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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: Category: Self-help
Nov 28, 2022

Episode 406 – Moving the Needle

 

Today we have Nate, Eric, Beth, Hunter, and Kathy.   

 

Registration for Restore opens December 1. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/restore/

 

Sponsor:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

 

Highlights from Kris

 

Kris speaks to the many mixed messages we get about addiction. Billions of dollars are spent on alcohol advertising that lures you to believe how fun, cool, and sexy you will be if you drink, as long as you don’t become one of “those people.”

 

After Kris’s first session with an addiction specialist who shared her recovery journey with Kris, he felt less alone. Kris’ counselor gave him hope that there was a better way. He continued counseling, completed treatment, and found the Recovery Elevator podcast. Today he is one of the hosts.

 

One of the best ways to combat the stigma of addiction is to tell your story. Kris recently attended the 6th Annual Recovery Reinvented event founded by Kathryn Burgum, the first lady of North Dakota. Kris had an opportunity to hear Dr. Bruce Perry speak, who co-authored the book, “What Happened to You?” with Oprah Winfrey. Dr. Perry said that while the science, research, and statistics are fascinating, the storytelling inspires others to revisit their beliefs about addiction.

 

There are a few ways to tell your story: you can share in a recovery meeting, on a recovery podcast, give a testimony at your church, or post on Facebook or Instagram. You can also lead by example by passing on the cocktail at Happy Hour or telling your friends, “I don’t drink.”  Keep sharing your stories, RE – that’s how we will combat the stigma of addiction.

 

For more information on Recovery Reinvented, visit: www.recoveryreinvented.com

 

Book Reference:  https://www.amazon.com/What-Happened-You-Conversations-Resilience-ebook/dp/B087D5YQXB/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1IWMTJBKBOOZE&keywords=what+happened+to+you&qid=1669220153&s=digital-text&sprefix=what+happened+to+you%2Cdigital-text%2C448&sr=1-1

 

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

                                                                             

[11:25]    Nate loves to build community and peer support and does great things in North Dakota. As a transplant to ND, he was embraced by “North Dakota nice.”  He found recovery after multiple DUIs. He empowers students in recovery. He is passionate about being the change for others in his community. 

 

[21:45] Eric is a physician and a professor and speaks to active addiction while practicing medicine. He has been in recovery for thirty years, and the services available were very different when he started. There are now programs available for clinicians in recovery that allow them to recover without losing their licensure. Eric now has excellent relationships and is happily married.

 

[27:34] Beth tried several approaches to recovery, and after witnessing a friend overdose, she could stack days. After six months of recovery, she got a job, and having someone believe in her made a huge difference in her life and recovery. 

 

[33:15] Hunter has been sober for nine years and works in healthcare. He spent so much time wondering when the other shoe would drop. High functioning kept him in active addiction for awhile because he never missed work. 

 

[40:58] Kathy is a mother of five, is a student and works. Her dreams include social work and foster parenting. Today she recovers out loud and advocates for other Native Americans with addiction and is a foster parent. 

 

[47:40] Kris shares his gratitude for the opportunity to participate in Recovery Reinvented.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator-

You are the only one who can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I love you guys.

Nov 21, 2022

Episode 405 – Ahead of the pack

 

Today we have Rachel.   She is 29, from Wisconsin, and took her last drink on September 4, 2022.

 

Registration for Restore opens December 1. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/restore/

 

Sponsor:  https://www.soberlink.com/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Is there a stigma for those in recovery, or are we ahead of the pack? This past August, Paul invited Elaine Huang  mindfulness and spirituality teacher) to speak at the RE Bozeman retreat. Elaine shared with Paul that those ditching the booze are ahead of the pack. She never has to modify or simply her course content for Café RE members. Members of our group are advanced students; they are more resilient, elite, and have a greater capacity for love and a greater capacity for recovery after pain & suffering. Elaine referred to us as “old souls .”The recovery community has a greater capacity for survival, compassion, and love. 

 

Elaine believes our population is part of the 1% of people who can achieve a higher level of consciousness, vibration, and frequency:  the frequency of love.

 

Feel free to watch this video from a neuroscientist, Dr. Joe Dispenza. https://youtu.be/Ov3aeqjeih0

 

Deepak Chopra says, “it takes as little as 1% of a population to create positive change, and I believe that if 100 million people underwent a personal transformation in the direction of peace, harmony, laughter, love, kindness, and joy...the world would be transformed.”

 

Transcendental Meditation teacher Maharishi Mahesh predicted that only one percent of humanity is needed to create enough good vibrations to usher in world peace.  (https://www.naturalawakenings.com/2018/11/30/224480/a-global-wake-up-call-collective-consciousness-nears-spiritual-tipping-point)

 

For more information on Elaine Huang:  Elaine Huang - Embodiment of Freedom: https://www.mayyouawaken.com/

 

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

                                                                             

[12:30]    Rachel has been sober for over thirty days. She is still struggling and hasn’t experienced a pink cloud yet. She is experiencing a lot of depersonalization, but she is hopeful. She loves singing, live music, nature, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Rachel struggles with PTSD. She has a partner and two kids. 

 

Rachel identifies with the gifted kid burnout syndrome. She excelled in school but struggled to embrace her feelings, given some of her struggles at home. She was high functioning in high school: in clubs and the National Honor Society. As a DARE kid, she was afraid of drugs and alcohol. She described having a second life and drinking to impress people. Rachel believed alcohol helped her to fit in. She graduated from high school early and traveled to India. She had to abstain in India. When she went to college, drinking was a social lubricant.   She went to work drunk and high. Rachel described drinking as letting out a sigh. 

 

Pregnancies led Rachel to a sober stint. She was doing well until the pandemic hit. Rachel’s rock bottom moment was blacking out while reading a bedtime story to her daughter. Since her father and grandfather struggled with addictions, she decided it was time for the addiction cycle to end.

 

Singing, yoga, and cold exposure spike Rachel’s dopamine which helps her maintain her sobriety. Rachel is mindful of potential relapse and knows that self-compassion is essential. 

 

[50:48] Paul’s Summary

 

Paul wonders if the stigma exists. We yearn for authenticity, and when we connect, that authenticity is reciprocated. The stigma is often in our minds. People in recovery make lasting changes that can influence others to do the same.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator-

It all starts from the inside out.

I love you guys.

Nov 14, 2022

Episode 404 – The order of healing

 

Today we have Natasha.   She is 43, from Vancouver, B.C, and took her last drink on August 23, 2021.

 

Book:  Alcohol is Sh!t. https://www.amazon.com/Alcohol-is-Sht-Paul-Churchill-audiobook/

 

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

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul outlines the order of healing when we quit drinking. He describes the healing as happening in reverse order of the harm done. You can do the following:

 

  1. Ditch the booze
  2. Fuel the body with healthy food and hydrate
  3. Cut down on sugar and caffeine
  4. Move (aim for 20 mins a day 3x a week)
  5. Recovery – AA, Café RE, Smart Recovery, IOP, etc.

 

Book:  The All-Day Energy Diet. https://amzn.to/3CmLivc

 

The healing process:

 

  1. The body (3-12 months)
  2. Mental healing (6 months to 1.5 years)
  3. Spiritual healing

 

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

                                                                             

[11:04]  Natasha has been sober for over a year.   She is in medical sales, has a son, and enjoys friends, bingo, travel, and hiking.

 

Natasha was afraid of alcohol during her early years. She would dump out beer and pretend to be drunk to avoid social pressure. After her son was born, she had six beers during a concert. As she approached thirty, she drank after work with her co-workers in the restaurant industry. At 35, she knew her drinking was a problem.

 

Socializing and drinking was a big part of her job. Her relationship wasn’t healthy because they drank together, and Natasha could outdrink her partner.

 

Sobriety has taught Natasha that none of her fears about quitting drinking were true; liquid courage is a myth. She is funny and entertaining with her clients. Her relationships have more meaning, and she can be present.

 

She describes the first year as brutal. After a boozy weekend with girls, Natasha knew it was time to quit. She dumped out a wine cooler, and that was it. She was angry at people who could drink normally and isolated herself a bit. Now she recognizes she can enjoy her life without the chaos of alcohol. Boundaries have become necessary, and she enjoys spending time alone. Reading, listening to podcasts, and meditation have helped her maintain her sobriety. Natasha’s relationships have evolved and grown. She lost some friends along the way, but her core group supports her sobriety.

