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Recovery Elevator

It isn't a NO to alcohol, but a YES to a better life! Best selling author Paul Churchill, along with Kristopher Oyen interview people who have stepped away from alcohol in their own lives. Each week this podcast does a deep dive into an exploration of what a booze free life might look like from various perspectives and opinions.  If you are sick and tired of alcohol making you sick and tired, we invite you to listen to Recovery Elevator. Check out what an alcohol free life can look like as others share their own stories of sobriety. If you are sober curious, newly sober, supporting a loved one or living your best life already in recovery, then you are in the right place. This podcast addresses what to do if you’re addicted to alcohol, or if you think you’re an alcoholic. Other topics include, does moderate drinking work, does addiction serve a purpose, what happens to the brain when we quit drinking, should you track sobriety time, is A.A. right for you, spirituality, and more. Similar to other recovery podcasts like This Naked Mind, the Shair Podcast, and the Recovered Podcast, Paul and Kris discuss a topic and then interview someone who has ditched the booze.
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Now displaying: 2021
Dec 27, 2021

Episode 358 – Don’t Forget to Sing Your Song

 

Today we have Randy.  He is 43, from Indianapolis, and took his last drink on December 30, 2016.

 

Registration is now open for Restore which begins January 1,2022.   https://www.recoveryelevator.com/restore/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

This week’s tips from Paul include:  1) not everyone drinks, 2) sing, 3) give yourself a hug and say I love you.

 

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world and change is hard.  Find your song, that melody in your soul that is uniquely you that you sing over and over. You are the master creator of your life. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/meditations/

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com Code:  RE20

                                                                             

[9:27] Randy has been sober for nearly 5 years.  He is married with 4 kids and loves animals and running.

 

Randy was on episode 129.  Randy was in the restaurant business, and he was always surrounded by people who drank.  Toward the end, the hangovers and anxiety began to take a toll on him. 

 

Drinking was a reward for Randy.  Today, Randy doesn’t have to think about drinking.  He isn’t spending money on alcohol.  Now he can afford season tickets to the Colt’s game.  He doesn’t have to think about getting there or getting back, because he is sober. 

 

Randy is now methodical vs living on instant gratification.  He is more approachable and he loves giving service to others.

 

Initially watching football was really hard for Randy, because the sport was so engrained with alcohol.  Now he enjoys games more than ever.  

 

Kris’s Summary

Kris speaks to the term chosen family.  Kris’ recovery family wants him to be successful and free.   They take him at his best and his worst.  They laugh together, cry together, dance and walk the path together.  We need to open up, be vulnerable and let others love us until we learn to love ourselves.  You can do this. 

 

Sponsor: Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

Holiday 2021 AF Survival Guide

  •  
  • Stock up on your favorite AF beverages or another type of treat.
  • Begin a new healthy practice that you enjoy.
  • Develop a detailed craving game plan.
  • FOMO to JOMO - Pick an upcoming event and sit it out.
  • Select a Holiday Theme Song.
  • Pick your Thanksgiving beverage of choice and enjoy
  • One minute of intense mindfulness
  • Sticky Note - Write a reminder, affirmation, or goal on a sticky note and place it somewhere where you’ll see it each day
  • Have a fun escape plan
  • Offer to do the dishes
  • Study your why’s
  • Rest
  • Uno reverse card
  • Remind yourself you are safe
  • Play the tape forward
  • Treat yourself to a gift
  • Take 3 deep breaths

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Dec 20, 2021

Episode 357 – Practice Saying No

 

Today we have Jenn.  She is 34, from Michigan, and took her last drink on April 10, 2020.

 

Registration is now open for Restore which begins January 1,2022.   https://www.recoveryelevator.com/restore/.  AF Ukulele course starts 2/5/22 at 3 PM EST. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/ukulele/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul talks about the parameters for success.  There’s an unhealthy paradigm in the sobriety world that it’s all a bust if we drink once. While continuous sobriety is the ultimate goal,  getting there is never pretty, and most likely is launched off a series of relapses or field research.  If you are drinking less than you did last holiday season, that’s a huge improvement. 

 

This week’s tips from Paul include:  1) say no, 2) practice saying no, 3) create your own pep talk.

 

Sometimes the desire to stop drinking only swirls in our thoughts.  Don’t underestimate the power of thought.  Our thoughts are powerful.  They create our world.  Immediately discard the thoughts that don’t align with your goals.  Deconstruct them and become aware of thoughts that are not congruent with what you want and need in life.  Use the thinking mind for creation and visualization.  Visualize that you no longer drink.  Repeat it, say it out loud and repeat it again.  What you put in is what you get back.   https://www.recoveryelevator.com/meditations/

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com Code:  RE20

                                                                             

[12;43] Jenn took her last drink April 10, 2020.  She has a husband, two children and loves hiking, being in nature and spending time with her family. 

 

Jenn said from her first sip of alcohol she felt some inner peace.  Her first black out was at age 14.  She started off with a bang and got in plenty of trouble.  She experienced some trauma and started to use alcohol as her coping mechanism. She had suicidal ideations and started cutting.  She drank a 5th a night.  Before she turned 21, she added cocaine. 

 

She was a functioning alcoholic through her twenties and early thirties.  In her thirties, her drinking took on a dark shift.  She was suicidal and she knew that she had to save herself and get some help.  Jenn had to be brutally honest with herself.  She was asking the wrong people for help.  Her internal and external worlds were completely opposed. 

 

Jenn had multiple attempts at sobriety.  She worked with a therapist for two years and real change began.  The accountability of Café RE reinforced her commitment to sobriety.  She is now a recovery coach. 

 

Odette’s Summary

Odette reminds us that change starts with us.  If you are waiting for things to change, for people to change, for life to change, you may be waiting for a long time. Recovery is our responsibility. Everything that we wish to see in others needs to start with us. Be the person you wish everyone around you was and see how life can change.

 

“I really think the secret to being loved is to love. And the secret to being interesting is being interested. And the secret to having a friend is being a friend.”

 

Sponsor: Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

Holiday 2021 AF Survival Guide

  •  
  • Stock up on your favorite AF beverages or another type of treat.
  • Begin a new healthy practice that you enjoy.
  • Develop a detailed craving game plan.
  • FOMO to JOMO - Pick an upcoming event and sit it out.
  • Select a Holiday Theme Song.
  • Pick your Thanksgiving beverage of choice and enjoy
  • One minute of intense mindfulness
  • Sticky Note - Write a reminder, affirmation, or goal on a sticky note and place it somewhere where you’ll see it each day
  • Have a fun escape plan
  • Offer to do the dishes
  • Study your why’s
  • Rest
  • Uno reverse card
  • Remind yourself you are safe
  • Play the tape forward
  • Treat yourself to a gift
  • Take 3 deep breaths

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Dec 13, 2021

Episode 356 – Play the Tape Forward

 

Today we have Ashley.  She is 35 from Orange County, CA, and took her last drink on January 7, 2006.

 

Registration is now open for Restore, which begins January 1, 2022.   https://www.recoveryelevator.com/restore/

Café RE:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul encourages you to check in with yourself about your feelings about your AF journey.  There are more recovery modalities than ever.  Keep searching for the one that works for you.  This week’s tips are:  Play the tape forward.  Treat yourself to a gift.  Take three deep breaths into the lower lobes of the lung. 

 

Drinking served a purpose for you initially.  Alcohol suppresses your inner turmoil: It gives you a sense of calm.  As you continue to suppress those voices, they grow louder, and you must drink more to make those feelings go away.  If you continue to override your internal guidance system, you live life truly blind, and nothing of significance takes place.  When do the miracles of sobriety occur?  Day 1, day 500?  It’s up to you to find out.  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/meditations/

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com Code:  RE20

 

[12:45] Ashley took her last drink on January 7, 2006.  She is married, has twin boys, and in 2010 co-founded an SV start-up that offers online outpatient addiction treatment.  She has a podcast called the courage to change.  https://www.lionrock.life/couragetochangepodcast  She is finishing her MBA, loves yoga, the outdoors, reading and comedy.  Since she got sober at 19, she has been revisiting fun at her current stage of life.

 

Ashley’s first drink was a beer she stole from her parents’ fridge, and it took her a week to finish it.  She felt like she was born with her skin too tight and always believed she was too much.  She tried to make herself into what others wanted her to be.

 

Ashley hired alcohol and drugs to do a job for her to make her feel okay and want to be on the planet.  By age 14, she was addicted to cocaine.  Through a boyfriend, she got addicted to heroin.   She was sent to several lockdown programs that were popular in early 2000.  She couldn’t stay sober in treatment.  She would create disasters, leave, and change treatment centers.  She eventually left treatment and decided to drink instead of doing drugs. 

 

In 2006 she started going to AA meetings, listening, and letting go of her old ideas, which was hard to do.  Her life became different when she let others help her and did what they said.  She went to college, had relationships, and started a company. 

Instagram: @sobermomsquad ; https://www.lionrockrecovery.com/

 

Ashley went to meetings four days a week in early sobriety and participated in the fellowship.  Ashley did not heal her trauma in 12-step; therapy was essential for Ashley to do the work.  A young people’s AA group in So CA allowed her to meet some great young people, and they partied without the alcohol.   She has been reinventing her recovery since having children. 

 

Odette’s Summary

Where do I feel safe enough to be my best calm self?

 

Sponsor: Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

Holiday 2021 AF Survival Guide

  •  
  • Stock up on your favorite AF beverages or another type of treat.
  • Begin a new healthy practice that you enjoy.
  • Develop a detailed craving game plan.
  • FOMO to JOMO - Pick an upcoming event and sit it out.
  • Select a Holiday Theme Song.
  • Pick your Thanksgiving beverage of choice and enjoy
  • One minute of intense MINDFULNESS
  • Sticky Note - Write a reminder, affirmation, or goal on a sticky note and place it somewhere where you’ll see it each day
  • Have a fun escape plan
  • Offer to do the dishes
  • Study your why’s
  • Play the tape forward
  • Buy yourself a gift
  • Take three deep breaths

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Dec 6, 2021

Episode 355 – the Uno reverse card.

 

Today we have Rocio.  She is 42, from Washington state, and took her last drink on August 31, 2020.

 

Registration is now open for Restore which begins January 1,2022.   https://www.recoveryelevator.com/restore/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul reminds you if you drank over Thanksgiving or your sobriety plans aren’t going so hot, don’t kick the bucket to January or to the next holiday season. 

 

This week’s tips from Paul include:  1) rest, 2) Uno reverse card – remember that most criticisms and judgments have nothing to do with you, 3) remind yourself that you are physically safe.  Much of our addiction is tied to an overactive nervous system that prevents us from departing from the fight or flight emotions.

 

When we’re drinking, there is no time left to create, to explore, to discover, to get to know, or reflect upon. Instead, we are picking up the pieces, sometimes trying to put the pieces together from the night before. Much of this behavior is the body seeking safety and refuge from situations that may have occurred decades ago. Relax and let your inner guidance take over.   https://www.recoveryelevator.com/meditations/

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com Code:  RE20

                                                                             

[11:29] Rocio took her last drink August 31, 2020.  Rocio is married with three sons and lives in Edmonds, WA.  Rocio had an abusive marriage and had the courage to leave her marriage.  Her drinking wasn’t a huge issue until the last 6 years.  As her kids started to grow, she became part of the mommy wine culture and alcohol was part of everything from sports events to PTA meetings and family gatherings. 

 

She noticed she was starting to plan around events.   Her husband was concerned, and always approached her with an attitude of help.  Rocio didn’t have a turn-off switch and she had some self-sabotaging characteristics.  She described that hamster wheel of parenthood, work, and fun.  Alcohol helped her numb. 

 

Breaking her hip at a bike race became a turning point.  She didn’t stop drinking but had to learn to walk again and the recovery took a year.  Rocio was sober curious and did several dry January’s.  During a family vacation, she had some great insights about the role alcohol played in her family including some questions from her son.  About six months into sobriety, she started to get real clarity on her relationships and how she thinks.  Connection, accountability, quit lit, boundaries and self-care were great tools.  Her marriage is amazing, and she has great support. 

 

Odette’s Summary

Odette reminds us to protect our energy during the holiday season.  Give yourself permission to take care of you. 

 

Sponsor: Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

Holiday 2021 AF Survival Guide

  •  
  • Stock up on your favorite AF beverages or another type of treat.
  • Begin a new healthy practice that you enjoy.
  • Develop a detailed craving game plan.
  • FOMO to JOMO - Pick an upcoming event and sit it out.
  • Select a Holiday Theme Song.
  • Pick your Thanksgiving beverage of choice and enjoy
  • One minute of intense mindfulness
  • Sticky Note - Write a reminder, affirmation, or goal on a sticky note and place it somewhere where you’ll see it each day
  • Have a fun escape plan
  • Offer to do the dishes
  • Study your why’s
  • Rest
  • Uno reverse card
  • Remind yourself you are safe

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Nov 29, 2021

Episode 354

 

Today we have Cordell.  He is 38, from North Dakota, and took his last drink on December 6, 2017.

