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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
Sep 4, 2023

Episode 446 – Go Easy on Yourself

 

Today we have Jonathan. He is 44 from Grand Forks, ND and took his last drink on May 17th, 2008.

 

Our six week Ditching the Booze mindfulness course starts Monday, September 18th and meets on Monday nights at 8:30 PM EST. This course is included with Café RE membership and is for Café RE members only.

 

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

 

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

 

[02:24] Highlights from Paul:

 

Straying from the sometimes-complex intros, Paul urges us to go easy on ourselves.

 

Despite all of our agricultural, scientific, and technological innovations, this is the hardest time it has ever been to be a human being. Rates of addiction and overdoses are soaring. Dr. Gabor Mate’s book The Myth of Normal shows how our out of balance culture is creating mountains of unrest and disease.

 

Life is already a challenge and living in the modern world without substances to slow down the prefrontal cortex, it is even harder.

 

Go easy on yourself. Life is going to kick your ass at some time or another. Don’t let that Bruno voice in the head make it any worse. Once that voice starts chirping about how you should have done XYZ differently, and how you’re doomed for eternity, locate the true you and tell that Bruno voice to step aside, and you’ll take it from here.

 

Be sure to start your day with words of compassion. Compassion for you, those nearest to you, the animals outside your window, and for those who are still struggling with alcohol.  

 

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

 

[8:11]: Kris introduces Jonathan:

 

Jonathan is 44 years old and lives in Grand Forks, ND. He has worked in the restaurant industry most of his life and is also the managing director for the office of Recovery Reinvented. For fun Jonathan likes to spend time outside and cook. He is married and they have three daughters.

 

Jonathan says he had a good childhood with a lot of parental support. He feels like his exposure to alcohol as a teenager was normal. He says drinking never got in the way of his grades or playing sports. While in college Jonathan started working in bars and restaurants where drinking is part of the culture. His drinking increased and he ended up dropping out of school.

 

Jonathan realized early on that his drinking looked different from his peers. He witnessed others being able to stop with a few drinks after work whereas he would just go to the next bar or go home and keep the party going. He didn’t think he was drinking to mask anything, so he didn’t have a problem, he just really enjoyed drinking.

 

While Jonathan was doing well in his career, his drinking increased. He opened his first restaurant when he was 27 and was very successful. People were starting to tell Jonathan that he should cut back but he struggled to do so.

 

Jonathan had a meeting with his business partner and his father where he was told that things needed to change, or the partnership was going to end. This is what it took for Jonathan to seek treatment. He went to inpatient treatment for 30 days. While there he went from feeling like this was a temporary change to realizing that he needed it to be long term. He started seeing the similarities with others instead of the differences.

 

Jonathan completed 30 days and continued with outpatient treatment. He made the decision to be transparent with his recovery. He feels that helped him stay accountable and sober.

 

Jonathan’s favorite resource in recovery: I Am Sober app (he likes seeing how much money he has saved).

 

Jonathan’s parting piece of guidance: “Everything that is good in my life today is in my life because alcohol is not.”

 

Recovery Reinvented

 

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We took the elevator down, we have to take the stairs back up

You can do this.

I love you guys.

 

 

 

Aug 28, 2023

Episode 445 – Keep Dancing

 

Today we have Cindy. She is 54 from Kure Beach, NC and took her last drink on March 2nd, 2023.

 

We are doing an East Coast CafĂ© RE meet-up tour!  NYC on Wednesday August 30th, Philadelphia Saturday September 2nd, and DC on Tuesday September 5th. For questions about the event please email info@recoveryelevator.com

 

This is a reminder of the suicide prevention hotline 988, which was launched one year ago. This number has fielded 5 million calls, texts, and chats in the past year alone and has saved countless lives.

 

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

 

[03:23] Highlights from Paul:

 

After recently watching a social media video featuring a sober influencer dancing, Paul decided to challenge this individual to a breakdancing battle. Meanwhile another sober influencer viewing this video stated that watching this video made him want to drink.

 

Let’s zoom out for a second.

 

The Tik Tok user, with millions of followers, said that watching videos of this person dancing - made them want to drink. To summarize that in two words it would be: Stop Dancing.

Then we have Paul who challenges this person to a sober break dance battle. We can summarize this statement in two words: Keep dancing.

 

So, listeners, keep on dancing, and never stop. If you don’t know your metaphorical or literal dance steps, stick around. The knowledge will return. If someone tells you that your dancing makes them want to drink, then that is 100% their problem. When you dance, it gives others permission to dance. You don’t need alcohol, it won’t make you better, and you’ll remember all of it.

 

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

 

[08:52] Paul introduces Cindy:

 

Cindy is 54, grew up in Maryland but currently lives in North Carolina. She has been married for 23 years and they have two children and a dog. She works as an operating room nurse and recently got a master’s degree.

 

Cindy recalls first having alcohol late in high school. She was very social throughout college and enjoyed drinking a lot. She traveled a lot after college and knows that she drank but didn’t have any major consequences. Cindy says she and her husband drank but she doesn’t recall it affecting her life much. Happy Hour after work was very common for her due to the stressful job she has. Even after an incident where she was able to get out of a DUI, she still didn’t recognize that she had a problem. The drinking increased but Cindy always thought it was her husband that had the problem, not her. There were no attempts to moderate and no consequences, so the drinking continued.

 

Cindy started wondering why she wasn’t happy because she had a good life. Since she felt it was her husband that had the issue, Cindy started attending Al-Anon. When she returned from a travel nursing job, she realized how terrible she was feeling. She had been drinking every night, driving drunk often, and started having some consequences. Soon she found herself in an AA meeting where she had what she considers an awakening of sorts. She felt like she had found people that understood her.

 

Earlier this year, a podcast episode Cindy was listening spoke of living an authentic life. This really resonated with her, and she realized alcohol had to go. She started attending AA regularly after her last drink and is learning to deal with her feelings and learning from them. Cindy utilizes many tools to process how she feels and knows that alcohol is not the answer.

 

Cindy’s favorite resources in recovery: recovery podcasts, being active in AA

 

Cindy’s parting piece of guidance: If you are contemplating stopping drinking, think about why you are drinking.

 

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

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Recovery Elevator

I love you guys.

Go big, keep dancing, because eventually we’ll all go home.

 

 

 

Aug 21, 2023

Episode 444 – Alcohol Consumption by State

 

Today we have Chad. He is 51 from Southern Indiana and took his last drink on March 25th, 2022.

 

Follow Recovery Elevator on Instagram! We’re starting to put more video content on the platform so check it out!

 

Join us Saturday August 26th in Boston, MA for a day of service in collaboration with The Phoenix.  Learn more about the event here.

 

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

 

[02:47] Highlights from Paul:

 

Something heard often while interviewing guests is “you don’t know what it’s like to grow up in Wisconsin, Texas, in Las Vegas, in Trenton, New Jersey, or you don’t know how much we drink in…” fill in the blank. So yes, it is ubiquitous, but there is a front runner.

 

Check out the full list and see where your state ranks: Alcohol Consumption by State

 

In 2012 British researcher Dr. David Nutt was tasked by the government to put harm scores on 20 of the world’s most harmful drug. Alcohol came in at #1 beating out crack, heroin, meth and cocaine.

 

Paul shares some stats about the costs of alcohol use disorder in Montana. You can see stats for all of the US here: Alcohol Abuse Statistics

 

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

 

[11:48] Kris introduces Chad:

 

Chad has been sober for a little over 15 months at the time of this recording. He is 51 and lives in a small town in Indiana. Chad is married, and they have three children. He works for the government. He enjoys talking recovery, umpiring softball, and cycling.

