ep48 Sarah Ordo is best known for her self-published book about her sober journey and female empowerment work!
ep48 Sarah Ordo is best known for her self-published book about her sober journey and female empowerment work!
ep 47 Lisa is the author of Girl Walks Out of a Bar, the memoir of her descent into and recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction in the world of New York City corporate law. She is a recovery advocate, frequent speaker and writer on these issues, and the co-host of the podcast, Recovery Rocks.
Welcome to the self made and sober podcast. I’m your host Andrew Lassise. And with me today is Lisa Smith, the author of girl walks out of a bar. And that’s her memoir of her descent into and recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. And Lisa, how are you doing?
I’m great. Thanks. for having me.
Yeah, I recall, I forget the the source. We were talking a little beforehand that one of our previous guests had mentioned your book and then I saw you on Instagram someone else had mentioned, I think it was part of like a book club or something. So, girl walks out of a bar, it’s, it’s getting some rumblings it got on my radar. And so tell me a little bit about your history. And you know, what kind of got you into the world of alcoholism and addiction.
Well, I, I grew up in New Jersey in suburban New York City. I had a nice family. My dad was a judge. My mom was school teacher. They were not alcoholics, but there was alcoholism and mental health challenges on both sides of their family. And I grew up I think, like a lot of people who end up end up in recovery, find themselves early in life sort of that feeling of not being comfortable in my own skin. I was like a really gloomy, sort of anxious kid and I found out pretty young that I felt better with food actually, which was the first substance I abused and sugar in particular, and then I kind of graduated along the way. I always do well in school, and I ended up going to law school. And right after law school, you know, I was a big partier. But it wasn’t a daily thing. It didn’t impact my studies. And then after I graduated, I moved into New York City and I had a job I got a job at one of the giant law firms as a corporate associate, a junior associate and it was a as a first year associate that I became a nightly drinker really to deal with you know, not Just what I know now was a genetic predisposition as well as an underlying undiagnosed untreated depression and anxiety disorder. But also, you know, I had that and then combined it with the crazy stressful, exhausting life of a junior associate in a big law firm. And it was, you know, basically about a 12 year slide down down that slope and at the end, the last 18 months you know, it was that creep that step by step that we do that, you know, we justify Yeah, I know, I’m drinking too much. But you know, you would drink if you had my life. Or, you know, for me, a lot of it was Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t be drinking at lunch, but I can get this under control anytime. And you know, all the crazy silly things we say to ourselves like, okay, yeah, I drink at lunch, but I’m doing it with other people and also, you know, people in Drink at lunch it’s not a big do
they do and
yeah then finally came the vino and I would always justified saying, well I’m not one of those people who drinks in the morning you know that’s really bad until the day that I woke up with like the worst hangover and I knew I had to be in the office and I couldn’t make the tremor stuff I can make the headache stop. And you know, that was the first morning that I drank. And I remember thinking you know, like this is really bad, but I’m going to be able to get this under control. I’ll just you know, stop but what ended up happening the last 18 months of my using were instead of stopping drinking in the morning, I added cocaine in in the mornings because that way when I had a drink to relieve my hangover and my tremors and all of that
when I wouldn’t get so sorry.
let me go back. We just
cut it right out. Okay.
So then One morning I woke up with the worst hangover, basically in my life and I knew I had to be in the office to be at a meeting and I knew that the only thing that would stop me would be a drink. And, you know, I remember thinking that and that it was going to be okay because I could get it under control. But instead, what I did was I I added cocaine into this whole mix so that when I had a drink in the morning, to get out of bed, I also would then use some cocaine to kind of counteract the effects of the alcohol. So for people who haven’t had to go through that particular misery, you know, when I would drink in the morning I get a little bit woozy and what cocaine did was, you know, wake me back up, make me stop slurring make me presentable to go into the office. So that was the last 18 months. And finally, one morning, I was on my way to work and I just became like, overcome with, you know, I thought either I’d had a heart attack or I’d finally overdose like something like that. I don’t know, it was a panic attack. And something in that moment made me decide, you know what, I need help, and I want to live and I need help. And I ended up checking myself into I had to get a medicated detox for five days. And I ended up I didn’t know where to go. I know sober references. My doctor helped me find just a hospital turned out to be like the worst psych hospital the worst, the worst detox unit in the city. And then when I came out, I went right back to work because I didn’t want to tell them and so I went to intensive outpatient at night and I rehab I wouldn’t I didn’t go away. I went twice a week intensive at night, and then I immediately began going to 12 step and I got on it. type of precedence to appropriately treat my
major depressive disorder.
So you’ve gone through the gambit of everything was fine. It’s just a little bit on the party scene in college. And then you kind of have the justification of that. Well, it’s it’s not that bad. And then, you know, we can point at different cultures. It’s like, well, it’s acceptable in France. It’s like, Yeah, but you don’t live in France. This is America. And that’s right. So you’re running through the gambit of justification. And, you know, other cultures, it is acceptable and in America, it’s not acceptable, but we kind of tell ourselves, well, my situations different and I mean, on the surface, it kind of sounds like you kind of had your stuff together. It wasn’t like Lisa, the train wreck in front of other people, maybe at home. Yeah, it’s a different story. And we we do well at dressing up and putting on a good face. And I mean, you know, working at a high profile law firm, and you’re recently out of college, it would make sense that you’ve got it figured out and it’s not actually a problem because if it were a problem, yeah, then you wouldn’t have all these other surface things. So what was that like? That moment where you were just you had described you check into into the hospital and you go to iocp start doing 12 step is it you’re sober right from their or their struggles was early sobriety look like early first attempts
and knock on wood. I stayed sober from there. I wonder if part of that is that I did get, you know, the right medication that was addressing a lot of what I had been, you know, kind of self medicating. I also think, you know, I came out and like you said, had about six years into practicing law. It really became as seniors I was getting, and I was doing Wow. But there was no way it was going to continue to be compatible with the amount I was drinking. And I jumped over onto the administrative side of the law firm and stop practicing. And so it was a little bit easier. It was certainly a lot easier than if I had been inactive practice. To continue going down that slide, I would have been, I think, discovered much sooner if I were still practicing. But um, you know, I didn’t like you said, I didn’t lose everything. That was one of the things you know, that I think also helped me stay sober was that, you know, I came back, I had a nice apartment, I had my job, I didn’t have to deal with a DUI, I didn’t have to deal with, you know, having gotten fired or something like that. So I wouldn’t recommend any of this.
But I wouldn’t recommend losing
me like a strong strong basis to really kind of chase after it. And also, you know, there had been so many I hadn’t, you know, fully tried to get sober before. But for so many years, I had said, You know, I had tried myself to cut down and to do all those things. And I just at the end, I was so exhausted, I was so sick, I was so wiped out and I was done like I wanted to be done.
Now, a lot of people, they need those consequences to hit them so that they can start taking that shift and jumping into it, but you were more along the lines of you could see where it was heading, and just stopped it before. before it actually went off track.
Well, it could have happened any day though. Like I always say, you know, people refer to people like me as having good, you know, high functioning because I held a big job and had all the outward appearances. And you know, like, I think the whole idea of being a high functioning alcoholic or addict is really a myth because you’re high functioning until the day you’re not right. So I was walking into the office with cocaine on me, if I had been discovered, one of those days are falling out of my pocket, and someone saw that, you know, I wouldn’t be so high functioning anymore in that moment, if I had, you know, car crash, not so high functioning anymore, you know, missing debt, whatever it is. So
that’s a really good point and interesting perspective. It’s what everybody sees on the outside. And I think a lot of times people, they say that they don’t give value to these to the surface level things, but a lot of times the surface level is, is actually what people are, are seeing and judging by. So
people can say, well, Lisa’s really she gets drunk a lot. But you know, I mean, she’s doing well she’s doing a lot of work and whatever. So Can’t be a problem there and what could be wrong?
Right? It’s not a problem until it’s a problem. And then it’s and I know for myself after I after I got sober people were like, yeah, you probably should have been cutting back. It’s like no one really said anything like here minus, minus like the obvious ones. It was like, Yeah, yeah, you just like to party you just drunk like, That’s right. That’s you. That’s your thing.
Right girl walks
out of a bar. What was going on? Before you decided to write it? Have you always wanted to write a book or what was kind of the thought process behind that?
Well, I had always liked writing. And I think a lot of lawyers like writing and I, I was like the kind of drunk who sat on a barstool and I would be like, I’m gonna write a book, you know. And then like, I got sober and wrote a book. And it was, it was one of those things where I didn’t I didn’t plan it. I was I woke up in the mornings, and I would be like, so amazed that I hadn’t drank the night before and so excited about that. And the story, the way it started was the story in the detox is really kind of off the rails. And for some reason, I felt like I had to memorialize that. And so I started writing it down, like right away. And then I found the process of writing really cathartic in the mornings. And also I had all these family and friends being like, Why didn’t you tell us what’s going on what happened in the detox and that way, I could not just process it for myself, which was huge, but also hand it to them and be like, here, this is what happened. This is what it felt like. So it wasn’t going to be a book by any means at the beginning. But then I as I went along, I was like, this could actually like help somebody and so I never stopped working. And I so I wrote at like five in the morning for like 10 years. And I loved the process. I love doing that. I took like, you know, I’d never had I hadn’t studied in college or anything. So I started taking night classes and NYU and I spent started like going to writing retreats and things like that. So it was really you know, one of those things a lot Some people say they find like hobbies or things or whatever in recovery like you kind of get into something. Some people run triathlons like, that was not me. I started writing.
