RE 314: What’s going to happen?

RE 314: What’s going to happen?

Gregg took his last drink 26 years ago (November 6th, 1994). This is his story of living alcohol free (AF).


Bozeman registration opens March 1st to Café RE members. On March 6th registration opens to all. You can find more details about the event here. Trust us… you don’t want to miss this!


Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding Your Better You


It’s been a little bit of time since the 1st of the year. Those resolutions we all made might now be changing from determination and drive and into a place of the unknown. If you’ve stuck with your resolution, you are far enough in that you can’t see where you started but the end isn’t in focus yet. Not knowing how the outcome will play out can be scary. When we ask “what is going to happen?” it blocks our ability to function today and in the now. Things will work out, if we let them.



[7:52] Odette introduces Gregg.


Gregg lives in Los Angeles. He is married and has two amazing daughters. For a living he is a recovery coach and also owns a few sober living facilities. He is an advisor in many startups as well. For fun he likes to body surf, skateboard and eats ice cream (mint chocolate chip!).


[12:20] Can you give listeners some background on your story?


Gregg’s father was killed in a drunk driving accident when he was 4 years old. From a young age he understood the power of alcohol. Being raised by a single mother he always felt different. He grew up as a bully because he was scared and sensitive. Around 12/13 he discovered pot and alcohol. That “medicine” took away his shame and pain. As an adult he started with a pattern of drinking, leading to cocaine, leading to pot, leading to bad decisions. Between 22 and 25 he was arrested 8 times. He got into the drug trade and while it provided a “nice life” there was overwhelming amounts of shame regarding his life choices, and he was eventually arrested with 50 lbs of pot. The judge gave him another chance, but he was arrested again 18 days later. In the cell the next morning he heard a voice that said, “call your mother”. She told him to go to church and while there he went to confession. Unbeknownst to Gregg, the priest he gave confession to was his step fathers first sponsor in AA. He went to AA that evening.


[24:39] How were those 90 meetings in 90 days for you?


Gregg said he was accountable because he had a court card. At first he was just looking to “get the heat off”. Around day 30 the pink cloud appeared, and he felt clear headed and healthy. He found connection with some people in AA. The boxing lessons also helped his life balance. When he got sober in 1994, there were not a lot of people in their 20s doing the same thing. He lost a lot of friendships in the process.


[30:47] What bigger motivations did you have to stay the course?


Gregg said he had a good work ethic overall. So he had the desire to succeed. He chose to put what would be been drinking time into his passion. He would write scripts rather than going out. It was 8 extra hours a week he put towards something he loved, which helped him to change the mindset around his life. He never would have had the career he had if he didn’t put that time towards his passion.


[36:02] How have you transformed and processed the pain you had in your early years?


Gregg said he had done step 4 through 4 times. Someone in a meeting saw that he was blocked and told him to unpack the “backpack of shame”. Through this process he was able to explore other things he had left off his previous step work. Gregg uncovered, discovered and discarded, which allowed him to fully open and find relief.


“Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can change” – Oprah


[41:21] Do you still get any cravings?


Gregg said the obsessions to drink and use has left him, the obsession to obsess has not. If he doesn’t do the work on other obsessions, they will ruin his life just like drugs and alcohol did. He will go back to step 1 and apply it to whatever obsession is holding him at that time.


[43:00] What are you excited about right now?

Gregg said he really likes connection and he’s excited about recovery. Finding other connections through recovery. He’s excited to come out of covid and what that might look like. He’s excited about his podcast “The Recovery Playbook” Find it here on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.



[48:00] Rapid Fire Round


  1. What would you say to your younger self?

Drugs and alcohol are a waste of time. Time is the most precious commodity we have.


  1. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mint chocolate chip


  1. What book are you reading right now?

Epic which is about how we are all connected through our stories. Everyone has a story.


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

Remain willing to be willing.



You may have to say adios to booze if…


because you will die. Tomorrow or 20 years from now. The disease of alcoholism is undefeated.



Odette’s weekly challenge:


Stay grounded in the present moment. Some of her favorite ways to stay grouned are:


Going for a walk

Walking barefoot on the grass


Blasting music and dancing

Drinking tea

Touching whatever surface she’s sitting on


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!



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 

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“Recovery Elevator – staying in the present moment is the best we can do for our future. I love you guys.”

RE Bonus Episode: Odette and Paul Q&A

RE Bonus Episode: Odette and Paul Q&A

  1. I still find it difficult that my husband drinks every day. I don’t know why it makes me feel angry inside, but I do all the time when he drinks. How can I approach this?


Odette said, stay on your lane. The more you focus on him, the less you will focus on your healing and your journey. In learning about yourself and healing yourself, you can start to implement boundaries and assert your needs vs. obsess over how much he is drinking. Therapy helps. Pull your energies back to yourself.


  1. What do you suggest I do when friends and family seem uncomfortable around me when I say I don’t drink?

Paul said you can get started on 2.0 version of your life.  So much more is packed into this than just quitting drinking. You are stepping out of the norm, roles, identities, and labels in your family.  Learn to set boundaries, overcome the need to please.  Give it time, and they’re watching. This doesn’t mean they aren’t supportive. They are on their own journey as well.


  1. What are the plans for Recovery Elevator (RE)? What is in the works?


The podcast will evolve to include additional voices.  Paul will return in some capacity.

