Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast

Susan Larkin and her journey to finding her authentic self!

April 07, 2024 Isabella Ferguson and Meg Webb Season 3 Episode 76
Susan Larkin and her journey to finding her authentic self!
Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast
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Not Drinking (Alcohol) Today Podcast
Susan Larkin and her journey to finding her authentic self!
Apr 07, 2024 Season 3 Episode 76
Isabella Ferguson and Meg Webb

Have you ever felt the weight of a wine glass tug not just at your hand but your entire life? Susan, our incredible guest and This Naked Mind certified coach, bravely opens up about her transition from stress-induced drinking to a vibrant alcohol-free existence, offering an intimate look at the liberation that comes with breaking free from the bottle. Through her narrative, Susan paints a vivid picture of her past - from her acting days to touring Australia - and how she came to the profound realization that even moderate drinking was dimming her sparkle.

Our conversation traverses the challenging terrain of maintaining sobriety amidst the demands of a high-achieving life. Susan candidly discusses her own struggles with alcohol as she juggled a career, academic pursuits, and family responsibilities, revealing how she confronted the illusion of alcohol as a support system. Her journey, dotted with setbacks and self-imposed rules, ultimately led her to embrace programs like Sober Sis, marking a courageous step towards change and highlighting the importance of self-awareness and a strong support network in overcoming the reliance on alcohol.

In this episode, listeners will be inspired by the joys and empowerment that an alcohol-free life can bring, as demonstrated by Susan's own surge of energy, creativity, and authenticity. She debunks the myth that alcohol serves as a muse for creativity and shares how pausing from alcohol can lead to 'want power' rather than willpower, crafting a compelling future vision minus the crutch of alcohol. Join us for a heartfelt and empowering discussion that not only sheds light on the alcohol-free journey but also extends a hand to those curious about embarking on this transformative path.

Susan's website: https://www.susanlarkincoaching.com/
Podcast: Feel Lit Alcohol Free

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

Have you ever felt the weight of a wine glass tug not just at your hand but your entire life? Susan, our incredible guest and This Naked Mind certified coach, bravely opens up about her transition from stress-induced drinking to a vibrant alcohol-free existence, offering an intimate look at the liberation that comes with breaking free from the bottle. Through her narrative, Susan paints a vivid picture of her past - from her acting days to touring Australia - and how she came to the profound realization that even moderate drinking was dimming her sparkle.

Our conversation traverses the challenging terrain of maintaining sobriety amidst the demands of a high-achieving life. Susan candidly discusses her own struggles with alcohol as she juggled a career, academic pursuits, and family responsibilities, revealing how she confronted the illusion of alcohol as a support system. Her journey, dotted with setbacks and self-imposed rules, ultimately led her to embrace programs like Sober Sis, marking a courageous step towards change and highlighting the importance of self-awareness and a strong support network in overcoming the reliance on alcohol.

In this episode, listeners will be inspired by the joys and empowerment that an alcohol-free life can bring, as demonstrated by Susan's own surge of energy, creativity, and authenticity. She debunks the myth that alcohol serves as a muse for creativity and shares how pausing from alcohol can lead to 'want power' rather than willpower, crafting a compelling future vision minus the crutch of alcohol. Join us for a heartfelt and empowering discussion that not only sheds light on the alcohol-free journey but also extends a hand to those curious about embarking on this transformative path.

Susan's website: https://www.susanlarkincoaching.com/
Podcast: Feel Lit Alcohol Free

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:

When that glass of wine at the end of the day to manage stress and overwhelm gradually became two to three and became an unhealthy habit, susan found this Naked Mind a compassion-led, cognitive, behavioral-based approach to exploring her relationship with alcohol. This experience was so transformational she decided to become a this Naked Mind certified coach to help other professional women break free from unhealthy habits find balance and create a life they can't wait to wake up to?

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 hungover.

Speaker 1:

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 1:

We are this Naked Mind, certified coaches who live in Sydney and love our alcohol-free life.

Speaker 2:

And, last but not least, 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. So grab a cuppa and let's get started.

Speaker 1:

Susan is an alcohol recovery coach with this Naked Mind with a background in medical education, and Susan is also a friend who I've met through this amazing coaching journey. So I'm so excited to have you here today, susan Welcome.

