RE198: The Importance of Letting Go

Play

Patrick, with 10 years 2 months since his last drink, shares his story . . .

SHOW NOTES

[10:50] Paul introduces Patrick

Patrick is 37 years old, and is from Brooklyn, New York.  He’s been sober since August 23, 2008.  He is married and has no children.  He works as a stand up comedian, recovery coach, and a video editor.  He likes to try to squeeze in a good meal between shows, visit friends, and snowboard.  He would like to get better at rollerblading.

[14:08] Give us a little background about your drinking habits

He did not drink until his freshman year in college, because he has a family history of alcohol abuse.  When he tried alcohol for the first time, he loved the way it made him feel.  Alcohol became problematic within his first year of drinking.  When he was drunk, he became unpredictable: he was the guy who took off his clothes and climbed buildings.  Despite getting warnings from counselors, he continued to drink for the next 8 years.

[30:40]  What finally made you make that decision to go into sobriety?

While at a baseball game, he told his friends that he wasn’t going to drink.  His buddy said, “but you can have just one,” and Patrick said, “of course I can have just one.”  6 hours later, he was ejected from a bar for being too intoxicated.  The next morning, his girlfriend told him that he had to move out.  That became his sobriety date.

[41:00]  In the last 10 years, have you noticed any cross addicitions?

He definitely needs to look out for working too much and not eating in a healthy way.  When stressed, he turns to ice cream.  He’s realized that since he was a kid, he’s tried to change how he feels on the inside by using things on the outside.

[44:10] Is there something that you have done differently while getting sober?

He would have gone to 12 step meetings immediately.  Learning the idea of doing the next right action sooner.

[ 48:48 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

The trip to Italy when he became “a monster” and his girlfriend threatened to leave early.

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

He was moving out of an apartment a few years before he got sober, and he realized that no one, neighbors, roommates was unhappy that he was leaving

  1. What’s your plan moving forward?

Staying true to sharing his story through his comedy

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

 

The phone.  Calling other sober people and being available.

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

Show up with integrity.

  1. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

If you’re going through hell, just keep going.  This too, shall pass.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

If you’re doing “sober October” for the 10th year in a row, and you rarely get through a few days of it, you might be an alcoholic.

 

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

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

 

RE 197: This is What Recovery Looks Like

Play

Aaron, with over 1 year since his last drink, shares his story…

SHOW NOTES

[12:30] Paul Introduces Aaron.

Aaron is 39 years old, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He’s been sober since October 16, 2017.  He’s married with two children.  He works in HR and Recruitment for a small company.  He likes home improvement, the outdoors, gardening.  He likes to restore and repair his house and cars.

[15:30] Give us a little background about your drinking habits.

He has drank every day more or less since college.  There was a strong drinking culture at his college.  He made a lot of friends through drinking.  It extended to his work after college.  He associated alcohol with being social.  Alcohol made its way into all of his activities.  He didn’t know how to regulate it.  He struggled to care for his children while he was drinking a lot.  He couldn’t concentrate and was getting cold sweats.  He decided to start regulating.  He read a book that asked him to regulate but it didn’t work for him.  He realized that he need to change.

[19:53] Did you have a rock bottom moment?

Many.  He skipped along the bottom.  He always had a way of getting out of trouble, which gave him a false sense of accomplishment.  Rock bottom for him was realizing that his life had become unmanageable.  He would have beers in his basements, and he called them his “morning beers”.  He realized that it wasn’t where he wanted to be.  He went to his first meeting, and he judged everyone there.  He started to get something out of it by the time he was in his 3rd meeting.  While in recovery, he started to feel like he had a split personality.  He was cleaning out the garage and he found some camping gear.  He found a box of alcohol.  He pulled it out decided to hide it.  He would lie about going out to his garage to work on something, but he was really going out to drink.  He felt bad because he was lying about it.  He argued with himself out loud and realized he had a problem.  He went to a meeting and was honest about his relapse, and since then he has been sober.  He began to work with his AA program.  He started to understand himself a lot more.  He became more in touch with his intuition.  He’s realizing that it’s more important to be in the now.  He now knows that his intuition will know what to do in situations that would previously baffle him.  He’s less stressed and much more happy.  He has more responsibility, but life has gotten more fun.

