RE 337: The Canary in the Mine

RE 337: The Canary in the Mine

Episode 337 – The canary in the mine.

 

I was open with people about my decision.  I put myself out there to create a level of accountability.

 

 

Today we have Katie. She is 38, from Ohio and took her last drink July 12, 2020.  This is her story of living Alcohol Free (AF).

 

Events!

 

Alcohol-free travel is back! Recovery Elevator is going to Costa Rica January 15th-23rd and you should join us. We’ve got space for 34 AF rock stars, registration opens Sept 1. https://www.recoveryelevator.com/costarica/

 

You can find more information about our events here.

 

 

Paul’s Intro

 

Native cultures believed that a sick person is like the canary in the mine and it’s the sick person who represents an imbalance in the community. Or that something is off. They also believed this person should be thanked for raising the alarm that something needs to be corrected within a community. Almost like, yo, thank you for taking one for the team.

 

So Contrary to today’s culture where mental illness, autoimmune disorders, and addictions are prevalent and on the rise, these environmental conditions were rare in most cultures prior to modern times. So this is what native cultures did when there was a sick canary in the community. The whole tribe came together to help this person because they knew they were all connected, that they were all one. The entire community would shoulder the cost to bring in healers from other tribes. All these ceremonies were different of course, but from I can deduce the two main commonalities were this: Music and dancing. For at least 3-4 days.

 

Okay, let’s tie this into alcohol. It’s in my opinion those who struggle with a drinking problem are the canaries in the mines. Side note, I was the canary in the mine in the Canary islands. I went to this set of islands located off the northwest coast of Africa in 2007 and was drunk and hungover for the whole trip. I don’t remember much from that trip, but I recall popcorn being my lifeline one afternoon because that’s all I could. That’s how hungover I was. And fun facts about Canaries, yes they do come from the Canary islands. They have yellow feathers, and occasionally eat jalapeños.  Fun fact about Paul. I also occasionally eat jalapeños. We are covering some ground today team.

 

So in 2021, there have never been more sick canaries, and if we don’t ALL address this, then we’re toast as a species.

 

When I say we ALL need to address this, I mean problematic and normal drinkers. As in addiction/mental health is an external manifestation that something is highly out of balance internally with our species. This imbalance affects everyone. This is okay, it’s how we grow and evolve.

 

The good news is…. The Canary can heal. It will heal. You, if you’re listening to this podcast in hopes of quitting drinking, are the canary, and you will heal, just keep at it.

 

So how does the canary heal? I firmly believe there is no select methodology, or doctrine to follow. There is no right or wrong way to ditch the booze. There are infinite ways… But, there is one massive  commonality.

 

Ditching the booze in 21st century doesn’t quite look like 3 full nights of ceremonial dancing under a full moon with the whole community anymore, but there are similarities.

 

Let’s first check out what you don’t hear when someone celebrates and alcohol-free milestone.

 

“Well, guys, I knew I was “fucked” so I locked myself in my room, read every quit lit book, listened to podcasts, learned how the mind works, and beat it.” I’ve yet to hear that one. Nothing even close.

 

What you do hear is, “I’d like to thank my best friend susan, my mom and dad, my AF community, my dog, the big oak tree in my back yard (That’s an HP reference), and all my friends who were in my corner the whole time.” Or “I couldn’t have done it without… Mike, Jim, Michelle  Javier and my pet canary ralph.” Okay, I think that’s the last canary reference.

 

So, what does this mean? Let’s get to the point. 1. You can’t do this alone, and 2. You need community. This could be a close group or friends who know your desire to quit drinking, AA, Café RE, counselors etc. Ships need to be burned, or conversations with loved ones need to take place. Accountability is desperately needed. Even if you’re not, and I’m using air quotes, “successful” with your decision to quit drinking, you’re still developing tighter bonds and relationships in your life. According to Sebastian Junger, in his Book “Tribe” in times of crisis, people are wired to come together and help. This isn’t a kind gesture from our friends, and family, or even completely strangers; it’s biologically how we are wired. As I discussed in last episode, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released when we help others. So when a drinking problem reaches a pinnacle moment, and I’d classify this as a crisis as it was for me in 2014, the people around us want to help. They need to help, it’s good for them. They need these feel good chemicals also. Denying the loved ones in your life the opportunity to help you, is doing them a disservice.

 

So if you’re ready to get off the merry round of hell, aka a drinking problem, two main things needs to happen. 1. You need to ask for help, 2. Receive the help. Most likely both are outside your comfort zone, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Let the drinking problem push you into connection. I feel that’s the main point of an addiction. Yes, addiction, or drinking problem serves a purpose. Everything does. That’s the topic of 339. Does addiction serve a purpose?  We must first become aware of the addiction. This is the first step in I think every program involving steps, and then, open up. Yes, open up. The addiction is trying to crack you open. To find a spot where the light can enter, if you allow it.

 

 

 

 

Let’s hear from Exact Nature.

 

 

[8:42] Odette welcomes Katie

 

Katie took her last drink July 12, 2020.  She is excited about  her one-year milestone and she feels free of the prison on alcohol.  She is going sky-diving to celebrate.  Katie said life is still hard, but she has freedom and clarity of mind without drinking.  Katie is 38 and lives in NE Ohio.  She has two sons. She is an executive assistant to a CEO for a large company.  She loves all things fitness and reading.

 

 

[52:17] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

Sparkling water (lime flavor) with lots of ice and mint.

 

  1. What has been an unexpected perk along this journey?

Freedom and time that come with not planning how you will get your next drink.

 

  1. What would you say to young people who are considering ditching the booze?

Don’t overcomplicate it, drinking is overrated.  You have more strength than you realize.  Everything in life you want to accomplish will be easier without liquor.  Having a clear head, mind and a simple life without the alcohol will be the beautiful things in your life.

 

You might need to say adios to booze if ….

You stress months before the Christmas holiday about how you will cook the holiday meal and not drink all the wine in the house the night before.

 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Very well, team RE, that wraps our interview for today. Before I say adios I want to share something with you all. I asked all of YOU on our instagram a question that I normally ask in our podcast interview and I got some amazing responses. The prompt was: What would you say to your younger self?

 

Here is what some of you had to say:

 

  • Live for yourself. No amount of alcohol will make him see you.
  • You are beautiful.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your true self.
  • You are loved, you are worth it.
  • You don’t have to be “THEM”
  • You are enough. It only matters what you think of yourself.
  • Drugs and alcohol don’t make you cool, being a good person does.
  • It’s ok to fail.
  • Learn to love yourself.
  • Being the wild party girl is not all its cracked up to be.
  • You are going to make mistakes. It’s inevitable. Handling the stress of it all will only be magnified a thousand if you drink about it.
  • I love you.
  • It wan’t your fault.
  • I see you and I am sorry you are hurting.
  • See yourself, hold yourself at a high value.
  • What you are chasing has been in your heart the whole time, not a bottle.
  • Everything you think alcohol is helping you achieve is false. You are being held back. You can accomplish so much more sober.
  • You are none of the things you say to yourself in your head.
  • Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.
  • You are allowed to feel the way you do and you don’t have to hide it to please those around you.
  • Let your hair grow long, let your laugh grow loud.
  • Take your intuition seriously.

 

WOW. What a list.

 

Remember that you are not alone, and together, is always better.

 

Recovery elevator, you deserve love, acceptance and belonging. We can do this.

 

 

Today’s Sponsor

 

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.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

 

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

 

Resources:

Connect with Cafe RE – Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee.

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light – I love you guys”

RE 336: Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, & Oxytocin

RE 336: Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, & Oxytocin

Episode 336 – Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin

 

I need to admit myself somewhere.  I could sit here until I’m blue in the face and until I have some humility, this is not going to work.

 

Today we have Susan, she’s 61, she’s from Pennsylvania and took her last drink Nov 19th, 2017.  This is her story of living Alcohol Free (AF).

 

Events!

 

  • Due to Covid we had to cancel our Costa Rica sober travel trip, and an event in Denver. Those events are back on. We’ve got an AF trip to Costa Rica January 15-23rd 2022 that includes:  the cloud forest, the beach, chilling on a catamaran. Registration opens Sept 1 and we’ve got 33 spots available.  April 14th -17th 2022, we’ll be in Denver Colorado at the Hilton Garden Inn at Union Station. This event will be about moving energy with music that is performed LIVE. Expect connection, small group breakout sessions and the opportunity to be your most authentic self. Registration opens Nov 1. You can find more information about our events

 

 

Paul’s Intro

 

Today I will share information on the 4 main chemicals we’re dealing with when we ditch the booze. I’m outline them, give a framework of how to work with these chemicals in a healthier way and a loose timeline of what to expect when you quit drinking and how these chemicals will come back into balance.

