RE 338: Old Narratives

RE 338: Old Narratives

Episode 338 – Old Narratives

 

On today’s podcast we’ve got Rebecca she took his last drink on October 22, 2019, she is from Madison Wisconsin, and  is 31 years old.

 

Finding Your Better You Highlights

When we don’t know the root of our triggers, when we don’t know the narratives that are ingrained in our brains and in our souls.  We think something is wrong with us. And when we think something is wrong with us, we feel shame. Part of taking responsibility of your healing is knowing yourself, so that you can get outside of this shame cycle and can walk the bridge over to self-empathy. When I know myself better, I can zoom out and see what was happening in my mind, understand myself better and allows me to manage my relationships differently. This makes me navigate my cravings better, because mine come when I feel this belief of, I am not considered.

 

Look within and find some narratives that are living inside of you? Stories that live in the past, yet they are being perpetuated in your present life. We can re-write those stories. But only until we detect them.

 

Insights from Rebecca’s Journey

 

[09:18] Kris introduces Rebecca.  Rebecca began drinking at age 14 and she hated it.   She was afraid of drinking because her dad was in law enforcement.  She noticed a shift in her drinking at age 25.  In 2011, her dad went to prison and that trauma had a huge impact on her life.  She was also a victim of domestic violence.  She thanks alcohol for getting her through terrible times and for the life she has now.  Rebecca’s drinking became all day drinking because she was isolated, alone, and bored.  She would binge drink to soothe loneliness.  She was falling apart, other than work.

 

She began listening to recovery podcasts and reached out to her employee assistance office.  She entered a therapy group that helped with alcohol addiction and trauma. She was holding on some trauma from her past that became an excuse for drinking.  She was stuck in a Day 1 cycle and a shame cycle. She went to rehab and detoxed from alcohol and Xanax.  It was a very structured program that gave her some tools.

 

Learning to connect was important for Rebecca.  She leaned in heavily on AA and found a local community of sober women.  She is now very engaged with Café RE which has helped keep her sober.  She constantly evaluates her program. She continues to suffer from anxiety and depression, but she isn’t alone anymore.  She really wants to give back and is now able to do so.  She always challenges the narrative recognizing that a bad day can be turned around.   Rebecca said, keep it simple!

 

Kris’ Message

Kris is celebrating four years of continuous sobriety.   He shared a quote from Marianne Williamson, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous.  Actually, who are you not to be?  Playing small does not serve the world.  We born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  As we let our own light shine, we give others permission to do the same.”  Take some time to recognize the work you are doing.  Resist the urge to minimize yourself.  You are a gift to this world.  You deserve happiness.

 

It all starts from the inside out.

 

Sponsor

Exact Nature  Use code RE20 at exact nature.com

Shout out to The Chocolate Moose, a Bozeman Retreat Sponsor.   https://www.thechocolatemoose406.com/ @thechocolatemoose406 on Instagram

 

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021
  • You can find more information about our events including Costa Rica and Denver

Resources

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

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

RE 337: The Canary in the Mine

RE 337: The Canary in the Mine

Episode 337 – The canary in the mine.

 

I was open with people about my decision.  I put myself out there to create a level of accountability.

 

 

Today we have Katie. She is 38, from Ohio and took her last drink July 12, 2020.  This is her story of living Alcohol Free (AF).

 

Events!

 

Alcohol-free travel is back! Recovery Elevator is going to Costa Rica January 15th-23rd and you should join us. We’ve got space for 34 AF rock stars, registration opens Sept 1. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/costarica/

 

You can find more information about our events here.

 

 

Paul’s Intro

 

Native cultures believed that a sick person is like the canary in the mine and it’s the sick person who represents an imbalance in the community. Or that something is off. They also believed this person should be thanked for raising the alarm that something needs to be corrected within a community. Almost like, yo, thank you for taking one for the team.

 

So Contrary to today’s culture where mental illness, autoimmune disorders, and addictions are prevalent and on the rise, these environmental conditions were rare in most cultures prior to modern times. So this is what native cultures did when there was a sick canary in the community. The whole tribe came together to help this person because they knew they were all connected, that they were all one. The entire community would shoulder the cost to bring in healers from other tribes. All these ceremonies were different of course, but from I can deduce the two main commonalities were this: Music and dancing. For at least 3-4 days.

 

Okay, let’s tie this into alcohol. It’s in my opinion those who struggle with a drinking problem are the canaries in the mines. Side note, I was the canary in the mine in the Canary islands. I went to this set of islands located off the northwest coast of Africa in 2007 and was drunk and hungover for the whole trip. I don’t remember much from that trip, but I recall popcorn being my lifeline one afternoon because that’s all I could. That’s how hungover I was. And fun facts about Canaries, yes they do come from the Canary islands. They have yellow feathers, and occasionally eat jalapeños.  Fun fact about Paul. I also occasionally eat jalapeños. We are covering some ground today team.

 

So in 2021, there have never been more sick canaries, and if we don’t ALL address this, then we’re toast as a species.

 

When I say we ALL need to address this, I mean problematic and normal drinkers. As in addiction/mental health is an external manifestation that something is highly out of balance internally with our species. This imbalance affects everyone. This is okay, it’s how we grow and evolve.

