A Message to Big Alcohol

A Message to Big Alcohol

406 episodes of the Recovery Elevator Podcast were released before there was an intro with the main message being addressed to Big Alcohol.  Why do you think that is?  That’s a lot of Mondays to not tell Big Alcohol what we think, (or where to stick it 😈).  Why wasn’t this addressed before episode 407: A Message to Big Alcohol…?

Well, like Paul said…we have limited time together and it feels like a better use of our time discussing how to build a new life that no longer requires alcohol, instead of fighting Big Alcohol, or fighting the past. 

In fact, although you may not feel like it right now…if you keep moving forward, if you don’t quit quitting, and you keep doing the next right thing, one day at a time…you may just find yourself thanking Big Alcohol for giving you the life you have today. Crazy to imagine, right?  I know it was for me.  But it absolutely is true today.  I am thankful for where my struggle with Big Alcohol has led me.  

 

So here we are…let’s call out a couple of things regarding Big Alcohol, and maybe, there is a way we can work together.

 

First off, let’s get real for a second Big Alcohol. We both know your business model doesn’t survive off normal drinkers. Your lights are on, your doors are open, salaries are paid because of problematic drinkers…aka: alcoholics. 

 

This is called the 80/20 rule in business and for Big Alcohol, it’s probably a 90/10 rule. This means that 90% of revenues are coming from 10% customers. 

 

Let’s take a normal drinker. This is someone who buys a six pack of Coors Light, drinks 2-3 beers, and the remaining 3-4 cans sit in the refrigerator in the garage for the next couple weeks or months. 

 

That is one type of customer. 

 

Then take the alcoholic.  This is someone who buys a 12, 18, 24, or 30 pack of Coors Light… daily. Where do you think your revenue is coming from? This question is rhetorical because they already know this. 

 

 

Big Alcohol, we bring this up because there needs to be accountability on your part…and here’s some reasons why:

 

◾️Yes, it’s the individual who is drinking excessively, but the data and science support that alcohol is the most dangerous and addictive drug on the planet.

It kills more people each year than every other drug combined. An estimated 40-75% of occupied hospital beds have underpinnings to alcohol. In 2010, a Doctor named Dr. David Nutt, hired by the British government, was tasked to put a harm score on the world’s 20 most addictive drugs. Alcohol came in at #1. In 1958 the American Medical Association classified alcoholism as a disease. 

 

◾️No amount of alcohol consumed is beneficial to the consumer.

This a myth that you, Big Alcohol, tries to perpetuate. In the Mid 2010’s the government funded agency the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) performed a study to see if alcohol consumption was good for you.

The answer was…YES.  Say whattttt??  🤯  However, it then became known the study was funded by Big Alcohol. No surprise the answer was yes!  🙄

In reality, no quantity of ethanol is good for you. The Huberman Lab Podcast has a fantastic episode about the effects of alcohol on your mind and body. The Stanford University Neuroscientists confirmed that no amount of alcohol is good for you.

 

◾️And let’s talk trash, garbage or waste.

A couple months ago Paul had new brakes installed on his vehicle and he rode his bike home from the mechanic after dropping off his truck. He took a scenic county road home for about 7 miles. While hugging the side of the road he was astonished by the amount of empty alcohol containers that littered the shoulder.

Keep in mind, this was in the part of the grass that had been maintained.  Paul said he guessed there was triple or quadruple the amount of empty bottles and cans in the taller grass. (Now to be fair, he did see empty gatorade bottles, and trash that was not related to alcohol, but he said if he had to guess it was a 10/1 ratio.). Paul estimated there was an empty alcohol container every 100 feet (and that’s a safe estimate). With some easy math that put 52 bottles, or cans, every mile totaling over 350 pieces of trash on his 7 mile bike ride. That figure would be way higher if one were to walk through the taller grass.

This past October Paul did a retreat in Peru. One of their tasks was to pick up trash around a sacred temple about 20 miles outside of Cusco, which once was the capital of the Inca Empire. They filled about 4 trash bags, and again about a 10/1 ratio of alcohol containers to other trash. 

 

Big Alcohol’s footprint is all over the globe; societal wreckage, physical disease, and in the form of excessive trash.

 

As human beings there is a goal that many of us share. That is to make this world a better place. 💚🌎
Big Alcohol, let me ask you this question, are you making the world a better place?

 

What impact are you having on society? On the fabric of family systems? Are you adding or subtracting to this world? Are you a net benefit? Or a net drain? What do you stand for Big Alcohol? Are you okay with your customers discarding your product waste into nature? Into my backyard? Into your backyard? Big Alcohol, your name, your brand, your message is on these containers that end up in our streams, rivers, and oceans. By all concerns you are still tied to the product, but you are not shouldering the burden after the monetary transaction has taken place. 

