MJ Gottlieb is a serial entrepreneur having owned and operated four clothing brands, a sales agency and strategic consulting ﬁrm over the last 24 years. MJ works with large scale brands and individuals as well as smaller brands and start-ups in need of establishing a brand presence.
ep 49 – Jackie Broe Sober Since 6/26/2018
Newlywed and new podcast, http://sobermagic.com/ Jackie Broe talks about how she got sober, and what she does to continue to crush it in sobriety and entrepreneurship.
Check out her new podcast! http://sobermagic.com/podcast-2/
From over five years in prison to rubbing elbows with multi-millionaires every day, Zachary Babcock helps entrepreneurs launch, grow, and monetize top-shelf passive income businesses and personal brands.
He interviews celebrities and industry leaders on his top-rated Apple Podcast, Underdog Empowerment, and has a broad perspective from both extremes of life.
I’m grateful for my time in prison more than anything else in my life bro because that builds strength of character and mental fortitude, and like maybe the darkest times of your life or the best times of your life, if you can find a way to learn from it and to let it empower you.
Welcome to self made and sober. I’m your host Andrew a cease with self made dash coaching.com. And in this podcast, it’s my job to interview people who are not only crushing it in business, but have also struggled with addiction in the past and our long term recovery. Be sure to join our Facebook group, where we help entrepreneurs grow and scale their [email protected] slash groups, slash s MC mastermind like self made coaching mastermind. I hope you Enjoy the show. And be sure to subscribe and rate the show afterwards. So you can get notified each Friday when we put out a new episode. And with me today is Zachary Babcock. And Zach, you have a very unique story as far as how you got sober because you’re not one of those 12 step I started doing the steps and then my life completely changed. But yours is one where and I’ll let you tell your story. But it’s a it’s a different path than most and yet you’re still coming out on top. It’s a crazy story of triumph. And I’m so excited to get to hear directly from you. So give us a background on you know your addiction and then you know what happened and what brought you to where you’re at now.
Right on bro. Hey, I appreciate you having me on the show. Man. I’m it’s cool to jam with you here today. But yeah, dude. You know, as I feel like we all like we all can relate our story You know, I’m saying especially, you know, people have been through addiction or whatnot, but I grew up dude. without a father figure. I always did things to fit in with the crowd wanted to be accepted, you know, and I mean, we all do to a degree, but I did it like over too much. And so I always had an addictive personality I still do to this day, I just changed it into positive channeled into different different resources and outlets or whatnot, as you would say. But Dude, I started smoking weed and drinking and stuff when I was nine years old was in rehabs ever since then was in and out of boys homes and juveniles all throughout my teens. And then I went to prison when I was 19 for being a knucklehead. But, you know, this is a huge huge story will probably dive more into I’m just kind of brushing over it, you know what I mean? But um, well for me, though, I got out after doing four years flat, and then I went back to prison just 20 days before my twin sons were born. This because I got a DWI x i was out partying because I was so my life wakes I thought that I would never be able to get a job had just gotten fired after getting a promotion so I was a convicted felon. And and for me though I woke up though dude and I that pain, it was like, dude, if I keep doing what I’m doing, I’m going to be in and out of prison my entire life and I’m going to miss out on my own my kids. And all I wanted growing up was to be the father that I didn’t have and now I’m missing out on that because of that. And so that pain was enough for me to shift my entire paradigm. It was you know, my desire to change became strong and my desire say same at that point. And and it’s just been ever since that moment moved in a completely different direction of my life.
And so what would you say your paradigm was prior to that experience in your life versus what it turned into?
Yeah, dude, what it was dude is like that addictive personality that I still had to this day. See? I In the in the victim mentality, then, you know, blaming everybody for everything, you know, not taking responsibility now I take complete ownership of everything that was like a huge shift. But I’m also prior to that. Like, it really didn’t have, for me, this is my true belief. I feel like, at least I know this is from for me, you know, and I feel like it’s different. It’s different for every every person, but I feel like it what it comes down to man, I didn’t have a chief aim in life or anything that was driving any motive, not motivation, but any driving force in my life, like I didn’t have anything to shoot for. And so I was just kind of going through the motions in life. And, um, and that led to, you know, searching to do drugs and put myself in risky situations, to express that. And then when I found that chief aim in life, hey, I gotta get back in my son’s life and be a father. Like it all changed. I had a purpose I was moving with purpose and, and then that’s also grown and evolved into these creative outlets, what I’m doing now with my business, and like, I’m able to That, that addicted person on to what I’m doing now kind of.
And so your whole mantra and the person that you are, it’s about being the underdog coming out on top in defying all odds, and I mean, you know where you’re at now it’s like, well, you know, it’s easy for you to say that now, but like, the version of you that was the underdog that wasn’t winning, like what’s going through your head? Are you? Are you optimistic at that time? Or is it just?
No? Yeah, so that’s a really good a good question.
And, alright, so I’ve always known in the back of my mind that I was going to do some extraordinary shit. And I’m not saying that from an arrogant standpoint, I’m just this is how I’ve always had that. However, there’s been times in my life where I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and I Felt like the world was crumbling around me. And you know, there’s been really tests and attacked like, for an example do when I was down in prison The first time I did the first four years and I was down in the hole for a tattoo violation. I’m down there that you know the holes the prison inside of the prison you can walk three steps that said it’s a small, dark, cold, lonely, depressing cell you get very little no human interaction. I’m down there for two weeks at the time and I had to stay there for two months and two weeks into it. I get called back to the captain’s office and they tell me that my mom had to break into the bathroom with a screwdriver and found my sister dead on the floor for needle in her arm. And that like right there dude, like they gave me a 32nd phone call my mom were bawling her eyes out you know, I’m getting ready Mrs. funeral. My mom’s mourning the death of her only daughter. I get put back into that cell I getting so by myself for the next three days. I don’t eat at a restaurant. That’s it crying my eyes out. Thinking about all the The main things I ever said and did to my sister and the goodbye I never get to tell her. But Dude, I woke up on that third day and I was like, you know, like, at that point my life like, dude, I didn’t even know when I was coming home from prison. I didn’t have a parole date. I know, I didn’t know when I was going to be a free man. Again, I’m 21 years old, like life is not looking good. And I woke up on that third day and I’m like, dude, I don’t know what’s the reason why I’m still here but there’s gotta be a reason What can I do to find happiness and peace right now? And it was that question literally that question that led to finding happiness and peace the most peaceful ever been in my life and and probably the most adverse situation but towards the end of that two months, I had developed this routine out of the result of that question because it got me to focus on the right things and and I found that peace of mind and a really really dark time in my life. And the reason why is because man that question man, when we get into those adverse situations will ask the wrong What is this always going to happen to me, Baba. And that’s focusing your your Mine on the wrong things like anytime you hear a question whether you’re saying or somebody else, you immediately start searching for the answer. If I’m like, Andrew, what color is your shirt? Shoes, bro? Everybody listen, this podcast you and me are both thinking about what’s the color of his shoes. This is how our brains work. And so as those empowering questions, I’ve done it plenty of times when I get in those adverse situations, and I asked the disempower, was this always going to happen to me? You got to ask those things. The right thing, though, to find the right answers.
So once you discovered the power of asking the right question, was that like an all of a sudden thing where you were like, Hey, I asked the right question, and now my life is getting better, or was this sort of something you had noticed? Like, in retrospect, when you’re asking the right questions, you’re getting better answers.
Because at that time, I was 21 years old is 2010. I didn’t know anything I didn’t. I didn’t even know what self help or personal development was at that point in time, my life but what the retrospect came in in 2017 I read a book by Tony Robbins called awaken the giant within and in that book he talks about hey the the quality of questions you ask yourself determine the quality of your life. And he talks about whatever you you whenever you hear a question it it that’s what it shifts your focus to and if you ask it with intensity you’ll find those answers I’m like, Dude, this dude is not a fraud he’s a real deal because I literally did this right here that’s where it came from.
And this episode is brought to you by Tony Robbins not being a fraud calm. He does some powerful stuff and have you ever attended one of those? One of those events?
year dude up w Chicago 2017 or 2018 2018 but yet, do when people say he’s a fraud? I’m like, dude, you are you’re just a miserable. You just looking for a way to hate on somebody like he makes the money he makes from that personal development stuff is a drop in the bucket compared to what he makes with to all of his other businesses, real estate investing all What’s up ninja dude doesn’t need the money does it really does care about people and this stuff is legit. All of the stuff that he teaches is legit.
Yeah, man, I I saw him at an event where he was a keynote with like Gary Vee and a couple other big names. And this was like, maybe 18 months ago. And I remember that day I woke up, it was like four in the morning and I was just like, super tired. Like, I was considering leaving early, before he came on. And I was like, You know what, I’ve always wanted to see him. And then he comes out and he’s like, Hey, guys, I usually go for 72 hours, but like, it’s a cool if we just go for four. And I was like, What do you talk about for hours, like, give your speech and then like, I gotta go home and do it. He literally like lit up that entire room. There were thousands of like, 678 plus figure CEOs, like in suits, like jumping full of energy, like four hours felt like five minutes. And I was just like, dang, this is it. You know, I think that you You’re right people people like to hate on hate law. He’s making money off of these people’s misery like self development is. It’s all just BS. But it’s like, I mean, I know how I felt at the end of it. I came home, I told my wife, it’s like, I’m a different person. And like, you know, were off after like a day. But like, in that moment, though, I was just on fire. So I’m, I’m a, I’m a fan, for sure. So, so we’re, we’re looking back on the questions that you’re asking, you’re getting the better answers. Tony Robbins agrees that when you ask better questions, you’ll get better answers. So do you apply that? Is that just something that comes naturally to you? Or do you consciously think of that when it happens in your life today?
I do it now, today consciously. It wasn’t until I read the book and was like, wow, I actually did that. And that’s exactly what happened. And it’s true. And then now, you know, because it’ll be too We’re you know, dude, anybody says like, they don’t have bad days and they don’t get pissed off your damn liar we are. We’re all human beings, bro. You know, I’m saying, and it’s just impossible not to feel those feelings and not to have dark thoughts, emotions and desires. So there’s gonna be days where we’re, I’m having a bad day, everything’s going wrong and it’s just like frustrating, right? And I’m like, and then I gotta catch myself like, Nah, you know, that’s not and then and then ask myself and so sometimes I don’t want to sometimes I don’t even want to do it. I’m like, No, fuck that. I just want to be Ben’s want to be mad right now, you know, but I find a way to bring myself back into being in a resourceful state versus, you know, just making things worse than what they already are.
So are you one of the people that are really about like, what can I do in this moment, as opposed to like, you know, what’s going to happen or or dwelling on the past like what’s kind of your take on like, what’s happening? in your life, is it kind of one foot in one foot in the future? What’s that look like? So it’s like,
I’m all about the moment dominating the moment, because that’s all we really have, you know, but my mind always wants to go to the future. It always wants to think like is always like, strategically, okay, we need to, we want to get this or how are we going to get that, you know, I’m saying but it it’s, I’m always thinking about visualizing what I want also visualizing how my life will be if I don’t do the things I need to do and how I’m going to be filled with regret if I don’t I like to use both positive and negative visualization because I actually find more power and visualizing negative things and I do positive because it gets me the pain gets me to spurred the action that needed to prevent but um, but yeah, man I it’s it’s, it’s I’m always dominated What can I what’s the next thing I can do to get me one step closer to the goal is always that thought this dominate my mind, but I’m always thinking about the future. So it’s good. Gonna, it’s kind of hard sometimes I, it’s, it’s hard for me to stay present, which is ultimately, the best way to be if you could be calm your mind and it’s, I struggle so much with meditation even though I do it. It’s like, I’m always like, ah, but it’s something that it’s hard for me to master.
Yeah, meditation is one of those things that’s like, everyone who does it is like, it’s the best thing in the world. And then people will like, try it for a second. It’s like, oh, that worked really well. And then it’s like, I hate this now, but I like it. But my brain is just always racing. And I mean, I’ve I’ve found benefits but just even a couple minutes of like a guided meditation. Something, you know, very low level like I’m, I’m not the guy sitting there for I had a guest once who like he does like meditation retreats, and I believe he said he did. It was like, it’s like 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at night. And then he’ll just do it like five minute gaps here in there. Each Each day, like, you know, when he catches a break, and, and I just remember thinking like, dude, if, if I could, if I could meditate for like a combined one hour every day, I know that it would make me probably like, a lot more, even in mellow and less like extreme especially when there’s times when when I feel like things are bad, but what I’ve come to realize is like, the bad is just my interpretation of it. And everything is just everything is just how we give the context to it, you know, somebody punches a hole in the wall, you’d be like, Man, that person’s mad. But then at the same time, it’s like, what was the context? It was like that person was told if he punched a hole in the wall, he’d get $10 million. And he did it and it’s like, well, that’s that’s not trauma. That’s, that’s a great thing that just happened. So it’s it’s all you know, the and this is, you know, just Andrew throwing his philosophy on life. I think a lot of things. It’s it comes to More so to not so much good or bad, but more so just preference because so many events just by themselves. They not they’re not necessarily a good or bad like, I got a DUI. And then I got sober. So like, is that DUI a bad thing or a good thing? Like, I wouldn’t recommend getting a DUI but I know I wouldn’t have found recovery without it. So, So which is it? You know, it’s it’s how I choose to look at the situation. You asked me the day it happened. I’m pretty confident. I was telling everybody about the bad day that I had the bad night. You know, you going to prison like that’s not something that most people would say. Find the silver lining in it yet you’ve managed to come out on top.
So bro, bro, like if if anything? like Dude, I wouldn’t take back none of that dude, I’m I’m grateful for my time in prison more than anything. else in my life, bro because that builds strength of character and mental fortitude. And like maybe the darkest times of your life or the best times of your life, if you can find a way to learn from it and to let it empower you, if you’re just going to play the victim mentality what was is going to happen to me and blame everybody else and moping your sorrows, then yeah, you’re going to have a really rough time and you’re going to suffer as a result but if you could find that dude, that the dark days that break you are literally the days that make you flat out.
That’s such a great quote. That’ll be like a lovely the days that break your the days that make you mean to put that on a T shirt.
At a Tony Robbins event,
I can’t remember where I seen it first, but I seen that quote. And I was like, Yes, because it resonated with me. I’m like, it’s true. It really is. It’s the you grow from pain. You grow from adversity, you grow mean if stuff that’s why that’s why this is a little bit down a rabbit hole but that’s why would people saying oh, they’re just winning because their privilege are they look here man, underprivileged is the privilege, dude you put me heads up versus anybody that’s been spoon fed and had everything given to them their whole entire life. I’m going to dominate them heads up every single time because I’m closer to reality because I’ve felt and experienced pain and because I’m hungrier, and I’m going to outwork them every single time and that’s the case with anybody that’s underdog or underprivileged or doesn’t you know, doesn’t have all the resources Dude, you got to understand that that is literally I would take that any day then then being handed everything flat out dude.
I’m so on board with that. That’s one of like my I’ve got a nine month old and like, one of the fears that I have is that like, he’ll grow up just being like, entitled. It’s like, well, because Andrews my dad like I’m entitled to live in this nice house like I’m entitled to, like, have a car, I’m entitled to have food and like eat dinner out and stuff like that. And like, I don’t want them to grow up to be the weak entitled person that’s just like, Well, I was born a white male in 2019 in a upper class house, so therefore, I’ve got it made in the shades like you didn’t do anything. All you did was get lucky at birth. And, but there’s people that just think that that’s, that’s just, I’m entitled to that. And because I’m entitled, just give it to me and people don’t feel like they have to work for it and what you’re saying, people are like, Oh, man, like that person’s got it so easy, like having the leg up is one thing. But like you said, Man, when someone is scrappy and is willing to go the extra mile, you put them head to head. It’s like a human versus a little Lion like it’s great that maybe you’re smarter than it. But you put you put you two alone in a room and guess who’s coming out alive?
Yeah, the line. Exactly, dude. And so it’s like both sides they’re the opress dude that if you had that kind of mentality that victim mentality Guess what? You’re going to be a slave to that your hometown, you have no power blaming other things have reasons why you can’t have what you want, dude, I’m sorry, I have no empathy for victim mindset person. I literally dude, let’s be for real here. You like are they you put me up against any black person in the world that doesn’t have a convicted record and we go apply for some jobs. They’re getting the job before me 100% of the time period I and I was able to take that position that I put myself in below ground zero and still built a six figure plus business because I was hungry for it. So there’s no excuse for anybody why you can’t do certain Thanks. And then on the flip side of that, the privileged guy that does have that that was born into it now it’s not necessarily his folks, you can’t help it from being born into somebody that was a go getter and went out made something of their life. But that person, though, that grows up that way, and doesn’t have that fight in that hunger and which is given to them everything. You put them up against that underprivileged person, whether it was me or whether it’s some poor black kid that came from a bad community, whatever, that person me or that black, whatever, whoever it is, it’s going to dominate every single time especially in the long run. And so, you gotta, you gotta I feel like I’m the same way dude because like, I’m starting to make money my business and stuff and I got kids I’m not getting I don’t give them shit, dude, like, I take them. We go all the time. Like for Mother’s Day, we went and bought Mother’s Day cards, so $1 of them at the dollar store and bought a bunch of them and then go and sell them for two or $3. door to door before mostly Hey, we’re going to save you a trip. From the sword make you know in case you forgot to get a Mother’s Day card or whatever, stuff like that all the time, it’s teaching them how to be resourceful and how to go out and hustle and make something of their life. You know,
that’s such a great idea. Like if you’re in my neighborhood, like, I should just give you my list of things that I need to remember, like birthdays. And just, you know, just like Amazon Prime. Remember to get your wife flowers. It’s been two months. Yeah.
Well, yeah, if you live it live close to us. May my kids won’t let you forget about it. That’s for sure. That’s awesome. So you’re teaching your kids though, here is the value of hard work here is here’s the result of doing that hard work. And, you know, your whole platform is built on like, just because you’re down and out, doesn’t mean that you can be the victim. So was there anything other than I mean, the obvious part is like your story is the underdog story. And you can have empathize with people who are going through it. But is there any other reasons other than like the obvious one? why you chose like the empowerment and the underdog movement as your platform dmn from a business standpoint, it was like man anytime I tried to collaborate if any entrepreneur nobody took me seriously I was just said ex convict turned entrepreneur after thought that nobody gave the time of day to and so I was pissed because I was, you know, people were holding me in that box and and I understand I get it, man, you know, that’s the judgment that was made and anybody says they don’t judge people that’s a lie. We all judge people every single person judges people it’s impossible not to it’s how we’re literally hardwired in our brain is to immediately form an opinion of anything or any person as soon as we see them. So snap judgments but it’s whether you hold on to that judgment or not, but so long so that’s another rabbit hole. But long story short, I was. I was pissed off bro and for selfish reasons. First and foremost, because you got to fill up your cup before you fill up any other This is my firm belief but um I started the underdog empowerment podcast and also to to help other underdog entrepreneurs but it was really like everything about it was strategic in that same point. But it’s really a platform for myself to break through that mold and also document everything that I’m learning in the process to help other people along with me. And that’s what it would have started off as and groaning involved in some more things since then.
And you recently had I believe, his name is Mitch Russo. And he’s like, he’s one of the he’s like it correct me if I’m wrong, he like built the like Tony Robbins like coaching platform. And that’s just coincidental. I just happen to recall seeing his name is that right?
Yeah, he worked he partner with Tony Robbins on a quite a few things man and, and he has a crazy story. He was on heroin, real bad. And as in high school, and, and stuff is rock bands, whatever and overcame that as well.
That’s really cool, man. So, now now that you’re past, you know that hitting the six figure mark, that’s always like the, that’s that was kind of where I felt like the, you know what, like, this is actually working. So like if we’re going to dissect, you know, kind of how you look at things. So that’s how you got from where you started to where you’re at now and congratulations, because most people can’t even dream of getting that when they become entrepreneurs. solopreneurs starting their own business. I know for myself, I was I was hoping to hit like, 30 grand was like my goal. So I sold myself like super short, and I’m glad the universe had different plans. Right. So what’s going through your head to get from six figures to seven figures 10 x, where it’s where it’s where the old goal was?
