recovery Elevator podcast. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Faith, belief, and action.  Have faith that you will have the circumstances and the tools you will need.  Believe that you will be able to do it, and take the action that needs to be taken.  A recipe for success. 

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

    Just do it!  The other side is much better. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “If you rotate the liquor stores you stop in on the way home so none of them realize you have a problem.” 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Support for today's episode is brought to you by Care/of. For 25% off your first month of personalized Care/of vitamins, visit TakeCareof.com and enter the promo code ELEVATOR.

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!”

 

 

 

 

Oct 15, 2018

Kelly, with 8 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“Addiction gets harder and harder and ends in death. Sobriety is hard work too. But it gets easier and easier and ends in life.” - Andy Ziegler

In this passage to sobriety, expectations do not always line up with reality.  In reality, it takes years for an addiction to take hold.  The healing process takes equally as long.  The negative thinking and behavioral patterns didn’t set in overnight, and won’t be lifted overnight.  It’s like turning a battleship.  We let go and reprogram gradually, a little bit each day, and that happens by making daily decisions that lead us down the road of self-love and health. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[07:03] Paul Introduces Kelly.

 

In Fort Myers, Florida, 32 years old, sober for 8 days.  Happily divorced.  She is a mother, has a 4-year-old daughter.  She is learning who she is as a sober woman and mother. 

 

[9:06] What lead to your decision to do the interview?

She wanted to keep trying different things until she found something that worked.  She wanted to step out of her comfort zone, not feel ashamed, and not keep it from people.  She wanted to share her story.  She wanted to face her fear of vulnerability.  She’s nervous, but ok. 

 

[11:32] Give us some background about your drinking. 

Her issues with addiction started quite some time ago.  She started as a smoker at 15.  Her first drink at 21.  She dabbled in some other drugs.  She was in a toxic relationship and she started to drink more to cope.  She went on antidepressants.  They got married and they started to do other drugs as well.  They started doing heroin daily.  She stopped two years ago.  She got divorced and moved out.  She moved into her own place.  She started to feel lonely and began to drink more.  She switched to liquor.  She drank a lot during hurricane Irma.  She would tuck her daughter in and wouldn’t remember.  She gained about 35 pounds.  She almost got evicted from her apartment because she used some of the money for alcohol.  She found herself hiding in her bathroom doing shots one night.  She was ashamed of her behavior.  She realized that she and her daughter deserved better and she got clean for almost a month.  On the 23rd day, she thought she would reward her sobriety with a drink then found herself back in the grips of alcohol. 

 

[21:50] Did you attempt to moderate?

She did.  She tried to limit her drinking to Friday happy hours.  When she tried to stop and moderate, she realized that it was difficult.  She realized she was craving alcohol. 

 

[23:38] Have you explored the deeper causes of your drinking?

She had a crutch in life.  Some sort of substance has helped her get through the difficult parts of her life.  She thinks her life hasn’t even been that terrible.  She’s been relying on substances.  Her deeper issues are struggling to be a single mom, dealing with stress.  She is trying to get to the root now and to find healthy ways to deal with life.  Deep breathing helps.  She listens to audiobooks and podcasts.  Previous attempts at sobriety felt like giving something up and this time feels different.  She isn’t going to “white knuckle” it.  She realized that she doesn’t need it. 

 

[28:17] How have you gotten through the tough times without alcohol?

She talks about it.  She reaches out before she reaches for the bottle.  She just has to tell someone how she’s feeling.  She’s used a 20 minute timer.  Just take a minute, be present, breathe, set a timer, listen to 5 minutes of something else.  Just stop the impulse.  Easier said than done, but trying to turn off the quick impulsive thinking that has led to trouble in the past. 

 

[30:24] Walk us through a day in your recovery. 

She wakes up early.  She is trying to not put too many expectations on too early.  She’d like to start meditating or doing tai chi in the living room.  She listens to a podcast on the way to work.  She does about 10 minutes of reflective meditation and keeping a journal.  She goes to weekly meetings on Wednesdays.  She will exercise on her lunch breaks. 

 

[33:03] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

She wants to get to 30 days.  She feels like one month is a good marker.  She wants to lose some weight, and be there more for her daughter.  She would like to be able to attend happy hour and be okay with not drinking.  She looks forward to waking up and getting through the day before with no crutch. 

 

[35:49] What would you consider your rock bottom moment?

She’s never been arrested, and she hid it well.  The night where she hid in the bathtub and drank shot after shot.  She felt taken over.   

[36:30] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What’s the best advice you have ever received regarding sobriety?

    One day at a time.  Just worry about the now. 
     
