Tricia Lewis is the host and creator of The Recovery Happy Hour podcast and co-founder of Sober by Southwest.
Welcome to the self made and sober podcast. I’m your host Andrew Lassise. And with me today is Tricia Lewis, the host and creator of the recovery, happy hour podcast, and the co founder of sober by Southwest. Tricia, how are you?
I’m great. Thank you. How are you?
I’m doing well. You know, I was so excited to have you that we recorded on a not recording day just because I’m pumped to have Tricia Lewis.
Thanks for work of my schedule. It was a wacky October, so I appreciate your patience.
Yeah, definitely. And now that we’re in November, you’re coming up on the third going into fourth year of sobriety. Next week as of this recording. Yeah,
this is true. This is true. 1114 So this year, it kind of snuck up on me I was kind of busy. So I think that’s a good place to be in.
Yeah, well, when it sneaks up on you, then you’re probably not counting the days has that always been your situation where it’s not counting the days You
know, I love achievements I’m always
know it’s I love I love milestones and you know, the further along you get, the fewer milestones you have. So, the fact that this year snuck up on me that’s, that’s weird. I normally I’m like, I’m all about like, you know, hey, I’ve got this many months and I’ll go like, buy myself a cake and you know, he said whole cake.
There’s no such thing as a sad Whole Cake.
Cake. It is a cake of accomplishment and a cake of actually accomplishment. carbs don’t count and all right.
Oh, yeah, that’s right. I forgot they had them removed.
Yeah, yeah, it’s it’s one of those you know, placebo things like if you’re eating cake, because you’re sober then it doesn’t count. And that’s, that’s a pretty that’s one of those third year. tricks that uncover that celebration cake. Stone What did early sobriety look like for you versus what it’s looking like now?
Early sobriety looked like work, you know, early sobriety felt like a checklist, like I’d wake up and it’s like, Okay, I have to do this, and I have to do my prayer and meditation. And then I have to call this person and then I have to go to this meeting. And then I have to journal and everything was like, check the box, check the box and do the things so that you can level up. And then I think that the gift of sobriety is when you learn to let go of a lot of that and you, you relax your, your grip on things and really dig into that surrender process, and that’s where I’m at right now, which is a lot more. You know, freewheeling like whatever’s going to happen, you know, leaning a lot harder into my faith, and, you know, a lot less, you know, I was I was white knuckling it or relying on willpower but certainly It was a lot harder and everything about it was new in the beginning. And now that it’s not so new, and I can sort of make this process my own, as long as I don’t drink alcohol, I can relax and do it a lot more.
And you were one of the people correct me if I’m wrong that alcohol was the big persuader. Or were drugs like a
not really not really drugs were always something I could kind of take or leave alcohol just really crushed me though. And and that was, that was my first love and that was really my only love and and that was that’s what what, you know what made it so hard to let go of at the end.
And so coming to the end of your drinking career, November a couple years back, what was would you say is just the moment where you decided I can’t do this anymore.
You know, a couple of things. One was that my body was just starting to get out. I’m pretty petite. You know? I’m five, three, and you know the amount of alcohol that I was consuming. I mean, I should have had alcohol poisoning weekly and how I didn’t, it’s still beyond me. I went through that last week, I went through like a kind of a three day Bender, a very socially acceptable looking vendor, but I was just drinking morning till night. And you know that it had gotten so bad or I mean, I was that like, last three months of my drinking. It was just six out of seven days a week, I was drunk period. And if I wasn’t drunk, I was hungover and quickly on my way to being drunk again. So when physical withdrawals happened, that’s when I realized, okay, like it’s happening now this is starting. And yeah, I mean, I’m smart enough to know the long term effects of alcohol. So when I realized that my body was like, Oh, no, we can’t do this anymore. I listened and made that decision.
And were there sort of in and out bouts? Or was it just, I’m done. And first try, you’re nailing it.
