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Recovery Elevator

It isn't a no to alcohol, but a yes to a better life! On the Recovery Elevator podcast, you'll learn from guests that life after alcohol is much better and it's an opportunity of a lifetime. Paul, Season 1 and Odette, Season 2, cover topics such as, does moderate drinking work, does addiction serve a purpose, what happens to the brain when we quit drinking, should you track sobriety time, is AA right for you, what the hell is spirituality, what this journey looks like, how science and spirituality are merging and what that means for addiction treatment, we talk about emotions and how to deal with them without alcohol, cravings, we talk about relapse aka "field research," how to build that in-person community and burning the ships! Similar to other recovery podcasts like This Naked Mind, the Shair Podcast, and the Recovered Podcast, Paul and Odette discuss a topic and then interviews someone who is embarking upon a life without alcohol.
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Now displaying: May, 2021
May 31, 2021

Episode 328 – the quality of my relationships with other people in the world is limited by the quality of my relationship with myself.

 

Adam took his last drink on December 13, 2019.  He is from Massachusetts, and he is 37 years old.  This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

Season 3 of the Recovery Elevator podcast begins June 21st.  We are focused on having fun, staying authentic and helping others along the way. 

 

Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.

 

Odette spoke about early sobriety and thought shifts.  Early sobriety can be exhausting because your body is resetting, and your thoughts are playing tug-o-war.  You have permission to be tired in early recovery.  The mental work is exhausting.  Odette referenced Melody Beattie and the Language of Letting Go.  Letting go of fear is at the core of codependency.  Fear can help you protect yourself.  In recovery, waving goodbye to fear allows you to embrace safety, trust, peace, and acceptance.  Pay attention to healthy fears and let go of the rest.  We can trust and love ourselves. 

 

Sometimes what is best for us feels wrong.  We oversee letting go of what doesn’t serve us anymore.  Peace begins within you.

 

[8:15]  Odette introduces Adam

 

Adam took his last drink on December 13, 2019.  He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife and two young children.  He is a lawyer.  He loves running, hiking, reading, and playing with his two girls. 

 

[9:51] Tell us about your history with drinking?

 

Adam said his first love was marijuana.  He smoked during high school.  His mother died suddenly when he was in college.  He stopped smoking pot when he went to law school due to the conflict with legality.  Slowly alcohol crept into his life.  After a few years, he muted his feelings and pressures at work with alcohol.  He quickly started moderating.  He moved to Massachusetts and intended to stop drinking, but he was isolated, and his drinking escalated. 

 

[12:28] What was your mindset around alcohol?

 

Adam said for him it was always numbing.  He liked to drink alone.  He struggled with family issues including shame, vulnerability, and food issues.  He took on some of the behaviors he saw in his family.

 

[14:00] Did You have food issues as well?

 

Adam said he did struggle with weight as well.  In junior year of high school, he lost 70 pounds.  He loves running and that has helped him manage his emotions.  He has been choosing mediation in the past year.   

 

[15:21] How did your drinking evolve?

 

Adam said by 2014, he went to his first AA meeting.  He spoke to his therapist about drinking, but he wasn’t ready to deal with it.  He developed a pattern of lying about his drinking and he would get caught.   He tried to control his drinking by buying nips. 

 

He wanted a state of numbness without heavy consequences.  He described an out of body experience about starting to drink and drive and hide bottles before he got home. 

 

[17:45] Was your shame progressing?

 

Adam said it was terrible.  He felt like a total failure.  He was taking risks, putting his daughter in danger.  The weight of the shame was huge. 

 

Things came to a head when his wife was pregnant with their second child.  He recalled lying about sobriety time and taking coins for a year of sobriety when he hadn’t achieved it.  He brought the coins into the meeting and told them he had lied.  He was accepted, given hugs and it opened the door for him to transition from shame to guilt.  He was still drinking and hiding.  Anticipating coping with a newborn prompted him to ask for a bigger level of help.  He went to rehab to get well.

 

[22:51]  Did returning the coins change how you approached drinking? 

 

Adam said it opened the door to imperfection.  He read “the Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown.  He learned that the quality of relationships with other people in this world were limited by his relationship with himself. 

If he couldn’t learn to love himself, his relationship with his wife would suffer.   He knew he needed to take 30 days away to have the space and room to learn to love himself. 

 

[24:58] How were things when you returned home?

 

Adam has found freedom from his self-imposed “control” cage.  When he returned home, he had a lot of trust to rebuild.    He spent 15 hours a day changing his mindset while in rehab.  When he returned home, he realized life went on.  In the beginning he resisted several things.  His wife asked him to put a breathalyzer in the car because she was concerned about him driving the children while intoxicated.  Today he embraces that completely, but at the time his ego resisted the suggestion.  He had to learn to ask for advice versus selling his excuses to others.  He and his family have been safe for over a year.  He has rebuilt trust and freedom with his family. 