 

The good news is…. The Canary can heal. It will heal. You, if you’re listening to this podcast in hopes of quitting drinking, are the canary, and you will heal, just keep at it.

 

So how does the canary heal? I firmly believe there is no select methodology, or doctrine to follow. There is no right or wrong way to ditch the booze. There are infinite ways… But, there is one massive  commonality.

 

Ditching the booze in 21st century doesn’t quite look like 3 full nights of ceremonial dancing under a full moon with the whole community anymore, but there are similarities.

 

Let’s first check out what you don’t hear when someone celebrates and alcohol-free milestone.

 

“Well, guys, I knew I was “fucked” so I locked myself in my room, read every quit lit book, listened to podcasts, learned how the mind works, and beat it.” I’ve yet to hear that one. Nothing even close.

 

What you do hear is, “I’d like to thank my best friend susan, my mom and dad, my AF community, my dog, the big oak tree in my back yard (That’s an HP reference), and all my friends who were in my corner the whole time.” Or “I couldn’t have done it without… Mike, Jim, Michelle  Javier and my pet canary ralph.” Okay, I think that’s the last canary reference.

 

So, what does this mean? Let’s get to the point. 1. You can’t do this alone, and 2. You need community. This could be a close group or friends who know your desire to quit drinking, AA, Café RE, counselors etc. Ships need to be burned, or conversations with loved ones need to take place. Accountability is desperately needed. Even if you’re not, and I’m using air quotes, “successful” with your decision to quit drinking, you’re still developing tighter bonds and relationships in your life. According to Sebastian Junger, in his Book “Tribe” in times of crisis, people are wired to come together and help. This isn’t a kind gesture from our friends, and family, or even completely strangers; it’s biologically how we are wired. As I discussed in last episode, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released when we help others. So when a drinking problem reaches a pinnacle moment, and I’d classify this as a crisis as it was for me in 2014, the people around us want to help. They need to help, it’s good for them. They need these feel good chemicals also. Denying the loved ones in your life the opportunity to help you, is doing them a disservice.

 

So if you’re ready to get off the merry round of hell, aka a drinking problem, two main things needs to happen. 1. You need to ask for help, 2. Receive the help. Most likely both are outside your comfort zone, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Let the drinking problem push you into connection. I feel that’s the main point of an addiction. Yes, addiction, or drinking problem serves a purpose. Everything does. That’s the topic of 339. Does addiction serve a purpose?  We must first become aware of the addiction. This is the first step in I think every program involving steps, and then, open up. Yes, open up. The addiction is trying to crack you open. To find a spot where the light can enter, if you allow it.

 

 

 

 

Let’s hear from Exact Nature.

 

 

[8:42] Odette welcomes Katie

 

Katie took her last drink July 12, 2020.  She is excited about  her one-year milestone and she feels free of the prison on alcohol.  She is going sky-diving to celebrate.  Katie said life is still hard, but she has freedom and clarity of mind without drinking.  Katie is 38 and lives in NE Ohio.  She has two sons. She is an executive assistant to a CEO for a large company.  She loves all things fitness and reading.

 

 

[52:17] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

Sparkling water (lime flavor) with lots of ice and mint.

 

  1. What has been an unexpected perk along this journey?

Freedom and time that come with not planning how you will get your next drink.

 

  1. What would you say to young people who are considering ditching the booze?

Don’t overcomplicate it, drinking is overrated.  You have more strength than you realize.  Everything in life you want to accomplish will be easier without liquor.  Having a clear head, mind and a simple life without the alcohol will be the beautiful things in your life.

 

You might need to say adios to booze if ….

You stress months before the Christmas holiday about how you will cook the holiday meal and not drink all the wine in the house the night before.

 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Very well, team RE, that wraps our interview for today. Before I say adios I want to share something with you all. I asked all of YOU on our instagram a question that I normally ask in our podcast interview and I got some amazing responses. The prompt was: What would you say to your younger self?

 

Here is what some of you had to say:

 

  • Live for yourself. No amount of alcohol will make him see you.
  • You are beautiful.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your true self.
  • You are loved, you are worth it.
  • You don’t have to be “THEM”
  • You are enough. It only matters what you think of yourself.
  • Drugs and alcohol don’t make you cool, being a good person does.
  • It’s ok to fail.
  • Learn to love yourself.
  • Being the wild party girl is not all its cracked up to be.
  • You are going to make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Handling the stress of it all will only be magnified a thousand if you drink about it.
  • I love you.
  • It wan’t your fault.
  • I see you and I am sorry you are hurting.
  • See yourself, hold yourself at a high value.
  • What you are chasing has been in your heart the whole time, not a bottle.
  • Everything you think alcohol is helping you achieve is false. You are being held back. You can accomplish so much more sober.
  • You are none of the things you say to yourself in your head.
  • Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.
  • You are allowed to feel the way you do and you don’t have to hide it to please those around you.
  • Let your hair grow long, let your laugh grow loud.
  • Take your intuition seriously.

 

WOW. What a list.

 

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

 

Recovery elevator, you deserve love, acceptance and belonging. We can do this.

