Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast

Sober Legend, Jen Hirst, Shares How She Rebuilt Her Life from the Ground Up

March 31, 2024 Isabella Ferguson and Meg Webb Season 3 Episode 75
Sober Legend, Jen Hirst, Shares How She Rebuilt Her Life from the Ground Up
Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast
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Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast
Sober Legend, Jen Hirst, Shares How She Rebuilt Her Life from the Ground Up
Mar 31, 2024 Season 3 Episode 75
Isabella Ferguson and Meg Webb

Today we talk to Jen Hirst! Jen is an open book when it comes to her experience with alcohol addiction. She says it like it is and discusses how she recovered with transparency. This is what drew me to Jen. Her honesty about how dark it got has been such an inspiration for many who can relate and say 'yep me too!". Jen now dedicates her time to helping others do the same. She is awesome! This is what attracts her almost 70,000 instagram followers. Jen's vibrant Instagram presence exemplifies how one individual's journey can resonate and aid countless others. For those contemplating a break from alcohol or walking the path of sobriety themselves, Jen's insights offer hope and a reminder that the journey, while individual, is one you need not walk alone.

Jen Hirst

https://www.instagram.com/jenleehirst/

MEG

Megan Webb: https://glassfulfilled.com.au
Instagram: @glassfulfilled
Unwined Bookclub: https://www.alcoholfreedom.com.au/unwinedbookclub
Sober Socialising workshop at Seadrift Distillery: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/confident-and-cozy-alcohol-free-socialising-for-winter-tickets-934198341387?aff=oddtdtcreator

BELLA

Isabella Ferguson: https://isabellaferguson.com.au
Instagram: @alcoholandstresswithisabella
Free 5-Day DO I HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM? Clarify and focus series: https://resources.isabellaferguson.com.au/doIhaveadrinkingproblemwithisabellaferguson
Alcohol Freedom Small Group Challenge - Register here: https://resources.isabellaferguson.com.au/alcoholfreedomchallenge
The Alcohol Revolution 6-Week Program (Online or Podcast): ...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today we talk to Jen Hirst! Jen is an open book when it comes to her experience with alcohol addiction. She says it like it is and discusses how she recovered with transparency. This is what drew me to Jen. Her honesty about how dark it got has been such an inspiration for many who can relate and say 'yep me too!". Jen now dedicates her time to helping others do the same. She is awesome! This is what attracts her almost 70,000 instagram followers. Jen's vibrant Instagram presence exemplifies how one individual's journey can resonate and aid countless others. For those contemplating a break from alcohol or walking the path of sobriety themselves, Jen's insights offer hope and a reminder that the journey, while individual, is one you need not walk alone.

Jen Hirst

https://www.instagram.com/jenleehirst/

MEG

Megan Webb: https://glassfulfilled.com.au
Instagram: @glassfulfilled
Unwined Bookclub: https://www.alcoholfreedom.com.au/unwinedbookclub
Sober Socialising workshop at Seadrift Distillery: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/confident-and-cozy-alcohol-free-socialising-for-winter-tickets-934198341387?aff=oddtdtcreator

BELLA

Isabella Ferguson: https://isabellaferguson.com.au
Instagram: @alcoholandstresswithisabella
Free 5-Day DO I HAVE A DRINKING PROBLEM? Clarify and focus series: https://resources.isabellaferguson.com.au/doIhaveadrinkingproblemwithisabellaferguson
Alcohol Freedom Small Group Challenge - Register here: https://resources.isabellaferguson.com.au/alcoholfreedomchallenge
The Alcohol Revolution 6-Week Program (Online or Podcast): ...

Speaker 1:

And it's really hard to look at pictures and videos of my wedding because I wasn't there. I was just. I kept saying, just get through it. I started drinking vodka in the morning of.

Speaker 1:

I started taking Adderall to offset my drunkenness and to offset the hangover and I was putting so much pressure on my heart, my anxiety was through the roof and I was just like, just get through this, just get through this and then you can rest. And I just started drinking around the clock after that, a day after, two days after, and I'm just like I'm done. And so it just began this year and a half journey of really understanding what was going on, my husband finding out, oh my God, what did I marry Going into this? You know like Googling. What do I do? Yeah, like aa meetings. Where do I find one?

Speaker 2:

are you trying to drink less alcohol, but need some extra motivation? Maybe you've tried moderation, but you keep waking up disappointed and hung over.

