Untoxicated Podcast

Untoxicated Podcast

Sheri and Matt Salis just wanted a normal life – normal marriage, normal careers, a normal house and happy kids. Instead, they lived a life of lies and terror as they struggled with Matt’s alcoholism. While their experience sounds rare, with over 15 millions problem drinkers in America, their alcoholic marriage was all too normal. Matt has been writing about their experiences in alcoholism and recovery for years. On the Untoxicated Podcast, Sheri and Matt talk about it, too. No subjects are off limits as the couple discusses the trauma of active addiction, the pain of early recovery, the destruction and rebuilding of trust, and the impact on their intimate relationship. If you love an alcoholic, the disease will terrorize your relationship. We hope you’ll listen and find healing in our shared stories. For more support from Sheri and Matt, check out their Echoes of Recovery program providing connection and healing for the loved ones of alcoholics.

Episodes

July 19, 2021 59 min
Sobriety has brought improvement to the lives of Sheri and Matt and their family, but it has created a whole new set of problems, too. Matt is now reliable, predictable, and even safe and approachable. But he is not any fun. In this episode, Sheri and Matt discuss Matt's ridiculous work hours he uses, in part, to fill the void left behind by alcohol, and the impact it is having on their family. Can you hear Harry Chapin warmin...
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There are a variety of reasons an alcoholic blames his drinking on his spouse. Matt should know. He consistently blamed his alcoholism on Sheri for all the different reasons. And now, he is here to say that the reasons are all bullshit. On this episode, Sheri and Matt discuss the causes of this most potent form of gaslighting, and why it is so dangerous and utterly ridiculous. If you love or loved an alcoholic, and your recovery c...
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On this episode, Sheri and Matt discuss the changes in mood and family involvement for Matt in sobriety compared to active alcoholism. Increased input and participation of an alcoholic in sobriety is a lot for the family to absorb. Unwanted advice, a compulsive need to share, and lots of opinions have made Matt a challenge to handle for the exact opposite of the reason he was a handful as a drinker. If you love or loved an alcohol...
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When Matt was actively drinking, Sheri had to deal with three unappealing characteristics of her alcoholic husband when on vacations or celebrating holidays: his moods were unpredictable, he was needy, and the alcohol accentuated his insecurities. There was nothing festive, and very little that was enjoyable, about vacationing with an alcoholic. Now, in significant sobriety, life continues for Sheri, while Matt is curious why she i...
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Nickie knew she and Josh had relationship problems. When he first declared himself an alcoholic, she couldn't believe it. She didn't want to even think about a drinking problem until they had their marriage on good terms (little did she know at the time that the alcohol was the cause of the relationship troubles). Josh's friends told him he was fine, his coworkers kept inviting him to drink, and everything he knew about...
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June 14, 2021 58 min
Rebuilding trust in an alcoholic relationship requires sobriety, and it requires time. There are no shortcuts, but there are things we can do to create a safe environment in which trust has a fighting chance to flourish. On this episode, Sheri and Matt discuss the things that held Matt back from creating a safe environment in his active alcoholism and his early sobriety, and why things are different now. The importance of this safe...
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Sheri and Matt welcome Dr. Abby Medcalf to the podcast. Abby is an author, a podcast host, a speaker, a psychologist, a recovery survivor, and has over 30 years of experience working with relationships and people in recovery. She tells Sheri and Matt why couples who think they have a communication problem almost always have a competition problem, and she explains why the person in the relationship in the most pain has to change fir...
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All the loved ones of alcoholics want is peace, stability and predictability. How do you think that meshes with the wildly swinging pendulum of euphoria and misery that we call active alcoholism? And when the loved ones express the need for peace, the alcoholics get their feelings hurt. In this episode, Sheri and Matt talk about the link between predictability in sobriety, and rebuilding trust in a marriage. If you love or loved a...
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Do you ever look at your spouse and wonder what they are thinking or how their drinking spiraled the way it did? Have you ever wanted to tell your story, but the shame and shyness prevents you from finding the words? If so, then this episode might be for you. Toby (husband of Jane from Ep54) explains his innocent yet insidious decline into the grasp of alcoholism. He also shares what he is learning about himself and his marriage on...
