In our Dry January course, REstore, Paul teaches a class covering the different recovery modalities. The good news is that In 2023, there are more ways to ditch the booze than ever before. Even just 10 years ago recovery took place in church basements with bad coffee and shitty donuts, but today the landscape is much different.
**Side note, Paul still goes to an AA meeting, in a church basement with bad coffee. He’s not dawging that way of recovery, he loves his Tuesday night AA meeting, but there are so many more methods, programs, techniques…you name it…available today.
So which pathway is right for you?
A couple caveats before we begin.
Caveat 1. If you are READY then ANY pathway is going to work for you. If you’re truly sick and tired of being sick and tired, then any of these programs will work. In addition, you HAVE to give them a solid try.
Caveat 2 – There is no right or wrong way to quit drinking. We’re going to give some recommendations, but it’s up to you to figure out what works best for you.
When building your recovery portfolio you want this work to be 50% external – 50% internal. At first, the internal work may be too big of an ask, but as your nervous system settles down, you want to aim for a balanced split.
Here are some quick examples of what external vs internal is:
- Driving to an AA meeting, or hopping on a Café RE zoom chat
- Phoning a sober friend
- Working with a sponsor
- Reading quit lit
When building out your recovery pathway Paul recommends this 5 tiered approach. .
5 Tiered Approach
- Inner Peace
- Community – Let’s talk programs that are community focused.
A.A., Smart Recovery, Dharma Recovery, Life Ring, Women for Recovery, Café RE, The Lucky Club, Meetup.com, online sober communities, Reddit, talkingsober.com, our sober Ukulele Course, Dry January and Photo courses, phoning a sober friend, 1:1 Interaction within another person in recovery. Meeting with a counselor or therapist falls under this community approach.
All of these tiers are important but this one is a BIG ONE. In order for you to get the most out of this, you have to first burn the ships, with yourself, then with your community. Burning the ships = Accountability which then = Community.
Yoga, dance, music, ecstatic dance, hiking, stretching, running, swimming, drumming on your desk. Your body is meant to move. Chemicals of wellbeing, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin are released when we move. 3x a week, for 20 min is a good starting point.
- Inner Peace/Creation
Meditation, breathwork, sunrises, sunsets, time spent in nature, time spent with animals, float tank, relaxing, chanting, journaling, inner child work, singing, playing music, painting, writing poetry. This is where you create your new life that no longer requires alcohol. One reason why pen to paper is so effective is you can’t write as fast as the mind can think, so it slows down the thinking mind.
About animals – their nervous systems are much more intact, or less frenzied than ours. Animals live life from the hearts opposed to their human counterparts who live mostly in thought. A recent study shows that similar amount of oxytocin is released when we hug a dog compared to when we hug a human. And flip side to that, oxytocin, or the love molecule is released in dogs, when we pet them. If you’re feeling fraught, visit a petting zoo or kick it with a pet. Human nervous systems can attune themselves to more stable nervous systems, even those of animals.
This is learning. This is empowering yourself with information. Podcasts, quit lit books, audiobooks, learn about healthy diets, learn about how the mind works. No you cannot read or listen yourself out of an addiction, but this is an important tier. Under this umbrella includes medicines both from the east and west. Perhaps Naltrexone, or the Sinclair method is something you may want to try. Naltrexone is a medication that blocks the euphoria response when we drink alcohol. Perhaps more shamanic approaches with medicines such as ayahuasca, psilocybin, San Pedro or Ibogaine may be right for you.
- The Universe
Lets get clear, this is not religion, but it is the spirituality component of recovery. One of the beautiful purposes of an addiction is it can flex the layers of the ego so much that they eventually snap…letting in what some will call their higher power.
When you say lines to yourself like, “I can’t live like this anymore.” The Universe is right there with you saying, “no problem, let me show you the way.”
Now go slow with the universe. This was the last of the five tiers to implement itself in Paul’s sobriety journey. This one most likely is on the universe’s clock and not yours. But be open, pay attention to the breadcrumbs of life and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or guidance from the universe at any time.
There’s a well remixed line that has been floating around for several thousand years. Ask and you shall receive.
To recap, 50% internal, 50% external and hit a couple things from the five tiers ,and you’ll be just fine.
Remember, your recovery is always changing, because you are. It should change. What you’re doing now should look different than what you were doing a month or year ago.
***Taken from Recovery Elevator Podcast, Episode 425, host Paul Churchill***