We Shouldn’t Keep Our Sobriety a Secret

Interviews, Podcasts, Sobriety

August 8, 2022

Have you ever been in the sober closet, wherein you didn’t talk about nor share about your sobriety?

When Jen Hirst originally wanted to stop drinking, she wasn’t ready. Yet, once she met her breaking point, she began to walk along the challenging road to sobriety where she could finally see alcohol as the addictive drug that it is. 

Now, Jen is shining a light for others as a sober coach. She is guiding people to set boundaries, find community, create routines that aren’t reactionary, and savor the moments of being present in her children’s lives. Through this incredible work, Jen is witnessing so many women get their spark back through sobriety. 

If you would like  to contact Jen for private coaching, group coaching, or community she is at her websiteFacebook  and Instagram .

If you’re wanting to find community and connection in sobriety, come and join the Sober Mom Life Cafe! For $15/month, join other sober moms inside the cafe for weekly meetings, bonus episodes, a Discord chat, a monthly book club and so much more! Learn all about it here: https://mykindofsweet.com/sober-mom-life-cafe/

Join The Sober Mom Life Facebook group!


We Shouldn’t Keep Our Sobriety A Secret with Jen Hirst

Speaker 1 (00:00):

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Speaker 2 (00:25):

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Speaker 1 (00:28):

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Speaker 2 (00:31):

Right. Listen, wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

Hi, welcome to the sober mom life podcast. I’m your host, Suzanne of my kind of sweet and the sober mom life on Instagram. If you are a mama who has questioned your relationship with alcohol at times, if you’re wondering if maybe it’s making motherhood harder, this is for you. I will be having candid, honest, funny conversations with other moms who have also thought, Hmm, maybe motherhood is better without alcohol. Is it possible? We’ll chat. And we’ll talk about all things sobriety and how we’ve found freedom in sobriety. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. You don’t have to either, and maybe life is brighter without alcohol. I hope you will join us on this journey. And I’m so excited to get started. Well, Jen Hurst, I’m so glad you’re here on the sober mom life. This is a treat for me because I’ve been following you. I think my whole like sober journey Instagram was like my place to get inspired and to feel supported, even though, you know, you don’t know the people on Instagram, but you feel like you do, like as soon as your face popped up, I was like, I know you,

Speaker 3 (01:55):

And that’s a beauty of Instagram when you use it for ways to connect with other sober women, especially if you’re starting out. I mean, there’s so many great accounts out there. I just did a post last week where people are wondering, and I tell the women in my group, like try to find a local community where you can find some women. And they’re like, well, I don’t know how so I’m like, well, what if I just created place for people to drop in their location, connect with each other, but we can use Instagram in a way that’s so, so positive for our sobriety and I I’m with you. I started following you as well and, and all the great things that you’re doing for the sober community. It’s, it’s amazing to see.

Speaker 2 (02:34):

Thank you. I love how, I mean, we’ll get, I definitely wanna get into your story and how you started and everything like that. But I do love how, like sober moms are kind of taking over.

Speaker 3 (02:42):

We’re starting at our, our movement. I really feel like, and even, I mean, I lived in the sober closet for four years and I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t share about it. That’s just how I was brought up. And I went through the flow. I went to treatment three times inpatient. I went to outpatient like nine times. And, and so I was brought into this, this culture where you don’t say anything only in the rooms and what stays in the rooms stays in the rooms. You don’t share it. So I just felt, yeah, I felt no one cared. I felt alone in my sobriety. I was kind of living a dry drunk lifestyle. So when I started coming out, it’s just, it was amazing how freeing that is. And that’s what I hope to instill in other women. And especially the women in my course of owning this, of embracing this, because this is a positive change that you’re making.

Why not? And the more that we can encourage people to do that, the more that we can begin to normalize sobriety and start that conversation just like we’re starting the conversation of mental health. Well, sobriety is mental health in a huge, huge way, but as long as you carry yourself and I had this woman in my group this last week who went to the Alanis morrisette concert, sober. She was really nervous, but she had this big breakthrough where she said, I visualized that I’m gonna have at a great time. And then I owned this choice. I put my shoulders back. I smiled when someone asked why I wasn’t drinking. And I, she just said, I just don’t like the way it makes me feel. And through that conversation with this other person, she was able to uncover that she was also struggling with alcohol and get her some help and guide her to the books.

I’m like, you have no idea who you’re going to inspire just by saying, this is who I am and if take it or leave it. But there’s nothing to be ashamed of for being addicted to an addictive drug. And once you understand that, and I tell a lot of the women in my group, when you know, better, you do better when you know exactly like do the research, what are you actually putting into your body? And how is that making you feel? And with that, you start to come to the conclusion, like, what am I doing? And what aren’t they letting me know about this? And I think it really relieves some of that shame and invites compassion into why things happened the way we did. They did, why we turned to it when we were stressed, you know, especially moms, the kids, the pandemic, all of that. We are just doing what we know best at the time. And with the tools that we have

Speaker 2 (05:21):

And what we were taught, like EV everywhere we look, we’re taught that alcohol is the answer to help us relax. And to de-stress when that’s just not the case.

Speaker 3 (05:31):

Absolutely. And it it’s like any minute you’re not working, you should have a drink happy hour, right?

Speaker 2 (05:37):

Yeah. Count down to it.

