- I still find it difficult that my husband drinks every day. I don’t know why it makes me feel angry inside, but I do all the time when he drinks. How can I approach this?
Odette said, stay on your lane. The more you focus on him, the less you will focus on your healing and your journey. In learning about yourself and healing yourself, you can start to implement boundaries and assert your needs vs. obsess over how much he is drinking. Therapy helps. Pull your energies back to yourself.
- What do you suggest I do when friends and family seem uncomfortable around me when I say I don’t drink?
Paul said you can get started on 2.0 version of your life. So much more is packed into this than just quitting drinking. You are stepping out of the norm, roles, identities, and labels in your family. Learn to set boundaries, overcome the need to please. Give it time, and they’re watching. This doesn’t mean they aren’t supportive. They are on their own journey as well.
- What are the plans for Recovery Elevator (RE)? What is in the works?
The podcast will evolve to include additional voices. Paul will return in some capacity.
Retreats (Rustic Retreats, like Bozeman, Hotel events, retreat centers, and AF travel).
A Retreat Center is contemplated.
A Rat Park experiment, an in-person community, is being considered.
- How did you best handle your early days of an alcohol-free life? What practices do you use now daily?
Odette has used different tools but consistently exercises, sees a therapist, stays connected via on-line chats and in-person meet-ups that are COVID safe.
Paul said the most challenging and most rewarding experience in his life was quitting drinking. Paul left Bozeman for his first month of sobriety because there were too many triggers. He took long walks for 30 days, particularly to a fantastic waterfall. As his recovery evolved, he is mindful of the interchange. He goes to his internal connection, and the outside triggers stopped affecting him. He found some inner peace.
- If you could trade your life now for being able to drink like a normal person magically, would you?
Odette said, no, senor!
In the first few years, Paul said he had thoughts of drinking, and he was in the victim role – longing for the old days when he could drink normally. Now his energy has changed, and his life now has no space for alcohol or drinking.
- I hear in AA all of the time that those who don’t go to meetings regularly are sure to go back out and drink.
Odette said the opposite of addiction is connection. It’s a great time to be sober with virtual meetings, sober curious groups, courses, and friends who are always focused on learning and being better.
Paul said there are infinite ways to Ditch the Booze. Paul’s buddies have ditched the booze, and AA was not part of their journey. He believes the community is vital to long-term sobriety. It doesn’t have to be AA – and humans are social animals.
- I’m in my second year of sobriety. The first year was a lot of filling my toolbox and learning how to survive without alcohol. When in your journey did you start to thrive and live your best life. What steps did you take to embrace the new you and live out loud?
Paul said nothing was thriving when he was drinking. Some parts of his life started to thrive nearly immediately when he quit drinking. Within 14 days, he felt better. The spiritual component of his life has become vital to him. He is more tethered and can weather emotional storms. Today chaos, while momentary, ultimately leads to thriving for Paul.
Odette said her definition of thriving has changed. She goes within. Thriving is about peace, knowing herself, and understanding the reality of co-existing with others. It’s not about the perfect Instagram profile. Odette thrives even on her dip days. Her growing pains lead to thriving.
- Do you think there is a risk of a substance leading me back to alcohol? Have your own experiences (or, for that matter, any new research on the potential benefits of psychedelics)? How has your experience informed you?
Paul said Dr. David Nutt (2011 UK) said alcohol is the most addictive drug and causes the most devastating effects on society. Number 20 was magic mushrooms. Paul’s experiences with plant medicines have been non-addictive. In the right setting, they do not lead to a return to alcohol. The right setting is critical. Guided therapy sessions will help the intense inner work.
- What were your best strategies to avoid or minimize the tendency to romanticize the days of yore in the early days of sobriety?
Odette said, play the tape forward. Romanticizing is just an illusion. She remembers not to give up what she wants for that drink.
Paul described the ism and euphoric recall. Its why women continue to have babies. They don’t accurately remember the pain. Paul’s memory was about playing football. The mind has 60-70K thoughts a day, and most of them are wrong. Questioning your thoughts is a great practice.
- I seem to have a problem sometimes with a lack of structure or regiment. When I work or have commitments, it seems like I don’t have so many thoughts in my head because I’m pretty focused on the task at hand. Fewer thoughts equal less anxiety for me. Paul, can you share your experience with travel and structure?
Paul suggests structure in all of his courses. The days with structure are easier to get through. Paul has taken Spanish classes or city tours, or AA meetings to build in structure and routine. Double down on the routine.
- I would love to hear Odette speak on how alcohol abuse works with eating disorder recovery. The sobriety world is very diet culture-oriented and fat phobic. Any guidance on fighting the voice of needing to restrict, manage weight, and it’s ok to eat?
Odette said listen to Episode 312. There are so many connections between alcohol and eating disorders. She took other’s hands until she could do it for herself. She is grateful for her body. She has bad body image days but tries to do the best for her body. Protect your energy! Odette is happy to speak to people about this challenge.