And so did the process start to finish take 10 years before it was published, or
Oh, yeah, just I think,
well, I started yet really took like 12 years, because the book came out in 2016. And I really started my writing process, like, right out of the detox, which is why I remember a lot of the details very clearly because I wrote it down like right when I got out. I also got my medical records from them from the psych hospital, and apparently, there was bingo and I was not, I was not interested in playing. I saw the nurses notes. I was anti social in the detox.
It’s a very interesting nurses note seven ever been on that side of it, but I feel like document you know what, but there’s probably someone listening it’s like, oh, she didn’t play bingo like that’s a that’s a super
they said something like patient refuses to engage with others patient refused to play bingo it was in there like twice. I was like really? I don’t remember the bingo part.
Yeah, well apparently
generally like Bingo.
You know what maybe that’s one of the gifts of sobriety is that you can now participate in and enjoy Bingo.
That’s right. That’s right.
So what has what has the response been to your book? Because I mean, like I said it came across as a recommendation from a previous guest and I’ve seen it around. So what’s been the response just overall in general?
I think I’ve been very fortunate that, you know, I think it has helped people and it got a nice response when it came out. One of the big things about when it came out was it came out, right. It was just happened by coincidence or there are no quinces I don’t know. But what it came out like three months after the American Bar Association had published a huge study on lawyers and the prevalence of substance use and mental health disorders in the profession, and the numbers were off the charts. So, there hadn’t been a book like mine in the legal industry at the time. So I kind of got attached to that, you know, that my book came out and I got attached. So I started speaking a lot and doing a lot of things like that. And I get involved in, you know, there’s a whole as you know, online world of people connecting in recovery and through that, you know, I’ve really over the over the years, it’s now been out, like, you know, more than three years, almost three and a half years. And, you know, so it’s, it’s been way different than what I expected. I expected, like maybe some people in my 12 step group would read it and maybe some of my friends and that was Be at. So it’s so it’s really been a gift.
And so one of the little lines you had said in there that I’d like to dig a little deeper into, you said, there are no coincidences, and it was kind of like a Oh, well, you know, that’s kind of a that’s a pretty big philosophy. I know. For myself, it used to be, everything is coincidence, there is no guiding force on anything. We’re all going to die and nothing matters. And it’s changed since I’ve been in recovery. So you want to elaborate a little bit on your no coincidences?
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I do believe, you know, I had never been a religious person before, but I’d always kind of had this vague notion that there was probably something, some sort of force in the universe or whatever it was. So I didn’t come into recovery, you know, with a big with a big feeling about God or religion or anything like that, but you know, over time, I I did the 12 steps in the overtime I really did form this belief in a higher power, for me is more like the universe is kind of a force. And the idea that there are no coincidences when I think about it, you know, I think about all of the times that I was wandering around New York City in a blackout, like how did I not get killed? How did I not get arrested? How did awful things not happen? How, you know, how did I not just like step in front of the cab at 3am, one morning in a blackout, all these things that should have happened, I should have lost my job, I should have had all these things happen. Didn’t and I came I’ve been fortunate and coming through on the other side, I’ve been very fortunate in my recovery. And I think, you know, the basically what struck with me was, I’m supposed to be out here. I do feel like I have a life purpose now which is helping the next person and I feel like the book In that sense, you know the art there are no coincidences, meaning that there’s there’s a reason for stuff and you know, not like I believe we are predetermined. I don’t think it’s not like I think we have no free will. But I think that, you know, when the universe sort of has a has a plan, it can happen.
Yeah, I’m in the same boat with you. And one of the things that a lot of times you’ll see in 12 step recovery, it’ll be the low bottom drunks with who have lost everything who have tried everything and last stop. And you’ll also see people come in and out a lot and they’ll try it. Things will get better they’ll disappear, come back, back and forth, back and forth. So your experience of not losing everything and your experience of trying it. Your first go and still like you said, knock on wood. Continue doing what you’re doing, keep getting what you’re getting, but being Did you feel sort of Like, your situation was kind of special and unique, kinda like when you were drinking with? Well, if your situation were like mine, then you would drink the way I do is it? Well, if you had as much to lose as I did, then you would be as sober as I am.
Right. Right, right. Well, maybe I don’t know. I mean, I feel like it is, you know, I, what I stay really cognizant of I think is that the day I stopped thinking, you know, I can or the day I start thinking I can coast in my recovery or the day I, I don’t remember how important it is for me to do all the things I need to do to stay sober for today is the day it all goes away. And sorry, I do think in recovery, like as anybody puts together, one day after another after another day, you know, the day stack up and think, you know, good things do tend to happen. And so that’s not always enough, but I’m just going to keep doing Doing this and I’ve always been very much like just for today total one day at a time person.
And what are some of the things that you do just for today on a if you gave yourself a gold star and you hit all of the things what what would that look like,
if I hit all of the things I would get up? Well, I do. One thing I do do every day that I’ve been doing since literally the day that I got out of the detox is, you know, when I was at my bottom when I was so miserable, and so spent, I used to like, open my eyes in the morning and I would be like, Fuck, like I woke up again, like, I don’t want to do this again. I don’t want to be me again. And so my my now my thinking my thought when I wake up, and it was even before I did work on higher power stuff. I wake up and I look up and I’m like, thank you. That’s all I said. I’m just like, thank you. Like I realized right away. Oh my gosh, I didn’t drink it. Yesterday, I get a chance at another day, on a perfect day would then meditate, I would then go to a 12 step meeting. I would spend a lot of my time, you know, doing sort of trying to help the next person. The biggest thing for me that has, you know, I mean built up my recovery has been service and being counted on and showing up for other people. Like I think, you know, the hardest thing and, and also, the best thing I did in recovery was help my dad in his final days when he was dying of cancer, and you know, that will always that is the most important thing I’ve ever done, because I was able to be there and do that and take the lead. And you know, those things don’t happen otherwise. And while you were out drinking, would that not have been the case? Oh, no way. I would have been sitting in a bar crying about the fact that my dad was dying and not being there. doored him. So no, it would have been now it would have been totally different. So everything was about me, you know, now I get to make it about somebody else. And it’s huge.
And that’s exactly where I was going. I was thinking, for myself, it was very much I used to only focus on what I could get out of every situation. Oh, yeah, how I could manipulate something so that I could screw other people over so that I could get the upper hand and it never really worked out how I wanted it to and then right like, I switch it over to focusing on service. And then opportunities just knocked down my door things that I never could have scripted could have played life beyond my wildest dreams. When I started my IT company. My initial goal was to generate $30,000 in one year by having 200 customers and like At our peak, we had 25,000 customers and did close to 5 million in revenue. And it’s Oh, it’s like if I had gotten what I think I wanted, I would have cut myself real real low. Yeah, but yeah, right open to that because year one, in the same example, we only had like, maybe 5060 clients. So it was like, I didn’t hit the thing that I think that I wanted, but I kept striving for it. And then, you know, you unlock one thing and it was random. I’m at a 12 step meeting and a guy is wearing a ravens hoodie in Florida. And I’m like, Okay, well, nobody wears hoodies in Florida. So clearly, this guy is new. To talk to him. I’m like, Hey, I like your hoodie. I’m from Baltimore. He’s like, cool. I’m from Baltimore to and I’m like, cool. I’m going to sponsor you now. And he ended up being one of my best friends. Someone who helped me grow the channel. Any huge way and it’s just like these little neon things. And that that moment could have just as easily been I noticed he was wearing a hoodie and just kept living my life. And like I look at that moment and how extremely different things turned out as a result. It wasn’t that wasn’t my intention. It wasn’t what if this guy’s the guy? ways guy
can right? Right? Right? Right It was. That’s what yeah, that’s like no coincidence, right? Because you were sober in there to show up for it. You know, something happens.
So do you have any examples in your life where something just kind of a random coincidence, God since seemed like nothing that kind of just turned into something huge in your life?
yeah, I mean with my book for sure there was, you know, I happen to be in this writing workshop, and somebody My writing workshop was friendly with, you know, some agents so I and followed her on Twitter book agent. And so I just asked like, Who is that? And so I followed her on Twitter and she put on her Twitter something about a contest for a book deal with a small publisher, like a writing retreat in Vermont, was having this contest where you could win a book deal with the publisher and I and I was like, You know what, it’s the right time I’ve been writing this book for 10 years, I need to like drill down submitted manuscripts and see what happens. And that was I ended up winning that contest and that was how I got my, my deal with with my publisher. But if I just hadn’t been when I heard him say, Oh, yeah, this agent on Twitter if I hadn’t been like, okay, now I’m going to follow that agent. Now. I’m going to follow you know, this It’s a lot. It’s much easier to be in the right place at the right time when you’re sober
than it ever was before.