 

Highlights from Odette

 

Odette has some helpful hints to contribute to Paul’s Holiday Survival Guide.  Odette suggests 1) have a fun escape plan, 2) offer to do the dishes, 3) dig into your arsenal of why’s.

 

Beyond tips, Odette suggests really focusing on effective communications.  Set expectations in advance, particularly with those closest to you so they understand you are committed to staying sober, even if it means leaving early.  You don’t have to burn the ships either, you can reference plans early the next day.  Odette says having a puppy is a great reason to leave a party early. 

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com Code:  RE20

 

[6:05] Cordell took his last drink December 6, 2017.  He is 38 and has a wife and 3 kids.  He spends lots of time chasing kids and he works in a coal mine.  Sobriety is the best choice he ever made.

 

Cordell was raised in a Christian family with lots of family gatherings in a small town with lots of alcohol.  Taking a sip of his parents’ drink was common.  In high school, alcohol was a given, part of the norm.  Cordell didn’t drink to have fun; he drank to get wasted.  He started working as a welder and drinking was part of the routine.

 

At 22 he decided he needed help.  He smoked pot and took other drugs, and it had a spiraling effect.  He went to a 30-day Intensive Outpatient program.  He was sober for almost a year and decided he had it under control.  He would drink 1-2 beers at a party and “drink responsibly”. 

 

At 24, his girlfriend was pregnant.  He wasn’t ready to be a father and his drinking really took off.   He lost his job, his friends, his car and was at rock bottom.  He met his son for the first time when he was 3 months old.  Meeting his son encouraged him to clean up his act a bit.  He quit taking drugs but continued to drink.  He moved in with his girlfriend, got a job and maintained as a functioning alcoholic.  His daughter was born two years later.  Almost immediately after his daughter was born, his girlfriend was pregnant again.   

 

Cordell was often put in jail for fighting with his girlfriend.  He eventually got a job at the coal mine.  He and his girlfriend got married.  His drinking slowed, but extra income became an opportunity to start taking drugs again.  He was fired after a random drug screen.  His drinking and using escalated and his wife kicked him out.  He moved in with a buddy who was also drinking and drugging. 

 

Ultimately, he went to rehab.  The withdrawal was hell, but he found new tools to have fun, and started to surround himself with healthy people.  Now he coaches wrestling, volleyball and is actively engaged with his kids.  He talks to his sponsor daily and he has learned how to apologize. 

 

Kris’s Summary

Kris reminds us our path isn’t linear.  He speaks about binging on feelings and emotions.  He is physically and emotionally exhausted.  Kris encourages us to shift our thinking an reframe recovery as a gift.  We learn how to feel and sit with our feelings, know they aren’t permanent and move forward.  Stick with it!

 

Sponsor: Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

Holiday 2021 AF Survival Guide

  •  
  • Stock up on your favorite AF beverages or another type of treat.
  • Begin a new healthy practice that you enjoy.
  • Develop a detailed craving game plan.
  • FOMO to JOMO - Pick an upcoming event and sit it out.
  • Select a Holiday Theme Song.
  • Pick your Thanksgiving beverage of choice and enjoy
  • One minute of intense MINDFULNESS
  • Sticky Note - Write a reminder, affirmation, or goal on a sticky note and place it somewhere where you’ll see it each day
  • Have a fun escape plan
  • Offer to do the dishes
  • Study your why’s

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Nov 22, 2021

Episode 353 – It’s a Week to be Thankful

 

Today we have Jan.  She is from Connecticut and took her last drink on February 1, 2021.

 

  • Restore – intensive on-online dry January 15 session course. Registration opens 12/1/21.
  • Costa Rica starts January 15. Email kate@recoveryelevator.com to get on waiting list.
  • AF Sober Ukulele (8 week) course starts 2/5/2022. Registration opens January 7th.
  • Denver Retreat (3/31 – 4/2) Register: https://www.recoveryelevator.com/denver/

 

Café RE donated $15,094.73 to organizations and non-profits geared towards helping those affected by addiction.

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul is encouraging listeners to develop a game plan for the holidays.  Last week he encouraged us to: 1) create a detailed craving plan, 2) turn FOMO into JOMO by saying no and, 3) pick a holiday theme song.

 

Paul shares that when we make the decision to not drink, an unbelievable amount of energy is released. This is less about staying away from alcohol and more about creating a life that doesn’t require alcohol. When we’re drinking there is no space mentally for this new life.

 

This week Paul encourages us to:  1) select a Thanksgiving AF beverage, 2) schedule one minute of intense mindfulness and, 3) sticky note – write a reminder, goal or affirmation and put it somewhere you can see it.   

 

Remember what the holiday is all about, being grateful for all the gifts we have including the adversity that inspired us to go alcohol free.  Paul’s pep talks can be found here:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/meditations/

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com Code:  RE20

 

[14:34] Jan took her last drink 2/1/2021.  She is 71 years old and has a son.  She is a massage therapist, health coach, dog sitter and loves hiking, audiobooks, and photography.

 

Jan started drinking went she went to school overseas in Italy.  It was part of the culture. She drank and experimented with drugs through college.  She had serious health consequences because of her drinking.  She worked at several resorts and met her husband who loved to drink.    Jan went to AA and stayed sober for four years.  She returned to drinking for twenty years.

 

She struggled with mental health issues, anxiety, and panic attacks.   She spent a lot of time in psychiatric hospitals and was encouraged not to drink.  Jan went to 4 or 5 different treatment centers.  The tipping point came when her son pushed her to quit.  Jan pretended to take Antabuse in front of her son and maintaining the facade was exhausting.  A friend of her son’s recommended Café RE; the connection she found within Café RE was very helpful. 

 

Jan loves “We are the Luckiest” by Laura McKowen and recalls hearing, “find a room that works and stick with it,” and that resonated for her.  She steers clear of situations where people are drinking alcohol.  The obsession has lifted. 

 

Odette’s Summary

Odette reflects on Café Re’s recent regionals event.  The theme was acceptance.  Odette reads a beautiful passage from Melody Beattie about acceptance.  https://melodybeattie.com/acceptance-2/ 

 

 

Sponsor: Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

Holiday 2021 AF Strategy Guide

  •  
  • Stock up on your favorite AF beverages or another type of treat.
  • Begin a new healthy practice that you enjoy.
  • Develop a detailed craving game plan.
  • FOMO to JOMO - Pick an upcoming event and sit it out.
  • Select a Holiday Theme Song.
  • Pick your Thanksgiving beverage of choice and enjoy
  • One minute of intense MINDFULNESS
  • Sticky Note - Write a reminder, affirmation, or goal on a sticky note and place it somewhere where you’ll see it each day

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Nov 15, 2021

Episode 352 – Allow the deeper you to emerge

 

Today we have Kendall.  He is 30, from Texas, and took his last drink on March 13, 2021.

 

Paul shares some personal insights on the growth of Recovery Elevator.

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul resumes the discussion about having a game plan for the holidays.  He reminds us that alcohol can have catastrophic effects.

 

A recap from last week:  1) Accountability, 2) Stock up on AF beverages, 3) Begin a new healthy practice that you enjoy.  Paul introduces three additional concepts: 1) Develop a cravings plan and get specific, 2) JOMO – find something this holiday season to say “no” to and savor the new boundary, 3) Pick your holiday theme song. 

 

When you begin the journey in a life without alcohol, an incredible thing begins to take place.  You get to experience a transformation that allows the deeper you to emerge.  You get to know yourself, your true and authentic self, your needs, wants, desires and more. Paul encourages us to listen to the inner voice and the guidance it provides to tell us what we need, when we need it and how to get it.  Our inner voice will help us to fully live a human life with all its ups and downs.  When we are true to our authentic selves, we get to embrace the full palette of human emotions, we learn to stand up for ourselves and learn to create a life that no longer involves alcohol. 

 

Listen to the pep talk segment  here:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/meditations/

  

Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

[10:11] Kendall took his last drink 3/13/2021.  He is 30 years old and has a young daughter and enjoys skate boarding.  Kendall started drinking at age 14.  He smoked, drank, and hung out with his friends.  He didn’t drink frequently, but every time he did, he got very drunk. 

 

Kendall’s sober journey began NYE 2019 when he was going through his divorce.  He didn’t want to be “that guy” who drowned himself in alcohol.  He thought he was healed at 50 days.  He was out of control.  His drinking escalated dramatically.   He would quit for a day, but he was having fun.  At some point he reflected on his behavior.  His ex-wife sent him pictures of empty bottles she found in the house.  Kendall realized he was resentful at his wife for not letting him drink the way he wanted to.  Kendall hid his drinking.  He used it as an outlet to escape his depression. 

 

Odette found Kendall through his participation in the Café RE roll call.  She watched him start to count days.  In April 2020, Kendall found RE.  He was in lockdown and still drinking daily.  Kendall connected with Paul’s energy on the RE podcast.  He tricked himself through several day ones and eventually he hit a day 3, then a day 7, then a day 27.  He used the term, “field research” as a pass to drink.  Publicly posting on his social media helped him gain accountability and receive love.

 

Kendall’s skating friends are incredibly supportive of his sobriety.  They have come to his house when he was having cravings.    Now Kendall is more emotionally aware.  Kendall’s cravings are nostalgia cravings.  His slip-ups have created a strong foundation for him to stay sober.  Dating is hard because everybody wants to meet for a drink.  He was falling apart one day, and he got support from his community and they helped him through.

 

Odette’s Summary

If you are on the struggle bus right now, hold on!  Bad days and low emotions are part of the journey.  Just when you are completely overwhelmed and spiraling, you will have a normal day.   Emotions do level out and the intensity dissipates.  Hold on!  Know that you will turn a corner soon.  Reach out for help.  Slow and steady wins the race.

 

Sponsor: Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events Emo

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Nov 8, 2021

Episode 351 – Strength and Courage

 

Today we have Tom.  He is 47, from Bozeman, MT, and took his last drink on September 24, 2019.

 

Café RE’s annual on-line conference called Regionals starts Friday 11/12-13/2021.  This is a Café RE members’ only free event.  This will include yoga, sound healing, meditations, and breakout rooms.  Go to:

www.recoveryelevator.com promo code: opportunity for more info.

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul shares some helpful hints from listeners to develop a game plan for the holidays.   There are 54 days left in 2021 and Paul is encouraging you to start now with your plan to ditch the booze. 

 

1)  Accountability – get an accountability partner.  Café RE members’ email: info@recoveryelevator.com with your name, age, location, male or female, and date of last drink and KMac will get you paired.  If you are going somewhere for a holiday gathering, let the host know you won’t be drinking and ask them not to offer you any alcohol. 2) Stock up and treat yourself to AF beverages (+chocolate +ice cream). 3) Begin a new healthy practice that you enjoy, so your focus isn’t on what you are giving up, but on doing more of something you enjoy.

 

Paul reminds us to practice new habits including listening to music when you get triggered. Listen to some of Paul’s favorites here:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/meditations/

 

If you find yourself overwhelmed with getting or staying sober, remind yourself that up until this moment, everything has worked out just fine. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Nobody does. Your job is to keep moving forward and making progress. But not aimlessly. When we remove alcohol, we also remove the veil of illusion. At first this is lonely and scary. This allows us to be more authentic. Give this life reboot some time. Trust me. Trust yourself.

 

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[11:52] Tom took his last drink on September 24, 2019.  He is 47, a surgical nurse and is married with two kids.  He loves fly fishing, snowboarding, running, live music, hiking cooking, playing guitar and yo yo’s.

 

Tom came from a long history of drinkers. Tom was a victim of sexual assault and bullying.  He didn’t drink regularly until late high school/early college.  He described never feeling comfortable in his own skin.  Drinking helped him overcome that discomfort.  Tom’s drinking ramped up in college.  He also smoked pot and was never a normal drinker. 

 

At age 30, Tom made a career change and went to nursing school with the goal of being a family man.  He became a surgical nurse and has been in the field ever since.  After moving to Bozeman, the effects of years of drinking started to take their toll.  He drank to black out, drank and drove and hid his drinking.  He quit once on his own for two months, then drank for another five years.  After a difficult conversation with his wife, he quit drinking the next day. 

 

Tom described living a double life because his behavior at work and at home were completely different. 

 

Tom leveraged AA to help him quit drinking for good.  He went to meetings daily, got a sponsor, embraced spirituality, worked the steps, and did what he was told. 

