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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: July, 2023
Jul 31, 2023

Episode 441 – Connection With a Molecule

 

Today we have Shane, he is 39 from Birmingham, AL and took his last drink on December 25th, 2021.

 

[00:58] Highlights from Paul:

 

Many of us share the same response to our first drink. It’s a firework show internally that connects the missing dots. We finally feel connected. Alcohol becomes our best friend.

 

Now do not beat yourself up if you find yourself in a tightly intertwined relationship with alcohol. Humans are pack animals and need connection to survive. We need partnership. As addiction guru Dr. Gabor Mate would say, congratulations, you found alcohol, you found a way to survive. Yes, there is the disease model, but there’s also the unease model. A deep unrest or lack of connection with others and ourselves.

 

How do we fix this? Like we learned in last week’s episode, it’s robust social connections that fix this. Some of us have difficulty making deep connections with other human beings but connection with nonhuman souls can help us quit drinking too. Animals help us release oxytocin and serotonin; they help our nervous systems relax. Studies show plants and trees can do the same thing.

 

To summarize, we connected with a molecule. Which ended up being the most dangerous and addictive molecule thus far recorded, and there is plenty of data to back that up. So, what’s next? Start building connections with other people, places, and things, like your life depends on it. Because it does.

 

We have a new sponsor! Check out Go Brewing. Use the code ELEVATOR for 15% off.

 

[08:12] Paul introduces Shane:

 

Shane is 39 years old, currently lives outside of Birmingham, AL. He is married with two children. He works in the heavy truck parts industry. He has been playing guitar since he was 15.

 

Shane had no interest in drinking prior to trying it on a beach trip with friends when he was 20. Shane was surround by alcohol while working as a musician and in the service industry. He found that alcohol made it easier for him to talk to and socialize with people. He first recognized that he might have a problem when he realized he was starting to rely on alcohol to alleviate any stress he was having. He met his wife while they were working on a music album together.

 

Shane started having increasing anxiety and his drinking issues were becoming more apparent to those around him. He was given an ultimatum by his wife to quit drinking. He was able to quit drinking for about five years.

 

Shane’s father passed away and he ended up taking over the business abruptly. At this point he had already relapsed and would have a series of stops and starts utilizing different programs, but nothing ever stuck. Shortly after his daughter was born Shane made his most recent attempt at recovery after some conversations with his wife. He started attending AA three times a week and this was the first time that he admitted to himself that he could not control this. Shane says he felt huge relief when he realized that.

 

Shane says that within the first six months of sobriety his sleep improved, he was able to do more by not planning his life around alcohol. Exercise has been very helpful to Shane as well. He is open with friends and family around his recovery and has no issues being around alcohol. Shane feels the next step for him is leaning into the service aspect of recovery.

 

Shane’s favorite resources in recovery: RE podcast, AA, SMART Recovery

 

Shane’s parting piece of guidance: “just stop drinking”

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator

It all starts from the inside out.

I love you guys.

 

 

 

 

Jul 24, 2023

Episode 440 - How to Undo Trauma

 

Today we have Kathy. She is 31 from Dillworth, MN and has been clean since June 13th, 2016.

 

Thank you to all of the Café RE chat hosts. You all do a great job!

 

We have an exciting new sponsor for the podcast! Go Brewing has an amazing lineup of NA beers. Use the code ELEVATOR for 15% off your order.

 

 

[02:06] Highlights from Paul:

 

Before we get started, how is your summer going? How is sobriety going? How is your AF clock going? How is your life going? Regardless of your answer to all those questions, Paul reminds us that we are not alone. Recovery Elevator is right here with you every step of the way.

 

A recent study of baboons revealed that establishing robust social connections in adulthood,  is so beneficial to the animals that it can mitigate the consequences of traumatic experiences during their early years. There’s that word again. Connection. In addition, researchers have found that once these connections are made, the baboons report living longer lives.

