RE 234: The Scientist

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Tiffany took her last drink on July 14, 2018.  This is her story.

On today’s episode Paul talks about the DUIs he didn’t get.  For those of you that may not know what a DUI is…it is Driving Under the Influence, with a BAC that is higher than .08.

Those missed DUIs, going all the way back to one in 2006, in which he was following behind a friend that was drunk behind the wheel, rolled his vehicle and passed away with a BAC of .33…were a contributing factor in Paul telling himself he didn’t have a drinking problem.

He told himself he didn’t have a drinking problem because he didn’t have any DUIs.  Paul has said, ‘the only line you can cross, but cannot come back from, is death’.  He hopes that Adrian’s story can help save the life of someone listening to this podcast.

SHOW NOTES

 

[16:05] Paul introduces Tiffany. 

 

Tiffany is originally from Connecticut but has been in Maryland for the last 10 years.  She is a property manager and a licensed captain.  She is 35 years old, single and has no kids.  She enjoys hiking and recently has discovered she likes to macramé, and has been doing a lot of that.  DIY crafts and projects around her house bring her joy.

 

[18:15] Give us a background on your drinking.

 

Tiffany started dinking when she was in 7th grade.  Drinking was the not the norm for her family or in her household growing up.  It wasn’t until she was in junior high and spending more time at friends’ houses that she was exposed to drinking being the norm.  Jr. high and high school was a lot of binge drinking on weekends.  Towards the end of high school Tiffany was more interested in being at work, she was working at a horse farm, and partying with her friends than being at school.  Work and partying became her priority and school was at the bottom of the totem pole.  She says she was a big pothead and felt that she could take, or leave, alcohol.

 

[20:50] When did you reach the moment when you couldn’t take it, or leave it? 

 

In 2006, when Tiffany was 21, she left everything behind and moved to New Zealand to work on a schooner.   She says that is when the switch happened.  Wine was everywhere.  She started to think of drinking as a reward for having a hard day, rather than just something she would binge on.

 

[22:45] Talk to us about the years between 21 and 34.

 

While on the schooner they went through a bad hurricane during a voyage.  Tiffany says it was terrifying, and it was at that time her drinking shifted from drinking as a reward for a hard day, to drinking to get out of her head.  She says she came home from that experience different, and that it is still something she is working through.

 

It was at this time she was drinking to not feel her feelings, and she started to isolate rather than drink socially.  In 2007 she moved to Baltimore and moved in to a neighborhood that was filled with bars, making it easy for her to drink and not be questioned.

 

[26:00] Get us up to speed closer to your sobriety date.

 

Between 2009-2012 not a lot really happened.  Tiffany says her drinking stayed about the same, she was still isolating amongst her group of drinking friends.  In 2014 she got into a relationship, that didn’t work out, but it was the first time she had ever heard someone refer to her as an alcoholic.

 

[26:45] What was it like hearing that?

 

Up until that time she says she had had a lot of nights that she regretted but that this was the first time she felt embarrassed.  This prompted Tiffany to lean into her isolation and she let all the self-negative talk that she had for herself beat her down.

 

In 2017 she was so depressed and isolating that she was afraid to leave her house unless it was for work.  Because she couldn’t control her drinking, she felt like she was failing in everything other than work.

[28:44] You said you knew you didn’t want to drink, but that all you knew was a life with drinking…talk to us about how that felt. 

 

It was insanity.  A snapshot of what felt like a normal day for Tiffany involved her waking up with a hangover, feeling like hell, getting herself together for work and then crying the whole way to work because she did not want to go home, because she did not want to drink again that night.  Her anxiety was crippling and things just didn’t get any better.  She lived like that for 3 years.

 

[30:20] What tipped the scales?

 

November 2017 Tiffany says she was at her bottom and she came across the Recovery Elevator podcast.  She hit play and binge listened to the episodes for a solid 2 weeks.

 

[33:55] What happened between November 2017 and July 2018?

 

Tiffany signed up for the RE Facebook group in June 2018 and made it 30 days AF.  On day 31 she walked into a store, thinking, “I got this”, and bought 5 bottles of wine and drank for 5 days.  She then decided she was done, drank all the alcohol in her house, and on July 14th 2018 had her last drink.

 

[44:00] So you got sober outside of AA?