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    The night when she could not remember putting her daughter to bed and she woke up on the couch. 
  3. What are your thoughts on relapse?

    Forgive yourself.  It’s a normal part of recovery. 
     
  4. What’s your proudest moment in sobriety?

    Making it a full week without drinking. 
  5. What’s your favorite resource in sobriety?

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

    Today is the best day not to drink.  Don’t wait, don’t put it off, just begin.  It’s a journey.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    You’re pounding shots alone in the bathroom before company comes over because you’re scared of them seeing you drink.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

This Naked Mind - A book by Annie Grace

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!”

Oct 8, 2018

Jamie, with 93 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“No amount of alcohol is safe for your overall health.”

“Alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide in 2016, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths, according to the study…”

A recent article released by CNN presents scientific studies that show the negative effects of alcohol consumption on one’s overall health.. delivering an opinion contrary to the largely pro-alcohol messages one typically finds in mainstream media.    

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:15] Paul Introduces Jamie.

Jamie is 39, from Alberta, Canada, and has been sober for 93 days.  She works in the school system and teaches fitness.  She is single, with two boys and dogs and cats. 

 

[10:51] Give is a bit of background on your drinking.

She started drinking when she was 12 years old.  She wanted to fit in with the bad kids.  Once she became old enough she drank much more.  She got married and had a child.  She lost her husband in a car accident, and her drinking increased.  During her idle time she would drink heavily.  She met someone who drank like she did.  Her social circles also drank heavily.  When she had large stretches of idle time she would drink a lot.  One particular summer was extra heavy. 

 

[16:55] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

Her social circle was large, so there was always someone to drink with if she needed a new drinking buddy.  She kept saying yes to drinks with people.  She would get wasted 3, 4, 5 days in a row.  She began to track her drinking on her calendar.  She realized she was only drinking and recovering.  She tried to join a fitness program but only lasted two weeks.  She got another two weeks free and she drank the whole time.  She tried dry January but only lasted 23 days.  She began to moderate by saying no beer.  She booked a vacation, and got blackout drunk the first night.  She drank the entire trip and cried the whole way home.  She tried the fitness program again.  She tried dry January, in which she tried to quit smoking, drinking, and begin a healthy diet at the same time.  She began bullet journaling.  She went to see Tony Robbins.  She created a program to keep herself in check, then she would binge on the weekends.  She had a horrific morning after a night of binge drinking.  She met a sober mom, and immediately didn’t want to hang out with her.  She called her and she recommended a counselor.  She went to see an addiction counselor.  She didn’t want to stop drinking.  He mentioned the word “alcoholic” and she denied it.  She went to her first meeting and she had a breakthrough. 

 

[33:25] How did you quit?

She went to her first meeting, and it was full of influential AA people.  Lots of milestones, and she figured out she belonged there.  She experienced a myriad of emotions.  She knew that her life was going to change forever. 

 

[34:58] What happened after that meeting?

She was embarrassed about going to the meeting.  She realized her girlfriend was an addiction counselor.  She found the strength to go.  She discovered she was battling a brain disorder and that it wasn’t her fault.  She still battled the stigma of being labeled an alcoholic. 

 

[39:27] Did you have cravings? 

She was ready.  She finally wanted to be good to herself.  She was done hurting other people, and herself.  She wanted to be there for her children, but she wasn’t really there for herself.  She knew that if she didn’t deal with it, she would have been dead within 5 years. 

 

[42:28] What’s working for you?  How are you staying sober?

She listens to the podcast.  She is now choosing to user her free time to work on herself.  She’s established her community.  She has a big list of phone numbers for support.  She’s told all of her friends.  She can call her sponsor about anything.  She leans on her sponsor quite a bit.  She didn’t give herself a choice.  She “gave it all away”.  It’s been working wonders. 

 

[45:45] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The anxiety the morning after, or waking up in the middle of the night in a panic.  Not being comfortable in her own skin.  Setting herself back. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When her friends asked her to go out and she needed to drink a case of beer.  She lied to her friends. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To be kind to herself.  To remember how far she’s come.  To stay connected.  To develop her relationship with her higher power.  To work her program wholly. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    That it isn’t a moral defect.  It’s not her fault.  To get out of her head.  To eat the ice cream, it’s ok. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Sobriety is awesome.  You’re not missing out on anything.  You’re gaining!  The sponsor, the accountability, the community has been number 1. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “…if you bring six pack when you walk your dog.  Every time he pees, you have a drink.” 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Support for today's episode is brought to you by RXBAR. Visit Rxbar.com/elevator/ and enter the promo code elevator at checkout for 25% off your first order.

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!”