- How do you not think about drinking while abstaining? I’ve had many alcohol-free days in the last few years, but those same days were sometimes consumed with thoughts of drinking. So, the drinking has gone away for you guys. But has the thinking about the drinking gone away from you too?
Paul talks about music is all about love. Saying goodbye to alcohol is a Dear John letter. Give yourself time to grieve and let the neurons no longer fire together. It’s a non-issue for Paul today.
Odette spoke about the progression of healing. It does get better.
- What supplements- if any- have you used to help “restore” the damage done by long-term use of alcohol?
Odette said sleep, vitamins, water, good food, and Vitamin D – get outside.
Paul said, get outside and get outside with your shoes off. Lemon water, cocoa water, take a nap if you are tired.
- I would like to hear from you about your spiritual journey as you got sober and how you find your higher being?
Paul said spirituality wasn’t his thing, but at about 3.5 years in, April 14, he recognized something beautiful was at play. He has learned to enjoy the mystery and the magic. He doesn’t have all of the answers and embraces that.
Odette believes that things are presented to you when you are ready. Stay curious, be patient. Value bomb – time has its own time.
- How do you distance yourself from perfectionism?
Paul said, recognize with an awareness that it’s there.
Odette likes the gut check she gets when she realizes her recovering control freak is a daily practice. She leans on friends for support.
- How can I help a loved one get on the AF journey, too, without using too many of my own experiences and also without falling off myself?
Odette said, stay the course, don’t be co-dependent. Don’t add resistance. Hold space for your loved one.
Paul said, be the change you want to see. We grow from our crash and burn?
- How did the transition between hosts come about? Did Paul seek Odette out, or did Odette send out an unconscious signal? Was there a specific sign in the universe to make this incredible event happen?
Paul and Odette are well connected, including the transition. The idea just came, and it worked beautifully. Odette’s immediate yes came from her heart.
- What is Paul’s most significant takeaway since stepping away from hosting the podcast? And what is Odette’s biggest takeaway so far being the host of the podcast?
We all suck at asking for and accepting help. Paul needed help, and Odette stepped up.
Odette knows we all need each other. When she has dip days, she shows up and gets more when she shows up for others.
- Do you have any advice on when is a good time and how to be open & out about your sobriety (with employers, an old friend, strangers, etc.)? I struggle with thinking it’s none of my employer’s business because it doesn’t affect the job I do, and I don’t want to deal with the conversation that comes with telling them, but then find myself avoiding the truth about it and feeling bad later.
Odette said self and radical honesty is what and genuine and authentic to yourself. Challenge yourself, but do what works for yourself, your mental accountability, and your peace.
Paul said we often disassociate ourselves from nature. Paul knows burning the ships can be challenging, and he’s had some delicate moments. His opportunities with vulnerability have worked with him everywhere. It opens up the door for a deeper connection.
- When has your sobriety been tested the most, and what did you do that happened?
Paul said he had a meltdown after his sixth episode, and he asked for help, and he was supported incredibly and learned how burning the ships worked in his favor and asking for help became an incredible experience. Vulnerability opens so many doors.
Odette described that parenting is tough! Many parents try to stay sober for their kids, and parenting can be super triggering. Odette loves her kids to death, but she is reinventing the Mommy culture. Parenting is tough, but she knows alcohol isn’t her answer, and she has a great support system.
- What do you think of prescription meds for or during recovery (e.g., naltrexone)?
Paul said green light for naltrexone. It helps in the short term, great. Paul said Antabuse is a violent fear motivator. Your recovery is more helpful with loving yourself.
- What have you learned the most about recovery from doing the podcasts? And what is the most common “similarity” you’ve found after all the interviews, other than we all have a desire to stop drinking, of course!
Odette said moderation works until it doesn’t, and it pretty much doesn’t do the trick. We all just want love and acceptance. Odette appreciates the courage of everyone that dares to come on the show.
Paul discussed, there is trauma with a big T, and little t, addiction to alcohol says something in our life is out of balance, we are all fundamentally good people,
there is part of our unconscious that doesn’t want to stop drinking, and we need to overcome our fear.
- How do I break out of the cycle of drinking with four young kids?
Odette said she doesn’t like advising busy moms – she only has two kids. She suggested making yourself a priority, and when you do, your children will learn that as well. Take care of yourself. You are not exempt from pain or failure. It takes a village to raise children, ask for help!
- Is it possible to get addicted to feelings? I have grown up in a cycle of trauma. On a deeper level, I feel I’ve been addicted to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and shame, because I have lived with them for so long?
Paul said you could get addicted to your thoughts. Your thoughts function in the known. The body tries to anchor you back to your old self.
Odette said, find your new normal.
Paul added, enjoy your life. It doesn’t have to be hard. You can ask for help. Paul gave a big shout-out for all of the good questions and he and Odette had a blast.