Yeah, and I think also, maybe even in the past, like if you were right place, right time, you don’t have the opportunities play out in your favor as often just because when we’re selfish and only focusing on what can I get out of this situation? What’s the easy way for me to take as opposed to what’s the correct way for me to take what’s the way that is most service most beneficial? What can I look into? For me? It was a lot of, you know, I lose my job and it’s like, Okay, well, I’ll just go get another one and wherever I end up, like, what’s this job for? Okay, here I am. I hate everything. Everything sucks. The world keeps happening to me. Right and then I see on completely flip side, when I basically like challenge 12 step recovery. And I’m like, I know this isn’t gonna work. But here we go, I’ll turn my will in my life over, I’m gonna end up interviewing at this place. I don’t know what they do. Oh, you happen to do it. Haha. That’s funny because that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last 10 years and oh, and you’re hiring immediately now. Oh, okay,
great. It’s like
that, and you pay 20% more than I was willing to take Oh, okay, and just things stacking on top of each other over and over. And I kept, I kept winning. And it basically got to the point that, you know, I didn’t like the whole higher power thing, but like, I just kept winning. It kept working and I stopped questioning whether or not that there was any science behind why this is or isn’t working and it’s just like, If I keep winning when I play this game, then I’m just going to keep doing it. Because I don’t know why I keep winning, but is a lot better than trying to manipulate my way to win a game that I hate playing to begin with. It’s just right.
Right? No, you’re totally right. It’s true. And, you know, I look back and from just from the very beginning, when I would wake up in the morning and be like, you know, as soon as I had I remember, I think was like, when I hadn’t drank for like seven days. I’m like, seven days, how did that happen? And I remember thinking, How did I do that? And then as I got into 12, step, I, you know, came to believe, like the fact as it was, you know, months in I’m like, there is no way Lisa on her own, doesn’t drink for, you know, two months. It doesn’t happen that way. So I feel like I’m getting some sort of help from the universe. If I show up and do all the right things.
Yeah, I’ve found I seem to find that a lot of people and you can tell that you’re one of those people that they say like is on the beam and is active in 12 step recovery and practices, the principles and all your affairs and you know, all those cryptic cliches without saying what it is, but like everybody listening knows what it is, but you know, following the Yeah, the traditions but, you know, when you apply that in your life, I’ve I’ve just found that it just makes things easier, and things so
work, and nobody gets mad. I don’t have people getting angry at me if I make a tough decision based on integrity. Yeah, don’t get the kind of backlash that I used to when I would lie and steal and try to manipulate like that would get me backlash, and I get the results that I think I wanted. And on the other side, there have been times Where I’ve thrown away gigantic opportunities airports, you know, it’s, this would be a huge win financially, however, at the expense of integrity, right, justify it because I provide jobs with it. Yeah, things, things like that, but then turning those down. And then as a result of turning it down news getting out that I made the integrity decision to turn down this road. And because I did that, something 10 times bigger and better falls into my lap that I don’t even have to do anything for they’re just like, this is yours. I can tell by the type of person you are, that this will just work out. So tell us the terms. It’s yours. And it’s like, well, that was way easier than the thing that I think that I wanted, but it’s so difficult when you’re in it. Oh my gosh, yeah, to make decisions like that, because you don’t know on the other side. Oh, don’t worry, so and so’s going to hear about this
the other day. Yeah. And I never trusted that if I stopped drinking, it was going to be okay. Life was going to be okay, let alone better, you know, let alone good things happening. I was like, Why don’t know what people do if they don’t drink? I want to be one of those people.
It’s crazy. Because it’s like, it keeps getting better and better. And it’s just like, yeah, life never kept getting better, but my life would get maybe like, I’d have a good week. And then it’s just like, okay, when’s it gonna crash? And it was like, after a couple months, it was like, why does my life keep getting better than it used to be? Over and over, like, when does this wear off? But yeah, it’s kind of like, you know, if you’re putting deposits into a savings account, and if you just keep adding to it over and over and not taking away withdrawals, it doesn’t really matter how you feel about the situation, right? adding to it, it keeps getting higher. And as long as you don’t take those withdrawals and don’t, you know, take your will back, which easier said than done. It’s easy on a podcast to say, right? I’ve never made a decision based on self and all my god. But it always seems that whenever something doesn’t go my way, my preference, it usually has something tied to it with making a decision based on self, a decision based on a short term win versus a long term investment. And that’s really what 12 steps teaches you is that it’s it’s not about getting those short term wins and whatever you think that you want in this moment, but it’s a lot more of let it happen, how it’s supposed to happen, because Right, right, trust me. It keeps getting better, but it’s very difficult when you’ve got Decades of it not getting better right here that the only fun part of your life stopping doing that is what will actually make life better.
Yeah. Yeah you have to be I mean for me at least I was so miserable like nothing could have been worse than where I was I was that miserable I was that sick, I was exhausted. I was like anything is better than this I had what you know we refer to as the gift of desperation.
I think your your situation is cool because you had the gift of desperation without the obvious reasons for having to do you have the surface things and that’s just very rare. And that was that was my experience as well which is, which is very cool because it’s, it’s not the norm, right? Usually not you come into recovery while still having your job and Things are just better as a result, it’s usually you’ve been, you know, they talk about being beaten into a state of reasonableness. And it’s just like, your life is terrible. Stop doing life this way.
Yeah. Having that perspective and being open minded to it. That’s, that’s such a key.
Yeah. Well, to me, it’s like it was. It sounds like it was a high bottom, but it was really a low bottom because I hated myself so much. I was so like dead inside, you know, it was just, you know, in it. And like I said, it was a matter of time, I could have gone into work that day, instead of checking in and I could have been arrested. You know, I mean, it was way it was an accident waiting to happen. And it was just amazing that it did not
know it’s great that you caught it before it happened. And then you know, all the blessings that have happened in your life as a result of it. And Lisa, I want to be conscious of time, but where can people find out More about you, where can they get your book?
Oh, sure. Thank you. My website, I actually now have launched a consultancy for lawyers and law firms and legal organizations on these issues. And so my website is Lisa Smith advisory with an o.com. Or you can google we Lisa Smith author it Lisa Smith author also works. My book is on Amazon. It’s in Barnes and Noble. It’s, it’s around, it’s on Kindle. And there’s an audible book of it too. So
so it’s everywhere, and we’ll be sure to have show notes with links to all that. Lisa, it was great having you on the show and everybody listening. You enjoyed the episode, please rate and subscribe. Leave us a comment, leave us a review. Really appreciate it. It’s how we grow the show. And have a great day. Lisa, thank you so much.
You too. Thanks so much. Bye bye.
Sobriety Date: 5/15/13
Jonathan Sylvester is the Founder and Head Coach of The Recover U coaching program – An online group coaching and aftercare program which enables men in recovery to become leaders in every area of life by developing stronger sobriety, an unbreakable mindset, and better physical health.
Social: Recover U FB: Facebook.com/recoverucoaching
Recover U IG: @recover.u
And with me today is Jonathan Sylvester. Jonathan, how you doing man? Doing good, Andrew, happy to be here. Yeah. Jonathan is the founder and head coach of the recover you coaching program. And why don’t you give us a little background on what that is?
Yeah, for sure. So a lot of my background is with fitness and nutrition. And so I actually several years back launched the online part of my fitness and nutrition coaching business, and that was going really well. And then there were some developments and some things happen. And I really just came back to the realization that I really love and want to work with men in recovery. And so what this turned into is an online group coaching program for guys in recovery. So, we’ve got guys that you know, have never been in recovery before and they need some guidance and I help guide them you know, into a 12 step program and which is really kind of the foundation for the program. And then for all the guys that are in the program, and then we also have guys that have like 510 15 years sober so it’s really a body mind spirit sobriety, it’s looking at everything, it’s looking at your relationships, it’s it is about you know, creating a routine in your life. It’s about you know, looking at really keeping score and looking at the facts in your life as opposed to letting emotions guide things if that makes sense. It’s really all about the motto is recover the man you were meant to be. And and that’s really what this is all about. This is about getting very clear on who this guy is. Is that you want to become and you want to live as and developing a plan to get there and having the accountability and coaching and support from other like minded men to help you actually get there.
And one of the things you kind of touched on and this is a huge thing for me and my wife and I are polar opposites on this and so you and I are on the same team, the facts versus the self defeating self talk the barriers that don’t actually exist. Do you mean to tell me that they’re human beings that maybe make decisions based on emotions and feelings on a situation that actually the facts don’t align with a feeling?