 

Oct 1, 2018

Sarah, with 162 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“When this happens, then I’ll be okay.” 

You may already be living the live you have been dreaming about.  Try not to fall into trap of “when this happens, I’ll be okay.” 

“When I get another month of sobriety”, or “when I move to another town”, or “when I get the right X” are all common examples of not living in the present moment.  Stop for a moment, take stock in the good things you have around you and try your best to find the magic and happiness you seek in the moment you’re in, right now. 

Once you bounce back from the effects of alcohol, you might just notice that you already have enough.

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[7:50] Paul Introduces Sarah.

Sarah has been sober for 162 days.  Sarah is from England.  She is divorced, with two kids.  She is still figuring out what she does for fun.  She loves camping, nature, the outdoors.  She has a sober boyfriend.  She recently quit her job in retail management and is now running her own little cleaning business. 

 

[11:15] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

She didn’t realize she had a problem until recently.  She grew up in a drinking family.  She feels that people who don’t drink are a bit of an outcast.  Her drinking got out of control as an expat.  She lived in a dry state in India, and drinking became something she could obsess over even more.  She had her two children and quit for those pregnancies.  Straight after they were born she returned to the wine.  It escalated slowly and she was blind to how dangerous it had become.  She was having 5 glasses of wine most evenings.  She bought into the “mommy needs wine” culture.  She looked at it as a daily reward.  There were several red flags over the past few years. 

 

[15:50] What were the red flags that popped up?

She was suffering from bad anxiety.  At the time she didn’t realize it was from her drinking.  None of her doctors would diagnose her with anxiety, despite her asking them to.  One doctor probed into her drinking and figured out it that her drinking was the root of her anxiety.  The idea of stopping drinking was crazy to her at the time.  She received a solution to her problem but it wasn’t the solution she wanted at the time.  

 

[18:05] Had the idea of stopping drinking ever cross your mind? 

No, but it planted a seed in her brain that started to grow.  It took her two years to get the point of stopping.  Before that she was having a whole bottle of wine every single night.  She knew there was a problem but deep down she didn’t know what she could do about it. 

 

[20:42] Was there a specific time where you knew what to do but couldn’t do it?

Many times.  She felt like she was stuck down a hole and someone had removed the ladder.  She had these feelings daily.  She was feeling physical symptoms of drinking in excess.  She knew it was inevitable that she had to stop. 

 

[22:45] How did you break the cycle?

She just decided to quit drinking.  She had been listening to recovery podcasts for a few weeks and she just knew she had to do it.  She knew the path was only going to lead to everything she cared about getting hurt.  She became very stubborn.  She hadn’t told anyone about it and it felt empowering.  It keeps getting better and better as time goes on. 

 

[24:17] What were you thinking when you had that moment of clarity?

She had more of a feeling.  She had a lot of self-loathing and low self-esteem.  She realized that she was worth it.  She began to talk back to the internal dialogue trying to keep her in the same place.  She’s been enjoying the community in Café RE. 

 

[26:21] Did you experience any cravings?

Yes.  It was a roller coaster at first.  She threw herself into the internet group and began talking to people.  She began to learn and research.  She began to invest in her own self growth.  It felt good and she started to get excited for the next chapter of her life.  She found the idea of rewiring her brain and making it more able to resist alcohol quite attractive.  She began to focus on self-care.  She went to bed earlier.  She bought some nice deserts.  She watched movies with the kids.  She was gentle with herself.  It does get easier. 

 

[29:30] Tell us about Sarah 2.0.

She wants to work in recovery.  She wants to live the life and help other people to live it as well.  She is in the early stages so she’s being careful.  She thinks she has found a new purpose. 

[31:30] What does it mean to you to get out of your own head?

Calming down her mind and understanding that she is not her thoughts.  She just steps back for a minute and observes.  She’s making better decisions.  Life makes more sense.  She has a clearer understanding of what is important.  She can’t wait to learn more.  You have everything you need.  If you stop and just be in the moment everything else just falls away.  She stops her brain from spinning out to negative thoughts and stories.  She has learned to recognize the addictive voice. 

[36:00] Do you feel like an outcast now that you don’t drink?

She hasn’t told everyone yet.  She just has lime and soda or non-alcoholic beer and no one has asked her about it.  No one cares.  She people that care are close to you and they know you have a problem anyway and they’re going to be relieved that you stopped drinking. 

[37:40] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    A fancy ball she attended with her boyfriend.  She blacked out and went missing.  They found her curled up in a ball in the corner and she has no recollection. 

