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 Radically Resilient Health Podcast

Recovery From Substance Dependency With Lori Windfelt

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Radically Resilient Health is not about the absence of disease, injury, or stress, it is the ability to recover and make positive choices to support your overall health. Lori Windfelt, a certified recovery Coach and designated coach for “She Recovers,” talks about her personal journey through substance use and how that has led to her mission to help others lead Radically Resilient lives in the face of substance dependency issues. 



Connie Wray: (00:00)
Welcome to another episode of radically resilient health with Dr. Carolyn Dolan. And today we’re gonna be talking with Lori, win felt. She is a certified professional recovery coach. She’s an incredible podcast, host and writer, and she has got an wonderful personality. I’m so excited to have her on the show and it did to that magnetic personality. She also is lending her expertise as a certified professional coach, a certified professional recovery coach, and she is a, she recovers designated coach. And she’s here to share her story with us today. Welcome Lori, and welcome back Dr. Dolan.

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (00:39)
Thank you so much. And thank you, Lori, for joining us. I was thinking back to when we actually met, and it was probably our connection over our love of basketball, sports. Cuz I think one of the first times I actually met you live in person. Our kids went to the same school, but I didn’t feel like I ever crossed paths with you, but it was at a fundraiser or for university of Nevada, um, at their big gala there, which is always, I call it prom for adults. Yes. Like it always, it was like a big deal for me to get prepared, to like get fancy and then it took me like months to recover

Lori Windfelt: (01:16)
Yes. Well, thank you so much for having me and our family. We’re we’re big pack fans and I’m a huge basketball fan. So yes, it was likely where we met and I’m so glad that we had the opportunity to get to know each other over the years. Thanks for helping me

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (01:30)
Today. AB absolutely. And so we are really excited for you to share your story with our listeners about your recovery. Generally, we focused, uh, mostly on injury, recovery and stuff, but one of the things we really like to share with others, at least this season and our listeners is people who have gone through difficult times, either other illnesses or in, in your case, we’ll let you share your specific story, but in using just fundamental principles of, um, eat well, move well, sleep well, connect 12 and supplements if that’s, if that was part of it, but it, it always surprises me. As far as this radically resilient health. It is not the absence of injury surgery, illness, or even struggle as much as using those, um, foundational principles to help you weather those storms because that’s life right. And, and what you really learn about yourself. And so we’re really excited to share your story cause I think it would have a huge impact and we’ll make sure before we end today that we share where you’re spending most of your time these days. Cuz I think that will be really good for our listeners to hear that too. So tell us a little bit about your story. Absolutely.

Lori Windfelt: (02:41)
Well, thank you so much again for having me and I agree and I love to talk about this. This radically resilient health is just such a great term for me because we get into discussion a lot about recovery and I believe that there’s such a stigma around that and what people believe and what the community believes recovery is. And I am of the background that we’re all in recovery from something. And for me, yes, I had an addiction. Let me back up. I have an, an addiction, um, to alcohol and, and I have lived my life sober for the last six years. And I, I truly I’ve gotten to that place because I recognize that I was not living my best life by alcohol being in that. And it’s because I can’t drink normally. And, and typically what happens to people that I work with as Connie mentioned earlier.

Lori Windfelt: (03:38)
And, and so to do Carolyn that I am a recovery coach. I work with men and women that are either interested in kicking the, the habit of alcohol or have gone through that process and are just looking to lead a healthy life. And so with that, there’s sort of a toolbox that we all create and now everyone’s recovery is their own there. I love, love, love she recovers, which is the group that I work with that is really of the mindset that recovery is your own and different patchworks are really what helps people. And now I work with women specifically, uh, with she recovers obviously. And a lot of that has to do with not only addiction with drinking, but there’s also addiction when it comes to love addiction, sex addiction, uh, gambling, , you know, there’s so many different types of addictions and a lot of us are dealing with co-occurring disorders, which really is where I like focus is what is the root of the problem.

