RE 209: 4 Themes From 4 Years of Podcasting

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Bill, with a sobriety date of October 8, 2018, shares her story.

We want to thank Mike Null for his commitment to doing the podcast show notes for the previous 35 episodes and welcome Kerri, from California, to the position, who will take over doing the next 26 episodes.

We still have a couple spots left for our Nashville event coming up this February 22 – 24.  Registration for Bozeman Retreat will open up on March 1, and registration for our Asia Adventure will open up on July 1.  You can find more information about events here

Paul shares the news he is writing a book, which he hopes to launch by July 1.  As that date gets closer, he will be asking for volunteers to be part of the launch team so be on the lookout for that opportunity if that is something you would like to be a part of.

After doing something long enough some trends start to appear.  In Ep. 52, after 1 year of podcasting, Paul did a summery of what he learned during the 1st year.  In this episode he will cover the 4 themes that people successful in sobriety have fully embraced.

  1. Community
  2. Accountability
  3. Thinking
  4. Trust

 

SHOW NOTES

[10:15] Paul Introduces Bill.

Bill, with a sobriety date of October 8, 2018, is 49 years old and is from northern New Jersey.   He does investment research for an insurance company.  Bill has been married for a little over 20 years and has two kids.  Bill finds fun in outdoor activities such as camping and fishing.

[12:56] Give us a little background about your drinking.   

Bill started drinking at an early age and drank all throughout college and through his 20s.  He got married, finished grad school, their daughter was born, and things seemed fine.  Although he was drinking during this time there was nothing significant that made him feel as if he had an alcohol problem.  His son was born in 2005 and there were complications.  They soon realized his son was not meeting his milestones or developing like their daughter had. When his son was 14/15 mos. old, after watching a Home Improvement episode about a family with 4 autistic children, they just knew what their son’s problem was. The day that the doctor confirmed their fears is the day that Tom feels he became an alcoholic.  That was in 2006 and when the progression started.

[18:53] When did you decide you needed to evaluate your alcohol consumption?

Things started to unravel for Bill in April of 2017.  After a mini-breakdown and a call to a sister, who called their father, an intervention was set up.  He started seeing a counselor who was the only person he was honest with, including himself.  At this time, he was not drinking, but white knuckling it.   By May he was drinking again.  He tried moderation and no matter what he tried it always failed.

Fast forward to October 8, 2018, at the gym Bill pulls up podcasts, types in alcohol addiction and finds the RE podcast for the first time.

[29:30] When did you finally get honest with yourself?    

The point of surrender was driving home the evening of Sunday, October 7th.  He finally said he had had enough.

[32:34] Who are the first 3 people you ”burned the ships” with?

The first person he told was his best friend.   The second person he told was his cousin, who actually confronted him about his drinking.  The third person was the most difficult.  That was his wife and that was just two weeks ago.

[38:36] Back to October 8, what were the things you put in place to get you to 90 days? 

The first few weeks he broke his days into 3 parts, the mornings, the afternoons, and the evenings.  All he was wanting to do was make it through the day to make it to bed.  The biggest differentiator is instead of pushing the cravings away he acknowledges them.

[43:00] Talk to us about the progress you have made in accepting your son for who he is. 

He has gone from the feelings knowing that his son wasn’t going to be the baseball star to now recognizing the potential he does have.  His son has made great strides.  He tries to live in the present and not look too far into the future and celebrates his son’s accomplishments daily.

[46:00] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

When his daughter wanted to watch the first Star Wars with him one Sunday night and he drank so many Vodka Cranberries during the day that he got violently ill after the 1st five minutes of the movie.

  1. Did you have an “Ah-Ha” moment?

The mini-breakdown I had in April 2017.

  1. What is your plan moving forward?

Reminding myself that I need to make progress each week and I can’t be complacent.

  1. What is your favorite resource in recovery?

Recovery Elevator podcasts.

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

Burn the ships.

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

 

Alcohol is but a symptom.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

Your 14 year old daughter says to you, at 10:45 in the morning, “Hey Dad, aren’t ya hitting the bottle a little too early?”, and you simply ignore her and walk away with the glass of wine in your hand.

