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61 minutes | Jun 30, 2022
Addicted to Perfection with Swan Huntley
Author Swan Huntley on drinking to escape the trap of perfection, and why self-love is a part of every sober and sober curious journey. In the episode we discuss: -Swan’s sober story – and how her drinking found her living a secret double life -The book that made her realize it was time for her to quit -Why everybody is sober curious before they get sober serious -Why she decided to write a fictionalized account of somebody’s sober curious journey -Reading and daydreaming as a healthy escape – and another way to dissociate -Why total abstinence equals freedom from our addictions -Whether there is any such thing as an “addictive personality” – and the factors driving our compulsive behaviors -Why the themes of perfectionism and control are very much tied to addictive behaviors -The concept of “keeping your side of the street clean” as it pertains to sobriety -The process of letting go of thoughts, beliefs, and resentments that are keeping us stuck in the past -The trap of using alcohol to unlock inspiration– and finding the courage to create sober Learn more about Swan Huntley and her work HERE, get your copy of Getting Clean with Stevie Green HERE, and follow her on IG @swanhuntley Big thanks to Ghia for partnering on this episode. You can get your Ghia at Drinkghia.com - where you can use the code CURIOUS to get $10 off your first online order
66 minutes | Jun 23, 2022
Dancing it Out with DJ Hanzi
DJ Hanzi, founder of sober dance party, Reprieve, DJ Hanzi, founder of sober dance party, Reprieve, talks about the healing power of music and dance, and how to navigate the nightlife as a non-drinker. In the episode we discuss: -How his experiences of going clubbing sober led to him setting up his sober dance party, Reprieve -How he kept the party going during Covid – and how it became a place for people to release tension and find hope -The therapeutic value of music and dancing when it comes to our mental health -Why dancing sober can be so intimidating – and how to overcome your shyness on the dance floor -Hanzi’s journey to sobriety – and why alcohol was the last substance he got around to giving up -Why problem drinking sometimes doesn’t look like “problem drinking” – and why sobriety isn’t just for alcoholics -How “partying” comes to be equated with getting high, and how to reclaim our right to play -The value of creating a more mainstream conversation about mental health, alcoholism, and addiction -How making time for FUN can fight fatigue and fuel us in our fight for a most just and equal world Learn more about Hanzi and Reprieve HERE and follow along on Instagram @djhanzi and @reprieveparty Big thanks to Curious Elixirs for partnering on this episode! Ship online at curiouselixirs.com where you can use the code RUBY22 for $10 off any order worth $50 or more.
68 minutes | Jun 16, 2022
Alcohol & ADHD with Jayne Matthews
Celebrated hair stylist Jayne Matthews on how getting a midlife diagnosis of ADHD helped her make sense of her substance abuse. In the episode, Ruby and Jayne discuss: -Why discovering cocaine was what finally led to Jayne quitting drinking -Why it was the hangovers – not the drinking – that became the reason she had to quit -The dangers of being a high-functioning addict -Jayne using booze to self-medicate her undiagnosed ADHD symptoms -Why both alcoholism and ADHD are said to run in families – and whether this is about genetics or learned behaviors -Not doing well in school and drinking being something Jayne could be “good at” in her teens -Why ADHD symptoms sometimes look like PTSD -Dealing with the shame, disappointment, and irritation of being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world -How Jayne's ADHD traits have helped drive her business success -Jayne's thoughts on ADHD medication given her history with addiction -Why we are seeing a spate of mid-life ADHD diagnoses – among women in particular You can learn more about Jayne and her work, and purchase her digital haircutting courses, HERE, and follow her on Instagram @jayne_edosalon Big thanks to Ghia for partnering on this episode. You can get your Ghia at Drinkghia.com - where you can use the code CURIOUS to get $10 off your first online order.