 

 

Today’s Sponsor

 

BetterHelp 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 500,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

 

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

 

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 – Without the darkness you would never

know the light – I love you guys”

RE 336: Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, & Oxytocin

RE 336: Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, & Oxytocin

Episode 336 – Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin

 

I need to admit myself somewhere.  I could sit here until I’m blue in the face and until I have some humility, this is not going to work.

 

Today we have Susan, she’s 61, she’s from Pennsylvania and took her last drink Nov 19th, 2017.  This is her story of living Alcohol Free (AF).

 

Events!

 

  • Due to Covid we had to cancel our Costa Rica sober travel trip, and an event in Denver. Those events are back on. We’ve got an AF trip to Costa Rica January 15-23rd 2022 that includes:  the cloud forest, the beach, chilling on a catamaran. Registration opens Sept 1 and we’ve got 33 spots available.  April 14th -17th 2022, we’ll be in Denver Colorado at the Hilton Garden Inn at Union Station. This event will be about moving energy with music that is performed LIVE. Expect connection, small group breakout sessions and the opportunity to be your most authentic self. Registration opens Nov 1. You can find more information about our events

 

 

Paul’s Intro

 

Today I will share information on the 4 main chemicals we’re dealing with when we ditch the booze. I’m outline them, give a framework of how to work with these chemicals in a healthier way and a loose timeline of what to expect when you quit drinking and how these chemicals will come back into balance.

 

 

The four main players dance with an addiction are Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin.

 

Endorphins and dopamine are the chemicals of progress. Short-term feel-good chemicals. And Serotonin and oxytocin are the long-term chemicals.

 

Let’s cover the short-term molecules first: endorphins and dopamine

 

Endorphins – We often hear the word endorphins with exercise. And it’s true. This is the reason for the runners high. Endorphins have one purpose – to mask physical pain. Since the body doesn’t distinguish the difference between physical and emotional pain very well, this is why running, or physical movement helps us emotionally when we aren’t feeling good.

 

Dopamine – This is the molecule we are mostly engaged with when dealing with an addiction. This is more accurately described as the learning molecule. Dopamine is viewed as an incentive for progress. The good feeling, we get when we do something necessary for survival. Addictions highjack the dopamine system. Alcohol raises the dopamine in our brains by over 100-200% and cocaine raises it by 300%… temporarily. Then there’s a major crash.

 

Dopamine is highly addictive, and it should be. Human beings walked thousands of miles over the ice shelf of eastern Asia to the Americas because of dopamine.  The dopamine system worked great for humans, until the world modernized faster than the system could adapt.  Alcohol completely over runs this system

 

Long-term chemicals – These chemicals control our long-term feelings.

 

Serotonin – The selfless chemical.

Oxytocin – The love molecule and the connection molecule.

 

Let’s cover how we can work with these as we ditch the booze and then I’ll give you a loose timeline of when these chemicals should start naturally emerging in your system again.

 

Endorphins – Keep running, keep gardening. This is a much healthier way to override the physical and emotional discomfort of quitting drinking. Also, laugh, laugh, laugh.

 

Dopamine – It’s important we retrain the brain to release dopamine with other activities. Pick a short-term goal. Maybe it’s learning the guitar, maybe it’s finding a species of bird in the wild, or a snake. Science shows that a spike of dopamine is released when we help other people. Dopamine is a big reason we’ve done this podcast 336 straight Monday’s.

 

Once we have the dopamine system cued to healthier stimuli then within time serotonin starts to naturally emerge. With this comes a sense of belonging. If we stick with it long enough, oxytocin will emerge on the scene.

 

The long-term chemicals are contagious. This is why we love inspiring movies that motivate us to perform our own selfless acts. This is why we cheer people on at marathons or say heck yes when we hear someone has hit an AF milestone.

 

Here’s a loose timeline for this:

 

Endorphins: within the first 24-72 hours.

Dopamine: within six months, depending on your habits.

Serotonin: 3-9 months.

Oxytocin: 6-12 months.

 

This is all given that you’re doing the work.

 

PAWS in recovery is post-acute withdrawal symptoms. I like to call them healing symptoms because it’s the body, mind, soul, and spirit recalibrating itself without alcohol. Trust the process, stick with it, we got your back.

 

Let’s hear from Betterhelp.  betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR

 

 

[13:52] Odette welcomes Susan

 

Susan’s last drink was on November 19, 2017.   She feels great and every year is better.  Susan is 61 and single but was previously married.  She has a daughter and two grandchildren.  She is from Pennsylvania.  She moved to Los Angeles and lived there for thirty years.  She has also lived in Colorado and is now back on the East Coast.  She works for a medical device company.  She loves to read novels, cooking, exercise, the beach, bike riding and TV.