Yeah, man. So for me, I’m glad that I
Was humbler I hate the word humble I’m glad that I was
not arrogant and and and understand the reason why I hate the word humble if you just Google it me it just the way it’s worded I’m like, I don’t resonate with that, but I am very respectful and also it. I don’t I need to find a another word for humble. Like some words like respectful and not thinking that you’re arrogant or whatever, but not saying that you’re like weak, because that’s what humble saying. It’s like you’re weak. But anyways, uh, that was, yeah, um, so I’m glad though that I understood not and not cocky thinking that I know everything because I don’t there’s so much stuff that I don’t know. And Dude, I’m just getting started like, dude, literally. And I feel like that’s for anybody. But there’s also you don’t know what you don’t know. And there’s always so much that you don’t know. But anyways, for me, I’m the visionary. I’m the creative. I’m the marketing guy. I love they get the idea. And in the in the leading of the vision and stuff but systems and operations and and in the integrator oh my god I want to bash my face into a brick wall trying to do that stuff but that’s vitally important for any business is to have rock solid systems and operations and haven’t had that integrator in place right now just teamed up with a with a killer integrator Lee coulombs he’s he’s just amazing but I’m that way he can you know do get all the efficiency and effectiveness of our business the 1% compounds the other or whatnot rockin and I could just go on the track and run you know what I mean? And do my thing you know, and so that’s what we’re working on right now. dialing that in, we just started working together and also be working on finance because for me dude, like to give an example dude, especially us entrepreneurs that have addictive personality that dude and this is true from pretty much any human being but like You You make more money and you start spending more money and for us addictive entrepreneurs we like to bet on ourselves right? And so you make that money and then you start investing in all these other things. And you’re like at the end month like damn, I made $30,000 this month you know, when I’m used to be you know, before I was only making you know, $1,000 or $2,000 a month for this business but I don’t have any money left over where did it all go? You know? And so a finance is another thing that I’m teaming up with Dan Nicholson and separating my buckets and getting that down and so I have no okay this is for salary. Okay, this is for operations Okay, this is for investing. We got the reserves built up and these Okay, now we can make this investment and I’ll make better decisions that way.
Yeah, man putting putting money in different buckets or whatever your system is. That’s such a huge thing because you’re absolutely right man. Like, I look at my life seven years ago, and like I was making like 25 grand is like Manager at a carabas. And like I was I was fine. Like I was getting by. And it’s like the percentage of what was left over. Like I was just fortunate enough to grow up like my mom’s a small business investor. My dad’s a stockbroker. So like, I’ve had this stuff trail down my throat since I was like, born and financial planning degree. So, like, it’s been drilled down my throat so much, but you’re absolutely right, man. Like when things are good. Then it’s like, Hey, you know what? Like, if we made all this money, I should buy like, expensive lunch every single day. For everybody who works for me and I should buy. I should buy cars for all my customers too, because we had a great month and then it’s like, it’s like, why did I lose all my money? It’s like we had a great sales. It’s like, it’s not about how much you bring in. It’s more about how much you get to keep making money. It’s not easy. Don’t get me wrong. But making my hard once you learn how to do it either, right? Right well and then, you know, it’s it’s kind of like that saying like nothing’s going to draw a crowd like a crowd. So like once you start getting successful then people start recognizing you as somebody who’s successful and the things that come alongside it you know, people reach out to me for like collaborations people will reach out to me for different opportunities and like nine out of 10 not the right fit for me or the person who who the idea came from the kind of just looking for like a quick win on on like my behalf and like, I get it, you know, it’s it’s part of the game, but like to get enough wins under your belt, like you’ve got to put in the work, you’ve got to grind it out, and you can be making all the money in the world but if you’re not keeping that money, then it doesn’t matter. You know, I I’d rather you know, work in a company that’s making like a million dollars. A month. And I’m only keeping like 3% right to 30 grand, I’d rather only keep 3% of a million versus 100% of 1000 and have to do all the garbage that comes along with it. Because like, once you’re making more, even though your expenses go up, like you can find places to just shave out. And that’s one of the big things that I’ve taken away from, like entrepreneurship and running a business is like, every month, I look through all my expenses, and I asked myself, is this something that needs to be here? And I look at the budgets, I look at the profit and loss statements, because those things are really important. But like, when things are fine, and you’re making money, it’s like, it’s like, I don’t need to look at that. I’m making money. But then like, things are bad. It’s like, I should have looked at this back when I was making money.
Yeah, but it’s sort of this out, then I’d have an extra, you know, a couple grand right now.
Yeah. And then and then you get blindsided. By taxes and it’s like damn, I would have had another house if the IRS didn’t exist. Ah, but Zach has been awesome having you on the show, man. And I’ll be respectful of your time but where can people find out more about you in the podcast?
Oh yeah man definitely is a podcast so you guys should definitely come over there and check out me and Andrews interview on my show, which will be out really soon as well. But that’s underdog empowerment. It’s pretty much any podcasts you listen, any podcast platform that you listen to podcasts. But to make it really simple for you guys, you can just go to underdog empowerment.com. Right there on the front page. There’s a little button that says subscribe, and you could subscribe to whatever platform you enjoy iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Stitcher, whichever. Hope to see you guys over there, Andrew, thanks for having me on, man. It’s been a blast.
Awesome, Zach. Yeah, and looking forward to your show, man, and take care. Right on.
Thank you so much for listening to self made in server. Be sure to join our Facebook group at Facebook. dot com slash groups slash SMC mastermind like self made coaching mastermind. I hope you enjoyed this show and be sure to subscribe and rate the show so you can get notified each Friday when we put out a new episode.
ep48 Sarah Ordo is best known for her self-published book about her sober journey and female empowerment work!
ep 47 Lisa is the author of Girl Walks Out of a Bar, the memoir of her descent into and recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction in the world of New York City corporate law. She is a recovery advocate, frequent speaker and writer on these issues, and the co-host of the podcast, Recovery Rocks.
Welcome to the self made and sober podcast. I’m your host Andrew Lassise. And with me today is Lisa Smith, the author of girl walks out of a bar. And that’s her memoir of her descent into and recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. And Lisa, how are you doing?
I’m great. Thanks. for having me.
Yeah, I recall, I forget the the source. We were talking a little beforehand that one of our previous guests had mentioned your book and then I saw you on Instagram someone else had mentioned, I think it was part of like a book club or something. So, girl walks out of a bar, it’s, it’s getting some rumblings it got on my radar. And so tell me a little bit about your history. And you know, what kind of got you into the world of alcoholism and addiction.
Well, I, I grew up in New Jersey in suburban New York City. I had a nice family. My dad was a judge. My mom was school teacher. They were not alcoholics, but there was alcoholism and mental health challenges on both sides of their family. And I grew up I think, like a lot of people who end up end up in recovery, find themselves early in life sort of that feeling of not being comfortable in my own skin. I was like a really gloomy, sort of anxious kid and I found out pretty young that I felt better with food actually, which was the first substance I abused and sugar in particular, and then I kind of graduated along the way. I always do well in school, and I ended up going to law school. And right after law school, you know, I was a big partier. But it wasn’t a daily thing. It didn’t impact my studies. And then after I graduated, I moved into New York City and I had a job I got a job at one of the giant law firms as a corporate associate, a junior associate and it was a as a first year associate that I became a nightly drinker really to deal with you know, not Just what I know now was a genetic predisposition as well as an underlying undiagnosed untreated depression and anxiety disorder. But also, you know, I had that and then combined it with the crazy stressful, exhausting life of a junior associate in a big law firm. And it was, you know, basically about a 12 year slide down down that slope and at the end, the last 18 months you know, it was that creep that step by step that we do that, you know, we justify Yeah, I know, I’m drinking too much. But you know, you would drink if you had my life. Or, you know, for me, a lot of it was Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t be drinking at lunch, but I can get this under control anytime. And you know, all the crazy silly things we say to ourselves like, okay, yeah, I drink at lunch, but I’m doing it with other people and also, you know, people in Drink at lunch it’s not a big do
they do and
yeah then finally came the vino and I would always justified saying, well I’m not one of those people who drinks in the morning you know that’s really bad until the day that I woke up with like the worst hangover and I knew I had to be in the office and I couldn’t make the tremor stuff I can make the headache stop. And you know, that was the first morning that I drank. And I remember thinking you know, like this is really bad, but I’m going to be able to get this under control. I’ll just you know, stop but what ended up happening the last 18 months of my using were instead of stopping drinking in the morning, I added cocaine in in the mornings because that way when I had a drink to relieve my hangover and my tremors and all of that
when I wouldn’t get so sorry.
let me go back. We just
cut it right out. Okay.
So then One morning I woke up with the worst hangover, basically in my life and I knew I had to be in the office to be at a meeting and I knew that the only thing that would stop me would be a drink. And, you know, I remember thinking that and that it was going to be okay because I could get it under control. But instead, what I did was I I added cocaine into this whole mix so that when I had a drink in the morning, to get out of bed, I also would then use some cocaine to kind of counteract the effects of the alcohol. So for people who haven’t had to go through that particular misery, you know, when I would drink in the morning I get a little bit woozy and what cocaine did was, you know, wake me back up, make me stop slurring make me presentable to go into the office. So that was the last 18 months. And finally, one morning, I was on my way to work and I just became like, overcome with, you know, I thought either I’d had a heart attack or I’d finally overdose like something like that. I don’t know, it was a panic attack. And something in that moment made me decide, you know what, I need help, and I want to live and I need help. And I ended up checking myself into I had to get a medicated detox for five days. And I ended up I didn’t know where to go. I know sober references. My doctor helped me find just a hospital turned out to be like the worst psych hospital the worst, the worst detox unit in the city. And then when I came out, I went right back to work because I didn’t want to tell them and so I went to intensive outpatient at night and I rehab I wouldn’t I didn’t go away. I went twice a week intensive at night, and then I immediately began going to 12 step and I got on it. type of precedence to appropriately treat my
major depressive disorder.
So you’ve gone through the gambit of everything was fine. It’s just a little bit on the party scene in college. And then you kind of have the justification of that. Well, it’s it’s not that bad. And then, you know, we can point at different cultures. It’s like, well, it’s acceptable in France. It’s like, Yeah, but you don’t live in France. This is America. And that’s right. So you’re running through the gambit of justification. And, you know, other cultures, it is acceptable and in America, it’s not acceptable, but we kind of tell ourselves, well, my situations different and I mean, on the surface, it kind of sounds like you kind of had your stuff together. It wasn’t like Lisa, the train wreck in front of other people, maybe at home. Yeah, it’s a different story. And we we do well at dressing up and putting on a good face. And I mean, you know, working at a high profile law firm, and you’re recently out of college, it would make sense that you’ve got it figured out and it’s not actually a problem because if it were a problem, yeah, then you wouldn’t have all these other surface things. So what was that like? That moment where you were just you had described you check into into the hospital and you go to iocp start doing 12 step is it you’re sober right from their or their struggles was early sobriety look like early first attempts
and knock on wood. I stayed sober from there. I wonder if part of that is that I did get, you know, the right medication that was addressing a lot of what I had been, you know, kind of self medicating. I also think, you know, I came out and like you said, had about six years into practicing law. It really became as seniors I was getting, and I was doing Wow. But there was no way it was going to continue to be compatible with the amount I was drinking. And I jumped over onto the administrative side of the law firm and stop practicing. And so it was a little bit easier. It was certainly a lot easier than if I had been inactive practice. To continue going down that slide, I would have been, I think, discovered much sooner if I were still practicing. But um, you know, I didn’t like you said, I didn’t lose everything. That was one of the things you know, that I think also helped me stay sober was that, you know, I came back, I had a nice apartment, I had my job, I didn’t have to deal with a DUI, I didn’t have to deal with, you know, having gotten fired or something like that. So I wouldn’t recommend any of this.
But I wouldn’t recommend losing
me like a strong strong basis to really kind of chase after it. And also, you know, there had been so many I hadn’t, you know, fully tried to get sober before. But for so many years, I had said, You know, I had tried myself to cut down and to do all those things. And I just at the end, I was so exhausted, I was so sick, I was so wiped out and I was done like I wanted to be done.
Now, a lot of people, they need those consequences to hit them so that they can start taking that shift and jumping into it, but you were more along the lines of you could see where it was heading, and just stopped it before. before it actually went off track.
Well, it could have happened any day though. Like I always say, you know, people refer to people like me as having good, you know, high functioning because I held a big job and had all the outward appearances. And you know, like, I think the whole idea of being a high functioning alcoholic or addict is really a myth because you’re high functioning until the day you’re not right. So I was walking into the office with cocaine on me, if I had been discovered, one of those days are falling out of my pocket, and someone saw that, you know, I wouldn’t be so high functioning anymore in that moment, if I had, you know, car crash, not so high functioning anymore, you know, missing debt, whatever it is. So
that’s a really good point and interesting perspective. It’s what everybody sees on the outside. And I think a lot of times people, they say that they don’t give value to these to the surface level things, but a lot of times the surface level is, is actually what people are, are seeing and judging by. So
people can say, well, Lisa’s really she gets drunk a lot. But you know, I mean, she’s doing well she’s doing a lot of work and whatever. So Can’t be a problem there and what could be wrong?
Right? It’s not a problem until it’s a problem. And then it’s and I know for myself after I after I got sober people were like, yeah, you probably should have been cutting back. It’s like no one really said anything like here minus, minus like the obvious ones. It was like, Yeah, yeah, you just like to party you just drunk like, That’s right. That’s you. That’s your thing.
Right girl walks
out of a bar. What was going on? Before you decided to write it? Have you always wanted to write a book or what was kind of the thought process behind that?
Well, I had always liked writing. And I think a lot of lawyers like writing and I, I was like the kind of drunk who sat on a barstool and I would be like, I’m gonna write a book, you know. And then like, I got sober and wrote a book. And it was, it was one of those things where I didn’t I didn’t plan it. I was I woke up in the mornings, and I would be like, so amazed that I hadn’t drank the night before and so excited about that. And the story, the way it started was the story in the detox is really kind of off the rails. And for some reason, I felt like I had to memorialize that. And so I started writing it down, like right away. And then I found the process of writing really cathartic in the mornings. And also I had all these family and friends being like, Why didn’t you tell us what’s going on what happened in the detox and that way, I could not just process it for myself, which was huge, but also hand it to them and be like, here, this is what happened. This is what it felt like. So it wasn’t going to be a book by any means at the beginning. But then I as I went along, I was like, this could actually like help somebody and so I never stopped working. And I so I wrote at like five in the morning for like 10 years. And I loved the process. I love doing that. I took like, you know, I’d never had I hadn’t studied in college or anything. So I started taking night classes and NYU and I spent started like going to writing retreats and things like that. So it was really you know, one of those things a lot Some people say they find like hobbies or things or whatever in recovery like you kind of get into something. Some people run triathlons like, that was not me. I started writing.
And so did the process start to finish take 10 years before it was published, or
Oh, yeah, just I think,
well, I started yet really took like 12 years, because the book came out in 2016. And I really started my writing process, like, right out of the detox, which is why I remember a lot of the details very clearly because I wrote it down like right when I got out. I also got my medical records from them from the psych hospital, and apparently, there was bingo and I was not, I was not interested in playing. I saw the nurses notes. I was anti social in the detox.
It’s a very interesting nurses note seven ever been on that side of it, but I feel like document you know what, but there’s probably someone listening it’s like, oh, she didn’t play bingo like that’s a that’s a super
they said something like patient refuses to engage with others patient refused to play bingo it was in there like twice. I was like really? I don’t remember the bingo part.
Yeah, well apparently
generally like Bingo.
You know what maybe that’s one of the gifts of sobriety is that you can now participate in and enjoy Bingo.
That’s right. That’s right.
So what has what has the response been to your book? Because I mean, like I said it came across as a recommendation from a previous guest and I’ve seen it around. So what’s been the response just overall in general?
I think I’ve been very fortunate that, you know, I think it has helped people and it got a nice response when it came out. One of the big things about when it came out was it came out, right. It was just happened by coincidence or there are no quinces I don’t know. But what it came out like three months after the American Bar Association had published a huge study on lawyers and the prevalence of substance use and mental health disorders in the profession, and the numbers were off the charts. So, there hadn’t been a book like mine in the legal industry at the time. So I kind of got attached to that, you know, that my book came out and I got attached. So I started speaking a lot and doing a lot of things like that. And I get involved in, you know, there’s a whole as you know, online world of people connecting in recovery and through that, you know, I’ve really over the over the years, it’s now been out, like, you know, more than three years, almost three and a half years. And, you know, so it’s, it’s been way different than what I expected. I expected, like maybe some people in my 12 step group would read it and maybe some of my friends and that was Be at. So it’s so it’s really been a gift.
And so one of the little lines you had said in there that I’d like to dig a little deeper into, you said, there are no coincidences, and it was kind of like a Oh, well, you know, that’s kind of a that’s a pretty big philosophy. I know. For myself, it used to be, everything is coincidence, there is no guiding force on anything. We’re all going to die and nothing matters. And it’s changed since I’ve been in recovery. So you want to elaborate a little bit on your no coincidences?
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I do believe, you know, I had never been a religious person before, but I’d always kind of had this vague notion that there was probably something, some sort of force in the universe or whatever it was. So I didn’t come into recovery, you know, with a big with a big feeling about God or religion or anything like that, but you know, over time, I I did the 12 steps in the overtime I really did form this belief in a higher power, for me is more like the universe is kind of a force. And the idea that there are no coincidences when I think about it, you know, I think about all of the times that I was wandering around New York City in a blackout, like how did I not get killed? How did I not get arrested? How did awful things not happen? How, you know, how did I not just like step in front of the cab at 3am, one morning in a blackout, all these things that should have happened, I should have lost my job, I should have had all these things happen. Didn’t and I came I’ve been fortunate and coming through on the other side, I’ve been very fortunate in my recovery. And I think, you know, the basically what struck with me was, I’m supposed to be out here. I do feel like I have a life purpose now which is helping the next person and I feel like the book In that sense, you know the art there are no coincidences, meaning that there’s there’s a reason for stuff and you know, not like I believe we are predetermined. I don’t think it’s not like I think we have no free will. But I think that, you know, when the universe sort of has a has a plan, it can happen.
Yeah, I’m in the same boat with you. And one of the things that a lot of times you’ll see in 12 step recovery, it’ll be the low bottom drunks with who have lost everything who have tried everything and last stop. And you’ll also see people come in and out a lot and they’ll try it. Things will get better they’ll disappear, come back, back and forth, back and forth. So your experience of not losing everything and your experience of trying it. Your first go and still like you said, knock on wood. Continue doing what you’re doing, keep getting what you’re getting, but being Did you feel sort of Like, your situation was kind of special and unique, kinda like when you were drinking with? Well, if your situation were like mine, then you would drink the way I do is it? Well, if you had as much to lose as I did, then you would be as sober as I am.
Right. Right, right. Well, maybe I don’t know. I mean, I feel like it is, you know, I, what I stay really cognizant of I think is that the day I stopped thinking, you know, I can or the day I start thinking I can coast in my recovery or the day I, I don’t remember how important it is for me to do all the things I need to do to stay sober for today is the day it all goes away. And sorry, I do think in recovery, like as anybody puts together, one day after another after another day, you know, the day stack up and think, you know, good things do tend to happen. And so that’s not always enough, but I’m just going to keep doing Doing this and I’ve always been very much like just for today total one day at a time person.
And what are some of the things that you do just for today on a if you gave yourself a gold star and you hit all of the things what what would that look like,
if I hit all of the things I would get up? Well, I do. One thing I do do every day that I’ve been doing since literally the day that I got out of the detox is, you know, when I was at my bottom when I was so miserable, and so spent, I used to like, open my eyes in the morning and I would be like, Fuck, like I woke up again, like, I don’t want to do this again. I don’t want to be me again. And so my my now my thinking my thought when I wake up, and it was even before I did work on higher power stuff. I wake up and I look up and I’m like, thank you. That’s all I said. I’m just like, thank you. Like I realized right away. Oh my gosh, I didn’t drink it. Yesterday, I get a chance at another day, on a perfect day would then meditate, I would then go to a 12 step meeting. I would spend a lot of my time, you know, doing sort of trying to help the next person. The biggest thing for me that has, you know, I mean built up my recovery has been service and being counted on and showing up for other people. Like I think, you know, the hardest thing and, and also, the best thing I did in recovery was help my dad in his final days when he was dying of cancer, and you know, that will always that is the most important thing I’ve ever done, because I was able to be there and do that and take the lead. And you know, those things don’t happen otherwise. And while you were out drinking, would that not have been the case? Oh, no way. I would have been sitting in a bar crying about the fact that my dad was dying and not being there. doored him. So no, it would have been now it would have been totally different. So everything was about me, you know, now I get to make it about somebody else. And it’s huge.
