RE 255: Does Addiction Serve a Purpose?

RE 255: Does Addiction Serve a Purpose?

Kerri took her last drink on November 6, 2018.  This is her story.

Update on the Alcohol is Sh!t book!  The book is out!  Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here!  You can get the Audible version here!

Happy New Year!  On January 1st the 4th Café RE group, UP, opened.

2020’ Recovery Elevator LIVE event, Dancing with the Mind, will take place June 11-13 in Denver, CO.  Registration opens on January 8th, you can find more information about our events here.

On today’s episode Paul talks about meeting the man he would stay with while in Mexico, hearing his story, and discovering they had a connection through the TEDx Talk that Paul gave.  You can find the TEDx Talk, I’ve been duped by alcohol, here.

Paul also discusses a video he recently watched, an interview by Dr. Gabor Mate, (author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts).  Dr. Mate says if you want to look at what causes the addiction you have to look at the benefit of addiction.  That the greatest myth on addiction is that its genetic, the other myth around addiction is that it is a choice that people make.  You can watch the Dr. Gabor Mate video here.


[10:14] Paul introduces Kerri.  (**Doing the shownotes for my own interview is awkward! **) 


Kerri just turned 50, is married, and lives in Redding, CA.  She has two adult daughters, that both have families, and is a grandmother to 4.  For work Kerri recently fell into a new career, as a baker, and does stuff for RE.  For fun Kerri loves to be outdoors, hiking, taking her 3 rescue dogs out, travel, and kayaking.


[15:51] Give us a background on your drinking.


Kerri started drinking in high school and was a black out drinker from the start.  A family move before 9th grade made Kerri very angry.  Alcohol helped her fit into a new school and she quickly became known as a partier.

Kerri got married at 19, had her daughters right away.  She says that her and her ex-husband were problem drinkers throughout their entire 17-year marriage.  Kerri’s drinking really ramped up after her divorce.


[17:00] How old were you when you realized you had a problem with alcohol? 


Kerri says that in high school she knew she didn’t drink like her friends, but that she didn’t care.  Alcohol got her out of her shell.


[18:00] What happened after your divorce?


Kerri says her drinking ramped up and it got bad, really quick.  It was a big life change for Kerri, with the divorce, having to go out and find a job, and her daughters basically being out of the house.  She was drinking at home alone, blacking out every time.


[23:35] How come you didn’t feel ready to do this interview?    


Kerri said she didn’t feel like she had anything worth sharing.  She said that has felt that way all her life.


[26:23] Did you have a rock bottom moment?


Kerri said yes.  After getting her teaching credential later in life, which Kerri says was a dream job, she was fired from two teaching jobs as the result of her drinking.  Kerri surrendered her teaching credential.


[31:00] Talk to us about how you did it the first weeks, first month.


Kerri said it was really hard, that she didn’t know what anyone (co-workers, parents) was told or what they knew.  Kerri was afraid to leave her house for fear of running into someone, she would grocery shop at 2:00 AM.  She said she was filled with so much anxiety that she didn’t know how she was going to come out of it the 2nd time around.  She went to a therapist for the first time.  She sought out and entered into a 90-day IOP program.


[35:17] You’ve burned the ships on social media, what kind of response have you received?


Kerri said she has received nothing but support and encouragement, and she encourages everyone to do it.


[37:50] Talk to us about the breakthrough you had at the Bozeman retreat. 


Kerri said she got much from the entire retreat but it was the Clarity Breathwork that really did it for her.  She said once she was able to stop paying attention to what was going on around her and just do her thing, she was able to experience something powerful that changed her.


[44:38] Rapid Fire Round


  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?


That I don’t have to live up to, what I think are, other people’s expectations.


  1. What is a memorable moment that a life without alcohol has given you?


All these RE retreats, that is something I never would have imagined doing…taking off and meeting strangers.


  1. What is your favorite alcohol-free drink?


I’m kind of boring, I really don’t do the mocktail thing, I’m a water drinker.


  1. What are some of your favorite resources on this journey?


Definitely Café RE, these sober meetups, retreats and I listen to a lot of podcasts.


  1. What is on your bucket list in an alcohol-free life?


Travel, travel, and more travel.  I want to do a marathon.


  1. And what parting piece of guidance can you give to listeners?


To recover, get sober, whatever you want to call it, your way.  Your way may be different than someone else’s, and to not worry about what other people think.


You might need to ditch the booze if…


You wake up one morning with a broken ankle and you have no idea how you did it.


Upcoming Events and Retreats.

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

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You can find more information about our events here.


Resources mentioned in this episode:


Get two months free of classes with Skillshare at


Visit 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


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Recovery Elevator in Vietnam January 9th – 20th (12 days/11 nights) Registration opens Monday, July 1st, 2024 Learn More Travel the world… without alcohol On Recovery Elevator alcohol-free travel trips we aren’t wasting time nursing hangovers in the...
RE 302: From FOMO to JOMO

RE 302: From FOMO to JOMO

Jamie took her last drink April 16, 2019. With 485 days away from alcohol, (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol free (AF).

Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding Your Better You

She is currently re-reading The Compound Effect. The general idea is that baby steps add up into large rewards. Change is hard. Gaining momentum on a decision is hard. This applies to our alcohol-free journey: turning down drinks, one at a time. Once we reframe the idea of this being a sacrifice and think of it as an opportunity instead, the trajectory changes. We must think of all the things we can add into our lives without alcohol. Odette makes a list of the things she has room for in her life now. Why don’t you make one too?

[7:00] Odette introduces Jamie

Jamie is 35 years old and lives on Long Island, NY. Her immediate family lives close and she lives with her 2 black cats. Jamie is a social worker. For fun she likes to run, go kayaking, reading, cooking and hanging out with friends. Being in nature is the best, it’s where she finds her higher power.

[9:57] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking?

Jamie said she started drinking at the end of high school. In college her drinking seemed normal. She found there were hills and valleys with her drinking. When Jamie lost her mother at the age of 22 she remembers she was in a club in Greece and she identifies the synergy with that happening. The last 3-4 years her drinking escalated. She was blacking out and making poor choices. Looking back she can see the pattern of co-dependency.

[12:57] Did you notice after your mother passed that you used alcohol to deal with your grief?

Jamie said at first, she was so busy taking care of her father and making sure he was ok that alcohol was a secondary thought. But once she had some time away and time with her own feelings, she could see she was using alcohol the same as her mother, to numb down any emotions.

[18:05] Tell me about the first couple weeks of your journey?

Jamie said this was really the first time she honestly tried to get stop drinking. She had been living on the river of denial before this. Growing up her family didn’t express feelings, they drank or got angry. So, the first few weeks were new. She started a 12-step program and therapy. Jamie only knew 2 sober people at the time and she spoke to them a lot.

[23:49] What did you do initially when you had a craving?

Jamie said she didn’t really have a craving for the drink, but it was an emotional craving instead. She used a new found self-awareness to explore the feelings. She would pause and ask herself some questions about why she was feeling that way.

[28:18] After making the decision to not drinking, did you talk to your friends and family about it?

Jamie said she told people very quickly. She said the safe sentence “I’m not drinking right now”. After about a month, she started to see how this could be a lifestyle for her. 5-6 months in she began to share very openly on social media.

[30:48] What’s been the hardest part of this journey for you?

Jamie said feeling her feelings and not fighting them. Allowing the feelings to just be there. 

[34:27] What’s your morning routine?

Wakes up at 6am, feeds cats, reads and then moves her body. For the last 81 days (at the time of recording) Jamie has been running every morning. New Fashioned Sobriety and their Zero Proof Run Club hosted and a streaker challenge that she completed. Initially it was 41 days, which she completed. And now her pledge to herself is to move her body daily. She also makes sure to meditate daily.

[37:01] Did you used to have a witching hour?

Jamie said right after work, 5-7pm when before she would be at happy hour and now she fills the time with new routines. A fun mocktail, some tea, go for a walk, walk with a friend. 

 [40:13] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What are you excited about right now?

Have her first sober healthy relationship.

  1. What books are you reading right now?

Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love

  1. What is a lightbulb moment you’ve had in this journey?

I can do almost anything sober that I did drunk.

  1. If you could talk to day 1 Jamie, what would you say?

Jamie you are a warrior, you are a force you have no idea what this is going to bring you. You can be a light for other people.

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Anything with chocolate or peanut butter in it and even together!

  1. What are some of your favorite resources in recovery?

Café RE, Podcasts- Recovery Elevator, Recovery Happy Hour, Seltzer Squad, yoga, walking, running, kayaking and This Naked Mind and Sober Curious.

  1. What parting piece of guidance can you give people thinking about ditching the booze?

You are a brave, gentle soul and I applaud you. I wish you so much fun on your journey. It’s about taking that pain and making it fun. Tell somebody.

You may have to say adios to booze…

You drank so much while living in your parents basement and you couldn’t make it upstairs to the bathroom, so you throw up in the washing machine. 

Odette’s weekly challenge:

Think about your AF journey. How much have you been trying to hold onto things you think this journey will take from you? Is that realistic? Make a shift, start thinking about what you want to set out of this. About what you want to add to your life? Open your eyes, beauty is all around us. Choose you, stay sober, you’re also subscribing to abundance. 

Upcoming events, retreats and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events here.

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!