Speaker 3:

Are you curious about sober life? Or maybe you're like us, have been alcohol free for a while and are in it for the long haul. Well, you're in the right place.

Speaker 2:

I'm Meg and I'm Bella, and our Not Drinking Today podcast is an invaluable resource to keep you motivated and on track today and beyond.

Speaker 3:

We are this Naked Mind, certified coaches who live in Sydney and love our alcohol-free life. And, last but not, least.

Speaker 2:

If you enjoy the content of our podcast, please rate, review, subscribe and share it. It really is integral to getting the podcast out to those that might need it.

Speaker 3:

So grab a cuppa and let's get started.

Speaker 2:

Jen Hurst. Jen works as a sobriety coach and has a number of programs, including Lighthouse Sobriety, and has a massive Instagram following, which is how I first found out about Jen. A big, huge, heartfelt welcome, jen, to the podcast.

Speaker 1:

Oh, thank you so much for having me on. It's so awesome to meet you and to connect. That's why I love Instagram is that you can find the most amazing people on there, I know.

Speaker 2:

I know, and we were just talking before we hit record, so I'm presently in the Adelaide Hills. Jen, where are you again? You're beautiful Minnesota, aren't you Minnesota?

Speaker 1:

I know the destination capital of the world. Yes, it's beautiful, I love it, but it is. It's so crazy, though, because right now it should be really cold and really snowy, but it's actually the opposite. It's like the sun's out. I mean 40 degrees here is, I mean it might as well just be 80, and we're just outside. And it's just, man, the sun and warmth can do so much for your mood. It's just, oh, it's so gorgeous here. So, yeah, I love it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I mean, instagram is where I first saw all of your amazing posts and it often features you outdoors moving. You've got your water bottle, you're talking, you know about the benefits of movement and I love it. And sometimes, when I'm down doing my own exercise, I think, yeah, jen's doing it, jen's doing it, I can do it, it's going to make me feel good for the rest of the day. And does it, it does. Yeah, I have to start with an exercise. It's just, it has to Look. I'll have some days off, but, yeah, the movement piece is really important Now.

Speaker 2:

Jen, in fact, you were one of, I guess, the three women that I first followed on Instagram when I was feeling fairly low about my relationship with alcohol, and I'm grateful that you shared your story to the full extent that you did, because I thought if Jen can do it, I can do it. You wouldn't know my story, but, in a very quick nutshell, I was one of those secret, closet home, alone drinkers. Towards the end I call it the flashing red zone Looked fairly okay on the outside sometimes, but I ended up in hospital one evening with a blood alcohol level of 0.4 and then rehab. So fairly grim. For those who do not know your story. Would you mind sharing a little bit about it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah Well, thank you so much. I'm so happy that you were able to connect, but also I'm just so happy you're here. Yeah, right, I know, and those can be really big wake up moments.

Speaker 1:

It's really scary and that sounds a lot like my story too, of this appearance that we have it all together, of hiding it together, of hiding it of um, and that's what I really like to share in my before and afters, because I don't really have pictures of myself, you know, drunk or I mean maybe, but like I don't have pictures when I'm blacked out or the things I mean, most of my later drinking I did in secret and at home and no one saw and I was really good at hiding it and it's so good and I'm sure you were as well. One of those closest to me, my fiance, my husband, had no idea until I couldn't hide it anymore. So looks are really deceiving and I tried for many years to cover it up with makeup, with glasses, with hats, with trying to fake and smile and smile through it and get through my wedding day and things like that, to appear like I didn't have this problem. Because, my gosh, if I had that label over my head, what was that going to mean? What were people going to think of me? And so I think it really prevented me, that label of oh my gosh, AA and those things. It prevented me from getting help for many years because I was so afraid of what that might mean, but I always felt and I came from a great home, my parents rarely drank and there was nothing really traumatic that happened in my childhood or, uh, experiencing that. I know my grandfather was an alcoholic but I always kind of felt like there was something wrong with me as well, like who I was wasn't enough. Um, and going into it, uh, I did. You know normal drinking in high school and college and it was really and I like to share this because this is really important If you're in sobriety, if you're going through this, you're in those early days to do and write out your usage history is to write out your story.

Speaker 1:

Write it out pen and paper and you could do it, you could type it. I would say, just pen and paper is fantastic to just start writing it out, because it was through this process that I did this in treatment, that I was able to pinpoint when I started just socially drinking to actually medicating, and it was when my second boyfriend wanted to go on a break and I just went back to my first love and, oh my God it is. I mean, no one said heartbreak was fun, but it just devastated me because it was just rejection and it was pain and I'm like I never want to feel that. And so when this happened, I was living with some guys and they were like, well, you know, if you take this? And what they were doing was they had been taking Adderall and they were abusing it. They one had a prescription.

