RE 272: We Got a Head Start

RE 272: We Got a Head Start

Ruth took her last drink March 21, 2020. With 13 days of sobriety (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol free (AF) during a worldwide pandemic.

 

On today’s episode Paul discusses the sale of alcohol / liquor stores remaining open worldwide during COVID-19 and its effects. ODAAT: it’s not just for those who are living an AF life anymore. The quarantine is an invitation to examine our lives and find new pathways to joy.

 

Paul shares the details about his free guided meditation. To find those meditations, go here.

 

[13:25] Paul introduces Ruth.  

 

They start by discussing the email Ruth had sent to Paul directly to ask him what his own thoughts were about living alcohol free during COVID-19.

 

[15:56] What were you feeling when you sent me this email?

 

Ruth became aware that the pandemic was going to be a test for a lot of people. She wanted to let people know that this isn’t a time of hopelessness . For her, this is a time to be grateful because of choosing to stop drinking.

 

She is 40 years old, grew up in Denver, CO but now lives in Switzerland. She is a single mom. While currently out of work, she normally is a manager at a small restaurant. For fun Ruth likes to be outside hiking or running. She enjoys a good movie and reading.

 

[24:53] Give us a background on your drinking.

 

Ruth began drinking as a teenager. She first got drunk at the age of 14 with some classmates. She drank for fun as a teen, had a boyfriend that was of age and could purchase alcohol. Ruth got pregnant with her first child at the age of 20 and that stopped alcohol in its tracks. She drank very moderately through her 20s. In her early 30s Ruth noticed that drinking seemed to calm her anxiety, stressors and worries. The association of alcohol and the calming of anxiety stuck with her. In 2014 she moved to Switzerland and began a new romantic relationship that was “very boozy.” Her drinking ramped up quickly, drinking daily and often early in the day.

 

[30:43] Was there a time during the escalation of your drinking that you questioned this path?

 

Ruth remembered even during the moderate drinking in her 20s, if she couldn’t have a beer or the stores were closed, it created a grumpy feeling. And at the same time, she felt that wasn’t the proper emotion to be experiencing.

 

[33:25] Can you think of a definitive moment when you said “I need to quit drinking?”

 

Ruth indicated that there were several attempts, but the catalyst was the breakup from her most recent relationship. She said to herself “if you can survive this breakup, you can stop drinking.” Ruth learned about how a breakup and alcohol withdrawal create similar feelings/reactions within the brain.

 

 

[40:30] Thirteen days ago was your day 1 and in the email you sent me you said it was the hardest day 1. Talk to us about this particular day 1.

 

Ruth said that because she had had 42 days of sobriety before the pandemic started and then drank at the beginning of the pandemic to quiet the noise of everything happening in the world, everything that comes along with drinking was magnified. Thinking about having to break the cycle of drinking again, and in the extra stressful time of COVID was overwhelming. However, she found herself back in a place of joy within 3-4 days, once the chemicals left her body.

 

[45:30] What is something you’ve learned about yourself along the way?

 

Ruth said that she had a lot of unrealized strength and through that found herself again.

 

[48:00] How are you filling your time currently?

 

Ruth said reading, listening to podcasts, cooking from scratch, running, walking, yoga, watching Tiger King and taking it easy on herself.

 

[49:21] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

Realizing her relationship was toxic as well as alcohol is toxic and how they were parallel.

 

  1. What is a memorable moment that a life without alcohol has given you?

Spending time with a family member recently and being 100% present.

 

  1. What’s your favorite alcohol-free drink?

Sparkling water and coffee.

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

Recovery Elevator podcast, This Naked Mind, the stopdrinking subreddit

 

  1. What is on your bucket list in a life without alcohol?

Go to the Greenfield Festival in with her son sober and sober camping trips.

 

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

Don’t give up. Never quit trying to give up alcohol, no matter how many day 1s you have. Find and use all resources. It will eventually take if you keep trying.

 

You might need to ditch the booze if…

 

You go out for a couple drinks and wake up with confetti in the bed and you have no idea where it came from or how it got there.

 

You can read more about what the World Health Organization (WHO) says about using alcohol as a coping technique during this time of lockdown here.

 

Upcoming Events and Retreats:

You can find more information about our events here.

 

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

 

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

 

“Recovery Elevator – You took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up.  You can do this.” 

RE 271: Sobriety in a Pandemic Part II

RE 271: Sobriety in a Pandemic Part II

Kirby took her last drink March 25, 2018. This is her story.

On today’s episode Paul shares more stories from listeners, and Café RE members, sharing their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. We’d love to hear how you are doing through this as well. Email your story to info@recoveryelevator.com.

