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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: April, 2024
Apr 29, 2024

Episode 480 – AF Legends

 

Today we have Emily. She is 31 and lives in Raleigh, NC. She has been sober since March 17th, 2019.

 

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

 

[02:26] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Paul shares with us a list of his favorite AF (Alcohol Free) legends.

 

Included in the list is a man named Barry he met on the Gold Coast of Australia who taught him it’s the little things in life that create the most beautiful textures in life.

 

Another AF legend is Bill Wilson who together with Dr. Bob would become founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.

 

Paul also includes the 480 rock stars wo have shared their story on this podcast. Our interviewees have realized that for them to be successful, they have to help others. Thank you to all of the interviewees on the podcast.

 

Included in the list is Paul’s dog Ben. He taught him unconditional love.

 

And above all else, Paul feels the number one AF legend is the universe. It has provided everything he has needed for wholeness, happiness, and wellbeing. Even when being handed a roundhouse kick to the kidney, the universe only does so with the goal of promoting growth or to illuminate a better path.

 

Exact Nature: https://exactnature.com/RE20

 

[10:46] Kris introduces Emily:

 

Emily is 31 years old, and lives in Raleigh, NC. She has a Husky named Yogi and she works in water treatment. For fun she enjoys attending music festivals and concerts.

 

Emily says she is an adopted only child and grew up with wonderful parents that were always supportive. It was a religious household and while Emily feels she learned some great values through that, as she got older, she wanted to rebel a bit. Drinking with the older crowd was how she chose to do that and feels that she always drank to get drunk and didn’t see the point of drinking otherwise.

 

After high school Emily would have rather gone to the military instead of going to college, which was what was expected of her. She decided to go to school and join the reserves instead. Shortly after turning 18, she got a DUI which ruined the military path for her. School became a big party for Emily, and she ended up failing out of school. Emily was watching her peers graduate, start families and begin careers and she wasn’t sure what she was doing. She feels that this led to her drinking more to cope with the lost feelings she had. She would end up having two more DUI’s before she was 23.

 

While dealing with the consequences of these DUI’s, Emily went to rehab in Texas for 30 days. It was the first time she realized that she might have a problem but still wasn’t certain. After leaving inpatient treatment she started an outpatient program and was living in a sober house. She ended up transitioning to California and was excited to have a new start. Gradually drinking started back up for Emily and she ended up moving back to North Carolina because of how expensive it was where she was living.

 

After serving her probation from the DUIs, Emily found herself drinking again, but says it wasn’t as much as before. She was beginning to start working on her health with nutrition and exercise. Emily says that alcohol wasn’t fitting into her goals, so it slowly tapered off. She had one last hangover after St Patrick’s Day and decided she no longer wanted to feel that way anymore.

 

While working on sobriety, Emily learned that a friend from rehab had passed, and she used it as fuel to keep going. She was looking for podcasts and found Recovery Elevator. Listening to people’s stories really helped her and she started participating in communities learning that she was not alone.

 

 

Emily’s favorite resource in recovery: people

 

Emily’s parting piece of guidance: Be proud of the days that you don’t give up and celebrate even the small wins.

 

 

 

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We’re the only ones that can do this RE, but we don’t have to do it alone.

I love you guys.

Apr 22, 2024

Episode 479 - Identity Shift

 

Today we have Destiny. She is 29 and lives in South Houston, TX. She took her last drink on December 30th, 2023.

 

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

 

Café RE just submitted its application to become a 501c3 non-profit organization. The team has been working on the application for about 8 months and we have been told, in another 4-6 months, Café RE will become a nonprofit.

 

We are going to be able to take our yearly service project to the next level, in which we can receive donations, then use those funds to make this planet a better place for all. Click the link below if you would like to check out Café RE.

 

Café RE – promo code OPPORTUNITY waives set up fee.

 

[03:12] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Paul shares with us that nothing is static, and everything is constantly changing. The roles we play in life are no exception. You are always changing. There was a time when your identity was an infant, then a child. Paul shares the many identities that he has had over the years and that he no longer identifies as a drinker.

