Recovery In Real Time | Episode 28

Recovery In Real Time | Episode 28

Do you live with someone who is going through recovery? What can you do when the fear of a relapse kicks in? How can each party interact with one another and work together to move through the fears?

In this podcast episode, Billy and Brandy Eldridge speak about recovery in real time.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Fear
  • Daily acts

Fear

Both parties experience fear, the person in recovery, and the loved ones close to them. Even though someone is in recovery and has been sober for a long period of time, that fear is still present of ‘will they relapse’.

This fear can also be felt by the person in recovery, who may feel antagonized when their partners or family are nervous – however, it is a traumatic event for everyone involved and it can, and does, take a long time for things to settle again.

I don’t fight it like I used to. I really have been relieved of the obsession to do that, but I still have crazy thoughts that still enter into my mind – Billy

It is sunup to sundown for many people in recovery, because that feeling is just behind the door.

We never want to present ourselves as like this cheesy couple with all the answers, and we don’t have any of the answers … but we do wanna talk about issues to give people hope – Brandy

All kinds of betrayal, whether it is an addiction, infidelity, or abuse, all create a type of anxiety in our partners, and in order to bridge the divide, you need to lean into the uncertainty and look at the pain.

Daily acts

Billy gets up, gets on his knees, and asks God to help him stay sober. Having something outside of him helps him keep aware of his actions and act in the integrity of his family.

It really is just a slaying of the ego, because my best thoughts and my best laid plans got me here, so why would I think they could get me out of this place that I had gotten myself into? – Billy

To keep the sobriety, you keep it and pay it forward to others. He goes to meetings, reads every day, talks to people, and at night, getting on his knees and saying, ‘thank you for helping me’. Opening himself up to be available for what needs to get done on that day.

Brandy takes pride and feels compassion towards Billy for getting up every day and working on himself, being an example to the family of deep, simplified spirituality. Asking God for favor and wisdom, and talking to Billy when she feels like she goes in a small spiral from worry.

Together, they plan for the future but live for the day, in the present.

Books mentioned in this episode

Are you ready to find the freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

Useful links:

Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. I have learned to embrace my best beta self, and I can help you to do the same. As a therapist, I understand the need to belong. You belong here. Join the REVOLUTION.

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

Hello, Beta friends. I am an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. I feel alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Beta Male Revolution Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[BILLY]:
Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a family of podcasts seeking to change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Hey, Beta Male Revolution, if you haven’t gotten the opportunity to go over to our website, www.betamalerevolution.com, hop over there and shoot us an email, let us know what you think of the podcast. Also, if you haven’t gone and rated and reviewed our podcast on Apple or another listening device, do that also; it helps us out a little bit.

We’re going to talk about addiction, recovery, fear, all the things that go into that today. It’s just Brandy and I having an open, honest conversation in real time about what that life is like for us. Apart from the podcast, my day job is that of a counselor. With my dear friend Randy Thomason, we own Olive Tree Counseling. If you have a family member or someone who is looking for counseling services, you can always go over to olivetreetxk.com, reach out to us or we can give you referrals to many other wonderful counseling places in our community and other surrounding communities. We’ve developed quite a network of people who can help navigate the tough road of recovery, for those who are in addiction and want to recover, and for those family members who may have someone out there who’s not ready to come in yet and they’re struggling as a bystander. That’s sometimes the most painful place and that’s what we talked about today. It’s Brandy and I.

[BILLY]:
Hey, Beta Male Revolution. It’s Billy and Brandy today and we were just going to have a Just Us episode, just the two of us having a conversation with you guys about things we’ve dealt with in our life around addiction and recovery. And I think we’re all in recovery from something so I hope it’s applicable. A couple of books we want to mention that deal with this, and you can go a little deeper with it, is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie; The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie; Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand, he’s one of our favorite people who talks on the topic of addiction; Beautiful Boy by David Sheff, if you don’t want to read the book, the movie is great too; and then Breathing Underwater by Richard Rohr, he takes people through the 12 steps, he gives you a view of the 12 steps outside of recovery. He’s not in recovery but he wrote on what the 12 steps mean to him, and how he’s seen it as a clergy person, impact people and himself also.

[BRANDY]:
I think also one that I recommend is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, you’re gonna mention Brene Brown.

[BRANDY]:
I have to.

[BILLY]:
She’s one of our favorites.