 

[58:51] Kris’s Summary

 

Kris has been getting his garage in order. He recognized that he was comfortable with the chaos until he hit a tipping point. Cleaning the garage has so many parallels to recovery. Kris was overwhelmed, but he did the next right thing, took it slow, and now everything is clean, organized, and easy to navigate. 

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator-

We are the only ones who can do this, but we don’t have to do it alone.

I love you guys.

Nov 7, 2022

Episode 403 – Hello Universe

 

Many

Today we have Pat.   He is 38, from Georgia, and he took his last drink on February 22, 2022.

 

Events:  https://recoveryelevator.com/events

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/re20

 

Highlights from Paul

 

The opposite of addiction is connection. Near-death experiences often connect us to a higher power and make us question where we go after we die. In today’s episode, Paul shares his views on spirituality and connecting with a higher power.

 

Addiction disconnects us from the external world and from within. Paul reminds us we are not alone:  we are connected to every living on the planet. Love, connection, inclusivity, and wholeness.

 

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

                                                                             

[13:14]  Pat got sober on 2/22/22 and planned his sobriety date as a military child who has lived in many places. He is married, loves archery, plays guitar, writes music, and sells hearing aids.   

 

Pat began experimenting with alcohol at 15. He learned in college he could drink a lot. He was frequently the last one standing. Initially, he drank to get a buzz. He avoided eating to enhance his buzz. In college, he got a DUI.   Pat drank to feel normal. He never had a true rock bottom moment. 

 

In 2020, Pat stopped drinking for six months, knowing he and his wife wanted to conceive. He switched from whiskey to beer. Quickly it snuck back into his life. 

 

Pat’s wife began going to Al-Anon. He burned the ships on social media and garnered support from friends and family. After a physical, he had some bad results, including elevated liver enzymes. He was encouraged to go to inpatient rehab.   He ultimately tapered. His doctor prescribed medications to help him overcome anxiety. The first two weeks of detox were painful.   After the physical challenges dissipated, things became much more manageable. His family and friends supported him. He realizes he doesn’t need alcohol to get through the highs and lows of everyday life.

 

The RE podcast, audiobooks, and the Café RE Facebook group are his favorite recovery tools, and he is excited that he and his wife are expecting their first child.

 

[49:20] Paul’s Summary

 

Book recommendations

Reality Unveiled:  https://amzn.to/3CxrVQg

The seat of the Soul: https://amzn.to/3z0phBJ

Many lives many masters:  https://amzn.to/3rQ6QLS

 

The concepts in these books help Paul to feel connected. The knowledge is the precursor to feeling the way Paul needs to feel to stay sober. 

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator-

Go big because eventually, we all go home.

I love you guys.

Oct 31, 2022

Today we have Emily.   She is 34, from Cincinnati,  OH and took her last drink on Aug 27th, 2022.

Happy Halloween. A drink won’t make your overall Halloween experience better.

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Recovery Reinvented Link: https://recoveryreinvented.com/events/2022/#overview

 

Highlights from Paul

All emotions are created equal and you need them all equally. Here is why. In the world of duality we need opposites for defining purposes.

I want to tie this into recovery one more time. Do not gauge your recovery success on your emotions. You will feel them all. Yes, do more of what you enjoy, but thank the other side of that for telling you what you don’t enjoy.

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

[11:35]  Emily is married and has 2 little boys, ages 5 and 8.  She runs a bar in downtown Cincinnati.  Emily enjoys being crafty and making stuff. 

 

Emily doesn’t remember seeing any unhealthy alcohol behavior in her home while growing up.  Emily was 13 the first time she got drunk.  20 years old and in college Emily got her first bartending job.  She met her husband working in the bar in Cincinnati and they have now been together for 13 years. 

 

After having her first baby Emily got out of bartending and into alcohol sales.  This escalated her drinking.  She then got pregnant with her 2nd and went back to bartending after that.  As her kids got older there was more drinking and drugs…while still getting up and taking care of her kids and responsibilities.  

 

 January 2021 Emily quit drinking for 5 months.  This year Emily changed jobs, started working at a new bar with good friends.  Emily was approaching 1 month sober at the time of her interview. 

 

Ben’s Friends https://www.bensfriendshope.com/

 

Kris’s Summary

 

Recovery Reinvented - The event will be held in person on November 3 in Grand Forks North Dakota. But if you can’t make it to Grand Forks, don’t worry, the event is available online as well! It’s 100% FREE to attend. www.recoveryreinvented.com.

 

 

Oct 24, 2022

Episode 401 – Welcome Back

 

Today we have Jen.   She is 52, from Connecticut, and took her last drink on March 10th, 2022.

 

Restore: https://www.recoveryelevator.com/restore/

 

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

 

Highlights from Paul

In episode 391, Paul asked listeners what they wanted to hear. Jeff L, with 5 years

alcohol-free (That’s what’s up!) said he wanted to hear from past guests. Great idea Jeff

as we are also curious as to where they are now.

 

Paul gives updates from 15 past guests.

[20:30] Jen lives in Connecticut, has 2 kids (21 & 23), and just recently got a new job as a

counselor at a treatment center.

Jen had her 1st drink at 13 years old playing quarters, which resulted in her blacking out

and being sick for 3 days. She says that was a sign of what was to come and that

drinking was never fun for her. At 19 she started thinking she was an alcoholic and

became a daily drinker.

Jen was sober for 10 years (and then another 8 years). Those first 10 years were spent in

the rooms of AA and it took 7 years before she was able to get sober again.

After losing her husband suddenly to a heart attack in 2018 Jen started drinking. Again

Jen found herself going to treatment again (4 different treatment centers since her

husband died). Jen is now sober and back in the rooms of AA.

                                                                             

Musical submission from The Alex. 

 

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator-

We are the only ones who can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I love you guys.

Oct 17, 2022

Episode 400 – Chasing a Carrot on a Stick

 

Today we have Nick.   He is from Vancouver, B.C, and took her last drink on December 7, 2018.

 

Recovery Elevator website: https://www.recoveryelevator.com/

Soberlink:  https:///www.soberlink.com/

 

Highlights from Kris

 

Kris speaks to the crossroads of recovery. He acknowledges that so many new thoughts, podcasts, tools, mindsets, books, and videos on recovery. Then there is real life with an equal number of views, podcasts, and tools, on how to meet deadlines, be a great husband and father, a great worker, and a good friend.

 

With all these different concepts flying at us and life asking us to show up, how do you handle recovery and life simultaneously? For Kris, the crossroads show up often, and he has come to appreciate them as options. He has also learned that the best way to handle all possibilities is to sit with them, observe them and refrain from acting immediately. Krist describes this practice as combining mindfulness and refraining. Kris is working on finding peace and comfort where he is today. He will continue to take in new options and ideas but recognizes he doesn’t have to chase everything in front of him. When he can slow down, he can appreciate where he is. Kris can also acknowledge where he is feeling discomfort and focus on the pain rather than shifting his attention to something else.

 

Kris asks himself, “what am I doing with the time I have right now?”  Kris encourages listeners to stay curious, act with intention, and show ourselves grace along the way.

 

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

                                                                             

[9:02]  Nick was on Episode 220 and has been sober for nearly four years. He is 36, married, lives in Vancouver, works at a university, and enjoys gardening because plants don’t talk back. 

 

Growing up, Nick’s parents regularly drank with dinner, but not to excess. He had the occasional sip from his parent’s drink but wasn’t fascinated by alcohol. Nick remembers struggling with depression, anxiety, and feeling out of place at age 16. His peers seemed to have dreams and ambitions, and he was a mediocre student without aspirations. Alcohol took that anxiety away like a warm hug. 

 

Alcohol helped Nick feel less awkward and became a gateway to who he wanted to be. Nick felt in control of his drinking until he moved to Vancouver, which became his primary comfort source. His father had a stroke, and that changed his life. He sought out ways to drink when he was away from his family. Slowly, he noticed his drinking progress until it felt like it consumed him, and he was out of control. At many points, he decided to quit, but each of those times, he had a lot of alcohol in his system, so the commitment was forgotten or ignored. He hated himself and his life, but outwardly he faked it as a functioning human. Alcohol was his only coping mechanism.