65 minutes | Feb 17, 2022
Insta-addiction with Laura McKowen
My guest today is the author and founder of The Luckiest Club, Laura McKowen. Laura is the first person I’ve had on the show twice. The first time, we were talking about her book, We Are the Luckiest, and I invited her back to discuss an essay she published in the New York times last fall, titled: How I Knew I Needed to Quit Instagram. I could relate personally to so much of what she described in her piece, in which she compared her relationship with social media with her alcohol addiction. The essay also came out around the time that reports surfaced linking social media use to negative mental health outcomes, among young girls in particular, and it seemed to me like it was part of a much larger, and ongoing conversation about how we navigate our lives online in a healthy way. As I was researching my questions for this interview, the parallels between social media and a substance like alcohol became clearer and clearer – and we get into all of that, along with what happened when her agent and publisher gently suggested that she get back on Instagram for the sake of her career. In the episode we discuss: -The highs and lows of social media addiction. -Moderating social media the way we used to moderate alcohol. -Why both social media and alcohol capitalize on our need to be validated and fit in. -Why it hurts so much to be unfollowed – and why we feel ashamed for caring about this. -How the advent of the personal brand was enabled by social media – while simultaneously shaping how we use these platforms -The impact on our mental health of constantly micro-managing our online personas. -How social media create a climate of constant competition with one another. -Why there is no such thing as being 100% “authentic” on social media. -What makes some people more susceptible to social media having a negative impact on them. -Finding other spaces to have more complex, nuanced, and thought-provoking conversations. Read Laura's NYT essay HERE, learn more about her work HERE. Laura's podcast is Tell Me Something True. And big thank you to amazing folks at bonbuz for partnering on this episode. You can order directly at bonbuz.com - and get 10% off your order with the code RUBY10 when you click HERE
54 minutes | Feb 10, 2022
Sober Relationships with Mark Groves
My guest this week is Mark Groves—a human connection specialist and founder of Create The Love. Probably the number one question I hear from people who are getting sober curious, is how will this affect my relationships. For most of us, regardless of our level of attachment to the substance itself, alcohol is part and parcel of our social lives. It’s there in our friendships, our families, our intimate partnerships, and our dating lives. So what happens when we remove it? Definitely a lot more awareness of the people and the situations we feel comfortable with. Probably a few / a lot of changes to our social lives as a result. I wanted to talk to Mark about how to navigate all of this, and why we feel we need alcohol to connect with others in the first place. This has all been front and center of Mark's life since he quit drinking three years ago. In the episode we discuss: -The impact of the Covid pandemic on our connections with others. -What led to him getting sober curious three years ago - and the specific quote that set him on his path. -Why we believe we need alcohol to connect with others - and what is really happening when we use booze socially. -The social contracts that are often the foundation of our drinking choices. -How being raised Catholic impacted his early intimate relationships. -Going through his first sober breakup. -His experience of being "Cali-sober" and why this didn't work for him. -The power of learning to sit with painful emotions. -What his time working in Big Pharma taught him about the Western approach to health and wellbeing. Learn more about Mark and his work HERE and follow him on Instagram @createthelove. And big thanks to Grüvi for partnering on this episode. Order at Getgruvi.com and use the code “Sobercurious10” to get 10% off your first online order
81 minutes | Feb 3, 2022
Sober Masculinity with Aubert Bastiat
My guest today is Aubert Bastiat – who is the co-founder of Sacred Sons, a global brotherhood that facilitates gatherings, workshops, and trainings focused on helping men discover a healthy connection to their masculinity. It has always struck me that substance abuse goes hand-in-hand with unhealthy – or what is often termed “toxic” - masculinity. Alcohol especially can enable a three-dimensional caricature of what it means to “be a man”- aggressive, violent, sexually entitled – that causes so much harm in the world, and I knew that Aubert – who has a background of addiction and recovery would be the perfect person to speak to this. Our conversation goes to some deep, vulnerable, and incredibly inspiring places. In the episode we discuss: -Discovering substances as a teen growing up in a deeply dysfunctional home -How our “emotional inheritance” can manifest in self-destructive behaviors -The impact of having an absent father on his sense of self as a masculine being -The “magical awakening” that led to him finally getting sober -Why spirituality is an essential component of recovery – and why organized religion is another form of patriarchy -The definition of a “sober masculinity”: responsible, mature, emotionally intelligent, and protective -Seeking personal power vs. power over others -Gravitating towards men’s consciousness raising work as part of his own journey of self-discovery -What we are really seeking when we reach for alcohol and other drugs -The concept of brotherhood and reclaiming the word “bro” -What he plans to teach his sons about alcohol and other substances Learn more about Aubert and Sacred Sons HERE and follow along on Instagram @aubertbastiat and @sacredsons
