An Honest Conversation about Disordered Eating and Disordered Drinking with Meg Fee of @youdonthavetodrink


March 13, 2023

Meg of @youdonthavetodrink joins me today for an important chat about the cross-section between disordered eating and disordered drinking. Meg shares how these intertwined throughout her teens and twenties, and offers insights on how you can begin your journey to heal from both – and not just one at the expense of the other. 

Content warning – we speak at length about disordered eating in this episode. 

For more about Meg, visit her at @youdonthavetodrink on Instagram! 


“Not Drinking Tonight” by Amanda E. White (Affiliate link) 









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Speaker 1 (00:04):

Hi, welcome to the Sober Mom Life podcast. I’m your host Suzanne of my kind of suite 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. Maybe life is brighter without alcohol. I hope you will join us on this journey and I’m so excited to get started.

Hi guys, happy Monday. I am excited to bring you this episode today. I connected with Meg on Instagram a while ago, and man, she is a bright light. She has such a calming energy. I adore her. So she is at, you don’t have to drink on Instagram. I think that this conversation is really important because we also talk about eating disorder recovery and how disordered eating and disordered drinking as Amanda E. White calls. It can go hand in hand and she talks so openly and just honestly about her journey with both. So I I, I think that you’ll get a lot out of this episode if you are, um, protecting yourself as far as disordered eating goes. Maybe take care and save this episode for later when you’re feeling a little bit more secure in that journey. Um, but if you’re needing support, I think that this will really help you.

I’m also sharing some resources and some accounts that Meg follows that helps her in her journey and they don’t trigger her. So I will link those in the show notes. Also, as always linked in the show notes, follow me on my kind of suite for all things, just a full sober life. Follow the sober mom life on Instagram for all things podcast. Make sure if you’re wanting bonus episodes and more content, come over on Patreon. Follow us. We have a five, seven, and $10 level that’s a monthly um, subscription. And so you guys, it’s like a cup of coffee or two and you get some bonus episodes and some really good content. You get the video episodes of every podcast episode. How many times can I say episode? Also, if you’re needing some community in this sober life, come and join the sober mom life group on Facebook. What else guys? I think that’s it. Oh, and don’t forget to rate and review the podcast. If you like it, give us five stars. Leave a nice review. I have been reading every single one of them. I love them so much. They make my day. I am honored that you keep coming back and keep listening and I just can’t thank you enough. Okay, I hope you enjoy this episode with Meg.

Hi Meg. Hello. I’m so happy to be here. Oh my God, I’m so excited to finally meet you. I feel like this has been in the works for a while. I wanna hear about, I think your story is very interesting because as we were talking about before we started recording, you have also a history of disordered eating and I think that that’s really important to talk about that cross section of sobriety disordered eating. I like that Amanda E. White, have you read her book? Yes, I have it. Yep. On my shelf right over there. I like that she calls it disordered drinking. Yeah. Because she also has a history of disordered eating and her clients and and treating her patients. And so I think that you’re not alone in this. I know that. Yep. There’s gotta be a lot of overlap there. So where did all of that start for you?

Did the disordered eating start first or what is your like earliest memory of that? Yeah, that’s such a good question. It’s actually something I just started exploring with a new therapist and I’m really happy that you’re asking about it and I’m happy that you’re talking about it. And you know, Amanda’s book, like I said, I have in, I read it on my honeymoon actually last March, February into March. And it, that book kept me from drinking on my honeymoon sometimes, you know, I struggle with cravings every week. But on that, you know, the honeymoon was as you can imagine, a little tough. We had <laugh>, you know, we had like the all-inclusive package. Yeah. Did you book your honeymoon before you stopped drinking? No, it’s just the all-inclusive just price-wise, like made the most sense. They kind of make it make sense in that way. Yeah.

But the place I stayed at, this is like another thing. They were really accommodating and I had all the mojitos, all the virgin mojitos. Wait, where’d you guys go? We went to Aruba and the, the place was called Man Chibo. It was like in the low rise section I guess they call it. I had my baby moon when I was first pregnant. Yeah. With my first baby We were in Aruba and it’s beautiful. It is beautiful. I remember it was very windy every day, but it didn’t matter cuz it was so hot, you know, like it felt good. Yeah. Oh so pretty. It was great. But, but yeah, so that book just, I have a whole story about it, but somebody like this man came up to me cuz he saw me reading the book and he was in recovery as well. He was an older man and you know, at first I was like laying in a hammock in my bikini reading the book and he like approached me and I was like, uh, yeah.

But he ended up just talking to me cuz he saw the title of the book and um, that whole connection, like I felt like I was meant to see him and have that conversation with him. And it was just one of those moments where you’re like, ugh, okay, I’m not drinking <laugh>. Right. Isn’t that funny? Like I always thought like alcohol would be like the fast track to connection. So like you mirror that with like a conversation you would have like drunk at a bar with an old man, like much different <laugh> right. Like night and day. Oh my god. Yeah. It like restores your faith and humanity too. Totally. You know, I’d read other quit lit before. Um, there’s some that I’ve, you know, quit like a woman is that changed things for me mentally in a good way. And, but not drinking tonight was the first one that, I mean it’s written by somebody in this field, a professional and somebody who also has their own experience, you know, personal experience with this and just the way that she wrote it and told, kind of weaved in different stories throughout the book from different perspectives and backgrounds.

