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Recovery Elevator

Paul Churchill

55
Followers
612
Plays
Recovery Elevator

Recovery Elevator

Paul Churchill

55
Followers
612
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

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About Us

Here’s an idea. When you’re a closet alcoholic who’s quit drinking more times than you can count, start a podcast to hold yourself accountable as publicly as possible. Share your struggles, your triumphs, and every lesson you’re learning along the way. While you’re at it, invite others to share their stories of addiction and recovery so that you can learn from them and be reminded: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Getting sober is just the beginning. Staying sober, and then becoming the person I know I’m meant to be is the real adventure. Join me?

Latest Episodes

RE 292: Navigating the Storm

EWill took his last drink April 10, 2018. With just over 2 years away from alcohol (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You….. Navigating through tough times. Removing alcohol allows you to actually do something about a problem, however sometimes without alcohol in front of it, a problem can present more clearly. It’s hard to do the hard thing and easy to pretend our problems aren’t really there. We have a choice to accept the problem (the storm) as it presents itself and its aftereffects as part of a life without alcohol. [7:01] Odette introduces Will. Will is 43 and lives in Queens, NY. He’s an IT consultant and married with a dog. For fun he loves to be outdoors, surfing, live music, cooking, biking, running and traveling. [9:34] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking? Will said he was 12 when he has his first drink on vacation, but he considers his real entrance to alcohol was around the age of 15. It dissolved the anxiety he felt in social situations. In college he went full force into drinking and it quickly became a daily habit. He sought out others who drank like he did. [12:57] Were you a high performer in school? Will said alcohol did impact his school work. He had no direction for what he wanted to do the rest of his life. He found himself drinking in exchange for doing things he loved. [14:22] What happened after college? Will said followed a band he loved around the country and fully fell into the drinking and partying culture. [16:18] Did you ever question your drinking? Will said no, because he had surrounded himself with a culture of drinking and partying. So, he was around it and it was normalized within his circle. [18:23] Walk me through your next life chapter? Will said he moved to Washington state with his now wife and went back to school. There was less drinking, and he was able to focus on his schoolwork and life. He found some balance mixed in with the pockets of crazy times. Once he finished school he moved back to New York and began work, but also was staying out late drinking. He noticed the change in his physical alcohol dependance at this moment. [22:34] Did you introduce moderation rules? Will said he attempted moderation at home and it simply evaporated over time. [23:21] Did you start having conversations with your wife about this? Will said him and his wife were both “in it” at the time. (She is also now in recovery.) There was enabling happening and it was difficult to navigate. [24:05] Did you have a rock bottom? Will said he sought out a doctor to prescribe him something to help him get through the physical dependency. However, looking back, that was just another layer onto addiction. This went on for years with a chaotic life and drinking. He sought treatment after two friends expressed concern in 2016. He did a 28-day inpatient program. While he wasn’t ready fully for recovery, but at the same time wanted to change his life. He made it through but relapsed within 60 days. [29:14] Walk me through 2016 – 2018. Will said he was trying in those two years, but it seemed impossible. While he was in and out of the AA rooms, he wasn’t doing the work that he was told was needed. April 10, 2018, he entered a detox again after 3 days of a mental psychosis. [33:13] What changed this time? Will said there was enough pain in his life, he realized he needed to make a change. [34:30] Do you still get cravings? Will said not really, he gets fleeting thoughts. [34:40] What your biggest way of coping with uncomfortable feelings? Will said you get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Once he started to take his sobriety seriously, he accepted the program he was being told to work. He can now make sense of his feelings without alcohol numbing them down. There’s purpose in the struggles we go through. [37:45] Have you healed the nerve damage in your feet at all? Will said the rest of his body has h

50 min3 d ago
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RE 292: Navigating the Storm

RE 291: Do Better

EKevin took his last drink April 11, 2020. With just over 3 months away from alcohol (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You….. Receiving feedback and how to do better. After a negative comment / feedback from a listener, Odette took the comments and the feedback and is seeing this as an opportunity to do better. It seems these days that “do better” is being used more and explored. This was the universe reminding her that she is worthy, the listener is worthy, and everyone is worthy. She has gratitude and love for the listener because they allowed to her see something from a different perspective. If you have feedback, please send an email to Odette. [7:23] Odette introduces Kevin. Kevin is 59 and originally from Philadelphia, he has lives in Florida for the past 20 years. He’s a printer and works for the schoolboard. He’s married and loves cooking, traveling and doing charcoal portraits. [9:13] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking? Kevin said that when he was 7, he became the drink maker at his grandparents’ card games. He would have some whiskey and ginger ale himself. In 4th grade he was bullied, so he would go home at lunch to eat but also to do a few shots of liquor so he could deal with that. In high school he fell in with a crowd that drank and also sold drugs. He continued in that pattern until he met his now wife at the age of 33. He quit the drugs, but his drinking continued to escalate. In 2017 he spent 3 days in a psych ward, leaving there he sent to AA and a counselor, but it never really took, and he relapsed. [12:26] Did anybody notice that all this was happening when you were so young? Kevin said that he was a latch key kid, so his use of alcohol wasn’t noticed. And when he was in high school, he was always out of the house and with friends, so again, it wasn’t noticed. However, he says that while in high school he knew he had a bad alcohol problem on his hands. [14:22] Did you ever reach out to somebody in those early days or was alcohol normalized in your family? Kevin said his grandfather owned a bar and his parents had an active social life and he was a bartender at different points, so alcohol was always a part of his life. [15:03] How did alcohol cause conflict in your marriage(s)? Kevin said in his first marriage they were both very immature and it wasn’t ever going to last. With his second wife, he emulated her and wanted her to be proud of him. It never worked out however and he felt he was always disappointing her. [16:40] What happened that made you want to reach out and get help? Kevin said there were a lot of moments. Between injuries, unhealthy arguments and car accidents there were lots of red flags. He always thought he had it under control. He doesn’t have an off switch. [18:55] What happened in April of this year? Kevin said this time he wanted to get sober and committed to AA, he didn’t have another second chance in him. He was tired of playing the alcohol game, wondering where he would get more and having alcohol control his life. [20:49] What do you do when you get a craving? Kevin said he changes his environment right away. He gets out of where he is and tries to get a new headspace. In about 30 minutes time the craving is gone. He doesn’t call them alcohol cravings, but more the idea of alcohol gets in his brain. Kevin uses the Merriam Webster app and it gives him a “word of the day”. He takes that word and tries to apply it to his sobriety throughout the day. This gives him a fresh perspective to sobriety over and over. [23:00] Tell me about your family dynamics? Kevin said for 24 years he was a tornado leaving a path of devastation through his marriage. They are trying to figure things out and he wants his wife to be happy and have a good life. [26:02] What is your favorite thing about the AA program? Kevin said the communication and connection with other people in recove

46 min1 w ago
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RE 291: Do Better