 

Tom can be himself now.  He loves his job; has become a leader and he is no longer depressed.  His marriage and his relationship with his children is better.  He is making new friends and repairing old relationships. 

 

Odette’s Summary

Odette discusses moving toward your values to give you a new framework to evaluate your life and your sobriety.

 

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Nov 1, 2021

Episode 350 – What’s up holidays?

 

Today we have Blazik.  He is 28, from Kansas, and took his last drink on July 25,2021.

 

Café RE’s annual on-line conference called Regionals starts 11/12-13/2021.  This is a Café RE members’ only free event.  This will include yoga, sound healing, meditations, and breakout rooms.  Go to  www. Recoveryelevator.com promo code: opportunity for more info.

 

Café RE just made a $5149 donation to the McShin Foundation.  10% of all Café RE monthly memberships go towards a nonprofit geared towards helping those affected by addiction. The McShin Foundation  helps those struggling with addiction get access to detox facilities, sober living, transitional recovery houses and more. https://mcshin.org/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul addresses the gauntlet of challenges coming up in the next sixty days, specifically Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  The holidays often spike anxiety.  Paul suggests it’s time to create a game plan to enjoy your first of many AF holidays. 

 

Challenges create opportunities.  There is an opportunity to rewrite the script and create a new norm for the holidays.    There are opportunities for self-love, self-reflection, self-care and putting the self aside.  There are also opportunities for connection.  Building deeper human connections requires us to exercise our vulnerability muscles.  This is an opportunity to be less reactive, go with the flow and practice mindfulness.  It is also a great time to be of service and give without expecting anything in return.  It is an opportunity to set boundaries with yourself, your loved ones, and people in the supermarket.  There is also an opportunity of the unknown, a time of repose and perhaps a chance to address loneliness.

 

Paul believes you can do this.  It starts with how you view it.  Simply reframing challenges to opportunities is a great start.  Lean in on this podcast, Café RE or whatever it takes so you do not go through this alone.  Willpower is not enough to stay sober.  Paul will provide more tools to help you build a game plan. This year is your opportunity to enjoy sober holidays. 

 

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[9:47] Blazik took his last drink on July 25, 2021.  He is 28, single and has his own podcast.  He makes videos, music and is learning the guitar.  He spends a lot of time burning energy with his dog so he can enjoy down time. 

 

Blazik experienced anxiety through his childhood.  He was high performing as an athlete and homecoming king.  He acted like the person he wanted to be but was filled with anxiety.  He drank to overcome anxiety and drinking made the feeling go away temporarily.  Alcohol made him feel and act the way he wanted to.  From age 17-27 he drank daily. 

 

The effects of alcohol began to take their toll on him physically.   He woke up regularly at 2-3AM with heart palpitations or anxiety attacks.  He couldn’t overcome the fatigue without drinking again. He listened to several episodes of the RE podcast and decided to explore not drinking.  He went 38 days on his first attempt to get sober.  He drank again and found himself drinking when he didn’t want to, but he had to feel like himself.  He loved the instant fix.

 

Blazik says that concerts, vibing and dancing are still fun AF, and you can remember the event!  He is really enjoying learning to be present.  He loves looking and stars and listening to music.  He has learned that he doesn’t need alcohol to be creative or to make music. 

 

Kris’s Summary

 

Kris talks about control and rejection.  If he lives for the approval of others, he will die from their rejection, and exhausted from the chase.  He is working on being authentically himself and that he is enough. 

 

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Oct 25, 2021

Episode 349 – The Inner Voice.

 

Today we have Tara.  She is 37, from Canada, and took her last drink on February 20, 2019.

 

Café RE’s annual on-line conference called Regionals starts 11/12-13/2021.  This is a Café Re members only free event. This will include yoga, sound healing, meditation, and break outs rooms.  Go to:  www.recoveryelevator.com promo code: opportunity.

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul talks about his inner voice and how it failed him as he was trying to stack days in early sobriety.  Inner narration can tell you in your own voice that it is okay to drink.  It’s a subconscious voice.  Paul advises that the first step is to be aware of the voice.  Then you need to create distance between that voice and the first drink.  Inner narration isn’t you, it’s a bundle of thoughts.  Over time, you can let the space build between the thought and the drink so you can change your thinking.  Gaze at the stars, look up and take a breath. 

 

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[10:37] Odette welcomes Tara

 

Tara took her last drink February 20, 2019.  She lives in Montreal and has learned to enjoy life – everything she does is for fun.  She is a voice actress and podcaster.

 

Tara described her relationship with alcohol as a product of self-loathing and rejecting herself.  She took her first drink at 12. She was well adjusted and had her needs met at the time.  She didn’t drink again until 15 when she was unhappy, depressed and feeling alienated.  Alcohol filled a need to replace herself.  A major shift happened when she was 18 and she took her drinking to another level – drinking in the morning and drinking alone.  Alcohol became her primary relationship until she got sober.  Alcohol was linked with everything she did.  She had a lot of self-pity and thought the world was against her.  She felt like she belonged at the bottom.  Pain felt normal, like home. 

 

Tara went to 12 different inpatient rehabs.  She would start to feel better and didn’t know how to deal with feeling better.  Learning to care for herself emotionally was a big challenge.  Even some basic tasks were a challenge.  She escaped through relationships with men or would obsess about her looks to avoid facing herself. 

 

She took pride in not being a good person.  She became a villain in her own story.  She put her family and friends through a lot.  She relapsed frequently and made false promises to herself and other people.  She is amazed her family is still supporting her recovery.  During her last stay in rehab, she was there for 12 days and had to leave because she had been so many times.  Post rehab she went through the motions and went to meetings, got a sponsor, and did the things she was told to do without running the show.   Her parents breathalyzed her which helped her become accountable. 

 

Early recovery was a challenge.  Tara felt like a fraud and didn’t have confidence in her own ability not to relapse.  Her brain was in a constant frenzy, and she had a partner who was struggling with addiction.  She felt privileged to be able to do full time recovery for several months.   She has learned to have a sense of humor about cravings or crazy thoughts.   She focuses now on how she shows up in the world.  She has expanded her spiritual practice and is learning to be consistent.  Tara has learned to enjoy her own company.  Her goal is to show up in her life in a way she can be proud of every day.

 

Odette’s Summary

What does bravery mean to you?  You can choose to ride or not ride a roller-coaster. The brave choice is the one that rings true to you; the choice that aligns with your values, inner knowing and truth.  Choosing to live an alcohol-free life is a huge act of bravery.  Sobriety can be lonely, but bravery means standing up for yourself and advocating yourself, even when peers may pressure you to do otherwise. 

 

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Oct 18, 2021

Episode 348 – We don’t plug in.

 

Today we have Kerry.  She is 31, from Philadelphia, and took her last drink on January 2,2021.

 

Recovery Elevator is going to be Denver Colorado at the Hilton Garden inn at Union Station.  New Dates: March 31 – April 2.   Register: https://www.recoveryelevator.com/denver/

 

Paul will be teaching a ukulele 101 course in February 2022.  https://recoveryelevator.com/events

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Humans don’t plug in like a phone with a charger, however we do recharge.  In the 21st century we are pulled in many different directions.  Addictions are adaptive behaviors that manifest in unhealthy, stressful environments, especially when we are running on empty.

 

Paul offers some practical ways for us to recharge including go barefoot on the earth/grass, eat live foods 2x a day, eat less frequently, sleep more, nap, read a good book, socialize with other sober people, get out in nature, do something that brings you joy, and JOMO (joy of missing out) – skip those stressful events.  Recharging takes practice.  Remind yourself that it is a gift you are giving yourself.

 

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[11:30] Odette welcomes Kerry

 

Kerry took her last drink January 2, 2021.  She is a registered dietician, is married and has two cats.  Her side hustle includes several books and mocktails.  See: https://thesoberdietitians.com/  Instagram:thesoberdieticians

 

Kerry didn’t start drinking until college.   She did drink wine.   She was given an opportunity to write a mocktail book with her friend, Diana for pregnant women.  As with many, her drinking increased in 2020.  She was drinking daily.

 

Kerry read a lot  about the rise of alcohol use during the pandemic.  She and her friend, Diana were writing their 2nd book and began linking alcohol and health.  Kerry started looking at her own relationship with alcohol.  She completed a 30-day AF challenge.  She returned to drinking but drank mindfully.  She and Diana completed another 30-day challenge together.  They explored several AF options.  Diana quit drinking entirely and Kerry’s drinking diminished.  Kerry celebrated a friend’s engagement with champagne and that was her last drink.  She learned so much about alcohol as an author and realized she didn’t need alcohol anymore. 

 

Kerry didn’t love the feeling that came with drinking alcohol.  She realized that she couldn’t accomplish as much when she was hungover.  She also realized how prevalent alcohol is on TV or in movies.  We normalize problematic drinking.

 

She and her husband have enjoyed taking the sober curious journey together.  She misses red wine and pumpkin beer and hasn’t found a great AF alternative to either yet.   She is tempted to return to drinking, but her current plan is to stay AF.  She served AF options including a signature mocktail at her wedding. 

 

Kerry has become aware that ethanol is a carcinogen and has become more mindful about the ramifications of drinking while pregnant.  She is concerned that we promote red wine as being heart healthy when we can’t measure how much of the antioxidants enter the body.  She has made great connections with the sober and sober curious people on social media.

 

Odette’s Summary

Odette has been sober for nearly three years.  She recognizes she is imposing a fair number of expectations on herself specific to what her recovery should look like.  She encourages us not to beat ourselves up.  Use the tools that are working for you.

 

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Oct 11, 2021

Episode 347 – Can you heal in the same environment you became sick?

 

Today we have Frank.  He is 42, from Omaha, and took his last drink on May 22,2021.

 

Recovery Elevator is going to be Denver Colorado at the Hilton Garden inn at Union Station April 14th- 17th.  Registration goes live this Friday, October 15th. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/denver/

 

Highlights from Paul

Can you heal in the same environment you became sick in?  Yes, but you can’t use the same consciousness or thinking that got you into the mess in the first place.  There is a line that goes, when you quit drinking you don’t have to change much, you have to change everything.  The key is, not all at once.  Paul describes three critical changes:  awareness, boundaries and staying in the body (don’t disassociate). 

 

You are gaining strength.  Adversity makes you stronger.  You are healing and as you heal, those around you will heal as well.

 

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[10:38] Odette welcomes Frank

 

Frank to his last drink May 22, 2021.  He is married with two children, and he works in medical staffing.  He is a foodie, loves sports and playing guitar.

 

Frank started drinking in high school.  It was a rite of passage at the time.  He never had an off switch and could always outdrink everyone else.  His tolerance increased.   In his mid 30’s he noticed the hangovers getting worse and he was eating shame meals.  By his 40’s the hangovers lasted two days and it wasn’t fun.

 

Frank was never a violent drunk. He was a raging jerk during recovery because he felt so terrible.  His hangovers became progressively worse.  He could barely get water down.  Frank was good at covering up his drinking.  He was sober for 30 days a few years ago and celebrated with a drink.  His drinking progressed from there.  

 

Frank’s turning point came during his anniversary dinner when his withdrawal symptoms were so intense, he was shaking, sweating, felt faint and nauseous.   He knew something had to change; he wrote a four-page letter to his wife, spoke with his counselor, and found Recovery Elevator.    His Dad and his brother were good sources during early recovery as they are both in recovery.  Listening to podcasts and playing the tape forward helped.

 

Managing through sober “firsts” this year (college football, golf, concerts, 3-day weekends) has been a win. 

 

A self-described weekend warrior, Frank enjoyed the sensation of alcohol, but never drank to escape anything; he just wanted to fit in.  He used koozie cup holders to avoid questions from his drinking buddies.

 

He is now open about his recovery and his friends and family check in regularly and have let him know how proud they are of him.  He now observes others drinking to excess and is relieved he doesn’t have to do that anymore. 

 

Frank said his relationships are all positive.  He loves waking up rested and he appreciates the memories he is creating with his kids.  Frank and his wife are doing better. 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette reminds us, “we are doing this”.  Alcohol works until it doesn’t.  It dims the good and the bad.  Learning to stay present during uncomfortable moments give us an opportunity to grow. 

 

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Oct 4, 2021

Episode 346 – There is no manual

 

Today we have Kathryn.  She us 58, from North Dakota, and took her last drink on February 19, 2002.

 

Highlights from Odette

There is no manual for recovery. We have tools, guidance, but no guaranteed formula for success. Learning to manage that uncertainty can be challenging, but it's normal.   Be gentle with yourself and others.

 

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[07:18] Kris welcomes Kathryn Burgum, the First Lady of North Dakota.  Kathryn has over 19 years of sobriety. 