Paul shares the details about his free guided meditation. To find those meditations, go here.

 

[16:41] Paul introduces Kirby.  

 

Kirby is 30 years old and lives in Charleston, SC. She is single and lives with 2 other family members and her 3 cats. For fun Kirby likes to try new things, even things she thinks she won’t be interested in. Spending time outside brings her joy. Her favorite alcohol free concert was Ryan Caraveo.

 

[19:40] Give us a background on your drinking.

 

Kirby thinks her first drink was around the age, of 13. She doesn’t exactly remember, but has been able to piece it together through asking friends. Her first black out happened at the age of 16, which she considers the starting point of drinking. At 19 she began working at a sports bar which allowed her to keep drinking, even under age. When she turned 21, she posted to Facebook that she wanted to hit “burned out liquor head status” and drank for the next 30 days straight.

 

[21:38] What happened after those 30 days? Did you have withdrawal symptoms or return to normal drinking or did signs of addiction show at this time?

 

Kirby said she doesn’t really remember because drinking at that level, the memories are really fuzzy. But she believes she went back to normal drinking for her, which was only on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturday and sometimes Sundays. Kirby and her friends said that shots “don’t count.” So while she was drinking 5-6 beers, she was also having 5-6 shots.

At the age of 26 was when the drinking took a turn. Kirby got out of a relationship and started to burn the candle at both ends. Drinking 8 -10 beers a night, matching that with shots. Here is when she figured out that if she didn’t do shots, she wouldn’t black out, meaning she wasn’t drunk.

 

[24:04] Was blacking out just to go away and not feel / be empty for a while?

 

Kirby said definitely, and that also part of the fun was piecing back together the night before. Sitting with friends and putting the night back together based on who remembers what.

At this time she also began to put rules into place for her drinking because she knew that once she started she wasn’t going to stop drinking.

 

[27:20] When was the first time you said Uh-oh about your drinking?

 

Kirby said that the first time she felt something was wrong with her drinking was when she woke up in October 2017 with 13 broken bones in her wrist and had to have surgery. To this day she has no recollection of how this happened.

 

[33:22] What happened on March 25, 2018?  

 

Kirby says the process started 4 days before that. She began searching for recovery options. The next day while she was drinking, “Sober Kirby” showed up in the middle of a blackout and declared to her family that she needed to stop drinking and start going to AA meetings. The next day her family told her the story back to her.

 

[40:55] What were the responses when you started burning the ships?

 

Kirby said that a lot of people believed it was a phase, but she kept the forward momentum to hold onto sobriety.

 

[46:34] Talk to us about the difficult time you had at the Recovery Elevator Live event in Nashville.

 

Kirby said she made the goal to travel every month the year of 2019. Not having anything planned for February, she joined Café RE and pulled the trigger and bought the Nashville ticket. She considered turning around even on her drive to TN. At the event, she has an awakening that hurt people, hurt people and this gave her a moment of clarity: everyone has pain. Kirby opened up and found compassion in other people.

 

[54:56] What is an excuse you used to tell yourself as to why you couldn’t quit drinking?

 

Kirby said because she wouldn’t be fun anymore, she wouldn’t have friends anymore.

 

[55:20] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

Realizing I didn’t have to drink anymore vs I couldn’t drink anymore.

 

  1. What is a memorable moment that a life without alcohol has given you?

Watching the sunrise over the mountains on her 30th birthday

 

  1. What’s your favorite alcohol-free drink?

Black coffee or blackberry Bubly or Firebrew.

 

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

Café RE Facebook group, Recovery Elevator podcast, Recovery Happy Hour Podcast, speaking/connecting with other sober people.

 

  1. What is on your bucket list in a life without alcohol?

Traveling to all 50 states, she has 8 left!

 

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

Why not start today?

 

You might need to ditch the booze if…

 

If you get a new chat system at work and you can add your own emojis and you add a carbomb and a bud light lime logo as your first emojis.

 

 

Upcoming Events and Retreats.

Recovery Elevator LIVE: Dancing with the Mind - in Colorado – June 11-14th, 2020

You can find more information about our event here.

 

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

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Betterhelp

Visit https://www.recoveryelevator.com/betterhelp and join the over 700,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at https://www.recoveryelevator.com/betterhelp

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 – You took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up.  You can do this.” 

 

 

RE 270: Sobriety in a Pandemic

RE 270: Sobriety in a Pandemic

Tom took his last drink February 16, 2019.  This is his story.