 

[30:53] How were the first few months?

 

Adam said he had very few cravings.  He is active in AA.  He attends four virtual meetings a week.   He belongs to a gratitude group and shares three things he is grateful for every day. 

 

[32:55] What role does exercise play in your recovery?

 

Adam ran when he was drinking.  He works out now.  He uses the peloton app and looks forward to running when the weather improves. 

 

[33:39] Tell me about your meditation practice.

 

Adam dabbled in meditation for a while.  In treatment, he focused on developing a meditation practice.  He embraced the mantra, “I am worthy of receiving all of the love the universe has for me.”

 

He had some life changing moments with meditation, mantras and breathwork.  Things just clicked.   Adam meditates daily for a minimum of ten minutes.  He loves how he can change how his body feels just by breathing.  He knows it is worth it to try new things and invest in himself.  Willingness is critical for him. 

 

[37:55] How have your relationships evolved in recovery?

 

Adam referenced AA’s promises and said he could not have designed what his life is like now.  He wakes up after disjointed sleep and realizes how lucky he is to experience his daughters.   The last year (COVID) has been a gift with a new child, homeschooling, juggling careers and has helped his marriage. 

 

[40:51] Is parenting triggering for you?

 

Adam said he doesn’t want to drink, but he often wants to escape.  He leverages meditation to help him overcome those temporary challenges of parenting.

 

[42:44] What is your response when someone offers you a drink?

 

Adam feels very comfortable.  He brings his own drink anytime he goes out, so he doesn’t risk having to look around for something. 

 

His wife had a glass of wine after a year of not drinking (due to pregnancy) and didn’t like how she felt.  She is joining Adam to be alcohol free.

 

The only thing Adam misses is the escape. 

 

[46:33] What is something unexpected that has happened during your journey?

 

Adam said he experiences more joy daily than he thought was possible.

 

[46:44] What are you looking forward to?

Adam loves live music, specifically Fish and the Grateful Dead.  Both bands have a big sober following.  He wants to go to a concert and attending a fellowship meeting during a set break to experience live music and sobriety. 

 

 

 

[47:54] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What would you say to your younger self?

You are worthy of receiving all the love that the universe has for you.

 

  1. What has recovery made possible for you?

Everything.  Addiction is giving up everything for one thing and recovery is about giving up one thing for everything. 

 

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Ben & Jerry’s oatmeal cookie.

 

  1. What are some of your favorite resources in recovery?

 

The book, The Four Agreements.  His sponsor and his sober community have been tremendous assets.

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze?

 

There is nothing in this world that is worth more than an investment in yourself.  Once you do that, you will have a life you can’t imagine. 

 

You may have to say Adios to booze if …

If you find yourself drinking at an in-person AA meeting. 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette challenges listeners to take out your journals and explore this prompt.  When do I feel at peace? Is it easy to stay there?  What do I run toward when I find myself unable to stay at peace?

 

Creating a new mindset takes more than quitting drinking.  Learn more about yourself.

 

Check out our YouTube channel for a recipe for Tamarind limeade – lots of laughs!

You are not alone, together is always better.  Peace begins with you.

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). 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 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light - I love you guys”

 

 

May 24, 2021

Episode 327 – trying to stop and think about, is alcohol serving me?  I don’t have to decide right now, I need to get back to basics.

 

Chloe took her last drink on June 7, 2020.  She is from the UK and is 32 years old.  This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

Odette gave a shout out to Brainwashed Coffee that is one of the sponsors of the Bozeman retreat.  They also donate 50% of their proceeds to those in addiction recovery. 

https://www.brainwashedcoffeeco.com/  Promo Code:  elevator for a 20% discount.

 

Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.

 

Odette spoke about growing up with her brother, Charlie and playing lots of video games.  Odette talked about trust and video games.  Trust is earned.  The more you do the next right thing and protect your sobriety, you get to the next level, just the way you level up when playing video games.  Facing recovery with fun instead of fear helps you recognize your increasing skills that come with practice. 

 

[6:09]  Odette introduces Chloe

 

Chloe took her last drink on June 7, 2020.  She said it has been a crazy journey.  Chloe is 32 and lives in the UK.  She has a dog, and she loves walking the dog, running, anything active.

 

[7:16] Tell us about your history with drinking?

 

Chloe started drinking at age 15.  She was a binge drinker like many of her friends.  She didn’t see it as a problem until her mid to late twenties.  She started listening to the Recovery Elevator podcast.  She reached one-year of sobriety and had a relapse that was lengthy.  As of this recording she has 8 months of continuous sobriety.

 

[8:19] What put you on the trajectory to quit drinking?

 

Chloe said she wanted to drink more than she could get away with.  As her moderation journey continued, her drinking got worse.  She got depressed and was in a bad relationship.  She attempted suicide and was put into an inpatient program for depression.  She was sneaking alcohol while in the program but didn’t relate the correlation between drinking and her depression, she found AA and discovered she could have a happy life without drinking.

