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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, 2020
May 25, 2020

Belle took her last drink June 30, 2012. With almost 8 years of sobriety (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol free (AF).

On today’s episode Paul opens discussing what alcohol promises and does not deliver. Many people are trying to fill a void by using alcohol, but it will never be enough. The journey you take and the reward you earn on this life being AF is the eternal knowing that you are enough and are fulfilled.

 

[7:58] Paul introduces Belle.

 

Belle is 53 years old, married and lives in Paris, France. She is a caterer.

 

[11:06] Because of the formal nature of the culture in Paris, is the recovery culture more secluded?

 

Belle says that because she interacts mostly with English speakers (UK, American, Australia, Canada) her insight into the recovery world in France isn’t that well-informed. But she does state that there isn’t the overindulgent alcohol community that you find other places and in nearby countries. “It’s not socially acceptable to be hammered outside your home.”

 

[16:58] Why is French onion soup so good in Paris?

 

It’s situational, exhaustion, dehydration and fantasy of France.

 

[18:40] Give us a background on your drinking

 

Belle felt alcohol talking to her around the age of 21. She thought everyone had that voice. For the next 15 years she felt she was keeping drinking in check by only buying what she would drink that day and not have other alcohol in the house. At 36 she was having 3 glasses of wine a night and found it hard to go a night without. Belle began putting into place unconscious moderating techniques to keep in control. She got married in 2005 and having that partner there opened the door to more drinking but with someone else there, so it appeared less harmful.

 

In March 2012, she tried quitting drinking for 1 month, just to prove that she could. She got 7 days.

 

[25:59] Can you expand on the feeling you had when you realized it was actually really hard to quit drinking?

 

Belle says it was embarrassing because there was no one to tell or talk about it with. She didn’t associate herself with alcoholics because of her high bottom drinking. She just thought she lacked self-discipline.

Belle tried again with Dry July in 2012 and on day 9 knew again, this was going to be harder than anticipated. So, she started a WordPress blog to talk about the struggle. People began commenting on her blog posts and she in that moment she wasn’t alone.

 

From that blog grew her 100-day Sober Challenge, her penpal support system and a business venture.

 

[39:28] What are some of the lessons you have learned from doing this project?

 

Belle says everything she’s learned are from her penpals. They taught her that while her story may be unique to her, the core experience of quitting drinking is the same for everyone.

 

[48:37] Talk to us about the anonymity [of your project] and how you are anonymous.

 

Belle said that without anonymity she wouldn’t have been able to share the truth. People responded to her approach because it allowed them to also share the truth while being anonymous. Belle believes that you get sober and then you go on with the rest of your life and there exists the life you build on top of being sober. She believes that you don’t have to tell everyone or anyone else about your sobriety.

 

[52:25] Let’s talk about your book.

 

Belle’s book is titled Tired of Thinking About Drinking: Take My 100-Day Sober Challenge. Her subscribers wanted her to write a book, so she did.

 

[52:29] Do you think there will ever be a day you will shed the anonymity?

 

If Oprah calls and asks Belle to share her experience working with 3000 people, yes. She would probably do that. Otherwise, no.

 

[56:03] Rapid Fire Round 

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

That I’m not alone. And most people have identical experiences.

 

  1. What’s your favorite AF drink?

Just tonic or tonic and grapefruit juice.

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

Her subscribers.

 

  1. What’s on your bucket list in this AF life?

Own a bakery.

 

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

It’s in the act of reaching out that things change.

 

You might need to ditch the booze if...  

If you can’t quit drinking for 100 days, then you have a problem. The answer is in the question.

 

Belle’s website and all the information shared: www.tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com 

 

Upcoming events, retreats and courses:

 

  • We are into week one of Ditching the Booze - The What, the Why and the How. And will be offering this a few more times coming up. It’s free for Café RE members. Not a Café Re member? Sign up here and use the code OPPORTUNITY for waive the set-up fee.
  • You can find more information about our events 

 

The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here!  

 

This episode sponsored by:

Tiger Tail, use this link and enter the promo code: ELEVATOR15 for 15% off your order.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. 

