About this podcast
Here’s an idea. When you’re a closet alcoholic who’s quit drinking more times than you can count, start a podcast to hold yourself accountable as publicly as possible. Share your struggles, your triumphs, and every lesson you’re learning along the way. While you’re at it, invite others to share their stories of addiction and recovery so that you can learn from them and be reminded: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Getting sober is just the beginning. Staying sober, and then becoming the person I know I’m meant to be is the real adventure. Join me?
About this podcast
Here’s an idea. When you’re a closet alcoholic who’s quit drinking more times than you can count, start a podcast to hold yourself accountable as publicly as possible. Share your struggles, your triumphs, and every lesson you’re learning along the way. While you’re at it, invite others to share their stories of addiction and recovery so that you can learn from them and be reminded: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Getting sober is just the beginning. Staying sober, and then becoming the person I know I’m meant to be is the real adventure. Join me?
RE 330: Break Free From the Matrix
Episode 330– You change and grow and evolve and that’s a good thing. You get better, wiser, stronger and make better decisions. You can’t be afraid of that. Tricia took her last drink on November 14, 2016. She is from Dallas and is 40 years old. This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF). Today’s episode will be a bit different. Tricia chatted with Paul previously on episodes 100 and 212. We will focus on life beyond the bottle and what happens after you have some sober time under your belt. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/re-100-binge-drinking-problem-2/ https://www.recoveryelevator.com/re-212-the-body-tells-us-where-to-go-next/ Today is the final episode of Season 2. Season 3 of the Recovery Elevator podcast begins June 21st. We are focused on having fun, staying authentic, spicy chili mango, ice cream and helping others along the way. Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette has encountered many people who feel stuck. They are struggling with letting go of booze. It’s hard to let go of alcohol in a society that encourages drinking. It is normal and part of cognitive dissonance. You can step out of that societal pressure that encourages alcohol consumption. It’s when we resist that it feels the hardest. Choosing to see this journey as an opportunity instead of a sacrifice helps is the first step to breaking free. Choosing to see we are the lucky ones. Alcohol makes false promises. When we engage differently with the world, we learn we are detaching from booze and the matrix. We must be part of society, but we have power to choose and create new experiences. We outgrow our old selves and fitting in with others. Remember you have the power to break free from the matrix. You have the power to heal, make new friends, make different decisions, and focus on a better life. Lean into new beginnings. You matter! You can find peace in your decision to stop drinking. [10:28] Odette welcomes Tricia Tricia took her last drink on November 14, 2016. She describes herself as a high functioning drinker. Her family had addiction issues. Tricia talked about being co-dependent and she was a perfectionist and over achiever. Success validated her. She worked in a service industry and as a chef. She worked hard and drank hard. She was protective of her drinking because she didn’t want anyone to know about her drinking. She was obsessed with making it look like everything was fine. She was a blackout drinker. She was scared about that progression. She was unable to quit for more than a month at a time. She got divorced and used alcohol to cope and avoid her feelings. Her anxiety peaked and her drinking became out of control. One Monday she went through three days of withdrawal after a weekend of binge drinking. She reminds everyone not to quit cold turkey if they are physically addicted because it can be life-threatening. She started listening to podcasts, Recovery Elevator and heard stories that sounded like her. She began looking for resources and she went to an AA meeting. She worked the steps, got a sponsor, and went to therapy. Not all of them stuck, but she liked being able to do it her way. Tricia has found freedom in recovery. [20:10] Is it easy to forget how bad your problem was? How do you make yourself remember? Tricia said she forgets, but not in a way that makes her want to drink. She knows it was terrible and doesn’t want to go back. The freshness of early sobriety, her first 90 days are hard to remember. Recovery is a big part of her life which makes it easier to remember. [23:19] What are some of your later lessons of sobriety? Tricia said people pleasing and inner child work are old habits to break. Initially your focus is not drinking. In time you find new things to work on and it never gets old. People pleasing is a tough one to overcome. Separating herself from her feelings was huge. Alcohol was 20% of her issue, the other issues emerge as you gain sobriety. [26:25] What is your currency now? Tricia said joy and peace. At night, if she is sleeping easy and she isn’t ruminating, she knows she is doing something right. Breathwork and meditation help. Her focus was on achievement and what she could earn. When she finds joy in things and what makes her happy, she is at peace. You make choices about how you live life, and it brings you freedom. Stopping and being mindful of what she is thinking is the work. Small, steady work on your thoughts is important. [30:50] How do you protect your energy? Tricia said identifying energy sucks are critical. She is mindful of her reactions to things. Identifying ‘her part’ is important. Identifying what she can control helps. There are days when she didn’t sleep well or didn’t eat and she doesn’t do as good a job as she would like, but she gets an opportunity to try again the next day. Tricia recognizes she will disappoint herself and others. She does the best she can and embraces her humanity. We are all doing the best we can, and listening is important. Getting counsel from people who know you well is helpful. She likes to remember that not everyone is thinking about you. Tricia says, find your team – people who know your story. Don’t live someone else’s life. Think about yourself the way your dog loves you! [41:15] How do you manage your relationship with anxiety? Tricia said she has struggled with anxiety since age 7. She had physical panic attacks at age 20. Medication has helped, but she didn’t have any tools. Anxiety can be progressive. She was blocking out days at a time because of anxiety, not alcohol. Now she lives with anxiety and pretends it’s a roommate. She knows how to keep it in check. Giving up alcohol is the best thing you can do. Tricia focuses on trying to prevent anxiety and meditation, exercise, journaling, a therapist are great tools. Routine is important including good sleep. [45:32] How is being tuned into your body helpful? Tricia said, the body keeps the score. It holds onto trauma, memories, etc. Through breathwork, she is learning to connect to her body. It checks her into her body, and she can feel when she is getting triggered, stressed, or tired. Expressing uncomfortable emotions is so important, otherwise it shows up as anxiety or a drinking problem. Book Reference: The Body Keeps the Score https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18693771-the-body-keeps-the-score [50:12] Rapid Fire Round What is something unexpected in your journey? How fun it is. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Tricia can’t eat ice cream, but she loves peach pie. What has recovery made possible for you? Meeting myself and who I really am. What parting advice would you give to young listeners? Ask questions about your relationship with alcohol. Push back. If you drink, you will miss out. Holding on to booze keeps you missing out. Odette’s Summary Odette challenges us to take out our journal and write out what the most beautiful and authentic version of your life looks life. If the unknown is hard to process, give your brain some direction. Write it down, fill in those fear gaps with hope. Feel free to email me at email@example.com. You took the elevator down; you must take the stairs back up. Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 329: An Arsenal of Why's
Episode 329 – I started to notice the expectations putting an expectation on things or a timeline or predict reactions. I try to do what I can every day and try not to put expectations on things anymore. Dane took his last drink on October 11, 2020. He is from Washington State, and he is 32 years old. This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF). Season 3 of the Recovery Elevator podcast begins June 21st. We are focused on having fun, staying authentic and helping others along the way. Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette spoke about her beloved Peleton and the arsenal of “why’s”. and thought shifts. The instructor encouraged Odette to dig into her arsenal of why’s and keep going. Odette reflected on Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why. Odette reflected on her time in rehab. She focused on why she was recovering from food addiction. She knew having a family was her why and Actions can be driven by fear or manipulation or love and inspiration. Simon says few people or companies can articulate why they do what they do. Charisma has nothing to do with energy, it come from clarity of WHY. Energy comes from good sleep or caffeine. Charisma comes from loyalty, energy does not. Our purpose is to stay on the path of an alcohol-free life. Odette wants to stay sober so her kids can have a health, not perfect role model. Odette wants to have healthy relationships and break toxic patterns in society . Odette has many why’s and she leans on those whys when her tank is empty. Hard days are part of a good life. Dig into your arsenal of WHY’s. [7:56] Odette introduces Dane Dane took his last drink on October 11, 2020. He lives in Washington State. He is a buy and hold real estate investor. He subcontracts with janitorial work. He is 32 and single. He has a son arriving in June. He was an only child, so he is hoping to make it as fun as possible. He loves to travel, seeing culture, history, and food. He loves cross fit, yoga, the river, boating and is returning to meditation. [10:49] Tell us about your history with drinking? Dane said he started drinking in high school He and a friend drank a fifth. In junior year, beer was the drink of choice. In college he was mixing drinks and he noticed things going downhill. He had a rock bottom moment; he was in a car accident. He was transported to Portland and was in the hospital for 30 days. He was de-gloved. After a year of healing, he returned to college to get his degree. For two months he didn’t drink. When he started again, he would black out and it went downhill from there. [14:13] Were you questioning your relationship with alcohol when your accident occurred? Dane said the night of the accident, he didn’t drink any more than usual. A psychology class prompted him to think about how much he drank. He moderated and binge drank on the weekends. Everybody drank in college, so it didn’t seem like a big deal. [16:08] What happened after college? After college, Dane moved to Seattle for a large city experience. He binged with his friends on the weekends. He began to distance himself from his friends so he wouldn’t drink as much. He went home to visit him family. His business and his family inspired him to move back to Eastern Washington. [17:40}. When did you attempt to stop drinking? Dane said he and his girlfriend had an argument. He didn’t remember any of it. He drove back to his house and awoke with shame, guilt, and anxiety. He tried to quit before, but generally avoiding his friends and moderating. He knew the life he wanted to have wouldn’t exist without drinking. [19:47] What was your thought process about quitting? Dane said once the car accident happened it put a bull’s eye on him. It put him on the map with an alcohol problem. People asked him about quitting or moderating. When people asked him about quitting, he wanted the details so he could understand it. Dane googled how to quit drinking or famous people who quit drinking. He knew for five years, he needed to quit, he just didn’t know how. [24:06] What happened on October 10th? I had an argument with my girlfriend and I couldn’t remember any of it. The first three days were recuperation. He continued looking at other nondrinkers. Dane found Café RE, and a weight was lifted. He knew he was not alone. As he continues getting tools, he knows his life is better. He realized he was a good person but didn’t show his best character when drinking. [27:34] How did you handle early sobriety? Dane said he was always a binge drinker, and he listened to podcasts and focused on podcasts, yoga, and healthy food. He is tempted with a cold beer or a shot, but he goes back to what he may feel, do, or say. Dane often thought he didn’t have a problem because he wasn’t a daily drinker. A lot of times the hard things are hard. We think backwards. He lets people know he isn’t drinking. Many people ask him how many days he has. Dane gave a shout out to P [37:27] Do you have a favorite non-alcoholic drink? Dane said Topo Chico and Fred Meyer’s Selzer water. He loves the feeling. He also does some NA beers. He goes to water quickly. [38:55} Have you noticed any changes in your daily routine? Dane said he is sleeping a lot more. He acknowledges his body is healing and he needs the sleep. Day to day he works out and goes to one of his properties. He is working on meditation. Dane is managing his expectations and tries to limit them. [43 21:] Rapid Fire Round What is a lightbulb moment you have you had in this journey? I feel better physically and mentally What would you say to your younger self? Try the experiment but acknowledge your goals for your body and your spirit. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Ben & Jerry’s tonight dough. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze? You are going to feel shitty, but you must let go of alcohol as the crutch. You may have to say Adios to booze if … If you almost die, almost lose your arm…. Odette’s Summary Odette challenges us to build our list of why’s. Find all the reasons why you want to stay committed to ditching the booze. This isn’t a no to alcohol, but a yes to a better life. Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 328: F is for Fear
Episode 328 – the quality of my relationships with other people in the world is limited by the quality of my relationship with myself. Adam took his last drink on December 13, 2019. He is from Massachusetts, and he is 37 years old. This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF). Season 3 of the Recovery Elevator podcast begins June 21st. We are focused on having fun, staying authentic and helping others along the way. Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette spoke about early sobriety and thought shifts. Early sobriety can be exhausting because your body is resetting, and your thoughts are playing tug-o-war. You have permission to be tired in early recovery. The mental work is exhausting. Odette referenced Melody Beattie and the Language of Letting Go. Letting go of fear is at the core of codependency. Fear can help you protect yourself. In recovery, waving goodbye to fear allows you to embrace safety, trust, peace, and acceptance. Pay attention to healthy fears and let go of the rest. We can trust and love ourselves. Sometimes what is best for us feels wrong. We oversee letting go of what doesn’t serve us anymore. Peace begins within you. [8:15] Odette introduces Adam Adam took his last drink on December 13, 2019. He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife and two young children. He is a lawyer. He loves running, hiking, reading, and playing with his two girls. [9:51] Tell us about your history with drinking? Adam said his first love was marijuana. He smoked during high school. His mother died suddenly when he was in college. He stopped smoking pot when he went to law school due to the conflict with legality. Slowly alcohol crept into his life. After a few years, he muted his feelings and pressures at work with alcohol. He quickly started moderating. He moved to Massachusetts and intended to stop drinking, but he was isolated, and his drinking escalated. [12:28] What was your mindset around alcohol? Adam said for him it was always numbing. He liked to drink alone. He struggled with family issues including shame, vulnerability, and food issues. He took on some of the behaviors he saw in his family. [14:00] Did You have food issues as well? Adam said he did struggle with weight as well. In junior year of high school, he lost 70 pounds. He loves running and that has helped him manage his emotions. He has been choosing mediation in the past year. [15:21] How did your drinking evolve? Adam said by 2014, he went to his first AA meeting. He spoke to his therapist about drinking, but he wasn’t ready to deal with it. He developed a pattern of lying about his drinking and he would get caught. He tried to control his drinking by buying nips. He wanted a state of numbness without heavy consequences. He described an out of body experience about starting to drink and drive and hide bottles before he got home. [17:45] Was your shame progressing? Adam said it was terrible. He felt like a total failure. He was taking risks, putting his daughter in danger. The weight of the shame was huge. Things came to a head when his wife was pregnant with their second child. He recalled lying about sobriety time and taking coins for a year of sobriety when he hadn’t achieved it. He brought the coins into the meeting and told them he had lied. He was accepted, given hugs and it opened the door for him to transition from shame to guilt. He was still drinking and hiding. Anticipating coping with a newborn prompted him to ask for a bigger level of help. He went to rehab to get well. [22:51] Did returning the coins change how you approached drinking? Adam said it opened the door to imperfection. He read “the Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. He learned that the quality of relationships with other people in this world were limited by his relationship with himself. If he couldn’t learn to love himself, his relationship with his wife would suffer. He knew he needed to take 30 days away to have the space and room to learn to love himself. [24:58] How were things when you returned home? Adam has found freedom from his self-imposed “control” cage. When he returned home, he had a lot of trust to rebuild. He spent 15 hours a day changing his mindset while in rehab. When he returned home, he realized life went on. In the beginning he resisted several things. His wife asked him to put a breathalyzer in the car because she was concerned about him driving the children while intoxicated. Today he embraces that completely, but at the time his ego resisted the suggestion. He had to learn to ask for advice versus selling his excuses to others. He and his family have been safe for over a year. He has rebuilt trust and freedom with his family. [30:53] How were the first few months? Adam said he had very few cravings. He is active in AA. He attends four virtual meetings a week. He belongs to a gratitude group and shares three things he is grateful for every day. [32:55] What role does exercise play in your recovery? Adam ran when he was drinking. He works out now. He uses the peloton app and looks forward to running when the weather improves. [33:39] Tell me about your meditation practice. Adam dabbled in meditation for a while. In treatment, he focused on developing a meditation practice. He embraced the mantra, “I am worthy of receiving all of the love the universe has for me.” He had some life changing moments with meditation, mantras and breathwork. Things just clicked. Adam meditates daily for a minimum of ten minutes. He loves how he can change how his body feels just by breathing. He knows it is worth it to try new things and invest in himself. Willingness is critical for him. [37:55] How have your relationships evolved in recovery? Adam referenced AA’s promises and said he could not have designed what his life is like now. He wakes up after disjointed sleep and realizes how lucky he is to experience his daughters. The last year (COVID) has been a gift with a new child, homeschooling, juggling careers and has helped his marriage. [40:51] Is parenting triggering for you? Adam said he doesn’t want to drink, but he often wants to escape. He leverages meditation to help him overcome those temporary challenges of parenting. [42:44] What is your response when someone offers you a drink? Adam feels very comfortable. He brings his own drink anytime he goes out, so he doesn’t risk having to look around for something. His wife had a glass of wine after a year of not drinking (due to pregnancy) and didn’t like how she felt. She is joining Adam to be alcohol free. The only thing Adam misses is the escape. [46:33] What is something unexpected that has happened during your journey? Adam said he experiences more joy daily than he thought was possible. [46:44] What are you looking forward to? Adam loves live music, specifically Fish and the Grateful Dead. Both bands have a big sober following. He wants to go to a concert and attending a fellowship meeting during a set break to experience live music and sobriety. [47:54] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your younger self? You are worthy of receiving all the love that the universe has for you. What has recovery made possible for you? Everything. Addiction is giving up everything for one thing and recovery is about giving up one thing for everything. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Ben & Jerry’s oatmeal cookie. What are some of your favorite resources in recovery? The book, The Four Agreements. His sponsor and his sober community have been tremendous assets. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze? There is nothing in this world that is worth more than an investment in yourself. Once you do that, you will have a life you can’t imagine. You may have to say Adios to booze if … If you find yourself drinking at an in-person AA meeting. Odette’s Summary Odette challenges listeners to take out your journals and explore this prompt. When do I feel at peace? Is it easy to stay there? What do I run toward when I find myself unable to stay at peace? Creating a new mindset takes more than quitting drinking. Learn more about yourself. Check out our YouTube channel for a recipe for Tamarind limeade – lots of laughs! You are not alone, together is always better. Peace begins with you. Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 327: Trust is Like a Video Game