Speaker 1:

I'm like I don't do drugs. You know which little behold, alcohol is the most addictive drug on the planet. But I was like I don't do that, but for some reason I was just like you know what, screw it. And I just decided to take it. I felt amazing. I felt like God, I dyed my hair, I stayed up all night. I'm like this is the best thing ever. But it was then that that got me kind of addicted to Adderall.

Speaker 1:

It was that notion of I can take away any pain with alcohol too, because that changes who I am, and so it wasn't just like, okay, now I've just binge drank all the time. But I started drinking alone. I started, you know, making some bad decisions. Anytime I got nervous I would go to alcohol to help calm me down. And what really started with kind of heartbreak really started turning into anxiety too and I just started to progress and it was.

Speaker 1:

I've had these bad summers where I would be making these bad decisions and trying to just figure out what was going on as well, and in that time I got my first DWI and you would think that that would have woken me up, but it didn't. Yeah, and my dad was my lawyer, but through this process and going into my now marriage, but going and dating him, it was really in the year leading up to my wedding that my drinking really progressed, because I would have periods of like going off it and I wouldn't need it, and then I kind of go back and my anxiety would get really bad and I was put on medication and little did I know how much alcohol just wrecks havoc on anxiety. It just makes it explode. I didn't know that. I thought I was trying to relax. I was like this is healthy man, I'm supposed to relax, I drink wine, but it was making it so much worse.

Speaker 1:

And so, the year leading up to my wedding, I was working full time, I was doing freelance full time as a designer. I was planning my wedding all by myself. I just was so overworked and burned out I started drinking. I started drinking more. I would give myself these little challenges of okay, I found it difficult to stop and to stay stopped. When my husband would go out, I'm like, no, I got to stay at home and do work. I have to get this magazine done. I have to do this. I have to put together the flowers. I did my own flower arrangements, all of that stuff, no-transcript. My husband didn't know any of this. I would hide it. I would start, he'd go to sleep, I would start finishing it off and I just collapsed and I was so exhausted. You know it's really hard to look at pictures and videos of my wedding because I wasn't there. I was just. I kept saying just get through it. I started drinking vodka in the morning of.

Speaker 1:

I started taking Adderall to offset my drunkenness and to offset the hangover and I was putting so much pressure on my heart, my anxiety was through the roof and I was just like, just get through this, just get through this and then you can rest. And I just started drinking around the clock after that, a day after, two days after, and I'm just like I'm done. And so it just began this year and a half journey of really understanding what was going on, my husband finding out oh my God, what did I marry Going into this, you know, like Googling. What do I do? Yeah, like AA meetings. Where do I find one? Because that was the only thing back then. There wasn't this huge movement which is so cool right now, of the things that were available today were not available 13 years ago.

Speaker 1:

And so I remember going to my first AA meeting drunk and being so, so scared and that didn't work. And then going into outpatient. I then checked into inpatient after almost a year and just all of these attempts of relapses. I've been to three inpatients 30-day stays, one, 60-day stays. I've been to probably five outpatients.

Speaker 1:

You know, I got a therapist, I got a sponsor, I got all of those things, but it took me losing things and I would have periods. I'd have 30 days and then I'd relapse. I have this day and then I'd relapse. I was also kind of dabbling into Adderall too, which I didn't really have a problem with, but it also was keeping me stuck because I liked how I felt I could get so much done with it and I could take away any hangover, but I knew that was preventing me from getting ultimately sober. I just knew it, because it was a big secret that I didn't tell my husband, let alone all the times, that I was kind of sneaking my drinking in between them. But I really had to start losing things. And when you think it could never happen to you, as someone who was brought up in a great home, I don't look like your typical alcoholic.

Speaker 1:

I know I'm not I, that's actually not true. I was homeless at the end. Um, that's where my drinking took. That's where I was how tenacious I was. And when you gave me something, I'm an Enneagram three. And so when you say, when I want something, I can do it, and the fact that I couldn't do this, just beat myself up. I just beat myself up. I was, I'm a perfection. Fact that I couldn't do this, just beat myself up. I just beat myself up. I'm a perfectionist. And I couldn't do this. And I didn't understand why. I'm like why can I not stop? And so I kept trying to push it and my drinking just progressed until I lost my job.

