Choosing Self Forgiveness with Laura McKowen


March 6, 2023

I am so honored to welcome Laura McKowen, author of We Are The Luckiest, on the pod today! Laura’s book was instrumental in my healing when I began my own sobriety journey, so this conversation was a true pinch me moment! 

In today’s episode Laura and I discuss her complicated relationship with AA, why choosing self forgiveness is so important to healing , how she navigates talking about alcohol with her teenage daughter, and so much more. 

Laura’s new book ‘Push Off From Here: Nine Essential Truths to Get You Through Sobriety (and Everything Else) hits the shelves on Tuesday March, 7th. Grab your copy here (affiliated link): https://amzn.to/3KVlAnl

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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. And maybe life is brighter without alcohol. I hope you will join us on this journey, and I’m so excited to get started.

Happy Monday. Welcome back to the podcast. All right, you guys, this is a pinch me moment for me. Ever since I started the podcast last July. I have wanted to have this guest on. I’m so excited that she is finally here. Laura Macallan is the bestselling author of We Are The Luckiest, the Surprising Magic of a Sober Life. Her second book, push Off From Here, nine Essential Truths to Get You Through Sobriety And Everything Else Comes out tomorrow, March 7th. Oh man, this conversation. You know, I had a list of questions to ask Laura, because I read We Are the Luckiest in my very newly sober journey. I think I had literally like two or three weeks, and she was such an inspiration and a guide for me to figure out what my sobriety journey was going to be and how it was gonna look and, and what I wanted it to feel like.

I talk a lot about that in this episode. We also talk about motherhood, and Laura shares some of her darkest moments in motherhood when alcohol was involved and how she works through that and how she has forgiven herself, and that it is possible to rise up from those moments. Oh, we talked about so many things. I, I could have talked to her for so much longer, but I, I’m just so glad that, you know, you don’t always get to sit down and talk to somebody who was so instrumental in your life and they didn’t even know it. And this for me is exactly that. I am honored that I get to do this. And thank you so much for your support. You guys, just to support the podcast, go to Patreon. You get the bonus episodes. Also, you get, uh, so starting at the $7 level, we do a meeting every week on Friday at 11:00 AM Central Time with my mom, who’s a therapist.

And at $10 level, you get Discords, you get to chat with each other and the $5 level, you get the bonus episodes, including the Sunday check-in and another bonus episode every Wednesday. So, if you are needing more sobriety support or wanting more of the podcast, go over there. Come join us on The Sober Mom Life on Facebook. That is where we all just connect and talk about everything that we’re going through in sobriety. Come and follow me on Instagram at my kind of suite for the full picture of sober life and at the sober mom life on Instagram for everything about this podcast. And if you like the podcast and if you’re enjoying it, please rate and review it. That helps us a lot. I hope you enjoy this episode with Laura McCowen. Truly, if you have not read, we Are The Luckiest yet. Go get that. Have it in your ears. Listen to it. An audible sheet reads it. It’s beautiful and honest and raw and it will help you in your sobriety journey. And I’m so excited to read Push Off From Here that comes out tomorrow. Okay. I hope you enjoy this episode with Laura.

Okay, Laura McCowan, welcome to the Silver Mom Life podcast. I’m so happy to have you.

Speaker 2 (04:23):

Thank you. So happy to be here.

Speaker 1 (04:25):

Yeah. I wanna talk about your new book, push Off from here, nine Essential Truths to Get You Through Sobriety and Everything Else. It comes out soon,

Speaker 2 (04:34):

March 7th.

Speaker 1 (04:35):

Okay. March 7th. You’re in the home stretch. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> first though, because this is your first time here. I have to talk about We are the luckiest. Sure. It’s so funny cuz you and I were DMing on Instagram yesterday, so I scrolled up cause I was like, let me see when I first messaged you, and it was February, 2020. I stopped drinking in January, 2020 in your book was just, I remember my best friend sent it to me and she said, okay, read this. We were on this like same journey. Mm. And your, it was chapter 13, the wrong damn question. <laugh>. That chapter, I think changed everything for me. I never felt comfortable calling myself an alcoholic, whatever that is. I would get bogged down in it. Do I have to answer it? What the hell? It just kind of haunted me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it’s almost like I needed permission from someone to say, no, you don’t have to answer that. You gave that to me. And I am just extremely grateful for that.

Speaker 2 (05:37):

Oh, I’m so glad I didn’t scroll up on our messages and, and see that.

Speaker 1 (05:41):


Speaker 2 (05:41):

We do need permission for something like that that has gone unquestioned for 80 years.

Speaker 1 (05:49):

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2 (05:49):

You need permission. Sometimes you don’t feel like you’re, it’s not only not allowed, it’s like you’re lying to yourself or you’re damaging yourself by not admitting to this label or this thing.

Speaker 1 (06:02):

Right. I had so many questions when I stopped drinking. My story’s a little bit different than yours in that I did just stop after my last horrible hangover on the couch. And I just said, okay, I’m done. But then it was the holy shit. Like, I was like, well, I don’t know. How am I done? Is that a thing? Can I be done? And I thought mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I was like, well, I guess now I have to, you know, say I’m powerless to alcohol and go to aa. But I was like, that doesn’t feel right. And you really kind of led the way for me in showing me that there was a different way, you have an interesting relationship with AA that you share and we are the, the luckiest. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Speaker 2 (06:46):

Sure. Yeah. It’s interesting and complicated. And what I tried to communicate is that that’s okay for it to be complicated. At the end of the day, I have tremendous respect for aa. I think the 12 steps are beautiful and it’s just ancient spiritual wisdom really. There, there’s nothing necessarily specific about alcohol or alcohol addiction in them. And I was challenged by parts of the meetings and the fellowship and the culture of aa, the language that’s still used in the big book, uh, especially as it applies to women and men’s roles and women’s roles in the home. And you know, and, and they haven’t changed that language, which is unfortunate because it’s been since the 1940s when it was written.