 

Nick joined Café RE in December, and it finally stuck. A Craig Ferguson monologue became an epiphany for Nick. He started seeing a therapist and began to process some of his issues. His drinking ramped up, but the seeds were planted to put the bottle down. Nick found the Recovery Elevator podcast and listened to stories until he could see the similarities. Recognizing others have done this and that there was hope helped him get through years of day one’s promises and trying different things.

 

Kris’s Summary

 

Kris thanks and congratulates Paul on 400 episodes. Kris has experienced healing and alignment with his values and can now be of service. This community is amazing, and its ripple effect is phenomenal. 

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator-

We took the elevator down. We can take the stairs back up.

I love you guys.

Oct 10, 2022

Episode 399 – What’s the hardest part about quitting drinking?

 

Today we have Zita.   She is 31, from Minnesota, and took her last drink on November 27, 2021.

 

Restore: https://www.recoveryelevator.com/restore/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

An AF life is overall better than drinking.  The key word is overall.  Quitting drinking is the hardest thing Paul has ever done, and, it’s the best decision he’s ever made. 

 

Not quitting is harder on you than you realize.  The domino effect of addiction cascades to your health, your relationships, your livelihood, and your sense of well-being.   Those rock bottoms get worse and hit new depths that create despair, shame and helplessness.  The decision to quit drinking can be harder when you don’t have those rock bottom moments, but you still have that voice in your head telling you, it’s time.  Quitting isn’t easy, particularly in the beginning, but it has its own set of dominos, the path toward a better life.

 

The hardest part about quitting drinking isn’t the withdrawals or burning the ships.  It’s entering the path of the unknown:  infinite possibilities exist.

 

You can put the shovel down at any time. 

 

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

                                                                             

[12:26]  Zita is an ICU nurse.  She loves cooking, travel, rollerblading, movies, and getting her nails done.  She is headed back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

 

Zita’s relationship with alcohol started in her early teens.  She was a normal drinker through college.  She drank a lot, but it never impacted her school, her relationships, or her ability to function.  After college, she started working and a few years in she noticed having anxiety when she was around people which was a shift.  After a breakup, she started using alcohol to cope with her emotions. 

 

Zita’s family members spoke with her about her drinking, intervention style.  She thought about slowing down but quitting never occurred to her at that point.   Upon continued reflection, Zita realized she had some unprocessed trauma.  She tried naltrexone, Antabuse and Women for Sobriety.  Nothing was working.  She shifted her approach to working on mental health and took a month off work and started DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) treatment.  Mental health support gave her new tools to shift her mindset.  The first few months were hard and she nearly relapsed, but she gained some momentum. 

 

Today, Zita feels great.  She has gained assertiveness, confidence and learned to develop boundaries.  She doesn’t have her “old self” back, she has a better life.  Zita is proud that she has learned to manage her emotions more effectively.  Looking forward, Zita is excited about graduating.  She focused her education on mental health, and she looks forward to making broader contributions with her new knowledge.

 

Paul’s Summary

 

Paul believes you are about to bloom.  Nobody exists without a purpose in the universe.  Things under pressure produce new results; rocks under pressure become diamonds.  The blooming has already begun.

 

[47:21] Musical submission from The Aquerials. 

 

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator-

We are the only ones who can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I love you guys.

Oct 3, 2022

Episode 398 - This Moment Always Wins

 

Today we have Adam.   He is 30, from Vancouver, and took his last drink on February 8, 2013.

 

We have many upcoming events:

 

Costa Rica

For Info:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/events/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul celebrated his eight-year recovery milestone and is thankful for all the support he gets from listeners, family, friends, and the Café RE community. 

 

Paul’s insights include:  alcohol is sh!t; addiction is an invitation to make a sweeping change in your life; burning the ships is part of the journey; the opposite of addiction is connection; focus on the wins; admit you are wrong when you need to, in real-time; you have to take action; don’t worry about the sobriety clock, keep doing the work; join the party - the AF movement is taking off; be kind to others, help others; be of service; leverage your drinking problem to expand your life; be mindful of the company you keep; there is nothing wrong with you;  not drinking makes you a bad-ass;

 

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

                                                                             

[13:26]  Adam has been sober for nearly ten years. He is a personal trainer, nutritionist, breathwork therapist, mental health, and sober coach. He loves cold plunges, spending time in nature, traveling, and spending time with his dogs.

 

Adam grew up in Vancouver and was exposed to addiction early on. He was bullied a lot in high school, which led to anxiety, depression, and insecurity. He was 13 the first time he drank or smoked weed. He knew it wasn’t smart, but it gave him a sense of community. With a long family history of alcohol abuse, Adam knew he was in trouble the first time he drank.

 

Adam got his apartment and car at age 15. He made poor decisions, including steroids, drinking, cocaine, being in a gang, and smoking. After a death threat, he moved to another province, got a job, and his drug use escalated. He sold drugs, and it was attractive to him at the time. He was stabbed during a fight. At 16, a buddy of his died in his arms. Steroid use caused Adam to default to anger frequently. He was aggressive.   Adam said it took at least ten wake-up calls before he was ready to address his addiction. He was exposed to a lot of violence and death with the people he spent time with.   At 19, during a drug deal, he was kidnapped and held captive by some bad people. During that incident, he had an out-of-body experience. When he was released, he was hospitalized. He crashed when in the hospital. A spiritual awakening occurred for Adam. Adam described it as powerful, and it continues to inspire him to live a better life. The last time he used it was on his 21st birthday. He called his Mom, and she let him come home. 

 

The first two years of sobriety were the hardest for Adam. He had lots of PTSD from his gang experience. He had two suicide attempts. Adam went to his first AA meeting. A person said to him,  “If you kill yourself today, you are killing the wrong person because you don’t know the person who you can become.”  Breathwork became a big part of his recovery. Learning to accept and demonstrate his emotions was challenging, but Adam continues to learn to manage his feelings. He worked the steps. He saw a psychologist/neurologist and was diagnosed with severe brain injury, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. None of the medications helped. Breathwork and exercise help him manage his anxiety and depression. 

 

[57:50] Kris’ Summary

 

After a rough week, Kris remembered, “you don’t have to get sober for the rest of your life today.”  Trust the process. 

 

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We are the only ones who can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I love you guys.

Sep 26, 2022

Episode 397  - The Ultimate Connection

 

Today we have Santino.   He is 43, from Massachusetts, and took his last drink 43 days ago.

 

We have many upcoming events:

 

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Restore

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For Info:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/events/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul shares that our actions are felt for seven generations in our lineage.  When you quit drinking, do the inner work, the ripple effect can last 150 years.

 

Eckhart Tolle defines love as recognizing oneness in a world of duality. The ego craves separation, judgements. When we are drinking, we are reinforcing that divide. The worst side effect of alcohol is isolation. But when we drop the bottle,  we give ourselves a chance to find love, or maybe let love find us.

 

Congratulations Dusty and Lotus on your recent nuptials.

 

Love yourself and love yourself first.  Love in recovery can be rediscovering nature, it can be planting a garden, it can be zipping around on a one wheel, it can be learning a new instrument, picking up an old instrument. It can be laughter.

 

Make sure to stay tuned to the end of the episode. Our outro music is from one of our Café Re members, Ron.

 

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[9:50]  Santino works for a nonprofit homeless organization; he is married with a son and enjoys being a father.

 

Being present, in the moment and the ability to remember the moment are the early perks of sobriety for Santino.   His first taste of alcohol was at age 10.  He took a sip of his Dad’s drink and enjoyed the taste. 

 

Paul and Santino discussed how college culture and military culture both celebrate drinking.  Santino said his drinking was normalized because of the culture of drinking in the military.    His wake up calls around drinking came when he left the military.  He got his first DWI and went to court ordered AA.  He drank before and after the meetings. 