RE 290: Let's Not Label This a Problem

ETaylor took his last drink June 7, 2019. With just over 13 months away from alcohol (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You….. WAIT WAIT! It’s Paul’s 6 year Sober-versary! So instead we bring you Paul’s 6 big insights since his handing off the podcast to Odette. People are struggling right now due to Covid, but let’s not label this as a problem. Let’s go within and have some spiritual growth. Turn off the news. The ego always sets its own trap. Pets are the reason the human race hasn’t imploded yet. He has gained empathy. It’s never too late to accomplish a goal. Bonus insight: Paul’s parents are RAD! [19:08] Paul introduces Taylor. Taylor is 30 years old and lives in Thornton, Colorado with his two dogs, Harley and Rooster. While he’s lived in many places over the years, he grew up in Sacramento, California and now is in Colorado. He loves walking his dogs, record and write music, rock climbing, mountain biking, photography, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, video editing and D&D. He likes to try all the hobbies now. [23:54] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking? Taylor said he started exploring alcohol around age 14. He wanted to see what alcohol was all about. He didn’t really touch alcohol again until he was about 16, mostly in High School he smoked weed. However, alcohol did allow him to fit in. His father and stepmother caught him smoking weed in college and made the decision to send him to live with his mother. This started his “victims’ story” because he wasn’t allowed to smoke weed anymore, so he was “forced to drink alcohol”. He saw his career grow however by quitting smoking weed, but there was alcohol ever present. At 26 he found himself trying to moderate alcohol. Just before he deployed to Afghanistan, he thought to stop drinking a few days before, and he found himself in withdrawals. After not drinking while overseas, he ordered a drink on the plane home. Being home he was again trying to moderate. [33:53] Tell me about going back to drinking after returning from Afghanistan? Taylor said that he understood that he had seen the “other side of life” and you can never really go back. Alcohol just isn’t the same and he knew he was doomed. After his girlfriend left, was his rock bottom moment. [42:19] Walk me through those first 30 days? Taylor said he fully dove into recovery: “I sober like I drank”. When his father left, he kept going to therapy and AA. His pink cloud lasted 3 months and the energies to stay sober were stronger than his desire to drink. He found a lot of humility and got a sponsor and started working the steps. [47:09] Can you share with listeners the difference between your 29th and your 30th birthdays? Taylor said on his 29th birthday was in his first 30 days of sobriety. He sat at home and he didn’t have anything to do or anyone to hang out with. He called a newfound AA friend and he came over and they watched TV together. His 30th birthday he had 20 people show up to his birthday, from all parts of his life. He was humbled in that moment of the work that he had done to be the authentic Taylor. [50:44] Do you still get cravings? Taylor said yes. His alter drinking ego is named Gregory and he’s no longer the enemy of Taylor. Gregory still tries to get him to drinking, but he can have the conversation with Gregory about why they aren’t going to drink. Taylor treats Gregory like a sick child, with care and compassion. Cravings are now fleeting thoughts. [57:47] Rapid Fire Round What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Peanut butter and banana with candied bacon milkshake What would you say to your younger self? Slow down, be gentle, be kind. What are some of your favorite resources in recovery? People, AA, The Calm App, Nature, Café RE, a picture of a dog. Books: Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn The Tao of Pooh & The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff What parting

64 min2 w ago
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RE 290: Let's Not Label This a Problem

RE 289: Co-occurring Issues

EEarly took their last drink November 16, 2019. With almost 8 months (at the time of recording) this is their story of living alcohol free (AF). Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You. Co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis describes a person who has more than one medical issue either with two diseases simultaneously or one disease successively after the other. These may be mental or physical. Odette reminds us that we are not alone. [5:23] Odette introduces Early. Early is 32 years old and living off the grid on the Ozark Plateau. They have 3 dogs who are their very best friends. For work they go back and forth between migrant farm work and restaurant service industry. For fun they like to learn about the area surrounding them, the plants and animals. Also chopping wood and the other living in the woods chores. Living off the grid means that Early is not connected to the electrical power grid & any city water or sewage. They have solar power and collect rain water or spring water. They have a composting outhouse. Early says they are connected to the earth in a way that feels more ethical to them. [8:33] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking? Early said that their whole life has been characterized by very intense addiction. The first drink they had was a stolen Miller High Life at the age of 10. The first blackout came at 14, drinking in the mornings and vomiting in their sleep came at 16. They were drawn to alcohol due to being socially awkward and having few friends. Being a deviant led them into a world of acceptance. As an adult, along with therapy and their diagnosis as being on the spectrum, these factors make sense now. By 18 Early was drinking daily and that’s the first time they wanted to stop drinking. Willpower didn’t work and AA wasn’t the avenue they wanted to take. Between the ages of 18 and 31 they tried many times to quit. [11:44] When did you receive your diagnosis? Early said at 29 there was an incident in which they sexually assaulted their best friend. It never would have happened if they had not been under the influence of alcohol. After that they checked themself into a mental hospital for help. There they were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Early’s therapist post that also diagnosed them with Autisms Spectrum disorder and PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. [13:43] What went through your mind after all these diagnoses? Early said leaving the mental hospital they were detoxed from alcohol and also on new anti-psychotic medicine for brand new diagnoses. They weren’t given any tools on how to handle not drinking and their only coping ability from the past 20 years, so to cope, they drank. [16:20] What happened after you left the hospital? Early said that they knew they needed to remove alcohol but had no tools. They would white knuckle it for a few days and then drink. Over time they began to find different tools that worked for them. They incorporated yoga, drinking more water, changing their diet, getting regular sleep (basic needs as Early says!). However, the feeling of shame and the belief that they are a bad person remained. Early began drinking in secret and isolating themselves in-between moments of white knuckling sobriety. [20:12] You seem to have such grit. Where did this come from and how did you find the determination to keep trying? Early said their last night of drinking was an average night of drinking. The change began a year ago when their father passed away suddenly. They saw life from outside their own for the first time. That winter they declared that they would do anything to get sober. They kept trying and using all the tools they had learned over the years of trying to quit. They stopped feeling sorry for themselves and that helped to cut the shame. Early learned they were worthy of love and happiness. They describe themselves as a hard headed stubborn determined person and that might be the grit that is seen. [27:51] How is it balancing a

42 min3 w ago
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RE 289: Co-occurring Issues

RE 288: AF Drink Options With Gruvi

EAnika is the founder of Grüvi and a member of the sober curious community. This is her story of being an entrepreneur and helping to provide NA beverages to those who want them. Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You. You are in charge of setting and honoring your own boundaries. Everyone has different triggers, for example if NA beers and beverages are triggering to you, then you don’t have to explore that avenue. You know how to best protect your journey. Stay open and stay curious and protect your energy. [4:53] Odette introduces Anika. Anika is sober curious so she’s not very strict on keeping track of dates. But her last drink was right around the beginning of Covid. She is 24 years old and lives in Canada. She enjoys being outdoors, yoga, hiking and traveling. [6:56] Walk me through your sober curious journey. Anika said her sober curious nature came out during her last year at University. She was a social drinker, but in her last year she found herself saying “I don’t want to have to go out with friends tonight, because then I will have to drink and then I will be hung over.” She experienced all the benefits of a life away from alcohol: better sleep, having more clarity and being more productive. [9:38] Did something spark your thought process to become aware of a life away from alcohol at such a young age? Anika said at first, she was like everyone else with regards to drinking and felt it was a stage in life. But when she created the Grüvi brand was when she really started to see how life can continue on without alcohol and with an alternate beverage. She was able to have a social life without having to have the social lubricant. [11:15] How did Grüvi start? Grüvi launched a year ago in Denver and it’s a family business. They have been a health focused family, led by their father. Finding that the NA category was lacking in options pushed them to create Grüvi. [12:34] Where did the name come from? Anika said Grüvi is taking the word “groovy” and making it fun and new. You can be fun and silly and youthful even without alcohol. [14:59] Tell me about the specifics of Grüvi? Currently, there are 4 craft beers and 1 prosecco. The beers are brewed through a process of arrested fermentation, which stops the brewing before any alcohol is introduced. However, because this does go through a fermentation process, there are trace amounts of alcohol (similar to kombuca). The prosecco is 0.0% ABV. They are expanding too! Anika says that hopefully they will be offering a bubbly Rose by the end of summer 2020. [20:58] Are most people open to the dialogue (about this NA movement)? Anika said that after living in Denver for over a year after University and returning to Canada and the friend group there, she was a little nervous. Through this she has realized that her friends support her no matter what. And she told them she is happy with her decision to not be drinking so they should be too. [23:10] What’s it like working with your family? Anika said so far, it’s been great! They are living together again as a family and it’s been smooth. She’s enjoying the opportunity to grow closer to her family through this. [33:30] What are you excited about right now? Anika said every day is new and exciting. Grüvi is at that step where they are expanding and growing. This includes new states and being able to be local and accessible to more people. They are expanding their ambassador program and Anika is spearheading this. She loves getting to talk to the community and grow the movement together. [36:50] Rapid Fire Round Other than Grüvi, what’s your favorite NA beverage? Being her own bartender and making mocktails or a matcha latte. What is a memorable moment you’ve had while not drinking? Going out dancing with her friends and enjoying the music. What are some of your favorite resources? Books: The Sober Curious & This Naked Mind Instagram accounts: @Ditchedthedrink @soberbabes What parting piece of guidance can you