This.  Needs. To.  Change.   

 

As we all work on cleaning up our internal wreckage and chaos it’s time that you, Big Alcohol, start doing the same.

 

We here at Recovery Elevator are calling you out, Big Alcohol, to lean up your mess. A disproportionate amount of trash in nature is yours. It’s the RIGHT thing to do – to pick it up. We have a yearly service project at Recovery Elevator, and we’d love your help. Maybe take 1/2 a percentage of your marketing budget and help us out. 

 

Big Alcohol, if you want to work with us, we’re open to it.  Our email address is info@recoveryelevator.com.   

 

RE 407: A Message to Big Alcohol

RE 407: A Message to Big Alcohol

Episode 407 – A Message to Big Alcohol

 

Today we have Jeff, 48, from Joplin Missouri with 13 days of sobriety at time of recording

 

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Highlights from Paul

 

For the first time in this podcast, Paul speaks to Big Alcohol. Why now? We have a limited time together on each episode he has felt that discussing how to live a better life without the stuff is better use of our time.

 

He addresses the fact that Big Alcohol’s greatest customers are the alcoholic/problem drinkers and not the “normal” drinker that has one or two beers and the rest sits in the fridge for months.  They are also responsible for perpetuating the myth that alcohol consumption is good for you.  Spoiler alert:  it’s not.  The Huberman Lab Podcast has an episode that dives deep into the effects alcohol has on the brain/body. (https://hubermanlab.com/what-alcohol-does-to-your-body-brain-health)

 

The amount of trash that can be found on the sides of the road is about a 10/1 ratio alcohol related vs. non-alcohol related.  Paul asks if Big Alcohol is ok with the remnants of their product being strewn all over the planet via human wreckage and excessive trash.

 

Paul clarifies that his goal is to not fight with Big Alcohol. His battle with alcohol and alcoholism made him who he is today, and he appreciates that.

But maybe they would be willing to share just a half of a percentage point of their marketing budget to help us clean up the mess their product has created both on humans and on our planet. We’d be interested to collaborate on our next service project.  You can reach us at info@recoveryelevator.com

 

Better Help:  www.betterhelp.com/elevator – 10% off your first month. #sponsored

 

[10:59] Jeff lives in Joplin, MO currently, but grew up in NC.  He has a wife and three children aged 6, 4 and 8 months.  He recently started his own business and enjoys golf, reading, creative writing and poetry, and writing and playing music.

 

Jeff took his first drink with a friend at home when he was 17.  He remembers the occasional drink at a party in high school but didn’t really start drinking until he turned 21.  Through his 20’s drinking was part of life.  He was able to cut back or quit drinking whenever he felt it was getting to be too much.

 

Jeff says he didn’t have a true rock bottom moment but after an incident that found him ramping up his drinking, he chose to seek some counseling for PTSD.  He started to realize that the way he had been drinking and handling life was becoming unsustainable.  He wants to be present for his family and didn’t feel that he was able to enjoy life while drinking.

 

Jeff found himself going to his first AA meeting in many years 13 days ago, has found a sponsor and attends meetings daily.  He has been staying busy with home projects and acts of service and feels that working with his hands relieves stress and helps him avoid getting lost in negative thought patterns.

 

Jeff doesn’t have a long-term goal in sobriety, he is just taking it day by day.  Right now, he just wants to be sober and process his emotions without alcohol and enjoy his family and the life he has built.

 

[47:57] Paul’s Summary

 

Socrates said the secret to change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.  Mother Teresa said she would not participate in wars on hunger or on terrorism because there is an equal amount of disproportionate energy on the other side.  Much like we have seen with the war on drugs: trillions of dollars wasted to learn that you cannot punish addiction out of people.  If someone from Big Alcohol is listening, please don’t feel attacked, we want to work together in cleaning up the planet.

 

Resources

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RE 115: Big Alcohol

RE 115: Big Alcohol

Julie, with 92 days sober, shares her story………

Big alcohol companies like to blame the individual rather than the poison that they sell.  The liquor industry spends millions of dollars on advertisements that tell us we should drink responsibly.  If we do not drink responsibly, than we are to blame.  We should know when to say when, right?  The facts show that alcohol kills 85,000 people each year.  But to the companies selling the booze, money is the name of the game.  These companies make billions while avoiding high taxes because alcohol is not taxed as high as other beverages.