 

Santino noticed a pattern of lying, about all kinds of things, but particularly about what he was drinking, when and how much.  AA is now part of his life.  He has learned to say “alcoholic” to be accountable for what was happening with him.  He is well informed about withdrawal and his most recent experience was painful and a reckoning.  Santino encourages listeners to be honest with themselves.  Give yourself grace AND accountability.  He did a 72 hour fast.  He listens to the Recovery Elevator podcast.  He burned the ships with his childhood friend, his sister and his wife. 

 

The Uvalde shooting had a major impact on Santino and became an impetus for him to quit drinking. 

 

[55:20] Paul’s Summary

 

Paul introduces Ron who is a musician  who wrote and performed today’s outro music. 

 

[56:51] We walk each other home.

 

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Sep 19, 2022

Episode 396  - The Brain and Alcohol – Genetic Predisposition

 

Today we have Rene.   He is 33, from California, and took his last drink January 18, 2022.

 

Register for RE’s AF Photo Class:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/afphoto/

 

SoberLink:  https://www.soberlink.com/recovery-elevator

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Alcohol has many biochemical and neurochemical effects on the brain. There are dramatic changes in the neurons that control the release of serotonin when we consume alcohol. Serotonin is the feel-good chemical and 80% of it is created in the gut. When we mix alcohol and serotonin it gets converted into acetaldehyde. This acetaldehyde acts as a toxin.

 

Alcohol changes the relationship between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenals.  The adrenals release chemicals called epinephrine and cortisol, which are involved in the longer-term stress response.

 

People who consistently drink are more stressed out at baseline. They have more cortisol released form their adrenal glands even when they are not drinking. Consequently, they feel more stressed and more anxiety when they are not drinking. Many scientists agree that stress is the number one contributor to disease.

 

When we overload the brain with alcohol, it’s almost too much to process and the activity of neurons in the hippocampus, which is involved with memory formation, are strained and then they completely shut off – that is a blackout.  You can still be functioning, some high functioning, but the memory forming part of your brain, the hippocampus, clocks out.

 

Many believe that alcoholism is hereditary.  Recent studies, including one of twins conducted by Dr. Gabor Mate indicate genetics may not be as much of a contributor as we once thought.  Epigenetics indicate that environment influences gene expression and gene mutations.  Science is beginning to accept that environmental factors cause or influence addictions.  The ten-fold increase in alcoholism supports that theory.  

 

Dr. Andrew Huberman’s podcast provides much more detail on the science behind many of these theories.  Take a listen if you would like to learn more: 

https://open.spotify.com/episode/2ebY3WNejLNbK47emgjd1E?si=bf71f9f038bc4826

 

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[14:37]  Rene has been sober for over six months. He is 34 and a single Dad He is an entrepreneur and enjoys going to the gym, exploring the outdoors, hiking and the beach.

 

Rene is first generation American, and his family is very supportive.  He grew up around drinking, it was normalized. 

 

He got drunk once during his senior year of high school.  He didn’t drink again until after he broke up with his first girlfriend years later. Drinking became a reward, then it became a daily habit.  Working in the restaurant industry, drinking was expected.  He was fired once for drinking. 

 

It didn’t occur to Rene that drinking was a problem.  He began counseling and the counselor recommended AA.  Rene found it easy to see the similarities; he felt like he found his people.  He was planning to join the military when he learned he was about to become a father.  Eventually, he won sole custody of his daughter which dashed his hopes of joining the military.  The combination of issues sent him back to drinking.  He controlled his drinking for over a year, and it worked until it didn’t.

 

Rene went back to AA and got a sponsor and a fitness coach.  Consistency helps him maintain his sobriety.  He is feeling mentally and physically strong.

 

 

[57:35] Kris’s Summary

 

Seasonal shifts can put you on edge.  Share your experience: kris@recoveryelevator.com.

 

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Sep 12, 2022

Episode 395  - Can you have fun without alcohol?

 

Today we have Jim.   He is 50, from New York, and has been sober since June 19, 2022.

 

Curious Elixirs:  https://curiouselixirs.com/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul and our listeners would like to hear from prior podcast guests. Please send us a note (approximately 200 words) to let us know how you are doing. We would love an update on your sobriety journey.     Email:  info@recoveryelevator.com

 

Yes!   You can have fun without alcohol. Paul just finished hosting the Bozeman retreat, and it was FUN. One of the highlights was an ecstatic dance party. Imagine 60ish sober people dancing on a basketball court in the afternoon.   There was also a silent dance party on the last night. Paul loved watching and participating in pure joy and fun. 

 

Sober fun is a learned skill, but it’s worth it.   You learn to have fun without an external substance. Life is like a movie. Consider yourself the director. You can guide or nudge it any way you want. Leave room for other actors in your life and let them act their way. It makes the experience rich. If you are not having fun, check your inner narrative. At times we let external rules guide us when we have fun. Forget those rules and have fun now.

 

Stay tuned to the end for a poem written by one of our listeners, and today’s outro music was written and performed by Michael P, a member of Café RE.

 

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[10:02]  Jim has been sober for two weeks. He had almost two years and drank, and now he is back on track. He’s had 699 sober days in the last 700. Jim is married with two kids and loves reading on his front porch. 

 

Jim attributes his recent field research to not using his tools.

 

Growing up, Jim drank in high school with his buddies. The quest for beer was their primary goal. College was more of the same. After college, it didn’t feel as good. Drinking is part of his work culture and was celebrated. His first attempt at sobriety was at age 25. He stayed sober for three months, then returned to drinking. It was part of his job, his social circles, and his life always included drinking. Alcohol pushed back his fears.

 

In his early 40s, he started to realize he had a problem but didn’t know how to go about quitting. He didn’t love AA. By 45, he knew his drinking had become unsustainable. Drinking was like a low-grade hum that perpetually played for him. He began drinking alone at home, where nobody would bother him, and he could drink like he wanted. 

 

Gradually he began exploring sobriety. He would accumulate a few months and do more field research. He read “This Naked Mind.”  When the pandemic hit, he decided to make more efforts to maintain sobriety. He joined Café RE in July of 2020, which was his turning point. Earlier this year, he started traveling more for work. He now realizes he stopped using his tools, including Café RE. He only drank for one day. It was scary; he was a wreck and knew he couldn’t do this anymore. 

 

Jim writes every day. It helps him get the thoughts out of his head and on paper.

 

[49:33]  Paul’s Summary

 

Paul reads a poem, “Connection,” by Kelley A, Café RE Go Group.

 

[51:05] Outro Music, The Light Inside, by Michael P. 

 

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Sep 5, 2022

Episode 394  - Fixin’ to Grow

 

Today we have Kristie.   She is 47, from Michigan, and has been sober since May 2020.

 

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Highlights from Kris

 

Return to school is here and is the catalyst for conversations about expectations. Growing up, the letter on the report card was the measure of success. Kris has begun to consider praising the work instead of the result. 

 

Neuroscientists have identified two different mindsets:  the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. A fixed mindset looks at intelligence as static. The effort is pointless – you’ve got it, or you don’t. It’s all about the result. The growth mindset is more about a learning goal. The effort is seen as a path to mastery. 

 

What is your goal in recovery? Language matters. Think about the metrics. If you are fixed on being alcohol-free and have a slip, you might feel like a failure. Embrace the growth in yourself and let that be enough. 

 

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[11:29]  Kristie has been surise for two years. The word sober doesn’t resonate with Kristy. She wants to be fun and exciting and enjoy every moment. Kristie believes that language creates our reality. Through journaling, she came up with the word surise – it brings her energy, light, and love. Kristie believes surise is yours – the opportunity to be your authentic self.

 

Kristie is from West Michigan and is an academic advisor. She is married and has two daughters. She loves traveling, the beach, the woods, nature, and connecting with people.

 

Growing up, her parents rarely drank, but they did smoke. After her parents’ divorce, she assumed much responsibility for her younger brothers. She was the conduit between her parents. She was involved in theater, student government, and dancing. 

 

Kristie went to college and was ready to rescind the role of the responsible oldest child. Earning a degree was essential to Kristie. She went to school and partied and enjoyed drinking and being social. She adopted the work hard, play hard mentality and always drank to get a buzz. She put herself into some risky situations and was raped. Alcohol helped numb the pain, and she learned to carry on.

