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Alex Meets Charlie from the Way Out Podcast

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Charlie LeVoir is a person in long term recovery from alcoholism and addiction since 12/6/2014 and the Creator, host and producer of The Way Out Podcast since its inception in 2016. His sobriety and recovery podcast brings audiences sobriety power topics and powerful recovery stories to jumpstart your sobriety and enhance your recovery. Tune into this episode to hear Charlie's inspiring story of the mountains he has overcome with his addiction, and how he helps and inspires people all over the world in the work.

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Charlie can be found at: Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at

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Intro: Welcome to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast with Alex McRobs, international yoga teacher and sober coach. I broke up with booze for good in 2019 and now I'm here to help others do the same. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how. Alex: All right! Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl. I am super excited to have Charlie with me today and Charlie is a person in long-term recovery. And he's the host of the “Way Out podcast”. So, welcome Charlie.

Charlie: Super glad to be here.

Alex: And I was on Charlie's podcast a couple weeks ago, the way out podcast and I had so much fun recording that episode. A lot of laughs. So I'm super excited for this show too because I know it's going to be just as fun.

Charlie: It was a blast having you on the way out podcast. Your story is tremendous and it's actively right now, right at this moment helping people.

Alex: Oh thank you and I'm sure that yours is gonna do the same. So I look forward to getting into it because when I was on your show it was all about me. So now it's gonna be about you.

Charlie: Indeed.

Alex: So let's get started! Can you tell me a bit about yourself. You know, where you're from and sort of who are you.

Charlie: Yeah absolutely! And again thank you Alex for having me on. It's this-- is a true pleasure for me to be able to have the opportunity to share a little bit about my story. And hopefully it connects with a few folks and helps a few folks out born and raised here in the twin cities here in Minnesota. And I've stayed around in these parts-- this far along in my journey. I'm a person in long-term recovery. My sobriety date is December 6, of 2014 and I haven't found it necessary to have a drink or a drug since that day. And I'm a product of the 12 steps and working a 12-step program. But because I am a host of a recovery based podcast that really supports a broad spectrum of pathways to recovery. I've really integrated a lot of other components of recovery from other pathways into my own recovery model. So, it's a bit of an eclectic recovery model for me today, but that's the joy of it as it continues to evolve.

Alex: It's amazing! I'm picturing as you're speaking and picturing almost like mixing different things into like the soup, you know or the stew or just different exploring different methods and strategies and.

Charlie: Absolutely and that's a true gift to be able to hear other people share how they recovered. And their recovery journeys. And I get to learn about different approaches from a daily perspective that I can add into my own recovery toolkit.

Alex: Yeah that's amazing! It's amazing part of hosting a show like that and meeting so many inspiring people. So--

Charlie: Absolutely.

Alex: I want to hear about your drinking story. First of all, was it-- were you were primarily drinking alcohol? Did you do other drugs as well?

Charlie: I did. Yeah so-- I started drinking very young. The first time I drank and got drunk, I was 15 years old. And I was at a party at a friend's house whose parents were out of town and he lived on this lake and had this fully stocked bar and I got really drunk really quick. And I loved how it made me feel. And more specifically I liked how it made me not feel. I liked that it completely removed all my anxiety. I liked that it completely removed all my depression. I liked that it allowed me to be able to flirt with the girls and stick up to the guys. And I liked the fact that it unlocked all of these things in me that I couldn't unlock prior to that moment. Right. So that was a very memorable experience for me in that way it was also memorable because I drank so much that they put me to dog kettle because I was out of control. And I ended up passing out and actually I stopped breathing. And I didn't-- and they went and checked on me and my best friend had to revive me and get my lungs and heart working again. And that's not the experience of the night that I remember. What I remember is that it made me feel a way that I wasn't able to feel any other way prior to that moment. And that became sort of my first love. But alcohol is hard to get when you're 15 right. And so I did smoke marijuana on a fairly regular basis and that did a similar thing for me right. It allowed me not to feel. And it allowed me to numb all of these uncomfortable feelings that I had. Like I said depression, anxiety and just not feeling a part of. I always felt like I was looking from the outside in like folks had it figured out and I didn't kind of feeling right. And you know some of that was because my mom died when I was 11 and I-- you know had that traumatic experience. I didn't have a lot of coping tools around being able to cope with that magnitude of a loss at that age. And I think part of it was that I had big addict and alcoholic switches and they were budding at that time. So yeah. It took very early for me.

