RE 474: If You’re Serious About Change

RE 474: If You’re Serious About Change

Episode 474 – If You’re Serious About Change


Today we have Nick. He is 36 years old from Grand Rapids, MI. He took his last drink on January 19th, 2021.


In two weeks on April 1st, registration opens for our annual retreat in the beautiful Rocky Mountains located outside of Bozeman, MT. This retreat is from Wednesday August 14th through Sunday August 18th, and it is going to be a blast! Click here for the full itinerary and to get pricing info.


Better Help: – 10% off your first month. #sponsored


[02:41] Thoughts from Paul:


Paul likes Instagram because it’s a platform for artists, for teachers, for musicians, for dancers, and more to showcase their talents.


Paul shares with us audio from a video he found while on Instagram. Here’s the scene: It’s a busy city street at nightfall, when a gentlemen comes to a skidding halt on his electric motorbike wearing a microwave as a helmet. When his motorbike comes to a stop, he pushes the open microwave door button, and begins to speak. Check out the video here.


If you are serious about change, there will be shitty times, but trust the process because in the long run you’re going to be a better person.


The biggest gift Paul gets while doing Recovery Elevator podcast is witnessing the change made daily. This change, added up over many days, months and even years, results in quite the transformation.


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


[08:40] Kris introduces Nick:


Nick is a real estate agent in Grand Rapids, MI. He enjoys outdoor activities in his free time. He has a boyfriend and a dog that he takes everywhere with him.


Nick says he started drinking in high school when he and his friends would pillage the parents’ liquor cabinets. He enjoyed alcohol because it freed his inhibitions. As someone who was coming to terms with being gay in a conservative city and kept it a secret for a while. The internal struggle drove Nick to enjoy checking out and alcohol was the way he chose to do that.


In his late teens, Nick started working in the food and beverage industry. He felt very welcome at the gay bars he worked in but didn’t have good role models. He knew in his early twenties that his drinking needed to eventually be addressed but wasn’t ready at that time. Nick says he was very functional but drank daily. He feels he was just surviving at that point in time.


Nick started thinking about quitting when he was in his early thirties. He says he was stuck there for a while trying to determine if he really had a problem. He started utilizing his ADHD medication to help him be able to drink more. The planning and rituals became exhausting. Drinking progressed beyond “only after the responsibilities are done” to finding reasons to start earlier.


Nick’s first stint at sobriety was in 2018 when he joined a local IOP and AA and was able to remain sober for about four months while learning a lot about addiction. His partner at the time drank heavily and eventually Nick gave up his sobriety. His rock bottom came when he was hiking with his dog hungover and realized how miserable he was and questioned if this was how he wanted to live his life. The next day he went back to AA.


After working the steps with a sponsor, Nick felt empowered. He says he went on a quest for sobriety and tried out other modalities. When a sober travel trip to Costa Rica with RE coincided with his one-year milestone, he decided to go and feels he gained a lot from that trip.


Within the past year Nick has changed careers and feels the best he has ever felt. Going forward, he plans to keep growing in his career and nurturing his sobriety.


Nick’s favorite resource in recovery: Recovery Elevator podcast


Nick’s parting piece of guidance: the harder you fight addiction, the more entangled you are so just let go.


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Go big, because eventually we all go home.

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RE 374: Then Go Back Again

RE 374: Then Go Back Again

Episode 374 – Then go back again


Today we have Meegan. She is 37, from Georgia, and took her last drink on April 21, 2019.


Exact Nature: 20


Highlights from Paul


Addiction has the propensity to crack you open. We fight and dig our heels in, but eventually, the Addiction wins. This doesn’t mean you are destined to drink forever, but the Addiction cracks you open. Paul encourages listeners to use their energy to find what recovery method works for them. When you find it, go back again to the beginning. You will find that the messages you heard early in recovery have different lessons for you later in recovery. Go back again. Listen to those podcasts again, read the quit lit again or recovery books again, and do the steps again. You are a different person with a new set of skills,  experiences, and tools.    Revisiting those messages often provides a new value bomb.


