RE 384: The Path of Least Resistance

RE 384: The Path of Least Resistance

Episode 384  – The path of least resistance

 

Today we have Matt. He is 40, from Edmonton, Canada, and took his last drink on April 8, 2019.

 

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Highlights from Paul

 

Sobriety is the path of least resistance. Moderation was miserable, and drinking is killing me. Paul describes his own experiences with moderation and points out that with moderation, you continue to have decision fatigue and only moderately heal.    Moderation is often a step along the journey toward ditching the booze.

 

The path of least resistance means – you won’t get a DUI or be sent home from work because you smell like booze. Your sleep improves, your liver health improves along with your connections and relationships, and you enjoy more fun (and skittles).

 

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[13:06]  Matt has been sober for three years. He is a recovery coach, engaged, and enjoys music, nature, hiking, camping, and his dogs. He is learning about sound therapy and how music can influence your mindset.

 

Matt came from a family of heavy drinkers. He remembers listening to the excitement of the adults’ conversations while drinking when he was young. He was often given sips of beer if it felt exciting. As a teenager, music became a way to express himself. The rock and roll lifestyle complimented the music, which included booze. Drinking helped Matt to overcome his shyness and awkwardness.

 

His early 20s presented the perfect storm of opportunities to drink excessively. He went from a happy-go-lucky drunk to having a chip on his shoulder. He began to recognize his drinking habits were changing. A breakup with his girlfriend sent him into a tailspin of depression, and his drinking escalated. External pressure to quit drinking led to rebellion, and Matt learned that change had to come from within. Matt was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis after a drinking binge. He continued to drink and had another health incident. He took some time off work and launched it with a bender, then turned to a friend to bring him to an AA meeting. His first meeting was a profound emotional/spiritual shift that led him to over three years of sobriety.

 

Matt’s firsts during his first year of sobriety was difficult and rewarding. It was his first opportunity as an adult to experience life without alcohol. Self-help books, podcasts, and a growth mindset helped him embrace sobriety. He was quiet about his sobriety. At a friend’s wedding, he had a shot of tequila, and the wave of the high hit him quickly. He had a creative outburst and wrote ten songs. He convinced himself that the drinks enabled his creativity. He repackaged all his views of alcohol to return to drinking moderately. The moderation bargaining started, and at one point, he heard a voice telling him, if you keep doing this, it will kill you. Matt continued drinking. After a sloppy party weekend, Matt realized it was time to stop while driving to his dad’s celebration of life. He decided to stop the cycle as a tribute to his father.

 

Matt recently made a plant-based medicine retreat. His healing journey continues, and the sense of peace has returned. He is focused on a growth mindset and allowing the journey to happen because life is not a to-do list.

 

Matt’s podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/beyond-recovery/id1618862620

 

Kris’s Summary

 

Embracing summer plans as a sober person is new for many of us. Give yourself grace. Create accountability, set boundaries, try new things, create new habits, and remember it’s okay to go slow.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

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Resources

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I love you guys.

RE 383: Chapter 4 – Clearing Space

RE 383: Chapter 4 – Clearing Space

Episode 383  – Clearing space

Recovery Elevator is sponsored by BetterHelp.

Today we have Phillip. He is 46 and took his last drink on February 28, 2019.

 

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Bozeman Retreat:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

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Highlights from Paul

 

It’s hard to visualize a sober life when you are still drinking because your body is using every drop of energy to get rid of the poison that is alcohol from your body. Paul suggests once you ditch the booze, sit back and be the observer to watch your life unfold and resist the urge to control everything. In his eighth year of sobriety, Paul bought a home in Costa Rica, a longtime dream. After quitting, his life became a blank canvas, and now he is exploring his love for nature in his new home – which would not have been possible if he was still drinking. Paul feels connected to his inner child and is grateful for his life today.

 

In chapter 4, Paul wants to showcase listeners’ talents. Feel free to send an edited MP3 file in under 3 minutes to info@recoveryelevator.com, and you may hear yourself on the podcast.

 

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

 

[12:55]  Phillip lives in Minneapolis, lives with his partner, has no kids, and works as an attorney. He is a marathon runner. Phillip started drinking in college. As life unfolded, he noticed drinking was part of all his life activities, from work to time with friends. He realized he drank every day, even the night before running a marathon.

 

In 2017, he started to question if he had a problem. The thought of quitting drinking felt like quitting fun. In 2018, Philip decided to explore his relationship with alcohol as his New Year’s resolution. He quit for four months with few problems. He kept a diary that tracked his cravings and triggers. He drank during a vacation which ended his streak. He found several reasons to start and stop. By the end of 2018, he returned to daily drinking and stopped keeping his diary, and brandy was his drink of choice. He noticed he was gaining weight, and his depression was worsening. He realized that moderation was a challenge. Choosing to drink or not drink daily was exhausting and caused decision fatigue. Phillip’s sleep was terrible; one day, he found himself drinking at 3 AM so he could sleep … two hours before a run. It occurred to him that he was now drinking in the morning.