Alex: Yeah, wow. And I remember having this conversation about kind of traumatic first night's drinking on when I was on your show a couple weeks ago. And it's so interesting how you would think that an experience like that would make you not want to drink for a long time. But for some reason in both of us it-- we just continued on despite having such a a negative first experience.

Charlie: I turned that negative experience into a positive experience in that-- you know. You might be the quarterback of the football team, okay. But I freaking died and came back to life again. Okay so, that was sort of my badge of honor that I took to the party scene like-- that's Charlie. Do you know that he freaking died the-- you know the other night and came back to life again and he's still drinking willingly. You know so-- I had this sort of like crazy, like insane badge of honor that I carried from a party perspective.

Alex: Was that what people would say about you in high school? Was that how you would like get introduced?

Charlie: Absolutely.

Alex: Oh my gosh!

Charlie: Absolutely.

Alex: And did your dad-- were you with your dad at this point because your mom had passed away?

Charlie: Passed away.

Alex: Did your dad ever find out about this thing that happened?

Charlie: Yes and I don't know how, Alex. Because I did not tell him. Okay. My dad was remarried too at this point to my stepmom. Just an absolute saint. If you could combine like a saint and an angel and put it together that was my stepmother, right. Although at the time, I wasn't having it. Right. I wasn't having wanting a stepmother around. So-- but many years-- over the years really became to be so appreciative of you know-- who she was and the kind of person she was and what she did for my dad and for me. And but, at the time I wasn't having it. But they both found out. I don't know how they found out. I went to work the next day. I worked at Mcdonald's at 15 years old. And they found out too like it got around. Let's just say it got around, okay. It got around. And the manager at the time knew that I had drink that much. Died. Had to get revived. She put me on burger duty like the whole day. You know, people are like you're green dude. You're green. You look green right. And so that was her way of trying to teach me a lesson. My dad's way of trying to address it, was he sent me to treatment. At like-- yeah, I was 15 so I went to treatment. That was my first stint in treatment. And so I went to an adolescent treatment center. And you know this was their awakening-- like you know, Charlie's got some stuff going on. He drank so much. He almost died. They found some pot and a pair of pants in mine and they're like treatment for you buddy. And so I went to a outpatient adolescent treatment center mostly because I lied enough to be able to get into outpatient, not inpatient. And I very quickly learned what they wanted to hear and I told them exactly what they wanted to hear. And I became the treatment ninja. And I waxed poetically about steps that I wasn't working. And you know I just want to get out of there right. I had no intention on quitting. I had literally just found this stuff. Like I just found it. Like this is the answer for me, okay. You want me to what now-- you want me to stop. That's not going to happen. I mean I'll tell you what you want to hear for sure. But I'm not going to stop that-- at this point. You had to stop to-- you know-- during the 28 days because they-- you know-- you ate?10:16, you-- but at the end of the treatment, 28 days, they're passing the recovery coin, the graduation coin around. And everybody's saying Charlie, if I had just an ounce of your wisdom, I would be so grateful. You're gonna stay sober forever and Eileen, the head treatment counselor, this old Irish broad. Who I didn't even think was listening, usurps the circle. Takes the coin, she looks at me and she says you're lying to yourself. You're lying to this group. You're going to use again and it's probably going to kill you. And she walked out.

Alex: And how does-- what do you think-- how do you think she sensed that.