42 minAUG 24
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RE 288: AF Drink Options With Gruvi

RE 287: Should We Be Drinking Less?

EAlan took his last drink December 23, 2019. With almost 6 months (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Announcing Recovery Elevator’s first ever REgionals! Join us for our online zoom conference this October 23-24th. This event is for Café RE Members only. Not a member yet?! Sign up here and use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You. The New York Times article “Should We Be Drinking Less?” is from July 10th, 2020. It’s the stark contrast to articles which tout having 1-2 glasses of wine has healthy benefits or how rose will help you through motherhood. The idea that moderate drinking is acceptable actually keeps people drinking because it’s seen as ok in the eyes of society. There is a shift that is happening and people are questioning the narrative of what’s acceptable when drinking. [7:47] Odette introduces Alan. Alan lives outside Atlanta and is 49 years old. His last drink was the day before Christmas Eve 2019. He drank everything and was blackout drunk that night. His 15 year old daughter had been at a friend’s house and came home to find her father passed out in a chair with a spilled glass of wine. The next morning knowing his daughter had seen that changed the course of his life. He didn’t want to live that way any longer. Alan’s daughter mentioned above is actually one of triplets. He has three 15 year old children and has been married to his wife for almost 18 years. He’s in software sales and is trying to figure out what he likes to do for fun now that he’s sober. He enjoys health and fitness and has a Peloton. [18:37] Walk me through your drinking career. Alan said that he began drinking in high school and it started out normal, transitioned into college and that drinking atmosphere. College for him was one big party. He continued the pace of college drinking afterwards. He worked for a year in Aspen and drank 7 days a week. He returned to Atlanta, while his drinking slowed, he was always concerned about where the next drink was coming from and this is when his drinking became abnormal. Alan believes he was covering up fear with his drinking. Fear of fitting in, fear of getting a good job, fear of making enough money, fear of meeting the right girl, fear of getting a big title. The fear was gone when he drank. [27:15] Tell me about joining Café RE and how was that first month? Alan said Café RE was the springboard to connection. He didn’t realize the connection was so powerful with other people looking to live the same life. After feeling like he had been driving in foggy conditions for 10 years, the fog cleared and he was able to see finally. [33:36] What works for you when you have a craving? Alan said he has learned a ton of tools in Café RE. The biggest one is from Paul’s book, Alcohol is SH!T, which says to “play the tape forward”. While he can romanticize the drink on his porch, Alan can also now see where that one drink will lead. He’s seen the movie, he knows the ending and it’s not good! [36:11] How has your family dynamic changed? Alan said about 3 months in his wife looked at him and told him he was like a new person. He is present now. While he’s always been a father who was physically there, he always existed in the fog. He told his daughter that he was getting help for his drinking and that’s a huge accountability step for him, one he can never go back on. [41:00] What have you discovered about yourself? Alan said he’s learned he can juggle a lot of things in life. He has the ability to handle what life throws at him. [42:51] If you could talk to day 1 Alan, what would you say? Connect with likeminded individuals as soon as possible. Do not attempt to do this alone. [43:20] Had you tried to stop drinking previously? Alan said he probably tried about 4 times seriously. But never had connection, resources, understanding or community. He always went at it alone and would call himself a Dry D

51 minAUG 17
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RE 287: Should We Be Drinking Less?

Episode 286: It’s Never Too Late To Quit Drinking

EJim took his last drink April 7, 2020. With just over 70 days (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Today Odette opens talking about finding the better you and her own take away from Holly Whitaker’s Quit Like A Woman. She focuses on what Holly says about when a craving strikes. Learn to relax into the craving rather than distract. RASINS Recognize Allow Set aside the story Investigate what is happening in your body Name the sensations Surf Let’s set the scene: You have finished your 100th zoom call of the day and you are ready to relax for the night. You want to pour a glass of wine. Here is how to implement RASINS. Admit the craving, allow the craving to build, set aside the negative thoughts telling you that you suck. Maybe try a meditation practice. Focus on how your body is feeling. Is your heart racing, are your palms sweating? Ride the wave of emotion, this is manageable. [7:12] Odette introduces Jim. Jim is 71 years old and he lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He is about to retire fully from his career in public education. He’s been married for 47 years and has 3 children and 4 grandkids. He enjoys hiking, reading, swimming and volunteering at church and in schools. He has recently picked up golf too! [11:33] Can you give listeners a history on your drinking? Jim said he began drinking in high school and also drank in college. He joined a fraternity and soon after stopped going to call and flunked out. His father told him he was not welcome at home, so Jim joined the Merchant Marines after that. He said that although drinking was prohibited on the boats, that was far from the reality. After a winter in the Merchant Marines he was drafted into the Vietnam War, however his college agreed to re-admit him. Once back in college he was right back where he started. He did meet his “beautiful bride” while in school and she got him going back to class and he did graduate. His chosen career was something that he felt was more important that his drinking. So, he didn’t drink before work, but after work, all bets were off. Once he began to approach retirement, he had more time on his hands and the habits of college drinking returned. [15:14] Do you remember your emotional state when your father told you that you weren’t allowed back home? Jim said at the time he was very resentful and thought his father was not loving and caring. He felt his father was putting his own reputation and career over Jim’s circumstances. Looking back on it, Jim can say he knows that his father made a great decision. [22:15] Did you notice your relationships changing/eroding? Jim said his own ability to be a pleasant person when he was drinking was almost non-existent. He had a lot of irritability over very little things. [25:38] Do you still have cravings? Jim said he still has cravings. He uses HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) when a craving strikes. He then reflects on the thought and feeling and reminds himself this will happen and to “not let it shake your tree” because this will pass. [27:29] How did you find Recovery Elevator/ resources for this journey? Jim said was listening to NPR shows and thought that there must be something recovery specific out there. He found Recovery Elevator from a google search and made it a part of his every day. [28:50] Did you notice you had to change certain aspects of your entire routine? Jim said that he wakes up every morning and looks at a stack of notecards he has created. He reminds himself every day his reasons why he’s stopped drinking. He focuses on reading and reddit subs and meditation. [33:46] Do you find nighttime to be a more challenging time of the day? Jim said he doesn’t struggle at night. He also had notecards on his bedside table. He tries to end every day thinking about what he’s grateful for and on a positive note. [34:44] Have you notice changes in your sleep patterns? Jim said yes. His dreams are clear and amazing. He sleeps more soundly.