 

As he reflected on his behavior, he saw three paths:  continue drinking, moderate, or abstain altogether. He concluded that quitting was the past of least resistance because moderation involved constant decision fatigue. He joined the “no matter what” club. He got sober, learning how to get through the moments. He kept a spreadsheet that became a diary of his cravings. He tracked his cravings to he could identify trends. His most challenging moments came later in sobriety. Three months in, Memorial Day weekend was a huge struggle. Podcasts are a huge part of Phillip’s recovery. He joined Café RE and began to connect with people. Many say you are the average of your top 5 people, and surrounding himself with non-drinkers has brought his life to a better level. He now enjoys a runner’s high when he runs, which he never experienced when drinking.   Phillip believes sobriety can be for everybody.

 

Paul’s Summary

 

Keep track of how much energy your addiction takes. Write it down. Never take yourself too seriously. I love you guys!

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

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Recovery Elevator –it all starts from the inside out. I love you guys!

I love you guys.

RE 382: So Now What?

RE 382: So Now What?

Episode 382– So now what?

Recovery Elevator is sponsored by BetterHelp.

Today we have Ryan. He is 40, from Denver, and took his last drink on January 7, 2013.

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Bozeman Retreat:  https://www.recoveryelevator.com/cafere/

 

Highlights from Paul

 

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Paul shares Odette’s wise words,  “we can’t be hard on ourselves when we do hard things.” He also examines those who abuse alcohol and the correlation with being hard on ourselves. Could the pace you are setting for yourself be driving you to drink?

 

Not drinking isn’t an activity. I quit drinking, so now what? You are making space for a new chapter in your life. A theme you will find in that chapter is your relationship with yourself.

 

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

 

[11:15]  Ryan has been sober for over nine years. He is the founder of Free Spiritual Community for addicts to break the cycle of addiction. He is married and has four kids.   He loves being outside, the mountains, travel, and family life.

 

Ryan has been in ministry for 14 years, and sobriety brought him a spiritual awakening. He went to bible school, and during the first month, his brother was killed in a car accident. The addiction began to take over. Alcohol helped Ryan deal with pain, fear, and uncertainty. He experienced shame and fundamentally did not like himself as a person.

 

Ryan didn’t know how to stop the pain or creating pain. While in the seminary, his drinking escalated. One Christmas Eve, his sister asked him not to come around anymore because she didn’t want her kids to see him drunk. He describes putting on a mask, so nobody could see who he was. Ryan describes the grace that helped him connect to his relationship with God, knowing that God was there during his addiction.

 

Admitting that he was spiritually disconnected created spiritual freedom that changed his life. Shame, anger, and self-hatred helped him connect to God and explore a different way of life. An intervention from his wife made the difference. She used the word “we,” and knowing he didn’t have to do it alone propelled him into recovery.

 

Nine years in, Ryan still practices letting go. He began his journey in 12-step programs, and he went from sitting in the back of the room to actively engaging, getting vulnerable, and being of service. Today, Ryan and his wife have a church filled with addicts, loved ones of addicts, and spiritual refugees,

https://freespiritualcommunity.com. Insta:  freespiritualcommunity, YouTube: freespiritual community.

https://wagoncoffeeroasters.com/

 

Kris’ Summary

 

Kris talks about his wife Aimee being on the Recovery Elevator podcast. Check out episode 321. Kris thanks listeners for giving him the room to grow.

 

Keep going. Finds some peace.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

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Resources

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

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Recovery Elevator –it all starts from the inside out. I love you guys!

I love you guys.

RE 381: We’re All Addicted to Something

RE 381: We’re All Addicted to Something

Episode 381– We are all addicted to something

Recovery Elevator is sponsored by BetterHelp.

Today we have Amy. She is 39, from Canada, and took her last drink on August 21, 2016

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul talks about a book he is reading called, The Urge. It’s about an Indian in the Seneca Tribe named Handsome Lake. He developed a program similar to AA about 150 years before Bill W and Dr. Bob created AA.    Connection pulled people out of addiction. The Urge:  https://amzn.to/37KVS3Y

 

Paul describes an experience at a Sauna in the hot springs where a group of men started talking about addiction. It began with one man sharing that he had ten years without a drink and moved to Montana for a fresh start. After he burned the ships, the other men in the sauna talked about their struggle to control substances beyond alcohol and drugs. When one person opens up and shares from the heart, it gives others a safe space to do the same.

 

Paul reminds us:  1) It’s a challenging universe to live in; 2) we are all addicts trying to survive, and 3) we all need help. Continue exploring coping strategies, and you will find the ones that work for you.

 

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

 

[10:55]  Amy has been sober for six years. She is from Toronto, Canada, and works as a sobriety and mindset coach. She loves reading, cycling, traveling, cross stitching, is single, queer, and has a cat.