 

We have learned, are learning - that building connections helps us depart from alcohol. When we first enter an actual relationship with the molecule alcohol. It’s a wonderful courtship, but we soon realize that alcohol gave us wings, and then took away the sky. We must replace the connection we had with alcohol with something else.

 

Better Help:  www.betterhelp.com/elevator - 10% off your first month. #sponsored

 

[09:39] Kris introduces Kathy:

 

Kathy just celebrated 7 years of recovery. She lives in Dillworth, MN, she works in care coordination with the F5 Project and has five children ranging from 5 to 18. For fun she hangs out with recovery friends while doing a variety of activities.

 

Kathy’s parents were both addicts and she was in the foster care system early in life. She would spend her childhood moving in and out of foster homes. When she was 12 she ended up living with her brothers and stepfather because her mother went to jail. Kathy wanted to be like her older brothers and started drinking to have a good time.

 

It didn’t take long for her drinking and drug abuse to get out of control. Kathy ended up getting pregnant at age 16 by a man she didn’t know well. She says she no longer had parental support. She quit all substances through her pregnancy and had a goal to be a different mom than her own. She was unable to stay quit and felt a lot of guilt and shame surrounding it.

 

Kathy was not able to stay clean during her second pregnancy and after having the baby she spent a lot of time stealing to support her habit and her children. She ended up trying rehab at one point but was unable to stay sober for very long.

 

Kathy feels she didn’t have great parenting skills and ended up losing custody of her children due to the drug abuse. Some felonies found her in jail and she tried to use this as an opportunity to get clean. After losing a close friend, Kathy asked her stepfather to bail her out. After about two months of using again she decided to get clean because that is what her friend would have wanted for her.

 

She was able to get into inpatient treatment and felt this time that she was truly ready. As soon as she arrived, she went to a drum ceremony where she felt her spirit being awoken. She started learning about how her trauma affected her which helped her shed her shame. After treatment Kathy lived in a halfway house for a few months and upon getting out had her third child.

 

Kathy started going to school for social work and was able foster her nieces who she has now adopted. She loves her current job as care coordinator and giving back to others.

 

Kathy’s plan in sobriety moving forward: to keep on giving back, anywhere and everywhere.

 

Kathy’s parting piece of guidance: You have control over your actions, and you can train your brain to be and do better.

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator

It all starts from the inside out.

I love you guys.

Jul 17, 2023

Episode 439 – Developing a Spiritual Practice

 

Today we have Liz, she’s 38 from LaVale, MD and took her last drink on December 31st, 2022.

 

Thank you to the Café RE chat host, you all do an incredible job!

 

Athletic Greens

 

[02:22] Highlights from Paul:

 

This is not a religious podcast. Paul feels that religion and spirituality are not two sides of the same coin.

 

When we drink alcohol, spiritually, our electrical current to the universe is severed. In fact, in many cultures, the name alcohol literally means, soul sucking spirit. Then mentally, the chemical alcohol turns our brains into tepid soup. After that, we have the physical component - pancreatitis and liver failure come to mind.

 

What is spirituality? What is a spiritual practice? We are connecting with the self. We are connecting within. You become more ocean and less wave. In short, spirituality is connection with the self, which then leads to a connection with nature, the universe, a higher power, and some may call it God. Why do we drink? Why did we drink? To get this sense of connection.

 

Paul shares many examples of spiritual practices and reminds us that we don’t have to wait for the normal order of healing in order to implement some these. We can start right now.

 

Better Help:  www.betterhelp.com/elevator - 10% off your first month. #sponsored

 

[11:03] Paul introduces Liz:

 

Liz is from a small-town Maryland. She is married with two kids; she is a registered nurse and attending school as she is working toward her master’s degree. She enjoys spending time outdoors: kayaking, hiking, camping, being a soccer mom.

 

Liz grew up in a tightknit family and was the youngest of three sisters. She first tried alcohol with a cousin when she was in 6th grade. She didn’t really enjoy it and thought it tasted terrible. She wasn’t a big drinker in high school, just the occasional party.