Speaker 1 (07:41):


Speaker 2 (07:41):

But at the end of the day, I don’t have to love everything about AA to take what works for me and leave the rest, which is one of the, the axing you hear in there all the time, or the aphorisms you hear in there all the time. And it’s one of the best pieces of advice for any program or any group. It’s okay to not agree with everything. It’s okay to challenge things. One of the things that I talk about and push off from here is that one of my favorite lines of thinking around any sort of information that you’re given comes from the Buddha. And he said, you know, don’t believe me just because of I have a status or a certain history or because of lineage or because of prestige or power. Don’t believe anyone just for those reasons. The ultimate test is always your own experience. And that’s something that is tricky because when you are really deep in addiction, your own experience is kinda lying to you. Right. In a way, you know, your, your thinking is not as pretty muddled. It’s not Right. Your whole nervous system is jacked up and your decision making capabilities are <laugh>

Speaker 1 (08:55):

Coed. Yeah. It’s not hijacked.

Speaker 2 (08:56):

Yeah. We’ll call. Yeah. So, and you are still in there somewhere. Your intuition is still in there somewhere. Your integrity, your sense of what is right and wrong for you is still in there. And so it’s a, a

Speaker 1 (09:11):

Tricky thing. It’s thing almost the hardest part too

Speaker 2 (09:13):

<laugh> Yeah. Is

Speaker 1 (09:14):

That you are, you are still in there.

Speaker 2 (09:16):

You are, there’s a sort of surrender that has to happen. And at the same time, there’s a trust that most of us don’t have. When we get that deep in that I want people to have for with themselves, you know, your, your feeling of just, this isn’t right for me, that doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t sound right in my, in my head. None of these things that I’m prescribed to do feel right to me. Well, you were right about that. It wasn’t right for you.

Speaker 1 (09:50):

Right. I think that for me, that’s part of the magic of sobriety is getting in tune with your intuition and your gut. Because I think for so long, for me, when alcohol’s in the picture, it’s, it muddies all of that, even though mm-hmm. My story isn’t one of addiction. And maybe a lot of the women listening today don’t feel they’re addicted to alcohol. That doesn’t mean that it’s not creating this barrier in between who they are, who they’re meant to be, who they know that they are inside. And alcohol is getting in the way of that.

Speaker 2 (10:28):

Yes. And people don’t feel justified to stop drinking because of that generally. I think

Speaker 1 (10:33):

That’s right. And, and I think books like yours and probably especially your new book Push Off from Here is going to open that conversation because I think you’re right. We’ve been taught that if we don’t go to aa, if we don’t declare ourselves powerless to alcohol, if we’re not addicted, if if we’re not losing everything, then we’ve lost nothing to alcohol. Yeah. And then there’s nothing to see here. No need to question keep it moving. Right. And that for me, it felt like I kind of cut it off before it got there because I think it would’ve gotten there.

Speaker 2 (11:11):

Yeah. That’s usually the way it goes. I mean, it’s Right. It only ever really gets worse, even if they’re never outside consequences that are big and glaring and, you know, other people can see it’s a highly addictive substance. And you know, health-wise, even for just using health markers, it deteriorates. That’s why I like the question so much more. Are you free? Because

Speaker 1 (11:36):


Speaker 2 (11:37):

I could have tricked myself out of a lot of questions and I was really bad at the, you know, towards the end I was not a low bottom drinker and I was still managing to function. Although admittedly less and less I could have tricked myself out of all a lot of questions justified, you know, used examples of where that wasn’t true. But with the am I free question. When it came to alcohol, there was no evading that I was just not free. It owned me, it owned my attention, it owned my plans, it owned the people I hung out with, it owned everything. People, places, things, and I couldn’t escape that. And our attention is the most valuable thing we have. So one thing people can ask is, is this owning my attention even a little more than I want it to?

Speaker 1 (12:29):

Right. And I think that it’s understandable if it is, I mean, especially as moms, especially the pandemic, pandemic response, everything that we’ve gone through. Like, we need help and we’ve been taught that this is gonna help. And so of course, of course it is. Right.

Speaker 2 (12:50):

It’s not anyone’s fault. I mean, it is the most everywhere accessible. Ugh. Loaded, you know, beloved thing expected, accepted, all of that. Of course. Yes. Yeah. And, and look, it works too. I mean, it’s a powerful drug. It works until it, it doesn’t, but it, it still works really well of if it didn’t, we would <laugh> we wouldn’t be here. It is very powerful.

Speaker 1 (13:16):

Right. That’s the, that’s the piece too. It’s like, it’s not just a question of like, okay, let’s take alcohol away and that’s it. Like no, it was providing you something. Yeah. It was providing me something. And that’s when you talk about telling the truth. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I, I think that that resonates so much with me because it, it’s those times when you just burn the whole shit down and you say, what is this doing for me? Because it’s doing something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, yes. We know the bad and we know all of that and we’re taught, yeah, okay. We know it’s bad, but what is it providing?