It’s just one of my favorites. It’s so good. I think. Yeah, if you guys haven’t read it and if you haven’t listened to that episode, go back because I think everyone can find themselves somewhere in that book. Oh yeah. Like you can see yourself in one of the stories, one of the patients. It’s so good. And yeah, she was the first one to kind of talk about disordered drinking, like disordered eating. And so it’s not about this label. It doesn’t have to be so drastic. Like I was just right at journaling and I’m like, okay, I wanted to share this because I think it’s powerful but with eating, I never wanna say the wrong thing, but struggling with an eating disorder from age 18, it might have started even sooner. It’s a hard question to ask cuz I’m kind of still unwrapping that. But from that age, battling an eating disorder throughout my twenties prepared me to battle my dependence on alcohol as well because there’s so much that overlaps and going back to like it’s, it doesn’t have to be that drastic like there, I think it’s actually the norm for women, especially women, but both, you know, no matter if you’re a man or a woman, it’s, you can struggle with disordered eating and not have it be that drastic and still feel like, okay, it’s not bad enough.

I’m not bad enough so why am I being so dramatic? Like I don’t need to go to the doctor for this or Right. It’s, there’s so many parallels that yeah, it’s like a comparative thing. Like we, we get into that comparison game of it’s like, well obviously it’s not quote unquote a problem and so I don’t need to address it or look at it. And that’s what I think the trap that we get in with alcohol where it’s like, well I’m obviously not quotes that bad and so there’s no need to examine. And it’s like, well we just don’t do that with anything else. It’s not like, I mean maybe some people do their relationships aren’t, you know, horrible then do you not examine? Well it’s like bottom line if it’s something that is completely overtaken your mind, you know, you have these repetitive thoughts and then these feelings that go along with them, like shame and guilt.

If you have that all of the time because of whether it’s food or alcohol or a relationship, whatever it is, like that’s not healthy. That’s not sustainable. You deserve to not let that have so much space in your mind. Yeah. And so what, what caused you, so you said that you first kind of noticed your disordered eating when you were 18 and it was probably even younger than that, that it was a part of your life. So what propelled you to say, wait a second, this is taking up too much of my mind. I think so like consciously the first time I was aware of food and calories and all of that and my body like running the show was in college. That’s common. Um, that age I went away to school, I went to a big party school and did a lot of that and gained some weight.

You know that freshman 15 that they make everybody scared of they, whoever they is. Right. And I gained some weight and I was fine. I was healthy. Like, but I’ve always been tiny. I’ve always been a small, even when I was little, like my parents took me to the doctor to make sure there wasn’t any issues with my growth or anything. Like I’m just, I’m barely five foot tall and when I put on like 15 pounds is is does feel like a lot for somebody who’s shorter and it it can and it just got to me. And that summer freshman year going into sophomore year, I was like determined. I said to myself like, I’m not going back to school looking like this. Like I have to lose this weight. And I remember working, I worked at a dollar store like in my hometown and I would walk cuz it was close to my dad’s house and I would walk to the dollar store and I would allow myself to have one Dunking Donuts iced tea sweetened with like one packet of sugar.

And I would only have that when I was working. Mm. And that was like eight hours. And I was like, I’ll just make it, you know, I’d just have to make it through the workday without eating just I’ll have my ice tea and, and then I would go home and swim laps in my dad’s pool to get my exercise in and then I would just eat dinner and that was it. And then it snowballed from there like when I went back to school. And so it’s that, it’s the rules around eating, it’s the controlling food, it’s the not listening to your body, it’s all of that. What I feel like a lot of women can relate to that on some level. Whether they considered their eating disordered or not. I think just as a society and, and as women that’s kind of like ingrained in us is to, we need to control food and if we can’t fit into something, our body is the problem.

It’s not the clothes. Right. Um, we are the problem. And that is the same message that we get from alcohol and everything that it’s like if we can’t control it, we are the problem Eating disorders ultimately, just like alcohol use disorders aren’t usually about the alcohol. It’s about, you know, there’s, there’s stuff, there’s stuff underneath. And that was the same thing where yes it started as like I need to lose weight. But it became something so different. Just like alcohol starts as like ugh, I need to de-stress. Ugh, I need to like relax. And then it’s like this whole other thing that it turns into because you realize unconsciously I guess that it’s a good coping mechanism that’ll do the job. Right. We’re using it to cope. And so whether or not you’re using like controlling food to cope, eating food to cope, drinking alcohol to cope, like it’s all the ways that we’re teaching ourselves and our minds and our bodies how to cope.