 

She drank like everyone else during college and worked in the service industry. It was normal for her to be the last person drinking at parties, but she worked and went to school with little issue.

 

 

Liz’s drinking escalated when she began nursing school. She was already married with two kids and struggled balancing it all. She used alcohol as a stress reliever. Her first job after graduating was in the ICU working night shifts. She would drink after her shifts and tried to hide the amount of drinking from her husband. She still didn’t feel she had a problem. Liz says her moderation attempts found her feeling more stressed and caused mood swings.

 

Liz went to inpatient rehab and was able to stay sober for six months. She started attending AA and using the tools she learned in rehab. Her relapse happened on a soccer trip after another parent called her out for not drinking which triggered her. She now feels that her lack of planning or having a network contributed to the relapse as well. She lost control of her drinking. Over the next few years, she spent a lot of time in treatment and trying to figure out what was causing the issues and what needed to change.

 

Liz got a sponsor with AA and started the steps right away after her last drink. She sometimes gets cravings but plays the tape forward. She knows that if she drinks, she will not be able to be there for any of her family if they need her. Liz made a post on Facebook about her recovery and received a lot of love and many messages from people regarding their own struggles. Liz says that she feels so much freedom now that she is alcohol free and has found her higher power.

 

Liz’s favorite resources in recovery: AA, recovery podcasts

 

Liz’s parting piece of guidance: don’t ever give up, no matter what happens you can wake up the next day and keep going.

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator

Go big, because eventually we all go home.

I love you guys.

 

 

 

 

Jul 10, 2023

Episode 438 – Expectations

 

Today we have something different lined up. Instead of one interviewee, we’ve got a panel of sober rockstars who have been kicking ass and taking names in this field for a while now. You’re going to love it.

 

Recovery Elevator welcomes our newest sponsor, Athletic Greens.

 

[02:33] Highlights from Paul:

 

We are full of expectations. Both for ourselves and other people. Top of that list is we expect happiness in a world where nothing is guaranteed. We have been conditioned throughout our life that any discomfort represents failure, and a certain product, drink or pill will end the suffering.

 

How do we let expectations go? It’s impossible. All you can do is become aware you are expecting something different for yourself or other people.

 

Another reason why expectations are dangerous is it throws gratitude right out of the window. We also expect the earth to keep providing the natural resources needed for our survival, which are never guaranteed. We definitely need to approach sunshine, fresh drinking water, clean air, and shelter from a stance of gratitude opposed to expecting them to be delivered to us because we deserve them. More on that next week.

 

“The days in which my gratitude exceeds my expectations are really good days” – Ray Wylie Hubbard.

 

Better Help:  www.betterhelp.com/elevator - 10% off your first month. #sponsored

 

[10:54] The interviewees introduce themselves:

 

Laura Cathcart Robbins, the host of “The Only One in the Room” podcast and author of the book Stash: My Life in Hiding.

 

Eric Zimmer, the hose of “The One You Feed” podcast and creator of a program called Spiritual Habits.

 

Paul Churchill, the host of “Recovery Elevator” podcast (who we all know and love).

 

Gill hosts the Sober Powered podcast and is also a chemistry professor in the Boston area.

 

Gill wants to talk about early sobriety and what the experience was like for each guest.

 

[14:33] Laura has almost 15 years in sobriety. She shares that her first month of sobriety was spent in rehab. She hated it and felt resentful of those that enjoyed it. She attended a lot of recovery meetings and felt sentenced and never felt like she fit in initially. Laura remembers the early days often and knows she doesn’t want to return there.

 

[17:18] Eric first got sober from heroin when he was 24. He stayed sober for about eight years but returned to alcohol for a few years. He has since gotten sober again and has been sober for 16 years. What Eric remembers about early recovery is that just quitting substances wasn’t enough. He was plagued by the war that went on between using and not using and he feels that after some time in recovery, the turmoil subsides.