 

 

The four main players dance with an addiction are Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin.

 

Endorphins and dopamine are the chemicals of progress. Short-term feel-good chemicals. And Serotonin and oxytocin are the long-term chemicals.

 

Let’s cover the short-term molecules first: endorphins and dopamine

 

Endorphins – We often hear the word endorphins with exercise. And it’s true. This is the reason for the runners high. Endorphins have one purpose – to mask physical pain. Since the body doesn’t distinguish the difference between physical and emotional pain very well, this is why running, or physical movement helps us emotionally when we aren’t feeling good.

 

Dopamine – This is the molecule we are mostly engaged with when dealing with an addiction. This is more accurately described as the learning molecule. Dopamine is viewed as an incentive for progress. The good feeling, we get when we do something necessary for survival. Addictions highjack the dopamine system. Alcohol raises the dopamine in our brains by over 100-200% and cocaine raises it by 300%… temporarily. Then there’s a major crash.

 

Dopamine is highly addictive, and it should be. Human beings walked thousands of miles over the ice shelf of eastern Asia to the Americas because of dopamine.  The dopamine system worked great for humans, until the world modernized faster than the system could adapt.  Alcohol completely over runs this system

 

Long-term chemicals – These chemicals control our long-term feelings.

 

Serotonin – The selfless chemical.

Oxytocin – The love molecule and the connection molecule.

 

Let’s cover how we can work with these as we ditch the booze and then I’ll give you a loose timeline of when these chemicals should start naturally emerging in your system again.

 

Endorphins – Keep running, keep gardening. This is a much healthier way to override the physical and emotional discomfort of quitting drinking. Also, laugh, laugh, laugh.

 

Dopamine – It’s important we retrain the brain to release dopamine with other activities. Pick a short-term goal. Maybe it’s learning the guitar, maybe it’s finding a species of bird in the wild, or a snake. Science shows that a spike of dopamine is released when we help other people. Dopamine is a big reason we’ve done this podcast 336 straight Monday’s.

 

Once we have the dopamine system cued to healthier stimuli then within time serotonin starts to naturally emerge. With this comes a sense of belonging. If we stick with it long enough, oxytocin will emerge on the scene.

 

The long-term chemicals are contagious. This is why we love inspiring movies that motivate us to perform our own selfless acts. This is why we cheer people on at marathons or say heck yes when we hear someone has hit an AF milestone.

 

Here’s a loose timeline for this:

 

Endorphins: within the first 24-72 hours.

Dopamine: within six months, depending on your habits.

Serotonin: 3-9 months.

Oxytocin: 6-12 months.

 

This is all given that you’re doing the work.

 

PAWS in recovery is post-acute withdrawal symptoms. I like to call them healing symptoms because it’s the body, mind, soul, and spirit recalibrating itself without alcohol. Trust the process, stick with it, we got your back.

 

Let’s hear from Betterhelp.  betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR

 

 

[13:52] Odette welcomes Susan

 

Susan’s last drink was on November 19, 2017.   She feels great and every year is better.  Susan is 61 and single but was previously married.  She has a daughter and two grandchildren.  She is from Pennsylvania.  She moved to Los Angeles and lived there for thirty years.  She has also lived in Colorado and is now back on the East Coast.  She works for a medical device company.  She loves to read novels, cooking, exercise, the beach, bike riding and TV.

 

[15:49] Tell us about your history with drinking

 

Susan described 44 years of drinking.  Her first drink was at age 14 and she would sneak drinks with friends.  In high school she fell in love with the bad boy of the school and did a 360 in one day.  She went from straight A’s and first clarinet to a party girl.  After her first pill and sips of beer, her inhibitions disappeared.  She partied like everyone else.  She married this bad boy very young, and they divorced at 21.  She moved to California and got involved with another guy. They drank together with friends.  She remarried and tried to clean up her home and life to have a family.  Giving up weed was easy, but she struggled relinquishing wine.  At 30,

she admitted herself to a treatment center called Schick for a weekend and participated in an intensive outpatient program (IOP).  She went to a few AA meetings and was able to stay away from alcohol for four months.  When she returned to drinking, her drinking progressed.  She was raising her daughter, working and what many would describe as a functioning alcoholic.  She drank nightly, but not a lot.  Over the years, she made a few attempts to quit, tried counseling and AA again, but nothing was working.  She decided to accept it for what it was because she didn’t have the time to do what you must do to quit.

 

[21:19] What was the tipping point that made you enter treatment?

 

Susan’s father was an alcoholic, and she watched his drinking become progressive.  She knew it could happen to her and didn’t want to become like her father.  The rest of her life was healthy.  She exercised and ate healthy foods and wondered how long she could continue drinking.  She described feeling like two people.  She was Miss Goody Two-Shoes during the day and at night she was drinking.

 

Susan always had faith and knew that God was protecting her but didn’t want to push the limits and hurt others.  It took a while after that realization for her to attempt quitting.  She had some false starts where she would try but wasn’t ready.   When her second grandchild was about to arrive, she knew she had to quit because she was fearful her first granddaughter would associate Mima with wine.

 

She spoke with her therapist and said she felt therapy was not enough and entered an intense outpatient program because she knew until she had some humility, it wouldn’t work.   Her IOP was very diverse and encountered many people with several stories.  During IOP she would screw up every week.  She admitted it and, on the 19th, she called her sister (who is in recovery) who calmed her down.  Her sister mailed her a book called Acceptance* and she hasn’t had a drink since.  She described her moment of acceptance, surrender and her daily routine of prayer and meditation.

*(https://www.my12stepstore.com/Acceptance-A-Way-to-Serenity.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwi9-HBhACEiwAPzUhHH_MXOMZLl8LTD-oZE98nSxHE2hhktBhXfpmEifPluupg-Mn8uIruxoCJUgQAvD_BwE)

 

[31:22] What were the first 90 days like?

 

Susan described having time to focus on herself.  She then took over as the nanny for her grandson and her daughter was able to trust her with the baby.  She gradually returned to work with part-time work.  At a year after she became sober, she returned to corporate America.   It continued to get easier with time.  She enjoyed podcasts.  Her dog had some health issues yet survived for six months.  When he passed, she was tempted to drink, but overcame the temptation.   She tries to mix up her recovery with AA meetings, podcasts, and anything to keep it interesting.  She loves Café RE because it gives her the flexibility of both worlds (AA and podcasts).  She now has a strong desire to help others in recovery.  The peace and freedom that comes with recovery has become the best way for her to live, she can’t imagine anything better.

 

[40:21] What was behind drinking for you?

 

When looking at fears and resentments, she gained a new perspective.  She realized that something else may have been going on in the moment.  She learned to stop holding bad feelings and looking deep into the causes of certain things.  She uncovers new things regularly.  She is accepting, simplifying, and lowering her expectations.  It took her years not to want more.  She has more work to do and is open to the work.

 

[40:24] Do you still get cravings?

 

Susan doesn’t get physical cravings but does have memory triggers.  While Christmas shopping last year, the memory of having wine at Christmas came into her head.  She did some thinking, played the tape forward and it passed quickly.  She does have a fear of dating because she has been single through her recovery.  Self-care or “me time” will remain a priority for her to maintain sobriety.

 

[47:11] What are your rituals in sobriety?

 

Susan gets up at 5 AM and reads a novel, then does her recovery reading including daily reflections and prayers.  She frequently listens to podcasts.  She watches to Joel Osteen regularly because he gives her hope that there are good people in this insane world.  Susan is a listener in AA meetings, she is an optimist, and she learns from others.  She has become a host for AA meetings and wants to give back.

 

[52:17] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

Sparkling water (lime flavor) with lots of ice and mint.

 

  1. What has been an unexpected perk along this journey?

Freedom and time that come with not planning how you will get your next drink.

 

  1. What would you say to young people who are considering ditching the booze?

Don’t overcomplicate it, drinking is overrated.  You have more strength than you realize.  Everything in life you want to accomplish will be easier without liquor.  Having a clear head, mind and a simple life without the alcohol will be the beautiful things in your life.