Speaker 1:

I got my second DWI on February 14th of 2013, which means I lost my car. I blew over a 0.2. I also had an open bottle, so I lost my car and I was on the verge of killing myself. I didn't know how much time I had left because I was extremely malnourished. I was not taking care of myself. I was drinking mouthwash. I was dabbling into other forms of alcohol to try to hide the shame I felt of walking into a liquor store. So, actually, mouthwash was my drink of choice for the last year and a half. Yeah, I still can't have it today. I'm just oh God, so that you know, and just the amount of shame that you can feel for this, but the how strong a craving can be to just take you away, yeah, and how it just deteriorated my self-esteem to where I didn't even want to be here anymore.

Speaker 1:

As someone who was bright and I got great grades I achieved, I got all these awards To someone just so low and, if I could picture it, I was just like I felt like I was in a hole and I had so much stuff to clean up, like my husband wasn't talking to me. My parents didn't know what to do with me because, like she went to inpatient, she's supposed to be cured. I have no idea what to do with her and I was just like I have no idea how I'm going to get myself out of this and from it was I was staying at my parents' house because my husband had said I couldn't stay there anymore and I was going into my father's office and apparently I had blacked out because I was drinking mouthwash and I woke up in detox and I blew a 0.34 when I got there. Wow, and that kind of scared me. But the fact that how many other times I know you blew a point forward too but how many?

Speaker 1:

other times do we kind of cheat death. When we did that, I'm like I know for a fact I've drank way more than that and scary things started happening. You know, like I woke up I mean blackouts were my daily occurrence. I blacked out every time. And so how many other times did I just get away with it? And I got another chance? And it was like it was in detox, where they say you have like a moment sometimes and that moment can happen, you know, just before you get sober, or sometimes just along the way, you know, taking it every 24 hours or you do a 30 day, and you sort of get this wake up and I just started looking at my life and I had court the next day. I physically, was felt myself dying. I had researched cardiac arrest. I just said I don't know how many days I have left and I'm like what the hell am I doing?

Speaker 2:

What am I doing? Yeah, hell am I doing. What am?

Speaker 1:

I doing, yeah, and I just looked, I'm like, what am I? And I just like, I like looked at myself, I'm like, oh my God, and it's like when you're in it it's so hard to see out of it. But at that moment I made a decision and I just said.

Speaker 1:

I'm done. I am so done and I just gave up the outcome. I didn't know what was going to happen with my husband. He was on the verge of, if this happens again, we're getting a divorce. My parents didn't want to talk to me.

Speaker 1:

I did an inpatient stay after that to just prove to the courts that I was in this, and it's really helpful. I love inpatient. It's a fantastic experience. But I just gave up and I just said as long as I don't drink, I can't make this any worse. I'm already as low as I'll probably go. The only thing lower than this is six feet under.

Speaker 1:

I'm like just I wonder what can happen if I just don't drink. And I was ready and I really wanted it and you got to have those two things. You got to really want it and you got to be ready. Sometimes you're just not ready and you got to do more field research. So I say, okay, go out and try to prove yourself that you can do this and you come back when you've suffered enough and I think I had just suffered enough, and but I hope that people don't have to get to that point of losing almost everything, Because I did. And what I like to say is it just hasn't happened yet, that it does get to that point. I didn't think it was going to happen to me either, but it's also so incredible what can happen when you don't drink. And I'm not saying everything's going to be perfect.

Speaker 1:

My life did not clean up the next day. I had a lot of stuff to clean up. I had to get a parole officer. I had no car. I went to inpatient. I went into outpatient. After that I was put on house arrest for two weeks. I did a day in jail house arrest for two weeks. I did a day in jail. I had lots of lawyer fees and court fees. I rode my bike to treatment. I went to AA meetings. I got them signed, but within a few months I got a job at a local printing shop and I just rode my bike there. I'm like, okay, I'm just going to get a simple job, rehabilitate myself, and then within four months I got a job back in my field. I'm like fantastic, a really good job Within four months.

Speaker 1:

That same time we learned I was pregnant and that fascinated me, because the fact that how much I did to my body the mouthwash, lethal for your body, destroys your insides the fact that my body could come back I know not everybody gets this opportunity I just said no, I'm infertile. There's no possible way my body could do this. I've treated it like crap for so many years. I've abused it, I've overexercised it, I've been feeding it garbage and the fact that it's like, okay, here's your reward. And I've wanted kids for so long and it killed me inside that I couldn't have kids because I couldn't take care of myself and the fact that my body could do that was just incredible. And then, within seven months, I got a promotion. And I'm not saying all these wonderful things just happened and that was it.