 

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

    When her boss told her she could smell wine on her at 9am.. the second time.
  2. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Keep doing what I’m doing.  Gratitude.  To remind herself that her life is great. 
  3. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    One day at a time.  It’s easy to overthink. 
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Make it your priority.  Do whatever it takes to get sober.  Decide, stick to it, and be stubborn.  Make it the core of who you are.  Take care of yourself.  Have some cake. 

  6. You might be an alcoholic if..

    “…You examine and study everyone else’s drinking habits to get a better perspective on your own… and that includes looking in the fridges and their cupboards to see how much wine they’ve got.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Support for this episode is brought to you by Zip Recruiter. Right now, my listeners can try Zip Recruiter for free.

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!”

Sep 24, 2018

Tamara, with 88 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“There is only one line we can cross that we can’t come back from”

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255

SHOW NOTES

 

[4:20] Paul Introduces Tamara, and she recaps her experience with relapse and suicidal thoughts.

Tamara had a relapse after 48 days of sobriety.  She just moved to a new apartment.  She started the day running errands, then had a conversation with her sponsor.  She was alone, felt lonely and bought vodka.  She started to drink by herself.  She felt guilty because she is aware of the support structures that are in place, but she still witnessed herself resorting to alcohol to try to soothe her emotional pain.  She thought she had exhausted all of her options.  She began to have suicidal thoughts.  She recorded a goodbye message to her family.  She cut her wrist and sent the message.  Her parents received it and tracked her down.  They got in tough with her roommate.  Her roommate and her mother stopped her bleeding.  She went to the ER, and a mental hospital.  She realized she didn’t want to die, and that she had to change something.  She found a treatment center.  She stayed there for 4 weeks.  Reliving it, she is reminded that she isn’t broken.  She realizes how powerful alcohol is and it will take you if you let it.  She didn’t know what she was living for.  In the treatment center, she worked through her life experience.  She didn’t consider herself a trauma victim, but then realized that she had just been ignoring some things from her past.  Her pride crumbled.  She was able to see just how loved she was.  She was able to see the role of God in her life.  She finally saw her love and worth.  She felt like she came out of hiding.  She doesn’t have to hide parts of herself that she struggles with.  There are people in her life that accept her exactly as she is.  She had to rebuild her self-image and identity.  She wants to come out of her shell and live her life out in the open.  She didn’t know who she was anymore.  The emotional rawness from her experience enabled her to open.  She realized that she is not the orchestrator of everything in her life and that there are parts of her life that she can not control.  She began to focus on the present moment and not worry beyond that. 

 

[29:45] Talk to us about the letter you received from your employer right before you left. 

She had been feeling a bit out of place at her job.  She took on and internalized expectations and pressure.  She was open to changing everything else but she wanted to try and apply herself at her job.  She received a package from her employer, and it turned out to be a letter of termination.  She felt hurt.  She cried but realized that she had to rebuild completely from scratch and feels like it was a gift from god.   

 

[36:30] Tell us about what you found that can never be taken away.

She realized that no matter what is happening around her, it doesn’t have to wreck her world internally.  She’s still standing, and losing her job is now empowering.  She has an opportunity to rebuild her life in a way that is more authentic and meaningful to her.  She wants to do the next right thing.  She built her life around things that are true to her.  She realized that she’s had it the entire time.  She realized that she’s been loved the entire time.  She feels God’s love now.  She believes that we all have a purpose.  She saw something in the people around her and she felt like she didn’t have it, or couldn’t grab it.  After treatment, she feels more in touch with it. 

 

[39:19] Am I right in saying that you had a full spiritual awakening?

Yes.  Giving herself and life over to God has been the most liberating experience.  She has faith that after the first step, the next step will present itself. 

 

[40:53] Does one have to be religious to be spiritual?

Not at all.  It’s all about one’s own personal relationship with God.  Previously she felt that God’s love was punitive and based on how good or bad she had been. She was trying to achieve her way into earning love.  Religion is an outward expression of the internal spiritual relationship.  Religion is a practice.  She loves encouraging people, cooking for people, and sharing what she’s been through.  What’s changed is her feeling of spirituality. 

 

[44:00] What advice would you have for someone that’s struggling?

It starts with openness.  She thought she was open, but she was frustrated.  Look at the people in your life who have something that you think you want or need.  Be open to hearing what they’re doing and what they’ve been through.  Humble yourself enough to be open to the idea that things are bigger than you.  Be open to exploring those ideas.  We’re all bonded by the desire to be loved.  Tunnel vision leads to the path of pain in addiction.  Open your mind to the fact that you may not see the whole picture.  It’s not your fault if you can’t, but at least be open to the possibility of more.  

 

[46:44] With 88 days in sobriety, what’s next for you?