Better Help: – 10% off your first month


[11:24] Meegan is a Family Nurse Practitioner and is married with three children. She loves running, snowboarding, and writing. Meegan describes a happy childhood until her parents had a tumultuous divorce, and it broke her heart. Life felt out of control. Meegan developed an eating disorder. She experimented with drinking in high school and described it as a rite of passage. Meegan made a few geographic moves for school.


After a few moves, Meegan landed in Georgia, got married, and immediately had a baby. She was part of the Mommy wine culture. That was a lightbulb moment. She recognized that drinking with the baby at age 24 wasn’t good. Wine calmed her down after dealing with the stress of night shifts. Meegan started having extreme panic attacks.


Training for a 100-mile ultra-marathon made her drinking take a back burner. Her panic attacks subsided. At 30, she got pregnant with twins. Her father died around the same time, and it broke her. The stress of twins and her father’s death caused her drinking to escalate.


Value Bomb:  You can be the best version of yourself or be hungover, but you can’t be both.


As her drinking progressed, her hangovers became more debilitating. During a trip to Europe, her solution to hangovers was to continue drinking. While in Capri, she started having bad withdrawal symptoms. As a nurse, she knew what that meant.


After returning home, she knew moderation wouldn’t work. Shortly after an embarrassing time with her family, she had a moment of clarity. She fell to her knees and asked God for help. The moment of clarity was a combination of spirituality, physical health, and mental health. She called her two best friends and promised her daughter she would never drink again. Her sister encouraged her to get a therapist.


Meegan acknowledged that she didn’t learn healthy coping mechanisms. In recovery, Meegan is learning to feel her feelings. Perfectionism was a theme in her early years. Telling her story is a way for Meegan to let others know that failure is okay.


Meegan “loves the quote, “Addiction is an experience, not an identity. “


Kris and Meegan encourage listeners to find the recovery that works for you.


Kris’s Summary


Friendships in recovery are invaluable. You experience people who are present, listen with their hearts, and never shame you. Kris encourages listeners to lean in to discomfort. Share your experience.


Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events



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Recovery Elevator –You are the only one who can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone. I love you guys.

RE 274: I Feel Your Pain

RE 274: I Feel Your Pain

Jeff took his last drink February 8, 2020. With 65 days of sobriety (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF).

On today’s episode Paul opens discussing emotions. How it’s ok to feel all of them and how they help us to grow. In order to shift stagnant energy inside all of us, we have to talk about our emotions. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to vent out your emotions and break off little pieces of frustration.

Are you looking to explore deeper your decision to live alcohol free and are already a Café RE member? If so, sign up for the six week course starting May 19th entitled: Ditching the Booze – The What, the Why and the How. Not a Café Re member? Sign up here and use the code OPPORTUNITY for waive the set up fee.

Paul shares the details about his free guided meditation. To find those meditations, go here.

[12:08] Paul introduces Jeff.

Jeff is 29 years old, lives in Tampa, FL. He is a plumber. He doesn’t have a family, yet! He likes to hang out with his dog Bo and go fishing, camping and attend sporting events.

[13:58] What’s your favorite alcohol free drink?

Cherry Coke.

[15:13] Give us a background on your drinking

Jeff started drinking around the age of 15 with anything he could get his hands on. He remembers being 5 years old and having a sip of his father’s drink. He is the youngest of 3 and when he would visit his older siblings in college, their friends would slip his drinks, as young as at the age of 11. Drinking was just what you did when you got older, it was part of being an adult. Everyone seemed to enjoy drinking, so he should too. In college he joined a fraternity and it again drinking was just what everyone did, it was part of the culture of college and he went along for the ride.

However at the age of 22, Jeff realized that stopping drinking might be the better choice for him.

[19:52] What were the circumstances at 22 that made you think to stop drinking?

Jeff said it was the physical effects of alcohol on his mind and body. He always felt like he could be doing more in life and alcohol was holding him back.

[21:45] Fill in the gaps from age 22 to 29 (7 years) as you were building awareness around your drinking.