Um, there were definitely in and out bouts, you know, for the last 10 years of my drinking, I probably, you know, I did a lot of those, oh, I’m going to take a couple of weeks off, I’m going to take a month off kind of thing. And, you know, thinking that I could do a little reset, and then go back to drinking like normal. But I noticed that that month, and that couple of weeks kept getting shorter and shorter, and I could never really complete that original goal. So it was never It was never like a and an attempt of Okay, I’m going to stop forever, because I didn’t want to stop forever. So but I knew is going to happen to have to happen someday. You know, that was always part of the plan. I mean, I come from a family of addiction. So I knew that eventually I was going to have to get sober but I didn’t want to do it until I was ready. Because I because I knew that once I really started it. It was going to really suck I went back to drinking but I was probably gonna ruin it forever.
Yeah, kinda like that Cortez burn the boats, just jumping 100% so when when you’re first getting sober, what are some of the strategies that you’re using? Are you trying 12 steps? Are you figuring it out yourself? what’s what’s early sobriety look like for you?
In November 2016. When I first got sober, I would have three days and I just fully detoxed on my own. It was basically like having the flu for three days. I don’t recommend that though. Which, by the way, it should be said that if anyone is really worried about quitting drinking, and the effects of withdrawing from it, talk to your doctor or talk to somebody about a way to safely do that because I can’t recommend the way that I did it. I want to, I thought, Okay, well, maybe if I just listened to a podcast, I can, like, you know, think about again, like maybe I’ll just take a couple of weeks off like I wasn’t really good. Quiet in it yet, you know, maybe I can drink enough green juices to where I can fix.
Everybody knows listening to a podcast will alleviate all all physical withdrawal symptoms, right?
The proper knowledge on what’s going on. Right withdraw.
So I just I thought okay well I’ve never listened to a podcast about for sobriety maybe I’ll just check one out and see how it see what you know just see how that feels and I started listening to recovery elevator you know you’ve you’ve interviewed Paul, and I started listening to people’s stories and that’s when something changed because I heard for the very first time I heard somebody’s story that sounded just like mine. I did not realize that there were other high functioning alcoholics that terminal uniqueness. I thought I was the only one who had all those rules in place and I was the only one who could still, you know, work 60 hours a week and be hungover or drunk. I thought I was alone. And until I started hearing those stories on that podcast, I didn’t. I didn’t understand this phenomenon really, in my core, I didn’t understand it. So I just started listening to those for a few days, and then listening to one of those conditions convince me to try a 12 step meeting. So I tried that. I dug into that. So then I was doing these two things, the podcast and 12 step. Then I joined a Facebook accountability group and really started connecting with more people and through the Facebook accountability group, I started reading self help books. I got back into therapy, like I went, if something sounded promising, I tried it, it doesn’t mean that it’s stuck and that I used it but I tried everything. So I went with like a full, you know, multi pronged approach to this and tried anything and everything.
So is the Tricia Lewis That is in front of me via zoom chat a different human being than the one from a few years ago. Is that safe to say?
Yes and no. Yeah.
So, um, my approach to life is totally different. But sobriety has brought out the best parts of myself that I had long since forgotten about when I was drinking. So I’m still the same. I’m still in, you know, in a way I’m like, an amplified version of my favorite parts of myself. But, but yeah, my, my, my outlook on everything is totally different. Now. It’s when I sit and reflect on it, like I get emotional, it’s insane how different everything is after making that one decision.
So a lot of people feel that the drinking side of things was really more of a symptom of something deeper. Would you say that that was true in your Cases Well,
yes, absolutely this symptom, the symptom was anxiety and a need for control and being a just a codependent people pleaser. Growing up in a family of addiction I was around addiction and I did that thing that most siblings or or children of alcoholics and addicts do which is try to make the situation better every day try to fix everyone else’s problems try to fix people with your love Try not to rock the boat too much. And yeah, I became a level 10 people pleaser control freak and I’ve had really bad anxiety since I was about seven. So all these things combined alcohol really helped turn the volume down on them.
And I know for myself, my experience was that volume and the insanity going on in my head. It was just a constant Everything is terrible, everything’s going to hell. And then as soon as I start drinking, then everything’s fine. But then I start doing stupid things while I’m drinking, which then adds to the anxiety and all the problems in my life. But then if I drink, they go away, but then they get amplified. So I need to drink more to turn down the amplification. And then I discovered through recovery that it actually I could turn down the insanity of my life. And my anxiety, not 100% goes away because I filled that void of alcohol with work and family and a million other things that now occupies the same space in my brain. But I would say that I don’t have too many of those. Any of those mornings where I wake up, and I look at my phone, and I’m like, Oh my god, I texted that person last night because like, I was working extra hard. Yeah, you have those experiences because of?