 

Chad’s parents divorced when he was young. He never felt like he fit in at either of his parents’ homes and was a people pleaser doing whatever he could to fit in. Chad moved in with his dad when he was 13. After an ankle injury he was sidelined from sports, and he ended up finding a new group of friends that dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He says he struggled through high school and was looking at the military instead of going to college. He was looking forward to having some structure that he didn’t feel he had growing up between two households.

 

After graduating, Chad spent the summer partying and started basic training in August. He was sent to Germany after more training, and they drank a lot there. He started to notice that he needed to drink just to feel normal. He ended up leaving after one deployment and realized the military wasn’t for him.

 

Chad left the military and went into construction work. He and his wife hadn’t married yet, but she was pregnant, which was frowned upon by her family. Four years after having their daughter they got married and while they got a house together and continued to grow the family, Chad drank to deal with his stressors. It got to the point where Chad couldn’t do anything without a drink in his hand. He says drinking took a front seat to everything else. On days when he could not drink, he was starting to have symptoms of withdrawal. He began to hide alcohol and his tolerance grew.

 

After a bad blackout and confrontation with his wife, he felt terrible and realized that he needed help. His wife encouraged him to seek inpatient treatment which is what Chad was hoping for. With his wife’s support he found a rehab that helped him a lot. He was able to talk to therapists and realize that he wasn’t alone. After 30 days in rehab, Chad started AA, started reading more books about recovery and has found Zoom meetings and listening to the RE podcast very helpful.

 

Chad’s plan for recovery moving forward: Dig deeper into his recovery and be of service.

 

Chad’s parting piece of guidance: A life worth living can be found in sobriety. You’re worth it, give yourself a chance. “No” is a full answer.

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

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

I love you guys.

 

 

 

Aug 14, 2023

Episode 443 -  A Different Type of Alcoholic

 

Today we have Kelly, she is 46 from Minneapolis, MN and took her last drink on June 18th, 2023.

 

Join us Saturday August 26th in Boston, MA for a day of service in collaboration with The Phoenix.  Learn more about the event here.

 

Check out our sponsor Go Brewing. Use the code ELEVATOR for 15% off.

 

[02:57] Highlights from Paul:

 

When saying the word “alcoholic”, these images, and thoughts commonly come to mind:

 

Living under a Bridge. Brown paper bag. Homeless. Hopeless. Unemployed.

 

Some of this is accurate but studies show only 5% of alcoholics fit these descriptions.

The other 95% are high functioning, tend to be high earners, more educated, are healthier and have more stable relationships than average.

 

With the estimated 452 million alcoholics that don’t fit the stereotypical description of an alcoholic, this takes the saying you are not alone to a new level.

 

We justify or benchmark our drinking according to what an alcoholic looks like. I’m not that bad, I have a job, and money in the bank. We surround ourselves with other drinkers who don’t fit the alcoholic stereotype to solidify our own positions on the addiction scale. Now a classic trait of an addiction is that we are blind to where we actually are with the addiction process. The hole you find yourself in is probably deeper than you think. My recommendation is to stop digging. You CAN put the shovel down. Another classic trait of an addiction is the progression. We have 452 million alcoholics on the globe who are not living under a bridge or drinking out of brown paper bag yet.

 

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

 

[09:30] Paul introduces Kelly:

 

Kelly took her last drink on June 18th, 2023, and has 6 days at the time of this recording. She is 46 and lives in Minneapolis. She leads software development teams for a living. Kelly loves the outdoors and enjoys running, hiking, and paddleboarding. She enjoys movies, music, and museums as well.

 

Kelly first tried alcohol at a party in 9th grade. Drinking was not something that she wanted to do but she succumbed to peer pressure. A year later she started spending time visiting her brother at college, and she enjoyed hanging out with him and his friends and started drinking more frequently. It was a good escape from the abuse she was dealing with at home.

 

In college Kelly was drinking and dealing with an eating disorder. She worked hard to overcome her bulimia but then her drinking ramped up after that. After college she married a fellow engineer, and they would drink heavily together. After they started having children and settling down, her husband was able to quit the excessive drinking, but Kelly was not.

 

While raising her children, Kelly was able to cut back on drinking and started putting rules around it. Her relationship wasn’t going well, and Kelly was going out more frequently and drinking almost daily. After a few drinking and driving charges, Kelly began to realize that she could no longer control it. Over time she recognized that she was starting to isolate more and then would go out to bars to find connection with other people.

 

Kelly has been able to have more gaps in drinking days over time and has been acquiring tools throughout the process. She is recognizing that she needs to treat her sobriety like a baby and nurture it daily. Each morning she meditates and uses the Reframe app. She attends AA meetings frequently and has recently found a therapist to help her with her childhood trauma.

 

Kelly’s plan for recovery moving forward: keep doing things that make her feel uncomfortable, attending more meetings, and new meditation practices.

 

Kelly’s parting piece of guidance: keep trying, be open to new resources.

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator

Go big, because eventually we’ll all go home.

I love you guys.

 

 

 

Aug 7, 2023

Episode 442 – Time to Breathe

 

Today we have Jeff, he is 35 from Salt Lake City, UT and had his last drink on April 6th, 2023.

 

Shout out to the Café RE chat hosts. Thank you for continuing to hold space for our community and for creating an environment where we can come together and heal.

 

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

 

[03:46] Highlights from Kris:

 

Kris finds sober anniversaries a good opportunity to reflect on where he was and where he is today. He asks himself questions such as “What have I gone through? How have I been able to meet the challenges placed in front of me? Am I moving in the direction I want to in my life?”

 

In active addiction Kris was not able to show love to himself. He knew that the things he was doing were hurting other people and himself. He knew his wife, kids, parents, and friends all loved him, but he couldn’t let the love in. He was stuck in the loop of “I’m not enough, I’ve screwed up too much, I deserve to feel this way.”

 

If you’re listening, and you’re there today, know that you are not alone. Many of us have been there and know how hard it is. 

 

We don’t have to be perfect RE… that’s never going to happen. All we have to be is willing. We have to be willing to be honest with where we are today. Without judgement, where are things in our life right now? What is the next right thing to step into our new future? Where can we find support? Don’t worry about trying to resolve every issue in your life all at once. Just take little bites.

 

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

 

[09:40] Kris introduces Jeff:

 

At the time of recording, Jeff is celebrating 90 days of sobriety and plans to celebrate with cacao.  He is 35 and lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two dogs. For fun Jeff enjoys mountain biking, skiing, running, and music is a big part of his life.

 

Growing up, alcohol was always present at celebrations hosted by his parents and their friends. It was normal for him to see people drink to excess. Jeff’s first drink was when he was 16 with some friends and stolen rum. Early on he recognized that his drinking was different than other people’s. On the outside, he was successful at school but was suffering from depression that alcohol helped him escape from.

 

After high school Jeff went to the east coast to play hockey for two years. This required a lot of discipline, so Jeff’s drinking was limited to one day each week. He never moderated and usually ended up blacking out.

 

When Jeff turned 20, he started college where he played hockey and studied engineering. During his freshman year he got a bad concussion and struggled a lot with the side effects afterwards. He initially used drinking to self-medicate the side effects but drinking started to become the answer to everything.

 

After college Jeff moved back to Alaska for a job. He had his own place with two roommates who he frequently drank with late into the night. He was able to keep up with work and other activities so in spite of some health consequences, he didn’t feel he had a problem.

 

Jeff started questioning his drinking after he caught himself drinking and driving frequently. He found Allen Carr’s book and was able to stop drinking for 11 days. Since then, he has been in the cycle of quitting and then starting back with different lengths of time between drinks.

 

Therapy has been helpful for Jeff over the last three years and his wife has been very supportive. Connection has become very important to him.

 

Jeff’s plan in recovery moving forward: moving forward with integrity and owning who he is.

 

Jeff’s parting piece(s) of guidance: it’s ok if you think this is hard because it is hard. Even just listening to this podcast is a huge win. Recovery is not a straight line.

