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Recovery Elevator

It isn't a no to alcohol, but a yes to a better life! On the Recovery Elevator podcast, you'll learn from guests that life after alcohol is much better and it's an opportunity of a lifetime. Paul, Season 1 and Odette, Season 2, cover topics such as, does moderate drinking work, does addiction serve a purpose, what happens to the brain when we quit drinking, should you track sobriety time, is AA right for you, what the hell is spirituality, what this journey looks like, how science and spirituality are merging and what that means for addiction treatment, we talk about emotions and how to deal with them without alcohol, cravings, we talk about relapse aka "field research," how to build that in-person community and burning the ships! Similar to other recovery podcasts like This Naked Mind, the Shair Podcast, and the Recovered Podcast, Paul and Odette discuss a topic and then interviews someone who is embarking upon a life without alcohol.
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Now displaying: Page 7
Nov 12, 2018

Corey, with 5 days since his last drink, shares his story…

The mentioned article from the Irish Times

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:48] Paul Introduces Corey.

Corey has been sober for 5 days.  He’s from Minnesota, now lives in Boston.  He’s 25 years old and is working full time.  He likes to exercise.  He loves music, plays guitar and piano.  He has an upcoming trip to Columbia, is learning Spanish.  He feels confused with life now that he has left the structure of school.  

[13:31] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He started to drink a lot more during years in college.  He started to experiment with weed in high school.  He began to drink or party when he should have been studying.  He didn’t realize there was something wrong at the time.  He used his computer to avoid academic responsibilities.  He was okay with it as long as he continued to deliver on his academic duties.  He felt like he coasted through college and also began to coast through his first jobs.  He found himself in the same behavioral patterns.  He didn’t know where he was or what he was doing.  He lost a romantic partner because of his partying.  He drowned his feelings with drinking.  The feelings came back up after a few months.  He was caught in a weekly cycle of drinking and depression.  He used a notebook to think out loud and he wrote down that he wanted to quit drinking and smoking to be comfortable with who he was.  He devised a plan.  Last year he tried to knock out one of the three (weed, tobacco and alcohol).  He was so focused on change that he was able to quit tobacco.  Before a family trip he felt suddenly depressed.  He began to drink alcohol to try and cope with his feelings. 

[22:10] How were you able to quit all 3?

He set a new year’s resolution to quit alcohol.  He ended up getting a therapist and it has helped a lot.  He went down to New Orleans and it broke his sobriety streak.  He felt guilty.  He let himself down.  He is now searching for a way to enjoy friendships without booze being involved.  Over the summer, he loosened his grip on quitting a little bit he hasn’t been able to shake it.  He went to a Halloween party and was drinking, and didn’t feel good.  He just decided to leave.  At home he was depressed and began googling ways to end his life.  He feels that is his rock bottom. 

 

[29:51] How will you manage your drinking on your upcoming trip to Maine?

He doesn’t have a real concrete plan.  He knows there will be temptation.  He’s not sure what to do about it.  He will try to text them and tell them that he won’t be drinking. 

 

[32:48] What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?

He bought some books.  He wants to read those.  He’s listening to podcasts.  He wants to continue to learn and journal and continue to move forward.  He’s concerned about his upcoming trips, but he’ll do his best and try not to judge himself. 

 

[37:46] How have you been getting past cravings?

Having some sort of healthy beverage on hand. He drinks tons of water. 

 

[39:03] What is on your bucket list in sobriety?

He wants to record a full album and get better at guitar.  He wants to make the most out of his international trips coming up.  He wants to quit also because he wants a family. 

 

 

[40:34] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The incident where he drank and almost indulged in suicide. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When the denial ended and he got depressed.  He drank to go to sleep.  He realized he was damaging his health. 

 

  1. What’s your plan moving forward?
  2. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator podcast.  He loves the format.  He likes to hear about other people’s stories. 
  3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    To take it one day at a time.  If he does today and then he does tomorrow, he doesn’t have to worry about the future. 
  4. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just to get out of the trap of associating college with partying.  It’s going to catch up to you. 
  5. You might be an alcoholic if

    “...you always pick up a 30 rack of beer multiple times in a week when you go grocery shopping.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Support for this episode is brought to you by RiaHealth.com. Visit Riahealth.com/elevator and enter the coupon ELEVATOR for $25 off your first month.

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Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Nov 5, 2018

Kellie, with 2 months year since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:00] Paul Introduces Kellie.

Kellie has been sober for 28 days.  She’s 43 years old, married with two children.  She’s a real estate broker that enjoys puzzles, reading, cooking, running and hiking, and her animals.    She tried alcohol for the first time around 10 years old.  She dabbled in different drugs in her teens.  She drank through her 20’s.  She had her son at 26.  She cleaned up her act and became a stay at home mother.  In her late 30’s she had weight loss surgery.  She was in the hospital and something happened to her brother.  She bought a bottle of wine.  Her drinking gradually escalated after that.   

 

[16:48] Would you say you had an issue with food prior to the surgery?

Absolutely. She ate mostly healthy food but she would eat large quantities.  Her drinking began to affect her son.  She tried to moderate her drinking but it didn’t last very long.  She finally went to an outpatient treatment for 3 and a half weeks.  She was one of the only people there voluntarily and she didn’t like most of the people there.  She was focusing on the negative.  They would focus on the alcoholism in her family. 

 

[22:30] Tell us about the transfer addiction. 

They are checking to see if you will switch to a different addiction rather than food.  She feels that she has an addictive personality.  She would run even if she was experiencing pain or other issues. 

 

[28:00] Tell us more about the outpatient program. 

 

Her drinking got progressively worse.  She realized that she had to get it under control for her son and family.  She was afraid of what her alcoholism would be like once she had an empty home. She experienced aversion therapy.  She was slightly sedated, and they interview you.  Because of the drugs she had to answer honestly.  She did the electro shock therapy as well.  They condition you to experience negative feelings from interacting with alcohol.  It successfully eliminated the cravings. She was skeptical but now she thinks about it as a miracle.  

[33:22] It sounds like they are trying to punish or shame the alcohol out of people. Is that right?

Even though the treatments were extreme, it was a positive environment over all.  People were there because they wanted to be.  The nurses and doctors were there to help you get and stay sober.  They don’t focus on you being an alcoholic.  They focus on you being sober. 

 

[35:08] What’s the “why” behind your addictive behavior?

She knew why she was drinking.  Substance abuse runs in her family.  She and her siblings were abused mentally and verbally.  The food became a coping mechanism.  When it stopped working, the booze became a problem.  She always knew why she drank.  She attends meetings to take care of herself.  The depression and anxiety is her why.  Now she’s focusing on the why.  The aversion therapy makes you not want to drink, but it’s still the same in that it only takes 1 drink to get back to where she was. 

 

[40:09] What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

Just to do the next right thing.  Take care of herself.  She’s focusing on what she needs in the moment.  Getting up in the morning and doing the things that she knows will keep her sober.  She is trying to be more aware.  She sees her self-talk and is trying to keep it in check.  She combats the negative thoughts with positive affirmations. 

 

[42:38] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

She wants to run another marathon.  She wants to be sober for her son.  She is trying not to think too far ahead. 

 

[43:16] What have you learned about yourself in sobriety?

It is possible for her to be sober.  She was always worried that she would be an addict for life because she had seen it manifest in different family members.  She now focuses on the important things in her life.  She realizes that alcohol isn’t the most important thing in her life. 

 

 

[44:04] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Blacking out.  Her husband left to go get take-out.  While he was out she passed out and her son found her on the floor. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Making her a co-conspirator in her drinking.  The two of them had to work together to hide her drinking from her son. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The people in the recovery community.  She met many kinds of addicts in recovery and she relies on them to help her stay sober. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Tell other people about recovery.  You have to do it in your way and do what works for you.  AA wasn’t for her and she’s glad she tried Shick Shadel. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Do the next right thing.  Just think about right now. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “... if you go on vacation with your kid and you spend the entire time drinking instead of spending time with your child.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Robinhood is giving my listeners free stock such as Apple, Ford or Sprint to help build your portfolio. Signup at elevator.robinhood.com

Right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free. Visit Ziprecruiter.com/elevator

Shick Shadel Hospital
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Oct 29, 2018

Nel, with over 1 year since her last drink, shares her story…

Drinking is more than the average habit.  To reduce our problems with alcohol to a “bad habit” is missing the bigger picture.  We drink for a variety of reasons.. for example: to cope, to ignore, to numb, to hide. 

Digging ourselves out of alcohol dependency actually requires the changing or removal of several habits.  We need to change the way we relax.  We need to change the way we deal with difficult emotions.  We need to become more conscious, aware, and in the moment.  We have to slowly remember the version of us that didn’t need anything to be okay.  We have to change everything. 

When one finds themselves in the grips of alcohol, it probably takes more time, effort, and patience to return to our emotional center than it did to lose it.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and there are many lessons to be learned along the way, but with patience, persistence, self-love and an open mind, we can find ourselves looking back on our time with alcohol as a distant and remote dream.  

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:40] Paul Introduces Nel.


Nel is 52 years old, from Shannon, Mississippi.  She now lives in New York.  She’s married.  She’s a personal trainer that loves sports, particularly fantasy football.  Dolphins are her favorite sea animal. 

 

[15:05] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

She started around 16.  Her parents died when she was young.  She had a chaotic upbringing.  She could never relax.  She started drinking after her parents died.  It helped her relax and she loved it.  She drank mostly on the weekends with the intention to get drunk.  She went on to college and started drinking a lot more.  She met her first husband her senior year of college.  He helped her finish school.  She was already beginning to drink a lot.  She always knew that she drank more than other people.  All of her friends drank.  She has alcoholism in her family.  She partied a lot in her 20s.  She worked and took care of herself.  Drinking remained a lower priority.  She divorced her first husband in her early 30s.  She moved back to Mississippi to be with her sister and help with her family.  She felt happier generally, but was always managing her alcohol.  She met her second husband at 35.  She moved to New York.  Her new husband was a normal drinker, and it made her realize how much she drank.  It caught up to her, and began to experience physical symptoms and tried to switch to marijuana.  She smoked pot “like she always wanted to drink”.  She knew in her heart that she was making bad choices.  She continued to function despite how she felt.  She would blackout multiple times.  She would experience “brownouts” after a few drinks. 

 

[22:47] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

She realized that she couldn’t trust herself anymore.  She would get stoned and pick up her nephew from school and she realized she was going down the wrong path.

 

[25:28] Talk more about what it meant to lose trust in yourself. 

She was frightened.  Her biggest pillar of safety in life was her ability to self-regulate, and once she began to lose that she became extremely worried.  She was negotiating with herself, and never winning.  After the first line was crossed, the progression sped up because the anxiety kicked into overdrive. 

 

[27:35] Did the drinking help you with the fact that you were flying solo in life?

She was trying to quiet the voices in her head and the anxiety and fear.  She used it as a coping mechanism, as medicine. 

 

[29:10] How did you end up making the change and finding your way out? 

She wants to live a life that her family members can look up to, as an example.  She realized she was off course.  She didn’t want to go out like her parents.  The next step was to put smoking and drinking down.  Ever since then, she believes that God has been helping her.  She began to do research about alcoholism and realized she had a problem, and that she wasn’t alone. 

She is on the podcast because she wants to shed the shame.  She didn’t know many in recovery before.  She wants to reach out and let people know that there is a way out, and that they can do it. 

 

[34:08] How did you keep the change going?

She knew one other person in recovery.  Within 48 hours of her thinking about reaching out to her, she was out of her house and she coincidentally ran into her on the boardwalk.  She told her everything and she stayed with her for the next few weeks.  She went to an AA meeting and it was the best decision she ever made.  It gave her instructions, guidance. 

 

[37:27] Can you think of a time when self-negotiating didn’t work out?

She would go to a wedding, and tell herself she would only have two drinks.  By the end of the night she lost her shoes and couldn’t remember anything.  Towards the last few years she began to consistently lose the negotiations. 

 

[38:53] What’s your plan moving forward in sobriety?

Keep it simple, do what’s working.  She goes to meetings every day.  She knows the rest of her life depends on whether or not she goes to those meetings.  She feels more freedom now than ever before.  She’s accepted that she can’t think her way out of everything.  She meditates daily now, and she can easily meditate now for 15-20 minutes.  She’s off her medication, her health has improved.  She’s realizing that everything revolves around your thoughts.  You have to practice and put in the work, but the benefits spill over into everything else in your life.  She also focuses on exercise.  Staying physically active and trying to take care of herself. 

[42:44] Talk to us about the “why” in your drinking. 

A genetic component, but also her environment.  She was raised in an abusive household and was always anxious.  She had low self esteem.  She had voices in her head constantly criticise her.  She didn’t know how to handle life without an escape plan, and she felt like alcohol was something she needed.  She didn’t always have to have it, but she had to have access to it.  She didn’t realize that she wasn’t her thoughts.  She read “The Untethered Soul” and that plus her meditation practice has changed her relationship to her inner thoughts.  She’s excited to see her new potential.  When someone recommends a resource, give it a go! 