 

[11:01] Did the doctors treating your depression ask about your drinking?

 

Chloe said she played down her drinking.  She thought everyone did that.   Alcohol was such a crutch, and it was something she looked forward to, so it was hard to get her head around stopping. 

 

[12:30] How did you end up at your first AA meeting?

 

Chloe said the more she tried to moderate, the more out of control her drinking became.  She answered yes to every question on an alcohol quiz.  She was able to relate to what people in AA said.  They were able to have a happy, functional life without alcohol.  It helped her change her thinking about drinking and her depression.

 

[14:49] What happened after your first AA meeting?

 

Chloe stopped drinking for a bit, then relapsed.  She went into a second treatment program and got sober.  She worked the steps.  She achieved a year of sobriety.  She started drinking after getting into a relationship with someone new.  He was a drinker and she wanted to share that experience.  Over the next 18 months, her drinking became progressively worse.  Her thinking was muddled.  She read Paul Churchill’s book; Alcohol is Sh*t!  She realized she didn’t need to figure out if she was powerless, yet.  She needed to get back to basics and keep trying.  Even one day of sobriety is progress. 

 

[18:08]  Did the desire to fit in influence your relapse? 

 

Chloe said she thought she could have fun with alcohol and stop again.  She didn’t realize how insidious it is to continue starting and stopping over and over. Sobriety is precious.  She felt crazy.   She would listen to sobriety podcasts, then drink at night.  She learned a lot of lessons through drinking. 

 

 

 

[21:54] Did you share your sobriety with people outside of AA?

 

Chloe said she did share her quest for sobriety with the person she was in a relationship with.  She had to get support when she returned to sobriety.  She has great friends in AA and her family is supportive as well.

 

[23:02] Did sobriety help your depression?

 

Chloe said about six months into sobriety she noticed the feelings of joy and gratitude that she hadn’t experienced before.  The depression was gone.  Her life had meaning and a reason to go on. 

 

[24:46] What motivated you to quit again?

 

Chloe said it was during lockdown and things were bad.   Lockdown accelerated her drinking.  She drank three bottles of wine a day, passed out and kept repeating it day after day.  Her last night of drinking, she drank so much, she got into a fight and got violent with her partner at the time.  She called the police, and they took him away.  The next morning, she realized she was the one with the problem and it couldn’t happen again.  The risk was no longer worth it.  She felt done and resigned. She threw everything she had at sobriety.  She went back to AA and attacked sobriety, stacked days and she is grateful it’s working.  The first few months were tough, now she doesn’t have to work so hard to stay sober.

 

[28:11] Do you realize how amazing it is that you pulled it together?

 

Chloe said her self-esteem was strengthened.  She knows she can do hard things and other things she didn’t think were possible. 

 

[30:21] Did you start going back to meetings?

 

Chloe said, not immediately, but now she can attend in person meetings.  She has friends in AA, she connected to people on Instagram, listened to podcasts and joined Café RE. 

 

[31:32] How do you manage cravings?

 

Chloe said she is learning not to freak out.  She doesn’t overthink the craving.  It’s normal. Cravings are just a thought.  She plays the tape forward,  exercises and reaches out to friends.

 

[33:55] Do you get any negative feedback from others about your sobriety?

 

She said, not this round.  In the last round a co-worker said he didn’t trust anyone who didn’t drink.

 

[34:45] Have you overcome the concern about having fun sober?

 

Chloe had to rethink her mindset about sobriety and looks at it as a joyful, amazing journey of growth and possibility vs. misery and deprivation.  She has more energy, more enthusiasm, more interests, more people in her life. 

 

[37:34] Have you been able to identify triggers?

 

Chloe said stress and celebrations are her biggest triggers.  She recognizes that drinking is no longer a celebration.  The pause is so important.

 

 

[38:58] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What would you say to your younger self?

Keep trying no matter what.

 

  1. What is your go to response when someone offers you a drink?

She hasn’t faced that because of lockdown.  Her planned response is, yes please, I’ll have a sparkling water.

 

  1. What has recovery made possible for you?

Everything.  When she was drinking, she was doing nothing.  She is training for a marathon, starting a new career and happily single.

 

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

All ice cream.  She hasn’t had a bad one!

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze?

 

Keep putting in the action, stacking the days and the result will come.

 

You may have to say Adios to booze if …

If you are listening to podcasts about sobriety. 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

We have your back.  We are your safe container.  The journey comes with different levels.  Hit the save button when you get stuck. Take a breath, ask for help.   Nothing great is ever done on our own, sobriety takes a village.  Have fun along the way and trust the process. 

 

Remember that you are not alone and together is always better.  We can do this!

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). 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 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light - I love you guys”

 

 

May 17, 2021

Episode 326 – playing forward and playing it present -- if I drink again,  why would I want to go down that path?