 

Kathryn’s first drink was at age 8.  There was lots of alcohol in her household and her parents were regular drinkers.    In high school, Kathryn struggled with anxiety and depression;  drinking was her nirvana because it gave her some relief. She had her first blackout in high school, and they continued for twenty years. 

 

Kathryn experienced many consequences due to her drinking; the loss of self-respect was at the top of her list.  Getting a DUI pushed her to begin recovery. 

 

Kathryn made several deals with herself about regulating her drinking. She never kept those promises, because if she thought about drinking, she did.   The only choice she had was to start drinking ….  In the end, she lost the choice about drinking.

 

As Kathryn’s drinking progressed, she was hung over every day.  She was unable to control her drinking.  When asked if she should be driving, she would respond that she was fine, because she didn’t want people to think she had a problem with alcohol. 

 

Kathryn worked in HR and drug tested employees.  When she got a DUI, it was published in the local newspaper.  Someone blew it up and posted it at work.  The shame kept her from admitting her problem.  She didn’t want to ask for help because she was concerned about what others would think.  

 

Kathryn recognized she was suicidal almost every time she drank; she had undiagnosed depression.

 

As a result of her DUI, she had to undergo a mandatory evaluation and went to outpatient treatment that was unsuccessful.  She went to Mayo Clinic for ten days and stayed sober for two years.  Over a period of 8 years, she quit and relapsed several times. 

 

Kathryn’s turning point came when she was walking and asked, “Is there anybody out there?  If there is, I need help.”  She has been sober ever since.  Slowly recovery became her life.  She found a community, began feeling better, and engaged a recovery coach.  She credits recovery with saving her life. 

 

Kathryn now takes medication for her depression, reads meditations daily and connects with her God. 

 

When her husband, Gov. Doug Burgum, announced that he wanted to run for governor, she had some concerns. They had candid conversations about boundaries during the campaign. 

 

Kathryn made a conscious decision to talk about her recovery because of the opioid crisis and it became a platform she and her husband share.  Recovery Reinvented is an annual free conference.

 

Every week Kathryn has an opportunity to help someone who is struggling with addiction.  Helping others helps her stay sober.  After 8 years of relapse, she was losing hope.  Through faith she knows there is always hope for sobriety and recovery. 

 

Recovery Reinvented 2021 is on 10/25/21.  Register to attend in person or online.  www.recovery reinvented.com.  

 

Kris’s Summary

What could your voice do?  We don’t know the impact that comes with sharing our experience.  I’m over the stigma; I am here to grow.

 

First Lady Kathryn Burgum can be found: Facebook (@FirstLadyND & @RecoveryND), Twitter (@FirstLadyND & @Recovery_ND), and Instagram (@firstladynd). Prior Recovery Reinvented speakers, award recipients, and segments can be found at  www.youtube.com/recoveryreinvented.

 

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Sep 27, 2021

Episode 345– The Neuroscience of Addiction Part II

 

Today we have Stacy Jo, she is 34 years old, from Oregon and took her last drink on March 6, 2020. 

 

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul wants to know your interest in a alcohol-free Ukulele 101 course.  If you are interested please email info@recoveryelevator.com.

 

Paul provides part 2 of highlights of a podcast with Rich Roll speaking with Dr. Anna Lembke. Rich Roll Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jziP0CEgvOw. 

 

Dr. Lembke talks about how it’s a known fact that when we are in our addiction, we can’t accurately see the consequences or what’s taking place. With abstinence, we can look back and say, OH MY

 

The interview focuses a lot on dopamine and why addiction has been on the rise for 30 years.   Being smart or highly educated doesn’t make you immune to addiction, in fact, it might even backfire because you think you know everything.  More than 1/2 the world's deaths, under the age of 50, are attributable to addiction. Rates of alcoholism have gone up 50% for those aged 65 and up from the late 90’s to today and have gone up 80% in women. Traditionally the rates for alcoholics were 5:1 for men to women. With Millennials, it’s now 1:1. There are more burdens on women now than ever.

 

Dr. Lemke recommends a 30 day dopamine fast. But a huge warning of withdrawals for alcohol and benzodiazepines. How to do this? Well, we’ve got 345 episodes now on the HOW, but the trick is to go into the pain. Head into the storm (episode 341) and Forgive yourself.

 

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[12:41] Stacy Jo took her last drink on March 6, 2020.  She lives in Eugene, OR. with her partner of 15 years.  Her primary hobby is anything that has to do with yarn.  She has worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years until the pandemic hit, she recently was just at the University of Oregon. 

 

Around the age of 20, after a breakup and miscarriage, Stacy Jo feels there was a switch in her drinking.  That was the same time her service industry career normalized and it all went hand in hand.

 

In 2018 Stacy Jo started some serious attempts to quit drinking but it wasn’t until the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 that she was able to get good footing. 

 

Stacy Jo joined Café RE when she was around 4 months sober and says she did it as a reward for herself. 

 

She says her partner hated her drinking, and that it became a pretty big division between the two of them.  Stacy Jo also got a Driving While Ability Impaired (right below a DUI) when she was 28. 

 

She feels like she slept the 1st three months of sobriety.  She treated herself like a toddler and allowed herself to sleep and snack. 

 

Stacy Jo is grateful for the pandemic and her restaurant shutting down.  It allowed her to get away from the normalcy that is part of the service industry and to have the space to get on solid ground. 

 

She does not get cravings any longer, but says she is not so cocky to say that she won’t again.  

 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette reminds us that change starts with us.  Recovery is our responsibility. 

 

Remember you are not alone and together is always better. 

 

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Sep 20, 2021

Episode 344– The Neuroscience of Addiction

 

Today we have Bill.  He is 61, from Alabama, and took his last drink on April 29, 2021.

 

Events. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/events/   Ditch the Booze starts 9/21 at 8 PM EST.

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul provides part one of highlights of a podcast with Rich Roll speaking with Dr. Anna Lembke. Rich Roll Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jziP0CEgvOw. 

 

“Persons with severe addictions are among those contemporary prophets that we ignore to our own demise for they show us who we truly are.” Dr. Lembke says that drinking is not a choice but seeking help for an addiction is a choice. 

 

The interview focuses a lot on dopamine and why addiction has been on the rise for 30 years.  American society and economy are focused on an insatiable pursuit of pleasure.  Today’s marketers target the dopamine system; thus, we all struggle to find homeostasis.  Addiction can show up as alcohol, social media, food, etc.  Addiction is a low-grade discomfort we all have as humans.  She believes we are all wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain, which works in an environment of scarcity, not our current state of abundance. 

 

Paul reminds us we can’t study or think our way out of addiction.  Community is key!

 

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[11:43] Bill took his last drink on April 29, 2021.  He enjoys hiking, movies, sports, windsurfing, reading, and spending time with family and friends.    

 

Bill started drinking as a teenager.  He knew at spring break 30 years ago that he was a problem drinker.  He drank and got buzzed every five years but wasn’t addicted.  Thirty years later, Bill’s wife left, and he started drinking liqueur in the evening.  He slowly became addicted, and he drank every night. 

 

When Bill hit rock bottom, he found himself broke, living in an extended stay hotel.  He scraped the floor of his room and his car to get enough money to buy a few shots. 

 

In 2020, he joined Recovery Elevator and was a lurker until 2021.

 

Bill still has cravings and practices “doing 30 things” to keep him from drinking.  If the cravings continue, he goes to bed.  Loneliness is Bill’s biggest trigger.  Ice cream and cookies also get him through.

 

Bill said everything got better when he stopped drinking. He is back in the gym and loves waking up without a hangover. His medications work better.  The community of Café RE is crucial to Bill, and he is led and inspired by others in RE.  He loves being of service and is grateful to the suggestions of others that helped him when he wanted to drink.

 

Bill credits Tim Grover’s books, Relentless and Winning, with changing his mindset.  His takeaway was getting ‘obsessed’ with sobriety.  Meditation helps his anxiety and cravings.

 

A friend of Bill’s told him his greatest flaw was that he didn’t like himself.  He described how the “I suck” mentality brought him down.   Bill made considerable strides in self-love since he quit drinking. He listens to a podcast called Unbeatable Mind and has learned to say “I love you” to himself daily, over and over.  Bill believes having an accountability partner is critical to his success. 

 

Odette’s Summary

Odette shared about a Café RE member who shared at the Bozeman retreat.  The person said, ‘for a long time, I thought I didn’t matter, that my existence didn’t matter.  I recognize that I matter, I belong, and I can make an impact.’ 

 

Odette reminds us, we all matter.  We help each other become better and to heal.  We remind each other of our value.  The power of community is vital because it is rooted in love and non-judgment and a firm belief that we are whole.  We are whole, even when we stumble. 

 

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Sep 13, 2021

Episode 343 – A Brief History of Alcoholism and Treatment

 

Today we have Charlie.  He is 35, from Missouri and took his last drink on July 7, 2020.

 

Events. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/events/   Ditch the Booze 9/21 ; Regionals 11/12-14; Costa Rica (1/15-23).  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/costarica/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Addiction is a modern phenomenon.  Alcohol has been around for centuries.  Early “treatment” of alcoholics included being jailed, tortured, and often executed for being possessed by demons.  As treatment has evolved, we are moving toward FLOW states.  Our mental energies are redirected from addiction toward creating healthier neural connections.  In the 1930’s, alcoholism was classified as a fatal medical condition.  In 1935 Bill W co-founded AA.  In 1949 the Hazelden Foundation was born, thus creating our modern-day rehab and treatment structures. https://www.cornerstoneofrecovery.com/a-history-of-addiction-and-addiction-treatment/

 

Fortunately, people are recovering from alcoholism because the stigma is softening, and people are recognizing this is more a disease of disconnection and lack of community.  Check out this video of the Recovery Elevator Bozeman retreat.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFoqj3xeFUI

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

[16:09] Charlie took his last drink on July 7, 2020He has been to 54 different treatment He just wrote a memoir.  He writes, blogs, and enjoys experiencing life. 

 

Charlie’s mom passed away when he was 13.  He didn’t know how to handle his emotions, so he turned to substances.  The emotional damage compounded over the years. 

 

Charlie’s drinking was a result of unresolved grief and trauma, emotional damage from a succession of stepmothers,  and lack of success as an actor.  Charlie drank and used drugs.  In 2017, his health became an issue.  He started exploring detox and learned about alcoholism.  In 2019 he was in his 15th IOP program, but still wasn’t surrendering.

 

He had to go back to Lincoln to address some legal issues.  He relapsed several times; he was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt.  In June of 2020, he was receptive to love and faith from his higher power.  He decided to implement what he learned at the facilities he experienced.  He relapsed again, but in July he realized alcohol wasn’t working for him.

 

Charlie maintained a job through most of his addiction which provided insurance and access to treatment.  He was privileged and knows he had access to therapists and treatment modalities many don’t.  He did build up a lot of medical debt.  

 

Charlie overcomes cravings or negative emotions with music, cleaning, calling friends, visiting family.  He also journals and meditates. He has learned to listen to his emotions and ask,  what do you need? 

 

Cognitively Charlie processed his trauma in treatment.  He didn’t process the trauma emotionally or spiritually until he had been sober for a few months.  Once he processed the trauma, he learned to love himself and heal the emotional trauma.  His relationships with his dad and his sister evolved in an amazing way.

 

Charlie began writing in 2018 but continued drinking until 2020.  His book has provided some built-in accountability.  https://www.amazon.com/At-Least-Not-Frog-Alcoholism-ebook/dp/B09B5MFT1X/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_pb_opt?ie=UTF8

 

Charlie is a fan of gratitude list and believes that gratitude+humility=happiness.  He loves travel from beach to mountains and is grateful he can remember his adventures.

 

Odette’s Summary

Grateful Snacking is a company that makes delicious and healthy snacks to support our journey in recovery. Grateful snacking - https://gratefulsnacking.com/

 

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Sep 6, 2021

Episode 342 – Do Your Part

 

Today we have Michael.  He is 43, from N. Georgia and took his last drink on January 1, 2020.

 

Registration for Costa Rica (January 15-23) is open.  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/costarica/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul discusses three elements that are critical to doing your part in recovery.  Paul believes self-respect, self-love, and well-being are fundamental to healing.  Doing the work is essential, and it eventually becomes embodied in your circuitry.  Over time, we retrain the brain to stop self-harming with alcohol, pop tarts, and disrespect from others. 

 

The state of our world reflects our lack of connection with ourselves, our planet, and our community.  He believes a tipping point is upon us.  We can help the world by fixing our internal environment, our inner pollution that results in external contamination - that is our part.  The inner work (i.e., letting go of resentments) benefits others as well. 

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

 

[11:01] Michael took his last drink on January 1, 2020.  He is from 43, married, and has two kids.  He is a graphic designer and enjoys painting, drawing, playing music, and running.