 

You might need to say adios to booze if ….

You stress months before the Christmas holiday about how you will cook the holiday meal and not drink all the wine in the house the night before.

 

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette recently returned from Guadalajara and while she was there, she celebrated her father’s 12th sober birthday.  They attended an AA meeting together and she heard him tell his story.  She saw herself in his words.  We all walk alongside each other.  We the same lessons to learn, hurt to heal and joy to find.  Seeing her dad as a parent and fellow in recovery was challenging, but she left the meeting hopeful that we are all human, doing the best that we can.  Odette is grateful for the Café RE community that helps each other navigate the world, feel understood and gives us a sense of belonging.

 

Remember you are not alone.  If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

 

 

Today’s Sponsor

 

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.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

 

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

 

Resources:

Connect with Cafe RE – Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee.

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light – I love you guys”

 

 

 

RE 335: All Emotions are Created Equal

RE 335: All Emotions are Created Equal

Barela took her last drink 42 days ago (at the time of this recording). This is her story of living alcohol free (AF).

 

 

A former Recovery Elevator interviewee, Jody, is hosting her own sobriety courses. This is called “The Sobriety Shift” and is a 12-week transformational program for women for are already sober, but want to elevate their life. You can find out more information here.

 

 

From Paul: “All emotions are created equal”

 

You need all emotions to give you the barometer for good and bad or to define what emotion even is. Being able to feel both sides of the emotional spectrum is important. Some ying vs yang emotions are: Hope and fear, gratitude and anger, pride and shame, desire and repulsion, love and hate.

 

 

When we view all emotions as equal, we don’t double down on them: we don’t get mad that we are mad, or anxious that we are anxious. When you label an emotion as “bad” you have a higher chance of drinking over them. By viewing them as equal to “good” emotions all emotions are able to pass through us without being strengthened or intensified. Everything has a purpose to help us evolve.

 

 

Today’s show is sponsored by Betterhelp.

 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 1,000,000 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.

 

 

 

[12:10] Odette introduces Barela.

 

 

Barela is 43 years old and from Salt Lake City, UT. She is a mother to her Yorkie named Kiki. By day is a victims advocate for a non-profit and by night she is your Queer grocery clerk that helps you find your produce. For fun she loves true crime podcasts, going for long walks with her dog, hikes with friends, reading, painting, meditation and puzzles. Because of the pandemic she’s been focusing on a lot of solo projects.

 

 

[14:48] Do you notice that solitude is different now that you’re sober?

 

 

Barela said yes, she’s always enjoyed her own company, but she’s now more active and productive with her time. She’s more creative because alcohol isn’t in the way of her focus. Every morning is a great morning for her.

 

 

[15:38] Can you give us a background on your drinking?

 

 

Barela said she started drinking when she was 16. Her mom bought her alcohol to keep her in the house, rather than being out. She didn’t like the taste at first. When she moved to Portland and was in a band alcohol became more a part of her everyday life. It escalated quickly in the last 10 years. At around age 28 she started blacking out. In the beginning they didn’t scare her, but at the end it changed. The cycle of getting drunk, being hung over, ibuprofen, hair of the dog, get drunk… repeat became her life. Getting alcohol became an obsession in her life.

 

 

[19:51] Were you surrounded by people who were drinking like you?

 

 

Barela said yes, she was hanging out with people who normalized all of this. Her last black out was December 19, 2019 and she’s gone through some big shifts in friendships because a lot were of those were drinking friendships only. She lost some jobs due to drinking as well. After some geographical drinking changes which didn’t work, she moved back to Salt Lake City. Her bottom was when she was making her grandmother dinner, drank a fifth of Old Crow and she woke up in bed with a broken ankle.

 

 

[24:27] What happened after your bottom?

 

 

Barela said she declared “I can’t drink anymore!” but she also saw how she had been simply adjusting her bottom as she drank. Being bed ridden after breaking her ankle brought this into stark reality. She journaled about all the relationships her drinking was affecting, including the one with herself. She knew she needed to leave the service industry. Stepping outside of that she found work with the domestic violence coalition and working at the grocery at night.

 

 

[27:56] What was that time period after that like?

 

 

Barela said she slept a lot and ate whatever she wanted. Lots of self-reflection. She also burned the ships to her friends for accountability.

 

 

[29:41] How do you build accountability into living alone?

 

 

Barela said she’s superstitious and the idea of drinking again is truly scary to her. She knows that alcohol will always be there but she’s made a life she loves away from alcohol.

 

 

[31:36] Did you used to have a witching hour and did you have to change your habits around it?

 

 

Barela said she drank all the time, so she didn’t have a witching hour exactly. There was always a reason to be drinking, no matter what time it was.

 

 

[33:05] How were you sleeping before you quit?

 

 

Barela said sleeping has never been a problem. Barela talks about how she started detecting patterns within her relapses and trying to protect her energy and setting boundaries.

 

 

[39:10] What are some tools you use every day to protect your sobriety?

 

 

Barela said waking up, doing her gratitude prayer and then thinking about her goals. Making her bed and setting daily intentions. Listening to podcasts. She recently discovered The Seltzer Squad podcast.

 

 

[40:37] What is your go to strategy when you do get a craving?

 

 

Barela said she talks to herself. She tries to locate what the feeling is and why she’s feeling that way. If the craving is particularly strong she will play the tape forward.

 

 

[42:21] Does your grandmother know you’re not drinking anymore?

 

 

Barela said she hasn’t been there for about 8 months; she hasn’t told her directly. She hasn’t burned the ships with her grandmother or her aunt who also lives in that home. She’s not sure why, but she hasn’t yet.

 

 

[45:52] What has been an unexpected perk on this journey?

 

 

Barela said her intuition has been more on point. She pulls Tarot cards and having better intuition has helped her there. She’s also been working on remote viewing as well (locating objects with your mind). She’s saved a ton of money and can do nice things for herself. She feels empowered and happy. She noticed she looks better. Everything is better.

 

 

 

[50:18] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What would you say to your younger self?

Trust your intuition. If it feels heavy in your heart, go against it. Only bad things happen after 1am, so go home.

 

  1. What’s your favorite NA beverage?

Liquid Death and her friend makes her own tinctures which she adds to it.

 

  1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Talenti Banana Caramel Crunch

 

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

Believe in yourself, you can do it. Keep thinking about that person you want to be without alcohol. Keep reaching out.

 

 

You may have to say adios to booze if…

 

when you are constantly finding yourself waking up with a MARI (mysterious alcohol related injury).

 

 

Odette’s find thoughts:

 

A sober perk: she’s found friendships with people who she wouldn’t normally be friends with. Finding people who feel in the same way you do and making those connections is powerful. Through sharing Odette has found more in common with others than she thought. What an unexpected surprise!

 

Upcoming events, retreats and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone.
  • You can find more information about our events

 

Affiliate Link for Endourage:

For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. 

 

Affiliate Link for Amazon:

Shop via Amazon using this link.

 

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

 

Resources:

Connect with Cafe RE – Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee.

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

Sobriety Tracker Android 

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

 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator –you took the elevator down, you have to take the stairs back up-

I love you guys.”

RE 334: The Wisdom of Trauma

RE 334: The Wisdom of Trauma

Episode 334

 

 

You’re not giving something up, you are getting so much more in return, it’s just amazing. 

 

Kevin is 53, from South Carolina and took his last drink on October 6, 2019.  This is his journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

Today’s show is sponsored by Better Help.

 

Kevin’s interview is with Kris. You guys are going to love Kris’s style. He’s a grounded, laid back guy from North Dakota who fully gets the importance of connection. Just like you all gave me a chance, and Odette, please focus on the similarities, not the differences and welcome Kris.

 

Speaking of Kris, we’ve made 10 YouTube Videos, and some of them are funny, at least that’s my opinion.  and our last video was my top 10 favorite recovery books. Go over to YouTube and type Recovery Elevator in the search bar.

 

I just finished the book “Breath” by James Nestor. The breath is the true foundation for all recovery work. It turns out, 5.5 breaths per minute is the optimal rate. That’s 5.5 seconds on the inhale, and 5.5 on the exhale for a total of 5.5 per minute. So next time you’re caught up in email apnea, pause and focus on the breath.  I highly recommend this book.

Breath by James Nestor  https://amzn.to/3zOJ1GZ.