Charlie: I don't know. I didn't think she was paying attention. But she just saw right through it. Like she saw through all the bs, right. Probably because she was in recovery herself and had been down that road and you know, it takes one to no one kind of deal.

Alex: yeah.

Charlie: This lady had seen it all, right. It wasn't any fool in her. And she was right. She was absolutely right and she became sort of the voice of my-- voice of conscious in terms of my alcoholism and addiction you know. As my alcoholism and addiction progressed and became increasingly unmanageable, she would come up into my head.

Alex: Yeah. Well that's-- I was going to say it. Had to be like a really powerful moment at such a young age for someone to like speak the truth to you. Like you know. I cannot-- that would stick with me forever I think.

Charlie: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Absolutely. Nobody ever-- nobody else either saw through it or had the audacity to speak truth to bs.

Alex: And so-- what happened next. Like-- so you left the treatment center and then you-- what happened after.

Charlie: I found out there was a lot of extra drugs you could do, that I wasn't really aware of until I met all these other people in treatment. That were doing all these extra drugs right. And so-- it really like next leveled my drug use. Is what it did. And so-- really for the rest of my high school career was a lot of experimentation with other drugs. But you know, really on the daily marijuana use, multiple times a day. That allowed me to stay numb and alcohol. Whenever I could get it. That's how it was. Barely graduated high school. I like just barely-- and you know launched myself sort of into adulthood. Went to radio broadcasting school. Graduated. Figured out that radio broadcasters make terrible money and that wasn't going to support a drinking or drug habit by any stretch. Plus the jobs that you had to start with were like in nowhere Iowa ,nowhere Nebraska. That was not an attractive option for me at that point. So I just started working full-time and drinking and using as much as I could. The difference became outside of high school, I started to realize that my-- the way I drank alcohol was radically different than a lot of other people did. I blended in a lot with the party crowd in high school. So it was-- yeah I was one of the more extreme ones for sure. But I still-- it was still sort of like-- I blended in. There was other people that were you know as excessive as I was in terms of drug and alcohol use. But post high school it started to become clear. Like not a lot of people drank the way I drank and when I drank hard liquor, I had zero ability to control it. None. Zero. And that became increasingly clear that add hard liquor, no idea what's gonna happen. So that's when I start trying to manage it. It didn't seem that-- I wasn't aware that's what I was doing. But that's what I was doing. So I made a promise to myself. No hard liquor Charlie. That's the problem. You just can't have hard liquor stick to beer and a pot and you'll be fine, right. And so that's sort of began the negotiation around my drug and alcohol use. I met who would ultimately become the mother to my two wonderful children. And she very quickly became pregnant and I had responsibility for the first time in my entire life which was both a good and a bad thing. I had to-- at that point even more keep my drug and alcohol use in check. It kicked the marijuana completely and then, that entered a phase of my life for about a decade where it was kind of addiction whack-a-mole right. Like if I can't have what I really really want, which is-- I want to you know tie one on basically every night. Then you know I'm gonna look for substitutes again. This is not a conscious thing.

Alex: Right.