[BRANDY]:
I think everyone needs to read it. It’s just about worthiness, and hustling for worthiness.

[BILLY]:
I didn’t know she was in recovery until I heard an episode with her and Russell Brand. And it was a beautiful interview, if you haven’t had a chance.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, she just like recently, within the last year or two, really started talking about her…

[BILLY]:
Recovery.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, being in recovery. Like, she doesn’t mention it really in her first books. And a lot of the first interviews she did. In the last ten years, I don’t remember her ever talking about it. But now that… I guess maybe now that she’s established and doesn’t have to worry about backlash on it, but she’s been a little more vulnerable and open even more in interviews and writings.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. I think we have to walk a fine line when we talk about recovery, because we never want to set ourselves up. Or I know it’s been taught to me to not set myself up as some beacon of recovery because that kind of pride cometh before a fall. And you know, I’ve seen that in people who get a little too haughty when they talk about recovery or a little too comfortable with their recovery. I always want to remember where I came from.

[BRANDY]:
Okay, so I’m going to kind of just talk about why we’re doing this episode. So Billy’s been in recovery for six years.

[BILLY]:
May 20, 2013.

[BRANDY]:
Will be seven years.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Seven and a half years, I’ve been completely sober.

[BRANDY]:
From everything. And all of our community and our friends were very open about Billy being in recovery and I say that in the sense of, like, Billy in recovery, it’s me too. You know, recovering from fears and we all have something; but really watching you walk this out. And we’re huge Dax Shepard podcast fans. So, Experts on Experts and The Armchair Expert, and…

[BILLY]:
He’s been real forthcoming about his recovery.

[BRANDY]:
And I listened to his episode called Day Seven. And it’s about after sixteen years of sobriety, he had a relapse. And I’m listening to this podcast, and just fear comes all over me. And I just start crying and shaking and just, you know, not to be dramatic, but just like, not shaking in the sense of like, oh, but just that fear came over me because unlike Kristen Bell, who’s Dax Shepard’s wife, she did not see her husband in the throes of addiction, and I did. And Billy and I have always kind of had this thing… I’ve told him, I don’t know if I could do it again, like, that was the most painful, hard thing I’ve ever gone through, is watching you get sober… well, watching you in addiction, and then trying to get sober.

[BILLY]:
And that’s saying a lot coming from you, because you had a pretty rough childhood. And for me to take the award of the one that’s traumatized you the most.

[BRANDY]:
Well, we had kids, you know, I was married to you, I was pregnant, we had a child already. And just for those of you who haven’t been through that, or have been through something, it’s maybe losing somebody in your life that turns your world upside down in an instant, an affair, you know, you’ve not cheated on me that I know of. Although I did ask that question in addiction.

[BILLY]:
Is there someone else? And there was someone else.

[BRANDY]:
I did. I thought… because I just didn’t have a… I think we’ve talked about this before, so I don’t want to rehash it. But I didn’t have a reference point. I didn’t know anything about drugs. I’d never smoked a cigarette. I’d never drank what I wasn’t supposed to, like, it just wasn’t something I was… I never took a pill that I wasn’t supposed to that wasn’t prescribed to me that I didn’t take every four hours and I took the one that I was supposed to do, and never finished a bottle of painkillers and…

[BILLY]:
I took care of that for you.

[BRANDY]:
God. But just having no reference point when you were acting odd. I didn’t know to think, oh, maybe he’s on drugs and alcohol. Like, I just didn’t think that. So I thought maybe he’s having an affair, because I’d heard about people having these secret lives. And when that wasn’t it, and then the whole thing came out. But it is a sense of betrayal and mistrust. And in an instant, your whole world changes. And I know that feeling of my stomach sinking and the whole world is lost in a minute. And I’m listening to this podcast this morning and I’m… I don’t know why we didn’t listen to it earlier, I just had been putting it off, and I’m listening to him talk about his relapse. And man, I just, I got scared and thought, holy cow, maybe Billy’s relapsed and he hasn’t told me and I start going through his stuff.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. So, I come home and I go into my closet and Brandy is like, in there. And I’m like, what are you doing? First, she’s like, nothing, like, I caught her. And I thought, I don’t know, maybe she’s hiding something that’s gonna scare me later.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. Cos it is October.