 

Erik took his last drink on March 9, 2019.  He is from upstate New York.   This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

This quarter’s Recovery Elevator donation went to “The Phoenix.” 

thephoenix.org

 

Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.

 

Odette is training for a marathon.  She reached out to her fitness coach Paul from RecoveryFit1 to get some guidance on training, cross-training, etc.  She has noticed the training for the race is re-training her brain, rewriting her story and building her confidence.  Crossing the finish line of a marathon is scary for Odette.  During her childhood, she participated in the rally portion of the mini-Olympics.  She fell and as a result her team was in last place.  From then on, she told herself she was not a runner. 

 

Odette recognizes we often get stuck in our stories because those stories are all we know.  We need to believe we can do things differently. She is using visualization techniques to overcome her old stories.   What stories are we telling ourselves about our alcohol-free journey?  Are those stories holding you back or keeping you stuck?  How can you re-write your story?

 

[8:53]  Odette introduces Erik

 

Erik took his last drink on March 9, 2019.  His journey includes ups, downs, and stability.  He grew up in upstate New York and lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,  He is 42, single and living it up in the sunshine state.  Erik loves binge watching TV (COVID), meet-up.com, brunch, dinner, event planning, relaxing and baths. 

 

[11:23] Tell us about your history with drinking?

 

Erik took his first drink at junior prom and found his dad’s secret stash of Manhattan’s.  He didn’t drink much until college.  He remembers the Bridge Street Run and he got completely wasted and was on camera when the local news covered the event.  His drinking progressed from there.  He moved to Los Angeles and in 2010 he got his first DUI.  He knew his drinking was a problem and he started looking at his drinking more closely. 

 

His DUI stemmed from a party that included friends from college.  At 3 AM, he remembers driving home and avoiding someone on the side of the road.  He passed an accident and almost ran over the cops.  His recollection was foggy because he was so intoxicated.  He exited the freeway on Hollywood Blvd., was arrested and the cops took him back to the scene of the accident so he could see where he almost ran the cops over. 

 

His friends came to pick him up and told him, ‘It’s ok, it happens to everyone’. 

 

[17:55]  What happened after the DUI?

 

Eric looks at his drinking career through the lens of his DUI’s because he’s had three in ten years.  He went to AA after the first DUI.  He took one of the quizzes about problem drinking.  His gut knew he had a problem, but he ignored it and went along with his friends who said it was not a big deal.

 

He moved to Florida and picked up where he left off.  His 2nd DUI was in 2013.  He remembers going out, ripping his jeans from dancing and drove from West Palm Beach to Ft. Lauderdale.  He was driving 80 MPH in a 35 MPH zone.  He blew a .15 and went to court. 

 

Five years later he got his third DUI.

 

[21:16] What was your drinking like between the DUI’s?

 

After the first DUI, it scratched the surface of concern, but he kept drinking.  Erik describes himself as a celebratory binge drinker.

 

He went to AA for four months without drinking and believed moderating would work for him.  He was able to moderate successfully until the shut off valve in his brain didn’t shut off. 

 

In 2018, Erik got his third DUI.  He had a breathalyzer in his vehicle and was still positive (for alcohol) the next day.  Erik took a cab to work.  Erik never wants to be like that again.

 

[27:39]  What other elements of your life (at the time) could be attributed to alcohol?

 

Erik said from 2016-2018 he was a mess.  He was on anti-depressants and drinking and the combination and progression were not good.  Erik knew peer pressure was a big deal for him.  He learned to distance himself from people who drink.  He acknowledges his choices and recognizes he needs to say no to others in an

 

[30:02] Did you have a rock bottom when you had your last drink?

 

Erik said the weekend after his third DUI he was drinking, and he drove a friend to the airport at 5 am.  He went to AA for six months.  He chaired meetings, read the books.  His attorney helped him to stay out of jail by wearing an ankle monitor.  He was unable to get into treatment because he already had six months of sobriety.  Erik had to hack the system to get treatment.  He got really drunk to make sure he could get into treatment vs. jail.

 

[37:54] How was your life after treatment?

 

Erik described treatment being a gift.  There were some downsides, including losing his privacy.  When he left rehab, he was required to wear an ankle monitor.  He had a falling out with his sponsor.  He made a choice to drink to stay out of jail.   He became forthcoming with his therapist and social worker.  AA was a blessing for him.  He found Recovery Elevator during COVID, and he sees many similarities to AA.

 

Some days are hard and other days are beautiful.  Sobriety is work.  It’s a daily chore, but it’s so worth it for him.  It works if you work it and work it because you are worth it!

 

Erik thirsts for Recovery Elevator to become bigger.  He loves the meet ups and the chats, and it has been great for him. 

 

[46:39] How do you relate to alcohol now?