 

[47:45 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    She went to a party and proceeded to get smashed at a party.  She argued with her husband she isn’t aware about how she got back to her home.  The next day her sister just left back to Mississippi. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When she picked up her nephew at school totally stoned. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Her AA group.  The support and the knowledge that she gets from them.  She also loves Recovery Elevator. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Keep it simple.  Just one day at a time, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Don’t try to think your way out. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    What do you have to lose?  If you feel bad at yourself, what do you have to lose by trying to get sober?  You can always go back to your old way of life.  You have to be all in if you give it a try. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “...you’re at a baseball game, and you are more worried about the 7th inning when they’ll cut off the beer sales off.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Untethered Soul - A book by Michael Singer

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Oct 22, 2018

Stephan, with 10 months since his last drink, shares his story…

Harm Reduction - The feeling of constantly downgrading addictions.  Most of us address one addiction at a time, and usually tackle what we perceive to be the most harmful addiction first.  Things improve with each hurdle.  The lessons we learn from each stage strengthen our ability to move on to the next stage. 

Often at the root of many of our addictive behaviors is essentially an addiction to thinking.  The majority of our thinking is unnecessary and just causes mental noise.  The thinking brain can take us to the worst case scenario in a matter of moments which can cause the body to respond with fight or flight.  If adrenaline becomes the main fuel that we use to get through our days, over time we will find ourselves with sickness and disease. 

The key is to find a way to shut off the monkey mind without resorting to extreme activities like skydiving, etc.  Practices that cultivate inner harmony like meditation, yoga, playing a musical instrument and a myriad of other endeavors that cultivate mindfulness can slowly calm the mind and switch off the incessant chatter. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:15] Paul Introduces Stephan.

 

Stephan is 33 years old and lives in Denver, Colorado.  He’s married with a daughter.  He owns a music school and is a freelance musician.  He also plays golf. 

 

[12:40] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He started after high school.  He started to drink when he began working as a musician.  He liked drinking at first.  He tried to quit a few times along the way and began to suspect that he was an alcoholic pretty early.  “Alcohol is the glue that binds phony friendships”.  He would exercise and reward himself with alcohol.  He used to live behind a bar and there was a crew of people that would go to the bar regularly.  For a few weeks he only drank on Sunday.  He began to feel a rift between the man he knew he was and his behavior.  It was exhausting.  His wife became pregnant and he used that as an excuse to drink every day.  His wife would say “Do you remember what you said to me last night?”  She knew he wouldn’t remember.  He felt shameful that he couldn’t remember.  There was a difference between what he knew he could be and what he was doing. 

 

[20:58] How did you ultimately end up quitting?

He had several failed attempts.  He stayed up at a wedding drinking by the fire.  He woke up and he had bitten off some of his dental work.  He felt like he was self-sabotaging.  He had some oral surgery to get his wisdom teeth removed, and his first question was about alcohol.  It all began to slowly add up.  Then he found the Recovery Elevator podcast.  He became mentally exhausted. 

 

[23:58] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

It all began to slowly add up.  He became mentally exhausted.  He knew he needed to be there for his new daughter.  He couldn’t imagine being still drunk or hungover as a parent.  There were complications with the pregnancy and he decided he was going to quit so he could be present while at the hospital. 

 

[25:00] How did the birth of your daughter affect your attempts at sobriety?

No magic recipe.  There was a decade of noise in his head already.  He began to lean in to the new role.  The birth of his daughter changed him, as well.  He feels like he has a huge gift that he has a daughter and that he has his wife.  He also visualized his daughter and his business as his purpose in life and his responsibility.  He is proud that he’s been sober everyday of his daughter’s life. 

 

[27:26] Have you experienced any cravings? How did you navigate them?

He had a family trip planned to New Zealand. He didn’t drink and he felt like a small kid with parental restrictions.  Then on another vacation, everyone else was drinking but he stayed sober.  The big challenges were easier, but the small situations were where he almost caved.  He doesn’t keep alcohol in the house.  His wife is really supportive.  He also eats a lot of ice cream. 

 

[31:25] Is there anything you would have done differently?

The next step is to reintroduce some fitness.  In the past, exercise was motivated by rewarding himself with drinking.  Now he wants to try it with a different intention with more longevity. 

 

[32:44] Tell us about the vision board. 

He was in a business development group.  They had an exercise where they passed around a tin of dominos.  The domino represents the one thing you need to change in your life/business.  The one domino that will knock over all the other dominos.  He put it on his vision board.  He realized that his domino was sobriety.  Since then he’s accomplished so much.  He believes in himself again.  Part of the static in his head was not believing that he could follow through on the commitments that he makes to himself.  When he finally “knocked over the domino”, he began to see other things fall into place. 

 

[37:06] Walk us through a day in your recovery.

Take it a day at a time.  Today is all that matters.  Don’t overthink it.  Stay in the moment.  He is looking into attending AA.  He will reach out to people.  He’s been making some sober connections.  He wants to give his songs to other artists. 

 

 

[39:23] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    He was at his best friend’s wedding.  He tried many new kinds of alcohol.  They were driven to stay at a houseparty.  He outdrank everyone.  He slept out in the grass.  He woke up with people taking pictures of him asking if he knew where he was.  He wandered into the neighbor’s house and used their toilet.  He fell asleep on a stranger’s couch.  She woke up and came down and found him there.  He was mortified. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Realizing that there is no controlling the beast, it needs to be slayed. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    His wife, and the Recovery Elevator podcast. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Faith, belief, and action.  Have faith that you will have the circumstances and the tools you will need.  Believe that you will be able to do it, and take the action that needs to be taken.  A recipe for success. 

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just do it!  The other side is much better. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “If you rotate the liquor stores you stop in on the way home so none of them realize you have a problem.” 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Support for today's episode is brought to you by Care/of. For 25% off your first month of personalized Care/of vitamins, visit TakeCareof.com and enter the promo code ELEVATOR.

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

 

 

 

Oct 15, 2018

Kelly, with 8 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“Addiction gets harder and harder and ends in death. Sobriety is hard work too. But it gets easier and easier and ends in life.” - Andy Ziegler

In this passage to sobriety, expectations do not always line up with reality.  In reality, it takes years for an addiction to take hold.  The healing process takes equally as long.  The negative thinking and behavioral patterns didn’t set in overnight, and won’t be lifted overnight.  It’s like turning a battleship.  We let go and reprogram gradually, a little bit each day, and that happens by making daily decisions that lead us down the road of self-love and health. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[07:03] Paul Introduces Kelly.

 

In Fort Myers, Florida, 32 years old, sober for 8 days.  Happily divorced.  She is a mother, has a 4-year-old daughter.  She is learning who she is as a sober woman and mother. 

 

[9:06] What lead to your decision to do the interview?

She wanted to keep trying different things until she found something that worked.  She wanted to step out of her comfort zone, not feel ashamed, and not keep it from people.  She wanted to share her story.  She wanted to face her fear of vulnerability.  She’s nervous, but ok. 

 

[11:32] Give us some background about your drinking. 

Her issues with addiction started quite some time ago.  She started as a smoker at 15.  Her first drink at 21.  She dabbled in some other drugs.  She was in a toxic relationship and she started to drink more to cope.  She went on antidepressants.  They got married and they started to do other drugs as well.  They started doing heroin daily.  She stopped two years ago.  She got divorced and moved out.  She moved into her own place.  She started to feel lonely and began to drink more.  She switched to liquor.  She drank a lot during hurricane Irma.  She would tuck her daughter in and wouldn’t remember.  She gained about 35 pounds.  She almost got evicted from her apartment because she used some of the money for alcohol.  She found herself hiding in her bathroom doing shots one night.  She was ashamed of her behavior.  She realized that she and her daughter deserved better and she got clean for almost a month.  On the 23rd day, she thought she would reward her sobriety with a drink then found herself back in the grips of alcohol. 

 

[21:50] Did you attempt to moderate?

She did.  She tried to limit her drinking to Friday happy hours.  When she tried to stop and moderate, she realized that it was difficult.  She realized she was craving alcohol. 

 

[23:38] Have you explored the deeper causes of your drinking?

She had a crutch in life.  Some sort of substance has helped her get through the difficult parts of her life.  She thinks her life hasn’t even been that terrible.  She’s been relying on substances.  Her deeper issues are struggling to be a single mom, dealing with stress.  She is trying to get to the root now and to find healthy ways to deal with life.  Deep breathing helps.  She listens to audiobooks and podcasts.  Previous attempts at sobriety felt like giving something up and this time feels different.  She isn’t going to “white knuckle” it.  She realized that she doesn’t need it. 

 

[28:17] How have you gotten through the tough times without alcohol?

She talks about it.  She reaches out before she reaches for the bottle.  She just has to tell someone how she’s feeling.  She’s used a 20 minute timer.  Just take a minute, be present, breathe, set a timer, listen to 5 minutes of something else.  Just stop the impulse.  Easier said than done, but trying to turn off the quick impulsive thinking that has led to trouble in the past. 

 

[30:24] Walk us through a day in your recovery. 

She wakes up early.  She is trying to not put too many expectations on too early.  She’d like to start meditating or doing tai chi in the living room.  She listens to a podcast on the way to work.  She does about 10 minutes of reflective meditation and keeping a journal.  She goes to weekly meetings on Wednesdays.  She will exercise on her lunch breaks. 

 

[33:03] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

She wants to get to 30 days.  She feels like one month is a good marker.  She wants to lose some weight, and be there more for her daughter.  She would like to be able to attend happy hour and be okay with not drinking.  She looks forward to waking up and getting through the day before with no crutch. 

 

[35:49] What would you consider your rock bottom moment?

She’s never been arrested, and she hid it well.  The night where she hid in the bathtub and drank shot after shot.  She felt taken over.   

[36:30] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What’s the best advice you have ever received regarding sobriety?

    One day at a time.  Just worry about the now. 
     
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    The night when she could not remember putting her daughter to bed and she woke up on the couch. 
  3. What are your thoughts on relapse?

    Forgive yourself.  It’s a normal part of recovery. 
     
  4. What’s your proudest moment in sobriety?

    Making it a full week without drinking. 
  5. What’s your favorite resource in sobriety?

    Cafe RE!
     
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Today is the best day not to drink.  Don’t wait, don’t put it off, just begin.  It’s a journey.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    You’re pounding shots alone in the bathroom before company comes over because you’re scared of them seeing you drink.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

This Naked Mind - A book by Annie Grace

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Oct 8, 2018

Jamie, with 93 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“No amount of alcohol is safe for your overall health.”

“Alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide in 2016, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths, according to the study…”

A recent article released by CNN presents scientific studies that show the negative effects of alcohol consumption on one’s overall health.. delivering an opinion contrary to the largely pro-alcohol messages one typically finds in mainstream media.    

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:15] Paul Introduces Jamie.

Jamie is 39, from Alberta, Canada, and has been sober for 93 days.  She works in the school system and teaches fitness.  She is single, with two boys and dogs and cats. 

 

[10:51] Give is a bit of background on your drinking.

She started drinking when she was 12 years old.  She wanted to fit in with the bad kids.  Once she became old enough she drank much more.  She got married and had a child.  She lost her husband in a car accident, and her drinking increased.  During her idle time she would drink heavily.  She met someone who drank like she did.  Her social circles also drank heavily.  When she had large stretches of idle time she would drink a lot.  One particular summer was extra heavy. 

 

[16:55] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

Her social circle was large, so there was always someone to drink with if she needed a new drinking buddy.  She kept saying yes to drinks with people.  She would get wasted 3, 4, 5 days in a row.  She began to track her drinking on her calendar.  She realized she was only drinking and recovering.  She tried to join a fitness program but only lasted two weeks.  She got another two weeks free and she drank the whole time.  She tried dry January but only lasted 23 days.  She began to moderate by saying no beer.  She booked a vacation, and got blackout drunk the first night.  She drank the entire trip and cried the whole way home.  She tried the fitness program again.  She tried dry January, in which she tried to quit smoking, drinking, and begin a healthy diet at the same time.  She began bullet journaling.  She went to see Tony Robbins.  She created a program to keep herself in check, then she would binge on the weekends.  She had a horrific morning after a night of binge drinking.  She met a sober mom, and immediately didn’t want to hang out with her.  She called her and she recommended a counselor.  She went to see an addiction counselor.  She didn’t want to stop drinking.  He mentioned the word “alcoholic” and she denied it.  She went to her first meeting and she had a breakthrough. 

 

[33:25] How did you quit?

She went to her first meeting, and it was full of influential AA people.  Lots of milestones, and she figured out she belonged there.  She experienced a myriad of emotions.  She knew that her life was going to change forever. 

 

[34:58] What happened after that meeting?

She was embarrassed about going to the meeting.  She realized her girlfriend was an addiction counselor.  She found the strength to go.  She discovered she was battling a brain disorder and that it wasn’t her fault.  She still battled the stigma of being labeled an alcoholic. 

