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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: May, 2019
May 27, 2019

Alex, with 63 days of sobriety, shares his story.

 

On today’s podcast Paul talks about what researchers, that studied the drinking habits of people that work with the public, discovered.  They found that employees that forced themselves to smile and be happy around customers were more at risk to heavier drinking after work.  Because of this, employers may want to rethink their ‘service with a smile’ policies. 

 

Employees that work with the public may be using a lot of self-control, so later these employees may not have enough self-control to regulate how much they drink.  Faking, or suppressing emotions, is called surface acting, which is also linked with drinking after work.  Overall it was found that employees that interacted with the public drank more after work than those who did not.

 

Try not to suppress your emotions.  Emotions are just that, emotions.  They are not good or bad.  It’s okay to be authentic in the work place.  The best way to be authentic is with eye contact.  Authenticity replaces positivity. 

   

SHOW NOTES

 

[13:45] Paul introduces Alex. 

 

Alex is 34 years old.  He lives in Sandy, UT, where he was born and raised.  He is married and has a 3-year-old son.  He works in information technology and is a captain in the Army National Guard.  For fun Alex likes anything outdoors.  He enjoys skiing, camping, glamping and also plays the guitar and drums. 

  

[16:20] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

 

Alex joined the military and started drinking at age 21.  He describes his drinking as like a frog in a slow boil.  Around age 30 drinking really started to affect his health.  His hangovers were getting worse.  He was having unexplained pains where his liver was located and experiencing a shortness of breath. 

 

[20:45] What was your anxiety like?

 

He was worried about things a normal person wouldn’t be worried about.  In October 2017 he went to his doctor and was finally honest about his anxiety and depression…but not with his drinking. In January of 2018 he decided to do a dry January so hit the booze hard leading up to it. 

 

[25:45] What was it like on January 1st? 

 

At day 15 Alex found the podcast and started binge listening to it.  He realized he was like the people on the podcast, that he was an alcoholic.  At day 32, after making it through ‘dry January’ he drank.  That started a 2-week bender. 

 

[30:56] During that 2-week bender did you try to stop?        

 

He got a case of the ‘fuck-its’ and that 2-week bender was just everyday hammering the alcohol.  He then just realized that he wasn’t being the person he wanted to be. 

 

[32:40] Talk to us about after you had that moment of clarity.       

 

The most important thing for Alex was being very honest with himself about the fact he is an alcoholic and needs to stay away from alcohol.  He made an appointment with his doctor and told him about his drinking.  His doctor referred him to therapy. 

 

[37:37] How are you going to get day 64?

 

He says he needs to keep busy.  He goes to a climbing gym.  He drinks sparkling water if he feels like he needs something in his hand. 

 

[39:42] What have you learned about yourself during this alcohol-free journey? 

    

He’s returning to who he wants to be.  Most importantly he’s learned how to be honest with himself.      

 

[44:00] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

 

All the times I made my wife feel like shit. 

 

  1. Do you remember a specific ‘oh-shit’ moment?

 

A year after my son was born, I was having suicidal thoughts. 

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

 

Definitely this podcast. 

 

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

 

To think about the positives instead of the negatives. 

 

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

 

Know that you are lying to yourself and start being honest with yourself. 

 

  1. You might be an alcoholic if...

 

You count the half 16oz. flat warm 9% beer from the night before as inventory for tonight’s alcohol intake. 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

 

Thank you to today’s sponsor Betterhelp 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 500,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. For (podcast name) listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.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

 

“Recovery Elevator – It all starts from the inside-out.”

May 20, 2019

Ryan, with 90 days of sobriety, shares his story.

 

On today’s podcast Paul talks about the 3 major players when it comes to sobriety.  The players are; the mind, the body, and the breath.  Paul likes to call this the 20/40/40 rule, because that is how we should allocate the importance to these 3 major players.  

 

The mind (20%) should be used as a radar to scan the body, do not try and use the mind to solve addiction.  The body (40%) never lies, it is your unconscious mind.  The breath (40%) is like your fighter jet.  Once your mind has located where on your body your energetic mass has accumulated get in your fighter jet (the breath) and start building circuits in this area. 

 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[12:15] Paul introduces Ryan. 

 

Ryan lives in Sacramento, Ca.  He works in sales for a large software company.  He is 35 years old and got married last year.  For fun Ryan likes anything outdoors.  He enjoys snowboarding, hiking, running, and he is currently training for a half marathon.  Ryan says he is an extrovert and gets a lot of energy hanging out and talking with people and friends.

 

[14:20] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

 

Ryan had his first drink at 14 years old.  Throughout high school he played a lot of sports and only drank on the weekends.  His drinking ramped up in college.  He joined a fraternity and was always the guy that you could count on to do crazy things.  Looking back, he can see that his drinking ramped up in college and it never stopped once he was out of college.