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Blinkist
This episode is brought to you in support by Blinkist. Right now, my listeners can try Blinkist for free. Visit blinkist.com/elevator for your seven day free trial.

Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – It all starts from the inside.”

 

RE 208: You Have This Power

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Crystal, with 84 days of sobriety, shares her story.

This is a special podcast episode!  It marks 4 consecutive years of podcasting…208 straight Mondays in a row.

Paul talks about how Recovery Elevator and the RE community has saved his life, and shares ways we can all help others stop drinking.

SHOW NOTES

[11:00] Paul Introduces Crystal.

Crystal has been sober for 84 days and lives in San Antonio, Texas.  She is a life style/transformation coach.  She is 30 years old and recently single.  For fun Crystal likes to workout.

[12:56] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

Crystal considered herself a binge drinker.  She tried to moderate her drinking by only drinking on the weekends, as her drinking was starting to affect her work and relationships, but that led to going hard core on the weekends.

[15:00] When did you first realize you had a problem with alcohol?

That was a couple of years ago when she realized she didn’t drink like other people.  She always wanted more to drink, always wanting to be buzzed or drunk.  One drink was never enough.  It was in 2018 that she realized that she really had to make a change.

[19:38] You started your sobriety journey in January 2018, walk us through that. 

She became sober curious in January 2018, but feels like it didn’t stick at that time because she wasn’t doing it entirely for herself.  She was sober for a few months but eventually lost her “why” and fell back into her old habits.  There was a moment in 2018 that she felt like she had no control and that was a scary moment for her.

[21:33] Do you feel like there were times in the last year that you were running on willpower alone?    

She definitely thinks it was on willpower alone and was trying to do it on her own.

[24:04]  You mentioned when you first got sober you didn’t think of it in terms of being sober the rest of your life, talk about that. 

She thought it was going to only be a temporary thing and that she would learn how to moderate it.  She realized that she couldn’t moderate it, that only having a one or two drinks would never be enough.

[26:13]  What did you change 84 days ago?

The first couple weeks were difficult for her.  She got connected with friends at church and let her family know.  She shifted her focus and became really honest with herself.

[30:11] What have you learned about yourself in these last 87 days?

She learned she could have a personality without being drunk.  She learned that she could have fun and accomplish a lot more without being drunk.

[31:48]  Why do you think you drank?

She thinks she started drinking because it gave her liquid courage in the social scene and then it just turned into a habit.  She feels it was a coping mechanism this last year as she was dealing with her breakup.

[33:43]  Walk us through a typical day in your sobriety. 

Working with her clients daily helps her as well.  Working out, meditating, staying in the Word, staying connected helps her on a daily basis.

[39:20] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

The moment when she realized she could not control her drinking.

  1. Tell us about a time when you could not control your drinking.

Just having the feeling that she couldn’t stop was definitely her A-ha moment that she realized that she needed to make a big change.

  1. What is it like being 30 and getting sober?

It’s a challenge but what she has found that helps her is connecting with other sober people.

  1. What is your favorite resource in recovery?

The community aspect, podcasts like Recovery Elevator, filling my mind with positivity and being around like minded people.

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

Being reminded that her feelings were valid, and so is her story.

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

Stay connected, embrace the journey, and know that there are going to be good days and bad days.  Know that being sober is not weird.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

You’re downloading multiple sobriety trackers trying to decide which one works best for you.

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

This episode is brought to you in support by Robinhood. Right now, Robinhood is giving my listeners free stock such as Apple, Ford or Sprint to help build your portfolio. Signup at elevator.robinhood.com

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Robinhood
This episode is brought to you in support by Robinhood. Right now, Robinhood is giving my listeners free stock such as Apple, Ford or Sprint to help build your portfolio. Signup at elevator.robinhood.com

Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

“Recovery Elevator – It all starts from the inside.”

 

RE 207: The Joy of Missing Out

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Tom, with a sobriety date of June 6, 2018, shares his story.

