Chris Grosso – Dying and Coming Back to be The Indie Spiritualist

ep44 –

Chris Grosso. is an author and speaker best known for his book “Dead Set on Living” which is revered as one of the top 5 addiction books of all time. and I love the sub title “on making the difficult but beautiful journey from fucking up to waking up.”


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With me today is the indie spiritualist Chris Grosso.

He’s an author speaker best known for his book dead set on living, which is actually revered as One of the top five addiction books of all time in Chris I love the subtitle on making the difficult but beautiful journey from fucking up to waking up

story of my life which is still very much ongoing.

So you want to give us a little background on how you came up with the subtitle I love that.

Yeah, I mean, it’s my third book. My first book was indie, spiritualist, which that and everything mine came out in 2014 and 2015 everything mine was my second book. And they were like part autobiographical, but also trying to distill these teachings from a lot of Eastern philosophy and you know, things that younger people because that’s a large demographic I work with may not otherwise be interested in. So I’m trying to distill it in a way that makes it more accessible. Well, you know, keeping it interesting with my own journey and I only mentioned That’s not a plug I mentioned that because so I have these two books out that do really well there with major publishers and I’m traveling and speaking at conferences and you know, front of thousands of people and you know, just very well known for in the recovery community, and I end up relapsing. And not only relaxing, but I was literally like dead. They, it was a 24 hour relapse and ended up in a hospital bed. And I was intubated because I couldn’t breathe on my own. So I had one tube in my lungs breathing for me. I had one in my stomach. They were just trying to suck out like, because I was incoherent by the time I got to the hospital, thank goodness, my parents got me there when they did, because the doctor said and no scare tactic. Like they were like, if you were here, five minutes later, even if you survived, you would have been brain dead. Because I was just I wasn’t breathing. So that it was after that That, within about three weeks, I had bounced back pretty quickly from that, and I was out for a run. I love jogging. That’s a very important part of my recovery that an exercise and But anyways, it just kind of hit me like while I was out running like the whole title and subtitle just like, you know, and most of my first two books with the exception that said I’m living were written while I was out running is very odd. But like, once I hit that four or five mile mark, it’s like my mind is clear. And I would usually run eight to 12 miles. And I would you know, I’d have these ideas popped into my head, I’d get home and I and I wrote those books like literally, I’d be sweating because I wouldn’t even take a shower. I’m like, I need to write this right away and I’m sweating all over my keyboard but so dead set was that’s about the title and subtitle. It’s a completely different approach, you know, where it’s like, all right, I’ve written two books. And you know, I was sober for like, I think over around five years. or something like that, at that point after numerous relapses, even prior to that, but for me, like I always would get like a year, two years, three years. So, like, 95% of my time in this 20 year journey has been sober. But I had these relapses. And anyways, so that’s why I took a different approach with this book, where each chapter is a narrative conversation with neuroscientists teacher, you know, spiritual teachers, addiction experts, you know, I wanted to get this all encompassing view with the underlying theme being Why do we return to self destructive behaviors, even when we know better, because at this point, it’s like, all right, I’ve already written two books about what’s worked for me, and obviously, I still fell off. So it’s time for me to turn and talk to other people and get a very literally holistic, like all different viewpoints chiming in on these different, you know, their different perspective. So sorry for the long winded Answer. But that’s how the subtitle came about and a whole lot of info that you didn’t ask for.

Well, I mean, that’s the whole, the whole idea behind, you know, getting behind what’s going on in your mind at that time. Because I mean, you know, and writing the book, did you go in a different direction than when you initially started when you were doing your research and going through? Or was it pretty much start to finish? You knew how it was going to be?

Yeah, with with the third book, I absolutely knew the first two books were different. They were intentionally written kind of in a way where they’re shorter vignettes. And you you don’t have to read it in order. It’s not like a chapter by chapter book. Whereas dead seven living is, I mean, you could also with dead set, pick it up and read. It doesn’t have to be read cover to cover, but we did try to set some kind of a thread for it. So that It was pretty much I had the vision. Whereas the first two books, the first book, actually, I remember, I was joking half joking with my editor. She was like, you know, I’m thinking about maybe just taking each vignette title, putting it up on a cork board, and throwing darts at it. And we’re just going to decide the order from there. And we could have done that, and it still would have worked. But yeah, with that said, it definitely was more intentional.

So you were talking about how we return to self destructive behaviors, and what would you say are probably one or two biggest reasons why people do return to self destructive behaviors.

So, you know, oddly, a therapist helped me after all these years, you know, I still see a therapist weekly because I’m still a very fucked up individual. I am a much more productive member of society and I’m grateful for that and but I you know, I still dropped the ball in every possible way that I can and I’ve been transparent about that, since my first book, that’s something that I’ve always wanted to do was show the humanity in this journey of, of healing, regardless of its drugs or alcohol, whatever, we’re all healing from something. And, you know, I’ve read books where it’s like the teachers almost come off is perfect. And it’s like they’re setting these unrealistic expectations. And I wanted to be the polar opposite of that. So

anyways, But to answer your question for me, I say that because therapist I was seeing, I’m seeing a different therapist now. But this was after the relapse, and they had helped me to understand that, as weird as this will sound, or as counterintuitive as this may sound, going back to those self defeating behaviors, not that is an excuse, but was actually an act of compassion for myself. And the reason he explained that was that we have these deeply ingrained neural pathways in our brain. And if we’re not taking care of ourselves and doing what we know we need to do in our recovery or healing journey, then those neural pathways start to get stronger again. And even though those behaviors like in my case, alcohol or drugs that could ultimately ended my death, there is my you know, the limbic brain, we have this train brain which consists of three parts. And when we are in a relapse mode, which as I’m sure you know, happens well before we pick up the drug or the drink, we start, you know, engaging in behaviors that are not self serving. And once we do pick up the drug or the drink, we go back into our limbic brain, which is the oldest part of our brain that are or I’m sorry, a reptilian brain. Its associated with caveman and, you know, survival fight or flight and then also our midbrain, which is emotions. And even though consciously our neocortex, which is the part of our brain, where does the conscious rational thinking is still there, were controlled by that those two old, you know, the reptilian brain in the midbrain. And, and so it’s that act of survival and that when you use that word compassion and remember just being like, how is that possible, but as you explained, like, that’s what’s ingrained that survival mechanism, like that’s what you’re resorting back to. And that’s why when you see people using like, they will literally use to their death unless they get help or some kind of intervention. So that’s one thing that I recognize or he helped me shine the light on and so again, I’m not saying that’s an excuse to go use. It’s just that he I had a lot of shame and guilt around relaxing, especially after having so much sobriety and writing books. And you know, he was not a therapist, I never get involved with therapists that are Yes, men or women, it’s like, you know, call me on my shit, otherwise, it’s not going to help me and he very much would, but I really appreciated him making that distinction from Me. But again, if you know that to beat a dead horse, but not an excuse, just helping me to understand. So for me the second part because I think you said like, what are two things? The biggest thing for me was that through all those years, and even though I was doing therapy, and I was doing 12 step meetings and various other kind of recovery meetings and exercising and eating well, and essentially doing everything you’re taught to do, you know, to, to engage in a very full spirited recovery. There was still some very deep underlying stuff there. And even though I would write on steps and do this and do that and do a lot of what the 12 steps suggests, and I’m neither pro nor anti I anything I want to be very clear that I am pro find what works for you and go that route, whatever it is, that’s all I care about. But what made a huge difference made like in a life changing difference was I started with with trauma based therapy, and that has allowed me to go into those very dark, often unconscious places that I wasn’t even aware of, you know, heads unconscious like that material that I had just shoved down Swiss psychologist probably on calls that shadow material. And this allowed me to start connecting dots to emotional attachments I had to certain memories, or even if the memories weren’t there still just that, you know, you may have heard the same the issues are in the tissues. So even if we don’t remember specific occurrences in our lives, that trauma is still held within the tissues. So two examples of the therapy one is EMDR and it’s like I am movement de sensitization something you can look it up EMSM Michael Diaz and David ours and Robert, and now I do a form of therapy that was born out of that called ART which is accelerated resolution therapy. And that has been, like I said, life changing for me, because it takes me to those parts where I’m up routing, reopening and re integrating the shadow material that would bring me back to that place of relapse. So we’re all unique individuals and just like I don’t advocate for 112 step over another or 12 steps in general. Same with therapy. I’m just sharing from me what’s literally changed my life.

I think it’s important that you establish to that like, what works for you, is what works for you. And just because it only works for Chris, like what works for you is not what works for Andrew. And neither of us is right or wrong, insane. works for us works or doesn’t work, because if it works, then who are you to say that it’s not working? I think we just get so we get this snowflake I idea that if we, if we have success in one thing, then everybody needs to do that, like we we have an eight month old, and every parent, here is how you solve this problem. And you see what, even within families, children that were literally brought up by the exact same parents that are just completely opposite people, and it’s trying to apply here as a solution that worked in this vacuum. And assuming that it’s always going to work, I do think you need to find what works for you and to stay open minded. Yeah, a lot of times they’ll they’ll be people in 12 step recovery, you know, very, very much. You have to do 12 step recovery, otherwise, your life is terrible, and right. I had believed that for a long time until and I’m, I am personally pro 12 step but at the same time, like you You’re sitting here, well, like vit virtually across from me saying you’re happy without it. So who who are those people to say that you’re not happy? Like, right happy? Is it working for you?

And so amen to that. And and that’s the thing that you know, I still to be transparent will attend 12 step fellowship meetings from time to time. I don’t nearly as much as I used to I currently don’t have a sponsor. I don’t, I’m not actively writing on steps but happy and I’m miserable and No, I mean, but that’s the thing like I know people that have, so like over 1020 years in recovery that never did a 12 step program and they are not white knuckling it or grumpy they found their healing and their recovery in meditation or yoga, or a lot of people like myself will integrate and do 12 steps and this and it always bothered me that like, you know, I preferred one fellowship over another, but I found benefit in both. And I would read the literature from both because I think there was a wealth of information. And regardless, if people aren’t in recovery, I my mom, for example, has read both of the major texts from each fellowship and she’s not in recovery. But they’ve just like, changed, not changed our life but really opened our eyes to, you know, life and she’s like, everyone should read these books, and I agree, but what I was gonna say was, I found it so petty that like, this fellowship is the one to go to, and that one’s not and, and same with like spirituality. It’s like, hey, if it’s working for you, awesome, like, just live and let live, you know, like, as long as you’re not harming yourself or anyone else, who cares what the other person is doing, if they’re, you know, happy and helping others and being you know, well to themselves. At the end of the day, that is all that matters as far as I’m concerned. And, you know, like inside, it’s not about outsides like, that’s, that’s what I, so I connect with people and I don’t look at, I don’t care what they listen to or watch or look like. I mean, like, sure it’s cool if we have stuff in common, but where is your heart and like, What? What are you passionate about? What are you doing in this world to make it a better place? That’s what I care about. And I, you know, I just wish more well know there are a lot of people that have that attitude. I just wish there were more and that’s why it’s a pleasure speaking with someone like yourself who you know, is involved in the fellowship but can be open minded and recognize there are other ways that work is well this just happens to be what works for me and and i will say, I know tons of people as well, that are very happy in the fellowships, and live a wonderful life. So in no way am I I wanted to be clear, I’m not anti at all like Dave, early on in my recovery. I owe them so much and I still do because they laid a foundation. It was just that for me. I needed that extra. Like the one thing I will say I interviewed addiction expert gobbler Mati, who’s in the second chapter of my book and he is very world renowned and can be controversial because he is very much Pro, if it’s for you, the use of things like iOS done plant medicines and healing, which I know in 12 steps is a very taboo subject. But gab or had said that shit, where was I going with that?