And that’s exactly where I was going. I was thinking, for myself, it was very much I used to only focus on what I could get out of every situation. Oh, yeah, how I could manipulate something so that I could screw other people over so that I could get the upper hand and it never really worked out how I wanted it to and then right like, I switch it over to focusing on service. And then opportunities just knocked down my door things that I never could have scripted could have played life beyond my wildest dreams. When I started my IT company. My initial goal was to generate $30,000 in one year by having 200 customers and like At our peak, we had 25,000 customers and did close to 5 million in revenue. And it’s Oh, it’s like if I had gotten what I think I wanted, I would have cut myself real real low. Yeah, but yeah, right open to that because year one, in the same example, we only had like, maybe 5060 clients. So it was like, I didn’t hit the thing that I think that I wanted, but I kept striving for it. And then, you know, you unlock one thing and it was random. I’m at a 12 step meeting and a guy is wearing a ravens hoodie in Florida. And I’m like, Okay, well, nobody wears hoodies in Florida. So clearly, this guy is new. To talk to him. I’m like, Hey, I like your hoodie. I’m from Baltimore. He’s like, cool. I’m from Baltimore to and I’m like, cool. I’m going to sponsor you now. And he ended up being one of my best friends. Someone who helped me grow the channel. Any huge way and it’s just like these little neon things. And that that moment could have just as easily been I noticed he was wearing a hoodie and just kept living my life. And like I look at that moment and how extremely different things turned out as a result. It wasn’t that wasn’t my intention. It wasn’t what if this guy’s the guy? ways guy
can right? Right? Right? Right It was. That’s what yeah, that’s like no coincidence, right? Because you were sober in there to show up for it. You know, something happens.
So do you have any examples in your life where something just kind of a random coincidence, God since seemed like nothing that kind of just turned into something huge in your life?
yeah, I mean with my book for sure there was, you know, I happen to be in this writing workshop, and somebody My writing workshop was friendly with, you know, some agents so I and followed her on Twitter book agent. And so I just asked like, Who is that? And so I followed her on Twitter and she put on her Twitter something about a contest for a book deal with a small publisher, like a writing retreat in Vermont, was having this contest where you could win a book deal with the publisher and I and I was like, You know what, it’s the right time I’ve been writing this book for 10 years, I need to like drill down submitted manuscripts and see what happens. And that was I ended up winning that contest and that was how I got my, my deal with with my publisher. But if I just hadn’t been when I heard him say, Oh, yeah, this agent on Twitter if I hadn’t been like, okay, now I’m going to follow that agent. Now. I’m going to follow you know, this It’s a lot. It’s much easier to be in the right place at the right time when you’re sober
than it ever was before.
Yeah, and I think also, maybe even in the past, like if you were right place, right time, you don’t have the opportunities play out in your favor as often just because when we’re selfish and only focusing on what can I get out of this situation? What’s the easy way for me to take as opposed to what’s the correct way for me to take what’s the way that is most service most beneficial? What can I look into? For me? It was a lot of, you know, I lose my job and it’s like, Okay, well, I’ll just go get another one and wherever I end up, like, what’s this job for? Okay, here I am. I hate everything. Everything sucks. The world keeps happening to me. Right and then I see on completely flip side, when I basically like challenge 12 step recovery. And I’m like, I know this isn’t gonna work. But here we go, I’ll turn my will in my life over, I’m gonna end up interviewing at this place. I don’t know what they do. Oh, you happen to do it. Haha. That’s funny because that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last 10 years and oh, and you’re hiring immediately now. Oh, okay,
great. It’s like
that, and you pay 20% more than I was willing to take Oh, okay, and just things stacking on top of each other over and over. And I kept, I kept winning. And it basically got to the point that, you know, I didn’t like the whole higher power thing, but like, I just kept winning. It kept working and I stopped questioning whether or not that there was any science behind why this is or isn’t working and it’s just like, If I keep winning when I play this game, then I’m just going to keep doing it. Because I don’t know why I keep winning, but is a lot better than trying to manipulate my way to win a game that I hate playing to begin with. It’s just right.
Right? No, you’re totally right. It’s true. And, you know, I look back and from just from the very beginning, when I would wake up in the morning and be like, you know, as soon as I had I remember, I think was like, when I hadn’t drank for like seven days. I’m like, seven days, how did that happen? And I remember thinking, How did I do that? And then as I got into 12, step, I, you know, came to believe, like the fact as it was, you know, months in I’m like, there is no way Lisa on her own, doesn’t drink for, you know, two months. It doesn’t happen that way. So I feel like I’m getting some sort of help from the universe. If I show up and do all the right things.
Yeah, I’ve found I seem to find that a lot of people and you can tell that you’re one of those people that they say like is on the beam and is active in 12 step recovery and practices, the principles and all your affairs and you know, all those cryptic cliches without saying what it is, but like everybody listening knows what it is, but you know, following the Yeah, the traditions but, you know, when you apply that in your life, I’ve I’ve just found that it just makes things easier, and things so
work, and nobody gets mad. I don’t have people getting angry at me if I make a tough decision based on integrity. Yeah, don’t get the kind of backlash that I used to when I would lie and steal and try to manipulate like that would get me backlash, and I get the results that I think I wanted. And on the other side, there have been times Where I’ve thrown away gigantic opportunities airports, you know, it’s, this would be a huge win financially, however, at the expense of integrity, right, justify it because I provide jobs with it. Yeah, things, things like that, but then turning those down. And then as a result of turning it down news getting out that I made the integrity decision to turn down this road. And because I did that, something 10 times bigger and better falls into my lap that I don’t even have to do anything for they’re just like, this is yours. I can tell by the type of person you are, that this will just work out. So tell us the terms. It’s yours. And it’s like, well, that was way easier than the thing that I think that I wanted, but it’s so difficult when you’re in it. Oh my gosh, yeah, to make decisions like that, because you don’t know on the other side. Oh, don’t worry, so and so’s going to hear about this
the other day. Yeah. And I never trusted that if I stopped drinking, it was going to be okay. Life was going to be okay, let alone better, you know, let alone good things happening. I was like, Why don’t know what people do if they don’t drink? I want to be one of those people.
It’s crazy. Because it’s like, it keeps getting better and better. And it’s just like, yeah, life never kept getting better, but my life would get maybe like, I’d have a good week. And then it’s just like, okay, when’s it gonna crash? And it was like, after a couple months, it was like, why does my life keep getting better than it used to be? Over and over, like, when does this wear off? But yeah, it’s kind of like, you know, if you’re putting deposits into a savings account, and if you just keep adding to it over and over and not taking away withdrawals, it doesn’t really matter how you feel about the situation, right? adding to it, it keeps getting higher. And as long as you don’t take those withdrawals and don’t, you know, take your will back, which easier said than done. It’s easy on a podcast to say, right? I’ve never made a decision based on self and all my god. But it always seems that whenever something doesn’t go my way, my preference, it usually has something tied to it with making a decision based on self, a decision based on a short term win versus a long term investment. And that’s really what 12 steps teaches you is that it’s it’s not about getting those short term wins and whatever you think that you want in this moment, but it’s a lot more of let it happen, how it’s supposed to happen, because Right, right, trust me. It keeps getting better, but it’s very difficult when you’ve got Decades of it not getting better right here that the only fun part of your life stopping doing that is what will actually make life better.
Yeah. Yeah you have to be I mean for me at least I was so miserable like nothing could have been worse than where I was I was that miserable I was that sick, I was exhausted. I was like anything is better than this I had what you know we refer to as the gift of desperation.
I think your your situation is cool because you had the gift of desperation without the obvious reasons for having to do you have the surface things and that’s just very rare. And that was that was my experience as well which is, which is very cool because it’s, it’s not the norm, right? Usually not you come into recovery while still having your job and Things are just better as a result, it’s usually you’ve been, you know, they talk about being beaten into a state of reasonableness. And it’s just like, your life is terrible. Stop doing life this way.
Yeah. Having that perspective and being open minded to it. That’s, that’s such a key.
Yeah. Well, to me, it’s like it was. It sounds like it was a high bottom, but it was really a low bottom because I hated myself so much. I was so like dead inside, you know, it was just, you know, in it. And like I said, it was a matter of time, I could have gone into work that day, instead of checking in and I could have been arrested. You know, I mean, it was way it was an accident waiting to happen. And it was just amazing that it did not
know it’s great that you caught it before it happened. And then you know, all the blessings that have happened in your life as a result of it. And Lisa, I want to be conscious of time, but where can people find out More about you, where can they get your book?
Oh, sure. Thank you. My website, I actually now have launched a consultancy for lawyers and law firms and legal organizations on these issues. And so my website is Lisa Smith advisory with an o.com. Or you can google we Lisa Smith author it Lisa Smith author also works. My book is on Amazon. It’s in Barnes and Noble. It’s, it’s around, it’s on Kindle. And there’s an audible book of it too. So
so it’s everywhere, and we’ll be sure to have show notes with links to all that. Lisa, it was great having you on the show and everybody listening. You enjoyed the episode, please rate and subscribe. Leave us a comment, leave us a review. Really appreciate it. It’s how we grow the show. And have a great day. Lisa, thank you so much.
You too. Thanks so much. Bye bye.
Sobriety Date: 5/15/13
Jonathan Sylvester is the Founder and Head Coach of The Recover U coaching program – An online group coaching and aftercare program which enables men in recovery to become leaders in every area of life by developing stronger sobriety, an unbreakable mindset, and better physical health.
Social: Recover U FB: Facebook.com/recoverucoaching
Recover U IG: @recover.u
And with me today is Jonathan Sylvester. Jonathan, how you doing man? Doing good, Andrew, happy to be here. Yeah. Jonathan is the founder and head coach of the recover you coaching program. And why don’t you give us a little background on what that is?
Yeah, for sure. So a lot of my background is with fitness and nutrition. And so I actually several years back launched the online part of my fitness and nutrition coaching business, and that was going really well. And then there were some developments and some things happen. And I really just came back to the realization that I really love and want to work with men in recovery. And so what this turned into is an online group coaching program for guys in recovery. So, we’ve got guys that you know, have never been in recovery before and they need some guidance and I help guide them you know, into a 12 step program and which is really kind of the foundation for the program. And then for all the guys that are in the program, and then we also have guys that have like 510 15 years sober so it’s really a body mind spirit sobriety, it’s looking at everything, it’s looking at your relationships, it’s it is about you know, creating a routine in your life. It’s about you know, looking at really keeping score and looking at the facts in your life as opposed to letting emotions guide things if that makes sense. It’s really all about the motto is recover the man you were meant to be. And and that’s really what this is all about. This is about getting very clear on who this guy is. Is that you want to become and you want to live as and developing a plan to get there and having the accountability and coaching and support from other like minded men to help you actually get there.
And one of the things you kind of touched on and this is a huge thing for me and my wife and I are polar opposites on this and so you and I are on the same team, the facts versus the self defeating self talk the barriers that don’t actually exist. Do you mean to tell me that they’re human beings that maybe make decisions based on emotions and feelings on a situation that actually the facts don’t align with a feeling?
Yeah, I think that that definitely happens and look, I’m not gonna say you know, I’m not I’m not perfect with it. Like I definitely have to, you know, look, look at take a step back and gain some perspective sometimes and really asked myself if I’m You know, if I’m letting feelings and emotion, emotion guide the situation, whether it’s in my business or in my personal life, and really just take a step back, but yeah, I think it’s so important to, to look at the facts and I’ll give you this example. You know, I think if if someone listening is wondering, like, Okay, well what are you really talking about? One of the first examples that I share with guys that are coming into the coaching program when I present them with this thinking is okay, well, let’s say that a guy has been relaxing, right? He’s he’s been relaxing and, and maybe you’ve heard this in a meeting before and you’re like, man, I just really I don’t know why I keep relapsing. You know, I feel like I’m doing everything I need to be doing. That is emotion. Now if we if we took a step back and we said, All right, man, let’s look at the facts of what’s going on. You know, are you going to meetings are you plugged in with like minded individuals Do you have a sponsor? do you have? are you connected? You know staying plugged in or Yeah. Are you connected with with other guys? Are you doing all these things you need to be doing and it’s likely that he wouldn’t be. So you know that that right there just as it relates to recovery, I think that’s so important in terms of looking at the facts.
And you can equate that with business also where, you know, I have salesman, I got one guy sitting next to another guy with the literal exact same random chance opportunities. And the one guy makes four times as much money as the other one. And they literally like though, the one who’s making less I know in his mind, he thinks we give the other one these magic opportunities and it’s literally not as not what’s happening. It’s just the one is continuing to do things his way that is very successful in the other one Has this mental block, thinking that the way that he does things is the better way. And he sitting next to the person, and they’ve been with me for years, and they’re both really good at what they do, one obviously brings in more than the other. But it’s like, look at the person literally sitting next to you. They make four times as much money in the exact same amount of time and opportunity as you but they do it this way. And you do it this way. And if he was owning it and saying, Well, yeah, I know that I’m making four times less because I’m doing it the wrong way. Then it’s just like, well, dude, you’re crazy. But he’s like, I’m not doing anything different. And it’s like, Look, listen to these two recordings. Who sounded different. It’s like doesn’t make a difference. It’s like it literally does because, like, yeah, let’s look at your numbers. Yeah, you get the exact same results. for months on end over and over and over with the exact same opportunities like but that idea of the one is very, very fact based. He does a B testing. He looks at what works what doesn’t work he takes what works doubles down on it finds he’s testing constantly tweaking the script getting better and better and better and that’s how I get there. And the other ones like nah this way works and like does it work? Yes, it works. Is it the most effective way? No, but he’s got that self talk of the other guy gets a lot more money and he thinks it’s because he gets other opportunities and that’s not the case he’s literally given the exact same thing but
that idea in this guy on the show to just talk to him about this
Yeah, yeah. Now we’ve we’ve had many a sit down, but he’s you know, different different strokes for different folks. Some people are very analytical a be testing I want to make the most money and I can while I sit down, so I’ll do the best thing. And the other one, just, you know, I got a job and I’m making good enough money and just like, I’m gonna do my thing. And, you know, as a business owner, it sucks seeing the one that’s not doing as well, because also means that like, we don’t make as much as a company, but at the same time, it’s like, we’re profitable with it. So maybe this is one of those, like, someone else was like, you have to fire him. Like, how dare you let him stay there. But yeah, get rid of me. Get rid of them?
Well, look, you know, and I understand. I mean, I think that in terms of, you know, my business, I think that that’s a mistake that I made for a long time is thinking that and maybe we’re all stubborn, like that, you know, in different areas or to some degree, but I think that’s probably one of the biggest mistakes that I see people making. And I think you know, and a lot of the times I think it comes down to you know, what you’re touching on in sales. Sales and Marketing, I would say are like the two biggest areas that that business owners really need to look at data. And like, a lot of the times, I think, like in marketing, you know, what happens is, is people say, you know, something’s not working. And they really haven’t given enough time to gather enough data. And this is pretty basic stuff. But I think this is where I think this is where a lot, a lot of people might might be going wrong. And, you know, they’re not getting enough data to actually be able to look at the facts and see like, okay, is this working or not? And you mentioned, you know, the sales guy that’s successful. Doing a B testing, you know, it’s like, Man, you’re, you’re going to have to try some different things out. You’re just going to have to try some different stuff. But you also need to be looking at the the facts and the data behind it for sure. Yeah,
so in your group, you help people kind decipher the here are the things that you are doing. And you know, you may feel that you’re doing everything that you can be but what are we filling in? And so like, say you identify some gaps in somebody’s program. What are the steps that you guys take? Is it a group? Is it you? What’s the, the next step when we identify pieces that you’re saying?
Yeah, so And let me just tell you exactly how we do that. So when guys come to the program, they actually one of the many things they do is fill out a questionnaire which we call, it’s literally called the facts. And so what we’re doing is is because a lot of men do not do this in general, it’s we look at what is your starting point, the facts of where you are right now. What is your starting point? So what’s going on in your your health, your habits, your relationships, your recovery? You know what’s really going on. Because if we don’t establish that starting point, we don’t know what needs to be improved upon. Right? We don’t really know what our starting point is. And then we establish the destination. And that’s getting really clear on who this guy is that you want to become. So you know, and then in between that, it’s really building the game plan to get from point A to point B, going from your starting point to, to what what we term in, in our program. So there’s like different layers within the program. These guys start out is what we call seekers, where they’re really just trying to figure this stuff out. Right? And because even if a guy comes in and let’s say he has 15 years sober, there’s a reason that he’s coming to me a lot of the times it’s because of one of two things his health, right health isn’t isn’t where it should be. And or it pretty much always comes back to whatever they see is the real problem isn’t usually the real problem, the real problem usually comes down to time management and organization. And so like one of the main things that we have these guys do is start using their calendar. You know, and and so in recovery, we say, do the next right thing, right? And sometimes it can be, it can be overwhelming or hard to determine what is the next right thing? So this is kind of answering your question here, like how do we, how do we fill those holes? You know, in your in your program or in your life? It’s man, let’s establish this game plan and a big part of that is literally just using your calendar in your phone because it’s not, you know, it can be overwhelming. You know, I mean, you might be surprised the number of guys that have come into my program that have 15 plus years 20 plus years of sobriety and he You would think like, all these guys have stayed sober this song like they must have it all figured out and know, you know that something’s been something is missing and a lot of the times like I said it’s just having a game plan to follow and you look down at your schedule, it eliminates overwhelm, it eliminates the guesswork. You look down you know exactly, you know what the next right thing is. So the next right thing for a guy that that’s been sober for a long time, and I’ll just be real about this, you know, this is what I’m really passionate about. I really hate seeing guys that have been sober for a long time and are miserable. And that’s really where a lot of these guys are. And my thing is, you know what this coaching program is really all about at the end of the day, is my true thought and feeling is is it number one, I didn’t get sober to be miserable, like that has nothing to do with with why I’m here. And number two, you know, if you’re miserable in sobriety, how long are you really likely to stay sober? Like, it’s probably it is, it’s literally a matter of time in my mind, you know, and, and so anyway, these guys are they’re missing something, you know, and a lot of it comes down to basic organization. So that’s how we fill in the gaps is we lay out a basic game plan. A big part of that is literally Hey, you have this friggin phone in your hand all day long. How about you use the calendar on it? And when you’re not sure what to do, you just look down and you do that thing. I mean, that that’s a big part of it. It sounds simple, but but most guys in and out of recovery are not doing that.
Yeah, I think a big piece of it. It’s just humans in general. We, we have this discontent and we know we want things to be different, but we are not Willing to just stop for five minutes and identify where we want to go, which is part of your plan. And then putting it in a calendar and having time set aside for specific things to get done. like humans hate planning humans hate, they love when they have planned in the past, but they hate the process of sitting down and looking at where am i right now? Where do I want to be? What steps do I need to make sure that I take every single day in order to accomplish this? Because if we’re just doing whatever we want all the time, like you’ll get through life and then you’ll be at the end of it and be like, you know what I did nothing. Like I remember being extremely busy and extremely overwhelmed, but I have nothing to show for it. And actually a couple episodes back. Russ Perry of design pickle was on and he talked about that a ton where he’s got he calls it his hands I’ll log system where he just writes out his day ahead of time. And that ties into exactly what you’re talking about. The next right thing when it’s on the calendar, it’s easy for people to follow. Look at the clock. It’s 10:30am Okay, at 10:30am I’m supposed to be doing this thing. Okay? That’s the next right thing. It’s so easy when you just follow a schedule because everybody can subscribe to time is a good indicator of when to do things you know, it’s not like ah, is it dusk? Time to do this? Right. Very, very black and white, which people like you and I we have brains that like black and white and time is a very, very good black and white.
Yeah, and let me be clear, I did not used to be like this at all. You know, and the thing is, is it a lot of people say they they think like especially people in recovery, man, like
We think we hate structure.
We think we hate structure. The man we thrive in structure we thrive with structure, you know, I mean, it’s like, Man, you know, I joke about this but it’s so true. Like the way my mind works is the 12 steps worked great for me because it’s on a huge friggin poster when I walk into this room, numbered one through 12 make it super easy for me to follow, you know, and and so the thing is, is what a lot of guys aren’t really thinking about it’s like, you know, early on in sobriety like it’s, it’s easy to figure out what the next right thing is for most of us because maybe we probably it’s likely that we don’t have a lot going on. Like I didn’t have a lot going on. It was bad. I was blessed enough to where like my basic needs were taken care of my family was like, Hey, get better focus on recovery, you know, and that’s all I had to do at the time. But But you know, as your life starts to get better, you have more gifts coming into your life and you have to if you want to maintain, and not just maintain, I’m not a big fan of people saying maintaining sobriety because I, that’s just, I think we should be growing and you know, people talk about like, steps 1011 and 12 being maintenance steps, it’s like, man, if you do that stuff every day, you’re not going to be maintaining anything you’re going to be growing, you know, that that’s just the reality. But you know, when we start having these other things come into our lives, we’ve got to figure out a way to, to, I’m not going to say juggle all this stuff to keep all of it organized, and and keep moving forward and make sure that we’re not letting people down and we’re doing, we’re living by these principles. And so there’s a lot of things you know, that and this kind of goes back to what we do and in recovery you It’s the 12 steps are awesome and the 12 steps changed my life. I think there, there are also other things that guys like us should be doing. And and having some type of organization and having some type of structure in our lives is one of those things that I think just really takes what we do with the 12 steps and how we benefit from the 12 steps to the next level, you know, to that next level. So I think that’s just one of the many things that that we should be doing to make sure we’re, you know, we’re growing.