*********************************Don’t be duped by alcohol advertisements*****************************************

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:21] Paul Introduces Julie

 

Julie – I have been sober for 92 days and it feels really good.  I did not think that I could do it.  I am 35 years old and work as a nurse.  I enjoy music and going to concerts.

 

[11:00] When did you realize you had a problem with alcohol?

 

Julie – I have known for years.  I just could never get enough.  My first issue was with drugs so I did not focus on my alcohol problem.  I went to rehab for drug abuse in 2010 and stayed sober for 18 months after that.  The rehab helped with my drug use but then I turned to alcohol.  When I tried to quit alcohol, I had hallucinations and ended up spending 4 days in the psych ward.

 

[14:24] What happened after your 18 months of sobriety?

 

Julie – I had already started planning to drink.  I knew I was going to attend another concert and thought I could drink normally.  I ended up drinking so much that I blacked out and continued to drink for 5 more years.  I always told myself, “when _______  happens,” I will stop drinking.  But I never stopped.  I woke up each morning feeling defeated, angry and bitter.

 

[18:00] Was your rock bottom 92 days ago?

 

Julie – I did not have a bottom 92 days ago.  I was just tired of being sick and tired.  I kept wondering when I was going to lose my medical license.  I knew it was just a matter of time before this happened.  Then, I thought I would try to quit and when it didn’t work, I could at least say that I had tried.

 

[19:05] Paul asks Julie how she got sober 92 days ago.

 

Julie – I listened to a lot of podcasts and made it to 30 days.  I was feeling really good but still ordered a glass of wine while at lunch with my brother.  I did not even enjoy it.  I finally admitted to my family that I was done drinking.

 

[21:23] Paul and Julie discuss accountability.

 

Julie – My family has been super supportive of my sobriety.  I try to take it 1 situation at a time.  I still have not been completely honest with them about how much I was consuming but my parents are very encouraging to me.

 

[25:00] What else did you do?

 

Julie – My best friend has been sober for over a year and she has been supporting me.  I do a lot of reading and am constantly working at changing my mindset.

 

[27:47] How have your cravings been?

 

Julie – I try and distract myself by taking my dogs for a walk or keeping busy. I know that the cravings will pass.

 

[28:34] How did you feel during your first week of sobriety?

 

Julie – I was pretty apprehensive the first week.  I did not think that I could do it.  Once 30 days went by, I felt that I had a chance at making it.  I am more confident as each day passes.

 

[29:34] What advice would you give to your younger self?

 

Julie – You pay a price for everything that you do.  You do not know everything when you are young.  Drinking is not fun and games anymore.

 

[30:00] What have you learned in sobriety?

 

Julie – When I was drinking, I was not living in reality.  I was just going through the motions.  I have learned that it is possible to live sober and have a clear mind.  I did not want to accept that I would be drinking for the rest of my life and possibly losing my career.

 

[31:00] What are your rules in sobriety?

 

Julie – Attitude is everything and I am learning as much as I can.

 

[33:38] Do you have a bucket list?

 

Julie – I would like to get out of my comfort zone more, try meditation and yoga.

 

[34:47  ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? withdrawing while in the pysch ward
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? every day was an oh shit moment
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? staying active and reading
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? RE podcast and the private FB group
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? do not feel like you have to do it all at once
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? take the first steps and worry about tomorrow when it gets here
  7. You might be an alcoholic if….. you loathe the existence of everyone at the gas station because when they see you, they know that you cannot drink normally

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 info@recoveryelevator.com

Good Reads to Check Out: Blackout, This Naked Mind, Beyond the Influence

 

 

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

 

Women and Alcohol

Women and Alcohol

Today’s blog entry is from Alisa.  Alisa has been a member of Café RE since July 2023.  She recently took part in our Recovery Elevator REstore 2024 course.   She is an active and supportive member of her Café RE GO group!

Women and Alcohol

By: Alisa (Café RE GO)

 

I’d heard the anecdote that women had started to surpass men with their drinking habits. Then in 2023, the WHO announced that no amount of alcohol was safe for consumption. This was all lining up with what Holly Whitaker said in her book Quit Like A Woman. So I sought to dig into this and better understand what was behind these trends in women’s drinking.

 

The history of women and alcohol is an interesting one.

 

It zigzagged from a movement to ban alcohol (predominantly to stop men from plundering the family savings at the bar) to the pursuit of a seat at the bar. Ironically, Prohibition gave rise to secret bars (speakeasies).  Where women were able to redefine long standing gender roles by smoking, drinking, and having fun in public. Though women had imbibed before this time, they had rarely done so in public because as you can imagine, most drinking establishments were male-only. “So for young women, speakeasies stirred a spirit of rebellion”.