 

[39:27] Did you have cravings? 

She was ready.  She finally wanted to be good to herself.  She was done hurting other people, and herself.  She wanted to be there for her children, but she wasn’t really there for herself.  She knew that if she didn’t deal with it, she would have been dead within 5 years. 

 

[42:28] What’s working for you?  How are you staying sober?

She listens to the podcast.  She is now choosing to user her free time to work on herself.  She’s established her community.  She has a big list of phone numbers for support.  She’s told all of her friends.  She can call her sponsor about anything.  She leans on her sponsor quite a bit.  She didn’t give herself a choice.  She “gave it all away”.  It’s been working wonders. 

 

[45:45] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The anxiety the morning after, or waking up in the middle of the night in a panic.  Not being comfortable in her own skin.  Setting herself back. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When her friends asked her to go out and she needed to drink a case of beer.  She lied to her friends. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To be kind to herself.  To remember how far she’s come.  To stay connected.  To develop her relationship with her higher power.  To work her program wholly. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    That it isn’t a moral defect.  It’s not her fault.  To get out of her head.  To eat the ice cream, it’s ok. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Sobriety is awesome.  You’re not missing out on anything.  You’re gaining!  The sponsor, the accountability, the community has been number 1. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “…if you bring six pack when you walk your dog.  Every time he pees, you have a drink.” 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Support for today's episode is brought to you by RXBAR. Visit Rxbar.com/elevator/ and enter the promo code elevator at checkout for 25% off your first order.

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Oct 1, 2018

Sarah, with 162 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“When this happens, then I’ll be okay.” 

You may already be living the live you have been dreaming about.  Try not to fall into trap of “when this happens, I’ll be okay.” 

“When I get another month of sobriety”, or “when I move to another town”, or “when I get the right X” are all common examples of not living in the present moment.  Stop for a moment, take stock in the good things you have around you and try your best to find the magic and happiness you seek in the moment you’re in, right now. 

Once you bounce back from the effects of alcohol, you might just notice that you already have enough.

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[7:50] Paul Introduces Sarah.

Sarah has been sober for 162 days.  Sarah is from England.  She is divorced, with two kids.  She is still figuring out what she does for fun.  She loves camping, nature, the outdoors.  She has a sober boyfriend.  She recently quit her job in retail management and is now running her own little cleaning business. 

 

[11:15] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

She didn’t realize she had a problem until recently.  She grew up in a drinking family.  She feels that people who don’t drink are a bit of an outcast.  Her drinking got out of control as an expat.  She lived in a dry state in India, and drinking became something she could obsess over even more.  She had her two children and quit for those pregnancies.  Straight after they were born she returned to the wine.  It escalated slowly and she was blind to how dangerous it had become.  She was having 5 glasses of wine most evenings.  She bought into the “mommy needs wine” culture.  She looked at it as a daily reward.  There were several red flags over the past few years. 

 

[15:50] What were the red flags that popped up?

She was suffering from bad anxiety.  At the time she didn’t realize it was from her drinking.  None of her doctors would diagnose her with anxiety, despite her asking them to.  One doctor probed into her drinking and figured out it that her drinking was the root of her anxiety.  The idea of stopping drinking was crazy to her at the time.  She received a solution to her problem but it wasn’t the solution she wanted at the time.  

 

[18:05] Had the idea of stopping drinking ever cross your mind? 

No, but it planted a seed in her brain that started to grow.  It took her two years to get the point of stopping.  Before that she was having a whole bottle of wine every single night.  She knew there was a problem but deep down she didn’t know what she could do about it. 

 

[20:42] Was there a specific time where you knew what to do but couldn’t do it?

Many times.  She felt like she was stuck down a hole and someone had removed the ladder.  She had these feelings daily.  She was feeling physical symptoms of drinking in excess.  She knew it was inevitable that she had to stop. 

 

[22:45] How did you break the cycle?

She just decided to quit drinking.  She had been listening to recovery podcasts for a few weeks and she just knew she had to do it.  She knew the path was only going to lead to everything she cared about getting hurt.  She became very stubborn.  She hadn’t told anyone about it and it felt empowering.  It keeps getting better and better as time goes on. 

 

[24:17] What were you thinking when you had that moment of clarity?

She had more of a feeling.  She had a lot of self-loathing and low self-esteem.  She realized that she was worth it.  She began to talk back to the internal dialogue trying to keep her in the same place.  She’s been enjoying the community in Café RE. 

 

[26:21] Did you experience any cravings?

Yes.  It was a roller coaster at first.  She threw herself into the internet group and began talking to people.  She began to learn and research.  She began to invest in her own self growth.  It felt good and she started to get excited for the next chapter of her life.  She found the idea of rewiring her brain and making it more able to resist alcohol quite attractive.  She began to focus on self-care.  She went to bed earlier.  She bought some nice deserts.  She watched movies with the kids.  She was gentle with herself.  It does get easier. 

 

[29:30] Tell us about Sarah 2.0.

She wants to work in recovery.  She wants to live the life and help other people to live it as well.  She is in the early stages so she’s being careful.  She thinks she has found a new purpose. 

[31:30] What does it mean to you to get out of your own head?

Calming down her mind and understanding that she is not her thoughts.  She just steps back for a minute and observes.  She’s making better decisions.  Life makes more sense.  She has a clearer understanding of what is important.  She can’t wait to learn more.  You have everything you need.  If you stop and just be in the moment everything else just falls away.  She stops her brain from spinning out to negative thoughts and stories.  She has learned to recognize the addictive voice. 

[36:00] Do you feel like an outcast now that you don’t drink?

She hasn’t told everyone yet.  She just has lime and soda or non-alcoholic beer and no one has asked her about it.  No one cares.  She people that care are close to you and they know you have a problem anyway and they’re going to be relieved that you stopped drinking. 

[37:40] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    A fancy ball she attended with her boyfriend.  She blacked out and went missing.  They found her curled up in a ball in the corner and she has no recollection. 

 

  1. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When her boss told her she could smell wine on her at 9am.. the second time.
  2. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Keep doing what I’m doing.  Gratitude.  To remind herself that her life is great. 
  3. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    One day at a time.  It’s easy to overthink. 
  5. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Make it your priority.  Do whatever it takes to get sober.  Decide, stick to it, and be stubborn.  Make it the core of who you are.  Take care of yourself.  Have some cake. 

  6. You might be an alcoholic if..

    “…You examine and study everyone else’s drinking habits to get a better perspective on your own… and that includes looking in the fridges and their cupboards to see how much wine they’ve got.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Support for this episode is brought to you by Zip Recruiter. Right now, my listeners can try Zip Recruiter for free.

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Sep 24, 2018

Tamara, with 88 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“There is only one line we can cross that we can’t come back from”

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255

SHOW NOTES

 

[4:20] Paul Introduces Tamara, and she recaps her experience with relapse and suicidal thoughts.

Tamara had a relapse after 48 days of sobriety.  She just moved to a new apartment.  She started the day running errands, then had a conversation with her sponsor.  She was alone, felt lonely and bought vodka.  She started to drink by herself.  She felt guilty because she is aware of the support structures that are in place, but she still witnessed herself resorting to alcohol to try to soothe her emotional pain.  She thought she had exhausted all of her options.  She began to have suicidal thoughts.  She recorded a goodbye message to her family.  She cut her wrist and sent the message.  Her parents received it and tracked her down.  They got in tough with her roommate.  Her roommate and her mother stopped her bleeding.  She went to the ER, and a mental hospital.  She realized she didn’t want to die, and that she had to change something.  She found a treatment center.  She stayed there for 4 weeks.  Reliving it, she is reminded that she isn’t broken.  She realizes how powerful alcohol is and it will take you if you let it.  She didn’t know what she was living for.  In the treatment center, she worked through her life experience.  She didn’t consider herself a trauma victim, but then realized that she had just been ignoring some things from her past.  Her pride crumbled.  She was able to see just how loved she was.  She was able to see the role of God in her life.  She finally saw her love and worth.  She felt like she came out of hiding.  She doesn’t have to hide parts of herself that she struggles with.  There are people in her life that accept her exactly as she is.  She had to rebuild her self-image and identity.  She wants to come out of her shell and live her life out in the open.  She didn’t know who she was anymore.  The emotional rawness from her experience enabled her to open.  She realized that she is not the orchestrator of everything in her life and that there are parts of her life that she can not control.  She began to focus on the present moment and not worry beyond that. 

 

[29:45] Talk to us about the letter you received from your employer right before you left. 

She had been feeling a bit out of place at her job.  She took on and internalized expectations and pressure.  She was open to changing everything else but she wanted to try and apply herself at her job.  She received a package from her employer, and it turned out to be a letter of termination.  She felt hurt.  She cried but realized that she had to rebuild completely from scratch and feels like it was a gift from god.   

 

[36:30] Tell us about what you found that can never be taken away.

She realized that no matter what is happening around her, it doesn’t have to wreck her world internally.  She’s still standing, and losing her job is now empowering.  She has an opportunity to rebuild her life in a way that is more authentic and meaningful to her.  She wants to do the next right thing.  She built her life around things that are true to her.  She realized that she’s had it the entire time.  She realized that she’s been loved the entire time.  She feels God’s love now.  She believes that we all have a purpose.  She saw something in the people around her and she felt like she didn’t have it, or couldn’t grab it.  After treatment, she feels more in touch with it. 

 

[39:19] Am I right in saying that you had a full spiritual awakening?

Yes.  Giving herself and life over to God has been the most liberating experience.  She has faith that after the first step, the next step will present itself. 

 

[40:53] Does one have to be religious to be spiritual?

Not at all.  It’s all about one’s own personal relationship with God.  Previously she felt that God’s love was punitive and based on how good or bad she had been. She was trying to achieve her way into earning love.  Religion is an outward expression of the internal spiritual relationship.  Religion is a practice.  She loves encouraging people, cooking for people, and sharing what she’s been through.  What’s changed is her feeling of spirituality. 

 

[44:00] What advice would you have for someone that’s struggling?

It starts with openness.  She thought she was open, but she was frustrated.  Look at the people in your life who have something that you think you want or need.  Be open to hearing what they’re doing and what they’ve been through.  Humble yourself enough to be open to the idea that things are bigger than you.  Be open to exploring those ideas.  We’re all bonded by the desire to be loved.  Tunnel vision leads to the path of pain in addiction.  Open your mind to the fact that you may not see the whole picture.  It’s not your fault if you can’t, but at least be open to the possibility of more.  

 

[46:44] With 88 days in sobriety, what’s next for you?

She has no idea what’s next and that’s ok.  She has some short term plans.  She will continue to embrace her spirituality and be excited about her future. 

 

[47:25] Is there anything else you’d like to add?

She believes that people are the best thing about God’s creation.  If you are struggling, reach out to people.  Some not conversations may not take you to anywhere but listen to people.  Ask the meaningful questions and don’t fear judgement. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Sep 17, 2018

John, with over 1 year since his last drink, shares his story…

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –

though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –

determined to save
the only life you could save.

By Mary Oliver


SHOW NOTES

 

[8:45] Paul Introduces Randy.

 

Paul is a musician from Helena, Montana.  He’s been sober for over 1 year.  He’s 41 years old.   He’s married with two sons.  For fun, he likes to turn his obsessive side toward healthy activities.  He’s exploring moderation.  He stopped drinking after a horrible hangover.  He tried to have a beer after some after about 6 months of sobriety.  He realized that everything kicked back in.  He got sober with willpower but realized that he can’t stay sober with willpower. 

[17:09] At what point did you realize that you had a problem with drinking?

He has alcoholism in his family.  When he started to perform in bands at 19, he refused to drink.  When he moved to Montana, he discovered craft beer and the surrounding culture encouraged him to drink.  In 2011 he quit drinking for 14 months.  He considers himself an extrovert and gets charged up by talking to people.  He realized that his drinking was an extension of his lack of emotional intelligence.  He got tired of playing “hide the bottle”.  He began to go to bed drunk every night.  Hid digestion was a mess. 

 

[25:13] What did you find was at the root of your decision to quit?

His body hurt.  He was sick and tired of sick and tired.  Telling people that he was sober was strange because he had histories with his bandmates.  He changed his internal dialogue to harness his stubbornness, so he could use it to stay sober. 

 

[28:07] Tell us more about the moment where you felt the weight drop off your shoulders.

He felt like he was coming to terms with the loneliness in his own heart.  He began to explore the religious side of his life.  He addressed his conflicted religious beliefs, and once he felt better about it he found the strength to quit drinking.  He thinks addicts share the bond of the unquenchable thirst.  We’re always trying to overdo it. 

 

[33:00] Tell us more about not wanting to drink but wanting to be drunk. 

As soon as the alcohol hits the brain, it kickstarts a physiological craving that can be shut off only by the removal of alcohol from the system.  He realized that a lot of the bad behavior in his life was dictated by his addiction.  He wants to meet the emotional needs of others.  He wants people to know that they’re not alone.  He believes there is freedom in commitment, but it has to be all in.  