 

Identities of some of the largest beer brands in the history of the world are changing seemingly overnight and they are changing their identities for one reason only. That is because you are changing your identity. White Claw now has an AF option, only because enough customers have changed their identities and are beginning to ask for it and that’s the only reason why White Claw has this option.

 

As your identity changes in regard to alcohol, start asking for what your identity craves. Next time you are at a restaurant, ask if they have an AF drink menu or what their options are.

 

It is 100% okay to change your identity to a non-drinker in a seemingly drunk world.

 

Athletic Greens

 

[09:19] Paul introduces Destiny:

 

Destiny is 29 years old; she is married, and they have a three-year-old son and a German Shorthaired Pointer. For work, Destiny is a nurse where she sees a lot of the damage that alcohol can cause.

 

Destiny began drinking in her teens and it progressed from there. She worked in the restaurant industry for almost 10 years while attending nursing school. After graduating and starting to work in the ICU, she spent a lot of her time off drinking.

 

She had her son in May of 2020 and suffered with some postpartum issues. Added to the already stressful ICU, the pandemic was happening, and she got married. Destiny says there was always an excuse to drink, and she often found herself the drunkest person in the room and frequently had blackouts.

 

Destiny would be able to quit for small stretches of time and would attempt forms of moderation. Her husband would mention that she was drinking too much, and she would deflect and shift some blame on the situations around her that she felt called for drinking.

 

A rock-bottom moment for Destiny was when she realized that her marriage was beginning to suffer along with all of her goals in life. She says she would have plans that she wanted to but felt like there was a wall that she kept running into. She pictures the wall as alcohol and everything else was on the other side.

 

Destiny has not gone to AA but says she enjoys reading books, listening to podcasts, and surrounding herself with supportive people who themselves do not drink. She has been spending a lot of time at the gym, she and her husband have started counseling, and she has be going to therapy. When the cravings hit, she plays the tape forward and recalls how things will end if she does decide to drink.

 

Destiny’s best sober moment: playing fetch with her dog and her young son.

 

Destiny’s parting piece of guidance: if you’re thinking about it, you should probably do it.

 

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I love you guys.

Let’s go big because eventually we’ll all go home.

Apr 15, 2024

Episode 478 – Unlocking Curiosity

 

Today we have Cyndi. She is 54 and lives in Denver, Colorado. She took her last drink on December 10th, 2023.

 

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

 

[02:08] Thoughts from Kris:

 

Kris shares how recovery has ignited his curiosity. While drinking, he didn’t step out of his comfort zone very much and feels he was perfection driven to offset the dumpster fire that was happening with his drinking. He didn’t feel safe not being good at things, so he never tried.

 

Since in recovery, Kris has taken up a plethora of hobbies, most recently welding. His garage now houses evidence of his hobbies and creating new things rather than the massive amount of empties from when he isolated in there with alcohol.

 

Kris now embraces his curiosity and lets himself fail as he learns new things.

 

When asked what they like to do for fun, many interviewees respond that they are still trying to figure that out and that’s normal as we can become immersed in the drinking life and it’s hard to find time for anything else.

 

What do you like to do for fun? What have you gotten back in sobriety? Or what would you like to be able to do? What’s holding you back? If you’re still in it, is there something that you could use as fuel or motivation?

 

Go Brewing. Use the code ELEVATOR for 15% off.

 

[8:56] Kris introduces Cyndi:

 

Cyndi is 54 years old and lives in Denver with her husband, cat, and dog. She has worked in the dental industry for the last 35 years and enjoys playing outside with her dog, hiking, camping, and cooking.

 

Cyndi’s first real exposure to alcohol was when she was 15. She was at a party where she worked and drank a lot of beer trying to keep up with everyone. Even though she was sick a few days afterwards, she was not deterred and found drinking fun.