On today’s episode Paul shares stories from listeners, and Café RE members, sharing their experiences during this Covid-19 pandemic.   We’d love to hear how you are doing through this as well.  Email your story to info@recoveryelevator.com.

Paul also reminds us to cut ourselves a break, practice self-love and compassion.  He asks that you love yourself, regardless of where you are on this journey.  For some free guided meditations, go here.

 

[18:55] Paul introduces Tom. 

 

Tom is 64 years old and lives along the shore of Lake Erie, near Cleveland, OH.  He is married and has 2 adult children, a son and a daughter.  For work Tom is a graphic artist, and for fun Tom loves to cook, which led him to vegetable gardening, which is also a loved pastime of his.  Tom is also a big history buff.

 

[26:55] Give us a background on your drinking.

 

Tom started drinking in high school and found it helped him overcome his shyness.  He continued to drink regularly for about 18 years.  He didn’t drink every day, was more of a binge drinker.  Drinking made outgoing and he liked it.

 

In 1991 Tom got a DUI while driving home from a wedding.  Up until that point Tom had never thought about quitting drinking.  After getting the DUI he just stopped.  He stopped for about 14 years.

 

[28:25] What happened after 14 years?

 

Tom said after 14 years he just started easing back into it, drinking occasionally.  That continued from about 2005 to 2017.  In 2017 Tom realized that his drinking was causing more anxiety than it was solving, and he became sober-curious.

 

[34:00] Was there a time during those 5 months of day 1s that you just wanted to give up?     

 

Tom said it was more a frustration because it was ridiculously consistent and he couldn’t seem to break the habit.  In February of 2019 Tom got the flu and missed a couple days of work, during which he drank, while trying to hide it.  Tom’s wife called him out on it and on February 17, 2019, Tom joined Café RE and hasn’t had a drink since.

 

[39:00] What was it like when you reached out for additional accountability?

 

Tom said he thought, why should he do this alone, so after listening to the Recovery Elevator podcast he joined Café RE.  He started getting posting videos and connecting with other members.  The connections led to in-person meetups which are one of the biggest parts of Tom’s sobriety and life.

 

[47:47] What can you say to people out there that are struggling and can’t make it past day 1? 

 

Tom says that when you are getting started you have to change everything that you are doing.  He also suggests going for a walk until the cravings go away.

 

[55:22] What excuse did you used to tell yourself as to why you couldn’t quit drinking?

 

Tom said it was more of the excuse, why should he, rather than why he couldn’t.

 

[56:20] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

 

That drinking wasn’t a solution for anxiety, it was more of a cause for anxiety.

 

  1. What is a memorable moment that a life without alcohol has given you?

Meetups, absolutely meetups.

 

  1. What’s your favorite alcohol-free drink?

 

Virgin Canadian Whiskey and Diet Coke.

 

  1. What is on your bucket list in a life without alcohol?

 

Meeting more people from Café RE.

 

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

 

Really connect, connect, connect on a personal level.

 

You might need to ditch the booze if…

 

You order a cello while drinking and you don’t play a musical instrument.

 

 

Upcoming Events and Retreats.

Recovery Elevator LIVE: Dancing with the Mind – in Colorado – June 11-14th, 2020

You can find more information about our event here.

 

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

 

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

 

“Recovery Elevator – You took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up.  You can do this.”

 

 

Recovery Gave us a Head Start

Recovery Gave us a Head Start

Those in recovery have a head start. We’ve already begun the inner transformation that so many are just starting. This is a fun concept everyone that I get super excited about. It’s a deep one. I think you’ll understand why and I want you to come with me. I think you’re ready. I know you’re ready. 

But first… Here is a long list of countries, capitals, and cities that have shut down the sale of alcohol, and don’t recognize them as essential businesses during the COVID. I hope you’re comfortable, this is a LONG list, I mean, get ready to be here for a while. 

Cheers to South Africa (closed until April 16th), Nuuk, the capital Greenland, and the town of Aisne France (they cited an increase in domestic violence in homes which led to this decision). 

The “long list” part was a joke. My goodness. If that’s not a wakeup call, I don’t know what it… And this is a precursor to where this post is going. 

Essential Businesses

I first want to cover why liquor stores are considered essential businesses… I know many of you have sent me emails wondering the same… And here’s why. 

The Mayor of Denver Colorado reversed his call of closing all liquor stores on March 23rd just two hours after announcing that liquor stores would close during the quarantine. I read a long article in the Denver Post the other day on why the quick reversal. It cited keeping jobs intact, preventing more unemployment claims, which all make sense. However, the most accurate response came at the end, which said, “the last thing we need right now is a bunch of people taking up hospital beds with for alcohol withdrawals.” 

