Re 185: Is Tracking Continuous Sobriety Important?

Re 185: Is Tracking Continuous Sobriety Important?


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

Tracking your sobriety time – Do the numbers matter?

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




[9:52] Paul Introduces Jennifer.


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


[41:00] What is the “Shift Doughnut”?

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


[42:10] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?Shortly after her 30th birthday, she went home with a lover and was raped after she blacked out.  She tried to ignore it for a long time but in sobriety it bubbles up to the surface. 

  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?She invented the Triple Pipe Classic, which is when you lose control of all bodily functions.

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

  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?An app called Marco Polo.  It’s like having a little therapist in your pocket.  She feels like she is able to see thought patterns that she missed before.  It’s easy to connect with people. 

  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?Early in sobriety, someone said “You know you can start your day over at any time..”

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?Don’t compare yourself out of recovery.  Your recovery is your own.  The only opinion of you that matters is your own.  Alcoholism is a symptom of things not going well.  Be grateful for the opportunity to sort yourself out.  Also, be open to the idea that you may not know yourself like you think.  What if you’re wrong about yourself?  The story tape reel repeating in your head about yourself might be completely wrong.  Be open to a new and better and you. 

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


Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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



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



RE 125: Focus on the Action and Not the Results

RE 125: Focus on the Action and Not the Results

Paul discusses the webinar, which took place in Café Re, and focused on why taking action is so hard.  It’s much better to focus on the action and not the results.  We are definitely in a results oriented society.  Focus on the journey and not the destination.  Success can follow a flawed effort, and failure can follow a flawless effort.

If your happiness is predicated on your success, and if your success is predicated on a specific outcome, then you are setting yourself up for a high likelihood of frustration and disappointment.  If you instead let go the need for any particular outcome, you increase your chances for success and contentment.  View each attempt as practice for the next attempt.

Dawn with a sobriety date of November 27th 2016, shares her story.




[8:09] Paul Introduces Dawn.  I’m single, 42, and I’m from Poole in the U.K.   In the daytime I work in accounts, in the evening I’m generally working on my blog. I love going out to dinner with friends, and walking to work.  Set myself a challenge to do 10,000 steps a day.


[10:10] Paul- Tell us more about this experiment to live you life without alcohol.


Dawn- The plan was to give up alcohol for a year.  I was struck down with flu, and I gave up alcohol then, instead of waiting until the New Year.  I decided to write down my journey, and document it on my blog.  It’s been filled with positivity.


[13:35] Paul- The way I’ve made it this far in sobriety, and been successful, is that I looking at it as an opportunity instead of a sacrifice.  Is that something that you are experiencing as well?  You’re looking at this as an opportunity instead of a sacrifice?


Dawn- Yeah, definitely.  I don’t think I realized how unhappy I was drinking.  I was more of a binge drinker than a drink everyday, drink in the morning type person.  My weekend would be properly drinking from Friday through Sunday.  Drinking copious amounts of alcohol to the point that I was sick the next day.  I don’t see that as a sacrifice, giving that up that kind of mentality, since it was so much binging and purging.


[14:53] Paul- When did you first realize that perhaps that you wanted to quit drinking?  Was it something that happened?


Dawn- I was conscience that I was drinking too much in one sitting, not remembering how I got home, kind of dangerous drinking really.  If I drove somewhere I would have nothing, instead of a single glass of wine.  Because if I had one, it wouldn’t stay at one.  Once I started, it was difficult to stop.


[18:06] Paul- Can you tell me about a time when you started drinking and you found the “off switch” a little difficult to find?  Was that progressive for you?  Did it become harder and harder to stop?


Dawn- Yeah, I was born without an “off switch”.  The first time I really remember getting drunk I was probably about 15 or 16.  Early twenties living with friends, drinking was a massive part of our lives together.  The men that I met were a massive part of that as well.  It didn’t spiral rapidly.


[22:16] Paul- How are you staying sober now?   


Dawn- It’s a matter of changing everything.  I thought life would carry on the same.  Everything has changed.  I write a post for my blog at least once a week.  Trying to keep other people encouraged to carry on.  I used to always have a special drink as a reward for hard work.  I no longer do that.  I have a drink when I am thirsty.


[26:31] Paul- There’s a quote in recovery- You don’t have to change much, you just gotta change everything.  Is that how it went down for you?