Events – I am excited about the upcoming events for Recovery Elevator.  As already mentioned on the podcast we have Nashville on Saturday, February 23rd.  We also have the Bozeman Retreat from Aug 14-18th.  The Bozeman Retreat was a huge hit in 2017 and it is back on the calendar for this year.

Guys, what I am particularly excited about these days is sober travel.  We are putting together the sober travel itineraries and the next one we are doing is an Asia trip in late January 2020.  This will be a 12 day trip, flying into Bangkok, Thailand and then making our way over to Siem Reap, Cambodia where we will make our departure.  Experiencing the culture, service work, and recovery workshops will all be a part of this trip.

You can find more information about all these events at recoveryelevator.com/events.

We’ve all heard of FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out.  Today I want to talk to you about JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out.  The Joy Of Missing Out is the emotionally intelligent antidote to FOMO, and is essentially about being present and content where you are at this moment in life.  Instead of constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’, JOMO allows us to be who we are in the present moment, which is the secret to finding happiness.

At the end of the episode I have a bunch of ”You might be an alcoholic if…” lines.  Listeners I would love to hear your own “You might be an alcoholic if” lines.  Email them to info@recoveryelevator.com and put YMBAAI in the subject line.

SHOW NOTES

[6:55] Paul Introduces Tom.

Tom, who considered himself a high-functioning alcoholic, is 50 years old, lives in Seattle, Washington, and has a sobriety date of 6/4/18.  He is married, has two children, and a pug named Violet.  He works in the high tech field.

[10:30] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He had his first drink when he was 14, and although he didn’t really like it his friends were doing it, so he kept doing it.  Drank a lot in high school, it was almost like a sport.  The first 10-15 years he feels he was a regular drinker, that he could take it, or leave it.  He began binge drinking in college.  The last 20 years he was drinking every day, but didn’t think he had a problem.

[16:50] When did you know that something was not right with your drinking?

That started about 2 years ago when he started getting numbness in his fingers, enough times that he went to the doctor about it.  The doctor asked him what his drinking was like.  About a year ago he had a major stressor in his life and the way he dealt with it was by drinking.  Up until that point he always thought he drank for relaxation.

[24:30] Walk us through your early part of sobriety.

Tom says the first 4-5 were hard and talked about the drinking dreams he had.  He changed his whole routine and became what he called a “sobriety savage”.  He attends AA at least once a week but is not sure it is something he wants to continue to do for the rest of his life.

[35:25] What have you learned most about yourself in these past 7 months?   

That you are never too far gone.

[38:50] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

When he went on a church camping trip and he got so drunk that he packed up the family early and snuck away the next morning.

  1. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

 He had never told anyone this; about a year ago he went out driving at 3:00 AM and was driving in a manner that he was basically putting his life in God’s hands.  He spun out, the car stopped, and he finally came to his senses and balled like a baby.

  1. What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?

Keep it simple.  Live in the moment.  Continue going to AA.  Really connect with people.

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

His son telling him to go to AA.

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

 Do what you need to do to keep yourself sober and keep yourself safe.  You don’t need to know everything at that moment.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

You can’t recall which Netflix shows you have binged, or plan to binge, even as you are possibly watching them.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

RE 206: The Tipping Point in Sobriety

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Dusty, with a sobriety date of  9/21/15, shares his story.

On January 1st, I launched the 3rd private, unsearchable Facebook accountability group.  All Café RE signups starting January 1st-January 31st will be placed in the new group.  This group will be capped at 300 members to ensure intimacy.  For the entire month of January, you can use the promo code 2019 for 75% off registration.

If you’re a Recovery Elevator podcast listener and you live in or close to the Nashville area, join us Saturday, February 23rd for Recovery Elevator LIVE in Nashville at 7 pm.  Go to recoveryelevator.com for more info.

I recently finished reading the book The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.  The book isn’t specifically a recovery book, but some of the ideas and themes can be applied to getting sober and staying sober.  When it comes to the journey into sobriety there are 2 tipping points I want to cover in this episode.  The first one happens when you start to question whether alcohol is serving a positive purpose in your life and the second one occurs when you quit drinking.

