Why Sobriety is only the Beginning – with Gregg Champion


My guest this week is Gregg Champion.

Gregg has been in recovery for more than 20 years after nearly ruining his life with drugs and alcohol.

These days he’s a Recovery Coach and a highly valued member of the Recovery Community in California.  Seven years ago he founded Start-Up Recovery which is a transitional living facility built on his own values as well as lessons learned during his own recovery.

In this Episode

  • You heard Gregg say that he was an alcoholic before he picked up his first drink – that’s a very interesting statement which would apply to many drinkers with unresolved childhood trauma
  • Gregg’s father was killed in a car crash when he was four which left him feeling angry and abandoned
  • As he grew older he became addicted to anger, fantasy and attention
  • That all changed when he took his first drink as a young teenager, a drink that soothed him and took the pain away
  • At 15 years old he was crossing the border into Mexico to drink in bars and chat up girls – he just wanted to be a grown-up
  • Gregg chose to study at Arizona State University as it was known to be a party university
  • Alcohol and drugs were always present during his College years but it was normalised, and, as Gregg says, there were always people “worse than me – doing more booze, more drugs”
  • These comparisons are so dangerous – why do we always compare ourselves with people who are in worse trouble – when we should be comparing ourselves to who we could be if we were leading our best life?
  • Even if alcohol doesn’t destroy us it will always prevent us from reaching our potential
  • Gregg topped off his University years by getting his first DUI on Graduation Night…
  • That set the tone for the following 2 years when he was arrested 7 times!
  • He went from overnight stays in prison to 2-night stays and finally the prospect of a 5-year sentence
  • Gregg got a job in broadcasting which involved shift work ending at 3 am which meant he was mixing with other users after work
  • He got into a cycle of selling drugs and then over-using and over-drinking to overcome the shame of being a drug dealer!
  • He got busted at an airport carrying drugs – the judge told him that if he saw him again he would be activating his 5-year suspended sentence
  • Gregg partied on regardless but got busted a second time by an undercover cop at a party
  • Back in a jail cell, he heard a voice telling him to call his mother – which he did
  • She told him to go to church so he went, he went to confession and told the priest everything
  • He finally realised that ‘Gregg’s Way’ was never going to work so he listened to the priest and went to an AA meeting
  • It was his moment of truth – the time he had to decide between two paths
  • He chose sobriety and his AA sponsor told him to take boxing lessons – he would need a punchbag for all the anger which would emerge in early sobriety!
  • Gregg did 90 meetings in 90 days – as he said when we stop using there is a great gaping hole in our life that we need to fill with something
  • We can fill it with 90 meetings and follow the 12 steps or …
  • We can join a sobriety community – go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe if you’d like to check out our membership program
  • As Gregg says we have to find our Sober Tribe
  • He stayed sober for 3 years by using the first 3 steps but couldn’t bring himself to open the Pandora’s box of step 4
  • One day he listened to a speaker at the AA meeting and the things he heard really resonated with him
  • The guy had been sexually abused at a young age and Gregg was able to finally admit to himself that this had happened to him as well
  • Gregg began to work with this person who told him that he was blocked because although he had sobriety he hadn’t attained true recovery
  • It’s so true that there is so much more to recovery than not drinking!
  • I loved the expression that Gregg used:-
    “Not Drinking is the ticket to the Show, the Band hasn’t even started playing yet!”
  • So his new sponsor used a process called Uncover/Discover and Discard which you heard Gregg describing during the interview
  • Applying this framework to all 19 things on Gregg’s “shame” list liberated him
  • He now uses this process with his own clients and calls it “Unpacking the Backpack of Shame”
  • In 2016 Gregg’s media career was stalling so he began to look at alternatives
  • All he wanted to do was to be paid for being himself
  • Sharing his story at an AA meeting one day he met a lady who told him he would be a great group facilitator
  • This encouraged him to put together a talk and visit rehabs to share and tell his story
  • He trained as a recovery coach and used his experience to put together a coaching curriculum
  • 7 years ago his coaching business evolved into a Transitional Living Facility
  • They do 1.2.1 and group coaching to address that all-important question “I’m Sober, Now What?”
  • He works with a Wellness Director facilitating practices like breathwork, acupuncture and sound baths – each client has a therapist
  • Of course, community is at the heart of everything and every day starts and ends with a meeting
  • You can find out more about Gregg by going to his website which is startuprecovery.com and he is on social media – Instagram link is here – Twitter is here.

More Info

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The 11 Year Fact

Did you know that the average dependent drinker will struggle alone for 11 years before reaching out for help?

Don’t wait for 11 years – join Tribe Sober today!