Well, you know, it’s funny. It’s funny what you said about anxiety is that, you know, I’d say like, the common theme of the last few years of my drinking was that what? That alcohol stopped working for me. And that, what used to turn down the volume on my need for control, and my terrible anxiety was now starting to turn up the volume on it. So if I drink a bottle of wine, my anxiety would get worse, and I wouldn’t and I wouldn’t feel drunk, and then I’d be so mad and confused, like, why do I not feel drunk, and then that would make my anxiety even worse. And then, you know, I go to bed and I’d wake up and I’d be so pissed and angry that I didn’t remember the night before and I didn’t have just one or two glasses, I had a bottle again, and then I had drinks on top of that, and that caused more anxiety. Plus, you have the physical feelings of a hangover, which gives you anxiety. It’s just like layers upon layers upon layers of more anxiety and It was all now because of the alcohol. Alcohol was fixing anything. And I don’t know that’s a I forgot your original question. But
yeah, I never remember anything. My whole life is is an endless. I keep my to do list in Trello I follow David Allen’s getting things done method the sure if you’re familiar with that, but it’s basically like, everything ever just gets written down and then I’ll address whether or not it’s something that following through but we were discussing about how you have anxiety about drinking and then you drink to lower the anxiety but then you have anxiety about the things you did while you’re drinking. So it’s just, it’s a never ending cycle and to be on the other side of it. And it’s like, you know, you’re telling someone who’s new in recovery. If you if you go through this process, change your life, that volume will go down the anxiety, it’s not going to just disappear but Your life will just completely transform. And I thought it was. It was actually my lawyer who, when I got my DUI and he had like, 40 some years, and I didn’t want to hear anything he was telling me, but he had said, it’s not the stopping of drinking. It’s the starting of living. And 26 year old just got a DUI, Andrew didn’t want to hear that. And so it was just, you know, that’s whoo, whoo, whatever. And I recall, I maybe had two, three years sober, and I had gotten a new sponsor at a 12 step meeting. And I remember saying them, you know, you don’t need to look at this as the stopping of drinking. It’s the starting of living and then I was like, Oh, my God. He was right.
perspective is everything. You know, I just funny, I just remembered I had this I think of everything in metaphors. I just had this memory of when I lived in Telluride, Colorado for a few years, and when I moved there, I learned how to snowboard because I wanted to snowboard, I thought it’d be so cool. And I thought, you know, that was just something I wanted to do, but, and I did it for a year and a half. And I, it never felt natural. But I thought that and I was like, No, I’m going to do this, I’m going to make this work because I want to do it. And it never took. And then one day, I tried skiing, and that was like, so natural and felt right. And I could do it easily. And I wasn’t fighting and I wasn’t, you know, getting injured all the time. It was like, oh, if I just, like, let go of this idea of this thing I thought I needed to do and went with this other thing that really worked for me. I would have had a couple of years less misery. And that’s how drinking was, you know, I just like no, I have to drink I want to drink. But it was it was you know, ruining my life. And once I went with this other thing that felt better and gave me such better results and I let go of this toxic idea. Everything shifted, everything got easier. And that’s how getting sober was.
It sounds so obvious. is to say, but everything gets easier when everything is easier. We just have this idea that I need to be this type of person, I need to, I need to snowboard I need to snowboard. And it’s funny. Maybe two years ago, my then fiance or now we had just got married regardless. My wife and I, we went skiing for both of our first times and it was like, How hard could it be? And as you know, we’re like falling over and we’re in Utah. I mean, like, we live in Florida. It’s not like it’s not like going to the mountains exists, like we don’t, right, right. But there’s like three year olds that are like skiing backwards talking to their friends. And we’re like those guys that are just like, swinging their arms. I’m like,
yeah, learning how to how to ski as an adult. It makes you so mad at kids and you’re like, Oh, damn you and your small short center of gravity. It’s so frustrating.
The changing gears a bit. Why don’t you tell us about your your mindset in starting the recovery happy hour and what that’s transformed into, over the time that you’ve been doing it.