 

[39:06] How do you plan on addressing the excess?

He is in the process of addiction whack-a-mole.  He switched to Adderall.  To counter it, he’s now taking cannabis.  He is dealing with the shame of wanting a buzz.  Alcohol works until it doesn’t.  He quit Adderall.  He keeps looking for the next magic pill. 

 

[45:00] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Arguing with his wife in the car.  They weren’t married yet and she asked him about his drinking.  He made his wife cry and felt terrible. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The recovery elevator podcast.  Also, his sober friends.  “Connection is the opposite of addiction.” 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Use the obsessive part of addiction as a superpower.  Apply your obsession to something positive. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Ask for help.  If it needs to be private, that’s ok.  Ask people to help you stay sober.  Don’t be afraid. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “…you play hide the bottle.  If you’re drinking privately, it isn’t normal.  Lots of people do it, but you can be free from that if you choose to be.”  

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Sep 10, 2018

Angie, with 146 days since her last drink, shares her story…

“Alcohol gave me the wings to fly, then took away the sky”


SHOW NOTES

 

[5:30] Paul Introduces Angie.

 

Angie is 36 years old, lives in Atlanta, GA.  She has been sober for 146 days and is the proud owner of 2 dogs.  She loves live music, the theater and the movies.  She enjoys cooking.  She now enjoys her own company. 

[7:06] Give us some background about your drinking habits. 

She never drank in high school or college.  She started when she was in her early 20’s.  Drinking gave her confidence.  After a divorce in 2012, she attempted suicide and her drinking also ramped up.  She was having between 6-10 drinks a night.  She felt like she was barely surviving.  Her move to Atlanta did not cure her drinking, but it helped her to realize she had a problem. 

 

[10:25] Did you ever have a rock bottom moment?

She was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  She never really wanted to stop, but she had a rock bottom moment when she drank before work.  She was blacked out drunk and spoke with two of her bosses.  She realized that she didn’t have it under control.  She would attempt sobriety and then crash into relapse.  She associated alcohol with love.  She wrote a goodbye letter to alcohol. 

 

[16:05] What did it feel like to formally say goodbye to alcohol?

She felt empowered.  She spent a lot of time wishing things in her life would be different.  She realized that she had all the tools she needed within her.  Her life got a lot easier.  She changed her relationship with her internal dialogue. 

 

[18:15] How did you quit?

She wanted to change but wasn’t really searching for community.  She struggled with sobriety on her own.  She relapsed and thought it was the end of the world.  She finally realized that she can’t do it alone she began to connect with people.  She went to AA.  She went to Smart Recovery.  She organized a sober meetup.  Letting people in to help her has been her 146 days. 

 

[21:16] Talk to us about why you were unable to attend the Dallas meetup.

She relapsed right before and felt like she couldn’t go.  She felt like she wasn’t worth it.  She kept drinking for two more months. 

 

[23:02] Talk to us about your relationship to self-loathing. 

She has often struggled with self-loathing.  She has always felt like she wasn’t good enough.  She experienced a lot of self-hatred after relapse.  She realized she wasn’t going to change or grow.  She realized drinking was a symptom.  She drank because she hated herself.  She realized that she had to love herself in that moment.  She had a new story to write which looked nothing like her past.  She has started to meditate.  She decided she needed to go to therapy and talk it out with people.  She wanted the outside voices. 

 

[27:31] Walk us through a day in your recovery.  What tools are you using?

She meditates first thing in the morning.  She focuses on taking care of her dogs.  She journals and tries to take it one day at a time.  She breaks it down further to one thing at a time.  Her life feels a lot slower and more peaceful. 

 

[30:10] What’s your proudest moment in sobriety?

She went to see a musical recently and didn’t drink.  She turned down a drink after a friend pressured her.  She went to the bathroom, struggled, cried, but ended up texting her other sober friend to get through it. 

[31:25] What are your thoughts on relapse? 

Anything we do in life, we fail at.  Success is built on failure.  Failure aka relapse is a part of life.  The less you beat yourself up, the better you’ll be. 

 

[32:54] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Her failed suicide attempt.  She found out her husband was cheating on her and she tried to take her life. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Going to her part time job completely drunk with no memory of the conversation. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Taking it one day at a time.  Try to not isolate herself.  Maintain sober relationships
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Café RE. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    I’m worth it.  It’s worth it to do hard things and she’s worth it being sober. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just give it a shot.  Give it 90 days and see how you feel.  If the idea of 90 days feels overwhelming, that’s just another reason to give it a try.  Don’t listen to the shitty voice in your head.  Reach out to a community.  People understand what you’re going through. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You’re an avid Office fan, but you have to skip the episode with the intervention because it hits too close to home.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Sep 3, 2018

Jennifer, with 568 days since her last drink, shares her story…

Tracking your sobriety time – Do the numbers matter?

To begin with, know that it’s not a competition.  We’re going for quality over quantity!  We quit alcohol because we want to improve our lives.  The end goal isn’t in the numbers, but in the increase in one’s quality of life.  Removing alcohol was the first step in a journey of getting to know ourselves, finding out what we really want from life and making the best of each and every day.  The real tracker is how you feel about who you are, where you’re going and what is meaningful in your life. 

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:52] Paul Introduces Jennifer.

 

Jennifer is 36 years old from Cleveland, OH.  She has 3 cats and runs a business walking dogs.

[11:52] Describe to us your background with drinking.

She started drinking at 15.  She always thought it was normal to binge drink.  She thought it was a part of youth.  Her drinking held pretty steady until her mid 30’s.  She realized that we live in a drinking culture.  She has often struggled with codependency.  She never thought she was the problem.  She always thought it was other people. 

 

[16:29] Where was your lightbulb moment indicating you had to stop?

4 months before this recent attempt, she appeared on a podcast about addiction and codependency.  She grew up with addiction in her family.  She had to be the parent as a child.  She had a negative image in her head of what an addict was, and because she wasn’t close to that image, she wasn’t able to see the progression of her own addiction.  She began to realize that addiction has many forms by listening to other people’s stories and it gave her permission to acknowledge her own addictive behavior. 

 

[21:52] How were you able to finally make the change when the time came?

She was exhausted by the idea of continuing to drink.  Her own drinking behavior started to wear her out and she became tired and resentful.  She wanted to be able to enjoy activities without alcohol.  She went through a breakup and had to seek out grounding.  Her hangovers were getting darker and more difficult.  She began to fear the impact it was having on her health.  She couldn’t handle the shame and embarrassment.  She found Recovery Elevator and it helped give her the confidence to try and quit.  She realized that she’s not alone.  She didn’t really connect with AA when she tried it.  Her first year of sobriety she kind of transferred her alcoholism to workaholism.  She didn’t realize there were options other than AA.  She didn’t realize how much she needed people until she started talking to other people about being sober. 

 

[31:30] How did you manage your early recovery?

She became hyper focused on her work.  She tried to avoid social situations so she could avoid alcohol.  She lost some friends.  

 

[35:05] What are you working on now in sobriety?

She is working on maintenance.  She wants to achieve big things in life but she’s trying to keep simple and to focus on taking care of herself and relaxing.  She’s learning how to be kind to herself.  She’s working on being able to regulate her emotional life.  She realized that she used to be too focused on what others thought about her.  She feels transformed on the inside, even though there is little change on the outside. 

 

[41:00] What is the “Shift Doughnut”?

She used to work at the doughnut shop in Cleveland.  She would just get a doughnut after her shift.  She called them “shift doughnuts” but her coworker helped her realize that she was just stealing doughnuts.  

 

[42:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Shortly after her 30th birthday, she went home with a lover and was raped after she blacked out.  She tried to ignore it for a long time but in sobriety it bubbles up to the surface. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She invented the Triple Pipe Classic, which is when you lose control of all bodily functions.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Learning to like herself, love herself, deepening her meditation practice.  Learning to go slower and relax.  She’s looking forward to the Café RE trip to Peru.  She wants to travel more and do more things with her life. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    An app called Marco Polo.  It’s like having a little therapist in your pocket.  She feels like she is able to see thought patterns that she missed before.  It’s easy to connect with people. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Early in sobriety, someone said “You know you can start your day over at any time..”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Don’t compare yourself out of recovery.  Your recovery is your own.  The only opinion of you that matters is your own.  Alcoholism is a symptom of things not going well.  Be grateful for the opportunity to sort yourself out. 

    Also, be open to the idea that you may not know yourself like you think.  What if you’re wrong about yourself?  The story tape reel repeating in your head about yourself might be completely wrong.  Be open to a new and better and you. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you post a video on your social media channels of you home alone, drunk, dancing to Lady Gaga and juggling cigarettes.” Or “if you complete a Triple Pipe Classic”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck – A book by Mark Manson
Marco Polo (
Android) (iTunes) – An video chat app
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Aug 27, 2018

Paul, with 28 days since his last drink, shares his story...

The article mentioned in the episode introduction:  Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God - Wall Street Journal

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:57] Paul Introduces... Paul.


Paul is from St. Paul, Minnessota.  He's 67 years old, retired.  He is married with 2 kids, and 2 grandchildren.  He hosts an internet radio show.  He enjoys cooking and films. 

 

[13:18] Describe your drinking history.

In his 20s, he feels that he was a normal drinker.  Sometimes to excess with a bad hangover, but usually a moderate amount.  During his first marriage, his wife didn't drink as much.  He started to experiment with stronger mixed drinks.  His second wife died of breast cancer, and he was a caretaker for her.  He used drinking to deal with the pain.  He married again a third time and didn't feel compelled to drink too much.  It started to creep back in.  His office culture encouraged drinking after work.  He gradually switched from beer to whiskey.  He tried to moderate but not drinking during the day.  He began concealing his drinking from his wife.  He's tried to quit a few times in the past few years.  His habits got progressively worse. 

 

[19:10] What was different about this last attempt to quit?

After a doctor's appointment, he was shocked at his high blood pressure.  He kept drinking.  He started to suffer from diabetes.  His doctor said it was okay to drink a little bit each day.  He used that as an excuse to ramp back up.  He had quit before with determination, but this time it felt different.  He is exploring the painful periods of his past, and trying to find out the connection to his drinking.  He thinks it has something to do with being verbally abused as a child.  The alcohol has helped him relax.  He thinks his anxiety is wearing off gradually. 

 

[28:00] Describe your present relationship with anxiety. 

He feels as if something bad is going to happen, irrationally.  He feels an unease, an inability to relax.  A few months ago, he was going to go on a trip to Ireland.  He had a lot of anxiety about the trip and it worried him.  He just started drinking again to manage the anxiety. 

 

[32:10] How did you achieve 28 days this time around?

He did some research.  He found an article by Roger Ebert about his struggle.  He did more research and found Cafe RE.  He's learning new ways to deal with his emotions that don't involve drinking. 

 

[34:53] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

He would like to travel.  He wants to learn how to ride horses.  He wants to take some guitar lessons.  He wants to put more work into his radio show.  He plays vintage and eclectic music. 

 

 

 

[38:32] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    He was surprised to have blackouts. He found it unsettling and scary.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    His wife mentioned something he said and he didn't remember saying it.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    He wants to follow up with smart recovery and AA. He will continue to journal.  Continue to engage with Cafe RE. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    “Today is the best day to quit.”
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Share it with someone. Make yourself accountable.  He shared with his wife and his kids and it's made a difference.  Be kind to yourself.  Don't believe what other people tell you about yourself unless it's good.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “..if you're researching whether or not you're and alcoholic.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Science increasingly makes the case for God – An article in the Wall Street Journal
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Aug 20, 2018

Jason, with 178 days since his last drink, shares his story...

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

 

“It’s difficult to believe in yourself because the idea of self is an artificial construction. You are, in fact, part of the glorious oneness of the universe. Everything beautiful in the world is within you.” – Russell Brand

 

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

 

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” – Zen proverb

 

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” – Agnes Repplier

 

“If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Roger Babson

 

“Recovery is not for people who need it, but for people who want it” – Anonymous

 

“When the past calls, let it go to voicemail. Believe me, it has nothing new to say.” – Unknown

 

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

 

“If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.” – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

 

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

 

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” – Rosa Parks

 

“When was the last time you woke up and wished you’d had just one more drink the night before? I have never regretted not drinking. Say this to yourself, and you’ll get through anything.” – Meredith Bell

 

“The Pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow” – Anonymous

 

“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost

 

“Your heart is leading you in the right direction. Quiet the mind and follow. “ – Paul Churchill

 

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth

 

“Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it.” – J. Petit Senn

 

“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bernard Williams

“What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.” – Alice Miller

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:50] Paul Introduces Jason.

Jason is 46-year-old social worker from Connecticut  He's married with two children.  He likes the outdoors, soccer, kayaking, fishing,and hiking. 

 

[14:00] Give listeners an idea of your drinking background.