Speaker 2 (13:48):

Yeah. It was important for me to look at that too. The truth was I loved alcohol. I needed it, it got me through a lot that I couldn’t, I don’t think I could have faced otherwise for a long time. So it is important to look at that side and it also allows you to acknowledge the grief that comes along with letting it go instead of just, you know, it’s like when you have a difficult relationship and if your friends, all your friends said, fuck them, they’re terrible. All they ever said was how shitty that person was. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And even if those things were true, it would be such a disservice to you in your process of grieving that relationship because of course it wasn’t only that and that, and that person isn’t only that, but that’s what we get when we face quitting drinking. Especially for people whose drinking caused problems for others. Like, just figure it out and fix it. Why would you be upset to let go of this thing that is so clearly causing everyone problems, including, you know, you and your family. Like, just let it go. And that, that acknowledging that it was sad and that there was a big loss was a huge part of healing for me.

Speaker 1 (15:10):

Yeah. And, and I think when we do just say, you know, it was all bad and I, I wasn’t getting anything out of it for me, that’s when the shame spiral starts. And it’s like, well, if it was all bad, what’s, what was wrong with me then? I can’t go anywhere from there. I can’t start from a place of what was wrong with me. That’s not a good jumping off place for me because then I just shame spiral and then that just makes you wanna drink more because shame is a really, really hard feeling to feel and no one wants to feel it. And so I think the compassion piece is essential too. And as you’re grieving what alcohol gave you, I know for me, when I started telling the truth about alcohol and my relationship with it and the blackouts that I, you know, I’m like, just shut that door cuz we don’t wanna Okay. <laugh>, you know, I texted my friends, we’re all good. Okay, good. Keep it moving. Like I, no, once you start opening those doors, and that’s what I did in early sobriety and, and was like, okay, let me just take a clear look and see how alcohol has affected me in my life. I had to do that through a lens of compassion because otherwise I would’ve just curled up in a ball and like canceled life. <laugh>.

Speaker 2 (16:29):

Yeah. It doesn’t work. We’re taught to beat the shit out of ourselves and that that’s what will get us fixed or, you know, disciplined enough or whatever to fix it. But it never works.

Speaker 1 (16:41):

No, it doesn’t. Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2 (16:43):


Speaker 1 (16:44):

And I feel like I, I don’t know about AA because I’ve never set foot in there. The only thing I know about AA is the people who, who love to comment on my posts and especially on TikTok. Like TikTok is like, are you on TikTok or just

Speaker 2 (16:59):

In screen? No,

Speaker 1 (16:59):

I, I’ve tried Don’t,

Speaker 2 (17:00):

Don’t do it. I’ve tried a couple posts and then I just, I can’t do another thing. No, I just don’t, can’t. No,

Speaker 1 (17:07):

Don’t. Yeah. And, and they’re also assholes because, and is gen, it is generally like older white men who are like so judgmental. I don’t know, it’s just based in shame for me. Like, it’s like, well if you are not feeling shame about your drinking and what you did, you’re obviously not healing and you’re obviously not sober. You’re obviously a dry drunk and all of these things that they hurl at you, you know, and I’m like mm-hmm. <affirmative> okay. If that’s what I get from AA is Yeah. You know, and then I’m like, Hey, you guys need new branding because this isn’t working.

Speaker 2 (17:39):

<laugh> Yeah. They, they a is definitely having a branding problem, but that’s not all of AA at all. Yeah. It’s, but that is the dogma that people have created around the culture of AA and, and dogmas never helpful. And people do it. I mean, people do it with any, it it, they’ll create dogma of any religion, any, you

Speaker 1 (18:03):


Speaker 2 (18:03):

Philosophy if allowed. And you know, it’s just, it’s normal human behavior. We like to keep things simple and black and white mm-hmm. <affirmative> and not allow for nuance. And with something as sort of life-threatening as addiction, if one way has saved you, you have to believe that. That’s right. And there’s no room to budge and it’s the only way. And so, okay. But yeah, it doesn’t <laugh> it do online, uh, comments like that just, it doesn’t work.

Speaker 1 (18:33):

I know. I’m like, you guys aren’t helping your cause No, it doesn’t work. Yeah. Cause it doesn’t work. I know, I know there are a lot of, you know, older white men listening to the Silver Mom Life podcast. But if there is one and you’re listening, if you’re

Speaker 2 (18:45):

Out there, maybe don’t say that next time. Okay.

Speaker 1 (18:48):

Yeah. Maybe just like, keep scrolling. Do you know that not everybody needs your opinion? I don’t know. Oh my God. Okay. So when I asked my audience questions to ask you, a lot of them were talking about, and I see this a lot in my Facebook group in moms who I talked to when their drinking affected their motherhood and, and how they parented. And they said, how do we move past the things that we did in motherhood that we would’ve never done if alcohol wasn’t in the picture? And you start off, we are the luckiest with, was it your darkest moment in drinking?

Speaker 2 (19:29):

Certainly. What, yeah. One

Speaker 1 (19:30):

Of them. One of them of leaving your four year old daughter in the hotel room alone overnight. And Yeah. How did you, and how do you move past those moments of how you would’ve never acted as a mom if alcohol wasn’t in the picture?

