Untoxicated Podcasts

Exploring the questions of alcoholic relationship recovery.

The week after Christmas offers lots of threats to sobriety and mental health. Family tension, financial strain, an overbooked calendar, and festive expectations all lead to stress and pressure that is not relieved when the holiday celebration is over. The long, cold winter looms, and the aftermath of the holiday lingers. On this episode, Sheri and Matt reassure our listeners that they are not alone, their emotions are real, and that support is available.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Sometimes, like in Matt’s case, high-functioning alcoholics are also control-freak assholes. Other times, people who abuse alcohol withdraw leaving all the decisions to the spouse or other loved ones. In both cases, there are serious risks associated with making decisions. In this episode, Sheri and Matt talk all about it. They also discuss why the holidays cause so many relapses, and the pressures the additional holiday decisions add to the stress on a marriage in active addiction or early recovery.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

“You sure did have a good time at the Christmas party, Matt.” When he was actively drinking, Matt heard statements like that more than a few times. But they carried no shame, because our society celebrates those who are good at, well, celebrating. Thinking back to teenage experimentation and 20s binge drinking, getting drunk is actually admirable…until it’s not. On this episode, Sheri and Matt talk about the hypocrisy that led to over 15 million American alcoholics. They discuss the completely dismissed risks and dangers to young people, and they talk about how the runway afforded to high-functioning alcoholics keeps families locked in traumatic cycles for years and decades. They end discussing the reward of sobriety in a society that worships the bottle. They laugh a lot on this episode, even though the truth is anything but funny.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Just over a year after her husband took his own life while firmly in the grasp of alcohol addiction, Dusti Shay is ready to tell her story for the benefit of others fighting to survive this dreadful disease. This episode is tragic and heartbreaking, but it is also powerful and a tribute to the man Dusti married and the incredible love they shared. If you are triggered by discussions about suicide or violence, this episode is not for you. But if those are not your triggers, please don’t skip this episode because you are afraid of the emotional toll it will have on you. The honesty and vulnerability Dusti shares is full of wisdom and insight that is not to be missed. As Dusti explains, her husband’s death is a tragedy without a silver lining, but it gave her the gift of healing. And she shares her gift with all of us.

To read Dusti’s story in her own words, check out her blog.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Christina Veselak is a mental health nutritionist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a licensed psychotherapist who founded the Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition, and she agrees with Sheri and Matt that food is medicine. On this episode, she shares her 35 years of experience in the field helping people suffering from addiction – both alcoholics and their spouses and other loved ones – heal using the amino acids available in proteins. She gives colorful examples of why amino acid therapy is so effective, and offers special advice for loved ones looking for ways to regulate their overwhelmed nervous systems.

For more about Christina’s work, and to help her spread the message, please check out her new website, EatingProteinSavesLives.org, or click here to get her free ebook.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Alcohol plays such a prominent role in the Thanksgiving celebrations in our society that the holiday deserves a conversation all its own. On this episode, Sheri and Matt relive their Thanksgivings during his active alcoholism and his early sobriety. They also flex their SNL fanclub muscles, and Matt grosses Sheri out talking about eating the turkey neck. We hope you gobble up this episode (there’s the pun you were waiting for).

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Sheri and Matt welcome Dr. Robert Weiss, the author of Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency, to the Untoxicated Podcast. Dr. Rob has his PhD (he did his dissertation on codependency) and a masters in social work, and is an expert on addiction and adult intimacy disorders. He explains why codependence is not an actual diagnosis, and the blame and shame that the label carries is damaging to the loved ones of alcoholics. He calls the spouses and family of people suffering from addiction heroes, and explains why the concept of Prodependence is so much more accurate and effective because it celebrates empathy, compassion and relationship building. Dr. Rob honors Sheri for having the loving strength endure Matt’s alcoholism and do her very best to help him find permanent sobriety. You can find more about Dr. Rob and his work at his websites:

prodependence.com

seekingintegrity.com

sexandrelationshiphealing.com

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

How do we expect positive outcomes in recovery when all of the language we use has a negative orientation? Stop drinking. Fix your spiritual deficiency. Don’t be codependent. Focusing on positive outcomes is more than fluffy self-help jargon. On this episode, Sheri and Matt talk about the kinds of fundamental changes required for the recovery community to earn improved success rates. Matt quotes Dr. Abby Medcalf (Untoxicated Ep90) and Dr. Robert Weiss (Author of Prodependence and future Untoxicated guest) about the importance of positivity in the work they do with people in recovery. After the recording stops, Sheri makes fun of Matt’s man crush on Dr. Weiss for about a day and a half (sorry you can’t hear that).

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Halloween specifically, and autumn in general, is a season with high rates of relapse and drunken trauma. We are intentionally releasing this episode about haunting memories of Halloweens in early November because we know so many of our listeners have just suffered traumatic alcoholic experiences, and we want to empathetically and supportively share our painful recollections. You are not alone! This episode starts with Sheri and Matt recalling Matt’s love/hate relationship with Halloween starting from childhood. Just as alcoholism is a progressive disease, the terrorizing events of October 31st progress through this episode until Sheri gives an angry and emotional description of Matt’s rock bottom Halloween moment from half a decade ago.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Echoes of Recovery

There is no doubt that the loved ones of alcoholics are victims, and that they require healing from the disease as the second-hand drinkers. But the label, “codependent,” is often misused to make the loved ones feel blamed and shamed for loving a person who suffers from addiction. Dawn experienced the pain of that blame, and on this episode, she tells Sheri and Matt all about it. Dawn has done the work of discovery, and she shares her struggles with forgiveness and reconnecting. But she trusts boundaries that have made her strong and independent, and regardless of the outcome of her marriage, she is a true recovery success story.

If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery could benefit from connection with people who understand, please check out our Echoes of Recovery program.

Echoes of Recovery