RE 135: Key Tips For Early Sobriety

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Paul reads posts from members of Café RE answering the question: “What are some things that helped you in early sobriety?

There are some emerging common themes from these responses.  Change, you don’t have to change much, you just have to change everything.  Accountability is the key, you can’t do this alone.  Alcoholism is a thinking disease.  You can’t think your way out of it.  Knowledge is not power unless you use it.

Marybeth, with 8 months since her last drink, shares her story

SHOW NOTES

[8:40] Paul Introduces Marybeth.  I’m 51; I live in southern New Hampshire.  I am married with 4 children, 2 of which have special needs so that takes up some time.  I like to visit with friends and family, downhill ski, and exercise.

[13:39] Paul- Tell us about your drinking habits, how much did you drink prior to November 26th, 2016?

Marybeth-  I was a big red wine drinker.  I did a sugar cleanse, and then I ended up sipping Tequila neat.  Then I switched back to wine.  I knew I would never be a morning drinker, or drink before 5:00.  I typically had 2 glasses of wine a night for years. 

[17:45] Paul- Was there a bottom moment, or were you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Marybeth- I attribute my sobriety to an accident.  I broke my ankle while I was walking and texting.  It was difficult to be on crutches, and drink at the same time.  I came upon the 30-day sober solution while I was in my cast.

[21:48] Paul- How important do you think accountability has been these past 8 months?

Marybeth- It’s been really great.  I couldn’t handle my alcohol, and was passing out early.  Now I can stay up late and have fun.  I was asleep and numbing my self with alcohol.  I was snared by it socially, and numbed by it unintentionally.  I wasn’t seeking to numb anything.

[29:05] Paul- What does your sobriety portfolio consist of?  Walk us through a typical day of sobriety.

Marybeth- I wake up everyday and meditate for 30 minutes.  I use the headspace app.  It is like exercising a muscle.  I connect with friends, and do things, which interest me.

 

 

[30:16] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? I was separated from my husband, and got into a car.  I put the car in drive instead of reverse and ran over the curb.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? When I broke my ankle.  I had a bloody Mary on board when that happened.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? I am going to continue with meditation, my wellness, helping others, and reading books.  Possibly attending an AA meeting.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? The Recovery Elevator Podcast.  I love listening in the car on the way to work.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? My dad was a recovering alcoholic.  He would always say don’t sweat the small stuff.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? Just do it.  You can always go back to drinking if sobriety doesn’t work for you.
  7. You might an alcoholic if you are at a weight watcher meeting and all you are concerned about is if you have enough points left for wine at the end of the day.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

 

RE 134: What I Learned at the Recovery Elevator Retreat

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Paul summarizes the Retreat, which took place in Bozeman, Montana.

SHOW NOTES

[13:22] Paul Introduces Kristin 238 days sober, Amy 11 years sober, Dave 12 days sober, and John with 18 and ½ years of sobriety.

[15:55] Paul-  What did you think the retreat was going to be like?

Dave- I didn’t have any set expectations.  It has been sharing, but so much more.  I have connected with every single person here. 

[16:50] Paul- What surprised you so far on this retreat?

Kristin-  I was surprised at how easy it was to talk to everybody here.  I am not extremely comfortable around strangers.  Since we have been in the online community the past year, it was easy to chat with everyone.

Amy- I enjoyed the camaraderie.  It is beautiful here.

[27:30] Paul- Tell us what made you decide to come, and a little about your story?

Kristin-  My drinking career didn’t start until 2001.  I realized about 5 years ago that I had a problem, and tried to moderate.  My bottom was New Years Eve.  I have not lost any friends in sobriety.  It’s been a wonderful 8 months. 

Dave- I grew up in a household of Tea Totalers.  I got into a high stress job with expense accounts.   The “sick and tired of being sick and tired” resonated with me.  There is a new chip on my shoulder.

Amy- I started drinking when I was 13.  I had the epiphany that this was the missing link.  I didn’t think there would be this much joy in sobriety. You can’t love other people until you love yourself.  Everything I wanted alcohol to give me, I got sober.