At the end of the episode I will talk about a third tipping point, one to avoid.

SHOW NOTES

[6:55] Paul Introduces Dusty.

Dusty is 38 years old, lives in Bozeman, Montana, and has a sobriety date of 9/21/15, just over 39 months since his last drink.  He is an accountant.  He loves playing recreational sports, just started playing hockey this year, after learning how to skate.

[10:30 ] Give us a little background about your drinking. 

He started drinking when he was in high school and fell in love with it.  Same thing through college, but once he finished college that is when his drinking progressed.  It was at this time drinking was no longer fun and started to get out of control.  He was drinking alone in his apartment.

[11:43 ] Did you ever try and put any rules into play, or try and quit?

He would try and only drink on the weekends, try and cut out beer, try to regulate.  It never worked.

[15:01 ] What was your rock bottom, or your tipping point?

After going on a 10 hour bender, watching college football one Saturday in the downtown bars of Bozeman he was informed the following day that he had kicked a girl that night before.  He had no recollection of doing that.  Running into the girl on Sunday and seeing the look on her face was his rock bottom.

[24:52 ] How did you stay sober after the first month?

He has a great group of friends that once he shared that he was an alcoholic they gave him 100% support.  He also got really involved in the RE Facebook group.

[30:35 ] Referring to the quote, “drinking is but a symptom”, do you know why you drank?

Probably genetically predisposed to it, it’s on both sides of his family.  And like he stated earlier, he started drinking for fun in high school and then it turned into more of pity drinking in his late 20s.

[38:50 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. True or False, love is the answer…and why?

Absolutely!  Love conquers all.

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

After moving back from Kentucky he was living with his Mom for a couple of months.  She came into his room asking if he was going to work and she screamed after discovering a puddle in the middle of his room.  She blamed it on Buster the cat but he was sure it was from him.

  1. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?

Probably the look on Buster’s face.

  1. What’s your plan moving forward?

Staying involved with the CaféRE community and creating those relationships.  Going to Nashville.  Getting out of his comfort zone.

  1. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?

Get some sober friends.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

You pee on the floor in the middle of the night and blame it on your cat.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode is brought to you in support by Blinkist. Right now, my listeners can try Blinkist for free. Visit blinkist.com/elevator for your seven day free trial.

This episode is brought to you in support by ZipRecruiter. Right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free. Visit Ziprecruiter.com/elevator

Connect with Cafe RE– Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY for your first month free

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

 

How to Travel without Getting Drunk: Go on a Sober Vacations in 2019 Without Jeopardizing Your Sobriety

How to Travel without Getting Drunk: Go on a Sober Vacations in 2019 Without Jeopardizing Your Sobriety

We all love to travel

Nearly every online dating profile can confirm this. We only have a finite amount of time on this planet, and we have a pull to see as much of it as possible. This can be an incredible experience, especially when we’re traveling with fun light-hearted people. When traveling, our guards are often down, and our heart opens to the present moment. The sights, sounds, and smell are all taken in. We are fully present, and this is where the magic happens.

A trip from hell

Traveling the globe is great until it becomes a nightmare. In 2014, I was a counselor for a high school trip, and we had just finished the Inca Trail and exploring Machu Picchu (this is where I got the idea for the 2018 sober travel itinerary to Peru). I had plans to continue my travels after the students returned to Colorado and I was ready to strap on the backpack and let the wind take me. That was the plan at least.

I said goodbye to the group and had every intention of staying sober for the rest of my trip. That internal declaration lasted no more than two hours, and I found myself drunk at the hostel bar later that evening. For the remainder of my stay in South America should have been the sober vacation of a lifetime, but it ended up being a disaster where I wanted to hit the eject button nearly every moment.

Death Road mountain bike tour

After that, I traveled to Puno and visited the highest freshwater body of water on the planet, Lake Titi Caca. Then I visited La Paz Bolivia where I saw Guns and Roses on my birthday. They didn’t sell alcohol at the concert, so I saw it as a sign it was going to be my new sobriety date, my birthday! After the show, I was drunk followed by a brutal hangover for the Death Road mountain bike tour.