Speaker 3:

Oh, thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here. It has been so wonderful getting to know you, and I don't know if you know that I actually have been to Australia. Oh, wow, yeah, right after I graduated from college, I was a theater major at UCLA and I joined, um. I was hired by the theater group to tour the.

Speaker 3:

It was it was not like a famous theater group, let me tell you, this is a very low budget. We stayed in people's homes. It was sort of like up with people type of thing. It was called his, uh, his majesty's players. It was kind of a Christian group, but it was. We played in different schools, we went to different elementary and high schools and different halls. I guess, wow, and so, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So we were there for almost a month. We started in Melbourne, then we went to Sydney, then we went up to Brisbane and then we flew out. Yeah, we didn't go any further within Brisbane. I would have really loved to go up further in the gold coast, but, um, so we'll have to come back. But, uh, then we went to New Zealand and went to Auckland and then we came home. So that was my big, big theater, uh tour and it was really lovely. We got to stay in people's homes, which was really great because I really got to know people and learn the language, like having a cuppa and what was it? Sunnies for sunglasses and jumpers for sweaters. People are like, oh, I love your jumper and I'm like, uh, okay, so we really so it was really fun. Muesli trying, uh, just staying, you know the different food and stuff. It was really fun. It was really fun. Muesli trying just staying. You know the different food and stuff. It was really fun, it was really great.

Speaker 1:

I love that you had an authentic experience. That sounds amazing. What fun.

Speaker 3:

I mean, it feels like it was like 100 years ago because it was when I was in my 20s, but it was Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Time flies and yeah, whereabouts in the US, are you?

Speaker 3:

I am in connecticut, but I am from california, so I went.

Speaker 1:

I started out, born in california, now living in connecticut, all the way across the entire country amazing oh well, I've been to california and new york and niagara falls in canada, so I've been very lucky to travel over there too. Now we just have to travel again Now we know each other and we can yes, together or visit each other, so exciting.

Speaker 3:

I would love that.

Speaker 1:

I'd love to hear Susan a bit about your journey and how you've got to here, where you are now.

Speaker 3:

Oh well, it's so funny. I was thinking about this before and I was thinking I'm. I was never really a good drinker, but darned if I didn't try right, you know I mean.

Speaker 3:

I just wasn't and we, I didn't really drink that much in high school. I was. I don't have a, I didn't have a very good tolerance. So I drank a little bit in the beginning of college but then was pursuing acting and I would. You know, it's just it wasn't something that fit because I was just so focused on my acting career at the time and I'd started going to a church, a local church in LA, and just it wasn't something I did and so but I did, you know, I did have some experiences drinking and so when I look back I'm like, yeah, I was never really a good drinker, like I did.

Speaker 3:

And and you know, sometimes when people want to know well, how, you know when you quit drinking, how much were you drinking, you know? And it was like that's not really the right question, right, because it doesn't matter how much you were drinking if it's not good for you. Like, I don't have a very good tolerance, Not that much alcohol did make me feel really bad and have hangovers and even when my tolerance rose, you know, but that also kept me stuck because I would look around and go well, I'm not really drinking that much more than everybody else. So I guess I'm fine, and I would just sort of ignore the inner voice that was saying you know, this is not working for me. This is you don't feel good and this is, you know, slowly getting just more down and down and down, um, like this wet blanket on your life, and that that all sort of started for me in my mid-40s, when I had been working. I took a. Well, obviously I was a theater major. I'm not now, now I'm a coach. But I also I had when my children were young and I was sort of a stay-at-home mom, slash, jack-of-all-trades doing all kinds of weird odd jobs. I did teach acting, I taught voice lessons, I did those things.

Speaker 3:

But then at a certain time in our, in our marriage and in our family life, it was it was time for me to get a job, like a real job. So I got a job at yale and yale university. I just got this job and then I realized, um, that I was in the School of Medicine and then it became like, well, if I'm going to work, I'm a sort of a straight, a high achieving kind of mindset, and so it's like, well, if I'm going to work here, I'm going to do my best and do the best job I can and keep moving up, and so I just was focused on making this my career. I just, you know, was focused on making this my career and so I did. I got a management position and kept moving up in, uh, at Yale, in the office of education for the medical student programs, and um, and that is when things sort of started, uh, ramping up for me a little bit with my drinking Cause I just sort of started doing this sort of coffee in the morning, wine at night, kind of that's normal, that's what people do, and um, but it but it pretty quickly became something that I started to really desire and need. It was it was, you know, became the reward, it became over-function. I say it kept me in a state of burnout because I would just constantly over-function and then drink in order to keep over-functioning.