 

Michael started drinking in high school. He drank to fit in and didn’t really like alcohol.  He trained himself to drink.  He used alcohol to celebrate, and it felt good. He now realizes he was trying to become somebody he wasn’t.   In college, alcohol was everywhere, and he drank almost daily.  Michael noticed early on his drinking was an issue.

 

Post-college, Michael didn’t want the party to stop.  Free booze was a great excuse to overindulge.  Alcohol and celebration went hand in hand for Michael.  He began moderating when his children were about to be born.  Over time, Michael continued to try moderation, and the voice in his head continued getting louder.  He started looking at pictures from events he attended and realized there was no joy in his eyes because he wasn’t present for his own life.  Accepting love was a real challenge for Michael.  He quit drinking for an entire year but gradually returned to drinking. Michael now believes sobriety represents his authentic self, and that’s why he had to train himself to drink.  Podcasts and the book “This Naked Mind” helped him understand addiction.  Michael discovered Recovery Elevator, signed up and became part of the community. 

 

Recovery is fantastic for Michael.  He doesn’t need alcohol to be himself, confident, present, feel his feelings, true joy, true love, and his life is greater than he imagined it would be.  He embraces his inner light and beauty as a human being.  He loves his wife and his family and appreciates his RE tribe, who understand what it’s like to cope with addiction. 

 

Michael talks to someone in recovery every day. He focuses on exercise, working the steps, and writing music to support his recovery. 

 

Kris’ Summary

Kris spoke about learning the scientific reasons for addiction when he was in treatment.  He needed to understand that addiction was about more than poor personal choices. Kris believes you can’t intellectualize your way out of addiction.  Kris attended his first sober meet-up six weeks after he left treatment.  He witnessed what ‘fun in sobriety’ looks like.  A gathering of strangers came together to learn to live the life we were meant for can be fun and much more satisfying than addiction.  The healing spirit is amazing.  Shifting the energy we used to put into drinking toward a greater goal:  personal growth, showing up for others and community.  Kris appreciates everyone he has encountered in the RE community.  I am here; I am whole.  Feel it.  Believe it!

 

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Aug 30, 2021

Episode 341 – Head into the storm

 

On today’s podcast we’ve got Britt, she is 45, from California and she took her last drink on November 13, 2018.

 

Registration for Costa Rica (January 15-23) opens Wednesday 9/1.  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/costarica/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Solving human problems can be discovered in nature.  Lone bison run away from storms in the opposite direction.  Humans run away from cravings and tough life challenges.  Packs of bison walk through the storm together, shoulder to shoulder.  They know the quickest way to weather the storm is through.  It’s vital that we work alongside others to weather the storm of addiction.  Facing the storm together is fun.

 

[6:52] Paul shares a great story about his adventures with Britt and how much he admires how she has embraced her AF journey.  Paul loves how Britt burned the ships and showed how invigorating life can be sans alcohol. 

 

Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code: RE20

 

[09:54] Britt took her last drink November 13, 2018.  She loves the outdoors, hiking and music.

 

Britt had a slow burn into active addiction.  She struggled with depression and agoraphobia in her teens.  When she hit 30, she lost 100 pounds.   Losing that much weight is a challenge.  Drinking helped her deal with those emotions.  She quit drinking after the loss of a friend and white knuckled for over a year.  She went back to drinking, but it progressed.  Reviewing her journals helped her to see she made multiple attempts to quit and moderate.  She made a geographic change hoping for a cure.  She believed her rock bottom came when she was drinking daily, then she went to work for a liquor store while looking for full time work.  Cognitive dissonance was in play for two years, and she never gave up.  While listening to podcasts, she tried a 30-day solution and it stuck.

 

Britt found that drinking gave her a tiny feeling of satisfaction that ultimately turned into shame and loathing.  Control has been a theme that she is continuing to explore.  Once she was able to stack some days, she leveraged journaling and Café RE retreats.  Meeting other people who were also ditching the booze inspired a new level of accountability that worked.  Personal integrity helped her to honor her commitment to quit drinking.  Britt learned that she leveraged food, exercise, and relationships to soothe herself.  Now she explores new parks or trails.  Meditation has been instrumental to her sobriety.  Addiction has humbled Britt, softened her relationships, and opened her to more meaningful connections.

 

[42:17] Britt shares a powerful journal entry.  Addiction isn’t in a place, and neither is recovery.  There is freedom in that.

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette reminds listeners that her life is messy with ups, downs, good and bad days.  Keep showing up and remember you help others by showing up. 

 

Sponsor: Exact Nature exactnature.com  Code:  RE20

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Aug 23, 2021

Episode 340  – Give yourself a break

 

On today’s podcast we’ve got Mike, he is 36, from Fort Worth, TX and he took his last drink on September 20, 2020.

 

Highlights from Paul

 

We are incredibly hard on ourselves. The point of this episode is to give us permission to let much of that go, and to move the needle slightly on how you view yourself and the drinking.

 

Hating yourself for drinking, for not being able to quit drinking, for not holding the promises made to yourself, etc. isn’t productive.  The shame and guilt that accompany those statements isn’t either.

 

Dr. Gabor Mate congratulates someone who experienced depression. Why? Because depression and anxiety are mechanisms that kick in for us to go internal and find ourselves. Give yourself a break if you experience addiction, anxiety, or depression. Use them as levers to learn to know and love yourself. 

 

Check out Paul’s YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2mVZadRTkA&t=1s

 

Paul suggests not making self-love conditional or transactional.  He also suggests finding healthier coping strategies.  They are infinite.

 

Exact Nature re20@exactnature.com

 

[12:44] Mike took his last drink on September 20, 2020.  He is married and expecting a baby boy. 

 

Mike’s drinking began in high school.  His drinking progressed from a 12 pack of Coors Light to 2 12 packs of white claws a day.  In his late twenties, he started logging his drinks on his calendar. He got married and hoped his behavior would change.  He could go for a few months without drinking but was a dry drunk.  He was very focused on being manly and Mike’s version of that meant he struggled being honest with himself and others.  It was difficult to admit he had a problem.  On the outside, things seemed fine.  He was functional, but Mike’s identity was in the approval of others and how he was viewed by the world. 

 

He quit his job to enter rehab and entered a faith base rehab program.  When he returned, he was more prideful and selfish than ever before, and his marriage deteriorated.  He relapsed and projected his self-pity and hate onto his wife.  He knew he would drink himself to death or swallow his pride and admit himself to another rehab. 

 

Mike entered one of the toughest rehabs in the country.  There he learned the root cause of his drinking was about unresolved childhood trauma.  Mike was physically taken care of, but his family emotional model taught him not to show weakness.  In rehab, he was taught the 5 why’s model to deal with his unprocessed issues. 

 

Mike starts his day with coffee and prayer.  He’s in the best shape of his life and tries to treat his body as a temple.  He consistently and constantly surrenders every day.  He has learned to be well versed in apologizing and forgiving.  Mike says it’s not easy, but pride doesn’t go with you when you die.

 

Mike now defines being a man as being humble.  He talks about his feelings and tries to treat people the best that he can.  Mike is helping others through his Instagram channel.  Find him @fathfullysober.

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette shared a passage from Melody Beattie. 

Stop doing so much, if doing so much is wearing you out or not achieving the desired results. Stop thinking so much and so hard about it. Stop worrying so about it. Stop trying to force, to manipulate, to coerce, or to make it happen.

 

Making things happen is controlling. We can take positive action to help things happen. We can do our part. But many of us do much more than our part. We overstep the boundaries from caring and doing our part into controlling, caretaking, and coercing. Controlling is self-defeating. It doesn't work. By overextending ourselves to make something happen, we may be stopping it from happening…

 

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Aug 16, 2021

Episode 339  – Does addiction serve a purpose?

 

On today’s podcast we’ve got Nate, he is 39, from Ohio and he took his last drink on October 9, 2015.

 

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My favorite part of RE is back. And I hope to see you at an upcoming event. We’ve got Costa Rica January 15-23 and then we’re in Denver Colorado April 14th -17th.

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Is addiction a disease or not?  Paul says that addiction isn’t a disease, but a learned behavior that expresses itself in unhealthy environments.  In unhealthy, traumatic, or lonely environments, we develop adaptive behaviors such as excessive drinking to help us cope.  Check out Paul’s thoughts in more detail in the following video. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKY4l7ez5pw&t=35s

 

Crossing the river of addition means letting go of our resentments, fears, anxieties, jealousies, attachments, and choose love. If you ride that wave of pain long enough, it will give you two choices:  life or death.  Thanks to the stigma which helps keep paradigms in check, we label ourselves dysfunctional, or broken. Addictions represent things that need deep healing.

 

People in recovery understand that love and acceptance is more important than you should be wearing a mask, or you should get vaccinated… and if you don’t, we’re no longer friends. We work together for one common goal. The rest of society is not equipped with the tools and emotional intelligence to do so.

 

Addictions are wake up calls. Invitations, to step into your true authentic self. Addictions give us the fast track to see that love always wins. We get there by seeing what’s not working in life. I think an addiction exists to push us back to source. To creation. To love and light.

 

I encourage you to stop labeling your drinking problem as bad because it’s not. And that a major waste of time energy.

 

Exact Nature re20@exactnature.com

 

[13:11]  Nate took his last drink 10/9/2015.  He grew up in Ohio in a traditional Midwest family with a family.  He started drinking at an early age to fit in and numb some insecurities.  He realized he was gay at an early age, needed to accept himself in an environment that didn’t include role models or peers. 

 

He recognized consequences on drinking early on with a DUI and fights at parties.  When he graduated from college, his drinking shifted from social drinking to misery drinking.  Nate described an era of drinking and when it became problematic.  He was able to cling to career success, a great work ethic and worked in the restaurant business in a management role.  He worked from home, which fed his disease.  He took micro naps after starting his morning with vodka and chardonnay to continue working.  He began regressing and turning inward.  Nate avoided sharing his secrets.  He came out to friends in high school.  He lived an open life in college.  It was a ten-year period before he was living an open life. 

 

He remembers waking up with a stiff neck and that continued for several weeks.  While visiting his sister, he fell to the ground, his body went limp, he lost his vision.  He had a stroke at age 32 because of his drinking.  The doctors didn’t ask many questions about his drinking.  He spent 6 weeks in the ICU and had to learn to walk and learn to use his extremities again.  His vision returned. They asked no questions about addiction, alcohol, or drugs.  While in the hospital he thought daily about his first drink when he left the hospital and he stopped at the liquor store for champagne on his way home.  He continued drinking after his stroke.

 

His best friend went into treatment, and she modeled the attraction of sobriety for him.  He remembers catching himself in the mirror and he paused wondering where the last 15 years went.  His sister took him to a treatment center 30 minutes later.  Nate believes being able to make the decision himself and not be forced into it was important for his success.    He has been entrenched in 12 Step recovery since. 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette described recovery as an opportunity, not a sacrifice.  Creating and fostering a gratitude mindset can help you cross the bridge from being mad or sad that you can’t drink anymore to one of gratitude.  Odette has a gratitude practice she uses every day.  

 

Remember you are not alone and together is always better. 

 

Sponsor

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Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

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Aug 9, 2021

Episode 338 – Old Narratives

 

On today’s podcast we’ve got Rebecca she took his last drink on October 22, 2019, she is from Madison Wisconsin, and  is 31 years old.

 

Finding Your Better You Highlights

When we don’t know the root of our triggers, when we don’t know the narratives that are ingrained in our brains and in our souls.  We think something is wrong with us. And when we think something is wrong with us, we feel shame. Part of taking responsibility of your healing is knowing yourself, so that you can get outside of this shame cycle and can walk the bridge over to self-empathy. When I know myself better, I can zoom out and see what was happening in my mind, understand myself better and allows me to manage my relationships differently. This makes me navigate my cravings better, because mine come when I feel this belief of, I am not considered.

 

Look within and find some narratives that are living inside of you? Stories that live in the past, yet they are being perpetuated in your present life. We can re-write those stories. But only until we detect them.

 

Insights from Rebecca’s Journey

 

[09:18] Kris introduces Rebecca.  Rebecca began drinking at age 14 and she hated it.   She was afraid of drinking because her dad was in law enforcement.  She noticed a shift in her drinking at age 25.  In 2011, her dad went to prison and that trauma had a huge impact on her life.  She was also a victim of domestic violence.  She thanks alcohol for getting her through terrible times and for the life she has now.  Rebecca’s drinking became all day drinking because she was isolated, alone, and bored.  She would binge drink to soothe loneliness.  She was falling apart, other than work. 