Episode 327 – trying to stop and think about, is alcohol serving me? I don’t have to decide right now, I need to get back to basics. Chloe took her last drink on June 7, 2020. She is from the UK and is 32 years old. This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF). Odette gave a shout out to Brainwashed Coffee that is one of the sponsors of the Bozeman retreat. They also donate 50% of their proceeds to those in addiction recovery. https://www.brainwashedcoffeeco.com/ Promo Code: elevator for a 20% discount. Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette spoke about growing up with her brother, Charlie and playing lots of video games. Odette talked about trust and video games. Trust is earned. The more you do the next right thing and protect your sobriety, you get to the next level, just the way you level up when playing video games. Facing recovery with fun instead of fear helps you recognize your increasing skills that come with practice. [6:09] Odette introduces Chloe Chloe took her last drink on June 7, 2020. She said it has been a crazy journey. Chloe is 32 and lives in the UK. She has a dog, and she loves walking the dog, running, anything active. [7:16] Tell us about your history with drinking? Chloe started drinking at age 15. She was a binge drinker like many of her friends. She didn’t see it as a problem until her mid to late twenties. She started listening to the Recovery Elevator podcast. She reached one-year of sobriety and had a relapse that was lengthy. As of this recording she has 8 months of continuous sobriety. [8:19] What put you on the trajectory to quit drinking? Chloe said she wanted to drink more than she could get away with. As her moderation journey continued, her drinking got worse. She got depressed and was in a bad relationship. She attempted suicide and was put into an inpatient program for depression. She was sneaking alcohol while in the program but didn’t relate the correlation between drinking and her depression, she found AA and discovered she could have a happy life without drinking. [11:01] Did the doctors treating your depression ask about your drinking? Chloe said she played down her drinking. She thought everyone did that. Alcohol was such a crutch, and it was something she looked forward to, so it was hard to get her head around stopping. [12:30] How did you end up at your first AA meeting? Chloe said the more she tried to moderate, the more out of control her drinking became. She answered yes to every question on an alcohol quiz. She was able to relate to what people in AA said. They were able to have a happy, functional life without alcohol. It helped her change her thinking about drinking and her depression. [14:49] What happened after your first AA meeting? Chloe stopped drinking for a bit, then relapsed. She went into a second treatment program and got sober. She worked the steps. She achieved a year of sobriety. She started drinking after getting into a relationship with someone new. He was a drinker and she wanted to share that experience. Over the next 18 months, her drinking became progressively worse. Her thinking was muddled. She read Paul Churchill’s book; Alcohol is Sh*t! She realized she didn’t need to figure out if she was powerless, yet. She needed to get back to basics and keep trying. Even one day of sobriety is progress. [18:08] Did the desire to fit in influence your relapse? Chloe said she thought she could have fun with alcohol and stop again. She didn’t realize how insidious it is to continue starting and stopping over and over. Sobriety is precious. She felt crazy. She would listen to sobriety podcasts, then drink at night. She learned a lot of lessons through drinking. [21:54] Did you share your sobriety with people outside of AA? Chloe said she did share her quest for sobriety with the person she was in a relationship with. She had to get support when she returned to sobriety. She has great friends in AA and her family is supportive as well. [23:02] Did sobriety help your depression? Chloe said about six months into sobriety she noticed the feelings of joy and gratitude that she hadn’t experienced before. The depression was gone. Her life had meaning and a reason to go on. [24:46] What motivated you to quit again? Chloe said it was during lockdown and things were bad. Lockdown accelerated her drinking. She drank three bottles of wine a day, passed out and kept repeating it day after day. Her last night of drinking, she drank so much, she got into a fight and got violent with her partner at the time. She called the police, and they took him away. The next morning, she realized she was the one with the problem and it couldn’t happen again. The risk was no longer worth it. She felt done and resigned. She threw everything she had at sobriety. She went back to AA and attacked sobriety, stacked days and she is grateful it’s working. The first few months were tough, now she doesn’t have to work so hard to stay sober. [28:11] Do you realize how amazing it is that you pulled it together? Chloe said her self-esteem was strengthened. She knows she can do hard things and other things she didn’t think were possible. [30:21] Did you start going back to meetings? Chloe said, not immediately, but now she can attend in person meetings. She has friends in AA, she connected to people on Instagram, listened to podcasts and joined Café RE. [31:32] How do you manage cravings? Chloe said she is learning not to freak out. She doesn’t overthink the craving. It’s normal. Cravings are just a thought. She plays the tape forward, exercises and reaches out to friends. [33:55] Do you get any negative feedback from others about your sobriety? She said, not this round. In the last round a co-worker said he didn’t trust anyone who didn’t drink. [34:45] Have you overcome the concern about having fun sober? Chloe had to rethink her mindset about sobriety and looks at it as a joyful, amazing journey of growth and possibility vs. misery and deprivation. She has more energy, more enthusiasm, more interests, more people in her life. [37:34] Have you been able to identify triggers? Chloe said stress and celebrations are her biggest triggers. She recognizes that drinking is no longer a celebration. The pause is so important. [38:58] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your younger self? Keep trying no matter what. What is your go to response when someone offers you a drink? She hasn’t faced that because of lockdown. Her planned response is, yes please, I’ll have a sparkling water. What has recovery made possible for you? Everything. When she was drinking, she was doing nothing. She is training for a marathon, starting a new career and happily single. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? All ice cream. She hasn’t had a bad one! What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze? Keep putting in the action, stacking the days and the result will come. You may have to say Adios to booze if … If you are listening to podcasts about sobriety. Odette’s Summary We have your back. We are your safe container. The journey comes with different levels. Hit the save button when you get stuck. Take a breath, ask for help. Nothing great is ever done on our own, sobriety takes a village. Have fun along the way and trust the process. Remember that you are not alone and together is always better. We can do this! Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 326: REwriting Stories
Episode 326 – playing forward and playing it present -- if I drink again, why would I want to go down that path? Erik took his last drink on March 9, 2019. He is from upstate New York. This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF). This quarter’s Recovery Elevator donation went to “The Phoenix.” thephoenix.org Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette is training for a marathon. She reached out to her fitness coach Paul from RecoveryFit1 to get some guidance on training, cross-training, etc. She has noticed the training for the race is re-training her brain, rewriting her story and building her confidence. Crossing the finish line of a marathon is scary for Odette. During her childhood, she participated in the rally portion of the mini-Olympics. She fell and as a result her team was in last place. From then on, she told herself she was not a runner. Odette recognizes we often get stuck in our stories because those stories are all we know. We need to believe we can do things differently. She is using visualization techniques to overcome her old stories. What stories are we telling ourselves about our alcohol-free journey? Are those stories holding you back or keeping you stuck? How can you re-write your story? [8:53] Odette introduces Erik Erik took his last drink on March 9, 2019. His journey includes ups, downs, and stability. He grew up in upstate New York and lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, He is 42, single and living it up in the sunshine state. Erik loves binge watching TV (COVID), meet-up.com, brunch, dinner, event planning, relaxing and baths. [11:23] Tell us about your history with drinking? Erik took his first drink at junior prom and found his dad’s secret stash of Manhattan’s. He didn’t drink much until college. He remembers the Bridge Street Run and he got completely wasted and was on camera when the local news covered the event. His drinking progressed from there. He moved to Los Angeles and in 2010 he got his first DUI. He knew his drinking was a problem and he started looking at his drinking more closely. His DUI stemmed from a party that included friends from college. At 3 AM, he remembers driving home and avoiding someone on the side of the road. He passed an accident and almost ran over the cops. His recollection was foggy because he was so intoxicated. He exited the freeway on Hollywood Blvd., was arrested and the cops took him back to the scene of the accident so he could see where he almost ran the cops over. His friends came to pick him up and told him, ‘It’s ok, it happens to everyone’. [17:55] What happened after the DUI? Eric looks at his drinking career through the lens of his DUI’s because he’s had three in ten years. He went to AA after the first DUI. He took one of the quizzes about problem drinking. His gut knew he had a problem, but he ignored it and went along with his friends who said it was not a big deal. He moved to Florida and picked up where he left off. His 2nd DUI was in 2013. He remembers going out, ripping his jeans from dancing and drove from West Palm Beach to Ft. Lauderdale. He was driving 80 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. He blew a .15 and went to court. Five years later he got his third DUI. [21:16] What was your drinking like between the DUI’s? After the first DUI, it scratched the surface of concern, but he kept drinking. Erik describes himself as a celebratory binge drinker. He went to AA for four months without drinking and believed moderating would work for him. He was able to moderate successfully until the shut off valve in his brain didn’t shut off. In 2018, Erik got his third DUI. He had a breathalyzer in his vehicle and was still positive (for alcohol) the next day. Erik took a cab to work. Erik never wants to be like that again. [27:39] What other elements of your life (at the time) could be attributed to alcohol? Erik said from 2016-2018 he was a mess. He was on anti-depressants and drinking and the combination and progression were not good. Erik knew peer pressure was a big deal for him. He learned to distance himself from people who drink. He acknowledges his choices and recognizes he needs to say no to others in an [30:02] Did you have a rock bottom when you had your last drink? Erik said the weekend after his third DUI he was drinking, and he drove a friend to the airport at 5 am. He went to AA for six months. He chaired meetings, read the books. His attorney helped him to stay out of jail by wearing an ankle monitor. He was unable to get into treatment because he already had six months of sobriety. Erik had to hack the system to get treatment. He got really drunk to make sure he could get into treatment vs. jail. [37:54] How was your life after treatment? Erik described treatment being a gift. There were some downsides, including losing his privacy. When he left rehab, he was required to wear an ankle monitor. He had a falling out with his sponsor. He made a choice to drink to stay out of jail. He became forthcoming with his therapist and social worker. AA was a blessing for him. He found Recovery Elevator during COVID, and he sees many similarities to AA. Some days are hard and other days are beautiful. Sobriety is work. It’s a daily chore, but it’s so worth it for him. It works if you work it and work it because you are worth it! Erik thirsts for Recovery Elevator to become bigger. He loves the meet ups and the chats, and it has been great for him. [46:39] How do you relate to alcohol now? Erik said his ankle monitor came in handy. It helped him through several situations including a funeral, a long layover at an airport. Erik knows he can have fun without alcohol, and he can be in public spaces without drinking. He is learning about who he is and who he wants to be. Time heals all wounds, and you get more comfortable with sobriety with time. Playing it forward and playing it present helps him stay sober. [51:01] Rapid Fire Round What has this journey made possible for you? It has allowed me to get to know myself and look inside and see who I want to be as a human being and how I want to interact with the universe. What is your go to response when someone offers you a drink? No, thank you. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Rocky Road What is an unexpected perk of this journey? I have more patience and I’m more in the moment. You experience sunrises and sunsets differently. Florida is beautiful year around and he loves being in the moment. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze? Stick with it. Listen to your gut. We’ve all had plenty of day 1’s. Don’t minimize your sobriety. Be thankful for what you have and keep coming back. You may have to say Adios to booze if … You have to check your car for damage after a night of drinking or can’t remember where your car is. Odette’s Summary One of our team members, Alan Copeland is going to share about Café RE. Check out Alan’s episode 287. Alan has been with Café RE since January 1, 2020. He helps onboard new members. Café RE includes: Connection with like-minded people Podcast Over 20 online chats per week Accountability partner Facebook group In person meet-ups with sober people (have fun without drinking) Courses including Restore, Ditch the Booze Book club Movie Club Yoga Fitness class Member listing Recovery Buffet (AA, Smart Recovery, Recovery Dharma friendly – we support the menu of options for recovery) $24 monthly membership fee Cancel anytime, rejoin anytime Alan believes RE can help you overcome loneliness. You quickly understand there are like-minded people who are here to support you. Lifelong friendships are built in Café RE. We focus on the similarities. We don’t follow a specific program we are open to multiple options for recovery. The light will always be on for you here at Café RE. Remember that you are not alone and together is always better. We can rewrite our stories. Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 325: Death as a Life Tool
Episode 325 – I used to drink at people when I was upset and those were bad nights. I believed alcohol calmed me down and got me out of the anger. Gillian took her last drink on November 9, 2019. She is from Boston and loves playing video games. This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF). https://www.getgruvi.com/ discount code: recoveryelevator Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette has been thinking about death. She has anxiety about dying. She read a chapter in the Untethered Soul. The author, Michael A. Singer said having an active relationship with death is healthy. “It is truly a great cosmic paradox that one of the best teachers in all of life turns out to be death. No person or situation could teach as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you, you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them away in a second. Death makes us all the same.” Keeping death at the forefront of our mind helps us stay in the moment. We can stop focusing on the future or dwelling on the past and appreciate every moment. Full presence with her children gives Odette great joy. In the moment, Odette is learning to appreciate what she has. She knows we can avoid thinking about death, but it’s inevitable. When we choose sobriety, we remove a huge block that prevents us from being in the moment. Odette still has other blocks, yet she is motivated to stay sober by those moments when she can understand what being fully present is. The more time she spends away from alcohol, the more presence is available to her. Value what you have, honor where you are and be grateful! [10:25] Odette introduces Gillian Gillian took her last drink on November 9, 2019. She lives in Boston, she is a biochemist and for fun she reads, plays video games and hangs out with her husband and kitty. [11:29] Tell us about your history with drinking? Gillian started drinking at age 22. She was a late comer to drinking. She had a glass of wine at 18 and had such intense shame about drinking. She drank more in grad school and started with Bud Lite, and her drinking quickly escalated. She was frequently sick and within a year she was a daily drinker. Her tolerance doubled. She tried to moderate for five years. Eventually, she realized moderation would not work. [13:27] Tell me more about the shame your experienced with your first drink? Gillian is a rule follower. She had trouble liking who she was. She didn’t like or accept her body. At 18 she was feeling shame about food she ate. It was a difficult time in her life. [14:39] Tell me more about your moderation attempts. Before Gillian was a scientist, she was a teacher and she used alcohol as her fuel. She learned that when you drink, the stress goes away, and you feel better. She switched to Vodka and made cosmos daily. She knew she was drinking too much. She used a rubber band for the number of drinks, had her husband pour drinks, she bought strong wine, bought weak wine. She ended several friendships because she thought she was drinking too much with them. In her journal her goal was to limit to 25 drinks a week. She abandoned that quickly. [17:18] Why were you so firm on making moderation work? Gillian said she couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol. She thought it would be the death of fun. All her friends drank. It was fundamental to her socializing. She continued to try moderation. She went to a therapist and was told she wasn’t an alcoholic. [18:58] Did your husband know you were struggling? Gillian said she talked with her husband a lot about her moderation attempts. He knew they were well thought out. He loved her and wanted to support her but felt uncomfortable saying she should quit. [20:48] How is your relationship now that you have been sober for over a year? Gillian said her relationship is much better. They were having a lot of issues before she quit. She says it’s like they are dating again. They talk about their lives and their thoughts. They connect so much better. Her husband is a normal drinker. [22:45] What made you decide to quit? Gillian said her mental health declined for the last four years of her drinking. She developed anxiety and was up all night with panic attacks. She continued drinking and eventually she developed suicidal thoughts, which scared her. She challenged herself to not drink for 90 days. She did the 90 days and on day 91, she got drunk. She drank for a few more months and the suicidal thoughts and anxiety returned. She quit for good in November because she was afraid, she might act on her thoughts. [25:42] You had good insights about the outcome of continued drinking. Does that ring a bell? Gillian said she believed people would label her as a loser, a weak person. She wanted to go to parties and wineries and did not want to be the only one who wasn’t drinking. Anger has been her biggest struggle. She would get overcome with rage. She was mad at her husband and family. She has processed the anger, and no longer has rage attacks. Gillian said she drank at people when she was upset. She believed alcohol calmed her down and helped her deal with the anger. It was exactly opposite. [28:37] 15 months in has your motivation shifted? Gillian said she uses data. She knows if she returns to drinking, anxiety and suicidal ideation will return. All the gains she has made in sobriety would disappear if she returned to drinking. A recent quote she likes is, “Addiction is giving up everything for one thing. Recovery is giving up one thing for everything.” [30:45] Did anything happen on November 9 that was different? Gillian said it was the 11-year anniversary of a traumatic event. She started the day with a boozy brunch, then bought a bottle of wine, then another and by 6 pm she was destroyed. She made the decision to quit at 5:30 in the morning. She felt calm when she made that resolve and she celebrates the 9th, not the 10th. [32:46] How did you celebrate your one-year? Gillian and her husband went to an Airbnb in Maine with a cool hot tub. They had a great time, talked a lot, and made new memories. [33:59] How were the first thirty days for you? Gillian said quitting at the start of the holiday season was difficult. She went to lots of parties sober. She was the only one not drinking. She doesn’t have cravings because her acceptance is so strong. She struggles with people questioning her drinking. She made new friends who were not big drinkers. She did experience a lot of night sweats. [37:53] Did you feel strong after the holiday season? Gillian said it gave her lots of confidence. She feels like a pro now. There were a few times she cried. The pride has rushed in and she started going to Starbucks to treat herself when other partygoers were getting drunk or weird. She has set lots of boundaries in sobriety which feels good. She now respects herself. She deserves people who care about her and want the best for her. [40:03] When did your career shift happen? Gillian said that during a moderation attempt, she realized teaching was too stressful. When she moved over to science, it was a good shift with the goal of being able to moderate her drinking. [41:32] What happens when you have challenges in life? Gillian now bakes cookies. The act of baking helps her calm down. Her husband is incredibly supportive. Playing video games and therapy help. Seeing others drink wine can be triggering. She feels jealous. Her company sent wine as gifts, but she was able to avoid those gifts. [43:39] How vocal are you at work about being alcohol free? Gillian doesn’t tell people about her sobriety. She was able to avoid the wine deliveries by telling someone who was part of the fun committee. She was able to request an alcohol-free alternative. She has given feedback that mocktails should be included at work cocktail parties. She has given feedback without “outing” herself. A wine delivery could be disastrous for someone in early sobriety, so she is courageous about giving feedback. [46:50] Tell me about your anxiety? Gillian said the anxiety is completely gone. [47:33] What about sleep? Gillian said she sleeps like a teenager. She was so sleep deprived at the end of her drinking. Sleep is now great, and it still surprises her how good it feels. It took a few months to get out of the disrupted sleep cycle. She feels amazing now. [49:02] How has your body image changed? Gillian said she has always struggled with body image. In May, she realized she was looking good. Now she can look in the mirror and likes what she sees. It has been an unexpected perk of sobriety. [51:26] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your younger self? It’s okay, you are doing fine. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Coffee Oreo. What has been a lightbulb moment for you in this journey? I realize my story is not unique to me. It’s good to not be special. I am not alone. It was good to know that others had similar experience. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are considering ditching the booze? If you are worrying that you might have a problem, you know deep down that you do. It’s ok that you do. Its better on the other side. You may have to say Adios to booze if … You are obsessing about moderation every single day and you spend most of your time thinking about your drinking. Odette’s Summary One of our team members, Alan Copeland wrote a poem he is going to share with you today. Connection is The Key For so long I was looking for the key that would open the door to a better life, a new life. One that wasn’t spiraling into oblivion. A dark abyss of anxiety, depression, self-loathing, and fear. The bottom was as far as I could keep falling - no rope to grab - no hand to grasp. A true free fall with gravity doing what gravity does. A downward spiral. Where is that key? What’s on the other side of that door? Will I ever find what it’s like to be free from this room that’s closing in on me? Can I buy the key? That’s it….I’ll buy it! Wait...where do I buy it? Amazon? Apple? Is there an App? Google will tell me, right? Or how about I make the key! Yeah….I’ll make it to fit the door. I really can do this alone. Wait….how will I make a key when I can’t even find the door!? I was all alone and to feel truly alone is paralyzing. Being alone in addiction and pending sobriety is a fear that I’ve never experienced before. Please, please...someone help me find the key. I never found that key. Luckily, it found me. And finally, I opened the door. The door to a better life, a new life. Connection is the key. To say I’m grateful for connection doesn’t give it the credit it deserves. The key was with a group of individuals that I had never met, never would have met and in many cases - still haven't met. Connection is the key. True connection is something I had never defined or thought about. When you can share experiences, challenges and growth with another person that is also battling the raging bitch of addiction...well...that’s a connection that’s hard to put into words. I have now experienced true connection. The ability to tell a person, “I see you”, “I hear you”, “I understand you” and “you are loved”. Connection is the key. The key to learning who I am….who I REALLY am. It’s not easy, but when you have someone to lean on, someone who catches you when you fall, someone who “feels the feels” with you, cries with you and the best of all...laughs with you. Authentic self to authentic self. We realize - we can’t do this alone. Connection is the key. Connection is powerful. Connection is the opposite of addiction. Have you found the key yet? If not...don’t look now….it might have just found, you. Remember that you are not alone and together is always better. Connection is the key. We can do this. Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 324: Puzzle Pieces in Recovery
Episode 324 – I guess it’s my pride. It’s ego which is not a good thing. It’s almost a year and I realized, OMG, it’s the best year of my life. Bobbie took her last drink on December 16, 2019. She is from upstate New York. This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF). Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette was inspired by Brian who hosted one of the Café RE chats. Evolution of sobriety isn’t always linear or a straight shot. We assume it will be an upgrade. However, sobriety can be messy. You can feel stuck and get into victim mentality. Odette compared sobriety to a puzzle. Sometimes it can feel like we are going backwards. When looking at the puzzle, we grab different pieces. Sometimes the piece doesn’t fit, but we make a mental note and later in the journey, the puzzle piece fits. Traveling backwards is common because the tool or lesson may have not made sense at the time, but it does later in the journey. Everything has a purpose and it’s there for a reason. We don’t always see the bigger picture. We need to accept that unlike a puzzle …. the journey never ends. There is no destination, it’s about the journey. It’s not about being (un)loveable, morality, making mistakes, it’s about discovering our wholeness. We don’t quit quitting. It’s about resilience. [11:59] Odette introduces Bobbie Bobbie took her last drink on December 16, 2019 She lives in snowy upstate New York. She has family in Connecticut. She has two business that she launched in 2020. She loves volleyball, reading, puzzles, Zumba and is learning how to adjust the fun in our new environment. [13:54] Tell us about your history with drinking? Bobbie started drinking at 15. She remembers the first time she got caught for drinking. Her biological father was an alcoholic. She knew she shouldn’t drink because she didn’t want to be like her father. Growing up, Bobbie spent a lot of time with people in recovery because there was a lot of addiction in her family. She went to Al-Ateen and many AA picnics. She believes that she developed an addiction to gambling because she was trying to avoid an addiction to drinking. She resented having to go to these events because it wasn’t her problem. Now her view has evolved. She didn’t embrace anything 12-step until 2017. [17:32] What was your trajectory of drinking vs. gambling? Bobbie said she was a truck driver in her early twenties. She didn’t party when she was driving. She drank to excess on the weekends which she felt was normal because everyone was doing it. In her thirties she drank with her husband (he was the DD). She was gambling in the background, but her drinking was a problem. In 2017 she went to rehab and focused on gambling first. She went to rehab on her own accord. She had an executive level job, but all her perceived obstacles were removed. She owed it to herself to address her addictions. She was getting in trouble at work events. [21:06] How long were you at the rehab center? Bobbie said she was in rehab for 28 days. Rehab left quite an impression. She was in the gambling wing. Her freedom was removed because she couldn’t even choose when to take a shower. It felt like a cross between summer camp and jail. She knew she needed to focus on herself and didn’t want to ever lose her freedom again. [23:51] How did you handle being in the gambling wing versus the drug and alcohol wing of rehab? Bobbie said that they were not allowed to interact with people in the drug and alcohol wing. Everything was separate. Before entering rehab, Bobbie interviewed for a job. She left rehab at 28 days (vs 30) and went to after care. She was called out frequently for drinking. The aftercare team didn’t hold back. In 2019 Bobbie decided not to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. She discovered Café RE in 2018 and knew she needed to focus on her drinking. Bobbie was frustrated that alcohol was a problem when she was doing all the work for her gambling addiction. She broke up with a guy and was drunk texting her ex and recognized her texts were mean and venomous. Having another personality was a rock-bottom moment. Bobbie signed up for the Recovery Elevator Asia trip. She knew she needed to be sober for 30 days and joined the trip with a little over 30 days of sobriety. She was following the rules versus deciding not to drink. When she returned from Asia, she learned that her biological father and grandmother had passed away within a week of each other. She hosted her father’s funeral the day before the world shut down because of COVID. She was at a bar when she got a text about her father’s death. She knew she had to decide how to cope with overwhelming emotions. She was afraid to drink because she was concerned, she wouldn’t stop. A friend she met on the Asia trip inspired her to achieve a year of sobriety. She realized it was the best year of her life because she started a podcast, opened a second company and was so much more productive without drinking. Bobbie recognizes her journey is different than many others in Café RE because she wasn’t as intentional about not drinking as many others, it happened almost as a side-effect of her gambling addiction. [35:47] What made you decide to take the Café RE trip? Bobbie said she knew she needed the trip to quit drinking. A friend helped her pay for the trip. When she left rehab, she didn’t make the decision to quit drinking. The sober trip helped her explore her curiosity about sobriety and laid the foundation for the tools she needed to explore sobriety. Bobbie said she was mesmerized by the RE community and by Paul Churchill. Paul inspired her to start her gambling podcast and was her first guest. [41:55] What do you do now when you have a craving or a trigger? Bobbie said everything has happened for a reason. She believes she can overcome anything. In a few situations (golf, road trips, etc.) she has urges, but now she has a conversation with herself that people can love and accept her without alcohol. She focuses on what she has learned along the way. She doesn’t want to return to a destructive life. She hasn’t committed to quit drinking forever. She is focused on her goals and sees alcohol as an obstacle to her achieving those goals. She has gratitude for her drinking career because it withheld some of her opportunities in corporate America. She is now helping others with addiction. She feels like she won. [45:52] What other tools are helpful for you? Bobbie is active in Gambling Anonymous (GA). She meditates and does a daily reflection every day. She likes Recovery Dharma through Café RE. She has integrated self-care into her everyday life. Bobbie wasn’t sure what she was supposed to feel and began to understand that resentment over her father helped her move from resentment to neutral and she is working on forgiveness. The value of community and accountability have been helpful. Her obligation and accountability to others has helped her push through difficult moments. She tries to practice what she preaches in her podcast. [51:02] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your younger self? It’s all going to be fine. It all has purpose and will take you where you are meant to be. What has recovery made possible for you? Everything – from relationships, work, business, transparency, vulnerability – everything. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? All of them. What advice would you give to listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze? It’s so worth it. It may not feel like it in the moment, but stick with it, it’s so worth it. You may have to say Adios to booze if … Your friends are surprised there is coffee in your cup instead of Long Island iced tea. Odette’s Summary Odette challenges us to think about one of the puzzle pieces in your sobriety journey that didn’t make sense recently that now makes sense. Share what you have learned with a friend. You are not alone, together is always better! Odette believes in you! Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 323: Leading a Double Life
Episode 323 – I have to say I feel less isolated in a pandemic than I ever did drinking. It has been so good to go through a pandemic sober. Lauren took her last drink on December 19, 2018. She lives in Canada and is 37 years old. This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF). Shout out to Jeni’s ice cream who is one of the sponsors of our Bozeman retreat. https://jenis.com/ Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette reflected on a March NPR article titled, “A sharp, off the charts’ rise in alcoholic liver disease among young women. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/03/16/973684753/sharp-off-the-charts-rise-in-alcoholic-liver-disease-among-young-women It’s important this article is placed in a bucked about the global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. The article referenced a 30-year-old woman who was diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis. She drank nearly a liter of liquor every evening. Doctors are seeing patients whose drinking has edged up in the last year. In conversations, physicians recognize it’s astronomical and life threatening. The survival rate for alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis varies but can be as low as ten percent. The CDC has not compiled additional statistics since the pandemic began, however physicians are aware of the upswing as they see more hospitalizations and fatalities. While men have consistently driven the statistics, young women are driving the numbers up. Many are crossing the bridge from normal drinking to problematic drinking. What are the signs? The rock bottom aha moments? Sobriety isn’t easy, but Odette is no longer living a double life. Odette wants to do more to help those who are struggling with alcohol addiction. [8:27] Odette introduces Lauren Lauren took her last drink on December 19, 2018 (sobriety date 12/20/2018). She has been sober for 750 days (as of this recording). She has several friends she has met through 12-step programs that are going through the same things. Lauren is from Ontario, Canada and is 37 years old. She lives with her partner and they co-parent his children. They have a cat and are adopting a dog. Lauren is a housing work and helps homeless people in her community which is even more challenging due to COVID. Lauren enjoys running, hiking, reading, art, painting, and travel. Her reading comprehension has improved with sobriety. [14:19] Tell us about your history with drinking? Lauren had a normal childhood and started drinking in high school. She remembers in her last year of high school a friend saying he had never seen her sober outside of school. At the end of University, she knew she had a problem, because she was happier staying at home and drinking the way she wanted to in her room. After school, she moved to a big city and leveraged alcohol as a social lubricant. [16:04] Did you attempt to change aspects of your relationship with alcohol? Lauren knew her drinking was a problem, but thought she was too young to deal with it. She was regularly drunk, hung over and had no money. She did reach out and went to three rebabs, several detoxes and the psych ward. [17:07] What wasn’t working during those multiple attempts to quit? When it finally clicked, Lauren realized she had used alcohol to manage her emotions. On December 19, 2018, Lauren said she stopped digging. She called in sick to work for the third day in a row at work. She realized she had three options: 1). Keep going knowing things wouldn’t get better; 2) End it all (Lauren had multiple suicide attempts); 3) Stop drinking and give sobriety and honest chance. Once she made that decision, she stopped. It took her six years of trying before it finally clicked. She says, ‘don’t give up.’ She is learning what she is capable of with sobriety. The first month was difficult due to the wreckage of her past, but she now sees it is worth it. [23:06] What worked for you that first month? Lauren said acceptance – it was a miracle. Deep acceptance that she can’t drink and letting go of the resentment about not being a ‘normal drinker’ helped. [24:16] How did you reconcile that feeling? Lauren said for six years the feelings of anger and resentment was insurmountable which is why she kept relapsing. She felt her life was hard and if she couldn’t drink in public, she’s just drink in private. She likened her relationship to alcohol with a severe peanut allergy. She will die if she drinks. [26:12] What support did you have in the early stages? Lauren said she has been in 12-step recovery on and off. She goes to meetings regularly and has a home group. Her employer is very supportive as well. Her family has also been great. [27:28] How was telling your employer? Many people don’t because of the stigma. Lauren said it came up as part of a performance review. She was asked about her future goals and she opened up about her struggle with addiction and her desire to help others with addiction. Her supervisors were surprised, but incredibly supportive. Sobriety became “part of her”. [29:22] When did you reconcile the acceptance with shame? Lauren said after the first few shaky months, she realized recovery was a superpower and part of who she is. It is very motivating. She carries shame from the past, including drinking dreams and regret about past behavior. She knows it will take a long time to let go of that shame. Value Bomb – you get a chance to repair and live differently or live an amends through this journey. Repair is underestimated, let the guilt propel you to become the person you want to be. Lauren’s family has some residual memory and trauma because of prior behavior. She is giving them space and trying to live her life as a living amends. Her family is incredibly proud as is her partner. Processing some of her drinking behavior with family and friends is difficult to hear and hard to process. She put her family, friends, and therapist through some scary times. All she can do now is be sober. She is hopeful that others can overcome the fear that when she calls, it isn’t a crisis or bad news. Odette acknowledged that it could take families time to adjust to us changing and we need to realize they have a timeline to ad as well. [37:19] Do you still get cravings? Lauren said, no. During her first attempts they were horrible. She rarely has cravings now and when she does, they are mild. The more time she gets away from alcohol, the more in tune she is with her body. She is better prepared to identify her needs and the most common need is sleep. [39:15] Tell me about the differences between Year 1 and Year 2. Lauren said year one was about making it to the first year; she was amazed every day. The second year was her “what now” time. She is working to make her life the best it can be including things she put on the back burner, doing things that are good for her mind and body. She is also reaching out to women who are early in their recovery. It reminds her of how difficult it is when you are starting, and she doesn’t want to go back there. Through her recovery network, Lauren realizes that the mind is powerful and switching back to old behavior won’t make anything better. She must remain committed to her recovery, so her mind doesn’t let her forget. [43:43] Have you noticed that FOMO (fear or missing out) has dissipated over time? Lauren said, 100%. She believes the FOMO kept her drinking. Now that she accepts that she can’t drink, she has less FOMO and participates in life more. She doesn’t miss family events because she is drinking alone or hung over. [45:01] How have you maintained connections with your recovery community during the pandemic? Lauren said her 12-step community has zoom meetings which is not ideal, but she can stay connected to her people via Zoom. She attends Café RE chats as well and even when she isn’t sharing, she feels connected. She feels less isolated during a pandemic than she does when drinking. Lauren’s partner reminded her that her relapses and attempts at sobriety. were “just more information.” [48:45] Rapid Fire Round What is a lightbulb moment for you during this journey? Acceptance that I can’t ever drink. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Rum and raising What has recovery made possible for you? Everything, every one of the promises in the Big Book have come true. What advice would you give to listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze? Don’t give up and keep trying even though you think that it isn’t working and that it will never click. It will click! You may have to ditch the booze if … You buy a magnum bottle of wine and drink it an hour after you have left your third rehab center. Odette’s Summary Odette challenges us to think of a positive affirmation about you that you can say about you to you. Practice saying it once a day. Affirmations help Odette get her though when she is in a fear-based place. You are not alone, together is always better! Odette is grateful for you! Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 322: A Safe Container