And there you have it. It’s that simple. Our society has found ourselves in such a pickle, that for many, pharmacies and liquor stores are contemporaneous or interchangeable. This has to change. It is changing. 

Where have I heard that before?

The other day I was on the phone with our contact at the hotel in Denver for our upcoming event this June. I asked her how she was doing during the pandemic, and she said, “well, I’m taking it one day at a time.” “I bet you are,” I said… Now where I have heard that before? The big book of Atlas Shrugged? The Chronicles of Narnia? 

Then a couple of days later, I dropped my bike off for a tune, which for sanity purposes is deemed an essential business in Colorado, and I asked the guy how he is doing. He said, well, it’s one bike at a time, and we’re all taking it day by day. I respond with, “You don’t say…” 

Where have I heard these before? These are classic twelve-step program analogies that we’ve been using for decades. Fifteen years shy of a century, in fact. I’m like, “is everyone working a twelve-step program these days?” Not everyone, but more now than ever. Including those who don’t struggle with alcohol and aren’t aware they are even working the program. 

So here is where we have a head start. We got started early with connecting the heart and soul internally, regardless of external circumstances. On building inner peace without a foreign substance such as pinot grigio, IPA’s, cigarettes, or donuts… Ahh. I’m not ready to give up donuts yet, but I think you get it. 

In our own personal jail

Millions of people feel like they are locked up in their houses right now, in jail, inside their own homes with their families. I FaceTimed with my brother and his family yesterday, and they are STRUGGLING. His wife is pregnant, they are both working from home, and my 3-year-old nephew is no longer at daycare during working hours. My brother said he’s going crazy without his routine, the gym, working from home, and boredom. 

Okay, here is where I encourage you to go deep with me. Are you ready? At my talk in February 2019 at our LIVE event in Nashville, I said that alcohol is an invitation to wake up. To recognize that real, long term happiness can never be tied with the external physical world. This could be a life partner, a pet, a spouse, a job, a house, or your ride on John Deere Greene lawnmower. Side note, the country artist Joe Diffie, who wrote the song John Deere Greene, recently passed away due to the Corona Virus. Guys, this shit is real. 

We, who grapple with addiction, choose to receive this invitation early. As we are the primary wave, who have decided to do the inner work first and show the way for the rest of humanity. COVID 19, is the invitation for another wave to follow. Now, I may have just said some words that furrowed a brow or two. That was that we “choose” to receive this invitation, and we “decided” to do this inner work first. As in it was voluntary. 

That’s a whole bundle of spirituality that I want you to think about for the rest of the day… to start sitting with. We had a webinar a couple of weeks ago titled “Spirituality and Addiction,” and this was the point that spiritual teacher Elaine Huang made. She said, “those who have the courage to go within and build inner stability without alcohol are paving the way, are leaving a footprint in consciousness for the rest humanity who are soon to follow.”

Now, this next part isn’t food for thought, but a concept that I believe in with all my heart. I’ve said this in previous episodes, in my book, at past retreats, and it’s more applicable now than ever. 

Due to the stigma surrounding alcoholism and addiction in general, we often mentally shame ourselves to the back of the sociological cue. Telling ourselves that we have morally failed, that we messed up in life, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

We are the teachers

In fact, we are the ones who said, “Okay, I guess I’ll quit drinking, do a bunch of internal work, find stability and then I’ll show my neighbor, cousin and brother Rod who don’t have drinking problems, how to build a sturdy internal foundation of joy that doesn’t care if the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl or not. 

Do you follow? These are expansive ideas that I hope you sit with, and lord knows many of us have found ourselves with more time to sit… 

Okay, one more point about how we have a head start. If you’ve been around the recovery block, you’ve heard that gratitude is key to departing from an addiction. It’s INCREDIBLY important, and here’s a cool way that science shows how. It also hints at how we need inner change as opposed to vaccines to address COVID. 

Like any other virus, (COVID-19) has a low vibration with a closed electromagnetic circuit structure, with a resonance frequency of approximately 5.5 Hz-14.5 Hz. In the highest ranges, it is not active and, starting with the ranges of 25.5 Hz and above, the virus dies… 

These are low vibrations. For reference, fear has a vibration from 0.2 Hz to 2.2 Hz. Resentment, 0.6 Hz to 3.3Hz. These emotions or frequencies don’t feel good to experience, and I bet it doesn’t feel good to have the coronavirus. 

