Everyone’s recovery story is unique, but in the case of my guest for this episode, there are some unmistakable parallels that resonate with us both. Matt Gardiner is a certified recovery coach, sound therapist and podcast host whose journey has been marked by turning points that share some similarities with John’s, as their conversation illuminates with humor and insight. We learn about how Matt came to AA, his reaction to that first meeting (the laughter took him by surprise!) and the way his father’s death inspired a powerful shift in his mid-30s. Moving with curiosity through the toughest of times, Matt has found his way to authenticity and a coaching business he loves.
In addition to sharing step-by-step the modules that constitute his Recovery Roadmap 30-Day Program, Matt explains exactly what sound healing is and how his breathwork credential complements it. The conversation also touches on how The Beyond Recovery Podcast was conceived and the wide variety of resources available to anyone in search of support. It’s an exciting time to be in recovery, which is why Matt’s closing advice is so compelling – and realistic: Don’t be alone. Reach out and you will find just the right community awaits!
- Transgenerational Beginnings: Drinking’s allure traces back to the fun Matt perceived his parents were having with their adult beverages, subsequently picking up steam when his parents divorced and his childhood in rural part of British Columbia “blew up.”
- Music afforded Matt a great way of expressing his feelings about being bullied or disenchanted by the fragility of his home life, but it also turned into a gateway for emulating the rock ‘n roll lifestyle.
- Hospitalized for an attack of pancreatitis at 27, Matt’s eyes were opened to the fact that his partying was wreaking havoc. It was supposed to be a wake-up call, but another several years of habitual drinking ensued.
- When he reached a point of acknowledging the problem, Matt was concerned about the kind of reception he would get. Friends and family couldn’t have been more supportive.
- Ego and Relapse: Because he’d learned so much over more than three years, Matt deemed himself ready to reintroduce alcohol. He could drink like everyone else, right?
- Four years later, after trying every possible variety of moderation, Matt returned to sobriety in 2019 after the death of his dad at the age of 66.
- The power of laughter, levity and lightness: Both John and Matt were surprised and comforted by the upbeat vibe they found at their first AA meetings. It was a sign of optimism and hope for a brighter future.
- John and Matt also have in common the powerful impact that the loss of their respective fathers had on their life paths and decisions to reassess.
- Working harder, pushing further, surely happiness and a sense of achievement was around the corner. But for all the motivation, it was essential that Matt break through to the next level of energy … which is where his journey and purpose started to shift.
- As soon as he started a six-month sabbatical inspired by floating feelings of dread and anxiety Matt knew there would be no going back to his 9-to-5 job. He was open and following his intuition, creative impulses and new, entrepreneurial ideas.
- Taking a Leap Isn’t Easy! Among the hobgoblins we often encounter:
- Mixing up financial status and personal value.
- Letting Impostor Syndrome undermine our agency.
- Isolating and not reaching out for help.
- Matt found his sweet spot after reflecting on what he’d liked and excelled at professionally: Coaching, mentoring and helping people believe in themselves.
- Recovery, mindset, business and other types of coaching share parallel focuses:
- Dismantling self-limiting beliefs.
- Working through self-doubt, shame and other stagnant emotions.
- Providing encouragement and a framework for moving forward.
- What recovery coaches have to bring in terms of helping bring clarity around our values, goals and vision for our lives in sobriety.
- Matt Shares His Coaching Framework:
- Identifying goals and values in sobriety.
- Digging into the “why” behind addictive behaviors.
- Reframing old narratives, enabling them to breathe and evolve.
- Shifting formerly “stuck” energy and defining where to go from there.
- Setting goals from a place of clarity and empowerment.
- All About Sound Therapy: Based on the body’s seven chakras – or energy centers – each of which has a frequency that resonates based on scientifically documented human responses to vibration.
- Matt’s practice taps into individual healing frequencies through a range of digestible sounds (often in combination with breathwork, for which he is also certified).
- Are you suffering from achiever energy? Try some calming breathwork to drop back into the parasympathetic system!
- All About Recovery Roadmap: An integrative program that Matt initially designed for overall well-being that has evolved into a 30-day online course with modules based on different phases of our individual hero’s physical and spiritual journey to sobriety.
- Matt’s holistic program includes:
- Q&A – both through weekly live calls and 1-to-1 coaching.
- Introductions to practices such as yoga and tai chi.
- Daily videos.
- Guest speakers.
- Sound journeys.
- Live awareness exercises and body scans.
- A 30-minute body-mind-spirit challenge.
- About The Beyond Recovery Podcast: Matt’s pivot into creating a platform for conversation about the sobriety journey and community-building.
- Matt and John share their initial feelings of shame and reticence about going public with their recovery – gradually replaced by feelings of community, authenticity and freedom.
- Recovery is a GOOD thing from which everyone can benefit. Stand proud!
- Matt’s Parting Thoughts: The most important thing is connection and community. It’s in isolation that our most self-damaging behaviors occur. So reach out! There are more avenues available than ever in history, including:
- When we share our “shameful” stories, their negative energy dissipates and transforms – and the power of community connection is unleashed.”
“What (drinking and smoking weed) did for me or I thought – my perception – was that it got me out of my shell. I thought I’d found out how to tap into the true me. That’s how confused I was.” (Matt)
“I was a hard worker, but it was functional alcoholism at its finest. As a result, I didn’t see any issues with it … I was high-performing so in my mind there was no problem.” (Matt)
“I coupled the feeling of being disturbed and a tribute to my dad and the lineage of my family … and I decided I could choose to stop this with me. It was a profound shift.” (Matt)
“The thing that’s so unique about AA or really any recovery group is that you might have that lightness, but at the same time there’s something deeply serious that we’re dealing with.” (John)
“I was successful by any of society’s markers, but there was something (inside me) that felt different.” (Matt)
“I’ve been through (challenges) so as a result I can really empathize and resonate with others on a very deep level because of what I’ve gone through in my life and life experience.” (Matt)
“I have a lot of interest and experience in engineering and putting together music, from being in a rock band, so it was just a really easy, natural transition for me to get into sound therapy. Using it with my clients is just another dimension of what I can bring to a coaching call.” (Matt)
“(Sound therapy and breathwork) are about tuning in – to each other. There’s enough mental chatter as it is, so it helps to encourage a person to drop into how they’re feeling … and by doing that it really opens us up and makes the dialogue a lot more authentic.” (Matt)
“(Recovery podcasting) is a beautiful thing. Everybody is supporting each other and everyone is so giving and the stories of people’s recovery are always so vulnerable and authentic.” (Matt)
“It’s bad enough that there’s a stigma about being an addict or alcoholic, but if there’s a stigma about being in recovery – that has got to be unacceptable.” (John)
“Community and connection by my estimation is the most important thing here. When I isolated myself, that’s when I’d get myself into problems. When I felt separate from everybody, that’s when I had problems.” (Matt)