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator

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

I love you guys.

 

 

 

Jul 31, 2023

Episode 441 – Connection With a Molecule

 

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

 

[00:58] Highlights from Paul:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

[08:12] Paul introduces Shane:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator

It all starts from the inside out.

I love you guys.

 

 

 

 

Jul 24, 2023

Episode 440 - How to Undo Trauma

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

[02:06] Highlights from Paul:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

[09:39] Kris introduces Kathy:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Recovery Elevator YouTube

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator

It all starts from the inside out.

I love you guys.

Jul 17, 2023

Episode 439 – Developing a Spiritual Practice

 

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

 

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

 

Athletic Greens

 

[02:22] Highlights from Paul:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

[11:03] Paul introduces Liz:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Go big, because eventually we all go home.

I love you guys.

 

 

 

 

Jul 10, 2023

Episode 438 – Expectations

 

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

 

Recovery Elevator welcomes our newest sponsor, Athletic Greens.

 

[02:33] Highlights from Paul:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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[10:54] The interviewees introduce themselves:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Connect with Laura – The Only One in the Room Podcast

 

Connect with Eric – The One You Feed

 

Connect with Gill – Sober Powered

 

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

I love you guys.

 

Jul 3, 2023

Episode 437 – Inner Conflict

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

[01:55] Highlights from Paul:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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[10:39] Kris introduces Mark:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

I love you guys.

 

 

 

 

Jun 26, 2023

Episode 436 – Our Road Ahead

 

Today we have Lacey. She’s 34 from Illinois and has been sober since May 15, 2020.

 

Recovery Elevator welcomes our newest sponsor, Athletic Greens.

 

[02:16] Highlights from Kris:

 

We feel it is important to use these first few episodes of Season Five to set a foundation for the upcoming year. Kris shares the RE mission statement and talks about what each of the six key themes means to him.

 

To recap, our mission statement: we offer hope through community and connection. Partnering sobriety seeking individuals with other likeminded people.

 

Over and over and over again, you’re going to hear us, and our guests, talk about the importance of connection. It’s not because it’s the only thing we know how to talk about; but simply because it’s THAT IMPORTANT.

 

Recovery Elevator’s Six Themes:

 

1)    We are inclusive

2)    There is no right or wrong way to do this

3)    Connection

4)    Don’t just quit drinking

5)    We need to remain open

6)    We must pass along what we learn to others

 

 

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[09:30] Kris introduces Lacey:

 

Lacey is 34 and lives in Illinois. She is an instructional designer. She is married and has two cats. Lacey loves walking, camping, cooking, and doing crafts. She is part of a community theater and enjoys volunteering at the local animal shelter.

 

Lacey was young when her parents quit drinking, so alcohol was never around. She feels the mystery made it more interesting to her. She first drank with theater friends in her sophomore year of high school. This was the first time that she felt included in something.

 

After a falling out with some friends in senior year, Lacey found another friend group that not only drank but did other drugs. She felt like she needed to join in in spite of feeling apprehensive. Cocaine and alcohol went hand in hand for Lacey. She had to have alcohol to deal with the downside of the drugs.

 

In her 20’s, Lacey started identifying as a partier. She loved being able to drink and stay up all night and she wore it like a badge of honor. Lacey started doing more drugs because they helped her keep drinking.

 

After some time, Lacey started trying to moderate and find the right balance of the drugs and alcohol, but always ended up failing. She feels she had the dueling personalities during this time. Her mornings were full of anxiety from all of the behavior from the day before.

 

When Lacey started having health issues that the doctors couldn’t determine the cause of, she came to the realization that her substance abuse may be a contributing factor. In denial, Lacey continued partying even harder until she hit her breaking point and realized that she needed to stop for good.

 

It was not “one and done” for Lacey. She drank on vacation and then when she came home, she decided to join Café RE if she could make it 30 days. She struggled to embrace sobriety. She started feeling better after six months but thought she could handle drinking again. She then used Covid as an excuse to keep drinking and ended up back where she started. The day after she quit, she got an accountability partner who has become her best friend.

 

In recovery, Lacey is finding more time to do things that she used to love. Her friend group has changed, and she is ok with that.

 

Lacey’s favorite resources in recovery: her accountability person, Marco Polo and connection.

 

The best advice Lacey has received: if you are researching whether or not you have a drinking problem, you do but it’s not a death sentence. It’s ok, embrace it, it will be so worth it.

 

 

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

I love you guys.

 

 

 

 

Jun 19, 2023

Episode 434 – Season 5 – What We Believe In

 

Today we have Alex, he is 35, from Lincoln, NE and took his last drink on January 20, 2023

 

Recovery Elevator welcomes our newest sponsor, Athletic Greens.

 

[03:35] Highlights from Paul:

 

Welcome to Season 5!  Episode 1 of this podcast dropped on February 25th, 2015. Paul recalls the date and how he felt.  He was worried he was going to crash and burn.  But 10,000,000 downloads later, he still hasn’t had a drink and the podcast is still going.

 

Paul discusses the plan for Season 5, what RE’s concepts and values are, the podcast schedule and more.

 

Mission Statement of Recovery Elevator is as follows:

 

"We offer hope through community and connection. Partnering sobriety seeking individuals with other likeminded people!”

 

Six themes Paul and Kris will be focusing on this season:

 

1)    Recovery Elevator is inclusive

2)    There is no right or wrong way to do this

3)    Connection

4)    Don’t just quit drinking

5)    We cannot fight an addiction

6)    We must pass along what we’ve learned to others

 

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[10:49] Paul introduces Alex:

 

Alex is 35 and lives in Lincoln, NE. He is married with three kids. He stays busy with his family, enjoys landscaping at their new home and works in the financial industry.

 

Alex first tried alcohol in his senior year of high school. He initially did not drink with his friends, but eventually gave it a try. He started going to parties and enjoyed the assistance alcohol gave him socially. He didn’t drink very regularly but when he did drink, he drank heavily. He did have a close call when getting pulled over once, but the officer called his parents instead of charging him with driving under the influence.

 

Alex joined a fraternity in college and says his drinking escalated at that point but was not out of control. He was still able to do well academically. After college he moved to Chicago, and he used drinking as a way to make friends. He was attending grad school and was drinking heavily but still highly functional.

 

He first started questioning his drinking when his brother was going through some issues with substance abuse. He says he was blacking out at least twice a week but wasn’t sure if he had a problem. This is when Alex first tried moderation that he says worked for a while, but the rules became softer over time.

 

The first time Alex recognized that his drinking might be an issue was when his wife went into labor with their second child, and he had been drinking so he was unable to drive her to the hospital. Over time he realized that he was not fully present for his children, and he didn’t time to pass and realize that he had drank their childhood away.

 

After Alex had around 50 days of sobriety and went back to drinking, he realized how much better he felt sober and realized that is what he wanted. That paired with wanting to be a better parent helped him focus on trying sobriety again.

 

Alex took his first step by going to an online AA meeting just to listen. It was there that he realized that seeking sobriety wasn’t something to be afraid of. He drank that night but burned the ships with his family telling them that his life of sobriety would be starting the next day.

 

The first few days found Alex excited for sobriety. Within a short period of time, he found his sleep improving, started getting compliments at work, and was generally feeling better. Since quitting drinking Alex feels that his emotions have leveled out and life is no longer on “hard mode”.

 

Alex’s favorite resources in recovery: quit lit, Reddit, realizing that he is not alone.

 

Alex’s parting piece of guidance: if you’re not successful the first time, you are definitely going to learn on each attempt of sobriety so keep at it.

 

 

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Go big, because eventually we all go home.

I love you guys.