Dawn- I still struggle with the social side of things.  I was the party animal.  It’s difficult to go from that to- it’s dark and I’ve got to get home.  I find it hard to socialize without alcohol.  I’m not good with big crowds.  I’ve come to terms that I won’t be that person again.


[28:40] Paul- What have you learned most about yourself in these past 6 months of sobriety?


Dawn- I’ve never really believed in loving yourself.  Now I keep saying to people you have to love yourself.  I haven’t loved myself for 40 years.  I realized I’m not the person I thought I was.  In my previous job I wasn’t really helping people and I didn’t think I could. It’s being confident in myself, rather than what other people think.


[31:31] Paul-  How do you feel about alcohol being an addictive substance, and perhaps there is no void?


Dawn- For me, the feeling is what was addictive.  I was the crier.  Alcohol gave me an emotional release.  For me it gave me an emotional release, woe is me!  For a window of 15 minutes I would feel amazing, then I would go over the top.  Then you’re miserable.  I think really it was the way it made me feel for 15 minutes before the crying would start.


[33:27] Paul- What are your goals in sobriety?


Dawn- I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand.  Stop waiting around for something to happen.  I was too tired, and lazy, and in bed.  Now I’m full of energy, and I’m going to make it happen on my own in January.


[35:18] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? Getting home, and waking up the next day at 4:00, and not remembering getting home in a taxi.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? I was a drunk texter.  Sometimes I couldn’t even touch my phone.  They were my worst moments really working out who I had contacted the night before.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? Keep the blog going beyond being sober.  Maybe the hope rehab center in January.  Listening to podcasts more than music, listening to other people’s journeys.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? I love the online forums.  Club soda, team sober UK, and listening to Podcasts.  It is amazing listening to other peoples journeys
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? The best thing to do is go for each day at a time.  Breaking it into chunks can work.  Un-break the habit.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?  Never give up.  I admire those who never give up.  I recommend writing down how you’re feeling.  I literally flooded my mind with sobriety.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if you find yourself questioning that you might be an alcoholic, then you probably are.


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Recovery Elevator Retreat

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!”


From Heartache to Healing

From Heartache to Healing

Today’s blog entry is from Adam Whitman.  Adam has been a member of Café RE since September 2022.  Adam has been alcohol free since January 1, 2023 and is very active within his Café RE OG community.

From Heartache to Healing

By: Adam Whitman (Café RE OG)


February 1st, 2023

My first month of sobriety is written in the books. 

The pink cloud is in full view and you better believe I’m right up in it.  I take that back.  I’m above it.  Look at me soar.  I’ve actually done it.  I quit drinking.  And you know, it isn’t that hard.  Might I dare say it’s easy?  I don’t even want to drink.  It’s gross.  I actually think it’s gross now.  

I can’t hold back.  I’m going to say it.

I am a freaking badass.


August 1st, 2023

My seventh month of sobriety is written in the books.  

My negative thinking is out of control.  Insecurities are running rampant.  I no longer relate to my circle of friends.  “I don’t like the new Adam” they say as I watch them slowly slip away. 

And I’ve gotten fatter.  What?  Fatter?  How the f**k did that happen? 

I’m in the midst of the worst people pleasing flareup of my life. My marriage is hanging on by a thread.  The woman who I’ve shared 22 years of my life with, who I’ve raised two beautiful children with, is tired.  We’re both tired.  And I’m not sure we can hold on much longer. 

I can’t hold back.  I’m going to say it.   

I am a freaking mess.


August 5th, 2023

Today I set sail to the RE Bozeman Retreat.  I’m driving.  Yes, you heard me right.  This Texas boy is driving to Montana–3,200 miles round trip.  Let’s do this.

But wait a second. Was I really talking about splitting assets with my wife yesterday?  Were we really talking about how we would manage custody of our children?  What the hell is going on?  

Maybe I shouldn’t go.  But right now, Bozeman seems to be the only answer.  As to what the question is, I have no idea.  One thing remains certain. 

My life is a wreck. 


Trinidad Lake State Park

Eight hours to Trinidad, Colorado complete.  

The tent is up and I’m resting easy in my hammock.  Look at me go.  I can do this alone.  I don’t need anyone.  In fact, being alone is better.  I am one strong dude.  Back and forth my hammock swings between two trees until the sun goes down and the darkness sets in. 


I’m lonely.

And afraid. 

Did she really say she would leave me?  