Speaker 3 (05:38):

And it’s like, shouldn’t we have, if we really wanna decompress and actually refuel you, you need to do the opposite. Cuz that’s just sabotaging your tomorrow self. And like I said, like, it’s, it’s amazing how much this is taking off and how people and moms and women are taking a stand and beginning to gather the courage to step into it, to be proud of it and to own it and begin that conversation. Because the only way we get to break down that stigma is by starting to conversation and saying, Hey, I don’t drink. Why? Well, I don’t like the way it makes me feel. Oh, you know, I’ve been really questioning my drinking too. And that it just sparks her from there. So

Speaker 2 (06:28):

I think Brene brown says like, shame can’t survive the light, like shame doesn’t survive when you talk about it. Right. That’s like shame dies when we talk about it. And so that’s what it feels like this whole like AA thing and alcoholics anonymous. And you have to keep it in those church basements and keep it locked away. And don’t, you know, don’t tell anybody about it, remain anonymous, keep it closed. It’s like, that just feels, and I’ve never been to an AA meeting, but that feels like it breeds shame. It feels like there’s so much shame then that it’s something to be ashamed of. And it’s just not

Speaker 3 (07:05):

Absolutely. And I understand that principles of why they do that to protect people. But at the same time, when I was going to AA had a sponsor, did, did all the steps. I love the steps. I encourage people. If you’re interested, you can do those. But the one thing I didn’t agree with was being anonymous and why shouldn’t we talk about this? And it wasn’t until I started as a beach body coach that I began to share my story. And like you said, the more I started to share, the more I started to gain confidence and it felt like, oh my gosh, I can finally talk about it. I had five years of pent up emotions that were just like bursting to come out. And I didn’t, I didn’t like disclose much in the beginning. I just, uh, I did a coming out post as I like to call it. And, um, it was like my freedom date basically. And that’s why I encourage others to, you know, if you want start a sober account on Instagram, just to start talking about it, cuz you need a safe place to start sharing. And that’s why community is so important. Cuz you need to realize that you’re not alone in this and that’s can help lessen that shame that we all feel for doing this thing and thinking that we’re a bad person, which we’re entirely not

Speaker 2 (08:21):

We’re human.

Speaker 3 (08:23):

Yes, we’re human. It happens. Your body was just doing what it was supposed to. It’s in a drug it’s meant to get us addicted. And if we choose it more and more for stress, especially it expedites that habitual behavior. So now I can give myself some grace and compassion of, Hey, I was just really stressed at that time I was hurt. I was in pain. I was heartbroken and I didn’t know another way to manage that emotions, which I think we is really beneficial to really focus on what is the emotion that I’m feeling. And it’s okay to feel this way. I don’t need to take it away. I need to actually sit with it and learn how to process and move that emotion through my body in a healthy way, which is why I, I, I’m such an advocate for movement for walking.

Speaker 2 (09:16):

I love your Instagram stories and your walks. You’re in the Midwest, right? Where are you?

Speaker 3 (09:21):

I am. So I used to live in Minneapolis and I married a country boy. So his intention was we’re gonna slowly ensure out of the cities. I had this intention where I was gonna move to New York, become an art director for a magazine. And so I did move out there, discovered it wasn’t for me and came back. But he slowly, and we did the big move up north to a small town called thie river falls, Minnesota. So a small town country life and people were nervous of how I would adjust. But I think I was the easiest transition. I’m like, oh man, everything’s just a lot easier. Like it’s oh my God. It’s like, it’s such a great relief for my anxiety. There’s space. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Now we have like chickens and cats and just stuff. I never thought my life would be, but you don’t really know something until you try it.

And I, I just love it. And so these walks are just like therapy for me. And I started doing them a year ago when I saw some other coaches doing it and they were talking about 75 hard, like, ah, maybe that’s something I should do. My husband travels a lot. I’m home with the kids alone a lot. And I’m like, I’m just gonna start trying it. And now it’s in my sober toolkit where I try to make it a point to do it every single day. If I can, especially when I did 75 hard, it was every day, snow freezing, cold sunshine, whatever you just get out and you do it. And it was, it made me feel so good to just get outside. And I tell my clients, get outside, go on a walk. It’s some fresh air. And it is, it is really, really healing. There’s a strong connection when you can get outside. Yes.

Speaker 2 (11:07):

I love that so much. So. Okay. So let’s talk about, I mean, I, I wanna hear about your sobriety story, but in order to understand that we have to go back. So what’s, what’s your drinking story? <laugh> you’re like, where do I start?

Speaker 3 (11:22):

I know it’s a fun story. You know, I always like to paint the picture and when I do before and afters, it’s all about, I didn’t look like your typical alcoholic looks are deceiving. And I think it really kept me in denial for many years cuz I said, no, I still have my job. I still look, I can still function. I can still do this. So I post my before picture of my wedding day and I like what I like to call a high function in alcoholic. I’m even toying with the word alcoholic now of, you know, do I say that I’m not really even sure what I classify under. It doesn’t really matter. I just don’t drink alcohol. And I came from a perfectionist family. They, they never drank really my mom, my grandfather was an alcoholic and I never was addicted right from the start.

I had my first drink at like 15, but it was in that time, I always thought there was something wrong with me and coming up in that perfectionist family, like I was never good enough. I always had to achieve. And I would set these unrealistic expectations for myself to hit these high goals. And if I fell short, I would beat myself up and you know, a B wasn’t wasn’t good. And I had to strive for that a and get these awards. And so I just started to turn to alcohol, especially it started with heartbreak. So when I was 21, my second boyfriend wanted to go on a break. And I only got to understanding this of when I really was a turning point of when I started to really abuse it for, to manage my emotions to self-medicate. And so when he asked to go on a break, I was 21 and I’m like, oh my God, I can’t go through a heartbreak again.