Yeah, I think that that definitely happens and look, I’m not gonna say you know, I’m not I’m not perfect with it. Like I definitely have to, you know, look, look at take a step back and gain some perspective sometimes and really asked myself if I’m You know, if I’m letting feelings and emotion, emotion guide the situation, whether it’s in my business or in my personal life, and really just take a step back, but yeah, I think it’s so important to, to look at the facts and I’ll give you this example. You know, I think if if someone listening is wondering, like, Okay, well what are you really talking about? One of the first examples that I share with guys that are coming into the coaching program when I present them with this thinking is okay, well, let’s say that a guy has been relaxing, right? He’s he’s been relaxing and, and maybe you’ve heard this in a meeting before and you’re like, man, I just really I don’t know why I keep relapsing. You know, I feel like I’m doing everything I need to be doing. That is emotion. Now if we if we took a step back and we said, All right, man, let’s look at the facts of what’s going on. You know, are you going to meetings are you plugged in with like minded individuals Do you have a sponsor? do you have? are you connected? You know staying plugged in or Yeah. Are you connected with with other guys? Are you doing all these things you need to be doing and it’s likely that he wouldn’t be. So you know that that right there just as it relates to recovery, I think that’s so important in terms of looking at the facts.
And you can equate that with business also where, you know, I have salesman, I got one guy sitting next to another guy with the literal exact same random chance opportunities. And the one guy makes four times as much money as the other one. And they literally like though, the one who’s making less I know in his mind, he thinks we give the other one these magic opportunities and it’s literally not as not what’s happening. It’s just the one is continuing to do things his way that is very successful in the other one Has this mental block, thinking that the way that he does things is the better way. And he sitting next to the person, and they’ve been with me for years, and they’re both really good at what they do, one obviously brings in more than the other. But it’s like, look at the person literally sitting next to you. They make four times as much money in the exact same amount of time and opportunity as you but they do it this way. And you do it this way. And if he was owning it and saying, Well, yeah, I know that I’m making four times less because I’m doing it the wrong way. Then it’s just like, well, dude, you’re crazy. But he’s like, I’m not doing anything different. And it’s like, Look, listen to these two recordings. Who sounded different. It’s like doesn’t make a difference. It’s like it literally does because, like, yeah, let’s look at your numbers. Yeah, you get the exact same results. for months on end over and over and over with the exact same opportunities like but that idea of the one is very, very fact based. He does a B testing. He looks at what works what doesn’t work he takes what works doubles down on it finds he’s testing constantly tweaking the script getting better and better and better and that’s how I get there. And the other ones like nah this way works and like does it work? Yes, it works. Is it the most effective way? No, but he’s got that self talk of the other guy gets a lot more money and he thinks it’s because he gets other opportunities and that’s not the case he’s literally given the exact same thing but
that idea in this guy on the show to just talk to him about this
Yeah, yeah. Now we’ve we’ve had many a sit down, but he’s you know, different different strokes for different folks. Some people are very analytical a be testing I want to make the most money and I can while I sit down, so I’ll do the best thing. And the other one, just, you know, I got a job and I’m making good enough money and just like, I’m gonna do my thing. And, you know, as a business owner, it sucks seeing the one that’s not doing as well, because also means that like, we don’t make as much as a company, but at the same time, it’s like, we’re profitable with it. So maybe this is one of those, like, someone else was like, you have to fire him. Like, how dare you let him stay there. But yeah, get rid of me. Get rid of them?
Well, look, you know, and I understand. I mean, I think that in terms of, you know, my business, I think that that’s a mistake that I made for a long time is thinking that and maybe we’re all stubborn, like that, you know, in different areas or to some degree, but I think that’s probably one of the biggest mistakes that I see people making. And I think you know, and a lot of the times I think it comes down to you know, what you’re touching on in sales. Sales and Marketing, I would say are like the two biggest areas that that business owners really need to look at data. And like, a lot of the times, I think, like in marketing, you know, what happens is, is people say, you know, something’s not working. And they really haven’t given enough time to gather enough data. And this is pretty basic stuff. But I think this is where I think this is where a lot, a lot of people might might be going wrong. And, you know, they’re not getting enough data to actually be able to look at the facts and see like, okay, is this working or not? And you mentioned, you know, the sales guy that’s successful. Doing a B testing, you know, it’s like, Man, you’re, you’re going to have to try some different things out. You’re just going to have to try some different stuff. But you also need to be looking at the the facts and the data behind it for sure. Yeah,
so in your group, you help people kind decipher the here are the things that you are doing. And you know, you may feel that you’re doing everything that you can be but what are we filling in? And so like, say you identify some gaps in somebody’s program. What are the steps that you guys take? Is it a group? Is it you? What’s the, the next step when we identify pieces that you’re saying?
Yeah, so And let me just tell you exactly how we do that. So when guys come to the program, they actually one of the many things they do is fill out a questionnaire which we call, it’s literally called the facts. And so what we’re doing is is because a lot of men do not do this in general, it’s we look at what is your starting point, the facts of where you are right now. What is your starting point? So what’s going on in your your health, your habits, your relationships, your recovery? You know what’s really going on. Because if we don’t establish that starting point, we don’t know what needs to be improved upon. Right? We don’t really know what our starting point is. And then we establish the destination. And that’s getting really clear on who this guy is that you want to become. So you know, and then in between that, it’s really building the game plan to get from point A to point B, going from your starting point to, to what what we term in, in our program. So there’s like different layers within the program. These guys start out is what we call seekers, where they’re really just trying to figure this stuff out. Right? And because even if a guy comes in and let’s say he has 15 years sober, there’s a reason that he’s coming to me a lot of the times it’s because of one of two things his health, right health isn’t isn’t where it should be. And or it pretty much always comes back to whatever they see is the real problem isn’t usually the real problem, the real problem usually comes down to time management and organization. And so like one of the main things that we have these guys do is start using their calendar. You know, and and so in recovery, we say, do the next right thing, right? And sometimes it can be, it can be overwhelming or hard to determine what is the next right thing? So this is kind of answering your question here, like how do we, how do we fill those holes? You know, in your in your program or in your life? It’s man, let’s establish this game plan and a big part of that is literally just using your calendar in your phone because it’s not, you know, it can be overwhelming. You know, I mean, you might be surprised the number of guys that have come into my program that have 15 plus years 20 plus years of sobriety and he You would think like, all these guys have stayed sober this song like they must have it all figured out and know, you know that something’s been something is missing and a lot of the times like I said it’s just having a game plan to follow and you look down at your schedule, it eliminates overwhelm, it eliminates the guesswork. You look down you know exactly, you know what the next right thing is. So the next right thing for a guy that that’s been sober for a long time, and I’ll just be real about this, you know, this is what I’m really passionate about. I really hate seeing guys that have been sober for a long time and are miserable. And that’s really where a lot of these guys are. And my thing is, you know what this coaching program is really all about at the end of the day, is my true thought and feeling is is it number one, I didn’t get sober to be miserable, like that has nothing to do with with why I’m here. And number two, you know, if you’re miserable in sobriety, how long are you really likely to stay sober? Like, it’s probably it is, it’s literally a matter of time in my mind, you know, and, and so anyway, these guys are they’re missing something, you know, and a lot of it comes down to basic organization. So that’s how we fill in the gaps is we lay out a basic game plan. A big part of that is literally Hey, you have this friggin phone in your hand all day long. How about you use the calendar on it? And when you’re not sure what to do, you just look down and you do that thing. I mean, that that’s a big part of it. It sounds simple, but but most guys in and out of recovery are not doing that.
Yeah, I think a big piece of it. It’s just humans in general. We, we have this discontent and we know we want things to be different, but we are not Willing to just stop for five minutes and identify where we want to go, which is part of your plan. And then putting it in a calendar and having time set aside for specific things to get done. like humans hate planning humans hate, they love when they have planned in the past, but they hate the process of sitting down and looking at where am i right now? Where do I want to be? What steps do I need to make sure that I take every single day in order to accomplish this? Because if we’re just doing whatever we want all the time, like you’ll get through life and then you’ll be at the end of it and be like, you know what I did nothing. Like I remember being extremely busy and extremely overwhelmed, but I have nothing to show for it. And actually a couple episodes back. Russ Perry of design pickle was on and he talked about that a ton where he’s got he calls it his hands I’ll log system where he just writes out his day ahead of time. And that ties into exactly what you’re talking about. The next right thing when it’s on the calendar, it’s easy for people to follow. Look at the clock. It’s 10:30am Okay, at 10:30am I’m supposed to be doing this thing. Okay? That’s the next right thing. It’s so easy when you just follow a schedule because everybody can subscribe to time is a good indicator of when to do things you know, it’s not like ah, is it dusk? Time to do this? Right. Very, very black and white, which people like you and I we have brains that like black and white and time is a very, very good black and white.
Yeah, and let me be clear, I did not used to be like this at all. You know, and the thing is, is it a lot of people say they they think like especially people in recovery, man, like
We think we hate structure.