 

Why did Adele cross the road? To say hello from the other side.

 

Okay, let’s get started –

 

Today I want to talk about the incredible feature film on trauma and addiction by Dr. Gabor Mate. The film is called “The Wisdom of Trauma.” This film needed to be made and will move the needle in a healthy direction in terms of how we view addiction.

 

Film:  https://thewisdomoftrauma.com/

Book:  “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” – Dr. Gabor Mate https://amzn.to/3xOAZx1

 

This film covers what addiction is. It covers how it happens, when the driving forces behind an addiction take hold in life and it also has practical ideas on how we should address addiction as a society and as the individual struggling with an addiction. On this podcast, you’re most likely listening to address a drinking problem, but all addictions, for the most part are interchangeable, and the mechanisms are mostly the same.

 

Okay, no surprise here, he talks about trauma. And he is noted for saying that all addictions, start with trauma, and the baulk of that happens in adolescence. The start of addiction doesn’t happen when you lose your job, but in infancy. Always. We often think that trauma must happen in Afghanistan, or a physically abusive parent but it also happens when we aren’t hugged enough as a child or us not getting something we needed when we were young. Parents in the 20th and 21st centuries are pulled in so many directions, that unfortunately, this is common. It’s the kiddos that pay the price.

 

Please don’t take any of this energy and steer it towards your parents, etc. They did their best. That’s not a healthy way to take this information.

 

This is an emotional film. I cried during parts of it.

 

He says that trauma happens when you disconnect with yourself, when you don’t have anyone to talk with. When kids are alone with their hurt. Another way to say this is there wasn’t a healthy way to move the energy. It got stuck. Humans talking about it, is the equivalent of a duck flapping its wings in nature, and we couldn’t do that as a child. So, the body hangs on to the energy. But it’s not fun energy to hang on to. In the western world one of the dominant ways this excess of energy manifests itself is through inflammation in the body.

 

He then talks about how we look at addiction as a poor choice. We, meaning society, and the individual.  Thank you, Mrs.  Regan for adding a couple of thick layers of pinyon pine to the stigma with the “Just say no” campaign from the 80’s.  That didn’t help much. Gabor, then reframes it by saying, the addiction wasn’t a poor choice, it was the solution. I agree completely. In fact, I’d take it even further and say kudos you found a way to survive. It’s now time to find healthier ways to cope since alcohol, will mess you up spiritually, mentally, and physically in the long run. Do not beat yourself up for having a drinking problem, you found a way to survive. And now it’s time to find a healthier way to connect.  That’s all we’re doing here.

 

I like how Gabor calls out capitalism and most modern economies as fueling addictions. We are primed to feel we need to purchase something external for short term inner wholeness. For long term wholeness, this process must be replicated 100’s and 1000’s of times. This is great for the stock market, but not great for mental health. There’s one word to summarize this. It’s MORE. We are always looking for more. This is a major pickle in modern societies that we have address ASAP. He talks about how this addiction is destroying the earth. We don’t have fix the earth, fix climate change or global warming.   We must fix ourselves and the individual level. Planet earth will be fine when we’re gone. Our current way of living, which Eckart Tolle calls insane, is how we are conditioned. It’s crazy, and unsustainable. This paradigm is shifting. You all are part of this paradigm shift.

 

Dr. Mate talks about how we are treating stress and addictions with more stressors. Most western illnesses are treated with steroids and cortisol creams. It’s not curing or treating anything.

 

He talks about the two ways society treats or views addicts.

  1. That it’s a choice, just say no, and if do say yes, you are warned with catchy commercials, then the user is punished. The penal system at the macro encourages intense shame guilt at the inner the micro level.
  2. That it’s a disease, and not a choice. He feels this is a better approach, since people can then get treatment like any other disease but ignores why people really get addicted which has nothing to do with a disease. Dr. Gabor Mate is clear on his stance about if a drinking problem is a passed down genetic disease that runs in the family. He says it is not. He believes these adaptive behaviors, addictions, are learned and formed to survive in an environment that isn’t conducive to wholeness or happiness. That’s a lot to unpack. Seriously. Feel free to hit the pause button on your podcast player. I’m on board with this approach. In fact, I’ve switched my tune while doing the Recovery Elevator podcast. At first, I thought addiction was a passed down genetic disorder.  But now feel these behaviors are coping mechanisms that allow us to survive in environments that are full of static, car alarms, incorrect passwords, identify theft, violence, backstabbing, sexual abuse, spam phone calls,  and more. And we all must deal with this incoherent energy. Yes, I do believe this inharmonious energy is passed down generationally and we all must deal with it, not just the addicts. In fact, in most native cultures, when one person in a community was sick, the whole community came forth to help. The whole community would even brunt the financial costs because they knew, a sick person within a community, wasn’t an outlier, but a representation that something was out of balance within the community. And today, in modern, society, we’ve got a lot of sick people, with depression being the number one cause of disability worldwide. Dr. Mate says that in the USA, the richest country in the world, 1/2 of its citizens have chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, addictions etc. Another way to say that, is we got big houses, big guns indeed, but we’re disconnected and need help. This is also the point of an addiction. A fear, or a marker of sorts that something is out of balance and needs attention.

 

So how do we treat this? Dr. Mate says, the modern medical paradigm separates the mind from the body and separates the person from the environment. I think he would agree that we need to use the mind to come into the body, and not leave it or disassociate with it. I know he would agree that we must recognize there’s an in imbalance. Sure, it’s the first step in all 12 step programs, but science shows this also. You can’t make change in anything, until a consciousness is there to witness it, or say “yes, this is here, and I’m going to deal with it.” There is not a right or wrong way to address an addiction, but what I’ve learned here at RE, is that community must be a component of this. A HUGE component. As in the blades of a helicopter. Or the propeller on a prop plane, or the wheels on a car.

 

We’ve all heard what you resist persists. Thank you, psychologist Carl Jung. At the individual level, we must recognize something is out of balance. At the group level, we do the same – and it can be a lot of fun.

 

At the individual level, you’re doing it. You’re listening. Which means you’re open to a whole new way of living. This is what gets me excited about Recovery Elevator. Its exploring new ways to live, that don’t require alcohol to be happy. And we are all figuring this out together.

 

Before we hear from Kris and Kevin, Let’s hear from Betterhelp.

 

Visit betterhelp.com/ELEVATOR and join the over 1,000,000 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.

 

[12:55] Kris introduces Kevin

 

Kevin took his last drink on October 6, 2019, he is creeping up on two years and he feels great.  Not every day is great or happy, but he feels better equipped to handle what life throws at him.

 

[14:02] Give us a little background on you.

 

Kevin is 53 and lived in Long Island for most of his life.  He now lives in Bluffton, South Carolina.  He is not married, has an awesome girlfriend, and has dogs named Ben and Jerry.  He loves to read; he loves the outdoors, and he loves to work.

 

[15:39] Tell us about your relationship with alcohol and how did that evolve over time?

 

Kevin said it had a lifespan.  He started drinking in 8th or 9th grade experimenting.  He moved to Long Island in 4th grade.  He made a lot of friends, but never felt like he fit in.  In the late 80’s he was drinking heavily.  At the time, he didn’t think it was a problem.  College was a continuation – binge drinking on the weekend.  He drank through snowstorms, nice weather, hiking, etc.  He thought it was normal because everyone else was doing it.

 

[17:25] Did you have any consequences from your early years of drinking?

 

Kevin’s parents were strict.  His parents knew he was drinking, and his older brother never drank.   He became the project for his older brother.  After college he got married and his drinking slowed down a bit.  Being married and becoming a new Dad, living in a high rent district was stressful.  Kevin describes himself as high functioning.  He had a nice house, nice family and on the weekends, he drank a lot.  In 2009, he got a DUI.  He reflected on rock bottoms and his wife (an attorney) was able to help.  He avoided additional jail time and he slowed down his drinking for a time.

 

[20:06] You described having a nice house and a job, did your high functioning ever lead you to believe you didn’t have a problem?

 

Kevin said, he looked great on paper.  He had a business, a nice house, he supported charities, he was on the little league board and was a “good dude”.  He knew he had a problem with alcohol.  He was a fun drunk and was a great guy to hang out with.  At 3 AM, he was sweating, his heart was racing, and he knew something wasn’t right.