 

 

 

 

Jun 12, 2023

Episode 434 – Don’t Lose Yourself in It

 

Today we have Gary, he is 44, from Toledo, OH and took his last drink on January 30, 2023

 

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

 

[01:42] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Today we are going to cover one of Paul’s favorite tools and practice.  But before we cover it, he asks us who is our go to person that we look to when life starts to veer into the ditch? Who has already provided guidance or a teaching on what to do in the situation you find yourself in?

 

For Paul, it is Eckhart Tolle. His books The Power of Now and A New Earth were recommended to him at just the right time.

 

The tool and concept Paul wants to cover is a line he discovered in A New Earth that says, “don’t lose yourself in it”. This refers to the thinking mind, or the ego. 

 

Another book The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer shares the concept that you are not the thoughts in your mind, but you are the one who experiences them.

 

The point is don’t lose yourself in the incessant stream of thoughts coming from the thinking mind. Make a point each day to STOP what you are doing and take a deep breath. This practice doesn’t have to take long, but there may not be enough consciousness at first to split from the thoughts in the head. The point is to create as many daily gaps in your thinking as possible.

 

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[09:25] Kris introduces Gary:

 

Gary took his last drink on January 31st, 2023. He is 44 and lives in Toledo, OH. Professionally Gary is a medical assistant for primarily homebound patients. He enjoys reading, has recently started fishing and likes to try new things in sobriety.

 

Gary’s first experience with alcohol was in his early teen years. He and his cousin crashed a wedding with an open bar where they served him beer. He thought it was disgusting but kept drinking and blacked out the first time. Gary didn’t drink in high school. He graduated and met his future wife who was going to the army. He joined as well and was in Germany when he started drinking regularly. Drinking helped with his insecurities, and he was always searching for validation. After his wife cheated on him, life was tough for Gary. He started drinking heavily to deal with the pain surrounding the changes in his life.

Gary didn’t have a lot of consequences from his drinking. When he got out of the army and came home, he found another relationship and they had a daughter together. He was able to cut back on his drinking and started putting parameters around what and when he would drink. He found moderation exhausting.

 

Gary’s dad started having health issues, developed a rare form of cancer and passed within a year of diagnosis. His drinking ramped back up as he dealt with the grief. Gary’s drinking ended up contributing to the loss of a job. He tried his best to continue to be a good father but struggled with being emotionally present for his daughter.

 

After losing his job Gary found himself going into inpatient treatment, which is where his journey began. He had some stints of extended sobriety. He started going to AA meetings but had a hard time being social at first. He discovered podcasts which were helpful for him; he found listening to them was giving him strength. He was able to experience periods of sobriety but felt that his addiction was still sabotaging him at that time.

 

Gary had several instances of his drinking sending him into the hospital. He feels like this was his rock bottom. He realized he needed to be honest with himself and was able to stay sober for over two years. He started getting involved with the RE community which was very helpful for him. Changes in routine found Gary learning to love himself.

 

Gary’s favorite tools - recovery books, podcasts, Café RE, therapy, and Antibuse.

 

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

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Jun 5, 2023

Episode 433 – The Comfort Crisis

 

Today we have Daniel, he is 43 from Orange County, he took his last drink on December 31st, 2014.

 

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

 

[01:42] Thoughts from Paul:

 

The discomforts of quitting drinking will make you a stronger person down the road. And not far down the road.

 

Although humans are hardwired to seek comfort, it’s not necessarily good for us. Many anthropologists have speculated that we were happier thousands of years ago. Our needs were simpler and easier to satisfy. We were naturally mindful, living in the moment. In addition, our ancestors usually found themselves in tight communities of around 150 people, where everyone shared the burden of survival. There was a deeper sense of belonging.

 

The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter

 

The rates of mental health, addiction, inflammations, cancers, are sky rocketing, and the author of the book says the reason for this is because we are living progressively sheltered, sterile, temperature controlled, over-fed, under challenged, safety netted lives.

 

Key takeaway? Get uncomfortable. It’s good for you. And spending significant time in nature will make you happier.

 

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[09:01] Paul introduces Daniel:

 

Daniel had his last drink on New Year’s Eve of 2014. He lives in Southern California; he’s married with three children. He owns a few businesses and works in education. For fun Daniel likes to play tennis, work in his yard and enjoys Wim Hof breathwork. Daniel enjoys getting out of his comfort zone and trying new things frequently.

 

At age 16 Daniel had his first drink and instantly felt the pull. He didn’t start using it habitually until he was in college, and it helped with his social anxiety and gave him confidence. He says the red flags came early and often but he didn’t have a classic rock bottom moment. He feels he was very high functioning – did well in school and had a job. His drinking didn’t change after he left college. He began questioning his drinking about four years prior to quitting because he had learned he and his wife were about to have a child.

For a long time, Daniel was unwilling to give up drinking and he would have times of attempting moderation and then abandoning that to hiding bottles of alcohol throughout his house before going back to moderation again. He thought having a child would help him make changes, but it did not.

 

Good things were happening with Daniels home life and career, but the drinking was still there. He was having issues with anxiety and depression that he attempted to treat but the alcohol negated his efforts.

 

Daniel’s quit date wasn’t planned as he was still in denial about how serious his drinking had become. The day after his last drink he had some hallucinations that scared him.

 

He finally met with a doctor and decided to lay it all out and asked for help. He initially thought it would be only for 30 days, but he ended up going for another month and so on.

 

Daniel still had a lot of shame surrounding his initial recovery and was isolated for about six months. He says that he found a lot of peace getting away from all the anxiety and started feeling more comfortable about his choice to get sober. He recently started using Tik-Tok and started a podcast which he has found very cathartic for his recovery.

 

Daniel’s favorite resources in recovery: Calm app, Wim Hof app, Tik-Tok

 

Daniel’s parting piece of guidance: Be less concerned about HOW people recover and more concerned THAT people recover.

 

Daniel’s podcast - Sobriety Uncensored

 

[42:25] Closing thoughts:

 

In our CafĂ© RE chats we start with an Icebreaker Question.  I asked the group “when you’re stressed or triggered what helps you?”  The most common answer was “get outside”.

 

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I love you guys.

It all starts from the inside out.

We can do this.

May 29, 2023

Episode 432 – Is Alcohol Good For You?

 

Today we have Julie, she is 49, from Grand Junction, CO and took her last drink on February 6th, 2022.

 

Café RE members, we have added a fitness class to the schedule. Sundays at 12:30 EST, thank you Paul L.

 

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

 

[02:05] Thoughts from Paul:

 

For most of the 20th century and well into the 2000’s, there was a pushed narrative that said a daily drink or two is good for you.  Although there was a time that fermented drinks were safer than consuming the local water due to disease, it’s safe to say we are well past those days from the dark ages.  Despite that, the concept that alcohol is good for you is still in popular circulation, but a new narrative is coming out.

 

An article from Health Day released this year is titled Drinking Alcohol Brings No Health Benefits, Study Finds

 

Huberman Lab podcast:  What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health

 

You’re giving up alcohol, which turns out is NOT good for you anyways, for a life that contains the possibilities of nearly everything. Sobriety can be hard, and sometimes we need a sweeping statement to put it into perspective. You’re giving up one thing for everything. You can do this. I know you can.

 

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[10:34] Kris introduces Julie:

 

Julie lives in Grand Junction, CO. She is a nurse practitioner soon to be working at an addiction center. She has two grown daughters and her parents and brother live nearby. She is single and for fun she enjoys yoga, and she plays the ukulele and the flute.

 

Julie feels she was born into addiction. Her parents were both alcoholics and a lot of her family members have struggled with addiction as well. Her mother left when she was very young, and her family moved a lot due to her father’s instability.

 

Julie first tried alcohol when she was 12 at a barbecue at her mom’s house. She and some friends stole some alcohol and went into the basement and drank. Alcohol helped her feel like she was connected to a group, and she lived up to the party girl persona as a way to feel accepted.