[30:21] How have you started to change your inner dialogue?

He started to get into emotional intelligence.  It is a way of living that has many parallels with the 12 steps.  He realized that his past didn’t have to affect his present.  He realized that his suffering was all in his head.  He started waking up earlier and going down to watch the sun rise.  He found meditation and peace and he started to forgive himself.  He realized that he was blessed to be a part of the moment.  He stopped worrying and focused more on acceptance.  He doesn’t worry about the future as much.  He is grateful to be here now.

[35:28] Have you figured out the “why” behind your drinking?

It started as just a way to cope with anxiety, but it eventually became a part of his identity.  The “why” was part lifestyle, part insecurity, then eventually addiction.

[36:17] Walk us through a day in your recovery.

He gets up early.  He tries to shut his mind off.  He enjoys daydreaming and spending time with his kids.  She asks him profound questions, and he’s happy to be a part of her childlike innocence.  He works, also.  He enjoys the new freedom he gets with his new job.  He goes to AA meetings twice a week.  His days are filled with things he loves, or loves working on.

[39:04] What’s on your bucket list in recovery?

He wants to go on the RE Peru trip.  He wants to keep his life manageable.  He wants to eventually retire so he can travel and wants to be a part of his family’s life for as long as he’s around.

[40:11] Talk to us about the text that was meant to go your sponsor, but accidentally went to the president of your company.

He was laid off, and started to offer what he did independently.  Many people were approaching him because of how many people were laid off.  He wasn’t taking sides, but he said talking about how difficult things in life can be positive.  He was reading a text from the president.  He wrote a long winded text to his sponsor, with thoughts about his job, and his boss replied.  He immediately wanted to delete it.  They talked about it and he ended up giving him a sizeable contract as a result.

[43:29]  Talk to me about the pennies in your car.

He kept pennies in a tray in his car, because he had heard an old wives tale about sucking on a penny to throw off a breathalyzer test.  Whenever he got pulled over he would throw the penny in his mouth to suck on.  When he got sober, he saw the pennies in his car and he realized he didn’t need them to he cleaned them out.

[45:02] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    When he woke up at 4am, his infant daughter was screaming for a diaper change.  His hands were shaking so badly that he couldn’t do it, so he ran downstairs to get a drink so he could function.

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

    The people at his work approached him and told him that if he ever decided to stop drinking they would support him.  It was an indication that other people could tell that he could drink heavily.

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?

    Once your cup is full, and you don’t know how much more can fulfill you, the cup just gets bigger.  He wants to live a life of enrichment and fulfillment.

  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The Recovery Elevator podcast has been great.  Also, AA.

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

    Get honest with yourself about it.  It’s okay as long as you learn from it.

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Don’t quit before the miracle happens. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “…if you keep pennies in your car to throw off breathalyzer tests, and if you drink boxed vodka from a solo cup with a mixture of powdered gatorade and hose water in secret.”

 

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

 

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

 

RE 196: How Normal Drinkers View Addiction

Play

Dan, who doesn’t practice abstinence based recovery, shares his story…

Link to the Fox News article mentioned in the episode

“To be human is also to suffer from addiction. The particular vices vary as do our degree of addiction to them, but it takes precious little searching to know we’ve all got something unhealthy that pulls at us.” – Mike Kerrigan, Fox News

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:08] Paul Introduces Dan.

Paul doesn’t practice abstinence based recovery, and had a drink a few weeks ago.  He’s  28 years old and lives in New York City.  He runs a channel called Recovery X and Spooky Digital.  He does MMA.  He has a family.  He practices mindfulness.