I, my first love like devastated me. And so I was living with some guys at the time and I went back after we had this conversation and they said here, well, one of them had a prescription for Adderall. And he’s like, if, why don’t you just take this? I swear to God, you’re gonna feel like God, and it’s gonna make you feel so much better. I’m like, I don’t do drugs. You know, I’ve tried marijuana. I don’t like it. I, you know, I, I only drink at really at parties. And so I’m like, you know what, screw it. I was so at a point where I’m like, I would do anything. How do you

Speaker 2 (13:33):

Deny that? Yeah. Like I wanna feel like God,

Speaker 3 (13:35):

Yeah. I’m like, you know what, what the hell? You know? And he gave me like three, which is so much. And so that I was stayed up all night. I dyed my hair. I said, this is the best breakup ever. I’m so happy we’re doing this. And then I came down off it and I said, oh my God, this is horrible. It was from that point, it didn’t escalate like right away. But it, I would say it’s, it was a 10 year progression, but a couple summers after I had a really bad summer of drinking and, you know, sleeping with guys and not remembering and waking up and, and feeling so shameful and using it to feel love, to feel loved from other guys when I wasn’t getting that and I would drink and I would have these relate, these hookups, should I say? And I just felt like crap.

And you know, I got my first DWI in 2005, it started to ramp up then. But you think that would like be a wake up call. It was, but it wasn’t enough for me. I’m very tenacious. I, if you give me something and I set and do anything to achieve that, and I’ll I’ll do that, but I couldn’t do this. And I didn’t know why. And I would kept testing myself and like, okay. And I, it was in this point, I moved out to New York city. Like I said, my intention was to lose weight when I was out there. And so I’m like, I can’t lose weight when I’m drinking so much. And I was starting to drink to fall asleep as well. Because as I’m now learning, not loud learning, but starting to grow off my anxiety medication now drinking causes anxiety <laugh>. So I was starting to get anxious at night.

So I started to drink to fall asleep. So instead of drinking, then I started taking sleeping pills. And so I would take sleeping pills and then, then I wouldn’t drink. And I was fantastic. And then the sleeping pills wouldn’t work. And I, I bring this up because I was so obsessed with my looks, not obsessed with trying to be perfect and who I thought the world wanted me to be. So I was kind of like a chameleon. And when those pills came off and I dropped a ton of weight, I started over exercising as well. So when I wasn’t drinking, I cross addicted into over exercising. I was exercising for like three to four hours a day and people were saying, you look fantastic. And I loved that when in reality and I wasn’t happy and I didn’t know why I’m like, I’m at the size that I wanted to be, but I’m not happy.

And so I started it just really ramped up from there. I had moved back home. It was really the year leading up to my wedding in 2010, we got married in 2011 where my drinking really escalated. So I’m also a workaholic and I have a, I had a full-time job. I was doing freelance full-time and I was planning my wedding all by myself because as a perfectionist I wanted to do and have things be perfect. And I remember I would give my husband like the little, a little assignment of like putting stamps on an envelope. And when I looked at ’em they were crooked and I’m like, oh my God. Like, I, I, I just have to do it myself. And I just, I just, I just exhausted myself. And so I was starting to drink every single night and even a week leading up to my wedding.

I didn’t know how I was gonna get all of it done. So I started taking Adderall. I found a dealer and I started taking Adderall and I was able to get everything done. I don’t, and people are ask me today. I don’t even know how you did it. I’m like, well, I was taking Adderall and I was drinking at night to calm the anxiety that out of Adderall brings when it wears off. So yeah, that’s why I say my before pictures on my wedding date, cuz I wish I could do it over. I was not present. I drank in the morning. I was so full of fear. I did not like the spotlight on me and I just wanted to get through it and I’m like, just get through this day. And then it really was a year, a day and a half later I just couldn’t hide it anymore.

And I was really good at hiding it. My husband did not even know what was going on. No idea. I was, I was, I only drink at night. Usually I was working. So I would, I would work and then I would drink to have fun and relax really to take the edge off cuz I was so overwhelmed and I didn’t ask for help. My pride was too high to ask for help with this and no one did I want it because I wanted to prove to everybody that I could do this. I could have this amazing wedding and I could show up and be a beautiful bride in a size, two dress, you know, and everything was fine. Everything was great. But deep down I had bags under my eyes on my wedding day. I drank vodka in the morning. I took Adderall to just get through it and appeared normal.

And I just, I just collapsed the day or two after. And from there, I mean, my husband was like, oh, what, what the hell did I marry? You know, he was so confused. So it began this year and a half journey of me really seeking to try to get sober. Uncovering, am I an alcoholic? Okay, what are the next steps? What do I do first? Okay. Outpatient. And then he would drive me to a AA meetings. I’d be still drunk. And I was so confused. I was so scared and I kept thinking, I can’t do inpatient because I’m gonna get laid off in this process. I did my first inpatient stay when I, it was just apparent that I needed to, it was a full 11 months from my wedding date to when I went into inpatient. Did that relapsed after, right after with the intention of when I tell people when you’re seeking to get sober, make sure you really want it. And that you’re ready.

Speaker 2 (19:15):

What was that catalyst for you to do that? Were you ready or not quite yet?

Speaker 3 (19:21):

No. And I realized that later that I really wanted to get sober. I just wasn’t ready. I had to really prove to myself that I couldn’t do this and nor did I want to. So even from there, there was another six months of me going to a sober house doing outpatient. I went back into treatment and did their extended care stay at Hazeldon. And in there I got my second DWI, February 14th, 2013, my husband had kicked me out of the house cause I was drinking. He had set that boundary. So I drove in rush hour traffic with a 0.2, four blood alcohol level got pulled over. I didn’t hurt anybody. Thank God. And from there I had to, you know, all of this stuff that we have to clean up, but that was still wasn’t it for me. I was like, no, I, I was scared, but I, I still had to prove to myself.