 

She began listening to recovery podcasts and reached out to her employee assistance office.  She entered a therapy group that helped with alcohol addiction and trauma. She was holding on some trauma from her past that became an excuse for drinking.  She was stuck in a Day 1 cycle and a shame cycle. She went to rehab and detoxed from alcohol and Xanax.  It was a very structured program that gave her some tools. 

 

Learning to connect was important for Rebecca.  She leaned in heavily on AA and found a local community of sober women.  She is now very engaged with Café RE which has helped keep her sober.  She constantly evaluates her program. She continues to suffer from anxiety and depression, but she isn’t alone anymore.  She really wants to give back and is now able to do so.  She always challenges the narrative recognizing that a bad day can be turned around.   Rebecca said, keep it simple! 

 

Kris’ Message

Kris is celebrating four years of continuous sobriety.   He shared a quote from Marianne Williamson, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous.  Actually, who are you not to be?  Playing small does not serve the world.  We born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  As we let our own light shine, we give others permission to do the same.”  Take some time to recognize the work you are doing.  Resist the urge to minimize yourself.  You are a gift to this world.  You deserve happiness. 

 

It all starts from the inside out.

 

Sponsor

Exact Nature Use code RE20 at exact nature.com

Shout out to The Chocolate Moose, a Bozeman Retreat Sponsor.   https://www.thechocolatemoose406.com/ @thechocolatemoose406 on Instagram

 

 

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Aug 2, 2021

Episode 337 – The canary in the mine.

 

I was open with people about my decision.  I put myself out there to create a level of accountability. 

 

 

Today we have Katie. She is 38, from Ohio and took her last drink July 12, 2020.  This is her story of living Alcohol Free (AF). 

 

Events!

 

Alcohol-free travel is back! Recovery Elevator is going to Costa Rica January 15th-23rd and you should join us. We’ve got space for 34 AF rock stars, registration opens Sept 1. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/costarica/

 

You can find more information about our events here.

 

 

Paul’s Intro

 

Native cultures believed that a sick person is like the canary in the mine and it’s the sick person who represents an imbalance in the community. Or that something is off. They also believed this person should be thanked for raising the alarm that something needs to be corrected within a community. Almost like, yo, thank you for taking one for the team.

 

So Contrary to today’s culture where mental illness, autoimmune disorders, and addictions are prevalent and on the rise, these environmental conditions were rare in most cultures prior to modern times. So this is what native cultures did when there was a sick canary in the community. The whole tribe came together to help this person because they knew they were all connected, that they were all one. The entire community would shoulder the cost to bring in healers from other tribes. All these ceremonies were different of course, but from I can deduce the two main commonalities were this: Music and dancing. For at least 3-4 days.

 

Okay, let’s tie this into alcohol. It’s in my opinion those who struggle with a drinking problem are the canaries in the mines. Side note, I was the canary in the mine in the Canary islands. I went to this set of islands located off the northwest coast of Africa in 2007 and was drunk and hungover for the whole trip. I don’t remember much from that trip, but I recall popcorn being my lifeline one afternoon because that’s all I could. That’s how hungover I was. And fun facts about Canaries, yes they do come from the Canary islands. They have yellow feathers, and occasionally eat jalapeños.  Fun fact about Paul. I also occasionally eat jalapeños. We are covering some ground today team.

 

So in 2021, there have never been more sick canaries, and if we don’t ALL address this, then we’re toast as a species.

 

When I say we ALL need to address this, I mean problematic and normal drinkers. As in addiction/mental health is an external manifestation that something is highly out of balance internally with our species. This imbalance affects everyone. This is okay, it’s how we grow and evolve.

 

The good news is…. The Canary can heal. It will heal. You, if you’re listening to this podcast in hopes of quitting drinking, are the canary, and you will heal, just keep at it.

 

So how does the canary heal? I firmly believe there is no select methodology, or doctrine to follow. There is no right or wrong way to ditch the booze. There are infinite ways… But, there is one massive  commonality.

 

Ditching the booze in 21st century doesn’t quite look like 3 full nights of ceremonial dancing under a full moon with the whole community anymore, but there are similarities.

 

Let’s first check out what you don’t hear when someone celebrates and alcohol-free milestone.

 

“Well, guys, I knew I was “fucked” so I locked myself in my room, read every quit lit book, listened to podcasts, learned how the mind works, and beat it.” I’ve yet to hear that one. Nothing even close.

 

What you do hear is, “I’d like to thank my best friend susan, my mom and dad, my AF community, my dog, the big oak tree in my back yard (That’s an HP reference), and all my friends who were in my corner the whole time.” Or “I couldn’t have done it without… Mike, Jim, Michelle  Javier and my pet canary ralph.” Okay, I think that’s the last canary reference.

 

So, what does this mean? Let’s get to the point. 1. You can’t do this alone, and 2. You need community. This could be a close group or friends who know your desire to quit drinking, AA, Café RE, counselors etc. Ships need to be burned, or conversations with loved ones need to take place. Accountability is desperately needed. Even if you’re not, and I’m using air quotes, “successful” with your decision to quit drinking, you’re still developing tighter bonds and relationships in your life. According to Sebastian Junger, in his Book “Tribe” in times of crisis, people are wired to come together and help. This isn’t a kind gesture from our friends, and family, or even completely strangers; it’s biologically how we are wired. As I discussed in last episode, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released when we help others. So when a drinking problem reaches a pinnacle moment, and I’d classify this as a crisis as it was for me in 2014, the people around us want to help. They need to help, it’s good for them. They need these feel good chemicals also. Denying the loved ones in your life the opportunity to help you, is doing them a disservice.

 

So if you’re ready to get off the merry round of hell, aka a drinking problem, two main things needs to happen. 1. You need to ask for help, 2. Receive the help. Most likely both are outside your comfort zone, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Let the drinking problem push you into connection. I feel that’s the main point of an addiction. Yes, addiction, or drinking problem serves a purpose. Everything does. That’s the topic of 339. Does addiction serve a purpose?  We must first become aware of the addiction. This is the first step in I think every program involving steps, and then, open up. Yes, open up. The addiction is trying to crack you open. To find a spot where the light can enter, if you allow it.

 

 

 

 

Let’s hear from Exact Nature. 

 

 

[8:42] Odette welcomes Katie

 

Katie took her last drink July 12, 2020.  She is excited about  her one-year milestone and she feels free of the prison on alcohol.  She is going sky-diving to celebrate.  Katie said life is still hard, but she has freedom and clarity of mind without drinking.  Katie is 38 and lives in NE Ohio.  She has two sons. She is an executive assistant to a CEO for a large company.  She loves all things fitness and reading.

 

 

[52:17] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

Sparkling water (lime flavor) with lots of ice and mint.

 

  1. What has been an unexpected perk along this journey?

Freedom and time that come with not planning how you will get your next drink. 

 

  1. What would you say to young people who are considering ditching the booze?

Don’t overcomplicate it, drinking is overrated.  You have more strength than you realize.  Everything in life you want to accomplish will be easier without liquor.  Having a clear head, mind and a simple life without the alcohol will be the beautiful things in your life. 

 

You might need to say adios to booze if ….

You stress months before the Christmas holiday about how you will cook the holiday meal and not drink all the wine in the house the night before. 

 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Very well, team RE, that wraps our interview for today. Before I say adios I want to share something with you all. I asked all of YOU on our instagram a question that I normally ask in our podcast interview and I got some amazing responses. The prompt was: What would you say to your younger self?

 

Here is what some of you had to say:

 

  • Live for yourself. No amount of alcohol will make him see you.
  • You are beautiful.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your true self.
  • You are loved, you are worth it.
  • You don’t have to be “THEM”
  • You are enough. It only matters what you think of yourself.
  • Drugs and alcohol don’t make you cool, being a good person does.
  • It’s ok to fail.
  • Learn to love yourself.
  • Being the wild party girl is not all its cracked up to be.
  • You are going to make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Handling the stress of it all will only be magnified a thousand if you drink about it.
  • I love you.
  • It wan’t your fault.
  • I see you and I am sorry you are hurting.
  • See yourself, hold yourself at a high value.
  • What you are chasing has been in your heart the whole time, not a bottle.
  • Everything you think alcohol is helping you achieve is false. You are being held back. You can accomplish so much more sober.
  • You are none of the things you say to yourself in your head.
  • Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.
  • You are allowed to feel the way you do and you don’t have to hide it to please those around you.
  • Let your hair grow long, let your laugh grow loud.
  • Take your intuition seriously.

 

WOW. What a list.

 

Remember that you are not alone, and together, is always better.

 

Recovery elevator, you deserve love, acceptance and belonging. We can do this.

 

 

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. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021
  • 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!  

 

Resources: 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light - I love you guys”

Jul 26, 2021

Episode 336 - Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin

 

I need to admit myself somewhere.  I could sit here until I’m blue in the face and until I have some humility, this is not going to work.

 

Today we have Susan, she’s 61, she’s from Pennsylvania and took her last drink Nov 19th, 2017.  This is her story of living Alcohol Free (AF). 

 

Events!

 

  • Due to Covid we had to cancel our Costa Rica sober travel trip, and an event in Denver. Those events are back on. We’ve got an AF trip to Costa Rica January 15-23rd 2022 that includes:  the cloud forest, the beach, chilling on a catamaran. Registration opens Sept 1 and we’ve got 33 spots available.  April 14th -17th 2022, we’ll be in Denver Colorado at the Hilton Garden Inn at Union Station. This event will be about moving energy with music that is performed LIVE. Expect connection, small group breakout sessions and the opportunity to be your most authentic self. Registration opens Nov 1. You can find more information about our events 

 

 

Paul’s Intro

 

Today I will share information on the 4 main chemicals we’re dealing with when we ditch the booze. I’m outline them, give a framework of how to work with these chemicals in a healthier way and a loose timeline of what to expect when you quit drinking and how these chemicals will come back into balance.

 

 

The four main players dance with an addiction are Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin.

 

Endorphins and dopamine are the chemicals of progress. Short-term feel-good chemicals. And Serotonin and oxytocin are the long-term chemicals.

 

Let’s cover the short-term molecules first: endorphins and dopamine

 

Endorphins - We often hear the word endorphins with exercise. And it’s true. This is the reason for the runners high. Endorphins have one purpose - to mask physical pain. Since the body doesn’t distinguish the difference between physical and emotional pain very well, this is why running, or physical movement helps us emotionally when we aren’t feeling good.  

 

Dopamine - This is the molecule we are mostly engaged with when dealing with an addiction. This is more accurately described as the learning molecule. Dopamine is viewed as an incentive for progress. The good feeling, we get when we do something necessary for survival. Addictions highjack the dopamine system. Alcohol raises the dopamine in our brains by over 100-200% and cocaine raises it by 300%… temporarily. Then there’s a major crash.

 

Dopamine is highly addictive, and it should be. Human beings walked thousands of miles over the ice shelf of eastern Asia to the Americas because of dopamine.  The dopamine system worked great for humans, until the world modernized faster than the system could adapt.  Alcohol completely over runs this system

 

Long-term chemicals - These chemicals control our long-term feelings.

 

Serotonin - The selfless chemical.

Oxytocin - The love molecule and the connection molecule.

 

Let’s cover how we can work with these as we ditch the booze and then I’ll give you a loose timeline of when these chemicals should start naturally emerging in your system again.

 

Endorphins - Keep running, keep gardening. This is a much healthier way to override the physical and emotional discomfort of quitting drinking. Also, laugh, laugh, laugh.

 

Dopamine - It’s important we retrain the brain to release dopamine with other activities. Pick a short-term goal. Maybe it’s learning the guitar, maybe it’s finding a species of bird in the wild, or a snake. Science shows that a spike of dopamine is released when we help other people. Dopamine is a big reason we’ve done this podcast 336 straight Monday’s.

 

Once we have the dopamine system cued to healthier stimuli then within time serotonin starts to naturally emerge. With this comes a sense of belonging. If we stick with it long enough, oxytocin will emerge on the scene.

 

The long-term chemicals are contagious. This is why we love inspiring movies that motivate us to perform our own selfless acts. This is why we cheer people on at marathons or say heck yes when we hear someone has hit an AF milestone.

 

Here’s a loose timeline for this:

 

Endorphins: within the first 24-72 hours.

Dopamine: within six months, depending on your habits. 

Serotonin: 3-9 months.

Oxytocin: 6-12 months.

 

This is all given that you’re doing the work.

 

PAWS in recovery is post-acute withdrawal symptoms. I like to call them healing symptoms because it’s the body, mind, soul, and spirit recalibrating itself without alcohol. Trust the process, stick with it, we got your back.