Retreats (Rustic Retreats, like Bozeman, Hotel events, retreat centers, and AF travel).

A Retreat Center is contemplated.

A Rat Park experiment, an in-person community, is being considered.

(insert link)

  1. How did you best handle your early days of an alcohol-free life?  What practices do you use now daily?

Odette has used different tools but consistently exercises, sees a therapist, stays connected via on-line chats and in-person meet-ups that are COVID safe.

Paul said the most challenging and most rewarding experience in his life was quitting drinking.  Paul left Bozeman for his first month of sobriety because there were too many triggers.  He took long walks for 30 days, particularly to a fantastic waterfall. As his recovery evolved, he is mindful of the interchange.  He goes to his internal connection, and the outside triggers stopped affecting him.  He found some inner peace.


  1. If you could trade your life now for being able to drink like a normal person magically, would you?


Odette said, no, senor!


In the first few years, Paul said he had thoughts of drinking, and he was in the victim role – longing for the old days when he could drink normally.  Now his energy has changed, and his life now has no space for alcohol or drinking.


  1. I hear in AA all of the time that those who don’t go to meetings regularly are sure to go back out and drink.

Odette said the opposite of addiction is connection. It’s a great time to be sober with virtual meetings, sober curious groups, courses, and friends who are always focused on learning and being better.

Paul said there are infinite ways to Ditch the Booze. Paul’s buddies have ditched the booze, and AA was not part of their journey.  He believes the community is vital to long-term sobriety. It doesn’t have to be AA – and humans are social animals.

  1. I’m in my second year of sobriety. The first year was a lot of filling my toolbox and learning how to survive without alcohol. When in your journey did you start to thrive and live your best life. What steps did you take to embrace the new you and live out loud?


Paul said nothing was thriving when he was drinking.  Some parts of his life started to thrive nearly immediately when he quit drinking.   Within 14 days, he felt better.  The spiritual component of his life has become vital to him.  He is more tethered and can weather emotional storms.  Today chaos, while momentary, ultimately leads to thriving for Paul.


Odette said her definition of thriving has changed.  She goes within.  Thriving is about peace, knowing herself, and understanding the reality of co-existing with others. It’s not about the perfect Instagram profile.  Odette thrives even on her dip days.  Her growing pains lead to thriving.


  1. Do you think there is a risk of a substance leading me back to alcohol? Have your own experiences (or, for that matter, any new research on the potential benefits of psychedelics)? How has your experience informed you?


Paul said Dr. David Nutt (2011 UK)  said alcohol is the most addictive drug and causes the most devastating effects on society.  Number 20 was magic mushrooms. Paul’s experiences with plant medicines have been non-addictive.  In the right setting, they do not lead to a return to alcohol. The right setting is critical.  Guided therapy sessions will help the intense inner work.


  1. What were your best strategies to avoid or minimize the tendency to romanticize the days of yore in the early days of sobriety?

Odette said, play the tape forward.  Romanticizing is just an illusion. She remembers not to give up what she wants for that drink.

Paul described the ism and euphoric recall. Its why women continue to have babies. They don’t accurately remember the pain. Paul’s memory was about playing football.  The mind has 60-70K thoughts a day, and most of them are wrong.  Questioning your thoughts is a great practice.


  1. I seem to have a problem sometimes with a lack of structure or regiment.  When I work or have commitments, it seems like I don’t have so many thoughts in my head because I’m pretty focused on the task at hand. Fewer thoughts equal less anxiety for me.   Paul, can you share your experience with travel and structure?


Paul suggests structure in all of his courses.  The days with structure are easier to get through.  Paul has taken Spanish classes or city tours, or AA meetings to build in structure and routine.  Double down on the routine.


  1. I would love to hear Odette speak on how alcohol abuse works with eating disorder recovery. The sobriety world is very diet culture-oriented and fat phobic. Any guidance on fighting the voice of needing to restrict, manage weight, and it’s ok to eat?


Odette said listen to Episode 312.  There are so many connections between alcohol and eating disorders. She took other’s hands until she could do it for herself.  She is grateful for her body.  She has bad body image days but tries to do the best for her body.  Protect your energy!  Odette is happy to speak to people about this challenge.



  1. How do you not think about drinking while abstaining? I’ve had many alcohol-free days in the last few years, but those same days were sometimes consumed with thoughts of drinking. So, the drinking has gone away for you guys. But has the thinking about the drinking gone away from you too?

Paul talks about music is all about love.  Saying goodbye to alcohol is a Dear John letter.  Give yourself time to grieve and let the neurons no longer fire together. It’s a non-issue for Paul today.

Odette spoke about the progression of healing.  It does get better.


  1. What supplements- if any- have you used to help “restore” the damage done by long-term use of alcohol?


Odette said sleep, vitamins, water, good food, and Vitamin D – get outside.


Paul said, get outside and get outside with your shoes off.  Lemon water, cocoa water, take a nap if you are tired.


  1. I would like to hear from you about your spiritual journey as you got sober and how you find your higher being?


Paul said spirituality wasn’t his thing, but at about 3.5 years in, April 14, he recognized something beautiful was at play.  He has learned to enjoy the mystery and the magic.  He doesn’t have all of the answers and embraces that.


Odette believes that things are presented to you when you are ready.  Stay curious, be patient.  Value bomb – time has its own time.