63 minutes | Jan 27, 2022
Eating Disorders & Us with Jayne Mattingly
My guest today is Jayne Mattingly – a therapist and eating disorders recovery coach, and the founder of Recovery Love and Care. I’ve wanted to have a conversation about how eating disorders fit into the landscape of addiction and recovery for a long time, partly because of my personal history with anorexia. It was only while writing Sober Curious that I became fully aware that this is absolutely a part of my addiction story. But I had shied away from talking about it publicly as, a) I feel a lot of shame about having been anorexic, and b) I know what a controversial and potentially triggering subject this can be. Then I started to do some more research, and I discovered that 50% of individuals with eating disorders also abuse alcohol or other drugs, a rate five times higher than the general population. Which I think is significant enough that we can’t not talk about it. In the episode we discuss: -What makes eating disorders and addictions very similar - and very different -How all eating disorders develop as ways to dissociate and manage difficult feelings -Why we live in a “hostile recovery environment” when it comes to both eating disorders and alcohol abuse -Why people with eating disorders often present as very “high functioning” - and how this can hinder intervention -Why there is such a huge overlap between substance abuse and eating disorders -The racist, ableist roots of diet culture and fat phobia -The link between eating disorders and ADHD medication - and how this can be safely managed -The prevalence of orthorexia - an addiction to healthy / clean eating -Why our relationship to food often mirrors our relationships with people -What attachment theory can tell us about disordered eating -Why self-acceptance—not self-love—is the key to healing body image issues Learn more about Jayne Mattingly and her work HERE, support her And initiative HERE, and follow her on Instagram @recoveryloveandcare And big thanks to Grüvi for partnering on this episode. Order at Getgruvi.com and use the code “Sobercurious10” to get 10% off your first online order
81 minutes | Jan 20, 2022
Sober Black Girls with Khadi A. Oluwatoyin
My guest today is Khadi A. Oluwatoyin, who is the founder of Sober Black Girls Club – a platform for Black women and non-binary people who are sober, sober curious, or even just thinking about putting down the bottle. Khadi was raised in a strict Muslim household, and alcohol was not part of her world growing up. But within hours of arriving at college, she had her first drink – and so began her career as a heavy binge drinker. She shares the specific solution that alcohol provided for her: it was a way to put down the high-achieving, perfectionist tendencies that she developed as a kid to mask the impact of her abusive childhood. As well as hearing her personal story, I wanted to learn from Khadi about the specific challenges of Black women in sobriety – and we get into topics such as the myth of the Black superwoman, and why AA tends to be so white, and why creating more inclusive sober spaces is not always the answer. In the episode we discuss: -Becoming a high achiever in school to mask the impact of her traumatic childhood -The immediate relief she felt on taking her first drink at college -Perusing a career in law – and what makes this a heavy-drinking profession -Why early intervention can prevent people from developing more serious substance use disorders -Why alcohol addiction is often not spoken about openly among the Black community -Being the only Black person at the rehab facility she went to, and why this is so common -Why it takes so long for high functioning addicts to get the help they need -Her experience of AA – and why she knew this program would never work for her -Why it was having no more goals to reach for that tipped her into addiction -Mental health conversations in the black community -Why Black women’s self-worth is so tied up with being busy and helping others -Why race is integral to both the causes of and recovery from addiction -What’s in her Sober Black Girls recovery toolkit – and why creating SBG has been part of this Learn more about Khadi and her work HERE and follow her on Instagram @soberblackgirlsclub And big thanks to Lyres and Three Spirit for partnering on this episode! Discover Lyres non-alcoholic spirits at Lyres.com and visit lyres.com/sobercurious to sign up for a special 15% discount code. You can also follow along on Instagram and find more recipes @lyresspiritco. OrderThree Spirit botanical elixirs at Threespiritdrinks.com and get 15% off your online order with the code RUBY. Find them on IG @threespiritdrinks
66 minutes | Jan 13, 2022
Healing Toxic Shame with Shain Kish