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People almost universally believe what they are going through is unique when they are deep in the trauma and stress of an alcoholic marriage. Sadly, being deep in it is tragically common. On this episode, Sheri and Matt discuss the signs they see, over and over again, that indicate a person is deep in it even when the sufferer is unsure of their predicament. They also discuss the best tools to get unstuck. If you love or loved an ...
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Sheri took Mother's Day off from recording this episode, so Matt spends a lot of time talking about her...in endearing terms. Our listeners will surely miss Sheri's laugh, and miss resonating with her tears, but Matt tries to make up for that by explaining the love the couple has found in the subtlety of sobriety - a love that was unavailable when alcohol was impacting the relationship. We hope you'll listen all the way...
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Most people are aware of the violent swings in the emotional and behavioral highs and lows of active alcoholism. What surprises many is the self-medication that the loved ones of alcoholics engage in to manage their own emotional highs and low. On this episode, Sheri and Matt discuss the equally serious, although less obvious, pain and damage suffered by the loved ones of alcoholics, Sheri makes up her own word (that we later reali...
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When Matt was in top form as an alcoholic drinker, he was also extremely proficient as a lier and gaslighter. And yet, with piles of evidence to the contrary staring him in the face, he was adamant about how thoroughly honest he was. How can that be? Sheri, on the other hand, knew the real truth about the denials and excuses. She fluctuated between anger and disgust as she watched Matt spiral deeper into addiction to alcohol. Wer...
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Beating ourselves up when feeling less than worthy is a common part of the human experience. Once culture and society warp our childhood innocence, our self-worth deteriorates. As an alcoholic, Matt drank to make the low self-confidence go away. As the loved one of an alcoholic, Sheri threw herself into projects and cleaning to mask her pain from unrealized expectations. They both had unhealthy patterns of self-criticism, and they ...
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From taking the family to see ice skating princesses, to venturing into the wooded mountains to cut down a Christmas Tree, Matt was all about spending time with his family. They were his first priority, after all. At least that's how it looked to anyone outside his immediate household. But Sheri knew the truth: that alcohol was always his first priority, until sobriety replaced it atop the priority list. In both cases, Sheri an...
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Universalisms: Things we believe to be virtually universal as we grow in our understanding of how alcohol impacts brains and relationships. Here are five really important ones. Do these apply to you or your alcoholic loved one? On this episode, Sheri and Matt talk about childhood trauma (even in idyllic childhoods), work success justification, alcohol as a coping tool, elusiveness of purpose, and the value of therapy. If you love...
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As the daughter of an alcoholic, Jessica had plenty of experience with codependence. When her husband's drinking was spiralling out of control, she had to make unimaginably difficult decisions with her family's survival hanging in the balance. Alcohol abuse and a compulsive need to control are such a common story, but one we don't talk enough about. Jessica joins Sheri and Matt to talk about the trauma her family suffe...
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Early sobriety is full of shame for high-functioning alcoholics. Often, the spouse has a very hard time understanding the depths of the shame. In this episode, Sheri and Matt talk about gender roles, societal influences, piles of resentment, and Matt's various identity crises from his red shoes to his topless Jeep in the winter. Things that might be hard for the loved ones of alcoholics to understand are very real in early sobr...
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March 15, 2021 69 min
Sheri and Matt agree that the single greatest barrier to loving recovery that most couples face when trying to yank their alcoholic marriages out of the ditch is communication. On this episode, they discuss the seven mistakes they consistently made when trying to communicate. See if you can hear the one of the seven that still plagues them over four years into Matt's sobriety. Here's a hint: It's the one where they stop...
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Catherine Craig (LSCSW, 1000YT) joins Sheri and Matt to talk about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE Study), attachment theory and the trauma of experiencing an alcoholic marriage. They discuss that trauma doesn't have to be severe enough to make a good Law and Order: SVU episode in order for it to do us massive harm, and we have to stop downplaying the impact trauma and stress have on our health, not just our mental health. C...
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