After that, I did a jungle tour in the Bolivian Amazon and was so thankful to hear I wouldn’t be near a bar or store that sold alcohol. Well, alcohol is everywhere, and ended up convincing a local to sell me 3 liters of beer. I was becoming demoralized, and the trip was only half done. Next up, my trip involved renting a car and drove (mostly drunk) through northern Argentina, then a 16-hour bus ride over the Andes into Chile where I vomited on myself twice. The bus driver apologized for the windy roads. To the day, I still don’t think he knew I was just flat out drunk. Oh yeah, I forgot about the salt flat in Bolivia and northern Chile. This is usually a highlight for travelers, but I was too hungover to exit the vehicle most days.

Will this trip ever end…

I found myself in northern Chile in the San Pedro de Atacama Dessert wanting nothing more than to just “go home.” I think I even googled “time machine” or “tele-transport” a couple of times in google searches. I was utterly defeated by alcohol at this moment, and I still had ten days left on the trip. I booked a stargazing trip in the desert of Chile which, apart from Machu Picchu, was the best part of the whole trip. During this stargazing excursion, I got a glimpse of the universe. A seed of spirituality was planted in my heart… For a moment, I thought I would be able to go the rest of the trip without alcohol.

Then Lima happened. I woke up every day promising myself I wouldn’t drink. I did so well until the sun went down. I did manage to attend a couple AA meetings in Lima which helped, but overall, it was a total dumpster fire.

I’ve also googled “dolorian time machine” in hopes that I can go back and to that trip again: sober. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I go back and see these incredible places again. The difference this time is that I won’t do it alone.

Great Experience with Sober Vacations

After that vacation from absolute hell, the idea of sober travel vacations first arrived. I said, I love to travel, and I need to find a way to do it without being tempted to drink. Call it fate, destiny, or whatever, I then started the Recovery Elevator podcast, the sober communities Café RE and we just did our first international dry travel vacation to Peru in 2018 with 20 total attendees. During that trip, not one person drank. We had 20 people who have decided to live a life without alcohol and not one person drank. Incredible. On top of that, laughter seemed to be the theme of each day!

Next up is Asia January 20 – 31st, 2020. We will be flying into Bangkok, Thailand and departing Seam Ream, Cambodia. Apart from exploring two top destinations in Southeast Asia, we will be doing service work with Ourland, an elephant sanctuary, in Kanchanaburi. This sober travel tour should be the trip of a lifetime and simply cannot wait.

If you can’t make a Recovery Elevator sober travel vacation, and you still want to travel, here are some tips.

Tips for sober travel

  • Go with a friend who knows you won’t be drinking. This person can hold you accountable and give you support in those difficult moments. Make sure this friend doesn’t prioritize alcohol.
  • Go with a sober travel buddy – even better! If you have a sober friend ask them to travel with you.
  • Attend an AA meeting. I’ve attended AA meetings in nearly a dozen countries and not only is it great support, it’s a quick way to meet locals. I went to a meeting in Mexico and then was invited to a BBQ at a local’s house. It was so much fun.
  • Keep recovery in your pocket – My recommendation is Café RE, but there are several supportive online recovery communities.
  • Don’t risk it – Wait till you have some solid sobriety footing before embarking on a sober vacation 2019. If you’re in your first 30 days of sobriety, it may be prudent to wait another couple of months.
  • Do not stay at the party – many hostels are where the party happens. Do your research and make sure you have an exit strategy when you’re ready to call it a night.
  • Be strategic with your destinations – If sobriety is your goal, then the Spanish party Islands Ibiza, probably shouldn’t be on the itinerary. Maybe think about visiting Morocco where alcohol isn’t part of the culture.

Don’t let your goal of sobriety hinder your travel plans. There are many ways to do this. I’ve been to over 15 countries sober, and I plan to add to that list! Sobriety has given me a life I could never could have  imagined. Thanks for being part of it.

 

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