He started drinking in high school.  It escalated when he went into the navy.  After the navy, his drinking settled into a regular pattern which slowly escalated as well.  In mid 30's his drinking started to feel like it was getting to be a problem.  He had a previous 5 year period of sobriety.  He was trying to be health conscious.  He has heart disease in his family.  He tried to stay on top of it.  Around 38, his physical wasn't so great.  He was referred to a cardiologist.  He thought cutting alcohol out would improve his health.  He stopped on NYE of 2010.  He felt a lot better so he kept going.  He did not work a program.  He was hung up on the stigma of being an alcoholic.  He thought that after 5 years he didn't have a problem, and he was feeling healthy and he thought that maybe he could be a normal drinker again.  After relapse, he kept it under control for a while, but shortly thereafter it started escalating again quickly and he began to fall back into the same patterns.  He had a difficult summer, drinking most days, and he realized that he was a better person during his stint in sobriety and decided to go back to being sober. 

 

[27:38] Did you find it difficult to stop the second time? 

He could see how bad it would get if he didn't stop.  He was hiding drinks, and every week seemed to get worse.  He knew he was worse than he had been previously.  He thought that his previous bout of sobriety meant he could do it again.  He just had to get back to sobriety.  He feels our society surrounds you with pro-drinking messages.  

 

[32:07] How were you able to quit this time around?

The first few weeks were difficult, more difficult than he remembered from before.  This time it felt more ingrained into his routine, making it more difficult.  This time he is consuming more sobriety media and it helps him keep his mind right. 

 

[34:00] Do you think you are addressing more dimensions of sobriety this time?

Last time he was too focused on the physical part.  This time he's addressing the mental and spiritual sides of his life.  He's building a meditation practice and doing yoga.  He he has more tools this time than before.  He's trying not to think about the time line as much.  He's trying to stay in the present and focus on what's right in front of him. 

 

[36:37] What's something that you've learned about yourself in sobriety?

Honest really helps.  Also, there's nothing to be ashamed of.  Dependence happens to some people quicker than others, but it's nothing to be ashamed of.  He's taking things more gradually and slowly. 

 

[37:22] Have you experienced any cravings?

Definitely, in the first few months.  He just tries to ride it out.  They're only about 20 minutes long.  He tries to distract himself realizing that they will pass. 

 

[38:56] If you could go back and change anything about your getting sober, what would it be?

He thinks he could have talked to and with more people. 

 

[39:20] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

He wants to travel more, and spend more time with his kids. 

 

 

[40:00] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    When he was in the navy, he blacked out and had to walk around ashamed.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    It's a cumulative thing. His many mornings feeling terrible.  Hearing about conversations he didn't remember. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To keep taking it slowly. To focus on his meditation and yoga practice.  Be open and honest with people in his sobriety. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator podcast. On Instagram:  Drybe club
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    You do not have to drink.

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    If it's something that's on your mind, just do it. Reach out to people, be honest and find resources. 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Drybe Club an Instagram page about sobriety
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Aug 13, 2018

Chris, with 96 days since his last drink, shares his story...

In sobriety, it's possible to become more in tune with the inner workings of our minds.  By stopping the intake of a numbing substance, our minds and bodies become more sensitive, and with that sensitivity comes a glimpse into the processes and systems that run under the hood. Our emotions and how we handle them (or, in early sobriety, often we will see how our emotions are handling us!), the physical sensations that return as our body heals, and how our subconscious mind has an impact on our every waking moment.

In practices like meditation, we can begin to see how our thoughts can interrupt our every waking moment.  As we examine further, we can see that thoughts have a big impact on how we see ourselves, the world and, ultimately thoughts can make up who we are.

To learn to manage your thoughts, follow Paul's first steps: 

- Trust that your body knows best. - Your mind is a secondary organ to your body.  You may think you are in control, but the mind is a tool that works for the body, not the other way around.

- Learn to quiet the mind. - In the early stages of recovery, especially, it's important to recalibrate your sense of stillness.  Chances are in the throws of addiction you have lost your center.

- Don't get hooked – When you become aware of a thought entering your mind, simply notice it for what it is and let it float by.  You can use a safe word to remind you to come back to the present moment.  “Here”, “Stop”, “Thoughts..”

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[12:48] Paul Introduces Chris.


Chris is 37 years old, lives in Arizona.  Chris is married with two kids, has two dogs, is a musician and likes to ride his motorcycle. 

 

[14:33] When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking?  Why did you decide to quit?

He realized that alcohol had a hold on him.  He couldn't stop.  It was affecting everything.  He felt like the party was over.  He went to get beer after his kids were asleep.  Suddenly he realized that if he had gotten a DUI, no one would be able to take care of his kids.  He asked a friend in recovery to help him get cleaned up.  He started going to AA.  He would get 30 days and then relapse.  He worked at a bar and was drinking non stop.  It started to take a toll on his body. 

 

[18:56] When did your attempts to quit begin to get some traction?

He would try to moderate.  He switched to wine.  They moved to Arizona, and he wanted to use the chance to get clean.  He found himself isolated and depressed, and anxious.  He used his exercise to earn his drinks.  He kept repeating the cycle. 

 

[21:23] What are your thoughts on the “geographical cure”?

He thought he was going to start over in a new place, and leave the negativity behind.  He started working quickly after the move.  Anxiety started to set in, he felt uncomfortable being alone and bored.  He turned to alcohol.  Alcohol was the ice breaker in social situations.

 

[22:47] What would you consider to be your rock bottom moment?

He feels that he had many.  Every time he would wake up feeling ashamed was a rock bottom moment.  He felt that he couldn't escape alcohol's grip and he was scared.  He wanted to quit but felt that he couldn't.  The night would start with one beer and end after multiple. 

 

[24:30] What changed this last time to ensure your success so far? 

He had researched a medicine called kambo.  He had read that it would help him quit alcohol.  He found someone in his local area and he signed up to try it.  The scrape the venom off a frog from the amazon.  The practitioner lights the tip of the incense stick, then marks your arm, then applies the venom to your arm.  He didn't hallucinate, but had intense bodily sensations.  It's a giant purge.  He puked like crazy and felt a sharp pain.  He found a blockage, and puked it out.  He did another purge that evening and hasn't craved alcohol since. 

 

[31:39] Have you noticed any other improvements in other areas of your life? 

He's less stressed.  He tries to block negative energy.  He lets things roll off and relaxes. 

 

[33:19] Did you try any other resources to quit?

He tried AA.  He didn't click with his local group.  He liked the online group better.  The plant medicine was sort of a last resort for him.  He thinks it was a reflection of the amount of desperation he had at the time. 

 

[36:00] What's your proudest moment in recovery?

He was around 50 days in sobriety.  He took his son to a Metallica concert without drinking.

[36:45] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

Continuing down the path.  He wants to be of help to anyone trying to get sober.  He is into the plant medicine world. 


[39:20] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    A huge fight with his wife. He threw glasses at the wall. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Continuing down the path. Staying active in the online group. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE Blue. Talking with more people. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    It's easier to stay sober than to get sober. Don't take yourself too seriously. 

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just do it. Go for it.  Take your time, get comfortable.  Find the path for you. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “If you have to put venomous frog poison in your skin to get sober..”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

You Are the Placebo – A book by Dr. Joe Dispenza

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Aug 6, 2018

Jodi, with over 100 days since her last drink, shares her story...

You’d think that when dealing with something as simple and common as water, there couldn’t be any confusion.  Water is water, right?  It turns out that not all waters are created equal. 

Water comes in many forms and despite what you might think, the differences aren't just regional nomenclature.  There are distinct differences between these types of water, and while they are somewhat slight, they’re enough to merit their own name.  Here’s what you need to know:

Mineral Water

Sparkling mineral water comes from a natural spring which contains various minerals, like salts and sulfur compounds. It's defined by its "constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source." Minerals aren't added to this water and neither is carbonation (with the exception of San Pellegrino, which has additional carbonation added by the bottler). That means that the bubbles in these bottles are completely natural. You would typically drink this water as is (not mixed in a cocktail), since it's a tad expensive and has a slight mineral-y taste.

 

Seltzer Water

Seltzer water is just plain water that has been artificially carbonated. This water, which contains no sodium salts, gets its name from the German town of Selters, which was renowned for its natural springs. Seltzer water was first introduced as a cheap alternative to sparkling mineral water -- and it still is an economical option today.

 

Club Soda

Seltzer water and club soda are very similar, but there is a notable difference between the two. Unlike seltzer, mineral-like ingredients are added to club soda to enhance the flavor. If you look on the list of ingredients, you'll likely see potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate listed.

 

Tonic Water
Just because it contains the word water in its name and is carbonated doesn't mean that tonic water is in the same category as bubbly waters. Unlike the other carbonated options, tonic water has a distinct flavor and it certainly can't be swapped out for carbonated water. Tonic water is a bitter drink, a result of the addition of quinine, which pairs particularly well with gin. Also unlike the other waters, Tonic contains calories -- about 130 for 12 fluid ounces.

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:05] Paul Introduces Jodi.

 

Jodi is 34-year-old artist and musician living in Detroit, Michigan, with her dog.  She has a podcast called “Detroit Craft Academy”.  She went to art school for photography originally. 

[12:20] How has sobriety affected your personal relationship with your art? 

It's been a little difficult.  She had a romanticized definition of what an artist was in her mind that involved drinking.  She feels it was learned.  She no longer buys into it.  She's realizing that her art is now better with a sober mind. 

 

[14:25] When did you first realize you had a problem with drinking, and how did you quit? 

She grew up straight edge.  She started drinking with a guy she met.  She enjoyed alcohol after she tried it.  She feels that she's always had an addictive personality, which worsened after she started drinking.  She was always at the bar before and after class during school.  She began hanging out with musicians.  She began to black out, and felt that she was time traveling.  She would have to investigate to find out the events from the previous night.  She had a stint of sobriety for two years as her boyfriend turned out to be an addict.  She started again at 22 and hid it from her partner.  She tried to go to AA. 

 

[20:25] Did you experience a rock bottom?

She had many.  She didn't consider them rock bottoms because she wasn't ready to address the fact that she had a drinking problem, and she also thought that it was typical artist behavior.  She associates her addiction with “Large Marge” from Peewee Herman. 

 

[22:29] What was different about this particular attempt to quit that's been successful so far? 

Before quitting she had been dealing with depression and a relationship with an addict.  She experienced some trauma.  She started seeing a counselor.  The counselor didn't know that she had a drinking problem.  Alcoholism runs in her family.  Alcohol dulled the emotions she didn't want to feel and enhanced the positive ones, but the depression didn't go away.  She tried many things to get rid of it but they didn't work.  She tried to quit drinking for a month and felt amazing.  This time something different happened.  She recently tried a sensory deprivation chamber.  She heard a voice tell her to quit drinking.  She feels her consciousness shifted.  She calls it the voice of silence.  She told everyone she knew that she quit drinking, creating accountability.  Everyone has been supportive.  She started changing her group of friends.  She started going to AA.  It's been great.  Every meeting has been different. 

 

[38:44] What have you learned about yourself in sobriety so far?

With her shift in consciousness, she is trying to be open minded.  She's learning how to break down her strict boundaries.  We are bigger than the boxes in which we put ourselves.  She's open to not pleasing everyone. 

 

[40:25] How is your depression now that alcohol is removed from your life?

She still suffers from depression, but she changes how she responds to it.  Before she would turn to drinking, and now she tries to face it.  She's finding different ways to deal with it.  She goes for walks, calls her sponsor, focuses on art.  She's considering medication. 

 

[42:42] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    All the holes in her memory. Playing detective to figure out what happened the night before. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She realized that her only desire to go out was because she wanted to drink, and she had to drink to have a desire to go out.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    One day at a time. She journals a lot. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE, honestly.

 

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Don't beat yourself up if you fail. You won't see the successes if you concentrate on the failures. 
  2. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Tell everyone. Tell the bartender to punch you if you order alcohol.
  3. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you lose your car, and then go to the police to help you find your car, and drop you off, and you think it might be a trap.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode is brought to you by Zip Recruiter. Right now, listeners can try Zip Recruiter for free by visiting Ziprecruiter.com/elevator

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Jul 30, 2018

Craig, who has been sober since 9/21/16, shares his story.

The unprecedented success of this podcast mirrors a simple approach to recovery.  Just show up and continue to show up. 

The future of Recovery Elevator is promising!  The plan is to migrate the growing community over to a private forum and away from facebook.  The focus will be on creating many local groups, in-person meet-ups, sober travel, and sobriety events .

SHOW NOTES

[14:00] Paul Introduces Craig.

Craig is 40 years old, from central Scotland.  He's married and a father of two.  He works in flooring and is a part time Taekwondo instructor.

 

[16:53] When did you realize you first had a problem with drinking?

He started when he was about 14.  His family moved a lot.  Alcohol was a big presence.  His first binge was extreme and he had to go to the medical center.  He started to drink a case per night.  Eventually whiskey entered the picture.  He became more isolated.  He couldn't relax without alcohol.  He would drink with colleagues after work and it progressed into something very difficult to control. 

 

[23:07] How did you achieve your 9 weeks during your first attempt at sobriety? 