Charlie: This is an unconscious thing. So food became a problem for a while. Porn becomes a problem for a while. Like it's addiction whack-a-mole. And I just didn't really have any idea that,that's what was happening because I hadn't addressed the root of what was driving all of it. And a number of things were. But I just wasn't ready and capable and at a point where I was willing to really address my alcoholism, my addiction and ultimately my mental health right. And so it was a period of time where I was just kind of dry. Also addiction whack-a-mole was going on there and you know that marriage ended for a variety of reasons. I like-- I don't like to tell other people's stories. So-- but I participated very much in why that marriage ended. And I quickly got married again. Because, that might be the answer right. That could be the answer and it wasn't. And that marriage crashed and burned for a lot of reasons. And I got married again for a third time because again, I'm thinking this might be the answer. Everything else prior to that hadn't been the answer. Money-- whatever right. And so I'm on my third marriage at this point. I'm in my early 30s and it's about a year in and she looks at me one day and she says, you drink every day. And I look at her and I say well yeah but baby, it ain't that much. And then she gets-- like this look at her eye like-- okay well I'm gonna start counting right. You say not that much. I'm gonna find out how much. And the problem with trying to outsmart somebody who's a. already smarter than you and b. not drunk, is it doesn't work out very well. So I'm trying to like rotate beers in the fridge and in the garage right. And trying to play this-- like shell game you know and she realizes a couple of things. She realizes that I'm not eating and I hadn't been eating for a good long time because I had gotten so sick in my alcoholism. By that point, that I had figured out that if I don't eat all day, I can get home and I can get really really wasted on a six-pack. And I just rinse, wash and repeat right. On some basic level I already knew going in. I knew it going in from my previous marriages that-- like I can't drink 24 a night you know. Like that's not something that you're going to be able to hide right. So you got to figure out a way to be able to-- I wanted-- I needed to reach my goal. Which was to get to my happy place every night right. But I also had to do it in a way that didn't raise suspicion and I got really sick Alex. And I started liking the fact that I was losing all this weight right. I liked that. And I also liked the fact that I could drink a six pack and get wasted. And I thought I had everybody fooled. She started putting some stuff together there right. A, it's more than a couple b, you're not eating right. And you're getting really sick. So around that time I got diagnosed with a kidney disease which isn't in my family at all. Like nobody has kidney disease in my family. Membranous Nephropathy is what I got diagnosed with. And she's like, you drink every day and it's more than a few. And I said yeah, but I can quit anytime I want. And I should have seen this coming but she's like, okay cool quit for 30 days. So I did. I quit for 30 days on Marlboros?20:48 and resentments. Which I don't recommend you know. I was just like-- that was how my quit program was. And at the end of the 30 days, I convinced her. It was see ta-da I did it. And she says okay. We were having my oldest child's birthday which fell on Thanksgiving that year at our house. Like convinced it was okay to get some alcohol. My dad was coming over, My stepmom was coming over, I'll go to the liquor store honey. Don't worry I got enough alcohol to get an army drunk. And there was four of us that were drinking.I knew without any doubt that I could not get drunk that day. Like everything was riding on it and man I didn't want to get divorced again. Like I just didn't want to get-- i just didn't want to get divorced again. You know. So I knew everything was riding on this right. And I didn't like to put myself in that box because I knew I didn't have the capacity to live up to that commitment. When I would say-- well I'm only going to have a few because I knew myself well enough that I knew-- that I couldn't do that. But this time I thought it's so important-- I can do this. I can have just a few and that's all I wanted to have. Really. Was just a few. And I got drunk. And I couldn't stop. No matter how bad I wanted to. I couldn't stop and I'm drinking glasses of half drink wine. I almost cut my finger off carving the turkey and I make a complete fool of myself. And after my folks leave, she looks at me and she honestly wanted to know. She said what's wrong with you. And my son looks at her and looks at me and looks at her again and says what do you mean. Just dad. He's just drunk again. In that statement of truth, hit me like a ton of bricks and pierced the veil. The-- that was the final straw. Like I'm fooling nobody here right. Nobody. My oldest son knows exactly what's going on. And she's like you gotta go to treatment. Like you gotta go. And so I said fine and I went to-- I wouldn't-- I agreed to go to treatment because I just didn't want to get divorced again. Like that's-- I was just trying not to get divorced. I wasn't trying to quit. I wasn't trying to get sober. Like that's not what was on my mind. And I get to this treatment counselor's office and-- so why are you here. That's literally the only thing she asked and I like broke down like a baby in this treatment counselor's office and I got honest fully honest about the full extent of my alcoholism and my addiction, my drug and alcohol use for the first time in my entire life. I didn't pull the punches, I didn't rationalize, I didn't minimize, just straight honesty. And that was my surrender moment. Like, that was it. That was my gift of desperation. I never wanted to feel like I just felt. Prior to coming in that day. I never wanted to feel like that again. And so we get through my drunkalog and my-- you know drugalog and she says what do you want to get out of this deal. Because at that point I'm ready I'm ready. I'm ready. I'm ready. Let's-- I'm ready. I said I want to know why the way--why I am the way I am. And she kind of laughs and she's like oh okay, like okay. Well let's say, it's because you have big addict and alcoholic switches and they were just bound to get tripped at some point right. Or because your mom died when you were 11. Or because it's a combination of the two. If you find out the reason you are the way you are, do you think Charlie, you will ever be able to use safely again. No. Do you ever think you're going to be able to drink normally again if you find out why the-- you are the way you are. No I don't. Cool. So we figure out how we get better instead of why you are the way you are. That was the first like big light bulb moment. Like, yes please! Let's do that! And that began my recovery journey and prior to that, it was sort of this-- there was these moments where the reality of my drug and alcohol use became undeniable. Which was that over any period of time, my drug and alcohol use would become unmanageable. That happened in DWI's, that happened in lost relationships and marriages, right. And also, over any length of time, I couldn't sober by myself. Couldn't do it. That also became unmanageable. Right. This was the first time I asked for help. And it was a game changer.