Episode 322 – the hardest part is relaxing into this idea that you can have the most incredibly beautiful moment followed by an incredibly dark moment and that’s just the path of life. Marcella took her last drink on September 6, 2018. She lives in San Diego. Marcella lives in the arena and she shares her journey with the world on sobriety, parenting, and authentic Mexican food. She leads from the front in a transparent way that is very inspiring. This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF). Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette reflected on her recent comments about judgement. When we feel judgement creeping up, we need to remind ourselves that person we are judging is a flawed human trying their best … just like me. When we bring judgment into recovery space because someone is doing it differently than we are we invite shame. If we want to help others recover, we need to detach from our shame. We need to manage our own path. Odette referenced an Instagram post from Lara Fraser saying, “nobody gets to define your recovery but you. You don’t get to have an opinion on someone else’s recovery – that’s control. Control brings us closer to our ego and further from our soul’s expansion. Odette referenced Demi Lovato who is being criticized for her actions in her path to recovery. The reality is we are meant to stumble, to fall and to have a messy path. When you are in the spotlight – everyone is watching your falls and judging them. Let’s give ourselves and each other permission to have our own messy journey and don’t explain ourselves to others or worry about judgment. Odette referenced a concept from Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead. Brene says, the biggest barrier to a safe container is shame. Everybody needs a small, safe place to act and talk about doing hard work. A place where you don’t have to be awesome or cool. You need to be un-cool, awkward, and goofy. We should strive to create safe containers where people can ask questions and be heard. Leading by fear and perfectionist cultures does not allow us to create safe containers. Perfection has no room in a safe container. At Recovery Elevator, our goal is to provide a safe container for you. You matter, and we are here for you. [7:33] Odette introduces Marcella This episode was recorded in March which is Women’s Month and Odette is excited to have a fellow Mexicana share who is standing in her truth and unapologetically owning her power. Marcella said she is flawed like others and recognizes age helps you realize you only get one shot at this life and you need to live it authentically because if you don’t and you continue pleasing others hiding your truth, you get sick and you die. Everything is on the table. Marcella made it clear she is sharing from her own path, perspective and journey. She knows some of her views are unpopular. She comes from a long line of alcoholics and her personal journey to healing is forgetting about labels and boxes while relaxing into the idea that she can forge her own path to what it means to be happy and addiction free. She is living a happy and fulfilled life. She reminds us we are always working on the path of life – often avoiding pain, causes more pain. [12:41] Do you remember the last time you took a drink? Marcella had to look up an event to remember when she took her last drink. A family member she had never seen drunk was inebriated and Marcella had an incredibly negative reaction. She recognized the only way she could control this for herself was to eliminate the external element. Alcohol became an enemy. She didn’t tell anyone for weeks or months, not even her husband. Her last drink was on September 6, 2018. She didn’t count days until she went back to look at the date which was a family party. She doesn’t have any cravings. She was a heavy drinker starting at age fourteen and once she stopped, that was it; the craving was gone. It became easy because not drinking eliminated the anxiety, drama, micro aggressions, and major aggressions from her life. [20:21] What does your day-to-day life look like? Marcella said she doesn’t have time to bullsh!t anymore; it takes away time from her goals. She tried AA, but it didn’t work for her. She had so many things she wanted to focus on, so alcohol had no place in her life. She was able to identify what made her want to take the edge off with alcohol. It was an association with power and coolness. Facing the darkness, she tried to diminish with alcohol gave her power: the ultimate control of her body and her emotions. It takes a lot of courage to face what is making you want to take that drink. She stopped promoting alcohol in her cooking classes because she didn’t want to be part of the marketing machine that tells people they need alcohol to survive. She doesn’t want to be a woman selling alcohol to other women. Marcella spoke about being and Adult Child(ren) of an Alcoholic and is proud she has conquered alcohol. The horrible addiction that has been in her family forever stops with her. The massive trophy has taught her to be kind and compassionate with herself. [30:29] How did you shift to finding a soft entry point to yourself? Marcella said it has been a journey. In moments when she has hated herself, or she is obsessing, Carina (Marcella’s sister) reminds her of who she is and that gift she is to others. They are truly soulmates. [32:18] Did you find the root of your addiction? Marcella reads lots of Gabor Mate and the question he poses is: don’t ask why the addiction, ask why the pain? She identified childhood abuse, abandonment and living with alcoholism on both sides of her family. Another reason AA didn’t work for her is because she equated anonymity with shame. She has spoken “the sh!t” out of her problems very publicly. The gems, gifts and knowledge that have come from her openness have been immeasurable. Marcella believes that none of us escape trauma. It’s a broad umbrella and part of the human experience. We all experience some form (along the spectrum) of trauma. It is impossible to escape. Marcella needed to face the loneliness that comes with shame. She no longer feels like an alien. She finds healing in acknowledging her common trauma without shame and then her soul rested. Marcella said the fear of appearing ungrateful or disloyal to our parents (particularly for Latinas) often inhibits us from sharing the trauma that came with our upbringing. You can love, be grateful and loyal to your parents and still heal. They can coexist in a space of love. Marcella’s children are the center of her universe and her biggest teachers. When you research childhood development the magnitude of your responsibility becomes clear. One of her biggest flaws is feeling like she is a bad mother. Her children are her greatest gift. The anxiety that comes with motherhood and her thoughts and expectations of herself can be overwhelming. The role of mother is her biggest anxiety. Conquering alcohol is helpful to managing that anxiety. Marcella doesn’t believe that the more you suffer, the better a matriarch you are. La familia doesn’t require you sacrifice yourself and your authenticity. Latina women don’t need to diminish their lives to become matriarchs. The journey is so important and diminishing yourself is not a good message for your kids. Marcella said, you must do the work to put yourself in the company of people who can support you. It took so much work for Marcella to separate herself from certain relationships and put herself in the relationship she is in now. It took A LOT of courage, humility, re-programming and breaking down her walls to be in an authentic partnership. She emphasized, you have to do the work to attract the people who have the strength, courage, and values to support you. The universe will continue to throw the same problems at you until you figure it out. [51:34] What does work mean to you? What tools have helped you? Marcella did therapy early in her life, but it was cyclical and did not help. She is studious and finds a lot of her solutions in books. The philosophy of Yoga has been a massive support to her, and she has taken courses in Yoga that have aided her healing. Marcella’s relationship with her sister is very significant and her sister often acts as her therapist. In the past ten years they dove deep into their childhood issues and verbalizing them has helped her to heal. Marcella reminds herself of the rewards that have come because of her sobriety and she says them out loud as a reminder. Her ability to teach cooking classes and be herself are a reward of being sober. She said if AA (or another modality) doesn’t work for you it doesn’t make you a failure. AA has served hundreds of millions of people, and some people are resistant to AA, it’s simply not their path. There are multiple other paths – just don’t give up. Recovery isn’t black and white. Be a scholar of your F’ups. Have the courage to review them and you will become what you are meant to become. [1:04] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your younger self? Everything is going to be all right What is an unexpected perk of sobriety? You get your health back. What advice would you give to listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze? There is more than one path, and it might take you a minute to get there. Just be patient and kind to yourself. Odette’s Summary Odette reminds us we are doing a great job. Be empowered to take the steps you need to stay on this path, but also to seek out and create your safe container. You deserve it. You are not alone, together is always better! Stay weird, stay goofy, stay you. Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 321: Alcoholism is a Family Disease
Episode 321 – Be kind to yourself. It’s ok to give yourself as much love as you are giving to someone in active addiction. Give yourself love and grace. It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok not to have all the answers. Today’s podcast will be a slight departure from our traditional format. Today we will hear from Aimee, who is the wife of one of our members. Aimee will share from the perspective of what it’s like to live with someone struggling with alcohol addiction. Aimee is the wife of Kris, one of the members of Café RE. Kris shared his message on episodes 175 and 278. He also does a lot of work for Café RE. Take a listen. Kris stands out by helping others and being of service. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/re-175-anxiety-and-alcohol/ https://www.recoveryelevator.com/re-278-day-one-emotions/ Registration for the Bozeman retreat is open for Café RE members today and will be available for non-members tomorrow. For details, go to: www.recoveryelevator.com/bozeman . Odette’s Weekly Message – Finding your better you. Odette is focusing on loved ones. She is an adult child of an alcoholic. She has experienced her own struggles with addiction and married someone who struggles with addiction. When Odette’s Dad went into treatment, she was advised by the counselor that the whole family would be impacted. While only one family member has the disease, everyone gets infected at some level. Being a part of the solution for her Dad was a tough spill to swallow. Odette attended Al-Anon to learn how to take care of herself while her Dad was treating his addiction. Odette remembers how scary some of the meetings were because of the number of broken relationships. Her inclination was to try to fix the problem, but she quickly learned she had to get out of the way and learn to take care of herself. She is still learning to detach with love by setting boundaries. [10:33] Odette introduces Aimee. Aimee is 37 and lives in North Dakota with Kris and their two kids. She is a teacher, loves playing piano, singing, and leading worship at her church. [13:45] Tell us about your journey and how you experienced life with Kris. Aimee met Kris her freshman year of college and fell in love right away. She was so enthralled with him; everything seemed normal. Kris was deployed overseas in the military. He would call Aimee and was always drinking when he called home to deal with the stress of deployment. Aimee knew there was a problem. They got married, and when Kris came back from deployment, Aimee got pregnant right away. Kris was deployed again, and Aimee didn’t drink because she was pregnant. Kris came home ten days before Ava was born, and they were two different people because of the time apart. Kris’s drinking continued to escalate. They went through ups and downs, and Aimee thought things were getting better. Their marriage has been a wild adventure because of moves, career changes, etc. Aimee had a mix of resentment and shame about Kris’ drinking. At the height of his drinking, he would turn things around on her to avoid being attacked. As a couple, they tore each other apart. Aimee tried to protect Kris. She would set the alarm so she could pick up the beer cans before the kids got up in the morning. She lied to her pastor about Kris’ absences and recognized she was compromising her values. Kris’ emotions were intense and amplified when he was hungover. [10:15] Did you start second-guessing yourself? Aimee said she was constantly questioning if she was enough. She took her marriage vows very seriously and started to become a doormat. There was a lot of manipulation. Kris would gaslight Aimee about his drinking, the bank account, and other things. Engaging in church and prayer was instrumental for Aimee. She began to realize that being a martyr or savior wasn’t a safe place to be. She couldn’t compromise her safety. They went on a road trip, and Kris drove drunk for five hours, and Aimee was overwhelmed and exhausted. Prayer helped her resolve that she couldn’t live that way anymore. [22:57] What did you do when you realized you couldn’t do it anymore? Aimee said after the road trip, the conversation between them shifted. She begged Kris to get help. He asked her who her lawyer was and said he would never love her enough to quit drinking. It took Aimee a long time to start to forgive him. She didn’t believe him anymore, and it took a long time to rebuild trust. [24:13] Was church a source of support for you? Aimee said she couldn’t do it on her own. Her church community never told her what she wanted to hear; they told her what she needed to hear. The church encouraged her to focus on herself and her next steps. It was the first time Aimee looked inside and didn’t focus on Kris. [26:44] How did you shift from feeling like a victim to looking within? Aimee said the church worked with both of them separately and helped keep them on the same page. Aimee prayed and meditated a lot. Kris surrendered. They both surrendered at different times. Aimee had to let go of the bitterness. She said she was drinking poison and expecting Kris to get sick. She told Kris she loved him and didn’t know what to do. It was a shift and became a point of empowerment for her to trust others and do work on herself. They went to marriage counseling, and Aimee went to counseling on her own. Aimee did EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) to deal with trauma from her marriage and her past. Aimee has done a lot of work learning how to build relationships, and the experience has been life-changing. Aimee still has some flashbacks, particularly on road trips. All of their positive interactions slowly replace the negative ones of the past. While it may be a cliché, time does heal [33:02] Tell me about the dynamics at home? How have the kids responded? Aimee said they have been very open about their story with the kids. Dinner time is their favorite time now, and it was the worst when Kris was drinking. Their son wrote a book about the adventures of his sober Dad. He even quoted Paul Churchill’s book, “Alcohol is Shit!”. Their son looks forward to hugging his wife now that Kris is demonstrating new behaviors with the family. Aimee shared that she and Kris have learned emotional and spiritual intimacy as well as physical intimacy. Their conversations are more vulnerable than the physical connection. It has been a lot of hard work, but so worth the effort. [38:27] How is your experience with Kris in Café RE and other people in sobriety? Aimee said Kris joined Café Re when they were separated. She said it was hard at first because Kris was being celebrated for all of his sobriety milestones. She was envious of his coins – where was her medal? Aimee has been to a Café RE meet up in Minneapolis, and she prays for all of the people she met. She supports Kris’s model of “leave nobody behind”. She doesn’t mind the interruptions, and she supports his efforts with prayer. Aimee loves how Café RE retreats benefit Kris’ recovery. She always notices a positive difference when she comes home, and she knows that helps their family. Café RE feels Aimee’s support through the videos she posts when Kris reaches a milestone. Aimee said five years ago, she never would have believed they would be where they are today. She is excited and believes the best is yet to come. [43:14] Do you drink? Are you a normie? Aimee hasn’t had a drink in 7-8 years, and she doesn’t miss it at all. She likes tea and doesn’t favor the LaCroix as Kris, and the rest of us do. [44:06] How were you able to separate that it was not about you? Aimee said, when she figures it out, she will let us know. Recovery is like peeling back the layers of an onion. She encourages all spouses to be kind to themselves. It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok not to have all of the answers. Lean in on your Faith, regardless of what you call your Higher Power. You will need it to move through recovery as well. Odette’s Summary Odette encourages all family members to check out recommended Al-Anon, Melody Beattie, Smart Recovery for Friends and Family, Pia Melody, and traditional therapy. Resource Links: https://al-anon.org/ https://www.smartrecovery.org/family/ https://melodybeattie.com/ http://www.piamellody.com/ By helping yourself, you are better at supporting your loved one. You are not alone, together is always better! Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 320: Post COVID Planning
Episode 320 - Keep an open mind and see what happens. Reach out to people, make sober friends, and you are going to find your way. Just let go. Cassie took her last drink on August 29, 2019. She is from Colorado and is 30 years old. This is her story of being Alcohol-Free (AF). Café RE Merch https://www.recoveryelevator.com/merch/ Discount code: PANDA Finding Your Better You – Odette's weekly message Odette has been speaking with many people who got sober and stayed sober during the pandemic. She is amazed and impressed with these folks making major life choices to ditch the booze during a global crisis. Odette wants to remind you …. you can do hard things. As Covid begins to recede, Odette can't help but wonder what post-Covid sobriety will look like? As we return to normal or the new normal, how do we prepare for what's next? Odette likened this to her rehab experience and working with her rehab team to develop a treatment plan when she left rehab. Many people fear leaving rehab because you are going back into the real world without the safety of a controlled, safe space. What does your treatment plan or sobriety toolbox look like for the "new normal" after COVID restrictions have subsided? What boundaries and guidelines do you need to set up for yourself? Proper preparation prevents poor performance – thank you, Odette's Dad, Carlos. Develop a plan to protect your sobriety. [07:53] Odette introduces Cassie Cassie's last drink was August 29, 2019. She is celebrating18 months and switching up some of her tools to maintain sobriety. Cassie leads Café RE's "young people" chat. Odette was recently contacted by a 19-year-old trying to find his place in sobriety. Cassie said it's incredible for someone so young to start a recovery journey. She encouraged all young listeners to keep an open mind, reach out, find sober friends, let go, and you will find your people and your way! [11:12] Tell us a bit of your background. Cassie is 29 years old, living in Denver, and is a receptionist for a urology clinic while pursuing her Bachelor's in nursing. She is doing pre-requisites now. She lives with her boyfriend, recently bought a house, and has two dogs. She loves snowboarding during the winter, paddle boarding, hiking, and rock climbing during the summer and hopes to explore dirt biking soon. [13:14] Tell us about your history with drinking. Cassie had her first drink at thirteen. One of her first memories is stealing peppermint schnapps with a neighbor at her parent's house. She got alcohol poisoning, and her mom sent her to middle school the following day with a hangover. She had to clean up her mess after school. By freshman year of high school, she continued to drink with friends and consumed on the school bus on the way to school. She was suspended for drinking. Before eighteen, she was in legal trouble for drinking and quickly building a party girl's reputation. She was all-in with alcohol; she never drank one or two drinks. She drank to fit in and did not fit in with the nerds or the popular crowd. She would hang out with the skaters, smoke pot, and throw parties at friend's parents' houses when they were out of town. She got into the music scene, particularly raves, and traveled across the US to music festivals to catch different artists. She doesn't remember many of the concerts because she was wasted. [16:28] Were you aware that your drinking was becoming a problem? Cassie said she was not self-aware. She knew she was a troublemaker, but her friends drank like she did. During her formative years, she didn't go to class much. She dropped out of college because partying was her priority. [17:58] How long did that chapter last? Cassie said awhile, probably ten years. She still enjoys music but can now enjoy music sober. [18: 33 ] Did you have to transition into adulting? Cassie was always working during that chapter, and she changed jobs a lot because of the seasons. She started working in the medical field in 2015, and she relaxed her drinking a bit. [19:48] Did anything happen in your life that forced you to grow up a bit? Cassie said getting into the medical field was a real transition. She had to deal with patients and knew she had to be responsible. She was living with friends and wanted to take care of herself and maintain independence. [21:14] How did your relationship with alcohol evolve? Cassie said during the music festival chapter she was binge drinking because there were no rules. She transitioned from being a binge drinker to having beers after work and being a weekend warrior. Her drinking eventually got out of hand. She was only drinking on the weekends, and she tried to moderate. She leveraged the gym to keep her AF during the week. Moderation didn't work for Cassie. One of her roommates, a dear friend, passed away in a kayaking accident. She believes it may have been alcohol-related. It became a big turning point for Cassie. Her other roommates drank heavily to cope with the shock and grief. Cassie became a pillar of strength for them. She binged occasionally but started to see that drinking wasn't what she wanted for herself. She moved back home, and her parents were also heavy drinkers. Her drinking escalated, and within a year, things completely fell apart. Cassie lost herself. Going to brunch to drink in the morning or pre-gaming a baby shower with alcohol felt normal. She started sneaking beers in her room, so if she woke up in the middle of the night, she would have alcohol close at hand. Cassie is still working through feelings and learning to stop blocking her emotions. [29:44] How did this progress into you deciding to quit? Cassie said she wasn't working at the beginning of 2019. She was drinking beer in her bedroom, taking tequila shots and not eating regularly, taking showers, or going to work. She lost her will to live. One day her Dad came into her room and asked, "what do we need to do?" Cassie was afraid of the withdrawal. She went to the ER, then to medical detox for a day. She stayed home for three days, got rid of most of her belongings, and moved to Phoenix to live with her mom. She had some starts and stops in Phoenix. Then her mom moved to Texas. Cassie moved back to Colorado and told herself, "I've got this." Her drinking advanced rapidly. She had a four-day bender and told her step-mom she needed to go through detox again. She did, and she hasn't had a drink since! Cassie said the second time, she knew it was time to own up to it and take some action. She didn't want to die. [35:48] What was your plan after leaving detox to start stacking days? Cassie moved in with her sister's Dad. She wanted to move to a sober environment. Her Dad and step-mom continued to drink, and she didn't want to ask them to stop. Her step-mom referred her to Recovery Elevator and offered to pay for her first month if she wanted to check it out. The Facebook group helped her stay accountable, and she went to her first sober meetup within 30 days. Making connections helped a lot. She also saw a therapist for the first six months. She began getting more involved in Café RE. At about a year, she started hosting webinars. Now she is doing a lot in the recovery community because it keeps her focused on her sobriety. At six to eight months, she felt a shift. After a year, she had experienced several FFT's (F*ing first times) – first concert, first wedding, etc. Now she is exploring past traumas and learning what caused her drinking. She is going to AA meetings, looking for a sponsor and reading, "Recovery" by Russell Brand. She enjoys the structure of AA. Cassie has big plans for the future and hopes to eliminate the stigma of addiction and let people her age know that sobriety is fun! She is excited about the future. She wants to build a family, re-write her family's sobriety trajectory, and inspire others along the way. [46:16] Do you still get cravings? Cassie said yes, but the cravings are seasonal depending on what's happening in her life. Cravings are more of a fleeting thought now, and her sober circle helps her stay accountable. She is aware that cravings often come with change and external factors. If she lightens up on the self-care, the cravings creep up. She knows what tools work and can anticipate what's coming and how to manage it. [50:11] Rapid Fire Round What would you tell your younger self? You are worth it. Have faith, and everything will work out the way it is supposed to. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? It's currently Snicker's ice cream bars. What has been a lightbulb moment for you on this journey? The more you connect, the less you think about alcohol. What is an unexpected perk of being sober? Being able to do what I want at any time of day because I don't have to worry about drinking. Are sober concerts better? 100% yes! It's one of the best experiences. You might need to say Adios to booze if … You wear a hoodie to sneak alcohol anywhere, including your room. Odette's Summary Make time this week to create your post-Covid plan. Plant a seed, create steps of action to set yourself up for success. Write it down, share it with a friend, have your own back. You are not alone, together is always better. Sobriety is our super-power! Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you'll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes "Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys"