He ended up in the hospital after a suspected heart attack.  After some liver tests the doctor gave him a pep talk.  His first attempt was sheer will power. 

 

[24:48] What led to the following relapse? 

He wanted to celebrate his 9 weeks by drinking.  After he did not really try to self moderate.  Eventually after a binge on a trip to Mexico he woke up with a painful hangover and decided that he couldn't do it any more.  He sought out recovery sources online and discovered the podcast.  It resonated with him.  He realized he wasn't alone.

 

[27:47] Once you made the conscious choice, how did you stop? 

His realized he was a bad example for his son.

 

[29:40] What were some of the other recovery resources you found?

Recovery Elevator, also Omar and Shane Ramer, the Sober Guy podcast, and the Share Podcast, the Good Dad project and Sean Croxton's Quote of the Day.  

 

[30:30] Walk us through the early stages of your recovery. 

He had two difficult episodes with Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptom (PAWS).  Fatigue, mood swings, depression, anxiety, loss of concentration.  The first one was about six weeks sober.  He went to his doctor and said he wasn't feeling well.  The doctor suggested AA.  He realized there is life after drinking. 

 

[35:39] When did you begin implementing what you learned into your recovery? 

He started listening to motivational podcasts in addition to recovery podcasts.  He started to see things in a different light.  He joined different online communities and enjoyed being able to bounce different ideas off people in the forums.  He examined his internal dialogues and focused on self love.   

 

[40:36] What advice do you have for someone who is on day 1 right now? 

Day 1 is where the adventure starts!  Let's look at how we can get you to day 2 and beyond.  1 day at a time.  Break it down into pieces.  Get through the cravings.  The numbers don't matter, you're already worth it.  Beating yourself up doesn't work.  Nobody's recovery is exactly the same. 

[44:43] Is there anything you would have done differently in your recovery?

No.  He feels that he had to go through what he went through to get to where he is.  He is grateful for the doctor's presence in his life.  He doesn't regret drinking either, but he's glad he stopped. 

[46:16] What have you learned about yourself in recovery? 

First all, I'm good enough.  Secondly, I deserve this recovery and all its benefits.  Everyone deserves it. 

[46:56] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

He's got more of a “fuck it” list.  If he wants to do something he's going to do it.  He's going to keep living and spending as much time as he can with family. 


[49:40] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Not remembering three days from being 14 years old after a binge.

  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Before his trip to Mexico, he drank heavily and woke up fearing death. He realized that he needed help. 

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Let's get 644 days in the bag and he'll deal with 645 days tomorrow.

  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    From Hank at Hope Rehab, “Take the cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth.”

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Don't try and do it alone. You need the community.  You need accountability with the right people, the ones that can actually help you.

  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you drank so much that the next day you start going into DT's at 3pm the next afternoon.”

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Recovery 2.0 A book by Tommy Rosen
Hope Rehab A recovery center in Thailand
The SHAIR podcast – a recovery podcast
That Sober Guy podcast – a recovery podcast

The Good Dad Project - podcast

Sean Croxton's Quote of the Day - podcast

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Jul 23, 2018

Problems are a part of life.  When one problem is resolved and filed neatly away a new one arrives to take its place.  At times, our problems in life may seem overwhelming.  When the pressure is on and things get difficult, often our response is avoidance or escape. 

In sobriety we learn to neither rely on fight nor flight when things get tough.  Instead, we consciously engage in the life long practice of facing our fears.  We have a choice.  With courage, acceptance and humility we can find the strength to deal with our problems. 

Kelsey, with 94 days since her last drink, shares her story..

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:10] Paul Introduces Kelsey.

Kelsey is 26 years old, from Utah.  She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her boyfriend and two dogs.  She manages a coffee shop and runs a business producing handmade clothing.  She likes the outdoors and sports.  Sewing has been therapeutic for her since she quit drinking. 

 

[10:56] What was your drinking background, and when did you first realize you wanted to quit?

High school.  She used to be scared of drinking.  She used to have an eating disorder after a move to Arizona.  Her drinking slowly progressed.  She got a DUI in Arizona and served some time.  She continued to drink after.  It escalated.  Her hangovers turned into withdrawal.  She did outpatient therapy.   She tried to get sober multiple times.  Never really tried AA.

 

[16:22] Did you experience one addiction morphing into a second? 

Yes.  She went to therapy for the eating disorder and didn't really recover fully.  Alcohol helped her feel better.  It was a slippery slope. 

 

[17:30] What were your previous attempts to quit drinking? 

She tried cold turkey.  It didn't work.  She was searching for programs because she didn't like the higher power aspect of AA.  She found “Moderation Management”.  She didn't feel accountable.  It's an online forum with a workbook.  The rules never worked for her. 

 

[21:40] Why do you think you were drinking for a week straight?

She was tired.  Initially it was fun, but it became frequent blackouts and very negative.  She is a busy person and it was difficult for her to sober up.  Her brain was forcing her to use alcohol to relax. 

 

[23:20] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

She started at her boyfriend's show, and ended up drinking for a week straight.  Her mother tried to help her.  She had work obligations and the drinking got in the way.  She tried to hide it from her mother.  She's grateful that she didn't get into any accidents. 

 

[24:42] Was there more than just being sick and tired? 

She realized that she had other aspirations and she wouldn't be able to achieve them without removing alcohol from her life.  She realized that the path of drinking would ultimately lead to her death.  She chose life and happiness.   

 

[26:37] How did you implement the choice into your life?

She feels like she's grown up a bit.  She didn't struggle with cravings.  She reflects a lot on how good it feels to be sober.  She's choosing to focus on the positive parts of the journey instead of just the negative.  She chooses to paint a new picture and reprogram her associations with positive memories.  The first 24 hours were difficult.  She felt guilty and anxious.  Second day feels more optimistic.  Third felt better.  It continues to get easier.  She started going to meetings and it really helped her solidify her plans for the future.  Every day gets a little bit better.   

 

[29:00] What are you thoughts on relapse? 

It's always a possibility.  She resolves to try her best and not to feel guilty. 

[32:44] How have you address self loathing in recovery?

She is talking more than before.  She's never been good at talking about her feelings.  She's had to learn to express herself.  She's able to recognize when she's triggered and now she reaches out to loved ones when she is feeling down. 

[34:20] What is your plan moving forward in recovery?

She is trying to be less negative.  She wishes she could drink normally.

[35:10]  Is there anything you wish you could have done differently? 

Giving therapy more of a chance and giving things more time.  Being okay with results coming slowly.  Taking it as it comes. 

[35:55]  What have you learned about yourself? 

She can handle a lot.  She used to be more anxious because of alcohol.  She feels more calm.  She gives herself credit for being able to handle stress well. 

[37:05]  Are you in the pink cloud phase?

She isn't sure.  She experiences sudden bursts of emotions, and is still generally processing.  

[38:24] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The moment she had to go to the ER.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    When she started blacking out after only 3 drinks.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She would like to go more to AA.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator podcast. It fits nicely into her commute.  Moderation Management website online chat. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    From a lady in AA that has 45 years of sobriety. There is no gold medal.  You always have to keep trying. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Alcohol does not define you. You are so much more than your relationship with alcohol. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “Your boyfriend's niece points to your drink and says it's your drink”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Today's episode is brought to you in support by RX Bar. Visit rxbar.com/elevator and enter the promo code elevator at checkout for 25% off your first order.

When Things Fall Apart – a book by Pema Chodron

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

Jul 16, 2018

Is knowledge alone enough to quit drinking?

“To know and not to do... is not to know.” - Buddhist Proverb

Are we able to successfully quit drinking by devouring books, blog posts, podcasts and internet articles?  The facts about the dangerous nature of alcohol can be quite sobering.  Though education is never a waste of time, knowledge alone is not enough to keep you sober.  It can inspire, reinforce, or encourage you to quit, but it is not enough.  Self knowledge is no match for our unconscious mind, which is where most of the internal workings of our addiction lie.

Sobriety requires knowledge, action and community. 

Ky, with 10 months since her last drink, shares her story..

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[10:40] Paul Introduces Ky.

Ky is from 28 years old and is from British Columbia.  She works 3 jobs and enjoys, cooking, comedy shows, movies, and crossword puzzles.

 

[12:50] When did you first realize you had a problem with alcohol?

She started drinking around 12 years old.  She thought “This is it!”  She thought it was something missing from her life.  Now she realizes that many of the friendships she made through drinking were empty.  She feels like she has been drinking most of her adult life.  She feels like a baby in sobriety.  Her dad was an alcoholic.  He still drinks.  In her early 20's she drank more after a sexual assault.  She had an alter ego while drunk.  She moved to Hanoi, Vietnam but found that she couldn't escape her alcoholism as she experienced a bump in income.  Her drinking became more necessary.  She eventually attempted suicide but kept on drinking. 

 

[20:50] What was your mindset like before your suicide attempt? 

She had felt stuck and empty for so long.  She felt like she had been searching for something to make her feel good for her entire life.  When she moved back to Canada she experienced a loss of purpose and increased boredom which lead to more drinking.  She always assumed she would die at 27.  Now she sees it as juvenile. 

 

[24:38] What was the thinking before you attended your first meeting?

She really wanted it to not work.  She went to an AA meeting just to give herself permission to drink after and she was blown away by how much she identified with the people there.  The mental health side of her therapy has helped her.  She's now able to decrease the negative voice in her head that tells her she isn't good enough or that she can't do it.

 

[30:00] Are you living more in the present?

Absolutely.  She was blown away when her therapist said that she wasn't her mind.  She started practicing meditation and has learned about deeper dimensions of life. 

 

[32:12] Walk us through your first few days of sobriety.

It was really hard.  The first week was difficult.  She didn't realize how hard it was going to be.  She would set appointments with herself to keep herself busy.  She knew she needed to get sober.  She had nothing left on the drinking side of life.  She was fully committed to sobriety because the other option was death, for her. 

 

[35:18] How do you handle cravings?

The first few months were filled with cravings.  She would ask for help in the morning and say thanks at night.  She still gets cravings, but they get weaker and shorter.  Her brother helped her get through the difficult ones. 

 

[39:04] What is your plan in recovery moving forward?

She keeps things simple.  She starts of with meditation in the morning.  She focuses on gratitude.  She still goes to meetings.  She focuses on things that are good for her.  Her life feels more full. 

 

[39:38] What is your take on the 12-step program?

She hates the higher power / god aspect of it.  She still identifies as an agnostic.  She just removes the parts that are offensive to her.  She just focuses on meditation and meetings.  She reminds herself that she's not alone and focuses on what she needs to do. 

[40:43] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Too many. When she showed up to her job after a 3 day bender.  She told her colleagues that her bf had beat her up but later on remembered that she had actually beat him up. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    That weekend where she was trying to drink on pace with her brother and limit the amount she drank. She realized that if she can't control it, she was going to have to give it up for good. 

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The AA meetings. She also loves podcasts and her therapists.  The Joe and Charlie Big Book Study, The One You Feed. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Just don't drink today, under any and all conditions.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just try it. If you don't like it, you can always go back to the way your life was before.  Life without alcohol is so much more fulfilling. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you realize that all of your social media posts are related to booze.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Beyond the Influence – a book by Katherine Ketcham

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Jul 9, 2018

Today we hear from Jade. She's 27 years old, from Kentucky and has had her last drink on April 14th 2018.

The Ego:  The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and unconscious mind.  It is in charge of reality testing and gives us a sense of personal identity.  The self concept.  A collection of beliefs that serve as the foundation for our bearings in life. 

A healthy ego can serve to give us something to lean on when times get tough.  We believe in ourselves and are capable of handling adversity or difficult emotions.    

An unhealthy ego can cause us a lot of problems.  When an ego gets unhealthy, it can keep us from living in the present moment because we harbor beliefs about ourselves that aren't congruent with reality. 

Letting go of an unhealthy ego is a big step in recovery. 

Jade, with about 2 months since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:15] Paul Introduces Jade.

Jade is a 27-year-old liquor store manager from Kentucky.  She has a dog, and enjoys the outdoors, playing the piano and reading. 

 

[13:00] When did you first realize that you had a problem with alcohol?

She started at 16.  She realized she had a problem at about 25.  She was in a failing relationship and was dealing with a lot of stress.  She turned to alcohol.  She made a first quit attempt, and during those 40 days she realized that her relationship needed to end.  After relapse, she made friends with people who drank as much as she did.  Many parts of her life revolved around alcohol.  Once she started she realized she couldn't stop. 

 

[17:40] How hard was it to only have 1 or 2 drinks?

Once she started, if she couldn't continue she would get irritable.  At first alcohol was very social, but eventually she didn't want to be around people when she was drinking.  She started only getting drunk alone. 

 

[20:30] Did you make any attempts to moderate your drinking?

She would skip if she was super hungover.  She switched from beer and wine to liquor.  She figured it was less calories and better for dieting, and more concentrated so it was quicker getting drunk. 

 

[22:50] How did you end up quitting? 