 

Let’s hear from Betterhelp.  betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR

 

 

[13:52] Odette welcomes Susan

 

Susan’s last drink was on November 19, 2017.   She feels great and every year is better.  Susan is 61 and single but was previously married.  She has a daughter and two grandchildren.  She is from Pennsylvania.  She moved to Los Angeles and lived there for thirty years.  She has also lived in Colorado and is now back on the East Coast.  She works for a medical device company.  She loves to read novels, cooking, exercise, the beach, bike riding and TV. 

 

[15:49] Tell us about your history with drinking

 

Susan described 44 years of drinking.  Her first drink was at age 14 and she would sneak drinks with friends.  In high school she fell in love with the bad boy of the school and did a 360 in one day.  She went from straight A’s and first clarinet to a party girl.  After her first pill and sips of beer, her inhibitions disappeared.  She partied like everyone else.  She married this bad boy very young, and they divorced at 21.  She moved to California and got involved with another guy. They drank together with friends.  She remarried and tried to clean up her home and life to have a family.  Giving up weed was easy, but she struggled relinquishing wine.  At 30,

she admitted herself to a treatment center called Schick for a weekend and participated in an intensive outpatient program (IOP).  She went to a few AA meetings and was able to stay away from alcohol for four months.  When she returned to drinking, her drinking progressed.  She was raising her daughter, working and what many would describe as a functioning alcoholic.  She drank nightly, but not a lot.  Over the years, she made a few attempts to quit, tried counseling and AA again, but nothing was working.  She decided to accept it for what it was because she didn’t have the time to do what you must do to quit.

 

[21:19] What was the tipping point that made you enter treatment?

 

Susan’s father was an alcoholic, and she watched his drinking become progressive.  She knew it could happen to her and didn’t want to become like her father.  The rest of her life was healthy.  She exercised and ate healthy foods and wondered how long she could continue drinking.  She described feeling like two people.  She was Miss Goody Two-Shoes during the day and at night she was drinking. 

 

Susan always had faith and knew that God was protecting her but didn’t want to push the limits and hurt others.  It took a while after that realization for her to attempt quitting.  She had some false starts where she would try but wasn’t ready.   When her second grandchild was about to arrive, she knew she had to quit because she was fearful her first granddaughter would associate Mima with wine. 

 

She spoke with her therapist and said she felt therapy was not enough and entered an intense outpatient program because she knew until she had some humility, it wouldn’t work.   Her IOP was very diverse and encountered many people with several stories.  During IOP she would screw up every week.  She admitted it and, on the 19th, she called her sister (who is in recovery) who calmed her down.  Her sister mailed her a book called Acceptance* and she hasn’t had a drink since.  She described her moment of acceptance, surrender and her daily routine of prayer and meditation. 

*(https://www.my12stepstore.com/Acceptance-A-Way-to-Serenity.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwi9-HBhACEiwAPzUhHH_MXOMZLl8LTD-oZE98nSxHE2hhktBhXfpmEifPluupg-Mn8uIruxoCJUgQAvD_BwE)

 

[31:22] What were the first 90 days like?

 

Susan described having time to focus on herself.  She then took over as the nanny for her grandson and her daughter was able to trust her with the baby.  She gradually returned to work with part-time work.  At a year after she became sober, she returned to corporate America.   It continued to get easier with time.  She enjoyed podcasts.  Her dog had some health issues yet survived for six months.  When he passed, she was tempted to drink, but overcame the temptation.   She tries to mix up her recovery with AA meetings, podcasts, and anything to keep it interesting.  She loves Café RE because it gives her the flexibility of both worlds (AA and podcasts).  She now has a strong desire to help others in recovery.  The peace and freedom that comes with recovery has become the best way for her to live, she can’t imagine anything better.

 

[40:21] What was behind drinking for you?

 

When looking at fears and resentments, she gained a new perspective.  She realized that something else may have been going on in the moment.  She learned to stop holding bad feelings and looking deep into the causes of certain things.  She uncovers new things regularly.  She is accepting, simplifying, and lowering her expectations.  It took her years not to want more.  She has more work to do and is open to the work. 

 

[40:24] Do you still get cravings?

 

Susan doesn’t get physical cravings but does have memory triggers.  While Christmas shopping last year, the memory of having wine at Christmas came into her head.  She did some thinking, played the tape forward and it passed quickly.  She does have a fear of dating because she has been single through her recovery.  Self-care or “me time” will remain a priority for her to maintain sobriety. 

 

[47:11] What are your rituals in sobriety?

 

Susan gets up at 5 AM and reads a novel, then does her recovery reading including daily reflections and prayers.  She frequently listens to podcasts.  She watches to Joel Osteen regularly because he gives her hope that there are good people in this insane world.  Susan is a listener in AA meetings, she is an optimist, and she learns from others.  She has become a host for AA meetings and wants to give back. 

 

[52:17] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

Sparkling water (lime flavor) with lots of ice and mint.

 

  1. What has been an unexpected perk along this journey?

Freedom and time that come with not planning how you will get your next drink. 

 

  1. What would you say to young people who are considering ditching the booze?

Don’t overcomplicate it, drinking is overrated.  You have more strength than you realize.  Everything in life you want to accomplish will be easier without liquor.  Having a clear head, mind and a simple life without the alcohol will be the beautiful things in your life. 

 

You might need to say adios to booze if ….

You stress months before the Christmas holiday about how you will cook the holiday meal and not drink all the wine in the house the night before. 

 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette recently returned from Guadalajara and while she was there, she celebrated her father’s 12th sober birthday.  They attended an AA meeting together and she heard him tell his story.  She saw herself in his words.  We all walk alongside each other.  We the same lessons to learn, hurt to heal and joy to find.  Seeing her dad as a parent and fellow in recovery was challenging, but she left the meeting hopeful that we are all human, doing the best that we can.  Odette is grateful for the Café RE community that helps each other navigate the world, feel understood and gives us a sense of belonging.

 

Remember you are not alone.  If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

 

 

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. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021
  • 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!  

 

Resources: 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light - I love you guys”

Jul 19, 2021

Barela took her last drink 42 days ago (at the time of this recording). This is her story of living alcohol free (AF).

 

 

A former Recovery Elevator interviewee, Jody, is hosting her own sobriety courses. This is called “The Sobriety Shift” and is a 12-week transformational program for women for are already sober, but want to elevate their life. You can find out more information here.

 

 

From Paul: “All emotions are created equal”

 

You need all emotions to give you the barometer for good and bad or to define what emotion even is. Being able to feel both sides of the emotional spectrum is important. Some ying vs yang emotions are: Hope and fear, gratitude and anger, pride and shame, desire and repulsion, love and hate.

 

 

When we view all emotions as equal, we don’t double down on them: we don’t get mad that we are mad, or anxious that we are anxious. When you label an emotion as “bad” you have a higher chance of drinking over them. By viewing them as equal to “good” emotions all emotions are able to pass through us without being strengthened or intensified. Everything has a purpose to help us evolve.

 

 

Today’s show is sponsored by Betterhelp.

 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 1,000,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR.

 

 

 

[12:10] Odette introduces Barela.

 

 

Barela is 43 years old and from Salt Lake City, UT. She is a mother to her Yorkie named Kiki. By day is a victims advocate for a non-profit and by night she is your Queer grocery clerk that helps you find your produce. For fun she loves true crime podcasts, going for long walks with her dog, hikes with friends, reading, painting, meditation and puzzles. Because of the pandemic she’s been focusing on a lot of solo projects.

 

 

[14:48] Do you notice that solitude is different now that you’re sober?

 

 

Barela said yes, she’s always enjoyed her own company, but she’s now more active and productive with her time. She’s more creative because alcohol isn’t in the way of her focus. Every morning is a great morning for her.

 

 

[15:38] Can you give us a background on your drinking?

 

 

Barela said she started drinking when she was 16. Her mom bought her alcohol to keep her in the house, rather than being out. She didn’t like the taste at first. When she moved to Portland and was in a band alcohol became more a part of her everyday life. It escalated quickly in the last 10 years. At around age 28 she started blacking out. In the beginning they didn’t scare her, but at the end it changed. The cycle of getting drunk, being hung over, ibuprofen, hair of the dog, get drunk… repeat became her life. Getting alcohol became an obsession in her life.

 

 

[19:51] Were you surrounded by people who were drinking like you?

 

 

Barela said yes, she was hanging out with people who normalized all of this. Her last black out was December 19, 2019 and she’s gone through some big shifts in friendships because a lot were of those were drinking friendships only. She lost some jobs due to drinking as well. After some geographical drinking changes which didn’t work, she moved back to Salt Lake City. Her bottom was when she was making her grandmother dinner, drank a fifth of Old Crow and she woke up in bed with a broken ankle.

 

 

[24:27] What happened after your bottom?

 

 

Barela said she declared “I can’t drink anymore!” but she also saw how she had been simply adjusting her bottom as she drank. Being bed ridden after breaking her ankle brought this into stark reality. She journaled about all the relationships her drinking was affecting, including the one with herself. She knew she needed to leave the service industry. Stepping outside of that she found work with the domestic violence coalition and working at the grocery at night.

 

 

[27:56] What was that time period after that like?

 

 

Barela said she slept a lot and ate whatever she wanted. Lots of self-reflection. She also burned the ships to her friends for accountability.

 

 

[29:41] How do you build accountability into living alone?

 

 

Barela said she’s superstitious and the idea of drinking again is truly scary to her. She knows that alcohol will always be there but she’s made a life she loves away from alcohol.

 

 

[31:36] Did you used to have a witching hour and did you have to change your habits around it?

 

 

Barela said she drank all the time, so she didn’t have a witching hour exactly. There was always a reason to be drinking, no matter what time it was. 

 

 

[33:05] How were you sleeping before you quit?

 

 

Barela said sleeping has never been a problem. Barela talks about how she started detecting patterns within her relapses and trying to protect her energy and setting boundaries.

 

 

[39:10] What are some tools you use every day to protect your sobriety?

 

 

Barela said waking up, doing her gratitude prayer and then thinking about her goals. Making her bed and setting daily intentions. Listening to podcasts. She recently discovered The Seltzer Squad podcast.

 

 

[40:37] What is your go to strategy when you do get a craving?

 

 

Barela said she talks to herself. She tries to locate what the feeling is and why she’s feeling that way. If the craving is particularly strong she will play the tape forward.

 

 

[42:21] Does your grandmother know you’re not drinking anymore?

 

 

Barela said she hasn’t been there for about 8 months; she hasn’t told her directly. She hasn’t burned the ships with her grandmother or her aunt who also lives in that home. She’s not sure why, but she hasn’t yet.

 

 

[45:52] What has been an unexpected perk on this journey?

 

 

Barela said her intuition has been more on point. She pulls Tarot cards and having better intuition has helped her there. She’s also been working on remote viewing as well (locating objects with your mind). She’s saved a ton of money and can do nice things for herself. She feels empowered and happy. She noticed she looks better. Everything is better.

 

 

 

 [50:18] Rapid Fire Round 

 

  1. What would you say to your younger self?

Trust your intuition. If it feels heavy in your heart, go against it. Only bad things happen after 1am, so go home.

 

  1. What’s your favorite NA beverage?

Liquid Death and her friend makes her own tinctures which she adds to it.

 

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Talenti Banana Caramel Crunch

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners thinking about ditching the booze?

Believe in yourself, you can do it. Keep thinking about that person you want to be without alcohol. Keep reaching out.

 

 

You may have to say adios to booze if... 

 

when you are constantly finding yourself waking up with a MARI (mysterious alcohol related injury).

 

 

Odette’s find thoughts:

 

A sober perk: she’s found friendships with people who she wouldn’t normally be friends with. Finding people who feel in the same way you do and making those connections is powerful. Through sharing Odette has found more in common with others than she thought. What an unexpected surprise! 

 

Upcoming events, retreats and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone.
  • You can find more information about our events 

 

Affiliate Link for Endourage:

For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. 

 

Affiliate Link for Amazon:

Shop via Amazon using this link.

 

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

 

Resources: 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

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-

I love you guys.”

Jul 12, 2021

Episode 334

 

 

You’re not giving something up, you are getting so much more in return, it’s just amazing. 

 

Kevin is 53, from South Carolina and took his last drink on October 6, 2019.  This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF).   

 

Today’s show is sponsored by Better Help. 

 

Kevin’s interview is with Kris. You guys are going to love Kris’s style. He’s a grounded, laid back guy from North Dakota who fully gets the importance of connection. Just like you all gave me a chance, and Odette, please focus on the similarities, not the differences and welcome Kris.

 

Speaking of Kris, we’ve made 10 YouTube Videos, and some of them are funny, at least that’s my opinion.  and our last video was my top 10 favorite recovery books. Go over to YouTube and type Recovery Elevator in the search bar.