I lost my train of thought and there was a good point to

one or the other.

Oh, yeah. So what cardboard said was the one thing with the 12 steps that he feels is lacking is the any either fellowship is the focus on trauma. So you know that you you write on the 12 steps, and that’s awesome. And I have in both fellowships, and like I said, they were a great foundation. But in that conversation I had with him for a dead set. You know, we talked about that and I went back and I looked He’s right. You know, there is a lack of trauma based approach. And for me, that was what kept leading me back to relapse. Now, like I said, I know plenty of people that do the programs and don’t relapse and have many, many years sober and that’s incredible. But for some people like me, you need a little more. And then just a quick, interesting aside, regarding one fellowship, I do find it interesting that the older of the eldest of the fellowship, so while respecting anonymity here, but after a certain to creator of the eldest fellowships passed away, and I’ve seen these with my own eyes, and you can find them online if you do enough digging. There were early pamphlets and I believe it was the 14th written before certain literature was released, where one of the CO two co founders of this fellowship wrote about the positive aspects of things like hallucinogenic and your recovery. He also wrote about Buddhism and meditation and You won’t find that anywhere in the appropriated literature today. But I’ve seen, you know, with my own eyes like early on there, it was there. And once this gentleman passed away, it kind of got swept into the rug, like a lot of major religions, like they started out as this beautiful thing. And the mystic elements are still wonderful. But then when they become like man made and they become ego, and let’s make it fit our mold and our model, and it has to be our way and it just distorts. And so I’m not saying that the fellowships are distorted. I’m just saying, one of them particularly is lacking and in certain areas and kind of, you know, disregarded some very important information. But that’s like a whole nother show.

Yeah, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of research on the the origins of 12 step recovery, and you’re absolutely right, like, the way that it’s taught today is very, very different. Yeah. And the way that It originally was and the way that it used to be had a much higher success rate than the way that it currently does. But the people who are successful in it today, they are the ones that are carrying on the message of this is how it’s supposed to be done right as our minority is those that are successful in it and if you falter, it is your fault, even though that’s not how it initially was no, at all. It is very, it’s very interesting to see how its evolved over the years and how it’s kind of become a 80 year long game of telephone, even though there are they’re very clear instructions on how and what to do but each person puts their own spin on it and everyone kind of it is what it is like you said it’s it’s a huge rabbit hole. But I’m curious on on this stint of sobriety because like you said, You’ve been in and out for years majority of it in, well, what would you say is different this time versus all the other attempts that you’ve had at sobriety?

Yeah. So the major one, which I mentioned was the the trauma based therapy, that was something I had never done and I lead at least three to four times a month I lead workshops. I live in Connecticut, with teenagers that are in a residential, they’re about 13 to 18 years old. And it’s, I mean, it’s nothing like any of the rehabs that I went to like the ones I went to were like a step above the jail cells I’ve been in you know, like, I got what I needed, but these are very beautiful settings, a wonderful approach. They have like equine therapy, they have yoga come in, I go in and like I said, do three or four workshops a month and they also offer end Our therapy there, which is incredible. And that it’s actually the owner, the gentleman who started those. There’s a few of them throughout the country. He was the one who suggested em Dr. To me. And I’d heard about it and I’d heard good things, but I’d never heard or never tried it. And so as once I started to do that. Really, like I said, I feel like the best example I can give was prior to that, it’s like when you’re weeding a garden, like if you’re just cutting the weed, it’s going to grow back versus, with this trauma based therapy. I’m actually pulling it out by the route. So that these things like that I was thought I was healing through and some of them I did. weren’t fully healed. And like I said earlier, weren’t fully reopened and reintegrated. And another thing that I’m doing differently is that I don’t like count a sobriety date. People are always like how long you been sober and it’s like, I have no idea. I love the Just for today, I know it’s cliche, but some people are like, you know, if you woke up earlier than me today, you’re you’re sober longer. I used to kind of snark at that. But you know, now I’m like, you know what? Yes. And the reason I say that is because it’s it’s a mental disorder, you know, it’s this obsessive compulsive thought disorder. And the drugs and the alcohol are just symptoms. That’s not the actual problem. So I will catch myself even though I haven’t touched drugs and alcohol in a while, it’s you know, I’ve had a good run, I will still catch myself, at times, maybe eating the same exact way that I would when I was actively using drugs or alcohol. So like, even though I’m not hungry, I’m just like, going back and forth to the kitchen just eating like junk food, like, and it’s doing the same thing. It’s like masking something I don’t want to feel or numbing something. And so even though it’s not, again, a drink or a drug, it’s the same exact behavior. So, to me, even though I guess I’m quotes sober because I’m not under the influence of you know this or that still like chocolate and sugar changes your brain chemistry. So I like I am at that point where I’m that nitpicky with myself about it. So it’s like, I it’s why I don’t bother to me. It’s it’s, it’s not one thing or another it’s it’s our actions and our behaviors. So, and that’s why you’ll also see people that get sober and are just miserable because they don’t, you know, they’re white knuckling and they don’t take the time to really heal so.

So yeah, it’s like, I’ll have a long stint word. I’m doing well with food and everything, but then I’ll have a day where I just fall off and I eat like garbage for a day or pardon me, I will like binge TV for like, four hours that happens rarely because I’m I work so much, but it happens and I recognize it. It’s the same exact thing, just a different quote unquote, substance. So that’s the other thing that I find is help because I don’t have this. I don’t feel the pressure of Like, I have this much amount of time and these, you know, this key chain or this coin and, and nothing wrong with that, because that to me going back 20 years for the first five plus years of intimate this journey, those meant so much to me like something to look forward to. And I understand and celebrate the importance of clean time and things of that nature, especially for those newer in recovery. You know, because those are like lifelines. And they gave me something to look for and work towards and and I’m so grateful for that. But again, 20 years later, it’s like been there done that now it’s just like one day at a time literally, and not counting days just I’ve got today if that because once we get off this call, like you know, I’ll be I have other stuff to do and I’ll be going out Who knows if I will get in a car x and not to be morbid, but you know, who knows? I already feel like I’m living on borrowed time. I actually had this conversation with my fiance not Not long ago, and, and again, not to sound morbid, but if I were to die today, I don’t want to die today and be very clear, I enjoy my life and it’s far from perfect. Like, you know, I could always be better at this or that or whatever. But if I were a dad today, I would still feel like it was a gift. Because I have lost so many people like countless to overdoses to suicides, drug deals gone bad things of that nature, you know, anyone in recovery can relate to that. But it’s to the point where I have literally lost count. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known over the years. And I used to say, I should have died because the way it was and I did you know, like I said earlier, like I to breathing for me, the way I live like I could have died so many times over. So I do deal with, like survivor’s guilt at times still and things of that nature. But it helps again, just not having that, you know, date for whatever reason Isn’t that it’s like an anti thing for me. I’m not I’m not anti date. It just it doesn’t like it adds like a certain semblance of stress in my life that, you know, it’s counterproductive for my well being. So

it’s a very interesting thought and you know, on the intake form for the show, you know, we say went into your current sobriety date, and you’d put in there that it’s just for today, there isn’t a date. And I think that’s a really cool way of looking at it. And again, it’s like a polar opposite of how I look at it. Yeah, but at the same time, if that works for you, then that’s all that matters. Like we are all humans and there isn’t a cookie cutter. This works for me, therefore it works for you. It should just be at this works for me, here is my experience. And that’s all I can speak on. And you were talking you know about, like getting help with the trauma in your life and how 12 steps doesn’t address that. And there are people though that believe I saw a meme earlier and it was like, oh well I’ve been sober for nine years. So that makes me an authority on your finances and your love life and your trauma and your history and what jobs you should be working in the right we we take this a narrow little ish will not little we take this tiny piece though of our lives and then just blow it up into well I can’t do this thing because I’m an alcoholic. And it’s like, I mean, it’s, it may not be but then again for some people it very well is everything all or nothing. And we just we just passed Halloween at the time of this recording. And I I hadn’t really pieced it together until you said but I’ve been eating a ton of chocolate recently because we just had leftovers and I just threw out the basket of it yesterday with a ton left. I was just I found myself every time I walk downstairs. It’s like I’ll just grab a piece of candy. Yeah, any but I hadn’t eaten candy in well probably since last Halloween and and I can tell that my head isn’t in this in a as good of spot as it usually is. And I was trying to figure it out this morning. What’s been different what’s been different and it was it was like I guess they candies probably and then you you mentioned it so I’ll take that as a firm the the sugar and chocolate you know these things that Yeah, take it to extremes. And like you said the the drugs and alcohol like that’s a symptom, right rid of the symptom and you still have the problem. Yes, that’s way way worse because if your life sucks, and then you take drugs or or a drink, and then it feels better, you know, even though on a scale of one to 10 Talking about this a lot like my life before as a baseline at a too short and then it was it was up to a five when I was using. So it would make sense that I’d want to keep hitting that five out of 10 because I wasn’t aware of 678 910 what any of that felt like because all I knew was I could get up to a five if I’m under the influence so you right away and now I’m just stuck at a two without any solution to anything you write done exactly like you said he just waited the garden by chopping off the top of the weed but it’s just going to come right back instead of Yeah, actually getting rid of it. I love that insight.

And I just want to say I love that scale idea because, like, I think of it as like it’s very similar like let’s say one is lowest tennis highest. You know, I I’m grateful that on most days I feel content most days you know without substances you said, you know, it takes five most days. Let’s again 10 is like bliss. Most days, I’m out of five, six. And that’s like contentment, that’s not like, things are great things are awesome. I’m feeling super happy. It’s like, I’m content. I’m at peace like it definitely it’s not, you know, always a five, sometimes it’s an eight, sometimes it’s a two, but it’s generally like a five or six. And I remember early on one of the first rehabs I went to, because our brain chemistry is do shift and we can heal but sometimes only to a certain extent, depending on the damage we’ve done, but one of the clinicians is like, what if you could only get to a certain point in your healing and recovery where you can’t get past this, you know, you whatever level of happiness that’s something you know, everyone should be aware of, because that might be the case. And I’m not saying that’s the case in my life. I just remember like that really stuck with me. But I’m so compared to where I was living like yourself like I was at like a negative to let alone a too, you know, and I would get up to maybe like a three with my use but like, I’m at a five, six. And, like, I make it clear when I tell people like, you know, it just because you are in recovery or again, if it’s not specifically recovery healing from because I work with people that are cutters or suicidal or have you know, various, just mental health issues. So they’re healing from something it might not be specifically substances, but getting to that line of contentment. It is such a world of difference from being at that two or that zero because it’s like, wow, you know, like just feeling a sense of ease it you know, if you’ve been to that, too, which I’m guessing most of your listeners have, and I know you have, like that five, like, I mean, eight icing on the cake, eight to 10, but like 567 That’s awesome. Like, I’m so grateful just to be content. And one other thing I wanted to say is, I appreciate that you’re saying like just because I have nine years or whatever like I’m the authority And everything like, I have three books out majorly published and I am the first person to say, I can only talk about my experience. I cannot tell you what to do in your life, I can share what has helped me. I can tell you pitfalls that I fallen in. Some of this might help you some of it might not. But all I can share is my experience. And I you know, I make that clear. When I do my workshops, I sit on the floor with the teenagers like, I don’t, you know, speak at major conferences. I understand I have to stand on a stage because there’s can be hundreds to thousands of people but that makes me feel uncomfortable because I don’t want to feel any different. I’m not any higher. Like I’m right there with you. You know, I’m in the trenches going through this with you just because I am not using today and I have some books out so what like, I don’t have any PhDs I didn’t finish. I was halfway through my internship for substance abuse counseling, too much paperwork I dropped out like So I would have had my degree in that and I don’t, you know, it’s just like, so, you know, people tend to think that like, I could see how easily having books published I could be that guy like, Well, I know this or that. No, I don’t know shit. I know that. I don’t know shit. That’s the one thing I do know. And, you know, I’ll share what I can that maybe will help but that’s the best I can do.