I still had some field research to do and some data to collect of when is it gonna be enough for me? And I had to push myself to feeling like I was going to die. My body wa was shutting down. I was taking Adderall and drinking every day I was starting, my hands were going numb. And I was, I say this a lot, but I was on my parents’ bed cause I was staying with them cuz they didn’t know what to do with me. They were about done with me and I looked up cardiac arrest. Cause I said, I think my I’m gonna have a heart attack soon. I mean, I was having, obviously having heart palpitations. I couldn’t see my hands. And, and I just said, I don’t know what to do. And I was, I didn’t know who to talk to. I couldn’t be honest with anybody cause I was still drinking just to not feel the withdrawals. My withdrawals were so bad. I remember, um, even trying to get my license and I was shaking so bad where I had to go home and drink so I wouldn’t shake. So I could read my writing and I don’t mean to like focus on the hard parts.

Speaker 2 (21:12):

It’s an amazing story. You know what I mean? Like what you’ve been through and at that point it was probably dangerous if you just stopped drinking. Right?

Speaker 3 (21:20):

Absolutely. And that’s why medical supervision, especially with the amount you’re consuming, you know, alcohol’s one of the drugs you can die coming off of. So it’s really, really serious. And it wasn’t until April 23rd, 2013, where I guess I passed out at my dad’s office. I had to go there cuz they needed to watch me all the time. They took me to detox and I blew like a 0.3, four. And it wasn’t like that scared me. The fact that I was drinking that much every single day. Like how much was I drinking the year prior? And in this period, I was also switching to mouthwash and rubbing alcohol. I was trying to figure out a way where I, when we were talking about shame, I felt so shameful walking into a liquor store with a hat on, to hide by bags under my eyes. If I could just walk into target by mouthwash, which has alcohol in it and drink that then no one would know.

And I wouldn’t feel as bad about what I was doing as I was literally poisoning myself. And so I drank mouthwash for the last year, but it was in the detox where I just, I had this epiphany and I just said, you know, I had court the next day. My marriage was about to fall apart. I, I got laid off for my job cause I wasn’t showing up. And this girl who I had a great childhood, I got good grades and I couldn’t believe this was my life, but I had no idea how to get out of it. And I lost almost everything. And I had to like scare myself to really come to that decision. It was, and I heard your other podcast where that was it for you was just like this decision where I’m done. And I have a lot of stuff to clean up.

I have two DWIs. I have court, I have jail. I have all of this stuff. I didn’t have a car. My car got impounded. I didn’t have a, you know, and, but I didn’t, I just knew if I don’t drink, everything’s gonna be okay. It’s not the only way that this is. I could put myself in a worse situation is if I drank again and I didn’t want to anymore. And once I made that decision, I, I stopped fighting it and I just let go of what was gonna happen. I said, whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen, but I don’t wanna do this anymore. And I’m done trying to, trying to fight it. And it’s amazing what can happen in, in like a few months when I, when you’re sober, I became pregnant, pregnant, you know it it’s, I mean, I went to my last inpatient day.

After that I did all the emotions. I cleaned up everything. I took responsibility. I biked to my, to my outpatient after inpatient, I did all this stuff I was supposed to do. Got my probation officer did all of that. And um, I always thought I was gonna be infernal cuz of all the stuff I did to my body and yeah, we were pregnant. I got a job within a few months. I got promoted in six months. And I remember even at my assessment to my last inpatient where I was in the bathroom and my family had like cut me off. They were just like, I don’t know. You’re gonna pay for whatever you need to do. I’m done with you. And I remember calling a homeless shelter. Like it felt so humbling. I mean just to call, to see if they had space and then my parents were like, no, you can stay with us. But just making that call was like, man, but anyways,

Speaker 2 (24:39):

I can see that it’s still like, you still can put yourself back there. I mean, that’s so powerful.

Speaker 3 (24:44):

It’s crazy how much your life can change. And I know Mel Robin says it a lot, but you are one decision away from a completely different life. And just by not drinking, all of these good things started to happen. I had to clean up a lot of my past. I had to do a day in jail, four months pregnant, talk about humbling, but you just did it. I had didn’t have a breathalyzer in my car for two years with a newborn. You just do it and you make things right. But as long as I was sober, I could work on clearing this up. I could actually get back to who I was, but I didn’t get back, become stronger because of what we’ve been through. And holy smokes, if we can do that and come back from that. And that’s why I tell people, I know where you’re at. I get that feeling. But I want you to know that you can freaking do this. And I just did a post yesterday where I said the one thing that I really wish someone would’ve told me when I was struggling, instead of shaming me and saying, wow, can you keep doing this? Why don’t you just stop? I just wanted someone to tell me it was gonna be okay, you’re gonna get it. But sometimes it’s just a matter of time and going through some really hard things for you to get it and to be done.

Speaker 2 (25:57):

Yeah. And it’s, it’s different for everyone, right? That point where we say like, it’s kind of that inner knowing of like, oh, I’m done. I don’t want this anymore. And then I like how you said it was a decision. So it was like that inner knowing followed up by a deciding like you have to consciously decide, cuz it’s not just gonna happen. You have to know inside and then decide pretty much every day from then out to choose that. Right.