Lori Windfelt: (04:44)
And when I coach with most of my clients, we’re looking at the why, and I will probably tell each of them to do a layer of thinking and a layer of questioning themselves to get to the why for me, why are you drinking? And then I answer that question because it feels good. Why does it feel good? Well, cuz it makes me stop thinking about whatever else is on my mind. Well, what is on your mind? and then you just go down the list, you really get to the answer of that question. And then a lot of times it was just that I was running away from. So for me, going down to the why really getting to that layer of, of the root, which is typically five to six different times of that same question, why? And for me, I have realized through my own recovery and what that looked like was not, it, it was not, um, it, wasn’t the end where people talk about like hitting rock bottom, right?

Lori Windfelt: (05:53)
There’s a discussion typically around addiction and around recovery about, oh, rock bottom, oh, you gotta hit rock bottom till you get to the top. Oh, tough love. And you know, it depends. Yes. You know, there are people that we are aware of in our community that are now advocates for recovery that have gone to prison that have done meth, have done really hardcore drugs. And there are other women in our community or there are other people in our community that are women like myself, that, that take their kids to, and from school, with vodka in their sippy cup, you know, the, the mommy cup that’s sitting in a hydro FLA in the car or soccer practice. How can you imagine going through that without having a couple of drinks because who can actually deal with listening to people and or children. And so, uh, you know, there’s layers of that.

Lori Windfelt: (06:40)
And I, and I think that again, that goes around to stigma, which is quite ridiculous in my mind that no one has a worse story than the other everyone’s recovery is what it is. And you know, whether that’s you serving time in prison or you being a mom who has just gone from a glass of bottle, a glass of, of wine a night, a night to a bottle of wine a night, it’s still a problem. And there’s still something that you’re running from. And so for me, I realized there was so much around that. And while I didn’t have a rock bottom that says, I, I got so many DUIs or I, I killed someone in a car crasher that I went to prison. I was very close to losing my family and I definit ruined a lot of, uh, of relationships. And with that, I realized I wasn’t living my best life.

Lori Windfelt: (07:24)
And the only way that I can do that is to get help. And what that looked like to me was actually going to an inpatient facility where I would work on trauma that I did not, I had never worked on before to, uh, really understand what, what was happening inside of my body. And I know that, um, you know, one of the sayings that we’ve always heard is there’s issues in your tissues and that trauma is, is unless you, you really have to like dig for this information, right? Like why does my body hurt all the time? I haven’t done anything. There’s been no activity. Why am I in so much pain? And the studies show and perhaps Carolyn Dolan can talk about that too is like, yeah, it’s because there’s, there’s unresolved trauma in our bodies that are just constantly screaming. Take a look at me, understand, fix me, do something.

Lori Windfelt: (08:21)
And what is that? And so for me, it was getting the help that I needed in the sense of my brain. I have a very unique brain. I believe that I am brilliant. I also believe that I’m a scatter brain and I’m INCOM. And, and sometimes I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Uh, but I also have, have dealt with some really traumatic events. And one of those, uh, being my, my father’s death at the age of 16, my dad died in a motorcycle wreck. And, uh, that came with a lot of stories about how in a lot of details about what happened to him. And so as a 16 year old, I was absorbing this well, your dad’s helmet was broken on his motorcycle. So it must have been really bad impact. And gosh, it was raining and he hit a tree.

Lori Windfelt: (09:09)
So he could, he should, he must have been in so much pain. And so there’s all these things that just sort of like soaked in that he didn’t really acknowledge or understand that I was, I was having to deal with shortly after that. Uh, when I turned 18, so two years after my father’s death, my brother died and he was in a horrific fire. He was in a, an explosion in his home and he served that accident for several years or for several days. And then, uh, we had to make some decisions while he was in the hospital. He had, uh, third degree burns over 95% of his body and he was IR recognizable. And, um, I saw that, you know, I had, I had my mother tell me, don’t go into that room. I think you should. And I said, you, you know, no, I have to go, I have to go see my brother.

Lori Windfelt: (10:00)
I played that movie for years of this pain that he must have gone through about any time that I saw fire. Anytime I burned my hand or my neck with the curling iron, I just thought about like, oh my gosh, my brother, I can only imagine what he felt. And so I was really living really his trauma and not recognizing it, um, a few other things in life, you know, I can go through my whole like timeline, but, uh, I, I talk a lot about in our, in our group that I work with, she recovers, which is an amazing organization that works with women in recovery. We talk about in our generational trauma and childhood trauma. And for me, I grew up in a very abusive household. And so while my father physically and mentally abused my mother and my brother and sister and I, I don’t remember specifics, but it happened.