 

[15:49] Tell us about your history with drinking

 

Susan described 44 years of drinking.  Her first drink was at age 14 and she would sneak drinks with friends.  In high school she fell in love with the bad boy of the school and did a 360 in one day.  She went from straight A’s and first clarinet to a party girl.  After her first pill and sips of beer, her inhibitions disappeared.  She partied like everyone else.  She married this bad boy very young, and they divorced at 21.  She moved to California and got involved with another guy. They drank together with friends.  She remarried and tried to clean up her home and life to have a family.  Giving up weed was easy, but she struggled relinquishing wine.  At 30,

she admitted herself to a treatment center called Schick for a weekend and participated in an intensive outpatient program (IOP).  She went to a few AA meetings and was able to stay away from alcohol for four months.  When she returned to drinking, her drinking progressed.  She was raising her daughter, working and what many would describe as a functioning alcoholic.  She drank nightly, but not a lot.  Over the years, she made a few attempts to quit, tried counseling and AA again, but nothing was working.  She decided to accept it for what it was because she didn’t have the time to do what you must do to quit.

 

[21:19] What was the tipping point that made you enter treatment?

 

Susan’s father was an alcoholic, and she watched his drinking become progressive.  She knew it could happen to her and didn’t want to become like her father.  The rest of her life was healthy.  She exercised and ate healthy foods and wondered how long she could continue drinking.  She described feeling like two people.  She was Miss Goody Two-Shoes during the day and at night she was drinking.

 

Susan always had faith and knew that God was protecting her but didn’t want to push the limits and hurt others.  It took a while after that realization for her to attempt quitting.  She had some false starts where she would try but wasn’t ready.   When her second grandchild was about to arrive, she knew she had to quit because she was fearful her first granddaughter would associate Mima with wine.

 

She spoke with her therapist and said she felt therapy was not enough and entered an intense outpatient program because she knew until she had some humility, it wouldn’t work.   Her IOP was very diverse and encountered many people with several stories.  During IOP she would screw up every week.  She admitted it and, on the 19th, she called her sister (who is in recovery) who calmed her down.  Her sister mailed her a book called Acceptance* and she hasn’t had a drink since.  She described her moment of acceptance, surrender and her daily routine of prayer and meditation.

*(https://www.my12stepstore.com/Acceptance-A-Way-to-Serenity.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwi9-HBhACEiwAPzUhHH_MXOMZLl8LTD-oZE98nSxHE2hhktBhXfpmEifPluupg-Mn8uIruxoCJUgQAvD_BwE)

 

[31:22] What were the first 90 days like?

 

Susan described having time to focus on herself.  She then took over as the nanny for her grandson and her daughter was able to trust her with the baby.  She gradually returned to work with part-time work.  At a year after she became sober, she returned to corporate America.   It continued to get easier with time.  She enjoyed podcasts.  Her dog had some health issues yet survived for six months.  When he passed, she was tempted to drink, but overcame the temptation.   She tries to mix up her recovery with AA meetings, podcasts, and anything to keep it interesting.  She loves Café RE because it gives her the flexibility of both worlds (AA and podcasts).  She now has a strong desire to help others in recovery.  The peace and freedom that comes with recovery has become the best way for her to live, she can’t imagine anything better.

 

[40:21] What was behind drinking for you?

 

When looking at fears and resentments, she gained a new perspective.  She realized that something else may have been going on in the moment.  She learned to stop holding bad feelings and looking deep into the causes of certain things.  She uncovers new things regularly.  She is accepting, simplifying, and lowering her expectations.  It took her years not to want more.  She has more work to do and is open to the work.

 

[40:24] Do you still get cravings?

 

Susan doesn’t get physical cravings but does have memory triggers.  While Christmas shopping last year, the memory of having wine at Christmas came into her head.  She did some thinking, played the tape forward and it passed quickly.  She does have a fear of dating because she has been single through her recovery.  Self-care or “me time” will remain a priority for her to maintain sobriety.

 

[47:11] What are your rituals in sobriety?

 

Susan gets up at 5 AM and reads a novel, then does her recovery reading including daily reflections and prayers.  She frequently listens to podcasts.  She watches to Joel Osteen regularly because he gives her hope that there are good people in this insane world.  Susan is a listener in AA meetings, she is an optimist, and she learns from others.  She has become a host for AA meetings and wants to give back.

 

[52:17] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

Sparkling water (lime flavor) with lots of ice and mint.

 

  1. What has been an unexpected perk along this journey?

Freedom and time that come with not planning how you will get your next drink.

 

  1. What would you say to young people who are considering ditching the booze?

Don’t overcomplicate it, drinking is overrated.  You have more strength than you realize.  Everything in life you want to accomplish will be easier without liquor.  Having a clear head, mind and a simple life without the alcohol will be the beautiful things in your life.

 

You might need to say adios to booze if ….

You stress months before the Christmas holiday about how you will cook the holiday meal and not drink all the wine in the house the night before.

 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette recently returned from Guadalajara and while she was there, she celebrated her father’s 12th sober birthday.  They attended an AA meeting together and she heard him tell his story.  She saw herself in his words.  We all walk alongside each other.  We the same lessons to learn, hurt to heal and joy to find.  Seeing her dad as a parent and fellow in recovery was challenging, but she left the meeting hopeful that we are all human, doing the best that we can.  Odette is grateful for the Café RE community that helps each other navigate the world, feel understood and gives us a sense of belonging.