Yeah. And I think the problem is that it works for a while, right? Like it, it works for a little bit until then it doesn’t and then you’re like, holy shit, this is like out of n now it’s really outta my control. Yeah. And that’s, that’s what makes it hard. And the fact that like again another parallel is when I went back to school I got compliments on my weight loss cuz it looked okay at like visually it looked okay at first. And you get a lot of external validation about alcohol too. Because every, it’s everywhere. It’s everywhere. It’s justified, it’s depending on like the family that you’re in, the environment you’re in, the city that you’re in. Like it can be just so impossible to get away from it. And it’s the same thing with weight loss and beauty and all of these standards that we have to live up to.

Like you get that validation that you’re looking for that you’re doing a, a good job or you’re doing it right or there’s nothing wrong with you. You get that validation and yeah. It’s a dangerous thing. Yeah. What’s the thing that finally made you afraid and kind of aware that this was out of your control? I love that you said that question that way because ultimately I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and like what made you stop? What finally like changed for you Fear? Was it like you said, what made you afraid? It was fear. Like I was so afraid. Like I said, it sort of, my drinking also began when I was a teenager. Probably around the same time I started relying on food as a coping mechanism. Um, and so it’s always been intertwined but going back to your other question, it became something so much bigger and out of my control and my actions and behaviors when I drank were so out of alignment with who I am and who I was raised to be and who I wanna be.

Like so out of alignment with my values that, you know, there was a time where my husband, who was my fiance at the time, boyfriend, you know, he was my first, he was my boyfriend who told me, Hmm, maybe you gotta scale it back. And then he was my fiance and he was like, I know you’ve been working on this but we gotta like really. So he kind of gave me, I don’t wanna say an ultimatum, but he was like, I have to reach out to your family like I have. And he reached out to my best friends and, and so this was for about the drinking? Yeah. Okay. Was your eating still disordered at this point? Yeah. So it was all kind of woven in together. Yeah. And my eating, what got me to change then it was fear then too. That was, I was extremely underweight.

Yeah. Like, I won’t even say the numbers, but extremely underweight and my family was scared. Like when I came home I remember calling my dad on campus one day and being like, I can’t eat. Like I just, I can’t do it without feeling like I’m the worst in the world. Like it was just so painful. And so I think it was fear then too. I was just like, am I gonna die? Like I didn’t, couldn’t believe that it even got there. And you know, at that point it was, when it becomes visual that’s when people notice and that’s when people get involved unfortunately. Cuz if you can’t see it and then you’re well on your way Right. Once, once it becomes obvious to everyone else, then you’ve, you’ve already been well on your way gone. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s the dangerous part about it with alcohol too.

Like unless someone sees like, oh you got a D dwi, oh she got kicked out of whatever or ugh, their marriage ended because she drinks like until it is something like that and it doesn’t have to get to that point <laugh>. No, and that’s so true. I love that you made that comparison because it is, and this is something that I think about a lot is when you were, you know, in, in the thick of your disordered eating, you knew you were and you knew your thoughts and you knew, you knew your fear and the control around it other people didn’t. Right. They would probably look at you and think mm-hmm <affirmative>, you had your act together. I hate this word but I’m gonna use it because this the normal, you were normal, right? Yeah. This is what in quotes. Okay. And it is like that with drinking too.

We don’t know what, what struggles people are feeling internally with their drinking until it’s obvious that alcohol is a problem. And I I I just think that someone would look at them and you have no idea what people are battling with internally and you would look at them and consider them a normal drinker when really we have no idea. And so this idea of a normal drinker just sets everybody up for failure and everyone thinking that they’re the problem and that they should be able to control alcohol like this other person does until there’s a glaring example of No, no it’s not look at how, look at what this has done. And that’s the whole point of this podcast is just saying like Right. You don’t have to wait until alcohol has taken more than it already has. Yeah. And I love that about your page and everything that you share too because you kind of double down on that and I know that there’s resistance to that in the sober community.

Yeah. I always feel like so silly when I say that cuz but it’s a thing. There is a community in the AA community, it’s just specifically Yeah. And it’s one of those things where it’s like we can have our truth, you can have your truth if this helps you, if the term applies to you, if it empowers you Right. Do it but don’t push it on everybody else. Right. And I think there’s comparison that happens so much like we were talking about before with the disordered eating and it’s like, it’s just so easy to say, well I’m not that bad. I’m not that I didn’t lose my license, I didn’t get a D u i I I am not Meg Ryan in When a man Loves a woman. Like that is such a good movie. Yeah. You know, I, I’m not that And so it’s so easy then to just go, okay, keep going, move forward.

Yeah. Like as, as we were, it’s like well, but there’s another option and that just doesn’t mean we don’t examine and we don’t question. It’s almost like I don’t look under the rug type of thing cuz I think people are also just afraid to look. But going back to your other point about like it doesn’t have to be that bad and all of that. It’s, I was just writing this too. I was trying to, I don’t know, I was journaling before this to, to make sure that I, I don’t know, just have so many thoughts always. And this is actually something that I learned in an AA meeting. I, cause I like to say like, I’ve been to AA meetings too. I tried everything but, you know, take what works, leave what doesn’t. But what I wrote was that the most important thing that I was told in early sobriety or early like sober curiosity was look for the similarities, not the differences.