Speaker 2 (19:47):

Right. Well, like I started the book out that way for a reason because I wrote that book for me and I wrote it for anyone who needed it. But I really wanted to grab the other moms or parents by the shoulders and have them look at me in the face at, at that first sentence, say like, this is for you. This is where we’re going with this. Because it was the deepest shame for me. It is for ev any mother I’ve ever talked to, and I’m sure fathers and parents of all kinds, I just happen to talk to more moms. It goes against nature. It goes against everything that you think, uh, moms are supposed to be, which is all protecting all loving kids come first period. And that anything like that, addiction or alcohol would come ahead of the love for your child is just anathema.

We can’t wrap our heads around it. And so how did I move forward? Well, one is I started to talk about it. Everything there is no getting out of shame without doing that, without bringing every bit of it into the light. And it doesn’t have to be publicly. Certainly it can be with a group or with other women or with one other person who gets it. But we can’t <laugh> shame just multiplies when we don’t talk. So that was number one, a mold in the basement. <laugh>, it’s like mold in the basement. <laugh>. Yeah. And that was a process, you know, because as you get sober and you remember things, I mean, I, I never thought I’d outrun the shame of what I did with my daughter and her safety. I thought that would just, I would carry it around like this Yeah. Heavy backpack forever. And then maybe with some time it would get like a little lighter, but I would just wear that cross.

And that’s not how I feel today at all. If I go there, I can feel the pain of that. But it’s not shame, it’s regret perhaps is the closest thing. Um, but even regret sounds too heavy. Over time, what has happened is turned into gratitude because I don’t live there. That’s not the mom I am anymore. And the other piece is that I came to understand that like what you said is true, it’s not who I was. It’s not who I am. Yeah. And what happened with her in the hotel room that night was such a wake up call on its face because of what happened, but also because of the fact that I realized this thing had me. Yeah. It wasn’t me. This thing had me. And I knew in my heart of hearts that I would never do that in my right mind.

And thus I was experienced something that was bigger than my love for her at the time. And I was sick. I was not well. Right. And I had to hear other women, especially other mothers, reflect that back to me for a long time before I could believe it, absorb it, really hear it. And I eventually did, I had a, a woman that I heard speak in an AA meeting very early on. She was much older. She’d been sober for decades. And she told the story of her young kids and how she had done similar things. And she just told this story, you know, as if it was fine. And I marveled at that. And then I, she said at the end, and I will never forget it because it was a turning point for me that addiction is stronger than love until it isn’t. And that felt true.

Yes. So over time, by sharing, by listening, we also cannot do it period without connecting to other mothers who have gone through the same thing. We just can’t. No. Because we need people who have been there and can show us. Like that woman did a shame-free dignified presence Yes. In the face of that history that can model that for us and show us that it’s possible. And then slowly over time through talking, sharing, listening. I mean, I’ve done a lot of work. I’ve done a lot of therapy. Like this is not a passive process. Time does a little bit, but it definitely, you need to do all the other work too. It has faded and I don’t carry shame around anymore. Yeah. I think I was very fortunate that Alma was four five when I got sober. She was four when that hotel room incident happened.

And so she’s young, she’s 14 now, but she was young and I’ve been able to be a sober mom for the majority of her life. Some parents don’t have that privilege. That’s not the case, and that’s not the way, the way their path went. But I have witnessed the same thing happen even when older adult, uh, parents, you know, get sober when their children are adults. And so a lot of times when I tell my story, it will come up like, well, it’s too late for me. And it’s really not, you know, it’s really not.

Speaker 1 (25:18):


Speaker 2 (25:19):

Yeah. It’s complicated and it’s totally possible. But part of it, you know, if, if some of the people who sent that to you were are still just like mired in that shame, the first thing to do is you have to start talking about it. You have to start going there, naming those things. And you have to do that in community. I don’t, like, it is the most annoying thing to me still, but we just don’t do this alone

Speaker 1 (25:43):


Speaker 2 (25:44):

Right. And you can’t like massively absorb other people’s healing.

Speaker 1 (25:49):

Right. Yeah. Healing by osmosis. Can you just, just gimme a hug and let’s just heal. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (25:54):

Yeah. I mean, it’s hard. It’s really hard to open your mouth. It’s hard to say the things that you did.

Speaker 1 (26:01):

It’s so hard and it’s so hard to have perspective on your story. I think it’s impossible because of everything. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> we’re just sh I picture this like me with my shame and my motherhood shame is, you know, if I nursed my three month baby while I was blacked out, that’s a, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’s tough. And when I think about just me holding that and carrying it, I picture me just like curling up and shriveling up and just holding it so tight. And what happens when you start to hear, I think other mom stories, when I started to hear, you know, just moms speak, their most shameful moments became so clear to me that that wasn’t them mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that the alcohol was the thing. Like, it’s so clear when you hear somebody else’s story. And then I just kept thinking about it. Like, as moms, we don’t need to be taught how to love our children.

We don’t need a course on how to, you know, show unconditional love and to feel protective of our children. And that’s in us already. And so removing alcohol, we are the moms. We’re supposed to be, we are, you know, when my three babies were born, I was the expert on those babies. There had never been a mom to my three babies. It was only me. And, and as much as that scared the shit outta me, we don’t need a coach. We don’t need a course. We don’t need a book for all of these things to teach us how to be this mom. And so it just became so clear to me after hearing these stories of moms in their most shameful motherhood moments, that it’s just alcohol gets in the way of that and is a barrier to that. It’s removing something rather than adding something to us. It’s removing alcohol and then we can fill up the space of motherhood that we were meant to.