Speaker 3:

Because at one point I was getting my MBA. I had this job and I was getting the MBA to go to the next level. I had this job and I was getting the MBA to go to the next level. My kids are in high school, I have an upper level elementary and like what was I thinking? I'm going back to school, I have kids and I have this high power, this job. I mean it was really a lot. And I remember sitting down to, like you know, write papers and trying to get those creaky old wheels in my brain to start. You know, write papers and trying to get those creaky old wheels in my brain to start, you know getting back to schoolwork and thinking that, like wine, you know, my wine would help me get through this. So it just sort of became the thing that helped me get through life, and I quickly just felt like it wasn't good or right. And then that's when I started with all the rules Right, and so, you know, so I had lots of rules. I just kept being less than, though you know what I mean. It was actually the thing that was keeping me from reaching my potential, even though I thought it was the thing that was helping me stay afloat and keep all the plates in the air.

Speaker 3:

And at a certain point, I went to my pastor and was like I think I'm drinking too much and I'm not really sure what to do, and they suggested I go to AA. And that was just like. That was like. That was like just poke me, you know, just like, just stab me in the heart. Why don't you? I mean just, it was so much like what, what, like what, oh what? You know, I was just mortified at the time and there's nothing. I mean, I did actually because I'm a pretty obedient person and so I have a relationship with our pastor and I was like, ok, I guess this is what I need to do. But I went and I just didn't feel like it was. I just kept looking around, going, where are the people who drink a little too much white wine? Like I don't think I'm in the right meeting, and it was just nothing against it. I went to a lot. So I want to be clear, like, however you, you know, choose and whatever helps you stop drinking, I think you should do it. And I met a lot of amazing people and saw some, heard amazing stories of complete life transformations, and so I think that's wonderful. It just wasn't the right thing for me, and so this was probably like 2014. Probably like 2014. And so I just thought I did it for eight months and then I just decided to.

Speaker 3:

I went on vacation and decided I was going to have my limit was two drinks a day, a day. On the vacation. I managed to do that. So then I'm like I'm okay, I'm good, I think I can moderate, which we know because we've heard a lot, I hear a lot from clients and then again it's that slippery slope and then, especially if you're using it as a coping mechanism. So it's one thing on vacation and then it's another thing when you get home. I call it. It's like a parasite that you bring home in your suitcase. You know it's like, and it just clings to you and then pretty soon you you've brought your vacation home with you and then now it's wine on the deck and it's you know, it's wine any day that ends in Y, and my husband and I used to joke and so, and then you know I'd frame it back in and I'd be like, nope, you know, only on Fridays and Saturdays. And then you know then that would leak over and to Sunday and leak over maybe to Wednesday, and you know so. So I was just constantly trying to manage it and that managing of it just takes so much time and energy, right, oh my gosh, yeah, so that at that time also. So back to over-functioning and using it as a coping mechanism. At that time we purchased a music studio. My husband's really into music and I could teach voice lessons and I also, with my acting background, thought, okay, we can do a show, we could do some theater. So that was a late 2015.

Speaker 3:

And then in the years that so now I'm working my full-time job and then I'm going to the music studio at night to do my second job, and that's where, definitely, drinking came back in to help me over-function. Again, it was like, oh, if I just have a little wine before I go in, it'll, like you know, smooth me out, I'll be nicer. And I was getting that kind of feedback too. My husband's like you're so much nicer once you have some wine. You know what I mean. So, like you get these messages and you start to believe them, he's like you know, it makes you more normal. He used to tell me, cause I'm pretty like high, strong, you know, high, achieving, like you know, and he's like it just, it just calms you, you know, just mellows you out a little, and I'm like, oh, okay. So then you know, I'm going through life thinking I need this to like, be normal, to be nice to, and to go to my second job and to show up, you know, and be able to get through it. So that's really when it ramped up again and in 2019, I started exploring.