We think we hate structure. The man we thrive in structure we thrive with structure, you know, I mean, it’s like, Man, you know, I joke about this but it’s so true. Like the way my mind works is the 12 steps worked great for me because it’s on a huge friggin poster when I walk into this room, numbered one through 12 make it super easy for me to follow, you know, and and so the thing is, is what a lot of guys aren’t really thinking about it’s like, you know, early on in sobriety like it’s, it’s easy to figure out what the next right thing is for most of us because maybe we probably it’s likely that we don’t have a lot going on. Like I didn’t have a lot going on. It was bad. I was blessed enough to where like my basic needs were taken care of my family was like, Hey, get better focus on recovery, you know, and that’s all I had to do at the time. But But you know, as your life starts to get better, you have more gifts coming into your life and you have to if you want to maintain, and not just maintain, I’m not a big fan of people saying maintaining sobriety because I, that’s just, I think we should be growing and you know, people talk about like, steps 1011 and 12 being maintenance steps, it’s like, man, if you do that stuff every day, you’re not going to be maintaining anything you’re going to be growing, you know, that that’s just the reality. But you know, when we start having these other things come into our lives, we’ve got to figure out a way to, to, I’m not going to say juggle all this stuff to keep all of it organized, and and keep moving forward and make sure that we’re not letting people down and we’re doing, we’re living by these principles. And so there’s a lot of things you know, that and this kind of goes back to what we do and in recovery you It’s the 12 steps are awesome and the 12 steps changed my life. I think there, there are also other things that guys like us should be doing. And and having some type of organization and having some type of structure in our lives is one of those things that I think just really takes what we do with the 12 steps and how we benefit from the 12 steps to the next level, you know, to that next level. So I think that’s just one of the many things that that we should be doing to make sure we’re, you know, we’re growing.
I think that’s a great turning point to, let’s get into and I’d forgotten to mention this in the beginning, but he’s also the host of the sobriety blueprint podcast, so I’m sure just everybody’s like in love with me and follows everything I do. And you know, there’s probably an episode there with my name on it, hint, nudge, nudge, maybe, perhaps, but why don’t you give us a little background on what was your intention with that and what you are putting together with it for the Those that aren’t familiar.
Yeah, the sobriety blueprint podcast so it’s really it’s a podcast for men in recovery, you know, same ideas as the recovery coaching program to really show guys and help guys and enable them to become the best men and and the way that I feel like I’ve started to become more of this man that I want to become, and all these different areas of my life, you know, relationship, relationships, finances, recovery, is by seeing other guys you know, it’s, it’s the, when we come into recovery, you know, we’re told look for the people that have what you want. And so I want to bring on other men that have what I want, because I know it’s very likely that the guys listening are going to want with these guys have as well. So, you know, what was my intention? It’s you know, first off it’s to make an impact you know, it’s it’s it’s to carry the message is really what it is and and a big part of that message again for me is really you know once you get this foundation down I’m not shy about saying this getting sober for me was a huge blessing it really is for anyone I mean when you came on the podcast you know, you told me your story I mean, man it’s it’s it’s nothing short of a miracle. Right? It’s nothing short of a miracle but at the same time, man to a certain degree it’s kind of the bare minimum after you have this this foundation down and and I’m very direct in saying that to guys like in guys I sponsor with guys I coach like, you know, like we’ll do like within the the coaching program like, we’ll go through At the end of the week, you know our wins for the week like what were your wins you know and and talk about some of these things that they accomplish and you know some of these guys that have this stuff down or have been sober for a while it’s like man I don’t want you coming to the table like coming to our meeting with staying that you say it stayed sober, the sweet what else is going on in your life you know so I really want to because I hate hearing guys saying like the being sober is just as miserable thing I’m really trying to open guys minds up to this is not a liability. This is an asset This is you are learning things within recovery, that people will never normal people will never have the opportunity to learn. Normal people go to business coaches life coaches pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn and still never fully grasp and implement into their lives like Dude, take this stuff. Create an awesome life with it. You know, so that that’s what it’s really all about. Yeah, and number one, it’s about making an impact. Number two, I’ll tell you, you know, the first episode started with me telling my story. And a big part of this is really selfishly about me living my truth. And it’s a weird thing, man, you know, most people have known that I’m in recovery for a while, and I and I don’t think and I’m not anonymous about it by any means, you know, I think it’s important for people to know you know, what’s going on. And I’m not saying that everyone needs to go around and just like tell someone they don’t know their whole life story like I have necessarily but you know, for me, man, it was kind of a weird deal because I’m really proud like, and I never thought I would say like, I’m really proud of who I ended it. And it’s a weird thing because I I guess I didn’t want to talk to people about Who I am now because that meant bringing up who I used to be. There would have to be a comparison I would have to contrast between the two and and so a big part of this man is really just about me living my truth and taking that mask off and, and, and being the real me You know, there’s just saying I don’t know if it’s like Napoleon Hill or who it is, I can’t remember but, uh, you know, it’s if I want to be free I gotta be me. It sounds kind of corny, but I think it’s true.
You know, I think it’s a lyric from a Smash Mouth sounding
very well could be very well over the years. So
that’s what it’s all about man and that and that’s really why I started is just to kind of open open guy’s eyes to you know, maybe there’s more out there but because there is you know, it’s not a maybe there’s more out there for you and if I can do something to help you see that or turn you on to someone like Andrew that maybe opens your mind up to to a thought or something like that, then you know that then I that’s what helped me so much. You know, so that’s really what what I’m what I’m attempting to do.
Awesome. And have you had any like I know for myself I’ve had a couple kind of revelations and like, ways that I view recovery differently than I used to when I’d started. And I know like through your journey, it’s still you know, you’re learning stuff as you go. And I mean, we all are, but have you had any, any guests like I’ve had a couple that have just had like giant impacts, like I saw you had Omar on the show, which is awesome. And like he’s, he’s like an incredible person. And, um, but have you had any guests on the show that just like completely blew your mind with some of the stuff that they brought to the table
was Looking for a layup for me? I’m just kidding. Yeah,
definitely, you know, I’ll just say like it was actually after I had you on you know because my my podcast, the sobriety blueprint still relatively young you know like I’m coming up on episode 12 is going to be coming out this next this coming Monday and so you know, I haven’t done a ton of episodes but you know like after having you and a couple of other guys on one of the I think I just really started to the revelation I had is that I think that in this online world it’s it’s really easy even though we’re connecting with people to a degree maybe every day. It’s it’s easy for me to still kind of like isolate myself and not really connect with others. If that makes sense. You know, I think like when I had you and a couple other guys come on, like one of the main things like I started to see is like just, I was just reminded of the value in networking. I mean, it seems like a simple thing. But then I also started to see like and having you and definitely Omar on man, I am getting coached for free. I know right?
Like that. That has been my big revelation. I’m like, this is so it’s an excuse for me to connect with guys like Andrew that have built these, like, incredible businesses are doing all these cool things. And man and you I’ll just say like, You helped me out a ton because, you know, you connected me with all these other guys and I really appreciate that. I mean, it’s been a huge help for the show. It’s been Yeah, and I have had some big revelations that the biggest one though, is just Still need to connect as much as I talked about connecting so much just in terms of you know what I put out there on social media you know with the guys that I coach with the guys I sponsor staying connected stay plugged in I need to keep doing that you know i’m i’m not special you know and and again for me the connecting isn’t just about like initially like in recovery it’s like get connected to save your life but now it’s like that get connected to keep growing and happy you know and have these revelations and and meet these new people that I never would have met you know so that’s been my biggest revelation it’s just the need to continue to meet new people that are like minded and definitely remain open minded like specifically on the recovery stuff there there had been some some revelations I have and I mean I you know, I have certain thoughts about like the the way that I think You know, things should be done and what worked for me. But like you said, you know, different strokes for different folks. I mean, what work, what worked for me may not work for others and you know, who am I to tell someone? No, you did it wrong or, you know.
Yeah, I hate that though. I hate that, you know, I can I can share my experience and it’s definitely my truth and then someone else tries to replicate it and then it’s just not the same for them and like my wife and I, like we we go through this all the time, where just my solution to everything is like, Well, here’s a problem, and then let’s formulate a plan and execute a solution. And like, that’s how my brain works is problem, okay? defeat the problem when, but like our brains just wired differently. It’s just like it’s an emotion and I think there was like a, an episode on like Parks and Rec where they like to solve problems. All they did was just the guy like, he just started repeating the problem back. And that was just all he had to do. He’s like, wait, I don’t have to solve it. I just have to say the problem back to her, and then that then it’s done. So different people, you know, at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to coexist. And I believe that you’re right, when you say, being in recovery has been one of the greatest assets of my life. At the moment, when I first got my DUI and everything started going bad. It was a liability. Yeah, I’m not going to pretend like it was good then. No, but at the same time looking back, that day that I got the DUI that made me go meet the lawyer and get the breathalyzer in my car and then go to court and then go to rehab and all of these things that led my life to where it is today. At the time, I didn’t like going through them but growth is not something That’s comfortable. And if I had just stayed exactly where I was at probably still be, you know, working in a restaurant in Howard County, Maryland and not really going anywhere, like my life was not going anywhere if I looked at the facts, and I think that that’s just, it’s a great barometer and it, it blows my mind that more people don’t live their life based on facts. But that’s a that’s their prerogative. And you know, if, if running your life off facts and truths isn’t for you, and you’re happy with how you’re doing things, then like, Who am I to tell you you’re wrong, you know?