I think that’s a great perspective. And Chris, I want to be conscientious of your time. So in wrapping up, where can people find you online and your books?

Yeah, everything can be found at the website which is the indie spiritualist calm. It’s either indie spirituals or just indie spiritualist. I don’t know you can Google it, and it’ll come up my name or indie spiritualist. My name

is Andrew racialist. Thank you.

Yeah. Or Yeah,

so, but you can find my bonus.

Thank you, sir. But yeah, my social media accounts I think are attached to that and my books are all on Amazon and or you can find them at the website and yeah, thank you for asking. I’m I feel weird plugging stuff so I appreciate you.

Well, I’ll I’ll plug it in the show notes. If anybody’s interested. Feel free to reach out to me. We’ll have all the links in the show notes. Reach out to Chris is so great having you on self made and sober and guys, if you liked the episode, please rate and subscribe on iTunes. It helps us grow the show. And Chris, have a great day. Thank you.

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor.

Kate Bee – Sober School Founder Teaches About Recovery

ep 43 Kate Bee is the founder of The Sober School, where she coaches women through early sobriety and helps them navigate alcohol-free living without feeling deprived or miserable. Kate lives near Manchester in the UK.

She helps women who feel as if they’re in the grey zone. She’s really passionate about showing people that a) you can still lead a full and happy life without alcohol and b) you don’t need to wait until you hit rock bottom before you change.

Sober Since:  April 6th, 2013 (class of 2013 woop woop)


alan carr’s easy way to control alcohol
grant cardone – 10x rule

Check out this episode!

And with me today is Kate Bee the founder of sober school where she teaches women through early sobriety She helps them navigate alcohol free living. But she does it in a way that makes women not feel deprived or miserable, which I know for myself was something that I was very, very concerned with an early sobriety. So Kate, how are you doing?

I’m good. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me on.

Yeah, definitely. And so you’ve been sober since April six. 2013. So I’ve got like, a week or two weeks on you? 2013. Yeah, March 23. Was was the day that changed it for me in 2013. So coming up on little past halfway through year six, how’s the trading? Yeah.

Yeah, pretty good at today. I can’t believe how long it’s been really because yeah, I stopped. I stopped on April, the SIG, exactly six months before my 30th birthday. So yeah, I have this I’d like to points of the year, the sixth of April may say we’re birthday and then the sixth of October my real birthday. So yeah, it’s kind of nice. It’s good opportunities to reflect on how quickly Time passes and how old I’m getting.

Well, I mean, age is just a, it’s just a number, right? It’s all how you feel. Things what we tell ourselves. So why don’t you take us through what’s going on early 2013. And what’s going on in your life? What’s going on through your head? Like, why’d you decide to start getting sober?


Well, I mean, looking back at that time, I think from the outside, everything looked fine. And that was one of my big problems, actually, that I didn’t seem to have an alcohol problem. As I as you might stereotypically, think that Did you know I was holding down a good job, I had a busy social life. Lots of friends like on that, in many ways I was living this really successful life. And I think if you’d asked any of my friends what they thought about my drinking, they said, Oh, yeah, like Kate really likes to drink but it doesn’t everybody. And yeah, I had this big secret, which was all the drinking that I was doing at home on my own. And that had become my absolute favorite way to drink. And, you know, two or three times a week, I would need to have this kind of drinking binge where I would just drink completely on my own until I passed out. And this had been going on for several years, and I’d had some attempts at stopping drinking in the past, sworn off it for a month or more sometimes successful sometimes not. But I think What really made the difference in April of that year was I just had this feeling since the very beginning of the year that my foot was really on the accelerator and I seem to be drinking more and more and more. And I was kind of scaring myself really. And, you know, I’d looked around for help, and I couldn’t find anything that seemed to really speak to me. I’d been to a few a meetings, and they’d left me feeling more convinced I didn’t have a problem. You know, I’d heard these really dramatic stories there, and have managed to convince myself that I’m so different from all of them. And I didn’t need to go to rehab. I knew that my doctor wasn’t any help just suggested I drink a bit less, which was devastatingly useless piece of advice and any more people

How normal people think that you know what, you know, a good solution to your drinking problem would be if you just drank less. Like that’s like that’s a real option. Oh, just drink less. That’s how I should stop drinking just do less. It’s like telling someone with a peanut allergy you should just you should breathe when you eat peanuts like just ignore you know the symptoms in your throat getting close. I just breathe when I eat peanuts. I don’t have a problem.

Yes, think that’s the greatest piece of advice. Just stop.

Just Just

to be honest, I can see where he’s coming from. Because when you look at a lot of literature, certainly in the UK anyway about you know, drinking less It is generally the main messages, just drink as if it’s that simple. But I think what what really made the difference in April of that year was I must have googled something slightly different. And I found this blog. It’s called a pickled. And that was the first time I’d really discovered someone who sounded like me. And he’d stopped drinking, and he seemed so much happier. And I think it’s really powerful when you see your story reflected in someone else. And that was the first time I thought, Okay, this is like, evidence that someone else, you know, he was drinking like me, felt that they should quit, and maybe I should try it again. So, yeah,

so you could kind of relate when you were reading that blog to, you know, this person’s story. kind of sounds like mine. And I know that’s kind of like the foundation in 12 step recovery, maybe, you know, it’s not everybody’s brand, but the idea of, yeah, I understand what you’re talking about. And, you know, KU and I practically just met and, but I can relate to your story. You know, the, the doctor told me Well, just just cut back. And to most people, they would think that’s okay, whatever. But being on the same side of it, I remember one time that the doctor had asked me on my levels, something was off. And he said, Well, how often do you drink? And I said, about six to eight times per year, or I’m sorry, 68 times per week. He said, eight. And I was like, Well, yeah, because footballs on Sunday, so I’ll wake up early, I’ll get wasted. I’ll pass out and then I’ll wake up, and then I’ll get drunk again on Sunday. So sometimes I’ll get seven days and twice on Sunday is like, wow, maybe. Maybe you should cut back and there’s like, what do you think’s like a good number to shoot for like, six. So sobriety, what’s that look like for you? Is it a struggle, or were you just done?

Um, well, it was

yours. was kind of a really up and down time. The main thing I did different this time was I started writing a blog myself, just at one of those free WordPress anonymous blogs. It’s still out there, I think it’s called the sober journalist. And I started writing it just to train, make sense of my own thoughts, keep myself accountable. By doing that, I accidentally created a bit of a community for myself, because I started following other bloggers, they followed me. And someone said to me, hey, a group of us are doing this 100 day challenge where, you know, we’re just going to try and like not drink for 100 days. And I thought, Oh, yeah, well, that sounds a lot less intimidating, then, you know, stopping forever, which is what I thought I was having to sign up for. And, and so yeah, I’m not gonna say it was easy, but it was so different from all the other times When I being completely on my own and and not reaching out for help and not knowing where to turn for it

so going through this 100 day challenge you were already sober before this it happened. Is that correct? Or is this the start of it?

Um, I think I would probably only a couple of days sober. And then I found out that these other people were doing these 100 days. So it coincided almost perfectly. And they were kind of sharing lots of stuff like book ideas, you things, things to do with your free time, all that kind of stuff. So I didn’t feel as if I was so alone.

Yeah, that part of the community. I think that’s really cool how you accidentally created a community which is what so many people are trying to fabricate a community. What do you think were some of the reasons why that community started building

Um, I think back then especially there was this sense of no one really gets this, like no one else drinks the way that we do. And now I know that that’s not true. There are hundreds and thousands of people, you feel exactly the same way about our call. But it was as if I’d stumbled across this corner of the internet, where we all felt as if we were stuck in this gray zone or problem drinking. So we weren’t normal drinkers, but we weren’t the cliched rock bottom. And then I woke up in hospital and I’d been arrested and I’d lost everything type of drinker. And that just wasn’t me. And, you know, thank goodness, things never got that bad for me. But in a way, that was a big part of the problem, that things weren’t bad enough. And I needed someone to kind of help me reframe that and start thinking about whether Things were good enough to keep continuing as they as they were, and they weren’t. So yeah, that was a really big mind set shift for me and realizing that I didn’t have to wait until things got worse. And that entire sort of them qualified as, Oh, yes, you need to stop drinking. There wasn’t some tests you have to pass. You can just stop when you want to.

Well, they do have tests out there and they’re pretty, they’re pretty low answers as far as I remember one of them. I, after I had gotten a DUI, which I do not recommend ever getting, but I had to go to alcohol school. And they gave us like a checklist of, you know, maybe your problem drink and it’s like, do you blackout when you drink? And I was just like, What do you mean, do I blacked out like, on Monday? I don’t understand this question. Do I black When I drink, like, that’s the same as asking do you drink there? They go hand in hand. And do you drink more than five when you drink? It was like, Is it a problem if I do? Or is it the problem if I don’t, because if I just drink one, then what’s the point? And I came to find out that’s not normal for most people that actually, that’s, that’s something wrong inside of me. So you’re you’re 100 days finishes. What’s going through your mind now? Is it? Is it rah rah like, let’s get 101 What’s going on?

I think earlier than 100 days, probably around 7080 days in I realized that I was going to continue this. And I then started to think okay, well, maybe I continue this for six months. And that would like take notes, my birthday. That would be a good thing to do. And in those early stages, I was really I was really lucky I experienced all the benefits of early sobriety from like sleeping a lot better, losing a bit of weights just feeling a lot more positive and like kind of lost that anxiety that comes with being hung over so often. So I was feeling like really amazing. And and that motivated me to continue for a bit longer. And then when I got to the six month mark, it was kind of like, Oh, well, maybe I’ll do this for a year. And and that is honestly how I kept moving forward for quite a long time. And I like that because as soon as I started thinking too far ahead, that you know, really freaked me out. But moving forward in those kind of manageable chunks or, yeah, okay, let’s do this to Christmas and that kind of stuff. That is what got me to a point where actually I didn’t need to ask that question anymore. This just was what I wanted to do. And it was making me feel so much better.

It’s interesting how when things make you feel better, you continue to do it. And that’s kind of what we did with the drinking, right? I know for myself, it was, my life sucks. My life sucks. It’s okay when I drink. And then my life sucks, my life sucks, and then I get sober. And then it’s like, oh, your life actually doesn’t suck. And then it’s kind of like what I was going from like a two out of 10, up to a four out of 10. And now I wake up at an eight. Once I’ve taken all that out of maturing the cycle, and your brain tells you this is this is what you’re supposed to do. So your strategy, at least at first was breaking it down into small chunks. Let’s just get a couple weeks. Let’s get a couple months. And are you still deploying that today? Or is it more just of who you are as a person and just kind of your deep fault is over.

Yeah, I don’t even think about it. Now I don’t, I don’t want to go back to those days. There’s really nothing motivating your tool to drink anymore. I feel as if I would lose everything that I’ve worked so hard to gain really. But just to going back to your point about getting started is that when I look back, I think the cycle I got stuck into is that I would start on a Monday with right, this is when I’m going to stop drinking, and, you know, make it to like, Tuesday or Wednesday, or what if I was being really good, maybe till Thursday, Friday, but then I couldn’t get my head around the idea of how was I going to go over the weekend without drinking or how was I going to unwind? So then I then I drink again, and then it was like, Okay, so the cycle would start over on a Monday. And what I was never doing was really giving myself The chance to, to do some of those awkward is how things such as the first time you do go out without drinking, or the first time you go to a party or a really stressful family meal and you don’t drink. I wasn’t ever giving myself the chance to do that. And yet somehow when you say, Okay, I’m going to stop for 100 days or whatever that short, short term goal is, you know that during that time, some of that stuff is going to crop up. So it’s a chance to prove to yourself that actually you can do it and it might not be quite as awful as you think is.