Alex: Wow! What a story! There were moments in that, that I can like completely relate to. Like-- I think you're the first person that has mentioned this, that I've ever had on the show, but you talking about you know jumping from relationship to relationship. Like marriage to marriage. And like-- I had a thing going on like this through like a lot of my teenagehood and young adulthood where I was like constantly looking for the light in other people and it was like this void within myself. And I never have-- I don't know if I've ever associated that as like the same thing but it's like you're constantly looking for an answer for-- you know your unhappiness or the void within you. And you think it's somewhere outside of yourself.

Charlie: That's right. That's right. I was looking for the answer for what was wrong with me from somebody else.

Alex: Yeah. I can totally relate to that. And then, I-- the one time I've ever lived with a partner, I remember moving in with him and being worried about how I was going to hide my drinking from him. And I remember in the beginning of our relationship it was-- I hit it pretty well like the very beginning. And we would just like binge excessively on the weekends and then throughout the week, I wasn't drinking. And then as the relationship went on, there was like always a reason.Like, oh I had a really stressful day, I need a drink or like-- oh I have--. You know and I was counting the days in my head, I was like how many days of this week have I drank you know. Can I have-- what's the limit. Like one time a week, two times a week, so I can 100% relate to. It's like once you live with someone, they s-- you cannot hide these things. Whereas like you can hide them from the rest of the world you know. Your friends, your even-- your know parents that you don't live with. But the person, the partner that you live with, sees everything.

Charlie: That's right. That's right. And that's the hardest person to hide something like an addiction, a substance use disorder from is-- somebody that you live with on the daily. It was very easy to be in the times that I didn't-- was not living with anybody to play this Jekyll and Hyde and be super employee, super dad, on the outside. And when I go home alone, nobody knows what I'm doing. And I can keep that under wraps right. It's a lot harder when you're living with somebody.

Alex: Yeah. Absolutely. And so tell me about--okay so you went to the treatment program and what was that like-- how long was it. Was it inpatient. How was it different than the first time.