 

In her mid-teens, Julie’s parents decided to send her away to a Baptist school. This was Julie’s first experience of feeling like she was part of a family, and she was able to stay out of trouble there.

 

Soon after Julie returned home, she started drinking again. She married her high school sweetheart, and they had her first daughter together. When the marriage ended, she thought she needed to be in a relationship to have the perfect life and got married again where she had her second daughter. She was going to college and attending church to uphold the image of the perfect life.

 

After her children moved out and she and her husband became empty nesters, Julie’s drinking ramped up. She had a lot of freedom with her job which found her drinking more and more. She was worried what her husband thought so she was hiding her alcohol throughout the house. Julie began questioning her drinking and read This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. She was able to quit drinking for about 60 days. Even though she started drinking again, Julie feels that something changes.

 

Julie separated from her husband and found herself drinking and isolating. She quickly realized she needed help. She started going to AA and was able to stay sober for over three years, but gradually stopped doing the work. She started thinking she could be a normal drinker and that she didn’t have a problem. It didn’t take long for Julie to end up back to isolating and binge drinking. Her final binge at a hotel when a flight was cancelled found her realizing she had to stop again.

 

Julie found the RE podcast and shortly after went back to AA. Podcasts, online meetings, travelling, and yoga are some of Julie’s favorite tools. Connection within a sober community is very important to her.

 

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The only way out is through.

I love you guys.

May 22, 2023

Episode 431 – Transformation

 

Today we have Katy, she is 40, from Olympia, WA and took her last drink on February 12th, 2023.

 

Join Recovery Elevator this Sunday for a fun conference style meet up at the Marriott in Alpharetta.  This event is all about getting your connect on and it will be a fun time.  Spouses or loved ones are encouraged to attend and you can even stick around afterwards for some silent disco.

 

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

 

[02:26] Thoughts from Paul:

 

One of the best parts of doing the Recovery Elevator podcast is seeing the transformations people make.  Many of the travelers on this year’s Costa Rica trip also traveled last year. With every single repeat traveler, Paul could see the growth almost immediately. There are many different reasons for the transformations, but it is always visible in the smile.

 

Paul wants to make a correction from a previous episode where he said that Goat Yoga was a horrible idea. Incorporating animals in our healing can be a great thing. One reason for this is the nervous systems of animals are much more intact, and with entrainment theory in biology, our nervous systems can heal while being around animals. Also, goats are hilarious. They are all about having fun and if you come near enough to them, they will make you part of the fun.

 

In the interview with Katy, Paul references a previous episode covering Natlrexone. That is episode 164 if you wish to go back and listen.

 

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[08:06] Paul introduces Katy:

 

Katy is 40 years old and took her last drink on February 12, 2023. She is from Olympia WA, married and they have two kids and a dog.  Katy works in elementary education and for fun she likes to hike, read and listen to podcasts.

 

Katy first started drinking at a young age, but it wasn’t until she was in her late teens that she started having consequences like hangovers and blackouts. She went on to a college that had a reputation for being a party school and she fell right into the scene.

 

Katy feels her twenties were stolen by an abusive relationship where the focus was on a party lifestyle. She had started drinking and driving, getting herself into debt, and struggled to hold down a job. The consequences of her drinking really started to escalate including a DUI that she got during a blackout.

 

In her thirties, she continued to work in bars and blackout frequently.  When she tried quitting on her own, she had some physical withdrawals and she decided to go to rehab. After around four months she decided to leave and started drinking immediately believing that she would be able to control it.  Before long she was back where she was with her drinking and had a mental health scare that found her seeking help once again.

 

Her family was very supportive, and Katy was able to make positive changes in her life including having children and getting her master’s in education. She was able to stay sober through her pregnancies but would start drinking shortly after.

 

Katy was prescribed naltrexone which helped her stop drinking and start working on herself. On her doctor’s advice she started attending sobriety groups in addition to the medication. She prefers SMART recovery over AA but believes connection is important.

 

Exercise is important to Katy’s sobriety in addition to podcasts and reading. She looks for the good things in day-to-day life as well as in nature which help her feel gratitude. She uses some exercises to help with her anxiety that help her to surround herself in “now”. She enjoys music where she can connect to the lyrics.

 

Bucket list for Katy is to love her life and feel emotions.

 

[47:27] In closing, Paul shares another installment of “You Can Be Right, Or You Can Have Peace”.

 

 

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May 15, 2023

Episode 430 – Walking Into Summer

 

Today we have Joss, she’s 34 from the Bay Area and took her last drink on December 21st, 2022.

 

We still have room in our upcoming flagship retreat which takes place August 9th through the 13th in Bozeman, Montana.  This event is all about having fun, connecting, and learning the tools needed to be successful on your Alcohol-Free journey. You can find more information here!

 

[02:21] Thoughts from Kris:

 

Spring has finally arrived in North Dakota!

 

With the changing seasons, it’s not uncommon to experience some different emotions surrounding our recovery. More outdoor social activities and parties can bring some unique challenges.

 

We sometimes worry what others might think about us and our choice not to drink. The phrasing “I care what people think of me” makes me feel a bit middle-schoolish, but humans long for connection and community. We are not really fearing the event so much as fearing that we don’t belong. Creating accountability with people we trust can help us navigate these times, and sometimes just passing on the event may be what we need to do for the time being.

 

Stay tuned for more tips gathered from our members at Café RE after the interview!

 

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[09:45] Kris introduces Joss:

 

Joss is 34 and lives in the Bay Area. She has two cats, is a hairstylist and enjoys running. She recently celebrated three months alcohol free.

 

Joss grew up in a very strict and sheltered Christian household. Her parents were very active in the church, and they spent a lot of time there and went to a private school. Joss first tried alcohol when she was 14 and her drinking increased a lot in high school. She battled with depression and never felt validated by her family, and they just pushed her toward God and church without giving her much opportunity to explore anything else. She jumped around schools a few times due to suspensions and expulsions.

 

She didn’t consider her high school years as being rebellious but more as a time to explore things outside of the sheltered life she was raised in. She really enjoyed music and started a band in high school.

 

Joss moved to New York after her mother suddenly passed away and says that time was when things got out of control. She reflects that a lot of the things she did while drinking too much could have ended very badly. Joss was dating someone who also drank heavily, so it quickly was their lifestyle. Eventually she grew tired of life in New York, broke up with her partner and moved back to the Bay Area where she continued to drink.

 

Dealing with the death of her mother was hard on Joss. She got settled into a friend group after moving home and they all partied a lot. She was working in the restaurant industry and found herself drinking before and after her shifts and progressed even more during the pandemic. During that time, she was starting to listen to podcasts and become sober-curious. After a particularly bad morning-after from drinking too much, she realized that enough was enough. 

 

The first month of quitting found Joss staying sober through multiple triggering events.

Her advice to others is if you feel like there is an event or reason that you don’t think you can quit drinking now – there will always be a reason to wait. Instead of waiting – just go for it!

 

Since quitting, Joss enjoyed going to AA and having that community. She has also found some groups online that she enjoys. She finds that stocking her fridge with alcohol-free drinks, sharing her intentions with her friends and leaning into comfort of all kinds is the key to her success. For Joss, all her relationships have improved, especially the relationship with herself.

 

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May 8, 2023

Episode 429 – The Connection Between Alcohol and Anxiety

 

Today we have Dale, he is 55, from Roanoke, VA and he has been alcohol free since March 23, 2019

 

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

 

[02:34] Paul’s thoughts:

 

Paul knows now that there is a connection between his drinking and his anxiety but while actively drinking, he could not. We are told that alcohol relaxes us – which it does by shutting down important parts of our brain.