  1. How do you distance yourself from perfectionism?


Paul said, recognize with an awareness that it’s there.


Odette likes the gut check she gets when she realizes her recovering control freak is a daily practice.   She leans on friends for support.



  1. How can I help a loved one get on the AF journey, too, without using too many of my own experiences and also without falling off myself?


Odette said, stay the course, don’t be co-dependent. Don’t add resistance.  Hold space for your loved one.

Paul said, be the change you want to see.  We grow from our crash and burn?



  1. How did the transition between hosts come about? Did Paul seek Odette out, or did Odette send out an unconscious signal? Was there a specific sign in the universe to make this incredible event happen?


Paul and Odette are well connected, including the transition.  The idea just came, and it worked beautifully. Odette’s immediate yes came from her heart.


  1. What is Paul’s most significant takeaway since stepping away from hosting the podcast? And what is Odette’s biggest takeaway so far being the host of the podcast?

We all suck at asking for and accepting help.  Paul needed help, and Odette stepped up.

Odette knows we all need each other.  When she has dip days, she shows up and gets more when she shows up for others.



  1. Do you have any advice on when is a good time and how to be open & out about your sobriety (with employers, an old friend, strangers, etc.)? I struggle with thinking it’s none of my employer’s business because it doesn’t affect the job I do, and I don’t want to deal with the conversation that comes with telling them, but then find myself avoiding the truth about it and feeling bad later.


Odette said self and radical honesty is what and genuine and authentic to yourself.  Challenge yourself, but do what works for yourself, your mental accountability, and your peace.


Paul said we often disassociate ourselves from nature.  Paul knows burning the ships can be challenging, and he’s had some delicate moments.  His opportunities with vulnerability have worked with him everywhere.  It opens up the door for a deeper connection.



  1. When has your sobriety been tested the most, and what did you do that happened?


Paul said he had a meltdown after his sixth episode, and he asked for help, and he was supported incredibly and learned how burning the ships worked in his favor and asking for help became an incredible experience. Vulnerability opens so many doors.


Odette described that parenting is tough!  Many parents try to stay sober for their kids, and parenting can be super triggering.   Odette loves her kids to death, but she is reinventing the Mommy culture.  Parenting is tough, but she knows alcohol isn’t her answer, and she has a great support system.


  1. What do you think of prescription meds for or during recovery (e.g., naltrexone)?


Paul said green light for naltrexone.  It helps in the short term, great.  Paul said Antabuse is a violent fear motivator.  Your recovery is more helpful with loving yourself.



  1. What have you learned the most about recovery from doing the podcasts? And what is the most common “similarity” you’ve found after all the interviews, other than we all have a desire to stop drinking, of course!


Odette said moderation works until it doesn’t, and it pretty much doesn’t do the trick.  We all just want love and acceptance. Odette appreciates the courage of everyone that dares to come on the show.


Paul discussed, there is trauma with a big T, and little t, addiction to alcohol says something in our life is out of balance, we are all fundamentally good people,

there is part of our unconscious that doesn’t want to stop drinking, and we need to overcome our fear.


  1. How do I break out of the cycle of drinking with four young kids?


Odette said she doesn’t like advising busy moms – she only has two kids.  She suggested making yourself a priority, and when you do, your children will learn that as well.  Take care of yourself.  You are not exempt from pain or failure.  It takes a village to raise children, ask for help!


  1. Is it possible to get addicted to feelings? I have grown up in a cycle of trauma. On a deeper level, I feel I’ve been addicted to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and shame, because I have lived with them for so long?

Paul said you could get addicted to your thoughts.  Your thoughts function in the known.  The body tries to anchor you back to your old self.

Odette said, find your new normal.

Paul added, enjoy your life. It doesn’t have to be hard.  You can ask for help.  Paul gave a big shout-out for all of the good questions and he and Odette had a blast.

RE 313: An Antidote to Judgement

RE 313: An Antidote to Judgement

Carolyn took her last drink on February 22, 2019.  This is her story of living alcohol-free (AF).



Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.


Dehumanizing Others.    After listening to Brene Brown, Odette loved Brene’s challenge of not engaging in dehumanizing others.  We can’t change the world if we continue dehumanizing others.  Odette was also reading Pema Chodron’s new book and concluded that polarization is most problematic when we dehumanize people.  Habitually dehumanizing others about politics or behavior or clothing isn’t good.  Minor differences in habits and preferences keep us fundamentally separate from others.



The division exists everywhere, even in recovery.  Odette has observed others judging other’s approaches to recovery.  We judge people for NA beer or not drinking NA beer,  AA or no AA.  We continue to create division instead of closing the gaps.    Pema Chodron has a practice called “just like me.” Just like me, this person doesn’t want to be uncomfortable.  Just like me, this person loses it sometimes.  Just like me, this person wants friends and intimacy.


Focus on the similarities, not the differences.  You can have boundaries without dehumanizing others. 



[7:35] Odette introduces Carolyn


Carolyn took her last drink on February 22, 2019.  She lives in Wisconsin and is 34 years old.


She lives in Wisconsin, is single, no kids, and has fun with her German shepherd pup.  Carolyn loves drawing, painting, murals, golf, snowboarding, camping, hiking, etc.  She works as a graphic artist. Living in the polar vortex of Wisconsin can be challenging, but it makes her appreciate the seasons more.