Charlie: It was different for a lot of different reasons. But it was outpatient.It was intensive outpatient. I was absolutely very fortunate to be able to go to Hazelden. And my soon-to-be ex, my soon-to-be third ex-wife decided that she was gonna pay for it, for me through her insurance. So she allowed me to stay on her insurance long enough to be able to get through all of my intensive outpatient plus some extended outpatient and treatment. So I'll be forever grateful to her for that gift because it really provided the foundation for my recovery. And it was an extremely eye-opening and profoundly spiritual experience going to Hazelden and really for the first time being receptive and willing to do the work and being receptive to what we were you know what we were trying to apply to our lives. And I remember one of the most transformational things that we did in that treatment was, watch a two-part video series called “The Problem and The Solution” by Fred Holmquist and Fred Holmquist is a legend in Hazelden fame. And he did this video series. It's based on the 12 steps but does a really really good job of defining the problem that we struggle with when it comes to alcoholism and addiction. And what the solution is-- and that was really the first time Alex, where I really felt like there was true hope. Like yeah, I think I can get better, you know. And I started hearing stories, started to go into 12-step meetings while I was in treatment. And that was equally as transformational for me because I was hearing other people's stories and I was hearing my story in theirs for the very first time. I never really listened to other people's stories before. I wasn't really concerned with what you had to say. I was concerned with what I had to say. And I was thinking about what I was going to say. Wasn't this-- I was tuning you out and focused solely on preparing my really really profound share that I was going to launch on you. And this was the first time I was listening to other people's stories really genuinely. And they changed me. It changed me in some really important ways. Number one, I didn't feel alone anymore because I was hearing my story in yours. And number two, because I was hearing you tell your story and you felt like I felt and you did what I did and you thought like I thought and you got better. I had true hope that I could get better too. And that was the impetus also for wanting to start my podcast, the way out podcast. I wanted to get these stories out of the church basement and have other people hear these amazing stories that were changing me. I wanted other people to have the opportunity to be changed by these amazing stories that, to that point were stuck inside of a church basement. And I started working through the steps in order, with a sponsor and that by far away was the most transformational experience I've had in my recovery was working through those steps.

Alex: Yeah. Wow. Well you mentioned at the beginning of this like, just being what made a difference was like being willing to do the work and I think that is like one of the key things, is like-- I think sometimes we don't realize how much power lies in our own hands. And I meet people sometimes who don't-- you know aren't sure if they are ready to quit or if they're ready to cut back or if they want to moderate. And I always say you know what changed for me was there were years of wishy-washy of like I really want to stop drinking I really want to stop. But what changed for me was the day when I was like I am taking a break. And it was like a thing within my mind and it was like okay I've drawn this line in the sand. I'm making this choice and now I'm gonna like look for the support to get me through it. And so I think the key changing point is like being willing to do the work and being willing to show up and participate in whatever is there for you to to help you recover.

Charlie: Absolutely. And I think about the parable that is about the “Three Frogs on a Log” and you know if there's three frogs in a log and two of them decide to jump off how many frogs are on the log? Three. Because making a decision is one thing but it has to be followed by action. And it's about running this experiment and that's what I did with the 12 steps. Like I just ran the experiment.

Alex: Yeah.

Charlie: And I remember listening to Joe and Charlie who are famous for doing-- they-- it's called the “Joe and Charlie Tapes” and they talk about the big book of “Alcoholics Anonymous” and they they really bring that book alive in a way that really was transformational for me. And they kept saying just run the experiment like, hey.

Alex: Yeah.

Charlie: if at the end of this process you're not happy, we'll happily refund your misery. You can go back to that old life. That's there for you.

Alex: Right.

Charlie: Right. And so that made sense to me like-- I never wanted to feel like I felt like that like before I got into that treatment counselor's office. And they were saying-- you sure, can go back to that because everything I had tried to that moment led me there, right. Like my own best thinking got me there right. So run this experiment. Try something different. And it doesn't have to be the 12 steps. It could be yoga, it can be--

Alex: Yeah.

Charlie: Smart recovery. It can be whatever makes sense for you. And hits you in a way that says-- yeah and gives you that hope. Just run the experiment. See what happens. Invest in it. Do it a hundred percent, for 30 days. See what happens. If you're worse or as miserable, then that's not for you right.

Alex: Yeah.

Charlie: Turned out when I ran that experiment things started getting better.

Alex: And so tell me about that. What was the journey like-- you know in finding sobriety.