I think that’s a great turning point to, let’s get into and I’d forgotten to mention this in the beginning, but he’s also the host of the sobriety blueprint podcast, so I’m sure just everybody’s like in love with me and follows everything I do. And you know, there’s probably an episode there with my name on it, hint, nudge, nudge, maybe, perhaps, but why don’t you give us a little background on what was your intention with that and what you are putting together with it for the Those that aren’t familiar.
Yeah, the sobriety blueprint podcast so it’s really it’s a podcast for men in recovery, you know, same ideas as the recovery coaching program to really show guys and help guys and enable them to become the best men and and the way that I feel like I’ve started to become more of this man that I want to become, and all these different areas of my life, you know, relationship, relationships, finances, recovery, is by seeing other guys you know, it’s, it’s the, when we come into recovery, you know, we’re told look for the people that have what you want. And so I want to bring on other men that have what I want, because I know it’s very likely that the guys listening are going to want with these guys have as well. So, you know, what was my intention? It’s you know, first off it’s to make an impact you know, it’s it’s it’s to carry the message is really what it is and and a big part of that message again for me is really you know once you get this foundation down I’m not shy about saying this getting sober for me was a huge blessing it really is for anyone I mean when you came on the podcast you know, you told me your story I mean, man it’s it’s it’s nothing short of a miracle. Right? It’s nothing short of a miracle but at the same time, man to a certain degree it’s kind of the bare minimum after you have this this foundation down and and I’m very direct in saying that to guys like in guys I sponsor with guys I coach like, you know, like we’ll do like within the the coaching program like, we’ll go through At the end of the week, you know our wins for the week like what were your wins you know and and talk about some of these things that they accomplish and you know some of these guys that have this stuff down or have been sober for a while it’s like man I don’t want you coming to the table like coming to our meeting with staying that you say it stayed sober, the sweet what else is going on in your life you know so I really want to because I hate hearing guys saying like the being sober is just as miserable thing I’m really trying to open guys minds up to this is not a liability. This is an asset This is you are learning things within recovery, that people will never normal people will never have the opportunity to learn. Normal people go to business coaches life coaches pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn and still never fully grasp and implement into their lives like Dude, take this stuff. Create an awesome life with it. You know, so that that’s what it’s really all about. Yeah, and number one, it’s about making an impact. Number two, I’ll tell you, you know, the first episode started with me telling my story. And a big part of this is really selfishly about me living my truth. And it’s a weird thing, man, you know, most people have known that I’m in recovery for a while, and I and I don’t think and I’m not anonymous about it by any means, you know, I think it’s important for people to know you know, what’s going on. And I’m not saying that everyone needs to go around and just like tell someone they don’t know their whole life story like I have necessarily but you know, for me, man, it was kind of a weird deal because I’m really proud like, and I never thought I would say like, I’m really proud of who I ended it. And it’s a weird thing because I I guess I didn’t want to talk to people about Who I am now because that meant bringing up who I used to be. There would have to be a comparison I would have to contrast between the two and and so a big part of this man is really just about me living my truth and taking that mask off and, and, and being the real me You know, there’s just saying I don’t know if it’s like Napoleon Hill or who it is, I can’t remember but, uh, you know, it’s if I want to be free I gotta be me. It sounds kind of corny, but I think it’s true.
You know, I think it’s a lyric from a Smash Mouth sounding
very well could be very well over the years. So
that’s what it’s all about man and that and that’s really why I started is just to kind of open open guy’s eyes to you know, maybe there’s more out there but because there is you know, it’s not a maybe there’s more out there for you and if I can do something to help you see that or turn you on to someone like Andrew that maybe opens your mind up to to a thought or something like that, then you know that then I that’s what helped me so much. You know, so that’s really what what I’m what I’m attempting to do.
Awesome. And have you had any like I know for myself I’ve had a couple kind of revelations and like, ways that I view recovery differently than I used to when I’d started. And I know like through your journey, it’s still you know, you’re learning stuff as you go. And I mean, we all are, but have you had any, any guests like I’ve had a couple that have just had like giant impacts, like I saw you had Omar on the show, which is awesome. And like he’s, he’s like an incredible person. And, um, but have you had any guests on the show that just like completely blew your mind with some of the stuff that they brought to the table
was Looking for a layup for me? I’m just kidding. Yeah,
definitely, you know, I’ll just say like it was actually after I had you on you know because my my podcast, the sobriety blueprint still relatively young you know like I’m coming up on episode 12 is going to be coming out this next this coming Monday and so you know, I haven’t done a ton of episodes but you know like after having you and a couple of other guys on one of the I think I just really started to the revelation I had is that I think that in this online world it’s it’s really easy even though we’re connecting with people to a degree maybe every day. It’s it’s easy for me to still kind of like isolate myself and not really connect with others. If that makes sense. You know, I think like when I had you and a couple other guys come on, like one of the main things like I started to see is like just, I was just reminded of the value in networking. I mean, it seems like a simple thing. But then I also started to see like and having you and definitely Omar on man, I am getting coached for free. I know right?
Like that. That has been my big revelation. I’m like, this is so it’s an excuse for me to connect with guys like Andrew that have built these, like, incredible businesses are doing all these cool things. And man and you I’ll just say like, You helped me out a ton because, you know, you connected me with all these other guys and I really appreciate that. I mean, it’s been a huge help for the show. It’s been Yeah, and I have had some big revelations that the biggest one though, is just Still need to connect as much as I talked about connecting so much just in terms of you know what I put out there on social media you know with the guys that I coach with the guys I sponsor staying connected stay plugged in I need to keep doing that you know i’m i’m not special you know and and again for me the connecting isn’t just about like initially like in recovery it’s like get connected to save your life but now it’s like that get connected to keep growing and happy you know and have these revelations and and meet these new people that I never would have met you know so that’s been my biggest revelation it’s just the need to continue to meet new people that are like minded and definitely remain open minded like specifically on the recovery stuff there there had been some some revelations I have and I mean I you know, I have certain thoughts about like the the way that I think You know, things should be done and what worked for me. But like you said, you know, different strokes for different folks. I mean, what work, what worked for me may not work for others and you know, who am I to tell someone? No, you did it wrong or, you know.
Yeah, I hate that though. I hate that, you know, I can I can share my experience and it’s definitely my truth and then someone else tries to replicate it and then it’s just not the same for them and like my wife and I, like we we go through this all the time, where just my solution to everything is like, Well, here’s a problem, and then let’s formulate a plan and execute a solution. And like, that’s how my brain works is problem, okay? defeat the problem when, but like our brains just wired differently. It’s just like it’s an emotion and I think there was like a, an episode on like Parks and Rec where they like to solve problems. All they did was just the guy like, he just started repeating the problem back. And that was just all he had to do. He’s like, wait, I don’t have to solve it. I just have to say the problem back to her, and then that then it’s done. So different people, you know, at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to coexist. And I believe that you’re right, when you say, being in recovery has been one of the greatest assets of my life. At the moment, when I first got my DUI and everything started going bad. It was a liability. Yeah, I’m not going to pretend like it was good then. No, but at the same time looking back, that day that I got the DUI that made me go meet the lawyer and get the breathalyzer in my car and then go to court and then go to rehab and all of these things that led my life to where it is today. At the time, I didn’t like going through them but growth is not something That’s comfortable. And if I had just stayed exactly where I was at probably still be, you know, working in a restaurant in Howard County, Maryland and not really going anywhere, like my life was not going anywhere if I looked at the facts, and I think that that’s just, it’s a great barometer and it, it blows my mind that more people don’t live their life based on facts. But that’s a that’s their prerogative. And you know, if, if running your life off facts and truths isn’t for you, and you’re happy with how you’re doing things, then like, Who am I to tell you you’re wrong, you know?
Yeah, yeah. And it for like I said, just to be clear, for me, it was a learned thing. Like, it’s not like I just came into this world being like that, that that was in my thinking for a long time. So yeah, I mean, you know, I just, I think again, if someone’s listening Something and there may be not fully grasping what it is we’re talking about, you know, just like in the next few decisions that you make, you know, even if they’re just small life decisions, business decisions, you know, ask yourself if they’re based on facts, like if you’re especially in your business, like, what what data are you looking at? I think that’s really what it comes down to.
Yeah, I, it’s just like, you know, meal prep. If all of your meals are picked out for you ahead of time, then you don’t really get the choice like you’re making it. Humans have a tendency to go to the path of least resistance. And when we have structure and when we have decisions made for us already. That’s the path of least resistance. So if you do something like meal prep, and Monday for breakfast, I’m going to eat this Monday for lunch. I’m going to eat this in between lunch and dinner. I’m going to eat this and Dinner, I’m going to eat this. And I know what my macros are. I know everything that I need to know about what I ate that day. And I know that if I continue eating this way that I will lose weight because I’m operating in a calorie deficiency, you know, whatever the science is, I’m sure you know way more about this stuff than I do a little bit. But the idea that you save yourself from yourself, you don’t run into, oh, I’m walking downstairs and there’s Halloween candy in the basket. I’m going to eat one. And then look back on the last month and it’s like, dude, I hate 80 pieces of candy that I had no intention of ever eating, but it just happened. Yeah. But if I had everything planned out, and I kept that out of sight, I mean the candy that’s so weak spot so thank god Halloween is over. But yeah, having having a plan for recovery for business for life, have a plan, follow it. Create your path of least resistance. Put in a couple minutes to plan something out and your future self will thank you for it. But Jonathan, we’re running short on time. Where can people find you online to learn more about you and sobriety blueprint podcast in recovery you?
Yeah, absolutely. So they can go to recover you.net to learn more about the recovery you coaching program, they can also go to the sobriety blueprint.com You can find the sobriety blueprint on Spotify, iTunes, wherever you listen to your podcasts, and also just feel free to connect with me on Facebook.
Awesome. Well, Jonathan, thank you so much for being on self made and sober. And guys, if you enjoyed the show, please go on iTunes, rate the show. It’s how we grow. Subscribe. Tell your friends and Jonathan Have a great day, man. Thank you so much for being on the show. Yeah, you too, Andrew. I appreciate
Tricia Lewis is the host and creator of The Recovery Happy Hour podcast and co-founder of Sober by Southwest.
Welcome to the self made and sober podcast. I’m your host Andrew Lassise. And with me today is Tricia Lewis, the host and creator of the recovery, happy hour podcast, and the co founder of sober by Southwest. Tricia, how are you?
I’m great. Thank you. How are you?
I’m doing well. You know, I was so excited to have you that we recorded on a not recording day just because I’m pumped to have Tricia Lewis.
Thanks for work of my schedule. It was a wacky October, so I appreciate your patience.
Yeah, definitely. And now that we’re in November, you’re coming up on the third going into fourth year of sobriety. Next week as of this recording. Yeah,
this is true. This is true. 1114 So this year, it kind of snuck up on me I was kind of busy. So I think that’s a good place to be in.
Yeah, well, when it sneaks up on you, then you’re probably not counting the days has that always been your situation where it’s not counting the days You
know, I love achievements I’m always
know it’s I love I love milestones and you know, the further along you get, the fewer milestones you have. So, the fact that this year snuck up on me that’s, that’s weird. I normally I’m like, I’m all about like, you know, hey, I’ve got this many months and I’ll go like, buy myself a cake and you know, he said whole cake.
There’s no such thing as a sad Whole Cake.
Cake. It is a cake of accomplishment and a cake of actually accomplishment. carbs don’t count and all right.
Oh, yeah, that’s right. I forgot they had them removed.
Yeah, yeah, it’s it’s one of those you know, placebo things like if you’re eating cake, because you’re sober then it doesn’t count. And that’s, that’s a pretty that’s one of those third year. tricks that uncover that celebration cake. Stone What did early sobriety look like for you versus what it’s looking like now?
Early sobriety looked like work, you know, early sobriety felt like a checklist, like I’d wake up and it’s like, Okay, I have to do this, and I have to do my prayer and meditation. And then I have to call this person and then I have to go to this meeting. And then I have to journal and everything was like, check the box, check the box and do the things so that you can level up. And then I think that the gift of sobriety is when you learn to let go of a lot of that and you, you relax your, your grip on things and really dig into that surrender process, and that’s where I’m at right now, which is a lot more. You know, freewheeling like whatever’s going to happen, you know, leaning a lot harder into my faith, and, you know, a lot less, you know, I was I was white knuckling it or relying on willpower but certainly It was a lot harder and everything about it was new in the beginning. And now that it’s not so new, and I can sort of make this process my own, as long as I don’t drink alcohol, I can relax and do it a lot more.
And you were one of the people correct me if I’m wrong that alcohol was the big persuader. Or were drugs like a
not really not really drugs were always something I could kind of take or leave alcohol just really crushed me though. And and that was, that was my first love and that was really my only love and and that was that’s what what, you know what made it so hard to let go of at the end.
And so coming to the end of your drinking career, November a couple years back, what was would you say is just the moment where you decided I can’t do this anymore.
You know, a couple of things. One was that my body was just starting to get out. I’m pretty petite. You know? I’m five, three, and you know the amount of alcohol that I was consuming. I mean, I should have had alcohol poisoning weekly and how I didn’t, it’s still beyond me. I went through that last week, I went through like a kind of a three day Bender, a very socially acceptable looking vendor, but I was just drinking morning till night. And you know that it had gotten so bad or I mean, I was that like, last three months of my drinking. It was just six out of seven days a week, I was drunk period. And if I wasn’t drunk, I was hungover and quickly on my way to being drunk again. So when physical withdrawals happened, that’s when I realized, okay, like it’s happening now this is starting. And yeah, I mean, I’m smart enough to know the long term effects of alcohol. So when I realized that my body was like, Oh, no, we can’t do this anymore. I listened and made that decision.
And were there sort of in and out bouts? Or was it just, I’m done. And first try, you’re nailing it.
Um, there were definitely in and out bouts, you know, for the last 10 years of my drinking, I probably, you know, I did a lot of those, oh, I’m going to take a couple of weeks off, I’m going to take a month off kind of thing. And, you know, thinking that I could do a little reset, and then go back to drinking like normal. But I noticed that that month, and that couple of weeks kept getting shorter and shorter, and I could never really complete that original goal. So it was never It was never like a and an attempt of Okay, I’m going to stop forever, because I didn’t want to stop forever. So but I knew is going to happen to have to happen someday. You know, that was always part of the plan. I mean, I come from a family of addiction. So I knew that eventually I was going to have to get sober but I didn’t want to do it until I was ready. Because I because I knew that once I really started it. It was going to really suck I went back to drinking but I was probably gonna ruin it forever.
Yeah, kinda like that Cortez burn the boats, just jumping 100% so when when you’re first getting sober, what are some of the strategies that you’re using? Are you trying 12 steps? Are you figuring it out yourself? what’s what’s early sobriety look like for you?
In November 2016. When I first got sober, I would have three days and I just fully detoxed on my own. It was basically like having the flu for three days. I don’t recommend that though. Which, by the way, it should be said that if anyone is really worried about quitting drinking, and the effects of withdrawing from it, talk to your doctor or talk to somebody about a way to safely do that because I can’t recommend the way that I did it. I want to, I thought, Okay, well, maybe if I just listened to a podcast, I can, like, you know, think about again, like maybe I’ll just take a couple of weeks off like I wasn’t really good. Quiet in it yet, you know, maybe I can drink enough green juices to where I can fix.
Everybody knows listening to a podcast will alleviate all all physical withdrawal symptoms, right?
The proper knowledge on what’s going on. Right withdraw.
So I just I thought okay well I’ve never listened to a podcast about for sobriety maybe I’ll just check one out and see how it see what you know just see how that feels and I started listening to recovery elevator you know you’ve you’ve interviewed Paul, and I started listening to people’s stories and that’s when something changed because I heard for the very first time I heard somebody’s story that sounded just like mine. I did not realize that there were other high functioning alcoholics that terminal uniqueness. I thought I was the only one who had all those rules in place and I was the only one who could still, you know, work 60 hours a week and be hungover or drunk. I thought I was alone. And until I started hearing those stories on that podcast, I didn’t. I didn’t understand this phenomenon really, in my core, I didn’t understand it. So I just started listening to those for a few days, and then listening to one of those conditions convince me to try a 12 step meeting. So I tried that. I dug into that. So then I was doing these two things, the podcast and 12 step. Then I joined a Facebook accountability group and really started connecting with more people and through the Facebook accountability group, I started reading self help books. I got back into therapy, like I went, if something sounded promising, I tried it, it doesn’t mean that it’s stuck and that I used it but I tried everything. So I went with like a full, you know, multi pronged approach to this and tried anything and everything.
So is the Tricia Lewis That is in front of me via zoom chat a different human being than the one from a few years ago. Is that safe to say?
Yes and no. Yeah.
So, um, my approach to life is totally different. But sobriety has brought out the best parts of myself that I had long since forgotten about when I was drinking. So I’m still the same. I’m still in, you know, in a way I’m like, an amplified version of my favorite parts of myself. But, but yeah, my, my, my outlook on everything is totally different. Now. It’s when I sit and reflect on it, like I get emotional, it’s insane how different everything is after making that one decision.
So a lot of people feel that the drinking side of things was really more of a symptom of something deeper. Would you say that that was true in your Cases Well,
yes, absolutely this symptom, the symptom was anxiety and a need for control and being a just a codependent people pleaser. Growing up in a family of addiction I was around addiction and I did that thing that most siblings or or children of alcoholics and addicts do which is try to make the situation better every day try to fix everyone else’s problems try to fix people with your love Try not to rock the boat too much. And yeah, I became a level 10 people pleaser control freak and I’ve had really bad anxiety since I was about seven. So all these things combined alcohol really helped turn the volume down on them.
And I know for myself, my experience was that volume and the insanity going on in my head. It was just a constant Everything is terrible, everything’s going to hell. And then as soon as I start drinking, then everything’s fine. But then I start doing stupid things while I’m drinking, which then adds to the anxiety and all the problems in my life. But then if I drink, they go away, but then they get amplified. So I need to drink more to turn down the amplification. And then I discovered through recovery that it actually I could turn down the insanity of my life. And my anxiety, not 100% goes away because I filled that void of alcohol with work and family and a million other things that now occupies the same space in my brain. But I would say that I don’t have too many of those. Any of those mornings where I wake up, and I look at my phone, and I’m like, Oh my god, I texted that person last night because like, I was working extra hard. Yeah, you have those experiences because of?