Cuz everybody always wants to focus on, well I don’t, I don’t do that so ugh, I didn’t, you know, I I passed the test or Right. That never happened. So it’s fine. And it’s like that comparing or stop asking other people if you’re going, if you’re looking for the validation, if you’re looking for somebody to say you don’t have a problem, you are gonna find it. It’s like Googling. If I Google something, especially like when I had my first baby, I could Google everything and I would 100% of the time get both sides and I was just as lost as ever. And I was like, well what the fuck? Like, you’re supposed to tell me what to do with this kid. Yeah. And then it, it came down to the fact that like, oh, like there has never been a mom to my child. Like I, I’m the only one, she’s the only one of her.

I’m the only one of me. There has never been this before right here. That’s such a good way to think about it. Right. And so like, oh wait, I’m the expert. Like I I am the expert on my baby. No one, not a pediatrician, not Google, not anyone can tell me behaviorally what to do. And so we are the experts on ourselves and it made me think about when you say like, look at the similarities, not the differences. And I’m like, oh, but the similarities always alcohol, <laugh>. Yeah. Like that’s what it is. Like that’s the common thread through everything. Does it make you feel bad? Yes. Does it make you not like yourself? Like why, you know, it’s, the questions don’t have to be that drastic. Just think about it logically and if you, you’re already questioning it, you might already know. Right. I think that probably if you’re listening to the Sober Mom Life podcast, there’s just a little inkling in there that alcohol isn’t what you thought it was going to be and you keep trying.

And I understand why we keep trying like I get it. I, I never shame anyone for like thinking it’s going to be different because we’re tricked into thinking it will be because alcohol adds because of mommy bloggers who portray it as this glamorous thing and it’s like, God, I’m just doing something wrong. It’s not different for me this time. And it keeps not being different. And that’s just, cuz that’s all marketing and it’s a trick and it’s a lie. Yeah. It’s, you can’t handle yourself. Right. Like if you could only moderate. Well that makes me think of, so you had your rules about, you know, you’re just gonna drink this iced tea and that’s it. Like that was your rule around eating. And I think once we start having rules around drinking, that’s sketchy. Yeah. I think it can be a huge sign for people who, and I’m having this like cognitive dissonance right now because with, with alcohol, the moderation thing and the rules in a sense I’m like, I wanna encourage it and I’m like, I, I love like pages that are inclusive about different types of recovery and I do think that moderation is a valid one for some people or it’s an entry point, right?

Like if you wanna try and only drink vodka, which is something that I once tried, <laugh> try it, see how that works anymore. Right. I mean I think moderation is a, is an important step. And I think Amanda E. White said like they’re not moderating the substance, they’re moderating their behavior. Right. And so like it is, it’s just another way to try to control your behavior. It’s just hard. It’s hard. Not that it’s impossible but you’re right. The rule setting was a, a huge red flag. Just like it was for me personally. I do know people who were like, who are moderators and normal and I, my husband is one of them and he’s, he has like such a health, I don’t know the healthiest relationship with alcohol is no relationship with alcohol. But he has what people would consider a normal, like if we talk about normal as being the majority or typical, I think those like take it or leave it drinkers they’re abnormal.

I think so too. I think there’s more people who can’t control it 100%. There’s more people who have this push and pull who have at least questioned is this right for me it, what does this do it? Who have regretted drinking? Who have taken a break, who have felt guilt or shame who’ve just like woken up and been like, what did I do last night? What did I say the worst? I mean I feel like most people can relate to that. Right. And so then when we set up this idea of like a normal drinker is someone who could take or leave alcohol, that’s just false. Yeah. That’s just not true. Um, not that there aren’t those people, they’re just rare. It just sets us up to fail when we set up the rare person as the standard. Yeah. I think that it’s like, well but that’s not such a good point.

So did you work on the disordered eating first while then you continued drinking? I’m wondering about like the cross section of like how that happened. Yeah, I’m always like, how do I explain this simply because my relationship with both food and my body have a cross between ages like 18 to 31. Now they intertwine but they’ve also been at different highs and lows if that makes any sense. But of course at the time that I recognized the disordered eating at that time I was in college and thought there was nothing wrong with the drinking aspect. This is just what we do. I never questioned it And I had, you know, dabbled with drinking in high school too and thinking back I, it was never, the red flags were like waving everywhere even when I first tried it at like 16 or something. So I didn’t think I had a problem.