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- I love you guys” 

May 18, 2020

Jeff took his last drink February 8, 2020. With 65 days of sobriety (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF).

On today’s episode Paul opens discussing emotions. How it’s ok to feel all of them and how they help us to grow. In order to shift stagnant energy inside all of us, we have to talk about our emotions. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to vent out your emotions and break off little pieces of frustration.

Are you looking to explore deeper your decision to live alcohol free and are already a Café RE member? If so, sign up for the six week course starting May 19th entitled: Ditching the Booze - The What, the Why and the How. Not a Café Re member? Sign up here and use the code OPPORTUNITY for waive the set up fee.

Paul shares the details about his free guided meditation. To find those meditations, go here.    

[12:08] Paul introduces Jeff.

Jeff is 29 years old, lives in Tampa, FL. He is a plumber. He doesn’t have a family, yet! He likes to hang out with his dog Bo and go fishing, camping and attend sporting events.

[13:58] What’s your favorite alcohol free drink?

Cherry Coke.

[15:13] Give us a background on your drinking

Jeff started drinking around the age of 15 with anything he could get his hands on. He remembers being 5 years old and having a sip of his father’s drink. He is the youngest of 3 and when he would visit his older siblings in college, their friends would slip his drinks, as young as at the age of 11. Drinking was just what you did when you got older, it was part of being an adult. Everyone seemed to enjoy drinking, so he should too. In college he joined a fraternity and it again drinking was just what everyone did, it was part of the culture of college and he went along for the ride.

However at the age of 22, Jeff realized that stopping drinking might be the better choice for him.

[19:52] What were the circumstances at 22 that made you think to stop drinking?

Jeff said it was the physical effects of alcohol on his mind and body. He always felt like he could be doing more in life and alcohol was holding him back. 

[21:45] Fill in the gaps from age 22 to 29 (7 years) as you were building awareness around your drinking.

Jeff began working as a Sam Adams beer rep out of New Orleans/Baton Rouge, LA. At any given time there were 15 cases of beer in his home. Part of the job was sampling beers, so loading up a cooler full of beer every day and sampling with 10 different customers wasn’t out of the norm. The idea that something Jeff felt was in his way, but also his paycheck was difficult to reconcile.

In 2015 Jeff began trying to moderate his alcohol intake. He didn’t keep much alcohol in the house, but he found when he did drink, he couldn’t stop.

[23:46] Can you talk more about when you say, “Once you start it’s hard to stop”?

Jeff described his drinking like a firework. Light the fuse, it shoots up, it’s great for 8/9 hours and then it blows up. His emotions would often get out of control. The days following his drinking were awful emotionally as well. No energy or mind power to do anything.

[25:22] Was there a rock bottom moment?

Jeff said the first rock bottom moment was in 2012. After a day of drinking, he completely lost it; throwing away his wallet, trashing the apartment he shared with a roommate, quitting his job via email with 2 hours notice.

65 days ago, after three weeks of not drinking, he had a beer and the next day got sick. He knew it was the alcohol and used those 4 days being sick as a springboard to make the change to fully living a life without alcohol.

 

[27:28] After those initial 4 days, how did you do it?

One day at a time. Jeff said he would call old friends, not to talk about drinking, but just to talk. He would exercise, cook and focus on doing all the things he wanted to do that alcohol was holding him back from doing. Also journaling and feeling his emotions again.

[30:34] Talk to us about how you are embracing your emotions?

Jeff said he is trying to learn what emotion he is actually feeling at a particular time. Is this happiness? Why am I feeling happy? Jeff is giving himself permission to have these feelings. He’s focusing on gratefulness.

[35:47] Where do you want to go in this AF life?

Jeff said he’s trying not to look too far ahead in life. That’s been a problem for him before. He’s focusing on being present and happy. He wants to grow and have a family and grow his business. Jeff said, “If you drink today, you are taking away tomorrow’s happiness” and he wants to be happy.

[38:08] What has it been like getting sober a little earlier in life?

Jeff said that so far, it’s been easier than expected. However, he doesn’t discount the near decade of knowing he needed to try and live an AF life. There are no distractions right now during stay at home orders. He admits this might be a bigger test once COVID-19 is over.