My guest on today’s episode is Shain Kish – who is a long-time member of the Sober Curious community, and my co-moderator in the "Sober Curious Book" Facebook group. Shain was the first person to ever show up at a Sober Curious writers group I used to host, and he found my work having been searching for ways to think about quitting drinking that actually spoke to him. He has gone on to use a “harm reduction” approach to addressing his alcohol and drug abuse, and he explains here what this has looked like in his life. The thing I love about Shain's attitude is that he is all about being gentle with yourself, being patient, and giving yourself the compassion that you need as you figure this stuff out. in the episode we discuss: -His experience of growing up in a bar (the family business) and how this shaped his approach to drinking -Being drawn to bar and club culture because it felt like “home” -Alcohol as a form of “therapy” for people who don’t have access to mental health services -Choosing not to judge his past behavior – and how all our experiences make us who we are -Different substances he’s used and the different impact they have had on him -Asking: who am I without booze? And who do I want to be? -Being a “party person” as part of his professional persona -Why it takes time, trial, and error to find your way as a non-drinker -The difference between being an alcoholic and somebody who sometimes abuses alcohol -Why confronting his childhood trauma was the only way to address his substance abuse -Why sobriety is easier than moderation (and why moderation never really works) -Why navigating shame has been a foundational piece of his sober curious journey You can connect with Shain in the "Sober Curious Book" Facebook group and follow him on Instagram @shainoffools Big thanks to Grüvi for partnering on this episode. Order at Getgruvi.com and use the code “Sobercurious10” to get 10% off your first online order And shout out to Curious Elixirs for supporting also. Order at Curiouselixirs.com and get $10 off orders over $50 with the code RUBY22
58 minutes | Jan 6, 2022
Reasons to Quit with Mia of The Sober Glow
My guest today is Mia from The Sober Glow - who was one of the very first “sober influencers” that I encountered on social media in my early days of getting sober curious and in this interview, Mia and I both reflect on how we have evolved on our respective sober curious paths. We also cover the unique challenges of being a non-drinker during a global pandemic, finding new ways to manage stress, why Mia recently archived all her old Instagram posts, and how one of the biggest gifts of removing alcohol has been greater self-acceptance. In the episode we discuss: -Her reason for quitting drinking six years ago – and how this has evolved -Why she no longer describes herself as “sober” and prefers the term “non-drinker” -How the real work of “sobriety” begins after you have removed the booze -Working as a nurse during the pandemic and having to find new ways to cope with stress -The practice of “yoga nidra” – and how this helps her regulate her nervous system -Why using THC to help her sleep is not the same as being “Cali-Sober” -Why intention counts for so much when creating new behaviors around alcohol -The discomfort – and honesty – of undergoing big personal changes as a “public figure” -The responsibility that comes with being an “influencer” and how important it is to retain integrity with what we’re sharing online -How deciding to stop dying her hair went hand-in-hand with her quitting drinking -Why the pandemic has helped us identify and prioritize what we want to keep in our lives -Why her current focus as a non-drinker is how she shows in for her relationships -The work it takes to maintain our friendships and the value of nurturing our IRL connections -Why it’s more important to be authentic than to try to be “for everyone” Learn more about Mia and her work HERE and follow her on Instagram @thesoberglow And big thanks to Lyres and Three Spirit for partnering on this episode! Discover Lyres non-alcoholic spirits at Lyres.com and visit lyres.com/sobercurious to sign up for a special 15% discount code. You can also follow along on Instagram and find more recipes @lyresspiritco. OrderThree Spirit botanical elixirs at Threespiritdrinks.com and get 15% off your online order with the code RUBY. Find them on IG @threespiritdrinks
63 minutes | Dec 30, 2021
Everything is Drugified with Anna Lembke, M.D.
My guest today is psychiatrist Anna Lembke MD, a specialist in Addiction Medicine at Stanford University. I invited Anna on to talk about her latest book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence – in which she posits that practically anything can become addictive in what she describes as the “dopamine saturated ecosystem” of our world today. Her book is a deep dive into the dopamine function of the brain, and she spells out exactly what is happening biologically whenever we reach for a drink, a pill, a smoke, a tweet, another person or whatever it is for us, in an attempt to tip the balance towards pleasure and away from pain. Thanks to the combination of consumerism and technology, she argues that we must resource ourselves to remain resistant to the addictive impulses that are constantly being triggered. Anna’s book is packed with real life examples of people working through their addictions to anything and everything – and it provides fascinating insights into how to disrupt and reset the reward function of the brain. In the episode we discuss: -How Anna came to work in the field of addiction – and why she finds this branch of the medical professional uniquely fulfilling -Her definition of a “spiritual solution” to addiction -Why almost everything in our dopamine saturated ecosystem is “drugified” -Why it’s possible to get addicted to almost anything that tips us towards pleasure and away from pain -What makes some people more vulnerable to addiction -Why prohibition does and doesn’t work -Why in an age of hyper-consumerism we must actively resist over-consumption -Why high rates of anxiety and depression are linked to the constant “comedown” of living in a pleasure-saturated world -Why doing hard things helps us build mental, emotional, and spiritual muscle -The value of “pro-social” shame when it comes to positive behavior change -Our mutual email obsession – and how we are both working with this -How the concepts of “dopamine fasting” and “self-binding” can help us reset -Her views on moderation – and what must happen first before we can even consider this approach Get your copy of Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke MD HERE Big thanks to Grüvi for partnering on this episode. Order at Getgruvi.com and use the code “Sobercurious10” to get 10% off your first online order And shout out to Curious Elixirs for supporting also. Order at Curiouselixirs.com and get $10 off orders over $50 with the code RUBY22