 

Amy started drinking at 16 and grew up in a family dealing with addiction. Alcohol relieved Amy from the trauma and complication of her parent’s separation and divorce. She was hiding alcohol and drinking alone very early into her drinking.   The volume and frequency of her drinking progressed rapidly, and she was prone to blackouts. Externally she was high functioning. Internally, she struggled quite a bit.

 

Amy was overcome with grief after her dad’s sudden death, and her drinking escalated to cope with her volatile emotions. She achieved six months of consecutive sobriety and committed to being done with drinking. Her first attempts included moderation, rewards, and bargaining, which continued for a year. In 2015, questions started to emerge for Amy, forcing her to examine her drinking.

 

Amy became a coach and learned to share her story more publicly. She now helps other women create change for themselves. She has taken her life and her power back. Breaking the cycle of addiction has been very empowering for Amy. Compassion and sadness have become her primary emotions. Compassion for her father and sadness for what she went through and what might have been had her childhood been more stable.

 

Small steps, habit stacking, and new habits created momentum for Amy. Committing to making real change, even with discomfort and struggle, helped Amy to stack days. She began to follow other sober women on Instagram, which made her feel hopeful. Learning about addiction and alcohol, from biology to mental health, helped Amy strengthen her commitment to abstinence. She avoided events, social situations, and people who created a risk to her sobriety.   She shifted her priorities to change her life.

Find Amy on Instagram @MsAmyCWillis and Holandwell.com.

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette discusses non-scale victories and tiny wins that are difficult to measure. She encourages listeners to be mindful of those small victories that snowball into meaningful momentum.

 

Remember that you are not alone and together is always better.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

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Recovery Elevator –please believe in yourself. I believe in you.

I love you guys.

RE 380: What is Sober?

RE 380: What is Sober?

Episode 380– What is Sober?

Recovery Elevator is sponsored by BetterHelp.

Today we have Shrene. She is 46, from Arizona, and took her last drink on September 10, 2019

 

AF Photography Class for beginners will start in August.  Details to follow.

AF Ukelele Course #2 starts in June.

 

Exact Nature:  https://exactnature.com/RE 20

 

Highlights from Paul

 

Paul talks about the word sober.  For this podcast, sober refers to alcohol, because alcohol is what got Paul behind the microphone to launch Recovery Elevator.   Paul suggests not getting too attached to any idea of what sober looks like.  It’s not about the substance, but the freedom you have from the substance.  Try not to judge others for their definition of sober, because it’s rarely black and white.  When you judge others, you judge yourself and create separation.  Defining sobriety can be a fool’s errand.

 

Sobriety is living authentically.  Sobriety is not being a slave, to a substance, behavior, or action.   Sobriety is living your life how you want to live, living with a connected head and heart, recognizing  beauty, art, sunsets,  a different vibration.

Sobriety is hope, taking off the chains, meeting yourself, a manageable life.

Sobriety is “downgrading additions.” Sarah Hepola – Blackout   https://www.amazon.com/Blackout-Remembering-Things-Drank-Forget/dp/1455554588

 

If you remove alcohol and aren’t ready to say goodbye to everything else, go slow, take your time, and listen to your body. There is no right or wrong way to do this, and there is no generally accepted definition of sobriety.

 

At Recovery Elevator, we accept all versions of sober.  We accept all versions of you.

 

 

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

 

[12:04]  Shrrene is married with two children, two dogs and is a lunch lady who makes lunch for 700 kids daily.

 

Shrrene remembers drinking as early as age three to four.  She drank through her high school years.  She stopped drinking when she got married at age 16 and she stopped drinking until after her son was born at age 26.  She was a casual drinker.

 

At 40, she started drinking daily.  She would sneak her drinking, hide bottles, and hide in her closet to drink.  She quit during her pregnancy.  She had open heart surgery at 39, then had a stroke.  At age 41 she had a second open heart surgery but continued to drink.  Her husband brought an AA Big Book home from an Al-Anon meeting.  Her husband joined Celebrate Recovery and she joined him for meetings.  She began to moderate but went back to field research regularly until 2019.  Shrrene got sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Prayer was instrumental for getting the desire to drink lifted.  Now she doesn’t have a desire to drink, other than the fleeting thought and she plans to stay active in recovery and help others.

 

Shrrene slowly started talking to her husband, in AA meetings, journaling and learning to share.  Journaling helped when she was too afraid to talk to others and it is a tool that still serves her today.

 

Attending AA and CR meetings were helpful, but Shrrene was reluctant to share.  When she learned to open up, she felt less alone.  She found the similarities in the stories of others.  She encourages listeners to keep trying and never give up.

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette reminds us “we can do hard things”.  We can’t do hard things and be hard on ourselves. Chose yourself, chose kindness and be your own cheerleader.

 

Remember that you are not alone and together is always better.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • You can find more information about our events

 

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

Recovery Elevator –we are here for you, don’t quit quitting.

I love you guys.

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