Um, so recovery happy hour started. It went live in July of 2018. I had the idea about six months before. And you know, it podcasts were such a vital part of my recovery. But I noticed as I gained more sobriety that I wasn’t hearing a whole lot of stories about what happened after people quit drinking, a lot of them are. They tell the stories of what it was like when you were drinking, which is great, that serves a purpose. But I needed something I needed to talk about something else I needed to talk about life beyond because I met so many people who were so afraid of missing out on something I’m missing out on the fun that they didn’t want to quit drinking and I was like, well, let’s address that fear of missing out. And let’s prove the point that life is Go on after you quit drinking. So that was my approach to why I wanted to start this podcast and what I wanted to be different about it. When I started it, it was a very simple goal. It was like, well, let’s tell those stories, let’s get people who have a little more sobriety under their belt, and address this fear of missing out. Because I’ve always I’m an entrepreneur, it turned into something much bigger than I ever expected, because I’ve put in a lot of work to grow it into something bigger than just, you know, a download on your phone that shows up every Tuesday. So meeting all these really cool people all across the world and interviewing them on my show. It’s been really fun to make, to network to make new friends to, you know, come up with new events to do to listen to people’s needs and what they need to help their recovery along to build, you know, retreats and online events out of that. It very, very quickly turned it into something much bigger than I expected and the whole thing has been just a giant gift to me, and it’s a pretty privilege, it is nothing but a privilege to be able to do this thing that comes naturally, that like scratches that itch that I have to work, you know, I just I would want to work and create it’s you know something all the time and to help change people’s lives and to motivate them to to take a different approach to recovery. And that’s that you’re, like you said, like, it’s not about quitting something. It’s about starting to live your life. It’s not about letting go of this thing. It’s grabbing ahold of total joy, and helping to shift perspective.
And you talked about the entrepreneurship and the putting on events, and I believe it was January that you’re putting on server by Southwest.
So last March was when we did the first server by Southwest that was March of that would have been 2019. My first retreat is coming up in this upcoming January, January of 2020.
And what should people expect from From that retreat, what are some of the things that you’re putting forward to put your own spin on things.
So beyond the bottle is happening, January 3 through the fifth at the Magnolia Hotel in Dallas. So I’ve got people that are flying in from all over the country, it’s pretty intimate. It’s capped at 30 people. And it is two very intense days of workshops, I mean, anything from, you know, meditation, you know, brain training, exploring, you know, journaling, a little bit more yoga. Brain spotting is a huge, huge part of what’s added to my recovery portfolio this year. So having somebody come in to do a brain spotting session with everybody is a big part of it. We’re doing some nutrition and supplementation. We’re going hard, like nine to five during the day, but then at night, I’m taking everybody out, and we’re going to go out and party and have a really great time and show everybody that yes, you can go out and not drink alcohol and have a really good time. And that’s something A lot of people are afraid to do so. What better way to do it then with 30 other sober people?
Yeah, I know for myself it was that in my head it was, well, anytime that I’m having fun. It is because I’m drunk. So like, I can’t attend sporting events because like, I enjoy doing that drunk, but then it’s like, it actually wasn’t the event coupled with my drinking but made it fun. It was the event itself in a vacuum is actually fun. And now me drinking it’s like, well, I blacked out, doing things that I enjoy doing. Like there’s not really but when you’re in the grips of it. That’s that’s your perspective. That’s
a lie. That’s the lie you sell yourself. And the funny thing about it is that we think that everybody at that sporting event is drinking like we do.
I know we think Oh, isn’t every isn’t everybody wasted by 11am? Like isn’t everybody in a blackout right now?
Now it’s so funny and then being on the other side like I was I was out it nation a couple or last week. And a lot of the vendors there was like open bar and like I just met these really cool guys like, Hey, man, let’s go have a drink. And I was like, you know, I’ll just have a Diet Coke, but it is what it is. And and, you know, they weren’t like, what? I hate you they were just like, okay, let’s just keep doing the event. But like a lot of the vendors towards the end of the night they were getting a little, little sloppy, which I thought in my head, I was like, you know, as like a server version. I was like, Man, these people they shouldn’t be drinking at this event. Like, they should be trying to get my business like I am actually interested prospect and they’re kind of blowing it because they’re drunk, but I’m could tell, like, put myself in their shoes. And it’s like, there’s an open bar. I’ve been here for several hours. Like this guy who’s talking to me right now is probably just like the other hundreds of people that I’ve talked to you that aren’t going to buy our services.