Speaker 3:

I did a couple of programs. I did Sober Cis, which is over here in the US. It's a 21-day program, and I and that 21 days seemed like a long time. I was like I'm not sure I can get through 21 days. And I had done it, though for Lent, I'd done it a dry January, but I don't know. This time it was different. It was like, okay, this is like the real deal here, you know program. And then we went on vacation. There's darn vacations. They always just, you know, it's like well, and then it was like, well, I'm not going on vacation and not drinking. That's just like weird. You know who does that, you know. But I had lots of strict rules around it and that that one.

Speaker 3:

And then so 2019 just was a year of of having some success, like having that 40 days, then drinking and thinking I'm okay, then drinking again and overdoing it, and then, and then, like as a punishment, putting myself back on another 30 days. And so then I did another 30 days in July and and this is the and another one. And then I think my cousin said do you want to do, you want to do a dry August and I'm like, oh, I just did dry July, but okay, I'll do it with you. So then I ended up doing dry August. So then I'm getting some alcohol free time, right, and I'm seeing the benefits and how much better I feel and how much, how much better my life is going.

Speaker 3:

But I still, in the back of my mind, mind, are thinking that I still have to get back to normal, because I still think, because of just the cultural messages we have around alcohol, that if I can't drink or if I don't drink then I'm not normal. And that was really. I just had, that was I realize. Now that was really the thing that was keeping me stuck is like I didn't like to be looked at or be weird, or be the person that doesn't drink or be the person that people look at that thinks that, oh well, she must have a problem you know or?

Speaker 3:

whatever, and I was just really, you know, worried about that and but I did do another program as well that year. I just cause, once you open the door to kind of the sober verse I like to call it like oh, now I saw I was following people and now I was listening to podcasts, so I was getting a lot of really good information and it was helping me on my journey. And then at that time we were at the theater or the music studio. We were doing Lion King Jr and I founded a theater company, a nonprofit theater company called Fuse Theater, with a good friend of mine who was an acting coach and teacher, and we decided we were going to put on Lion King Jr. We had no pipeline, like all theater groups have a pipeline. We literally put lawn signs out. We had 100 lawn signs and I'm out there in the dark, pulling over to the side of the road to stick these lawn signs into the ground and hoping nobody would see me. I didn't know if it was legal or not, but I'm sticking these things. We put them outside like Trader Joe's, all these places. We ended up getting like 35 kids to audition and we ended up just having everybody if they wanted to be in it if they didn't get a role. And they didn't want to be in it. But everybody was either in the chorus or had a role and we rehearsed from November to March. We were opening on March 20th 2020, which was COVID. Hello, we had to close the show one week before it was supposed to open. Those kids were all ready to go.

Speaker 3:

Meanwhile, also, at the medical school, I'm putting all of the medical. We're trying to get all of the medical school curriculum up on Zoom. Get all the faculty Now. We're like on Zoom all the time. Right, no big deal, but the faculty nobody knew what Zoom was. We're like trying to give them numbers. Give okay, here's the link you know. Here's we were planning for the students to have lectures on Zoom, et cetera.

Speaker 3:

It was absolutely insane making all of these decisions of whether we needed to pull them from clinicals, get them all the PPE stuff that they needed At that time. It was very, very scary. We didn't know COVID was killing people. Remember, when we're washing our groceries in the garage? We didn't know, we didn't leave our house. All of a sudden, everyone's like. We literally like washing our groceries in the garage. We didn't know, we didn't leave our house All of a sudden. Everyone's like we literally like carrying computers out of our office to go home on that last day.

Speaker 3:

So I'm working and I just started drinking again like full stop, like no more, no more rules, no more, nothing. So you know in our coaching program that we that we work in, we have this thing called the pause and that was my pause. I just stopped trying to stop, I didn't, I just started. We started drinking again at night because just to deal with the stress of everything and not knowing what's going on in the world. And, um, so that would have been like April. I remember drinking an entire bottle of champagne by myself on mother's day, on, like a Zoom call with my mom and my you know and you know, over a long period of time, but you know, so it was ramping up, you know, it wasn't, it was. And then we decided that we were going to close the music studio in May and like, as my husband's telling me, I'm like just keep pouring, you know whatever. And then we were being sued by the former owners because they were afraid we weren't going to pay them. So then I'm like just keep pouring, just keep it coming, babe, keep it coming and so.