46 minAUG 10
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Episode 286: It’s Never Too Late To Quit Drinking

RE 285: Impermanence is triggering, but does it have to be?

EJohn took his last drink on August 31, 2019. With about 10 months (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol-free (AF). Today Odette opens quoting from Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart”. “Impermanence is the goodness of reality. Just as the four seasons are in continual flux, winter changing from spring to summer to autumn; just as day becomes night, light becoming dark becoming light again-- in the same way, everything is constantly evolving.” Everything that ends is also the beginning of something else. What happens when we see this chaos as harmony and change right now is the new normal. It takes time to get comfortable with change and this stage of life is a season. Let’s sit with it and see where we can go. [6:53] Odette introduces John. John is 38 years old and originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. John is also married to Odette and they have 2 children together. They live in San Diego, CA. For fun John likes to surf, bike, run, or play golf… he just likes being active. [11:19] Can you give listeners a history on your drinking? John said growing up drinking was part of the culture of where he lived. He started drinking in high school on weekends and continued in college. His drinking changed when it became a post-work habit. He said he modeled his drinking after his parents: put your head down, do you work, have a drink after work. From the age of 25 - 38 he was drinking as a reward at the end of a day. However, he noticed that he was using alcohol to numb out other things in his life. [14:00] Was there a moment when you noticed that alcohol was no longer working? John said in his 30s was when he began to question if he had a problem with drinking. As his family grew, he saw a line in the sand. On one side of the line was keeping drinking and on the other side was his marriage and family. Odette and John discuss their marriage and how each of their paths to recovery has followed along both together and separately at different times. They discuss the work they have done on themselves and as a couple. [25:26] From an inside look what are some of the biggest differences? John said a lot of his initial quitting drinking was about trying to prove a point, prove to himself and others that he didn’t have a problem with alcohol. Within a month it changed and began to leave alcohol behind for himself. He noticed improvements in almost all aspects of his life. [28:51] Can you tell us about how fatherhood has been different? John said when he was drinking, he would show up to parenthood not ready to parent. He was physically there but not there mentally or emotionally. He is now trying to make amends to his children now by being as present as he can be. Every connecting moment with his children is a cherished moment. [32:13] Tell us about a day in your life right now, what tools are you using? John said he’s a little bit of a lone wolf. He relies a lot on Odette as an emotional outlet. He does not struggle with cravings during the day, but at night when he’s “done for the day” is when he has to dig a little deeper. He focuses on spending time with his family. John drinking a lot of soda water and kombucha and NA beer. [34:55] What’s your favorite NA beer brand? He has an order coming from Athletic Brewing and is looking forward to trying it. Gruvi IPA Two Roots, Straight Dank IPA- it’s a very hop-forward IPA. [36:06] How has it been reintroducing yourself into social situations? John said that the first few months were hard. There was a lot of pretending. Once he had the mind shift and was leaving alcohol behind for himself, it was a lot easier. There is a confidence that came with his decision. [39:16] Have you received any pushback? John said that his true friends are supportive. There’s the occasional random person who isn’t in the know that questions him, but not from a negative place. [41:53] What possibilities in life are you excited about? John said he’s just really excited to keep

50 minAUG 3
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RE 285: Impermanence is triggering, but does it have to be?

RE 284: B is for Boundaries

EAndrew took his last drink June 02, 2020. With 9 days (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Finding the better you with Odette. Today’s topic: Setting boundaries. According to https://positivepsychology.com/ Healthy boundaries are those set to make sure that you are mentally and emotionally stable. You can also think about it as our boundaries might be ridged, loose or completely non-existent. The lack of boundaries may indicate that we do not have a strong identity or that we are intermeshed with someone else or something else: insert alcohol. Odette lobbies for protecting your energy, which is a version of creating boundaries. Set and honor your boundaries. When you set new boundaries and start living them it might feel uncomfortable, and that’s normal. It gets easier and better when you stand up for yourself and share your boundaries with others. Check in with yourself often. [8:25] Odette introduces Andrew. Andrew is 37 years old and lives in Brisbane Australia. When Andrew and Odette first began talking about scheduling this interview, Andrew had more than 35 days AF. He did some field research and is now back with 9 days AF. He drives trucks for a living, is married and has 3 boys under the age of 7. For fun he likes to ride his trail bike. [14:19] Can you give listeners a history on your drinking? Andrew’s first drink was at age 13. Instantly he fell in love with alcohol. He liked the person he became when he drank. When he was 15 he worked in construction with older guys and that gave him access to alcohol. As an adult the drinking increased and increased, but he never thought it was a problem until his late 20s. Andrew has known over the past 10 years that he didn’t drink normally. He drank more than people and alcohol became an identity. His first son was born when he was 30 and he tried to grow up. Andrew noticed he couldn’t stop drinking. Andrew said his relationship changed from having fun as a couple to serious and his wife mentioning that it needs to be different. They couldn’t go to the shops without his kids mentioning “oh we need to go to the bottle shop for dad”. [21:34] Did you hit a bottom or what made you decide to pursue an AF life? Andrew said all the relationships in his life began to fail. He never blamed the alcohol but blamed the other person. A few years ago having a surgery that required him to stop drinking 2 weeks prior and his wife laughed at that suggestion. He wasn’t able to stop and drank up to surgery and that’s when he realized it was a problem. [22:40] Did you seek help when you decided to try and stop drinking? Andrew said he simply decided he wasn’t going to drink. He did reach out to a doctor who prescribed some pills that didn’t have any effect. His drinking continued on and off over the next few years. He often found himself googling if he was an alcoholic or not. This led right into the current COVID pandemic. Andrew decided he wanted to find a better life for himself, his wife and his kids. [24:00] Did you attempt moderating before quitting? Yes, Andrew said he tried to moderate his drinking. Being a truck driver for a living, he always had to have 0.0% alcohol to drive. He tried to promise himself he would only drink on weekends, but instead worked out how many drinks he could have in the afternoons and still have 0.0% alcohol level for work the next morning. [26:06] Can you expand on the 6 week dry camp associated with your work? Andrew explained that it wasn’t a company sponsored event. It was the work he was doing at the time and they lived on campus for a period of time. The campus he was on, was dry. He made it the 6 weeks, and on his way home he stopped for alcohol. He picked up exactly where he left off even through he was feeling proud for making it the 6 weeks. [28:06] How had fatherhood changed? Andrew said he’s more present now and is noticing how much his wife had been picking up in the area of childcare. He worries about d

44 minJUL 27
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RE 284: B is for Boundaries

RE 283: What do you do with a Problem?

EHeidi took her last drink on May 20, 2020. With 19 days (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol-free (AF). Odette opens today welcoming normal drinkers. It has come to her attention that there are some listeners that are tuning in for educational purposes as a loved one has a problem with alcohol. Question for you normal drinkers: would you be interested in a Café RE group focused on you? Email Odette if you're interested. One of the most important books in Odette’s life is The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. It was referred to her when her father first went into rehab. Each day is a new passage to read and often she is overcome with the meaning and finds herself wanting to share the meditation for the day with others. While she’s not going to read from this book today, Odette is sharing with you all…. Storytime with Odette! What Do You Do With a Problem? By Kobi Yamada [8:13] Odette introduces Heidi. Heidi is 28 years old and originally from San...