 

Kristie met her husband in college, and drinking was part of their relationship. Drinking was a coping mechanism for the stress of parenting. Over the years, her drinking progressed from beer to wine to vodka.   After her father died, Kristie’s drinking became very dark. Drinking was a reward, a way to avoid loneliness, and it served many purposes.

 

Several years ago, Kristie’s husband announced that he was planning to quit drinking.   He did, and she couldn’t follow suit. After her father-in-law died, they were both drinking again and went backward. Kristie read “This Naked Mind” and listened to Annie Grace’s podcast. Paul Churchill was Annie’s guest, and something clicked for Kristie. She could hear herself in other people’s stories. She joined Café RE in 2020 and went to her first women’s AA meeting. She quit drinking for several months and returned to drinking when the pandemic began. In May of ’20, she found a small group of RE members all over the US, and they held each other accountable. 

 

Kris’s Summary

 

Look at your mindset. Ask yourself without judgment, are you holding on to absolutes? What is your measure of success? Do you find joy in the results or the process? Wherever you are is okay. Show yourself grace. Change the narrative. Surrender to the process. Let go of old ideas.

 

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Aug 29, 2022

Episode 393  - Hello Listeners

 

Today we have Alina.   She is 32, from Northern California, and has been sober since June 20, 2022.

 

Fire Brew:  https://www.drinkfirebrew.com/

Ditch the Booze/Mindfulness:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

If you are in a cycle of continuous Day ones, keep showing up and listening to the podcast. We believe in you.

 

If you have quit drinking, don't forget incredible short memory can get us any time. Don't look back. That old way of life didn't work. Keep building the new.

 

If you are a normal drinker here to support someone, we are glad you are here. The opposite of addiction is connection, and we appreciate your support. The healing process is a collaborative effort that requires both parties to come together. 

 

If you are in your teens or twenties, you are learning vital lessons and building resilience. When the dust settles, and your normal drinker friends begin to phase out of the party years as they marry and have kids, you will have acquired unique life skills that your friends don't have. Your unique skills revolve around presence, listening to your intuition, taking life as it comes, loving yourself and others.   You're more grounded. Your roots go deeper. Also, be patient. I think it's harder to quit drinking at a younger age, but with time, and each year around the sun, some of those challenges get easier. Time is working in your favor.

 

If you treat or support someone who struggles with, what is addiction? Addictions are adaptive behaviors leveraged to survive in unhealthy environments. Addictions are present when something is out of balance or not in harmony with our environment.

 

Keep the thinking mind in check. The mind has 60,00-70,000 thoughts per day, and science has shown that most of them are not valid. Keep doing the inner work, find your people, and show the world how it's done.

 

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[13:04]  Alina has been sober for two weeks. She has three kids, loves being outside, cooking, and reading. She immigrated to the US from Ukraine, is the youngest of seven, and had her first drink at age 16. Growing up, she had the impression that an alcoholic was someone who drank every day.

 

In 2018, Alina had her first blackout. She resolved to do something different. She listened to "This Naked Mind" by Annie Grace. Moderation never worked. During the pandemic, Alina went on vacation to Mexico and drank daily. Alina continued to learn about recovery, and she learned to see the similarities in other people's stories. She is an active member of Café RE and enjoys the chats.

 

Paul's Summary

 

Listeners, stick together. Choose love over fear. Choose peace over being right. If the conditions are right, we bloom as a species. If the conditions aren't right, we don't. Humans are so close to blooming on a large scale, and addiction is fast-forwarding this process. Addiction forces us to surrender, open up, and say yes to the flow of life.

 

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Lighten Up.

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Aug 22, 2022

Episode 392  - One Week Without Alcohol.

 

Today we have Megan.   She is 34, from Florida, and has been sober since June 22, 2021.

 

Gruvi: https://www.getgruvi.com/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Stacking days, which is a day here, and a couple of days there, is fantastic, but your body and mind will respond faster to continuous sobriety, and I think a week is the most doable chunk of time. I know for me, even 30 days was overwhelming.

 

Day 1:  Drink water, then more water. Eat at least one full, healthy meal. Your body is detoxing today. Anxiety is part of this. Embrace the process. Remember the pain. Exercise will help with sleep. Sleep won't be great, and night sweats are expected. Expect cravings, and ice cream is your friend.

 

Day 2:  Expect to be tired, exhausted, and anxious. Drink water, sleep, eat ice cream and worry about sugar later.

 

Day 3:  Sleep should improve and welcome back appetite. Eat a healthy breakfast.

 

Day 4:  Your body is healing. Drink water, sleep and eat (sugar does help with cravings.)

 

Day 5:  What happened? You may be sleeping better, and you are hungry. Eat some healthy food and don't worry about calories. Your brain is coming back on, which has two sides:  your cognition is better, and the thinking mind is on overdrive.

 

Day 6:  Your confidence is building, and your energy begins to return. Inflammation begins to dissipate.

 

Day 7:  Sleep! Cellular restoration. Mental clarity improves.

 

Tips for week one:

 

Drink plenty of water

Exercise for at least 20 minutes. It gets endorphins going

Eat at least one meal with healthy greens

Put pen to paper and capture your insights

Remember, it's a week and not forever.

 

Seven days is the start of the healing process. Your seven days await – go get 'em. 

 

Paul describes PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms) in this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esHLnz-BUXw&t=1s

 

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[15:40]  Megan has been sober for over a year. She lives in Orlando, has two kids, is a social worker, and is getting a master's in criminal justice. She loves to travel and has been to 25 countries. She loves the beach, music, theater, working out, and theme parks.

 

Megan grew up in a conservative religious home with no alcohol in the house. Her grandfather was a recovering alcoholic. Alcohol was a big part of her family history, and Megan experienced a lot of generational trauma. Megan's father passed away when she was 15, and her childhood abruptly ended. Coincidentally she had her first drink that year.

 

Megan started using alcohol as a coping mechanism in her early twenties. Her marriage, work, and being a grown-up were a lot to manage. In 2021 she started working for a men's prison, which changed her life. Giving something back and witnessing other people's trauma helped her harness her inner strength. Megan was able to share her story and learned to adopt solid self-care practices. Slowly, she started to heal.

 

Today, Megan sees sobriety as a beautiful way to live, even if incarcerated. She credits the men at the prison with helping her to get sober. Her sobriety tools include self-care, Café RE, leveraging an accountability partner, focusing on the good in life, and great friends. Instagram:  magicalsobermama

 

Kris's Summary

 

Together is always better. Kris just returned from the Bozeman retreat, and he loved getting to see all the participants. 

 

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We are the only ones who can do this, but we don't have to do it alone.

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Aug 15, 2022

Episode 391  - What do you Want?

 

Today we have Polly.   She is 50, from Minnesota, and has been sober since December 23, 2021.

 

Ditch the Booze Mindfulness Course starts 9/20.:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

 

Recovery Fit – Paul Lapine.  Lapine Fitness Center.  https://Lapinefit.com/recoveryfit Insta:Paul_Lapine_

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul shares that he created the podcast to create a new level of accountability for himself when he quit drinking.   He is grateful for his listeners and proud of how the podcast has evolved since the first recording. Paul would like to hear more from listeners about what they want to hear during the intro portion of the podcast.

 

Email Paul at:  info@recoveryelevator.com

 

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[10:09]  Polly has been sober for six months. She is a high school English teacher, has two daughters, and has been married for 24 years. She enjoys animals, running, the outdoors, camping, and family adventures. 

 

Polly's parents drank, but not to excess. Turning 21 was a right of passage, and Polly waited to drink until then. In college, Polly partied, partially as an act of rebellion. After graduating, drinking was a weekend social thing but not an issue. Polly's husband was not a daily drinker, which was initially a red flag. There was drinking everywhere, from sporting events to book clubs to unwinding from work. 

 

As time progressed, Polly started hiding how much she drank from her husband. She slowly started gaining weight, and drinking/eating/negative emotions became a spiral for Polly. 

 

Polly's husband asked her to get treatment and told her she was on the verge of losing her family, friends, and job. She was in treatment over the Christmas holiday. She was violently ill during detox, and the detox nurse told her never to forget how sick she was. She appreciated how much people embraced her during treatment.   She vowed to herself that she would give back and described treatment as the best experience of her life.