Quitting drinking uncovered some shit, didn’t it?  I can’t get these thoughts out of my head.  Who imagined it would be a good idea to venture out into the world alone in a tent for three days?  Why am I such a mess?  Will I ever get better?  Will I be able to stop thinking about her?  About me?  About all of the shame and regret?   

Sun, you can come up now. 


August 6th, 2023
Glendo State Park

Six hours to Glendo, Wyoming complete.  

My tent is pitched.  It appears as if I’m the only person in this park. Rain starts to fall.  

The negative thoughts continue to flood my mind.  In addition, the solitude is proving that I really annoy myself.  What does that even mean?  I annoy myself?  Is this what it’s like for others to be around me? 

The thoughts continue to relentlessly take over.  But within the constant bombardment of negative thinking a new softly spoken response starts to emerge.  

Tell the thoughts to stop.  

But I can’t.  

Yes, you can. Quiet them. Just try it. 

Adam, you’ve hurt people. Shh…  Adam, you’re not doing enough. Shh…  Adam, you’re worthless.  Shh…  Adam, you’re a failure. Shh… Over and over, like a broken record. Shh…. Enough.

Did drinking cause this madness?  No. It hid it though, buried it deep.  And now it’s here crawling out of the dark threatening me, whispering lies.  I keep telling it to shut the hell up.  But will it listen? 

Persistence remains. 

Time will tell.


August 7th, 2023
Grandview RV Park

Five hours to Hardin, Montana complete.  

I chose an RV park this time, laundry and a hot shower, and people too.  It’s been awhile.  They distract me.  This is good.  The sunset is beautiful.  I order a pizza and rest.  

Tomorrow I will be in Bozeman.  There I will finally be in the physical presence of my Recovery Elevator friend Jim. We initially met at the REstore Dry January course, the course where my journey towards enlightenment started, where the ups and downs of sobriety began.  And Jim held onto me throughout.  

If you know Jim that shouldn’t surprise you.  


August 8th, 2023
Days Inn Bozeman

Four hours to Bozeman Montana complete.  

It’s my first night out of a tent and in a motel.  Jim is staying here too. I’m nervous.  

After a couple of hours, we meet for dinner.  During our introduction a firm handshake occurs followed by an awkward jump as if we both stuck our fingers in a light socket.  It’s the ‘should I go in for a hug but then suddenly decide against it’ jump. Solid handshake though Mr. Jim.  

I’m glad to finally meet you. 

You’ve been a dear friend.


August 9th, 2023
Recovery Elevator Retreat

Thirty minutes to Big Sky, Montana complete. 

No turning back now.

Jim and I arrive at the retreat.  I unpack my gear and set up my home for the next four days.  It’s beautiful out here.  Once my tent is ready I walk to the registration area.  It quickly becomes apparent that many of these retreat goers already know each other.  

What if they don’t like me?  I am just a middle-aged dude with issues who somehow made his way far from home.  Ain’t nothing special about me.  Heck, I don’t even know if I like me. 

The voices persist. 

Maybe I’ll just stand here and pretend I’m feeling confident.  Keep your hands out of your pockets Adam.  Be cool man.  Be cool.    

But It didn’t take long before it happened.  One, after another, after another approached me.  “Where are you from?” they would ask.  “You drove here?” “That’s so cool!” “Do you have a family?” “What are their names?”

My God they are so kind.  Are all of them like this?  Soon I realized that yes, they are. I wondered why.  By the end of our time together I found the answer. 

It’s because we all share in each other’s unavoidable suffering.  

I used to think I could drown that suffering with booze, repress it somehow, maybe even eliminate it, alone.  But as you might have guessed it never worked.  It only made it worse. 

Instead, in the presence of others working their recovery in the stunning landscape of Big Sky Montana, I dared to expose my suffering.  I didn’t fight it, I didn’t hide it, I didn’t drown it, I shared it.  And they shared theirs with me.  And it was beautiful.  

Connection is the opposite of addiction and I get it now.

I am here.  

I am whole.


August 23rd, 2023

My reentry home was purposely slow. I took my

new-found freedom into the Utah desert first, then back up

into western Colorado to meet my Recovery Elevator

accountability partner, and finally back to the unbearable

Texas heat.


Everything’s changed.



I missed her.

And come to find out, she missed me.

Today was our first day of marriage counseling.





I’m hopeful.

The negative voices, they’re still there.  But they’re quieting, fading.  Why?  Because I have recovery tools to work with now. 

And I have friends.

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