Well, you know, it’s funny. It’s funny what you said about anxiety is that, you know, I’d say like, the common theme of the last few years of my drinking was that what? That alcohol stopped working for me. And that, what used to turn down the volume on my need for control, and my terrible anxiety was now starting to turn up the volume on it. So if I drink a bottle of wine, my anxiety would get worse, and I wouldn’t and I wouldn’t feel drunk, and then I’d be so mad and confused, like, why do I not feel drunk, and then that would make my anxiety even worse. And then, you know, I go to bed and I’d wake up and I’d be so pissed and angry that I didn’t remember the night before and I didn’t have just one or two glasses, I had a bottle again, and then I had drinks on top of that, and that caused more anxiety. Plus, you have the physical feelings of a hangover, which gives you anxiety. It’s just like layers upon layers upon layers of more anxiety and It was all now because of the alcohol. Alcohol was fixing anything. And I don’t know that’s a I forgot your original question. But
yeah, I never remember anything. My whole life is is an endless. I keep my to do list in Trello I follow David Allen’s getting things done method the sure if you’re familiar with that, but it’s basically like, everything ever just gets written down and then I’ll address whether or not it’s something that following through but we were discussing about how you have anxiety about drinking and then you drink to lower the anxiety but then you have anxiety about the things you did while you’re drinking. So it’s just, it’s a never ending cycle and to be on the other side of it. And it’s like, you know, you’re telling someone who’s new in recovery. If you if you go through this process, change your life, that volume will go down the anxiety, it’s not going to just disappear but Your life will just completely transform. And I thought it was. It was actually my lawyer who, when I got my DUI and he had like, 40 some years, and I didn’t want to hear anything he was telling me, but he had said, it’s not the stopping of drinking. It’s the starting of living. And 26 year old just got a DUI, Andrew didn’t want to hear that. And so it was just, you know, that’s whoo, whoo, whatever. And I recall, I maybe had two, three years sober, and I had gotten a new sponsor at a 12 step meeting. And I remember saying them, you know, you don’t need to look at this as the stopping of drinking. It’s the starting of living and then I was like, Oh, my God. He was right.
perspective is everything. You know, I just funny, I just remembered I had this I think of everything in metaphors. I just had this memory of when I lived in Telluride, Colorado for a few years, and when I moved there, I learned how to snowboard because I wanted to snowboard, I thought it’d be so cool. And I thought, you know, that was just something I wanted to do, but, and I did it for a year and a half. And I, it never felt natural. But I thought that and I was like, No, I’m going to do this, I’m going to make this work because I want to do it. And it never took. And then one day, I tried skiing, and that was like, so natural and felt right. And I could do it easily. And I wasn’t fighting and I wasn’t, you know, getting injured all the time. It was like, oh, if I just, like, let go of this idea of this thing I thought I needed to do and went with this other thing that really worked for me. I would have had a couple of years less misery. And that’s how drinking was, you know, I just like no, I have to drink I want to drink. But it was it was you know, ruining my life. And once I went with this other thing that felt better and gave me such better results and I let go of this toxic idea. Everything shifted, everything got easier. And that’s how getting sober was.
It sounds so obvious. is to say, but everything gets easier when everything is easier. We just have this idea that I need to be this type of person, I need to, I need to snowboard I need to snowboard. And it’s funny. Maybe two years ago, my then fiance or now we had just got married regardless. My wife and I, we went skiing for both of our first times and it was like, How hard could it be? And as you know, we’re like falling over and we’re in Utah. I mean, like, we live in Florida. It’s not like it’s not like going to the mountains exists, like we don’t, right, right. But there’s like three year olds that are like skiing backwards talking to their friends. And we’re like those guys that are just like, swinging their arms. I’m like,
yeah, learning how to how to ski as an adult. It makes you so mad at kids and you’re like, Oh, damn you and your small short center of gravity. It’s so frustrating.
The changing gears a bit. Why don’t you tell us about your your mindset in starting the recovery happy hour and what that’s transformed into, over the time that you’ve been doing it.
Um, so recovery happy hour started. It went live in July of 2018. I had the idea about six months before. And you know, it podcasts were such a vital part of my recovery. But I noticed as I gained more sobriety that I wasn’t hearing a whole lot of stories about what happened after people quit drinking, a lot of them are. They tell the stories of what it was like when you were drinking, which is great, that serves a purpose. But I needed something I needed to talk about something else I needed to talk about life beyond because I met so many people who were so afraid of missing out on something I’m missing out on the fun that they didn’t want to quit drinking and I was like, well, let’s address that fear of missing out. And let’s prove the point that life is Go on after you quit drinking. So that was my approach to why I wanted to start this podcast and what I wanted to be different about it. When I started it, it was a very simple goal. It was like, well, let’s tell those stories, let’s get people who have a little more sobriety under their belt, and address this fear of missing out. Because I’ve always I’m an entrepreneur, it turned into something much bigger than I ever expected, because I’ve put in a lot of work to grow it into something bigger than just, you know, a download on your phone that shows up every Tuesday. So meeting all these really cool people all across the world and interviewing them on my show. It’s been really fun to make, to network to make new friends to, you know, come up with new events to do to listen to people’s needs and what they need to help their recovery along to build, you know, retreats and online events out of that. It very, very quickly turned it into something much bigger than I expected and the whole thing has been just a giant gift to me, and it’s a pretty privilege, it is nothing but a privilege to be able to do this thing that comes naturally, that like scratches that itch that I have to work, you know, I just I would want to work and create it’s you know something all the time and to help change people’s lives and to motivate them to to take a different approach to recovery. And that’s that you’re, like you said, like, it’s not about quitting something. It’s about starting to live your life. It’s not about letting go of this thing. It’s grabbing ahold of total joy, and helping to shift perspective.
And you talked about the entrepreneurship and the putting on events, and I believe it was January that you’re putting on server by Southwest.
So last March was when we did the first server by Southwest that was March of that would have been 2019. My first retreat is coming up in this upcoming January, January of 2020.
And what should people expect from From that retreat, what are some of the things that you’re putting forward to put your own spin on things.
So beyond the bottle is happening, January 3 through the fifth at the Magnolia Hotel in Dallas. So I’ve got people that are flying in from all over the country, it’s pretty intimate. It’s capped at 30 people. And it is two very intense days of workshops, I mean, anything from, you know, meditation, you know, brain training, exploring, you know, journaling, a little bit more yoga. Brain spotting is a huge, huge part of what’s added to my recovery portfolio this year. So having somebody come in to do a brain spotting session with everybody is a big part of it. We’re doing some nutrition and supplementation. We’re going hard, like nine to five during the day, but then at night, I’m taking everybody out, and we’re going to go out and party and have a really great time and show everybody that yes, you can go out and not drink alcohol and have a really good time. And that’s something A lot of people are afraid to do so. What better way to do it then with 30 other sober people?
Yeah, I know for myself it was that in my head it was, well, anytime that I’m having fun. It is because I’m drunk. So like, I can’t attend sporting events because like, I enjoy doing that drunk, but then it’s like, it actually wasn’t the event coupled with my drinking but made it fun. It was the event itself in a vacuum is actually fun. And now me drinking it’s like, well, I blacked out, doing things that I enjoy doing. Like there’s not really but when you’re in the grips of it. That’s that’s your perspective. That’s
a lie. That’s the lie you sell yourself. And the funny thing about it is that we think that everybody at that sporting event is drinking like we do.
I know we think Oh, isn’t every isn’t everybody wasted by 11am? Like isn’t everybody in a blackout right now?
Now it’s so funny and then being on the other side like I was I was out it nation a couple or last week. And a lot of the vendors there was like open bar and like I just met these really cool guys like, Hey, man, let’s go have a drink. And I was like, you know, I’ll just have a Diet Coke, but it is what it is. And and, you know, they weren’t like, what? I hate you they were just like, okay, let’s just keep doing the event. But like a lot of the vendors towards the end of the night they were getting a little, little sloppy, which I thought in my head, I was like, you know, as like a server version. I was like, Man, these people they shouldn’t be drinking at this event. Like, they should be trying to get my business like I am actually interested prospect and they’re kind of blowing it because they’re drunk, but I’m could tell, like, put myself in their shoes. And it’s like, there’s an open bar. I’ve been here for several hours. Like this guy who’s talking to me right now is probably just like the other hundreds of people that I’ve talked to you that aren’t going to buy our services.
You know, they’re like, Oh yeah, you just Just give me a call
you give me a call best
yeah they’re not gonna call it they’re not going to offer to call you because they’re not going to remember that’s all I was I was like yeah just make sure you call me because I wouldn’t gonna remember
yeah but it’s it’s funny being on the other side that we just assume everybody else is wasted and like they they actually aren’t like we’re minority i mean you know the like mines find like mines so I mean we’d be on like the metro going to a capitals game which coincidentally is tonight in in Florida, but we’d all just be like wasted and yelling and chanting. But like being on the metro sober. It’s like all of us are sober except for like those wasted annoying people that keep chanting like as caps caps caps
embarrassing years Self.
I know once you’re on the other side, you’re like, Oh, god, that was me.
Yeah, I got it. But it’s kind of like children, though, you know, like you look at the things that you were doing, like in your teenage years, and you look back on it, it’s like, what was I thinking, like, that doesn’t help anybody or anything. I just, I thought I was cool. And I wasn’t one like, then you see teenagers doing the same things that you’re doing. You’re like, just wait till you grow up. And then you’ll, you’ll discover, like, this isn’t what you want to be doing. But it’s like, we’re hearing the same things that like our parents, and the older people in our lives. were telling us all along in the drinking, it’s the exact same thing.
And and I want to rewind a bit and I apologize that I’m pleading naivete on this, but could you talk about what brain spotting is? And
yeah, yeah, and no, it’s not. It’s something that’s still relatively new. So don’t worry that you haven’t that it’s not part of your You know that you don’t know about it yet a lot of people don’t. Brain spotting was introduced me introduced to me actually at a recovery elevator retreat. My friend Kim is a certified brain spotting expert. She’s a therapist, but this is a very intense type of therapy that God how would I explain this? So in the limbic system in your brain, you store memories you store trauma, and for me personally, I had chronic pain issues for a long time. And a lot of chronic pain even though you feel it in your body is actually stored in the limbic system. And brain spotting is a way to access stored trauma in your brain by focusing on one spot on your brain, and you can access a spot with your eyes, depending on where you’re looking. Have you heard of EMDR?
Yeah, I was just gonna say is this similar to em?
Odyssey This is similar to to EMDR. It’s a little more focused and it’s this is a way where I have been able to tap into old stored trauma, work through it very quickly and very intensely. at a rate that’s like 100 times faster than just talk therapy. So when I first did brain spotting, I was able to very quickly access a I don’t want to say you’re hypnotized, but you are kind of like a sort of semi hypnotized state. When I first did it, I was able to have this insane visceral experience where I went back to my divorce, standing on my front porch, watching my ex husband move furniture out of the house, and finally go back and grieve. When at that moment, when it really happened, I wasn’t able to grieve. I was putting on a face and I was trying to pretend like everything was fine. And I was sort of able just to kind of relive and process feelings that were a lot healthier and more appropriate to the situation, and really move past that so much quicker than just talking to somebody about it. It’s been really powerful for me in this last this last year to help me work through old, old stuff that’s been stored away for 510 25 years. And I’m super passionate about people learning about this. This is why I’m having him come out to my retreat. Because it’s so powerful. And I feel like it just if you like therapy, this is like therapy on fastforward.
So it’s kind of like, hey, if you enjoy being buzzed, you will love being black.
You enjoy therapy, you will love brain. Yeah, yeah, I you know,
and I can’t say that it works for everybody. I just know that for me. I’ve responded to it very, very quickly. And, you know, you can’t it’s kind of hard to do it by yourself. You know, there’s certain ways you can you can sort of do it by yourself, but, but you need to find an expert to kind of show you how and do it with them and And there’s a great you can honestly, if anyone wants to know more about it, you can just go to brain spotting calm and you can, should be able to find a practitioner in your area.
All right. And you had mentioned that, that reading and books were sort of part of the journey. Is there any any one or two that stand out in your mind that are so go tues? It’s
interesting that you asked that because that’s one of those things that I tried that didn’t stick. So I tried so many different things to to really push my recovery. And in my first year, I was trying to read all these books that people were recommending. And at the time, it was too much for me, I had too many other things going on where that pushed me into a place of just recovery, fatigue and kind of breno recovery burnout. So I stopped reading those books for a long time at the recommendation of my therapist, you know, I was going to go on vacation. I think I was four or five months sober. And I had this list of books I was going to bring with me and she said, No, you need to read some like garbage books. That’s what you just read. If you’re going to be on vacation, you got to rest your brain a little bit and maybe tap the brakes on doing all those things at the same time. So I really I have taken a break from reading a lot of those books I just now started one about a month ago well, a series of them by Dr. Caroline leaf called Why am I drawing a blank right now called the switch on your brain. And this is a really a you know, anything. If you’re familiar with like neural plasticity, and brain training and changing the way that your your thought patterns run through your head. This is a really interesting book that digs into that and tells you how to change the way you think and how changing the way you think can change your perspective on your life and sort of detox your brain. It’s heavily scripture, backed. She talks a lot about things are rooted in the Bible that she uses quantum physics and science to prove spirituality. She uses spirituality to prove science and quantum physics and really links the two things together.
That’s really cool. Because I know a lot of times the the topic on religion is very, very, how could you say that if it’s not backed by science and I’ve, I’ve kind of taken the approach just for me personally, of the I will go a spiritual approach because I have found in my life that I cannot deny the results that I achieve through spirituality, but for me religions not it’s, I will put it at it’s not for me, we don’t have to argue about like, ancient mythology and how like, you know, this story is the same as the one that you think that, you know,
yeah, no, I understand where you’re coming from. And I can tell you right now that religion has not worked for me either, but spirituality has and they’re two very different things.
Yeah, and I wasn’t really aware of the differences between the two. Do you want to elaborate on that for people that maybe kind of thing? spirituality, religion, same word.
Yeah. Well, and also this is totally opinion and someone’s going to listen to this and go she is a crock of shit. But, you know, religion is the it to me is is rules structure and a checklist of things you have to do so that you don’t end up in a you know, the fiery depths of hell after you die. And, you know, spirituality is connecting with God or whoever that you need to connect with the universe, whatever word you need to use for me, it’s, you know, my connection to God comes through Jesus, but that’s my spirituality. And that’s something that I’m constantly tapping into. It has nothing to do with showing up at the same place every Sunday is nothing to do with like, making sure I do these certain things so that I, you know, so that I’m not considered bad. It has nothing to do with shame. It has nothing to do organization or rules, is everything to do with, with tapping into the source through love. that’s, to me, that’s spirituality.
I seem to find that a lot of people that really tap into their spirituality, they’re usually not the kind of people that are just like shoving it down your throat. And maybe that just kind of comes with practicing spirituality is that it’s just like, Look, if you want to discover this on your own, and if you want what I have, you can do what I do, but I’m not going to force it on you because kind of the whole paradox of it is like, if I force it on you, then I am not practicing it. So
right well, and also, I mean, let’s not forget to that like
if an asshole finds god, he’s still probably going to be an asshole. You know, I’m, I don’t know if I can cuss on this. I can try to tap the brakes on that. But, you know, like, you know, finding God doesn’t necessarily change who you are and how you act. It’s not going to make everybody perfect. And it’s certainly not going to make them be able to market their spiritual beliefs perfectly either. So you know, I’ve met a lot of people who have really, really solid foundations in their faith, but they’re still jerks. And that’s, that’s the beauty of the world. We’re all different and we can all still tap into what works for us and, and still be different. Very, very different people.
Yeah, I’m with you, 100% on that. So we’re coming short on time with Tricia. It’s been so great having you on the podcast? Where can people find you and the things that you’re doing?
So you can listen to Recovery Happy hour, every Tuesday and episode comes out. It’s available anywhere you listen to podcasts. You can learn more about the show. You can get links on where to find help or find out about future events on www.RecoveryHappyHour.com. You can follow me on Instagram or Any social media which is @recoveryhappyhour, and that retreats in January, there’s two spots left. It’s coming up January 3 2020. And you can find out more on recovery happy hour calm.
Perfect. Well Tricia, thank you so much for being on the show. And guys, if you enjoyed the show, please rate and subscribe. It’s what helps us grow the show. And Tricia Have a great day. Thank you so much.
Chris Grosso. is an author and speaker best known for his book “Dead Set on Living” which is revered as one of the top 5 addiction books of all time. and I love the sub title “on making the difficult but beautiful journey from fucking up to waking up.”
With me today is the indie spiritualist Chris Grosso.
He’s an author speaker best known for his book dead set on living, which is actually revered as One of the top five addiction books of all time in Chris I love the subtitle on making the difficult but beautiful journey from fucking up to waking up
story of my life which is still very much ongoing.
So you want to give us a little background on how you came up with the subtitle I love that.
Yeah, I mean, it’s my third book. My first book was indie, spiritualist, which that and everything mine came out in 2014 and 2015 everything mine was my second book. And they were like part autobiographical, but also trying to distill these teachings from a lot of Eastern philosophy and you know, things that younger people because that’s a large demographic I work with may not otherwise be interested in. So I’m trying to distill it in a way that makes it more accessible. Well, you know, keeping it interesting with my own journey and I only mentioned That’s not a plug I mentioned that because so I have these two books out that do really well there with major publishers and I’m traveling and speaking at conferences and you know, front of thousands of people and you know, just very well known for in the recovery community, and I end up relapsing. And not only relaxing, but I was literally like dead. They, it was a 24 hour relapse and ended up in a hospital bed. And I was intubated because I couldn’t breathe on my own. So I had one tube in my lungs breathing for me. I had one in my stomach. They were just trying to suck out like, because I was incoherent by the time I got to the hospital, thank goodness, my parents got me there when they did, because the doctor said and no scare tactic. Like they were like, if you were here, five minutes later, even if you survived, you would have been brain dead. Because I was just I wasn’t breathing. So that it was after that That, within about three weeks, I had bounced back pretty quickly from that, and I was out for a run. I love jogging. That’s a very important part of my recovery that an exercise and But anyways, it just kind of hit me like while I was out running like the whole title and subtitle just like, you know, and most of my first two books with the exception that said I’m living were written while I was out running is very odd. But like, once I hit that four or five mile mark, it’s like my mind is clear. And I would usually run eight to 12 miles. And I would you know, I’d have these ideas popped into my head, I’d get home and I and I wrote those books like literally, I’d be sweating because I wouldn’t even take a shower. I’m like, I need to write this right away and I’m sweating all over my keyboard but so dead set was that’s about the title and subtitle. It’s a completely different approach, you know, where it’s like, all right, I’ve written two books. And you know, I was sober for like, I think over around five years. or something like that, at that point after numerous relapses, even prior to that, but for me, like I always would get like a year, two years, three years. So, like, 95% of my time in this 20 year journey has been sober. But I had these relapses. And anyways, so that’s why I took a different approach with this book, where each chapter is a narrative conversation with neuroscientists teacher, you know, spiritual teachers, addiction experts, you know, I wanted to get this all encompassing view with the underlying theme being Why do we return to self destructive behaviors, even when we know better, because at this point, it’s like, all right, I’ve already written two books about what’s worked for me, and obviously, I still fell off. So it’s time for me to turn and talk to other people and get a very literally holistic, like all different viewpoints chiming in on these different, you know, their different perspective. So sorry for the long winded Answer. But that’s how the subtitle came about and a whole lot of info that you didn’t ask for.
Well, I mean, that’s the whole, the whole idea behind, you know, getting behind what’s going on in your mind at that time. Because I mean, you know, and writing the book, did you go in a different direction than when you initially started when you were doing your research and going through? Or was it pretty much start to finish? You knew how it was going to be?
Yeah, with with the third book, I absolutely knew the first two books were different. They were intentionally written kind of in a way where they’re shorter vignettes. And you you don’t have to read it in order. It’s not like a chapter by chapter book. Whereas dead seven living is, I mean, you could also with dead set, pick it up and read. It doesn’t have to be read cover to cover, but we did try to set some kind of a thread for it. So that It was pretty much I had the vision. Whereas the first two books, the first book, actually, I remember, I was joking half joking with my editor. She was like, you know, I’m thinking about maybe just taking each vignette title, putting it up on a cork board, and throwing darts at it. And we’re just going to decide the order from there. And we could have done that, and it still would have worked. But yeah, with that said, it definitely was more intentional.
So you were talking about how we return to self destructive behaviors, and what would you say are probably one or two biggest reasons why people do return to self destructive behaviors.