Speaker 3:

But I had had this all this time in 2019 where I had this alcohol free time and felt so much better, how and how terrible I was feeling. Once I started drinking again like a lot or on a regular basis, and I just went. I don't want to do this anymore. This is awful. I feel awful, I'm depressed. I think one week I didn't even I mean, you know, everybody had their thing in COVID Like I don't think I showered for like five days in one week, like I mean, and then I was just. I mean it felt like somebody just threw a wet, smelly blanket on me once I started drinking again and I, you know, I just woke up one morning and went I just can't do this anymore.

Speaker 3:

And I'd seen a webinar for this naked mind and I signed up for the path and that was the uh June 2020. So I started and that is my sobriety date Um June 1st 2020, every now and then I asked Siri how many days it's been, because it's so long, and uh, so I just decided that was it that I knew I was. So I knew I was a take it person. I wanted to be a leave it person. Like, did I say forever at that time? No, but my initial goal was a hundred days. Once I got to a hundred days I was like, okay, that was like in September. I said another hundred days was like mid December. And I'm like, okay, that would be 200. So I'm going to go 200 days. And then after that it was like I'm never going back. It's just too good.

Speaker 3:

And everything I'd learned through the program that taught me about alcohol just changed everything. You know, all of a sudden I didn't worry about being a normal drinker because I was normal Alcohol's. You know alcohol is an addictive substance. So to become, you know, dependent on addictive substance, so to become, you know, dependent on, especially if you use it as a coping mechanism, then you are normal. And so that, so that, you know, went right out the window and, um, so yeah, that was my experience. And then, uh, got the email about the coaching and I would. That was never a thought of mine at all.

Speaker 3:

But, um, sorry, uh, and I had been meditating and I it's. This is so funny. I was meditating, I saw myself on a podcast and uh, I was like, oh, that was interesting. And then I get the email and then you know, and I was like, oh, maybe I'm supposed to do this. Wow, you know, we always talk about what's your next domino and like what has opened up for you now in in your alcohol-free life, and uh, it just felt like that was the next right thing for me. No-transcript, and every single experience I've had in my life up until this point is is being drawn upon and is has been useful. So so that is my story.

Speaker 1:

So much of that resonated with me and I'm sure it will with many of the listeners. And yes, I can. I can really relate to stopping drinking and things opening up for me and you said something earlier on. First of all, about the high functioning or drink you drank to over function and that relates to I hear people say they're high functioning alcoholics as almost as a joke. Um, and I don't. I know I was doing the same. I don't relate to the word alcoholic.

Speaker 1:

You've said a couple of times uh, you know the the drinking is to self-medicate and that's 100% what I was doing. But it's interesting that it gave us this energy to keep going and doing things and we thought that was. You know, the alcohol was helping us achieve it all. But it really afterwards I realized what a deep tiredness I actually had and the alcohol did boost me up for some reason. I look back and don't know how I coped because I was deeply tired, but I didn't feel it and it's kind of like the creativity I have. A lot of clients say to me but I need alcohol to be creative and it's only once you stop that you realize you get so much more done. You're way more creative without the alcohol. But it's only when you have that break you realize that. So you know and you were talking about the break you had originally in it all it's that seed that we've planted that life is better and it just puts us on this path, even if at the time, like people we meet along this journey, it's up and down, it can take years. But once that seed's planted, I think we start to listen and look more at ways we know something needs to change.

Speaker 1:

And another thing you said was it blocked your potential. I really got that, because there is no way on this earth I was ever going to reach my potential and I feel like that was a final straw for me. I think a lot of us on this earth I was ever going to reach my potential and I feel like that was a final straw for me. I think a lot of us on this journey know there's more to life, and giving up alcohol was the one thing that I could do that was going to help me reach my potential. So I love that you spoke about that and you've. You know what an incredible journey too. I love that you did theatre and all of that and medical've. You know what an incredible journey too. I love that you did theater and all of that and medical, and you're right, everything in the journey leads to us to where we are now yeah, but you couldn't have planned it.

Speaker 3:

If you look back and like how did she end up there? It's like what you know you couldn't have.

Speaker 1:

You couldn't have planned it, because when we were drinking I mean, what was an alcohol coach? I didn't. I hadn't even heard of that. But as drinkers, of course it wasn't on our radar. But for me it's so natural that it's gone this way. That's what I feel about it. It's a natural progression and it's so fulfilling. I'm just so happy that the you know this opportunities come up on this journey. So I really relate to what you were saying I love being coaching.