 

Remember you are not alone.  If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

 

 

Today’s Sponsor

 

BetterHelp 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 500,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

 

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

 

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 – Without the darkness you would never

know the light – I love you guys”

 

 

 

RE 335: All Emotions are Created Equal

RE 335: All Emotions are Created Equal

Barela took her last drink 42 days ago (at the time of this recording). This is her story of living alcohol free (AF).

 

 

A former Recovery Elevator interviewee, Jody, is hosting her own sobriety courses. This is called “The Sobriety Shift” and is a 12-week transformational program for women for are already sober, but want to elevate their life. You can find out more information here.

 

 

From Paul: “All emotions are created equal”

 

You need all emotions to give you the barometer for good and bad or to define what emotion even is. Being able to feel both sides of the emotional spectrum is important. Some ying vs yang emotions are: Hope and fear, gratitude and anger, pride and shame, desire and repulsion, love and hate.

 

 

When we view all emotions as equal, we don’t double down on them: we don’t get mad that we are mad, or anxious that we are anxious. When you label an emotion as “bad” you have a higher chance of drinking over them. By viewing them as equal to “good” emotions all emotions are able to pass through us without being strengthened or intensified. Everything has a purpose to help us evolve.

 

 

Today’s show is sponsored by Betterhelp.

 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 1,000,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR.

 

 

 

[12:10] Odette introduces Barela.

 

 

Barela is 43 years old and from Salt Lake City, UT. She is a mother to her Yorkie named Kiki. By day is a victims advocate for a non-profit and by night she is your Queer grocery clerk that helps you find your produce. For fun she loves true crime podcasts, going for long walks with her dog, hikes with friends, reading, painting, meditation and puzzles. Because of the pandemic she’s been focusing on a lot of solo projects.

 

 

[14:48] Do you notice that solitude is different now that you’re sober?

 

 

Barela said yes, she’s always enjoyed her own company, but she’s now more active and productive with her time. She’s more creative because alcohol isn’t in the way of her focus. Every morning is a great morning for her.

 

 

[15:38] Can you give us a background on your drinking?

 

 

Barela said she started drinking when she was 16. Her mom bought her alcohol to keep her in the house, rather than being out. She didn’t like the taste at first. When she moved to Portland and was in a band alcohol became more a part of her everyday life. It escalated quickly in the last 10 years. At around age 28 she started blacking out. In the beginning they didn’t scare her, but at the end it changed. The cycle of getting drunk, being hung over, ibuprofen, hair of the dog, get drunk… repeat became her life. Getting alcohol became an obsession in her life.

 

 

[19:51] Were you surrounded by people who were drinking like you?

 

 

Barela said yes, she was hanging out with people who normalized all of this. Her last black out was December 19, 2019 and she’s gone through some big shifts in friendships because a lot were of those were drinking friendships only. She lost some jobs due to drinking as well. After some geographical drinking changes which didn’t work, she moved back to Salt Lake City. Her bottom was when she was making her grandmother dinner, drank a fifth of Old Crow and she woke up in bed with a broken ankle.

 

 

[24:27] What happened after your bottom?

 

 

Barela said she declared “I can’t drink anymore!” but she also saw how she had been simply adjusting her bottom as she drank. Being bed ridden after breaking her ankle brought this into stark reality. She journaled about all the relationships her drinking was affecting, including the one with herself. She knew she needed to leave the service industry. Stepping outside of that she found work with the domestic violence coalition and working at the grocery at night.

 

 

[27:56] What was that time period after that like?

 

 

Barela said she slept a lot and ate whatever she wanted. Lots of self-reflection. She also burned the ships to her friends for accountability.

 

 

[29:41] How do you build accountability into living alone?

 

 

Barela said she’s superstitious and the idea of drinking again is truly scary to her. She knows that alcohol will always be there but she’s made a life she loves away from alcohol.

 

 

[31:36] Did you used to have a witching hour and did you have to change your habits around it?

 

 

Barela said she drank all the time, so she didn’t have a witching hour exactly. There was always a reason to be drinking, no matter what time it was.

 

 

[33:05] How were you sleeping before you quit?

 

 

Barela said sleeping has never been a problem. Barela talks about how she started detecting patterns within her relapses and trying to protect her energy and setting boundaries.

 

 

[39:10] What are some tools you use every day to protect your sobriety?

 

 

Barela said waking up, doing her gratitude prayer and then thinking about her goals. Making her bed and setting daily intentions. Listening to podcasts. She recently discovered The Seltzer Squad podcast.

 

 

[40:37] What is your go to strategy when you do get a craving?

 

 

Barela said she talks to herself. She tries to locate what the feeling is and why she’s feeling that way. If the craving is particularly strong she will play the tape forward.

 

 

[42:21] Does your grandmother know you’re not drinking anymore?

 

 

Barela said she hasn’t been there for about 8 months; she hasn’t told her directly. She hasn’t burned the ships with her grandmother or her aunt who also lives in that home. She’s not sure why, but she hasn’t yet.

 

 

[45:52] What has been an unexpected perk on this journey?

 

 

Barela said her intuition has been more on point. She pulls Tarot cards and having better intuition has helped her there. She’s also been working on remote viewing as well (locating objects with your mind). She’s saved a ton of money and can do nice things for herself. She feels empowered and happy. She noticed she looks better. Everything is better.