And then as my disordered eating progressed through college my junior year, you know, I gained a little bit of weight back and then my parents were like, okay, she’s good, right? She’s fa good now and then not blaming my parents. They’re amazing. You know, everybody kind of like took a breath and then at that point it got even worse because it turned into like, oh I’m just really healthy. And that’s a common one too. I’m like, I’m just really healthy. And so I stopped drinking. You hide behind like this is for just so I can be so healthy. I’m just health conscious. Yeah. And um, that’s what it was like junior and senior year and you know, my roommates, my close friends knew that I was struggling. They knew for sure, but to everybody else it was like, oh, meg’s not drinking cuz she’s like, there would be nights where I wouldn’t drink cuz I didn’t wanna consume the calories and I would have a diet Coke and maybe allow myself like some shots, but I would, that’s when it sort of started intertwining a little bit.

But I never really addressed it. I can look back now and say that was where it started, but it didn’t stop there. It just morphed throughout my twenties. I mean, both of ’em both did. I mean it makes sense and I, I’m gonna keep referencing Amanda E. White because she really talked a lot about this, but she was talking about in kind of eating disorder recovery groups and on Instagram they will say like, they’ll kind of encourage drinking. Right. It’s just, I don’t recall it. And trust me, I was social media while it’s helped me with alcohol made it worse with my disordered eating. Okay. Talk about that. Tumblr had an awful, and I’m talking like 2011 to 2014, they had an awful pro eating disorder like community and I was part of it and so was, I’m actually still in touch with a couple women that we followed each other for thin inspiration.

Like this was like a hashtag that people would use and I would write what I ate every day and post. And I don’t remember, I mean there’s a lot I don’t remember from that time, but I don’t remember alcohol ever being discussed as like maybe we should, I mean it wasn’t about healing, it was about being thin and the calories. So, okay. And so my algorithm isn’t, you know, tuned into disordered eating recovery. Like I’m sure that’s a huge space on Instagram, right? It is. And for me it can still be a little bit triggering. I don’t use the word, uh, triggering. I don’t throw that a around a lot. I think it’s very overused. But I do get a bit triggered by even like positive social media discussion about body and weight because of, I think what I just mentioned about being so deeply, you know, I was up all hours of the night living in my sorority house, just scrolling all of these like awful encouraging posts like telling me to not eat this in that.

Like I was like addicted to that content. And I think you still see a lot of before and after photos in that space, you still see a lot of like, here’s what I’m eating today in that space. And I’m like, ah, like the focus is still on body and food. Yeah. Like I don’t wanna see what you ate today, good for you. Like I don’t wanna see your weight on the scale. Like we don’t need to be talking about that. And maybe I question if maybe is is that because I’m in a smaller body that I have a, an aversion? Like if I, if I was in a bigger body, I understand that like before and after pictures do hold meaning for people and some people do need to lose weight medically, whatever it may be for. And so I never wanna like shame another person’s way of recovering or whatever.

Like just because I’m triggered by it doesn’t mean somebody else is, but I just have a problem. And I think that’s why I’ve had a problem even talking about it very much on my own page and writing about it openly because it can be so triggering just for me personally, but I know that I’m not alone in that. Totally. I think that’s so important to know and that’s amazing that you, you know how to take care that’s taking care of yourself and setting boundaries of like, no this is because it makes sense that then it puts the focus back on that and like when that’s not your goal. Yeah. So I do follow like some organizations, you know, there’s like a, a coalition of recovery Spaces, project Heal, there’s a whole bunch of them. You know, I follow those pages and of course they’re very sensitive to it, but I guess like the user generated content is very like food focused and I’m just like, ugh.

Yeah, that makes sense. Instagram could be like the wild, wild west and if you don’t take care while you’re scrolling, like that could be dangerous. That’s why I’m why I’m not on TikTok and never will be <laugh> like, no, for me. Yes. Oh my God, TikTok is wild. Send me like the, the accounts that you find supportive in this journey and then I’ll sh I’ll link them in the show notes for anybody who is wanting support in that area that doesn’t trigger them. I definitely will, now that I’m thinking about it. There are, I, I tend to stick to like doctors as well, so that’s good. Um, I’ll definitely send some of my favorites. I like accounts that, that don’t talk about numbers and too much and just kind of, and don’t scare you because I can go down that health route again. Like the health conscious.

Okay. Health obsessed root. And now there’s so much of that too with everything being toxic and all of that and that I can very easily get wrapped up in that too and then like start eliminating food groups and my husband’s like, wait, wait a second. Right, right, right. And now talking about alcohol, like when did you realize, wait a second. Like I, I think I need to look at my relationship with alcohol. I would say probably when I was about 25 I knew but didn’t wanna look under the rug and I surrounded myself with people, relationships, spaces that would encourage me to just keep doing what I was doing. And that’s not to be shady about people from my past or anything that’s more just to say like, what’s that quote about like the company you keep, it’s just you do it almost self-consciously. It’s like if you know, you look around and take a look at all your friends, do their values reflect yours, do their actions reflect what you wanna be doing in your life.