RE 319: Have Your Cake and Eat it too
Episode 319 - When I was stressed out at work or stressed by a social situation, alcohol would fix it temporarily, until it didn’t. Now I’m accepting moods, feelings and phases come and go and it’s all okay. Korie took her last drink on March 21, 2019. She is from Texas and is 32 years old. This is her story of living alcohol-free (AF). A request from Recover Elevator We have a request; we would like to hear more from you! Please consider making a one-minute video sharing your, “you might need to ditch the booze if… story”. Hold your camera sideways, make it less than a minute and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Make it authentic to yourself and your journey. We will post your video on Instagram. If you share your Instagram handle, we will post that as well. We look forward to seeing more of you on our page. Instagram: @recovery elevator. Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message Rediscovering your life beyond recovery. You are all unique. We are more than a drinking problem; we are more than recovery. The life we now enjoy would disappear if we returned to drinking. It is easy to feel uniqueness –submerged in recovery. In sobriety we don’t know when things will get better, but they do. Sobriety is a piece of your whole life. We all have the opportunity to learn and re-learn who we are. Maintenance is important to secure your sobriety. If you stay the course, you get to graduate. You always focus on maintaining sobriety, but it’s not all day every day, it becomes a piece of your broader life. There are so many benefits to being present in sobriety – you can have your cake and eat it too. [8:12] Odette introduces Korie Korie said her last drink was 3/21/19. She grew up in Austin, Texas and is 32 years old. Korie was abroad and lived in Japan and Singapore and came to the US when she was 6 years old. She is engaged and just bought a home outside of Austin. Pre-quarantine, Korie was a social butterfly. Now, she stays home more than she used to and loves getting outside, running, reading, drawing and anything artsy. [11:46] Tell us about your history with drinking. Korie doesn’t remember her first drink of alcohol. She would have a sip or two of her Mom’s wine and thought it was disgusting. In high school she was in a few programs that required her to sign a contract saying she wouldn’t drink or party. She followed the rules. In college she remembers drinking, getting dizzy, self-control was gone, and she didn’t want it to stop because she liked the feeling. She didn’t drink often. She worked in the restaurant industry which breeds lots of drinking. It felt normal, until it didn’t. When she graduated from college, she moved to Spain to become an Au Pair and drank a lot there. She remembers staying out all night, being hung over and thinking she may have a problem and her drinking wasn’t normal. The nightlife continued when she returned to the US. She remembers getting drunk, getting sick and making bad decisions? [15:13] What thoughts were you having about your drinking? Korie felt pretty justified because she judged her drinking based on what other people were doing. She knew it wasn’t who she wanted to be It started to feel not right. When she left the restaurant industry, she recognized it wasn’t normal to drink every night. She had a broader circle of friends to compare herself to. She was working as a virtual concierge and was calling in to work, saying she was working from home, but just too hungover to go in. She realized she was still drinking like she had in her twenties. She never wants to experience an emotional rock bottom again. [18:46] Did you ever talk to anyone about your drinking? Korie said a former boyfriend spoke to her about her drinking. She got defensive and thought he was a bit paranoid. Looking back, she realizes he was right to be concerned. At 24, Korie verbalized concerns to her best friend, but kept drinking. She started asking questions to people who went to AA. [20:48] Did you ever attempt moderation? Korie took a few weeks off of drinking before she stopped altogether. On March 21 she had three glasses of wine and realized she couldn’t stop. She knew the urge was so great and knew she was powerless over the urge. She stopped then and that was it, she was done. [22:40] Have you asked yourself why you drank or why it was so hard to stop? Korie said it was a variety of things, but the feeling of not belonging and trying to numb that feeling was at the top of the list. Toward the latter part of her drinking, she began to feel less than when comparing herself to her friends and alcohol helped … until it didn’t. Korie’s self-esteem has substantially improved since she quit drinking. Her skin is clearer, she feels healthier, happier and she isn’t so self-conscious anymore. When Korie was stressed out at work or stressed by a social situation, alcohol would fix it temporarily, until it didn’t. Now she is accepting moods, feelings and phases come and go and it’s all okay. Korie works hard at being accepting of others. [30:17] How did things change for you after you quit drinking? Korie said she felt different, it was black and white, and she knew she couldn’t drink anymore. She listened to several podcasts, read some blogs and followed sober people on Instagram. She decided to check out an AA meeting near her home and it was all women. It was exactly what she needed at the time and she appreciated everyone’s honesty. Nobody glossed over their emotions. In addition, she started going to Sans Bar which is an alcohol-free bar. She was scared, but met the owner, Chris Marshall, and felt welcomed. She was very connected with the sober community in Austin until Covid hit. Now podcasts and connecting with friends keep her sober. [35:26] What do you do when you get a craving? What tools work for you? Korie doesn’t get cravings often and has learned she is usually hungry when she gets a craving. She eats and drinks water. When it’s an emotional craving, she turns off her technology, goes for a walk or connects with friends. Vocalizing the craving gives it less power and the cravings pass within 20 minutes. [36:36] How did your family and friends react to your new lifestyle? Korie told her best friend who was supportive and didn’t make a big fuss. Their friendship became closer. Some of her friends were surprised and asked why she quit drinking, but she never heard anything negative. Her friends make sure to have AF beverages. Her parents have been very supportive, particularly her Dad. Her mom respects her choice but doesn’t completely understand it. Dating after sobriety was a challenge. Several dates ended quickly. Her fiancé is supportive and asks lots of questions; he is a great partner. [40:02] Did you experience fear of missing out (FOMO)? Korie said absolutely, but within a few weeks she would hang out at Sans Bar. She went out, drank soda water with lime, and loved that at midnight she went home, instead of to the next bar. Post quarantine, she has no FOMO at all. [41:45] Has your sleep improved? Korie said she slept through the night immediately and she stopped grinding her teeth. Her dog interrupts her sleep occasionally, but her sleep is dramatically improved. [42:25] What do you say when people offer you a drink? She says no, thanks. Early on she said, I don’t drink – as a way to be accountable. Now she just asks for a Coke or a Topo Chico. Most people don’t bat an eye. [43:04] What is your favorite AF beverage? Coffee with almond creamer – iced or hot. She also loves sparkling water. [43:33] Do you have any triggers? Korie said work stress is her biggest trigger, particularly at the end of the day. She takes a step back and practices calming the trigger or craving. During the summer when it’s hot, or after a run, she often craves alcohol. [45:34] Rapid Fire Round What are you excited about right now? Korie is excited to talk to Odette and get her story out there. She is hoping to help others and excited about getting her two-year chip. What books are you reading? Korie is reading the John Adams biography and she loves American history. She also reads the Bible regularly. What is a lightbulb moment for you in this journey? I am ok just the way I am and people like me when I’m not drinking. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Moose tracks. It can be found in the Northwest. It’s chocolate fudge, peanut butter cups and chocolate chips in vanilla ice cream. What piece of guidance would you give listeners who are considering ditching the booze? It’s worth it and your life doesn’t stop. It’s so worth it. You might have to say adios to booze if … You are so hungover, that the next day you are throwing up at 8 PM. Mentions: http://thesansbar.com/ Odette’s Summary You are more than this struggle, not just your drinking struggle, but any struggle. Leverage recovery to your advantage to build a foundation and you can be whoever you want to be. Recovery is a lot of work, particularly in the beginning. Keep your head up, don’t get discouraged and remember it gets better. You are not alone and together is always better. You are a bright star in the universe. Shine on! Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021). This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 318: Unexpected Perks of Sobriety
Episode 318 - No matter what comes your way, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. So, live with it, don’t try to change it and do the next right thing. Tony took his last drink on October 24, 2020. He is a 42-year-old Canadian. This is his story of living alcohol-free (AF) Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message Recently Odette has been asking listeners, what is a perk of getting sober? The answers have included, no hangovers, improved sleep, wallet and overall health. Odette also asked listeners about the ripple effect, the not so obvious outcomes of living AF. The responses included: Ability to manage my finances Ability to help others who are struggling Stronger and more meaningful relationships I am present and more productive participant of my life I understand and feel gratitude I am more aligned with the person I work so hard to be I am a better employee Building confidence Better hand-eye coordination Path of emotional discovery Running and being active Understanding my authentic identity and not being so self-conscious when sharing my authentic self with the world I learned to ski Anything is possible when you are not hungover Patient Nicer House is cleaner Tackling projects New friends People in sobriety are not boring, they are cool and fun Repairing relationships Procrastinate less Better parent, more firm, able to hold boundaries and be kinder More playful Don’t need a shield (glasses) to hide anymore I’m a morning person I have fun I binge eat less I’m proud I am more organized Sobriety tools become life tools that help us become better versions of ourselves. Odette is more forgiving of herself and others. Her standards, for herself and others have changed. She is less of a perfectionist. She has more grace toward herself and others. She is more connected to her humanity and doing her best, day by day. She says what she really means, vs what she thinks she needs to say. She is okay with not being liked by everyone and aware of her tendency to be a people pleaser. What are your unexpected perks of sobriety? [8:50] Odette introduces Tony. Tony took his last drink on October 24, 2020. He is from St. Paul, Alberta, Canada. Has 3 children: a son (18), a daughter (15), a daughter (10) and a stepson (23). He is currently a full-time student since his career came to a halt when he entered rehab last year. Tony enjoys anything outdoors, particularly tobogganing, snowboarding, skiing …anything outside. He is currently separated from his wife. [12:34] Tell us about your history with drinking. Tony lost Mom when he was 13 in a tragic car accident. His first drink was shortly after that and by15 he remembers getting blackout drunk. Drinking made him feel bullet-proof. It helped him avoid the pain of grief. He did well in school, he was an honors student. After graduating from high school, he followed his Dad’s working on the road. He would binge drink occasionally. He got into the oilfield business. He said, you earn a lot of money, work hard and play hard. When he was on the road, he and his colleagues would party. His drinking was normalized because everyone did it. He and his high school girlfriend had a son. When he returned home, his drinking was chaotic. He drank more, passed out regularly. His drinking felt normalized, because everyone was doing it. His Dad offered him a job as a crew supervisor. He was trying to taper his drinking because his son was around, and his daughter was on the way. As he went into management he isolated more, which led to drinking when he got back to his hotel. He would average 5-6 beers a night. He also began engaging with other women while he was on the road. He got caught and within four months, his girlfriend was done with him. He immediately jumped into another relationship; it was perfect because they both drank to excess. His drinking continued to escalate. [18:02] You have mentioned your drinking was normalized. Did you have conversations with yourself about your drinking? Tony said he believed his behavior was normal. He followed his father’s example. He saw his Dad as the best Dad in the world, his Dad never brought his problems home or drank after work. Tony went to more extremes than his father. He needed the alcohol to feel normal. [19:46] How did your relationship unfold? Tony was married within seven months and he got married to spite his first girlfriend who was the mother of his first two children. They welcomed a child after a year. Within 14 months, his wife asked for a divorce. He entered a 12-step program to save his marriage, but it about saving the relationship, not his own development. His wife filed for divorce and he went back to work on the drilling rigs. He went home and his doctor started him on Ativan. He drove home, blacked out and was in a head on collision with a semi-truck. He lost his arm in that accident. His wife never came to the hospital. He was devastated, but his drinking ramped up. Tony started looking for a relationship, drinking 5 night a week, trying to rehabilitate after losing his arm and he was offered a job with his Dad’s company. His drinking continued to escalate, and he started losing days. On the surface he was highly functioning, making lots of money. He didn’t think his drinking was a problem. [23:52] How was your heart feeling? Did you enjoy drinking? Tony said he was transitioning from enjoying drinking, but once he was intoxicated, he was going through the motions. Most of his happiness was just pretending. He also realized his arm was never going to grow back. He gave up on life. Within two years, he met his current wife and they really hit it off. He was honest about his journey and he was happy initially. His co-dependency continued to emerge. He proposed and got married. His drinking slowed down, but he wasn’t happy with his life, his promotions, his income, his car, nothing was ever enough. A friend invited him and his wife to a music festival and Tony let loose. After that, his drinking ramped up. He was the life of the party and everything felt real again. He got a job working for the government so he could be home. The money wasn’t great, and he started drinking every night in the garage. He often fell asleep in the garage. The alcohol stopped working, so he started smoking marijuana. Marijuana became a pattern, but within 5 months it stopped working. He started doing hard drugs, specifically cocaine. He recognized in 2019 that he needed to go to rehab because he was addicted to cocaine. He hid his cocaine addiction well from his family. He discussed it with his wife and went to a treatment center in January of 2020 with the intention of getting clean and saving his family. Upon discharge, he worked his program and got a sponsor. He returned to work and within 45 days he relapsed. He went to Fort McMurray (a hot bed for addiction) and when he returned home, he picked a fight with his wife, drank 40 ounces of Scotch, destroyed the house and had suicidal ideations. He had a plan to kill himself with heroin but was pulled over by the Royal Canadian police and woke up in a jail cell. While in jail, he had chest pains and was hospitalized. The doctor advised he was having an allergic reaction to the alcohol. After he was released, he lost his job. Tony continued to have suicidal ideations. He asked his son to take him to the hospital and he was admitted to the psych ward and was sent to a treatment facility. He opened up and got honest. After he was released, he decided to go back to school. He moved to BC, enjoyed school, isolated himself and relapsed. On October 23rd, he took his last drink/drug. He had a gun on one side and a phone with his sponsor’s number on the other side. Within a few hours, he called his sponsor and began working his program and the steps. He now lives in Medicine Hat and he says every time he tells his story, it gets a little bit lighter. [37:03]. What has been the contributing factor to your resilience? Tony said his resilience comes from his Dad. His Dad is his hero; he always gets up after he falls down. He quit drinking and never picked up again. He made it through many challenges and helped Tony to realize who he is. Tony has pushed his Dad away several times which he attributes to addiction. [39:34] You have said that your life is re-starting, does that give you hope? Tony said that in the last 75 days he has never been happier. He had lots of time not drinking before, but he wasn’t working a program. He is so glad he never picked up that gun and he his son are now best friends. Tony is proud that he has been able to put the substances down and rebuild his life. [41:18]. Tell me how your body has responded to sobriety? Tony said he was fortunate because he detoxed before going to treatment. He never went on benders, so the physical detox wasn’t terrible (the cold sweats, shakes, etc.). In sobriety, he lost 20 pounds, he is hiking and tries not to beat his body up. He tries to get good sleep and helps his body and feels amazing. [43:54]. Tell me about your spirit. How have you healed emotionally? Tony has two sponsors (NA and AA). He speaks with one for 30 minutes minimum, daily. He also talks to another addict or alcoholic daily. He believes it is important to stay connected. He goes to AA and NA meetings. He sees a therapist once a month and a trauma counselor once a month. His sponsor has told him, no matter where you are, it’s where you are supposed to be. Deal with it, don’t try to change it and do the next right thing. [48:18]. Rapid Fire Round What are you excited and hopeful about right now? Completing my schooling so I can enroll in an additions counseling program. What would you tell your younger self? Don’t give up on yourself. You will have bad days, but there are more good ones. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Vanilla with chocolate syrup and sprinkles. Do you like Tim Horton’s (coffee)? Yes, but I prefer McDonald’s coffee. What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners? No matter what you are not alone. Give those that reach out to help you a chance. Let them love you until you can love yourself. You might need to Ditch the Booze if …. You are drinking Jack Daniels and Coke out of your prosthetic arm. Odette’s Weekly Challenge Odette continues to find unexpected joys in being sober. She is learning to slow down. While she still has a full plate, she isn’t looking for extra things to fill up her time. She likes herself, so she doesn’t have to hide anymore. She chases the pauses and feels her feelings instead of chasing the highs. She knows she is not perfect and has learned to appreciate her progress. Remember you are not alone and together is always better. This journey is full of unexpected surprises. Enjoy the ride! Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 317: Debunking: Sober is Boring