Speaker 1:

There's also some really hard things too. I mean going to court, doing all these things of getting a breathalyzer in my car. I had to have that for two years, but everything worked out and I charged my last inpatient treatment on my credit card. I had $200 in my bank account. I'm like I have no idea how I'm going to pay this off, but I know, as long as I stay sober, this is where I'm supposed to be. I'll figure it out.

Speaker 1:

Money always just figures itself out and I paid it off and so all of these things it's just have been just instrumental in this. The gifts and my son was actually six weeks early, so he came right before my one-year soberversary and he's been the greatest gift to come out of that is that, oh my God, I get this miracle at the end. Not even at the end. But, god, something to look forward to, and so that's kind of my story, but also, I mean, there's kind of two parts into how I got sober and just taking responsibility for my actions. Again, I had a lot of stuff to clean up but I just kept taking it one thing at a time and I didn't expect anybody to believe me because they were just done with me.

Speaker 2:

How many times have you said oh, this is it, I promise. There's a trust building part.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and you, just you start walking the talk. I shut up and I just started showing up. You shut up and then you start showing up, and then you slowly begin to rebuild your life and to take back your life and rebuild those relationships, as long as it may take, but the most important thing is that you're taking care of yourself and you're doing what? You're supposed to do, and I just again, I just gave up what was going to happen and I just kept doing the next right thing.

Speaker 1:

And that's what I really tell my clients too.

Speaker 2:

Jen, thank you so much for sharing the whole, well, chapter one or part one of that story, because I really think there is so much in there that people will be able to relate. You know the fact that alcohol turns into somebody that you can't even recognize, that there's really only one path that it can go down. If you keep going down that part and you can lose everything potentially that you hold dear. But also there's that part that I can really relate to, which is, you know, if there is that perfectionistic tendency on the outside, there's a real fear of letting anybody in. So you think I am going to do this myself. I'm going to, you know, recover by myself. But it is possible, I'm sure, but it is really, really hard and it just sort of pushes it all down.

Speaker 2:

So I can remember that point of rehab as well, which kind of was a turning point with acceptance. It was almost like a white flag and it was acceptance Okay, all right, I'm going to let people in, I'm going to try and do this, I can't do it myself and from there you've just got to keep moving, one step in front of the other, and then you start feeling good, you start getting the confidence, the self-trust, and you know the story of your husband. I can relate to that as well. All that I put my beautiful husband through. But it's life and you're in it together and you know if you can get through the other side. It's beautiful, it is really beautiful. Jen, can I ask you so well? I'll ask you actually how many years have you been alcohol free?

Speaker 1:

10 years, and then I'm coming up on 11, on April 24th of 2024. What keeps you motivated now?

Speaker 2:

Because it's very different from that first. Well, the first six weeks is different to three months, to a year. What keeps you motivated now, 10 years on Nearly 11?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I mean now, it's really. I think my kids are always my motivation and my why.

Speaker 1:

They're my. Why is that? I got sober so I could have them and I stay sober so I will never, ever lose them. I love to be able to be a walking example of what it looks like to live an alcohol-free life for them. To be that again, be that example, but letting them know there's another way. But they're just the biggest teachers but also the biggest blessings to come out of it. But I think today it's really I just stay motivated.

Speaker 1:

I think hearing other's stories is incredibly motivating and inspiring. I think teaching others and coaching others, seeing a woman who I coach I coach only women but seeing them come in to me incredibly broken and crying and scared, and I'm just like, oh yeah, I just know that feeling and then to see and watch them transform right before your eyes and to see them start to smile and start to get that confidence and it's just, it is, there's no price tag that you can put on that that is so incredibly motivating for me. That really motivates me to see others kind of walk into this and then to invite new women into this and, like you said, we cannot do this alone. That this is based on connection, it's based on community, and you're not the only one. There's nothing wrong with you and again, you do not have to do this alone.

Speaker 1:

But I think even back then, 11 years ago, when I was just complete rock bottom for myself, I think what really motivated me was kind of meeting the woman I am today, and not even today, but so much better than I could have ever imagined. No one in a million years did. I think I was going to be a sober coach. Ever I was very I did not share about it. But there was one thing that I did before I went into my last inpatient that really helped motivate me and it's something I really like to teach and go through the women in my groups with from the very beginning is taking them through a visualization exercise.