 

Cyndi says she was “successful” at drinking for many years, but around 2019 she attended IOP but says it didn’t stop her. Her drinking soon created issues in the marriage, finding them separating from each other for periods of time and trying to use different tools to help Cyndi quit. After a particularly rough time, she started going to AA. She would be able to get a few months at a time and finally was able to achieve two years. Cyndi’s toxic job started taking over her life and she gradually stopped working on her sobriety which found her relapsing and starting the on again off again cycle again.

 

The relapse happens long before the first drink, Cyndi feels. Work started replacing meetings. Her husband was noticing that she was more tired and unhappy, and she was starting to spend more time isolating herself from him because she was drinking again. Eventually her drinking would lead to Cyndi losing her job and found her husband working on divorce papers. They ended up having a long talk about their situations and Cyndi started working hard on recovery again.

 

Cyndi ended up finding a much better job and she is now attending five meetings a week and has a new sponsor. This new job is much closer to where she lives and the meetings she likes to attend are on the same route as work. Cyndi has started therapy which she had never done before. Communication with her husband is better than it has ever been. Her faith is also stronger than it has ever been.

 

Cyndi’s plan in sobriety moving forward: to be proactive, have a check list of things that help her stay sober.

 

Cyndi’s parting piece of guidance: don’t quit quitting. Acknowledge your problem and get help one way or the other and just keep going.

 

[51:44] Outro:

 

Kris shares a song that he came across recently:  Hi Ren

 

Whether we’re fighting with ourselves, or others, when we’re in that dark place we can’t really win. BUT we can learn. We can find a way to be healthy and bring love and light into the world.

 

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Recovery Elevator

We’re the only ones that can do this, but we don’t have to do it alone

I love you guys.

Apr 8, 2024

Episode 477 – It Can Be Done

 

Today we have Jim. He is 44 and lives in Silicon Valley, CA. He took his last drink on February 20th, 2024.

 

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

 

[02:27] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Paul is coming up on ten years without a drink. He has attended many social situations without consuming any alcohol. When he told people he wasn’t drinking, the question he got was “Wait, you’re not drinking?” said as more of a statement of astonishment than anything. As in the impossible was happening right before their eyes and they were surprised someone could still have a good time without drinking.

 

A major factor of why ditching the booze can be so hard is that the thinking mind will tell you it can’t be done. The biggest reason for this is that an alcohol-free life lies in the unknown. The mind and the ego crave the known.

 

But it can be done. If you are on day one, a series of day ones, Paul reminds us that yes, it can be done. But for how long? A morning, an afternoon? A week? A month? A year? We are only ditching the booze one day at a time. Addiction forces us to confront the thinking mind. Addiction forces us to tease out who is who in the thinking mind. It forces us to locate and meet ourselves.

 

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

 

[08:55] Paul introduces Jim:

 

Jim lives in Silicon Valley and is a software engineering manager for a large tech firm. He is 44 and happily married for 21 years with three young kids. He enjoys skiing, learning woodworking, and completing task lists.

 

Alcohol was a non-issue for much of Jim’s life. He tried it a few times when he was in his early teens, but he didn’t enjoy it much. He didn’t drink in high school or college and then drank very sporadically throughout his 20’s.

 

In his 30’s, the company he worked for would have gatherings at the end of the week where alcohol was provided. Jim says this was where he started enjoying drinking. Over time it progressed and there were some negative consequences for Jim at work and he started suffering with anxiety and depression. At the time, Jim felt like he was living multiple lives.

 

COVID era was a difficult time for Jim. He was working from home and had little to do so he found himself drinking more. When work became busy again, the distractions at home drove Jim to rent an office where he was more isolated and drinking earlier and earlier in the day.

 

On the way to a bible meeting one day after having a few drinks, Jim realized this wasn’t a great idea and decided to check out an AA meeting instead. He says that he went to several different types of meetings over the course of the year before anything really stuck for him.