 

In order to understand what happened to the alcohol industry, it’s useful to examine what happened with cigarettes.

 

Big Tobacco used several strategies to advertise to women. For example, the industry prompted a feminine ideal of thinness presenting the cigarette as a way to achieve this ideal. They taught Hollywood actors how to smoke in films to make smoking look sophisticated. They also hired a PR giant.   The PR giant then hired women to smoke in a parade to manufacture a connection between smoking and liberation. He coined the term “Torches of Freedom” to encourage women to smoke as a symbol of emancipation and an act of challenging social taboos.

Big Alcohol* rode in on the coattails of the tobacco industry.

 

They used similar tactics to market alcohol to women by appealing to their thirst for equality and independence. By making tobacco products custom fit to women (think Virginia Slims) and hiring women to smoke while engaging in the women’s liberation activities, they spread the idea of smoking as empowerment. Similarly, the alcohol industry created pink drinks, colorful labels, overpowering fruit flavors, and low-calorie options to target women by capitalizing on gender stereotypes. I find these strategies incredibly ironic since initially the alcohol industry used women’s bodies (and implicitly the promise of sex) to sell alcohol to men. 

The advent of social media made things even easier for Big Alcohol

 

The advent of social media made things even easier for Big Alcohol as algorithms specifically targeted individual demographics. Now we receive customized ad feeds based on our past behaviors. Us social media users also became their advertisers by spreading trends like “Rose All Day.” Culturally, alcohol (and especially wine) became a symbol of stressed-out women and moms with memes featuring “Mommy juice.”

 

Sadly, these common marketing messages exploit women’s desire for friendship, relaxation, and empowerment. Having a glass of wine has become a way that women and moms feel like they are taking care of themselves.   As Sarah Hepola put it in her drinking memoir Blackout, “Wine and confession. Wine and sisterhood. Wine had become our social glue, the mechanism of our bonding. We needed the wine to shut out the jackhammers of our own perfectionism and unlock the secrets we kept within”.

 

While many of us use alcohol as a social lubricant, we may also use it to “unwind” in private.

While many of us use alcohol as a social lubricant, we may also use it to “unwind” in private. Concepts like ‘Wine o’clock’ offered permission to drink when we felt like it and linked alcohol to a method for navigating daily life stress. Absolutely none of us are to be blamed for falling for this and using alcohol in these ways. As the addiction and trauma specialist Gabor Mate says, alcohol use is a response to pain and suffering.  Alcohol has long been a culturally accepted and condoned way of dealing with stress. In fact, alcohol marketing to both women and men ramped up during one of the most stressful global times in recent history: the pandemic. Here is an example of a marketing slogan by Retail Drinks Australia:

 

“If we want people to stay at home, if we want them in a good state of mental health with a conviviality that encourages them to adhere to social isolation, we’ve got to ensure they have access to the social norms such as enjoying a drink.” Danica Keric and Julia Stafford from the Cancer Council Western Australia’s Alcohol Programs Team said in response, “There was a deliberate move by the alcohol industry to frame alcohol as an essential product including for our mental health, during the pandemic”.

 

If you’re not appalled by now at how the alcohol industry operates, consider how the same things are happening with our food supply.

 

Like alcohol and cancer, the food industry plays a significant role in the metabolic disease rates in our country by lacing food with addictive chemicals like sugar and then obscuring the dangers of these additives. “The system works. Not for the best interests of health but for the best interests of those who are profiting off the system” Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die

 

My favorite Quit Lit writer and recovery program pioneer, Holly Whitaker, summarizes:
“We read labels, we shun gluten, dairy, processed foods, and refined sugars. We buy organic, we use natural sunscreen and beauty products. We worry about fluoride in our water, smog in our air, hydrogenated oils in our food, and we debate whether plastic bottles are safe to drink from.

We replace toxic cleaning products with Mrs. Myers and homemade vinegar concoctions. We do yoga, we run, we SoulCycle and Fitbit, we go paleo and keto, we juice, we cleanse. We do coffee enemas and steam our yonis, and drink clay and charcoal, and shoot up vitamins, and sit in infrared foil boxes, and hire naturopaths, and shamans, and functional doctors, and we take nootropics and we stress about our telomeres. These are all real words.

We are hyper-vigilant about everything we put into our body, everything we do to our body, and we are proud of this. We Instagram how proud we are of this, and we follow Goop and Well+Good, and we drop 40 bucks on an exercise class because there are healing crystals on the floor.