 

According to Dr. Sheila Shilati,"Alcohol ultimately replaces those important chemicals like dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which mitigate anxiety, therefore, in episodes where you are not drinking, then your brain is searching for those all-important 'feel-good' connections, which become diminished because the supply has been mitigated,"

 

We hear a lot about “self-medicating” in recovery. Which isn’t a bad thing, but when we rely too much on this strategy, it stops working. This becomes an even bigger problem because we don’t realize it so we just drink more and now our coping strategy is becoming the reason we can’t cope.

 

Paul shares in episode 417, this is the best place you can be because the tipping point isn’t far off in the distance.

 

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[10:48] Paul introduces Dale:

 

Dale is 55, lives in southwest Virginia, has been married for 25 years with no children. He works for a shipping company and also owns and manages rental property. Dale enjoys music of all varieties, loves reading and learning and also enjoys gardening.

 

Dale’s first experiences with alcohol came from his parents using it to medicate him as a child. He worked in the hospitality industry in his late teens and early twenties and drinking was a glorified part of the lifestyle. His tolerance grew and he became a daily drinker throughout that time.

 

The recent years found Dale questioning his drinking and realizing he wasn’t living life within his values. He had sneakily drunk some of his wife’s special whiskey which prompted an angry text to Dale. He used this message as motivation and although he was not able to quit right away Dale feels this was the start of his recovery.

 

Dale has found self-awareness to be a catalyst to helping him stop drinking. He has utilized Recovery Elevator and the Café RE community as a large part of his journey. It was a scary first step for him, but he found getting out of his comfort zone to be very helpful. He has made many friends that have helped him move forward and be strong in his sobriety. Focusing on the good has been an important tool for Dale, specifically in the early days. As he closed in on a year, he felt the veil had been lifted and he was seeing the world differently.

 

Year two for Dale was unpacking everything that led him to drink so much in the first place. He feels that was the mucky part of the journey and it is a process to unpack it.

 

Year three Dale feels that learning to let go of control was a big thing. Learning that life is going to happen, and he didn’t have to cling so tightly to everything. He finds that the service work he does in the community has helped him deal with life as it happens while approaching the four-year milestone.

 

Dale feels that success comes by building the wall one brick at a time, stepping outside of the comfort zone and being willing to learn. He also feels that service work helps strengthen us and keep us connected to our foundation. 

 

[53:36] Closing thoughts:

 

Paul’s tips for dealing with anxiety without alcohol:

 

Perception – anxiety pangs are messengers. Your body is sending you signals that something is off balance. Tell your body this will pass and will soften with each passing day or month.

 

Get the body moving to cue the release of endorphins whose purpose is to mask physical and emotional pain.

 

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May 1, 2023

Episode 428 – Do I have a Drinking Problem?

 

Today we have Lauren, she is 54 from Rochester NY, and took her last drink on November 19, 2022.

 

Shout out to Ty with 15 YEARS alcohol free!  Thank you for all you do for RE!

 

Shout out to Bradley from south Denver with 3 days alcohol free!  Great job!

 

CafĂ© RE is a private online unsearchable recovery community. Get accountable and be the best version of you. Together is always better!  Use promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the setup fee.

 

[03:23] Intro summary:

 

In the past Paul has talked about the worst  place a person can be with a drinking problem is in limbo (episode 417). But how do we find out if we actually have a problem so we can get out of that space?

 

There is a test listed in the DSM-5 to determine if we have a drinking problem or not. There are 11 questions, and you must meet two of them within the past 12 months to have what is called Alcohol Use Disorder. It’s not hard to determine if you have a drinking problem based on that test.

 

But at the end of the day, it can be as simple as if you question if you have a drinking problem, you just answered your own question.

 

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[12:36] Kris introduces Lauren:

 

Lauren has been sober almost 4 months at the time of recording. She lives in Rochester New York, she is married, has two adult children, one granddaughter, has pets and owns her own business helping the elderly. She enjoys time outside, crafting (currently diamond painting), reading and learning new things.

 

Lauren was always fascinated with alcohol, but it wasn’t prevalent in her immediate family. When she was 16, she was able to purchase alcohol for her and her friends. She had a lot of fun and thought it was cool. She chose the college based on their drinking culture; she drank heavily but still did well in school. After college she got married, had two kids and a successful job. She drank the same as other parents around her, so she felt that was normal. She was able to abstain when she had her children and feels her drinking was more or less recreational for a long time.

 

 

 

Over the years Lauren hadn’t really tried to quit drinking. She would make a halfhearted attempt at Dry January, but it didn’t last. She didn’t think it had anything to do with being addicted. She feels that everyone else saw signs that her drinking was a problem, but she wasn’t aware of it.

 

After going on a very long-awaited vacation in 2022, Lauren says she had a hard time coming back to regular life and the stressors were magnified. Soon after, she drunkenly alienated a friend on Facebook, and it really impacted her when the friendship ended. She started drinking to escape everything that was bothering her. Lauren had a scare during her third blackout in eight days and decided to go to the doctor where she told them everything. She was sent to an outpatient program to start the next day.

 

She has found a lot of tools and inspiration through the outpatient program. Lauren says AA didn’t resonate with her, but she does do SMART recovery online which she enjoys. Connecting with others has been a great resource for Lauren as well. She views her drinking and recovery as just part of her, she doesn’t feel it defines her. Lauren recognizes that she is happier and communicate better with her husband. Her family is relieved and proud of her for going into recovery.

 

[57:20] Outro:

 

Spring is here! And with seasonal changes come new challenges. Kris feels that it is a chance for him to make sure he has his accountability in place and has a plan when it comes to spring and more outdoor events. Don’t stress about upcoming events, simply be aware of what is out there. Set yourself up to enjoy the weather and reach your alcohol-free goals.

 

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Apr 24, 2023

Episode 427 – But a Symptom

 

Today we have Ian, he is 24, from Baltimore, MD and he has been alcohol free since December 26, 2022.

 

What are you doing for Memorial Day?  You should join Recovery Elevator in Atlanta! We have an event for CafĂ© RE members on Saturday and then Sunday night we have a conference style event that everyone is invited to attend. Information about the Sunday night event can be found here. CafĂ© RE members can get more information through the members website if they are interested in the weekend event.

 

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

 

[02:15] Thoughts from Paul:

 

If alcohol isn’t the primary problem, and it’s a symptom of something else, what does that mean, and what course of action do we take? None of us are able to correct the unrest in our lives when alcohol is present. That’s why moderate drinking for the problematic drinker doesn’t work either.

 

For Paul, after he ditched the booze, he recognized that his nervous system needed healing and found that nature was a great help with addressing that. Everyone is different and their sources of unrest that need addressing will be different but first, the alcohol needs to go and then the healing can begin. We get one life, and your addiction is about to springboard you towards your authentic self – if you are willing. You may be asking yourself “am I willing?”…If you are listening to this podcast, the answer is yes.

 

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[10:47] Paul introduces Ian:

 

Ian took his last drink on Christmas Day of 2022. He lives in Baltimore and is a recent college grad. In his free time, he fosters senior dogs and plays music. He finds taking care of animals at the end of their lives to be very rewarding and helpful in his recovery.

 

Ian wasn’t exposed to alcohol until he was in college. He was in his junior year when he started drinking and smoking pot. He had roommates that were drinking like he was at parties and on the weekends, but Ian was starting to be sneaky and would purchase his own alcohol separate from the alcohol that was present in the house and didn’t want anyone to know how much he was actually drinking. The blackouts started becoming more and more frequent.

 

When he was 20, he started planning his entire days around drinking and smoking. Work and school became minor activities and drinking was priority. Throughout all of this Ian was still successful so he didn’t see his drinking as a problem.

 

Early 2020 Ian experienced withdrawal for the first time and it scared him. He initially didn’t realize what it was and was scared he was going to die. For the first time, he acknowledged his drinking had become an issue.