 

[20:08] Paul had a moment of clarity during a wedding he was DJ’ing where he was extremely drunk and had to ask a colleague to finish. He quit drinking a few days later and planned on going to rehab. He decided to wait and try recovery with AA and spending more time in nature.

 

[22:48] Gill is three and half years sober. She quit because it was affecting her mental health. She was scared to share her issues with anyone initially, so she did the first few months in recovery by herself. 

 

The guests continue to share their experiences around their early sobriety, their readiness to quit drinking and reflect on what helped them in recovery then and what continues to help them now.

 

Connect with Laura – The Only One in the Room Podcast

 

Connect with Eric – The One You Feed

 

Connect with Gill – Sober Powered

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator

You took the elevator down, you got to take the stairs back up, you can do this.

I love you guys.

 

Jul 3, 2023

Episode 437 – Inner Conflict

 

Today we have Mark who is 45 from Connecticut and took his last drank on January 15, 2023.

 

Thank you to all of the Café RE chat hosts. You all do a great job!

 

We have partnered with Sober Link.  You can find some tips and can sign up for a $50 off promo code.

 

 

[01:55] Highlights from Paul:

 

It is impossible to avoid conflict in a human life. All attempts to avoid it,  will only result in more conflict. It built into the human experience. After all, we are reconciling the Yin to our Yang on a daily basis. Somedays the dark side says take a seat, and the next day, we welcome the light.

 

Addictions take hold when is there is intense inner conflict. When parts of our personalities are out of balance. Or when parts of us are screaming for attention because we are in pain. In addition, this inner imbalance is a representation that the whole of society is out of balance causing many of us to question “what the hell is going on?”. Your individual unrest is not separate from the whole.

 

And how do we solve the “what the hell is going on” question? We do the inner work. We face this inner conflict. We learn from it. We recognize what the addiction is trying to force us to do.

 

Better Help:  www.betterhelp.com/elevator - 10% off your first month. #sponsored

 

[10:39] Kris introduces Mark:

 

Mark is 45, lives in Connecticut has five months alcohol free at the time of this recording. He is married and has two dogs and a cat. He works in marketing and customer experience. For fun Mark loves to hike, ski and garden.

 

Alcohol has been part of Mark’s life for as long as he can remember. At a very young age his dad gave him a sip of his beer and Mark liked it. Mark didn’t drink much until his senior year of high school when he came out as gay. He and his brother would go to the local bar on the weekends in an effort to connect with others like them.

 

Mark’s drinking progressed throughout college, but he had the “work hard, play hard” mentality and tried to limit his drinking to the weekends while being productive during the week. This continued through the beginning of his career. At many of his work events, it was seen as abnormal to drink more than two drinks. Mark found himself always wanting to leave these events in order to go find more alcohol. Later at another job the culture was different where everyone drank like Mark wanted to. Alcohol was always present in his day-to-day life, so he didn’t need to hide it.

 

The consequences of Mark’s drinking started to impact his life. He was drinking daily and even more on the weekends and vacations. He became fearful as he had more experiences of blacking out. Mark feels that the fear came from not being comfortable with himself. After being able to stack some sober days, he realized the fear came from self-loathing. As he started evaluating how he ended up drinking so much he realized he had become a people pleaser but drinking made it harder and harder to live up to expectations. He started feeling shame around his drinking.

 

Mark started his journey by trying Dry January, listening to podcasts and reading books. Mark found himself in a cycle of gaining some sobriety time and then getting derailed. He reached the point where he didn’t enjoy drinking anymore. Mark sought out a therapist who helped him recognize that he was doing it alone and pushed Mark to attend AA and find community. He struggled to connect with AA and decided to try Café RE. Once Mark realized that this couldn’t be done alone, he was able to push his fear aside and explore recovery with a community.

 

Mark’s plan in sobriety moving forward: to continue making connections, making sobriety a priority every day.

 

Mark’s parting piece of guidance: don’t give up and be willing to try everything. It will be scary but it’s worth it.

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

 

We took the elevator down, but we’ve got to take the stairs back up

I love you guys.

 

 

 

 

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