[11:01] Tell me about your history with drinking


Carolyn started drinking when she was 14 years old (2000).  She would drink on the weekends and look forward to drinking. It was a big part of her identity and made her feel cool and accepted.


Carolyn’s drinking ramped up when she went to college.  She worked in a restaurant and played rugby and had lots of opportunities to drink.  Drinking continued to be a significant part of her identity.


She met her significant other in 2008, and they were drinking buddies, a party couple.  She knew something was off but wasn’t sure what it was.



[13:30] Did you start questioning if alcohol was a problem at that time?


Carolyn didn’t see alcohol as a problem initially, but she was aware that several areas of her life were not jiving.  Looking back, she can see many events and relationships influenced by alcohol, but she didn’t see it at the moment.


[14:49] Were you rationalizing your drinking as something sophisticated?


At her college graduation, she was surrounded by friends and family.  She was drunk, and her boyfriend proposed.  She said yes, even though she knew something was off.  She has a lot of internal conflicts.  She leveraged alcohol to help her numb her feelings.  The marriage ended because she couldn’t move the relationship forward.


After her divorce, she was drinking after work every night.  She found it wasn’t fun anymore.  She started to develop anxiety at 22.  Her drinking was no longer fun, party drinking – it was maintenance drinking.  Had she not had the lull in 2014, she would not have had the tipping point


[18:32] Did you talk to a friend or a therapist about your struggles?


Carolyn knew her drinking wasn’t healthy, but she was still in denial.  She brainwashed herself into believing she was a fun party-girl.  She didn’t see herself as an alcoholic.  She began to realize she had a problem after her divorce.


[20:21] Walk me through what happened from 2014 to February 2019.


Carolyn said her drinking progressed.  Her anxiety was crippling, and she would drink when she got home.  After a visit with his sister, her brother-in-law mentioned he hadn’t had a drink for two weeks.  She thought that was crazy.  She knew she hadn’t gone two weeks without drinking ever.  She stumbled upon the “are you an alcoholic” quiz.


She had a few three-week breaks over the years, and she could feel the fog lift; her anxiety would lessen.  She returned to drinking because she couldn’t handle her social life without alcohol.


In 2018, she had to be on medication for a month.  She was advised not to drink while on the drug but drank anyway.  It was a terrifying realization for her.  She knew at then she had to take her drinking seriously.


[25:19] Sometimes, our “best” looks different. It sounds like you had a real mental shift.


Carolyn said it wasn’t until she got scared that she decided to take it seriously.  She is now thankful for the hardships that led to her tipping point.


She listened to the Recovery Elevator podcast and heard about Annie Grace’s book, This Naked Mind.  She quit drinking the next day.  She reads a lot of self-help and memoirs and credits Annie’s book with changing her life.


[28:36] How were your first few weeks alcohol-free?


Carolyn said she was anxious and sweaty during week one.  She didn’t sleep well for three weeks and was emotionally sensitive.  She would burst into tears at any given moment.  She listened to podcasts, checked her sobriety tracker, and didn’t have many cravings.  She did chain smoke.   By week four, she turned a corner and felt things became more manageable.  She was sleeping better, not obsessed with how many days she had.  She was still emotional, but her energy was through the roof, and things started coming together.


[32:05] Carolyn asks Odette about her social circle. 


Odette joined Café RE.  She experienced lots of change, and she was grieving her former self.


Carolyn’s sister quit drinking three years ago.  Her oldest sister has been her confidante and best friend through learning to be alcohol-free.  Her sister’s sobriety became a motivator.  She and her twin sister were drinking buddies.  She believes her twin sister is coming to terms with drinking as well.  She is learning to be transparent with her sister about her addiction.


[38:05] Tell me about your maintenance routine?


Carolyn said that fitness and nutrition have always been important to her.  Now her fitness and nutrition are more therapeutic because she has no alcohol.  She is nurturing her body; she feels better, keeps a gratitude journal, podcasts and talks to her older sister, and quit lit help.


[39:54] What do you do when you get a trigger, or a curveball comes your way?


Carolyn said exercise, getting outside, art projects like painting or drawing are freeing.  She also dances and sings to shake it off.  One podcast, Rachel Heart, focused on how your brain functions in phases of a craving (Think, Feel, Act) has been an excellent tool to overcome cravings.  She quit smoking after six months AF, and her cravings were heightened at that time.


[45:32] Rapid Fire Round



  1. What would you say to your Day 1 self?

Once you reach the 3–4-week milestone, things will get a lot easier.


  1. What is a lightbulb moment for you in this journey?

Carolyn had a tipping point and realized she could have an awesome life without alcohol. She no longer felt deprived.


  1. What has recovery made possible for you?

Carolyn said lots of doors have opened for her.  She started a screen-printing apprenticeship.  She is shopping for a home.  Her self-confidence is much better.


  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mint chip.


You may have to say Adios to booze if …


If you continue drinking while you are on antibiotics.



Odette’s weekly challenge:


Try the “just like me” practice this week with someone.  When you feel judgment appear, pause, and try and lessen the gap between you.  Remember, you are not alone, and together is always better.  Let’s be kinder to each other and ourselves.


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!



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 312: Alcohol Abuse & Eating Disorders

RE 312: Alcohol Abuse & Eating Disorders

Holly took her last drink on January 4, 2007.  This is her story of living alcohol-free (AF).



Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.


Odette and Holly met in treatment.  In 2013, they went to Montecatini together to work on their eating disorders.  Odette believed that if she could stop her obsession with food and reach a healthy weight, she would be normal.  However, she didn’t address the emotional reasons behind her eating disorder.  A few years later, she found herself using alcohol as her new coping mechanism.  The behaviors that led to her unhealthy relationship with food mirrored the behaviors of her relationship with alcohol.


Up to 35% of people who abused alcohol also have an eating disorder. This rate is 11 times greater than the general population.


For more information on these statistics, see:



The stigma for eating disorders is greater than the stigma for alcohol use disorder, so many people struggle in silence.


Odette believes the only way out is through.


Get to the root cause of your addiction.  Be aware of co-occurring addictions.  Don’t run away from your feelings or numb them with a substance.  Find a community.  Get professional help.  When seeking help, be specific.  Find a therapist specializing in addiction, whether it is alcohol, food, drugs, or whatever else.  Get specific.



Don’t feel perpetually stuck in addiction whack-a-mole.  We can do hard things.



[9:14] Odette introduces Holly


Holly took her last drink on January 4, 2007.  Holly is from Montana.  She moved to Southern California over 15 years ago for graduate school.  She currently works for Mental Health Systems as an employment specialist, helping those with behavioral health issues get employment.  On the weekends, she works for a rehab in San Diego as a rehab specialist.  Holly has fun playing games.  Codeword is her latest favorite.  She also enjoys listening to books, music and hanging out with her dog Hannay.


[11:56] Tell me about your history with drinking


Holly started experimenting with alcohol in college.  She grew up in a conservative home.  She was allowed to drink with adults present, but her family was traditional with alcohol use.  Holly didn’t drink in high school.  She was a rule follower.


Her drinking took off when she was 21, when it was legal and escalated after her engagement.  She attended Fuller Theological Seminary, intending to become a Presbyterian minister. She drank heavily every day and hid her drinking.


[13:39] Did you start questioning your drinking habits at that time?


When Holly lived in Montana, she drank like everyone else.  When she moved to California, she would order two drinks at a time and was starting to understand that wasn’t normal.  She needed a drink before she went out and then went home afterward to drink alone.  She isolated and that isolation led to depression.  Alcohol exacerbated the depression.  Toward the end of her drinking, she was put on several psychiatric holds (5150).


[15:17] Were you rationalizing your drinking as something sophisticated?


On paper, Holly was very functional.  She was a straight-A student, on the Dean’s list, she held to part-time jobs.  She aced Hebrew.


[16:40] Did you have a therapist?  Was your therapist able to discern the alcohol issues from the depression issues?


Holly had a therapist and kept drinking.  She hid her drinking from her therapist.  She was annoyed that her therapist occasionally suggested her attending a meeting.


[17:33] Walk me through the progression of your drinking.


Holly noted that two years after moving to California, she couldn’t stop drinking.  She would wake up in the morning and drink to recover from the night before.  She also struggled with an Eating disorder.  Alcohol was the only calories she could keep in her body.  She was physically and mentally depleting.


She had suicidal ideations and felt if she got rid of herself, she would solve the problems she caused others.  She had several suicide attempts due to alcohol, poor nutrition, and depression.


[18:58] How long did that cycle last?


Holly’s drinking continued for two years.  On January 3, her therapist said she didn’t sound right and told her to go immediately to the hospital.  Holly knew she couldn’t drive, so she walked toward the hospital.  She consumed a pint of Vodka, a handful of Xanax and was mugged on the way to the hospital.


She went missing for several hours.  The Pasadena police called her Mom in Montana asking, are you Mom?  They told her Mom they couldn’t find Holly.  When Holly came to, she walked back to her apartment that has search dogs and an ambulance.   She was placed on a 72-hour psych hold, which became a 14-day hold.  She was released early because her Dad came down from Montana to take her to rehab.


[21:02] How many holds did you have?


Holly said, five or six, and she was still in denial.  She was in rehab for 97 days, and it took her until Day 45 to acknowledge she had a bit of a drinking problem.  She admitted to depression and an eating disorder, but not alcohol.


[22:07] What was it about alcohol that made it difficult for you to admit you had a problem?


Holly said that alcohol was such a part of her lifestyle that it seemed normal.  Her view of an alcoholic was a homeless person on the street with a bottle in a brown bag.  She had extreme denial that it was a problem.


[23:08] Tell me more about when you went to rehab?


Holly attended rehab in San Clemente, CA.  It was a 12 Step based program.  She was scared.  Forty-five days into rehab, she begrudgingly got a sponsor.  She was asked, “are you willing to do whatever it takes?”  That temporary sponsor was with her for 7.5 years.  Holly is grateful to her sponsor, her family, and all of the rehab staff who had to put up with her attitude.


On family weekend, her Dad was crying when he told Holly what he saw when he came to put her in rehab.  There were alcohol bottles and diet pills strewn about her apartment.  Nobody knew how bad she was because she only reported the good news, from her grades to her two jobs.  Seeing the pain in her father’s eyes snapped her into awareness.


[27:08] Did you realize your body was withdrawing from alcohol?