Speaker 1:

And little did. I know that I was doing this 11 years ago, but I remember my husband and I and we weren't talking much before I went in it was a couple of days from my last drink to when I went and was able to get into an inpatient program. We went out to eat, I think, and we started driving through this neighborhood and we were living in a condo at the time but we'd always wanted a house and I've always wanted kids, and we were just silent and it was like sunset and it was just this really nice neighborhood where it's like, oh, these houses would be so nice and I just saw what life could be like and I saw this like brick house. I saw these two kids, I saw a fence. I saw all of this of like, if I just keep this, I wonder what could happen, like what if it all works out. And it's so crazy because I have that life now.

Speaker 1:

Now I'm in the country, which I didn't imagine, but it's like I have two beautiful kids. They're healthy, I have, we used to. They're healthy I have. We used to have 15 chickens We'll get more, but like four cats, two dogs, like, and it's so crazy what can happen when you just remove this one thing from your life, you also open the door to so many other things that are now possible.

Speaker 1:

Because you stop being stuck and you start to explore it, because you have more energy, you have more confidence, you have a boost in self-esteem, it's like, okay, well, what else can I accomplish? And so I think it was really the visualization and keeping this image of this life, and keeping this image of this life of what was possible, and then having that be my focal point, and then now being able to help other women through this process is definitely something that keeps me sober and I love how I feel now. I love to feel good. Now. I'm kind of into hormones and perimenopause. I'm like what the hell is going on, but I know it's not because I'm drinking.

Speaker 1:

It's just because I'm a woman, I'm like, okay, bring it.

Speaker 2:

Bring it on, and all of that energy that I think are pretty strong, are pretty strong. Powerful women devoted to drinking, hiding the bottles, trying to replace the bottles, trying to appear sober in front of your partner All of that energy is actually now can shift into making a life. That's really, really amazing. I think that's part of it, and it's really, really amazing I think that's part of it and part of it for many women that are that kind of, I'd say, closet drinkers that have those two personas is that they know there's an inkling that there's a better life, but they just don't know how to get it, and so alcohol becomes their thing. I don't know, I can't sort of put it into words, but as soon as you kind of deal with that, it's like wow, look out, world, because this is what I can now do and create and it's going to help others. I can really relate to that, because when I was at rehab, I was able to start my counselling course and that then presented that sort of future me that I was visualising. So I can really relate to that.

Speaker 2:

Jen, that was beautifully said. And the other thing that I think is really important is when women do turn up and they are at that sort of heartbroken feeling where everything feels really flat and low. They can't see how they're going to get there. I love also being part of that, just part of that support system for them. That's saying so. What it's alcohol? It doesn't matter, it's not a personal failing, it's what you were born into, it's society, it's the drug of choice for all of us and all of our problems. And it doesn't mean that you can't live an amazing life and you can sort of let go of that. Shame, yeah.

Speaker 1:

And it also doesn't mean that you're boring or that you can't have fun anymore or you can't relax or that it's a reward. It's like you have to really reprogram your brain from all of the years that we've been fed that we need it for a wedding, you need it to celebrate, you need it to toast, you need it for all? No, you actually don't. You can do anything. Do anything. Anything that you could do while drinking, you can do sober and you'll have way more fun because you can remember it. You're going to remember how you drive home. You're actually receiving like true dopamine, you know, and you won't experience a crash from it.

Speaker 1:

You don't have to recover from celebrating Like is it truly a reward? If you know it makes you feel like crap after. I don't really think that's a reward. It's like you really have to start to think where did I start to believe this? That I needed this to do this? I needed beer to watch a baseball game, or I needed this because of this? It's like why? Why do that? So it's just kind of this process that you kind of go through and the only way you kind of know that is by doing it, by actually going to something, feeling awkward because you're yourself and you've never done it before without alcohol.

Speaker 2:

You've never done it, so of course you're going to be scared.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, of course. And this is where, if you do have young children, if you have children of where you're going, watch them. How do they interact? I mean, if you're like my kids, they're very observant. They only let people in after a little time to warm up, and that's how you can be with yourself. You don't have to be the life of the party.

Speaker 2:

You could be, you don't know yet Like be open.

Speaker 1:

I don't know who I am. I'm an introvert, I'm shy and that's okay. There's not anything wrong with that. I just got to like really know you if I'm going to open myself up to you, and I think that's incredibly powerful, especially as a person. But even for kids is they only allow themselves to get comfortable if they've had enough time or if they truly know you. But even people that they do know cousins, grandparents they're still like shy when they see each other.