 

Erik said his ankle monitor came in handy.   It helped him through several situations including a funeral, a long layover at an airport.  Erik knows he can have fun without alcohol, and he can be in public spaces without drinking.  He is learning about who he is and who he wants to be.  Time heals all wounds, and you get more comfortable with sobriety with time.

 

Playing it forward and playing it present helps him stay sober. 

 

 

[51:01] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What has this journey made possible for you?

It has allowed me to get to know myself and look inside and see who I want to be as a human being and how I want to interact with the universe.

 

  1. What is your go to response when someone offers you a drink?

No, thank you.

 

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Rocky Road

 

  1. What is an unexpected perk of this journey?

I have more patience and I’m more in the moment.  You experience sunrises and sunsets differently.  Florida is beautiful year around and he loves being in the moment. 

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze?

 

Stick with it.  Listen to your gut.  We’ve all had plenty of day 1’s.  Don’t minimize your sobriety.  Be thankful for what you have and keep coming back.

 

You may have to say Adios to booze if …

You have to check your car for damage after a night of drinking or can’t remember where your car is.

 

Odette’s Summary

 

One of our team members, Alan Copeland is going to share about Café RE.  Check out Alan’s episode 287.  Alan has been with Café RE since January 1, 2020.  He helps onboard new members.  Café RE includes:

  • Connection with like-minded people
  • Podcast
  • Over 20 online chats per week
  • Accountability partner
  • Facebook group
  • In person meet-ups with sober people (have fun without drinking)
  • Courses including Restore, Ditch the Booze
  • Book club
  • Movie Club
  • Yoga
  • Fitness class
  • Member listing
  • Recovery Buffet (AA, Smart Recovery, Recovery Dharma friendly – we support the menu of options for recovery)
  • $24 monthly membership fee
  • Cancel anytime, rejoin anytime

 

Alan believes RE can help you overcome loneliness.  You quickly understand there are like-minded people who are here to support you.  Lifelong friendships are built in Café RE.  We focus on the similarities.  We don’t follow a specific program we are open to multiple options for recovery. The light will always be on for you here at Café RE. 

 

Remember that you are not alone and together is always better.  We can rewrite our stories. 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). 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 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light - I love you guys”

 

 

May 10, 2021

Episode 325 – I used to drink at people when I was upset and those were bad nights.  I believed alcohol calmed me down and got me out of the anger. 

 

Gillian took her last drink on November 9, 2019.  She is from Boston and loves playing video games.   This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

https://www.getgruvi.com/  discount code:  recoveryelevator

 

Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.

 

Odette has been thinking about death.  She has anxiety about dying.  She read a chapter in the Untethered Soul.  The author, Michael A. Singer said having an active relationship with death is healthy.   “It is truly a great cosmic paradox that one of the best teachers in all of life turns out to be death.  No  person or situation could teach as much as death has to teach you.  While someone could tell you, you are not your body, death shows you.  While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them away in a second. Death makes us all the same.”  Keeping death at the forefront of our mind helps us stay in the moment.  We can stop focusing on the future or dwelling on the past and appreciate every moment. 

 

Full presence with her children gives Odette great joy.  In the moment, Odette is learning to appreciate what she has.  She knows we can avoid thinking about death, but it’s inevitable. 

 

When we choose sobriety, we remove a huge block that prevents us from being in the moment.  Odette still has other blocks, yet she is motivated to stay sober by those moments when she can understand what being fully present is.  The more time she spends away from alcohol, the more presence is available to her.  Value what you have, honor where you are and be grateful!

 

[10:25]  Odette introduces Gillian

 

Gillian took her last drink on November 9, 2019.  She lives in Boston,  she is a biochemist and for fun she reads, plays video games and hangs out with her husband and kitty. 

 

[11:29] Tell us about your history with drinking?

 

Gillian started drinking at age 22.  She was a late comer to drinking.  She had a glass of wine at 18 and had such intense shame about drinking.  She drank more in grad school and started with Bud Lite, and her drinking quickly escalated.  She was frequently sick and within a year she was a daily drinker.  Her tolerance doubled.  She tried to moderate for five years.  Eventually, she realized moderation would not work.

 

[13:27]   Tell me more about the shame your experienced with your first drink?

 

Gillian is a rule follower.  She had trouble liking who she was.  She didn’t like or accept her body.  At 18 she was feeling shame about food she ate.  It was a difficult time in her life. 

 

[14:39] Tell me more about your moderation attempts.

 

Before Gillian was a scientist, she was a teacher and she used alcohol as her fuel.  She learned that when you drink, the stress goes away, and you feel better.  She switched to Vodka and made cosmos daily.  She knew she was drinking too much.  She used a rubber band for the number of drinks, had her husband pour drinks, she bought strong wine, bought weak wine.  She ended several friendships because she thought she was drinking too much with them.  In her journal her goal was to limit to 25 drinks a week.  She abandoned that quickly. 

 

[17:18] Why were you so firm on making moderation work?

