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Recovery Elevator

It isn't a NO to alcohol, but a YES to a better life! Best selling author Paul Churchill, along with Kristopher Oyen interview people who have stepped away from alcohol in their own lives. Each week this podcast does a deep dive into an exploration of what a booze free life might look like from various perspectives and opinions.  If you are sick and tired of alcohol making you sick and tired, we invite you to listen to Recovery Elevator. Check out what an alcohol free life can look like as others share their own stories of sobriety. If you are sober curious, newly sober, supporting a loved one or living your best life already in recovery, then you are in the right place. This podcast addresses what to do if you’re addicted to alcohol, or if you think you’re an alcoholic. Other topics include, does moderate drinking work, does addiction serve a purpose, what happens to the brain when we quit drinking, should you track sobriety time, is A.A. right for you, spirituality, and more. Similar to other recovery podcasts like This Naked Mind, the Shair Podcast, and the Recovered Podcast, Paul and Kris discuss a topic and then interview someone who has ditched the booze.
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Now displaying: Page 1
Nov 7, 2016

Christine has been sober for 129 days... This is her story…

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:
www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/
This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE!

SHOW NOTES

What is a dry drunk? It is someone who just doesn’t drink anymore, who has 'quit' using sheer willpower... ***Spoiler Alert*** Willpower eventually runs out. We need a program, something and someone to fall back on to support us. Your program can look completely unique to yourself and doesn't just have to be AA (although many do recommend it).

When you quit using sheer willpower, sure, you become healthier, physically feeling like you’ve been born again and the memory of passing out in a Cracker Barrel buffet line begins to fade. You'll start to gain confidence in your recent found 'sober' success and you say to yourself, "I did this. I quit. I got this." (Uh-oh, those three little words, think RE #86... Problem right there!) Eventually, we will forget entirely about the Cracker Barrel buffet line, which is a problem because, A – their cornbread is fantastic and, B – that was the reason you quit drinking. That was not a highlight in your life.  Studies show that humans have selective memory and we tend to remember the good things (i.e. the Cornbread) and not the bad things (i.e. the Ambulance, the Buffet Line, and the Cracker Barrel experience).

As a dry drunk, when we quit drinking, our genius plan is to simply not drink, thinking that one day we’ll be able to drink normally again. If you have this thought, don’t worry, every alcoholic has, but the dry drunks don’t ever address this or relinquish the thought. The key is to surrender.

This is what I call 'white knuckling it'. I think everyone is white knuckling it when they quit drinking but the dry drunks keep white knuckling it. Right about the time when all the physical healing has taken place (for me, it took over a year), is when the true white knuckling takes place. It’s when Gary (Paul's alter-ego) starts to make an appearance. It’s when 'we' start having the internal dialogue of justification. It’s when our unconscious minds have seen the barrage of alcohol adds on social media, television, and everywhere else our open eyes and ears look. This is when the cognitive dissonance starts to take place... Translation, we need help! We can't do this alone...

[ 08:12 ] Paul introduces Christine.

Christine's last drink was June 13th of 2016, about 129 days ago. She has been sober for just over 4 months. Christine grew up in a small town in central Michigan. She is now studying chemistry at Montana State University and is almost finished with her Ph.D. She loves hunting, fishing, camping and anything else outside...

[ 09:23 ] Paul talks about first meeting Christine in 2011 when he was a dry drunk and how she helped him in 2014 to make a change after hitting his bottom.

Christine remembers that Paul was hurting so badly and she was so glad that Paul gave her a call. There were lots of tears, lots and lots of tears (and it wasn't just the horses and pastures they were passing causing an allergic reaction) as they drove down canyon from Big Sky Ski Resort where Paul was DJ-ing a wedding. Christine urged Paul to call his mom, dad, and brother, to seek support... Christine has been an integral part of Paul's sobriety.

[ 14:03 ] Talk to us about your Elevator. What was your bottom?