Episode 317 - Lean into the support from people who want to help you. Dig into yourself. There is an endless well of spirit, heart, and capacity that we all have. We just need to tap into it—everything you need you have. Lunita took her last drink on October 10, 2020. She is from San Diego. This is her story of living alcohol-free (AF) BetterHelp Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 500,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR. Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message There is a myth of sobriety, that sobriety is not fun. Odette finds joy when people debunk this myth. Some of her favorite badass sober stories include: Bradley Cooper – sober at 29 years old. He attributes his career success to his sobriety. Brad Pitt – credits his sobriety to Bradley Cooper. Florence Welsh – sobriety does not doom you to boredom. David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister in the early 1900’s, backed the licensing bill. Dax Shepherd says he wouldn’t have anything he has without his sobriety. His guests and podcast sponsors are a lot of fun. Anthony Hopkins recently hit 45 years, sober saying, “Hang in there. Today is the tomorrow you were so worried about yesterday. Young- people, don’t give up. Just keep in there” Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portuguese soccer player, is sober. His father passed from alcohol abuse, and Cristiano has changed his life trajectory and is a role model of sobriety for his family. Al Pacino, Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert Downey, Jr., Eminem, Chrissy Teigen, Keith Urban, Kelly Osbourne, Ben Affleck, Gillian Jacobs, James Franco, John Travolta, Shakira, J.Lo, Stephen King, Eva Mendes, Tom Cruise, Natalie Portman, Elton John, Zac Efron, Tyra Banks, Daniel Radcliffe, Demi Lovato, Chris Martin (Coldplay) among many others are on the sober team. We are not alone, we are not boring, quite the contrary. Sobriety is the gateway to authenticity. How do you feel about joining the alcohol-free club and staying in it with us? [8:57] Odette Introduces Lunita Lunita is Latina like Odette. She hit reset on October 10, 2020. She is an American-born bi-cultural person from San Diego and a single mom. Her father is from Panama, and her mother is from Mexico. Her daughters are 9 and 11. She is a yoga teacher and healing arts practitioner. She loves nature, plant medicine, yoga, and she is a poet, writer, painter and loves anything to do with arts and the body. [11:42] Tell us about your history with drinking? Lunita took her first drink at 14 in Mexico, where the lines are a little more blurred. As she looks back at that time, drinking gave her a sense of calm and inner knowing that she had never felt before. Her nervous system was soothed by alcohol. She was a highly sensitive child, and her parents didn’t know how to manage her gifts. She drank through her teenage years into her twenties. Occasionally she would blackout. She liked drinking. She said alcohol took her from a highly sensitive introvert to a comfortable, fun drunk. It awakened her artistic side. She didn’t want to stop because it was fun. Fast forward, Lunita got pregnant, got married, had two children, and drinking became her coping mechanism for managing parenting as a young adult. She was a part of the mommy wine culture. She realized she was drinking every night. After she and her husband separated, her drinking became dark. She drank every night while trying to hold it together for work and her daughters. She hated her life and felt terrible and disconnected from herself every day. Her husband and best friend made comments about her drinking, but she didn’t want to stop. Drinking became a medication, a chemical dependency. Alcohol was sinking Lunita. In her thirties, she was cornered by a cousin, then her best friend who caught her sneaking drinks or blacking out. [17:19] How did you respond to the comments from other people? Lunita said she was telling herself it was ok. She would get defensive or appease others with slogans like “mommy happy hour” “5 o’clock somewhere”. She was presentable, so she didn’t think there was a problem. She found herself being very inconsistent. She was eating clean, practicing yoga, running, drinking green smoothies, but drinking every night. She was aware of the dissonance, but she still didn’t want to stop drinking. [20:52} Tell me about the shift within you. Lunita said she started drinking hard liquor instead of beer or wine because she could get drunk faster, with fewer calories. Her body reacted right away. The hangovers became worse, she lost her appetite, and the fun of drinking turned into darkness. She began to experience rock bottom moments in relationships or at work. She was no longer in denial but wasn’t sure what to do. Four years ago, her friend said, “you’ve got to do something.” She was sober for two years. Since then, she’s had some resets. She knew it was die or get sober. [24:06] Have you identified the reasons why you would drink again, and what tools have you added along the way? Lunita said community, healing, yoga, meditation, and plants allowed her to release alcohol from her life for two years. She felt alive, vital, and fresh. Then she said she thought she could pursue healthy drinking with wine or beer, no hard liquor. She wasn’t blacking out, but she noticed a gradual backslide with her relationships and her work. The old habit wasn’t serving her anymore. She had a brief period of drinking again but was sober for six months. In October, she reset her self-talk and said, I am not doing anything that doesn’t serve me. That became a massive shift for her, from her highest self. She doesn’t choose anything that doesn’t suit her anymore. She now focuses on activism about alcohol. She believes it is a privilege to have a functional relationship with alcohol. Now that she is sober, the work she is offering the world makes a difference. [31:16] Tell me more about this time being different? How do you deal with cravings or discomfort? Lunita said she deals with discomfort by leveraging therapy. As a human, she wants to do her own work while continuing to help others. Her therapist has been crucial. Accountability through community has been instrumental for her. She said that having a sober partner has made an enormous difference for her, and she appreciates his support. Community is huge for Lunita, and her yoga practice, breathwork, herbs, and running are pivotal. They help healthily regulate her nervous system. Lunita drinks embarrassing amounts of Pellegrino, teas, tonics, and elixirs to overcome cravings. [35:21] You described yourself as a sensitive person, an empath. How has the acceptance of your true essence shifted your ability to be authentic to yourself? Lunita said it had been a journey and a stubborn need to overcome the distortions, toxic family structure, the lies she told herself, and accept she is not like anyone else and isn’t meant to be. Her reclamation of herself came from sobriety and being sober. She avoided talking about recovery during her first two years of sobriety because of the shame. Now she knows some of the most radical, authentic beings have issues with addiction. She is learning to make space for herself, rebel for herself, and heal herself so she can be an example for her daughters. [41:46] Tell me about your relationships and how they have shifted over the years? Lunita said the law of quantum physics means our vibe attracts people who are with us. She was attracting certain people who were looking for a healing, medicine, or heart. Those relationships were not serving her because they were one-way relationships. Now she has an amazing partner because she is serving her highest self. She attracts people who participate equally in relationships with her. She was dating the same version of who she was. When she started honoring her true self, all of her relationships changed. She now attracts beautiful heart-centered people. [46:39} Rapid Fire Round What are you excited about right now? I am completely myself – for better or worse. In every relationship, in every moment, I am myself. It is such a relief. What would you say to your younger self? Your weirdness is magic. You don’t have to try to be cool, Do YOU. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate chip cookie dough What piece of guidance would you give to listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze? You are so much braver and more capable than you think. If I can do it, you can do it. Seek support from people who want to help you. Dig into yourself. There is an endless well of spirit and heart. We just have to tap into that – it’s there. I promise everything you need you have. You may have to say adios to booze if …. If you are hiding bottles. Odette’s Weekly Challenge Search for sober people in your interest bubbles (sober Mom’s, sober artists, sober photographers, sober writers). We are all out here; you just have to look closer. Denzel Washington said, “I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. The floodgates of goodness have opened upon me: spiritually, emotionally, and financially. You are not alone, together is always better. Welcome to the sober club. I promise it's going to be fun. Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 316: Sober VS In Recovery
Episode 316 – When I get an urge or a craving, I'll be better next time this creeps up. Paul took his last drink on February 29, 2020. He is from Long Island and is 30 years old. This is his story of living alcohol-free (AF). Today's sponsor is Firebrew. They are also sponsoring our Bozeman retreat. https://www.mindyourmanna.co/ Discount Code: RE10off Finding Your Better You – Odette's weekly message What is the difference between being sober and being in recovery? The definition of sobriety is the condition of not having any measurable levels or effects from alcohol or other drugs. Sobriety is also considered to be the natural state of a human being at birth. Recovery signifies you know you have a problem and are trying to fix it. It doesn't mean you resolve your issues right away. You recognize something is wrong, which is a critical part of getting help. https://7summitpathways.com/blog/what-does-it-mean-in-recovery/#:~:text=What%20Being%20in%20Recovery%20Means,synonymous%20with%20%E2%80%9Cin%20remission.%E2%80%9D When you are in recovery, you feel a kinship to others in recovery, make decisions based on how they will impact your recovery, adjust friendships and relationships based on how they affect recovery, and never let down your guard. Can you be sober and not in recovery? Yes, abstaining is the first part. A recovery mindset allows you to grow and develop your self-awareness. It helps you question your relationships and boundaries. Recovery is for everyone. You don't have to be an "alcoholic." Recovery is about being open to change and adjustments in your life – asking for help. Many of us abstain for some time before we are ready for recovery. The recovery mindset allows for growth, new connections, and community. Are you ready to step into the arena of recovery? We are here and ready for you. [7:43] Odette introduces Paul Paul took his last drink on February 29, 2020. He is from Long Island, NY, and lives in Brooklyn. He is a Physical Education teacher and a personal trainer. He trains for fun, is getting into karate, and likes getting out into nature, which isn't easy in Brooklyn. Paul opened his training business during COVID. He leveraged COVID as an opportunity to pivot the world of fitness and adapt to the new normal. Paul started drinking toward the end of high school. Cannabis was his first substance, not alcohol. When he went to college, his drinking dialed up. In his mid 20's cannabis wasn't helping anymore, so his drinking escalated and became a problem. As Paul reflects, his Dad overdosed when he was twelve, and his mother now has twelve years of sobriety. Childhood issues contributed to his desire to numb out. His substance abuse was a symptom of early childhood trauma. [12:23] How was your childhood? Were you trying to cope or escape from tragedy? Paul said he is an extrovert. He is open about his childhood experiences. It helps him to open up. When Paul's mom re-married and had a baby, postpartum depression kicked in, and she shut out the world by drinking. Paul said he was naïve and tried to take the bottle away from his mom. He frequently cared for his brother. His stepdad lost his temper with his mom's drinking, leading to his stepdad's arrest. Ultimately, his mom checked into treatment and now has 12 years of sobriety. Paul leveraged boxing as a way to escape and found solace in fitness. [16:33] Did you notice that you developed a care-taking aspect of your personality? Yes, Paul is a caretaker, particularly with the fitness routine and teaching elementary school. He goes out of his way to help people. [18:12] Our families can recover together. Do you think about changing the trajectory of your ancestry? Paul said a driving factor for him was seeing the lows his mom experienced when drinking, and he knew he didn't want that for himself or his kids. Paul sees two sides to the coin. Life is not easy. Addiction is not a surprise; it can harden you. You have to find the why and the bigger picture to overcome addiction. His last drink was the first confirmed case of COVID in NYC [21:02] Tell me about the progression of fitness and drinking in your life. Paul went back a bit and said he experimented with other drugs in college, and they began to play a role in his life. His mom always reminded him that addiction ran in the family. When Paul did a semester abroad in England, his substance abuse became a problem. He played rugby, but his drinking took over. When he returned to the US, he started bartending, drinking, and doing cocaine. Within six months, he lost his best friend to an overdose, then his Uncle to a drunk driver. He didn't realize he was drinking through his grief. He wasn't responsible. He lost his bartending job and ran out of money. He had to move back home. After a fight with his mom, he went out drinking, got a DWI, and was locked up for 24 hours, which was a rock bottom for him. He turned things around and started applying to graduate programs and was accepted by a non-profit organization that paid for his Master's in Physical Education. He moved into New York City. [27:06] Were you drinking all this time? Paul said he does well with a full plate. He was still drinking, but not nearly as much. He took a month off after his DWI. He had three jobs and was in a Master's program. He was too busy for drinking to be an issue. When he graduated from his Master's program, he decided to give personal training a shot. He got a hernia and lost business because he couldn't train clients. He started drinking a lot. In 2017, he walked out of work on New Year's Eve, lost his phone, wallet, and had to call his mom to pick him up – another rock bottom moment. He subsequently completed a teaching certification program and started teaching PE. [29:58] Did you think by adding responsibilities, you could avoid the rock bottom moments? Paul said he has always been resilient – he bounces back quickly. He made changes immediately. [30:36] What did your mom say when she picked you up? Paul believes his mom knew he wasn't ready yet. She didn't press him about recovery; she was quiet but told him he needed to figure it out. Then he met his girlfriend. He had three bad experiences in a row, which led him to quit drinking. He went to a few AA meetings, started reading quit lit, and within a month, he went into Smart Recovery, and eight months later, he is on this podcast. Looking at his drinking patterns objectively made it easier for him to decide to quit. Quitting during COVID was odd, but he is mindful of getting through cravings. [38:41] How did you establish a routine during shut down? Paul said he trained to fight. He bought a punching bag, kettlebells and he has a very structured routine including mediation, yoga, infrared sauna, cold showers, and daily routine builds his confidence. [40:10] Did your performance improve when you quit drinking? Paul realized he was leaving a lot on the table. He ran an ultra-marathon in the summer and is aiming toward a 500-pound deadlift in Q1 2021. He continues to study physiology and has learned a lot about what alcohol does to your entire body, from sleep deprivation, poor recovery, and stress. He knows that drinking kept him from realizing his potential as a boxer. Paul said fitness is his thing. He doesn't romanticize drinking like artists, writers, or musicians. Drinking hinders fitness performance. [44:48] Do you work with people in recovery as well? Paul works with all types of clients and is starting to incorporate individuals in recovery and expand that outreach. He trains people he wants to help and loves working with kids. [48:10] What do you do when you get a craving? Paul said he tries to turn it on its head and thinks of it like building a new muscle. Café RE helps him a lot. Family parties stressed him out because he was focused on not drinking. He attends several Café RE meetings a week to surround himself with like-minded people and create accountability. Quitting drinking isn't easy, but it's simple – just don't have a drink. [51:52] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your younger self? You're going to be good. Take what life throws at you and keep moving forward What has recovery made possible for you? Finding more joy and discovering what joy is for me. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate chip cookie dough What are you excited about right now? My business. Fitness will train differently post COVID, and he is excited about what's to come. What parting piece of guidance would you give to people who are considering ditching the booze? Try to picture a life without alcohol before you submit to it. Incremental improvement goes a long way. You might want to say Adios to booze if …. If you have to drink a six-pack before a bartending shift or if you lose your car. Learn more about Paul on Instagram: recoveryfit1 Odette's Summary Recovery is an opportunity when you reframe and shift your mindset. The way we label things has a direct impact on our experience. Let this journey back home be full of fun, mysteries, and new discoveries. Your life is waiting. Remember that you are not alone and together is always better. Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you'll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes "Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys"
RE 315: Change and Compassion
– I can’t even imagine picking up a drink to solve something anymore. It doesn’t even cross my mind. Kate took her last drink on August 11, 2018. She is 42 and lives in New Jersey. This is her story of living alcohol-free (AF). Today’s sponsor is Better Help. Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 500,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR. Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message Odette has been thinking about the process of change. When she is having a down day, she wonders, am I doing recovery right? Am I making progress? Is the work worth it? It’s muddy and contradictory, particularly with our labeling minds. We think bad days mean we are doing something wrong, and negative emotions are guides in the wrong direction. On hard days, Odette uses more tools, which probably means she is making more progress. Holly Whittaker posted on her Instagram page a sketch that highlights the Hourglass of Change. It shows there is a range of emotions from start to goal. Odette thinks we need to learn to appreciate the hourglass of change, label-less, and accept more. Negative emotions have a place in our chapter of change. When Odette looks for peace instead of euphoria and moves gently with her feelings, she remembers compassion is critical. We need to have compassion for ourselves and others. Let us remember that we are all on the same path, wanting to connect with others and feel like we belong. If sobriety is kicking you in the butt right now, don’t be so hard on yourself. Take it as a sign of progress. You are on the right track. You are right where you are supposed to be. [7:30] Odette introduces Kate Kate took her last drink on August 11, 2018. She is 42, lives in New Jersey, and works for Recovery Elevator. Kate said she was born and raised in New Jersey. She, her husband Jay, and their cats keep life interesting. Kate works in the art world. She is crafty and knits, sews, and cross stitches. She loves to exercise and get outside. [8:54] Give listeners some background on your history with drinking Kate said she took her first drink at 14. She was severely inebriated and blacked out. The only other time she drank in high school, she blacked out. Kate went to college in Pennsylvania, and drinking was part of the culture. She was in a sorority, and everyone drank on the weekends. Her drinking seemed normal and what everyone was doing. After college, she started to notice some demons. Kate recalled in early childhood being asked to sit on the choir director’s lap at church and kiss him. She was taught to respect her elders. Looking back, she realizes her life then took an awkward turn. She developed an eating disorder. When she started drinking, the eating disorder went away. In college, she became the ultimate party girl. She worked in galleries and auction houses, and drinking was encouraged. She moved to the UK in 2007 and was there for four years. She contrasted the drinking culture in the UK versus New York. Kate knew she had found her people. Her drinking ramped up. After her divorce, she would drink to obliteration with vodka. She learned geographic changes don’t work. [12:51] Odette asked what was going on in her brain about her drinking. Kate said she knew from her first drink that she shouldn’t drink. Alcoholism runs in her family. Her father has five years of sobriety. Every day was a struggle to continue keeping up appearances and be a high-functioning professional while drinking copious amounts of alcohol at night. 