Speaker 3:

I just love it so much it's it does feel natural, it feels, I mean, certainly I've worked at it and taking, you know, gotten certified. I've taken two certifications to just really hone my skill, because if I'm going to do it, I want to do it right, I want to, you know. It's amazing, though, how, what, what's really important to me, also as being a coach, as I've just named myself this I don't know as an alcohol awareness advocate, because it's so frustrating to me that people don't know the truth about alcohol and so part of my, the reason why I want to do this as well, is to help women who are stuck, like I was, but also just to get the information out there. No rock bottom required people, if alcohol isn't serving you and it could be your glass ceiling Somebody used that term and I loved it. I'm like I'm stealing that because alcohol could be the glass ceiling Like we talked about.

Speaker 3:

That's keeping you from reaching your potential and um, and I think it does. I think it. It definitely dulls your, your spark. My husband did you know, has said he goes. You got your sparkle back, like I was just a miserable sad under a gray cloud all the time, you know, and I do feel like I got my spark back, even though everything isn't unicorns and flowers every day. You know, like I've been kind of crabby the last few days, I don't know what's going on, my husband's, like I'm staying away from you and so it's not perfect, like the alcohol-free life isn't perfect. There's no. You know, it's not magic or magical, but it is so much better than how I felt and how my life was when I was drinking.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, absolutely. It gives us a chance to reconnect with our authentic self, and that does take work, yes, and like you said, you know, your husband back when you were drinking was like you need a drink to be nice and everything like that, that is. So what alcohol does you know? We have these beliefs that we talk about in our coaching that come from things like that and we believe we need alcohol for that. But really, what your husband said now is you've got your sparkle back. This journey is a self looking into self, and that's what we do as coaches to help our clients and that's what we do as coaches ourselves. We've done um, yeah, and and because my um big thing about alcohol is it's covering some wounds.

Speaker 1:

So the people that, like me, that drank way too much much, have to look at that, because for me, it's very, very clear. I just didn't want to feel. I didn't want to feel. So getting deep on why and what those things were and it doesn't have to be a major trauma but things from childhood, particularly for me, changed my life, and going back and acknowledging and learning how to change my beliefs and how to feel the feelings has been incredible. So that's why I don't like the term alcoholic. I don't know about you, but I definitely get people assuming I had. Well, you did mention that assumption of there must have been a problem, certainly from the outside world. I drank too much, but it was because of of me and myself. It wasn't because I was some crazy alcoholic, you know.

Speaker 3:

I want to take away that myth for anyone who's drinking too much yes, if that word helps you and that identity helps you in your recovery, or even the word recovery, that that you know community, and then and they have amazing community, that's great. But it did not help me. It was actually a deterrent, and I feel like it's a deterrent for a lot of people who could start looking at their drinking a lot sooner and make changes a lot sooner. Because, um, you know, just like I was stuck with this being normal, like, oh, if you don't drink, you're not normal. That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. I mean now, but I, but I, I mean, but people still believe that, like, well, it's normal to drink, why don't you drink? It's like, oh well, you know, is it, but nothing else has that. You know what I mean. Like, if I don't drink, if I don't eat dairy because it gives me gas, you know, people are like, oh well, don't eat dairy. Then you know, please, you know, but why is it that? Like, alcohol is the thing that if you don't do it, there's something wrong with you. You know, it's just, it's crazy and uh, so just, I want to be out there just talking about yeah, people are pretty sick of me. Um, I want to be out there talking about it. I am pretty out there.

Speaker 3:

It took a while, but now I'm just out there with it, because I figure I don't know how I can be a coach without being pretty vocal about my story and also just wanting to help people, right, so your mess becomes your message. So I have to be able to be vulnerable and talk about the hard things, because that's what people relate to in your story. If I just went, oh well, I'm fine now and now I don't drink and my life is wonderful, people would be like no, it's like when I share. The hard stuff is when people are like oh, okay, good, I'm not the only one that dealt with that. I think that in the sharing that we the me too. When you hear that and you're like oh, me too, wow, oh, my gosh. Thank God I'm not the only one, because that's what happened when I did that first 21 day program.