 

Gillian said she couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol.  She thought it would be the death of fun.  All her friends drank. It was fundamental to her socializing.  She continued to try moderation.  She went to a therapist and was told she wasn’t an alcoholic.

 

[18:58] Did your husband know you were struggling?

 

Gillian said she talked with her husband a lot about her moderation attempts.  He knew they were well thought out.  He loved her and wanted to support her but felt uncomfortable saying she should quit. 

 

[20:48] How is your relationship now that you have been sober for over a year?

 

Gillian said her relationship is much better.  They were having a lot of issues before she quit.  She says it’s like they are dating again.  They talk about their lives and their thoughts.  They connect so much better.  Her husband is a normal drinker.

 

[22:45] What made you decide to quit?

 

Gillian said her mental health declined for the last four years of her drinking.  She developed anxiety and was up all night with panic attacks.  She continued drinking and eventually she developed suicidal thoughts, which scared her.  She challenged herself to not drink for 90 days.  She did the 90 days and on day 91, she got drunk.  She drank for a few more months and the suicidal thoughts and anxiety returned.  She quit for good in November because she was afraid, she might act on her thoughts.

 

[25:42]  You had good insights about the outcome of continued drinking.  Does that ring a bell?

 

Gillian said she believed people would label her as a loser, a weak person.  She wanted to go to parties and wineries and did not want to be the only one who wasn’t drinking.

 

Anger has been her biggest struggle.  She would get overcome with rage.  She was mad at her husband and family.  She has processed the anger, and no longer has rage attacks. 

 

Gillian said she drank at people when she was upset.  She believed alcohol calmed her down and helped her deal with the anger.  It was exactly opposite.

 

[28:37] 15 months in has your motivation shifted?

 

Gillian said she uses data.  She knows if she returns to drinking, anxiety and suicidal ideation will return.  All the gains she has made in sobriety would disappear if she returned to drinking.  A recent quote she likes is, “Addiction is giving up everything for one thing.  Recovery is giving up one thing for everything.”

 

[30:45] Did anything happen on November 9 that was different?

 

Gillian said it was the 11-year anniversary of a traumatic event.  She started the day with a boozy brunch, then bought a bottle of wine, then another and by 6 pm she was destroyed.  She made the decision to quit at 5:30 in the morning.  She felt calm when she made that resolve and she celebrates the 9th, not the 10th. 

 

[32:46] How did you celebrate your one-year?

 

Gillian and her husband went to an Airbnb in Maine with a cool hot tub.  They had a great time, talked a lot, and made new memories.

 

[33:59] How were the first thirty days for you?

 

Gillian said quitting at the start of the holiday season was difficult.  She went to lots of parties sober.  She was the only one not drinking.  She doesn’t have cravings because her acceptance is so strong.  She struggles with people questioning her drinking.  She made new friends who were not big drinkers.  She did experience a lot of night sweats. 

 

[37:53] Did you feel strong after the holiday season?

 

Gillian said it gave her lots of confidence.  She feels like a pro now.  There were a few times she cried.  The pride has rushed in and she started going to Starbucks to treat herself when other partygoers were getting drunk or weird.  She has set lots of boundaries in sobriety which feels good.  She now respects herself.  She deserves people who care about her and want the best for her.

 

[40:03] When did your career shift happen?

 

Gillian said that during a moderation attempt, she realized teaching was too stressful.  When she moved over to science, it was a good shift with the goal of being able to moderate her drinking. 

 

[41:32] What happens when you have challenges in life? 

 

Gillian now bakes cookies.  The act of baking helps her calm down.  Her husband is incredibly supportive.  Playing video games and therapy help.

Seeing others drink wine can be triggering.  She feels jealous.  Her company sent wine as gifts, but she was able to avoid those gifts. 

 

[43:39]  How vocal are you at work about being alcohol free?

 

Gillian doesn’t tell people about her sobriety.  She was able to avoid the wine deliveries by telling someone who was part of the fun committee.  She was able to request an alcohol-free alternative.  She has given feedback that mocktails should be included at work cocktail parties.  She has given feedback without “outing” herself.  A wine delivery could be disastrous for someone in early sobriety, so she is courageous about giving feedback. 

 

[46:50] Tell me about your anxiety?

 

Gillian said the anxiety is completely gone. 

 

[47:33] What about sleep?

 

Gillian said she sleeps like a teenager.  She was so sleep deprived at the end of her drinking.  Sleep is now great, and it still surprises her how good it feels.  It took a few months to get out of the disrupted sleep cycle.  She feels amazing now. 

 

[49:02] How has your body image changed?

 

Gillian said she has always struggled with body image.  In May, she realized she was looking good.  Now she can look in the mirror and likes what she sees.  It has been an unexpected perk of sobriety. 

 

[51:26] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What would you say to your younger self?

It’s okay, you are doing fine.

 

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Coffee Oreo.