 

Even though he would go periods when drinking didn’t seem to be a problem, he would then be back to blacking out again and drinking like he was in college.  

 

 

[16:30] When did you start to realize that alcohol was a problem?

 

Ryan says that is tricky, because even though he would wake up and not remember things from the night before his friends were doing the same thing, and they’d be making jokes about it. 

 

But when he was 21, he woke in the hospital and they told him he had a .39 blood alcohol level (BAC).  Someone had called an ambulance.  He says that that was probably not the only time his BAC had been that high.  He felt the problem was the fact that he was blacking out, and that is what he tried to address, which is why he continued to drink for the next 10-15 years. 

 

 

[18:25] In your 20s was there a specific moment that you tried to take action in regards to your drinking?

 

Ryan says no.  He felt he was in his 20s and he was having fun.  He was still functioning and finding success in his career.  He did try putting some rules on his drinking but says he never really wanted to stop drinking during his 20s, he just wanted to stop blacking out.   

 

[19:30] When did you realize that to stop blacking out wasn’t an option, but that you had to address the alcohol.        

 

Ryan says he doesn’t really feel he ever had quitting on the table until 90 days ago.  He took breaks, but never with the intention of quitting.  Even after being diagnosed with type I diabetes at the age of 29 he didn’t think he should stop drinking, instead his thoughts were, “will I be able to drink again?”. 

 

[23:20] What happened 90 days ago?     

 

More than anything Ryan says he was just sick and tired of being sick and tired.  He also says his wife played a big role in it.  After a work trip to Vegas and blacking out, losing his phone and credit card, and his wife not being able to get a hold of him he realized just how scared she was when he got home.  Scared that something really bad could have happened to him.   He knew then he had to stop drinking. 

 

[28:15] What was the first week, the first month, after Vegas like?

 

He felt empowered and knew he was going to do it.  He wasn’t sure how he was going to do it, was definitely scared, but knew he was going to do it.  First and foremost, his wife said that she would quit with him.  He started reading books about alcohol/alcoholism.  He started looking at all the opportunities that giving up alcohol would bring. 

 

[33:07] What are some of the big things you’ve learned in the last 90 days without alcohol? 

    

He’s learned to be more present and more mindful.    

 

[36:20] Do you know why you drank?

 

He feels it had to do with his ego and a sense of identification.  Growing up he identified himself as an athlete, in college he could no longer truly do that.  College was the first time he was away from his twin brother so he was building his own identity.  He became the fun, social, crazy guy and he thinks that was his why. 

 

[39:00] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

 

Ryan doesn’t have a bucket list, or a list of things he wants to get done.  He is just taking action in the moment when he wants to do something. 

 

[39:38] Is there anything you would have done differently while getting sober?

 

He would have done it sooner. 

 

[39:46] What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve encountered in the last 90 days? 

 

He says it’s been the anxiety leading up to, and before, telling people about his sobriety. 

 

[41:30] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

 

There’s no worst, there’s just lots of really bad memories.  From being in the drunk tank, to the hospital, to passing out in random places. 

 

  1. Do you remember a specific ‘oh-shit’ moment?

 

When I went to the hospital my senior year with that .39 BAC.

 

  1. What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?

 

I don’t have a true plan; I think that’s part of the plan.  It’s not that I’m focused on just being sober.  I’m focused on being the best version of myself and that just happens to include sobriety.    

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

 

Honestly, this podcast and my wife. 

 

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

 

Don’t let the past dictate your future. 

 

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

 

Stop worrying about if you’re an alcoholic or not, who cares about the labels?  Ask yourself, does drinking cause you problems in any part of your life?  And if so, then it’s a problem and you can fix that problem by not drinking. 

 

  1. You might be an alcoholic if...

 

You refuse to listen to someone’s story about sobriety because you don’t actually want to stop drinking alcohol, you just want all the problems from drinking alcohol to magically go away. 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

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

 

Babbel

This episode is brought to you by the language learning app Babbel and right now, my listeners can try Babbel 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

 

“Recovery Elevator – It all starts from the inside-out.”

May 13, 2019

Liz, with a sobriety date of July 8, 2017, shares her story.

 

Workshops for the Bozeman, MT, retreat in August are lined up!  There are still a few spots left!  You can find more information about this event here

 

On today’s podcast Paul talks about a common misconception people have as they move forward in a life without alcohol.  That misconception is that when we get sober, we will finally find out who we really are.  But that isn’t how it works.  We do get to that point, but first we must find out who we aren’t.  

 

During this phase; people, places, things, ideas, thought patterns, identities, that are no longer in line with your new direction in life will start to fade away.  Just allow this process to happen.   Recovery is all about action, but this is a process of inaction.  This is a recurring process. 

 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:05] Paul introduces Liz. 