57 minutes | Dec 23, 2021
Drinking on the Job with David Murphy
My guest on today’s show is David Murphy—chief “flavor architect” for Lyres. David is a restauranteur, a sommelier, and a decades-long wine specialist, and now he has brought all his expertise in the field to the alcohol-free space. I’ve been very curious about how people working in the alcohol industry at large are responding to the emerging sober curious or alt sobriety space. I sometimes picture people at the big booze brands sitting around, scratching their heads trying to figure out how to keep people drinking. Although, let’s be real, they are selling a highly addictive drug that is the most socially acceptable way to medicate out existential pain, so it’s not like alcohol is going anywhere fast. But this conversation with David made me believe that, if nothing else, there being more and more alcohol-free options on menus makes it easier for people to choose something else rather than just drinking because it’s what everyone else is doing. We also talk about the components that come together to make a really “good drink,” the future of alcohol-free wine, and how conversations about addiction are evolving among hospitality industry professionals. In the episode we discuss: -The heavy drinking culture in Australia—and how this is changing radically -Realizing it is just good business to give non-drinkers better options on a menu -The toll that daily drinking takes when it’s part of your job -How the sober curious movement has made it easier to talk about addiction within the booze industry -How he went about creating non-alcoholic versions of all the classic spirits – and why tequila has the hardest flavor to replicate -What makes a really “good drink” – and how to begin experimenting on your own at home -Why the alcohol-free space wine has been so hard to crack and the latest developments in this area -The ripple effect of him getting involved in non-alcoholics among his family and friends -More people selecting their hospitality venues based on their zero-proof offerings Learn more about David Murphy and Lyres new Agave Spirit non-alcoholic tequila blend HERE. And big thank you to Avec for partnering on this episode—who make elevated mixers that are perfect for pairing with your favorite alcohol-free spirits. Find them at Avecdrinks.com where you can get 10% off online orders with the code "SoberCuriousPod"
70 minutes | Dec 16, 2021
Why Do We Drink? with Sylvester McNutt
Find the episode and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher, or listen up below. My guest this week is the author and motivational speaker, Sylvester McNutt III. I met Sylvester when I was a guest on his podcast, Free Your Energy, and as soon as we signed off that day, I knew I wanted to have him on here to continue the conversation. I explain why as the recording gets going, so you’ll hear about that in a few moments. But his Sober Curious journey aside, I also wanted to have Sylvester on as his work speaks directly to what is such a key piece of this path: how, where, and why am I directing my energy, and what am I either inviting into my life or preventing myself from experiencing as a result. With his writing, he spreads the message that “healing is the key to success.” And, yes, our relationship to alcohol and other substances is a part of this. I’m just going to leave this here and get right into it. In the episode we discuss: -His first Sober Curious birthday – and how he made his decision whether or not to drink -His drinking history and how his relationships to alcohol has evolved over the years -His idyllic experience of early family life as a child – and the incident that changed everything -How his parents’ drinking shaped his feelings about booze -How removing alcohol has impacted his male friendships -How to “Free Your Energy” - and why getting conscious about your drinking is part of this -Why he never gave in to peer pressure to drink during high school – and why he started drinking in college -Why he decided to get Sober Curious after becoming a father himself -How removing alcohol has impacted his relationship with his partner -What it means to live a “purposeful” life – and why alcohol now has no purpose in his life -Why shame is so prevalent in our society and how to move beyond living from low self-esteem -His go-to healing practices and why community is such a big part of this -Why he’d rather be alone than engage in “fake” friendships – and how to keep it real with the people we love Sylvester McNutt III is an author and host of the Free Your Energy podcast. Learn more about his work HERE and follow him on Instagram @sylvestermcnutt Big thanks to Grüvi for partnering on this episode. Order at Getgruvi.com and use the code “Sobercurious10” to get 10% off your first online order. Shout out also to Curious Elixirs alcohol-free cocktails. Order online at Curiouselixirs.com—where you can also get $10 off orders over $50 with the code RUBY22.