 

 

 

[50:18] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What would you say to your younger self?

Trust your intuition. If it feels heavy in your heart, go against it. Only bad things happen after 1am, so go home.

 

  1. What’s your favorite NA beverage?

Liquid Death and her friend makes her own tinctures which she adds to it.

 

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Talenti Banana Caramel Crunch

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance would you give to listeners thinking about ditching the booze?

Believe in yourself, you can do it. Keep thinking about that person you want to be without alcohol. Keep reaching out.

 

 

You may have to say adios to booze if…

 

when you are constantly finding yourself waking up with a MARI (mysterious alcohol related injury).

 

 

Odette’s find thoughts:

 

A sober perk: she’s found friendships with people who she wouldn’t normally be friends with. Finding people who feel in the same way you do and making those connections is powerful. Through sharing Odette has found more in common with others than she thought. What an unexpected surprise!

 

Upcoming events, retreats and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone.
  • You can find more information about our events

 

Affiliate Link for Endourage:

For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. 

 

Affiliate Link for Amazon:

Shop via Amazon using this link.

 

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

 

Resources:

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

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

Sobriety Tracker Android 

Sober Selfies! – Send your Sober Selfie and your Success Story to  –info@recoveryelevator.com

 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator –you took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up-

I love you guys.”

RE 334: The Wisdom of Trauma

RE 334: The Wisdom of Trauma

Episode 334

 

 

You’re not giving something up, you are getting so much more in return, it’s just amazing. 

 

Kevin is 53, from South Carolina and took his last drink on October 6, 2019.  This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

Today’s show is sponsored by Better Help.

 

Kevin’s interview is with Kris. You guys are going to love Kris’s style. He’s a grounded, laid back guy from North Dakota who fully gets the importance of connection. Just like you all gave me a chance, and Odette, please focus on the similarities, not the differences and welcome Kris.

 

Speaking of Kris, we’ve made 10 YouTube Videos, and some of them are funny, at least that’s my opinion.  and our last video was my top 10 favorite recovery books. Go over to YouTube and type Recovery Elevator in the search bar.

 

I just finished the book “Breath” by James Nestor. The breath is the true foundation for all recovery work. It turns out, 5.5 breaths per minute is the optimal rate. That’s 5.5 seconds on the inhale, and 5.5 on the exhale for a total of 5.5 per minute. So next time you’re caught up in email apnea, pause and focus on the breath.  I highly recommend this book.

Breath by James Nestor  https://amzn.to/3zOJ1GZ.

 

Why did Adele cross the road? To say hello from the other side.

 

Okay, let’s get started –

 

Today I want to talk about the incredible feature film on trauma and addiction by Dr. Gabor Mate. The film is called “The Wisdom of Trauma.” This film needed to be made and will move the needle in a healthy direction in terms of how we view addiction.

 

Film:  https://thewisdomoftrauma.com/

Book:  “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” – Dr. Gabor Mate https://amzn.to/3xOAZx1

 

This film covers what addiction is. It covers how it happens, when the driving forces behind an addiction take hold in life and it also has practical ideas on how we should address addiction as a society and as the individual struggling with an addiction. On this podcast, you’re most likely listening to address a drinking problem, but all addictions, for the most part are interchangeable, and the mechanisms are mostly the same.

 

Okay, no surprise here, he talks about trauma. And he is noted for saying that all addictions, start with trauma, and the baulk of that happens in adolescence. The start of addiction doesn’t happen when you lose your job, but in infancy. Always. We often think that trauma must happen in Afghanistan, or a physically abusive parent but it also happens when we aren’t hugged enough as a child or us not getting something we needed when we were young. Parents in the 20th and 21st centuries are pulled in so many directions, that unfortunately, this is common. It’s the kiddos that pay the price.

 

Please don’t take any of this energy and steer it towards your parents, etc. They did their best. That’s not a healthy way to take this information.

 

This is an emotional film. I cried during parts of it.

 

He says that trauma happens when you disconnect with yourself, when you don’t have anyone to talk with. When kids are alone with their hurt. Another way to say this is there wasn’t a healthy way to move the energy. It got stuck. Humans talking about it, is the equivalent of a duck flapping its wings in nature, and we couldn’t do that as a child. So, the body hangs on to the energy. But it’s not fun energy to hang on to. In the western world one of the dominant ways this excess of energy manifests itself is through inflammation in the body.

 

He then talks about how we look at addiction as a poor choice. We, meaning society, and the individual.  Thank you, Mrs.  Regan for adding a couple of thick layers of pinyon pine to the stigma with the “Just say no” campaign from the 80’s.  That didn’t help much. Gabor, then reframes it by saying, the addiction wasn’t a poor choice, it was the solution. I agree completely. In fact, I’d take it even further and say kudos you found a way to survive. It’s now time to find healthier ways to cope since alcohol, will mess you up spiritually, mentally, and physically in the long run. Do not beat yourself up for having a drinking problem, you found a way to survive. And now it’s time to find a healthier way to connect.  That’s all we’re doing here.