[43:10] What are your thoughts on relapse?

Jeff said it does mean you’re a failure, it’s all about how you handle the relapse. The past is the past and you can start over in the present.

 

[44:11] Rapid Fire Round 

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

December 2019, driving home after a party, Jeff drove through a construction zone. The police were called, and he was let go. Avoiding jail was a wakeup call.

 

  1. What is a memorable moment that a life without alcohol has given you?

Constantly being present and recognizing emotions.

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

Recovery Elevator podcast, other online stories of people overcoming addiction.

 

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

Give it a try. If you can do it for 1 day, you can do it for 2.

 

You might need to ditch the booze if...  

You are 19 years old, get kicked out of a football game, on your way home call up a family member to curse them out, break into your RA’s room and finally wake up to the police carrying you to your own room

 

Upcoming Events and Retreats: 

You can find more information about our event here.  

The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here!  

 

This episode sponsored by:

Tiger Tail, use this link and enter the promo code: ELEVATOR15 for 15% off your order.

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

 

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set up fee. 

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

Sobriety Tracker Android 

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

 

“Recovery Elevator – You took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up. We can do this.” 

May 11, 2020

Carrie took her last drink April 7, 2020. With 7 days of sobriety (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol-free (AF).

 

On today’s episode Paul discusses the idea that you don’t have to quit drinking in order to quit drinking and what that means to different people and himself. When you give yourself permission to be happy in the now, the need to drink goes away. By not delaying happiness in life, an alcohol-free life emerges. If you have more questions about this, please email Paul directly here.

 

Are you looking to explore deeper your decision to live alcohol free and are already a Café RE member? If so, sign up for the six week course starting May 19th entitled: Ditching the Booze - The What, the Why and the How. Not a Café Re member? Sign up here and use the code OPPORTUNITY for waive the set-up fee.

 

Paul shares the details about his free guided meditation. To find those meditations, go here.    

 

[12:30] Paul introduces Carrie.

 

She is 42 years old, lives in Centralia, MO. She is a single mom of 2 boys. She sells cars for a living. Carries likes to read, spend time at baseballs games, spend time with her kids, to bike and be outdoors. She is looking forward to rediscovering new way to spend her time.

 

[16:29] Give us a background on your drinking

 

 

Carrie took her first drink at the age of 13 and was in treatment for alcohol twice before she was 18 years old. From the age of 18 to 27, she gathered 9 years of sobriety. After that time, she wanted to reach out and connect with other young people and thought she could pick up and drink without consequence. In 2015 after her son was born, was when she noticed her drinking was becoming unmanageable. She said her drinking got “way worse”, to the point of drinking in the mornings.

 

[23:43] Talk to us about the last two years of your drinking.

 

Carrie said she has always tried to moderate her drinking, but it was never possible. In March of 2020 her boss called her into his office and asked if she had a problem with alcohol, which she replied “no.” However a week later she walked back into his office and said she does have a problem and she wants help. While she did lose her job, she freed herself of the secret.

  

[27:38] Is something different this time around?

 

Carrie stated that yes, this time feels different. After getting through the withdrawals and praying that she wouldn’t die, she realized that this time around was the worst withdrawal she had experienced. She decided this was the last time she would ever go through this. Using those physical symptoms to propel herself forward.

  

[32:54] What are you struggling with most right now?

 

Carries says that seclusion is the hardest. She only interacts with her children and isn’t able to spend time with friends and family. She misses her church and the ability to worship with other people in the same room. She finds video meet ups helpful, but just not the same thing.

 

[35:25] What are some concepts/mantras you are putting in place to help you continue past these 7 days?

 

Carrie says that she keeps telling herself she is stronger than alcohol and she wants to be free from alcohol. Repeating that to herself over and over.

 

[41:07] What’s on your bucket list for this AF life?

 

She is looking forward to interacting with her children again. She is also looking forward to traveling again.

 

[43:17] Do you think you’ll be sober in 30 days?

 

Carrie: “Yes I do.”

 

[46:28] What advice would you give to your younger self?

 

Carrie doesn’t think that her younger self would have listened to any advice. Carrie of today would simply say “It’s going to be a rough road, but it will be ok in the end.”

