In episode 54, Gavin from England shares how he made it too 100 days of sobriety, and his humor in the accountability groups is what gave me the inspiration for this topic.
In this episode Dawn, shares how she has made it to 6 months of sobriety as a mother of three. We also discuss terminal uniqueness which basically is when we focus on the differences and not the similarities. I have been culpable of this many times, and I am working on being cognizant of how to avoid this. Here are some of the key reasons why terminal uniqueness is so dangerous.
-It allows people to ignore the likely consequences of their actions
-It provides a false sense of security
-It divides the world into me and them
-It means that the individual will be unwilling to believe that treatments that help other people can help them
-It leads to the individual thinking that they are either worse than everyone else, or that they are better than everyone else
-It prevents the individual from seeking help for their problems
-It can be a barrier to communication
-It leads to feelings of loneliness and desperation (isolation)****
What I learned in 1 year of podcast is remarkable. It will help me stay sober and I want to thank everyone who has been a part of Recovery Elevator. I really hope you enjoy this summary because I had a great year compiling them.
What I learned from a year of podcasting about my sobriety.
By Paul Churchill (with Elliot P.)
Podcasting about your sobriety isn’t exactly the best way to stay anonymous. However, after years of struggling to stay sober I was willing to try anything and nothing seemed more powerful than the accountability I’d create by checking in with “the world” every week. So I bought a few simple pieces of recording equipment, signed up for a podcasting service and started talking. I was terrified to release the first episode – it felt like I was jumping off a cliff. I knew my life would never be the same. I was right.
This year has been the best year of my life but strangely, also the hardest. I know what you are thinking, “of course it was the hardest as getting sober isn’t easy” and you’d be right. But there is something especially terrifying about getting sober in front of anyone who wants to watch. I’ve been told that some people thought my podcast would be a train wreck and they were listening for entertainment value. Luckily, so far, I have beaten the odds and probably made this pretty boring for my macabre listeners. My goal is to make this podcast as boring as possible for this demographic of my audience! How is that for a podcasting goal? Really though, I think we have had a lot of fun this year and I’m all for the suspense each week as I sign in, once again, still sober. If I can do it, maybe some of my listeners realize that they can too.
Now I don’t claim to be very smart but the most unexpected part of this journey has been meeting hundreds of listeners who can relate to my story. I honestly felt like I was the only one who suffered exactly like I did. It turns out that alcoholism is ironically a communal disease where everyone afflicted feels isolated. Part of the solution involves finding like-minded people who you can get honest with. Little did I know, just by talking openly into the microphone, this group of like-minded people would come to me. Listenership has grown beyond my wildest dreams. I love you guys.
I’ve been asked what have been the most impactful lessons I’ve learned over this year of podcasting. The beauty of listening to the stories of those I’ve interviewed is that everyone can relate to the stories differently depending upon their place in their sobriety journey. Below is a list highlighting ideas that have meant the most to me:
Scott, an attorney on the east coast, shares how he has reached 2.5 "great" months of sobriety.
Contempt prior to investigation!
Today marks the 51st episode of what started almost a year ago as a way for me to simply hold myself accountable. I made the commitment then to do at least 52 episodes and as I approach this number its hard not to be overwhelmed with the impact this podcast has had on myself and also, unexpectedly, on many of you.
I mean, first off, 51 episodes later, I’m still sober! (1 year, 4 months and 6 days according to my recovery elevator app) – which is a miracle! But I see an unintended consequence is that many of you are also finding ways to stay sober and find happiness in recovery. It’s amazing to see what happens when we all put our minds together!
So for that, and all of you listening, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. There is rarely a day that I don’t get an email from a listener who shares how touched they are by something one of our guests said on the podcast. I mean there have been over 50 guests who have shared their story and these stories have been downloaded over 160,000 times. The impact of us simply, and honestly, sharing our stories is bringing hope to many who might not have otherwise found it. Please keep sending me emails with your story, I never get tired of reading them even if I don’t have time to respond to every one know that I read every one and cherish them all.
And because of you and your desire to continue the discussions after each podcast we started the private Facebook recovery elevator accountability group. I remember being amazed when we reached 60 members of the group and as I release today’s podcast we are rapidly approaching 450 members with new members being added every day. Its so amazing to see you all in the group sharing your story, asking questions, sharing wisdom and encouragement, checking in on each other and ultimately helping yourself and others stay sober. And it’s because of the things happening in this group that we are in the final stages of setting up an even better platform for us all to interact outside the podcast which will be several regions accountability groups which feed into the community forum.
Its all something I could not have imagined a year ago and it is a testament to the power of what can happen when we get honest and get out of our comfort zone. So, just in case you are wondering, I may get a bit sentimental and maybe even a bit emotional as we approach our 52nd episode but I’m not planning on stopping after our 52nd episode. You guys have stuck with me so I’m staying here and stick’n with you.
You know, after doing today’s interview, I was reminded of one of the most devastating things I’ve noticed during this busy year of podcasting, being interviewed by others and speaking at schools. It is the stigma associated with alcoholism. Because most people don’t even know the definition of who an alcoholic really is, they associate it with the worst stereotypes society has with problem drinkers. Bums under a bridge, domestic violence, liver cirrhosis, drunken driving, weak “will power” and the list can go on. The truth is, I don’t even like to talk about this stigma because it seems to only strengthen it. Heck, it is this stigma, and the repulsion we feel about being associated with this stigma that keep many of us from ever getting help!
The truth is, this stigma is wrong, dangerous, and it needs to change. I’m thinking of coming up with a name for it, like I did for Gary – my addiction. Maybe I’ll name this stigma Stanley. Sure, like any good lie, there may be an element of truth in this stigma but many of the people I’ve met over the last year have lives that in no way resemble this stereotype. I think today’s guest is another good example of this.