 

After leaving treatment, Polly leveraged the tools she learned in treatment and recognized that cravings are temporary.    Alcohol still calls to her at six months sober, but she works on it daily.    Her husband quit drinking a week before Polly went into treatment, which made her home more supportive. Polly is outspoken about her cravings and regularly asks for help. She attends AA meetings; she has a sober community and is transparent about her addiction with those close to her. She talks to her daughters regularly about her addiction. Polly hopes her experience ends her family's addiction cycle so her daughters never have to choose treatment. Polly describes sobriety as the most challenging thing she has ever done, but she is also proud of her success. She carries some shame for what she put her family through while drinking.

 

Paul's Summary

 

Paul believes adding joy, fun, and creativity to your life helps you to maintain sobriety and live a life you don't need to escape. Paul reminds listeners not to take themselves too seriously, to find joy, and don't let healing be painful. 

 

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Lighten Up.

I love you guys.

Aug 8, 2022

Episode 390  - The Secret to Change

 

Today we have Jess.   She is 37, from Ontario, and has been sober since May 7, 2022.

 

Ditch the Booze Mindfulness Course starts 9/20.:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

 

Recovery Fit – Paul Lapine.  Lapine Fitness Studiohttps://lapinefitness.totaltransformationtoday.com/

Insta:Paul_Lapine_

 

Highlights from Paul

 

YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT! Anyone who doesn’t quit quitting eventually creates distance from alcohol. “The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not fighting the old, but building the new.” Socrates. This journey is about transformation. It’s an invitation to create a life where alcohol isn’t needed. It’s about letting part of you go. It’s about saying goodbye to the aspects of your life that aren’t working,

 

Paul suggests fighting the old is a waste, and addiction is a messenger letting you know your life is out of balance. Desperation leads to surrender, which leads to openness and willingness.   Don’t resist change as it is one constant you can count on.

 

Music Submissions - email edited versions to: info@recoveryelevator.com

 

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[11:31]  Jess has been sober for two months. She is an accountant for a rehab hospital and enjoys reading, camping, cooking, and paddleboarding with her dog. She lives in Ontario, Canada, and has two children.

 

Jess came from a family of drinkers. Her Dad was a heavy drinker. She started experimenting with alcohol in her early teens. At age 14, her Dad died suddenly, and her Mom’s mental health deteriorated as a result. 

 

Jess hosted parties and smoked pot. Since her family didn’t talk about things, drinking was an escape. All her friends drank and smoked, so it seemed commonplace. At one point, she started skipping school, and her sister intervened. Jess slowed down and appreciated the attention from her sister. 

 

After high school, she took some random jobs and habitually stopped working, excusing her behavior with feigned sicknesses. She made lots of excuses but never addressed the root problem. She quit her jobs before she got fired.   Her temper flared when her drinking hit a certain point, and she became a monster.   Jess moved back in with her Mom to curb expenses, and her drinking slowed slightly. Six months later, she moved in with her boyfriend, and they were drinking buddies. 

 

Jess got pregnant and abstained throughout her pregnancy but picked up again as soon as the baby was born. She bought into the “mommy wine culture .”Her Mom had dementia. Being around someone with dementia was difficult, and Jess’ drinking escalated. Eventually, she went to an online AA meeting and cried. She felt so welcomed. She counted minutes to hours, and finally, it got easier. She is now grateful to be present with her kids and is learning to like herself. 

 

Kris’s Summary

 

Kris is looking forward to Recovery Elevator’s sober retreat. Kris has learned to listen to others, be present, and hold space for them. He has fun with his sober people. Kris encourages listeners to find their way to go deeper and have some fun. Challenge yourself to take the next step.

 

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It all starts from the inside out.

I love you guys.

Aug 1, 2022

Episode 389  - Journal Speak

 

Today we have Christy.   She is 42, from Denmark, and has been sober since April 5, 2022.

 

 

Costa Rica 2023:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/costarica2023/

 

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul talks about “journal speak,” an informal, off-the-cuff style of journaling. The point is to get unprocessed, uncomfortable emotions out of you. It makes you feel less alone and more connected to yourself. This is a significant component connecting with the raw, unheard, vulnerable, pissed-off version of you. When you feel a craving coming on, this is one of the best times to do this because a part of you is screaming to be heard.   Paul suggests starting with 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night. Make it informal, with no spelling or grammar check, and toss or burn it when you finish. Generally, you will find that you feel better and have cleared your mind.

 

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[10:58]  Christy has been sober for eighty days.   She lives in Denmark, is from North Carolina, and is an agile coach in IT. She is married with two children,

 

Christy describes herself as a boring child who didn’t get into trouble. She was active in sports and music. Alcohol was always present in her life. She remembers the DARE program in high school and decided to avoid drugs and alcohol. She met her husband and married young. Christy drank socially, but there were no red flags.

 

In 2004, her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was age 47. Christy knew she needed to be strong. He passed in 2007. Unaware of how to process the grief, Christy pushed through, went through some counseling, and had a baby. After giving birth, she experienced anxiety and high blood pressure. She spiraled downward. Alcohol was a great way to shut down her brain. She gave birth to her second son and immediately returned to drinking and felt okay because the Mommy wine culture made it alright.

 

When moving to Denmark, she knew she needed to address her drinking because she had started sneaking alcohol. The geographic solution didn’t work. The trauma of her Dad’s death brought on emotions Christy could not process. She began taking days off and going to the liquor store early while her husband was at work and her kids were in school. Her drinking progressed, and she could secretly consume a whole bottle of wine. Her panic attacks got worse, and she didn’t realize it was the progression of her drinking that was causing the panic attacks. 

 

Christy told her doctor about her problem. She started listening to recovery podcasts and saw a new counselor to deal with her grief and health anxiety. Her self-talk was, “don’t think, drink.”  The anxiety was debilitating. She was depressed and had the shakes and the shame of uncontrollable drinking. 

 

COVID and having the kids home 24/7 was challenging. When she got to the point where her children had to put her to bed, she knew she had hit rock bottom. Her marriage was in jeopardy. 

 

Christy enjoys Café RE and often hosts some of the chats. She attends AA and Smart Recovery as well. She has learned it is okay to be vulnerable and not strong. Leaning on her husband is okay.   She no longer has to be “the rock.”  Her anxiety has improved, and her counseling is helping. Her greatest joy is that her son says he has his mom back. 

 

 

Paul’s Summary

 

Paul talks about the anxiety that came with trying to fix his printer. He loves that he has learned to let emotions flow through him. Paul believes in all the listeners.

 

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It all starts from the inside out. You can do this.

I love you guys.

Jul 25, 2022

Episode 388  - Identity

 

Today we have Liz.   She is 55, from Bend, OR, and has been sober for five months.

 

Ditch the Booze Mindfulness and AF Photography. www.recoveryelevator.com/events

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Highlights from Kris

 

After returning from a trip to DC, Kris realized that connecting his identity to his accomplishments is something he left behind. Presenting his achievements as a “Who I Am” was typical for Kris when he was in active addiction. Kris hoped that showing others the good in him might help him to see the good in himself. Approval seeking was directly linked to his self-worth and what others thought of him. This created conflict because Kris felt like he was leading a double life: the list of accomplishments he shared with others and the poor self-esteem that felt more like the “real Kris.”

 

Ultimately, Kris hit a tipping point that led to his recovery. During those early days, he identified with the bad things he had done while drinking. With treatment, counseling, and spiritual support, Kris learned that he was responsible for his harmful behavior but eventually realized that what he did wasn’t who he was. He had to clean up, but he gained clarity on what he did vs. who he is. 

 

Kris found a new identity in recovery. The greater good prevails, and instead of looking for an atta boy, he tries to connect to how he can be part of something bigger.

 

Kris asks listeners where they find their identity? Does it bring you peace? Can you make shifts in your identity without shame?

 

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

                                                                             

[10:45]  Liz has been sober for five months.   She is from California, has two dogs, works for a healthcare start-up, and enjoys entertaining, cooking, gardening, and music.

 

Alcohol was part of Liz’s life from an early age. She described a lot of drama and trauma in her childhood. She developed a fear of drinking while observing her parent’s drinking. 

 

Liz and Kris talked about the behaviors we develop in childhood because of trauma and learning to give yourself grace as you reconcile those behaviors and learn healthier ones. They discussed how shame doesn’t support your recovery. They also talked about surrender being an essential step in recovering yourself. 