Yeah, yeah. And it for like I said, just to be clear, for me, it was a learned thing. Like, it’s not like I just came into this world being like that, that that was in my thinking for a long time. So yeah, I mean, you know, I just, I think again, if someone’s listening Something and there may be not fully grasping what it is we’re talking about, you know, just like in the next few decisions that you make, you know, even if they’re just small life decisions, business decisions, you know, ask yourself if they’re based on facts, like if you’re especially in your business, like, what what data are you looking at? I think that’s really what it comes down to.
Yeah, I, it’s just like, you know, meal prep. If all of your meals are picked out for you ahead of time, then you don’t really get the choice like you’re making it. Humans have a tendency to go to the path of least resistance. And when we have structure and when we have decisions made for us already. That’s the path of least resistance. So if you do something like meal prep, and Monday for breakfast, I’m going to eat this Monday for lunch. I’m going to eat this in between lunch and dinner. I’m going to eat this and Dinner, I’m going to eat this. And I know what my macros are. I know everything that I need to know about what I ate that day. And I know that if I continue eating this way that I will lose weight because I’m operating in a calorie deficiency, you know, whatever the science is, I’m sure you know way more about this stuff than I do a little bit. But the idea that you save yourself from yourself, you don’t run into, oh, I’m walking downstairs and there’s Halloween candy in the basket. I’m going to eat one. And then look back on the last month and it’s like, dude, I hate 80 pieces of candy that I had no intention of ever eating, but it just happened. Yeah. But if I had everything planned out, and I kept that out of sight, I mean the candy that’s so weak spot so thank god Halloween is over. But yeah, having having a plan for recovery for business for life, have a plan, follow it. Create your path of least resistance. Put in a couple minutes to plan something out and your future self will thank you for it. But Jonathan, we’re running short on time. Where can people find you online to learn more about you and sobriety blueprint podcast in recovery you?
Yeah, absolutely. So they can go to recover you.net to learn more about the recovery you coaching program, they can also go to the sobriety blueprint.com You can find the sobriety blueprint on Spotify, iTunes, wherever you listen to your podcasts, and also just feel free to connect with me on Facebook.
Awesome. Well, Jonathan, thank you so much for being on self made and sober. And guys, if you enjoyed the show, please go on iTunes, rate the show. It’s how we grow. Subscribe. Tell your friends and Jonathan Have a great day, man. Thank you so much for being on the show. Yeah, you too, Andrew. I appreciate
Tricia Lewis is the host and creator of The Recovery Happy Hour podcast and co-founder of Sober by Southwest.
Welcome to the self made and sober podcast. I’m your host Andrew Lassise. And with me today is Tricia Lewis, the host and creator of the recovery, happy hour podcast, and the co founder of sober by Southwest. Tricia, how are you?
I’m great. Thank you. How are you?
I’m doing well. You know, I was so excited to have you that we recorded on a not recording day just because I’m pumped to have Tricia Lewis.
Thanks for work of my schedule. It was a wacky October, so I appreciate your patience.
Yeah, definitely. And now that we’re in November, you’re coming up on the third going into fourth year of sobriety. Next week as of this recording. Yeah,
this is true. This is true. 1114 So this year, it kind of snuck up on me I was kind of busy. So I think that’s a good place to be in.
Yeah, well, when it sneaks up on you, then you’re probably not counting the days has that always been your situation where it’s not counting the days You
know, I love achievements I’m always
know it’s I love I love milestones and you know, the further along you get, the fewer milestones you have. So, the fact that this year snuck up on me that’s, that’s weird. I normally I’m like, I’m all about like, you know, hey, I’ve got this many months and I’ll go like, buy myself a cake and you know, he said whole cake.
There’s no such thing as a sad Whole Cake.
Cake. It is a cake of accomplishment and a cake of actually accomplishment. carbs don’t count and all right.
Oh, yeah, that’s right. I forgot they had them removed.
Yeah, yeah, it’s it’s one of those you know, placebo things like if you’re eating cake, because you’re sober then it doesn’t count. And that’s, that’s a pretty that’s one of those third year. tricks that uncover that celebration cake. Stone What did early sobriety look like for you versus what it’s looking like now?
Early sobriety looked like work, you know, early sobriety felt like a checklist, like I’d wake up and it’s like, Okay, I have to do this, and I have to do my prayer and meditation. And then I have to call this person and then I have to go to this meeting. And then I have to journal and everything was like, check the box, check the box and do the things so that you can level up. And then I think that the gift of sobriety is when you learn to let go of a lot of that and you, you relax your, your grip on things and really dig into that surrender process, and that’s where I’m at right now, which is a lot more. You know, freewheeling like whatever’s going to happen, you know, leaning a lot harder into my faith, and, you know, a lot less, you know, I was I was white knuckling it or relying on willpower but certainly It was a lot harder and everything about it was new in the beginning. And now that it’s not so new, and I can sort of make this process my own, as long as I don’t drink alcohol, I can relax and do it a lot more.
And you were one of the people correct me if I’m wrong that alcohol was the big persuader. Or were drugs like a
not really not really drugs were always something I could kind of take or leave alcohol just really crushed me though. And and that was, that was my first love and that was really my only love and and that was that’s what what, you know what made it so hard to let go of at the end.
And so coming to the end of your drinking career, November a couple years back, what was would you say is just the moment where you decided I can’t do this anymore.
You know, a couple of things. One was that my body was just starting to get out. I’m pretty petite. You know? I’m five, three, and you know the amount of alcohol that I was consuming. I mean, I should have had alcohol poisoning weekly and how I didn’t, it’s still beyond me. I went through that last week, I went through like a kind of a three day Bender, a very socially acceptable looking vendor, but I was just drinking morning till night. And you know that it had gotten so bad or I mean, I was that like, last three months of my drinking. It was just six out of seven days a week, I was drunk period. And if I wasn’t drunk, I was hungover and quickly on my way to being drunk again. So when physical withdrawals happened, that’s when I realized, okay, like it’s happening now this is starting. And yeah, I mean, I’m smart enough to know the long term effects of alcohol. So when I realized that my body was like, Oh, no, we can’t do this anymore. I listened and made that decision.
And were there sort of in and out bouts? Or was it just, I’m done. And first try, you’re nailing it.
Um, there were definitely in and out bouts, you know, for the last 10 years of my drinking, I probably, you know, I did a lot of those, oh, I’m going to take a couple of weeks off, I’m going to take a month off kind of thing. And, you know, thinking that I could do a little reset, and then go back to drinking like normal. But I noticed that that month, and that couple of weeks kept getting shorter and shorter, and I could never really complete that original goal. So it was never It was never like a and an attempt of Okay, I’m going to stop forever, because I didn’t want to stop forever. So but I knew is going to happen to have to happen someday. You know, that was always part of the plan. I mean, I come from a family of addiction. So I knew that eventually I was going to have to get sober but I didn’t want to do it until I was ready. Because I because I knew that once I really started it. It was going to really suck I went back to drinking but I was probably gonna ruin it forever.
Yeah, kinda like that Cortez burn the boats, just jumping 100% so when when you’re first getting sober, what are some of the strategies that you’re using? Are you trying 12 steps? Are you figuring it out yourself? what’s what’s early sobriety look like for you?
In November 2016. When I first got sober, I would have three days and I just fully detoxed on my own. It was basically like having the flu for three days. I don’t recommend that though. Which, by the way, it should be said that if anyone is really worried about quitting drinking, and the effects of withdrawing from it, talk to your doctor or talk to somebody about a way to safely do that because I can’t recommend the way that I did it. I want to, I thought, Okay, well, maybe if I just listened to a podcast, I can, like, you know, think about again, like maybe I’ll just take a couple of weeks off like I wasn’t really good. Quiet in it yet, you know, maybe I can drink enough green juices to where I can fix.
Everybody knows listening to a podcast will alleviate all all physical withdrawal symptoms, right?
The proper knowledge on what’s going on. Right withdraw.
So I just I thought okay well I’ve never listened to a podcast about for sobriety maybe I’ll just check one out and see how it see what you know just see how that feels and I started listening to recovery elevator you know you’ve you’ve interviewed Paul, and I started listening to people’s stories and that’s when something changed because I heard for the very first time I heard somebody’s story that sounded just like mine. I did not realize that there were other high functioning alcoholics that terminal uniqueness. I thought I was the only one who had all those rules in place and I was the only one who could still, you know, work 60 hours a week and be hungover or drunk. I thought I was alone. And until I started hearing those stories on that podcast, I didn’t. I didn’t understand this phenomenon really, in my core, I didn’t understand it. So I just started listening to those for a few days, and then listening to one of those conditions convince me to try a 12 step meeting. So I tried that. I dug into that. So then I was doing these two things, the podcast and 12 step. Then I joined a Facebook accountability group and really started connecting with more people and through the Facebook accountability group, I started reading self help books. I got back into therapy, like I went, if something sounded promising, I tried it, it doesn’t mean that it’s stuck and that I used it but I tried everything. So I went with like a full, you know, multi pronged approach to this and tried anything and everything.
So is the Tricia Lewis That is in front of me via zoom chat a different human being than the one from a few years ago. Is that safe to say?
Yes and no. Yeah.