Speaker 2 (27:56):

Yeah. I would agree with that. I think at a certain point then it becomes a decision to forgive yourself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I talk about this a lot and push off from here, but the biggest reason to forgive ourselves is we have to be what we want to pass on. Mm. Like, I don’t want my daughter going around in the world holding herself over the cross for every mistake she’s ever made. I don’t want her having a mom like that. Right. And yeah,

Speaker 1 (28:26):


Speaker 2 (28:26):

Are able to so easily forgive others. And if we can, you know, if you can imagine someone you love easily and unconditionally, maybe one of your kids, you would never talk to them the way that you talk to yourself.

Speaker 1 (28:41):


Speaker 2 (28:42):

And if that’s in you for them, it’s in you for yourself too. And it is a decision that you have to make.

Speaker 1 (28:48):

Yes. I love that idea. The deciding, deciding is so powerful for mm-hmm. <affirmative>, everything.

Speaker 2 (28:54):

Yeah. Because a lot of times other people are not going to forgive you. I mean, that’s, that’s what we face a lot of times is that family members or people that we’ve heard, or people that are judging us because of their own shit, they’re not gonna offer that to us. And so we have to decide that we’re going to, it’s very hard to do, but we have to.

Speaker 1 (29:15):

Yeah. We have to. And so almost 14 now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how do you talk to her about alcohol? Is it, you know, my kids are eight, six, and three, and I’m already like, okay, <laugh>. Yeah. Mommy. I don’t know. You know, that’s just such a tricky thing. Like what has that conversation been?

Speaker 2 (29:35):

I mean, we know that our kids watch us a lot more than they listen to us. So because this has been my work. I’ve been doing this work since she was five, meaning recording podcasts when she’s in the other room, talking about it openly with friends. And I’ve never been secretive or quiet or shielded her. I mean, that’s not true. I, I do like tailor my conversation so that they’re age appropriate. I’m not talking about like sexual misadventures with a five-year old around, but

Speaker 1 (30:04):


Speaker 2 (30:05):

But I have never hided the fact, like how I feel about alcohol, how alcohol affected me. So that I think with her has informed her without me directly trying to tell her a lecture or anything for a long time. Yeah. Sh we don’t have alcohol in the house. She sees a mom who goes through all the days and all the feelings that come with all the seasons of life without alcohol and including celebrating and socializing. So she sees that how much she absorbs of that and what she thinks of it. I don’t know exactly, but I do know <laugh>, I received a very good piece of parenting advice when I had her. And it was just only ever answer the question asked

Speaker 1 (30:52):

<laugh>. Totally.

Speaker 2 (30:53):

Yeah. And one of the very few helpful parenting, you know, advice, the pieces of advice I ever got. And so she does ask questions, and when she does, I answer them, she is asked, what was it like when you got drunk? Hmm. What does it feel like to drink too much alcohol? What did you do when you were drinking? And so I answer those questions the best that I can, and I don’t try to push more.

Speaker 1 (31:22):


Speaker 2 (31:23):

And she is 14 now. She swears now that she’s, she’s not interested in drinking, she’s never gonna drink. And I say to her, I know you feel that way now and that, and that’s great. And you don’t ever have to drink. That’s one thing I do, like try to impart on her proactively is like, it’s not expected. It’s not a, a foregone conclusion. You do not have to do it. Being in high school doesn’t mean you have to do it. Being popular doesn’t mean you have to do it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> going to college doesn’t mean you have to do it. You don’t ever have to. Just so you know, it’s not <laugh>, you know, you

Speaker 1 (31:58):

Can just Yeah. That’s not a requirement for Yeah. I wish I knew that. PS

Speaker 2 (32:03):

<laugh>. Right. Turning 21 doesn’t mean you have to, so, but, and I say, I know you feel that way now, but you might not feel that way. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And tell me about it if that comes up. When it comes up. If you do want to, and I am not a parenting expert, I am not, I don’t know if I’m doing this right.

Speaker 1 (32:22):

<laugh>, if anyone says they’re a parenting expert, that’s because their kids are like grown and out of the house and then they just like remember and they’re like, oh yeah, toddler. I’ll tell you how I’m like, um, no, fuck that. Because toddlers are assholes and they’re insane. And it’s just like,

Speaker 2 (32:36):

Okay, you, you’re too far away from it to remember. Right. Yeah,

Speaker 1 (32:39):


Speaker 2 (32:40):

Yeah. So, I don’t know. I try to keep it pretty open. I rely on the fact that she’s been watching me be a sober person, mother, woman, friend, partner for 10 years and hope that that carries what it carries. But I also know, you know, she’s got her own destiny and her own path to Roe. And I mean, her getting into alcohol is one of my deepest fears.

Speaker 1 (33:07):

Yeah. I think it makes sense. And, and, and I think our kids are watching, you know, even my young kids, like they are watching how I cope and they watch how we cope. Like when I’m losing my shit and I have to say, I need a minute. I need a minute. I’m gonna go in my closet and I’m shutting the door to, and they know, you know, and, and I think just those little things rather than I need to cope. I’m gonna pour a glass of wine. And so how, what are your major tools? I’ve been thinking a lot about in sobriety, like I still need to escape and you know, I used to escape in alcohol and that obviously didn’t go well because it’s not really an escape. And so, but I’ve been thinking about ways that I do escape and mine is like working out and music is such an escape for me. What are ways that you escape in sobriety? I

Speaker 2 (33:58):

Would wonder if you, if calling music or working out is an escape or if it’s just

Speaker 1 (34:04):

Like, I think an escape from my mom. You know? I struggle with anxiety.