Like I just for a second I had a medical situation and kind of drank my way through it and that was when I was about 25, 26 and I was just like, okay, that’s the problem, <laugh>. And you kind of knew it. So my mom and I just released an episode, the five stages, stages of change. And so I think about that is like, this is actually a stage that happens that it’s like pre-contemplation is when you’re like nothing to see here. And then contemplation is when you’re like, I don’t know, maybe, but you’re definitely not ready to like do anything about anything. Like, like you said, you kind of just swept it under the rug. Like that’s, and that lasted, I would say until I was like 28, 29. So more recently, because I’m only about, I, I don’t like only, but I’m about three years now into this after contemplation, I’m three years into this action stage.

I guess I have to go and listen to that episode. I saw it but I haven’t listened yet. Yeah, no, that’s, that’s right. Is it like now I can’t rem like preparation and then action, right? Yeah. That step between like, okay, this might be something I, I know I don’t like how alcohol makes me feel. I’m still gonna keep drinking it. Like I’m, I’m not ready to do that yet. I think that stage of saying I’m going to look at my path, I’m gonna open those doors that I have like padlocked shut, I’m gonna open them and I’m gonna like get honest and real about what alcohol is and what it’s done in my life. I think that is like the fucking scariest stage and the most powerful one. Yeah. And I’m thinking I met my now husband at 25. He was a great influence.

But I think like that’s when I started to realize like I would go and meet his family and his family like barely drinks and I’d be like weirdos, like what’s going on here? <laugh>, right. You’re like, do I really wanna be a part of this family? I love my in-laws and I love that they don’t drink. So thank God now. But right. Getting into relationship and then him being such a positive influence on me and me still at that age working on recovery from disordered eating. There was a time where it became purging started being in the mix. And again, I don’t like to use the labels. I don’t say I was bulimic, but that was that. And I stopped doing that when I met him and I was getting closer to 30 and I was like looking back on my twenties and, and starting to see 30 approaching and just saying, you know, asking myself like, do I wanna live my thirties the way that I’ve been living my twenties.

Hmm. And to outside people looking in. I did have my shit together, had a great career. Was advancing in that career every year, you know, financially advancing every year at work. Like there were so many positive things and I just started to feel like a hypocrite because I did care about my health and I did care about my future. And I was like, wait a second, I have two, there are two of me, there’s this demonn <laugh> who is telling me to like starve myself and drink all the time. And then there’s me and it’s like I have to start following her. And so it was this, I think like turning 30 and approaching 30 had a lot to do with it. I think 30 is a turning point a lot for a lot of us, especially women when it comes to becoming mothers. Like, you know, just, you just see that number and you’re like, I mean my mom had my sisters when she was 40 and I think that’s amazing.

But there’s still this thing in the back of your head where you’re like, I’m running outta time and from where I sit at 42, you are not, you are not at all. And, and I’m sitting here thinking, man, if I had my shit together when I was 30, you know, like you do. Or even like on this journey of like, I just was not at all there. And so kudos to you because that’s, I mean, you’re ahead of the game I would say. Thank you. I think that’s a good reminder because like I said, I have siblings and I’m like, start now at 18 life you can, right. You can do amazing things in your twenties. Yeah. I think the twenties are such a valuable time of like fucking up. Yeah. You know, like I do think that there’s, maybe I tell myself that to feel better about all of my fuckups in my twenties, but sitting at 42, I I, I don’t know if I would be where I am today without all that.

And I’m like so damn grateful for where I am today that it’s hard for me to say like, cuz I, I think a lot of people, once you start to experience sobriety and the fullness and the richness of it, it’s hard not to look back and say like, God, I wasted all of that. Like I could have been feeling this, but I don’t know if I would feel this without that. Yes. And I like to say when I start hearing that voice saying like, oh you wasted so much time. Or even the voice that’s like, oh my God, like you did that or you know, just thinking about it. I’m like, yes, okay. But she got me here. I wasn’t who I am then. And that person, that version of me got me to where I am today. So it, that helps me kind of be grateful for that time and what I went through and what I got out of and you know, kind of just reframes.

Reframes it. Totally. I think that’s a good way to think about the shame of it too. Cuz I think that that’s what happens when we start to like excavate all of like our relationship with alcohol and like what we did. Like you said there were two parts of you or there were like two of you. Like I would never have acted like that. Yeah. But for alcohol, you know, like I would never have done those things. I would never have slept with that person. I would never have said that. You said this on a recent podcast and you were like, no, that like drunken words are not the truth. Like when people Right. Oh god, that’s not it. Like, oh my god, I hate that. Like if my drunken words are my truth then I’m a fucking asshole and I promise you I’m not <laugh>. I know some people hate the word crazy, but I was truly just a completely different person.

Yes. I know. We’re not supposed to say crazy now, which I find impossible <laugh> like my brother, I’m calling myself crazy. Yeah. I can call myself crazy. So let’s talk about the bright side of sobriety. I love your page, you guys, I don’t even know if I said it. It’s, you don’t have to drink. Yes. I love it. Thank you. Let’s just get right to the point. You don’t have to drink. Yes. And I have, that page has had at least five different names before I landed on that one. Wait, what were the other ones? So when I first started, I had a page in 2020. I deleted it when I slipped, but that’s a whole nother thing. But I, that was called the intervention. Okay. I like that. Also, I work in branding and advertising and I studied journalism so I love like getting creative with this stuff.