 

 

[48:01] Rapid Fire Round 

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

When she lost her job due to alcohol, that she needs to quit drinking.

 

  1. What is a memorable moment that a life without alcohol has given you?

Easter with her kids. She was able to hide eggs and baskets again.

 

  1. What’s your favorite alcohol-free drink?

Water.

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

Recovery Elevator podcast, AA meetings, reading about addiction.

 

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

You are stronger than alcohol and if you surrender to the addiction to alcohol, you can get past this.

 

You might need to ditch the booze if... 

 

Your 18 year old comes into the closet you are hiding in and takes the bottle of vodka and dumps is down the drain.

 

Paul shares a poem written by a listener:

 

“12 Steps to Addiction” 

 

A long time ago, I met a friend.   

Oh, it was a god send. 

 

Together, 

Streams of blood turn into a rushing river, 

Shaking loose an ancient rigidity.  

Like a hot fired fever. 

Cracking a cast of insecurity. 

 

Oh paint my vision in saturated tones, 

Warm my blood, loosen my bones. 

Tell me stories that aren’t true, 

The biggest lie you told, 

Is that the only truth is you. 

 

I’m tightly steered  

by your white knuckled grip. 

“I will make it better” it whispers in sips. 

I buy another round of your intention.  

To cure a mental infection, 

Septic fears of imperfection,  

Impermanence, 

Loneliness,  

And rejection. 

 

Im being taught to say goodbye, 

To friends I used to see. 

These people surrounding you, you say, 

“They are not like you, and not like me. 

They are empty vessels floating by.” 

I agree, 

Because I no longer float,  

My mind runs until it can fly. 

 

I keep running running running,  

But now I can’t catch up, and I can’t escape. 

I’m talking, I’m laughing,  

Sounds from my mind unheard,  

Like a cold air’s breath, they dissipate. 

 

I am alone. 

 

You implanted these thoughts, 

Rewired my synaptic circuits, 

Into a million tiny knots. 

I need you to keep making this true. 

And when I wake up at four, 

I need more. 

 

I ignore the conscious mind, 

breathing notes of despair, 

In my ear and around my neck. 

I’m unaware of the gun to my head,  

And all the ways I’ve been mislead. 

 

While I drink your poison,  

It is me that you usurp. 

I joyfully bask in your calm, dimming light, 

Until I’m met with a darkness. 

Thoughts reduced to a dizzying fog, 

Words falling into meaningless, 

Forgetful monologue. 

 

Oh, I want more of this story you sold. 

But you no longer talk.  

Your skeleton sits with me in silence, 

As I desperately chew on your bones.  

Your eyes are barren stones.  

I will use them to build a memorial, 

To every drop of poison I tasted. 

All the valuable time I wasted. 

 

A long time ago, I met a friend. 

It was a godsend.  

I was introduced to my vulnerability, 

Reduced to an insanity, 

Succumbed to this power, 

 Quietly, stealing my vitality. 

 

A godsend, 

Who will make me climb a mountain, 

To find my own cure. 

A challenge I didn’t expect to endure, 

To ensure that I don’t lose breath, 

Running towards my destruction,   

Towards a construct, an embodiment, 

Of everyone else’s description, 

Of who I should have been. 

 

Ultimately I’ve become lonely. 

Constructed a fraudulent personality, 

Succumbed to a common abnormality, 

I carry this world uninspired. 

This void you left, 

Is making me so,  

Goddamn, 

Tired. 

 

-Mia  

 

Upcoming Events and Retreats:

You can find more information about all our events here.

 

The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here!  

 

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

For 15% off your Tiger Tail order go to https://www.amazon.com/tigertaildog and use the promo code ELEVATOR15 at checkout.  

In today’s episode Paul introduces listeners to a new company called Monument, an online treatment platform for those looking to change their relationship with alcohol.

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. 

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

Sobriety Tracker Android 

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

 

“Recovery Elevator – Go Big, Because Eventually, We All Go Home.” 

May 4, 2020

Ruth took her last drink March 21, 2020. With 13 days of sobriety (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol free (AF) during a worldwide pandemic.