 

[22:15] Walk us forward, tell us more

 

Kevin tried to maintain the status quo.  He and his wife got divorced.  He believes his wife deserved better and alcohol had an impact but wasn’t the only factor in their divorce.  The alcohol affected his ability to rebuild the marriage.  His drinking reached a new level post-divorce.  He spent a lot of time on his own.  He frequented sports bars and the “type” of drinking escalated.  He felt a lot of guilt and shame.  The salve of alcohol didn’t last for more than 20 minutes.  He knew something was wrong.  Kevin put lots of rules on himself – only drink…. He would make a rule, break it, and invent three more.  Only this, only that ….. Annie Grace’s book first got him to explore quitting.  Annie’s podcast mentioned Paul Churchill.  Kevin has met Paul a few times and says, Paul ruined drinking for him.

 

Value Bomb – when you are in it, it’s so subtle.  It takes a different form than you a realize. 

 

[27:52] Paul ruined it for you, so what happens next?

 

Kevin was driving home and hit a rumble strip and he thought to himself – I’ve got good kids, good friends, and a great business.   Two days later he went to a street festival, and he had a beer or two and he decided on 10/6/2019 he knew, this is it!  He had dozens of days one’s day 6’s and day whatever’s.   He knew it was over.

 

Value Bomb – Your resets are not for nothingness.  They help you establish the willingness to move forward. Dig in, keep learning, it’s all growth.

 

[30:57] What did the first 30/60/90 days look like for you?

 

Kevin leaned in heavy on Café RE.  He took the advice.  He took naps when he needed them.  He cut back on work a bit. He cut back on engagements.  He learned to set boundaries.  He learned to leave respectfully.  He learned to prepare and had he faked a few gin and tonics.  He embraced NA beer.  He avoided drinking. The cravings dissipated over time.  Kevin craved situations more than the alcohol – college football, Superbowl.  He had the willingness.  Preparation was key.  As people  became aware he wasn’t drinking, it became easier.  After a little practice, it became easier every time.  Setting boundaries was huge.

 

Value Bomb – we grow and learn what situations we want to be in an those we don’t.  It’s okay to let go of certain situations. 

 

[36:43] How did drinking impact your relationships?

 

Kevin said his parents were never drinkers, so there wasn’t much of an issue.  In his first marriage, he acknowledges drinking made him less patient.  Drinking takes up a lot of your money, your health, and your time.  Kevin now has great relationships with his parents, his sons, and his ex-wife.  He has been able to repair those important relationships and have deeper conversations.  His relationship with his employees evolved and he learned to take a genuine interest and helps others.49:22

 

[40:22] Walk us though what your recovery looks like now. 

 

Kevin is an early riser.  He carves out 90 minutes every morning and he reads, meditates, and writes.  He spends time with his dogs, goes to work and spends time with friends in the evening.  He travels to New York to spend time with his kids.  Café RE keeps him connected to the community.

 

 

[41:45] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. What was your AHA or OSM (oh sh!t moment) about controlling drinking?

Driving home from a brew pub and hitting the rumble strip became his AHA moment.

 

  1. What is your plan in sobriety moving forward?

My plan is to keep doing what I’m doing.  It’s not a linear trip.  He has dip days.  He is going to Café RE meet ups.  The zoom chats help, and he offers words of encouragement.  Staying connected is key.

 

  1. Regarding sobriety, what’s the best advice you ever received?

Be kind to yourself.  Look at yourself like your dogs look at you.  Loathing yourself isn’t productive.  The journey has a lot of whacky dips and bumps.  Be kind to yourself.

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance do you have for listeners?

You must want to do it and you must do it for yourself.  Figure out your why.  It can’t be just for your spouse or your kids. You aren’t giving something up.  You are getting so much more in return.

 

You may have to ditch the booze if …

 

Kevin didn’t want to rupture or end his relationship with his kids, the most wonderful relationships in his life.

 

Kris’s closing comments

 

Kris talks about the scale going up after he quit drinking.  He talked about the big dreams that come with sobriety.  Patience is key to getting healthy and achieving your goals.  Manage your expectations.  Let the work do its work.  It’s okay for some things to take a back seat.  Embrace positive affirmations and gratitude.  Love yourself, you are doing amazing things.  Kris said as he listened to other guests, he learned and has he learned he healed.  He is grateful to other guests and his Café RE family.  kris@recoveryelevator.com.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone.
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Affiliate Link for Endourage:

For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. 

 

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

 

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know the light – I love you guys”

 

 

 

RE 333: What You’re Asking for is on the Way

RE 333: What You’re Asking for is on the Way

Episode 333

Link to join the Open House Café RE Chat this Saturday, July 10th, at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87017557542?pwd=RFRZNGZ6SXpRS0NtdTRaNFhuZzJFQT09

Meeting ID: 870 1755 7542
Passcode: recovery

 

Help people create a life so good for themselves, they would never want to go back.  What lies beyond recovery for you, what is the next chapter?  I didn’t get sober so I could just settle.

 

Tamar is from Ontario, Canada, and took her last drink on June 17, 2012.  This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

Today’s show is sponsored by Better Help.

 

You might be an alcoholic if… you report your car stolen, only for it to be found at the house you were drinking at the night before. This is from Miguel Reyes, the host of the Staying Fit ODAAT podcast.

 

Today is July 5th, you can still sign up for our Intensive Dry July course. You’ve still got 11/13 sessions left.  Go to Recovery Elevator.com/restore. We’ve got a KILLER group from all over the globe, and It’s been a lot of fun so far.

 

RE now has merch! In fact, I’m wearing an RE hoodie now. Thank you, Stephanie Smale, for all the hard work. RE.comm/merch for your AF threads.

 

 

Okay, let’s get started –

 

Today, I was going to talk about something else. More specifically that “all emotions are created equal.” A topic, that I still plan on covering, but as I opened my computer and begin writing this intro, I recognized that this is episode 333. Now apart from loving Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code, I was never really into numbers, symbols, shapes, nor the placement of stars and planets at the time of my birth… But as my journey progresses, I’ve become more curious, interested and more importantly open, to all this stuff. So, let’s move forward with an open mind, as we are dipping a toe in the spirituality and higher power waters of recovery… which can be somewhat divisive but also fascinating because I’ve learned there’s a part in all of us, that wants to know, what’s really going on behind the scenes… And spoiler alert, I won’t be answering what’s the purpose of life, but do hope to tie some mathematics and mysticism into living an alcohol-free life.

 

Let’s talk about the number 3, first, then 333.

 

With mystics, mathematicians and physicists, the number 3 is considered the perfect number, the number of harmonies, wisdom and understanding. … It was also the number of times – past, present, future; birth, life, death; beginning, middle, end – it was the number of the divine. Some guy was resurrected three days after his death, forget his name, but I know it’s significant to many.

 

The ancient Greek philosopher, Pythagoras, postulated that the meaning behind numbers was deeply significant. … In his eyes the number 3 was considered as the perfect number, the number of harmonies, wisdom and understanding.

 

“If you only knew the significance of 3,6,9, multiples of 3, then you have the key to the universe.” Nikola Tesla.

 

The frequencies of the 7 energy centers or chakras are all divisible by three. For example, the heart area has a frequency of 639 HZ, which means the wave form goes up and down 639 times in one second. This number, along with all the other energy centers, is divisible by three. The earth, which vibrates at 432 HZ, which is also the key of almost all NEW AGE music, is also divisible by three.

 

Number 3 is the foundational number of trinities, the triangle, with three sides. Mind, body, and spirit. Having it tripled, 333, is like saying trenta when ordering a coffee at Starbucks. It’s supercharged.

 

The three-sided triangle – Is the symbol of AA.

 

The unifying language of the universe is math and 3 is the root of many and this special number governs much of the physical world at the quantum level.

 

What does it mean to see 333?

 

We’ve all heard of guardian angles. So, angels, can’t speak to you directly to you, at least in my experience, but apparently, they send messages using the number 3, and when you have triple that, as in 333, it’s time to listen up. So maybe this episode, is a message to YOU, from your guardian angel.

 

333 means that it’s time to focus on acknowledging your inner truths, and head out into the world with more purpose. Inner truth (if you’re listening to this podcast),  means it’s probably time to ditch the booze or stick with that decision. There’s a voice inside, that’s been saying, Yo, we don’t need this.