You know, they’re like, Oh yeah, you just Just give me a call
you give me a call best
yeah they’re not gonna call it they’re not going to offer to call you because they’re not going to remember that’s all I was I was like yeah just make sure you call me because I wouldn’t gonna remember
yeah but it’s it’s funny being on the other side that we just assume everybody else is wasted and like they they actually aren’t like we’re minority i mean you know the like mines find like mines so I mean we’d be on like the metro going to a capitals game which coincidentally is tonight in in Florida, but we’d all just be like wasted and yelling and chanting. But like being on the metro sober. It’s like all of us are sober except for like those wasted annoying people that keep chanting like as caps caps caps
embarrassing years Self.
I know once you’re on the other side, you’re like, Oh, god, that was me.
Yeah, I got it. But it’s kind of like children, though, you know, like you look at the things that you were doing, like in your teenage years, and you look back on it, it’s like, what was I thinking, like, that doesn’t help anybody or anything. I just, I thought I was cool. And I wasn’t one like, then you see teenagers doing the same things that you’re doing. You’re like, just wait till you grow up. And then you’ll, you’ll discover, like, this isn’t what you want to be doing. But it’s like, we’re hearing the same things that like our parents, and the older people in our lives. were telling us all along in the drinking, it’s the exact same thing.
And and I want to rewind a bit and I apologize that I’m pleading naivete on this, but could you talk about what brain spotting is? And
yeah, yeah, and no, it’s not. It’s something that’s still relatively new. So don’t worry that you haven’t that it’s not part of your You know that you don’t know about it yet a lot of people don’t. Brain spotting was introduced me introduced to me actually at a recovery elevator retreat. My friend Kim is a certified brain spotting expert. She’s a therapist, but this is a very intense type of therapy that God how would I explain this? So in the limbic system in your brain, you store memories you store trauma, and for me personally, I had chronic pain issues for a long time. And a lot of chronic pain even though you feel it in your body is actually stored in the limbic system. And brain spotting is a way to access stored trauma in your brain by focusing on one spot on your brain, and you can access a spot with your eyes, depending on where you’re looking. Have you heard of EMDR?
Yeah, I was just gonna say is this similar to em?
Odyssey This is similar to to EMDR. It’s a little more focused and it’s this is a way where I have been able to tap into old stored trauma, work through it very quickly and very intensely. at a rate that’s like 100 times faster than just talk therapy. So when I first did brain spotting, I was able to very quickly access a I don’t want to say you’re hypnotized, but you are kind of like a sort of semi hypnotized state. When I first did it, I was able to have this insane visceral experience where I went back to my divorce, standing on my front porch, watching my ex husband move furniture out of the house, and finally go back and grieve. When at that moment, when it really happened, I wasn’t able to grieve. I was putting on a face and I was trying to pretend like everything was fine. And I was sort of able just to kind of relive and process feelings that were a lot healthier and more appropriate to the situation, and really move past that so much quicker than just talking to somebody about it. It’s been really powerful for me in this last this last year to help me work through old, old stuff that’s been stored away for 510 25 years. And I’m super passionate about people learning about this. This is why I’m having him come out to my retreat. Because it’s so powerful. And I feel like it just if you like therapy, this is like therapy on fastforward.
So it’s kind of like, hey, if you enjoy being buzzed, you will love being black.
You enjoy therapy, you will love brain. Yeah, yeah, I you know,
and I can’t say that it works for everybody. I just know that for me. I’ve responded to it very, very quickly. And, you know, you can’t it’s kind of hard to do it by yourself. You know, there’s certain ways you can you can sort of do it by yourself, but, but you need to find an expert to kind of show you how and do it with them and And there’s a great you can honestly, if anyone wants to know more about it, you can just go to brain spotting calm and you can, should be able to find a practitioner in your area.