John- My drinking career began in high school.  My mom passed away when she was 47, many family members had alcohol related deaths.  I became a daily drinker from college to 40 years old.  January 5th of 1999 is when I got sober.  My biggest breakthrough was writing a letter to my mother who had passed away.  I stay sober due to the people in my community

This podcast episode was brought to you by Hello Fresh. For $30 off your first week of Hello Fresh visit hellofresh.com and use the promo code recoveryfresh30

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

 

RE 133: America’s Drinking Problem Is Much Worse This Century

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Paul summarizes the article “America’s Drinking Problem Is Much Worse This Century” by John Tozzi

Alcohol abuse has shot up since 2001, and the number of adults who binge weekly may top the population of Texas. Americans are drinking more than they used to, a troubling trend with potentially dire implications for the country’s future health-care costs.

The number of adults who binge drink at least once a week could be as high as 30 million, greater than the population of every state save California, according to a study published on Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry. A similar number reported alcohol abuse or dependency.

Between the genders, women showed the larger increase in alcohol abuse, according to the report.

Kristi, with nearly 9 months of sobriety since her last drink, shares her story.

SHOW NOTES

[7:09] Paul Introduces Kristi.  I live in northern California near Stanford; I am 44, married and have 2 boys.  I worked 25 years in software sales.  I have been spending most of my time volunteering.

[16:28] Paul- When did you start realize after your Mom passed away, that this might be going in the wrong direction?

Kristi- Honestly, around 38-39 I started to realize I was drinking differently than I had in the past.  I was working full time with 2 young kids, and I had to have 6-7-8 drinks at the end of the day. 

[20:23] Paul- What was your first AA meeting like?

Kristi- I was so overwhelmed.  It was 9:00 on a Saturday morning, and there were 300 people there.   I realized that all meetings weren’t this way.  I jumped right in, started going to meetings, got a sponsor, and worked the steps.  I was working on will alone.  I don’t think I realized the importance of a higher power, and letting go.  I managed to stay sober for quite awhile.

[28:43] Paul- You sound like you are a high bottom drunk, and have a lot more to lose, am I correct?

Kristi-  I didn’t get the DUI, or drive my kids drunk.  But I wasn’t present.  I can really sit and appreciate the moment now.  I am feeling good; I have a skip in my step.  When you live in gratitude, you can’t live in fear and resentment.

[32:07] Paul- What’s on your bucket list in sobriety, what do you want to accomplish in this life?

Kristi-  I would like to learn Spanish.  I would really like to write a book. 

[33:31] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?  My husband and I went to San Francisco.  I took a small bottle of vodka with me.  I got so wasted at the party I don’t remember conversations I had, and I woke up in the hallway. 
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?  Repeat times over and over again being drunk on a Tuesday for no reason.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?  Live in the present, and being of service.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? I really like the book “Living Sober” and the Recovery Elevator podcast.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)?   I don’t have a problem I can’t make worse by picking up a drink.
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? Do it, you will feel better.  You will live in a more honest and peaceful world.  Quit poisoning yourself.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if you are hosting a party, and drinking wine with the guests, and sneaking off to have shots of vodka by yourself.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

America’s Drinking Problem is Much Worse This Century- By John Tozzi

A.A. Literature Living Sober

Recovery Elevator Retreat

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

 

RE 132: Don’t Beat Yourself Up – Alcohol Already Does That

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Self-Loathing is rampant in addiction, and it needs to be addressed and curtailed if we want to find long-term recovery.  Self-trash talk is a double whammy when we judge ourselves harshly.  We are both the attacker, and the attacked.  Dr. Kristin Neff’s book “Self Compassion” is summarized.

Tori with 16 days since her last drink, shares her story.

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[9:25] Paul Introduces Tori.  I am from Gainesville Florida; I have lived here since I was 10.  I am 24 years old.  I am a proud mom to a Chi Wawa named Tucker.  I like to craft, and go to the springs. 

 

[14:39] Paul- What was the deciding factor to listen to the RE podcast, and contact the host?

Tori- My DUI was my bottom, the way I portrayed myself to the officer in December of 2015.

 

[18:35] Paul- I’m going to read one sentence from the email you sent to me. “I don’t drink everyday, I don’t have withdrawals, what I do have is the inability to control myself once I start drinking”.  Talk to me more about that. 

Tori- During the workweek I like to keep my head on straight.  The culture in town is to drink, and to binge drink.  I have been doing these bar tours since I was 17. 

 

[24:34] Paul- What has it been like these past 16 days?

Tori- I have been preoccupied with work.  I was moving for one of the weekends.  The hardest day was when two of my best friends came over and brought wine.  I didn’t drink, and they didn’t care.  I haven’t had that breakthrough of clarity yet.  I kind of feel that I am in limbo.