She has no idea what’s next and that’s ok.  She has some short term plans.  She will continue to embrace her spirituality and be excited about her future. 

 

[47:25] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

She believes that people are the best thing about God’s creation.  If you are struggling, reach out to people.  Some not conversations may not take you to anywhere but listen to people.  Ask the meaningful questions and don’t fear judgement. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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!”

Sep 17, 2018

John, with over 1 year since his last drink, shares his story…

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –

though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –

determined to save
the only life you could save.

By Mary Oliver


SHOW NOTES

 

[8:45] Paul Introduces Randy.

 

Paul is a musician from Helena, Montana.  He’s been sober for over 1 year.  He’s 41 years old.   He’s married with two sons.  For fun, he likes to turn his obsessive side toward healthy activities.  He’s exploring moderation.  He stopped drinking after a horrible hangover.  He tried to have a beer after some after about 6 months of sobriety.  He realized that everything kicked back in.  He got sober with willpower but realized that he can’t stay sober with willpower. 

[17:09] At what point did you realize that you had a problem with drinking?

He has alcoholism in his family.  When he started to perform in bands at 19, he refused to drink.  When he moved to Montana, he discovered craft beer and the surrounding culture encouraged him to drink.  In 2011 he quit drinking for 14 months.  He considers himself an extrovert and gets charged up by talking to people.  He realized that his drinking was an extension of his lack of emotional intelligence.  He got tired of playing “hide the bottle”.  He began to go to bed drunk every night.  Hid digestion was a mess. 

 

[25:13] What did you find was at the root of your decision to quit?

His body hurt.  He was sick and tired of sick and tired.  Telling people that he was sober was strange because he had histories with his bandmates.  He changed his internal dialogue to harness his stubbornness, so he could use it to stay sober. 

 

[28:07] Tell us more about the moment where you felt the weight drop off your shoulders.

He felt like he was coming to terms with the loneliness in his own heart.  He began to explore the religious side of his life.  He addressed his conflicted religious beliefs, and once he felt better about it he found the strength to quit drinking.  He thinks addicts share the bond of the unquenchable thirst.  We’re always trying to overdo it. 

 

[33:00] Tell us more about not wanting to drink but wanting to be drunk. 

As soon as the alcohol hits the brain, it kickstarts a physiological craving that can be shut off only by the removal of alcohol from the system.  He realized that a lot of the bad behavior in his life was dictated by his addiction.  He wants to meet the emotional needs of others.  He wants people to know that they’re not alone.  He believes there is freedom in commitment, but it has to be all in.  

 

[39:06] How do you plan on addressing the excess?

He is in the process of addiction whack-a-mole.  He switched to Adderall.  To counter it, he’s now taking cannabis.  He is dealing with the shame of wanting a buzz.  Alcohol works until it doesn’t.  He quit Adderall.  He keeps looking for the next magic pill. 

 

[45:00] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Arguing with his wife in the car.  They weren’t married yet and she asked him about his drinking.  He made his wife cry and felt terrible. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The recovery elevator podcast.  Also, his sober friends.  “Connection is the opposite of addiction.” 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Use the obsessive part of addiction as a superpower.  Apply your obsession to something positive. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Ask for help.  If it needs to be private, that’s ok.  Ask people to help you stay sober.  Don’t be afraid. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “…you play hide the bottle.  If you’re drinking privately, it isn’t normal.  Lots of people do it, but you can be free from that if you choose to be.”  

 

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!”

Sep 10, 2018

Angie, with 146 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“Alcohol gave me the wings to fly, then took away the sky”


SHOW NOTES

 

[5:30] Paul Introduces Angie.

 

Angie is 36 years old, lives in Atlanta, GA.  She has been sober for 146 days and is the proud owner of 2 dogs.  She loves live music, the theater and the movies.  She enjoys cooking.  She now enjoys her own company. 

[7:06] Give us some background about your drinking habits. 

She never drank in high school or college.  She started when she was in her early 20’s.  Drinking gave her confidence.  After a divorce in 2012, she attempted suicide and her drinking also ramped up.  She was having between 6-10 drinks a night.  She felt like she was barely surviving.  Her move to Atlanta did not cure her drinking, but it helped her to realize she had a problem. 

 

[10:25] Did you ever have a rock bottom moment?

She was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  She never really wanted to stop, but she had a rock bottom moment when she drank before work.  She was blacked out drunk and spoke with two of her bosses.  She realized that she didn’t have it under control.  She would attempt sobriety and then crash into relapse.  She associated alcohol with love.  She wrote a goodbye letter to alcohol. 

 

[16:05] What did it feel like to formally say goodbye to alcohol?