 

[12:48] Give us a little background about your drinking.

He started drinking when he was 10.  His brother was getting married, and his parents allowed him to have a couple drinks.  He got really drunk.  He got a lot of attention and had a lot of fun.  His family started to warn him about alcoholism but he didn’t yet understand.  He would occasionally steal his father’s prescription medicine.  He had behavioral problems at a young age.. he would get in fights.  He started a school riot between different grades.  He always looked up to the trouble makers.  They got attention.  He has a big family, and he felt like he always had to fight to be noticed.  He was kicked out of 8th grade for stealing money from another kid.  He was sent to a private boarding school.  He was kicked out for fighting.  He went through all kinds of behavioral modification programs.  He felt abandoned by his family.  He noticed that his brother had a different strategy than him.

 

[18:33] At what point did you realize that you were using alcohol to self-soothe?

He wanted to keep getting kicked out of private schools until his parents would run out of options and send him to public school.  He began to drink more once he got to high school.  It helped him reduce his anxiety.  He ended up getting arrested after a fight, and was sent to rehab in Los Angeles.  It was his first experience with a sober lifestyle.  He was 16.  He saw young people in recovery.  He stayed out there for a while and would go on and off about wanting to be clean.  He was arrested after a drinking related incident that turned violent.  Alcohol always lead to destruction in his life.  He had a problem with his thoughts and feelings and emotions.  He also had an inability to deal with stress and relationships.

 

[23:53] Tell us more about the thinking problem.

His experience has been that the drugs and alcohol have been the solution to the problem, which was thinking or avoiding his internal dialogue.  He experienced a lot of internal conflict, different conflicting voices.  Now he has to be really strict about what he thinks, and what he allows to come into his mind.  He had to learn how to challenge and to reframe every negative thought and to turn it into something positive.

 

[26:17] At what point were you able to detach from the negative thoughts?

He doesn’t differentiate the thoughts from himself, he thinks it’s all him.  He thinks the mind is only about 10% of the entire brain, but it thinks that it’s all of it.  “It’s like a stowaway on a ship saying it’s the captain”.  He had to make friends to his subconscious mind and tell it that he’s listening.  He started meditating regularly.  It helps him get better at reframing thoughts.

 

[30:17] Did you experience a rock bottom moment to push into sobriety?

Many.  So many times in so many different ways.  If he had to pick one it would when he was getting violent in a relationship with a woman.  He realized he wasn’t raised that way and that he violated some sort of a core value about respecting women.  It made a tear in his psyche and he felt something growing through the cracks.

 

[32:32] Tell us about the lack of abstinence in your practice.  How does one successfully embrace the grey area?

He finds binary thinking in the recovery community.  The more we can be inclusive and the more we can embrace the idea the abstinence based recovery isn’t the only way the more people we can reach and the more people we can help.  A big misconception about harm reduction is that one needs to be completely sober.  Abstinence is a goal, but we’re really looking to improve our health and our lives on a daily basis.  The goal has been to monitor his mental health on a daily basis.  He started doing DBT (see links below).  Part of that is keeping a record of your emotions and thoughts throughout the day.  He takes notes about what happens in the day.  Our memories are often distorted and the diary helps eliminate that and keep everything straight.  He can see the patterns that lead to substance abuse.

 

[36:41] When you drank recently, how did you feel when you woke up the next day?

Alcohol can beat you up, but you don’t have to do it yourself.  Have compassion and keep it moving.  Don’t get stuck in the self loathing.  Tell yourself positive things.

 

[38:47] Tell us more about DBT.

DBT stands for Dialectical behavior therapy.  It’s a therapy with mindfulness at its core.  If one is more mindful of one’s thoughts, one can see the patterns and opportunities for reframing.  If someone ahead of you shuts a door in your face, the first reaction might be anger, but if we can see that we are assuming the intent, we can reframe it as a more innocent situation.

[41:05] Talk to us about abstinence being the goal.