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

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

Sobriety Tracker Android 

Sober Selfies! – Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to


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Burn the Ships!  🔥⛵️

Burn the Ships! 🔥⛵️

In the year 1519, Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador, arrived in the New World with six hundred men and, upon arrival, ordered his men to, ‘burn the ships’.  🔥⛵️  His logic behind this wasn’t to go down in the history books as the conquistador loco that ordered his men to destroy his ships.  Nope.  It was to send a message to his men, a loud and clear message…

…there is no turning back…his men would have to conquer, or die.  

Two years later, in 1521, Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec empire.  HIs ‘burn the ships’ strategy worked!  Although, guys!  His men didn’t even really burn the ships, they sunk them! 😱🤯  And that fun fact, my friends, wraps up our history lesson.  

But there is a life lesson in this story that I do want to talk about.  The story about Hernán Cortés, in its simplest form, is really just about commitment.  

Retreat is easy when you let yourself have the option.

On February 15th, 2019, while attending my very first Recovery Elevator event, Nashville LIVE…I hit 100 days sober.  I can remember how excited I was when I did the math and realized I would be there on that day.  But I was also terrified!  Flying across the country, alone, to go meet members from my online recovery community, that I only knew from Facebook…was stepping way outside of my comfort zone.  It was scary, I was so nervous I almost canceled the trip.  Strangers scared me.  People scared me.  


At that point in my sobriety, counting days was very important to me.  There were days, even weeks, in the beginning, when counting those days was all I could focus on.  But that got me to day 100.  The first day 100 in many, many years.  


Knowing myself, and finally being honest with myself, I knew that I would have to do something more than count days and read quit lit if I was going to make it another 100 days.  I needed more accountability and I was going to have to get uncomfortable.  So I bought that plane ticket to Nashville.  And I secretly made plans to publicly share my milestone of 100 days sober on social media.  


It’s not just a coincidence that my 100th day fell 100 days after my (last🙏) rock bottom moment.  I’m not going to go into anymore of my story right now, if you’re curious you can listen to my interview – Recovery Elevator Episode 255.  


When it came time to press “Post” I was a mess of sweaty, shakey, nerves.  Even admitting to the people that knew, from personal experience, of my drinking problem was hard.  I was embarrassed, filled with shame and guilt.  My anxiety was still at an all time high, almost paralyzing at times. 


There is this stigma associated with addiction, and too often it keeps people from admitting they have a problem or from seeking help.  The word ‘alcoholic’ brings up images of a person living under a bridge, drinking from a brown paper bag. 


I often felt damaged, defective, less than.  I knew that in order for me to move forward in life, to break the cycle I had been on, that I would have to do something drastic.  

This public post on Facebook was my ‘drastic’. 👉🏽

I have never regretted posting it.  As I started getting the notifications from comments and likes I was afraid to go read them. When I finally did I wanted to cry.  Happy tears. 😭 Grateful tears.  I was overwhelmed and speechless by all the positive, encouraging, supportive and ‘I can relate’ messages that I got.  I was shown nothing but love. 

This single scary ‘burn the ships’ post 100 days in busted down the door and has made it easy for me to continue to share my journey.  Using my story and my voice helps keep me in check, and it helps others know that they are not alone. 


Fast forward to today…In the few days before sitting down to get these words out I was doing a lot of thinking about my 100 day post, trying to remember the way I was feeling, what emotions I was experiencing.  What quickly came to mind was how scared I was.   Putting yourself out there like this, being vulnerable like this, is scary.  And once it’s out there…once that ship has been burned…it can’t be unburned!  But that’s the point, right?  I knew I had no other choice, I had to take action.  If I didn’t, nothing would change.  Even though I really wanted to get sober and live a life without alcohol, I was too scared to leave the comfortable and familiar.  Burning the ships gave me the courage, strength, and the push, to step into a new life.  


Have you burned your ships? Or do you always give yourself a way out?  

It doesn’t have to be a public blast on social media like I did.  That was a level 5 on the Burnometer!  🔥

There are different levels of burning the ships.  Start with level 1, work your way up!  They all will help establish another layer of accountability for you. 

Level 1: Someone you don’t know well. This could be a store clerk, a barista, a friend from book club, but not a stranger. 

   Level 2: Someone you consider a friend, or who you have regular monthly interaction with. This is an acquaintance from the gym, a neighbor, restaurant employee. 

  Level 3: This is someone you interact with on a weekly basis. Co-worker, good friend, running partner, or hiking friend.

   Level 4: Meeting with a close group of friends, family, spouse, in person conversation. Immediate family.

   Level 5: FB Live, Podcast, Social media post, family meeting, airplane with banner in the sky.

I challenge you to pick a level above, find someone that fits the description…and burn baby burn. 🔥 

Please come back and share your experience with me!

Until next time, be well.

KMac 🤟🏽

RE 294: What has Recovery Made Possible for You?

RE 294: What has Recovery Made Possible for You?

Erin took her last drink May 31, 2019. With 488 days away from alcohol, (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol free (AF).

Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You…..

Most long-term decisions have to be rooted in a place of love and not of fear. This applies to recovery and leads to the question, “What has recovery made possible for you?” This question helps to build the bridge from fear to love. Hearing stories of hope from others send out waves of survival. As you share your story, you don’t know who’s listening and how that might change the trajectory of their life. Odette chooses to live in the solution and show others, specifically her family, what’s possible.

[6:23] Odette introduces Erin.

Erin and her family split time between New Hampshire and Sedona, AZ. She is married with 2 children, ages 1 & 3, she is a stay at home mom. For fun she does yoga, plays with her children, exercises and is getting to know her body.

[9:35] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking?

Erin said she first took a drink when she was 14. While that drink wasn’t a problem, she began to experiment. The family setting was one where there was drinking and so it was part of what she knew growing up. Her parents separated when she was 17 and she rebelled from there. At 18, she went to the University of New Hampshire, which is a large party school. Drinking was part of the culture and it was just what everyone was doing. Erin can look back now and see how toxic it was, especially for her.

[12:03] Can you expand on your college years?

Her sophomore year, she tried sobriety. She took some time off college and did a “major health cleanse”. However, when she returned, the habits also returned. She convinced herself she could moderate.

[13:14] Did you transition after college into a lifestyle that allowed you to maintain a frequency of binge drinking?

Erin said she has lived all over the place and those geographic moves are part of her story with alcohol. With periods of binge drinking and sadness coupled with periods of living with a healthy focus. Looking back, she can see she was running from her feelings and not being able to be with herself.

[15:33] What was your style of drinking and did anyone ever approach you about it while you were drinking?

Erin said she did surround herself with heavy drinkers so she could ignore the reality, there were also consequences to her drinking. She married her first husband in 2010 and they were divorced in 2012. He would speak to her about her drinking. When they separated, she took herself to her first AA meeting. However, a relapse of Lyme disease and the toll the separation was taking on her, she continued to drink daily.

Erin moved with her mother to Sedona, AZ and jumped into the AA community. She would wake up, go to a meeting, go to work at a health center and then come home and get drunk. This was when she saw that alcohol was turning her into 2 completely separate people.

[21:00] Tell me about your pregnancy and the last few years.

Erin said she got pregnant in 2016 and was able to stay sober through her pregnancy. She felt the highs and lows of pregnancy very severely and not having alcohol to help her numb was part of that. When her daughter was around 3 or 4 months, she convinced herself again she could moderate. She got pregnant with her son and again stayed sober throughout, but the pattern started again in the 4th trimester. In May 2019, she woke up violently ill and that was it.

[27:08] Tell me what you do now when you have one of these tough emotions.

Erin said she is getting to know herself again as a highly sensitive person (HSP). She taps into a lot of the digital community and is exploring the psychologic makeup of being an empath. She’s learning to lean in and explore the power of breath.

[29:40] Did you go back to AA?

Erin said she hasn’t gone back to AA yet (busy raising the future!) but has found there are so many options out there for her online.

[32:02] How has the response been from people?

Erin said overall the response has been supportive. Those closest to her knew she had a problem. Her husband has also stopped drinking in support of her.

[37:21] Has your creativity started to spark?

Erin said absolutely. She’s now made the choice to “join the human race” and to love herself. She makes talking about recovery part of her everyday life and puts herself out there without shame.

[40:28] Rapid Fire Round

  1. If you could talk to younger Erin what would you say?

You’re enough and take care of yourself.

  1. What is a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

I’m ok in this moment and there is a purpose for why I am here.

  1. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Chocolate ice cream

  1. What are some of your favorite resources in recovery?

Podcasts, yoga and meditation, the miracle morning idea and enjoying not being hung over. Getting outside with her kids.

  1. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze?

Just do it. Just try it. Give yourself enough time to give it a shot.

You may have to say adios to booze…

If you don’t recognize yourself anymore.

Odette’s challenge this week:

Give yourself a few minutes to look back on your journey. Ask yourself “What was recovery made possible?” Write it down, read it often. You are worthy of everything.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.


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.

Upcoming events, retreats and courses:

  • Recovery Elevator’s first ever REgionals! Join us for our online zoom conference this October 23-24th. This event is FREE for Café RE Members only. Not a member yet?! Sign up here and use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee.
  • Ditching the Booze – The What, the Why and the How. The new course will start 11/10/20. It’s FREE for Café RE members. Not a Café Re member? Sign up here and use the code OPPORTUNITY for waive the set-up fee.
  • You can find more information about our events here.

The book, Alcohol is SH!T, is out. Pick up your paperback copy on Amazon here! You can get the Audible version here!


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

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

Sobriety Tracker Android 

Sober Selfies! – Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to


“Recovery Elevator – “This journey isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it and I promise you it’s possible, I’m here for you all – I love you guys”

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