Holly said she had no recall of the first several days because she had overdosed.  She later learned that her blood alcohol level was toxically high.  The doctors said it was amazing she pulled through.  Holly believes from her faith that angels were watching over her, and that is why she is still with us.


[28:19] What happened after you left rehab.  How was it adjusting to the real world?


Holly said she did a lot of work but knew she had to take one day at a time.  In early recovery, she leveraged AA, her sponsor, and plenty of therapy.  Holly said connections, connections, connections – that was her saving grace.  She began to lean in on other sobriety tools like the Recovery Elevator podcast.  She returned to grad school and added recovery ministry to her curriculum.  Her heart changed, and there was an ego shift that allowed her to focus on recovery ministry, sharing her recovery tools with others who struggle with addiction.  She still takes it one day at a time, and her recovery isn’t perfect.  Now she can hold space for others.


[31:12] Did your eating disorder progress after you stopped drinking?


Holly said she exchanged one obsession for another.   Her addictive brain focused on alcohol, then alcohol plus food, trauma.  Her recovery has not been a straight line but rather a windy pathway.

She realized variety, moderation and balance are essential in her life, but moderation is not an option with alcohol.  She has infinite possibilities without alcohol.


[34:33] How do you handle difficult emotions now?


Holly said she has to reach out to talk to people, or she is in trouble.  If she starts to isolate from family and friends, it’s a red flag.


[37:00] Tell me how you transitioned into the recovery industry?


Holly said after graduating, she felt a pull to help others.  She began helping people in recovery homes and believes her past was a calling for her to hold space for others.


She practices playing the tape through regularly to avoid the insanity of her thoughts.  She knows she is not going to drink, just for today.  She believes in affirmations to rewire her neuropathways.


[45:38] How has your recovery evolved over time?


Holly remains involved in her 12-step program, but her mind has shifted from, I have to, to I get to.  She continues to work with a therapist and connects with other people in recovery.


[49:17] Rapid Fire Round



  1. What would you say to your younger self?

Stay in the present, don’t worry about the past. You are loved.


  1. What is a lightbulb moment for you in this journey?

Everyone has a past, don’t cast judgment. It’s about what you are doing today.


  1. What do you bring to a party?

Diet Coke or Coke Zero with a splash of lemonade.


  1. What are your favorite resources in recovery?

Connection, 12-steps, mental health support groups, quit lit, friends, and family.


  1. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are thinking of ditching the booze?

Be gentle with yourself and know there are people who want to support you.  No matter what, you have worth, value and you are loved.



You may have to say Adios to booze if …


You finish your whiskey, and you yell at the bartender, “same ice” because you don’t want the marinated ice to go down the drain.



Odette’s weekly challenge:


This journey should make you feel lighter and propel you toward the life you deserve.  Let this be the best experiment in your life, the path back to yourself. Challenges are lessons, not obstacles.  We can fail forward into beautiful things.  You are not alone, together is always better.



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!



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 311: S is for Self Sabotage

RE 311: S is for Self Sabotage

Emmy took her last drink on December 8, 2019.  This is her story of living alcohol free (AF).



Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.


Odette spoke about a personal and very sensitive issue: she is an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.  She took charge of her recovery but recently identified some behaviors and coping mechanisms she was hoping to skip over that are rooted in her early years growing up in an alcoholic home.  Odette realized she had been stuck in a pattern of self-sabotage for years in many aspects of her life, some more dangerous than others.   Self-sabotage showed up in her relationships with friends, at school, and with her husband.  While Odette doesn’t like the label of being an adult child of an alcoholic, she has come to realize she can’t wish the consequences away.  Pain in our families makes our emotional state a bit disheveled.  We live waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We were guarded and untrusting.  This state became our normal:  the feeling that something is wrong all of the time.


Odette is focused on understanding the impact self-sabotage has on her behavior.  She is practicing new behaviors.  She is working on making small shifts – to see things differently.


No matter how destructive our behavior has been in the past, we can experience new ways of being. 



[9:38] Odette introduces Emmy


Emmy took her last drink on December 8, 2019.  She is from Fort Worth, Texas, and she is 30 years old.


Emmy is a recreational therapist who works with children and adults with various disabilities.  She is single, no kids, and lives with her five-year-old dog Petey.  She has fun participating in her recovery, getting to know who she is, and learning to become her own friend.



[13:06] Can you give listeners some background on your history with drinking?


Emmy said she started drinking around 16 or 17. She was at a friend’s house where somebody had brought over a bottle of alcohol mixed with Propel and thought it was cool.  She remembers the first sip giving her this sort of warm feeling inside and thinking, ‘nothing bad can ever happen with this.’ She kept that routine going every weekend as a teenager.  When she went to college, she found an excuse to drink every night, whether trivia night or intramural sports. She also worked in a restaurant and could drink behind the bar. Everybody was doing it, so it didn’t seem like a problem at the time.


She graduated college and worked in a nursing home by day and a restaurant by night.  She was working 50-60 hours a week, which gave her another excuse to drink because she worked so hard.


[14:45] At this point, were you starting to question your relationship with alcohol, or were you thinking this is just what people do? 


Emmy said she knew as a teenager; it may become a problem in the future.  She saw so many people doing the same thing and thought she would have to look at it later down the road.


[15:28] Walk me through what happened afterward, how did that progress?