Lori Windfelt: (10:56)
And my little brain at the time that I was two to three years old and going through that sort of trauma I’ve, I’ve kept it. And I haven’t been able to, I hadn’t been able to recognize what the root cause was of these other things that I was doing. So as I continued to grow up, as I continued to get into this place where that, that was sort of, I started feeling it. Wow. You know, why do I always, why do I, why do I see commercials with, with somebody with a flame? And then I’m crying. Why do I see a boxer get punched in the face? And I feel like that’s actually happening to me. And it’s like, well, yeah, cuz you’re reliving your trauma. And I looked to alcohol, I didn’t at first, it wasn’t at thing. You know, I just, I was a partier when I was younger.

Lori Windfelt: (11:41)
And what the clue was for me is that I always did it to get drunk. I never drank naturally. I never drank casually. It was always purposefully when I was younger. And I started in high school was to get loaded, like we’re gonna party and I would do shots. And it was never just like, oh, I’m gonna just have a beer. Um, similar to when I grew up, I, I started drinking wine because it’s socially acceptable to do that anywhere. Mm-hmm, , you know, I mean champagne in the morning because it’s ugly, uh, throw some orange juice in it. You’re just having juices and, you know, start noon, open a bottle. Why not everybody else is? Um, so it became socially acceptable and I just kept doing it. And I realized that I then needed it. It was a slow process, but went from again, not drinking a at home, only drinking on the weekends to my last sort of rahs were, were very normal for me to have a, a bottle open if not to a night.

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (12:43)
I, I think what’s so fascinating about, um, listening to your story and this whole traumatic part of it. I, that I, as far as the, where I’m coming from, as far as the inform, we there’s a lot of studies related to this pain as, as a result of past trauma. And, and I don’t wanna dive too deep into that, but it’s really fascinating research. But I think when I hear your story specifically, it’s so unique to you. And yet I, I feel in so many different ways, places where I can connect and say, oh, I understand what she’s saying. Right? Like when I think back to certain things that are from my past life experiences or when I’ve always, actually, because of my life experiences, I, I, I stopped around this around alcohol specifically. Um, you know, I, I don’t wanna share too many stories about specific people cuz it’s their story.

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (13:49)
But I had a loved one who, um, got in a really bad car accident. Um, and it was DUI. And remember that stopped me in my tracks as, as a teenager. And it was, I remember that moment. And I remember what happened for me was, uh, like almost I, I chose not to get heavily involved with alcohol almost in solidarity, um, for this particular loved one. And so it’s always been on my mind and as I’ve grown, I’ve understood that, but I’ve also had this drive, um, and, and desire at times. Like I can feel why I, okay, I wanna drink right now. Cause I’m in a socially, um, a, a social situation that makes me anxious, you know, for whatever reason, either confronting people or trying to remember everyone’s or it’s the fact that I’m an introvert in an extroverted world at that moment.

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (14:42)
Um, it’s always made me go pause. And so when I, I think about you sharing your story, there there’s so much, it’s unique to you. Like you talked about how everyone has their unique journey in recovery. It’s not, and it’s nonlinear and everyone has a different story, but there’s so much commonality there where it, you, it, you stopped at a period of time and really got connected with the why. Right. That’s really takes a lot of strength to really take and patience to really reflect back. And you’ve been able to work with others. Like you mentioned really kind of peeling away the layers to really get there. You have a self-awareness you’re, you’re connected to yourself now and you, you have to, that takes a, somebody said something to me the other day as I, um, oh gosh, it was probably Katie with she recovers cuz we’re collaborating here. And um, she said, wow, you’re really self-aware. I said, well it, I have to be able to both love and accept myself for who I am. And um, my brain works differently from my husband’s brain, you know, and different from someone else’s brain. And we have to acknowledge that or you can try to use other means right. To just numb it all out. Right. So

Lori Windfelt: (16:05)
Yeah. And I, that, I love what you just said about things not being non-linear because it is, and that’s sort of,

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (16:11)
And is nonlinear. It’s not the straight line. It’s, it’s all over