But that’s a good one. It was the intervention cuz it was coming from within. And then I changed it to unlearning with Meg cuz I felt like I was just unlearning everything that I had learned. Yes, I love that. And then I changed it. My last name is Fee and I changed it to alcohol free fee, but people didn’t get it. They were like, do I have to pay? They’re like, what? <laugh>, they were like, do I have to pay for this alcohol free? Okay. But I like that funny word play. Yes. And then when I, I was getting my wedding dress and I was, I was having a hard day. I was just having a lot of cravings and I was going into the city for brunch with my aunt and my mom and I really wanted to drink and I just kept telling myself like, you don’t, you don’t have to, you don’t have to like, you just don’t have to.

And it kind of became like a mantra. Everyone said, man, mantra. Mantra. Yeah. You can’t say mantra cuz it’s like, man, it’s gendered, <laugh> <laugh>. It was a woo mantra. Oh woo mantra. And I just was like, this is what it is, I need to change it. And that’s stuck at least for two years coming up on two years of this page of you don’t have to drink. So I think it’s gonna stick. That’s it’s great. I love it. It’s eyecatching for sure. You cut my eye because I was like, wait. Yeah, that’s right. That’s it. <laugh> like sometimes we make really simple things too difficult and like that’s what it is. That’s why I like Amanda’s book, like Not Drinking Tonight. I love that you don’t have to drink, just take the pressure off of it. Take the judgment off of it. Like, especially when everything around us is telling us that we have to, I mean exactly when everywhere we look it’s like, no, this is obvi.

Well obviously you’re gonna drink. Yeah. Duh. It’s like, nope. Obviously lit in every situation like you’re at, I mean I can’t even begin to list, but every situation. And it’s shocking for even if you know it and then you try and stop drinking, I still found myself surprised dad. Like what, why is it here <laugh>? Right? Why is it in a kid’s environment? Oh my God. Or a gym environment. Yeah, it is. And once you take those blinders off and you’re like, okay, I’m gonna, I’m going to check out alcohol and what it is, and then you do start seeing it, it starts to feel like you’re crazy. And I’m gonna say crazy because you do start to feel like, hold on. At first you start to feel like you are crazy because why? You know, w what? Why is every, and then you start to feel like, oh, everyone else is crazy <laugh>.

And like, I have seen the light like, oh, the entire country is brainwashed. <laugh>. Okay, it’s so fucked up. It’s insane. And so how does sobriety feel today? Good. It feels light, which is good. And there are still times where it feels very heavy. You know, it definitely isn’t all butterflies and rainbows, but I have so much evidence now that my life is better without it. I can’t look back. There’s someone, recovery is the new black on Instagram. She says like with a head full of sobriety, drinking is never the same. And that is how it feels to me now. Where right now my current streak with alcohol is 125 days today. That’s amazing. Thank you. It’s not the longest, you know, 20, 21, I went almost the whole year. That was the year of my wedding, my bridal shower, the honeymoon, all of it. And I did it.

But even after slipping since then, my head is so full with all of the good things that sobriety has brought me that I can’t, I just cannot ever imagine becoming a drinker again. That’s incredible. And, and it’s hard not to see that the slip was a part of that. Yeah. You know, like I, I think that in our own stories, when we have a slip, it’s so easy to beat ourselves up. But when you listen to the episode with my mom and the five stage stages, the sixth stage is a lapse or a relapse because it’s a part of it. Like, it’s a part of that like information collecting. And I always think there’s just such gold in that if there is a lapse or a relapse or slip, it’s a lot of times way more powerful than just like white knuckling to get to another day, you know?

Yes. And I went back recently to read what I wrote and this is another reason why I just think it’s amazing to have some sort of outlet if, you know, if you don’t wanna make an Instagram page, definitely don’t. But yeah, just to have some, somewhere that you can look back on what you were thinking and feeling is super important. Because I went back and looked and around like, I hit eight months and seven months in 2021 and I was not feeling good. Like the thoughts were not good. And I, I was reminded of that and I was reminded of how, I was still questioning like, is this a forever thing? Like is this really what I wanna commit to? And after the slip there are no questions. Yeah. Even though I’ve slipped since. Like it’s, it’s a, it’s a crazy thing that I think that only people in this, you know, recovery community will understand.

But you know, you can make decisions that don’t align with where you wanna go. But still, you know, it’s hard to unwire all of the hardwiring that happened when I was drinking for over a decade. So give yourself a little bit of grace, like it’s a mistake. That’s all it was. It’s a mistake. You know, you have more information move forward. So I try to talk about slipping a lot because I think sometimes a lot of people who are super stable in their recovery and in their sobriety, it can look like a lot of celebration and all that and it’s not always the case. So I like to remind us of that often, if that makes sense. Definitely. Oh my gosh, it’s so true. Did you read Jeanette McCurdy’s book? I’m glad my mom died. No, I keep seeing it, but I didn’t. Okay. It’s a lot about disordered eating and her journey and she talks about her therapist saying, just don’t make a slip of slide.