Speaker 3 (26:26):

Yeah. And that only would’ve happened with, without, with the experiences that we’ve been through of experiencing pain of experiencing shame and feeling like crap and losing things. It was, uh, some people just have to learn the hard way. And I hope that people don’t have to get to that rock bottom that they can MIS question their drinking, even if they don’t have a problem and just ask, you know, what am I using this for? Is it actually helping me? Or is it keeping me stuck? Does it help me make friends? Is it helping me have fun? Or do I just not like the situation that I’m in, but I feel like I have to have a drink to enjoy it. And if that’s the case, then that’s not your thing. And you can do something else, but you don’t need to drink. It’s just not fun. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (27:15):

And I think the idea of losing things, you know, it’s, I, I, I think no matter what level you’re on, as far as you’re drinking and what you’ve lost, we’ve all lost things to alcohol. You know, whether that’s memories, whether that’s a morning being hungover on the couch, whether it is your job, you know, your license O other things like, I think alcohol does steal things from all of us, no matter how much you drink. And so it is a question of like, is it worth

Speaker 3 (27:46):

It? And I always like to ask that and have people ask that, you know, is it worth it? Is it worth the shame and anxiety of tomorrow in, if anything, the thing that we lose is time and what is the thing that we want more of time?

Speaker 2 (28:01):

I feel that so much just as a mom, time goes by so much quicker than it used to. I don’t know if it’s all the milestones that we’re counting down. Like there’s so many milestones with kids that we’re counting, you know, the years, the months that all these, that I’m just, it freaks me out how quickly time is going.

Speaker 3 (28:20):

Yes, absolutely. I mean, my son is like up to here on me. I’m like, oh my God, like, how did you, how did you get so tall? And, and I, I like to focus on, you know, after the kids go to bed. And that’s usually a lot of times when moms are like, ah, I’m gonna have a glass of wine. You know, I’m gonna unwind. I’ve had a hard day, but at the same time, what if we switched the nighttime to the morning time and focusing on, you know, maybe I could get up a little bit earlier in sobriety and have like, where can we find this me time that we don’t get during the day? And my answer is always use your mornings, your mornings. We trade our late nights for early mornings. Get up no half hour. Now I get up two hours before my kids.

And I use that time. It’s just quiet. Everyone’s quiet. And I get that time. Cuz when you’re proactive about your day, when you do the things that really fill you up and you can visualize your day, you know, reading, doing some personal development, moving your body, meditating, all of that stuff, you’re gonna show up better as a mother throughout that day. So when it does get to 8:00 PM, you’ve had a really great day when you’re, when you’re not so used to reacting to life. You were proactive in the morning that fueled you throughout your day. So by 8:00 PM, maybe you’re just tired and wanna go to bed or you’re gonna just be in a better place mentally if you have that time for yourself.

Speaker 2 (29:53):

Totally. And, and then you go to bed looking forward to that morning, you know, like I, I always go to bed looking forward to the morning, like I’m like, oh I can’t, I’m such a morning person anyway. But yeah, getting, getting up before your kids, I think is like the biggest mom hack.

Speaker 3 (30:09):

Absolutely. And if you take anything away from this podcast use the morning, it’s it’s instead of being reactive and having your kids wake you up, have you already be awake and ready for your day? You know, hair, hair. I mean, if you do your hair or do makeup, whatever, be ready. And so when they get up, you’re like, okay, now I poured into me. I took care of myself. So now I’m better able to take care of you because if I feel good, then that rubs off on my kids and setting that example, I think is one of the most important things, cuz they’re always watching us. They’re always watching how we show up, how we react. If we sleep in, if we get up, if we’re working out, we don’t have to say anything. It’s really through our actions that they’re picking up of what we’re doing and what, what does mom need and how can I better set a boundary to take care of myself, but set myself up for success early in the morning.

Speaker 2 (31:05):

Totally. And, and I think I, I was reminded of this when, so I was putting my two year old, almost three year old to bed the last week, one night. And he started singing our bedtime songs that I have sung with all of my kids. But this was the first time that he sang with me. You know, I, and I just was soaking up every single second. I had a tear come down. I was just fully present. And I was thought then later I was like, oh, I think that if I had been racing through to get to that glass of wine, I just would not have. Now that’s a memory that is just forever ingrained in me. And I it’s one of my favorite moments of life was hearing his little voice, say those words that I didn’t know, he knew, you know? And so I, I think I would’ve raced through that. Not even knowing to kind of put it all, you know, just get him to bed so I can have a glass of wine. It’s like, I’m just so glad that that’s, that wasn’t the case. I was just fully there and

Speaker 3 (32:07):

That’s all we have to be being sober. That’s enough. You don’t have to be the perfect mom. The Pinterest mom go join the Pete’s TA or whatever. You just have to be there. And now you have an ingrained memory that you’re gonna cherish the rest of your life.

Speaker 2 (32:24):

Yeah. And then I can tell him, you know, when he is old and taller than me and a big man, and I can say, you know, when I held you and I think as moms, we are the memory keepers of our families, you know, like dad’s rock and they, they have their spot too. But I think there’s something about a mom that we’re gonna remember the things that obviously the kids aren’t gonna remember and the dads aren’t either there for, they’re not gonna remember cuz that’s just not how they roll.

Speaker 3 (32:51):

Cause we keep everything organized. My son actually sleepwalked last night <laugh> so I he’s never done that before. So I was like, I was like, Hey bud, what’s going, oh my God. I’m like, I was like, Hey buddy, what are you doing? And he took all the sheets off of his bed. He’s like, oh, I’m just putting stuff away. And he is trying to hang the sheets up on the towel rock. I’m like, oh, I mean, my God, that’s scary. But I’m like, okay, let’s just go back to bed. And then Maria, he went back to bed, cuddle ’em up. And he, we had mentioned that this morning, he’s like, what? Like, but that’s a memory that I get to. I mean, if, just actually think about just thinking about this in real time, if I was drinking, I would’ve been passed out. Like what if, oh my I’m just thinking about this in real time where he would’ve been what he would’ve been doing where he would’ve ended up.