52 minJUL 20
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RE 283: What do you do with a Problem?

Latest Episodes

RE 292: Navigating the Storm

EWill took his last drink April 10, 2018. With just over 2 years away from alcohol (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You….. Navigating through tough times. Removing alcohol allows you to actually do something about a problem, however sometimes without alcohol in front of it, a problem can present more clearly. It’s hard to do the hard thing and easy to pretend our problems aren’t really there. We have a choice to accept the problem (the storm) as it presents itself and its aftereffects as part of a life without alcohol. [7:01] Odette introduces Will. Will is 43 and lives in Queens, NY. He’s an IT consultant and married with a dog. For fun he loves to be outdoors, surfing, live music, cooking, biking, running and traveling. [9:34] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking? Will said he was 12 when he has his first drink on vacation, but he considers his real entrance to alcohol was around the age of 15. It dissolved the anxiety he felt in social situations. In college he went full force into drinking and it quickly became a daily habit. He sought out others who drank like he did. [12:57] Were you a high performer in school? Will said alcohol did impact his school work. He had no direction for what he wanted to do the rest of his life. He found himself drinking in exchange for doing things he loved. [14:22] What happened after college? Will said followed a band he loved around the country and fully fell into the drinking and partying culture. [16:18] Did you ever question your drinking? Will said no, because he had surrounded himself with a culture of drinking and partying. So, he was around it and it was normalized within his circle. [18:23] Walk me through your next life chapter? Will said he moved to Washington state with his now wife and went back to school. There was less drinking, and he was able to focus on his schoolwork and life. He found some balance mixed in with the pockets of crazy times. Once he finished school he moved back to New York and began work, but also was staying out late drinking. He noticed the change in his physical alcohol dependance at this moment. [22:34] Did you introduce moderation rules? Will said he attempted moderation at home and it simply evaporated over time. [23:21] Did you start having conversations with your wife about this? Will said him and his wife were both “in it” at the time. (She is also now in recovery.) There was enabling happening and it was difficult to navigate. [24:05] Did you have a rock bottom? Will said he sought out a doctor to prescribe him something to help him get through the physical dependency. However, looking back, that was just another layer onto addiction. This went on for years with a chaotic life and drinking. He sought treatment after two friends expressed concern in 2016. He did a 28-day inpatient program. While he wasn’t ready fully for recovery, but at the same time wanted to change his life. He made it through but relapsed within 60 days. [29:14] Walk me through 2016 – 2018. Will said he was trying in those two years, but it seemed impossible. While he was in and out of the AA rooms, he wasn’t doing the work that he was told was needed. April 10, 2018, he entered a detox again after 3 days of a mental psychosis. [33:13] What changed this time? Will said there was enough pain in his life, he realized he needed to make a change. [34:30] Do you still get cravings? Will said not really, he gets fleeting thoughts. [34:40] What your biggest way of coping with uncomfortable feelings? Will said you get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Once he started to take his sobriety seriously, he accepted the program he was being told to work. He can now make sense of his feelings without alcohol numbing them down. There’s purpose in the struggles we go through. [37:45] Have you healed the nerve damage in your feet at all? Will said the rest of his body has h

50 min3 d ago
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RE 292: Navigating the Storm

RE 291: Do Better

EKevin took his last drink April 11, 2020. With just over 3 months away from alcohol (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You….. Receiving feedback and how to do better. After a negative comment / feedback from a listener, Odette took the comments and the feedback and is seeing this as an opportunity to do better. It seems these days that “do better” is being used more and explored. This was the universe reminding her that she is worthy, the listener is worthy, and everyone is worthy. She has gratitude and love for the listener because they allowed to her see something from a different perspective. If you have feedback, please send an email to Odette. [7:23] Odette introduces Kevin. Kevin is 59 and originally from Philadelphia, he has lives in Florida for the past 20 years. He’s a printer and works for the schoolboard. He’s married and loves cooking, traveling and doing charcoal portraits. [9:13] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking? Kevin said that when he was 7, he became the drink maker at his grandparents’ card games. He would have some whiskey and ginger ale himself. In 4th grade he was bullied, so he would go home at lunch to eat but also to do a few shots of liquor so he could deal with that. In high school he fell in with a crowd that drank and also sold drugs. He continued in that pattern until he met his now wife at the age of 33. He quit the drugs, but his drinking continued to escalate. In 2017 he spent 3 days in a psych ward, leaving there he sent to AA and a counselor, but it never really took, and he relapsed. [12:26] Did anybody notice that all this was happening when you were so young? Kevin said that he was a latch key kid, so his use of alcohol wasn’t noticed. And when he was in high school, he was always out of the house and with friends, so again, it wasn’t noticed. However, he says that while in high school he knew he had a bad alcohol problem on his hands. [14:22] Did you ever reach out to somebody in those early days or was alcohol normalized in your family? Kevin said his grandfather owned a bar and his parents had an active social life and he was a bartender at different points, so alcohol was always a part of his life. [15:03] How did alcohol cause conflict in your marriage(s)? Kevin said in his first marriage they were both very immature and it wasn’t ever going to last. With his second wife, he emulated her and wanted her to be proud of him. It never worked out however and he felt he was always disappointing her. [16:40] What happened that made you want to reach out and get help? Kevin said there were a lot of moments. Between injuries, unhealthy arguments and car accidents there were lots of red flags. He always thought he had it under control. He doesn’t have an off switch. [18:55] What happened in April of this year? Kevin said this time he wanted to get sober and committed to AA, he didn’t have another second chance in him. He was tired of playing the alcohol game, wondering where he would get more and having alcohol control his life. [20:49] What do you do when you get a craving? Kevin said he changes his environment right away. He gets out of where he is and tries to get a new headspace. In about 30 minutes time the craving is gone. He doesn’t call them alcohol cravings, but more the idea of alcohol gets in his brain. Kevin uses the Merriam Webster app and it gives him a “word of the day”. He takes that word and tries to apply it to his sobriety throughout the day. This gives him a fresh perspective to sobriety over and over. [23:00] Tell me about your family dynamics? Kevin said for 24 years he was a tornado leaving a path of devastation through his marriage. They are trying to figure things out and he wants his wife to be happy and have a good life. [26:02] What is your favorite thing about the AA program? Kevin said the communication and connection with other people in recove

46 min1 w ago
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RE 291: Do Better