Again, the virus dies above 25.5 Hz. A genuine thank you, or gratitude has a frequency of 45hz. Compassion for another 150Hz. And unconditional, universal, sacrificial love is at 205 Hz. When we practice gratitude and compassion, COVID, can’t survive in that environment. A micro at the cellular level that is being applied to the macro. 

 

-Paul Churchill

RE 269: “Nolo” Drinks – NA Beers and Kombucha

RE 269: “Nolo” Drinks – NA Beers and Kombucha

Derek took his last drink August 22, 2019.  This is his story.

On today’s episode Paul talks about what a Nolo drink is, non-alcoholic beers, and kombucha…and whether, or not, we should stay away from them if they have trace amounts of alcohol.  He also talks about the roll, if any, that cannabis and plant medicine play in recovery.

Paul also explains about some of the changes taking place with Café RE.  Sone of the changes is, starting on May 1st, 15% of the membership fees will dedicated towards a partnership with a non-profit organization that is geared towards helping those affected by addiction.

The link to the article where Paul gets his information from can be found here.

 

[15:35] Paul introduces Derek. 

 

Derek is 35-year-old and is from New York City, currently living in Philadelphia, and is a real estate agent.  Derek loves riding his bike and playing ping pong.

 

[18:42] Give us a background on your drinking.

 

Derek started drinking when he was 13 years old, drinking on the streets of New York.  Derek realized that he loved the feeling of being out of control. When Derek was 17 years old his father was killed in the World Trade Center and he used alcohol to cover up those feelings.  Alcohol helped him get through those brutal moments and became like his best friend.  He says he continued to drink like that up until 6 months ago (his sobriety date) and those feelings are all coming back up.

 

[21:00] When did you start to realize that alcohol was not working for you? 

 

Derek said it was about 3 years ago.  The negative started to outweigh the positive.

 

[23:14] What happened when you realized this?     

Derek said he started keeping track on a calendar of his drinking days, verses his non-drinking days.  He tried to slow down.  He started making negotiations with himself, like not drinking during the week, only drinking beer.  One very drunk night he realized that he just had to stop, that moderation did not work for him.

 

[27:35] Why do you think willpower flew out the window when you were drinking?

 

Derek said that when he took that first sip he was no longer in control.  He said it was like a monster that lived inside of him and every time he let it out, he was no longer in control.

 

[32:33] Talk to us about that moment you stopped drinking, and how you did it. 

 

Derek said the first couple days were easy because he had such a bad hangover, but the first weekend was tough because he didn’t know what to do, that he had not gone a weekend without drinking in years and years.  He said what he started to do was start to do the things he enjoyed again.  He started to play the piano and guitar again, started to workout again.

 

[35:30] How did you do it after the first week?

 

Derek says he started watching YouTube videos of people that had gotten sober.  He found the Recovery Elevator app…and then the podcast.

 

[37:20] What are some of the emotions you are facing now that you are no longer drinking?

 

Derek said that in a way he had never dealt with losing his dad in the way he had.  He recently got married and could not share that with his father.

 

[38:10] What is important to you in life?

 

Derek says his health is one of the most important things to him.  He said that also that just who he is, is important to him.  Drinking made him a liar and selfish, and that has changed a lot.  He now tries to be a better person overall.

 

[38:50] What are some strategies you use now, instead of drinking?

 

Derek says that exercise is big, he wakes up early to exercise.  He has started using a steam sauna, ping pong, biking, outdoor activities.  Derek also said that talking to other people that have similar stories, that he had just attended his first meeting.

 

[39:40] What roll has your wife played in this?

 

Derek said that his wife stopped drinking with him and that she has been his biggest supporter.

 

[43:30] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?

 

That I am stronger than I thought I was.

 

  1. What’s an excuse that you used to tell yourself for why you couldn’t quit drinking?

 

My friends, my social circle…what would I do, I wouldn’t have anyone.

 

  1. What’s your favorite alcohol-free drink?

 

Coffee or seltzer.

 

  1. What are some of your favorite resources?

 

Your podcast, I’m not just trying to blow smoke, it’s really helped me a lot.

 

  1. What is on your bucket list in a life without alcohol?

 

To stay alcohol free is the number one thing, and I would like to travel again.

 

 

  1. What are your thoughts on relapse?

 

It’s never going to happen to me.

 

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

 

Just do it.

 

You might need to ditch the booze if…

 

You think you might need to ditch the booze.

 

 

Upcoming Events and Retreats.

Recovery Elevator LIVE: Dancing with the Mind – in Colorado – June 11-14th, 2020

You can find more information about our event here.

 

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

 

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

 

“Recovery Elevator – You took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up.  You can do this.”

 

 

 

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