[BILLY]:
We do a lot of that. But she tears up and she says, I’m just scared and I wanted to make sure you weren’t hiding anything. Old me would get super defensive, and talk about why are you questioning me? I’ve done all this stuff. A little bit more evolved me realizes that’s fear and I want to lean into that and be there, in that place, and that presence, and comfort and talk about it. Because, hey, Dax had sixteen years. Love his podcast.

[BRANDY]:
Philip Seymour Hoffman.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, he died.

[BRANDY]:
And he was sober for twenty-something years. And so my fear is always like, you’ve got seven years but one stupid decision and our whole world is gone.

[BILLY]:
Well, and seven years, that number doesn’t mean anything to me because my alcoholism and addiction doesn’t keep a scheduled time and doesn’t care if I’ve got seven years or two days or…

[BRANDY]:
Dax Shepard said on his podcast, he was like – and you say it – that even though you’ve had seven years or sixteen years or twenty-four years, that your alcoholism is over there doing push ups, ready at any point.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, yeah. It’s outside the door and I just want to keep the door closed. That seven years is to give other people hope, that a guy like me, as messed up as I was, can get better. That’s to give families hope. But for me, it’s sunup till sundown. And if I get out of that window from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, today I know what I need to do to stay sober, I don’t fight it like I used to. I really have been relieved of the obsession to do that. But I still have crazy thoughts that still enter into my mind. When you were looking for hiding places, I was like, no, if I was going to hide them, here’s where I would hide them.

[BRANDY]:
Oh my gosh. So I’m looking in like Billy shoes, and I’m looking for some painkillers or pain pills. And I’m looking in all these weird places. I know his old tricks and one of his old tricks was in old pill bottles, he would put… so I’d look at the pill bottle, and it would say, like, I don’t know, something regular for an antibiotic, but then I’d look in there and he’d have painkillers in there. And I didn’t know that until later. But this dude has some messed up ways of thinking, like, when you need to be shady, you can be shady. So I’m looking in shoes and drawers and Billy comes in and shows me, no, if I was really this is what I would do.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, we had an old security system. So there’s a lockbox of the old security system in my closet. It’s got a key in it. We’ve never used it and we probably need to have it taken out and painted over. But I was just like, I’d just put it in there and take the key out and if you said, why’s this locked? I was like, I don’t know, it’s been there since we moved here.

[BRANDY]:
You’d start gaslighting.

[BILLY]:
Yes, yes, yes.

[BRANDY]:
And then you…

[BILLY]:
[Unclear] yes.

[BRANDY]:
You said, and then I would…

[BILLY]:
I said I would gaslight you.

[BRANDY]:
You would gaslight me. No, why would I…? And then you would…

[BILLY]:
You’re talking crazy.

[BRANDY]:
And then you would, in between, take the pills out. And then I’d pry it open and look and there’d be no pills, like, you had a whole plan for it. Within thirty seconds, your shady, addictive mind went on where to hide it.

[BILLY]:
And so, that’s why it has to be sunup to sundown for me because my default for so many years was lie and protect and cover up. And so I can still easily go there. And I know we joke about it, but it’s not anything I want to be proud of. I want my default to be ethics and integrity and character. But there’s this thing in me I have a bentness towards, unlike Brandy, towards things that are harmful for me, unhealthy ways of coping with life.

[BRANDY]:
Well, I thought that one of our friends, I’m going to mention her, Mindy Solomon, Dr. Mindy Solomon in Denver, she was talking to us and she recommended, like, have you listened to Dax’s new podcast Day Seven? And I knew about it and I’m like, no, I haven’t listened to it yet. It’s almost like I had to work myself up to listen to it because I didn’t want my mind to go through things that we had been through before. And she said, I really want to get to the point where we talk about things in real time. And that’s… she encouraged… she doesn’t know this yet but she encouraged us to do this podcast now where we just stopped and said, we need to talk about this. Because this morning, I’m crying in the closet looking through Billy shoes and that’s real time, like, it’s… we never want to present ourselves as this cheesy couple that has all the answers. And we don’t have any of the answers and we hope we’ve stepped out there and said that. But we do want to talk about issues to give people hope. And when we want to kill each other on the podcast, it comes out, and when we want to love on each other, we hope that comes out too. And just know that everyone’s got struggles and ours happens to be… one of ours, one of my struggles is still trust. And I relapse in that. And the thing you did today is when I’m like crying in the closet, getting caught checking for pills, you didn’t get defensive and you brought me in and you gave me a hug and you said I’m so sorry. And you’re really good about taking that and saying, I’m so sorry that I’ve put you in a place where you can’t trust me and that it comes up and I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this today. And the old you would have gaslighted. The old you would have been like, you’re crazy. Why would you…? And that always makes me think he’s guilty of something. And when you’re kind to me, and you don’t get defensive, and you don’t all of a sudden start going, well you need to go to a meeting, or you need to get help.