She felt empowered.  She spent a lot of time wishing things in her life would be different.  She realized that she had all the tools she needed within her.  Her life got a lot easier.  She changed her relationship with her internal dialogue. 

 

[18:15] How did you quit?

She wanted to change but wasn’t really searching for community.  She struggled with sobriety on her own.  She relapsed and thought it was the end of the world.  She finally realized that she can’t do it alone she began to connect with people.  She went to AA.  She went to Smart Recovery.  She organized a sober meetup.  Letting people in to help her has been her 146 days. 

 

[21:16] Talk to us about why you were unable to attend the Dallas meetup.

She relapsed right before and felt like she couldn’t go.  She felt like she wasn’t worth it.  She kept drinking for two more months. 

 

[23:02] Talk to us about your relationship to self-loathing. 

She has often struggled with self-loathing.  She has always felt like she wasn’t good enough.  She experienced a lot of self-hatred after relapse.  She realized she wasn’t going to change or grow.  She realized drinking was a symptom.  She drank because she hated herself.  She realized that she had to love herself in that moment.  She had a new story to write which looked nothing like her past.  She has started to meditate.  She decided she needed to go to therapy and talk it out with people.  She wanted the outside voices. 

 

[27:31] Walk us through a day in your recovery.  What tools are you using?

She meditates first thing in the morning.  She focuses on taking care of her dogs.  She journals and tries to take it one day at a time.  She breaks it down further to one thing at a time.  Her life feels a lot slower and more peaceful. 

 

[30:10] What’s your proudest moment in sobriety?

She went to see a musical recently and didn’t drink.  She turned down a drink after a friend pressured her.  She went to the bathroom, struggled, cried, but ended up texting her other sober friend to get through it. 

[31:25] What are your thoughts on relapse? 

Anything we do in life, we fail at.  Success is built on failure.  Failure aka relapse is a part of life.  The less you beat yourself up, the better you’ll be. 

 

[32:54] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Her failed suicide attempt.  She found out her husband was cheating on her and she tried to take her life. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Going to her part time job completely drunk with no memory of the conversation. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Taking it one day at a time.  Try to not isolate herself.  Maintain sober relationships
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

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

    I’m worth it.  It’s worth it to do hard things and she’s worth it being sober. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just give it a shot.  Give it 90 days and see how you feel.  If the idea of 90 days feels overwhelming, that’s just another reason to give it a try.  Don’t listen to the shitty voice in your head.  Reach out to a community.  People understand what you’re going through. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You’re an avid Office fan, but you have to skip the episode with the intervention because it hits too close to home.”

 

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!”

 

Sep 3, 2018

Jennifer, with 568 days since her last drink, shares her story…

Tracking your sobriety time – Do the numbers matter?

To begin with, know that it’s not a competition.  We’re going for quality over quantity!  We quit alcohol because we want to improve our lives.  The end goal isn’t in the numbers, but in the increase in one’s quality of life.  Removing alcohol was the first step in a journey of getting to know ourselves, finding out what we really want from life and making the best of each and every day.  The real tracker is how you feel about who you are, where you’re going and what is meaningful in your life. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:52] Paul Introduces Jennifer.

 

Jennifer is 36 years old from Cleveland, OH.  She has 3 cats and runs a business walking dogs.

[11:52] Describe to us your background with drinking.

She started drinking at 15.  She always thought it was normal to binge drink.  She thought it was a part of youth.  Her drinking held pretty steady until her mid 30’s.  She realized that we live in a drinking culture.  She has often struggled with codependency.  She never thought she was the problem.  She always thought it was other people. 

 

[16:29] Where was your lightbulb moment indicating you had to stop?

4 months before this recent attempt, she appeared on a podcast about addiction and codependency.  She grew up with addiction in her family.  She had to be the parent as a child.  She had a negative image in her head of what an addict was, and because she wasn’t close to that image, she wasn’t able to see the progression of her own addiction.  She began to realize that addiction has many forms by listening to other people’s stories and it gave her permission to acknowledge her own addictive behavior. 

 

[21:52] How were you able to finally make the change when the time came?

She was exhausted by the idea of continuing to drink.  Her own drinking behavior started to wear her out and she became tired and resentful.  She wanted to be able to enjoy activities without alcohol.  She went through a breakup and had to seek out grounding.  Her hangovers were getting darker and more difficult.  She began to fear the impact it was having on her health.  She couldn’t handle the shame and embarrassment.  She found Recovery Elevator and it helped give her the confidence to try and quit.  She realized that she’s not alone.  She didn’t really connect with AA when she tried it.  Her first year of sobriety she kind of transferred her alcoholism to workaholism.  She didn’t realize there were options other than AA.  She didn’t realize how much she needed people until she started talking to other people about being sober. 