Abstinence is one of the goals.  The real measure of success is in your life.  How are you treating other people?  Are you being kind and helpful?  How are you feeling?
[43:03] Tell us more about Recovery X.

They are offering free recovery resources to people in need.  They offer as many voices involved as possible.  They help people find recovery resources in their area.  Initially his passion in life was communication.  When he was a child he was bad at it.  He always wanted to understand communication.  After being in recovery, he realized that he could combine communication and recovery to be the most use to people in the world.  They want to provide trusted sources and resources that are are not scams.  Real authentic honest trustworthy programs.

[48:55] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment?
  3. What’s your plan moving forward?Focus on mastery, and continue to stay out of the results and just hone the skills.
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?Recovery Elevator, and RecoveryX.org
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? 

    Have compassion for yourself and just keep showing up and doing the work and you’ll get there. 

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? 

    Love yourself like you would love somebody else and reach out to people when you need help.  If you’re on Day 1 today, I would say have compassion for yourself.. you are fighting something that isn’t easy (it isn’t supposed to be) and I encourage you to keep at it.  Don’t give up.  It gets better, it’s a skill. 

  7. You might be an alcoholic if 

    …you go somewhere on vacation and end up on probation. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Recovery X:
Website

 

Video

Facebook (where we shoot live)

Youtube

 

Audio

Spotify

iTunes

 

Additional links mentioned from Dan

Recovery X Facebook Group where they post behind the scenes footage and people interested in recovery can connect with others.

 

Learn DBT Group on Facebook is a free community Dan runs, where people in recovery from a variety of mental health disorders can come to learn about DBT, get support and find free resources.

 

Personal Social Media for interviewee Dan

websiteInstagram, or Facebook.

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

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

RE 195: What Should the Bottle Say?

Play

Corey, with 5 days since his last drink, shares his story…

The mentioned article from the Irish Times

SHOW NOTES

[8:48] Paul Introduces Corey.

Corey has been sober for 5 days.  He’s from Minnesota, now lives in Boston.  He’s 25 years old and is working full time.  He likes to exercise.  He loves music, plays guitar and piano.  He has an upcoming trip to Columbia, is learning Spanish.  He feels confused with life now that he has left the structure of school.  

[13:31] Give us a little background about your drinking.

He started to drink a lot more during years in college.  He started to experiment with weed in high school.  He began to drink or party when he should have been studying.  He didn’t realize there was something wrong at the time.  He used his computer to avoid academic responsibilities.  He was okay with it as long as he continued to deliver on his academic duties.  He felt like he coasted through college and also began to coast through his first jobs.  He found himself in the same behavioral patterns.  He didn’t know where he was or what he was doing.  He lost a romantic partner because of his partying.  He drowned his feelings with drinking.  The feelings came back up after a few months.  He was caught in a weekly cycle of drinking and depression.  He used a notebook to think out loud and he wrote down that he wanted to quit drinking and smoking to be comfortable with who he was.  He devised a plan.  Last year he tried to knock out one of the three (weed, tobacco and alcohol).  He was so focused on change that he was able to quit tobacco.  Before a family trip he felt suddenly depressed.  He began to drink alcohol to try and cope with his feelings.

[22:10] How were you able to quit all 3?

He set a new year’s resolution to quit alcohol.  He ended up getting a therapist and it has helped a lot.  He went down to New Orleans and it broke his sobriety streak.  He felt guilty.  He let himself down.  He is now searching for a way to enjoy friendships without booze being involved.  Over the summer, he loosened his grip on quitting a little bit he hasn’t been able to shake it.  He went to a Halloween party and was drinking, and didn’t feel good.  He just decided to leave.  At home he was depressed and began googling ways to end his life.  He feels that is his rock bottom.

[29:51] How will you manage your drinking on your upcoming trip to Maine?

He doesn’t have a real concrete plan.  He knows there will be temptation.  He’s not sure what to do about it.  He will try to text them and tell them that he won’t be drinking.