Emmy went to grad school, which started drinking Round 2.  She thought, I’m still in school, I can still live the same lifestyle.  She graduated, got a Director job in a nursing home, with more responsibility.  She was not surrounded by as many people who drank as she did.


She began putting feelers out to different people, asking if she had a drinking problem.  She was asking the wrong people, the people who drank as she did.  She took that as validation she didn’t have a problem.


She drank regularly for a few more years.  She thought it was fun.  There were many examples of alcoholism in her family.  Problem drinkers have a problem every time.  She believed she could maintain control and continue drinking.


[17:35] Were you creating any rules for yourself, like moderation rules?


Emmy said, don’t we all?  She had rules about, don’t drink on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  She would break her rules all of the time, then double down on guilt and shame.


Emmy moved to Texas, and she wasn’t around anybody she knew anymore.  She started drinking alone.  She could still have a glass or two of wine and feel fine the next day.  She was still getting up for work and had a really good job.  Nothing was taken away from her, so she didn’t think it was a problem.


[18:36] You said the word, YET, was powerful in your journey.  The inner turmoil between the heart and the brain can be exhausting, were you tired mentally?


Emmy said this is what led her to admit defeat.  She found herself doing the same thing over and over again.  She was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  She was sick of being pulled out of her life, missing amazing moments while she continued drinking.


[19:49] Did you have any people in your life who were pursuing sobriety or battling addiction?


Emmy said yes.  She grew up with alcoholism in her immediate and extended family.  She had little seeds planted in the past ten years by people who chose recovery.


[20:32] So what made you change your mind?


Emmy said on December 7, she was feeling unsafe and recalling a previously abusive relationship. On vacation in California, she was sneaking drinks when nobody was looking so not everyone would know how much she’d had to drink.  She treated somebody pretty poorly that night.  She was up all night and came out of a blackout, realizing she was yelling at someone.  She looked in the mirror and told herself, you have completely lost who you are.  It was an out-of-body experience, and within a few days, she reached out for help out of desperation.


[22:18] That’s a powerful moment: a self-intervention.  Was the progression of your drinking a way to cope with the pain of an abusive relationship?


Emmy said, absolutely, but she doesn’t think of herself as a victim anymore.  She feels empowered from the healing and counseling she has done and discovered the abusive relationship was an excuse. Self-pity became an excuse for her behaviors.


[24:48] You decided to reach out for help. What did that look like for you?


Emmy said, leading up to this day, she was drawn to a client’s mother with 30 years of sobriety.  She drove her client home and walked up to the door, and just collapsed in her arms, sobbing.  She was met with acceptance, told about some options, and felt safe.


She went to an AA meeting at 10 pm that night, and it was a magical moment.  She felt love, acceptance, no judgment, empowerment, and she has been going to AA ever since.


[28:05] How connected are you to faith or guidance?  It sounds like you were catching signs.


Emmy said she grew up in a religious home and always had God there.  She believes not making him her #1 pursuit got her off track.  She recently connected to the spiritual side of her program and believes God sends messages through people.  Her faith has grown in the past nine months.


[32:19] Tell me about those initial months. What was it like? How did you have to adjust your daily routine?


Emmy said the first three months were just a release of emotion.  She had no cravings. She was grateful to God for lifting the obsession.  She was learning how to be a human, to walk soberly.  She still had problems and started learning how to deal with them without alcohol.


She is getting to know God, getting to know herself.  She is establishing a routine and creating stability that she never got as a little girl and felt empowered by the choice.


[34:42] What is your go for handling problems and negative emotions?


Emmy is trying to strengthen the pause, pausing before reacting.  She takes 5 minutes to herself and breathes.  She is working on not being impulsive.  She continues to practice pausing every day.


[36:27] Tell me about your routine?


Emmy is awakened by her dog at the same time every day.  They have a routine.  She then does a daily devotional, journals, relaxes as her form of meditation to clear her head.  She walks the dog to get outside and enjoys fresh air.  Then she starts work.  God and her recovery come first.


[38:51] What is your favorite part of the journey so far?


Emmy does five in-person meetings a week and talks to her sponsor when problems arise.


[39:56] What is your response when someone offers you a drink?


Emmy said it varies, and she liked to make it funny. I’m allergic.  It makes me mean.  No, thank you.


[40:37] Thoughts about the future (wedding, milestones)?


Emmy said she has thought about it. Will anyone come if I have a dry wedding?  She is learning it’s easy to have fun without alcohol. She is learning to “stay where her feet are.”  She stays in the present and is enjoying being in the present.  Stay where your feet are; you are here.


[42:35] How have the relationships in your life shifted or changed?


Emmy said she feels blessed with good friends and believes she is the one that has changed.  She practices being grateful for her friends, being present for them, and enjoys remembering conversations the next day.  She treats people better. She feels supported and has excellent long-distance relationships.


[44:15] Where do you find inspiration from outside of your meetings?


Emmy said she loves the Recovery Elevator podcast, talking to her sponsor, prayer, and journaling.


[45:15} What do you associate with the word alcoholic?


Emmy said she doesn’t have a problem with it.  She sees it as an opportunity, a relief, not a label.



[46:03] Rapid Fire Round



  1. What are you excited about right now? What possibilities in your life?

Helping others in recovery, giving opportunity to other people.