 

[31:30] How did you manage your early recovery?

She became hyper focused on her work.  She tried to avoid social situations so she could avoid alcohol.  She lost some friends.  

 

[35:05] What are you working on now in sobriety?

She is working on maintenance.  She wants to achieve big things in life but she’s trying to keep simple and to focus on taking care of herself and relaxing.  She’s learning how to be kind to herself.  She’s working on being able to regulate her emotional life.  She realized that she used to be too focused on what others thought about her.  She feels transformed on the inside, even though there is little change on the outside. 

 

[41:00] What is the “Shift Doughnut”?

She used to work at the doughnut shop in Cleveland.  She would just get a doughnut after her shift.  She called them “shift doughnuts” but her coworker helped her realize that she was just stealing doughnuts.  

 

[42:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Shortly after her 30th birthday, she went home with a lover and was raped after she blacked out.  She tried to ignore it for a long time but in sobriety it bubbles up to the surface. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She invented the Triple Pipe Classic, which is when you lose control of all bodily functions.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Learning to like herself, love herself, deepening her meditation practice.  Learning to go slower and relax.  She’s looking forward to the Café RE trip to Peru.  She wants to travel more and do more things with her life. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    An app called Marco Polo.  It’s like having a little therapist in your pocket.  She feels like she is able to see thought patterns that she missed before.  It’s easy to connect with people. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Early in sobriety, someone said “You know you can start your day over at any time..”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Don’t compare yourself out of recovery.  Your recovery is your own.  The only opinion of you that matters is your own.  Alcoholism is a symptom of things not going well.  Be grateful for the opportunity to sort yourself out. 

    Also, be open to the idea that you may not know yourself like you think.  What if you’re wrong about yourself?  The story tape reel repeating in your head about yourself might be completely wrong.  Be open to a new and better and you. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you post a video on your social media channels of you home alone, drunk, dancing to Lady Gaga and juggling cigarettes.” Or “if you complete a Triple Pipe Classic”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck – A book by Mark Manson
Marco Polo (
Android) (iTunes) – An video chat app
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!”

 

Aug 27, 2018

Paul, with 28 days since his last drink, shares his story...

The article mentioned in the episode introduction:  Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God - Wall Street Journal

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:57] Paul Introduces... Paul.


Paul is from St. Paul, Minnessota.  He's 67 years old, retired.  He is married with 2 kids, and 2 grandchildren.  He hosts an internet radio show.  He enjoys cooking and films. 

 

[13:18] Describe your drinking history.

In his 20s, he feels that he was a normal drinker.  Sometimes to excess with a bad hangover, but usually a moderate amount.  During his first marriage, his wife didn't drink as much.  He started to experiment with stronger mixed drinks.  His second wife died of breast cancer, and he was a caretaker for her.  He used drinking to deal with the pain.  He married again a third time and didn't feel compelled to drink too much.  It started to creep back in.  His office culture encouraged drinking after work.  He gradually switched from beer to whiskey.  He tried to moderate but not drinking during the day.  He began concealing his drinking from his wife.  He's tried to quit a few times in the past few years.  His habits got progressively worse. 

 

[19:10] What was different about this last attempt to quit?

After a doctor's appointment, he was shocked at his high blood pressure.  He kept drinking.  He started to suffer from diabetes.  His doctor said it was okay to drink a little bit each day.  He used that as an excuse to ramp back up.  He had quit before with determination, but this time it felt different.  He is exploring the painful periods of his past, and trying to find out the connection to his drinking.  He thinks it has something to do with being verbally abused as a child.  The alcohol has helped him relax.  He thinks his anxiety is wearing off gradually. 

 

[28:00] Describe your present relationship with anxiety. 

He feels as if something bad is going to happen, irrationally.  He feels an unease, an inability to relax.  A few months ago, he was going to go on a trip to Ireland.  He had a lot of anxiety about the trip and it worried him.  He just started drinking again to manage the anxiety. 

 

[32:10] How did you achieve 28 days this time around?

He did some research.  He found an article by Roger Ebert about his struggle.  He did more research and found Cafe RE.  He's learning new ways to deal with his emotions that don't involve drinking. 

 

[34:53] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

He would like to travel.  He wants to learn how to ride horses.  He wants to take some guitar lessons.  He wants to put more work into his radio show.  He plays vintage and eclectic music. 