Internally there’s a beautiful “tipping point” that is going to take place if not already. That’s when the voice, or energy around your alcohol-free life, overpowers, or is greater than the voice representing the addiction. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never drink again, but it’s a good indicator that A –  alcohol has been ruined for you and will never work in the same capacity and B. You’re shedding an old skin.

 

333 also signifies a period of intense growth. If you’re on this journey of learning how to live life without alcohol, then yes, you’re in the “trenta” range when it comes to growth. This growth is intense. It’s the most profound type of inner growth we can go through in this human life.  Keep in mind that all growth takes place outside your comfort zone, so if you feel catapulted outside your comfort zone at this moment, that’s okay. After all bouts of chaos, order follows. This is the way the universe works. Be patient, things will settle.

 

333 is a symbol of maturity, or maturation. I’ve heard, and there is some truth to this, that you stop emotionally growing when alcohol dependency locks in.  The flip side of this, is through an addiction you learn a whole different set of invaluable life lessons… Seriously, don’t forget that. I firmly believe this. When you reintegrate into society, you’ll notice you’re equipped with a set of skills that most people don’t have. They are superpowers. Qualities of intense resilience come to mind.

 

333 is a symbol that it’s time to eliminate things in your life that no longer bring you pleasure of happiness, The key in this sentence is no longer.  Alcohol, for most of us was a great life companion. There was a time when it did bring us pleasure and happiness. Those times, like high school, are over. This can also apply to people, places, and things. As you grow, evolve, some people, places, and things.  As you grow and evolve, some things will no longer be a match for you, making it increasingly uncomfortable to be around these incoherencies.

 

It’s rumored that seeing the number 333 means that what you’ve been asking for, is on the way. The first thing that comes to mind here is to “Be clear on what you’re asking for when you put that out into the universe.  Internally, for most of us, there’s a part of us that wants to quit drinking and a part of us that doesn’t want to quit drinking.  Try to catch those inner messages of dissonance as you become aware of them.

 

What you’ve been asking for is on the way or may be already here.  The next part is for you to walk through the door, to do your part, to do the work.

I’ve been asking for a Top Gun sequel for 30 years. The new release date is November 19th, 2021. Come on lucky 333, I need this.

 

Whether you believe in 333 or not, that doesn’t really matter.

 

333 means the ascended masters are near you.

 

Ascended masters? What the hell does that mean? Well, we’re not going to figure that out here, nor is this podcast really about that, but it’s important to be open to the idea that someone, something out there, is rooting for us. An entity, or spirit has our best interest in mind, even though the remake of Top Gun has been postponed 5 times. Regardless, humanity needs help now, and if a number, replicated 3 times, signifies this, then I’ll take it.

 

Before we conclude, I do want to mention the odds, of us chatting about existence, quitting drinking and you being you, are quite low. In fact, the odds, of you being you, in this moment, are about 1 in 400 trillion.

 

According to astro-physicists, the odds of planet earth, sustaining life, and you being here are the same as flipping a coin and having it land on heads, 10 quintillion times in a row. As Laura McKowan, would say, “we are the luckiest.” Simply being here, means we’ve already won the greatest lottery of all time. . And we didn’t come here for life to perpetually suck.  We’ve got your back guys.

 

Mental health matters, and as we continue to live through this pandemic and slowly go back to resuming activities such as going back to work or attending some social gatherings, it’s important to have someone that can help us process all our emotions and life stressors. Betterhelp will assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist. Betterhelp provides a broad range of expertise available which may not be locally available in many areas. The platform is super easy to navigate – you can login into your account at any time and interact with your counselor by sending them a message. You’ll get timely and thoughtful responses, plus you can schedule weekly video or phone sessions. Betterhelp is more affordable than the traditional offline counseling and financial aid is available.

 

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.

 

[11:35] Odette introduces Tamar

 

Tamar took her last drink on June 17, 2012.

 

[12:02] How do you feel?

 

It’s amazing.  I remember when I first came into recovery, I thought, I can’t drink forever?  If you had asked me nine years ago if I’d be here, I’d tell you you’re insane!

 

[12:40] Give us a little background on you.

 

Tamar is a podcast host, performance consultant, life coach, best-selling author, and a champion for people in recovery.  Her passion is to help people in recovery create a life so good for themselves that they never want to go back to their old way of living.   She lives east of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  She has no kids but has a niece and nephew  who she loves to get hopped up on sugar and send them home to their parents.  She is married and her husband is in recovery as well.  She loves being outside, hiking, snowboarding, and golfing.

 

[14:56] Tell us about your relationship with alcohol

 

Tamar said she had a great upbringing.  Her family moved around quite a bit and as a result, she was very shy.  She was always looking to get a gold star from her dad.  She began seeking external sources of love.  When she got drunk for the first time, her life went from black and white to color.  She felt she could be in control, funny and more secure.  It was the solution for the good and bad times.  She barely graduated from high school because she wanted to drink all the time.  In college, her school was next to a pub, and she would skip class and go to the pub, so she was put on academic probation.  She was a black out drunk, nearly every time.  When she was introduced to other drugs, she wasn’t afraid.  She hoped the drugs would amplify her drinking.    Her dream careers were to continue being the beer girl at the golf club or work for a brewery.

 

 

[18:59] Did you connect the dots that you experience was related to alcohol?

 

Tamar said, she thought this is how life is.  She surrounded herself with people who drank like she did.    She started using drugs, losing jobs and became a chronic yo-yo dieter.  She slipped into a depression but couldn’t see the problem with alcohol.  She was blaming the world.  Her Dad tried to intervene and point out her challenges, but she wasn’t ready to hear it.

 

[21:19] What happened afterwards?

 

Tamar said, she started to feel shame.  She was in a toxic relationship.  For two months, she drank and used for two months straight.  She focused on society’s expectations (get married, have children).  She met her future husband who was also an alcoholic.  She stopped using hard drugs, but her drinking escalated.  They worked together and only got along when they were drinking.  Meeting society’s expectations made her miserable.  She hit bottom, she was severely depressed, unhappily married, and overweight.  She had a moment of clarity and wanted to give it another chance.  She decided to make a change and stop digging.

 

[25:37]  How did that catapult you into action?

 

Tamar said it was right before New Year’s, so she resolved to get a gym membership.  She was working out by herself, then decided to hire a personal trainer.  It never occurred to her to investigate how to love yourself.  She knew the personal trainer from high school, and they became close friends.  She rigidly logged all her food, and, on the weekends, she only had nine beers.  She would drink NyQuil so she would pass out,  she reported to her trainer, “I only had nine beers”.  Her trainer took her bungee jumping and shared she (the trainer) was in recovery.  She went to dinner with her husband and brought a bottle of wine.  That one bottle turned into a case of wine, a case of beer and a $200 bar tab and she didn’t remember the rest of the weekend.  She texted her friend, saying she needed help.  Her friend introduced her to the world of recovery.

 

[30:17] When you reached out to your friend, what were the next steps?

 

Tamar said, she stopped that weekend.  Her friend brought her to an AA meeting, and she said she wasn’t like them, she was classy.  Her friend encouraged her to look for the similarities vs. the differences.  With a new attitude, she was shocked at how much she could relate.  She went to someone’s four-year celebration and was impressed with how good his life became.  She is happy to be alive, particularly knowing how self-destructive she was.

 

[33:51] What happened afterwards?

 

Tamar said going through the 12-steps really helped her.  She learned her life was her fault.  She cried more in her first year in recovery than she had ever in her life.  She had used alcohol to mask everything, so her first step was to learn how to manage her emotions.  She learned it was ok to not be okay.   She started cleaning up her life.  It was about building a foundation.   Now there isn’t one part of her that wants to have a drink.  Early on, she was frustrated with people who questioned her decisions, but she thinks that tough love saved her life.    She surrounded herself with people who would be honest with her.  The first year was hardest, she lost 75 pounds, but she acknowledged you can get lazy and fall back into not doing the work.

 

[37:37]  What tools did you use to help you get through the days?

 

Tamar said she changed everything.  She stayed away from bars for the first six months.   She stayed away from anything that triggered her.  She didn’t connect with friends because they were drinking buddies.  She tested the water by bringing diet coke to parties and had an emotional hangover.  Learning what to do and what not to do became her top priority until she was strong enough and her foundation was built.  She developed a healthy routine.  Today it doesn’t bother her to be around people who are drinking.

 

[41:14] How did your depression and eating issues evolve as you got sober?