 

Liz relies on Recovery Elevator and Café RE, meditation, self-care, recovery tools, and community to support her sobriety. 

 

Kris’s Summary

 

Kris talks about embracing challenges and turning them around to support the greater good.   Move forward with grace, love and encouragement. Learn to love yourself and share that love with others.     If you feel stuck in your story, know you are not alone. Keep it simple and focus on the next right here. We are here for you.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

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Resources

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You’re the only one who can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I love you guys.

Jul 18, 2022

Episode 387  - Why Some Make it, and Some Don’t

 

Today we have Becca.   She is 43, from Montana, and took her last drink on September 18, 2017.

 

Sober Travel Update – Costa Rica 2023. Stay tuned for dates. www.recoveryelevator.com/events

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul believes that taking responsibility for your drinking or choosing not to be a victim increases your likelihood of “making it” L.” listening to this podcast means that you are open to new ideas, pathways, resources, and a new outlook on life. Paul suggests telling yourself that you will make it or are already there. Awareness that you have a drinking problem is the beginning, then ownership of the solution. 

 

Paul believes a drinking problem is an invitation to a new life. Never quit quitting. Paul says yes, you are going to make it. You are already making it. 

 

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

                                                                             

[11:07]  Becca has been sober for nearly five years.   Becca worked for 18 years as a chef/bartender. She rescues dogs, loves art, and reading. She went from food addiction to alcohol in her early twenties. She had a gastric bypass in 2005. She pre-gamed a bottle of booze before going out with her friends. She was able to lose 268 pounds and kept it off, but she was able to drink a lot of alcohol.

 

Becca describes several signs on the way to quitting drinking. She eventually went to Great Falls for inpatient treatment. After 17 years of constant drinking, the strict rehab included a lot of self-discoveries, and she had to earn privileges. The physical withdrawal was difficult because she was having seizures. Becca transitioned over to sober living. Shame was part of her inner dialogue. After eight months of sober living, she began working out. She opened her first business.  

 

Becca’s life is so much better. She would rather be involved in a national disaster than go back to her rock bottom with alcohol. Recovery isn’t black and white. Routine is important, but she has learned to embrace the challenges that come with everyday life. She can hear the birds and the river in ways she hadn’t before. 

 

Daily reflections, post-it reminders, journaling, embracing nature, equine therapy, and surrounding herself with healthy support have been critical to maintaining sobriety. At five months sober, Becca was able to testify against someone who beat her up. She moved to Gardiner, MT, and fell in love with the area. 

 

She studied coffee, created her own coffee recipe, and is proud to serve the best coffee on earth. She has strained out the things she no longer needs. Check out Bear’s Brew in Gardiner, MT, if you head to Yellowstone. 

 

Paul’s Summary

 

Paul hates the term “making it” and knows that comparison is a trap. Internal goals can be problematic because of the ego. The gifts of recovery include: being present, enjoying the moments, and knowing that you have already made it. All pathways lead the way home. Paul embraces problems and tries to heed the lessons that come with them. 

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

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Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

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Recovery Elevator-

Go big because eventually, we all go home.

I love you guys.

Jul 11, 2022

Episode 386  - The One Mistake People Make When Quitting Drinking

 

Today we have Shad.   He is 46, from Indiana, and took his last drink on March 19, 2021.

 

 

 

Café RE Open House Chat: July 16, 2016, at 12 ET.

Join Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83057111516? pwd=NlJyaFdtZ0RBYnhMaytxbkdRU2tMdz09

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Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Don’t quit drinking without learning coping strategies, understanding why you drink in the first place, and get some tools for your recovery toolbox. Don’t sell yourself short on how rich your life can be without alcohol. Say yes, to as many recovery opportunities as you can. Books, podcasts, quit lit, retreats, spiritual teachers, music, chats, meetings. Some of it is work. These investments of time into yourself will pay HUGE in the future. A whole new world awaits you after the bottle.

 

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[10:50]  Shad has been sober for 433 days.   He is married with five children, three grandchildren, and three dogs. He loves skateboarding, archery, trail running, and anything outside. He describes nature as his church, particularly above the timberline.

 

Shad experienced severe child abuse in early childhood and was from a family with a history of addiction to drugs and alcohol. His grandfather was a friend, a father figure, and a heavy drinker. Shad created chaos with alcohol. After his divorce, he doubled down on alcohol; then, he tried to drink himself to death after his grandfather passed. Shad lost his brother to a drug overdose.

 

Consequences were minimal for Shad. His first wake-up call was waking up to an empty gallon bottle of whiskey. A year later, running inspired him. He started running longer distances. The stride, footfalls, and measured breathing were meditative for Shad. He still had not dealt with his emotions. He stopped drinking in 2014, ate clean, started ultra-running, and completed a 100-mile run. His ego kicked in, and he drank again because he thought he could handle it now. He got drunk on the eve of his wedding and again on his wedding day. Shad didn’t believe he had a drinking problem; he thought he had a depression problem. Running replaced alcohol for those 2.5 years. After his honeymoon, he tried several attempts at moderation. It worked until it didn’t, then he went downhill fast. 

 

Shad describes himself as addicted to everything – he can’t have just one. Gradually his drinking progressed. His middle son developed a drinking problem observing his Dad. The guilt of his son’s drinking drove him to drink more. Covid became another excuse to isolate and drink. After a night of extreme drinking, he told his wife he tried to kill himself with bourbon. She agreed to get him some help. Shad began reaching out. He found a community that didn’t judge him but supported him.   A friend introduced him to a group called, Punks in Recovery. Shad embraces many avenues of sobriety, including AA and ACA, and he is open to whatever works.

 

Kris’s Summary

 

Kris talks about reflecting on his goals and tools and evaluating what works and doesn’t. He encourages listeners to look without judgment at what went well and what could have gone better. Shame doesn’t have a place in recovery. Leverage gratitude and do the next right thing. Growth takes time. Let it do its job.

 

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Resources

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Recovery Elevator- You are the only one who can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I love you guys.

Jul 4, 2022

Episode 385  - You’re Free

 

Today we have Steve. He is 34, from Boston, MA, and took his last drink on February 18, 2021.

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Bozeman Retreat

Upcoming Courses:  AF Photography and AF Mindfulness

Service Project

Courses: https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

Bozeman Retreat: https://www.recoveryelevator.com/bozeman/

 

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Highlights from Paul

 

An elementary view of freedom is free will or doing what you want. A more rewarding form of freedom includes commitments, discipline, and boundaries for extended periods. Freedom also includes sleep, routine, forgiveness, being present, being of service, overcoming fear, and adding value. Freedom gives you choices; the most important choice is to be your authentic self.

 

                                                                             

[8:40]  Steve has been sober for over a year. Steve’s parents were born in El Salvatore, and Steve is first generation American. In college, he stumbled upon neuroscience. He enjoys running, boxing and music. A classmate passed, and the grief and mystery around his death felt impossible to process at the time. Alcohol put noise cancellation on his thoughts, his anxiety, and the reality of death. Steve never grieved. Over the years, his drinking progressed from weekends to weekdays to whenever he wasn’t working. He learned quickly he couldn’t have 1-2 drinks. Moderation didn’t work. Last year on his birthday, he drank to excess in front of his parents, siblings, and partner. He resolved you quit drinking. You get to keep everything else or give up everything and keep drinking. 

 

Steve attempted moderation. Eventually, he went to therapy to learn how to navigate his feelings, anxiety, and urge to drink. He realized he had a family history of alcohol abuse and anxiety. On a particularly bad day, his friends expressed concern and suggested some things to explore.    After his first Café Re meeting, Steve felt more comfortable with his thoughts; that was his Day 1. The RE community gave Steve the push he needed. Listening to others, he felt accepted, nourished, and supported. He described never feeling more human and letting vulnerability take center stage. Day count fell aside, and it became “no matter what.”

 

Steve’s non-negotiables started with not letting alcohol influence his work. Now it’s about being present and letting life happen. 

 

 

Paul’s Summary

 

Declare freedom over alcohol. Never quit quitting.