 

I like how Gabor calls out capitalism and most modern economies as fueling addictions. We are primed to feel we need to purchase something external for short term inner wholeness. For long term wholeness, this process must be replicated 100’s and 1000’s of times. This is great for the stock market, but not great for mental health. There’s one word to summarize this. It’s MORE. We are always looking for more. This is a major pickle in modern societies that we have address ASAP. He talks about how this addiction is destroying the earth. We don’t have fix the earth, fix climate change or global warming.   We must fix ourselves and the individual level. Planet earth will be fine when we’re gone. Our current way of living, which Eckart Tolle calls insane, is how we are conditioned. It’s crazy, and unsustainable. This paradigm is shifting. You all are part of this paradigm shift.

 

Dr. Mate talks about how we are treating stress and addictions with more stressors. Most western illnesses are treated with steroids and cortisol creams. It’s not curing or treating anything.

 

He talks about the two ways society treats or views addicts.

  1. That it’s a choice, just say no, and if do say yes, you are warned with catchy commercials, then the user is punished. The penal system at the macro encourages intense shame guilt at the inner the micro level.
  2. That it’s a disease, and not a choice. He feels this is a better approach, since people can then get treatment like any other disease but ignores why people really get addicted which has nothing to do with a disease. Dr. Gabor Mate is clear on his stance about if a drinking problem is a passed down genetic disease that runs in the family. He says it is not. He believes these adaptive behaviors, addictions, are learned and formed to survive in an environment that isn’t conducive to wholeness or happiness. That’s a lot to unpack. Seriously. Feel free to hit the pause button on your podcast player. I’m on board with this approach. In fact, I’ve switched my tune while doing the Recovery Elevator podcast. At first, I thought addiction was a passed down genetic disorder.  But now feel these behaviors are coping mechanisms that allow us to survive in environments that are full of static, car alarms, incorrect passwords, identify theft, violence, backstabbing, sexual abuse, spam phone calls,  and more. And we all must deal with this incoherent energy. Yes, I do believe this inharmonious energy is passed down generationally and we all must deal with it, not just the addicts. In fact, in most native cultures, when one person in a community was sick, the whole community came forth to help. The whole community would even brunt the financial costs because they knew, a sick person within a community, wasn’t an outlier, but a representation that something was out of balance within the community. And today, in modern, society, we’ve got a lot of sick people, with depression being the number one cause of disability worldwide. Dr. Mate says that in the USA, the richest country in the world, 1/2 of its citizens have chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, addictions etc. Another way to say that, is we got big houses, big guns indeed, but we’re disconnected and need help. This is also the point of an addiction. A fear, or a marker of sorts that something is out of balance and needs attention.

 

So how do we treat this? Dr. Mate says, the modern medical paradigm separates the mind from the body and separates the person from the environment. I think he would agree that we need to use the mind to come into the body, and not leave it or disassociate with it. I know he would agree that we must recognize there’s an in imbalance. Sure, it’s the first step in all 12 step programs, but science shows this also. You can’t make change in anything, until a consciousness is there to witness it, or say “yes, this is here, and I’m going to deal with it.” There is not a right or wrong way to address an addiction, but what I’ve learned here at RE, is that community must be a component of this. A HUGE component. As in the blades of a helicopter. Or the propeller on a prop plane, or the wheels on a car.

 

We’ve all heard what you resist persists. Thank you, psychologist Carl Jung. At the individual level, we must recognize something is out of balance. At the group level, we do the same – and it can be a lot of fun.

 

At the individual level, you’re doing it. You’re listening. Which means you’re open to a whole new way of living. This is what gets me excited about Recovery Elevator. Its exploring new ways to live, that don’t require alcohol to be happy. And we are all figuring this out together.

 

Before we hear from Kris and Kevin, Let’s hear from Betterhelp.

 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 1,000,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR.

 

[12:55] Kris introduces Kevin

 

Kevin took his last drink on October 6, 2019, he is creeping up on two years and he feels great.  Not every day is great or happy, but he feels better equipped to handle what life throws at him.

 

[14:02] Give us a little background on you.

 

Kevin is 53 and lived in Long Island for most of his life.  He now lives in Bluffton, South Carolina.  He is not married, has an awesome girlfriend, and has dogs named Ben and Jerry.  He loves to read; he loves the outdoors, and he loves to work.

 

[15:39] Tell us about your relationship with alcohol and how did that evolve over time?

 

Kevin said it had a lifespan.  He started drinking in 8th or 9th grade experimenting.  He moved to Long Island in 4th grade.  He made a lot of friends, but never felt like he fit in.  In the late 80’s he was drinking heavily.  At the time, he didn’t think it was a problem.  College was a continuation – binge drinking on the weekend.  He drank through snowstorms, nice weather, hiking, etc.  He thought it was normal because everyone else was doing it.

 

[17:25] Did you have any consequences from your early years of drinking?

 

Kevin’s parents were strict.  His parents knew he was drinking, and his older brother never drank.   He became the project for his older brother.  After college he got married and his drinking slowed down a bit.  Being married and becoming a new Dad, living in a high rent district was stressful.  Kevin describes himself as high functioning.  He had a nice house, nice family and on the weekends, he drank a lot.  In 2009, he got a DUI.  He reflected on rock bottoms and his wife (an attorney) was able to help.  He avoided additional jail time and he slowed down his drinking for a time.

