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
- 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.
- What’s your favorite NA beverage?
Liquid Death and her friend makes her own tinctures which she adds to it.
- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Talenti Banana Caramel Crunch
- 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!
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