If he would’ve went out the door. Oh man. See, it’s like those things where you can just be there for your kids. And, and I just had a, a client as well as another client, you know, one, once kids broke his arm, another got a, it was in a serious accident, but I’m like, you were able to be there. You were able to drive to the hospital. You were able to take them like that is what sobriety delivers and not having to be like, oh no, I can’t go because I’ve, I’ve had three glasses of wine or a bottle of wine or something like that. I was able to take my son or take care of my son when they’re sick.

Speaker 2 (34:12):

Yeah. No matter the time of day. Like, it doesn’t matter whenever. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (34:17):

Doesn’t matter. You call me whatever. And, and I’m so happy that if they choose to drink ed later in life, that I’ll be there to pick ’em up. And I, we don’t have to say anything. They can just see us and they’ll always know their mom’s always gonna be there and maybe they’ll start asking questions. Well, why don’t you drink or whatnot? It can start a conversation. My son just asked, I had a sober mom shirt on before or something or sober is cool. He’s like, well what’s what does sober mean? I said, oh, it’s someone who doesn’t drink alcohol. He’s like, oh, oh, okay. So I know dad has a beer. Sometimes I’m like, yep. That’s alcohol. Yep. And I didn’t say anything. You’re not saying anything. He’s like, oh, okay. So it’s that someone who doesn’t drink that stuff.

Speaker 2 (35:01):

Yeah. And so that, that’s interesting because I do have on my list, this is probably one of the questions I get asked most often is about my husband and how my not drinking has affected our marriage if he still drinks. And so if you’re comfortable talking about it does, so your husband still drinks a little bit. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (35:19):

He, he does not get drunk around me. He drinks. I, I heard on your podcast too. He drinks like one a week, maybe three, maybe three, like just one though. Cuz he likes the taste. And I know when in early sobriety, when I was really struggling, he didn’t drink around me. He did not drink. He went alcohol free as well. And he had no problem with it. He ever remembered he was gonna go to a concert. He’s like, I’ll just drink Dr. Pepper. I’m like that doesn’t make you uncomfortable. He’s like, no, I’m like that. We are so different. Like I, I, I couldn’t even fathom go into a concert without drinking. So yeah, he does have, you know, once he does have like a, and he keeps it out in the garage and he usually just drinks it outside or something. Sometimes he’ll bring it in. But I would like to know you too. Like what about yours?

Speaker 2 (36:11):

So mine still drinks. He golfs. So generally he’ll have a beer or two when he golfs because like yours, he likes the taste. It’s like an am still light. You know, he’s a big guy. So he’s like, no, it’s just the, you know, beer, a cold beer on a hot summer day on the golf course. Like I totally understand that. We, we, it was important for me to set boundaries about what I’m comfortable with. And that for me is two beers. If he’s coming home, which he always is. So, you know, no more than two beers really, because it feels like anytime it’s like three or anything, then we’re just on a different level. I can’t connect. It feels scary to me because of how I grew up. Um, my dad drank. And so I, I’m very, I’m very aware when someone’s drinking, how much they’ve had, how they’re acting differently.

I think kids are very vigilant like that. Like if your parent is acting even just a little bit strange or like not how they would normally act kids know it, they, they can feel that. And that feels scary. And so I kind of then still carry that in me. And he is, you know, he’s a wonderful partners and is, and is, has totally agreed to that. And he’s like, that’s fine. I don’t, he doesn’t wanna get drunk. He doesn’t, you know, he he’s had his past with that too. So yeah, I think my biggest tip is always just set, set your boundaries and what feels comfortable to you if your partner does still drink?

Speaker 3 (37:38):

Absolutely. And I, I feel like you, for me, we had to learn how to date again. I’m not sure if you guys did too. Cuz that’s what we did. That’s who we, when we hung out, when we went out, it was with friends. Granted, we didn’t have kids before I got sober. So we, I felt really alone because I didn’t wanna go out because there was drinking. And when we did, I’m like, well, what is there to do now? And I’m like, I’m just boring. <laugh> what do we do? Are we even getting to connect anymore? Because I, we met at a beer drinking event. I mean, we were both drunk. I cheated on my boyfriend at the time with him. So how was this gonna be? And so my advice is just play it out. And if you can, if your hus or your partner is supportive, hopefully they are.

And set, you said set those boundaries. If you don’t like alcohol into the house, ask for that, say, Hey, I’m really triggered. And I’m really trying to do my best here. I’m really, this is really hard for me. Can we keep alcohol out of the house for a while until I feel more comfortable, then you see what they say. And it’s all about the action that you take in response to how they receive that and how, what they do based on your boundary. But also you can, I set, I also put in some alcohol free date ideas. I I’m someone I don’t like to go out past seven cuz I’m, I’m tired. My brain shuts down at eight and it’s just like, so I’m like, what if we switched that to the morning or a day date or did something together? What if we learned a new hobby or we took a class together or just something where it can be active and just things like that is to just get creative and, and see what you really like. Or one idea was like, do a date jar or something. I really like to even do bingo, like really simple things.

Speaker 2 (39:29):

Yeah. That’s so cute. I love that. And then you can kind of connect on. I mean, that was that’s the whole trick of alcohol, right? Is the idea that alcohol helps you connect and it just does not. And so I connect so much more with my husband now that that we’re not loopy or buzzed or drunk. Like now we can actually connect.