So, you know, oddly, a therapist helped me after all these years, you know, I still see a therapist weekly because I’m still a very fucked up individual. I am a much more productive member of society and I’m grateful for that and but I you know, I still dropped the ball in every possible way that I can and I’ve been transparent about that, since my first book, that’s something that I’ve always wanted to do was show the humanity in this journey of, of healing, regardless of its drugs or alcohol, whatever, we’re all healing from something. And, you know, I’ve read books where it’s like the teachers almost come off is perfect. And it’s like they’re setting these unrealistic expectations. And I wanted to be the polar opposite of that. So
anyways, But to answer your question for me, I say that because therapist I was seeing, I’m seeing a different therapist now. But this was after the relapse, and they had helped me to understand that, as weird as this will sound, or as counterintuitive as this may sound, going back to those self defeating behaviors, not that is an excuse, but was actually an act of compassion for myself. And the reason he explained that was that we have these deeply ingrained neural pathways in our brain. And if we’re not taking care of ourselves and doing what we know we need to do in our recovery or healing journey, then those neural pathways start to get stronger again. And even though those behaviors like in my case, alcohol or drugs that could ultimately ended my death, there is my you know, the limbic brain, we have this train brain which consists of three parts. And when we are in a relapse mode, which as I’m sure you know, happens well before we pick up the drug or the drink, we start, you know, engaging in behaviors that are not self serving. And once we do pick up the drug or the drink, we go back into our limbic brain, which is the oldest part of our brain that are or I’m sorry, a reptilian brain. Its associated with caveman and, you know, survival fight or flight and then also our midbrain, which is emotions. And even though consciously our neocortex, which is the part of our brain, where does the conscious rational thinking is still there, were controlled by that those two old, you know, the reptilian brain in the midbrain. And, and so it’s that act of survival and that when you use that word compassion and remember just being like, how is that possible, but as you explained, like, that’s what’s ingrained that survival mechanism, like that’s what you’re resorting back to. And that’s why when you see people using like, they will literally use to their death unless they get help or some kind of intervention. So that’s one thing that I recognize or he helped me shine the light on and so again, I’m not saying that’s an excuse to go use. It’s just that he I had a lot of shame and guilt around relaxing, especially after having so much sobriety and writing books. And you know, he was not a therapist, I never get involved with therapists that are Yes, men or women, it’s like, you know, call me on my shit, otherwise, it’s not going to help me and he very much would, but I really appreciated him making that distinction from Me. But again, if you know that to beat a dead horse, but not an excuse, just helping me to understand. So for me the second part because I think you said like, what are two things? The biggest thing for me was that through all those years, and even though I was doing therapy, and I was doing 12 step meetings and various other kind of recovery meetings and exercising and eating well, and essentially doing everything you’re taught to do, you know, to, to engage in a very full spirited recovery. There was still some very deep underlying stuff there. And even though I would write on steps and do this and do that and do a lot of what the 12 steps suggests, and I’m neither pro nor anti I anything I want to be very clear that I am pro find what works for you and go that route, whatever it is, that’s all I care about. But what made a huge difference made like in a life changing difference was I started with with trauma based therapy, and that has allowed me to go into those very dark, often unconscious places that I wasn’t even aware of, you know, heads unconscious like that material that I had just shoved down Swiss psychologist probably on calls that shadow material. And this allowed me to start connecting dots to emotional attachments I had to certain memories, or even if the memories weren’t there still just that, you know, you may have heard the same the issues are in the tissues. So even if we don’t remember specific occurrences in our lives, that trauma is still held within the tissues. So two examples of the therapy one is EMDR and it’s like I am movement de sensitization something you can look it up EMSM Michael Diaz and David ours and Robert, and now I do a form of therapy that was born out of that called ART which is accelerated resolution therapy. And that has been, like I said, life changing for me, because it takes me to those parts where I’m up routing, reopening and re integrating the shadow material that would bring me back to that place of relapse. So we’re all unique individuals and just like I don’t advocate for 112 step over another or 12 steps in general. Same with therapy. I’m just sharing from me what’s literally changed my life.
I think it’s important that you establish to that like, what works for you, is what works for you. And just because it only works for Chris, like what works for you is not what works for Andrew. And neither of us is right or wrong, insane. works for us works or doesn’t work, because if it works, then who are you to say that it’s not working? I think we just get so we get this snowflake I idea that if we, if we have success in one thing, then everybody needs to do that, like we we have an eight month old, and every parent, here is how you solve this problem. And you see what, even within families, children that were literally brought up by the exact same parents that are just completely opposite people, and it’s trying to apply here as a solution that worked in this vacuum. And assuming that it’s always going to work, I do think you need to find what works for you and to stay open minded. Yeah, a lot of times they’ll they’ll be people in 12 step recovery, you know, very, very much. You have to do 12 step recovery, otherwise, your life is terrible, and right. I had believed that for a long time until and I’m, I am personally pro 12 step but at the same time, like you You’re sitting here, well, like vit virtually across from me saying you’re happy without it. So who who are those people to say that you’re not happy? Like, right happy? Is it working for you?
And so amen to that. And and that’s the thing that you know, I still to be transparent will attend 12 step fellowship meetings from time to time. I don’t nearly as much as I used to I currently don’t have a sponsor. I don’t, I’m not actively writing on steps but happy and I’m miserable and No, I mean, but that’s the thing like I know people that have, so like over 1020 years in recovery that never did a 12 step program and they are not white knuckling it or grumpy they found their healing and their recovery in meditation or yoga, or a lot of people like myself will integrate and do 12 steps and this and it always bothered me that like, you know, I preferred one fellowship over another, but I found benefit in both. And I would read the literature from both because I think there was a wealth of information. And regardless, if people aren’t in recovery, I my mom, for example, has read both of the major texts from each fellowship and she’s not in recovery. But they’ve just like, changed, not changed our life but really opened our eyes to, you know, life and she’s like, everyone should read these books, and I agree, but what I was gonna say was, I found it so petty that like, this fellowship is the one to go to, and that one’s not and, and same with like spirituality. It’s like, hey, if it’s working for you, awesome, like, just live and let live, you know, like, as long as you’re not harming yourself or anyone else, who cares what the other person is doing, if they’re, you know, happy and helping others and being you know, well to themselves. At the end of the day, that is all that matters as far as I’m concerned. And, you know, like inside, it’s not about outsides like, that’s, that’s what I, so I connect with people and I don’t look at, I don’t care what they listen to or watch or look like. I mean, like, sure it’s cool if we have stuff in common, but where is your heart and like, What? What are you passionate about? What are you doing in this world to make it a better place? That’s what I care about. And I, you know, I just wish more well know there are a lot of people that have that attitude. I just wish there were more and that’s why it’s a pleasure speaking with someone like yourself who you know, is involved in the fellowship but can be open minded and recognize there are other ways that work is well this just happens to be what works for me and and i will say, I know tons of people as well, that are very happy in the fellowships, and live a wonderful life. So in no way am I I wanted to be clear, I’m not anti at all like Dave, early on in my recovery. I owe them so much and I still do because they laid a foundation. It was just that for me. I needed that extra. Like the one thing I will say I interviewed addiction expert gobbler Mati, who’s in the second chapter of my book and he is very world renowned and can be controversial because he is very much Pro, if it’s for you, the use of things like iOS done plant medicines and healing, which I know in 12 steps is a very taboo subject. But gab or had said that shit, where was I going with that?
I lost my train of thought and there was a good point to
one or the other.
Oh, yeah. So what cardboard said was the one thing with the 12 steps that he feels is lacking is the any either fellowship is the focus on trauma. So you know that you you write on the 12 steps, and that’s awesome. And I have in both fellowships, and like I said, they were a great foundation. But in that conversation I had with him for a dead set. You know, we talked about that and I went back and I looked He’s right. You know, there is a lack of trauma based approach. And for me, that was what kept leading me back to relapse. Now, like I said, I know plenty of people that do the programs and don’t relapse and have many, many years sober and that’s incredible. But for some people like me, you need a little more. And then just a quick, interesting aside, regarding one fellowship, I do find it interesting that the older of the eldest of the fellowship, so while respecting anonymity here, but after a certain to creator of the eldest fellowships passed away, and I’ve seen these with my own eyes, and you can find them online if you do enough digging. There were early pamphlets and I believe it was the 14th written before certain literature was released, where one of the CO two co founders of this fellowship wrote about the positive aspects of things like hallucinogenic and your recovery. He also wrote about Buddhism and meditation and You won’t find that anywhere in the appropriated literature today. But I’ve seen, you know, with my own eyes like early on there, it was there. And once this gentleman passed away, it kind of got swept into the rug, like a lot of major religions, like they started out as this beautiful thing. And the mystic elements are still wonderful. But then when they become like man made and they become ego, and let’s make it fit our mold and our model, and it has to be our way and it just distorts. And so I’m not saying that the fellowships are distorted. I’m just saying, one of them particularly is lacking and in certain areas and kind of, you know, disregarded some very important information. But that’s like a whole nother show.
Yeah, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of research on the the origins of 12 step recovery, and you’re absolutely right, like, the way that it’s taught today is very, very different. Yeah. And the way that It originally was and the way that it used to be had a much higher success rate than the way that it currently does. But the people who are successful in it today, they are the ones that are carrying on the message of this is how it’s supposed to be done right as our minority is those that are successful in it and if you falter, it is your fault, even though that’s not how it initially was no, at all. It is very, it’s very interesting to see how its evolved over the years and how it’s kind of become a 80 year long game of telephone, even though there are they’re very clear instructions on how and what to do but each person puts their own spin on it and everyone kind of it is what it is like you said it’s it’s a huge rabbit hole. But I’m curious on on this stint of sobriety because like you said, You’ve been in and out for years majority of it in, well, what would you say is different this time versus all the other attempts that you’ve had at sobriety?
Yeah. So the major one, which I mentioned was the the trauma based therapy, that was something I had never done and I lead at least three to four times a month I lead workshops. I live in Connecticut, with teenagers that are in a residential, they’re about 13 to 18 years old. And it’s, I mean, it’s nothing like any of the rehabs that I went to like the ones I went to were like a step above the jail cells I’ve been in you know, like, I got what I needed, but these are very beautiful settings, a wonderful approach. They have like equine therapy, they have yoga come in, I go in and like I said, do three or four workshops a month and they also offer end Our therapy there, which is incredible. And that it’s actually the owner, the gentleman who started those. There’s a few of them throughout the country. He was the one who suggested em Dr. To me. And I’d heard about it and I’d heard good things, but I’d never heard or never tried it. And so as once I started to do that. Really, like I said, I feel like the best example I can give was prior to that, it’s like when you’re weeding a garden, like if you’re just cutting the weed, it’s going to grow back versus, with this trauma based therapy. I’m actually pulling it out by the route. So that these things like that I was thought I was healing through and some of them I did. weren’t fully healed. And like I said earlier, weren’t fully reopened and reintegrated. And another thing that I’m doing differently is that I don’t like count a sobriety date. People are always like how long you been sober and it’s like, I have no idea. I love the Just for today, I know it’s cliche, but some people are like, you know, if you woke up earlier than me today, you’re you’re sober longer. I used to kind of snark at that. But you know, now I’m like, you know what? Yes. And the reason I say that is because it’s it’s a mental disorder, you know, it’s this obsessive compulsive thought disorder. And the drugs and the alcohol are just symptoms. That’s not the actual problem. So I will catch myself even though I haven’t touched drugs and alcohol in a while, it’s you know, I’ve had a good run, I will still catch myself, at times, maybe eating the same exact way that I would when I was actively using drugs or alcohol. So like, even though I’m not hungry, I’m just like, going back and forth to the kitchen just eating like junk food, like, and it’s doing the same thing. It’s like masking something I don’t want to feel or numbing something. And so even though it’s not, again, a drink or a drug, it’s the same exact behavior. So, to me, even though I guess I’m quotes sober because I’m not under the influence of you know this or that still like chocolate and sugar changes your brain chemistry. So I like I am at that point where I’m that nitpicky with myself about it. So it’s like, I it’s why I don’t bother to me. It’s it’s, it’s not one thing or another it’s it’s our actions and our behaviors. So, and that’s why you’ll also see people that get sober and are just miserable because they don’t, you know, they’re white knuckling and they don’t take the time to really heal so.
So yeah, it’s like, I’ll have a long stint word. I’m doing well with food and everything, but then I’ll have a day where I just fall off and I eat like garbage for a day or pardon me, I will like binge TV for like, four hours that happens rarely because I’m I work so much, but it happens and I recognize it. It’s the same exact thing, just a different quote unquote, substance. So that’s the other thing that I find is help because I don’t have this. I don’t feel the pressure of Like, I have this much amount of time and these, you know, this key chain or this coin and, and nothing wrong with that, because that to me going back 20 years for the first five plus years of intimate this journey, those meant so much to me like something to look forward to. And I understand and celebrate the importance of clean time and things of that nature, especially for those newer in recovery. You know, because those are like lifelines. And they gave me something to look for and work towards and and I’m so grateful for that. But again, 20 years later, it’s like been there done that now it’s just like one day at a time literally, and not counting days just I’ve got today if that because once we get off this call, like you know, I’ll be I have other stuff to do and I’ll be going out Who knows if I will get in a car x and not to be morbid, but you know, who knows? I already feel like I’m living on borrowed time. I actually had this conversation with my fiance not Not long ago, and, and again, not to sound morbid, but if I were to die today, I don’t want to die today and be very clear, I enjoy my life and it’s far from perfect. Like, you know, I could always be better at this or that or whatever. But if I were a dad today, I would still feel like it was a gift. Because I have lost so many people like countless to overdoses to suicides, drug deals gone bad things of that nature, you know, anyone in recovery can relate to that. But it’s to the point where I have literally lost count. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known over the years. And I used to say, I should have died because the way it was and I did you know, like I said earlier, like I to breathing for me, the way I live like I could have died so many times over. So I do deal with, like survivor’s guilt at times still and things of that nature. But it helps again, just not having that, you know, date for whatever reason Isn’t that it’s like an anti thing for me. I’m not I’m not anti date. It just it doesn’t like it adds like a certain semblance of stress in my life that, you know, it’s counterproductive for my well being. So
it’s a very interesting thought and you know, on the intake form for the show, you know, we say went into your current sobriety date, and you’d put in there that it’s just for today, there isn’t a date. And I think that’s a really cool way of looking at it. And again, it’s like a polar opposite of how I look at it. Yeah, but at the same time, if that works for you, then that’s all that matters. Like we are all humans and there isn’t a cookie cutter. This works for me, therefore it works for you. It should just be at this works for me, here is my experience. And that’s all I can speak on. And you were talking you know about, like getting help with the trauma in your life and how 12 steps doesn’t address that. And there are people though that believe I saw a meme earlier and it was like, oh well I’ve been sober for nine years. So that makes me an authority on your finances and your love life and your trauma and your history and what jobs you should be working in the right we we take this a narrow little ish will not little we take this tiny piece though of our lives and then just blow it up into well I can’t do this thing because I’m an alcoholic. And it’s like, I mean, it’s, it may not be but then again for some people it very well is everything all or nothing. And we just we just passed Halloween at the time of this recording. And I I hadn’t really pieced it together until you said but I’ve been eating a ton of chocolate recently because we just had leftovers and I just threw out the basket of it yesterday with a ton left. I was just I found myself every time I walk downstairs. It’s like I’ll just grab a piece of candy. Yeah, any but I hadn’t eaten candy in well probably since last Halloween and and I can tell that my head isn’t in this in a as good of spot as it usually is. And I was trying to figure it out this morning. What’s been different what’s been different and it was it was like I guess they candies probably and then you you mentioned it so I’ll take that as a firm the the sugar and chocolate you know these things that Yeah, take it to extremes. And like you said the the drugs and alcohol like that’s a symptom, right rid of the symptom and you still have the problem. Yes, that’s way way worse because if your life sucks, and then you take drugs or or a drink, and then it feels better, you know, even though on a scale of one to 10 Talking about this a lot like my life before as a baseline at a too short and then it was it was up to a five when I was using. So it would make sense that I’d want to keep hitting that five out of 10 because I wasn’t aware of 678 910 what any of that felt like because all I knew was I could get up to a five if I’m under the influence so you right away and now I’m just stuck at a two without any solution to anything you write done exactly like you said he just waited the garden by chopping off the top of the weed but it’s just going to come right back instead of Yeah, actually getting rid of it. I love that insight.
And I just want to say I love that scale idea because, like, I think of it as like it’s very similar like let’s say one is lowest tennis highest. You know, I I’m grateful that on most days I feel content most days you know without substances you said, you know, it takes five most days. Let’s again 10 is like bliss. Most days, I’m out of five, six. And that’s like contentment, that’s not like, things are great things are awesome. I’m feeling super happy. It’s like, I’m content. I’m at peace like it definitely it’s not, you know, always a five, sometimes it’s an eight, sometimes it’s a two, but it’s generally like a five or six. And I remember early on one of the first rehabs I went to, because our brain chemistry is do shift and we can heal but sometimes only to a certain extent, depending on the damage we’ve done, but one of the clinicians is like, what if you could only get to a certain point in your healing and recovery where you can’t get past this, you know, you whatever level of happiness that’s something you know, everyone should be aware of, because that might be the case. And I’m not saying that’s the case in my life. I just remember like that really stuck with me. But I’m so compared to where I was living like yourself like I was at like a negative to let alone a too, you know, and I would get up to maybe like a three with my use but like, I’m at a five, six. And, like, I make it clear when I tell people like, you know, it just because you are in recovery or again, if it’s not specifically recovery healing from because I work with people that are cutters or suicidal or have you know, various, just mental health issues. So they’re healing from something it might not be specifically substances, but getting to that line of contentment. It is such a world of difference from being at that two or that zero because it’s like, wow, you know, like just feeling a sense of ease it you know, if you’ve been to that, too, which I’m guessing most of your listeners have, and I know you have, like that five, like, I mean, eight icing on the cake, eight to 10, but like 567 That’s awesome. Like, I’m so grateful just to be content. And one other thing I wanted to say is, I appreciate that you’re saying like just because I have nine years or whatever like I’m the authority And everything like, I have three books out majorly published and I am the first person to say, I can only talk about my experience. I cannot tell you what to do in your life, I can share what has helped me. I can tell you pitfalls that I fallen in. Some of this might help you some of it might not. But all I can share is my experience. And I you know, I make that clear. When I do my workshops, I sit on the floor with the teenagers like, I don’t, you know, speak at major conferences. I understand I have to stand on a stage because there’s can be hundreds to thousands of people but that makes me feel uncomfortable because I don’t want to feel any different. I’m not any higher. Like I’m right there with you. You know, I’m in the trenches going through this with you just because I am not using today and I have some books out so what like, I don’t have any PhDs I didn’t finish. I was halfway through my internship for substance abuse counseling, too much paperwork I dropped out like So I would have had my degree in that and I don’t, you know, it’s just like, so, you know, people tend to think that like, I could see how easily having books published I could be that guy like, Well, I know this or that. No, I don’t know shit. I know that. I don’t know shit. That’s the one thing I do know. And, you know, I’ll share what I can that maybe will help but that’s the best I can do.
I think that’s a great perspective. And Chris, I want to be conscientious of your time. So in wrapping up, where can people find you online and your books?
Yeah, everything can be found at the website which is the indie spiritualist calm. It’s either indie spirituals or just indie spiritualist. I don’t know you can Google it, and it’ll come up my name or indie spiritualist. My name
is Andrew racialist. Thank you.
Yeah. Or Yeah,
so, but you can find my bonus.
Thank you, sir. But yeah, my social media accounts I think are attached to that and my books are all on Amazon and or you can find them at the website and yeah, thank you for asking. I’m I feel weird plugging stuff so I appreciate you.
Well, I’ll I’ll plug it in the show notes. If anybody’s interested. Feel free to reach out to me. We’ll have all the links in the show notes. Reach out to Chris is so great having you on self made and sober and guys, if you liked the episode, please rate and subscribe on iTunes. It helps us grow the show. And Chris, have a great day. Thank you.
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor.
ep 43 Kate Bee is the founder of The Sober School, where she coaches women through early sobriety and helps them navigate alcohol-free living without feeling deprived or miserable. Kate lives near Manchester in the UK.
She helps women who feel as if they’re in the grey zone. She’s really passionate about showing people that a) you can still lead a full and happy life without alcohol and b) you don’t need to wait until you hit rock bottom before you change.
Sober Since: April 6th, 2013 (class of 2013 woop woop)
alan carr’s easy way to control alcohol
grant cardone – 10x rule
And with me today is Kate Bee the founder of sober school where she teaches women through early sobriety She helps them navigate alcohol free living. But she does it in a way that makes women not feel deprived or miserable, which I know for myself was something that I was very, very concerned with an early sobriety. So Kate, how are you doing?
I’m good. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me on.
Yeah, definitely. And so you’ve been sober since April six. 2013. So I’ve got like, a week or two weeks on you? 2013. Yeah, March 23. Was was the day that changed it for me in 2013. So coming up on little past halfway through year six, how’s the trading? Yeah.
Yeah, pretty good at today. I can’t believe how long it’s been really because yeah, I stopped. I stopped on April, the SIG, exactly six months before my 30th birthday. So yeah, I have this I’d like to points of the year, the sixth of April may say we’re birthday and then the sixth of October my real birthday. So yeah, it’s kind of nice. It’s good opportunities to reflect on how quickly Time passes and how old I’m getting.
Well, I mean, age is just a, it’s just a number, right? It’s all how you feel. Things what we tell ourselves. So why don’t you take us through what’s going on early 2013. And what’s going on in your life? What’s going on through your head? Like, why’d you decide to start getting sober?