 

After several trips to the ER, he ended up speaking with a peer counselor who helped him get involved with an Intensive Outpatient Program. Ian was able to get sober for two months but was ashamed of what he was doing and ended up leaving. He relapsed and had a bad Christmas with his family. He has learned that it is more embarrassing to have a drinking problem than it is to work on getting sober.

 

Ian says being transparent with people was the game changer for him. Letting everyone know that he is sober helps him stay accountable.

 

Being a young person in sobriety can feel a little lonely Ian says. Our culture normalizes drinking in our twenties and it’s hard to connect with others in recovery because most people are older. In spite of the feelings of missing out or “why me” thinking, Ian knows that this is the right choice for him.

 

Ian is looking forward to achieving newfound career goals, being a better dog dad and someday having a family. He is excited to fully find his confidence and be the best version of himself he can possibly be.

 

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Apr 17, 2023

Episode 426 – It Gets Easier

 

Today we have Jeffrey, he is 35, from Monument, CO and he took his last drink on July 23, 2022.

 

Registration is open for our flagship annual retreat held in Bozeman, Montana, this upcoming August 9th – 13th.  This event is all about having fun, connecting, and learning the tools needed to be successful on your Alcohol-Free journey. You can find more information here!

 

[02:16] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Paul shares that he recently attended an AA meeting where a member celebrated 40 years of sobriety. One thing he took away from this is that it will naturally get easier the more time away from alcohol you have and the more life experience you get. It is also helpful to focus not on the destination, but the journey itself.

 

There is a YouTube channel that Paul watches where the host, Michael, showcases some of the most scenic railways in the world. Michael also shares similar views about the destination vs. the journey. Here is the link to one of his videos documenting the scenic Amtrak train route from Denver to Winter Park Ski Resort.

 

When we realize that hard days are a part of life, and that hard days are a part of an alcohol-free life, things get easier. With each conscious breath we take, things get easier. If you are struggling, on day one or day zero, Paul’s message to you is that this journey will get easier if we embrace it and we don’t do it alone.

 

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[09:38] Kris introduces Jeffrey:

 

Jeffrey is 35 from Monument, CO, he does apartment maintenance for a living, he is single and has one dog and two cats. For fun, he plays Magic the Gathering and is trying to get back into reading, specifically mental health and self-help type material.

 

Jeffrey was a loner growing up, but his sister’s social network became his as well. In high school, they would invite him to parties where there was lots of heavy drinking. It was a weekly event for him and his friends to scrape up money to have an older friend purchase 40’s for them to drink.

 

He went into the job corps program when he was 20. He wasn’t allowed to drink, and he went nearly a year without alcohol and didn’t really feel it was a loss. When he came back home from that he picked drinking back up and was drinking daily but didn’t feel it was excessive. Jeffrey was questioning his drinking and was able to quit again for another year but realizes now he didn’t have the recovery mindset, he was just doing it because he felt it was a spiritual issue.

 

At that point he felt he had had enough of a break and could allow himself to drink again. Aside from a few isolated negative events, Jeffrey was able to drink without much consequence for quite a while.

 

Jeffrey’s drinking started to escalate and saw him shifting from social drinking to eventually needing it in order to feel normal. He says that drinking was part of the culture at the hotel job that he had. Once he started a new career, he knew he needed to stop the daytime drinking. That lasted some time, but eventually the anxiety became out of control to where Jeffrey had to use alcohol to help him feel normal and function. After his family left him, he was really spiraling out.

 

One Saturday morning he woke up to some family members coming into his home. They had organized an intervention and had everything set up for him to be able to go to rehab. He agreed to just go and says it changed everything for him.

 

He committed to 30 days but stayed longer. Jeffrey feels that he gained a lot of skills for recovery and life through DBT and CBT treatment. The focus on core beliefs really helped him.

 

Since getting in recovery, he is healing his relationships and making friends. Jeffrey feels that living is possible for him now.

 

 

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Apr 10, 2023

Episode 425 – What Recovery Pathway is Right for Me?

 

Today we have Doug. He is 59, from Buena Vista, CO and he took his last drink on July 28, 1982.

 

Join Recovery Elevator in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend for a fun conference style meet up at the Marriott in Alpharetta.  This event is all about getting your connect on and it will be a fun time.  Spouses or loved ones are encouraged to attend the Sunday night event and Silent Disco afterwards!

 

[2:30] Thoughts from Paul:

 

When building your recovery portfolio, a good goal is 50% external and 50% internal. At first, the internal work may be too big of an ask, but as your nervous system settles down, you want to aim for a balanced split. Here are some quick examples of what I mean when I say external vs internal:

 

External:
Driving to an AA meeting, or hopping on a Café RE zoom chat
Phoning a sober friend
Working with a sponsor

 

Internal:
Meditation
Journaling
Reading Quit-Lit

 

When building out your recovery I recommend this 5-tiered approach:


1. Community – AA, SMART, Café RE, therapy, sober friends. Burn the Ships!


2. Action/Movement – Chemicals of wellbeing, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin are released when we move.

 

3. Inner Peace – Meditation, breathwork, creative ventures, writing, time in nature.


4. Knowledge – Podcasts, Quit-Lit, learning about new things in and out of recovery.


5. Universe – This is not religion, but it is the spiritual component of recovery.

 

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[11:55] Paul introduces Doug:

 

Doug had his last drink on July 28th, 1982, when he was 19 years old. He lives in Buena Vista, CO and is married and they have two adult children. He has worked in upholstery, cabinet building and installations, and has built some houses with his son. He enjoys the mountains, biking and riding his motorcycle.

 

Doug grew up in a normal family and wasn’t exposed to heavy drinking. His first experience with alcohol was when he was 4 years old when he remembers having a few sips of his mother’s drink. He felt the warm glow and really liked it. Later when he was 12, a friend of his stole a bottle of liquor from his parents and while his friends were mixing it with soft drinks, Doug drank straight from the bottle. He felt something click – suddenly, he felt normal, and like everyone else.

 

When Doug was 16 his mother passed away and the drinking escalated and continued to be excessive after graduation. Some friends invited him to Alateen meetings, and he started attending weekly. Once a month AA members would come in and share their stories. He started identifying with some of the stories which got him to start question his drinking. He realized that he was becoming less like the person that he wanted to be.

 

When one of his former drinking friends disappeared from the meetings, he found out that they were working on sobriety with AA. That friend was a speaker at one of the meetings, and Doug noticed that they looked healthy and at peace. He chose to speak to him afterwards and expressed an interest in possibly attending AA but wasn’t quite ready for it.

 

Doug finally accepted the invitations to attend and was planning to go to a meeting on July 29th. The night before he found himself drinking and when he saw himself in a mirror started asking himself why he was drinking. He didn’t have a good answer for that.

 

AA has been a big tool for Doug, along with volunteer work. He knows that if he had continued drinking, he would not have had the life he has. He believes in counting blessings, finding things to be grateful for and putting sobriety before everything else.

 

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Apr 3, 2023

Episode 424 – Caring for You

 

Today we have Abby. She is 49, from Phoenix, AZ, and took her last drink on 9/25/2020.

 

Join Recovery Elevator in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend for a fun conference style event at the Marriott in Alpharetta. Spouses or loved ones are encouraged to attend the event on Sunday. Registration is open please click the link for more information.

 

We have registration for the annual Bozeman Retreat opening on April 3rd. The retreat is scheduled for August 9th – 13th. 

 

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[03:23] Thoughts from Kris:

 

In an effort to escape the long North Dakota winter, Kris and his wife took a short vacation to Dallas. They had a fantastic time enjoying the city and the company of friends. The key takeaways Kris had are the importance of self-care and connection.

He believes that most people are very resilient, and we tend to allow things to keep stacking things onto our plate to the point of overwhelm. That’s when we need to take time to slow down and take care of ourselves; how that looks is different for everyone.