 

Tiffany says that 12 step meetings are not for her, at least not right now.  She finds her peace and healing when she is outside of the rooms.  Knowing that she does need to talk to people and dive into some things

she did start talk therapy.

 

[45:56] What’s on your bucket list? 

 

The Asia trip is definitely being added.  Tiffany says she just wants to be happy.

 

[47:47] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

 

My 18th birthday.  I got so drunk I fell down the side of a mountain and my friends had to drive me home.

 

  1. When was the moment you knew you needed to quit drinking?

 

That is a toss up between when I heard my ex say I was an alcoholic and when I started listening to this podcast.

 

  1. What is your plan moving forward?

 

Keeping connection and staying social.  I’m making the point to keep networking.

 

  1. What is your favorite resource in recovery?

 

Definitely Recovery Elevator podcast and the Café’RE group.

 

  1. In regards to sobriety what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 

That it’s ok not to have perfect day.

 

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

 

If you think you have a problem you probably do.

 

  1. You might have a drinking problem if…

 

At the age of 15 you realize that if you only take shots, you don’t feel full, so you can drink more.

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Honey

This episode is brought to you by the smart shopping assistant Honey. Get Honey for free at  www.joinhoney.com/elevator. Honey, the smart shopping assistant that saves you time and money when you’re shopping online.

Zip Recruiter

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

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

RE 233: It’s Okay to Struggle

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Daz took his last drink on November 5, 2018.  This is his story.

This coming January Recovery Elevator is going to Thailand and Cambodia for 12 days.  Space is limited.  You can find more information about this event here

On today’s episode Paul discuses the double negative, not failing.  If you find yourself struggling to say no, to picking up a drink, you are not failing.  If you are not failing you are succeeding, accomplishing, flourishing, overcoming, conquering, thriving, winning, realizing your goal to become alcohol free.

Think about an accomplishment in your life that you are proud of.  Did that come without a struggle?   Most likely it did.  That struggle did not represent failure.  Growth is a big part of that struggle.

SHOW NOTES

[10:30] Paul introduces Daz. 

Daz is 43 years old, has been married for 5 years, and has 2 beautiful little girls.  He is from Vancouver Island and has lived in Vancouver for the last 17 years.  For fun Daz plays guitar, writes and records a lot of music, and his latest addiction is knowledge in recovery.

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

When Daz was 13 he had his first drink, and first drunk.  At the age of 15 he was introduced to smoking pot which very quickly became a daily thing.  An honor roll student until his senior year of high school, when other drugs were introduced, and things really started to nosedive.

Daz didn’t start drinking regularly until he was 19.  It then quickly became a daily thing, helping him come out of his shell and be more social.  It became a staple that stuck with him through his 20s.

Daz hit his rock bottom on April 20, 2005.  He had gone through a really dysfunctional relationship and his life had completely veered off the path that he had expected.  He was ready to throw in the towel on life.  Daz called his parents at 2AM and told them he didn’t know what to do, that he thought he wanted to just go and finish it off.  His parents got him to come home and that was his first attempt to get sober. It lasted a couple weeks, through the Christmas holidays, and he attended his first AA meetings while there.

When he got back to Vancouver things went back to the way they had been for about another year.  He was struggling to get by, working in bars and drinking on the job.  Found himself in legal trouble and soon couldn’t pay his rent.  Daz says he was one step away from living on the street.

[19:00] That was early 2007, bridge the gap for us. 

Daz entered a 2-month treatment center and says that was the beginning of him starting to stand up and dust himself off.  It gave him time to think about what he was going to do with his life.  He worked in the fitness industry for a couple years.

He started to slide back into drinking but had enough of a foundation at this time, and had left some of the other drugs behind, that things were starting to get on the right path.

He moved from the fitness industry into the software business and started performing music in the evenings.  This gave him something to be excited about and even though he was still drinking he now felt he had a purpose.

Daz met his wife 7 years ago, 1.5 years later they had their first baby, and 2-3 years ago he went to the doctor and was told he had a fatty liver.

[21:55] What happened next?

He now has his 2nd baby and a fatty liver.  His doctor told him if he didn’t stop drinking, he would be dead in 10 years.  That was the motivation Daz needed.  He had gone through the 12 steps of AA while in the treatment center but just never felt like that was for him.  What he found was something called, Neuro Recover, which is an IV treatment where the person is hooked up to an IV for 8 hours a day, for 10 days.  He says he soon realized that being sober is not just about not drinking, it’s about rebuilding your body.

After a few months Daz went back ‘out’.  When he was ready to try again, he came with more of a plan and was going to include community.  He did the IV treatment for 3 days.

On day 5 he was having back and leg pain, anxiety, and feeling frustrated.  Daz says he was almost ready to go get alcohol.  Instead of going to the store for alcohol he recalled reading that L-glutamine can help with alcohol cravings.  Having some in his cupboard he drank some and says that instantly the craving was gone.  Daz started attending SMART Recovery soon after.

[32:32] What are your qualms about AA?

Daz says his biggest qualm is the powerless aspect.  He feels to overcome addiction you need to be empowered.

[39:16] What would you say to someone looking to get sober, that has tried AA, and is looking for something else?

Daz would suggest the SMART Recovery community, RE Café’ Facebook groups, L-glutamine.  He would tell them to stay connected with people, and that diet is important.

[44:14] What are your thoughts on relapse?

Daz says he doesn’t think relapse is a bad thing, that it is just part of the process.  He says people shouldn’t be too negative about it as long as you are continuing on and learning to understand yourself, the body, and how it works.

[47:41] Where does spirituality come into play on this journey?

Daz is not a religious person, per-se, but he thinks it’s really important for people to stop and look inward, and turn other things off.

[48:50] Rapid Fire Round

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

Driving down the road and not being able to keep his hands on the steering wheel because he was shaking so badly.

  1. What is your plan moving forward?

My plan moving forward is to finish my website that I have been working on, like I said, it’s EmpoweredNotPowerless.com.  Continue going to SMART meetings and I have some people that I am close to and to just continue to help each other. To continue to lead by example.

  1. What is your favorite resource?

Get yourself some glutamine, don’t leave out the supplementation part of recovery.  You’ve been killing yourself for years and your body needs to heal itself.  I would also shout out Omar Pinto and the SHAIR podcast.  Another book I would recommend is Addicted to the Monkey Mind.

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

When it feels like it’s impossible, it’s not.

  1. You might have a drinking problem if…

You need to pull over on the side of the road because you can’t control your shaking.

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

Resources mentioned in this episode:

 

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

RE 232: Sober Curious

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Arlina took her last drink on April 22, 1994 and has been alcohol free for 25 years.  This is her story.

On today’s episode Paul discuses an article that a listener sent him regarding the term, ‘sober curious’.  This article was published in the New York Times and can be found here.

What is sober curious?  The term is pretty straight forward, it refers to those that are curious about exploring a life without alcohol.  But it can be unpacked even more.  To some, sober curious may mean that they never had a drinking problem, but they had a problem drinking.  In the article the author describes the sober curious as young professionals that are kind of, just a little bit, addicted to booze.

Paul feels that that bulk of this demographic of sober curious people are what would be referred to as high bottom drunks.  They are beginning to experience consequences from their drinking and they are becoming curious to what a life without alcohol would look like.

 

SHOW NOTES

[9:30] Paul introduces Arlina.

Arlina is 50 years old and had her last drink on her 25th birthday.  She grew up in Silicon Valley.  She is married and has 2 sons.  Arlina has a podcast, enjoys yoga, hiking and going for walks.  She is soon to be the owner of a bulldog puppy.

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

Arlina says she feels her drinking was garden variety.  She started drinking at a young age, between 8-10 years old, and says she didn’t realize how bad she felt until she felt good from drinking. She says from her first drink to her last she wanted to be anybody but herself.

[19:00] Was there a rock bottom moment that led up to you having your last drink on your 25th birthday? 

Arlina says she had a series of rock-bottom moments.  She never knew what emotion to expect when she would drink, she would either be crying or fighting.  Even after a night out with her sister, in which Arlina got drunk, punched her windshield a couple times, breaking it, kicked her sister (who was driving) in the face, her sister getting help from the neighbors, the police being called, and waking up with that incomprehensible demoralization, it took hearing that her sister had gone to Al-anon for her to connect her drinking with alcoholism.  Arlina wrestled with that thought for 2 years.

[23:20] Talk to us about when you finally reached that conclusion.

Arlina says it was a very humbling experience because she had defined alcoholism as something so negative.  Hating who she was anyway and then adding alcoholic and drug addict to it was overwhelming.  What had been her solution had become her executioner.

[25:55] What was it like in early sobriety?

Arlina says it was overwhelming, but that she was relieved of the obsession to consume alcohol the day after her birthday.   She discovered she was kind of high maintenance.  She needed a morning routine, turning her life and her will over to God, and had to nurture a conscious contact with God throughout the day.  She attended a lot of meetings a week and service played a large part.

[31:22] Let’s talk about the why behind your drinking.  Do you agree that alcohol is but a symptom? 

Arlina agrees 100% that alcohol is but a symptom.  She says she las learned that the brain will try and protect you from your pain, and if you can’t get out of it, it will develop a distraction, and that could be alcoholism or any other addiction.  Time does not heal all wounds; pain waits and lessons are repeated until they are learned.

[37:27] Earlier you talked about chasing a feeling, how do you chase that feeling without alcohol. 

Arlina says the feeling that she was chasing was relief.  She likes to feel happiness and joy and she finds that in the service work she does.  When she can do something to alleviate someone else’s suffering she feels like she is fulfilling her purpose and that is when she feels the most joy.

[42:00] Talk to us about your podcast, The ODAAT Chat.   **Arlina also has a website by the same name and you can find it here.   

Arlina originally started a sales podcast, but says it was really on her heart to do one on recovery.  She was conflicted because in the 12 traditions it says to maintain our anonymity at the level of press, radio and film.  Following the tragic death of a friend, who had attended a 6 AM meeting called ODAAT, she decided to be bold and follow her heart.  The podcast has added some pressure but also has brought joy to Arlina.

[46:40] Rapid Fire Round

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

Puking my guts out at a San Francisco Giants game in front of a whole bunch of fancy people.

  1. Year 26, how’s it going to happen?

It’s going to happen one day at a time.  This morning I went for a walk and broke out an amazing book called Jesus Calling and read that.  I drew my Gabby Bernstein card and I use the Headspace app to do some meditation and I find if I do that routine in the morning my day goes so much better.

  1. In regards to sobriety what is the best advice you have ever received?

Follow your heart.

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

Open your mind and your heart and you’ll be amazed before you are halfway through.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

You end up in an AA meeting.

 

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

Resources mentioned in this episode:

 

BetterHelp 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 500,000 people talking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. Recovery Elevator listeners get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/style/sober-curious.html

http://odaatchat.com/

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

RE 231: Control

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Odette, took her last drink on December 17, 2018.  This is her story.

On today’s episode Paul talks about control and how it relates to the level of an addiction.  The more our drinking gets out of control the more we try and control our external environments.  This is the main driver why control is such an important concept to deepen with so we can become aware of the level of control we placing on the external environment.

We are left with 2 choices.  Option 1 is to do nothing, and that is not what this podcast is about.  That leaves us with option 2.  Get ready to saddle up.  Once an addiction is been acknowledged it can no longer be ignored, and it cannot be addressed without making major life changes.  Changes like a new self-image, your perception, a new consciousness, your ideas and beliefs, your entire life’s foundations.  That’s a lot of change, and as humans we resist change.

SHOW NOTES

[8:10] Paul introduces Odette. 

Paul first chatted with Odette on episode 128, which came out on July 31st 2017, when she had 1 week of sobriety, he encourages you to go back and listen to that episode.  Today, Odette hit a big milestone…she has 6 months of sobriety.

Odette is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, but has been living in San Diego for almost 10 years.  She is married and a mom to 2 toddlers, Max and Sienna.  She works fulltime at WeWork.  Odette loves bowling for fun, says it’s probably her favorite thing, and she will fight anyone who says that it’s not a sport.  She also loves to try new teas and lately you will find her doing puzzles.

[11:50] Give us a background on your drinking.

Odette says she’s been in the recovery world for a decade.  Her dad is a recovering alcoholic and he’s about to hit his 10 year, so she was first exposed to recovery through him.  She likes to say that his addiction has become the biggest gift, not just to herself, but to her entire family. Odette also developed an eating disorder, which she says is her first addiction, if it has to be labeled.  Odette says that although she’s been in the recovery world for a while, in terms of drinking, she thinks she falls into the ‘gray area drinker’ category.  She doesn’t have a catastrophic story to tell in terms of her relationship with alcohol.

Because of this it’s been a real journey for Odette to figure out if she really belonged here or if she didn’t belong here, if she really had a problem with drinking.  What really changed things for Odette was something that she keeps telling people.  You don’t have to have a serious drinking problem to have a problem with drinking, and she definitely knew that she had a problem with drinking.

[16:05] In regards to alcohol and your eating disorder, what is your thoughts on addiction whack-a-mole?

Odette thinks addiction whack-a-mole is a thing and that it is really important that we become ambassadors of being graceful to ourselves.   The addictions become more manageable now, not because it’s easier, but because there’s this sense of awareness.  Odette says she still sometimes eats when she’s not hungry, and that things that are part of her eating disorder chapter still come up, but she is aware of it now.  She realizes that she just didn’t want to feel the feelings, so she ate.

[21:43] Talk to us about the time between when you were first on the podcast until now?

Odette struggled a lot, because, she says she is a binary person, and is like a lot of others in recovery who are in that gray area.  And not just with drinking but the gray area of life.   She loves fitting in boxes and labeling herself, and that is something that she really been trying to detach from these last 6 months.  She stopped questioning where she belonged and if she belonged and started asking herself different questions, like how she was feeling when she drank or if she was trying to cope with something.  She had to get a little creative with her questions because she was getting the same results when asking the same old questions.

[26:55] Talk to us about the unknown and how you leaned into it.

The unknown is very scary for Odette.  She knew, as she was stacking days this third time around, that fear was going to creep up on her.  So she grounded herself with people who have really good messages around fear because she didn’t expect that fear to go away.  She learned to develop a different relationship with her fear.

[34:33] Let’s talk about the concept of internal vs. external, where do you feel you are?

Odette feels like it’s shifting, and that she is discovering a lot of things.  She also believes a lot of it is linked to her eating disorder because she did not have a connection with her body was feeling at all.  Odette has been focusing on the internal and the physical.

[36:40] Share with us how fun it is to meet up at our retreats, like our one coming up in Bozeman next month. 

Odette says she stopped calling them retreats and has started calling them “sober camp”, because they are just that much fun.  Bozeman will be Odette’s 3rd retreat and says that they are such amazing fuel and that the connections and friendships she has made are now like family.

[37:50] Talk to us about a time, in the last 6 months, that it got tough and you overcame it without alcohol? 

The last 3-4 months have been extremely challenging for Odette.  As all the layers are coming off Odette says it feels very raw and at times very heartbreaking.  She has done a lot of reconciling the last 5 months with decisions from the past.  She says she is not living in the past, but reconciling with what has brought her to where she is right now.

[42:30] Talk to us about the emotion, Joy, and when it first showed up for you. 

Odette used to have so many highs and so many lows it was though she was on a roller coaster.  Nowadays she aims for contentment.  She lets things pass her by and finds joy in the smallest things.  She finds herself getting teary eyed just looking at her daughter or while listening to a song while driving.  For Odette joy is found in the simple things and the quietness.

[47:05] What themes are you exploring right now in your recovery?

Intention is a big one, and not being tied to an outcome.  Odette feels like she was tied to external outcomes in the beginning and she is distancing herself from that now.  Also, she says she is learning to let go of control.

[51:00] Walk us through a day in your recovery.

Odette is an early riser and wakes up between 4:30-5:00 AM.  Exercise is one of her biggest tools in her tool belt so she tries to get in some sort of it first thing in the morning.  She does daily reading each morning and spends some quality time with her family.  She goes to work, listens to a podcast or Marco Polo’s with someone, and spends her lunch outside because nature is another big tool in her tool belt.  After work she is busy being mom, making dinner and lunches.  She has a BBT rule…bed by ten.  Her weekends are slower and way less structured.

[55:44] Rapid Fire Round

  1. In regards to sobriety what is the best advice you have ever received?

You can’t do this alone…but you have to be your own cheerleader.

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

Trust your gut.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

You burn all the ships and you still drink.

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

 

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

RE 229: Alcohol Has Been Ruined For Me

Play

Melissa, with a sobriety date of October 29, 2018, shares her story.

Paul shares one of his favorite emails.  Dale from Pittsburgh says…Paul, you son of a bitch.  You have completely ruined alcohol for me.

Your experience with alcohol may no longer be the same after listening to the podcast!  Don’t worry about the how…that always solves itself.

SHOW NOTES

[11:00] Paul introduces Melissa. 

Melissa says that sobriety is the most badass gift she has given herself.  The biggest milestone.  She is from Vancouver Canada.  She is 44 years old and has a 12-year-old son and a 1-year old rescue dog.  Melissa has been a business owner for the last 5 years.  For fun she likes to walk in the forest.

[16:20] What is something you want to try out in sobriety? 

Scuba diving!

[17:30] Give us a background on your drinking.

Melissa had her first drink when she was 15.  She got drunk the first time she drank and the kids at school thought she was cool.  Her parents got divorced when she was 16 and she took the roll of mom to her younger siblings.  In high school she started dating guys that were older and was going to night clubs.  When she graduated high school, and turned 18, she started bartending.  In 1998 she moved to the Cayman Islands and lived there for 5 years.  She drank a lot and her drinking progressed.  When she was 27 years old, she moved back home.  She got married and they had a son.  As she got older, she started to become verbally abusive when she drank.   That’s when the blackouts started to happen.

January 2010 they separate, her son is 3 years old at the time.  A few months later, while she is volunteering a police officer approaches her and takes her back to her house.  Once she is home she finds out that her brother hit a tree while snowboarding and died.

[29:50] bring us up to speed to your sobriety date.

2011…she gets together with a new man.  He was an enabler and he let her drink the way she wanted to drink.  On October 29th, after begging him to give her another chance, she walked into an AA meeting.

[35:40] What was that first meeting like?

Melissa says she was a mess.  Two old-timers took her under their wings and she will never forget them.  She went to meetings every single day for the first month.

[36:35] What did it mean to surrender?

Melissa realized that she was powerless.  The mental obsession was too much and she gave up.

[46:42] What have you learned about yourself? 

The most important thing Melissa has learned about herself is that she has so much to give.

[47:28] Rapid Fire Round

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

Waking up in the middle of the floor and not know what I drank.

  1. What’s your favorite resource in recovery?

Definitely the podcast and AA.

  1. In regards to sobriety what’s the best advice you’ve received?

Trust the process.

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

You’re not alone.

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

Your 7-year-old son begs you to go to the wine shop after school so he can get the free puck that comes with the bottle of wine you drink.

 

Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

Asia Adventure – January 20-31, 2020

You can find more information about these events here

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

Sobriety Tracker iTunes

Sobriety Tracker Android

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

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

RE 228: Only in My Darkness Did I see My Light

Play

Sara, with a sobriety date of January 16, 2019, shares her story.

On today’s episode Paul shares an internet meme that he saw and loved…

“Only in my pain, did I find my will.

Only in my chaos, did I learn to be still.

Only in my fear, did I find my might.

Only in my darkness, did I see my light.”

Starting to see a theme, Paul added a few lines…

Only through my self-loathing was I able to love myself.

Only through my fears was I able to see how little it has ever served                   me.

Only through guilt was I able to see that all humans make mistakes, and I’m human.

Only through shame did I realize I don’t owe anyone in life an explanation, ever again.

Only through my failures was I able to see what I was doing wrong and then make the necessary corrections.

Only through blacking out was I able to recognize the misery with living without light.

Only with a crushing headache after a heavy night of drinking was I able to appreciate a clear mind.

Only through my addiction was I able to see the path that I didn’t want to take and clearly see that path that I did want to take.

The trend we are seeing here is called ‘the backward law’.  It when we experience the suffering before we experience the bliss on the other side.  This is also Newton’s first law of motion.

If you ignore the nudge to quit drinking it will quickly become an elbow to the shoulder, a kick to the groin, then a full Andre the Giant body slam.

SHOW NOTES

[10:00] Paul introduces Sara. 

Sara with a sobriety date of January 16, 2019, has been sober for 4 months, 22 days.  She is from Melbourne, Australia.  She is 36 years old.  Sara is single and is studying counseling and coaching.  She loves to read nonfiction books on human behavior, phycology, self-development, and relationships.

[13:00] Give us a background on your drinking. 

Sara started drinking at the age of 13.  She says from the beginning she couldn’t moderate and that alcohol gave her a sense of belonging.  Over the years she found herself gravitating towards friendships with people that liked to drink.  All her friends liked to party but she had a vague feeling that wasn’t a healthy way to live.

[14:31] When did you first have the notion that it wasn’t a healthy way to live? 

Sara says it was a long time before she realized it wasn’t a healthy way to live but she did know was that the repercussions from her drinking were terrible straight off the bat.  Every time Sara drank, she would do something she was ashamed of.  She never had an off switch and never had a time when she was a ‘normal’ drinker.

[15:25] Talk to us about your 20s. 

By the time she was 17 Sara had a calendar on the wall and was ticking off days that she didn’t drink.  She could only get 2 days straight and found it frustrating why she couldn’t get more.  This caused her to feel shame and inadequacy as a human.  In her 20s she was a bargirl.  She would go to the bars with her friends or alone.  At 21 she felt the desperation of not knowing what to do about her drinking, she found herself on her knees at a park begging for help.  Her prayers were not answered and she continued to drink and continued to do geographicals within Melbourne.

At 28 Sara decided to go overseas.  She was struggling with her purpose in life and thought she would find herself and sort her drinking out.  Instead of finding herself she just found a whole lot of bars. Looking back on that time it feels like wasted time because instead of seeing the world she just drank.

[20:25] When did you decide to go back to Australia and that maybe quitting drinking was part of the grander scheme of things?

Sara had actually gone to AA when she was 23 and had given up drinking for about 6 months, so she knew AA existed, so she ended up going back to AA in Scotland and England.  She had stints of 6 months and 3 months sobriety and says that was some of the most joyous times of her travels.

[20:55] What do you think happened after those 6 most joyous months?

Sara says her headspace happened.  It told her she was cured and that she had evolved in those 6 months, and could drink moderately.

[21:45] So did you then make it back to Australia, is that where you got sober?          

In 2012 Sara returned to Australia.  Once back in Australia she pulled away from the pub crowd and was spending more time with just her friends or at home, so she was getting in less trouble but her drinking became more of a daily thing.  In the last couple of years alcohol was the only thing that would make her happy.

[25:10] Was there a rock bottom moment on January 15, 2019?  Tell us what it was like on January 16?

No, Sara was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  She says she started out on the pink cloud and that lasted about 2 months.  She went to an AA meeting on day 1 because she knew that the times she had the longest stretches of sobriety was when she was active in AA.  She is still active in AA.

[27:15] What was the first month like? What was different this time?

She said she was not running on fear but that there was a healthy fear there that reminded her she needed to do what she could.  Instead of looking for the differences at meetings she was looking for the similarities. She realized that she was not reaching her full potential when drinking alcohol.

[30:30] What’s on your bucket list in sobriety?

To become more of a dedicated student with her counseling.  She loves to dance and wants to get back into doing that.

[37:08] What results are you seeing from the communication between your adult self and your child self? 

Old beliefs are getting brought up and Sara is able to see why she responds in certain ways to certain triggers.  She is hyperaware of her triggers now and is addressing them.

[39:10] Why do you think you drank?

Sara’s says her parents met in rehab so she feels there is some genetics that come into play, along with some childhood trauma.  Alcohol helped her feel like she belonged.

[43:15] What are your thoughts on relapse? 

Sara feels that relapses are par for the course and her relapses taught her so much, she didn’t realize that at the time, but looking back now she recognizes it.

[44:43] Rapid Fire Round

  1. Worst memory from drinking?

The no memory memories.  The moment of dread and horror while trying to piece the night together.

  1. When was your oh-shit moment?

I was in Scotland and I was gifted a free week’s trip on a yacht.  I hadn’t been drinking for 6 months and I decided I would drink at sea.   The first 6 nights were fine…night 7 found her sneaking onto a cruise liner, stealing bottles of alcohol, getting caught, and waking up in a 90-year-old lady’s home but not knowing where she was.

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

I want to thrive and lead a joyous and fulfilling life.

  1. In regards to sobriety what’s the best advice you’ve received?

One day at a time.

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

Get really honest with yourself, ask yourself, “how long have I been trying to moderate? And has it been working?”

  1. You might be an alcoholic if…

It’s 3 AM and your ex-boyfriend’s housemate finds you outside of the house, ¾ ways up a tree, and when he asks you what you are doing you say, “I’m being a ninja”, and you proceed to fall out of the tree onto the ground and laugh like a maniac.

 

 Upcoming retreats:

Bozeman Retreat – August 14-18, 2019

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You can find more information about these events here

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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

 

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