She had been trying for two years.  She started reading and listening to podcasts.  She browsed the r/stopdrinking subreddit.  She figured out that she couldn't do it alone, and that she needed to join a community.  She made the step to reach out.  She didn't think she was worth sobriety and she didn't think anyone would care.  She found out the exact opposite was true.  It has been easier than she thought.  The community made the difference for her. 

 

[27:45] Have you had any cravings?  What did you do? 

She had many.  She would post on Cafe RE and engage the community there.  “Playing the tape forward” helped as well.  The loss of control always bothered her when she was drinking. 

[29:35] What have you learned most about yourself in sobriety so far?

Her emotions aren't permanent.  When her emotions got difficult in the past, she thought they were going to last forever and she would respond by running away from them.  Now she is learning how to deal with them in a healthy way by sitting with them and listening to what they have to say.  She doesn't need to reach for a distraction.  She doesn't have to run away from her own mind as much. 

 

[31:31] What is the biggest challenge you've faced so far in sobriety?

Getting out of the routine.  She feels like something is missing. 

 

[33:42] Walk us through a day in your recovery.  What's your plan to keep adding days?

She tries to get up earlier to get a good walk in with her dog.  She takes care of her dog, plays her piano.  She disperses recovery nuggets throughout her day to help get her through. 

[35:19]  So you were a manager at the liquor store? 

It hasn't been bad at all.  She feels like she's made up her mind and doesn't feel any temptation.  She is now able to identify the alcoholics that come in.  She appreciates the flexibility she gets with her job and is able to also study. 

[39:40] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Blacking out and not remembering what happened.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Instead of getting hangovers she was getting alcohol withdrawal with anxiety.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She wants to go to more meetings to meet sober people.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    She felt like a burden asking people for help. Someone told her that by sharing her struggle it helped other people to stay sober. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    To reach out and find a support system. She was surprised by the amount of support she received. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you leave your job at the liquor store to drive to the other liquor store across town to buy alcohol so your co-workers don't know how much you drink after work.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This podcast episode is brought to you in support by Zip Recruiter and right now, my listeners can try Zip Recruiter for free. Go to www.ziprecruiter.com/elevator and get started today. 

This Naked Mind – a book by Annie Grace

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

 

Jul 2, 2018

“There are many excuses to drink... but no reasons.” 

“When you are an addict, the only line you can cross but can not come back from is death.”

Dating and Sobriety

Modern dating has us drinking more, but being less successful at it.  Drinking can give us a false sense of connection.  A 2014 Survey from Plenty of Fish found that 36.4% of singles drink before going out and 48.9% drink during the date.   It's not entirely surprising that modern dating and drinking are so thoroughly linked.  Having a conversation with a stranger can be difficult, whether the internet was involved in your meeting or not.  People will drink to make themselves feel more relaxed, but in reality, all they are doing is slowing down their brains, dulling their senses and intuitions. 

Not drinking works in our favor.  Jitters are your body's way of telling you that you care.  Mating is natural, primal, and our bodies have developed mechanisms for sniffing out whether or not a potential mate will be good for us. 

When we drink, we are hiding parts of ourselves from our potential partner, as they are hiding from us.  Real connections sprout from the roots of honesty and vulnerability. 

Believe that dating without drinking is possible.  If you find yourself struggling with the idea of a sober meet up then you probably need more time to gain your sober footing before you venture out into the wild.  In sobriety, an awkward date is simply that.. an awkward date.  It just means that you have no natural chemistry with the person, and that's ok. 

Remember dating is about getting to know the other person.  Ask questions, listen to the answers.  See how you feel.  Be patient, don't rush things.

The opposite of addiction is connection.  

Zack, with 514 days since his last drink, shares his story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[12:19] Paul Introduces Zack.

Zack is from Nebraska, lives in Colorado.  He's married and loves the outdoors. 

[14:15] When did you first realize that you had a problem with alcohol? 

Mid 20's.  He didn't want to end up like his father.  His father drinks nightly.  He realized that his friends were moving on with their lives.  He kept trying to moderate or quit unsuccessfully. 

 

[17:00] Now that you know more about alcoholism, has your relationship with your father changed?

Kind of.  He said he will never end up like his father.  He didn't start drinking until after high school.  His father helped him get his first drink. 

 

[18:10] What did it feel like to crave alcohol? 

Irritable.  He would work harder so he could get home quicker and open his first drink.  Most of the time he was drinking alone.  It started fun but he became lonely. 

 

[20:00] When were you finally able to quit?  How? 

He got a DUI.  He promised himself he wouldn't drink and drive.  He wasn't able to give up the drinking, so he just stopped driving.  He drank alone a lot.  He gained a lot of weight.  He developed other health problems.  He stopped caring. 

 

[22:30] Did you have a rock bottom moment?  How did you quit? 

For years leading up to his health scare, he would try to stop drinking.  It lead to a period of emotional numbness that scared him into taking his health seriously.  He moved to Colorado, and the geographical cure didn't work.  His application for life insurance was declined because of his many health problems.  That woke him up and he realized that it would really affect his family.  He made up his mind to quit on January 1.  He noticed his addiction lying to him in his own voice and he was able to make it through the initial stages of craving.  He almost relapsed, but the smell of the open bottle made him stop.  He reached a turning point and decided to research what he could do to stay sober.  He found a sobriety forum online and the responses were overwhelming.  He hadn't opened up to his wife about quitting drinking, so the online forum became his support.  He finally told her he quit after three months, and it was difficult for him. 

 

[29:30] Assuming your wife will hear this recording, what would you like to say to her about your drinking? 

It's been extremely difficult, and he's sorry about withholding and lying.  He's sorry for the emotional difficulty he's put her through. 

Creating accountability with his wife, and joining Cafe RE has helped him to heal and grow emotionally. 

 

[33:00] Did you experience a pink cloud?  What was it like afterwards?

First 5 months or so was good.  He kept busy.  Worked a lot, hiking, running, he lost 40 pounds.  He ran his first half marathon.  Around month 10, he just slowed down and realized that he was just filling his time and not actually growing.  He realized he couldn't stay busy forever.  Podcasts helped him learn and realize that he also needed to grow emotionally. 

 

[35:15] How was your relationship with your wife changed since you've tried to grow emotionally?

He opens up to her more, which is difficult for him.  Their relationship has gotten a lot stronger because he's finally able to tell her more.  She has noticed a huge change in his state.  He is more emotionally available. 

[36:40] Walk us through an ordinary day in recovery for you. 

He wakes up to a workout at 4am.  He has a gratitude list.  He works from 6:30 until the afternoon.  They are in the process of remodeling their home.  He and his wife hang out for a while and connect. 

[39:09] What do you value most in recovery?

Better relationships with people.  He doesn't feel as isolated. 

[39:27] What is your proudest moment in sobriety? 

He ran his first half marathon.  His achievements in the realm of exercise have been great inspiration. 

 

[39:50] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Definitely the DUI.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Running out to his truck to get his whiskey bottle, and drinking as much as he could.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    “One day at a time.” Focusing on relationships and creating accountability. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE. It's accessible and he can check it every day. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    Create accountability and do it as quickly as you can with as many people as you can. The more accountability you can create the more open and honest you can be and the more real support you will receive. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Take it one day at a time.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “you get a DUI and the first place you go after you're released is to the liquor store.”

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Mentioned John Oliver Clip
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Jun 25, 2018

Alcohol and Anxiety

Today we will look at anxiety and the role it plays in alcohol addiction. 

Anxiety is inevitable, but we can change what we do and feel about it, ultimately affecting the level of severity we experience and the frequency of attacks.  It shows that we care about what is going on.  Anxiety is a tool we inherited from our prehistoric past that let us know that we were in danger.  It is useful and necessary, and is a natural part of life. 

Unlike normal anxiety, chronic anxiety does not have roots in the present moment.  Chronic anxiety begins when the anxiety becomes our default modus operandi.  The conscious mind focuses on the anxiety, fueling it and allowing it to expand and become consuming.  We find ourselves on a hamster wheel of potential causes, cures, analyses, and ultimately, fear and discomfort.  It surfaces for, as far as we know, no apparent reason.  We make attempts to repress or sidetrack it. 

Drinking is one way that many try to deal with their anxious feelings.  While we are drinking, it feels like our problems temporarily disappear.  When we look more closely at the way alcohol changes brain chemistry, we see that all it does is slow us down and weaken our higher faculties.  In the relatively short long term, alcohol usually makes our problems worse by increasing our anxiety and having a negative impact on our overall health. 

We have the ability to naturally rewire and change our brains.  When we make the decision to quit drinking, over time we can reverse many of the negative effects on our brain chemistry and overall health.  Our brains are able to find a new and more healthy version of homeostasis with less anxiety, less depression and more clarity.

Chris, with almost 1 year since his last drink, shares his story

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:40] Paul Introduces Chris.

Chris is 36 years old, a power plant operator, lives in North Dakota. He's married with two kids and a dog.  He enjoys camping and boating, cooking, photography, and woodworking.

 

[13:40] What is camping like now that you don't drink?

Alcohol took over his life.  Now he feels more present for his kids.  He feels his life is more enriched.  He enjoys more of nature.  He is happy to have quit. 

 

[16:00] When did you first realize that you had a problem with drinking?

A while ago.  He craved it since he started in high school.  It started social, and it gradually progressed.  In the military, he went to Korea when he was 21.  Being far away from friends and family was difficult and and he drank more.  He suffered from “terminal uniqueness”.  He felt he was different from the people around him.  We lie to ourselves and focus on the differences, further isolating ourselves from the community around us.

 

[23:55] Did you ever have a rock bottom moment?  How much were you drinking?

He was drinking a case of tall beers almost every week.  His wife had been giving him ultimatums for a while.  He started to drive drunk on a regular basis.  He was regularly drunk, or if he wasn't, he was experiencing intense anxiety.  He would regularly yell at his kids.  He was terrified about what he was becoming.  His wife turned toward the church and he turned toward alcohol.  He and his wife had a blowout over drinking and they separated.  He read a few AA books.  He moved out to the camper.  His faith suffered and he had to see his pastor.  His wife explained how much he was hurting her.  He went to see a counselor and started to unload his emotions.  He eventually found an intensive outpatient program that helped him quit. 

[31:38] Will you share a little of what you learned in your outpatient program?

Neuroplasticity, how your brain becomes dependent on chemicals.  He learned that it wasn't a moral failing, and he felt relief.  He started to relate to the other members in the group.  His wife filed for divorce, and it helped him apply himself in the program. 

 

[37:15] Where did you get the strength to move forward?

The gift of desperation.  He didn't know what else to do.  He saw that this was an opportunity to change and he applied himself.  His faith life had dried up and he became inspired after reading “Bill's Story” from the AA book.  He started to get better rest.  As he worked the program his feeling of higher power returned.  He realized how much he had hurt his wife.  He was lucky enough to have counselors and friends in his life that helped him get through it.  He started to focus on his actions and not the results with his kids and his wife started to come around.  He started to do the work for himself and not for her. 

 

[45:42] What have you learned most about yourself in sobriety?

That he's worthy of love.  He's worthy of a happy life.  Life is worth it. 

 

[46:20] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

To continue.  To continue to work on his marriage.  To continue to make memories with his family.  He wants a future for him and his loved ones.  He wants to help other people with recovery. 

 

[47:51] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The many ways that he hurt his wife and kids. He'll never forget hurting his loved ones. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Last summer when he chose drinking over his wife.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To continue to work a program. He likes to keep his sponsor close. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    You don't have to be sober for the rest of your life, today. Take it a day at a time. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just be honest with yourself. Stop lying to yourself.  Don't listen to the voice of addiction.  Tell someone that you trust.  Accountability and community is key. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You go to sleep drunk, and wake up with less eyebrows and more penises drawn on your face.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This Naked Mind – a book by Annie Grace

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Jun 18, 2018

Compassionate Curiosity: a way we can get to the root of why we drink.

The problem's not that the truth is harsh, but that liberation from ignorance is as painful as being born. Run after truth until you're breathless. Accept the pain involved in re-creating yourself afresh.” - Naguib Mahfouz

One of the biggest root causes of addition is self loathing.  Feeling like we are not worthy or that we are in any way less than others is a belief often found at the center of our addictive behavior. 

The cure for self loathing is self compassion, or self love.  Replacing the habit that is self judgment with forgiveness, the mental rigidity with an intention of being open, or the repetitive criticism with positive messages that we can do this are some of the first steps toward distancing ourselves from addictive tendencies. 

We begin with a process of self examination, wherein we compassionately do so without judgment. 

“There is no moving forward without breaking through the walls of denial.” -Gabor Maté

Kim, with 1½ years since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[1:30] Paul Introduces Kim.

Kim is 37 years old from Arkansas.  She's been sober over 1½ years. She's married with 3 kids.  She works as a counselor.  She enjoys her spending with her family, reading, and Kintsugi. 

 

[6:05] When did you first realize you had a problem with drinking?

She experienced complications with her pregnancy.  With that came a prescription of pain medication.  After she went through the pain meds, she noticed that she couldn't stop drinking. 

