Episode 484 – Recovery is a Sandwich


Today we have Brian. He is 59 from Eastern Iowa. He took his last drink on May 23rd, 2023.


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[02:24] Thoughts from Kris:


Kris’ topic today is one of the foundational themes in recovery which is telling our story or burning the ships as we refer to it at Recovery Elevator.


Burning the Ships refers to when Hernan Cortez sailed across the ocean and ordered his men to burn their ships when they landed. There was no turning back, no retreat. When we share our story, we can no longer hide from it and are faced to move forward with others having knowledge of our journey.


This isn’t a black and white situation so it will be different for everyone, and we each have to do what is right for us. Kris shares the different levels of burning the ships and his experiences with them. He feels that the positives outweigh the negatives. When people hear our stories, not just the stats, it changes their perception. Hearing our stories in others’, helps us know we are not alone, and we never know the impact that sharing our stories may have on others.


Think of the moments that have inspired you. What is your version of that? Let Kris know what you think. How has burning the ships played out for you?  Email kris@recoveryelevator.com to share your thoughts.


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[10:48] Kris introduces Brian:


Upon the release of this episode, Brian has just celebrated one year of sobriety!

He is married, together they have five adult children and seven grandchildren. Brian is active and enjoys many outdoor activities, home projects, travelling and reading.


Brian grew up on a farm and recalls it was common for people to have drinks after a long day of work. He says he and his friends would sneak beer out of curiosity. When he was in his teens, he and his friends would drive around the gravel roads with a cooler of beer. After graduating high school, Brian joined the military, which was a tradition in his family. He was enlisted for two years and lived the “work hard, play hard” life that is common in that environment.


Shortly after discharge from the Army, Brian got a DUI. He did not feel this was a red flag to stop drinking, just needed to pay the fine and move on. After graduating college, he got his first job in management and married his first wife. They bought land and started a family together. Brian says drinking was mostly social on the weekends and at the local tavern after work.


Brian and his wife got a divorce after 15 years married. Soon after, Brian began suffering from extreme anxiety and panic attacks. He tried medication and meditation to deal with it, but it was still intense.


A few years later, Brian started dating his current wife. They were very social and frequently drank, but she was not a heavy drinker. Brian began to find himself waking up with anxiety and would often change his work hours to accommodate his drinking or recovery from the night before.


In December of 2020 Brian discovered his sister had recently become sober. He feels this really led him to examine his drinking. Upon arriving home from that visit, he started reading a lot and listening to podcasts. He began attending more group chats with Café RE and connecting with other folks in recovery. Brian says his sister taught him a lot of mindfulness exercises which he has found very helpful.


Brian’s parting piece of guidance for those considering sobriety: just dig in and try it.


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