 

[20:06] You described having a nice house and a job, did your high functioning ever lead you to believe you didn’t have a problem?

 

Kevin said, he looked great on paper.  He had a business, a nice house, he supported charities, he was on the little league board and was a “good dude”.  He knew he had a problem with alcohol.  He was a fun drunk and was a great guy to hang out with.  At 3 AM, he was sweating, his heart was racing, and he knew something wasn’t right.

 

[22:15] Walk us forward, tell us more

 

Kevin tried to maintain the status quo.  He and his wife got divorced.  He believes his wife deserved better and alcohol had an impact but wasn’t the only factor in their divorce.  The alcohol affected his ability to rebuild the marriage.  His drinking reached a new level post-divorce.  He spent a lot of time on his own.  He frequented sports bars and the “type” of drinking escalated.  He felt a lot of guilt and shame.  The salve of alcohol didn’t last for more than 20 minutes.  He knew something was wrong.  Kevin put lots of rules on himself – only drink…. He would make a rule, break it, and invent three more.  Only this, only that ….. Annie Grace’s book first got him to explore quitting.  Annie’s podcast mentioned Paul Churchill.  Kevin has met Paul a few times and says, Paul ruined drinking for him.

 

Value Bomb – when you are in it, it’s so subtle.  It takes a different form than you a realize. 

 

[27:52] Paul ruined it for you, so what happens next?

 

Kevin was driving home and hit a rumble strip and he thought to himself – I’ve got good kids, good friends, and a great business.   Two days later he went to a street festival, and he had a beer or two and he decided on 10/6/2019 he knew, this is it!  He had dozens of days one’s day 6’s and day whatever’s.   He knew it was over.

 

Value Bomb – Your resets are not for nothingness.  They help you establish the willingness to move forward. Dig in, keep learning, it’s all growth.

 

[30:57] What did the first 30/60/90 days look like for you?

 

Kevin leaned in heavy on Café RE.  He took the advice.  He took naps when he needed them.  He cut back on work a bit. He cut back on engagements.  He learned to set boundaries.  He learned to leave respectfully.  He learned to prepare and had he faked a few gin and tonics.  He embraced NA beer.  He avoided drinking. The cravings dissipated over time.  Kevin craved situations more than the alcohol – college football, Superbowl.  He had the willingness.  Preparation was key.  As people  became aware he wasn’t drinking, it became easier.  After a little practice, it became easier every time.  Setting boundaries was huge.

 

Value Bomb – we grow and learn what situations we want to be in an those we don’t.  It’s okay to let go of certain situations. 

 

[36:43] How did drinking impact your relationships?

 

Kevin said his parents were never drinkers, so there wasn’t much of an issue.  In his first marriage, he acknowledges drinking made him less patient.  Drinking takes up a lot of your money, your health, and your time.  Kevin now has great relationships with his parents, his sons, and his ex-wife.  He has been able to repair those important relationships and have deeper conversations.  His relationship with his employees evolved and he learned to take a genuine interest and helps others.49:22

 

[40:22] Walk us though what your recovery looks like now. 

 

Kevin is an early riser.  He carves out 90 minutes every morning and he reads, meditates, and writes.  He spends time with his dogs, goes to work and spends time with friends in the evening.  He travels to New York to spend time with his kids.  Café RE keeps him connected to the community.

 

 

[41:45] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What was your AHA or OSM (oh sh!t moment) about controlling drinking?

Driving home from a brew pub and hitting the rumble strip became his AHA moment.

 

  1. What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

My plan is to keep doing what I’m doing.  It’s not a linear trip.  He has dip days.  He is going to Café RE meet ups.  The zoom chats help, and he offers words of encouragement.  Staying connected is key.

 

  1. Regarding sobriety, what’s the best advice you ever received?

Be kind to yourself.  Look at yourself like your dogs look at you.  Loathing yourself isn’t productive.  The journey has a lot of whacky dips and bumps.  Be kind to yourself.

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance do you have for listeners?

You must want to do it and you must do it for yourself.  Figure out your why.  It can’t be just for your spouse or your kids. You aren’t giving something up.  You are getting so much more in return.

 

You may have to ditch the booze if …

 

Kevin didn’t want to rupture or end his relationship with his kids, the most wonderful relationships in his life.

 

Kris’s closing comments

 

Kris talks about the scale going up after he quit drinking.  He talked about the big dreams that come with sobriety.  Patience is key to getting healthy and achieving your goals.  Manage your expectations.  Let the work do its work.  It’s okay for some things to take a back seat.  Embrace positive affirmations and gratitude.  Love yourself, you are doing amazing things.  Kris said as he listened to other guests, he learned and has he learned he healed.  He is grateful to other guests and his Café RE family.  kris@recoveryelevator.com.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone.
  • You can find more information about our events

 

Affiliate Link for Endourage:

For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. 

 

Affiliate Link for Amazon:

Shop via Amazon using this link.

 

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

 

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 – Without the darkness you would never

know the light – I love you guys”

 

 

 

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