Speaker 3:

I met other women I'm in this Facebook group and other women who drank too much white wine and had lives like mine. And it's uncanny, though, when you start telling your stories, how similar, how many similarities there are from Australia, there was somebody from Luxembourg, there was someone from Scotland, there was someone from Florida, there's people from California, texas, all over, right, and we would tell our stories and we're all like, oh, yeah, yeah, like, remember, like, did you ever like go in the house to like go to the bathroom and then like refill your wine glass without refilling your husband's? Yes, like on purpose, you know doing these things or talking about?

Speaker 3:

oh, there used to be this place in my kitchen where I knew my husband couldn't see me from the family room Right, and so you know, I'd go top myself off or something, and we'd all like, oh yeah, me too, me too. And and I realized with all these the diversity of these women, what is the common denominator? Alcohol that creates this behavior in us that was so similar and so many similar experiences. So then, how can it be the person? It has to be the substance right?

Speaker 1:

Oh, totally. I love when you said your mess becomes your message. I haven't heard that, but it's absolutely sharing, takes away the shame and that's what's helped me the most in this journey and that's why I also want to be vocal and people can choose to listen or not. So I just want to share that I'm not ashamed of my past at all. I went to AA as well. I loved the community. I didn't mind getting up saying I was an alcoholic, it didn't worry me.

Speaker 1:

But I also then found this Naked Mind, which absolutely was my kind of program, you know, compassion-led, science-based. So I found what resonated with me most. But I too, I love any way that helps people and I'm just here to talk about what's worked for me and then I have guests on what's worked for them. So and Susan also has a podcast, so in the show notes I'll pop that in, because the more the better. What you spoke about and what I felt is on our journey, it was listening to the podcast, to the stories, the quick lit that's. It's so helpful for people who are curious or who are early on in the journey or even further, to know they're not alone. But, susan, I wanted to ask also, I heard you speaking about willpower and want power, and I just wanted to ask you a bit about that, because I know you use that with your clients and in our program we talk about willpower not being something we need and ultimately we don't. But I wondered what you meant by that.

Speaker 3:

Okay, yeah, so I taught about this today and well, we need to use a little bit of willpower, like we're not just sitting there like noodles, right?

Speaker 2:

I mean at some point.

Speaker 3:

You know we do like at the. You know I went through my own pause. Let's say, you know, during the time where the. You know I went through my own pause, let's say, you know, during the time where I drank during COVID and then went, wow, I really don't want to do this. I had a huge shift of like I want to stop now, and so I was ready to be done and sorry.

Speaker 1:

Just to get clear on what the pause means for those listeners that don't know can you just tell us that?

Speaker 3:

Yes, yes, Sorry. So in this naked mind it's so great when you start the program, you start with a pause, which the pause is for you to stop trying to stop, and it's to help with the cognitive dissonance of like where I was, what you could see in 2019, I want to stop drinking, but I don't want to stop drinking. I'm creating all these rules and then fighting with myself I'll just have one Will it really be one? And just going back and forth just to stop all that. Just drink and be mindful and learn. Of course, don't drink while you're learning and as you start to get this new information. It's very parallel to what my experience was. It took me a whole year, but 2019, doing it on my own, getting all this new information, but still drinking sometimes. And then the experience of actually drinking sometimes was I could see some of the things that I was learning in action. I could feel it in my body and go, oh, and then, of course, really feel it in my body when I started drinking during COVID again. And so this is what we do in this Naked Mind we take a pause where we just stop all the madness right, Stop the cognitive dissonance, start to learn and then start to practice, start to do some mindful exercises around drinking where you can actually see what's actually really happening in your body. Plus you have this new knowledge of the science and and then we take a break and there it's just so effective to to have that, uh, to just take the pressure off, because you can't learn anything if you're just constantly at war with yourself, you know, and you're beating yourself up, and that's what I, you know, did, and I love also that it's, like you said, compassion led, grace based. We don't have. We talk about relapses, we don't have.

Speaker 3:

You don't go counting days, you know. You, it's a, it's a data point and we get the data from it and sometimes there's really gold, there's really great information. If you have a data point and you decide to drink during the break, or even during the pause, it's like, okay, well, how did that feel and what were you thinking? And we just get a lot of data. So that's the pause. We still have cravings. We have created this neural pathway in our brain of using alcohol for a reward, using it, like I said, to over-function and so using it to feel a different way.