Well, I mean, looking back at that time, I think from the outside, everything looked fine. And that was one of my big problems, actually, that I didn’t seem to have an alcohol problem. As I as you might stereotypically, think that Did you know I was holding down a good job, I had a busy social life. Lots of friends like on that, in many ways I was living this really successful life. And I think if you’d asked any of my friends what they thought about my drinking, they said, Oh, yeah, like Kate really likes to drink but it doesn’t everybody. And yeah, I had this big secret, which was all the drinking that I was doing at home on my own. And that had become my absolute favorite way to drink. And, you know, two or three times a week, I would need to have this kind of drinking binge where I would just drink completely on my own until I passed out. And this had been going on for several years, and I’d had some attempts at stopping drinking in the past, sworn off it for a month or more sometimes successful sometimes not. But I think What really made the difference in April of that year was I just had this feeling since the very beginning of the year that my foot was really on the accelerator and I seem to be drinking more and more and more. And I was kind of scaring myself really. And, you know, I’d looked around for help, and I couldn’t find anything that seemed to really speak to me. I’d been to a few a meetings, and they’d left me feeling more convinced I didn’t have a problem. You know, I’d heard these really dramatic stories there, and have managed to convince myself that I’m so different from all of them. And I didn’t need to go to rehab. I knew that my doctor wasn’t any help just suggested I drink a bit less, which was devastatingly useless piece of advice and any more people
How normal people think that you know what, you know, a good solution to your drinking problem would be if you just drank less. Like that’s like that’s a real option. Oh, just drink less. That’s how I should stop drinking just do less. It’s like telling someone with a peanut allergy you should just you should breathe when you eat peanuts like just ignore you know the symptoms in your throat getting close. I just breathe when I eat peanuts. I don’t have a problem.
Yes, think that’s the greatest piece of advice. Just stop.
to be honest, I can see where he’s coming from. Because when you look at a lot of literature, certainly in the UK anyway about you know, drinking less It is generally the main messages, just drink as if it’s that simple. But I think what what really made the difference in April of that year was I must have googled something slightly different. And I found this blog. It’s called a pickled. And that was the first time I’d really discovered someone who sounded like me. And he’d stopped drinking, and he seemed so much happier. And I think it’s really powerful when you see your story reflected in someone else. And that was the first time I thought, Okay, this is like, evidence that someone else, you know, he was drinking like me, felt that they should quit, and maybe I should try it again. So, yeah,
so you could kind of relate when you were reading that blog to, you know, this person’s story. kind of sounds like mine. And I know that’s kind of like the foundation in 12 step recovery, maybe, you know, it’s not everybody’s brand, but the idea of, yeah, I understand what you’re talking about. And, you know, KU and I practically just met and, but I can relate to your story. You know, the, the doctor told me Well, just just cut back. And to most people, they would think that’s okay, whatever. But being on the same side of it, I remember one time that the doctor had asked me on my levels, something was off. And he said, Well, how often do you drink? And I said, about six to eight times per year, or I’m sorry, 68 times per week. He said, eight. And I was like, Well, yeah, because footballs on Sunday, so I’ll wake up early, I’ll get wasted. I’ll pass out and then I’ll wake up, and then I’ll get drunk again on Sunday. So sometimes I’ll get seven days and twice on Sunday is like, wow, maybe. Maybe you should cut back and there’s like, what do you think’s like a good number to shoot for like, six. So sobriety, what’s that look like for you? Is it a struggle, or were you just done?
Um, well, it was
yours. was kind of a really up and down time. The main thing I did different this time was I started writing a blog myself, just at one of those free WordPress anonymous blogs. It’s still out there, I think it’s called the sober journalist. And I started writing it just to train, make sense of my own thoughts, keep myself accountable. By doing that, I accidentally created a bit of a community for myself, because I started following other bloggers, they followed me. And someone said to me, hey, a group of us are doing this 100 day challenge where, you know, we’re just going to try and like not drink for 100 days. And I thought, Oh, yeah, well, that sounds a lot less intimidating, then, you know, stopping forever, which is what I thought I was having to sign up for. And, and so yeah, I’m not gonna say it was easy, but it was so different from all the other times When I being completely on my own and and not reaching out for help and not knowing where to turn for it
so going through this 100 day challenge you were already sober before this it happened. Is that correct? Or is this the start of it?
Um, I think I would probably only a couple of days sober. And then I found out that these other people were doing these 100 days. So it coincided almost perfectly. And they were kind of sharing lots of stuff like book ideas, you things, things to do with your free time, all that kind of stuff. So I didn’t feel as if I was so alone.
Yeah, that part of the community. I think that’s really cool how you accidentally created a community which is what so many people are trying to fabricate a community. What do you think were some of the reasons why that community started building
Um, I think back then especially there was this sense of no one really gets this, like no one else drinks the way that we do. And now I know that that’s not true. There are hundreds and thousands of people, you feel exactly the same way about our call. But it was as if I’d stumbled across this corner of the internet, where we all felt as if we were stuck in this gray zone or problem drinking. So we weren’t normal drinkers, but we weren’t the cliched rock bottom. And then I woke up in hospital and I’d been arrested and I’d lost everything type of drinker. And that just wasn’t me. And, you know, thank goodness, things never got that bad for me. But in a way, that was a big part of the problem, that things weren’t bad enough. And I needed someone to kind of help me reframe that and start thinking about whether Things were good enough to keep continuing as they as they were, and they weren’t. So yeah, that was a really big mind set shift for me and realizing that I didn’t have to wait until things got worse. And that entire sort of them qualified as, Oh, yes, you need to stop drinking. There wasn’t some tests you have to pass. You can just stop when you want to.
Well, they do have tests out there and they’re pretty, they’re pretty low answers as far as I remember one of them. I, after I had gotten a DUI, which I do not recommend ever getting, but I had to go to alcohol school. And they gave us like a checklist of, you know, maybe your problem drink and it’s like, do you blackout when you drink? And I was just like, What do you mean, do I blacked out like, on Monday? I don’t understand this question. Do I black When I drink, like, that’s the same as asking do you drink there? They go hand in hand. And do you drink more than five when you drink? It was like, Is it a problem if I do? Or is it the problem if I don’t, because if I just drink one, then what’s the point? And I came to find out that’s not normal for most people that actually, that’s, that’s something wrong inside of me. So you’re you’re 100 days finishes. What’s going through your mind now? Is it? Is it rah rah like, let’s get 101 What’s going on?
I think earlier than 100 days, probably around 7080 days in I realized that I was going to continue this. And I then started to think okay, well, maybe I continue this for six months. And that would like take notes, my birthday. That would be a good thing to do. And in those early stages, I was really I was really lucky I experienced all the benefits of early sobriety from like sleeping a lot better, losing a bit of weights just feeling a lot more positive and like kind of lost that anxiety that comes with being hung over so often. So I was feeling like really amazing. And and that motivated me to continue for a bit longer. And then when I got to the six month mark, it was kind of like, Oh, well, maybe I’ll do this for a year. And and that is honestly how I kept moving forward for quite a long time. And I like that because as soon as I started thinking too far ahead, that you know, really freaked me out. But moving forward in those kind of manageable chunks or, yeah, okay, let’s do this to Christmas and that kind of stuff. That is what got me to a point where actually I didn’t need to ask that question anymore. This just was what I wanted to do. And it was making me feel so much better.
It’s interesting how when things make you feel better, you continue to do it. And that’s kind of what we did with the drinking, right? I know for myself, it was, my life sucks. My life sucks. It’s okay when I drink. And then my life sucks, my life sucks, and then I get sober. And then it’s like, oh, your life actually doesn’t suck. And then it’s kind of like what I was going from like a two out of 10, up to a four out of 10. And now I wake up at an eight. Once I’ve taken all that out of maturing the cycle, and your brain tells you this is this is what you’re supposed to do. So your strategy, at least at first was breaking it down into small chunks. Let’s just get a couple weeks. Let’s get a couple months. And are you still deploying that today? Or is it more just of who you are as a person and just kind of your deep fault is over.
Yeah, I don’t even think about it. Now I don’t, I don’t want to go back to those days. There’s really nothing motivating your tool to drink anymore. I feel as if I would lose everything that I’ve worked so hard to gain really. But just to going back to your point about getting started is that when I look back, I think the cycle I got stuck into is that I would start on a Monday with right, this is when I’m going to stop drinking, and, you know, make it to like, Tuesday or Wednesday, or what if I was being really good, maybe till Thursday, Friday, but then I couldn’t get my head around the idea of how was I going to go over the weekend without drinking or how was I going to unwind? So then I then I drink again, and then it was like, Okay, so the cycle would start over on a Monday. And what I was never doing was really giving myself The chance to, to do some of those awkward is how things such as the first time you do go out without drinking, or the first time you go to a party or a really stressful family meal and you don’t drink. I wasn’t ever giving myself the chance to do that. And yet somehow when you say, Okay, I’m going to stop for 100 days or whatever that short, short term goal is, you know that during that time, some of that stuff is going to crop up. So it’s a chance to prove to yourself that actually you can do it and it might not be quite as awful as you think is.
So do you have any strategies for getting over that fear mindset? Because that can happen in sobriety as well as, I mean, anything in life, especially, you know, with the focus on this show and entrepreneurship, like we get in our own way, do you have any ways of getting over those fears?
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is just to do it because I’m a real procrastinator, and I can think and think and think myself into a hole. And yet, if you just do it, that’s the only way you’re going to have the evidence to know what it’s like. And the other thing I would recommend is to do something two or three times. The first time I did go out with my friends not drinking, I did feel awkward. And I felt as if I spent the whole night thinking about how I was the only one that wasn’t drinking, and what did they think of me and all this kind of, like chatter in my head? And, and I realized now that’s because that’s totally normal. I was breaking a pattern, I was doing something different. It would have been almost weird if it wasn’t weird, you know. So and then the second time I did it, I was a bit easier because I knew I could do it. And then the third time, and then as time goes on new people stop even remarking on the fact that you’re not drinking, and you start to have insight Such as, hey, if I don’t if I find these people boring, maybe I shouldn’t be friends with them. Or you know if these people have a problem with me not drinking, maybe we haven’t got quite the friendship I thought we had and all those kind of things that I think you just can’t really see when you’re stuck in the, in the middle of the forest looking for a way out.
Yeah and we we have this tendency to forget that life is always changing and the people in your life are going to be completely different. Even a month from now a year from now I look at our wedding list. And we had like about 100 hundred 10 people and there are people on there that I haven’t spoken to since and you know, we had to pay proceed and it’s looking at it and it was like, you know, these people are the people that made the cut that got to the wedding and like if we got married today it’s like a half of We wouldn’t have even kept around and there was a we were sober at our wedding like these were friends we had in sobriety. But, you know, things are always changing. Our lives are always moving forward. And if we just stay still on the same patterns, yes, it’s familiar. But we’re missing out on so much growth. And so I, I want to shift gears a bit and talk about your entrepreneurship journey with sober school. What was the thought process and getting that started?
Yeah, I am. So I think about six months into my sobriety, I realized that one of the things I’ve been drinking over a lot was my job, and that I wasn’t very happy at work. And this was a really big deal for me, because ever since I’d been a kid, I’d wanted to be a journalist. And I ended up getting quite a good job working on BBC Breakfast, which is Kind of our equivalent of Good Morning America, I think that was kind of behind the scenes booking gas, working on breaking stories, and I felt as if I should be having the time of my life, they should have been the pinnacle of my career. But actually, I felt a bit stuck and a bit bored. So I started looking around for things to do, and I couldn’t find anything. So I took this career coaching course. And I remember, it was a really different kind of career coaching, and they got us doing all kinds of weird things. And one a one time this, this woman said, you know, you could start a business if you wanted to just think about what are the kinds of things you like blogging about? And I hadn’t told anyone at this point about this secret anonymous blogger had, and I remember thinking, what I write this blog about how I’m sober there is no way I’m ever going to turn that into a business. What a stupid idea. Anyway, it’s Did plant some kind of seed in my head? And part of me did think, actually, I’m really enjoying this career coaching course because there’s some lessons I have to do and some, like, you know, things to work through. But I’m also part of this community. And it’s all done on lines. It’s really convenient. And I thought then, hey, it would have been so cool if there was something like this when I was trying to stop drinking. But it was about two years before I thought, oh, maybe I could be that person who sets this thing up. And it was just a lucky, quick of fate like, things just came together. I found out about a funding program for social entrepreneurs and I managed to win 5000 pound grant, which I think it’s about $6,000 and they, you know, they like my idea for the cyber school. And they wanted to cover my startup costs and a bit more. And, and that’s kind of how I got started, really. And that grant was a massive deal because having got the money, I then had to actually follow through on this crazy idea that I’d had. And I had someone checking on me that I was doing work and I was spending on the right things, and I had to show them what it done. So yeah, it kind of came out of a mixture of my own happiness in my job combined with a feeling that I have been looking for help and looking for something that didn’t exist. And I was, you know, soon as it wasn’t there. I was going to create something to help fill that gap.
So tell me about the first client that you got in server school.
And her name was Mary. She was one of five actually I’ve been blogging for a while over on the sofa school and building up a bit of an email list and a following. And I decided I needed to, I got the kind of basic structure of the course in my mind, but I needed to build it. And I wanted to check before I did that, that someone actually wants to do this. So I emailed personally, like individually about 50 different people. And I can’t remember how much I asked him to pay at that time. I think it was a fairly token amount. It was like 40 $50, something like that. And I said, you know, you’re gonna be part of this really small group of people and, like, take you through this course as I build it. It’ll be a bit rough and ready, but you’ll get loads of help and support for me. And, and yeah, these five people signed up. And and yeah, I’ve managed to get this thing done. But actually, it was a bit of a kind of scrambled experience that first one. And some of those clients ended up coming back and joining the course again when it was done properly, because I realized that one of the things that makes my course much more successful now is that lots of people will take it at the same time. And these five people were a little bit lost all together in this very small tribe. So yeah, it was, it was really it was really nerve racking for me because I just felt so responsible for them. And yeah, it was crazy.
And what did the transition look like in your life? Did you quit the job before you took on sober school? What was happening in your life at those times?
You know, I reduce my hours in my job. They let me do that. I also completely randomly to kindness, another job, which I still have, and I’m about to leave in a few months time, there was a very part time job in advertising. And so that allowed me to cut down the working few hours, but still making enough to cover the bills. And then the sober school was what I was doing in evenings and weekends and any free time I had during the week.
So what are some of the lessons that you’ve learned? You mentioned about having a larger community? Is there anything else that you would have done differently on that beta group now that you’ve been through it and they’ve learned some of the ropes?
Yeah, I think I’ve got better at teaching. Because I had this I knew the information that I wanted to convey and what I had to realize was that The kind of people I was attracting to my course, weren’t quite the kind of people I’d imagined. I thought I would have lots of people in their late 20s, who would just like me signing up. But actually, my typical client is in her early 40s. And she’s got kids and she’s married. And her life is a bit different to mine is a bit more stressful and busy. And so I realized that I needed to start addressing some of that, and the fact that it’s some of the things I done that completely saved my sobriety, such as I used to go to the gym after work to try and kill a few hours. But these ladies maybe aren’t in a position to do that, because they’ve got childcare commitments and all the rest of it. So I had to think a lot more creatively about the strategies we could put in place to help them during that time. So I think it’s a combination of getting better at teaching and also, you learn more from working with more people and seeing the kind of patterns that they go through. Yeah,
that’s really cool that you you identified though and recognized. This is what my tribe is asking for. This is who my tribe is. And she may not look like me. But at the same time, I need to make sure that she is getting value from what I’m offering. And I ran into that myself with my IT company. I was 27 years old. And a lot of our clients 60 and older, didn’t grow up with technology. So they would come to me with a problem. And I would say, Oh, it’s great. It’s easy. Just use this different software that it’s super intuitive. Bye. See you later. And then they come back the next day, and they’re like, I don’t know anything about computers. That’s why I hired you. Like, you just solved my problem with a new problem. And so we had to get better Kind of slowing down and fitting the solution within their framework because a solution for me would be, try a new software, learn a new software start from scratch. But when that’s not your forte, my audience was telling me, this is not the solution that works for me, even though it works for me personally. And in my head, I’m like, well just do what I do. But, you know, we don’t all have the same experience, and we attract different people from different walks of life.
So I say silly. Yeah. And really interestingly, in the last, I’d say, two years, I’ve noticed a second type of avatar coming along if you want to use that word, a second kind of client, and this is a woman in her mid 60s who’s retired from her job, and she’s drunk really heavily throughout her career, and she thought that when she quit work, she would cut down as well. And that would fix things, but it hasn’t actually. And now she’s realizing that she’s got a lot of time on her hands, and a reasonable amount of money to fund this or, and, and that’s a real problem. And when I started realizing that I was getting quite a boat of older women in the class, it really freaked me out, because my mum’s about that age. And I can’t imagine telling my mom to do anything and her actually listening to my advice. But amazingly, these people do so. Yeah, I kind of had to get over that.
Yeah, maybe looking at it from a different perspective. And not well, this is my mom. But so this is somebody who, you know, you have the solution to a problem that they’re experiencing and you’re just a an authority in the field. And it’s just coincidence that they happen to be someone who you don’t think you’d have any any control over any sort of impact on how your mom would do it, but you know, these women are seeking your advice. So it’s a lot easier to give advice and to help people through things to coach them when they are actively seeking it as opposed to someone that’s just, well, I used to change your diapers. So anything that you tell me doesn’t, doesn’t fly? doesn’t fly? Yeah. Yeah. Are there any books that are kind of your go to one or two that you recommend for people who are trying to get better in their life? entrepreneurship sobriety, what’s your one or two? most recommended?
Yeah, so for sobriety, a book I always recommend is Alan cars. Easy way to control alcohol. I didn’t if you’ve read that book
with that, but we’ll have it in the notes.
Yeah. It’s Um, so one of the things I missed out earlier, which I should have said is that something that helped me to stop drinking was I bought this book, but I only have read it. But in England, there are some Alan Carr seminars. And his system has helped a lot of people through these clinics and workshops, stop smoking and stop drinking. And I went along to one of these workshops, where they break down all the reasons why you drink and what you think you’re getting out of it. And they really analyze what’s going on there. So you know, is alcohol really helping you unwind? Is it really making you the life and soul of the party, so you can break down all this stuff. And that was so influential on me. I didn’t feel the book was a whole solution. It kind of glosses over a lot of the challenges that you can face. When you’re surrounded by people who are romanticizing and glamorizing and normalizing this drug. So yeah, that’s kind of something I’d love to see change within the book, and certainly what I cover in my program, but that book was definitely the foundation for me of my sobriety. And I recommend it to everybody.
Yeah, yeah. I love that. And it’s hems of entrepreneurship. And
I recently read Grant Cardone book, The 10 x rule. I don’t know if you read that.
Yeah, that was one of my first audibles couple. Yeah.
I listened to it as an audible book as well. And once I kind of got over how shouty and sort of passionate and aggressive he is.
He is definitely a character.
He’s a character. I realized that he had some really good things to say and one of the takeaways messages for me was about. Most of us are set, we’re scared to set big goals, because we’re worried about how will feel if we fail at them. But if we don’t set big goals, all we achieve is a really average life. And if you you’re already, you know, a little bit unhappy if you’re thinking about setting goals, and the thought of an average life probably makes most people feel a bit disappointed. So why not like play a bigger game and just kind of shoot for the moon? Perhaps you’ll just be happy with what you reach in the process, though. There are lots of little gems in there that made me think oh, yeah, okay. Yeah. This this changes how I feel.
Yeah, when when I went through it, I remember one of the things he says is, he says something to the effect. It’s been a couple years since I went there was something to the effect of, like, Don’t under promise and over deliver says nobody wants to go see a play. It’s like there’s a bunch of mediocre actors here. You say they are the best actors in the world and this is the best show ever. And then you perform and you give the people the best show ever. So my takeaway was if you’re the best be the best. He was saying if if your competitors are sending out one email a day send out 10 emails a day and I’ve been on that guy’s email list he he practices what he preaches it’s it’s a little absurd how often kidding. But k it’s been wonderful having you on the show? Where can people find out more connect with you and get to the sober school?
Thank you. Well, thanks for having me on. The best place to come and find me is over at www.thesoberschool.com. I have a blog, which I try and do every week. So that’s got lots of tips and help and advice in. There’s also more details about me over on there. And I’m on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all at the same school as well.
All at the Sober School Alright, well we’ll have links in the show notes and Kate, thank you so much for being on Self Made and Sober. Guys. If you enjoyed the episode, give us a review on iTunes reach out on Facebook on www.facebook.com/selfmadesober or on Instagram at @selfmadesober in Kate, have a great day. Thanks so much for being on the show.
ep 42 Amy Demone
Amy is a virtual assistant turned marketing operations specialist that works with six figure coaches that want to take over the world… err, their industry. She’s also the founder and head mentor at Virtually Free®, which is the part of her business that helps current and wannabes virtual assistants grow a business that gives them the freedom and cash flow, that they deserve.