So do you have any strategies for getting over that fear mindset? Because that can happen in sobriety as well as, I mean, anything in life, especially, you know, with the focus on this show and entrepreneurship, like we get in our own way, do you have any ways of getting over those fears?

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is just to do it because I’m a real procrastinator, and I can think and think and think myself into a hole. And yet, if you just do it, that’s the only way you’re going to have the evidence to know what it’s like. And the other thing I would recommend is to do something two or three times. The first time I did go out with my friends not drinking, I did feel awkward. And I felt as if I spent the whole night thinking about how I was the only one that wasn’t drinking, and what did they think of me and all this kind of, like chatter in my head? And, and I realized now that’s because that’s totally normal. I was breaking a pattern, I was doing something different. It would have been almost weird if it wasn’t weird, you know. So and then the second time I did it, I was a bit easier because I knew I could do it. And then the third time, and then as time goes on new people stop even remarking on the fact that you’re not drinking, and you start to have insight Such as, hey, if I don’t if I find these people boring, maybe I shouldn’t be friends with them. Or you know if these people have a problem with me not drinking, maybe we haven’t got quite the friendship I thought we had and all those kind of things that I think you just can’t really see when you’re stuck in the, in the middle of the forest looking for a way out.

Yeah and we we have this tendency to forget that life is always changing and the people in your life are going to be completely different. Even a month from now a year from now I look at our wedding list. And we had like about 100 hundred 10 people and there are people on there that I haven’t spoken to since and you know, we had to pay proceed and it’s looking at it and it was like, you know, these people are the people that made the cut that got to the wedding and like if we got married today it’s like a half of We wouldn’t have even kept around and there was a we were sober at our wedding like these were friends we had in sobriety. But, you know, things are always changing. Our lives are always moving forward. And if we just stay still on the same patterns, yes, it’s familiar. But we’re missing out on so much growth. And so I, I want to shift gears a bit and talk about your entrepreneurship journey with sober school. What was the thought process and getting that started?

Yeah, I am. So I think about six months into my sobriety, I realized that one of the things I’ve been drinking over a lot was my job, and that I wasn’t very happy at work. And this was a really big deal for me, because ever since I’d been a kid, I’d wanted to be a journalist. And I ended up getting quite a good job working on BBC Breakfast, which is Kind of our equivalent of Good Morning America, I think that was kind of behind the scenes booking gas, working on breaking stories, and I felt as if I should be having the time of my life, they should have been the pinnacle of my career. But actually, I felt a bit stuck and a bit bored. So I started looking around for things to do, and I couldn’t find anything. So I took this career coaching course. And I remember, it was a really different kind of career coaching, and they got us doing all kinds of weird things. And one a one time this, this woman said, you know, you could start a business if you wanted to just think about what are the kinds of things you like blogging about? And I hadn’t told anyone at this point about this secret anonymous blogger had, and I remember thinking, what I write this blog about how I’m sober there is no way I’m ever going to turn that into a business. What a stupid idea. Anyway, it’s Did plant some kind of seed in my head? And part of me did think, actually, I’m really enjoying this career coaching course because there’s some lessons I have to do and some, like, you know, things to work through. But I’m also part of this community. And it’s all done on lines. It’s really convenient. And I thought then, hey, it would have been so cool if there was something like this when I was trying to stop drinking. But it was about two years before I thought, oh, maybe I could be that person who sets this thing up. And it was just a lucky, quick of fate like, things just came together. I found out about a funding program for social entrepreneurs and I managed to win 5000 pound grant, which I think it’s about $6,000 and they, you know, they like my idea for the cyber school. And they wanted to cover my startup costs and a bit more. And, and that’s kind of how I got started, really. And that grant was a massive deal because having got the money, I then had to actually follow through on this crazy idea that I’d had. And I had someone checking on me that I was doing work and I was spending on the right things, and I had to show them what it done. So yeah, it kind of came out of a mixture of my own happiness in my job combined with a feeling that I have been looking for help and looking for something that didn’t exist. And I was, you know, soon as it wasn’t there. I was going to create something to help fill that gap.

So tell me about the first client that you got in server school.

And her name was Mary. She was one of five actually I’ve been blogging for a while over on the sofa school and building up a bit of an email list and a following. And I decided I needed to, I got the kind of basic structure of the course in my mind, but I needed to build it. And I wanted to check before I did that, that someone actually wants to do this. So I emailed personally, like individually about 50 different people. And I can’t remember how much I asked him to pay at that time. I think it was a fairly token amount. It was like 40 $50, something like that. And I said, you know, you’re gonna be part of this really small group of people and, like, take you through this course as I build it. It’ll be a bit rough and ready, but you’ll get loads of help and support for me. And, and yeah, these five people signed up. And and yeah, I’ve managed to get this thing done. But actually, it was a bit of a kind of scrambled experience that first one. And some of those clients ended up coming back and joining the course again when it was done properly, because I realized that one of the things that makes my course much more successful now is that lots of people will take it at the same time. And these five people were a little bit lost all together in this very small tribe. So yeah, it was, it was really it was really nerve racking for me because I just felt so responsible for them. And yeah, it was crazy.

And what did the transition look like in your life? Did you quit the job before you took on sober school? What was happening in your life at those times?

You know, I reduce my hours in my job. They let me do that. I also completely randomly to kindness, another job, which I still have, and I’m about to leave in a few months time, there was a very part time job in advertising. And so that allowed me to cut down the working few hours, but still making enough to cover the bills. And then the sober school was what I was doing in evenings and weekends and any free time I had during the week.

So what are some of the lessons that you’ve learned? You mentioned about having a larger community? Is there anything else that you would have done differently on that beta group now that you’ve been through it and they’ve learned some of the ropes?

Yeah, I think I’ve got better at teaching. Because I had this I knew the information that I wanted to convey and what I had to realize was that The kind of people I was attracting to my course, weren’t quite the kind of people I’d imagined. I thought I would have lots of people in their late 20s, who would just like me signing up. But actually, my typical client is in her early 40s. And she’s got kids and she’s married. And her life is a bit different to mine is a bit more stressful and busy. And so I realized that I needed to start addressing some of that, and the fact that it’s some of the things I done that completely saved my sobriety, such as I used to go to the gym after work to try and kill a few hours. But these ladies maybe aren’t in a position to do that, because they’ve got childcare commitments and all the rest of it. So I had to think a lot more creatively about the strategies we could put in place to help them during that time. So I think it’s a combination of getting better at teaching and also, you learn more from working with more people and seeing the kind of patterns that they go through. Yeah,

that’s really cool that you you identified though and recognized. This is what my tribe is asking for. This is who my tribe is. And she may not look like me. But at the same time, I need to make sure that she is getting value from what I’m offering. And I ran into that myself with my IT company. I was 27 years old. And a lot of our clients 60 and older, didn’t grow up with technology. So they would come to me with a problem. And I would say, Oh, it’s great. It’s easy. Just use this different software that it’s super intuitive. Bye. See you later. And then they come back the next day, and they’re like, I don’t know anything about computers. That’s why I hired you. Like, you just solved my problem with a new problem. And so we had to get better Kind of slowing down and fitting the solution within their framework because a solution for me would be, try a new software, learn a new software start from scratch. But when that’s not your forte, my audience was telling me, this is not the solution that works for me, even though it works for me personally. And in my head, I’m like, well just do what I do. But, you know, we don’t all have the same experience, and we attract different people from different walks of life.

So I say silly. Yeah. And really interestingly, in the last, I’d say, two years, I’ve noticed a second type of avatar coming along if you want to use that word, a second kind of client, and this is a woman in her mid 60s who’s retired from her job, and she’s drunk really heavily throughout her career, and she thought that when she quit work, she would cut down as well. And that would fix things, but it hasn’t actually. And now she’s realizing that she’s got a lot of time on her hands, and a reasonable amount of money to fund this or, and, and that’s a real problem. And when I started realizing that I was getting quite a boat of older women in the class, it really freaked me out, because my mum’s about that age. And I can’t imagine telling my mom to do anything and her actually listening to my advice. But amazingly, these people do so. Yeah, I kind of had to get over that.

Yeah, maybe looking at it from a different perspective. And not well, this is my mom. But so this is somebody who, you know, you have the solution to a problem that they’re experiencing and you’re just a an authority in the field. And it’s just coincidence that they happen to be someone who you don’t think you’d have any any control over any sort of impact on how your mom would do it, but you know, these women are seeking your advice. So it’s a lot easier to give advice and to help people through things to coach them when they are actively seeking it as opposed to someone that’s just, well, I used to change your diapers. So anything that you tell me doesn’t, doesn’t fly? doesn’t fly? Yeah. Yeah. Are there any books that are kind of your go to one or two that you recommend for people who are trying to get better in their life? entrepreneurship sobriety, what’s your one or two? most recommended?

Yeah, so for sobriety, a book I always recommend is Alan cars. Easy way to control alcohol. I didn’t if you’ve read that book

with that, but we’ll have it in the notes.

Yeah. It’s Um, so one of the things I missed out earlier, which I should have said is that something that helped me to stop drinking was I bought this book, but I only have read it. But in England, there are some Alan Carr seminars. And his system has helped a lot of people through these clinics and workshops, stop smoking and stop drinking. And I went along to one of these workshops, where they break down all the reasons why you drink and what you think you’re getting out of it. And they really analyze what’s going on there. So you know, is alcohol really helping you unwind? Is it really making you the life and soul of the party, so you can break down all this stuff. And that was so influential on me. I didn’t feel the book was a whole solution. It kind of glosses over a lot of the challenges that you can face. When you’re surrounded by people who are romanticizing and glamorizing and normalizing this drug. So yeah, that’s kind of something I’d love to see change within the book, and certainly what I cover in my program, but that book was definitely the foundation for me of my sobriety. And I recommend it to everybody.

That’s incredible.

Yeah, yeah. I love that. And it’s hems of entrepreneurship. And

I recently read Grant Cardone book, The 10 x rule. I don’t know if you read that.

Yeah, that was one of my first audibles couple. Yeah.

I listened to it as an audible book as well. And once I kind of got over how shouty and sort of passionate and aggressive he is.

He is definitely a character.

He’s a character. I realized that he had some really good things to say and one of the takeaways messages for me was about. Most of us are set, we’re scared to set big goals, because we’re worried about how will feel if we fail at them. But if we don’t set big goals, all we achieve is a really average life. And if you you’re already, you know, a little bit unhappy if you’re thinking about setting goals, and the thought of an average life probably makes most people feel a bit disappointed. So why not like play a bigger game and just kind of shoot for the moon? Perhaps you’ll just be happy with what you reach in the process, though. There are lots of little gems in there that made me think oh, yeah, okay. Yeah. This this changes how I feel.

Yeah, when when I went through it, I remember one of the things he says is, he says something to the effect. It’s been a couple years since I went there was something to the effect of, like, Don’t under promise and over deliver says nobody wants to go see a play. It’s like there’s a bunch of mediocre actors here. You say they are the best actors in the world and this is the best show ever. And then you perform and you give the people the best show ever. So my takeaway was if you’re the best be the best. He was saying if if your competitors are sending out one email a day send out 10 emails a day and I’ve been on that guy’s email list he he practices what he preaches it’s it’s a little absurd how often kidding. But k it’s been wonderful having you on the show? Where can people find out more connect with you and get to the sober school?