75 minutes | Dec 9, 2021
The Astrology of Addiction with Bess Matassa
My guest today is the brilliant astrologer and author Bess Matassa. Bess is a long-time friend and collaborator of mine, and I knew she would be the perfect person to bring on for this episode on The Astrology of Addiction. Now, I know this topic might be a bit “out there” for some of you. But I am confident that whatever your interest in or thoughts about astrology, you will find plenty that you can relate to in our conversation, while having your mind blown just a little bit along the way. Ultimately, Bess and I use astrology less as a divination tool for “predicting” future events – and more as a language of symbols to describe the more numinous, or unknowable and unnamable, aspect of being human. That is, the part of being human that we are often attempting to either run towards or away from when we are reaching for alcohol and other drugs. We get into how we can use astrology for self-awareness – and as a way of looking at our addictive tendencies. We also go into some specific astrological teachings that listeners can apply to their own lives and Bess shares the details of how she came to be sober curious herself. PS: this conversation was originally recorded as part of Sober Voices Flow. In the episode we discuss: -Bess’s own journey with substance abuse and her current relationship with alcohol -How astrology and alcohol have served a similar purpose in her life – but both with different outcomes -How astrology can help connect us to the concept of a “higher power” -The concepts of “fate” and “free will” and when to accept life as it is and when to take control -How knowing your astrological birth chart can help you understand who you are and what you need -Being guided by our feelings as much as our thoughts -A primer on how to read your astrological birth chart – and why we all contain all the astrological “signs” -Specific examples of how to use astrology on your sober curious path -Why life gives us friction and challenges to work with in order to help us grow -How astrology can help us understand individual differences in terms of values and needs -How current astrological transits are shaping thinking about addiction and mental health Bess Matassa is an astrologer and the author of The Numinous Cosmic Year – a total, interactive guide to the astrology of 2022. Learn more about Bess and her work HERE and use the code COSMICMOCKTAL for 20% off a personal reading with Bess.
75 minutes | Dec 2, 2021
Finding Sober Friends with Kate Johnson
My guest today is the spiritual teacher and author Kate Johnson. Kate’s new book is called Radical Friendship, and I knew I wanted to have her on the podcast as soon as I read it. I don’t know about all of you, but closing out 2021 I have been feeling the impact of 18 months of social distancing. The past few months, I’ve found myself questioning who my real friends are; whether I’ve been a good enough friend to people; and what kinds of friendships I want to invest in going forward. This process has reminded me a lot of how it can feel navigating your new social landscape after you quit drinking. One of the biggest questions I hear people asking when they get Sober Curious is: am I going to lose all my friends? And, well, Kate also celebrated 10 years of sobriety this year – and so she is perfectly placed to speak to this. We also talk about why friendship is so important, why these relationships are often devalued compared to family and romantic ties, and how we can all be better friends to one another. In the episode we discuss: -The value and importance of friendship – and why these relationships are often not valued the same as family and romantic partners -Why strong friendships are a vital part of affecting social change -Reevaluating her friendships, and relearning how to make new friends, after she quit drinking -A Buddhist approach to relationships and the notion of “spiritual friendships” -How her meditation and yoga practice have helped access states of calm in sobriety -How removing alcohol helped her address underlying mental health issues -Why sobriety helps you get real with yourself – so you can be more real with others -Working with our “persistent visitors” (anxiety, repetitive thoughts and fears etc.) rather than trying to numb them out -Kate’s definition of “freedom” and how we can begin to liberate ourselves and each other from suffering -Seeing friendship as a source of joy and turning towards this in times of suffering -Why friendship is an activity – and how we can be proactive about centering friendship in our lives Kate Johnson is a spiritual teacher and author of Radical Friendship. Learn more about her work HERE and follow her on Instagram @hellokatejohnson. Big thanks to Grüvi for partnering on this episode. Order at Getgruvi.com and use the code “Sobercurious10” to get 10% off your first online order.