Lori Windfelt: (16:17)
It. Isn’t and, and it is hard work as well. And you mentioned that is knowing that you just don’t stop a substance and you’re now in recovery, you don’t just become sober. And you’re now in recovery. I mean my first year of sobriety was hell and I hid, I, I didn’t hide behind alcohol. I mean, you would see me when I was drinking. I was out at every event, but I always, always, always, always had a glass of wine, had a glass of champagne, had a martini, had something. And, and a lot of the times I don’t recall with people that were important to them. Mm-hmm and if anything, I am just so glad to be in a space now where I am fully authentic and capable and, and the relationships I have mean something to me. And, and I put a lot of thought into that, but the thing was is it was a crutch. And as you know, alcohol is an addiction. This is not where somebody wakes up and says, I just wanna get faced today and just be dumb and not do anything that I’m responsible for. And then go home and have a fight with my husband and have my kids hear me screaming at him really. And then do it again the next day. Your body is literally asking for it because it can’t can’t, I mean, alcoholism is one of the worst and I, I I’m so bad with statistics, but to re withdraw from it’s deadly,

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (17:45)
Have you, um, in your recovery, what do you feel? Did you make transition nutritionally, um, fitness wise, um, to aid you through that, that part?

Lori Windfelt: (17:56)
I did so holistically which I always call. Woo, woo. I was not I’m a city girl and was like, not interested in anything natural. I mean, I really thought that when you went to grocery stores, that meat that came in a package literally came in a package until I moved to Nevada. Did I know that cow is actually we the source of my beef? Yeah. So I, you know, nothing was, was, was in that capacity, like natural or healthy. And I learned when I went to this program, which was 30 days that I left and as an inpatient facility and we learned about nutrition. We learned about other addictions, which for me was sugar. And so, and caffeine and just types of things that were in our lives that were not helping what our mind was suffering from. So for me, I have a brain disease, right.

Lori Windfelt: (18:49)
And it’s not just addiction. It’s also depression and anxiety. And I like to always throw with the brilliance in too, because it’s exhausting. And when you have a mind that thinks differently and absorbs so much, it’s at some point going to stop or it’s going to start thinking differently and, and you don’t know how to deal with that. And for me, my it insides start getting itchy. Like my organs just wanna jump outta my body with anxiety. And we’re like, what the hell is going on with you? And, and it used to be drinking. Then it was caffeine. Then it was sugar. And then now what is it? And I, I just realized that in moderation, those things are okay, but I really have to back to getting to the cause and the root, all of this. And so for me, nutrition, 100% is to eat the right things.

Lori Windfelt: (19:37)
And, and, uh, acupuncture was something that I enjoyed and I was shocked at how much it helped me. Um, there was something else that I, oh, meditation, which is so difficult for someone with high anxiety to sit. I re I remember when, when I was introduced to meditation and we did a 30 minute guided meditation. So we actually had some music playing in the background. There were a few of us on some yoga mats and a woman that was reading from a book very quietly and very calm. And just telling us how we should sit and roll over and maybe grab your leg and think about your legs tingling. And I’m sitting there. My mind is like, what the Frick is this lady talking about? I can’t sit still. And, um, I just kept telling myself, you have to, you just have to just listen to the next sentence.

Lori Windfelt: (20:32)
And so I would, I would listen to the next sentence and then it was like the next day, okay, I’m gonna go to meditation and I’m gonna figure it out and I’m going to love it. I got to this place where I now have an app on my phone where I can plug in probably for 10 to 15 minutes and just sit. And my mind now knows it’s training. It’s learning, it’s understanding and it, and it’s really super helpful. So that’s another thing that I love to do to help me sort of with my anxiety. I’m at a great place. Now, sobriety wise that I don’t necessarily crave alcohol. I definitely crave something to, to stop the pain or to stop the angst or to stop the uncomfortable situations. Mm-hmm , but I have the tools now. And so, so to be able to work through those, which a lot of times is breathing for me is really, you know, I had a therapist once that used to ask me every day I would walk in, he’d say, he’d say, how’s your breathing.