Thank you. Well, thanks for having me on. The best place to come and find me is over at I have a blog, which I try and do every week. So that’s got lots of tips and help and advice in. There’s also more details about me over on there. And I’m on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all at the same school as well.

All at the Sober School Alright, well we’ll have links in the show notes and Kate, thank you so much for being on Self Made and Sober. Guys. If you enjoyed the episode, give us a review on iTunes reach out on Facebook on or on Instagram at @selfmadesober in Kate, have a great day. Thanks so much for being on the show.

Amy Demone – Battling Anxiety and Growing Without 12 Steps

ep 42 Amy Demone


Amy is a virtual assistant turned marketing operations specialist that works with six figure coaches that want to take over the world… err, their industry. She’s also the founder and head mentor at Virtually Free®, which is the part of her business that helps current and wannabes virtual assistants grow a business that gives them the freedom and cash flow, that they deserve.

Amy Demone

Let’s talk about what really happens when you’re building a business shall we? This channel is for you if you’re looking for real and raw tips and tricks on what it takes to build a business online. We’ll cover marketing, mindset and all the challenges in between.


Check out this episode!

And with me today is Amy Demone with the brand virtually free. And probably by the time this episode is released my episode on her podcast will be out already is she’s been sober since March 17 2011. And for those of you that haven’t put it together, March 17 2011 was St. Patrick’s Day. And Amy I don’t know if you know this or not, but that is a day pretty notorious with drinking. So what what made you get sober on the day that is the most justifiable day ever to drink?
Yeah, so I mean, in fairness, I technically I guess it would have been night time I would say the 17th because I was in Australia when it happened. So I was like, Oh, I would have been the 17th here. But I am so So great question. And it’s funny because we’re going to just dive right in because this is going to get real intense real fast. So March 16, I was living in Perth, Australia and I was working at a legal happy endings joint if you will, I forget what it was actually called. It was more like a private strip club slash sexual kind of thing that was going on. And I was working as a What do we call ourselves I can’t even remember a stripper I guess it would have been. And basically the setup was it was individual rooms and you could go in you pick a girl, and then they either go depending on what you purchased you either went in and had a private dance or you had a happy ending. In Australia for everyone that doesn’t know this. prostitution and all that fun stuff is legal. And if there are certain regulations that needs to be filled out, prostitution needs to be done in a house, the stuff that I was doing was able to be in a commercial. It was like right down in the seedy area of the city. And I had a man come in and choose me, which was great at the time, because that meant more money. And I was gearing up to leave that job. I was not staying in Australia. This was the end of my drug use. I ended up working for a bike gang. I was in the middle of like some pretty intense conflict with a friend of mine. And her she kind of got caught up in that whole game, if you will. And I had a man come in and he actually I haven’t like talked about this for a really long time, but I’m okay. But I had a man come in and he picked me and we were in the room and it was he chose a happy ending I guess you would call it saw it the more high end version. And he I was ending I was like I’m going to get the most amount of money out of this as I can. And I have learned later that this is actually quite common in the prostitute kind of sex work area when it comes to trauma and how they verbally and physically and all that fun stuff abuse you
fun stuff. Sorry. You know what I mean? But not exactly
fun but yeah, not fun, maybe just
all stuff, all that stuff. I always try to make it not as intense because you know compartmentalization and all that fun stuff. I just keep saying all that fun stuff. But anyways, so he came in and he was the the, the entire time he was just telling me you shouldn’t be here. You are so Much better than this, you’re smart. You’re like, You’re beautiful. You’re fantastic. You’re so much better than this. And this is a very common form of us. I forget what my therapist called it sexual, or sexual verbal assault or something like that. So very confusing, very conflicting moment in my life where I’m sitting, like naked in this room with him, he’s paying me to for sexual favors. And he’s telling me like, I shouldn’t be here, but like getting off on it at the same time. And I don’t know what it was, but I just had this out of body experience. I just saw myself floating up and looking over and being like, what the fuck has happened? Because I didn’t come from like, I’m going to say stereotypical, like, disadvantaged family. I actually came from middle class, working family, upper middle class, maybe I don’t, I never really know. And I was given every opportunity in the world. I was, you know, I had very good schooling I was going towards that, you know, white picket fence, go to university, all that fun stuff. And then life happened. So I was just sitting here being like, what the absolute fuck have I done? And that was it. And it I don’t know if it was, I really have no idea what happened I don’t know it was that day I kind of knew that man is like my savior in some really weird way. And but I decided that I wasn’t going to do it anymore. And I went out on St. Patrick’s Day and I got wasted. And then I ruined a really good friendship afterwards because I was super stressed and I like didn’t show up and it was just everything. The combination of what had been going on for the last like three years of my life just blew up on one day. So I decided to stop doing the things so yeah.
So when you decided I’m no longer gonna live this way anymore. I’m gonna stay Stop living this life. What did the first couple weeks of sobriety look like for you? What did you just kind of take it by the horns because you were done? Or was it a painful transition? what it looked like for you?
Oh, yeah, I was super painful because I had been on everything and anything and Australia I was on. Like, I think it’s Pollyanna is what they call it. So it was like meth, ecstasy, like prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana, like just everything was coming out of my system. And here’s one thing that I should probably notice I lived and truly I believe it’s one of the reasons that I got to where I was is I live with an eye like a severe or undiagnosed severe anxiety disorder my entire life. And at the time, I didn’t know this. So as I’m coming off of these drugs and detoxing while living in a hospital, mind you and still working because I had like Two weeks left, and I still needed the money. I was still doing that job. It was a blur, like I truly can’t. I do not remember the two weeks after that night, because it was just so painful. There was so much toxic. Everything coming out of me, of all the places it felt like brain body mind. And yeah, I don’t remember actually like being in physical pain. But for me during those years, it was all like what was happening in my brain and the fact that I didn’t realize that I had a severe anxiety disorder that basically my brain was incapable of shutting off. So I pushed everything into my body that would hopefully help shut it off. And it didn’t, but Surprise, surprise,
yeah. So when you
When you move forward a little bit later, so you’ve managed to stay sober all of that time. And then what does your journey from? Where you were in Australia to where you are today with entrepreneurship in what you’re doing in that realm? What are those? What are the contrast between the two? Yeah, absolutely.
So I do want to be like fully honest with everyone. So my date is March 17 2011. But I technically wasn’t sober from them. That was the day that I decided to change my life. That was the day that my brain went from. I’m an addict to I’m in recovery. And it has been a crazy ride. I mean, I’ve been sober for like really sober for, like, I don’t even know because my view on sobriety has drastically changed because I had a therapist who Who was great for part of it, but made me feel a very less than because I was stuck with the identity of an addict. And it almost felt like it was so confining that I couldn’t break free of it. And honestly, I almost used like hard drugs multiple times while in that therapy session those therapy sessions with her, because she made me feel so horrible. And that like I was stuck in this identity, and that is who I was going to be for the rest of my life. And I’ve always been a little bit of a rebel and I’ve always been the person be like, well, you told me to do this, I’m going to do the other thing. So like, my very normal self, I was like, This is not how addicts and addiction needs to be looked at. It’s not how it needs to be treated. Like I’m in one of the most. It was like one of the hardest times of my life in the recovery. session I truly believe that I look at the darkest moment of my life too and it was the year I was in with that therapists so it’s been a crazy ride because I’ve been in the process of like uncovering like okay, addiction means this to some people it means this to other people, what does it mean to me? And that’s the one thing that has helped me get through everything as solidly and wonderfully as it has because I was like, it doesn’t fucking matter what other people think about it. If you are okay with your and like really okay, I don’t mean like lying to yourself okay about it, because we all do that. And I’ve done it many of time as an addict, but like truly okay with like, where I am and the progress I’m making. That to me is sobriety and in a way that I know I’m true to myself because I felt very confined in those identities because I wasn’t like when I thought it was going to use it wasn’t because I like was craving the drug. It was as I mean, you guys know, this is like the escape of the, the feeling and the and the overwhelm of what was going on my brain. Granted, this was also the year I was actually diagnosed with anxiety when this was happening. I had no idea that I had severe anxiety, which in retrospect makes no sense to me because I’m like, well, I’ve been sick for the last 30 years of my life. Obviously, I
was your baseline. So yeah, exactly. Yeah. It’s kind of like if you look at humans, and none of us can fly, right? And I mean, you know, we all wish we could fly, but I mean, it just, we’re used to it like we don’t fly. But imagine your life if everyone else could fly. And now you can’t, and how that would make you feel because you see other people doing this thing that you You can’t do and but you’re at the same time used to not being able to fly. And we can just look at it right now, because no one else is doing it. And just that, yeah, I can’t fly. You know, humans can’t fly. But it’s like, oh, yeah, well, I’m just full of anxiety because that’s, that’s what I know. I don’t know what it’s like to not have a ton of anxiety and until you get on the other side of it and see, oh, wow, this is what I’ve been missing all along. It changes the perspective.
Absolutely. Yeah, exactly. That was a huge wake up call for me. And it also really helped me put so much of my addiction into perspective, because that’s a huge puzzle piece that if it’s not there, you just can’t figure it out.
And when you when you were going to therapy, do you think that it was that particular therapist and how that person handled your case? Or do you think it’s just a fair In general and looking at your life through a different lens.
So I definitely think it’s a little bit of both so I am go I go to a therapist now I’ve had two therapists since that the original one and very, very different, like completely different like one was a psycho therapist who was the one that I had the most trouble with. The second one is CBT, which is the ability is for everyone who doesn’t know is like changing hat habits and patterns in your life. And then the, the recent one, or the one that I go to now is someone that kind of combines everything and she’s more just like a sounding board now because to get back to that question you asked me like how has this been in entrepreneurship is like holy crap, it is helped me on a whole other level. Because I was on this path of self awareness and what like so yet well, self awareness and like, what am I doing way before I was an artist printer, although arguably sex work is the oldest form of entrepreneurship, so who am I to say, but I’m the way? Yeah, exactly right. And I mean, I, my family are entrepreneurs. So it was very, like very normal for me. But I definitely think it was a huge advantage because I came into it knowing Okay, I’ve got a lot of crap going on about a lot of issues like obviously, it’s going to impact my business. And I’ve been able to see how they’ve gone hand and walked hand in hand, if you will, throughout my journey. But to get back to the Sarah question, is that that specific one, it was just the way that she dealt with me. She gave me an ultimatum which, when I’m hurting, and when I feel like I’m lost, and I need help, when someone gives me an ultimatum, I instantly disconnect. Because I’m saying it’s like, I can’t help myself in this situation. You’re saying if you can’t do that, I’m gone. So I feel left alone and that like I’m here In the Universe by myself, or that was kind of like the big picture of how I felt at the time. And yeah, so I don’t knock therapy, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, especially ones that the current therapist I have now she specializes or she did specialized with profit with prostitutes. So she has an ulterior or an alternative viewpoint on everything as well. So hopefully that answers your question.