 

  1. What has been a lightbulb moment for you in this journey?

I realize my story is not unique to me.  It’s good to not be special.  I am not alone.  It was good to know that others had similar experience.

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze?

 

If you are worrying that you might have a problem, you know deep down that you do.  It’s ok that you do.  Its better on the other side.

 

You may have to say Adios to booze if …

You are obsessing about moderation every single day and you spend most of your time thinking about your drinking.

 

Odette’s Summary

 

One of our team members, Alan Copeland wrote a poem he is going to share with you today. 

 

Connection is The Key

 

For so long I was looking for the key that would open the door to a better life, a new life. One that wasn’t spiraling into oblivion.  

 

A dark abyss of anxiety, depression, self-loathing, and fear. The bottom was as far as I could keep falling - no rope to grab - no hand to grasp.  

 

A true free fall with gravity doing what gravity does.  A downward spiral.

 

Where is that key?  What’s on the other side of that door? Will I ever find what it’s like to be free from this room that’s closing in on me?  

 

Can I buy the key?  

 

That’s it….I’ll buy it!  

 

Wait...where do I buy it?  

 

Amazon?  

 

Apple? Is there an App?  

 

Google will tell me, right?  

 

Or how about I make the key!  Yeah….I’ll make it to fit the door. I really can do this alone.

 

Wait….how will I make a key when I can’t even find the door!?

 

I was all alone and to feel truly alone is paralyzing. 

 

Being alone in addiction and pending sobriety is a fear that I’ve never experienced before.  Please, please...someone help me find the key.

 

I never found that key.

 

Luckily, it found me. And finally, I opened the door. The door to a better life, a new life.

 

Connection is the key.

 

To say I’m grateful for connection doesn’t give it the credit it deserves.

 

The key was with a group of individuals that I had never met, never would have met and in many cases - still haven't met.   

 

Connection is the key.

 

True connection is something I had never defined or thought about.  

 

When you can share experiences, challenges and growth with another person that is also battling the raging bitch of addiction...well...that’s a connection that’s hard to put into words.  

 

I have now experienced true connection. The ability to tell a person, “I see you”, “I hear you”,  “I understand you” and “you are loved”.  

 

Connection is the key.  

 

The key to learning who I am….who I REALLY am. 

 

It’s not easy, but when you have someone to lean on, someone who catches you when you fall, someone who “feels the feels” with you, cries with you and the best of all...laughs with you. Authentic self to authentic self. We realize - we can’t do this alone.

 

Connection is the key.  

 

Connection is powerful.  

 

Connection is the opposite of addiction.  

 

Have you found the key yet?  If not...don’t look now….it might have just found, you.

 

Remember that you are not alone and together is always better.  Connection is the key.  We can do this.

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). 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 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light - I love you guys”

 

 

May 3, 2021

Episode 324 – I guess it’s my pride.  It’s ego which is not a good thing.  It’s almost a year and I realized, OMG, it’s the best year of my life.

 

Bobbie took her last drink on December 16, 2019.  She is from upstate New York.    This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.

 

Odette was inspired by Brian who hosted one of the Café RE chats.  Evolution of sobriety isn’t always linear or a straight shot.  We assume it will be an upgrade.  However, sobriety can be messy.  You can feel stuck and get into victim mentality. 

 

Odette compared sobriety to a puzzle.  Sometimes it can feel like we are going backwards.  When looking at the puzzle, we grab different pieces.  Sometimes the piece doesn’t fit, but we make a mental note and later in the journey, the puzzle piece fits.  Traveling backwards is common because the tool or lesson may have not made sense at the time, but it does later in the journey. 

 

Everything has a purpose and it’s there for a reason. We don’t always see the bigger picture.  We need to accept that unlike a puzzle …. the journey never ends.  There is no destination, it’s about the journey.  It’s not about being (un)loveable, morality, making mistakes, it’s about discovering our wholeness. 

 

We don’t quit quitting.  It’s about resilience. 

 

[11:59]  Odette introduces Bobbie

 

 

Bobbie took her last drink on December 16, 2019 She lives in snowy upstate New York.  She has family in Connecticut.  She has two business that she launched in 2020.  She loves volleyball, reading, puzzles, Zumba and is learning how to adjust the fun in our new environment. 

 

[13:54] Tell us about your history with drinking?

 

Bobbie started drinking at 15.  She remembers the first time she got caught for drinking.  Her biological father was an alcoholic.  She knew she shouldn’t drink because she didn’t want to be like her father. 

 

Growing up, Bobbie spent a lot of time with people in recovery because there was a lot of addiction in her family.  She went to Al-Ateen and many AA picnics.  She believes that she developed an addiction to gambling because she was trying to avoid an addiction to drinking.  She resented having to go to these events because it wasn’t her problem.  Now her view has evolved.  She didn’t embrace anything 12-step until 2017.