 

[32:58] Paul- To this point, what have you lost to alcohol?

Tori- A lot of my dignity, you gain more dignity in sobriety.  Other things I have lost are trust with my parents.  I have lost my sense of safety.  I was taken to the back seat of a car and taken advantage of.  I was beaten up, and had a concussion; I lost a ton of money. 

 

 

[37:01] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? The DUI, it affected many more people than myself.  The sexual assault was the worst, but I try not to associate drinking with that.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?  Every single time I do something dumb.  Every time I lose a notch of my dignity. 
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? What I have been doing has been working.  I like listening to the podcasts.  Most of my friends probably all have a drinking problem.
  4. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?  Take it one day at a time; realize that you are better than your addiction.
  5. You might be an alcoholic if spend the night on a chair that is not yours in front of a house that you do not own or rent.  Or if you choose to not take the advice of the people that care about you the most, and continue with your bad habits.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Self-Compassion Dr. Kristin Neff

Dr. Kristin Neff- CMSC website

Recovery Elevator Retreat

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

 

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

 

Re 131: The Hungry Ghosts

Re 131: The Hungry Ghosts

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Paul summarizes a talk by Tara Brach named “Healing Addiction: De-Conditioning the Hungry Ghosts”

Addiction is addiction, it doesn’t matter what it is, it is applicable.  Tara talks about the “hungry ghosts” of addiction.  There is a sense that something is missing.  A feeling that this moment does not contain enough happiness.  How you live today is how you live the rest of your life.  When we don’t have basic needs met, we reach out for a substitute.  We must find a way to love ourselves.

Peri, with 81 days since her last drink, shares her story.

SHOW NOTES

[11:11] Paul Introduces Peri.  I have been sober since May 8, 2016.  I am a bartender, I live in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I am a poet, and have been writing more in sobriety.

[12:58] Paul-  Describe your drinking habits, how much did you used to drink? 

Peri-  I think by the end I was drinking 20-30 shots of whiskey a day, and 5 beers.  I tried all types of rules with most of them meant to be broken.  I think I started to derail when I was 17 years old.  I knew by the time I was 21, I had a problem.

[16:13] Paul- Talk to us about some of the things you have had to change?

Peri- A big thing for me is friendships.  Almost everyone I associated with drank like I did.  I had to cut almost everyone out of my life.  I had to start fresh like I knew no one in the city.

[20:19] Paul- You quit smoking and drinking at the same time, tell us about that?

Peri-  I quit soda at the same time too.  5 aspirin and a large Coke used to get me through the hangovers.  I had massive blood clots, so I had to quit both to avoid the health consequences.

[25:11] Paul- What’s on your bucket list in sobriety, what do you hope to accomplish?

Peri- Some days it is One Day at a time, others it is the moon.  I am saving up for a truck, I would like to travel more.  I would like to get off my blood thinners.  Healing my body would be a huge moment for me.

[29:45] Paul- What do you do when you have the cravings?

Peri- I eat a lot of ice cream.  Either Pistachio, or Peanut butter ice cream, sometimes Raspberry. 

[35:27] Paul- How is it today?  How are you on day 81?

Peri- I feel really great, doing an interview right now.  Meeting up with my friends, having some dinner.  I legitimately haven’t experienced a sober birthday in 10 years.  I am looking forward to remembering it.  I have been trying the meditation.  I have been researching alcoholism.  I have been pretty active in Café RE.  Occasionally, I will go to AA, but only when I need an extra boost.

 

[37:30] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking? I don’t know, there were a lot.  I was hanging out with a shady group of people who had alcohol.  I fell, and these people left me on a curb with a big gash on my head.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? My last job I got fired from, because I was taking shots of alcohol in the bathroom before my shift.
  3. What’s your plan moving forward? I’m going to keep digging in; reading, writing, and it will all figure itself out.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery? Café RE.  I listen to the podcasts, but the Facebook group is great to describe what I am feeling, and have the communication with the group.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. 
  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?  Anything in your life that is a toxic influence, get rid of it.  It is not conducive to your sobriety.
  7. You might be an alcoholic if you wake up on the sidewalk. 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Healing Addiction: De-Conditioning the Hungry Ghosts

Recovery Elevator Retreat

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

 

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

 

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