Speaker 3:

And so when I would get overwhelmed. Still, even when I decided, you know, I went into this naked mind and I was taking my extended break for a hundred days, making that firm decision went a long way. Let me tell you it. You know, making that firm decision that this was my goal, 100 days and then you're just taking all the choice off the table. But it doesn't mean that sometimes you're not going to feel like you just don't want to feel the way you're feeling. And then your brain goes. Oh, I know this, my brain, it goes. Yeah, no, a drink. This is my voice. Yeah, no, a drink would really help you feel better, feel different, or when it's awkward, when you're first going, out to restaurants, or when it's awkward, when you're first figuring out what you're going to say to people.

Speaker 3:

So I feel like there are times when you need to engage a little bit of willpower to engage with that decision that you've made. That you've made a decision and so you kind of have to go. Ah, I said I wasn't going to drink, I'm not going to drink, that's my commitment. And you use a little bit of willpower there to say I'm not going to do that, right, yeah, to give yourself a little bit of a barrier. And then, but then when I I talk about willpower and want power, but then because you have this feeling based goal, you have this desire, you have a vision for yourself of what you know or you want your life to be, that you want this freedom. What is your goal in the 100 days? How do you want to feel that? You dig into that, want power. So I have clients make two lists. The willpower thoughts are like well, I don't want to drink because it's bad for my health and it causes cancer, and da, da, da, da, da. All the reasons why you don't want to drink. And then all the reasons why you're you're, why like what it's like, not reasons why you do want to drink, but it's reasons why you don't want to drink that are based on your future self. That are all the things like, oh, I'm going to feel so amazing in the morning or I'm going. It's the positives Cause a lot of times we are looking, you know, we're kind of looking at the negative. Well, I don't want to have a hangover that's different than I want to wake up feeling amazing. So that's the want power side. And so then, when you engage with the want power, it's like a one-two punch for that craving or that urge to grab the bottle of wine in that moment when you just want to feel differently, when you just want to numb, when you just don't. You know, when you added an party and somebody is like here's some wine and you're just like I don't know what to do with this thing. You know and you know so so I, you know that's what I mean about a teeny bit of willpower.

Speaker 3:

Willpower is a finite resource in our muscles. Like you know how you wake up in the morning going I'm not going to drink today, and then by five o'clock you're like whatever you know. And so it's a but if you're focused. But want power is not finite. Want power is like that light energy that regenerates, because it's because it is based on the desires of your heart, it's based on good versus the good that you're going for. That vision. It's a spark. You know it keeps you going. It's not very scientific explanation, but I could tell you it works.

Speaker 1:

We don't always need scientific. I love that explanation. And it's true, like I agree, we need some willpower at times. And it's true, like I agree, we need some willpower at times and we will do in different ways. Like to get myself back out exercising, I use willpower to start and then the momentum and the seeing results. That takes away the willpower.

Speaker 3:

Yes, that's the want power.

Speaker 1:

Cause.

Speaker 3:

Now you're like I want to feel this way after I'm done working out, I want to, you know, lose the weight or feel good in my jeans or whatever. That's the want power that starts to get activated. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Susan, the time's actually ticking away, but is there anything you want to say about what you do, where people can find you?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, sure, I mean, my coaching business is Susan Larkin Coaching, but I wanted to share. This is kind of a funny little coincidence is that my podcast with my podcast partner, ruby Williams, is called Feel Lit Alcohol-Free, and we answer listeners' questions and we talk about all things. We're very candid. So if you want to know more about my story, there's a lot in there and we also talk on the podcast about ways that we're feeling lit and I love that language.

Speaker 3:

But my theater company was named Fuse Theater and I was like whoa, wait a minute, there's a theme here, f fuse lit. And and that is truly how I do feel. Like you know, people talk about getting lit to be, you know, when they drink, and I feel like I'm more lit living an alcohol free lifestyle than I ever was when I was drinking. So the podcast is what I would have loved when I was struggling and we really do try to answer the hard questions and and dig in and offer tactics and so, yeah, it's, it's. It's been a real labor of love and and really fun too. So thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1:

Absolute pleasure and it's been wonderful to have you and and hear your story, which is so inspiring and incredible. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

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 1:

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:

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

Breaking Free From Unhealthy Alcohol Habits
Navigating Sobriety and High Achievement
Overcoming Alcoholism and Self-Medication
Alcohol-Free Journey and Self Discovery
Navigating the Pause in Sobriety
Empowerment Through Alcohol-Free Living