RE 290: Let's Not Label This a Problem

ETaylor took his last drink June 7, 2019. With just over 13 months away from alcohol (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You….. WAIT WAIT! It’s Paul’s 6 year Sober-versary! So instead we bring you Paul’s 6 big insights since his handing off the podcast to Odette. People are struggling right now due to Covid, but let’s not label this as a problem. Let’s go within and have some spiritual growth. Turn off the news. The ego always sets its own trap. Pets are the reason the human race hasn’t imploded yet. He has gained empathy. It’s never too late to accomplish a goal. Bonus insight: Paul’s parents are RAD! [19:08] Paul introduces Taylor. Taylor is 30 years old and lives in Thornton, Colorado with his two dogs, Harley and Rooster. While he’s lived in many places over the years, he grew up in Sacramento, California and now is in Colorado. He loves walking his dogs, record and write music, rock climbing, mountain biking, photography, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, video editing and D&D. He likes to try all the hobbies now. [23:54] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking? Taylor said he started exploring alcohol around age 14. He wanted to see what alcohol was all about. He didn’t really touch alcohol again until he was about 16, mostly in High School he smoked weed. However, alcohol did allow him to fit in. His father and stepmother caught him smoking weed in college and made the decision to send him to live with his mother. This started his “victims’ story” because he wasn’t allowed to smoke weed anymore, so he was “forced to drink alcohol”. He saw his career grow however by quitting smoking weed, but there was alcohol ever present. At 26 he found himself trying to moderate alcohol. Just before he deployed to Afghanistan, he thought to stop drinking a few days before, and he found himself in withdrawals. After not drinking while overseas, he ordered a drink on the plane home. Being home he was again trying to moderate. [33:53] Tell me about going back to drinking after returning from Afghanistan? Taylor said that he understood that he had seen the “other side of life” and you can never really go back. Alcohol just isn’t the same and he knew he was doomed. After his girlfriend left, was his rock bottom moment. [42:19] Walk me through those first 30 days? Taylor said he fully dove into recovery: “I sober like I drank”. When his father left, he kept going to therapy and AA. His pink cloud lasted 3 months and the energies to stay sober were stronger than his desire to drink. He found a lot of humility and got a sponsor and started working the steps. [47:09] Can you share with listeners the difference between your 29th and your 30th birthdays? Taylor said on his 29th birthday was in his first 30 days of sobriety. He sat at home and he didn’t have anything to do or anyone to hang out with. He called a newfound AA friend and he came over and they watched TV together. His 30th birthday he had 20 people show up to his birthday, from all parts of his life. He was humbled in that moment of the work that he had done to be the authentic Taylor. [50:44] Do you still get cravings? Taylor said yes. His alter drinking ego is named Gregory and he’s no longer the enemy of Taylor. Gregory still tries to get him to drinking, but he can have the conversation with Gregory about why they aren’t going to drink. Taylor treats Gregory like a sick child, with care and compassion. Cravings are now fleeting thoughts. [57:47] Rapid Fire Round What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Peanut butter and banana with candied bacon milkshake What would you say to your younger self? Slow down, be gentle, be kind. What are some of your favorite resources in recovery? People, AA, The Calm App, Nature, Café RE, a picture of a dog. Books: Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn The Tao of Pooh & The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff What parting

64 min2 w ago
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RE 290: Let's Not Label This a Problem

RE 289: Co-occurring Issues

EEarly took their last drink November 16, 2019. With almost 8 months (at the time of recording) this is their story of living alcohol free (AF). Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You. Co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis describes a person who has more than one medical issue either with two diseases simultaneously or one disease successively after the other. These may be mental or physical. Odette reminds us that we are not alone. [5:23] Odette introduces Early. Early is 32 years old and living off the grid on the Ozark Plateau. They have 3 dogs who are their very best friends. For work they go back and forth between migrant farm work and restaurant service industry. For fun they like to learn about the area surrounding them, the plants and animals. Also chopping wood and the other living in the woods chores. Living off the grid means that Early is not connected to the electrical power grid & any city water or sewage. They have solar power and collect rain water or spring water. They have a composting outhouse. Early says they are connected to the earth in a way that feels more ethical to them. [8:33] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking? Early said that their whole life has been characterized by very intense addiction. The first drink they had was a stolen Miller High Life at the age of 10. The first blackout came at 14, drinking in the mornings and vomiting in their sleep came at 16. They were drawn to alcohol due to being socially awkward and having few friends. Being a deviant led them into a world of acceptance. As an adult, along with therapy and their diagnosis as being on the spectrum, these factors make sense now. By 18 Early was drinking daily and that’s the first time they wanted to stop drinking. Willpower didn’t work and AA wasn’t the avenue they wanted to take. Between the ages of 18 and 31 they tried many times to quit. [11:44] When did you receive your diagnosis? Early said at 29 there was an incident in which they sexually assaulted their best friend. It never would have happened if they had not been under the influence of alcohol. After that they checked themself into a mental hospital for help. There they were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Early’s therapist post that also diagnosed them with Autisms Spectrum disorder and PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. [13:43] What went through your mind after all these diagnoses? Early said leaving the mental hospital they were detoxed from alcohol and also on new anti-psychotic medicine for brand new diagnoses. They weren’t given any tools on how to handle not drinking and their only coping ability from the past 20 years, so to cope, they drank. [16:20] What happened after you left the hospital? Early said that they knew they needed to remove alcohol but had no tools. They would white knuckle it for a few days and then drink. Over time they began to find different tools that worked for them. They incorporated yoga, drinking more water, changing their diet, getting regular sleep (basic needs as Early says!). However, the feeling of shame and the belief that they are a bad person remained. Early began drinking in secret and isolating themselves in-between moments of white knuckling sobriety. [20:12] You seem to have such grit. Where did this come from and how did you find the determination to keep trying? Early said their last night of drinking was an average night of drinking. The change began a year ago when their father passed away suddenly. They saw life from outside their own for the first time. That winter they declared that they would do anything to get sober. They kept trying and using all the tools they had learned over the years of trying to quit. They stopped feeling sorry for themselves and that helped to cut the shame. Early learned they were worthy of love and happiness. They describe themselves as a hard headed stubborn determined person and that might be the grit that is seen. [27:51] How is it balancing a

42 min3 w ago
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RE 289: Co-occurring Issues

RE 288: AF Drink Options With Gruvi

EAnika is the founder of Grüvi and a member of the sober curious community. This is her story of being an entrepreneur and helping to provide NA beverages to those who want them. Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You. You are in charge of setting and honoring your own boundaries. Everyone has different triggers, for example if NA beers and beverages are triggering to you, then you don’t have to explore that avenue. You know how to best protect your journey. Stay open and stay curious and protect your energy. [4:53] Odette introduces Anika. Anika is sober curious so she’s not very strict on keeping track of dates. But her last drink was right around the beginning of Covid. She is 24 years old and lives in Canada. She enjoys being outdoors, yoga, hiking and traveling. [6:56] Walk me through your sober curious journey. Anika said her sober curious nature came out during her last year at University. She was a social drinker, but in her last year she found herself saying “I don’t want to have to go out with friends tonight, because then I will have to drink and then I will be hung over.” She experienced all the benefits of a life away from alcohol: better sleep, having more clarity and being more productive. [9:38] Did something spark your thought process to become aware of a life away from alcohol at such a young age? Anika said at first, she was like everyone else with regards to drinking and felt it was a stage in life. But when she created the Grüvi brand was when she really started to see how life can continue on without alcohol and with an alternate beverage. She was able to have a social life without having to have the social lubricant. [11:15] How did Grüvi start? Grüvi launched a year ago in Denver and it’s a family business. They have been a health focused family, led by their father. Finding that the NA category was lacking in options pushed them to create Grüvi. [12:34] Where did the name come from? Anika said Grüvi is taking the word “groovy” and making it fun and new. You can be fun and silly and youthful even without alcohol. [14:59] Tell me about the specifics of Grüvi? Currently, there are 4 craft beers and 1 prosecco. The beers are brewed through a process of arrested fermentation, which stops the brewing before any alcohol is introduced. However, because this does go through a fermentation process, there are trace amounts of alcohol (similar to kombuca). The prosecco is 0.0% ABV. They are expanding too! Anika says that hopefully they will be offering a bubbly Rose by the end of summer 2020. [20:58] Are most people open to the dialogue (about this NA movement)? Anika said that after living in Denver for over a year after University and returning to Canada and the friend group there, she was a little nervous. Through this she has realized that her friends support her no matter what. And she told them she is happy with her decision to not be drinking so they should be too. [23:10] What’s it like working with your family? Anika said so far, it’s been great! They are living together again as a family and it’s been smooth. She’s enjoying the opportunity to grow closer to her family through this. [33:30] What are you excited about right now? Anika said every day is new and exciting. Grüvi is at that step where they are expanding and growing. This includes new states and being able to be local and accessible to more people. They are expanding their ambassador program and Anika is spearheading this. She loves getting to talk to the community and grow the movement together. [36:50] Rapid Fire Round Other than Grüvi, what’s your favorite NA beverage? Being her own bartender and making mocktails or a matcha latte. What is a memorable moment you’ve had while not drinking? Going out dancing with her friends and enjoying the music. What are some of your favorite resources? Books: The Sober Curious & This Naked Mind Instagram accounts: @Ditchedthedrink @soberbabes What parting piece of guidance can you