  1. What do you bring to a party when they tell you to bring your drinks?

La Croix – passion fruit


  1. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Breyer’s chocolate truffle


  1. What’s a light bulb moment you’ve had in this journey?

If you don’t drink, you won’t get drunk


  1. What has recovery made possible for you?



  1. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are thinking of ditching the booze?

Keep open-mindedness and willingness.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  If the thought has crossed your mind, give it a try.



You may have to say Adios to booze if …


getting a drink (one drink) sounds like a waste of time



Odette’s weekly challenge:


What is in your baggage backpack that you want to get eliminate?  A character defect, a challenging conversation, a task you have been avoiding. Muster the courage and go for it. You are brave and so much more capable than you realize.


If you are an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, I am with you. You are not alone and together is always better.



Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1st! 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!



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 310: Positive Relationships

RE 310: Positive Relationships

Sasha took her last drink on May 19th, 2019. This is her story of living alcohol free (AF).


Check out the free meditations on the Recovery Elevator page here!


Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding Your Better You


When Odette doesn’t want to forget something, she sends herself an email. Recently she found one to herself with the subject line: Positive Relationships. The body of the email said simply: “The biggest factor for cultivating resilience” (Season 17, Grey’s Anatomy)


We need resilience when embarking on this journey. Not just for this, but for everything life throws at us. Our journey is far from perfect, when we fall we need the courage to get back up and that’s why we need community. This is why together is better. Having one person in your corner can make a huge difference for you.


How many positive relationships to you have and are you fostering them?


[7:19] Odette introduces Sasha.


Sasha is from New Jersey and works in IT. She lives with her fiancé and their dog. For fun she likes to read, do jigsaw puzzles, meditate and collecting old books from estate sales.


[10:37] Can you give listeners some background on your story?


Sasha said she started drinking around the age of 18. It wasn’t anything that was intense, but she knew from the first drink it would make her be “her true self.” She got a DUI at the 20. Around 21 was when she started drinking alone. When she was 23/24 she was crying and falling apart every time she drank. Her thoughts were preoccupied with drinking all the time.


[13:48] Did the DUI make you question your drinking, or did you think that this was just something young people did?


Sasha said it was both. She knew she drank in a way that wasn’t normal but felt because she was so young it was also ok. Looking back she knew it should have been a big warning sign.


[15:36] Did you have any rock bottom moments?


Sasha said rock bottom was when she was drinking alone and miserable. She had the realization she was miserable but didn’t know how to get out of it.


[16:13] How did you get yourself out of the cycle?


Sasha said she was listening to the RE podcast and reading Eckart Tolle and doing the Sam Harris ‘Wake Up’ course and this gave her the realization she had a drinking problem. Her end goal when drinking was always to be drunk, so the solution was to have none.


[18:09] Was the podcast your first exposure to other stories of people’s drinking?


Sasha said after her DUI there was court mandated AA meetings and that was her first exposure. She loved hearing what people were going through because she could identify with them.


[21:20] What Tolle book were you reading?


The Power of Now

She was also reading In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts which covers many of the same themes.


[24:54] Were you having conversations with your fiancé about your drinking prior to May 20th?


Sasha said she always minimized it, so they never had direct conversations about her drinking. When she told him, he was very supportive and zero judgement. They continue to have conversations about her drinking.


[26:27] Did you feel relief when you told him?


Sasha said yes, a tremendous amount of relief. She was so lonely in her drinking and to have him be so accepting was what she needed.


[32:05] How was it for you right after you made the decision to stop drinking?


Sasha said for her it was like a switch flipped. She was so happy to be free from alcohol that her “pink cloud” lasted about 6 months. It helped that so many other things fell into place in that time as well. Sasha received a promotion at work, they got a dog, she was connecting with herself, reconnected with old friends and all the small things put themselves in place. It was hard for her to imagine going back to drinking.

She had a craving around month 8, but was able to play the tape forward and that tool helped her not have a drink.


[36:27] What happened after the pink cloud? What other tools do you use?


Sasha said this time quitting was different, she was able to flip a switch. She no longer romanticizes drinking. But overall she hasn’t had the white knuckling craving this time.


[39:27] Did you have a routine in your day that you had to fill with new things?


Sasha said it was when she left work. In the past she would leave work and pick-up alcohol on the way home. At first, she was distracting herself with seeing friends and taking her dog for a walk or eating. Getting out of the house was really important.


[44:55] What type of responses did you get from people when you told them about this decision?


Sasha said most people were supportive. Every once in a while, someone questions the decision. Some of the people she used to drink with have also come out and admitted they are struggling and she has tried to point them in the right direction for resources.



[46:48] Rapid Fire Round


  1. What would you say to your younger self?

Give her a hug and tell her everything will be ok.


  1. What’s your favorite ice cream flavour?



  1. What has recovery made possible for you?

To live a life of peace and to be vulnerable with others.


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

Stick with it if you’re struggling to quit. The fact that you are even trying to do this right now is huge. Find resources that will work for you.



You may have to say adios to booze if…


it’s 2pm on a Tuesday and you’re googling, “Do I have a drinking problem?” with one eye closed because you can’t see the phone.



Odette’s weekly challenge:


Make a small inventory of your relationships. Which ones would you like to see changes in? Which ones would you like to cultivate?


Upcoming events, retreats and courses:

  • 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!



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  –




“Recovery Elevator – when we choose to take care of the small things, the big things seem to take care of themselves – I love you guys”

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