Charlie: It was a spiritual journey more than anything else, for me. Which I didn't anticipate because I was pretty ticked off at God and really didn't want to have anything to do with a higher power. And God the way I saw it, up until that moment was responsible for taking my mom away when I was 11 years old. And a lot of other things that I had attributed to this God that I had grown up with. This God that was in the church. And I didn't want to have anything to do with that God. But I was in a kind of a pickle Alex, when I first got sober and Joe and Charlie kept saying, just run the experiment and see what happens. Just run the experiment and see what happens. So I did and I started praying to a higher power that I had no concept of. I just wiped the slate clean. I said okay, I'm clearing the slate and I am going to just start praying. And my prayers are exceedingly simple in the beginning. I get down on my knees in the morning and I'd ask for help. That's it. And at night I'd say thank you and I didn't know what I was praying to. Certainly wasn't the God I grew up with. And something profound happened as I embarked on this spiritual journey. I started behaving in a very different way. A way that I wasn't able to behave prior to that-- taking those actions. And I started living according to some different principles. I started living unselfishly. I started trying to help people as much as I could. I started integrating gratitude and humility into my daily thoughts and actions. And I wasn't sure how this was happening because I didn't do this before and I didn't really want to do this before. But all of a sudden now I'm starting to want and wanting to be grateful and wanting to integrate some humility and some forgiveness and some grace. And what I realized was this higher power that I had no concept of wasn't changing the world. Wasn't changing the drivers on the road. Wasn't changing my girlfriend, my kids, my boss. They were all the same. But I was changing. And what I was putting out into the world was radically different than what I had ever put out before. And so what I was getting back was radically different. And that changed everything for me. And then I believed that a higher power in my life can make an extraordinary difference in how I experience the world, right. And that was that big light bulb moment. That was that big spiritual experience and I still know very little about my higher power. But I know this higher power works! If I make the active decision to connect to this higher power. And I also know now what it feels like sober not to be connected to my higher power and it sucks.

Alex: As you're talking it-- I guess I don't-- I maybe-- I just haven't heard the spiritual aspects of the 12 step be explained to me in that way. but I honestly was getting shivers and a little teary because I just feel like it was connecting so much to like a spiritual journey that I have found through yoga. And it honestly makes me curious about it. A lot of people that I meet have said you know you should really go to an AA meeting just to see what it's like. And I have been curious about it and I feel after this conversation I'm like-- I must go because it sounds like it's not that different from you know the work that I'm doing in connecting to you know a gratitude practice. Practicing prayer you know believing in a higher power, like it sounds so similar. And the community and the connection and hearing other people's stories. And it's just-- it's beautiful.

Charlie: Alex, the yoga journey is so parallels.

Alex: Yeah.

Charlie: A 12-step journey and I've interviewed a number of amazing people that have yoga at the center of their recovery. And there's so many parallels to a 12-step recovery and we-- and I've interviewed people and I know people that have put them together and it's like you know. Yeah that's great.

Alex: I spoke to someone today actually. I was talking about the philosophy of yoga and she said to me, you know the sober journey-- we've all heard this before where the sober journey-- we think it's just giving up beer but it's really like this giant thing. And stopping drinking is just like one toe dipping into it and then there's like so much else. And she compared yoga to that. She's like-- you know, you just go do a yoga pose and you think it's just doing a pose but really it's like, all this stuff .And I was like wow. I've never thought of it that way but you're totally hit the nail on the head with that. So--

Charlie: I feel the same way about meditation too. Right. Like it starts with sitting quietly and trying not to let your brain run away and have an anchor around what my attention's attuned to for 10 minutes. But it's so much more than that.

Alex: Yeah that's so true. So tell me about-- so now you're hosting the way out podcast you kind of mentioned that-- and you're also thinking about becoming a recovery coach right. You mentioned that--

Charlie: That's absolutely correct.

Alex: Yeah the last episode we did-- so tell me about like the work you're doing now in the sober world.