 

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Jun 27, 2022

Episode 384  - The path of least resistance

 

Today we have Matt. He is 40, from Edmonton, Canada, and took his last drink on April 8, 2019.

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

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

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Sobriety is the path of least resistance. Moderation was miserable, and drinking is killing me. Paul describes his own experiences with moderation and points out that with moderation, you continue to have decision fatigue and only moderately heal.    Moderation is often a step along the journey toward ditching the booze.

 

The path of least resistance means – you won't get a DUI or be sent home from work because you smell like booze. Your sleep improves, your liver health improves along with your connections and relationships, and you enjoy more fun (and skittles). 

 

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

                                                                             

[13:06]  Matt has been sober for three years. He is a recovery coach, engaged, and enjoys music, nature, hiking, camping, and his dogs. He is learning about sound therapy and how music can influence your mindset.

 

Matt came from a family of heavy drinkers. He remembers listening to the excitement of the adults' conversations while drinking when he was young. He was often given sips of beer if it felt exciting. As a teenager, music became a way to express himself. The rock and roll lifestyle complimented the music, which included booze. Drinking helped Matt to overcome his shyness and awkwardness. 

 

His early 20s presented the perfect storm of opportunities to drink excessively. He went from a happy-go-lucky drunk to having a chip on his shoulder. He began to recognize his drinking habits were changing. A breakup with his girlfriend sent him into a tailspin of depression, and his drinking escalated. External pressure to quit drinking led to rebellion, and Matt learned that change had to come from within. Matt was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis after a drinking binge. He continued to drink and had another health incident. He took some time off work and launched it with a bender, then turned to a friend to bring him to an AA meeting. His first meeting was a profound emotional/spiritual shift that led him to over three years of sobriety. 

 

Matt's firsts during his first year of sobriety was difficult and rewarding. It was his first opportunity as an adult to experience life without alcohol. Self-help books, podcasts, and a growth mindset helped him embrace sobriety. He was quiet about his sobriety. At a friend's wedding, he had a shot of tequila, and the wave of the high hit him quickly. He had a creative outburst and wrote ten songs. He convinced himself that the drinks enabled his creativity. He repackaged all his views of alcohol to return to drinking moderately. The moderation bargaining started, and at one point, he heard a voice telling him, if you keep doing this, it will kill you. Matt continued drinking. After a sloppy party weekend, Matt realized it was time to stop while driving to his dad's celebration of life. He decided to stop the cycle as a tribute to his father. 

 

Matt recently made a plant-based medicine retreat. His healing journey continues, and the sense of peace has returned. He is focused on a growth mindset and allowing the journey to happen because life is not a to-do list.

 

Matt’s podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/beyond-recovery/id1618862620

 

Kris's Summary

 

Embracing summer plans as a sober person is new for many of us. Give yourself grace. Create accountability, set boundaries, try new things, create new habits, and remember it's okay to go slow. 

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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Recovery Elevator –it all starts from the inside out

I love you guys.

Jun 20, 2022

Episode 383  - Clearing space

 

Today we have Phillip. He is 46 and took his last drink on February 28, 2019.

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Bozeman Retreat:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

Early Recovery Podcast Guests:  email info@recoveryelevator.com

 

Highlights from Paul

 

It's hard to visualize a sober life when you are still drinking because your body is using every drop of energy to get rid of the poison that is alcohol from your body. Paul suggests once you ditch the booze, sit back and be the observer to watch your life unfold and resist the urge to control everything. In his eighth year of sobriety, Paul bought a home in Costa Rica, a longtime dream. After quitting, his life became a blank canvas, and now he is exploring his love for nature in his new home – which would not have been possible if he was still drinking. Paul feels connected to his inner child and is grateful for his life today.

 

In chapter 4, Paul wants to showcase listeners' talents. Feel free to send an edited MP3 file in under 3 minutes to info@recoveryelevator.com, and you may hear yourself on the podcast. 

 

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

                                                                             

[12:55]  Phillip lives in Minneapolis, lives with his partner, has no kids, and works as an attorney. He is a marathon runner. Phillip started drinking in college. As life unfolded, he noticed drinking was part of all his life activities, from work to time with friends. He realized he drank every day, even the night before running a marathon. 

 

In 2017, he started to question if he had a problem. The thought of quitting drinking felt like quitting fun. In 2018, Philip decided to explore his relationship with alcohol as his New Year's resolution. He quit for four months with few problems. He kept a diary that tracked his cravings and triggers. He drank during a vacation which ended his streak. He found several reasons to start and stop. By the end of 2018, he returned to daily drinking and stopped keeping his diary, and brandy was his drink of choice. He noticed he was gaining weight, and his depression was worsening. He realized that moderation was a challenge. Choosing to drink or not drink daily was exhausting and caused decision fatigue. Phillip's sleep was terrible; one day, he found himself drinking at 3 AM so he could sleep … two hours before a run. It occurred to him that he was now drinking in the morning.

 

As he reflected on his behavior, he saw three paths:  continue drinking, moderate, or abstain altogether. He concluded that quitting was the past of least resistance because moderation involved constant decision fatigue. He joined the "no matter what" club. He got sober, learning how to get through the moments. He kept a spreadsheet that became a diary of his cravings. He tracked his cravings to he could identify trends. His most challenging moments came later in sobriety. Three months in, Memorial Day weekend was a huge struggle. Podcasts are a huge part of Phillip's recovery. He joined Café RE and began to connect with people. Many say you are the average of your top 5 people, and surrounding himself with non-drinkers has brought his life to a better level. He now enjoys a runner's high when he runs, which he never experienced when drinking.   Phillip believes sobriety can be for everybody.

 

Paul's Summary

 

Keep track of how much energy your addiction takes. Write it down. Never take yourself too seriously. I love you guys!

 

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Resources

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Recovery Elevator –it all starts from the inside out. I love you guys!

I love you guys.

Jun 13, 2022

Episode 382– So now what?

 

Today we have Ryan. He is 40, from Denver, and took his last drink on January 7, 2013.

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Bozeman Retreat:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Recovery Elevator Newsletter:  https://recoveryelevator.com

 

Paul shares Odette’s wise words,  “we can’t be hard on ourselves when we do hard things.” He also examines those who abuse alcohol and the correlation with being hard on ourselves. Could the pace you are setting for yourself be driving you to drink?

 

Not drinking isn’t an activity. I quit drinking, so now what? You are making space for a new chapter in your life. A theme you will find in that chapter is your relationship with yourself.

 

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

                                                                             

[11:15]  Ryan has been sober for over nine years. He is the founder of Free Spiritual Community for addicts to break the cycle of addiction. He is married and has four kids.   He loves being outside, the mountains, travel, and family life.

 

Ryan has been in ministry for 14 years, and sobriety brought him a spiritual awakening. He went to bible school, and during the first month, his brother was killed in a car accident. The addiction began to take over. Alcohol helped Ryan deal with pain, fear, and uncertainty. He experienced shame and fundamentally did not like himself as a person. 

 

Ryan didn’t know how to stop the pain or creating pain. While in the seminary, his drinking escalated. One Christmas Eve, his sister asked him not to come around anymore because she didn’t want her kids to see him drunk. He describes putting on a mask, so nobody could see who he was. Ryan describes the grace that helped him connect to his relationship with God, knowing that God was there during his addiction. 

 

Admitting that he was spiritually disconnected created spiritual freedom that changed his life. Shame, anger, and self-hatred helped him connect to God and explore a different way of life. An intervention from his wife made the difference. She used the word “we,” and knowing he didn’t have to do it alone propelled him into recovery.

 

Nine years in, Ryan still practices letting go. He began his journey in 12-step programs, and he went from sitting in the back of the room to actively engaging, getting vulnerable, and being of service. Today, Ryan and his wife have a church filled with addicts, loved ones of addicts, and spiritual refugees,

https://freespiritualcommunity.com. Insta:  freespiritualcommunity, YouTube: freespiritual community.

https://wagoncoffeeroasters.com/

 

Kris’ Summary

 

Kris talks about his wife Aimee being on the Recovery Elevator podcast. Check out episode 321. Kris thanks listeners for giving him the room to grow.

 

Keep going. Finds some peace.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here!

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Recovery Elevator –it all starts from the inside out. I love you guys!

I love you guys.

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