 

Liz is 29 years old and is originally from Indiana but is now living in Frankfurt, Illinois.  She is a licensed, board certified, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist.  She is married.  For fun she enjoys working out, hiking, yoga, reading, going to concerts, and she is a big foodie. 

 

[11:00] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

 

Liz started drinking when she was about 12 or 13 years old.  She was an only child and grew up in an abusive household, with addict parents (who are still active in their addictions).  She was sexually abused by her father and his friends between the ages of 8-10.  All of this trauma laid dormant until Liz was 21 years old. 

 

Liz’s father would give her drugs and alcohol whenever she would ask, she believes it was his way of keeping her numb, so that she would never speak up.  Her house was the party house in high school, and even middle school. 

Liz dated an ecstasy dealer, which led her into an ecstasy addiction and an overdose.  At the age of 20 she went to jail for underage drinking.  She moved to Chicago when she was 21.  She was working and going to school full time, and drinking. 

 

[16:55] You are the first person interviewed that has said they always knew they had a drinking problem, please explain.

 

She knew that when she started drinking at 12/13 years old that she was drinking to cover something up.  It was always a numbing agent for Liz, never a feel-good agent.  It was just the way I coped with everything.  Knowing she needed help she found an addictions counselor in Chicago.  Within the first session the counselor was telling her she was an alcoholic and addict, needed AA and to enter inpatient treatment. 

 

She continued to go to therapy, but did not enter into inpatient.  It was during this time that the sexual abuse from her childhood started to surface and her drinking and drugging intensified. 

 

[20:24] What was it like when these memories started to bubble up? 

 

Liz says this is when the downward spiral of her addiction really started to intensify.  She was still going to work and school, but was blacking out nightly.  If she didn’t go to bed drunk, she would have vivid night terrors. 

 

[22:23] Tell us about what it was like when you were meeting with the hypnotherapist.      

 

She assessed Liz, told her she needed AA and to stop drinking and basically told her she was not willing to work with her unless she stopped drinking.  Liz told her she was unwilling to stop drinking and insisted on the therapy.  The therapist agreed to proceed although she told her she may not get much out of it due to her alcohol consumption.  Liz showed up for every appointment, about twice a week for 6 months.  It was the most intense therapy Liz has ever gone through.  She relived the trauma and was able to heal from it. 

 

 

[24:45] What happened next?     

 

She continued to see the therapist, continued to drink, and she finished school.  Once she was done with school she moved to Illinois.  Her drinking//drugging slowed to the weekends, although she was still blacking out and her weekends were spent hungover.  She tried moderating.  She started breaking out in hives when she would drink.  It did not matter what she drank, or how much.  One drink would lead to hives from head to toe.  So, she started taking Claritin before she drank, so she could continue drinking without the hives.  Her hangovers started to get worse and last longer. 

 

She got engaged in 12/2015 and married in 8/2017.  July of 2017 was her bachelorette party weekend, and July 8, 2017 is her sobriety date. 

 

[31:16] What was it like in early sobriety?

 

She remembers being really scared to go anywhere, not wanting to explain anything to anyone.  Feelings were new to her and made her nervous.  She continued with her therapy during the first year of sobriety.  She did AA for about 6 months.  

 

[35:00] Talk to us about how acupuncture can be helpful in sobriety. 

    

Acupuncture can help release endorphins, increase serotonin levels, help get people off of anxiety meds, and help with overall cravings. 

 

[37:25] How has your life changed in sobriety?

 

She finally feels content, no longer feels restless. 

 

[40:10] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

 

Liz wants to travel; Australia and New Zealand are next on her list.  She would also like to find a good yoga retreat to attend.  She wants to help others and to be more open about her sobriety. 

  

[42:19] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

 

Ending up in the hospital in Memphis for alcohol poisoning, also waking up and not having memories.   

 

  1. Do you remember a specific ‘oh-shit’ moment?

 

When she couldn’t make it through a whole day of class without going across the street to the bar.  Waking up without a phone or wallet.  Getting arrested for underage drinking. 

 

  1. What’s your plan moving forward?

 

Being more open about my sobriety and using my acupuncture background to help other addicts.  Really being part of a good sober community. 

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

 

This podcast and hypnotherapy as well. 

 

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

 

You are not defined by your past traumas.  Drinking is not going to fix anything. 

 

  1. The best parting piece of advice you can give the listeners.

 

Work on your shit. 

 

  1. You might be an alcoholic if...

 

Alcohol gives you hives, but you take a Claritin and drink anyways. 

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

 

Babbel
This episode is brought to you by the language learning app Babbel and right now, my listeners can try Babbel 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

 

“Recovery Elevator – It all starts from the inside-out.”

May 6, 2019

Nick, with 111 days sober, shares his story.

 

On today’s episode Paul discusses anxiety, depression and stress.   “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.” ~ Rumi.    