Yeah, well, that’s kind of like the idea of 12 step recovery is like, I have an understanding of where you are, and where you want to be. And I can show you that journey, because I’m very familiar with it. And I know for you personally 12 step recovery is not what keeps you sober. And I know I’ve touched on it a lot of times on the show, but just because I myself have a product of 12 step recovery. does not mean that that is the only way that you can stay sober and be happy. So what are the ways that you continue to stay sober today? Yeah, so
I just talked about the 12 stuff for a second like I’m a huge like proponent of like substituting habits because, you know, addiction is very habitual. We like the process we like to the trigger and the queue and all that fun stuff. I’m like a huge habit nerd when it comes to the physiology, physiology that happens. But for me, honestly, it’s because I have a passion now it’s something that I’m so driven to do. In my business. I’m a very busy person and because I have you know, anxiety for the last 20 forever years, it feels like I’m very high. I’m high functioning, but I’m very high energy. So that’s helped me a bit as well. So honestly, like I view like starting my business as like the thing That saved my life because even though there’s a there was a huge time period between when I got sober when I started for about everything there was about five years I was declining like that deep dark night of the soul I talked about on March 16. Like that was what I’ve used my rock bottom, but it actually got way worse because I had to deal with the shame and confusion of like, how I ended up there at such a young age too. And like, the thing is, is like I actually had a wonderful experience outside of the actual clients, the people that I worked for who and who I worked with, they were all wonderful. So it’s so hard to sit here and be like, well, like that was horrible because like I made friends with people that I still talked to. But what keeps me sober now is just honestly, like connecting to why I’m on this earth and what I want to achieve and My life to be like, I beat that statistic. And I’m very competitive. So it helps. It helps a lot. But it’s really just come to be like, Well, I have literally been to one of the darkest moments of a lot of people’s lives and I have somehow been able to completely overhaul not only my mindset, but like who I was. Like, I used to be an introvert. I used to be super scared, I had no boundaries. I grew up in a codependent household, so I was just like a mess. And now I’m like the polar opposite. And for me, it’s all in my brain. Like that was just not just me. I had a huge support system, but a lot of it was what I had done. And so many of us I find forget to have gratitude towards ourselves and to actually appreciate the journey and the steps that we’ve taken up until this point because that gratitude for yourself. It’s something that you don’t experience when you’re using and it’s almost non existent. If not, I would say 100% non existent. So that self love that I’ve cultivated in the process and the process that I or the progress I’ve made, that in itself is enough to keep me from using and I hate that that’s my answer because it’s like, okay, that’s not a tangible thing to help really. But honestly, that’s what it comes down to for me.
At the same time, if that’s your truth, I’m sure there’s somebody else out there who can 100% relate to the exact experience that you’re having. So just because it doesn’t fit into a box or it’s not a well I’m so glad you asked that question. Let me give you this scripted answer like the reality. The reality is what your reality is, in your touching on gratitude. Do you have any particular types of Gratitude practice.
I do so um, I forget where I figured this out but it’s it’s a combination of gratitude and mindfulness. So what I do every day is I just look in my surroundings whenever I decide to do this little practice and I have to think of forward not think of like decide on five things that I can see that I’m grateful for. So right now I’m in my office so it would be something is like I’m grateful for the internet. I’m grateful for this microphone. I’m grateful for the cup of coffee like small things because we really don’t appreciate those small things. And like for me if I’m have coffee, like I wouldn’t be who I am, you know, or the internet like my entire businesses run off of it. So there’s so that’s what I do every day. Sometimes it ends up being the same thing. Honestly, the amount of times I’m like, I’m grateful for my dog because my dog that’s another thing is greatly helped me with the depression side of it. He’s not officially a service dog, but he should be because without him, I’m not sure I would be where I am. So, yeah, that would be my practice. I do, I would say, I would say 95% of the time.
Yeah, there’s people that claim that they pull these things off 100% of the time, I’m sure they do and they’re not lying. But I know for myself, I’m far from a 100% of the time. I always nail doing like a Miracle Morning. I nail gratitude, I grit I nail prayer and meditation, and it’s difficult to hit on every single thing, I guess unless you you have just like in the business. If you have systems and you have a checklist in place and you make sure that you do it every single day. That is a good way to keep on pace with making sure that you do the right things every single day. But I know for Just myself in full transparency. And I’m glad you shared that as well. Like it’s difficult to 100% of the time, be perfect on these things. And that’s what makes us human.
Exactly. And I feel like for me, like a lot of what fueled by, like want to use all the time was that I wasn’t perfect. So I had like clinical perfectionism. So it’s like, it’s almost better for me to be like, Yeah, I do it 95% of the time, because I’m recognizing that I’m not perfect, but I’m also that psychopath that has like a habit tracker on her phone that’s like tracking like 40 habits that I want to do in a day and I like market off every time so it’s really hard because I’m like very competitive Taipei but then I’m also like learning to have severe self compassion and that’s really hard to mesh sometimes.
Yeah, well, did that play any role in when you started out virtually free and why don’t you just give us like a an elevator pitch of what you do.
Yeah. So I am so bad because I am a huge proponent of the elevator pitch and I’m so bad at it so virtually free so I will do what happened before I created virtually free is I was a virtual assistant. So I was helping other online entrepreneurs with their day to day tasks, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You guys probably know what a virtual assistant is if you don’t have one. And it was awesome. I learned so much and I got in with like the right people. And my business took off I learned a lot about my life and my business and also my addiction through this process and how I always put myself second and all this fun stuff. And through that and through that I’m I call it like the unraveling of all the crappy shitty behaviors that I have and cultivated over the last 30 years is that I started experiencing this freedom and I don’t really know how to explain it other than like it Literally just felt like a weight was taken off my shoulders. I didn’t go is probably because I was committed to self development and all this fun stuff but it was I was free. And I’ve always felt from the time I was a kid and suffering from depression I always felt very confined and like I was trapped. I don’t know if it was in my life. I don’t know if it was in my head, probably my head but I just felt trapped. Never The first time I could feel the freedom. And because I worked virtually it just made sense to be virtually free. But what that is now is that is a coaching brand, I guess you would say where I help other virtual assistants and online service providers with their marketing to get more clients. But the reality is, is I’m a mindset coach. I package it up as mindset in business, because I do teach business, marketing and all that fun stuff, but it’s all about mindset for me and most of the people that are attracted to me and my brand have Raising stories like, like the most like eye opening, grounding like horribly, like horrible child children’s stories and things like that. And it’s just so wonderful because I’m not just helping them become virtual assistants I’m not I’m helping them unravel all the shit that they’ve been through and gain that confidence that they just never really were able to cultivate because of every all the emotional trauma they experienced as children and adults.
Is there anything in particular, that was kind of the driving force behind starting your own company as opposed to just staying in with the people that you were already with?
Honestly, I just felt like I’m here to do more. I have a I’m a huge mental health advocate. I don’t talk too much about addiction. I mean, I talked about my addiction, but I’m not really That well versed in it, believe it or not, but I’m all about mental health and stillness and mindfulness. And I just feel like this is why I’m on this planet like not to go crazy on you. But like, I view like, okay, like I went through these insanely difficult situations, because I needed to learn how to navigate them, so then I can help other people. So it was like a weird calling for me. And it’s funny because when I first started out, I was like, I’m never going to do this. I’m never going to be a coach. I’m never going to do that. I’m just going to stay in my lane and do this. And I was just lying to myself because I was scared to take up space. So yeah, I think that answers your question.
Yeah. Well, how do you get over that limiting mindset?
Oh, I don’t know if we have time. Um, no, um, honestly, I think the first step is just, like having compassion towards yourself and being like, okay. Like, what has happened, what has gotten to me where I am to what has gotten me to where I am right now is not going to get me to where I want to. And it’s not you’re not meant to feel shame because of it, you’re not supposed to feel like you are behind everyone. It’s this realization that like, okay, like, I am in complete and utter control of my life. And the way that I perceive the world, the way that I perceive myself and the way that I choose to develop those assets, is going to shape what my future looks like. And once you fully get this and I don’t mean just like listen to me tell you or listen to like 18 other million people tell you that have finally understood this. It’s the integration of being like okay, like it actually is up to me and I have every single solitary ability to achieve whatever it is that I want. There’s a lot of power in that. I felt so powerless for so long. And that feeling is just something that like I never want to lose. So I also would love for other people to be able to experiences as well because there’s a, like a feeling of hope that just hasn’t was not there before. And once that finally clicked for me, I just realized just how, first of all powerful we as human beings could be, and how powerful it is to like get your shit together and live a life that like is actually meant to be yours.
Wow, that’s so it’s so crazy that it’s there all along and that just I think so many people are afraid really to tap into it and see what really is out there. And do you have any books or audio books that You would say are your one or two that you recommend most to people?
Oh, this is hard. I feel like it changes all the time. Honestly, one of them is atomic habits from by James clear, it’s all about creating habits in your life. And it’s something that changed the game for me, like 12 step program is based off of habit substitution, right? I think most of us know that is that like, you go to the meetings instead of you using and to be able to like truly understand how habit is formed and what is happening biologically. Like for me, I need to know everything I need to know how it works for me to like hack it. So that was something that like changed my life on so many levels. And I only read this like a few months ago, and I would say that book is like number one, it’s available in audio too. And then the other book would be Probably the gifts of imperfection. Again, it’s a new book that I just, I’ve read like last six months. And and it was really helped me understand and break down the like psychological aspects of perfectionism and how again, it was caught, like how it was created, and you learn to read and all that fun stuff. So I’m super nerdy when it comes to that kind of like professional development, so and personal development. So that’s why I would say those two books.
That’s great. And I’ll be sure to put links in the show notes. And, Amy, it’s been so great talking to you. Where can people find out more about you and the virtually free podcast and virtually free your company and where where’s the best place for people to find you?
Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you so much, Andrew for having me on. It was great. I always love talking about this because most of the time I just talked about entrepreneurship. So it’s nice to mix it up a bit. But I am available all over the internet webs. Go under my name, Amy. Amy Demone so Instagram’s The best way to connect with me, I’m on there a lot. And then I have a link that pushes you to all the other places that you can find me, but the thought the podcast just rebranded. So it’s still virtually free, but it’s becoming virtually free now. So you can look on literally any place that a podcast exists and it’ll be there.
Wonderful. Well, Amy, thank you so much for being on self made and sober podcast. Guys. If you enjoyed the episode, be sure to share and like leave us a review on iTunes. Really appreciate it. And Amy, thanks so much for being on Have a great day.
Thanks so much, Andrew.