The global wellness economy is estimated to be worth $4 trillion. $4 TRILLION DOLLARS. We are on an endless and expensive quest for wellness and vitality and youth. And we drink fucking rocket fuel”. 

 

While women started off forbidden from drinking in public, women are now drinking as much as men if not more. But what most women don’t know is that our rates of addiction and alcohol-related deaths are surpassing theirs. It turns out that due to our physiology, women start to have alcohol-related problems sooner and at lower consumption rates than our male counterparts. This occurs because of how we process alcohol. Because we have lower total body water content, blood alcohol levels are higher.  The first stage of alcohol metabolism is slowed which results in more alcohol being absorbed into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, this leads to greater generation of liver-toxic products like acetaldehyde. Thus, imbibing alcohol increases the vulnerability of women to the risk of alcohol-related illnesses such as liver disease and cancer.  

 

In my fantasy worldview, everyone is ethical and people who have the authority to powerfully impact public health make the “right” (aka moral) decisions. Sadly, this isn’t true.  The way we can take our power back is to know the truth and make decisions based on these facts. When I started treating sobriety as an act of rebellion, something new clicked for me. I hope it can for you too.

*Big Alcohol refers to the lobbying front group for twelve of the largest multinational alcohol corporations.

 

 

**More from Recovery Elevator referencing Big Alcohol**

RE Podcast Episode 407

Blog – A Messgage to Big Alcohol

 

RE 469: 10 Facts About Americans and Alcohol

RE 469: 10 Facts About Americans and Alcohol

Episode 469 – 10 Facts About Americans and Alcohol

 

Today we have Lisa. She is 66 years old and lives in Atlanta, GA. She took her last drink on November 16th, 2022.

 

Café RE – use the code OPPORTUNITY to waive the setup fee.

 

[02:51] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Paul shares with us ten facts about Americans and their drinking habits that he found in an article from the Pew Research Center.

 

The article shares with us statistics regarding what people are drinking and where alcohol consumption is the highest, along with statistics about age and income ranges.

 

The biggest takeaway from this article is the first stat that says, “Only 62% of U.S. adults say they drink” while 38% abstain completely. Not everyone is kung fu fighting. There is a voice inside the head that says, “Everybody drinks”, but right there we just debunked that myth. A lot of people don’t drink because they don’t want to. Many people don’t drink because their forced to. Whatever the reason is, about 40% of Americans don’t drink.

 

And although alcohol consumption is rising, we’re seeing the younger generations say no, like no previous generation has done so.

 

Check out Sober Link.  You can find some tips and can sign up for a $50 off promo code.

 

 

[10:00] Paul introduces Lisa:

 

Lisa is a repeat guest from episode 411. She took her last drink on November 16th, 2022. She is 66 and lives outside of Atlanta. She has been married for 37 years and they have two adult children. Lisa enjoys working out, traveling, reading, and listening to podcasts.

 

Lisa grew up in a close family, but her parents had a miserable marriage. Her mother drank to deal with it and the drinking increased when Lisa was in middle school. Upon trying her first drink in high school, she didn’t have the “wow” moment at first but quickly found it gave her confidence and she felt accepted and less insecure with her friends.

 

After graduating college and entering the booming computer software industry, Lisa found herself drinking at a lot of parties, conferences, and sales meetings. She says her husband didn’t drink much. Aside from when she was pregnant, Lisa drank in a way that she considered normal.

 

In her 40’s, Lisa and her husband left the corporate world and started their own business. It was successful but very stressful. She says her drinking ramped up and she was beginning to try and hide the wine bottles from her husband.

 

After a fall Lisa had during a blackout, her doctor referred her to a counselor. She discovered AA and was able to stay sober for a year without doing the work. Soon after the year mark, Lisa thought she could moderate and started drinking again. She was successful with moderation at first, but after retiring, finding herself as the sole caretaker for her elderly mother, the drinking increased again.

 

One night Lisa found herself pouring a glass of wine that she really didn’t want and it was then she decided enough was enough. This time Lisa decided to get help. She went to AA and didn’t feel it was working for her. She discovered a Facebook group called SoberSis as well as Café RE. After her last interview, she was connected with a lot of other ladies that she is still connected with today.

 

Last year found Lisa tending to several health scares, several surgeries, and the unexpected loss of her parents eight weeks apart. Lisa says that gratitude, using the tools she has learned in the sober community as well as her faith and family has helped her remain sober through it all.

 

Lisa’s favorite ways to relax deep breathing and exercise.

 

Lisa’s advice for somebody struggling with life and alcohol: find a way to connect no matter how uncomfortable it is, we have to have connections.

 

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