Speaker 2 (34:10):

Yeah, me too.

Speaker 1 (34:11):

Yeah. Like, who doesn’t, my mom’s a therapist and I’m like, mom, have you ever like, come across anyone in your office? Not who doesn’t

Speaker 2 (34:18):

Day and age too. She’s like,

Speaker 1 (34:20):

No, literally not one. And it’s just when my mind is going and I think that that’s when I would pour red wine is when it just became too much. It’s just too much. Right. And I just want to escape my mind and, and slow it down. And I feel like for working out, I am more in my body then mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which is helpful. I’m just escaping my mind a little bit. Music I can, I can escape to like 2003, you know, and,

Speaker 2 (34:49):

And totally.

Speaker 1 (34:50):

So it like, in that

Speaker 2 (34:52):

Way I know what you mean. I just escape sounds negative to me and I don’t like the Yeah. Those things aren’t negative. I think it’s how do you, yourself, how do you process feelings, <laugh>? How do you Yeah. Take care of your mental health. That’s what I think of those things. And and those are tools. Yes. They’re tools. And escaping is also real, by the way. I mean, I

Speaker 1 (35:14):

Well, no, I wonder. No, you make me wonder why I think about escaping. Hmm. What? Like, why do I frame it that way? Why

Speaker 2 (35:23):

Is it <laugh> would, living in our minds is like just one tiny part of the equation of being human. We identify. I

Speaker 1 (35:32):

Know. That just feels like as so Yes, I know, but

Speaker 2 (35:36):

It’s not, it’s just one voice. It’s a very loud, annoying, incessant voice. But our bodies are our voice, our mm-hmm. <affirmative> emotions are a voice. And so I think it sounds like what you’re saying is you’ve just developed like healthy ways to, to move through the world.

Speaker 1 (35:53):

I guess that just doesn’t sound like me. <laugh> healthy ways to move through the world. What? Right. Who is this? That’s not me.

Speaker 2 (36:00):

Right. And things that bring you joy and that balance out the chatter of our minds, which is, uh, my biggest enemy. It’s most of, most of our biggest enemies. I mean, that’s what, if you look at, you know, the entire foundation of say Buddhism, it’s all about dropping out of that thinking, racing mind and putting some distance between what you think and the experience of being alive.

Speaker 1 (36:27):

Do you meditate?

Speaker 2 (36:29):

I do, but I’m always reluctant to say I’m a meditator because I’m not super consistent. I am getting more consistent over time. And if I look at like, you know, my track record of the last five years, I meditate a lot, but I’m not a daily sitter. I’m more like a twice a week sitter. <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (36:49):

Well, cause like you’re a human who has like other, like who, who does a date? Like Howard Stern. Okay, great. You have time to like, you know, like meditating. He always talks about meditating and I’m like, okay, well as I, as I have like a toddler climbing on me, I’m like, great. It sounds amazing. Right, right.

Speaker 2 (37:08):

I do meditate a good amount. I actually meditate a lot at night before going to bed. And I do a lot of like yoga nira meditations because I too struggle with anxiety. That is one of my big things. My mind is I’m an Enneagram seven. My mind is constantly going and I process the world through my thoughts. Like I even process feelings through thinking them, you know, <laugh>,

Speaker 1 (37:29):

So, oh my god. Yes. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (37:32):

Yeah. So, God, I have so many tools, I guess, or ways that I’ve developed of helping myself out and keeping myself in a good place or providing stability. Exercise is a huge one movement. It’s always been for me. I’m not a well person if I’m not moving my body. I recently, in the past nine months, got into weights training and it has been

Speaker 1 (37:56):


Speaker 2 (37:56):

Okay. Amazing.

Speaker 1 (37:59):

Tell me about it. What do you thi what do you mean?

Speaker 2 (38:01):

I’ve always been a, an athlete and kind of a, a like cardio. I was a runner and a marathon runner and I would dabble in doing weights, but never really went all in with it. And I don’t know what happened. I turned 45 last year and I don’t know what happened, but I, I thought like, I think it’s time and I know that especially as women get older, you know, it’s very good for you. Bone density and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, all of that. And I’m starting to enter perimenopause and I’ve heard that it’s very helpful for that as well. So I was like, let’s do, I hired someone to help me out because I knew I didn’t really know what to do. And I also knew I maybe wouldn’t stick with it. I invested in some stuff to have at home cuz I don’t go to a gym. I hate them for the most part. And yeah, I just started doing two workouts a week and now I do, I did that for several months and now I do three workouts a week and I just love it. It, it’s so amazing to feel stronger and stronger.

Speaker 1 (39:05):

Yeah. That’s incredible.

Speaker 2 (39:07):

Yeah. So that’s fun. I I also do a lot of other stuff, but that’s a big one for me, for my mental health. Yes. All the other benefits are just, are secondary to that. I write a lot aside from books, just writing, like journal writing, creative writing. It’s a huge way for me to get things out of my mind, out of my body onto paper processing. I read a ton and reading could count as escapism, but it’s like <laugh>, my, my totally fiance Beyonce said it great. I read two books last week and I was telling him about the second one when we were like eating dinner or something. And he, he was like, your brain is very happy on books.

