Untoxicated Podcasts

Exploring the questions of alcoholic relationship recovery.

Alcoholism has lots of victims – including the drinker. High-functioning alcoholics in sobriety often have a really hard time accepting their victim status for a variety of reasons discussed by Sheri and Matt on this episode. But owning the victim label disarms the stigma and ends the shame cycle. It’s an important, but largely rejected, philosophy. Acknowledging victimhood can get people stuck, or it can lead to freedom. Sheri and Matt tackle another complex recovery issue.

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.

Last week, we published this article titled, “Your Wife’s Not a Bitch,” to our Sober and Unashamed website and blog. We got a lot of reaction, most of it in the form of email from the spouses of alcoholics describing the different ways our assertions were rejected. In this episode of the podcast, Sheri and Matt discuss the reactions, and the importance of creating a safe place for honest communication to thrive – because the death of communication will be the ultimate death of any relationship.

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 dive deep into Sheri’s favorite topic: intimacy. But this discussion might not be what you are expecting. They separate emotional intimacy from sex, and describe emotional intimacy as the ultimate vulnerability (complete with figurative nudity). Emotional intimacy is both really difficult (made infinitely harder by alcohol abuse), and also a key to relationship recovery. Confused much? Give it a listen, and see if you agree with their expertless assertions. Stick around to hear Sheri talk about stepping on Matt’s unit. OK…it is a little bit about sex.

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.

Do you want to know what it takes to save a marriage from alcoholism? One word: genuine humility. OK, that’s two words. And it also takes therapy, group work, hard-earned detachment, faith, resentment processing, group work, and persistence. But it can’t be done without an abundance of genuine humility. Mindy and Tom join Matt on this episode. Tom lays some truth on us explaining a cornerstone of their marriage recovery: “She has a voice that deserves to be heard.” When asked if she was worried that Tom might drink while the couple was separated, Mindy says, “I didn’t care.” She couldn’t afford to worry about him while trying to save herself. The importance of the lessons from Mindy and Tom’s story cannot be overstated.

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. If you are a high-functioning alcoholic working on sobriety, please check out our SHOUT Sobriety program.

The brain is the final frontier of human biology, so the full impact of alcohol on our gray matter is a topic that undergoes continuous discovery. In this episode, Sheri and Matt discuss five ways alcohol impacts us neurologically – four impacts on the drinkers, and one substantial impact on the brains of the people who are in consistently close proximity to the drinkers (like spouses). They also talk about flying squirrel suits and the most famous wizard.

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.

The official cause of death was, “Complications of chronic ethanolism.” We all knew Suzy’s husband Matt was struggling and relapsing, but no one is ever really ready for death by alcohol. Suzy Jahn joins Sheri and Matt on this episode, and she tells her story of hope lost, and of hope regained by her work in recovery, and through the love of her family. Suzy is exceptionally strong as she navigates the mourning and rebuilding process – a process no one should ever have to go through.

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.

To celebrate our 150th podcast episode, we gathered in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains for our first ever Echoes of Recovery retreat. We took a break from hiking and hot springs to record this very special podcast episode together – fourteen people around the same microphone sharing the same story with their own individual details and perspectives. If you think you are alone as the spouse of someone suffering from alcohol addiction, this one is for you.

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.

Why do we give so much power to the mantras that surround us (at least some of us do (Sheri’s looking at you, Matt))? There are gross and glorified mantras that are pillars of the recovery community, slogans and sayings that drive a fledgling little alcoholic-in-training deep into addiction, and buzz phrases and quotes from movies and pop culture that have become ingrained in our daily lives. Even our most basic and popular wedding vows are fraught with serious problems. Still, there are some mantras that seem to be useful. Sheri and Matt talk about them all, including one designed to bring dinner-time harmony in their own raucous home.

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.

There is a flow to the process of recovering a marriage from alcoholism. In this episode, Sheri and Matt talk about the universalisms found in the eight phases of relationship recovery. This is time consuming and emotionally draining work, and a lot of what Sheri and Matt have learned is counterintuitive and daunting. From boundaries and detachment, to coming back together as two strong and self-sufficient individuals, these overlapping phases are a roadmap back from the pit of alcoholic despair.

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.

Anyone who has experienced an alcoholic relationship is familiar with the traumatic events when the drinking and the aftermath spins wildly out of control. But for most high-functioning alcoholics, there are plenty of times when nothing traumatic happens, but the family lives in a consistent state of chaos. There is no chance to relax – no opportunity to drop from high alert. That’s the damage to the nervous system that Sheri and Matt describe in this episode. It is story time, Untoxicated friends. Can you relate?

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.