And that I guess is like a lapse versus a relapse where elap, my mom explains is like, what, like a slip where it’s like, okay, I did that. What can I learn from this? Like what am I gonna take from this? Whereas a relapse is kind of like saying, fuck this, I’m just going back to drinking. I’m not even gonna consider sobriety because there’s Yeah, there’s so much to learn in those lapses or those slips. Yeah. And I also do understand, cuz sometimes I will get a little bit of pushback when I talk about slips. I do understand that slipping for some can be detrimental, like that can destroy someone. Yes. And so I like to recognize that too because not, you know, not everything’s so black and white, like there is a middle ground. So for me, like when I shared about my slip and I started sharing openly about it in real time, there were some people who were not like really not happy with me doing that, that I got like in my dms and that.

But everyone’s different. Everyone is so different. And that is a perfect example of we have to take care of ourselves with our social media. And so like that’s, it’s not your job as someone who is openly sharing about your journey and your story and your sobriety. It’s just not your job to take care of your audience. It’s not Yeah, that’s true. That’s a hard thing to kind of realize. That’s what I always try to remember because we’re doing really fucking hard stuff is when we’re being brave and vulnerable on the internet. That’s hard. Yeah. Like that, that’s really hard. And so it can feel really bad to be attacked when you’re vulnerable. I just always have to remind myself, it’s just never going to be my job to take care of my followers through what I share. And if something doesn’t resonate with them, there are plenty of other resources, just like you do with your disordered eating and how you protect that and you know what to follow and what not to follow.

Right? Yeah. Like this is something that people have to learn with social media is like, you have to curate who you follow and you have to take personal responsibility. Like, and thank you for that reminder too, because it is hard. And I do forget that where I’m like, ugh. Like yeah, you know, I, and then there’s all fear wrapped in it. Like, oh, they think that I’m this or whatever, and I do have to stop myself and just be like, this is not my problem. There are plenty of spaces on the internet and I’m not mad if you unfollow. I get tons of unfollow <laugh>. Like, do it leave like, yes. Like, and I always say then this isn’t for you. Yeah. Like, if you don’t like my message, it’s not for you. I’m always talking to Suzanne in 2020, January 19th, 2020, that’s who I’m talking to every time I post, I’m thinking, what did she need to hear?

What questions did she have? Okay. So then as long as you like keep coming back to that, you just are not gonna go wrong. Or even, what do I need to hear right now? Like, even what I post is just what I need. Again, I try to, and I try to say like, this is my creative outlet. Like if somebody comments, I’m like, this is my creative space. If you wanna post whatever your opinion is, please go open a cannabis account and do it. That’s the thing I see after like so many years of, of like influencing and creating, I have zero patience for someone. I’m like, go get brave and open your own account and you go share your heart somewhere else because like then it’s not for you. Like, I mean, I get bullshit about like, like I post a salad and someone’s like, you should have used kalamata olives instead of black olives.

And I’m like, oh my God, I can’t imagine. And I’m like, okay ass hat. Like I did use Kalamata olives for like a decade and now I’m sick of them. Okay. But I don’t have to tell you that. Like, like, and of course it was a guy, it was like an old guy and I’m like, get off my page. I do always think that it’s the, it’s usually an old guy. It’s the old white men who think that everyone needs to hear what they think. And I’m like, I, I don’t care what you think. You are not welcome here. Like, this is not for you. Well I am just so happy that we got to have this chat and I’m so proud of you and every time I see you, you come up in my feet. It’s just, you’re just a bright light. You really are.

I hope you feel that. That means a lot. I appreciate it. Yeah. You’re an, you’re an inspiration to me for sure. Thank you. I mean, you are, to me, I don’t, I really am like in awe. I was showing my husband this morning like, look at everything she’s does. I was like, <laugh>, how does she do it? And I’m like, and she’s a mom. Like moms are just superheroes to me. My mom is. That’s for sure. I feel like yeah, once you become a mom, you, you have to figure out how to be like the most efficient at everything. Yeah. And I think that that’s why moms are like, okay, like to the minute you’re, you’ll, you know, superheroes, it’s nuts. Well, you’re a superhero and I adore you and I’m so thankful that you came and and opened your heart. My first podcast recording. What? You nailed it. Oh my god. I’m honored. So thank you, thank you, thank you so much. Thank you. I’ll link everything. Tell everybody where to find you. You can find me at, you don’t have to drink on Instagram. I made a website, but there’s not much on there. Just, just Instagram for now. Keeping it simple. I’ll link it in the show notes. Thank you, Meg. Thank you. So nice meeting you. You too. Bye bye.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Silver 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 silver mom life. Okay, I’ll see you next week. I’m gonna go reheat my coffee. Bye.

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