[32:48] What’s your plan in sobriety moving forward?

He bought some books.  He wants to read those.  He’s listening to podcasts.  He wants to continue to learn and journal and continue to move forward.  He’s concerned about his upcoming trips, but he’ll do his best and try not to judge himself.

[37:46] How have you been getting past cravings?

Having some sort of healthy beverage on hand. He drinks tons of water.

[39:03] What is on your bucket list in sobriety?

He wants to record a full album and get better at guitar.  He wants to make the most out of his international trips coming up.  He wants to quit also because he wants a family.

[40:34] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    The incident where he drank and almost indulged in suicide.

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

    When the denial ended and he got depressed.  He drank to go to sleep.  He realized he was damaging his health.

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    Recovery Elevator podcast.  He loves the format.  He likes to hear about other people’s stories.

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

    To take it one day at a time.  If he does today and then he does tomorrow, he doesn’t have to worry about the future.

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Just to get out of the trap of associating college with partying.  It’s going to catch up to you.

  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “…you always pick up a 30 rack of beer multiple times in a week when you go grocery shopping.”

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Support for this episode is brought to you by RiaHealth.com. Visit Riahealth.com/elevator and enter the coupon ELEVATOR for $25 off your first month.

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  • Ria’s program is month to month, so there’s no commitment. Most Ria Members stay with the program for about one year once they achieve their goals.

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

RE 194: Should I Identify With the Label Alcoholic?

Play

Kellie, with 2 months year since her last drink, shares her story…

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:00] Paul Introduces Kellie.

Kellie has been sober for 28 days.  She’s 43 years old, married with two children.  She’s a real estate broker that enjoys puzzles, reading, cooking, running and hiking, and her animals.    She tried alcohol for the first time around 10 years old.  She dabbled in different drugs in her teens.  She drank through her 20’s.  She had her son at 26.  She cleaned up her act and became a stay at home mother.  In her late 30’s she had weight loss surgery.  She was in the hospital and something happened to her brother.  She bought a bottle of wine.  Her drinking gradually escalated after that.

 

[16:48] Would you say you had an issue with food prior to the surgery?

Absolutely. She ate mostly healthy food but she would eat large quantities.  Her drinking began to affect her son.  She tried to moderate her drinking but it didn’t last very long.  She finally went to an outpatient treatment for 3 and a half weeks.  She was one of the only people there voluntarily and she didn’t like most of the people there.  She was focusing on the negative.  They would focus on the alcoholism in her family.

 

[22:30] Tell us about the transfer addiction.

They are checking to see if you will switch to a different addiction rather than food.  She feels that she has an addictive personality.  She would run even if she was experiencing pain or other issues.

 

[28:00] Tell us more about the outpatient program. 

 

Her drinking got progressively worse.  She realized that she had to get it under control for her son and family.  She was afraid of what her alcoholism would be like once she had an empty home. She experienced aversion therapy.  She was slightly sedated, and they interview you.  Because of the drugs she had to answer honestly.  She did the electro shock therapy as well.  They condition you to experience negative feelings from interacting with alcohol.  It successfully eliminated the cravings. She was skeptical but now she thinks about it as a miracle.

[33:22] It sounds like they are trying to punish or shame the alcohol out of people. Is that right?

Even though the treatments were extreme, it was a positive environment over all.  People were there because they wanted to be.  The nurses and doctors were there to help you get and stay sober.  They don’t focus on you being an alcoholic.  They focus on you being sober.

 

[35:08] What’s the “why” behind your addictive behavior?

She knew why she was drinking.  Substance abuse runs in her family.  She and her siblings were abused mentally and verbally.  The food became a coping mechanism.  When it stopped working, the booze became a problem.  She always knew why she drank.  She attends meetings to take care of herself.  The depression and anxiety is her why.  Now she’s focusing on the why.  The aversion therapy makes you not want to drink, but it’s still the same in that it only takes 1 drink to get back to where she was.