42 minAUG 24
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RE 288: AF Drink Options With Gruvi

RE 287: Should We Be Drinking Less?

EAlan took his last drink December 23, 2019. With almost 6 months (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Announcing Recovery Elevator’s first ever REgionals! Join us for our online zoom conference this October 23-24th. This event is for Café RE Members only. Not a member yet?! Sign up here and use the promo code OPPORTUNITY to waive the set-up fee. Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You. The New York Times article “Should We Be Drinking Less?” is from July 10th, 2020. It’s the stark contrast to articles which tout having 1-2 glasses of wine has healthy benefits or how rose will help you through motherhood. The idea that moderate drinking is acceptable actually keeps people drinking because it’s seen as ok in the eyes of society. There is a shift that is happening and people are questioning the narrative of what’s acceptable when drinking. [7:47] Odette introduces Alan. Alan lives outside Atlanta and is 49 years old. His last drink was the day before Christmas Eve 2019. He drank everything and was blackout drunk that night. His 15 year old daughter had been at a friend’s house and came home to find her father passed out in a chair with a spilled glass of wine. The next morning knowing his daughter had seen that changed the course of his life. He didn’t want to live that way any longer. Alan’s daughter mentioned above is actually one of triplets. He has three 15 year old children and has been married to his wife for almost 18 years. He’s in software sales and is trying to figure out what he likes to do for fun now that he’s sober. He enjoys health and fitness and has a Peloton. [18:37] Walk me through your drinking career. Alan said that he began drinking in high school and it started out normal, transitioned into college and that drinking atmosphere. College for him was one big party. He continued the pace of college drinking afterwards. He worked for a year in Aspen and drank 7 days a week. He returned to Atlanta, while his drinking slowed, he was always concerned about where the next drink was coming from and this is when his drinking became abnormal. Alan believes he was covering up fear with his drinking. Fear of fitting in, fear of getting a good job, fear of making enough money, fear of meeting the right girl, fear of getting a big title. The fear was gone when he drank. [27:15] Tell me about joining Café RE and how was that first month? Alan said Café RE was the springboard to connection. He didn’t realize the connection was so powerful with other people looking to live the same life. After feeling like he had been driving in foggy conditions for 10 years, the fog cleared and he was able to see finally. [33:36] What works for you when you have a craving? Alan said he has learned a ton of tools in Café RE. The biggest one is from Paul’s book, Alcohol is SH!T, which says to “play the tape forward”. While he can romanticize the drink on his porch, Alan can also now see where that one drink will lead. He’s seen the movie, he knows the ending and it’s not good! [36:11] How has your family dynamic changed? Alan said about 3 months in his wife looked at him and told him he was like a new person. He is present now. While he’s always been a father who was physically there, he always existed in the fog. He told his daughter that he was getting help for his drinking and that’s a huge accountability step for him, one he can never go back on. [41:00] What have you discovered about yourself? Alan said he’s learned he can juggle a lot of things in life. He has the ability to handle what life throws at him. [42:51] If you could talk to day 1 Alan, what would you say? Connect with likeminded individuals as soon as possible. Do not attempt to do this alone. [43:20] Had you tried to stop drinking previously? Alan said he probably tried about 4 times seriously. But never had connection, resources, understanding or community. He always went at it alone and would call himself a Dry D

51 minAUG 17
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RE 287: Should We Be Drinking Less?

Episode 286: It’s Never Too Late To Quit Drinking

EJim took his last drink April 7, 2020. With just over 70 days (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Today Odette opens talking about finding the better you and her own take away from Holly Whitaker’s Quit Like A Woman. She focuses on what Holly says about when a craving strikes. Learn to relax into the craving rather than distract. RASINS Recognize Allow Set aside the story Investigate what is happening in your body Name the sensations Surf Let’s set the scene: You have finished your 100th zoom call of the day and you are ready to relax for the night. You want to pour a glass of wine. Here is how to implement RASINS. Admit the craving, allow the craving to build, set aside the negative thoughts telling you that you suck. Maybe try a meditation practice. Focus on how your body is feeling. Is your heart racing, are your palms sweating? Ride the wave of emotion, this is manageable. [7:12] Odette introduces Jim. Jim is 71 years old and he lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He is about to retire fully from his career in public education. He’s been married for 47 years and has 3 children and 4 grandkids. He enjoys hiking, reading, swimming and volunteering at church and in schools. He has recently picked up golf too! [11:33] Can you give listeners a history on your drinking? Jim said he began drinking in high school and also drank in college. He joined a fraternity and soon after stopped going to call and flunked out. His father told him he was not welcome at home, so Jim joined the Merchant Marines after that. He said that although drinking was prohibited on the boats, that was far from the reality. After a winter in the Merchant Marines he was drafted into the Vietnam War, however his college agreed to re-admit him. Once back in college he was right back where he started. He did meet his “beautiful bride” while in school and she got him going back to class and he did graduate. His chosen career was something that he felt was more important that his drinking. So, he didn’t drink before work, but after work, all bets were off. Once he began to approach retirement, he had more time on his hands and the habits of college drinking returned. [15:14] Do you remember your emotional state when your father told you that you weren’t allowed back home? Jim said at the time he was very resentful and thought his father was not loving and caring. He felt his father was putting his own reputation and career over Jim’s circumstances. Looking back on it, Jim can say he knows that his father made a great decision. [22:15] Did you notice your relationships changing/eroding? Jim said his own ability to be a pleasant person when he was drinking was almost non-existent. He had a lot of irritability over very little things. [25:38] Do you still have cravings? Jim said he still has cravings. He uses HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) when a craving strikes. He then reflects on the thought and feeling and reminds himself this will happen and to “not let it shake your tree” because this will pass. [27:29] How did you find Recovery Elevator/ resources for this journey? Jim said was listening to NPR shows and thought that there must be something recovery specific out there. He found Recovery Elevator from a google search and made it a part of his every day. [28:50] Did you notice you had to change certain aspects of your entire routine? Jim said that he wakes up every morning and looks at a stack of notecards he has created. He reminds himself every day his reasons why he’s stopped drinking. He focuses on reading and reddit subs and meditation. [33:46] Do you find nighttime to be a more challenging time of the day? Jim said he doesn’t struggle at night. He also had notecards on his bedside table. He tries to end every day thinking about what he’s grateful for and on a positive note. [34:44] Have you notice changes in your sleep patterns? Jim said yes. His dreams are clear and amazing. He sleeps more soundly.