So, um, my approach to life is totally different. But sobriety has brought out the best parts of myself that I had long since forgotten about when I was drinking. So I’m still the same. I’m still in, you know, in a way I’m like, an amplified version of my favorite parts of myself. But, but yeah, my, my, my outlook on everything is totally different. Now. It’s when I sit and reflect on it, like I get emotional, it’s insane how different everything is after making that one decision.
So a lot of people feel that the drinking side of things was really more of a symptom of something deeper. Would you say that that was true in your Cases Well,
yes, absolutely this symptom, the symptom was anxiety and a need for control and being a just a codependent people pleaser. Growing up in a family of addiction I was around addiction and I did that thing that most siblings or or children of alcoholics and addicts do which is try to make the situation better every day try to fix everyone else’s problems try to fix people with your love Try not to rock the boat too much. And yeah, I became a level 10 people pleaser control freak and I’ve had really bad anxiety since I was about seven. So all these things combined alcohol really helped turn the volume down on them.
And I know for myself, my experience was that volume and the insanity going on in my head. It was just a constant Everything is terrible, everything’s going to hell. And then as soon as I start drinking, then everything’s fine. But then I start doing stupid things while I’m drinking, which then adds to the anxiety and all the problems in my life. But then if I drink, they go away, but then they get amplified. So I need to drink more to turn down the amplification. And then I discovered through recovery that it actually I could turn down the insanity of my life. And my anxiety, not 100% goes away because I filled that void of alcohol with work and family and a million other things that now occupies the same space in my brain. But I would say that I don’t have too many of those. Any of those mornings where I wake up, and I look at my phone, and I’m like, Oh my god, I texted that person last night because like, I was working extra hard. Yeah, you have those experiences because of?
Well, you know, it’s funny. It’s funny what you said about anxiety is that, you know, I’d say like, the common theme of the last few years of my drinking was that what? That alcohol stopped working for me. And that, what used to turn down the volume on my need for control, and my terrible anxiety was now starting to turn up the volume on it. So if I drink a bottle of wine, my anxiety would get worse, and I wouldn’t and I wouldn’t feel drunk, and then I’d be so mad and confused, like, why do I not feel drunk, and then that would make my anxiety even worse. And then, you know, I go to bed and I’d wake up and I’d be so pissed and angry that I didn’t remember the night before and I didn’t have just one or two glasses, I had a bottle again, and then I had drinks on top of that, and that caused more anxiety. Plus, you have the physical feelings of a hangover, which gives you anxiety. It’s just like layers upon layers upon layers of more anxiety and It was all now because of the alcohol. Alcohol was fixing anything. And I don’t know that’s a I forgot your original question. But
yeah, I never remember anything. My whole life is is an endless. I keep my to do list in Trello I follow David Allen’s getting things done method the sure if you’re familiar with that, but it’s basically like, everything ever just gets written down and then I’ll address whether or not it’s something that following through but we were discussing about how you have anxiety about drinking and then you drink to lower the anxiety but then you have anxiety about the things you did while you’re drinking. So it’s just, it’s a never ending cycle and to be on the other side of it. And it’s like, you know, you’re telling someone who’s new in recovery. If you if you go through this process, change your life, that volume will go down the anxiety, it’s not going to just disappear but Your life will just completely transform. And I thought it was. It was actually my lawyer who, when I got my DUI and he had like, 40 some years, and I didn’t want to hear anything he was telling me, but he had said, it’s not the stopping of drinking. It’s the starting of living. And 26 year old just got a DUI, Andrew didn’t want to hear that. And so it was just, you know, that’s whoo, whoo, whatever. And I recall, I maybe had two, three years sober, and I had gotten a new sponsor at a 12 step meeting. And I remember saying them, you know, you don’t need to look at this as the stopping of drinking. It’s the starting of living and then I was like, Oh, my God. He was right.
perspective is everything. You know, I just funny, I just remembered I had this I think of everything in metaphors. I just had this memory of when I lived in Telluride, Colorado for a few years, and when I moved there, I learned how to snowboard because I wanted to snowboard, I thought it’d be so cool. And I thought, you know, that was just something I wanted to do, but, and I did it for a year and a half. And I, it never felt natural. But I thought that and I was like, No, I’m going to do this, I’m going to make this work because I want to do it. And it never took. And then one day, I tried skiing, and that was like, so natural and felt right. And I could do it easily. And I wasn’t fighting and I wasn’t, you know, getting injured all the time. It was like, oh, if I just, like, let go of this idea of this thing I thought I needed to do and went with this other thing that really worked for me. I would have had a couple of years less misery. And that’s how drinking was, you know, I just like no, I have to drink I want to drink. But it was it was you know, ruining my life. And once I went with this other thing that felt better and gave me such better results and I let go of this toxic idea. Everything shifted, everything got easier. And that’s how getting sober was.
It sounds so obvious. is to say, but everything gets easier when everything is easier. We just have this idea that I need to be this type of person, I need to, I need to snowboard I need to snowboard. And it’s funny. Maybe two years ago, my then fiance or now we had just got married regardless. My wife and I, we went skiing for both of our first times and it was like, How hard could it be? And as you know, we’re like falling over and we’re in Utah. I mean, like, we live in Florida. It’s not like it’s not like going to the mountains exists, like we don’t, right, right. But there’s like three year olds that are like skiing backwards talking to their friends. And we’re like those guys that are just like, swinging their arms. I’m like,
yeah, learning how to how to ski as an adult. It makes you so mad at kids and you’re like, Oh, damn you and your small short center of gravity. It’s so frustrating.
The changing gears a bit. Why don’t you tell us about your your mindset in starting the recovery happy hour and what that’s transformed into, over the time that you’ve been doing it.
Um, so recovery happy hour started. It went live in July of 2018. I had the idea about six months before. And you know, it podcasts were such a vital part of my recovery. But I noticed as I gained more sobriety that I wasn’t hearing a whole lot of stories about what happened after people quit drinking, a lot of them are. They tell the stories of what it was like when you were drinking, which is great, that serves a purpose. But I needed something I needed to talk about something else I needed to talk about life beyond because I met so many people who were so afraid of missing out on something I’m missing out on the fun that they didn’t want to quit drinking and I was like, well, let’s address that fear of missing out. And let’s prove the point that life is Go on after you quit drinking. So that was my approach to why I wanted to start this podcast and what I wanted to be different about it. When I started it, it was a very simple goal. It was like, well, let’s tell those stories, let’s get people who have a little more sobriety under their belt, and address this fear of missing out. Because I’ve always I’m an entrepreneur, it turned into something much bigger than I ever expected, because I’ve put in a lot of work to grow it into something bigger than just, you know, a download on your phone that shows up every Tuesday. So meeting all these really cool people all across the world and interviewing them on my show. It’s been really fun to make, to network to make new friends to, you know, come up with new events to do to listen to people’s needs and what they need to help their recovery along to build, you know, retreats and online events out of that. It very, very quickly turned it into something much bigger than I expected and the whole thing has been just a giant gift to me, and it’s a pretty privilege, it is nothing but a privilege to be able to do this thing that comes naturally, that like scratches that itch that I have to work, you know, I just I would want to work and create it’s you know something all the time and to help change people’s lives and to motivate them to to take a different approach to recovery. And that’s that you’re, like you said, like, it’s not about quitting something. It’s about starting to live your life. It’s not about letting go of this thing. It’s grabbing ahold of total joy, and helping to shift perspective.
And you talked about the entrepreneurship and the putting on events, and I believe it was January that you’re putting on server by Southwest.
So last March was when we did the first server by Southwest that was March of that would have been 2019. My first retreat is coming up in this upcoming January, January of 2020.
And what should people expect from From that retreat, what are some of the things that you’re putting forward to put your own spin on things.
So beyond the bottle is happening, January 3 through the fifth at the Magnolia Hotel in Dallas. So I’ve got people that are flying in from all over the country, it’s pretty intimate. It’s capped at 30 people. And it is two very intense days of workshops, I mean, anything from, you know, meditation, you know, brain training, exploring, you know, journaling, a little bit more yoga. Brain spotting is a huge, huge part of what’s added to my recovery portfolio this year. So having somebody come in to do a brain spotting session with everybody is a big part of it. We’re doing some nutrition and supplementation. We’re going hard, like nine to five during the day, but then at night, I’m taking everybody out, and we’re going to go out and party and have a really great time and show everybody that yes, you can go out and not drink alcohol and have a really good time. And that’s something A lot of people are afraid to do so. What better way to do it then with 30 other sober people?
Yeah, I know for myself it was that in my head it was, well, anytime that I’m having fun. It is because I’m drunk. So like, I can’t attend sporting events because like, I enjoy doing that drunk, but then it’s like, it actually wasn’t the event coupled with my drinking but made it fun. It was the event itself in a vacuum is actually fun. And now me drinking it’s like, well, I blacked out, doing things that I enjoy doing. Like there’s not really but when you’re in the grips of it. That’s that’s your perspective. That’s
a lie. That’s the lie you sell yourself. And the funny thing about it is that we think that everybody at that sporting event is drinking like we do.
I know we think Oh, isn’t every isn’t everybody wasted by 11am? Like isn’t everybody in a blackout right now?