Speaker 1 (39:49):

<laugh> <laugh>. Aw, that’s nice. It’s like, yes. Yeah, it is. It’s like, it’s like the opposite of that commercial. Like when we were kids with the fri with the egg, your brain on drugs. Like this is your rain on drugs.

Speaker 2 (40:00):

Yeah. It makes like really nice scrambled eggs with cheese.

Speaker 1 (40:04):

Yeah. Oh, with cheese. The best. Not a fried egg. Yeah. Not a fri like how scary was that commercial by the way? I know, it was like

Speaker 2 (40:11):

What? It’s like in the sound of it. Oh.

Speaker 1 (40:14):

So, and like the whole problem with that was they didn’t tell you that like drugs and alcohol make you feel good. So. Right. Like, then when you did it, they’re like, oh well they were wrong. It’s like, yeah. The just such a missed opera

Speaker 2 (40:26):

Opportunity. Just say no campaign of the nineties was unfortunate.

Speaker 1 (40:32):

<laugh> for sure.

Speaker 2 (40:33):

Those are some of the big ones for me. And I am very much a part of recovery communities. I am very connected to people in recovery and that is just something that if I get too far away from that and I’m not. Okay.

Speaker 1 (40:51):

Yeah. You created the luckiest club. I, I was a member in my newly sober times. Aw. And and I remember going and I was like, well I’m definitely not gonna turn on the video or talk, but I’ll go mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I, I think that was helpful. Just the same, you know, I mean, I think talking is important, but just stepping your toe into those rooms, those online rooms. If it’s not aa, I mean, I remember definitely feeling like you feel like you belong. Yeah. And that’s important.

Speaker 2 (41:21):

Yeah. And just to hear other people that have thought the same things that you have and felt the same way is is like critical.

Speaker 1 (41:27):

It’s so critical. Okay. So I listened to, we Are the luckiest again before this interview and we just talking about social stuff. And I think probably the most relatable line in there is when you’re talking about going to your first sober party and you go, what are we gonna do? Crafts? And I was like, oh my God, that that was so funny. Like yeah. What the hell do people do at sober parties? Crafts.

Speaker 2 (41:51):

It was so awkward. I had no idea what to expect. And it was so funny because it was very reminiscent of the like high school parties where Yes. Before your alcohol was around maybe junior high parties and you were just

Speaker 1 (42:07):

<laugh> awkward and totally like

Speaker 2 (42:10):

Talking to each other and eating Doritos and Oreos and like Yeah.

Speaker 1 (42:16):

Very food focused. Self, very

Speaker 2 (42:18):

Food focused. Lots of flirting, lots of awkward, just

Speaker 1 (42:24):


Speaker 2 (42:25):

But it was also so great. It was like

Speaker 1 (42:27):

Totally, this

Speaker 2 (42:28):

Is what this is. People just actually interacting with each other. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (42:32):

And like actually doing what they wanna do and like talking about what interests them.

Speaker 2 (42:38):

Well the conversations were awesome.

Speaker 1 (42:40):

Yeah. Amazing. Right? And

Speaker 2 (42:42):

So much laughing. Yes. Hilarious belly laughing. Yes. That I did not expect how much I would laugh in sobriety. How hilarious. Like the raunchiest darkest humor.

Speaker 1 (43:00):

Yeah. I love that. And then also leaving when you’re tired. Oh. Like when I was drinking, I didn’t know when I was tired. I was just never tired at if it, if there was a party, I’m not leaving until like everyone is gone and the booze runs out.

Speaker 2 (43:13):

Same. But

Speaker 1 (43:14):

Like, knowing that you’re tired.

Speaker 2 (43:16):

It’s amazing. It’s

Speaker 1 (43:18):


Speaker 2 (43:19):

It’s amazing to go home. I am a early to bed person and I always was that person. I am definitely kind of an introvert and I would use alcohol to like force myself out of that because I thought like, I’m never gonna have friends or find a boyfriend or I’ll be considered so boring if I just go home and read a book, which is what I wanna do.

Speaker 1 (43:43):

Same. And you did fall in love sober and you are engaged. Congrats. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Thank you. How is that? I know we’re talking about We are the luckiest a lot. That’s okay. But I have to, I have you here. Yeah. How is sober love?

Speaker 2 (43:57):

It’s incredible. Yeah. It’s been a big journey for me. I got sober when I was newly divorced and then experienced sort of the actual grief of that divorce many years later because I was just in survival mode, <laugh>, trying to make it in sobriety and get sober and stay that way. And I had a lot of, as many people do, dysfunction around relationships a lot. It’s gonna be, it’s booked number three already. Oh, good. Already on the docket.

Speaker 1 (44:30):

Wait, is it really? You’re working on it? Yes.

Speaker 2 (44:33):

Because that was like the thing beneath the drinking. It was the, the original sort of wound was my relationships and attachment traumas and all that. So I had a lot of pain to walk through there and you know, I was told by a therapist <laugh> long time ago, you’re always gonna struggle to have a healthy relationship with a man. Oh, <laugh>. I know. That’s helpful. It was very helpful.

Speaker 1 (45:03):

Did you fire her or him?

Speaker 2 (45:05):

I didn’t stay with her for too long. Yes. But I never forgot that. And I, there were times when I thought, you know, maybe she was right because I struggle to have healthy relationships with men. That was a very hard thing for me to do. And I said, and especially when you have, uh, addiction in there, it sort of stalls your development. And I paired drinking and having sex or intimacy or attention from men together from the very start. And so to remove that, I felt like I was 13 years old.