Lori Windfelt: (21:26)
And I just, I, I wanted to punch him. I just wanna say, Paul, my breath, obviously my breathing’s fine because I’m here and I’m alive. Exactly. Like, what do you mean? Well, let’s just take a breath, you know, a deep cleansing breath. I’m like, bro, I don’t have soap in my body. Like my I’m not, there’s nothing cleaning or cleansing about my breaths. And it took a while to reel lies. Oh my gosh. And now when I’m in really like, I wanna jump off a building. I wanna scream at a child for doing something normal. I just stand, tell myself, you know, get with it, take a deep breath. And I mean, I go to the depths of my soul for that breath and I pull it out. I’m like, okay. Everything’s like, okay, you know, the world’s here.

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (22:11)
We’re all good. You have amazing self-awareness and I like, again, I think it’s just, um, really good. And you, you mentioned tools and that’s what we, I mean, radically resilient health. That’s what we hope to continue to reiterate with people. And you need a different tool at a moment in time. Um, I, I use this in the physical therapy world too. I, you know, you always wanna learn new techniques and stuff. So you have your toolbox, so you can pull out the right tool at the right moment and meditation. Oh, I, I remember I finally found a meditation technique that worked for me, but I had much trouble. I tried all the different things, the guided meditation, this that, I mean, and I was really frustrated because I was like, I feel like it’s stressing me out more. Mm-hmm trying to do this than, than not, but we wanna thank you so much for sharing your story. And we would love for you to tell our everyone where they can find you now and give you a little plug on she recovers. Cause I think it’s a great organization for anyone. Thank you. Um, who needs

Lori Windfelt: (23:20)
Support? Yes. Thank you so much. And, and it was, it was a pleasure and an honor to be here. I appreciate being able to tell my story. You can find anything I’m up to at my website, which is Loriwindfelt.com. I am working with she recovers foundation, which is an amazing 501c3 nonprofit organization that helps women in recovery. As I said earlier, from all the things, uh, we truly believe that everyone is in recovery from something and we do some really fabulous stuff. And one of the things I like to just make sure people are aware of is that we have a, a twice daily gathering, hosted by certified coaches for free and it’s via zoom. And you can find that at sherecovers.org and it’s just fabulous. It’s such a great container for people to be able to bring their stuff and to just sit with and, and learn. Uh, I also have an organization that is a nonprofit that I founded a few years ago called the dry society social club. And that is right now an orgnanization that hosts a gala in September in Reno, Nevada. And that is to celebrate recovery. Uh, September is national recovery month and we celebrate that in a sober event, which is amazing and fun. And just so cool. And we are doing another one this year in September, and you can find information also on the website.

Connie Wray: (24:44)
I appreciate too Laura, that you are mentioning, that we’re all recovering from something. And I think that’s absolutely 100% true. I think when you talk about your brain, uh, how it was responding on alcohol, people can relate so many things. You know, I’m, I’m recovering from an eating disorder. I live with an eating disorder for many, many years. So what you talked about in guards to your brain was ill and needed help. I, 100% can relate to that. And I think that what’s, so I, uh, someone asked me the other day, what was the thing that you really noticed the most when you were really in the midst of recovery? And I realized that the negative voice in my head was to the fact that I wasn’t feeding myself nutritionally the way that I should have been, that it was the food, the food is not the issue. As you know, the alcohol is not the issue, but the, when I finally started to not make myself sick, my brain was starting to settle down. And I think that that is something that people, they need to hear that, that there are, there’s something waiting on the other side. So I’m so appreciative that, that you highlighted that because there is there’s, there’s something on the other side, whatever that recovery is.

Dr. Carolyn Dolan: (26:04)
Thank you so much to both of you. I think this has been such a lovely podcast, and we, Lori, we could talk for

Connie Wray: (26:12)
Hours forever. It’s true. It’s true. Again, Lori Feld, you can check her out on her website – at loriwindfeld.com. We’ll have a link on here as well for you to follow her a certified professional recovery coach, a badass, a podcast, and an incredible woman. Thank you so much. And again, to Dr. Carolyn Dolan, founder of radically resilient health and the creator of Vitainetics. We thank you for always bringing great guests. And we thank you for listening to the podcast. Please share it with your friends and thank you again for listening to radically resilient health with Dr. Carolyn Dolan.

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