 

Tamar said food is still a challenge for her – she loves food.  She listened to a podcast and the host, an MD, pointed out the similarity between the carbs/sugar and alcohol. After losing 75 pounds, she felt like she had graduated.  She still slips into anxiety and depression.  She finds herself going back to old behaviors.   Now she eats clean, and her body responds well.   She is good 80% of the time and 20% of the time she allows herself fries.  She is very co-dependent and began working on her personal development.  She wanted to grow.  She investigated her food issues.  She learned what foods she could eat, what foods worked, etc.  She hired a food code.  She started a podcast so she could be accountable.  She hired a coach who helped her with different strategies around food.  She has learned to give herself grace.  Sobriety helps you to look at other aspects of your life.  You can apply the same tools to other addictions.

 

[47:13] What has been an unexpected perk or joy about this journey?

 

Tamar said she realized her past was a gift.  When complacent, she stopped taking action.  Surrounding herself with people who had what she wanted encouraged her to move forward.  She is now coaching.  She is a performance consultant.  She didn’t get sober so she could just settle.  Even when the days are dark, she can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

[50:25] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. If you could talk to your younger self, what would you say.

Keep being open minded and willing to learn.  Don’t shut yourself off for new experiences and don’t wait until you are ready. If something aligns with your purpose, take action and do it.

 

  1. What are you excited about right now?

She is excited to wake up every single morning at 4:30 AM so she can do what she loves each day.

 

  1. What is your favorite NA beverage?

Diet Coke.

 

  1. What are some of your favorite resources on this journey?

Podcasts, books (self-help and biographies).

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance do you have for listeners?

Find people who have what you want.  She is grateful she found those people in early recovery.  It’s never too late to stop.  Ask for help.  Connect.  It’s okay to not be okay.

 

You may have to say Adios to booze if …

You keep thinking about booze and justifying your reasons for not drinking.

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette spoke about the Disney movie, Luca.  The movie reminded her that we need to silence the voice that doesn’t want us to do the hard thing(s).  We are not our thoughts.  We have the power to detach and tell it to be quiet.  Seeing our thoughts for what they are is healthy, just don’t let them drive the car.  Remember you are not alone and together is always better.  This isn’t a no to alcohol, it’s a YES to a better life.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone.
  • You can find more information about our events

 

Affiliate Link for Endourage:

For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. 

 

Affiliate Link for Amazon:

Shop via Amazon using this link.

 

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

 

Resources:

Connect with Cafe RE – Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee.

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light – I love you guys”

 

 

 

RE 332: Find More Joy

RE 332: Find More Joy

Episode 332 – Find More Joy

 

One of the biggest things that kept me drinking as I long as I did was that shame circle.  I would drink, do something stupid, embarrass myself, feel terrible and then drink again because I couldn’t handle my feelings.

 

Brett is 27 years old, lives in San Francisco, CA and took her last drink on January 2, 2020.  This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF).

 

If you love our intro and outro music then check out the artist DJ NYE on Spotify, and that link is in the show notes. Also in the show notes are links to download, for free, our intro and outro music, That’s with my voice sampling and ET Tolle’s voice samplings.

 

DJ NYE on Spotify.

 

Intro and Outro Music.

Intro Paul: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/recoveryelevator/RE_Paul_Intro.mp3

Intro Eckhart Tolle: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/recoveryelevator/RE_ET_Intro.mp3

Outro Paul: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/recoveryelevator/Paul_RE_Outro.mp3

Outro Eckhart Tolle:https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/recoveryelevator/Eckhart_Tolle_Outro.mp3

 

 

Today is June 28th. This Thursday, July 1st, is the start date of our intensive 13 session course for the month of July. We meet three times per week, Monday, Thursday and Sunday. Mondays and Thursdays are classroom style format, with intimate breakout rooms and Sundays are for guest speakers, Q&A, and we’ve for an AF Beverage workshop hosted by Kate (episode 315). We polled previous course participants and 72% of them remained alcohol free for the duration of our last course. How cool is that. You’ll have course assignments and daily discussion prompts in your WhatsApp groups. This course is all about connection and having fun. Go to Recoveryelevator.com/restore or click the link in the show notes, to sign up and for more info.

 

And don’t forget that land tortoises are the longest living animals on the planet and that TIB is still the best band in the world. One of those is fact, the other opinion but for the most part undebatable.

 

 

Okay, let’s get started –

 

I’m going to cover two things today. 1. The importance of purposefully adding more joy into your life and 2. Recently while traveling, I came across the most vicious sports mascot ever. I still get goosebumps when I think of the deadly mascot.

 

Okay, let’s talk about joy. And this may seem like common sense, but it’s not because so many of us postpone, skip, or have forgotten about joy altogether. Like the “how to” part.  And now seems like a good time to insert a quote about joy.

 

“Joy does not simply happen to us – we have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” – Henri Nouwen

 

Let’s look at a sample to do list.

  1. Drop package off at post office.
  2. Return mortgage papers to lender
  3. Take Ben to Vet
  4. Edit website copy for upcoming event.
  5. Play piano.

 

Now this may or may not be my to do list,  and yours may be similar,  And I’m referring to the order. I’ve got playing the piano last. We tell ourselves we need to get all the grown-up tasks done first. Kids, job, house, feeding the family, pets, why didn’t my sprinklers turn on last night, then last on that list is US.

 

Here’s my HARD ask of you. Make a point to do something every day that you find joyful. And here’s the important part. Do it first. Before all the other stuff that has the potential to zap all the creative energy out of you.

 

About 3 months ago, I stared taking piano lessons. I went from chop sticks to now I can the Scientist and Clocks on the piano by Coldplay. Can’t sing them yet because that’s some major rubbing your tummy and patting your head type sh$t, but I’m working on it. At first, I would practice piano at the end of the day, when my mind was sometimes ready for a nap, and the mind is in high beta brain waves… borderline stressed from the day.   It worked, but some days I had to force it. Then I flipped the to-do list. I started playing the piano first thing in the morning. Before all the adulting took place. Here’s what I found. When we do something we enjoy, there’s a natural creative energy that arises, that makes things tolerable, even pleasant. Here’s the important part. This energy, consciousness, will then overlap into the next task or project. I quickly found I was more effective at all remaining tasks for the day, and they all became more joyful. So, I try to practice piano or music every morning. This flip has had a big impact on my quality of life.

 

Let’s tie this into sobriety. When we are doing something we enjoy, we enter into a flow state where time and our problems seem do disappear. Flow states, or when we are fully mentally immersed in a task, are healthy because we aren’t thinking about how the F, we’re going to quit drinking. Another way to say this, is the neural connections that fortify an addiction begin to soften and something else is strengthened, be it gardening, reading, hiking, or whatever. Again, our mental energies aren’t “in” the addiction, or the “story.” You’re like – “A crap, this guy is back with his getting out of the story stuff again.” And for the record, this will be the 245th time I’ve said you can’t think yourself out of an addiction.

 

Joy solo is great, for example playing the violin. But if you have the option, play the violin with another violinist, or a cellist – bonus points.

 

You know how most dogs are a nudge away from playing? That’s how human beings are as well, we’re just living a life that’s been filled with so much muck and noise that we must make a point, and effort to get back to this natural state.

 

If you’re like, “Hey Pablo” I recently quit drinking, and I have no clue what I like to do for fun anymore. Well, that’s the work. Find out again. Rule 22. Have fun and lighten up.

 

Okay, one more thing I want to cover, and I’m trembling with fear while I write this. On my way back from our Atlanta Meet-up, thank you Alan (episode 267) for such an awesome weekend, I saw a bunch of large dudes, in the security line at the airport. They were all wearing matching jackets,  and sweatpants, so I assumed they were part of a sports team that probably involves physical contact. On the crest of the jacket was the logo… the mascot. When I finally saw it, I stopped dead in my tracks. It was as if I was frozen, unresponsive. No, it wasn’t a ferocious eagle, hawk, wolf, shark, or bear, it something much worse, much deadlier, something that would perhaps cause the other team to not even take the field. I can image players on the other team saying, my uncle died from that beast,  their mascot has destroyed my family, and so forth. So, what’s the mascot? It was Martini glass. It was the professional Los Angeles Rugby team “The Giltinis.” If you want to pick a mascot that leaves a devastating wake of wreckage on society,  well then, they nailed it, because my google search of has an “eagle” or “hawk” ever killed a human being, came up with nil. But alcohol on the other hand….