Speaker 3 (39:51):

And I feel like because of what we went through and what you’ve been through, it’s only made us stronger,

Speaker 2 (39:57):

Being a good influence. Like I have found that the less I drink, the less my husband wants to drink because he sees that I could still have fun. I am still fun without alcohol. I’m probably more fun without alcohol that I feel better. I look better. My skin’s better. Everything has improved without alcohol. And so then just kind of naturally he’s like, wait a second. This is, I think you’re onto something here.

Speaker 3 (40:21):

Yeah. And if you want to change someone else, change yourself cuz you have no idea how that’s gonna inspire someone. And also when my husband, I think he’s like, he’s going to a draft. All these football drafts are coming up. He loves him. It’s like his outlet. So I’m like, go have fun. Be a man and do your teams and whatnot. So I know if he’s gonna do that, I’m like, just stay there. Just stay overnight. I don’t even want you driving. No, you just stay over there. I don’t even want you coming home, but you have fun. I want him to go live his life. I don’t need to control. I need to just tell him what to do. So I have fun. I know it’s what you like to do, but don’t come home. But I expect you to come home for the kids at, you know, 8:00 AM.

And that’s your own fault if you feel like crap. But I think setting that boundary and it also had some women in my group say if their husband was gonna go golfing and coming home and they knew he was gonna be drinking to, to set that boundary and say, Hey, when you come home, I’m gonna set up a bed on the couch. So you can ghosts that, sleep there. And it just, you’re also being proactive about your relationship of not festering that resentment when he does come home and like wake you up and be like, oh I love you. Just wanted to say goodnight. No, you just sleep in the couch. I’m gonna do that. I’m gonna create that safe place. You do, you, but I’m gonna be working on me. I cannot change you. Like that’s something. I mean really focusing on what can I control?

What can I control? I can’t control other people. I can’t control the weather. I can’t control the past, but I can control how I show up and what I choose to allow into my home, what I choose to allow my kids to see. And if anything, use that as motivation to take so much better care of yourself and know that you are. But just by taking care of yourself, you are being an example for your kids, to your husband, to everybody by just taking such good care of yourself. We just did. I don’t wonder if I could find the quote. Cause I always tell the women to be a lighthouse. It says, create an example for the people that come behind us, be the lighthouse and light the way for others. And that’s what I tell the women in my group. You don’t have to tell people, you don’t have to wish someone to change or shout sobriety from the rooftops, unless you’d like to, you just need to shine the light, shine your light at the, and it’s so cool to see women get their spark back and to go from crying in the beginning to like laughing full on.

So happy you see the light comes on again and they’re back, but not only back, but now they’re so much stronger because of what they’ve been through.

Speaker 2 (42:53):

Yes. I love that so much. So tell me about your women’s group. Is this living zero proof?

Speaker 3 (42:57):

Yeah. You know what, actually be changing the name to lighthouse sobriety here the next few weeks, it really embodies. What I hope to instill in others is to own this and be the life for others. And we more on being the light for yourself to stand tall, to stand sturdy and to own it. And you have no idea who that’s gonna inspire. So yes I do private coaching and then I also do sober coach or group coaching. So I’m just wrapping up my 12 week course on Sunday, which is crazy. And when I say it’s just, there’s no better thing or experience than seeing someone change before your eyes and just to see laughter and having sober fun. So I run these group coaching courses cuz when I was doing private coaching, I said, I wanna do this in a community. I wanna, I wanna go through this as a group.

I wanna get together. I wanna talk about it and go through the materials every single week. So every single week there’s a different topic. And I really focus on, so I’ve been to three inpatients, nine outpatients have had experience there. But what I didn’t learn in treatment was really how to live sober. How, what do I say when I go out? Like how do I set a boundary boundaries were not even discussed. I mean they’re huge in sobriety. What about a morning routine? What, how much is exercise important for our sobriety? It’s huge. It helps rebuild the brain tissue. It helps to give you structure. It helps to boost your mood, all of these things that can help you early on. So I take them through, walk them through the early parts of sobriety and then work on instilling some healthy habits of a week on, on boundaries a week on having fun, how to have fun in sobriety, the importance of stress management tools, how to release stress in a healthy way.

So things that I would’ve wanted 10 years ago when I was struggling so much and, and the only way was AA and treatment and really focusing on, you know, what our past was. It made me feel like there was, I was damaged and there was something wrong with me instead of being like, no, yes, it’s my responsibility I’m in, was in full control of consuming that drug. But also I wanna motivate women and make this a fun experience of, or something that they want to do. Not something that they have to do of really repainting and reframing the picture of what sobriety is and what it can do for you of getting you back your time, giving you back your energy, really focusing on what do you wanna do with this life. And now you have the time to actually fulfill it and to go after it.

Cause you don’t have alcohol holding you back and creating this roadblock from who you are now to who you wanna be. When you remove that, everything improves. Granted you’re gonna have to deal. I also like to get honest, you’re gonna have to now deal with feelings and that’s hard and now you’re gonna have to deal with the things that you kept suppressed for so long. Now that’s gonna come up. A lot of shit’s gonna come up, but you don’t have to drink over it. Right. And you could handle it because you’re sober. You’re the fog’s gonna clear shit’s gonna come up, but you’re gonna be better able to manage it. And the only way to get through it is to go through it. You’ve got to go through this process and you’ve gotta get through those really hard parts of early sobriety. But if you can mentally make that mind shift of how you view alcohol, everything’s gonna change.