Now it’s so funny and then being on the other side like I was I was out it nation a couple or last week. And a lot of the vendors there was like open bar and like I just met these really cool guys like, Hey, man, let’s go have a drink. And I was like, you know, I’ll just have a Diet Coke, but it is what it is. And and, you know, they weren’t like, what? I hate you they were just like, okay, let’s just keep doing the event. But like a lot of the vendors towards the end of the night they were getting a little, little sloppy, which I thought in my head, I was like, you know, as like a server version. I was like, Man, these people they shouldn’t be drinking at this event. Like, they should be trying to get my business like I am actually interested prospect and they’re kind of blowing it because they’re drunk, but I’m could tell, like, put myself in their shoes. And it’s like, there’s an open bar. I’ve been here for several hours. Like this guy who’s talking to me right now is probably just like the other hundreds of people that I’ve talked to you that aren’t going to buy our services.
You know, they’re like, Oh yeah, you just Just give me a call
you give me a call best
yeah they’re not gonna call it they’re not going to offer to call you because they’re not going to remember that’s all I was I was like yeah just make sure you call me because I wouldn’t gonna remember
yeah but it’s it’s funny being on the other side that we just assume everybody else is wasted and like they they actually aren’t like we’re minority i mean you know the like mines find like mines so I mean we’d be on like the metro going to a capitals game which coincidentally is tonight in in Florida, but we’d all just be like wasted and yelling and chanting. But like being on the metro sober. It’s like all of us are sober except for like those wasted annoying people that keep chanting like as caps caps caps
embarrassing years Self.
I know once you’re on the other side, you’re like, Oh, god, that was me.
Yeah, I got it. But it’s kind of like children, though, you know, like you look at the things that you were doing, like in your teenage years, and you look back on it, it’s like, what was I thinking, like, that doesn’t help anybody or anything. I just, I thought I was cool. And I wasn’t one like, then you see teenagers doing the same things that you’re doing. You’re like, just wait till you grow up. And then you’ll, you’ll discover, like, this isn’t what you want to be doing. But it’s like, we’re hearing the same things that like our parents, and the older people in our lives. were telling us all along in the drinking, it’s the exact same thing.
And and I want to rewind a bit and I apologize that I’m pleading naivete on this, but could you talk about what brain spotting is? And
yeah, yeah, and no, it’s not. It’s something that’s still relatively new. So don’t worry that you haven’t that it’s not part of your You know that you don’t know about it yet a lot of people don’t. Brain spotting was introduced me introduced to me actually at a recovery elevator retreat. My friend Kim is a certified brain spotting expert. She’s a therapist, but this is a very intense type of therapy that God how would I explain this? So in the limbic system in your brain, you store memories you store trauma, and for me personally, I had chronic pain issues for a long time. And a lot of chronic pain even though you feel it in your body is actually stored in the limbic system. And brain spotting is a way to access stored trauma in your brain by focusing on one spot on your brain, and you can access a spot with your eyes, depending on where you’re looking. Have you heard of EMDR?
Yeah, I was just gonna say is this similar to em?
Odyssey This is similar to to EMDR. It’s a little more focused and it’s this is a way where I have been able to tap into old stored trauma, work through it very quickly and very intensely. at a rate that’s like 100 times faster than just talk therapy. So when I first did brain spotting, I was able to very quickly access a I don’t want to say you’re hypnotized, but you are kind of like a sort of semi hypnotized state. When I first did it, I was able to have this insane visceral experience where I went back to my divorce, standing on my front porch, watching my ex husband move furniture out of the house, and finally go back and grieve. When at that moment, when it really happened, I wasn’t able to grieve. I was putting on a face and I was trying to pretend like everything was fine. And I was sort of able just to kind of relive and process feelings that were a lot healthier and more appropriate to the situation, and really move past that so much quicker than just talking to somebody about it. It’s been really powerful for me in this last this last year to help me work through old, old stuff that’s been stored away for 510 25 years. And I’m super passionate about people learning about this. This is why I’m having him come out to my retreat. Because it’s so powerful. And I feel like it just if you like therapy, this is like therapy on fastforward.
So it’s kind of like, hey, if you enjoy being buzzed, you will love being black.
You enjoy therapy, you will love brain. Yeah, yeah, I you know,
and I can’t say that it works for everybody. I just know that for me. I’ve responded to it very, very quickly. And, you know, you can’t it’s kind of hard to do it by yourself. You know, there’s certain ways you can you can sort of do it by yourself, but, but you need to find an expert to kind of show you how and do it with them and And there’s a great you can honestly, if anyone wants to know more about it, you can just go to brain spotting calm and you can, should be able to find a practitioner in your area.
All right. And you had mentioned that, that reading and books were sort of part of the journey. Is there any any one or two that stand out in your mind that are so go tues? It’s
interesting that you asked that because that’s one of those things that I tried that didn’t stick. So I tried so many different things to to really push my recovery. And in my first year, I was trying to read all these books that people were recommending. And at the time, it was too much for me, I had too many other things going on where that pushed me into a place of just recovery, fatigue and kind of breno recovery burnout. So I stopped reading those books for a long time at the recommendation of my therapist, you know, I was going to go on vacation. I think I was four or five months sober. And I had this list of books I was going to bring with me and she said, No, you need to read some like garbage books. That’s what you just read. If you’re going to be on vacation, you got to rest your brain a little bit and maybe tap the brakes on doing all those things at the same time. So I really I have taken a break from reading a lot of those books I just now started one about a month ago well, a series of them by Dr. Caroline leaf called Why am I drawing a blank right now called the switch on your brain. And this is a really a you know, anything. If you’re familiar with like neural plasticity, and brain training and changing the way that your your thought patterns run through your head. This is a really interesting book that digs into that and tells you how to change the way you think and how changing the way you think can change your perspective on your life and sort of detox your brain. It’s heavily scripture, backed. She talks a lot about things are rooted in the Bible that she uses quantum physics and science to prove spirituality. She uses spirituality to prove science and quantum physics and really links the two things together.
That’s really cool. Because I know a lot of times the the topic on religion is very, very, how could you say that if it’s not backed by science and I’ve, I’ve kind of taken the approach just for me personally, of the I will go a spiritual approach because I have found in my life that I cannot deny the results that I achieve through spirituality, but for me religions not it’s, I will put it at it’s not for me, we don’t have to argue about like, ancient mythology and how like, you know, this story is the same as the one that you think that, you know,
yeah, no, I understand where you’re coming from. And I can tell you right now that religion has not worked for me either, but spirituality has and they’re two very different things.
Yeah, and I wasn’t really aware of the differences between the two. Do you want to elaborate on that for people that maybe kind of thing? spirituality, religion, same word.
Yeah. Well, and also this is totally opinion and someone’s going to listen to this and go she is a crock of shit. But, you know, religion is the it to me is is rules structure and a checklist of things you have to do so that you don’t end up in a you know, the fiery depths of hell after you die. And, you know, spirituality is connecting with God or whoever that you need to connect with the universe, whatever word you need to use for me, it’s, you know, my connection to God comes through Jesus, but that’s my spirituality. And that’s something that I’m constantly tapping into. It has nothing to do with showing up at the same place every Sunday is nothing to do with like, making sure I do these certain things so that I, you know, so that I’m not considered bad. It has nothing to do with shame. It has nothing to do organization or rules, is everything to do with, with tapping into the source through love. that’s, to me, that’s spirituality.
I seem to find that a lot of people that really tap into their spirituality, they’re usually not the kind of people that are just like shoving it down your throat. And maybe that just kind of comes with practicing spirituality is that it’s just like, Look, if you want to discover this on your own, and if you want what I have, you can do what I do, but I’m not going to force it on you because kind of the whole paradox of it is like, if I force it on you, then I am not practicing it. So
right well, and also, I mean, let’s not forget to that like
if an asshole finds god, he’s still probably going to be an asshole. You know, I’m, I don’t know if I can cuss on this. I can try to tap the brakes on that. But, you know, like, you know, finding God doesn’t necessarily change who you are and how you act. It’s not going to make everybody perfect. And it’s certainly not going to make them be able to market their spiritual beliefs perfectly either. So you know, I’ve met a lot of people who have really, really solid foundations in their faith, but they’re still jerks. And that’s, that’s the beauty of the world. We’re all different and we can all still tap into what works for us and, and still be different. Very, very different people.
Yeah, I’m with you, 100% on that. So we’re coming short on time with Tricia. It’s been so great having you on the podcast? Where can people find you and the things that you’re doing?
So you can listen to Recovery Happy hour, every Tuesday and episode comes out. It’s available anywhere you listen to podcasts. You can learn more about the show. You can get links on where to find help or find out about future events on www.RecoveryHappyHour.com. You can follow me on Instagram or Any social media which is @recoveryhappyhour, and that retreats in January, there’s two spots left. It’s coming up January 3 2020. And you can find out more on recovery happy hour calm.
Perfect. Well Tricia, thank you so much for being on the show. And guys, if you enjoyed the show, please rate and subscribe. It’s what helps us grow the show. And Tricia Have a great day. Thank you so much.