Alcoholism, like many of this century’s hot social issues (race relations, women’s rights, gay rights, etc) also suffers from something I like to call “contempt prior to investigation.” For when we really investigate who an alcoholic is we find that there is really only two defining factors: 1) We tend to have a mental obsession that makes it seem impossible to not have that first drink and 2) When we start drinking a physical allergy kicks in and we can’t control our drinking. That’s it. Period. Let me repeat it: 1) We tend to have a mental obsession that makes it seem impossible to not have that first drink and 2) When we start drinking a physical allergy kicks in and we can’t control our drinking. Alcoholism has been defined as a disease by the American Medical Association in 1056 and it does not make person good or bad. Period.
Do you guys want to know the crazy thing about this stigma?!... With all the alcoholics I have spoken with over the last year, and all the non-alcoholics, it is BY FAR the “still drinking alcoholic” who has the most negative association with the word alcoholic. Normal drinkers often see it as a medical issue and one with treatment options. Recovering alcoholics have often worked through the association and seem to have no problem being associated with the term. Ironically, it’s the very people who need the help who have the most negative association with the word.
And if we have done one thing by sharing our stories this year, I hope it is that we’ve helped each of us realize that we are not all that different, and we are not all that bad! In fact, most of us are making amazing and courageous progress in our lives. We are doing the things that, I believe, we will find the most meaningful when reflecting back on our lives from our deathbed. We are making amazing friendships, we are looking at our career not as a job but as a way to serve others, we are learning to love ourselves and we are finding joy. We truly are the lucky ones.
So, it’s simple. It’s not easy. But it’s so simple when you take away the stigma! Stanley, goodbye!
Our guest today, Scott, seems to have this figured out and I love when we talk about how being an alcoholic is only one area of our life and it by no means defines us.
In today’ talk he keeps it simple and he is a man of action. He is a successful lawyer, who has raised a nice family of 4 kids and has been married for over 30 years. By all accounts, looking in, he is living the dream. He is highly functional, very intelligent, and what we call in Montana “a man’s man.” But you will hear him say it: he regrets the “blank memories” or the memories not made while drinking. He is a great, and honorable, person who see’s that drinking has held him back from truly being the person he was designed to be and he is making a change.
So as you listen today, be reminded that you too are on a journey of becoming the person YOU were designed to be. For most of us it happens slowly as we continually take action applying the principles of recovery to our lives. For others, like you will hear today, there can be a profound spiritual experience which kick-starts the process. The key is, that no matter what the catalyst is, we never forget why we march this path of happy destiny. It’s in this mindset and in our daily actions, that we find freedom from the obsession to drink and freedom to become a little more of the person we want to be. I think you will find that today’s guest, Scott, is well on his way.
His story is so inspiring and so full of value bombs it could be a 2 part series! But instead of doing that, I’ll just encourage you to listen to a few powerful themes:
- Without saying it, Scott touches on all three of the first 12 steps in a powerful way.
- Scott is not a “wu-wu” spiritual guy and I cant help but be inspired by how profound spirituality is in his recovery.
- Scott’s journey from “contempt prior to investigation” of alcoholism to now having an acceptance that is super charging his life.
"You Might be an Alcoholic if" - Thank you Megan for compiling these for me on weekly basis.
-You go snow-snorkeling in the nude in Wisconsin. -Christine
-You know you are out of wine so you stop and "borrow" / steal a bottle from your in laws house on the way home. The next day when you go to replace "borrowed" /stolen bottle you get busted in their house and make up some lame story about how you were just looking for your child's coat that he may have left there. -Julie
-The only reason you write the newspaper is to advocate repealing the ban on Sunday alcohol sales. -Jon
-You are a youth elder at Church and decide, not only to drink before driving a van full of middle schoolers around town for a holiday event, but continue to drink while driving. The only reason you do not smoke the pot you have with you is that you did not get the chance. (but did so immediately after!) TY
-You might be an alcoholic if... you use a bar stool as a walker so you don't fall down!
Be sure to join the Recovery Elevator Private Accountability Facebook Group.
This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.
In this podcast episode Cameron shares how he has successfully navigated nearly 6 months of sobriety.
In the early stages of a relationship, I was always terrified of the moment when I had to fess up to why I don't drink. I came up with every answer besides the honest answer which is the simple fact I'm an alcoholic. Below is my Match.com profile summary I created eight days ago. The results of this experiment have been miraculous. 2 years ago I would have been surprised by the results, but knowing my fear was completely irrational, I'm not surprised at all.
Hello, my name is Paul and I'm a recovering alcoholic, I'm extremely allergic to horses, at times I struggle with anxiety, and I have been diagnosed ADHD 4 different times by medical professionals.
You're probably wondering why I would lead off with this enticing intro, but after reading a couple profiles, I couldn't get a real idea of who the gals really were... so by being upfront, honest and transparent, I am saving both of us time.
None of these things truly define me, but this is an honest description of who I am. When I first started writing my profile it contained words like funny, outgoing, motivated, happy, and all the other generic descriptors, which do describe me, but I thought I would tell it straight.
You might be an alcoholic if..
- you walk your dog at night with a glass of beer in your hand!!! -Penni
.you make a trip to the liquor store for beer but forget the grocery store for the much needed milk. -Angela
- You go to pee before bed but realize in horror the next morning that you missed the toilet seat by an entire room. -Jamey
-You misplace things..like a decade -Dee
- The first thing you do in the morning is check your Facebook, email, and call record to see what you may have done the night before! -Kathy
Be sure to join the Recovery Elevator Private Accountability Facebook Group.
This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation.