RE 491: Sobriety is Not…

RE 491: Sobriety is Not…

Episode 491 – Sobriety is Not….

 

Today we have Santino. He is 36 years old, lives in Taunton, MA, and took his last drink on May 24th, 2022.

 

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[02:55] Thoughts from Paul:

 

A question we all eventually ask ourselves during our lifetime is – who am I? Eckhart Tolle (the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth) says that through the process of finding out who we are not, we also find out who we are.

 

One of our Café RE hosts, Tonya, shared a great list of what sobriety is not which Paul shares and elaborates on:

 

  • Sobriety is not the same for everyone.
  • Sobriety is not going back to how things were.
  • Sobriety does not rid you of your past.
  • Sobriety is not the end of your life if you enter recovery or treatment.
  • Sobriety is not the end of socializing.
  • Sobriety is not something you can do halfheartedly.
  • Sobriety is not just a temporary thing.

 

Rumi says “don’t be held captive. Your life has no border or shoreline”. Don’t be held captive by a mind created definition of what sobriety is because in reality, it can be whatever you want it to be. It can be infinitely boundless.

 

[10:42] Paul introduces Santino:

 

This is Santino’s third appearance on the podcast, and he is celebrating 2 years alcohol free at the time of this recording.

 

Santino grew up in the Midwest but currently lives in eastern MA. He is currently working on writing his memoir and he and his wife are expecting their second child.

 

Curiosity in his early teens led Santino to try alcohol. He joined the military after high school where drinking is generally part of the culture. Santino considers his drinking rather benign until his late twenties. It was then that he began to use alcohol for coping through uncertainty in his life. Once he started finding himself focusing more and more on his next drink, he began gaslighting and manipulating to protect his drinking. Santino acknowledges that he was becoming like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

 

Several months before he quit drinking, Santino had a bad withdrawal experience. At the time he was depressed and cared little about himself. He recognized that this may be what a rock bottom feels like and didn’t want to go through this again. He was able to quit for three months in early 2022, but a birthday celebration in March found him falling right into the old habits.

 

A turning point for Santino was after watching coverage of a school shooting while at the bar. Thinking about becoming a better example for the children of the future, he stopped drinking that day. He calls this clocking out of purgatory. An ultimatum from his wife after discovering hidden debt sealed the deal for Santino.

 

Comparing the first year of sobriety to the second year, Santino feels there is pure form of clarity that he has. He no longer feels the need to hide anymore. He is exploring who he is and what he can offer to the universe.

 

Santino says he has been attending individual and marriage therapy which has been helpful to him. He works on fostering his relationships, attends AA meetings, practices positive self-talk, and works on connecting with his emotions and his inner self daily.

 

Santino’s favorite recovery quote: “the world record for the longest time without a drink is 24 hours.”

 

One thing Santino has learned in sobriety: that he has always had something to offer the world – his true, authentic self.

 

Santino’s favorite sober moment: having the emotional capacity to deal with life as he knows it as well as deal with conflicts he would otherwise run away from.

 

Santino’s parting piece of guidance: give yourself the grace that alcohol will never give you.

 

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RE 490: Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

RE 490: Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

Episode 490 – Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

 

Today we have Stephanie. She is 48 years old and lives in San Diego, CA. She took her last drink on January 11th, 2020.

 

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[2:21] Thoughts from Kris:

 

Kris shares that he and his family have always enjoyed camping. Recently, he was looking forward to a week that the family could get together, probably for the only time this summer due to work and social schedules. Things did not go as planned due to obligations, weather and some mishaps along the way.

 

Kris found his mind making the determination that if their week didn’t look exactly like it was planned, then it was no longer good. This is one of Kris’s work-in-progress areas in his recovery. He shares that it’s somewhat normal to have expectations from the people in our lives and society in general, but what do we do when people, places and things fall short of those expectations?

 

A few things that Kris does is practice gratitude – he is grateful for the time he does get to spend with family and the great weather they had for most of the week. He also practices taking a self-inventory and shares page 86 from AA’s Big Book to give us an idea of what that looks like.

 

Let Kris know how you navigate expectations and resentments – kris@recoveryelevator.com

 

[09:48] Kris introduces Stephanie:

 

Stephanie lives in San Diego with her husband and twin 16-year-old boys. She works as a legal analyst for a Fortune 10 company and loves sports. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, playing games and traveling.

 

Stephanie witnessed her father become a heavy drinker after the loss of her mother. She was young at the time and as she grew up vowed that she would not drink like he did. At 15, Stephanie first tried alcohol and ended up the victim of an assault during a blackout. Due to this, and her father’s alcoholism, Stephanie was very careful with her consumption for many years.

 

After having kids and one of them was diagnosed with autism, she began to use alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with her high stress job and parenting. Others would participate with her having drinks after work, so it felt like a normal, adult thing to do.

 

When Stephanie’s husband became disabled in a work accident, things got tough for them financially. Her drinking increased while she was working to rebuild their lives. As things began to improve for the family, she realized that she was drinking too much but was sure she would be able to quit when she was ready – since she didn’t look like her father, she didn’t think it was that big of an issue.

 

When she tried to quit alone in 2019, she was able to get four months and thought she could return to normal drinking. After a while she was drinking to blackout again and knew she needed to get help. She attended rehab for 60 days and also discovered the RE podcast. Hearing others share their stories really helped her. Community has become so important to Stephanie, and she has made a lot of friends along the way that she calls her Spiritual Gangsters.

 

Stephanie’s plan in sobriety moving forward: continue being present with others, exploring her life’s purpose and living life authentically.

 

Stephanie’s parting piece of guidance: despite what you have been told, life without alcohol is so much more fun, fulfilling and connected than your life while drinking ever was.

 

We might as well go big RE, because eventually we all go home.

I love you guys.

 

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RE 489: The Best Parts of an Alcohol-Free Life

RE 489: The Best Parts of an Alcohol-Free Life

Episode 489 – The Best Parts of an Alcohol-Free Life

 

Today we have Chris. He is 56 years old and lives in Beacon, NY and took his last drink on April 18th, 2024.

 

Registration for our next Alcohol-Free travel trip to Vietnam opens TODAY! This upcoming January 9th-20th, 2025, we’re heading to this incredible Southeast Asia paradise for 10 days and 11 nights with 25 travelers who are done nursing hangovers.

 

Welcome to our new listeners! We are glad to have you with us. You are in the right place. There is a whole new authentic life awaiting you, which isn’t far away.

 

Congratulations to Paul and his wife on the birth of their new baby boy!

 

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[04:10] Thoughts from Paul:

 

A few weeks ago, Paul asked our Instagram followers what is the best part of being sober or living an alcohol free life. He shares with us some of the responses he received.

 

The four biggest commonalities he saw were:

  • More authenticity
  • Less shame and regret
  • More energy
  • More clarity

 

Think of the sobriety quote “you’re giving up one thing for everything”.

 

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[11:16] Paul introduces Chris:

 

Chris says he is 56 years old and grew up in northern New Jersey, close to NYC. Cooking is his passion, and he has worked in the food and beverage industry all of his life, currently in a director role. Chris also enjoys the outdoors and currently lives in the Hudson Valley.

 

Beyond the occasional night of overindulgence, Chris says his drinking was normal. He was around alcohol a lot in the industry he works in. After getting married, he and his wife enjoyed entertaining in addition to traveling to wineries and distilleries and building a collection. Over time Chris began drinking more than just wine with dinner, had booze all over the house and was drinking earlier in the day and more often.

 

After he and his wife got divorced, Chris found himself drinking more heavily and was less discriminate of what he was drinking as long as he was getting his fix, as he calls it.

He was breaking commitments and becoming less functional in his day-to-day life.

 

Chris didn’t drink heavily around other people but told his family in 2018 that he needed help. He went into treatment and was able to gain 14 months. He was part of a sober community called Ben’s Friends geared towards those in the service industry. Chris was able to gain some sobriety time but had a series of stops and starts with several more visits to rehab as well.

 

Currently at 34 days, Chris is working on rebuilding his life. He knows time will heal his relationships with family, and he is attending IOP for accountability. He is spending a lot of time outdoors and is grateful that the weather has been nice. He attends AA meetings, Café RE chats, and participates in meetings with Ben’s Friends. Missing meetings is a non-negotiable for Chris and he also makes sure to nurture himself physically and spiritually.

 

Chris’ best sober moment: being present with his partner while on vacation.

 

Chris’ parting piece of guidance: stay connected.

 

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RE 488: Hello Truth

RE 488: Hello Truth

Episode 488 – Hello Truth

 

Today we have Christine. She is 58 and lives in Ontario. She took her last drink on December 29th, 2022.

 

Recovery Elevator is going to Vietnam January 9th-20th, 2025. Registration for our newest alcohol-free travel trip opens July 1st. We have room for 25 passengers on this journey. We have AF workshops, a home stay and a service project planned, plus you’ll be traveling with others who have already ditched the booze.

 

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[02:56] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Paul shares with us some articles reminding us of what we already know: alcohol is shit.

Society is waking up to the fact that no amount of alcohol is good for you.

 

In 2023, GQ had an article titled The Year We realize Any Alcohol Is Bad For You.

 

The World Health Organization, who once supported the stance that one to two drinks per day is beneficial, is now doing an about face.  Their headline was No Level of Alcohol Consumption is Safe For Your Health.

 

The New York times also had an article further showing that the truth is emerging: Even A Little Alcohol Can Harm Your Health.

 

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction shares Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Heath.

 

NBC News shares their take on the fact that drinking moderately is not healthier than abstaining

 

If you want to join the discussion, go to the Recovery Elevator Instagram page and let us know what your thoughts are on today’s intro. Or write to your local politician and let them know that alcohol is shit.

 

Exact Nature: https://exactnature.com/RE20

 

[10:08] Kris introduces Christine:

 

Christine is 58 years old and has two adult children, two cats, and is divorced. Christine is a massage therapist and enjoys participating in theater and reading in her spare time.

 

Christine said that she knew there was alcoholism in her family, and her parents didn’t drink. She knew it was something that people needed to be careful with.

 

While at university, she saw her older brother participating in the party scene and believed that drinking was just part of the experience. She started drinking and says that it was like a release valve for her and helped her with her awkwardness.

 

After marrying her husband, Christine says drinking wasn’t part of their life for a long time. The occasional bottle of wine turned into more alcohol towards the end of the marriage.  Upon splitting up and moving to a new community, Christine found a music scene and easy friends there to frequently spend time drinking with.

 

Christine feels she was leading a double life and not many people knew the extent of her drinking. Her brother noticed and was concerned. Christine started having regret for her drinking and attempted moderation for a while.

 

Eventually she picked up Allan Carr’s book at the bookstore and began taking notes. Toward the end of 2019 she was able to quit for a period of time until the pandemic struck.

 

Since she was not working and unable to care for her parents as she had been doing, she used the time to drink and felt entitled to the break. After being able to go out again, she started feeling the shame and despair set in. She began to realize she wasn’t going out for the music and friends, but for the drinks. After getting sick for two weeks and being unable to drink, something told Christine to take this opportunity to keep going.

 

Christine found podcasts, YouTube testimonials, and began reading quit lit again feeling called to sobriety. She joined and became active in Café RE. Keeping a list in her phone of her whys and why nots which helped her a lot.

 

Christine’s parting piece of guidance: we shouldn’t be asking ourselves if it’s bad enough to quit, we should be asking if it’s good enough to keep.

 

Chrstine’s plan in sobriety going forward: seeking in-person connections.

 

 

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RE 487: How Would You Walk?

RE 487: How Would You Walk?

Episode 487 – How Would You Walk?

 

Today we have Sarah. She is 45 and lives in Indiana. She took her last drink on December 31st, 2022.

 

Let’s talk AF International travel with Recovery Elevator. We’ve got some incredible trips in the works. We’re going to Vietnam for 12 days in January 2025. Then Back to Costa Rica for our 4th trip to the Blue Zone in April 2025, and then, we’re going back to Peru in October 2025 where we’re going to the Inca Trail and work with Non-profit Peruvian Hearts again.

 

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[02:42] Thoughts from Paul:

 

The World Heart Federation published a policy brief in 2022 staying there is “no level of alcohol consumption that is safe for health.” There was and still is a collective belief that alcohol is good for you. This is especially prominent in the wine culture.

 

The paradigm is slowly cracking which is a huge step in the right direction. When Paul started Recovery Elevator in 2015, you couldn’t find that line anywhere. It was almost customary to see a line that says something like “studies show moderate alcohol consumption can improve heart health and longevity”.  Today the tides are turning and a narrative that alcohol can wreck your world (aka, the truth) is emerging. People are waking up to the lies that Big Alcohol has sold us.

 

Check out this recent article about a new phenomenon called BORGS explains what these are and then follows it up with the snippet about alcohol being shit.

 

 

[09:18] Paul introduces Sarah:

 

Sarah is 45 and lives in Indiana. She is married with two kids and works in marketing. When she isn’t running the kids to their practices and games, she enjoys exercising, reading and backpacking.

 

Sarah parents divorced when she was 11 and she grew up with her mother who she was very close with. She doesn’t recall alcohol being very present in their lives. Sarah didn’t drink much in high school but in college and into her 20s, everything she and her friends did involved alcohol. She always knew her drinking looked a little different than everyone else’s, but didn’t identify it as a problem.

 

When Sarah was 35, her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Sarah quit working so that she could care for her mother through the diagnosis. Her drinking increased as she dealt with being a caretaker, having a family in addition to not working.

 

After her mother died four years later, Sarah says she did not know how to deal with life. She would drink into a blackout almost daily and was stuck in the cycle of wanting to quit but not being able to. Sarah began to worry that it might not be possible for her and worried that she would disappoint her mother if she wasn’t able to quit.

 

In time, Sarah found sober podcasts and tried medications to help. She says Antabuse worked, but she would stop taking it in order to drink. No one knew she was taking it to try and quit and Sarah feels that by not sharing, she always left the door open to drink again.

 

Sarah knew something had to change and decided to come clean with her husband. Being active in the Café RE community helped Sarah gain the courage to choose a quit date and write a letter to her husband letting him know what was going on. Sarah says she received a lot of support from him.

 

After the physical withdrawals, Sarah felt hopeful. As the months went on, she protected her sobriety by avoiding situations where there was drinking, and she began to gain more confidence. Sarah says that when she has thoughts of drinking, she does chooses to put her energy into her sober resources instead.

 

Sarah’s best sober moment: experiencing the Northern Lights with her son

 

Sarah’s parting piece of guidance: never quit quitting.

 

[41:14] Outro:

 

Paul invites listeners to answer some questions not with words in their minds, but in how they carry themselves.

How would you walk if…….?

 

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RE 486: The Most Dangerous Thing on the Planet

RE 486: The Most Dangerous Thing on the Planet

Episode 486 – The Most Dangerous Thing on the Planet

 

Today we have Adam. He is 46 from Flowermound, TX and took his last drink on December 31st, 2022.

 

Recovery Elevator is going to Vietnam January 9th-20th, 2025. Registration for our newest alcohol-free travel trip opens July 1st. We have room for 25 passengers to this southeast Asia destination. We have AF workshops, a home stay and a service project planned, plus you’ll be traveling with others who have already ditched the booze.

 

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[03:00] Thoughts from Paul:

 

Paul shares many things that are dangerous but concludes that the most dangerous thing on the planet is the Ego. The reason why it is so dangerous is because it is never fully satisfied, it’s always hungry, lives in constant state of lack and is always seeking more, more, more.

 

Alcohol is but a symptom of the most dangerous thing on the planet. Addiction gets a bad rap, but it does serve a purpose. It forces you to split from the thinking mind. As the author of The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer says you are the one hearing or witnessing the thoughts, but you are not your thoughts.

 

Some of the humblest people Paul has met have been people in recovery. The addiction is the equalizer and forces us to seek a better way no longer guided by the blind pursuit of the ego.

 

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[10:22] Kris introduces Adam:

 

Adam is a registered nurse, married to his wife for 23 years and they have two children. He loves hiking, camping and walking and enjoys tabletop gaming and the creativity and childlike innocence that it has awoken.

 

Alcohol was not very present in Adam’s childhood household. When he was 15, he had a bad experience with hamburgers and cheap alcohol that kept him away for a while. Typical teenage experimentation was there, but not much booze in his high school years.

 

Becoming a young adult found Adam at college and going to a lot of parties. The heavier partying led to Adam beginning to have blackouts and hangovers. He ended up going to the Appalachian Mountains for some mission work and to get away from his dissonance around substance use. He says it still followed him there and eventually he had to go back home.

Adam says drinking was part of he and his wife’s early dating period. After getting married and having kids, Adam was working 45 minutes from home and found himself drinking on the way home from work and the drinking was becoming daily. He knew it didn’t feel right but continued to do it. Deciding to start nursing school after the birth of their second child was very stressful and Adam’s drinking eventually found him seeking to stop but with short stints of sobriety, he would go back and feel stuck. This continued for Adam for a while and started to affect his relationships.

 

Adam feels he finally had a time where it just clicked for him. He had joined Café RE and then joined the Restore course and he was able to organize some tools and awareness around his drinking. He knew he had work to do but he was willing to work on it finally. He currently has a great support network and close friends that he is doing the work with. Adam feels that a lot of things about him have changed and every day he sees joy.

 

Adam’s biggest fear around quitting drinking: the fear of not having fun

 

Adam’s plan moving forward: staying connected and immersed

 

Adam’s parting piece of guidance for people thinking about quitting drinking: it makes the world colorful again and life will move in the direction it’s supposed to move.

 

 

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