 

Okay, now let’s here from Betterhelp and then we’ll here from Brett.

 

Today’s show is sponsored by Better Help.

 

Mental health matters, and as we continue to live through this pandemic and slowly go back to resuming activities such as going back to work or attending some social gatherings, it’s important to have someone that can help us process all our emotions and life stressors. Betterhelp will assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist. Betterhelp provides a broad range of expertise available which may not be locally available in many areas. The platform is super easy to navigate – you can login into your account at any time and interact with your counselor by sending them a message. You’ll get timely and thoughtful responses, plus you can schedule weekly video or phone sessions. Betterhelp is more affordable than the traditional offline counseling and financial aid is available.

 

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.

 

 

 

[10:38] Odette introduces Brett.

 

Brett took her last drink on January 2, 2020.

 

[11:07] How are you feeling?

 

Brett says she is feeling good.  Drinking feels like a very long time ago in a good way.

 

[11:40] Give us a little background on you.

 

Brett is originally from Rhode Island, but currently lives in San Francisco.  She is in tech consulting.  She is 27 and in a relationship.  She loves going to the Farmer’s market, reading non-fiction, NA drinks, attending to her MANY plants and she hopes to adopt a dog this year.

 

[13:04] Tell us about your history with drinking

 

Brett had her first drink at 12 or 13 and was pre-gaming with her sister for her high school senior prom.  Her sister and a friend were drinking a clear liquid and laughing and getting a bit gigglier. She looked up to her sister, she was so cool, and Brett wanted to be part of the crowd.   At 14-15, alcohol became a social thing.   She went to a small Quaker school and early exposure to alcohol came from older siblings. Peer pressure was a big thing. Alcohol was a staple at all the parties.

 

Brett thought everyone was blacking out and it wasn’t until age 21 that she understood you could drink without blacking out.  Her parents would pick her up from parties, then ground her and make her write essays on alcohol, how it was made, where it came from, etc.

 

[16:41] Where was your heart and your emotional state?

 

Brett said the cycle of shame kept her drinking for a long time.   She would drink, do something stupid, embarrass herself, feel terrible and then drink again because she couldn’t handle her feelings.  She was going through a lot as a kid and has since been diagnosed as bipolar 2.  She was experiencing all those symptoms as a kid and didn’t know what to do with them.  She was scared and wondering what was wrong with her, but not sure what.  She was also rebellious.

 

Value Bomb – Emotional regulation is something we don’t learn about early enough.

 

[19:34] What happened after high school?

 

Brett said during her junior year, her dream was to get as far away from Rhode Island as possible (a geographic).  She applied to Hawaii Pacific University but ended up at Loyola in Baltimore because nobody from her school was going there.  It was the party school and Brett had a fake ID and she was the party girl.  She had good friends, nothing bad happened and she achieved a 4.0 GPA.  She transferred to Northeastern and found a good group of drinking friends.  She had her first depressive episode and called her mom during  a complete panic attack.  The school psychiatrist suggested she had bipolar 2.  She was in denial.  She tried to manage her ups and downs with alcohol and cocaine.  She really hurt some people during her episodes and needs to make amends.

 

[23:02] Can you walk us through what a bipolar cycle is like for you?

 

Brett said, bipolar is difficult to diagnose for many reasons and it presents differently for different people.  Her alcohol and cocaine use augmented the ups and downs and made diagnosis more challenging.  Brett’s experience was feeling exhausted, tired, and unable to get out of bed.  She would rather pee in a cup than go to the bathroom.  She had muscle soreness and lots of tears, crying for no reason.  Suicidal ideation would come 2-3 days in, and she would circle a drain of worthlessness.  The booze turned the dial up and made the episodes longer. She also had blips of hypomania including high bursts of energy, talking fast and urgent shopping among other things.  She wasn’t ready to hear about her diagnosis, but had challenges functioning and felt shame and guilt as a result.  She went to a dual-diagnosis rehab, which was very freeing for her.

 

[28:36] What led you to rehab?

 

Brett said she frequently texted her family members accusing them of not loving or caring about her.  In 2020, she messaged her parents, and her parents became alarmed.  Her mom called, bought her a plane ticket, and offered to come pick her up.  Her Mom was researching rehab programs.  Brett had severe withdrawal symptoms and called the rehab to understand the rules.  She described getting to the airport 12 hours early because she had no concept of time.  She did go to the ER to address her withdrawal symptoms.  A few days later they were in the car on the way to a rehab in Massachusetts.

 

Brett said the life she built for herself in 15 months of sobriety is what she always wanted when she was drinking and using.  She had been drinking and using for 15 years.  She appreciates how wild, weird, and wonderful that is.

 

[34:20] How long were you in rehab?

 

Brett said for two weeks, and she would go back if she could.   The food was amazing, and the staff was talented and supportive.  She said it saved her life and she enjoyed most of it.  Insurance only covered two weeks.  Brett wondered why things had to get so bad that she to put her life on hold to get better.  Figuring out the fundamental things has prompted her to check in with herself daily.  She said we can’t be afraid to prioritize ourselves.

 

[40:00] How was leaving rehab and what was it like for the next 30 days?

 

Brett said after treatment she went home to her parents’ home for over a month.  She took time away from work and it was a safe bubbled space.  She explored AA and Smart Recovery meetings.  She returned to work part time.  Upon returning to San Francisco, she entered her bedroom and the whole room was in shambled.  There were bottles and mess everywhere because she was in a blackout when she left.  It was hard, but not triggering.  She took it slow and found a therapist and a psychiatrist.  After the pandemic hit, she turned to Instagram.  She found Carla and Sober IRL (https://www.soberirl.com/) and that kickstarted her desire to stay sober.   She continued the medications that were prescribed at rehab and the medication journey was a short one.

 

[43:30] What tools worked for you?

 

Brett said in the beginning fear of withdrawal was a huge motivator.  As she got more time, AA meetings, podcasts (Café RE and Recovery Happy Hour), reading (This Naked Mind, The Four Agreements) and the Instagram community helped.  Brett said when you put yourself out there, people take you into their arms and help you find your people.

 

[46:36] What helped you overcome cravings?

 

Brett said she didn’t have any physical cravings.  The itchiness with herself can be triggering and she learned to play the tape forward in rehab.  She leverages her sponsor, exercise, and leverages TIP exercises (https://dialecticalbehaviortherapy.com/distress-tolerance/tipp/) and baths/showers and cries.  Saying out loud she wants a drink and getting it out of her head gives it less power.

 

[49:42] What is your favorite NA beverage?

 

Brett said her current favorite is the Mikkeller Limbo Raspberry NA beer.

 

[53:10] Rapid Fire Round

 

  1. If you could talk to your younger self, what would you say.

I’m proud of you, it’s going to be okay.

 

  1. What’s a lightbulb moment

Sleep is restful

 

  1. What’s an unexpected perk of being sober?

More money, disposable income

 

  1. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Ben & Jerry’s Tonight dough

 

  1. What parting piece of guidance do you have for listeners?

Just do it, you are worth it!

 

You may have to say Adios to booze if …

You have accumulated so much debt, you must Venmo borrow from yourself to get alcohol.

 

Odette’s Summary

 

Odette reflects upon a recent reading of Gabor Mate where he says, ‘we continue to treat people who struggle with addiction poorly.  If you think about it, addiction is not a problem.   Addiction is a solution to a problem: our trauma, our suppressed emotions, our unhealed pain.’  Odette is grateful that Recovery Elevator is part of the solution.  We see you and we are here for you.  It all starts from the inside out.

 

Upcoming events, retreats, and courses:

  • Bozeman 2021 (August 18-22, 2021) registration opens March 1! This is our flagship annual retreat held in the pristine forests of Big Sky Country, 10 miles south of Bozeman, Montana. During this 5-day event, you’ll discover how to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone.
  • You can find more information about our events

 

Affiliate Link for Endourage:

For 10% off your first CBD order with Endourage visit this link and use the promo code elevator at checkout. 

 

Affiliate Link for Amazon:

Shop via Amazon using this link.

 

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

 

Resources:

Connect with Cafe RE – Use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee.

Recovery Elevator YouTubeSubscribe here!

Sobriety Tracker iTunes 

 

 

“Recovery Elevator – Without the darkness you would never

know the light – I love you guys”

 

 

 

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