Jeff began working as a Sam Adams beer rep out of New Orleans/Baton Rouge, LA. At any given time there were 15 cases of beer in his home. Part of the job was sampling beers, so loading up a cooler full of beer every day and sampling with 10 different customers wasn’t out of the norm. The idea that something Jeff felt was in his way, but also his paycheck was difficult to reconcile.

In 2015 Jeff began trying to moderate his alcohol intake. He didn’t keep much alcohol in the house, but he found when he did drink, he couldn’t stop.

[23:46] Can you talk more about when you say, “Once you start it’s hard to stop”?

Jeff described his drinking like a firework. Light the fuse, it shoots up, it’s great for 8/9 hours and then it blows up. His emotions would often get out of control. The days following his drinking were awful emotionally as well. No energy or mind power to do anything.

[25:22] Was there a rock bottom moment?

Jeff said the first rock bottom moment was in 2012. After a day of drinking, he completely lost it; throwing away his wallet, trashing the apartment he shared with a roommate, quitting his job via email with 2 hours notice.

65 days ago, after three weeks of not drinking, he had a beer and the next day got sick. He knew it was the alcohol and used those 4 days being sick as a springboard to make the change to fully living a life without alcohol.


[27:28] After those initial 4 days, how did you do it?

One day at a time. Jeff said he would call old friends, not to talk about drinking, but just to talk. He would exercise, cook and focus on doing all the things he wanted to do that alcohol was holding him back from doing. Also journaling and feeling his emotions again.

[30:34] Talk to us about how you are embracing your emotions?

Jeff said he is trying to learn what emotion he is actually feeling at a particular time. Is this happiness? Why am I feeling happy? Jeff is giving himself permission to have these feelings. He’s focusing on gratefulness.

[35:47] Where do you want to go in this AF life?

Jeff said he’s trying not to look too far ahead in life. That’s been a problem for him before. He’s focusing on being present and happy. He wants to grow and have a family and grow his business. Jeff said, “If you drink today, you are taking away tomorrow’s happiness” and he wants to be happy.

[38:08] What has it been like getting sober a little earlier in life?

Jeff said that so far, it’s been easier than expected. However, he doesn’t discount the near decade of knowing he needed to try and live an AF life. There are no distractions right now during stay at home orders. He admits this might be a bigger test once COVID-19 is over.

[43:10] What are your thoughts on relapse?

Jeff said it does mean you’re a failure, it’s all about how you handle the relapse. The past is the past and you can start over in the present.


[44:11] Rapid Fire Round


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

December 2019, driving home after a party, Jeff drove through a construction zone. The police were called, and he was let go. Avoiding jail was a wakeup call.


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

Constantly being present and recognizing emotions.


  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

Recovery Elevator podcast, other online stories of people overcoming addiction.


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

Give it a try. If you can do it for 1 day, you can do it for 2.


You might need to ditch the booze if…

You are 19 years old, get kicked out of a football game, on your way home call up a family member to curse them out, break into your RA’s room and finally wake up to the police carrying you to your own room


Upcoming Events and Retreats:

You can find more information about our event here.

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


This episode sponsored by:

Tiger Tail, use this link and enter the promo code: ELEVATOR15 for 15% off your order.

Resources mentioned in this episode:


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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

Sobriety Tracker Android 

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


“Recovery Elevator – You took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up. We can do this.”

RE 174: Addressing Self Loathing With Compassionate Curiosity

RE 174: Addressing Self Loathing With Compassionate Curiosity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




[1:30] Paul Introduces Kim.

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



[29:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?Pre-parent: 17yo, on vacation with family in Mexico.  Parents lied about her age so she could drink at the resort.  She hung out at the bars.  On the last night, she was sexually assaulted.As a parent:  She used to drank in front of her young child.  Her child began to copy her drinking behavior by drinking his water in a small cup with a straw.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?She would like to be a voice for recovery with mental health professionals.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?Her faith is strong and it helps her in her darkest moments.
    The Miracle Morning.  She does it daily no matter what.
    Recovery Elevator podcast.  She looks forward to listening weekly.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?You can’t do this alone. The magic happened when she reached out.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?A quote by Carl Jung.. “What you resist, persists. What you can feel, you can heal.”
  7. You might be an alcoholic if…While listening to someone else’s story you think to yourself that you need to remember it in case you relapse.


Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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



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


RE 74: 50 Ways To Stay Sober This Summer

RE 74: 50 Ways To Stay Sober This Summer

In this Episode, Ronnie, with 25 years of sobriety shares how he did it. We also discuss 50 ways to stay sober this summer.

Episode #74 RE with Ronnie Marmo

Ronnie got sober a few times throughout his life, once at age 17 and again at age 20. At age 20, he found himself smoking crack on the sidewalk after 3 years of sobriety… One drink of alcohol was his gateway drug.


Ronnie’s background:

Lives in L.A. and works as an actor and director, running two theater companies. Check out 68 Theatre Company. Ronnie is 45 and married with a dear family… For more information on Ronnie and his work –


Take us back to age 20…

Was that your bottom?

For me, “I was out of control ever since I started drinking. I always drank and got high in the same way. I was never a social drinker, I had no interest in drinking socially.”


It went something like this – one gallon of vodka, one quart of Yukon Jack, and then I found myself waking up at a sober picnic. My sponsor asked me if I was humble enough… I said yes, and went back to rehab for the 3rd time.


What is it like being sober in your industry?

It’s like anything, many people are sober, once you start talking “our” language. Those who do drink and get high, it’s never an issue, but I tend to gravitate towards people who are sober.


Let’s talk rules: Did you ever try to put rules into place?

“I thought alcohol was a problem, but I didn’t think it was my biggest problem. I constantly negotiated with myself. Normal people don’t hide bottles. Normal people don’t wake up needing a drink.”


People have gone on retreats and think that anxiety is the issue, or depression is the issues, when underneath it is really the alcohol.


Literally, every day of my life I spent my day trying to figure out how to get more booze.


Do you remember your first intensive rehab?

“I hadn’t even seen the STEPS on the wall!”


Now, I have a healthy fear of booze.


Talk to me more about this healthy fear, I’m terrified of this stuff…

When I look at it, it’s rare that I glorify a drink. When I see booze, I get nervous. If I ever take a second to glorify it. I immediately think I could destroy my life. It happens quickly.


That thought is so fleeting, it’s not even an option.


Bill W. and Dr. Bob:

Playing in north Hollywood, CA


Soon to star in the movie, Back in the Day.


Walk me through a day in your sobriety:

I don’t go to as many meetings as I should, but I never miss my Wednesday home meeting.

If I do these things daily:


  • Give thanks
  • Reach out to a newcomer
  • Walk with love and grace
  • Attend a meeting


If I don’t do these things, life is just harder…


What are your thoughts on relapse:

It’s a weird disease because you have to self-diagnose it. It’s 2:30 in L.A. right now, if I had a drink right now, I’d be smoking crack by 7:30pm… Relapse doesn’t have to happen, but if it does, hopefully you can choose sobriety again quickly.


What would you say to your younger Ronnie:

“The sooner you can get past being so dependent on the drink or the drug the sooner you can get on with your life, doing what you really want to do.”

“No matter where you go or what you do, drink a lot of water and walk slow.”


What’s still on your bucketlist:

  • Doing what I love
  • Helping others
  • Shoot a movie in Italy for a summer…

All these items are attainable with sobriety.


Rapid Fire Round:

1.What was your worst memory from drinking?

Stealing my mother’s pocket book.

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

I had a spiritual awakening in the courtroom, asking the judge for help. The things that came out of my mouth were nothing that I had intended to say when I walked in.

3.What is your plan for sobriety moving forward?

Keep showing up and trying to be graceful, reaching out to others, and trying my best on a daily basis to stay with a formula that works. Keeping it super simple!