Speaker 1:

But give it 10 minutes for us to ease in. So give yourself 10 minutes, take some deep breaths and just be open, be curious, start asking questions. Am I having fun? Do I feel like I need alcohol to make this more fun? And if I'm not having fun, it's probably just not my thing, and I'm just not having fun and that's okay, yeah, so so that's just an aha moment to have like, okay, huh, I don't think I like this. I really like this. Okay, that's something I like. So you really have to try everything new in sobriety, because who you were especially if you were drinking is not the real you. So now this is the time to. Okay, let's see how I feel. That's right.

Speaker 2:

And be open to that and actually get to know what we like, because I think we're brought. Somebody along the way sold us a story that at a party, at a gathering, we need to take on this larger than life personality works for some people, but the only way I was going to get there was with wine. So you've got to unpack that story. I love how you just described that that beautiful undoing, untangling of alcohol and then stepping into really your own skin. Then stepping into really your own skin, your own persona, when you socialize. Beautifully said, you run these wonderful sobriety programs and I think you're one of the first to do it.

Speaker 1:

There are so many of them out there now. But what are the key pillars of your programs? At work, jen, yeah, and I know there's many out there and I remember when I was kind of researching and getting into sober coaching of, okay, this is what I want to do, but how do I do it? And so I think the biggest pillar of my programs is that, and kind of what it sets us up from other groups is that we do it together. These programs, they're not self-paced, they're not a video by video course. We go through it day by day together. So it's a bunch of live stuff. It's really based on community and connection and it's keeping everyone engaged. So I'm in there a lot, I post a lot. We have small groups through Marco Polo to really get to know each other, and my groups are based on these six habits to help you boost dopamine naturally, especially in those first early days.

Speaker 1:

So when I take on women, some of them are already sober, but a lot of them are just entering sobriety, and so I feel like starting on a date together gives you something to look not even look forward to, but to prepare yourself. Okay, we're all doing this together. Day one, I'm going to get you set up, because I'm not just going to say, okay, day one, I'm going to start two weeks prior. Okay, let's start. What you can experience, I'm going to take you through withdrawals that might happen. I'm going to give you some tools and some things to buy, some food to have on hand, some drinks to have on hand, because you're going to experience sugar cravings, all of that. So I really take them step by step through this process. But when you're in early sobriety, because you get that huge dopamine rush and then it's going to plummet, you're going to probably be feeling pretty low, you're going to have high anxiety and you might not know what to do with your trigger hours. So when you typically drink, and so what I like to do by implementing these habits, these habits are going to help you again boost, naturally increase that dopamine a little bit when we're feeling low, but overall to do these things on a consistent basis to boost your confidence, to help you sleep which can be thrown off, especially in early sobriety You're also probably going to be really tired to also increasing clarity, but really all of those things, and so those habits are to stay sober above all else. That's number one If you cannot do any of the other habits. Number one is your stay sober by any means possible. You just don't drink alcohol. And number two is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every single day. Water plays a huge role in how you feel. It can contribute to cravings, it can help with really dehydration, because you're probably really dehydrated coming off alcohol.

Speaker 1:

Gratitude, so listing five things that you're grateful for from the past 24 hours. To really reprogram our brain to a get-to mindset of really looking and seeking out what's going right instead of focusing on a woe, is me To move our bodies, just like we were saying. For 30 minutes every single day, yes, and reading 10 pages, 10 pages of a self-help or sobriety book, because I think this is one of the best things that I started doing. I did it in treatment and so forth, but really that's helped me. The past seven years was starting to read personal development books. It has helped tremendously in my mindset.

Speaker 1:

And the last one is check in with the group for accountability. So every single night I post, maybe with some tips and tricks, but checking in and asking them to rate their day. So how are you doing so we can help you? Are you having a crappy day? Are you having a really great day?

Speaker 1:

Did you get in your habits and we're just really trying to walk them through this process and what I really would have wanted 11 years ago when I was entering this but I wasn't taught this in treatment of how to live sober, of these real life scenarios, of how to set a boundary, what is a boundary I had no idea until a few years ago. What do I say to people? You know, if I'm around people that I used to drink with now, what do I say? I'm not ready to say I'm a. You know, I had a really big problem.