 

I just finished the book “Breath” by James Nestor. The breath is the true foundation for all recovery work. It turns out, 5.5 breaths per minute is the optimal rate. That’s 5.5 seconds on the inhale, and 5.5 on the exhale for a total of 5.5 per minute. So next time you’re caught up in email apnea, pause and focus on the breath.  I highly recommend this book. 

Breath by James Nestor  https://amzn.to/3zOJ1GZ.

 

Why did Adele cross the road? To say hello from the other side.

 

Okay, let’s get started -

 

Today I want to talk about the incredible feature film on trauma and addiction by Dr. Gabor Mate. The film is called “The Wisdom of Trauma.” This film needed to be made and will move the needle in a healthy direction in terms of how we view addiction.

 

Film:  https://thewisdomoftrauma.com/   

Book:  “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” - Dr. Gabor Mate https://amzn.to/3xOAZx1

 

This film covers what addiction is. It covers how it happens, when the driving forces behind an addiction take hold in life and it also has practical ideas on how we should address addiction as a society and as the individual struggling with an addiction. On this podcast, you’re most likely listening to address a drinking problem, but all addictions, for the most part are interchangeable, and the mechanisms are mostly the same.

 

Okay, no surprise here, he talks about trauma. And he is noted for saying that all addictions, start with trauma, and the baulk of that happens in adolescence. The start of addiction doesn’t happen when you lose your job, but in infancy. Always. We often think that trauma must happen in Afghanistan, or a physically abusive parent but it also happens when we aren’t hugged enough as a child or us not getting something we needed when we were young. Parents in the 20th and 21st centuries are pulled in so many directions, that unfortunately, this is common. It’s the kiddos that pay the price.

 

Please don’t take any of this energy and steer it towards your parents, etc. They did their best. That’s not a healthy way to take this information.

 

This is an emotional film. I cried during parts of it.  

 

He says that trauma happens when you disconnect with yourself, when you don’t have anyone to talk with. When kids are alone with their hurt. Another way to say this is there wasn’t a healthy way to move the energy. It got stuck. Humans talking about it, is the equivalent of a duck flapping its wings in nature, and we couldn’t do that as a child. So, the body hangs on to the energy. But it’s not fun energy to hang on to. In the western world one of the dominant ways this excess of energy manifests itself is through inflammation in the body.

 

He then talks about how we look at addiction as a poor choice. We, meaning society, and the individual.  Thank you, Mrs.  Regan for adding a couple of thick layers of pinyon pine to the stigma with the “Just say no” campaign from the 80’s.  That didn’t help much. Gabor, then reframes it by saying, the addiction wasn’t a poor choice, it was the solution. I agree completely. In fact, I’d take it even further and say kudos you found a way to survive. It’s now time to find healthier ways to cope since alcohol, will mess you up spiritually, mentally, and physically in the long run. Do not beat yourself up for having a drinking problem, you found a way to survive. And now it’s time to find a healthier way to connect.  That’s all we’re doing here.

 

I like how Gabor calls out capitalism and most modern economies as fueling addictions. We are primed to feel we need to purchase something external for short term inner wholeness. For long term wholeness, this process must be replicated 100’s and 1000’s of times. This is great for the stock market, but not great for mental health. There’s one word to summarize this. It’s MORE. We are always looking for more. This is a major pickle in modern societies that we have address ASAP. He talks about how this addiction is destroying the earth. We don’t have fix the earth, fix climate change or global warming.   We must fix ourselves and the individual level. Planet earth will be fine when we’re gone. Our current way of living, which Eckart Tolle calls insane, is how we are conditioned. It’s crazy, and unsustainable. This paradigm is shifting. You all are part of this paradigm shift.  

 

Dr. Mate talks about how we are treating stress and addictions with more stressors. Most western illnesses are treated with steroids and cortisol creams. It’s not curing or treating anything.

 

He talks about the two ways society treats or views addicts.

  1. That it’s a choice, just say no, and if do say yes, you are warned with catchy commercials, then the user is punished. The penal system at the macro encourages intense shame guilt at the inner the micro level.
  2. That it’s a disease, and not a choice. He feels this is a better approach, since people can then get treatment like any other disease but ignores why people really get addicted which has nothing to do with a disease. Dr. Gabor Mate is clear on his stance about if a drinking problem is a passed down genetic disease that runs in the family. He says it is not. He believes these adaptive behaviors, addictions, are learned and formed to survive in an environment that isn’t conducive to wholeness or happiness. That’s a lot to unpack. Seriously. Feel free to hit the pause button on your podcast player. I’m on board with this approach. In fact, I’ve switched my tune while doing the Recovery Elevator podcast. At first, I thought addiction was a passed down genetic disorder.  But now feel these behaviors are coping mechanisms that allow us to survive in environments that are full of static, car alarms, incorrect passwords, identify theft, violence, backstabbing, sexual abuse, spam phone calls,  and more. And we all must deal with this incoherent energy. Yes, I do believe this inharmonious energy is passed down generationally and we all must deal with it, not just the addicts. In fact, in most native cultures, when one person in a community was sick, the whole community came forth to help. The whole community would even brunt the financial costs because they knew, a sick person within a community, wasn’t an outlier, but a representation that something was out of balance within the community. And today, in modern, society, we’ve got a lot of sick people, with depression being the number one cause of disability worldwide. Dr. Mate says that in the USA, the richest country in the world, 1/2 of its citizens have chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, addictions etc. Another way to say that, is we got big houses, big guns indeed, but we’re disconnected and need help. This is also the point of an addiction. A fear, or a marker of sorts that something is out of balance and needs attention.

 

So how do we treat this? Dr. Mate says, the modern medical paradigm separates the mind from the body and separates the person from the environment. I think he would agree that we need to use the mind to come into the body, and not leave it or disassociate with it. I know he would agree that we must recognize there’s an in imbalance. Sure, it’s the first step in all 12 step programs, but science shows this also. You can’t make change in anything, until a consciousness is there to witness it, or say “yes, this is here, and I’m going to deal with it.” There is not a right or wrong way to address an addiction, but what I’ve learned here at RE, is that community must be a component of this. A HUGE component. As in the blades of a helicopter. Or the propeller on a prop plane, or the wheels on a car.

 

We’ve all heard what you resist persists. Thank you, psychologist Carl Jung. At the individual level, we must recognize something is out of balance. At the group level, we do the same - and it can be a lot of fun.

 

At the individual level, you’re doing it. You’re listening. Which means you’re open to a whole new way of living. This is what gets me excited about Recovery Elevator. Its exploring new ways to live, that don’t require alcohol to be happy. And we are all figuring this out together.

 

Before we hear from Kris and Kevin, Let’s hear from Betterhelp.

 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 1,000,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR

 

[12:55] Kris introduces Kevin

 

Kevin took his last drink on October 6, 2019, he is creeping up on two years and he feels great.  Not every day is great or happy, but he feels better equipped to handle what life throws at him. 

 

[14:02] Give us a little background on you.

 

Kevin is 53 and lived in Long Island for most of his life.  He now lives in Bluffton, South Carolina.  He is not married, has an awesome girlfriend, and has dogs named Ben and Jerry.  He loves to read; he loves the outdoors, and he loves to work. 

 

[15:39] Tell us about your relationship with alcohol and how did that evolve over time?

 

Kevin said it had a lifespan.  He started drinking in 8th or 9th grade experimenting.  He moved to Long Island in 4th grade.  He made a lot of friends, but never felt like he fit in.  In the late 80’s he was drinking heavily.  At the time, he didn’t think it was a problem.  College was a continuation – binge drinking on the weekend.  He drank through snowstorms, nice weather, hiking, etc.  He thought it was normal because everyone else was doing it. 

 

[17:25] Did you have any consequences from your early years of drinking?

 

Kevin’s parents were strict.  His parents knew he was drinking, and his older brother never drank.   He became the project for his older brother.  After college he got married and his drinking slowed down a bit.  Being married and becoming a new Dad, living in a high rent district was stressful.  Kevin describes himself as high functioning.  He had a nice house, nice family and on the weekends, he drank a lot.  In 2009, he got a DUI.  He reflected on rock bottoms and his wife (an attorney) was able to help.  He avoided additional jail time and he slowed down his drinking for a time. 

 

[20:06] You described having a nice house and a job, did your high functioning ever lead you to believe you didn’t have a problem?

 

Kevin said, he looked great on paper.  He had a business, a nice house, he supported charities, he was on the little league board and was a “good dude”.  He knew he had a problem with alcohol.  He was a fun drunk and was a great guy to hang out with.  At 3 AM, he was sweating, his heart was racing, and he knew something wasn’t right. 

 

[22:15] Walk us forward, tell us more

 

Kevin tried to maintain the status quo.  He and his wife got divorced.  He believes his wife deserved better and alcohol had an impact but wasn’t the only factor in their divorce.  The alcohol affected his ability to rebuild the marriage.  His drinking reached a new level post-divorce.  He spent a lot of time on his own.  He frequented sports bars and the “type” of drinking escalated.  He felt a lot of guilt and shame.  The salve of alcohol didn’t last for more than 20 minutes.  He knew something was wrong.  Kevin put lots of rules on himself – only drink…. He would make a rule, break it, and invent three more.  Only this, only that ….. Annie Grace’s book first got him to explore quitting.  Annie’s podcast mentioned Paul Churchill.  Kevin has met Paul a few times and says, Paul ruined drinking for him. 

 

Value Bomb – when you are in it, it’s so subtle.  It takes a different form than you a realize. 

 

[27:52] Paul ruined it for you, so what happens next?

 

Kevin was driving home and hit a rumble strip and he thought to himself – I’ve got good kids, good friends, and a great business.   Two days later he went to a street festival, and he had a beer or two and he decided on 10/6/2019 he knew, this is it!  He had dozens of days one’s day 6’s and day whatever’s.   He knew it was over. 

 

Value Bomb – Your resets are not for nothingness.  They help you establish the willingness to move forward. Dig in, keep learning, it’s all growth.

 

[30:57] What did the first 30/60/90 days look like for you?

 

Kevin leaned in heavy on Café RE.  He took the advice.  He took naps when he needed them.  He cut back on work a bit. He cut back on engagements.  He learned to set boundaries.  He learned to leave respectfully.  He learned to prepare and had he faked a few gin and tonics.  He embraced NA beer.  He avoided drinking. The cravings dissipated over time.  Kevin craved situations more than the alcohol – college football, Superbowl.  He had the willingness.  Preparation was key.  As people  became aware he wasn’t drinking, it became easier.  After a little practice, it became easier every time.  Setting boundaries was huge.

 

Value Bomb – we grow and learn what situations we want to be in an those we don’t.  It’s okay to let go of certain situations. 

 

[36:43] How did drinking impact your relationships?

 

Kevin said his parents were never drinkers, so there wasn’t much of an issue.  In his first marriage, he acknowledges drinking made him less patient.  Drinking takes up a lot of your money, your health, and your time.  Kevin now has great relationships with his parents, his sons, and his ex-wife.  He has been able to repair those important relationships and have deeper conversations.  His relationship with his employees evolved and he learned to take a genuine interest and helps others.49:22

 

[40:22] Walk us though what your recovery looks like now. 

 

Kevin is an early riser.  He carves out 90 minutes every morning and he reads, meditates, and writes.  He spends time with his dogs, goes to work and spends time with friends in the evening.  He travels to New York to spend time with his kids.  Café RE keeps him connected to the community. 

 

 

[41:45] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What was your AHA or OSM (oh sh!t moment) about controlling drinking?

Driving home from a brew pub and hitting the rumble strip became his AHA moment. 

 

  1. What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

My plan is to keep doing what I’m doing.  It’s not a linear trip.  He has dip days.  He is going to Café RE meet ups.  The zoom chats help, and he offers words of encouragement.  Staying connected is key. 

 

  1. Regarding sobriety, what’s the best advice you ever received?

Be kind to yourself.  Look at yourself like your dogs look at you.  Loathing yourself isn’t productive.  The journey has a lot of whacky dips and bumps.  Be kind to yourself. 

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance do you have for listeners?

You must want to do it and you must do it for yourself.  Figure out your why.  It can’t be just for your spouse or your kids. You aren’t giving something up.  You are getting so much more in return. 

 

You may have to ditch the booze if …

 

Kevin didn’t want to rupture or end his relationship with his kids, the most wonderful relationships in his life. 

 

Kris’s closing comments

 

Kris talks about the scale going up after he quit drinking.  He talked about the big dreams that come with sobriety.  Patience is key to getting healthy and achieving your goals.  Manage your expectations.  Let the work do its work.  It’s okay for some things to take a back seat.  Embrace positive affirmations and gratitude.  Love yourself, you are doing amazing things.  Kris said as he listened to other guests, he learned and has he learned he healed.  He is grateful to other guests and his Café RE family.  kris@recoveryelevator.com

 

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