14:10 Did you talk to anyone about your eating disorder, drinking, or what happened during your childhood? Kate said she was raised in a family where appearance meant everything. It went to the extreme that she and her siblings were wearing matching outfits for every holiday. Kate believes the 3 of them were struggling with who they are. Kate told her mother about the choir director, and she didn’t believe her. Her friend’s mother found out about what was happening and sat down with Kate and talked it through. The kissing stopped, but she had to stay in the choir and see him weekly. At 14, the choir director turned it back on her in front of the entire chorus. She was embarrassed as a teenager. As an adult, she is mortified that it was allowed to happen. [16:37] Tell me more about what happened when you were in the UK? Kate said she moved back to the US because she was engaged to another man. When she lived in the UK, she was sexually assaulted by someone she was dating. This became a turning point. Within six months, she fled back to New York and got a job at a gallery. She then met another man who was a master manipulator, and they would drink a lot together. During Hurricane Sandy, they were stuck together. She tried to break up with him, and he would manipulate his way back. Kate’s drinking escalated due to the confusion associated with the manipulation. [18:21] Did you notice you were drinking more? Was your tolerance increasing? Kate said yes. A bottle of wine an evening was a standard routine. After a friend’s 40th birthday, she was so drunk it required two people to get her into her home. At 5 AM the next morning, she was passed out on the floor of her apartment, fully clothed, and she had urinated on herself. That was her first attempt to quit drinking, and it lasted about 90 days. When she went back to drinking, it progressed to 2-3 handles of vodka a week. She was working remotely most of the time, which masked much of her drinking. Her company is versed in recovery, and they encourage recovery. [20:29] Did your drinking effect your relationship? How did that change when you quit drinking? Kate said her husband is a heavy drinker as well, and they fueled each other as drinking partners. As her recovery has evolved, it has put some strain on her marriage. Kate and Jay didn’t discuss their drinking because they both had a problem. They are trying to rediscover who they are as a couple and learn to communicate. Kate said her husband is a rough and tumble guy who has lived a hard life, which puts him in a gender norm that he doesn’t talk about his feelings. Now that she is sober, Kate talks about all of her feelings. She has sought out other friends to express her feelings, and she wishes she and her husband could speak more openly. They have never talked about why she stopped drinking. Jay hasn’t seen all of the new dimensions of Kate that have evolved due to her sobriety. [24:37] Tell me a little bit more about what happened after those 90 days? Kate said start, restart, try again. She never moderated. It was black and white; there was no in-between. She walked into her first AA meeting at 24 years old but didn’t want to admit she had a drinking problem. From 2017 to 2018, Kate knew if she had continued drinking, it would kill her. She had many day one’s – she couldn’t put together stretches of time. [26:40] What happened in August? Kate said in July of 2018, she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. After forty “day one’s,” she put her wine down before her friend’s baby shower and said, we’re done. She googled recovery podcasts and found Recovery Elevator episode 2. She clicked play and connected with Paul’s sober date. It was the first time she heard similarities about how she drank and how other people spoke about their drinking. In August 2018, she signed up for Café RE. She discovered a community that was pursuing the same goal. The encouragement from like-minded people made a difference. Kate did an Instagram live with Heather of Ditch the Drink, and it was so beautiful for Kate to see her recovery friends and her “regular” friends together. [32:01] Do you still get cravings? Kate said she does not get cravings. She likes inclusion to have an AF drink in her hand because it’s about being “part of” the event, not the alcohol in the glass. [33:02] What do you do when you go to a party, and someone asks what you want to drink? Kate brings her own, or she will grab a seltzer. If she is ever asked, are you sure you don’t want just one? she offers to burn down their house. [34:10] Have you started healing, and what tools do you use? Kate said she had two incredible therapists. Her first therapist got her through her divorce, allowing the story to unfold itself on Kate’s timetable. She lets Kate start and stop as needed. She also had solo sessions with her couple’s therapist, who has a very different style. He has been teaching her she is valid, worth it and her thoughts and ideas are not stupid. Kate’s father believes she is too sensitive, which hurts deeply. Her therapist helped her understand that being sensitive is okay. She now understands her sensitivity is what makes her who she is. It inspires her ability to break out into song, making up new lyrics. Odette believes that Kate’s sensitivity is her superpower. [38:00] Tell me more about why recovery is important in your company? Kate said the owner of the company had personal struggles with addiction, and several employees are sober. The company cheerleads Kate’s recovery, and her boss was supportive of her work with Café RE. Odette commented about the stigma about recovery in the corporate world and how much Kate’s company gives her hope. [40:58] What are you excited about right now? Kate said she is excited about everything. She is excited about finishing a cross-stitch stocking and how her company is moving forward in 2021. [42:30] Rapid Fire Round If you could talk to Katie when she was younger, what would you say? OMG, you are so f*ing pretty and worth it. You are a beautiful person, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. What is a lightbulb moment for you on this journey? I can’t even imagine picking up a drink to solve something anymore. It doesn’t even cross my mind. What has recovery made possible for you? Recovery has made everything possible. Kate has saved $30,000 since she quit drinking and now has to buy Odette coffee. What are some of your favorite resources on this journey? You have to find a community. Kate has discovered her recovery family in Café RE. It’s her #1 resource. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Rum raisin and peanut butter ripple, but not at the same time. What parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners? This is the best decision you will ever make in your life and stop waiting. You might want to say adios to booze if … You are so drunk at your wedding that you fall asleep at the dinner table. Odette’s Summary Remember that you are not alone and together is always better. We took the elevator down. We’ve got to take the stairs back up. We can do this. I love you guys. Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”
RE 314: What’s going to happen?
Gregg took his last drink 26 years ago (November 6th, 1994). This is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Bozeman registration opens March 1st to Café RE members. On March 6th registration opens to all. You can find more details about the event here. Trust us… you don’t want to miss this! Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding Your Better You It’s been a little bit of time since the 1st of the year. Those resolutions we all made might now be changing from determination and drive and into a place of the unknown. If you’ve stuck with your resolution, you are far enough in that you can’t see where you started but the end isn’t in focus yet. Not knowing how the outcome will play out can be scary. When we ask “what is going to happen?” it blocks our ability to function today and in the now. Things will work out, if we let them. [7:52] Odette introduces Gregg. Gregg lives in Los Angeles. He is married and has two amazing daughters. For a living he is a recovery coach and also owns a few sober living facilities. He is an advisor in many startups as well. For fun he likes to body surf, skateboard and eats ice cream (mint chocolate chip!). [12:20] Can you give listeners some background on your story? Gregg’s father was killed in a drunk driving accident when he was 4 years old. From a young age he understood the power of alcohol. Being raised by a single mother he always felt different. He grew up as a bully because he was scared and sensitive. Around 12/13 he discovered pot and alcohol. That “medicine” took away his shame and pain. As an adult he started with a pattern of drinking, leading to cocaine, leading to pot, leading to bad decisions. Between 22 and 25 he was arrested 8 times. He got into the drug trade and while it provided a “nice life” there was overwhelming amounts of shame regarding his life choices, and he was eventually arrested with 50 lbs of pot. The judge gave him another chance, but he was arrested again 18 days later. In the cell the next morning he heard a voice that said, “call your mother”. She told him to go to church and while there he went to confession. Unbeknownst to Gregg, the priest he gave confession to was his step fathers first sponsor in AA. He went to AA that evening. [24:39] How were those 90 meetings in 90 days for you? Gregg said he was accountable because he had a court card. At first he was just looking to “get the heat off”. Around day 30 the pink cloud appeared, and he felt clear headed and healthy. He found connection with some people in AA. The boxing lessons also helped his life balance. When he got sober in 1994, there were not a lot of people in their 20s doing the same thing. He lost a lot of friendships in the process. [30:47] What bigger motivations did you have to stay the course? Gregg said he had a good work ethic overall. So he had the desire to succeed. He chose to put what would be been drinking time into his passion. He would write scripts rather than going out. It was 8 extra hours a week he put towards something he loved, which helped him to change the mindset around his life. He never would have had the career he had if he didn’t put that time towards his passion. [36:02] How have you transformed and processed the pain you had in your early years? Gregg said he had done step 4 through 4 times. Someone in a meeting saw that he was blocked and told him to unpack the “backpack of shame”. Through this process he was able to explore other things he had left off his previous step work. Gregg uncovered, discovered and discarded, which allowed him to fully open and find relief. “Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can change” – Oprah [41:21] Do you still get any cravings? Gregg said the obsessions to drink and use has left him, the obsession to obsess has not. If he doesn’t do the work on other obsessions, they will ruin his life just like drugs and alcohol did. He will go back to step 1 and apply it to whatever obsession is holding him at that time. [43:00] What are you excited about right now? Gregg said he really likes connection and he’s excited about recovery. Finding other connections through recovery. He’s excited to come out of covid and what that might look like. He’s excited about his podcast “The Recovery Playbook” Find it here on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. [48:00] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your younger self? Drugs and alcohol are a waste of time. Time is the most precious commodity we have. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Mint chocolate chip What book are you reading right now? Epic which is about how we are all connected through our stories. Everyone has a story. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners thinking about ditching the booze? Remain willing to be willing. You may have to say adios to booze if... because you will die. Tomorrow or 20 years from now. The disease of alcoholism is undefeated. Odette’s weekly challenge: Stay grounded in the present moment. Some of her favorite ways to stay grouned are: Going for a walk Walking barefoot on the grass Meditation Blasting music and dancing Drinking tea Touching whatever surface she’s sitting on Upcoming events, retreats and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes Sobriety Tracker Android Sober Selfies! - Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to -email@example.com “Recovery Elevator – staying in the present moment is the best we can do for our future. I love you guys.”
RE Bonus Episode: Odette and Paul Q&A
Bonus Episode – Odette and Paul answer listeners questions I still find it difficult that my husband drinks every day. I don't know why it makes me feel angry inside, but I do all the time when he drinks. How can I approach this? Odette said, stay on your lane. The more you focus on him, the less you will focus on your healing and your journey. In learning about yourself and healing yourself, you can start to implement boundaries and assert your needs vs. obsess over how much he is drinking. Therapy helps. Pull your energies back to yourself. What do you suggest I do when friends and family seem uncomfortable around me when I say I don't drink? Paul said you can get started on 2.0 version of your life. So much more is packed into this than just quitting drinking. You are stepping out of the norm, roles, identities, and labels in your family. Learn to set boundaries, overcome the need to please. Give it time, and they're watching. This doesn't mean they aren't supportive. They are on their own journey as well. What are the plans for Recovery Elevator (RE)? What is in the works? The podcast will evolve to include additional voices. Paul will return in some capacity. Retreats (Rustic Retreats, like Bozeman, Hotel events, retreat centers, and AF travel). A Retreat Center is contemplated. A Rat Park experiment, an in-person community, is being considered. (insert link) How did you best handle your early days of an alcohol-free life? What practices do you use now daily? Odette has used different tools but consistently exercises, sees a therapist, stays connected via on-line chats and in-person meet-ups that are COVID safe. Paul said the most challenging and most rewarding experience in his life was quitting drinking. Paul left Bozeman for his first month of sobriety because there were too many triggers. He took long walks for 30 days, particularly to a fantastic waterfall. As his recovery evolved, he is mindful of the interchange. He goes to his internal connection, and the outside triggers stopped affecting him. He found some inner peace. If you could trade your life now for being able to drink like a normal person magically, would you? Odette said, no, senor! In the first few years, Paul said he had thoughts of drinking, and he was in the victim role – longing for the old days when he could drink normally. Now his energy has changed, and his life now has no space for alcohol or drinking. I hear in AA all of the time that those who don't go to meetings regularly are sure to go back out and drink. Odette said the opposite of addiction is connection. It's a great time to be sober with virtual meetings, sober curious groups, courses, and friends who are always focused on learning and being better. Paul said there are infinite ways to Ditch the Booze. Paul's buddies have ditched the booze, and AA was not part of their journey. He believes the community is vital to long-term sobriety. It doesn't have to be AA – and humans are social animals. I'm in my second year of sobriety. The first year was a lot of filling my toolbox and learning how to survive without alcohol. When in your journey did you start to thrive and live your best life. What steps did you take to embrace the new you and live out loud? Paul said nothing was thriving when he was drinking. Some parts of his life started to thrive nearly immediately when he quit drinking. Within 14 days, he felt better. The spiritual component of his life has become vital to him. He is more tethered and can weather emotional storms. Today chaos, while momentary, ultimately leads to thriving for Paul. Odette said her definition of thriving has changed. She goes within. Thriving is about peace, knowing herself, and understanding the reality of co-existing with others. It's not about the perfect Instagram profile. Odette thrives even on her dip days. Her growing pains lead to thriving. Do you think there is a risk of a substance leading me back to alcohol? Have your own experiences (or, for that matter, any new research on the potential benefits of psychedelics)? How has your experience informed you? Paul said Dr. David Nutt (2011 UK) said alcohol is the most addictive drug and causes the most devastating effects on society. Number 20 was magic mushrooms. Paul's experiences with plant medicines have been non-addictive. In the right setting, they do not lead to a return to alcohol. The right setting is critical. Guided therapy sessions will help the intense inner work. What were your best strategies to avoid or minimize the tendency to romanticize the days of yore in the early days of sobriety? Odette said, play the tape forward. Romanticizing is just an illusion. She remembers not to give up what she wants for that drink. Paul described the ism and euphoric recall. Its why women continue to have babies. They don't accurately remember the pain. Paul's memory was about playing football. The mind has 60-70K thoughts a day, and most of them are wrong. Questioning your thoughts is a great practice. I seem to have a problem sometimes with a lack of structure or regiment. When I work or have commitments, it seems like I don't have so many thoughts in my head because I'm pretty focused on the task at hand. Fewer thoughts equal less anxiety for me. Paul, can you share your experience with travel and structure? Paul suggests structure in all of his courses. The days with structure are easier to get through. Paul has taken Spanish classes or city tours, or AA meetings to build in structure and routine. Double down on the routine. I would love to hear Odette speak on how alcohol abuse works with eating disorder recovery. The sobriety world is very diet culture-oriented and fat phobic. Any guidance on fighting the voice of needing to restrict, manage weight, and it's ok to eat? Odette said listen to Episode 312. There are so many connections between alcohol and eating disorders. She took other's hands until she could do it for herself. She is grateful for her body. She has bad body image days but tries to do the best for her body. Protect your energy! Odette is happy to speak to people about this challenge. How do you not think about drinking while abstaining? I've had many alcohol-free days in the last few years, but those same days were sometimes consumed with thoughts of drinking. So, the drinking has gone away for you guys. But has the thinking about the drinking gone away from you too? Paul talks about music is all about love. Saying goodbye to alcohol is a Dear John letter. Give yourself time to grieve and let the neurons no longer fire together. It's a non-issue for Paul today. Odette spoke about the progression of healing. It does get better. What supplements- if any- have you used to help "restore" the damage done by long-term use of alcohol? Odette said sleep, vitamins, water, good food, and Vitamin D – get outside. Paul said, get outside and get outside with your shoes off. Lemon water, cocoa water, take a nap if you are tired. I would like to hear from you about your spiritual journey as you got sober and how you find your higher being? Paul said spirituality wasn't his thing, but at about 3.5 years in, April 14, he recognized something beautiful was at play. He has learned to enjoy the mystery and the magic. He doesn't have all of the answers and embraces that. Odette believes that things are presented to you when you are ready. Stay curious, be patient. Value bomb – time has its own time. How do you distance yourself from perfectionism? Paul said, recognize with an awareness that it's there. Odette likes the gut check she gets when she realizes her recovering control freak is a daily practice. She leans on friends for support. How can I help a loved one get on the AF journey, too, without using too many of my own experiences and also without falling off myself? Odette said, stay the course, don't be co-dependent. Don't add resistance. Hold space for your loved one. Paul said, be the change you want to see. We grow from our crash and burn? How did the transition between hosts come about? Did Paul seek Odette out, or did Odette send out an unconscious signal? Was there a specific sign in the universe to make this incredible event happen? Paul and Odette are well connected, including the transition. The idea just came, and it worked beautifully. Odette's immediate yes came from her heart. What is Paul's most significant takeaway since stepping away from hosting the podcast? And what is Odette's biggest takeaway so far being the host of the podcast? We all suck at asking for and accepting help. Paul needed help, and Odette stepped up. Odette knows we all need each other. When she has dip days, she shows up and gets more when she shows up for others. Do you have any advice on when is a good time and how to be open & out about your sobriety (with employers, an old friend, strangers, etc.)? I struggle with thinking it's none of my employer's business because it doesn't affect the job I do, and I don't want to deal with the conversation that comes with telling them, but then find myself avoiding the truth about it and feeling bad later. Odette said self and radical honesty is what and genuine and authentic to yourself. Challenge yourself, but do what works for yourself, your mental accountability, and your peace. Paul said we often disassociate ourselves from nature. Paul knows burning the ships can be challenging, and he's had some delicate moments. His opportunities with vulnerability have worked with him everywhere. It opens up the door for a deeper connection. When has your sobriety been tested the most, and what did you do that happened? Paul said he had a meltdown after his sixth episode, and he asked for help, and he was supported incredibly and learned how burning the ships worked in his favor and asking for help became an incredible experience. Vulnerability opens so many doors. Odette described that parenting is tough! Many parents try to stay sober for their kids, and parenting can be super triggering. Odette loves her kids to death, but she is reinventing the Mommy culture. Parenting is tough, but she knows alcohol isn't her answer, and she has a great support system. What do you think of prescription meds for or during recovery (e.g., naltrexone)? Paul said green light for naltrexone. It helps in the short term, great. Paul said Antabuse is a violent fear motivator. Your recovery is more helpful with loving yourself. What have you learned the most about recovery from doing the podcasts? And what is the most common "similarity" you've found after all the interviews, other than we all have a desire to stop drinking, of course! Odette said moderation works until it doesn't, and it pretty much doesn't do the trick. We all just want love and acceptance. Odette appreciates the courage of everyone that dares to come on the show. Paul discussed, there is trauma with a big T, and little t, addiction to alcohol says something in our life is out of balance, we are all fundamentally good people, there is part of our unconscious that doesn't want to stop drinking, and we need to overcome our fear. How do I break out of the cycle of drinking with four young kids? Odette said she doesn't like advising busy moms – she only has two kids. She suggested making yourself a priority, and when you do, your children will learn that as well. Take care of yourself. You are not exempt from pain or failure. It takes a village to raise children, ask for help! Is it possible to get addicted to feelings? I have grown up in a cycle of trauma. On a deeper level, I feel I've been addicted to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and shame, because I have lived with them for so long? Paul said you could get addicted to your thoughts. Your thoughts function in the known. The body tries to anchor you back to your old self. Odette said, find your new normal. Paul added, enjoy your life. It doesn't have to be hard. You can ask for help. Paul gave a big shout-out for all of the good questions and he and Odette had a blast.