 

Jim feared telling his wife about his problem, but knew he had to do it. Her initial response was not believing that Jim really had an issue with alcohol but started to feel betrayed when she realized how much he was hiding from her. Jim was determined to tackle the addiction and created his own path. This includes listening to podcasts and journalling every day. He has had a series of stops and starts in his recovery but feels that was part of the learning process and utilizes past journal entries to remind him of why quitting is the best thing for him.

 

After a recent relapse he started to feel very hopeless and knew he couldn’t continue on this path. Jim has leaned into his faith and scripture in addition to his own past journal entries to help him gain the resolve to try sobriety again. He is a member of Café RE and has an accountability partner which has helped him a lot.

 

Jim’s best sober moment: when his wife told him how proud she is of how far he is come.

 

Jim’s parting piece of guidance: if you get stuck, it’s ok, but you just can’t stay there.

 

 

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Recovery Elevator

We all go home so we might as well go big.

I love you guys.

Apr 1, 2024

Episode 476 – Is Quitting Drinking Hard?

 

Today we have Tonya. She is 50 and lives in St Paul, MN. She took his last drink on August 21st, 2021.

 

Registration opens today for our annual retreat in the beautiful Rocky Mountains located outside of Bozeman, MT. This retreat is from Wednesday August 14th through Sunday August 18th, and it is going to be a blast! Click here for the full itinerary and to get pricing info.

 

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

 

[02:30] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Is quitting drinking hard? It can be, yes but if you have a drinking problem, quitting drinking is way easier than riding alcohol off into the sunset of self-destruction. 

 

Here are some reasons why it can be a challenge:

 

1)    Your body has to detoxify itself form the chemical alcohol.

2)    You are going to have to learn some new routines and make new habits.

3)    You need to start building friendships where alcohol isn’t the foundation.

4)    Accept that boredom is a normal and healthy life experience.

 

Here are some glorious truths about quitting drinking:

 

1)    After 14-21 days you are going to get out of the brain fog and want more of the new “good-feeling” thing.

2)    No more checking message to see what you said the night before, you’ll remember the book you read, less sick days at work, and more money in your bank account.

3)    Your dopamine system rebalances.

4)    You are living life at face value and when we do that, we can start to build the life that no longer requires alcohol.

 

Go Brewing. Use the code ELEVATOR for 15% off.

 

[10:27] Kris introduces Tonya:

 

Tonya has been married for 21 years and they have two children who both attend the University of Minnesota. She recently left the corporate world to be an in-home professional organizer. She enjoys her work as well as cooking, tending her plants and in recovery she is always up for trying new things.

 

Tonya was born into a deeply religious family. They attended church daily along with going to school there. She says they were forced to pray for forgiveness everyday which left her feeling like a bad person.  

 

Tonya didn’t drink until college because she didn’t want to be like her father who was an alcoholic. There was typical college-age partying, but Tonya says she always went a little further than everyone else. Some of her behavior led to losing friends and being seen as a liability on their travels. As she got older and wanted to get married and have kids, she was able to slow the drinking down a bit, but still drank heavily while out of town for work.

 

Having postpartum depression after her daughter was born, Tonya found she was using alcohol to cope with life. Over time her family started becoming concerned about her drinking, so she went to rehab for the first time. She didn’t end up being able to quit and struggled with the AA program. She would attend rehab five more times and while she learned a lot about the psychology and science behind alcohol and addiction, she didn’t actually quit.

 

Shortly after her 2nd DWI, Tonya lost her job for reasons that didn’t include alcohol although she admits she was physically addicted and drinking on the job. Unable to find another job she ended up sinking into her drinking and says she spent a year doing nothing else. After nearly ending her life, she realized that she didn’t want to do that to her daughter. She was at the end of her rope and ready to give recovery and AA another try. Tonya started going to different AA meetings and got a sponsor. She is grateful that she found community because she knows she couldn’t have done it on her own.

 

Tonya’s favorite resource in recovery:  Everything AA app, the AA and RE communities.

 

Tonya’s parting piece of guidance: Time. Things will get better in time. One day at a time. Get involved in community.

 

 

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Recovery Elevator

We all go home so we might as well go big.

I love you guys.

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