[BILLY]:
You need to go to Al-Anon.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
Codependent, crazy behavior.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. And it is crazy behavior. Like, I’m looking in your shoes and I’m looking in your sock drawer and in your pill bottles to make sure. Before you found me there, I had checked four pill bottles and took the – which I learned from you – take the pill out and check it online, white pill that says this, and I can check it. And I’d already checked all your pills in your bathroom, so you’re good on that.

[BILLY]:
You had been to work long before I got there and caught you, so funny. I caught you trying to catch me.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
But it was that look I saw in your face of fear and despair, and the trauma that betrayal creates – whatever we want to call it, addiction, affair, any hiding of behaviors, finances, gambling – we start a contest of which one is worse. They all create an unsettledness in our partner. And if we want to bridge the divide, and I didn’t know this, this was taught to me by other people, people that have held me accountable and held me to a higher standard that I didn’t believe I deserved. I didn’t know that I was worthy of integrity and character and doing things the right way. I just thought, I’m broken and I’m destined to live this way, and this will be me from here on out. But it’s leaning into the pain, looking at the fear, and if it happens for another thirty years, and we’re sitting on a beach, and I’ve said, I have to take a drug test in the middle of the day, that’s alright, we’ll do that. And then we’ll ride the rest of the day out, because I really hope we grow old in this thing. There’s no guarantees. We tell people if we get a divorce, it’s not going to be a surprise, you’ll hear it coming in the podcast.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
I’ve had a few people I really enjoy listening to, and my hearts and thoughts are with them, but they have podcasts and are in the public eye and they’re going through divorces and I was shocked. I was like, we’re gonna prep you all for it if this thing doesn’t work out.

[BRANDY]:
And you never know. I’ve said like, I hope that I can be a Kristen Bell and stay with you if you relapsed. But I’m being honest, I don’t know if I could.

[BILLY]:
She was in Frozen. I don’t know if…

[BRANDY]:
What does that mean?

[BILLY]:
It’s Kirsten Bell from Frozen.

[BRANDY]:
It’s Kristen.

[BILLY]:
Kristen? Sorry, Kristen Bell.

[BRANDY]:
I think it’s Kristen, I thought it was Kristen. Yeah, no, but…

[BILLY]:
She’s a delightful human being. But like you said, she wasn’t with him through the depths of his addiction, so…

[BRANDY]:
She doesn’t know what that felt like, or looked like.

[BILLY]:
She does today.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
And I’m sure it’s hard for her.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. And she was good. You know, she was kind and she… you know, he said to her, like, I need help. And I’m amazed. But, you know, I think that there is a lot of judgment out there, and rightfully so. And I can’t say one way or another if it’s right or wrong to stay with somebody. I know for me, I stayed with you. And some people could have said that was weak. And my objection to that is it would have been a lot easier to leave. It was hard to stay.

[BILLY]:
Well, there wasn’t much more left in it. It was hanging on by a thread. And I believe if things hadn’t shifted when they shifted, we wouldn’t be here today on this podcast. And I don’t know what creates that. I wish I knew the answer to why some couples make it and some couples don’t, some people recover and some people die.

[BRANDY]:
Well, tell me what you do. Tell me what you do every day.

[BILLY]:
Most days…

[BRANDY]:
When you get up, what do you do?

[BILLY]:
I get up – because I’ve been asked to, not because I necessarily want to or I think it’s a great idea but it does benefit me – I get up and I get on my knees and I ask God to help me stay sober. And that is an admission of my powerlessness. Left to my own devices I might act against my own best interest and the interest of my family. So I have to have something outside of me to help me with that. So, ask for help and then talk to people in recovery every day.