 

[40:09] What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

Just to do the next right thing.  Take care of herself.  She’s focusing on what she needs in the moment.  Getting up in the morning and doing the things that she knows will keep her sober.  She is trying to be more aware.  She sees her self-talk and is trying to keep it in check.  She combats the negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

 

[42:38] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

She wants to run another marathon.  She wants to be sober for her son.  She is trying not to think too far ahead.

 

[43:16] What have you learned about yourself in sobriety?

It is possible for her to be sober.  She was always worried that she would be an addict for life because she had seen it manifest in different family members.  She now focuses on the important things in her life.  She realizes that alcohol isn’t the most important thing in her life.

 

 

[44:04] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    Blacking out.  Her husband left to go get take-out.  While he was out she passed out and her son found her on the floor.

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

    Making her a co-conspirator in her drinking.  The two of them had to work together to hide her drinking from her son.

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

    The people in the recovery community.  She met many kinds of addicts in recovery and she relies on them to help her stay sober.

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

    Tell other people about recovery.  You have to do it in your way and do what works for you.  AA wasn’t for her and she’s glad she tried Shick Shadel.

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking?

    Do the next right thing.  Just think about right now.

  7. You might be an alcoholic if

    “… if you go on vacation with your kid and you spend the entire time drinking instead of spending time with your child.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Robinhood is giving my listeners free stock such as Apple, Ford or Sprint to help build your portfolio. Signup at elevator.robinhood.com

Right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free. Visit Ziprecruiter.com/elevator

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

 

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

 

RE 193: Can I have a drinking problem and not be an Alcoholic?

Play

Nel, with over 1 year since her last drink, shares her story…

Drinking is more than the average habit.  To reduce our problems with alcohol to a “bad habit” is missing the bigger picture.  We drink for a variety of reasons.. for example: to cope, to ignore, to numb, to hide.

Digging ourselves out of alcohol dependency actually requires the changing or removal of several habits.  We need to change the way we relax.  We need to change the way we deal with difficult emotions.  We need to become more conscious, aware, and in the moment.  We have to slowly remember the version of us that didn’t need anything to be okay.  We have to change everything.

When one finds themselves in the grips of alcohol, it probably takes more time, effort, and patience to return to our emotional center than it did to lose it.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and there are many lessons to be learned along the way, but with patience, persistence, self-love and an open mind, we can find ourselves looking back on our time with alcohol as a distant and remote dream.

 

SHOW NOTES

 

[11:40] Paul Introduces Nel.

Nel is 52 years old, from Shannon, Mississippi.  She now lives in New York.  She’s married.  She’s a personal trainer that loves sports, particularly fantasy football.  Dolphins are her favorite sea animal.

 

[15:05] Give us a little background about your drinking.

She started around 16.  Her parents died when she was young.  She had a chaotic upbringing.  She could never relax.  She started drinking after her parents died.  It helped her relax and she loved it.  She drank mostly on the weekends with the intention to get drunk.  She went on to college and started drinking a lot more.  She met her first husband her senior year of college.  He helped her finish school.  She was already beginning to drink a lot.  She always knew that she drank more than other people.  All of her friends drank.  She has alcoholism in her family.  She partied a lot in her 20s.  She worked and took care of herself.  Drinking remained a lower priority.  She divorced her first husband in her early 30s.  She moved back to Mississippi to be with her sister and help with her family.  She felt happier generally, but was always managing her alcohol.  She met her second husband at 35.  She moved to New York.  Her new husband was a normal drinker, and it made her realize how much she drank.  It caught up to her, and began to experience physical symptoms and tried to switch to marijuana.  She smoked pot “like she always wanted to drink”.  She knew in her heart that she was making bad choices.  She continued to function despite how she felt.  She would blackout multiple times.  She would experience “brownouts” after a few drinks.

 

[22:47] Did you experience a rock bottom moment?

She realized that she couldn’t trust herself anymore.  She would get stoned and pick up her nephew from school and she realized she was going down the wrong path.

 

[25:28] Talk more about what it meant to lose trust in yourself.

She was frightened.  Her biggest pillar of safety in life was her ability to self-regulate, and once she began to lose that she became extremely worried.  She was negotiating with herself, and never winning.  After the first line was crossed, the progression sped up because the anxiety kicked into overdrive.

 

[27:35] Did the drinking help you with the fact that you were flying solo in life?

She was trying to quiet the voices in her head and the anxiety and fear.  She used it as a coping mechanism, as medicine.

 

[29:10] How did you end up making the change and finding your way out?

She wants to live a life that her family members can look up to, as an example.  She realized she was off course.  She didn’t want to go out like her parents.  The next step was to put smoking and drinking down.  Ever since then, she believes that God has been helping her.  She began to do research about alcoholism and realized she had a problem, and that she wasn’t alone.

She is on the podcast because she wants to shed the shame.  She didn’t know many in recovery before.  She wants to reach out and let people know that there is a way out, and that they can do it.

 

[34:08] How did you keep the change going?

She knew one other person in recovery.  Within 48 hours of her thinking about reaching out to her, she was out of her house and she coincidentally ran into her on the boardwalk.  She told her everything and she stayed with her for the next few weeks.  She went to an AA meeting and it was the best decision she ever made.  It gave her instructions, guidance.

 

[37:27] Can you think of a time when self-negotiating didn’t work out?

She would go to a wedding, and tell herself she would only have two drinks.  By the end of the night she lost her shoes and couldn’t remember anything.  Towards the last few years she began to consistently lose the negotiations.

 

[38:53] What’s your plan moving forward in sobriety?

Keep it simple, do what’s working.  She goes to meetings every day.  She knows the rest of her life depends on whether or not she goes to those meetings.  She feels more freedom now than ever before.  She’s accepted that she can’t think her way out of everything.  She meditates daily now, and she can easily meditate now for 15-20 minutes.  She’s off her medication, her health has improved.  She’s realizing that everything revolves around your thoughts.  You have to practice and put in the work, but the benefits spill over into everything else in your life.  She also focuses on exercise.  Staying physically active and trying to take care of herself.

[42:44] Talk to us about the “why” in your drinking. 

A genetic component, but also her environment.  She was raised in an abusive household and was always anxious.  She had low self esteem.  She had voices in her head constantly criticise her.  She didn’t know how to handle life without an escape plan, and she felt like alcohol was something she needed.  She didn’t always have to have it, but she had to have access to it.  She didn’t realize that she wasn’t her thoughts.  She read “The Untethered Soul” and that plus her meditation practice has changed her relationship to her inner thoughts.  She’s excited to see her new potential.  When someone recommends a resource, give it a go!

 

[47:45 ] Rapid Fire Round

  1. What was your worst memory from drinking?

    She went to a party and proceeded to get smashed at a party.  She argued with her husband she isn’t aware about how she got back to her home.  The next day her sister just left back to Mississippi.
  2. Did you ever have an “oh-shit” moment? 

    When she picked up her nephew at school totally stoned.

  3. What’s your plan moving forward?
  4. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?Her AA group.  The support and the knowledge that she gets from them.  She also loves Recovery Elevator.
  5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received (on sobriety)? 

    Keep it simple.  Just one day at a time, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Don’t try to think your way out.

  6. What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are in recovery or thinking about quitting drinking? 

    What do you have to lose?  If you feel bad at yourself, what do you have to lose by trying to get sober?  You can always go back to your old way of life.  You have to be all in if you give it a try.

  7. You might be an alcoholic if 

    “…you’re at a baseball game, and you are more worried about the 7th inning when they’ll cut off the beer sales off.”

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Untethered Soul – A book by Michael Singer

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

 

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

 

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