 

[9:06] Did you try to put any rules into place? 

From her work with addiction, she knows that putting rules into place is addictive behavior.  She was probably going through a half gallon of vodka per week.  She attempted to quit throughout 2017.. nothing really stuck. 

 

[10:35] What were some lessons you learned in your previous attempts to quit?

She has a stubborn personality.  When she tried to quit using her will power, she failed.  It scared her.  She started researching different podcasts, and found Recovery Elevator.  She was worried that she couldn't do it alone.  She began to find other stories and realized that she was on a slippery slope. 

 

[13:20] How were you able to quit successfully?

She realized that she needed to remove triggers.  She tried to eliminate stress.  She hired someone to help her with small duties. 

 

[15:50] How are you able to maintain professional distance in your job working with addicts?

When you work in a field where you give to others, you have to make sure that you are ok first.  You have to give to others what you can spare, not what you need. 

 

[17:00] Walk us through the early days of your recovery. 

The first month was difficult.  She had lots of cravings.  She tried to keep the memory of her difficult year close.  She would use the brainspotting technique.  She knows people can relapse after years and years.  The addiction waits to see where the hole is, and that's where it gets you. 

 

[23:50] Are you able to be open about your own recovery with patients?

Reaching out to Paul helped her realize how she was in denial about her addictions.  She shares her recovery experience with some patients, and it's been much more helpful. 

 

[24:40] What are the common hangups that your patients have?

The biggest struggle is the stagma and the shame.  Also, the surrendering to higher power. 

[27:10] What is the biggest thing you've learned about yourself?

She needs to show herself the same compassion that she gives to everyone around her. 

[27:40] What has been your proudest moment in sobriety?

Sharing with her clients.  Showing them that she also struggles with different things. 

[28:28] What are you looking forward to in Peru? 

Seeing the beauty, and being a part of a recovery community. 

 

 

[29:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Pre-parent: 17yo, on vacation with family in Mexico.  Parents lied about her age so she could drink at the resort.  She hung out at the bars.  On the last night, she was sexually assaulted. 

    As a parent:  She used to drank in front of her young child.  Her child began to copy her drinking behavior by drinking his water in a small cup with a straw. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She would like to be a voice for recovery with mental health professionals.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Her faith is strong and it helps her in her darkest moments. 
    The Miracle Morning.  She does it daily no matter what.
    Recovery Elevator podcast.  She looks forward to listening weekly. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    You can't do this alone. The magic happened when she reached out. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    A quote by Carl Jung.. “What you resist, persists. What you can feel, you can heal.”
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    While listening to someone else's story you think to yourself that you need to remember it in case you relapse.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Audible is offering my listeners a free audiobook with a 30-day trail membership. Go to audible.com/elevator and start listening. Or text ELEVATOR to 500-500.

In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts – a book by Gabor Maté
When Things Fall Apart – a book by Pema Chodron
The Miracle Morning – a book by Hal Elrod
Kintsuji The japanese artform of “golden joinery”.
Brainspotting – a theraputic technique
Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Jun 11, 2018

Burn The Ships

For many people, the answer of what is it that is holding us back in our lives isn’t exactly obvious. The question of what is blocking us from obtaining that inner peace we deserve can be difficult to answer for some. The good news is that if you’re listening to this podcast, the answer is most likely alcohol is what’s holding you back any it may be time to “burn the ships”.

Fran with 16 months since his last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:00] Paul Introduces Fran.

Fran is 43 years old from Indiana, but originally from Cleveland.  She's married and a mother of 2.  She's a program director and massage therapist.  She is an entrepreneur and loves yoga and the outdoors.  She also likes to work in her yard.  She previously had 3 years of sobriety during her 20's. 

 

[11:15] What made you seek out a sober life initially?

She injured herself as an athlete and then got into the restaurant business.  Initially it was fun, but then she began drinking on the job.  She realized her life was empty and she became depressed again.  An ex of hers helped take her to a 12 step meeting.  It worked until she stopped actively working on her sobriety. 

 

[14:14] What was your initial attempt at sobriety like?

She was able to ground herself in who she was, with a clear mind at a very pivotal time in her development.  She met other women in recovery and it felt a bit like a clique.  She didn't feel like she fit in.  After graduating college sober, she started doing some internet dating.  She met her husband and relocated to Indiana.  She had her first child, then started drinking shortly after the child was born.  She felt dislocated.  She transitioned back into semi-regular drinking, which eventually lead to excess. 

 

[20:02] Did you experience a bottom moment?

She had many.  She would fight with her husband.  She blacked out at a baby shower.  She fought with her family and her husband's family. 

 

[26:37] What was it like when you first quit drinking?

It wasn't easy.  It was a process that took time.  Initially motivated by weight loss, she felt like she was talking about it all the time.  She realized that she could not go a day without drinking.  Her husband was suffering from throat cancer and she started taking his pot pills after he recovered.  She tried to substitute them for alcohol.  She thought pot could get her sober. 

 

[28:49] Did that help?

No.  The anxiety and depression was worse.  She became suicidal.  She went back into recovery.  She started listening to Recovery Elevator.  She hit the gym.  She found herself back at AA.  She's more committed this time, and this time it's “no matter what”. 

 

[33:26] What is your recovery portfolio like today? 

She focuses on gratitude.  She reads and meditates.  She does yoga before work.  She realized that other people around her now have permission to focus on their health, as she leads by example.  Her marriage has improved a lot. 

 

[37:06] What is it like to be a healer and to help people release tension and bad energy?

It's a gift.  When she's able to be present, it helps them let go.  As a sober person, she now honors and respects her own body and leads her clients and students to the same. 

 

 

[38:54] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Seeing the despair on her child's face and she witnessed her mother being drunk.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    Stopping to buy alcohol on the way home from the gym, and opening the bottles before she got home.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Her sponsor.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    It's going to get better if we stay away from alcohol.

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    It's okay. It's okay to give it a shot to see what it's like.  It's not as scary as it seems.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You're so incapacitated by alcohol that your family thinks calling your reverend is the only way to get you to go home.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode is brought to you by Simple Contacts. Visit www.simplecontacts.com/elevator and use the promo code elevator for $30 off your first order.

The Language of Letting Go a book by Melody Beattie

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

Jun 4, 2018

Bravery:  Ready to face and endure danger or pain.  Showing Courage.

Many times in life we come face to face with our next step.  We can see clearly the path ahead that will lead to our next “level up”.  We can know everything there is to know about our plight and circumstances.  We can possess the very map that will lead us to the next door.  But when the time comes, sometimes we hesitate to open it.

In sobriety, you have to be willing to fail.  People who seek sobriety are a particular kind of brave.  They imagine another way to be and actively seek it out, even if it means going against the grain or swimming upstream.

It's important to note that being brave and/or courageous does not mean being without fear.  Feeling fear is not only normal, but it's an important part of the process.

The growth we seek lies not in running from fear, but in embracing it and, if possible, learning from it.  Fear can be a profound and necessary teacher.  Bring brave and courageous means that instead of avoiding fear, we compassionately face it and move forward with it as an ally in our sobriety portfolio.

Individual bravery becomes amplified and much more powerful when supported by the collective bravery of the sobriety community. 

Beth, with 6 months since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[8:50] Paul Introduces Beth.

Beth has been sober for just over 6 months.  She's 39 years old.  She's a mother of 3 from New Jersey.  She's a special education teacher.  She loves the outdoors, sports, art, and music.  She is learning skateboarding from her 9-year-old nephew. 

 

[11:38] When did you realize you had a problem with drinking?

 

 

 

She started drinking heavily in college in an attempt to deal with social situations and have fun.  She always felt different from other people, and was also dealing with a recent death in the family.  She had easy access to alcohol in school.  She moved to New York City right before the attack on the World Trade Center.  She used alcohol to deal with stress and difficult emotions. 

 

[16:40] Did you ever try to put any rules into place to moderate?

Yes.  She would try to regulate the times she could drink.  She would try to regulate when she was allowed to drink hard alcohol. 

 

[18:25] How much were you drinking before you quit? 

She drank nightly.  Red wine helped her deal with stress when dealing with her kid's homework. 

 

[20:15] Did you reach a rock bottom? 

She drank while taking her kids out for Halloween.  She drank a lot and experienced a bad hangover.  She began to worry about whether or not she was a good mother.  She discovered the podcast and began to listen.  She decided to become sober and joined Cafe RE. 

 

[26:20] What was it like at first when you quit?

She was excited.  She told a few close friends and family members.  She wanted to get back into running.  She felt great.  She avoided concerts and other places where she used to drink.  She did whatever it took to not drink. 

 

[28:45] Have you changed your mind about AA now that you're sober? 

It was a complete 180 degree change.  She began to feel more connected and she related to them more than before.  She is looking forward to expanding her recovery community. 

 

[33:45] How has your perception changed?

She knows she's on the right track, but she is starting to fear relapsing.  She is trying to break free from her perfectionist mentality.  She is facing and processing a lot of shame from her past.  She appreciates the benefits from her newly found clarity. 

 

[37:50] What happened when you accidentally posted your sobriety on Facebook?

She received some unexpected messages of support from different moms in her social network.  She gave others the info for getting help. She believes alcohol is a real gateway drug. 

[41:24] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Her birthday in NYC. After a night of dinner and drinks, she passed out on the floor next to her apartment door. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She went to a concert for her daughter's birthday. She needed beer badly.  She made her kids wait in line forever so she could get a beer. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    To continue staying healthy. Be more present with her kids.  Get more organized.  Find comfort within herself.  She's more happy with who she is. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE group because it will forward you to other great resources.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    If one drink is not enough, then it's time to stop drinking. The poison has already begun to take effect.  It's not worth it.  Trust your gut.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “You're pregnant, and you haven't told anyone. You say you're not drinking to someone, and they assume you're pregnant because you usually will always have a drink.” 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

May 28, 2018

The path of sobriety is not always easy.  Many of us will stumble, fall, relapse and find ourselves back at square one.  It's not the end of the world.  When we relapse, we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and, if necessary, reinvent ourselves. 

Tamara, with 48 days since her last drink, shares her story...

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[3:57] Paul Introduces Tamara.

Tamara is 31 years old, from Nashville, Tennessee.  For fun, she enjoys cooking, the outdoors, and spending time with loved ones. 

 

[7:00] When did you realize you wanted to quit drinking?

Her first drink was on her 21st birthday.  She drank through her 20s.  She had alcohol abuse in her family.  She thought her family was wrong by hiding alcohol from her. She thought it was fun.  The progression of her alcoholism snuck up on her.  She assumed it was healthy and normal.  She went through a big period of change that left her unsatisfied.

 

[15:30] Did you put any rules into place when you tried to quit drinking?

Yes.  She would try to limit other bad activities and use drinking as a reward.  She tried to abstain for a month with a friend.  She convinced herself to keep drinking.  Each year the rules would narrow until she stopped trying to do her cleanses.  She began to realize that she had a problem but she kept trying to fix other areas of her life, hoping it would fix her drinking.  Her ex told her about recovery elevator.  After listening she realized that she wasn't alone. 

 

[22:28] After drinking, what was it like without alcohol?

Weird.  She experienced physical withdrawal symptoms like anxiety.  Then she felt great.. experienced a pink cloud. 

 

[24:40] Has everyone in your life been on board with your lifestyle change?

No.  Her family and coworkers have been supportive but not everyone. 

 

[26:45]  What do you think brought on your relapse?  What did you take away?

She went on a work trip.  Everyone else was drinking.  She didn't yet have her recovery ingrained enough to handle the environment.  She now is working on a more holistic recovery strategy. 

 

[29:23] Walk us through a typical day in your recovery.

She tries to work on her recovery daily.  She says the prayer of serenity.  She meditates.  She tries to avoid negative news and media.  Her morning routine helps her stay in the right frame of mind to handle anything life can throw at her. 

 

[31:20] What have you learned about yourself in sobriety so far?

She learned that she deserves the things that she wants.  She sees more of the bigger picture now.  She's not afraid to relate to different kinds of people.  She focuses more on her values and ignores the noise.  She makes more of an effort to show up and work on herself first. 

 

[32:50] What's on your bucket list in sobriety?

She wants to work the steps.    

 

[33:30] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

    She started cutting herself to help deal with the deep depression she was experiencing. It helped her feel in control of herself.  One night she cut herself too deeply and she had to go to the emergency room.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    She's going to continue to work it to her best ability. She wants to continue adding tools to her recovery portfolio. 
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Cafe RE. The community in your online recovery community. 
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

    “What is your motivation?” When there is no clear-cut ethical guide, she has to get to the bottom of her own intentions. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    You are not alone. The recovery community is huge and willing to share with you.  Share your story.  There is no shame. 
  7. You might be an alcoholic if...

    “when discussing oral surgery with your physician, your first concern is how quickly you will be able to drink wine afterwards.”

    “What's in the water bottle?  … vodka.. just kidding!  .. it's actually vodka.” 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE- Use the promo code Elevator for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”

 

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