[BRANDY]:
You get up and you read every morning.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. I read a little devotional. And I do what’s been asked of me. I put my pride and my wants and my ideas to the side and found some people who had some progress with this thing and asked them what they did. And I followed them. I didn’t do that in the beginning. I was really smart and I knew what I needed and I knew how I needed to recover. And when people offered me a recovery program or a plan, I would pick and choose what I wanted to do. But the problem with that is there was still some pride involved in that, and it really is just a slaying of the ego. Because my best thoughts and my best laid plans got me here, so why would I think they would get me out of this place that I’d gotten myself into? So to get it I had to do what was asked of me. To keep it, I have to pay it forward and give it away to some other folks.

[BRANDY]:
So you get up, you pray, you read, you talk to other people in recovery, you go to meetings when you can. And then at night, you get on your knees, and what do you say?

[BILLY]:
Thanks for helping me. It’s not complicated. I used to have these really great prayers of, you know, tried to use big words. And it’s just ‘help’ and ‘thank you’. And that’s about where I keep it. It’s about how deep my ask goes. Other than that, it’s just opening myself up to be available for what I need to do that day. Yeah.

[BRANDY]:
Well, I’m appreciative of you talking about it and letting us talk about this, even though it’s a short, small podcast today. I wanted to do it in real time and tell you that today, this is what I’m struggling with. I’m struggling with fear and worry and…

[BILLY]:
Well, can I ask you a question?

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
What do you do? Living with someone like me who has some of the remnants. I may not take substances anymore but there’s still some, like, leftover emotional stuff that, seven years later, I’m still working through. What do you do to stay sane living with someone like me?

[BRANDY]:
I think you’re one of my inspirations. You’re one of the people I follow. And when I watch you get on your knees, and our son comes and gets on his knees with you, and watching you read, those are the things I do as well. I think you’ve been a real, huge example to our family of deep spirituality, and simplifying it. And for a long time, it was very complicated and I felt like if my prayers weren’t good enough, or I didn’t pray hard enough, or I didn’t seek God enough, and all that stuff, that was like enough, enough enough, again, it was like Brene Brown, it was hustling for my worthiness, that if I was worthy enough, maybe God would show himself favor on our family. And you have a way of just simplifying it for me and taking all the complications out, which a lot of people tend to do. Like me, we live in our brains, and we overcomplicate things, and we overanalyze things, and need these formulas and prescriptions, and making sense in our head. And it’s all very simple is that I have no control over anything, no matter how hard I try. And I still try. I think that’s one of the things I’m in recovery from. But I have to keep it simple, ask God for favor and wisdom, do my little devotionals that are different from yours. And when I feel myself going crazy, to talk to you about it, and you’ve been really accepting of my crazy, which I used to tend to blame you for. But if I stayed with you, and I still continue to act that way, that was my fault. I mean, you do have a tracker on your phone. And I will say that that’s probably checked every now and then. Because I worry, like, now more just because you travel a lot, but in the earlier parts, it was like, is he where he says he’s gonna be? And now it’s more of is he home, because you travel in and out of states and just want to make sure you’re okay.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, when I say within reason, you know, if you’re in… well, for me, other people can do what they want, but my life’s an open book. I don’t have any passcodes on anything, I don’t have any accounts that aren’t accessible. That’s just how I have to live my life, with complete transparency. And then I don’t… it makes me feel free and light because I don’t have anything to hide. When I start hiding things, and I start having my own secret spaces, I get real sick. And I don’t want to live that way anymore. I don’t want to go back to that insanity. And when I start carving out spots that are just mine, that nobody else knows about, those are dangerous playgrounds for me to play on. I’m just gonna stay out of them. And just open my life up and let folks in; you like what you like and you don’t what you don’t, but here it is.

[BRANDY]:
Well, you teach me a lot of just being present, and living for just today. And we can plan for tomorrow but we live for today. We can pack a suitcase but let’s live for today and you’re teaching me that. Not the future trip, but just take it one day at a time. So thank you.

[BILLY]:
Let’s go out there and surrender some.

[BRANDY]:
What does that mean?

[BILLY]:
Accept what comes. Yeah. It’s in the act of surrender where I just accept the day as it is, that things tend to go a little easier. It’s when I fight… there was an old guy in recovery that would say something along the lines of – I may mess it up – but, life’s life and if you don’t fight life, life ain’t half bad.

[BRANDY]:
All right. I hope everybody’s willing to surrender today and maybe it won’t be half bad.

[BILLY]:
Are you ready to find freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find your strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your own skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free Beta Male Revolution course is for you. Sign up for free at betamalerevolution.com/course.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guest are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

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