  1. Favorite resources?


  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Drink a lot of water and walk slow

  1. What parting piece of guidance can you give?

If you are thinking about it (getting sober) and it’s on your mind, there’s a really good chance that you should be doing it. Give it a really strong 90 days.


“You might be an alcoholic if…”

You might be an alcoholic if you steal from someone you love just to get a drink or a drug.

You might be an alcoholic if after 2 years of sobriety you take a drink and later you end up smoking crack.


Connect with Ronnie:


Twitter: @Ronniemo22


50 Ways to stay sober this summer

  1. Wear sun screen – Lots of sunscreen
  2. La Croix Soda water. Drink lots of soda water
  3. Enjoy time in a hot tub / spring or sauna
  4. Beach trip: The small stream behind your neighbor’s house even has a beach
  5. Movie Day: The Anonymous People
  6. Scroll through your phone contacts and call someone you did wrong in the past. Don’t tell them what they did wrong, but what you did wrong
  7. Binge watch old TV episodes: Prefably not Mad Men, they drink like fish
  8. Yoga / Meditation
  9. Create a new sober drink concoction. Watermelon and milk is one I stumbled upon
  10. Do that fitness thing: Biking, swimming, whiffle ball, golf etc.
  11. Join a Book Club that actually reads the book
  12. Adopt-A-Pet, dog, cat, gecko
  13. Think of the most pressing issue in your life right now… and then write down what your part of it is.
  14. Go to a museum
  15. Pinterest – find new recipes or a DIY project on
  16. Google Mindfulness and what that really means
  17. Buy a new car; one that you have never drank in
  18. Learn how to shoot a bow and arrow
  19. Find something like Jolly Ranchers to subside cravings
  20. Build a pergola or Sauna at your house
  21. Gauge your emotional sobriety (in the future) by purposefully removing the staples out of your stapler
  22. Volunteer – be of service (This is a big one)
  23. Acceptance is the answer – period
  24. Take a look in the mirror and observe what you see. Get REal with yourself
  25. New Hobbies- Painting / Coloring
  26. Travel – take photos of you wearing your RE shirt
  27. Fundraise for the Recovery Elevator trip to Peru in April 2017
  28. Go to an outing wearing a shirt that says something like “sober as shit” so no one offers you a drink
  29. Listen to the RE Podcast episode 52 – one of my favorites
  30. Play a good natured joke someone
  31. Pay for the person’s order behind you – Regardless of what line you find yourself in
  32. Attend a 12 step meeting on the other side of town that speaks a different language
  33. Enjoy NA Drinks such as a virgin a piña colada
  34. Announce to the world you’re an Alcoholic via facebook and become accountable – the results will pleasantly surprise you
  35. Read page 471 in the big blue book: daily
  36. Once again, tell yourself acceptance is the answer
  37. Put your forehead on a baseball bat, spin around 15 times, and give the person closest to you a hug
  38. Google CBT – Charlie Beta Typhoid
  39. Jump rope – I’ve never heard of a relapse while jump roping
  40. We all know someone who should probably think about giving the bottle a rest. Invite them to Dairy Queen for their lunch specials from 11:30pm – 2pm and then take them to an AA meeting. They will most likely thank you later
  41. Water balloon fight – freezing balloons the night before is optional
  42. Watch the movie dodgeball with Ben Stiller, and then watch it again
  43. Third Eye Blind – All of it – #bestbandever
  44. Check out your local events calendar and go to an event you’re not interested in attending
  45. Laser Tag
  46. Take a sober road trip with another sober buddy of at least 100 miles each way. On your way, stop and say hello to me in Bozeman MT
  47. Get flowers or a gift card for someone you absolutely cannot stand to be around
  48. Ask yourself if you’re where you want to be in life at this very moment. If the answer is now, ask yourself if you’re willing to something about it
  49. Sunscreen – wear Lots of sunscreen
  50. Go get a natural high – sky diving, jump off the high dive at the local pool, go carts etc.
  51. Don’t Drink

Let me know at how many of these you tried this summer!

Don’t forget to support the Recovery Elevator Podcast by shopping at Amazon with the Recovery Elevator link:

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

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