Let’s talk about what really happens when you’re building a business shall we? This channel is for you if you’re looking for real and raw tips and tricks on what it takes to build a business online. We’ll cover marketing, mindset and all the challenges in between.
And with me today is Amy Demone with the brand virtually free. And probably by the time this episode is released my episode on her podcast will be out already is she’s been sober since March 17 2011. And for those of you that haven’t put it together, March 17 2011 was St. Patrick’s Day. And Amy I don’t know if you know this or not, but that is a day pretty notorious with drinking. So what what made you get sober on the day that is the most justifiable day ever to drink?
Yeah, so I mean, in fairness, I technically I guess it would have been night time I would say the 17th because I was in Australia when it happened. So I was like, Oh, I would have been the 17th here. But I am so So great question. And it’s funny because we’re going to just dive right in because this is going to get real intense real fast. So March 16, I was living in Perth, Australia and I was working at a legal happy endings joint if you will, I forget what it was actually called. It was more like a private strip club slash sexual kind of thing that was going on. And I was working as a What do we call ourselves I can’t even remember a stripper I guess it would have been. And basically the setup was it was individual rooms and you could go in you pick a girl, and then they either go depending on what you purchased you either went in and had a private dance or you had a happy ending. In Australia for everyone that doesn’t know this. prostitution and all that fun stuff is legal. And if there are certain regulations that needs to be filled out, prostitution needs to be done in a house, the stuff that I was doing was able to be in a commercial. It was like right down in the seedy area of the city. And I had a man come in and choose me, which was great at the time, because that meant more money. And I was gearing up to leave that job. I was not staying in Australia. This was the end of my drug use. I ended up working for a bike gang. I was in the middle of like some pretty intense conflict with a friend of mine. And her she kind of got caught up in that whole game, if you will. And I had a man come in and he actually I haven’t like talked about this for a really long time, but I’m okay. But I had a man come in and he picked me and we were in the room and it was he chose a happy ending I guess you would call it saw it the more high end version. And he I was ending I was like I’m going to get the most amount of money out of this as I can. And I have learned later that this is actually quite common in the prostitute kind of sex work area when it comes to trauma and how they verbally and physically and all that fun stuff abuse you
fun stuff. Sorry. You know what I mean? But not exactly
fun but yeah, not fun, maybe just
all stuff, all that stuff. I always try to make it not as intense because you know compartmentalization and all that fun stuff. I just keep saying all that fun stuff. But anyways, so he came in and he was the the, the entire time he was just telling me you shouldn’t be here. You are so Much better than this, you’re smart. You’re like, You’re beautiful. You’re fantastic. You’re so much better than this. And this is a very common form of us. I forget what my therapist called it sexual, or sexual verbal assault or something like that. So very confusing, very conflicting moment in my life where I’m sitting, like naked in this room with him, he’s paying me to for sexual favors. And he’s telling me like, I shouldn’t be here, but like getting off on it at the same time. And I don’t know what it was, but I just had this out of body experience. I just saw myself floating up and looking over and being like, what the fuck has happened? Because I didn’t come from like, I’m going to say stereotypical, like, disadvantaged family. I actually came from middle class, working family, upper middle class, maybe I don’t, I never really know. And I was given every opportunity in the world. I was, you know, I had very good schooling I was going towards that, you know, white picket fence, go to university, all that fun stuff. And then life happened. So I was just sitting here being like, what the absolute fuck have I done? And that was it. And it I don’t know if it was, I really have no idea what happened I don’t know it was that day I kind of knew that man is like my savior in some really weird way. And but I decided that I wasn’t going to do it anymore. And I went out on St. Patrick’s Day and I got wasted. And then I ruined a really good friendship afterwards because I was super stressed and I like didn’t show up and it was just everything. The combination of what had been going on for the last like three years of my life just blew up on one day. So I decided to stop doing the things so yeah.
So when you decided I’m no longer gonna live this way anymore. I’m gonna stay Stop living this life. What did the first couple weeks of sobriety look like for you? What did you just kind of take it by the horns because you were done? Or was it a painful transition? what it looked like for you?
Oh, yeah, I was super painful because I had been on everything and anything and Australia I was on. Like, I think it’s Pollyanna is what they call it. So it was like meth, ecstasy, like prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana, like just everything was coming out of my system. And here’s one thing that I should probably notice I lived and truly I believe it’s one of the reasons that I got to where I was is I live with an eye like a severe or undiagnosed severe anxiety disorder my entire life. And at the time, I didn’t know this. So as I’m coming off of these drugs and detoxing while living in a hospital, mind you and still working because I had like Two weeks left, and I still needed the money. I was still doing that job. It was a blur, like I truly can’t. I do not remember the two weeks after that night, because it was just so painful. There was so much toxic. Everything coming out of me, of all the places it felt like brain body mind. And yeah, I don’t remember actually like being in physical pain. But for me during those years, it was all like what was happening in my brain and the fact that I didn’t realize that I had a severe anxiety disorder that basically my brain was incapable of shutting off. So I pushed everything into my body that would hopefully help shut it off. And it didn’t, but Surprise, surprise,
yeah. So when you
When you move forward a little bit later, so you’ve managed to stay sober all of that time. And then what does your journey from? Where you were in Australia to where you are today with entrepreneurship in what you’re doing in that realm? What are those? What are the contrast between the two? Yeah, absolutely.
So I do want to be like fully honest with everyone. So my date is March 17 2011. But I technically wasn’t sober from them. That was the day that I decided to change my life. That was the day that my brain went from. I’m an addict to I’m in recovery. And it has been a crazy ride. I mean, I’ve been sober for like really sober for, like, I don’t even know because my view on sobriety has drastically changed because I had a therapist who Who was great for part of it, but made me feel a very less than because I was stuck with the identity of an addict. And it almost felt like it was so confining that I couldn’t break free of it. And honestly, I almost used like hard drugs multiple times while in that therapy session those therapy sessions with her, because she made me feel so horrible. And that like I was stuck in this identity, and that is who I was going to be for the rest of my life. And I’ve always been a little bit of a rebel and I’ve always been the person be like, well, you told me to do this, I’m going to do the other thing. So like, my very normal self, I was like, This is not how addicts and addiction needs to be looked at. It’s not how it needs to be treated. Like I’m in one of the most. It was like one of the hardest times of my life in the recovery. session I truly believe that I look at the darkest moment of my life too and it was the year I was in with that therapists so it’s been a crazy ride because I’ve been in the process of like uncovering like okay, addiction means this to some people it means this to other people, what does it mean to me? And that’s the one thing that has helped me get through everything as solidly and wonderfully as it has because I was like, it doesn’t fucking matter what other people think about it. If you are okay with your and like really okay, I don’t mean like lying to yourself okay about it, because we all do that. And I’ve done it many of time as an addict, but like truly okay with like, where I am and the progress I’m making. That to me is sobriety and in a way that I know I’m true to myself because I felt very confined in those identities because I wasn’t like when I thought it was going to use it wasn’t because I like was craving the drug. It was as I mean, you guys know, this is like the escape of the, the feeling and the and the overwhelm of what was going on my brain. Granted, this was also the year I was actually diagnosed with anxiety when this was happening. I had no idea that I had severe anxiety, which in retrospect makes no sense to me because I’m like, well, I’ve been sick for the last 30 years of my life. Obviously, I
was your baseline. So yeah, exactly. Yeah. It’s kind of like if you look at humans, and none of us can fly, right? And I mean, you know, we all wish we could fly, but I mean, it just, we’re used to it like we don’t fly. But imagine your life if everyone else could fly. And now you can’t, and how that would make you feel because you see other people doing this thing that you You can’t do and but you’re at the same time used to not being able to fly. And we can just look at it right now, because no one else is doing it. And just that, yeah, I can’t fly. You know, humans can’t fly. But it’s like, oh, yeah, well, I’m just full of anxiety because that’s, that’s what I know. I don’t know what it’s like to not have a ton of anxiety and until you get on the other side of it and see, oh, wow, this is what I’ve been missing all along. It changes the perspective.
Absolutely. Yeah, exactly. That was a huge wake up call for me. And it also really helped me put so much of my addiction into perspective, because that’s a huge puzzle piece that if it’s not there, you just can’t figure it out.
And when you when you were going to therapy, do you think that it was that particular therapist and how that person handled your case? Or do you think it’s just a fair In general and looking at your life through a different lens.
So I definitely think it’s a little bit of both so I am go I go to a therapist now I’ve had two therapists since that the original one and very, very different, like completely different like one was a psycho therapist who was the one that I had the most trouble with. The second one is CBT, which is the ability is for everyone who doesn’t know is like changing hat habits and patterns in your life. And then the, the recent one, or the one that I go to now is someone that kind of combines everything and she’s more just like a sounding board now because to get back to that question you asked me like how has this been in entrepreneurship is like holy crap, it is helped me on a whole other level. Because I was on this path of self awareness and what like so yet well, self awareness and like, what am I doing way before I was an artist printer, although arguably sex work is the oldest form of entrepreneurship, so who am I to say, but I’m the way? Yeah, exactly right. And I mean, I, my family are entrepreneurs. So it was very, like very normal for me. But I definitely think it was a huge advantage because I came into it knowing Okay, I’ve got a lot of crap going on about a lot of issues like obviously, it’s going to impact my business. And I’ve been able to see how they’ve gone hand and walked hand in hand, if you will, throughout my journey. But to get back to the Sarah question, is that that specific one, it was just the way that she dealt with me. She gave me an ultimatum which, when I’m hurting, and when I feel like I’m lost, and I need help, when someone gives me an ultimatum, I instantly disconnect. Because I’m saying it’s like, I can’t help myself in this situation. You’re saying if you can’t do that, I’m gone. So I feel left alone and that like I’m here In the Universe by myself, or that was kind of like the big picture of how I felt at the time. And yeah, so I don’t knock therapy, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, especially ones that the current therapist I have now she specializes or she did specialized with profit with prostitutes. So she has an ulterior or an alternative viewpoint on everything as well. So hopefully that answers your question.
Yeah, well, that’s kind of like the idea of 12 step recovery is like, I have an understanding of where you are, and where you want to be. And I can show you that journey, because I’m very familiar with it. And I know for you personally 12 step recovery is not what keeps you sober. And I know I’ve touched on it a lot of times on the show, but just because I myself have a product of 12 step recovery. does not mean that that is the only way that you can stay sober and be happy. So what are the ways that you continue to stay sober today? Yeah, so
I just talked about the 12 stuff for a second like I’m a huge like proponent of like substituting habits because, you know, addiction is very habitual. We like the process we like to the trigger and the queue and all that fun stuff. I’m like a huge habit nerd when it comes to the physiology, physiology that happens. But for me, honestly, it’s because I have a passion now it’s something that I’m so driven to do. In my business. I’m a very busy person and because I have you know, anxiety for the last 20 forever years, it feels like I’m very high. I’m high functioning, but I’m very high energy. So that’s helped me a bit as well. So honestly, like I view like starting my business as like the thing That saved my life because even though there’s a there was a huge time period between when I got sober when I started for about everything there was about five years I was declining like that deep dark night of the soul I talked about on March 16. Like that was what I’ve used my rock bottom, but it actually got way worse because I had to deal with the shame and confusion of like, how I ended up there at such a young age too. And like, the thing is, is like I actually had a wonderful experience outside of the actual clients, the people that I worked for who and who I worked with, they were all wonderful. So it’s so hard to sit here and be like, well, like that was horrible because like I made friends with people that I still talked to. But what keeps me sober now is just honestly, like connecting to why I’m on this earth and what I want to achieve and My life to be like, I beat that statistic. And I’m very competitive. So it helps. It helps a lot. But it’s really just come to be like, Well, I have literally been to one of the darkest moments of a lot of people’s lives and I have somehow been able to completely overhaul not only my mindset, but like who I was. Like, I used to be an introvert. I used to be super scared, I had no boundaries. I grew up in a codependent household, so I was just like a mess. And now I’m like the polar opposite. And for me, it’s all in my brain. Like that was just not just me. I had a huge support system, but a lot of it was what I had done. And so many of us I find forget to have gratitude towards ourselves and to actually appreciate the journey and the steps that we’ve taken up until this point because that gratitude for yourself. It’s something that you don’t experience when you’re using and it’s almost non existent. If not, I would say 100% non existent. So that self love that I’ve cultivated in the process and the process that I or the progress I’ve made, that in itself is enough to keep me from using and I hate that that’s my answer because it’s like, okay, that’s not a tangible thing to help really. But honestly, that’s what it comes down to for me.
At the same time, if that’s your truth, I’m sure there’s somebody else out there who can 100% relate to the exact experience that you’re having. So just because it doesn’t fit into a box or it’s not a well I’m so glad you asked that question. Let me give you this scripted answer like the reality. The reality is what your reality is, in your touching on gratitude. Do you have any particular types of Gratitude practice.
I do so um, I forget where I figured this out but it’s it’s a combination of gratitude and mindfulness. So what I do every day is I just look in my surroundings whenever I decide to do this little practice and I have to think of forward not think of like decide on five things that I can see that I’m grateful for. So right now I’m in my office so it would be something is like I’m grateful for the internet. I’m grateful for this microphone. I’m grateful for the cup of coffee like small things because we really don’t appreciate those small things. And like for me if I’m have coffee, like I wouldn’t be who I am, you know, or the internet like my entire businesses run off of it. So there’s so that’s what I do every day. Sometimes it ends up being the same thing. Honestly, the amount of times I’m like, I’m grateful for my dog because my dog that’s another thing is greatly helped me with the depression side of it. He’s not officially a service dog, but he should be because without him, I’m not sure I would be where I am. So, yeah, that would be my practice. I do, I would say, I would say 95% of the time.
Yeah, there’s people that claim that they pull these things off 100% of the time, I’m sure they do and they’re not lying. But I know for myself, I’m far from a 100% of the time. I always nail doing like a Miracle Morning. I nail gratitude, I grit I nail prayer and meditation, and it’s difficult to hit on every single thing, I guess unless you you have just like in the business. If you have systems and you have a checklist in place and you make sure that you do it every single day. That is a good way to keep on pace with making sure that you do the right things every single day. But I know for Just myself in full transparency. And I’m glad you shared that as well. Like it’s difficult to 100% of the time, be perfect on these things. And that’s what makes us human.
Exactly. And I feel like for me, like a lot of what fueled by, like want to use all the time was that I wasn’t perfect. So I had like clinical perfectionism. So it’s like, it’s almost better for me to be like, Yeah, I do it 95% of the time, because I’m recognizing that I’m not perfect, but I’m also that psychopath that has like a habit tracker on her phone that’s like tracking like 40 habits that I want to do in a day and I like market off every time so it’s really hard because I’m like very competitive Taipei but then I’m also like learning to have severe self compassion and that’s really hard to mesh sometimes.
Yeah, well, did that play any role in when you started out virtually free and why don’t you just give us like a an elevator pitch of what you do.
Yeah. So I am so bad because I am a huge proponent of the elevator pitch and I’m so bad at it so virtually free so I will do what happened before I created virtually free is I was a virtual assistant. So I was helping other online entrepreneurs with their day to day tasks, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You guys probably know what a virtual assistant is if you don’t have one. And it was awesome. I learned so much and I got in with like the right people. And my business took off I learned a lot about my life and my business and also my addiction through this process and how I always put myself second and all this fun stuff. And through that and through that I’m I call it like the unraveling of all the crappy shitty behaviors that I have and cultivated over the last 30 years is that I started experiencing this freedom and I don’t really know how to explain it other than like it Literally just felt like a weight was taken off my shoulders. I didn’t go is probably because I was committed to self development and all this fun stuff but it was I was free. And I’ve always felt from the time I was a kid and suffering from depression I always felt very confined and like I was trapped. I don’t know if it was in my life. I don’t know if it was in my head, probably my head but I just felt trapped. Never The first time I could feel the freedom. And because I worked virtually it just made sense to be virtually free. But what that is now is that is a coaching brand, I guess you would say where I help other virtual assistants and online service providers with their marketing to get more clients. But the reality is, is I’m a mindset coach. I package it up as mindset in business, because I do teach business, marketing and all that fun stuff, but it’s all about mindset for me and most of the people that are attracted to me and my brand have Raising stories like, like the most like eye opening, grounding like horribly, like horrible child children’s stories and things like that. And it’s just so wonderful because I’m not just helping them become virtual assistants I’m not I’m helping them unravel all the shit that they’ve been through and gain that confidence that they just never really were able to cultivate because of every all the emotional trauma they experienced as children and adults.
Is there anything in particular, that was kind of the driving force behind starting your own company as opposed to just staying in with the people that you were already with?
Honestly, I just felt like I’m here to do more. I have a I’m a huge mental health advocate. I don’t talk too much about addiction. I mean, I talked about my addiction, but I’m not really That well versed in it, believe it or not, but I’m all about mental health and stillness and mindfulness. And I just feel like this is why I’m on this planet like not to go crazy on you. But like, I view like, okay, like I went through these insanely difficult situations, because I needed to learn how to navigate them, so then I can help other people. So it was like a weird calling for me. And it’s funny because when I first started out, I was like, I’m never going to do this. I’m never going to be a coach. I’m never going to do that. I’m just going to stay in my lane and do this. And I was just lying to myself because I was scared to take up space. So yeah, I think that answers your question.
Yeah. Well, how do you get over that limiting mindset?
Oh, I don’t know if we have time. Um, no, um, honestly, I think the first step is just, like having compassion towards yourself and being like, okay. Like, what has happened, what has gotten to me where I am to what has gotten me to where I am right now is not going to get me to where I want to. And it’s not you’re not meant to feel shame because of it, you’re not supposed to feel like you are behind everyone. It’s this realization that like, okay, like, I am in complete and utter control of my life. And the way that I perceive the world, the way that I perceive myself and the way that I choose to develop those assets, is going to shape what my future looks like. And once you fully get this and I don’t mean just like listen to me tell you or listen to like 18 other million people tell you that have finally understood this. It’s the integration of being like okay, like it actually is up to me and I have every single solitary ability to achieve whatever it is that I want. There’s a lot of power in that. I felt so powerless for so long. And that feeling is just something that like I never want to lose. So I also would love for other people to be able to experiences as well because there’s a, like a feeling of hope that just hasn’t was not there before. And once that finally clicked for me, I just realized just how, first of all powerful we as human beings could be, and how powerful it is to like get your shit together and live a life that like is actually meant to be yours.
Wow, that’s so it’s so crazy that it’s there all along and that just I think so many people are afraid really to tap into it and see what really is out there. And do you have any books or audio books that You would say are your one or two that you recommend most to people?
Oh, this is hard. I feel like it changes all the time. Honestly, one of them is atomic habits from by James clear, it’s all about creating habits in your life. And it’s something that changed the game for me, like 12 step program is based off of habit substitution, right? I think most of us know that is that like, you go to the meetings instead of you using and to be able to like truly understand how habit is formed and what is happening biologically. Like for me, I need to know everything I need to know how it works for me to like hack it. So that was something that like changed my life on so many levels. And I only read this like a few months ago, and I would say that book is like number one, it’s available in audio too. And then the other book would be Probably the gifts of imperfection. Again, it’s a new book that I just, I’ve read like last six months. And and it was really helped me understand and break down the like psychological aspects of perfectionism and how again, it was caught, like how it was created, and you learn to read and all that fun stuff. So I’m super nerdy when it comes to that kind of like professional development, so and personal development. So that’s why I would say those two books.
That’s great. And I’ll be sure to put links in the show notes. And, Amy, it’s been so great talking to you. Where can people find out more about you and the virtually free podcast and virtually free your company and where where’s the best place for people to find you?
Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you so much, Andrew for having me on. It was great. I always love talking about this because most of the time I just talked about entrepreneurship. So it’s nice to mix it up a bit. But I am available all over the internet webs. Go under my name, Amy. Amy Demone so Instagram’s The best way to connect with me, I’m on there a lot. And then I have a link that pushes you to all the other places that you can find me, but the thought the podcast just rebranded. So it’s still virtually free, but it’s becoming virtually free now. So you can look on literally any place that a podcast exists and it’ll be there.
Wonderful. Well, Amy, thank you so much for being on self made and sober podcast. Guys. If you enjoyed the episode, be sure to share and like leave us a review on iTunes. Really appreciate it. And Amy, thanks so much for being on Have a great day.
Thanks so much, Andrew.