"Bottoms are always defined differently... I had decided back in December of 2015 to quit drinking. I stopped drinking for 2 weeks before deciding that I wasn't a 'quitter'! I picked right up where I left off. I wasn't fully committed, I hadn't taken the steps I needed." In June, Christine had a "what am I doing with my life" moment on her way to fishing... She had a couple beers on the road and stopped to let the dog out before getting to the fishing spot, where she realized that her bottle of whiskey had spilled everywhere. "I was horrified, my heart started to flutter and I started to panic..." On the way back from fishing, Christine smacked a deer. This really opened her eyes as so much more could have gone wrong... Christine took this as a sign that it was time to make a change.

 

[17:51  ] How did you do it? Walk us through the first day, the first week.

"Those first few days were such a blur. I started intensive outpatient therapy (IOP)... I was a wreck. The IOP really helped. I had a friend in West Yellowstone who I relied on heavily during my early days of sobriety. I spent a lot of time on the fishing boat out in the middle of nowhere."

[ 19:36 ] Christine comments on how important it is to get outdoors... 

"Fly fishing has just become my absolute passion. To this day, anytime I feel wrong, or off, or I have cravings, I throw whatever I'm doing to the side and head to the river." Since being sober, Christine has not torn any waders or taken any 'accidental' swims in 43 degree weather! Fishing has taught Christine the beauty of being totally present.

[ 22:51 ] How much did you drink? Talk to us about your drinking habits before you quit.

"I was on an exponential curve downwards... That last month of drinking was just sliding... I was finishing almost a bottle of whiskey a day."

"I'd use booze to handle work, to handle stress, to handle literally everything..."

[ 24:31 ] Christine talks about her bipolar diagnosis.

Christine is diagnosed with bipolar II, which is an elevated state of mood... "My doctors and counselors kept telling me that I drank too much... They told me that my moods, the ups and downs, would improve if I stopped drinking. Alcohol would just make the highs higher and the lows lower... I could just drink and drink and drink when I was in a mania state, but when I was depressed, it would drag me down and down and down..."

Christine got honest with herself and those around her...

[ 29:40 ] What changes did you see?

"The biggest part was telling people about it. When I didn't have the strength, I had other people to keep me in line. I don't think anybody can do it alone." Christine lost 25lbs. just from quitting drinking. Going to bed at night is still challenging for Christine, but it's a lot better than pounding shots to blackout. "Some days are still absolute hell, my emotions get the best of me... These are the hardest. Sometimes I head into work at 3am to keep me from drinking."

[ 33:29 ] Walk us through a day in your life and how you stay sober today.

"I don't really have a day to day sobriety plan. I haven't fully gotten on board with AA, but I do go to a Friday and Saturday AA group at 9pm. I have a bunch of friends there. I listen to this podcast and participate in the Facebook Group... So many times I have looked at that and have been so thankful. I see two different counselors, an addiction counselor and a mental health counselor. Honestly, I'm so busy that I just dig my head into what I'm doing and be there and be present."

[ 35:38 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? "I was 16 and I was binge drinking. I pounded 8 shots of UV-Blue and 10 minutes later was puking blue... My mom was not so thrilled."
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? "When I smacked into that deer... I realized it was time."
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? "To keep sober. I consider future events that could be triggering and talk out a plan to stay sober, making sure that I have an out."
  4. What's your favorite resource in recovery? "My group at the Alcohol and Drug Services here in Bozeman, MT."
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? "Get an accountability partner, giving them permission to call you out on your crap!"
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? "Dive in. Do it. Don't give up. It's going to suck at first, but a week from now it'll be better, just keep going."

“You Might be an Alcoholic If…”

"If you try to drink the split whiskey in the bottom of your cooler that's mixed with the water...." (Thanks Paul!)

 "If you start selling your fly rods so you can buy another bottle of whiskey." - Christine

 

Resources mentioned in RE 90:

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

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  • First month FREE with Promo Code: Elevator.

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

Support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

www.recoveryelevator.com/amazon/

This episode was brought to you by Cafe RE and get your daily AA email here!

 

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