All right. And you had mentioned that, that reading and books were sort of part of the journey. Is there any any one or two that stand out in your mind that are so go tues? It’s
interesting that you asked that because that’s one of those things that I tried that didn’t stick. So I tried so many different things to to really push my recovery. And in my first year, I was trying to read all these books that people were recommending. And at the time, it was too much for me, I had too many other things going on where that pushed me into a place of just recovery, fatigue and kind of breno recovery burnout. So I stopped reading those books for a long time at the recommendation of my therapist, you know, I was going to go on vacation. I think I was four or five months sober. And I had this list of books I was going to bring with me and she said, No, you need to read some like garbage books. That’s what you just read. If you’re going to be on vacation, you got to rest your brain a little bit and maybe tap the brakes on doing all those things at the same time. So I really I have taken a break from reading a lot of those books I just now started one about a month ago well, a series of them by Dr. Caroline leaf called Why am I drawing a blank right now called the switch on your brain. And this is a really a you know, anything. If you’re familiar with like neural plasticity, and brain training and changing the way that your your thought patterns run through your head. This is a really interesting book that digs into that and tells you how to change the way you think and how changing the way you think can change your perspective on your life and sort of detox your brain. It’s heavily scripture, backed. She talks a lot about things are rooted in the Bible that she uses quantum physics and science to prove spirituality. She uses spirituality to prove science and quantum physics and really links the two things together.
That’s really cool. Because I know a lot of times the the topic on religion is very, very, how could you say that if it’s not backed by science and I’ve, I’ve kind of taken the approach just for me personally, of the I will go a spiritual approach because I have found in my life that I cannot deny the results that I achieve through spirituality, but for me religions not it’s, I will put it at it’s not for me, we don’t have to argue about like, ancient mythology and how like, you know, this story is the same as the one that you think that, you know,
yeah, no, I understand where you’re coming from. And I can tell you right now that religion has not worked for me either, but spirituality has and they’re two very different things.
Yeah, and I wasn’t really aware of the differences between the two. Do you want to elaborate on that for people that maybe kind of thing? spirituality, religion, same word.
Yeah. Well, and also this is totally opinion and someone’s going to listen to this and go she is a crock of shit. But, you know, religion is the it to me is is rules structure and a checklist of things you have to do so that you don’t end up in a you know, the fiery depths of hell after you die. And, you know, spirituality is connecting with God or whoever that you need to connect with the universe, whatever word you need to use for me, it’s, you know, my connection to God comes through Jesus, but that’s my spirituality. And that’s something that I’m constantly tapping into. It has nothing to do with showing up at the same place every Sunday is nothing to do with like, making sure I do these certain things so that I, you know, so that I’m not considered bad. It has nothing to do with shame. It has nothing to do organization or rules, is everything to do with, with tapping into the source through love. that’s, to me, that’s spirituality.
I seem to find that a lot of people that really tap into their spirituality, they’re usually not the kind of people that are just like shoving it down your throat. And maybe that just kind of comes with practicing spirituality is that it’s just like, Look, if you want to discover this on your own, and if you want what I have, you can do what I do, but I’m not going to force it on you because kind of the whole paradox of it is like, if I force it on you, then I am not practicing it. So
right well, and also, I mean, let’s not forget to that like
if an asshole finds god, he’s still probably going to be an asshole. You know, I’m, I don’t know if I can cuss on this. I can try to tap the brakes on that. But, you know, like, you know, finding God doesn’t necessarily change who you are and how you act. It’s not going to make everybody perfect. And it’s certainly not going to make them be able to market their spiritual beliefs perfectly either. So you know, I’ve met a lot of people who have really, really solid foundations in their faith, but they’re still jerks. And that’s, that’s the beauty of the world. We’re all different and we can all still tap into what works for us and, and still be different. Very, very different people.
Yeah, I’m with you, 100% on that. So we’re coming short on time with Tricia. It’s been so great having you on the podcast? Where can people find you and the things that you’re doing?
So you can listen to Recovery Happy hour, every Tuesday and episode comes out. It’s available anywhere you listen to podcasts. You can learn more about the show. You can get links on where to find help or find out about future events on www.RecoveryHappyHour.com. You can follow me on Instagram or Any social media which is @recoveryhappyhour, and that retreats in January, there’s two spots left. It’s coming up January 3 2020. And you can find out more on recovery happy hour calm.
Perfect. Well Tricia, thank you so much for being on the show. And guys, if you enjoyed the show, please rate and subscribe. It’s what helps us grow the show. And Tricia Have a great day. Thank you so much.