 

[17:32]   What was your trajectory of drinking vs. gambling?

 

Bobbie said she was a truck driver in her early twenties.  She didn’t party when she was driving.  She drank to excess on the weekends which she felt was normal because everyone was doing it. In her thirties she drank with her husband (he was the DD).  She was gambling in the background, but her drinking was a problem.  In 2017 she went to rehab and focused on gambling first. 

 

She went to rehab on her own accord.  She had an executive level job, but all her perceived obstacles were removed.  She owed it to herself to address her addictions.  She was getting in trouble at work events.

 

[21:06] How long were you at the rehab center?

 

Bobbie said she was in rehab for 28 days.  Rehab left quite an impression.  She was in the gambling wing.  Her freedom was removed because she couldn’t even choose when to take a shower.  It felt like a cross between summer camp and jail.  She knew she needed to focus on herself and didn’t want to ever lose her freedom again. 

 

[23:51] How did you handle being in the gambling wing versus the drug and alcohol wing of rehab?

 

Bobbie said that they were not allowed to interact with people in the drug and alcohol wing.  Everything was separate.

 

Before entering rehab, Bobbie interviewed for a job.   She left rehab at 28 days (vs 30) and went to after care.  She was called out frequently for drinking.  The aftercare team didn’t hold back.  In 2019 Bobbie decided not to use alcohol as a coping mechanism.  She discovered Café RE in 2018 and knew she needed to focus on her drinking. 

 

Bobbie was frustrated that alcohol was a problem when she was doing all the work for her gambling addiction.  She broke up with a guy and was drunk texting her ex and recognized her texts were mean and venomous.  Having another personality was a rock-bottom moment.

 

Bobbie signed up for the Recovery Elevator Asia trip.  She knew she needed to be sober for 30 days and joined the trip with a little over 30 days of sobriety.  She was following the rules versus deciding not to drink.  When she returned from Asia, she learned that her biological father and grandmother had passed away within a week of each other.  She hosted her father’s funeral the day before the world shut down because of COVID.  She was at a bar when she got a text about her father’s death.  She knew she had to decide how to cope with overwhelming emotions.  She was afraid to drink because she was concerned, she wouldn’t stop. 

 

A friend she met on the Asia trip inspired her to achieve a year of sobriety.  She realized it was the best year of her life because she started a podcast, opened a second company and was so much more productive without drinking. 

 

Bobbie recognizes her journey is different than many others in Café RE because she wasn’t as intentional about not drinking as many others, it happened almost as a side-effect of her gambling addiction. 

 

[35:47] What made you decide to take the Café RE trip?

 

Bobbie said she knew she needed the trip to quit drinking.  A friend helped her pay for the trip.  When she left rehab, she didn’t make the decision to quit drinking.  The sober trip helped her explore her curiosity about sobriety and laid the foundation for the tools she needed to explore sobriety.

 

Bobbie said she was mesmerized by the RE community and by Paul Churchill.  Paul inspired her to start her gambling podcast and was her first guest. 

 

[41:55] What do you do now when you have a craving or a trigger?

 

Bobbie said everything has happened for a reason.  She believes she can overcome anything.  In a few situations (golf, road trips, etc.) she has urges, but now she has a conversation with herself that people can love and accept her without alcohol.  She focuses on what she has learned along the way.  She doesn’t want to return to a destructive life.  She hasn’t committed to quit drinking forever.  She is focused on her goals and sees alcohol as an obstacle to her achieving those goals.  She has gratitude for her drinking career because it withheld some of her opportunities in corporate America.  She is now helping others with addiction.  She feels like she won.

 

[45:52] What other tools are helpful for you?

 

Bobbie is active in Gambling Anonymous (GA).  She meditates and does a daily reflection every day.  She likes Recovery Dharma through Café RE.  She has integrated self-care into her everyday life. 

 

Bobbie wasn’t sure what she was supposed to feel and began to understand that resentment over her father helped her move from resentment to neutral and she is working on forgiveness. 

 

The value of community and accountability have been helpful.   Her obligation and accountability to others has helped her push through difficult moments.  She tries to practice what she preaches in her podcast. 

 

[51:02] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What would you say to your younger self?

It’s all going to be fine. It all has purpose and will take you where you are meant to be.

 

  1. What has recovery made possible for you?

Everything – from relationships, work, business, transparency, vulnerability – everything.   

 

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

All of them. 

 

  1. What advice would you give to listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze?

It’s so worth it.  It may not feel like it in the moment, but stick with it, it’s so worth it. 

 

You may have to say Adios to booze if …

Your friends are surprised there is coffee in your cup instead of Long Island iced tea. 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette challenges us to think about one of the puzzle pieces in your sobriety journey that didn’t make sense recently that now makes sense.  Share what you have learned with a friend. 

 

You are not alone, together is always better!  Odette believes in you!

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). 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 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light - I love you guys”

 

 

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