And I feel like, and I was talking to the women that it’s kind of like you’re in the matrix. And that’s why I feel is that you’re in, you’re on the outside looking in now. And the more and more I learn about it, more and more I’m like, this is messed up. This is so much bigger than I think people realize. And that we’re just going through the motions, thinking that it’s okay. But at the same time, everybody that consumes this and is using this is just stuck in this spiral. But if you can be like Neil and kind of gut outside of that and look at, and look at the bigger picture of what big alcohol is doing and how they’re kind of manipulating you and keeping you in the small box, it’s like you have the million dollar secret. And so I like to kind of take ’em through that of let’s get through this. Let’s help you feel better. Let’s how do you get through, you know, 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM, the witching hour, what are some good things that you can do? So really step by step tools that they can implement on real life situations. So that’s what I hope. And I have a 75 sober in October course coming out kind of based on 75 hard, which I’ve been really wanting to do. Not as intense as 75 hard, but yeah.

Speaker 2 (47:34):

What is 75 hard? What is that?

Speaker 3 (47:36):

Yeah, so it was a program created by Andy Ella. Uh, if you don’t follow him, he has a podcast called real Afaf he’s very loud and he, he don’t listen with the kids. He likes to swear, but he’s really honest. And uh, he created this hard program and I did it last year where it’s two workouts, a day, 45 minutes. Each one has to be outside a gallon of water each day, 10 pages of a self-help book. You take a progress picture each day, you follow a, it says diet, but I like to say meal plan and you don’t drink alcohol. And so that’s kind of the extreme and you do it for 75 days straight. And if you mess up on even one of those things, you gotta start over. So you could be on day 69, 74. And you’re like, oh my God, I didn’t hit my water goal.

You gotta start over. And so I’m like, well, why not start this in October during one of the coldest months of the year in Minnesota, around the holidays. And I was like, there’s never gonna be a right time. And if anything, why not doing during the hardest time of the year? And I think it builds up, oh man, that resilience and it’s so beneficial, cuz conditions are never gonna be easy. It’s about showing up and doing the work and pouring into yourself when conditions are ideal. Because if you can do that, then what else can I do? And I can tell you it, it was hard at and moments of like, what am I gonna fit? This, this in you get really good at fitting this in checking the weather. What do I wear? But I there’s no price tag that you can put on how great you feel by Christmas time. I was like, I feel amazing. It was one of the best Christmases of just, it really gave, had me appreciate my walks outside. Even in below 30 degrees. It gave me a break. It forced me to take that break and to stop and to just breathe and relax and release and enjoy nature.

Speaker 2 (49:34):

That sounds amazing. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (49:36):

Yeah, it is. And so this will be a, not as harsh as that and if someone falls out, you do not, we do not beat each other up. You just keep on going. So yeah, beyond the lookout for that in October, I’m really excited.

Speaker 2 (49:49):

Okay. So I will link all of this stuff in the show notes I’ll so that it’s easy to find in your, your women’s group and everything like that. And then I’ll be sure to link your Instagram. Is it at gly Hurst?

Speaker 3 (50:00):


Speaker 2 (50:00):

Right. Okay. Anything else that you, you want them to know? Any advice for someone newly sober?

Speaker 3 (50:07):

I guess, you know what keep labels out of it. You don’t try to be like, am I an alcoholic? You know, do I have a problem? Just ask, you know, what, what is alcohol doing for me? What benefit do I get? And is it something I wanted to continue? What am I using it for? And is there a better way? And also just understand that, that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to feel anxious, to feel shy, to be an introvert, to feel nervous at a party. We don’t have to fix our feelings, our feelings won’t kill us. It’s only the action that we take based on those feelings. And I, I recommend rewatching or if you haven’t watched it yet, the movie inside out, it’s all about feelings. Yeah. I think it’s Pixar. And so everybody loves joy enjoys.

Like the one she’s so happy and everyone’s like, yeah, Amy poller and then sadness. And, and people are like, Ugh, sadness. She’s such a downer. And throughout the movie, spoiler alert, you realize that sadness, this Riley, the main character had to feel sad. She needed sadness during this moment in time for her to be able to move on and to regain her structures in life. Sadness was just as important as joy, but we don’t need to banish sadness or fix it or drink it away. We just need to feel that to cry and to release and move that emotion through us. I know that this too shall pass, this feeling will pass and you’ll get through it. But you don’t need to numb yourself from experiencing a feeling.

Speaker 2 (51:39):

Yeah. I love that so much. Uh, well I’ve loved this so much. You’re like a breath of fresh air I, I think I love the idea of lighthouse sobriety. I think to me, it’s the opposite of stone, cold, sober, you know, which I, which just is so depressing to think about. And a lighthouse is just, just the perfect visual for sobriety. I, I love that so much.

Speaker 3 (52:04):

I only came to that in our group and, and I had heard it on a ed Mylet talk. And I said, yeah, that’s it. And that’s what I hope to like own in this and shining it. And the more that we can encourage women to do that, I mean, just think of the impact and change that you’re gonna have in someone else’s life. So

Speaker 2 (52:24):

Well, you are a lighthouse. You really are.

Speaker 3 (52:26):

I love what you’re doing for the sober community.

Speaker 2 (52:28):

Thank you. And thank you so much for being here.

Speaker 3 (52:32):

Yes. Thank you for having me on. I appreciate it.

Speaker 2 (52:40):

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the sober mom life. If you loved it, please rate and review it wherever you listen. Five stars is amazing. Also follow me on Instagram at the sober mom life. Okay, I’ll see you next week. I’m gonna go reheat my coffee. Bye.

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