RE 313: An Antidote to Judgement
Carolyn took her last drink on February 22, 2019. This is her story of living alcohol-free (AF). Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Dehumanizing Others. After listening to Brene Brown, Odette loved Brene’s challenge of not engaging in dehumanizing others. We can’t change the world if we continue dehumanizing others. Odette was also reading Pema Chodron’s new book and concluded that polarization is most problematic when we dehumanize people. Habitually dehumanizing others about politics or behavior or clothing isn’t good. Minor differences in habits and preferences keep us fundamentally separate from others. The division exists everywhere, even in recovery. Odette has observed others judging other’s approaches to recovery. We judge people for NA beer or not drinking NA beer, AA or no AA. We continue to create division instead of closing the gaps. Pema Chodron has a practice called “just like me.” Just like me, this person doesn’t want to be uncomfortable. Just like me, this person loses it sometimes. Just like me, this person wants friends and intimacy. Focus on the similarities, not the differences. You can have boundaries without dehumanizing others. [7:35] Odette introduces Carolyn Carolyn took her last drink on February 22, 2019. She lives in Wisconsin and is 34 years old. She lives in Wisconsin, is single, no kids, and has fun with her German shepherd pup. Carolyn loves drawing, painting, murals, golf, snowboarding, camping, hiking, etc. She works as a graphic artist. Living in the polar vortex of Wisconsin can be challenging, but it makes her appreciate the seasons more. [11:01] Tell me about your history with drinking Carolyn started drinking when she was 14 years old (2000). She would drink on the weekends and look forward to drinking. It was a big part of her identity and made her feel cool and accepted. Carolyn’s drinking ramped up when she went to college. She worked in a restaurant and played rugby and had lots of opportunities to drink. Drinking continued to be a significant part of her identity. She met her significant other in 2008, and they were drinking buddies, a party couple. She knew something was off but wasn’t sure what it was. [13:30] Did you start questioning if alcohol was a problem at that time? Carolyn didn’t see alcohol as a problem initially, but she was aware that several areas of her life were not jiving. Looking back, she can see many events and relationships influenced by alcohol, but she didn’t see it at the moment. [14:49] Were you rationalizing your drinking as something sophisticated? At her college graduation, she was surrounded by friends and family. She was drunk, and her boyfriend proposed. She said yes, even though she knew something was off. She has a lot of internal conflicts. She leveraged alcohol to help her numb her feelings. The marriage ended because she couldn’t move the relationship forward. After her divorce, she was drinking after work every night. She found it wasn’t fun anymore. She started to develop anxiety at 22. Her drinking was no longer fun, party drinking – it was maintenance drinking. Had she not had the lull in 2014, she would not have had the tipping point [18:32] Did you talk to a friend or a therapist about your struggles? Carolyn knew her drinking wasn’t healthy, but she was still in denial. She brainwashed herself into believing she was a fun party-girl. She didn’t see herself as an alcoholic. She began to realize she had a problem after her divorce. [20:21] Walk me through what happened from 2014 to February 2019. Carolyn said her drinking progressed. Her anxiety was crippling, and she would drink when she got home. After a visit with his sister, her brother-in-law mentioned he hadn’t had a drink for two weeks. She thought that was crazy. She knew she hadn’t gone two weeks without drinking ever. She stumbled upon the “are you an alcoholic” quiz. She had a few three-week breaks over the years, and she could feel the fog lift; her anxiety would lessen. She returned to drinking because she couldn’t handle her social life without alcohol. In 2018, she had to be on medication for a month. She was advised not to drink while on the drug but drank anyway. It was a terrifying realization for her. She knew at then she had to take her drinking seriously. [25:19] Sometimes, our “best” looks different. It sounds like you had a real mental shift. Carolyn said it wasn’t until she got scared that she decided to take it seriously. She is now thankful for the hardships that led to her tipping point. She listened to the Recovery Elevator podcast and heard about Annie Grace’s book, This Naked Mind. She quit drinking the next day. She reads a lot of self-help and memoirs and credits Annie’s book with changing her life. [28:36] How were your first few weeks alcohol-free? Carolyn said she was anxious and sweaty during week one. She didn’t sleep well for three weeks and was emotionally sensitive. She would burst into tears at any given moment. She listened to podcasts, checked her sobriety tracker, and didn’t have many cravings. She did chain smoke. By week four, she turned a corner and felt things became more manageable. She was sleeping better, not obsessed with how many days she had. She was still emotional, but her energy was through the roof, and things started coming together. [32:05] Carolyn asks Odette about her social circle. Odette joined Café RE. She experienced lots of change, and she was grieving her former self. Carolyn’s sister quit drinking three years ago. Her oldest sister has been her confidante and best friend through learning to be alcohol-free. Her sister’s sobriety became a motivator. She and her twin sister were drinking buddies. She believes her twin sister is coming to terms with drinking as well. She is learning to be transparent with her sister about her addiction. [38:05] Tell me about your maintenance routine? Carolyn said that fitness and nutrition have always been important to her. Now her fitness and nutrition are more therapeutic because she has no alcohol. She is nurturing her body; she feels better, keeps a gratitude journal, podcasts and talks to her older sister, and quit lit help. [39:54] What do you do when you get a trigger, or a curveball comes your way? Carolyn said exercise, getting outside, art projects like painting or drawing are freeing. She also dances and sings to shake it off. One podcast, Rachel Heart, focused on how your brain functions in phases of a craving (Think, Feel, Act) has been an excellent tool to overcome cravings. She quit smoking after six months AF, and her cravings were heightened at that time. [45:32] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your Day 1 self? Once you reach the 3–4-week milestone, things will get a lot easier. What is a lightbulb moment for you in this journey? Carolyn had a tipping point and realized she could have an awesome life without alcohol. She no longer felt deprived. What has recovery made possible for you? Carolyn said lots of doors have opened for her. She started a screen-printing apprenticeship. She is shopping for a home. Her self-confidence is much better. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Mint chip. You may have to say Adios to booze if … If you continue drinking while you are on antibiotics. Odette’s weekly challenge: Try the “just like me” practice this week with someone. When you feel judgment appear, pause, and try and lessen the gap between you. Remember, you are not alone, and together is always better. Let’s be kinder to each other and ourselves. Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness, you would never know the light - I love you guys.”
RE 312: Alcohol Abuse & Eating Disorders
Holly took her last drink on January 4, 2007. This is her story of living alcohol-free (AF). Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message. Odette and Holly met in treatment. In 2013, they went to Montecatini together to work on their eating disorders. Odette believed that if she could stop her obsession with food and reach a healthy weight, she would be normal. However, she didn’t address the emotional reasons behind her eating disorder. A few years later, she found herself using alcohol as her new coping mechanism. The behaviors that led to her unhealthy relationship with food mirrored the behaviors of her relationship with alcohol. Up to 35% of people who abused alcohol also have an eating disorder. This rate is 11 times greater than the general population. For more information on these statistics, see: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ The stigma for eating disorders is greater than the stigma for alcohol use disorder, so many people struggle in silence. Odette believes the only way out is through. Get to the root cause of your addiction. Be aware of co-occurring addictions. Don’t run away from your feelings or numb them with a substance. Find a community. Get professional help. When seeking help, be specific. Find a therapist specializing in addiction, whether it is alcohol, food, drugs, or whatever else. Get specific. Don’t feel perpetually stuck in addiction whack-a-mole. We can do hard things. [9:14] Odette introduces Holly Holly took her last drink on January 4, 2007. Holly is from Montana. She moved to Southern California over 15 years ago for graduate school. She currently works for Mental Health Systems as an employment specialist, helping those with behavioral health issues get employment. On the weekends, she works for a rehab in San Diego as a rehab specialist. Holly has fun playing games. Codeword is her latest favorite. She also enjoys listening to books, music and hanging out with her dog Hannay. [11:56] Tell me about your history with drinking Holly started experimenting with alcohol in college. She grew up in a conservative home. She was allowed to drink with adults present, but her family was traditional with alcohol use. Holly didn’t drink in high school. She was a rule follower. Her drinking took off when she was 21, when it was legal and escalated after her engagement. She attended Fuller Theological Seminary, intending to become a Presbyterian minister. She drank heavily every day and hid her drinking. [13:39] Did you start questioning your drinking habits at that time? When Holly lived in Montana, she drank like everyone else. When she moved to California, she would order two drinks at a time and was starting to understand that wasn’t normal. She needed a drink before she went out and then went home afterward to drink alone. She isolated and that isolation led to depression. Alcohol exacerbated the depression. Toward the end of her drinking, she was put on several psychiatric holds (5150). [15:17] Were you rationalizing your drinking as something sophisticated? On paper, Holly was very functional. She was a straight-A student, on the Dean’s list, she held to part-time jobs. She aced Hebrew. [16:40] Did you have a therapist? Was your therapist able to discern the alcohol issues from the depression issues? Holly had a therapist and kept drinking. She hid her drinking from her therapist. She was annoyed that her therapist occasionally suggested her attending a meeting. [17:33] Walk me through the progression of your drinking. Holly noted that two years after moving to California, she couldn’t stop drinking. She would wake up in the morning and drink to recover from the night before. She also struggled with an Eating disorder. Alcohol was the only calories she could keep in her body. She was physically and mentally depleting. She had suicidal ideations and felt if she got rid of herself, she would solve the problems she caused others. She had several suicide attempts due to alcohol, poor nutrition, and depression. [18:58] How long did that cycle last? Holly’s drinking continued for two years. On January 3, her therapist said she didn’t sound right and told her to go immediately to the hospital. Holly knew she couldn’t drive, so she walked toward the hospital. She consumed a pint of Vodka, a handful of Xanax and was mugged on the way to the hospital. She went missing for several hours. The Pasadena police called her Mom in Montana asking, are you Mom? They told her Mom they couldn’t find Holly. When Holly came to, she walked back to her apartment that has search dogs and an ambulance. She was placed on a 72-hour psych hold, which became a 14-day hold. She was released early because her Dad came down from Montana to take her to rehab. [21:02] How many holds did you have? Holly said, five or six, and she was still in denial. She was in rehab for 97 days, and it took her until Day 45 to acknowledge she had a bit of a drinking problem. She admitted to depression and an eating disorder, but not alcohol. [22:07] What was it about alcohol that made it difficult for you to admit you had a problem? Holly said that alcohol was such a part of her lifestyle that it seemed normal. Her view of an alcoholic was a homeless person on the street with a bottle in a brown bag. She had extreme denial that it was a problem. [23:08] Tell me more about when you went to rehab? Holly attended rehab in San Clemente, CA. It was a 12 Step based program. She was scared. Forty-five days into rehab, she begrudgingly got a sponsor. She was asked, “are you willing to do whatever it takes?” That temporary sponsor was with her for 7.5 years. Holly is grateful to her sponsor, her family, and all of the rehab staff who had to put up with her attitude. On family weekend, her Dad was crying when he told Holly what he saw when he came to put her in rehab. There were alcohol bottles and diet pills strewn about her apartment. Nobody knew how bad she was because she only reported the good news, from her grades to her two jobs. Seeing the pain in her father’s eyes snapped her into awareness. [27:08] Did you realize your body was withdrawing from alcohol? Holly said she had no recall of the first several days because she had overdosed. She later learned that her blood alcohol level was toxically high. The doctors said it was amazing she pulled through. Holly believes from her faith that angels were watching over her, and that is why she is still with us. [28:19] What happened after you left rehab. How was it adjusting to the real world? Holly said she did a lot of work but knew she had to take one day at a time. In early recovery, she leveraged AA, her sponsor, and plenty of therapy. Holly said connections, connections, connections – that was her saving grace. She began to lean in on other sobriety tools like the Recovery Elevator podcast. She returned to grad school and added recovery ministry to her curriculum. Her heart changed, and there was an ego shift that allowed her to focus on recovery ministry, sharing her recovery tools with others who struggle with addiction. She still takes it one day at a time, and her recovery isn’t perfect. Now she can hold space for others. [31:12] Did your eating disorder progress after you stopped drinking? Holly said she exchanged one obsession for another. Her addictive brain focused on alcohol, then alcohol plus food, trauma. Her recovery has not been a straight line but rather a windy pathway. She realized variety, moderation and balance are essential in her life, but moderation is not an option with alcohol. She has infinite possibilities without alcohol. [34:33] How do you handle difficult emotions now? Holly said she has to reach out to talk to people, or she is in trouble. If she starts to isolate from family and friends, it’s a red flag. [37:00] Tell me how you transitioned into the recovery industry? Holly said after graduating, she felt a pull to help others. She began helping people in recovery homes and believes her past was a calling for her to hold space for others. She practices playing the tape through regularly to avoid the insanity of her thoughts. She knows she is not going to drink, just for today. She believes in affirmations to rewire her neuropathways. [45:38] How has your recovery evolved over time? Holly remains involved in her 12-step program, but her mind has shifted from, I have to, to I get to. She continues to work with a therapist and connects with other people in recovery. [49:17] Rapid Fire Round What would you say to your younger self? Stay in the present, don’t worry about the past. You are loved. What is a lightbulb moment for you in this journey? Everyone has a past, don’t cast judgment. It’s about what you are doing today. What do you bring to a party? Diet Coke or Coke Zero with a splash of lemonade. What are your favorite resources in recovery? Connection, 12-steps, mental health support groups, quit lit, friends, and family. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are thinking of ditching the booze? Be gentle with yourself and know there are people who want to support you. No matter what, you have worth, value and you are loved. You may have to say Adios to booze if … You finish your whiskey, and you yell at the bartender, “same ice” because you don’t want the marinated ice to go down the drain. Odette’s weekly challenge: This journey should make you feel lighter and propel you toward the life you deserve. Let this be the best experiment in your life, the path back to yourself. Challenges are lessons, not obstacles. We can fail forward into beautiful things. You are not alone, together is always better. Upcoming events, retreats, and courses: Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can find more information about our events Affiliate Link for Endourage: For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. Affiliate Link for Amazon: Shop via Amazon using this link. The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here! Resources: Connect with Cafe RE - Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Recovery Elevator YouTube - Subscribe here! Sobriety Tracker iTunes “Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never know the light - I love you guys”