59 minutes | Aug 12, 2021
The Future is AF with Bill Shufelt
My guest today is Bill Shufelt, who is the founder of Athletic Brewing – my favorite alcohol-free craft brewery! Bill has been a major player in spearheading the rapidly expanding non-alcoholic space and in this episode he shares his own sober curious journey, what led him to quitting drinking completely nine years ago, and the story behind how he quit his job and took the leap into the entrepreneurial space. Along the way, we touch on some really interesting points that help to join the dots between the competitive, high-performance culture that underpins so much of American life, and the dominant drinking culture here. Bill also shares some surprising statistics about the way Americans drink, and the impact of problem drinking on a micro and a macro level. He also shares about the wider mission of Athletic and how his own sobering up has led to a personal commitment to being a positive force for change. In the episode we discuss: -How having more access to information about our health and wellbeing has been a major factor in more people getting sober curious. -Why non-drinking is far more widespread than we think – and the role advertising plays in normalizing excessive drinking. -His own Sober Curious journey, and why he decided to quit drinking completely nine years ago. -Choosing not to drink as part of a high-performance lifestyle – and how alcohol creates a false ceiling in our lives that we don’t realize is there until we quit. -How cutting out booze sparked his intellectual curiosity, leading to the years of research he put into the launch of Athletic. -Using alcohol to manage stress and to mask the emotional pain of losing his mom at age 18. -How addressing his own misperceptions about drinking helped him feel more comfortable with his choice. -The ripple-effect of quitting drinking – and how this often leads to friends and family reevaluating their relationships to alcohol. -Why the craft brewing industry has been so slow to go alcohol-free - and why this is changing fast. -The lasting impact of prohibition in the US and how this still impacts the way we drink today. -The alternative ways he’s found to relax and unwind as a non-drinker (and how his social life really hasn’t changed). Learn more about Bill and Athletic Brewing HERE. Big thanks to Optimist Drinks for partnering on this episode. Get 15% off your order at Optimistdrinks.com with the code CURIOUS.
63 minutes | Aug 5, 2021
The Adderall Effect with Allie Lerner
My guest today is Allie Lerner, a sex and trauma therapist who I invited on to the show to talk about how she quit her 10-year addiction to Adderall. Adderall is a prescription drug, and one that enables certain traits that are celebrated in our society – such as productivity and thinness. Both factors that mean this is an addiction that often flies under the radar. In our conversation, Allie describes how it crept up on her, and how it came to completely take over her life to the point where she was barely sleeping or eating – while even she was in complete denial that she had a problem. In many ways, Allie was the definition of a “high-functioning” addict. Having suffered from an eating disorder from a very early age, she is also brutally honest about the role that her body image issues played in her turning a blind eye to what she eventually came to realize would kill her if she didn’t find a way to quit. Our conversation also pans out to look at the impossible standards of perfection that women in particular are asked to hold ourselves to – while labeling any inability to perform or keep it all together as a weakness. In the episode we discuss: -Using Adderall in college to help with focus – and how this led to a daily, 10-year habit -Why this drug is so popular – and this addiction so rampant - in a society that values productivity, perfectionism, and thinness -Why this is a drug that enables and personifies “high-functioning” addiction -How easy it is to overlook addictions to legal and / or prescription drugs -How a drug designed to help you focus actually creates total chaos -What led to her “moment of clarity” about quitting – and the intense physical experience of detoxing from Adderall -Why her body image issues made it easier to love herself while she was in her addiction -The toxicity of “looking good” in a fat phobic, misogynistic, ableist society -Maintaining her career as a mental health professional throughout her addiction -Her definition of “trauma” – and why trauma and addiction go hand-in-hand -How her addiction – and her sobriety – impacted her sexual expression Learn more about Allie Lerner and her work at Allielerner.com Big thank you to Optimist Drinks for partnering on this episode. Find them @optimistdrinks and get 15% off your order with the code CURIOUS at Optimistdrinks.com
76 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
Addiction in the Family with Jamila Reddy