 

Depression is when mental energies are stuck in the past, anxiety is when we are living in the future, and stress accumulates when the end goal is more important than the task at hand.   Liberation from all three of these dysfunctions resides in the present moment. 

 

There is an undeniable connection between alcohol and depression.  Remove alcohol and the bulk of melancholy should be lifted within a matter of months.  Anxiety levels should also return to baseline after removing alcohol from your life.  When we are primarily focused on the end outcome, and not the task at hand, we experience stress.  Stress can be devastating to the equanimity in the body.  The most powerful remedy to depression, anxiety, and stress is to ground yourself in the moment. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:40] Paul introduces Nick

 

Nick is 32 years old and lives in Vancouver, Canada.  He works in the career center at a university.  He has been married for 2 years.  For fun, he is still trying to figure that out in sobriety, but he enjoys having conversation and making connections with people. 

 

[13:20] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

 

Nick didn’t really start drinking until his early 20’s.  He says he liked to drink, that there never really was a time that he did not enjoy it.  He felt he could drink more than most and still be OK.  And what that ended up doing was it basically normalized drinking large amounts of alcohol, because he wasn’t getting sick or waking up with a hangover.  Things slowly escalated from there.

 

In 2010 Nick moved to Vancouver.  There were a few times when he decided that he didn’t like how much he was drinking, and he would just stop for a few months at a time. 

 

[17:00] What was the catalyst for you to decide to go a month or two without alcohol?

 

He went through a really messed up experience between his best friend and the person he was dating at the time.   He dealt with that experience by drinking.   What he came to realize was that alcohol just made him feel worse.   So, he distanced himself from those 2 people and from alcohol.  He went 3-4 months without drinking, not thinking he would never drink again, but more because he felt he needed a break from it. 

 

When Nick started to drink again, the next year or two, it wasn’t that bad.

But what came back very quickly was the familiar feeling that alcohol made him feel comfortable, safe, more confident. 

 

The thing that tipped Nick off to drinking becoming a problem was in order to feel normal or comfortable in a situation, he needed alcohol. 

 

[20:15] When did you realize that your drinking was a problem? 

 

It’s hard for him to pinpoint exactly when that happened.  It built very slowly over time.  It snowballed and it wasn’t until many years later that he realized that he had lost control.  

 

[22:05] When was the moment that you did stop and see that alcohol was the factor that was causing that unease in your life?    

 

Nick says there were lots of smaller moments, but when he really knew it, it was about 6 months after a good friend died from leukemia.  He started isolating and drinking alone. 

 

[25:50] Did you have a rock bottom moment?  How did you finally make the push forward into sobriety?     

 

Nick tried to moderate, which didn’t work.  He then started to go to counseling on a regular basis.  He was honest with his therapist about his drinking.   He started journaling which helped him to see why he was drinking.  He became more self-aware and was communicating better.  He was still sad and grieving.  Over the next year his drinking escalated.

 

Around September 2018 he was listening to a lot of podcasts and just knew that he had to give up drinking.  He came home one day, after listening to the RE podcast, took his earbuds out, and just cried.  Part of the reason he cried was because he realized that he was not alone. 

 

[34:05] When the tears came flowing, what did it feel like to fully lean in?    

 

Nick says it felt terrifying and he felt very vulnerable, but also so relieved.  That began a long series of day ones.   On December 1st he joined the Café’RE Facebook group.  After drinking a lot after a staff party on December 7, he has not picked up since. 

 

[41:30] What was the first week like, the first month?  How did you do it? 

    

The first few days were a little rough.   Because of all the journaling he had done he knew the hours that he needed to keep himself busy.  He changed the route he would take as he would walk home so that he would not be passing liquor stores.  He got connected and reached out to others in the group. 

 

[44:16] With 111 days what’s he biggest challenge you’ve encountered so far? 

 

The feeling of plateauing.  He’s sober and isn’t experiencing cravings, so the question of “what now”? 

 

[45:50] What was the Recovery Elevator Nashville event like?

 

It was great.  As soon as he heard about the Nashville event, he knew he had to try to get himself there. 

 

[48:30] What are you going to do next in recovery?

 

Nick would like to work with people in addiction and recovery.

  

[51:20] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

 

Waking up and realizing that you hurt someone you care about, but you can’t remember why, is the absolute worst feeling in the world. 

 

  1. Do you remember a specific ‘oh-shit’ moment?

 

The last night he drank.  It was though the scotch he was drinking was water.  It just wasn’t working anymore.    

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received? And what advice can you give to someone who is thinking about getting sober?

 

Be open and vulnerable, be willing to give and receive love.      

 

  1. You might be an alcoholic if...

 

You go to slide a wine bottle under your couch, and you hear it hit another bottle, which hits another bottle.    

 

 

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

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

 

“Recovery Elevator – It all starts from the inside-out.”

1