 

 

 

[38:32] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    He was surprised to have blackouts. He found it unsettling and scary.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    His wife mentioned something he said and he didn't remember saying it.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    He wants to follow up with smart recovery and AA. He will continue to journal.  Continue to engage with Cafe RE. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    “Today is the best day to quit.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Share it with someone. Make yourself accountable.  He shared with his wife and his kids and it's made a difference.  Be kind to yourself.  Don't believe what other people tell you about yourself unless it's good.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “..if you're researching whether or not you're and alcoholic.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Science increasingly makes the case for God – An article in the Wall Street Journal
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 20, 2018

Jason, with 178 days since his last drink, shares his story...

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

 

“It’s difficult to believe in yourself because the idea of self is an artificial construction. You are, in fact, part of the glorious oneness of the universe. Everything beautiful in the world is within you.” – Russell Brand

 

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

 

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” – Zen proverb

 

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” – Agnes Repplier

 

“If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Roger Babson

 

“Recovery is not for people who need it, but for people who want it” – Anonymous

 

“When the past calls, let it go to voicemail. Believe me, it has nothing new to say.” – Unknown

 

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

 

“If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.” – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

 

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” – Rosa Parks

 

“When was the last time you woke up and wished you’d had just one more drink the night before? I have never regretted not drinking. Say this to yourself, and you’ll get through anything.” – Meredith Bell

 

“The Pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow” – Anonymous

 

“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost

 

“Your heart is leading you in the right direction. Quiet the mind and follow. “ – Paul Churchill

 

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth

 

“Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it.” – J. Petit Senn

 

“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bernard Williams

“What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.” – Alice Miller

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:50] Paul Introduces Jason.

Jason is 46-year-old social worker from Connecticut  He's married with two children.  He likes the outdoors, soccer, kayaking, fishing,and hiking. 

 

[14:00] Give listeners an idea of your drinking background.

He started drinking in high school.  It escalated when he went into the navy.  After the navy, his drinking settled into a regular pattern which slowly escalated as well.  In mid 30's his drinking started to feel like it was getting to be a problem.  He had a previous 5 year period of sobriety.  He was trying to be health conscious.  He has heart disease in his family.  He tried to stay on top of it.  Around 38, his physical wasn't so great.  He was referred to a cardiologist.  He thought cutting alcohol out would improve his health.  He stopped on NYE of 2010.  He felt a lot better so he kept going.  He did not work a program.  He was hung up on the stigma of being an alcoholic.  He thought that after 5 years he didn't have a problem, and he was feeling healthy and he thought that maybe he could be a normal drinker again.  After relapse, he kept it under control for a while, but shortly thereafter it started escalating again quickly and he began to fall back into the same patterns.  He had a difficult summer, drinking most days, and he realized that he was a better person during his stint in sobriety and decided to go back to being sober. 

 

[27:38] Did you find it difficult to stop the second time? 

He could see how bad it would get if he didn't stop.  He was hiding drinks, and every week seemed to get worse.  He knew he was worse than he had been previously.  He thought that his previous bout of sobriety meant he could do it again.  He just had to get back to sobriety.  He feels our society surrounds you with pro-drinking messages.  

 

[32:07] How were you able to quit this time around?

The first few weeks were difficult, more difficult than he remembered from before.  This time it felt more ingrained into his routine, making it more difficult.  This time he is consuming more sobriety media and it helps him keep his mind right. 

 

[34:00] Do you think you are addressing more dimensions of sobriety this time?

Last time he was too focused on the physical part.  This time he's addressing the mental and spiritual sides of his life.  He's building a meditation practice and doing yoga.  He he has more tools this time than before.  He's trying not to think about the time line as much.  He's trying to stay in the present and focus on what's right in front of him. 

 

[36:37] What's something that you've learned about yourself in sobriety?

Honest really helps.  Also, there's nothing to be ashamed of.  Dependence happens to some people quicker than others, but it's nothing to be ashamed of.  He's taking things more gradually and slowly. 

 

[37:22] Have you experienced any cravings?

Definitely, in the first few months.  He just tries to ride it out.  They're only about 20 minutes long.  He tries to distract himself realizing that they will pass. 

 

[38:56] If you could go back and change anything about your getting sober, what would it be?

He thinks he could have talked to and with more people. 

 

[39:20] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

He wants to travel more, and spend more time with his kids. 

 

 

[40:00] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    When he was in the navy, he blacked out and had to walk around ashamed.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    It's a cumulative thing. His many mornings feeling terrible.  Hearing about conversations he didn't remember. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To keep taking it slowly. To focus on his meditation and yoga practice.  Be open and honest with people in his sobriety. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator podcast. On Instagram:  Drybe club
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    You do not have to drink.

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

    If it's something that's on your mind, just do it. Reach out to people, be honest and find resources. 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Drybe Club an Instagram page about sobriety
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 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!”

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