 

[9:30] Kris introduces Abby:

 

Abby took her last drink on September 25, 2020.  She’s 49 and lives in Arizona. She’s single and has a young adult daughter who lives nearby. She is self employed doing online marketing for small businesses. She likes to cook, read and stay active.

 

She got drunk for the first time at a New Year’s Eve party when she was a young teen. She drank and smoked weed a lot through high school and college and feels fortunate that she never suffered any consequences throughout that time. At the time Abby thought drinking was just what people do in their teens and early twenties. In hindsight she knows it was numbing behavior. She never felt like she fit in, and alcohol helped her with her socializing.

 

After getting married to someone whose family had drug issues, she quit smoking but kept drinking. Her and her husband drank a lot together and chose wine because they thought it was more sophisticated. She didn’t drink during her pregnancy but started back soon after her daughter was born.

 

Shortly after having their child, she and her husband got divorced. Abby says her drinking ramped up and she started smoking again. She found herself drinking to deal with her emotions and continuing to get into unhealthy relationships. Abby feels like she drank a lot because of her insecurities and not feeling good enough or worthy of love.

 

Abby initially quit drinking as part of a quest to get healthy after some concerning medical test results, not with the intention of getting sober.  Her doctor had told her she needed to give up some foods, sugar and alcohol in order to heal. She quickly started feeling better so that helped her remain sober for nearly three months. Abby utilized her daughter as accountability which she feels helped a lot.

 

During a trip to Mexico on her birthday, she decided she was going to drink. She realized quickly that the way she drank was unhealthy. She had one last beer while out and it left her feeling awful for an entire weekend. She decided then that she was done.

 

When quitting she started on her own and didn’t feel like she needed any support. She started feeling like she needed connection so she joined Café RE during a Ditching the Booze course. She made a friend in that group and then started a hiking group locally. Abby has really enjoyed meeting other people in recovery at multiple meet ups. She is extremely open about the fact that she doesn’t drink and feels that helps her stay accountable.

 

Abby hosts a lot of chats in Café RE which she feel helps her give back to the community. She stays social with a lot of the friends that she has met there. She does enjoy NA beverages but says CONNECTION is key to her sobriety.

 

 

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

I love you guys

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 27, 2023

Episode 423 – Some Phoneless Fool

 

Today we have Laura. She is 45, from Boston, MA, and took her last drink on September 27, 2014.

 

Join Recovery Elevator in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend for a fun conference style event at the Marriott in Alpharetta on Sunday.  This event is all about getting your connect on and it will be a fun time.  Spouses or loved ones are encouraged to attend. Registration is open please click the link for more information.

 

We also have registration for the annual Bozeman Retreat opening on April 3rd. The retreat is scheduled for August 9th – 13th. 

 

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

 

[02:07] Highlights from Paul:

 

Paul feels that addictions are adaptations to unhealthy environments. Rates of addiction, disease, inflammations, and cancers are all on the rise. In recovery we are tasked with creating a world for ourselves and others where we feel connected, worthy, and part of the community. Recovery is not about new world exploration but restoring the circuitry we were born with. Addiction could be what forces us to come together, put our differences aside and start loving each other.

 

Paul thinks that it is our job in recovery to create a life for ourselves and others that doesn’t require alcohol for wholeness. He’s up for the task, how about you?

 

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[6:36] Paul introduces Laura:

 

Laura is 45 years old, lives in Boston, has one daughter and is recently engaged. She is a writer and the founder of The Luckiest Club, an international sobriety support community. For fun she loves to read, play beach volleyball and travelling.

 

She first started drinking when she was 15 but didn’t drink a lot. She played sports in high school which kept her from partying and her dad got sober when she was a teenager so she had a healthy fear of alcohol. Her drinking really started when she went to college. She had a fake ID and was all in. After graduating she found herself surrounded by drinking in the workforce. Throughout her 20’s she surrounded herself with people who drank like her. There was a sense that she drank differently than others but she decided it was just something she needed to watch but not quit. She never had any serious consequences at this time in her life.

 

Laura feels that her drinking really increased after she became a mom. She had more anxiety, her body processed it differently, she was drinking more and it was working less. While she was pregnant, she realized how much she had relied on alcohol because she couldn’t have it. She started worrying more about her drinking at this point because she was chasing relief from the anxiety and only finding it helping for 20 minutes or less.

 

The year before her last drink Laura found herself suffering some consequences. She got a DUI which she brushed off as just getting a ticket when asked about it. After an event that caused her to almost lose custody of her daughter, she spent the next year actively trying to quit drinking. Her family was acutely aware of her drinking issue and were holding her accountable. She was very angry and wasn’t at the point that she accepted that the alcohol needed to go.

 

She tried to go to AA but didn’t enjoy it at first. She continued to drink but also kept going to meetings. She was starting to have more sober time than drinking time and was reaping the benefits. It wasn’t until she stopped making the promise to not drink and instead focused on one day at a time.

 

Laura started closing all her escape hatches after getting a little bit of sobriety time. She feels the most important thing about sobriety is that you cannot do it alone.

 

And these days, there are more and more resources out there where we don’t have to do it alone.

 

Laura McKowen

The Luckiest Club

 

We are the Luckiest

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Mar 20, 2023

Episode 422 – The Pursuit of Happiness

 

Today we have Susannah. She is 42 from Hampshire, England, and took her last drink on 4/29/2022.

 

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[03:09] Highlights from Paul:

 

Paul shares a blog post created by Odette regarding happiness in sobriety. He also shares his thoughts that sobriety does not equal happiness or solve all of our problems, but it does give us the chance to build a life where happiness knocks on the door more frequently. The school of sobriety is going to teach you the most important lessons of life. Love and acceptance. It will keep teaching you these lessons until you have accepted, that’s the lesson to learn.

 

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[10:40] Kris introduces Susannah:

 

Susannah is about to celebrate 10 months of sobriety. She lives in the south of England; she is married, and they have three boys and two dogs. She works in luxury concierge. In her free time, she enjoys walking and is looking forward to expanding her garden this year.

 

Susannah grew up as the youngest of 3 kids. Her parents drank socially but she was never exposed to any kind of alcohol abuse. When she was young, she was sent to boarding school. She was exposed to alcohol when she was around 13 but had no interest in it, in fact she was very against drinking at that time. It wasn’t until she was 16 that she started socially drinking at pubs with friends, but it wasn’t an issue she feels.

 

Her mother died suddenly when Susannah was 22.  Her and her mother were very close, so she was feeling quite isolated and alone after this loss. A few years later Susannah was in Thailand when the tsunami hit. These events had her questioning “why me?” and she thinks that they contributed to some of her attention seeking behavior and participation in toxic relationships. She doesn’t feel that she was using drinking to cope at this point in time but was not dealing with the traumas very well.

 

When she was in her early thirties, she got pregnant. She found pregnancy to be very difficult for her but didn’t have trouble quitting drinking during these times. She had several medical issues happen which caused her first child to be born early which was scary for her.

 

After her second child her drinking started to increase. The drinking events coming more and more frequently whether they were over bad things or celebratory things.

 

Susannah says she was able to stop drinking for periods of time but never with the goal of quitting completely. She tried to seek help but was told she should try medication or taking vitamins. Since she functioned well on the outside no one believed she had a problem. She kept trying to moderate, but it never worked.

 

After a terrible hangover that had her sick at an event in her village the next day she decided to go to AA. She met the woman who is now her sponsor at that first meeting and with a hug from her, she finally felt the relief that she was in the right place.

 

After about four or five months of sobriety, she feels things has shifted. She has learned so much about herself and has start dealing with all of her traumas. She is better as a wife and mother and feels she performs better at work.

 

[01:02:31] Kris’ Outro:

 

The beauty of recovery are the chances that keep showing up to put the healing we have done to good work.  What’s happened in your life that you wouldn’t have expected if you were still drinking?

 

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The only way out is through

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