 

On today’s episode Paul discusses the sale of alcohol / liquor stores remaining open worldwide during COVID-19 and its effects. ODAAT: it’s not just for those who are living an AF life anymore. The quarantine is an invitation to examine our lives and find new pathways to joy.

 

Paul shares the details about his free guided meditation. To find those meditations, go here.    

 

[13:25] Paul introduces Ruth.   

 

They start by discussing the email Ruth had sent to Paul directly to ask him what his own thoughts were about living alcohol free during COVID-19.

 

[15:56] What were you feeling when you sent me this email?

 

Ruth became aware that the pandemic was going to be a test for a lot of people. She wanted to let people know that this isn’t a time of hopelessness . For her, this is a time to be grateful because of choosing to stop drinking.

 

She is 40 years old, grew up in Denver, CO but now lives in Switzerland. She is a single mom. While currently out of work, she normally is a manager at a small restaurant. For fun Ruth likes to be outside hiking or running. She enjoys a good movie and reading.

 

[24:53] Give us a background on your drinking. 

 

Ruth began drinking as a teenager. She first got drunk at the age of 14 with some classmates. She drank for fun as a teen, had a boyfriend that was of age and could purchase alcohol. Ruth got pregnant with her first child at the age of 20 and that stopped alcohol in its tracks. She drank very moderately through her 20s. In her early 30s Ruth noticed that drinking seemed to calm her anxiety, stressors and worries. The association of alcohol and the calming of anxiety stuck with her. In 2014 she moved to Switzerland and began a new romantic relationship that was “very boozy.” Her drinking ramped up quickly, drinking daily and often early in the day.

 

[30:43] Was there a time during the escalation of your drinking that you questioned this path?

 

Ruth remembered even during the moderate drinking in her 20s, if she couldn’t have a beer or the stores were closed, it created a grumpy feeling. And at the same time, she felt that wasn’t the proper emotion to be experiencing.

 

[33:25] Can you think of a definitive moment when you said “I need to quit drinking?”

 

Ruth indicated that there were several attempts, but the catalyst was the breakup from her most recent relationship. She said to herself “if you can survive this breakup, you can stop drinking.” Ruth learned about how a breakup and alcohol withdrawal create similar feelings/reactions within the brain.

 

  

[40:30] Thirteen days ago was your day 1 and in the email you sent me you said it was the hardest day 1. Talk to us about this particular day 1.

 

Ruth said that because she had had 42 days of sobriety before the pandemic started and then drank at the beginning of the pandemic to quiet the noise of everything happening in the world, everything that comes along with drinking was magnified. Thinking about having to break the cycle of drinking again, and in the extra stressful time of COVID was overwhelming. However, she found herself back in a place of joy within 3-4 days, once the chemicals left her body.

  

[45:30] What is something you’ve learned about yourself along the way?

 

Ruth said that she had a lot of unrealized strength and through that found herself again.

 

[48:00] How are you filling your time currently?

 

Ruth said reading, listening to podcasts, cooking from scratch, running, walking, yoga, watching Tiger King and taking it easy on herself.

 

[49:21] Rapid Fire Round 

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

Realizing her relationship was toxic as well as alcohol is toxic and how they were parallel.

 

  1. What is a memorable moment that a life without alcohol has given you?

Spending time with a family member recently and being 100% present.

 

  1. What’s your favorite alcohol-free drink?

Sparkling water and coffee.

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

Recovery Elevator podcast, This Naked Mind, the stopdrinking subreddit

 

  1. What is on your bucket list in a life without alcohol?

Go to the Greenfield Festival in with her son sober and sober camping trips.

 

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

Don’t give up. Never quit trying to give up alcohol, no matter how many day 1s you have. Find and use all resources. It will eventually take if you keep trying.

 

You might need to ditch the booze if... 

 

You go out for a couple drinks and wake up with confetti in the bed and you have no idea where it came from or how it got there.

 

You can read more about what the World Health Organization (WHO) says about using alcohol as a coping technique during this time of lockdown here

 

Upcoming Events and Retreats:

You can find more information about our events here.

 

The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here!  

 

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 

 

“Recovery Elevator – You took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up.  You can do this.”  

 

1