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Recovery Elevator

It isn't a no to alcohol, but a yes to a better life! On the Recovery Elevator podcast, you'll learn from guests that life after alcohol is much better and it's an opportunity of a lifetime. Paul, Season 1 and Odette, Season 2, cover topics such as, does moderate drinking work, does addiction serve a purpose, what happens to the brain when we quit drinking, should you track sobriety time, is AA right for you, what the hell is spirituality, what this journey looks like, how science and spirituality are merging and what that means for addiction treatment, we talk about emotions and how to deal with them without alcohol, cravings, we talk about relapse aka "field research," how to build that in-person community and burning the ships! Similar to other recovery podcasts like This Naked Mind, the Shair Podcast, and the Recovered Podcast, Paul and Odette discuss a topic and then interviews someone who is embarking upon a life without alcohol.
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Now displaying: September, 2018
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!”

 

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