Speaker 1:

There's things that you can say how to prepare for an event, talking about anticipation, anxiety before you go to something you're nervous about, how to travel sober foods to help support those sugar cravings and to support your sobriety. So all of these things that it's just all of these things kind of work together in this puzzle to create this sustainable sober life that has you feeling good, as not as this something that you have to do, but something as you want to do because you're feeling better. It can also help fill time, these habits, but again just giving you that confidence, of crossing something off, of showing up for yourself. But also all of these are meant to help you to seek out ways to boost that dopamine naturally and doing those things on a consistent basis, which then leads to this wonderful sober life.

Speaker 2:

You get the full mindset, you get the physical attributes and then, just stepping into, you know a life that you thoroughly enjoy. I'm going to quickly ask in a second where can we find you? Where can all of our Aussie listeners reach you and around the world? We've got listeners everywhere. Jen, I just want to ask you look what's on the horizon for you, and is there anything else that you want to share with our listeners? You know, women.

Speaker 1:

I know women is your forte, but we've got men as well who are struggling. Yeah, yeah, that's a great question and you know, I think what I really love to say to people, if you're struggling, is number one there's nothing wrong with you, Um, that it doesn't mean you're broken, and that you know you never know when the next time is going to be. The final time is that to keep on trying, Um, and that it's okay to feel discomfort, that you don't have to? I think that's the cure for everything is the ability to sit with discomfort and not run from it.

Speaker 1:

That you can feel something, but also know you're not going to die. If you feel uncomfortable or if that craving is so strong, it's okay. There's certain things that you can do to get through a craving, like moving your body, getting outside all of those things. But you will not die from a feeling, yeah, but you can from the action that you take based on how you feel. So if you're able to just sit through it and to just see and ask yourself you know what, what if it all works out? What if this was it? Am I willing, am I able to take a 30-day break just to see how good I can feel? But again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you and it's nothing to be ashamed about, because it happens. It is way more common than you think. It's just not a lot of people start are talking about it until recently. Yeah, but if you have any questions, you can definitely reach me in my Instagram. That's where I like to hang out. I like to post tips at Jen Lee Hurst tips or if there's anything that you would like to see from me. I'm really open to feedback. That's my main goal is to help you, is to meet you, is to give you some encouragement in those early days, but also giving you some tips on how to stay sober as well, while also having some fun in the process.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I don't think this is something that should be so incredibly serious. I really want to empower people to want to choose this because they feel better. They want to feel better, that this is a health choice, this is a wellness choice. But what I do have coming up, I always have my Lighthouse Sobriety membership. It is for women, but to start to embrace this choice.

Speaker 1:

So all of those things that I was talking about in my programs those are also in my membership, but not to the extent. My group coaching programs are very intensive, where I'm in there a lot. I'm working with you a lot of the times, but I have monthly coaching for me in there. There's workbooks, trackers, we have daily meetings, workouts we actually have a workout tomorrow. We have craft events where we just made our own candles. We have a sober book club yeah, just making this a really fun community, because I think that's what sobriety is and then I have a sober journal coming out at the end of this year to take you through a hundred days and how to kind of plan out your day, giving you some motivation.

Speaker 1:

And then I also have a retreat coming up for the women in my group as well, if you do choose to join the membership.

Speaker 2:

Oh, Jen, your members are incredibly lucky to have you there, full energy at the helm, helping them out, and for anybody that wants to follow Jen on Instagram, I highly recommend it. Her posts are real, they're authentic and they're useful. You know, sober Instagram is fabulous, but Jen, you know your posts are awesome and you respond You're out there responding.

Speaker 1:

I try, I try, I try as much as I can. That'd be hard.

Speaker 2:

Yes, thank you so much, so much for being a guest. You've been a great, great guest and I know this is going to resonate with all of our listeners. And, yeah, just a huge thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for having me on. You're welcome, I appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

You're welcome 're welcome. Thanks, jen. If you don't already know, in addition to our podcasting work, we are each sobriety coaches with our own separate businesses helping people to drink less.

Speaker 3:

if you or a loved one want to take a break from alcohol, we invite you to have a look at our individual websites.

Speaker 2:

megs is glassfulfilledcomau and bella's is isabellafergusoncomau, so take the next step that feels right for you.

Navigating Sobriety and Self-Discovery
Deception in Appearance of Alcoholism
Overcoming Alcoholism and Rebuilding Life
Motivation to Stay Sober and Thrive
Discovering Sobriety and Authenticity
Sobriety Program Community Support
Sobriety Coaching and Social Media