Charlie: Absolutely. The way a podcast started as a kind of like an amend because prior to getting into recovery on December 6, 2014 it had all been all about me in previous stints at treatment or in 12-step programs. I didn't care about anybody else I only care about me. And I'm hearing these stories and they're changing me and I see them changing other people. And in these rooms and I want to get it out of there right. And so it's a combination of hey I'm going to be the one that listens and helps another person's story get some attention. Plus other people are gonna be able to hear these. And it's been a-- just an amazing journey for a variety of different reasons. There's something really special about being able to have something like this podcast to focus by creative. And I would say constructive energies towards, right. That's so-- that's been-- I mean I just dove right in I didn't know what I was doing. I had no idea, Alex. None. Zero. And I won't even listen to like-- my first episodes. Like that horrifies me Alex. That horrifies me okay. And so the way the podcast has evolved in structure and quality and you know working on the website sometimes and working on the artwork sometimes or working on the content of the intro or the outro. There's always something to work on. So I really enjoy that part of it. Building something, improving something, being a part of something that continues to evolve hopefully to the better. Sometimes not. Sometimes we make a change and I'm like that you know but you know hopefully to the better by and large. And that it's a vehicle for me to be able to be of service to the recovery community and that's super important to me. It's super important to me that I'm able to highlight really great stories of recovery, across a wide spectrum of pathways. Because recovering out loud changes people. And when we choose to recover out loud

our stories have the opportunity to really affect people in a really profound way. And that's a special experience and that's a spiritual experience. Okay.To be able to do that. And that's now got me into a place where I'm starting to train as a certified recovery coach. And that's a new journey that I'm just starting, okay. But yeah I sponsor folks in 12-step programs as part of what we do. Being a certified recovery coach is something different than that, because I have the opportunity to be able to help people navigate to a pathway of recovery that fits them. And is most suitable to them. And then continue to have an opportunity to coach them through their recovery process. Sharing my experience, strength and hope and I wouldn't be in a position to be as helpful as I could be as a recovery coach if I didn't have 250 episodes of experience, of interviewing such a wide array of folks that have recovered through a variety of pathways. And have just a deep appreciation for recovery at large and being able to support people in their recovery.

Alex: Oh! I think you're going to be such an incredible coach because honestly listening to hearing you speak, even-- you're just so inspiring. Like I know it's-- this episode is going to touch so many people and inspire so many people. And I think you're-- I just think it's a really great choice for you. You're gonna be--

Charlie: Awesome.

Alex: Phenomenal. So--

Charlie: I can't wait.

Alex: So I'm wondering if you have any advice for someone who wants to quit drinking. Wants to be sober. What advice would you give.

Charlie: Single greatest piece of advice that I could give somebody is, ask for help and be completely honest with yourself about the nature of your alcohol use. And if you start at a point of honesty in terms of the true nature of your alcohol use, and then ask for help. You're gonna get it and so I guess I'm gonna make it three pieces of advice. Be honest with yourself. Yeah. Ask for help and then run the experiment. Just run the experiment. Whatever pathway speaks to you. And there's a lot right, there's a lot of pathways. So avail yourself to them. You know. And tap into that recovery community and the one that really speaks to you, run the experiment with that pathway and gather everything. Give it everything you have. Like your life depends on it. And come out of that experiment however long you decide to do it for, whether it be 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, whatever it is. And then decide if life is better on the other side of that experiment. It certainly was for me.

Alex: Awesome. Well Charlie, this was an amazing episode. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show. Your story and your wisdom and everything you've been through, I think is really gonna touch and inspire everyone listening. So thank you so much.

Charlie: Alex, it's been an absolute pleasure. You do a tremendous job as a podcast host. And so yeah, keep up the good work from a podcast perspective. It's great.

Alex: Oh thank you! I mean I don't have the radio voice that you do. But I'm doing my best. All right take care.

Charlie: Bye Alex.

Outro: Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Sober Yoga Girl with Alex McRobs. I am so grateful for every one of you. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss the next one and leave a review before you go. See you soon. Bye.

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