Speaker 1 (45:40):

Yeah. Terrifying. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (45:43):

So it was, it’s been a journey, but it’s amazing. It’s different. So different than any other relationship I’ve had before. I didn’t necessarily believe that I <laugh> was capable of a healthy relationship. And it’s really nice to see myself be able to show up and be a trustworthy partner and be a honest partner and be a partner, a good partner, and to be able to receive that as well,

Speaker 1 (46:10):

Which is probably even harder. Yes.

Speaker 2 (46:13):

It has been harder. That’s a process. It’s, it’s great. Uh, I met him when I was five years sober. Oh. I’m just over eight years sober now, so Yeah. It’s good.

Speaker 1 (46:24):

Oh, well, congrats. Thank you. How are you feeling about push off from here? H how’s it going? It comes out tomorrow. How are you feeling?

Speaker 2 (46:34):

I feel good. You know, it’s a rollercoaster I wrote in my newsletter this morning. It’s this sort of feeling that there’s a million things I’m I’m supposed to be doing, but I don’t exactly know what I’m supposed to do. <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (46:47):

Oh, oh yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2 (46:48):

No, but I’m mostly just grateful and excited. Like I, look, I shouldn’t be here. I had an entirely different career. Everything about this is a total gift. And I had this moment where I opened the big box of final books for my publisher, uh, a couple weeks ago and I opened one up and I was sitting on the couch and just reading like that opening copyright page that has my name on it and thinking this is insane. I dreamed about this from a young girl. I definitely thought this is something that would just remain a dream like it was for other people. And it’s real and I’m living in it and it’s very pinch me. It’s incredible. So whatever happens with the book is what happens with the book. Right. It’s just, I have to stay in that place of remembering that the, I already won, like I’m sober. I will have almost a decade of sobriety. Uh, it’s just, it’s unreal.

Speaker 1 (47:50):

So it’s amazing all

Speaker 2 (47:52):

That to say I feel good right now. Uh, you know, in an hour I could be melting a little

Speaker 1 (47:58):

<laugh>. Yeah. Well, I mean, I can tell you my audience is so excited waiting for this book. The first was a bestseller. This one, I’m, I’m sure we’ll follow in its tracks. I mean, thank you.

Speaker 2 (48:10):


Speaker 1 (48:11):

Yeah. Your writing is just so beautiful and honest and raw and true and all of the things that Thank you. I think sobriety is, and you have been, I mean, I’m pinching myself right now because you were so integral in my just figuring out what my sobriety journey was going to be. And I, I just, I can’t thank you enough for that.

Speaker 2 (48:38):

You’re so welcome. And you did it. And I have people like that too, you know, and you’re now doing that for other people. It’s great.

Speaker 1 (48:46):

Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s all

Speaker 2 (48:49):

Crazy. I know. <laugh>, it’s,

Speaker 1 (48:51):

It’s all crazy. I think

Speaker 2 (48:52):

As long as we all stay a little, um, like sort of gobsmacked by it, that’s a good thing.

Speaker 1 (48:56):

That’s what I was thinking when you said you were looking at the copyright page and it’s like, yeah, you’re in it and you know you’re in it. And yeah. When we can just have that perspective that is so easily lost, I think that that’s super important.

Speaker 2 (49:07):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,

Speaker 1 (49:09):

Before we wrap up, what is, this is gonna be a hard question. What’s one thing that you would want someone who is in that very early stage of sobriety questioning, what is this? What does it mean? How do I do it all? What’s, what do you want her to know?

Speaker 2 (49:29):

What do I want her to know? That this is like the big invitation. It’s not the bad news that you think it is.

Speaker 1 (49:38):

Oh, chills. I love that <laugh>. Laura, thank you. Thank

Speaker 2 (49:43):

You. This is fun. Oh yeah,

Speaker 1 (49:45):

It was so fun. And you’re gonna come back for your third book,

Speaker 2 (49:48):

<laugh>. Okay.

Speaker 1 (49:49):

And then we’ll talk about trauma and relationships. Right.

Speaker 2 (49:52):

We’ll talk about all the relationship drama. Oh my God. Oh God. If I come out, come out to the other side of that book in one piece,

Speaker 1 (49:58):

<laugh>. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (49:59):

Right. I will come back. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (50:00):

Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And you guys Okay. Go pre-order. Pre-order. Still count today. They do push off from here or just

Speaker 2 (50:08):


Speaker 1 (50:09):

Buy it. Buy

Speaker 2 (50:10):

It tomorrow.

Speaker 1 (50:11):

Yeah. Um, where can everybody find you?

Speaker 2 (50:14):

Um, my website’s the best spot. It’s just my name laura mcowen.com and I really only do Instagram for social, which is Laura underscore McOwen. And the book you can buy push off from here

Speaker 1 (50:26):

Anywhere. Books are solds. Okay, Laura, thank you. Thank you so much. 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 sober mom life. Okay. I’ll see you next week. I’m gonna go reheat my coffee. Bye.

Speaker 3 (50:59):

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Speaker 1 (51:00):

So that we can tell people about brand new information, a pop culture and political podcast.

Speaker 3 (51:06):

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Speaker 1 (51:24):

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Speaker 1 (51:30):

That’s right. Listen, wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

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