46 minAUG 10
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Episode 286: It’s Never Too Late To Quit Drinking

RE 285: Impermanence is triggering, but does it have to be?

EJohn took his last drink on August 31, 2019. With about 10 months (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol-free (AF). Today Odette opens quoting from Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart”. “Impermanence is the goodness of reality. Just as the four seasons are in continual flux, winter changing from spring to summer to autumn; just as day becomes night, light becoming dark becoming light again-- in the same way, everything is constantly evolving.” Everything that ends is also the beginning of something else. What happens when we see this chaos as harmony and change right now is the new normal. It takes time to get comfortable with change and this stage of life is a season. Let’s sit with it and see where we can go. [6:53] Odette introduces John. John is 38 years old and originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. John is also married to Odette and they have 2 children together. They live in San Diego, CA. For fun John likes to surf, bike, run, or play golf… he just likes being active. [11:19] Can you give listeners a history on your drinking? John said growing up drinking was part of the culture of where he lived. He started drinking in high school on weekends and continued in college. His drinking changed when it became a post-work habit. He said he modeled his drinking after his parents: put your head down, do you work, have a drink after work. From the age of 25 - 38 he was drinking as a reward at the end of a day. However, he noticed that he was using alcohol to numb out other things in his life. [14:00] Was there a moment when you noticed that alcohol was no longer working? John said in his 30s was when he began to question if he had a problem with drinking. As his family grew, he saw a line in the sand. On one side of the line was keeping drinking and on the other side was his marriage and family. Odette and John discuss their marriage and how each of their paths to recovery has followed along both together and separately at different times. They discuss the work they have done on themselves and as a couple. [25:26] From an inside look what are some of the biggest differences? John said a lot of his initial quitting drinking was about trying to prove a point, prove to himself and others that he didn’t have a problem with alcohol. Within a month it changed and began to leave alcohol behind for himself. He noticed improvements in almost all aspects of his life. [28:51] Can you tell us about how fatherhood has been different? John said when he was drinking, he would show up to parenthood not ready to parent. He was physically there but not there mentally or emotionally. He is now trying to make amends to his children now by being as present as he can be. Every connecting moment with his children is a cherished moment. [32:13] Tell us about a day in your life right now, what tools are you using? John said he’s a little bit of a lone wolf. He relies a lot on Odette as an emotional outlet. He does not struggle with cravings during the day, but at night when he’s “done for the day” is when he has to dig a little deeper. He focuses on spending time with his family. John drinking a lot of soda water and kombucha and NA beer. [34:55] What’s your favorite NA beer brand? He has an order coming from Athletic Brewing and is looking forward to trying it. Gruvi IPA Two Roots, Straight Dank IPA- it’s a very hop-forward IPA. [36:06] How has it been reintroducing yourself into social situations? John said that the first few months were hard. There was a lot of pretending. Once he had the mind shift and was leaving alcohol behind for himself, it was a lot easier. There is a confidence that came with his decision. [39:16] Have you received any pushback? John said that his true friends are supportive. There’s the occasional random person who isn’t in the know that questions him, but not from a negative place. [41:53] What possibilities in life are you excited about? John said he’s just really excited to keep

50 minAUG 3
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RE 285: Impermanence is triggering, but does it have to be?

RE 284: B is for Boundaries

EAndrew took his last drink June 02, 2020. With 9 days (at the time of recording) this is his story of living alcohol free (AF). Finding the better you with Odette. Today’s topic: Setting boundaries. According to https://positivepsychology.com/ Healthy boundaries are those set to make sure that you are mentally and emotionally stable. You can also think about it as our boundaries might be ridged, loose or completely non-existent. The lack of boundaries may indicate that we do not have a strong identity or that we are intermeshed with someone else or something else: insert alcohol. Odette lobbies for protecting your energy, which is a version of creating boundaries. Set and honor your boundaries. When you set new boundaries and start living them it might feel uncomfortable, and that’s normal. It gets easier and better when you stand up for yourself and share your boundaries with others. Check in with yourself often. [8:25] Odette introduces Andrew. Andrew is 37 years old and lives in Brisbane Australia. When Andrew and Odette first began talking about scheduling this interview, Andrew had more than 35 days AF. He did some field research and is now back with 9 days AF. He drives trucks for a living, is married and has 3 boys under the age of 7. For fun he likes to ride his trail bike. [14:19] Can you give listeners a history on your drinking? Andrew’s first drink was at age 13. Instantly he fell in love with alcohol. He liked the person he became when he drank. When he was 15 he worked in construction with older guys and that gave him access to alcohol. As an adult the drinking increased and increased, but he never thought it was a problem until his late 20s. Andrew has known over the past 10 years that he didn’t drink normally. He drank more than people and alcohol became an identity. His first son was born when he was 30 and he tried to grow up. Andrew noticed he couldn’t stop drinking. Andrew said his relationship changed from having fun as a couple to serious and his wife mentioning that it needs to be different. They couldn’t go to the shops without his kids mentioning “oh we need to go to the bottle shop for dad”. [21:34] Did you hit a bottom or what made you decide to pursue an AF life? Andrew said all the relationships in his life began to fail. He never blamed the alcohol but blamed the other person. A few years ago having a surgery that required him to stop drinking 2 weeks prior and his wife laughed at that suggestion. He wasn’t able to stop and drank up to surgery and that’s when he realized it was a problem. [22:40] Did you seek help when you decided to try and stop drinking? Andrew said he simply decided he wasn’t going to drink. He did reach out to a doctor who prescribed some pills that didn’t have any effect. His drinking continued on and off over the next few years. He often found himself googling if he was an alcoholic or not. This led right into the current COVID pandemic. Andrew decided he wanted to find a better life for himself, his wife and his kids. [24:00] Did you attempt moderating before quitting? Yes, Andrew said he tried to moderate his drinking. Being a truck driver for a living, he always had to have 0.0% alcohol to drive. He tried to promise himself he would only drink on weekends, but instead worked out how many drinks he could have in the afternoons and still have 0.0% alcohol level for work the next morning. [26:06] Can you expand on the 6 week dry camp associated with your work? Andrew explained that it wasn’t a company sponsored event. It was the work he was doing at the time and they lived on campus for a period of time. The campus he was on, was dry. He made it the 6 weeks, and on his way home he stopped for alcohol. He picked up exactly where he left off even through he was feeling proud for making it the 6 weeks. [28:06] How had fatherhood changed? Andrew said he’s more present now and is noticing how much his wife had been picking up in the area of childcare. He worries about d

44 minJUL 27
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RE 284: B is for Boundaries

RE 283: What do you do with a Problem?

EHeidi took her last drink on May 20, 2020. With 19 days (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol-free (AF). Odette opens today welcoming normal drinkers. It has come to her attention that there are some listeners that are tuning in for educational purposes as a loved one has a problem with alcohol. Question for you normal drinkers: would you be interested in a Café RE group focused on you? Email Odette if you're interested. One of the most important books in Odette’s life is The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. It was referred to her when her father first went into rehab. Each day is a new passage to read and often she is overcome with the meaning and finds herself wanting to share the meditation for the day with others. While she’s not going to read from this book today, Odette is sharing with you all…. Storytime with Odette! What Do You Do With a Problem? By Kobi Yamada [8:13] Odette introduces Heidi. Heidi is 28 years old and originally from San...

52 minJUL 20
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RE 283: What do you do with a Problem?
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