Angela Pugh – Addiction Unlimited and Keeping Moving Forward

After bartending her way across Hollywood and Beverly Hills, Angela found herself in over her head with a drinking problem that was relentless. As a result of her own sobriety, she dedicated her life to helping others through coaching and community with Addiction Unlimited Podcast, sober living, and the top-ranked My Recovery Toolbox.

Addiction Unlimited

Learn everything you want to know about addiction and recovery. An inside look at the treatment industry, cross-addictions, 12-Steps, and anything else you want to know. Honest, candid conversation.

Check out this episode!

Chris Scott – Elevation Recovery

ep: 39 Chris Scott – Founder of Fit Recovery, a website that helps people use nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle strategies to fill in the “missing links” in their recovery programs and transcend alcohol. Author of Drinking Sucks! and co-host of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, alongside Matt Finch of Opiate Addiction Support.

Drinking Sucks! –
Sober Since: Mid-2014

Check out this episode!

Welcome to the self made and sober podcast. I’m your host, Andrew Lassise and with me today is the fitness recovery expert, Chris Scott. He’s written a book called Drinking Sucks, which I think is the perfect title for anything recovery related when you get down and blunt like that. He’s got a podcast called elevation recovery, which is absolutely incredible. Definitely be sure to check that out. His websites fit recovery. Chris is an awesome person with so much to offer. I’m so happy to have you on the show. Chris, how are you doing? Andrew? Thank you. That’s a very generous introduction. I’m
really happy to be here.
Yeah, so you’ve been sober since 2014. But I know your date is kind of a amorphous mid 2014. So why don’t you give us a little explanation on what’s mid 2014 looking like for you?
That’s correct. So 2014 was generally a blur. And in retrospect, I can generally connect the dots of what happened going back to most of 2015. But I had really had a series of events that made me realize that it was necessary for me to finally quit drinking. I had had a long slow build up to the point where I was drinking a handle of vodka each day like clockwork. And I got to the point where I couldn’t go two hours without drinking. Even in the middle of the night. I remember getting up once and having to chug a bottle of bitters, just to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay. And, you know, to make a long story short, I adjust I’d had dozens or hundreds of failed attempts, some successful tapers, you know, tapering down from from a fifth to half a fifth to a bottle of wine that some beers and getting off I’d make it about a week, and then someone would throw a party. You know, I remember going to a wonderful couples house. They had been engaged and I had been alcohol free. for five days, and I bought a six pack of root beer, and of course I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. So they thought I was being silly. And they literally took the six pack out of my hand replaced it with a bunch of bud lights. And that was it. I was on a bender for the next couple months, basically. So I gotten sick of it. Unfortunately, I waited so long that I needed to have professional help detoxing off of alcohol, I had some some hallucinations, probably seizures, I didn’t know, you know what they were and I don’t want to self diagnose, but it was likely I was getting to that end stage of alcohol addiction. And so I just showed up basically on a treatment center store and said, this is it. I gave up. And I told my closest family members and friends, and they were all super supportive. And that’s really even though things were blurry for a while. After that. I that was the turning point for me.
Yeah, that mentality of surrender to win. And that’s one of the things that one of my mentors in 12 steps he had instilled in me early on is that You don’t have to keep fighting this thing over and over and over. Like when you give up. There is power in giving up. And I think, you know, society, it’s like, never give up, never stopped Fighting, Always Keep Fighting. It’s like, I’m not getting any better. By doing this, my life is continuing to get worse. So how did you? How did you juggle the I want to take control the situation and the idea of just giving up what’s going through your head.
I had to be compassionate to myself, until I got to the point where I could fight for folks that we’re worthy of fighting for fighting against a alcohol addiction. Whether you believe it’s a permanent spiritual disease or a coping mechanism for trauma or a physical addiction or a neural pathway or a biochemical imbalance, you’re not going to win. And in early recovery, I think that surrender mentality is necessary. And it can be kind of cathartic to stop fighting as they say and I was I had a interesting conversation with with an MD who treats people with alcohol addiction recently. And he said the thing, the reason why you feel so bad, so defeated, at least one of them in early recovery is that you have these inflammatory cytokines flowing through your body. And you essentially have the same immune response that you would get when you have the flu. No, and what good is it to try to fight the flu, like everyone knows that if you have the flu, the last thing you want to do is go to the gym for three hours and try to beat it, you know, maybe a light sweat would help. But so I think it really is good to frame it as a an illness in the short term, to treat yourself in the same way that you would treat someone in your close family or circle of friends if they were really sick. And then you can build yourself back for backup from there. And when you start regaining the mental clarity to articulate goals for yourself that are worth pursuing, then you can get back into warrior mode. And that’s kind of what I did. It took me months to get back into warrior mode
and What are your thoughts on the alcohol is a disease versus alcohol is? You know, it’s a matter of willpower, alcoholism, not alcohol. You know, it’s a matter of willpower like why why can’t this guy just just, you know, chill? What’s your thoughts on that the disease and self control?
Yeah, this is one of the hardest questions. And I think it would be arrogant for me to present the end all be all answer for this question. But I have done a good amount of thinking and I’ve come to the conclusion that, first of all, alcohol addiction is as complex as people are. And it says complex is human nature itself and as complex as our biochemistry. We still don’t totally understand human nature or our biochemistry. We know that alcohol addiction by definition, intertwines itself, into our brains into our biochemical balance or lack thereof into our identity. Since you are Emotional lives or social attachment. So spiritual identity. So you can’t really answer that question without having a definitive answer to what’s, what exactly is going on. And all of those places what I found to be more helpful. And I should say, I don’t view alcohol addiction as a disease, per se, I see it as a neural pathway that’s really stubborn, that’s grown strong, like an oak, combined with biochemical imbalances combined with whatever else may be going on in a person’s life. But, you know, I wanted to say, what’s more important than that disease label or not having a disease label is that you find a way to frame your narrative that works for you. And for me, it’s helpful to view my addiction as a phase of my life and alcohol as an exhausted resource, rather than to frame this as a perpetual ongoing journey. You know, I watched a an interview with a famous actor from the 70s Richard Burton, maybe he’s very charismatic, but he he framed his alcohol addiction as a lifelong boxing match in which he could be knocked out with no advance notice. So anytime. And I thought if I had framed my condition will call it in that way I don’t think I would have made it out of early recovery because I would have thrown my hands up and said, What’s the point? So I think it’s more important than the labels we decided to acquiesce in for ourselves that are thrown at us from doctors. And obviously the establishment, the medical establishment sees alcohol addiction as a disease. I think what’s more important is the way we frame our own personal journey and finding something that works, whether it’s in that biochemical arena or psychologically, socially, spiritually. I think those are the main pillars that that are important to address. And once you find something that works and you start feeling better than Who cares what it was, it’s all semantics at that point.
I love That you look more at the results and not so much at the, well, this is what it’s supposed to be like, it’s no secret in my life, I’m a big part, I have an affinity towards 12 step recovery. And at the same time, I know that that’s not the only way. And there’s plenty of people who have been introduced to it said they didn’t like it and then tried something different. And you know, who am I to say, you’re not actually happy because you’re not practicing the 12 steps in your daily life. But a lot of people have that mindset of like it is this way, or else you are wrong. And if you think you’re happy, you’re lying to yourself, and everybody should be doing 12 step recovery. I believe there’s an ounce of truth to it. But I’ve come to the realization that there are a lot of different ways that you can get sober and if at the end of the day, we’re all fighting the same battle and all want the same result. I don’t think that the mini you know, the money grow in between of what you do on your day to day, whether what you do works for you. And what I do works for me if we’re fighting the same battle and winning the same war, I don’t think that it matters as much. I think if you’re going to do it, you should do it and not have one foot in one foot out. But what is success looks like for you in your day to day for staying sober.
Well, first of all, I think I just want to say, I think it’s really awesome that you have that mindset, because it’s almost, you know, we live in an increasingly polarized society in many different ways. And so, you know, the vegans can’t talk to the carnivores and the liberals can’t talk to the conservatives. And now like in this niche, I guess, or in this in this place of recovery, digital recovery, I would call it I The last thing I would want to see is for it to devolve into a war between a people and nine eight people. I think that you know, having a compassionate view of everyone’s journey is the is the Deal. But to answer your question, on a day to day basis, my life now is totally unrecognizable from anything that I thought would have been possible when I quit drinking. And I guess, you know, in a they maybe they call that the promises, you know of sobriety. And it’s surreal. It feels like I stepped into an alternate universe, you know, my life isn’t perfect. It’s not all verses and unicorns and rainbows, but the amount of mental clarity I have compared to before, the ease with which I do things that used to be really, really hard. One of the hallmarks of my early recovery was that getting out of bed was hard for like months. And for me, my thing was, I discovered supplementation, I discovered diet changes. And those were the things that I thought should be universal for everyone until I developed the more nuanced version of my belief system and more open minded as we said, but you know, I think it’s relevant for me to mention the supplementation. holistic emphasis, because once I started doing those things, that’s when my day to day life, I started being able to more easily integrate things that were good for me long term, and to switch my dopamine attachment from short term escapism via alcohol to long term fulfillment and joy. You know, so there’s a difference between pleasure and happiness. And something clicked in my brain at some point. And I was able to start doing those things going to the gym was no longer at shore or an application. starting a business was no longer some elusive dream that some lucky people got to do, that I would never be able to do because I was stuck. I was a corporate slave is that’s how I framed it working in finance at the time and often being asked at 6pm to stay overnight and work on a financial model. So yeah, hopefully that answers your question. I mean, on a day to day basis, I have the gym. I’m always thinking about how to improve optimize my life. holistically, I’ve kind of latched on to the term bio hacker, which is silly but fun. But I also get a tremendous amount of fulfillment out of helping people going through a similar journey, and especially people in early recovery. I’ve hundreds of people in my online course. And I spend one to two hours every morning responding to people, you know, typically, I’d say six days a week, I’m in there first thing in the morning, and it makes me grateful that I have been able to get to the place that I’ve gotten to because I can help people. And obviously I don’t have all the answers, but you know, I have fulfillment on a daily basis. And you know, I have connections with people in my community that I didn’t have. I look forward to seeing the manager at my favorite Indian restaurant. I have a weird spicy food obsession. You know, I have I love seeing the people that I do yoga with even though I’m not like close friends with them, but you know, it’s it’s night and day from isolating myself and alcohol addiction to having fulfillment, health and also connections with people that I didn’t have before because I never really looked for them.
And now that you have your eyes open to connections, what are some Do you have any examples? Maybe that stand out other than obviously the the guy at the Indian restaurant, which I can relate to i, we have a guy over here. He’s like a Indian version of Bart Simpson, not a poo. But Indian Bart Simpson. That’s awesome. What he looks like is kind of funny. But you have any examples of where that maybe in the past, you would have taken a certain direction with a relationship with someone and then in this new phase of your life, with different outlook, you took a different journey and how that played out. Are there any examples that come to mind?
Well, I was I should say, first that I was really lucky to have a solid group of core friends when I quit drinking. And this kind of defies maybe common experience. Or so I’m not sure how many people would relate to this. But these guys were my drinking buddies in college, but they were also like my brothers, and they were the first people to be there for me. If I had tried to order a drink three months after I quit drinking at a restaurant or something, when I was out with them, they would have physically interfered and said, No, you’re not doing that, you know, we care about you. So I think it’s, it’s good to I have to mention that I had those confidence. I had that support network. But beyond that, yeah, I think I had when I worked in finance, and I drank pretty much every night. It was like the opportunity cost of doing that was not developing deep connections with people. And now, I it doesn’t seem like a, like a burden to develop a relationship or a friendship with someone. I moved to a different city since I quit drinking. You know, about five years ago, I was in Atlanta, when I quit. And I’ve since moved a different city and a little bit smaller. But I met a great guy about a year ago, we became workout buddies. And it’s kind of a funny golf course type community that we live in there a lot of older people everyone’s super nice, but I didn’t expect to meet someone I could work out with known as 30 years or whatever. And we develop this Saturday routine, which is like yoga Indian food, then we head back to the gym, sauna or steamer hot tub. There we go back to our respective houses and take naps, but he’s what we would call a social drinker. But he’s he’s eating up my material. And it I mean, it’s a huge ego boost for me probably unjustified, but you know, he has a copy of drinking sex. He says he drinks less because of it now and he feels better. I got him into CBD, which is something that I’ve probably controversial, but something that helps me in my daily routine. And so there’s like there and obviously I’ve gotten a lot out of our relationship as well. And you know, just having someone to talk about who has an interesting life experience to you know, that kind of thing. We would not have happened had I not quit drinking. And it’s it’s amazing. The connections once you realize that quitting drinking allows you to be more present in all areas of life after five years, so you can look back and count 10s or dozens of connections that you just wouldn’t have, you wouldn’t know those people, you would walk by them on the street, they would be strangers, and you would still be feeling alone. Whereas you know, now, because of the way things have turned out, you know, however your recovery program has been, you get to have that much more warmth in the world, I guess I would say.
Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you anymore. And I’d want to jump around a little bit. So you were working in finance, what was the was there a moment where you decided I need to go into entrepreneurship? What’s that looking like in your life?
That was a very slow decision for me because My, I had left a somewhat glamorous finance job in New York to briefly be a business manager for a tech company, which was not the path for me, I quickly realized that and then I ended up back in the traditional, not quite as glamorous as New York but finance route. And everyone was super nice. And I was in Atlanta. And I just there was a spiritual yearning for more, it was totally in a Morpheus, I couldn’t really quantify it or qualify it. I didn’t, all I knew was that I wasn’t happy and that alcohol was better, or it seemed better to me at the time, then my day to day life, which was boring to me. And then I felt guilty because I knew there are people who would still kill for my job. And how arrogant of me to not enjoy something that other other people would kill for. So there was some guilt and some shame there as well. Now, when I by the time I quit, thanks to gotten pretty bad alcohol really affected my work performance until the end. But when it did, it did and I ultimately quit, because I Well, I should say it was a mutual decision. I missed three days of work in a row, which is unacceptable. That’s what I ended up in treatment, had a phone call with my boss at the time, probably a week or two into treatment, still hazy memory, in which I was hoping when he called me that he would tell me that I wasn’t invited back. And that’s exactly what happened. And, you know, honestly, I think since then the stigmas disappeared a little bit. But then that’s when my journey toward entrepreneurship started. Because I had no idea what I was going to do. I just felt relief. I felt there was uncertainty, but it was combined with a kind of cathartic relief, like yes, now I’m done with the alcohol. I have people who are my confidence and support network who can buffer me against alcohol, and I’m done with that career. And now, you know, I could have framed it as now it’s a terrifying journey to see how I screw up my life. Max, but I decided to frame it as now I get to be whoever the hell I want to be. And that was more excited. So I decided, well, what am I good at? fitness, I’d always loved working out, alcoholic shift into that. But I decided I would do it. One of the luxuries of being a trainer is to get to be in the gym all day. So I knew I wouldn’t lose that aspect of recovery, which was already helping me even before I learned about supplements and other strategies. And so eventually, the fitness to make a very long story short morphed into the website, and I was still helping people one on one, you know, for free at first and then that turned into the business of fit recovery. But I was a trainer for a couple of years before that happened.
And what was the real jumping off point where you saw fit recovery? Maybe I’m maybe I’m just projecting my experience, but I had the kind of the side hustle thing going on. And then there were a couple watershed moments that were just like, this isn’t just Andrew in his living room on a computer, helping people out like this is actually a real thing. Did you have any moments that stand out? As far as when fit recovery changed from a kind of fun idea to a real thing?
Yes. And, you know, I almost gave up on fit recovery several times, because my strategy had been to just write as many articles as possible, and hope that Google would see how good they were. And that was a bad strategy. So I had gone through, you know, I did that. Then I wrote an E book. I got a sale after three weeks and I was ecstatic. And and I realized it was my uncle. My mama told him about it. You know, I had that and and then I started getting smart there. I learned about how to write SEO articles, which I don’t think is a good strategy anymore because it’s so saturated, but at the time it was, it was one That traffic started slowly building, you know, going from 200 visitors a week to, you know, 2000. And then and more and more. And, you know, at one point getting up to around 100,000 people just from Google in a month, that was when I realized like this is things are going well. And I can not just liberate myself from the grind of training, which, you know, now, I just framed that as an exciting thing. And it was exciting for a while. But, you know, after a while, my joints started to hurt. And I, I didn’t want to be in there all day, like moving stuff around. And I loved helping people, but I wanted to scale it. And I wanted to increase the magnitude with which I reached people, which I could do more effectively with alcohol recovery than helping someone lose five pounds or whatever. So yeah, it was really seeing that momentum build from the strategies that I implemented and seeing that there was a direct connection between the ones that worked and the results and realizing also let the ad 20 rule comes into play. I mean, for me, it might have even been like 9010 because there’s like most of the things I tried did not work. But the things that did work were what brought me to the next level. And that was really encouraging. So, yeah, I would say it’s just a slow process of organic growth. But, but every now and then there was like a glimmer of, of potential.
And so we we fast forward a little bit. Talk tell us a little bit about elevation recovery here podcast.
So elevation recovery is actually the culmination of my friendship and ally alliance with a guy named Matt Fitch, who’s an awesome guy. He runs a website called opiate addiction support calm, and we found each other online and actually when I was in the process of building fit, recovery, and he had done his website for or he had started at several years before mine I think at this point, he’s like eight or nine years, free from opiates. And he had been addicted to alcohol before that. So he was a bit ahead of the path that I was on. And, you know, so we really helped each other. We did some guided a guest post on his website, he did some on mine to help my website rank a little better, you know, he had better domain ranking than I did. And he was just tremendously helpful and all sorts of ways. I didn’t know much about marketing at the time. So he helped me with that. And we just became really good friends. And we would have these mastermind calls like once a month, and talk about business and what we were doing. Now any new courses, we were making what we were excited about doing, and those mastermind calls eventually morphed into the podcast. And so some of our episodes are basically identical to what our old masterminds used to be. It’s just talking about something. Usually I’m the rapid machine gun style talker and he’s more slow and elected and calm. So, you know, hopefully that that contrast works out and isn’t too confusing for people. But I feel like we have a good vibe. And we also take turns interviewing experts in their niches in anything pertinent to alcohol recovery, and also other people’s recovery stories. So the podcast is just a, it’s yet another way that we’re experimenting with to try to reach more people. And it’s been a lot of fun so far, you had
touched on earlier and I’d like to come back to this about supplements. Do you have any recommendations? As far as supplements go for be in recovery? Or for people that are trying to get I know the answer? It’s it’s a super generic question to a very, very niche. It depends on your circumstances. But is there any kind of general rule of thumb that you would give to just someone on the street says name one or two,
right? So because everyone is biochemically unique, You know, as you said, that’s the disclaimer, some people are on antidepressants and it shouldn’t take amino acid, certain amino acids, you know, so the medications and all that and and obviously I’m not a doctor and or a natural path, but I can tell you what helped me and what had a few that have helped a lot of people. Now obviously be Vita version say, obviously, but B vitamins are very important for alcohol recovery. And if you end up in the hospital with severe withdrawals, they’re going to give you an injection of vitamin b1, which is timing, a deficiency in which can cause wet brain, which is a pretty serious condition and sometimes not reversible. But what I found was that that’s just the tip of the iceberg. vitamins and minerals are very important. Magnesium was really helpful for me. I found that most people tend to be deficient in magnesium it’s possibly depleted from our soil. People aren’t eating enough leafy greens, you can get magnesium Um, you know, oral tablets, magnesium citrate, magnesium three and eight are good options. You want to avoid magnesium oxide, because it doesn’t absorb well, Epsom salt baths are a decent way to get magnesium. But one drink increases the body’s excretion of magnesium by like 70% or 90%. It’s, it’s insane. And most people are deficient anywhere. And it’s involved in 300 bodily processes. So, you know, you can imagine the cascade of effects that happens when you introduce a mineral that you just need for basic functioning, your base, your baseline level of well being goes up. And so that’s just one example. amino acid, so I definitely want to mention as well, D LPA. There are a lot of funny names, but if you look into them, there’s a lot of research behind them. D LPA, or dl phenol alanine contains precursors for endorphins and dope amine el Tibor seen contains a dopamine precursor, five HTTP or l tryptophan. Our serotonin precursors, you know, glutamine is commonly used in bodybuilding. And I stumbled upon that because I wanted to get back in shape and build muscle. But it turns out that it’s also useful for alcohol cravings for sugar cravings for people with hypoglycemia, which is really common and recovery and for repairing the gut lining and for helping the immune system. So those are just a few things. You know, and obviously, it’s, I found one of the heartening things about physical recovery from alcohol addiction is, it seems to be the case that the same compounds and strategies that are helpful to help a normal person bring their life to the next level, are helpful, just in usually larger doses to help to get someone from feeling like total crap, no motivation to feeling well enough to summon the physical energy required to work on whatever psychological or spiritual conundrums they’re facing. And so that’s why I think that this is consistent with 12 step. There are a lot of people who I talked to who are in who go to a, and, you know, we we avoid any debates about the particular, you know, beliefs that that I might personally have a difference with. And we just talked about, alright, well, how can how can restoring physical health help you on your spiritual journey, you know, given your belief system and what you want to do, and usually it’s pretty easy to answer and we just start with some basic things. And it’s a holistic process. So it’s not all about supplements. It’s about sleep. It’s about getting to the gym and eating well, staying hydrated, reducing stress levels, so it’s a supplements are very important, but really, that’s the the tip of the iceberg.
Awesome. Well, Chris, in wrapping up, what one call to action that you have for the people listening to the show that can Help them either in entrepreneurship and being more successful, or something where someone struggling with alcohol to take the next step, what would be your call to action to the audience?
my call to action would be something that if I had heated it would have helped me succeed quicker and probably feel better, quicker. And so I mean, in both business and alcohol recovery, and that’s to connect with people who are doing exactly what you want to do, who are where you want to be. And I’m sure that’s been said before, but I mean, I would not be talking to you right now. If I hadn’t connected with Matt Finch A while back I think I might have given up on fit recovered. You know, the basic stuff that I needed to know years ago when I was building it, like how to optimize my email list or, you know, do a lead magnet he helped me with, you know, he was my mentor. So, you know, that’s the business angle but from a recovery angle as well. I ended up it was a, it was a double gift, I guess you could say because he also became a mentor, someone who he quit. It didn’t matter to me that he’d quit opiates. But he had also started doing exactly what I wanted to do. And he was in recovery, or he had recovered. So it was a, I would say that finding someone identifying someone who is a role model, who’s what you want to be, either in business or in alcohol recovery and beyond, is the best thing. Because alcohol and I would, I haven’t been addicted to anything except alcohol. But I think addiction is a very confining state of existence, and it keeps you isolated, stuck in your head. If you stay stuck in your head for too long, you’ll go crazy. You won’t make progress. You might have delusions of grandeur, or I’ve been there with all of those things. I was in some very strange mental places during my drinking years, and there was definitely an absence of connection that That helped me after I quit tracking once I resolved it.
Awesome. And that’s great actionable advice, find someone who has what you want, and then just do what they do. It actually is that simple. And that’s one of the foundations, you know, 12 step recovery, you get a sponsor, and they show you. This is how I live life. And this is how I do laundry. And this is how I stay faithful to my wife. And this is how I do just all these basic human functions, and a lot of us aren’t capable, or don’t have experience in that. And so having a role model, in that sense, is absolutely incredible. And in business, you know, my first year, we did practically nothing in sales compared to where we’re at now. And it’s like, if I went back in time, six years ago, and I said, Hey, six years ago, Andrew who thinks he knows everything, here is what you really should be doing and do not waste your time on. ABC D. Like you said, content marketing in your space is very Very, very competitive. And if you’re not differentiating yourself, from all the competition, you can be doing the exact thing that everybody else is doing in people can no more than you’ve rank higher than you. And you’re fighting a winless battle when on the other side, email marketing, building your list having targeted marketing message that’s so much more effective. Especially if you’re building something where your brand is based on you and people know who you are. And all these things. I think that’s one of the greatest, greatest pieces of advice, not just in recovery, not just entrepreneurship, but just all around, find somebody who has what you want, and then just do what they do. Simple enough. like Chris, thank you so much for your time. Where can people find you online?
Andrew, thank you. This has been a lot of fun, and people can find me at the elevation recovery podcast. Which is available on iTunes and Spotify. And also you can go to and check out our show. And if you’d like to find fit recovery, it is fit dash recovery. com. That’s my original website. And there you can learn more about my book drinking sex and online course and I have a bunch of free articles several hundred free articles on all topics ranging from exercise to nutrition to psychological strategies. And, you know, so that’s that’s about it.
Awesome. Well, thanks so much for being on the show. Guys. If you liked the show, be sure to rate and subscribe. Send either of us a message if you have more questions about sobriety about fitness about whatever it is, send us a message. Let us know what you liked what you didn’t like the whole gambit. We’re here to help and thank you so much, Chris. Have a great day.