My guest today is Jamila Reddy, a lifestyle designer, holistic wellness advocate, and empowerment coach, who has first-hand experience of how one person’s substance abuse can impact on the wider family system. Jamila lost her older sister to addiction coming up on three years ago at the time of recording, and I invited her on to talk about how she and her family coped with this loss. Many of us have experienced watching our loved ones struggle with addiction – as well as navigating the mental health issues that are often behind this – and have felt the pain of knowing that there is only so much we can ever do to help somebody who, for whatever reason, is unable to help themselves. In this conversation, Jamila shares vulnerable truths about her journey with her sister. Along the way, we discuss the life events that can trigger addictive behaviors, the fine line between helping and enabling, the guilt and shame that can permeate families experiencing addiction, and how the grieving process has helped to inform her work and her mission in the wider world. In the episode we discuss: -Why siblings can have such different experiences with substance abuse – despite having the same upbringing and genetic imprints. -The differences in how she and her sister processed the fallout from her parents’ divorce. -Feeling like she lost her friend after her sister started drinking – and the impact of her sister’s using use on the wider family system. -Drinking to enable extreme behavior and “act out” the feelings we can’t express in words. -How her sister’s drinking progressed to harder drug use. -The fine line between helping and enabling a person who is struggling. -How the unexpected nature of her sister’s death – and how much harder this made it to grieve. -How a person’s agency and the choices they make are compromised by addiction. -How her Buddhist practices have helped her process and make sense of her sister’s death. -How the hardest of times can help us flower and bloom in new ways. -The importance of resourcing ourselves with rest, pleasure, and joy before we burn out. -Missing her sister the most in times of intense joy – and seeing the death of a loved one as a permission slip to live life to the fullest. Discover more about Jamila and her work HERE and follow her on Instagram @jamilareddy Big thank you to Optimist Drinks for partnering on this episode. Find them @optimistdrinks and get 15% off your order with the code CURIOUS at Optimistdrinks.com
75 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
Addicted to Anxiety with Nicole LePera
My guest today is Dr. Nicole LePera, a.k.a. The Holistic Psychologist. Given her extensive social media following, it’s very likely you are familiar with Nicole’s work—which has helped to democratize the field of psychotherapy. On her Instagram account, Nicole has made theories, tools, and practices for what she terms “self-healing” available and accessible to millions of people – and her new book, which is titled How to Do the Work, breaks down her approach to creating positive change in our live. In this episode we talk about how this applies to being sober curious, and how part of the healing path is to reevaluate the impact of alcohol and other substances on our mental and emotional health. Nicole also talks about her own journey with substances, and why it often feels easier to cling to what we know, even when it’s hurting us. She also beaks down in detail exactly what is happening in our brains when we reach for drink and other drugs to numb out, dissociate, or self-medicate. Which is just a fraction of everything we cover in this episode, which was full of lightbulb moments for me. I hope you get as much out of it as I did. In the episode we discuss: -How she defines “the work” of healing ourselves. -How we get stuck in the disconnect between “knowing better” and “doing better.” -Discovering alcohol at age 13 to help her dissociate from the constant anxiety in her family home. -Why shame is one of the most common reasons people use substances - and how the stigma of addiction only adds to this. -How to replace whatever we are using to numb out with new tools to help us find a new path forward. -How the inner changes we are working on create a ripple effect in the world – and the people - around us. -Why we cling to what we know – even when it’s no longer serving us. -Her expanded definition of childhood trauma – and how this creates repercussions throughout our lives. -The specific reasons alcohol can be used to mask past trauma. -The meaning of the term “self-regulation” – and why our substance use stems from a desire to regulate an agitated nervous system. -How we can also get addicted to stress – and unconsciously seek out experiences to keep us in an activated state (especially on social media). -Why getting conscious about everything we consume – from booze to news to social media – is part of our healing. -AND SO MUCH MORE FASCINATING STUFF (including the importance of poop). Get your copy of How To Do The Work HERE and follow her on Instagram. Big thanks to Optimist Drinks for partnering on this episode. Find them on Instagram and get 15% off your order with the code CURIOUS at Optimistdrinks.com
63 minutes | Jul 15, 2021
Living With Our Pain with Jessica Murnane
My guest this week is Jessica Murnane – a podcaster, author, and women’s health advocate, who is also one of the most down-to-earth and non-preachy people in the modern wellness space. Jessica’s and I met when were both promoting our first books four years ago. I had only just started speaking about being sober curious publicly and Jess was one of the first people I’d come across who had cut booze out of her life for health reasons – namely as part of the holistic protocol she had embraced to manage her endometriosis. For the unfamiliar, endometriosis is a chronic condition where the lining of the womb starts to grow on other organs of the body. It affects over 170 million people worldwide with sufferers experiencing excruciating pain—but it often goes undiagnosed for decades. It’s also the subject of Jess’s latest book, Know Your Endo – and we get into all the reasons why this is illness is so taboo in our interview. As it pertains to being sober curious, the reality of endo is that there is no quick fix—just like there is no “off switch” when it comes to problematic drinking. We also discuss why many people living with chronic pain – whether physical, mental, or emotional – turn to substances to numb out, and how hard it can be to choose what we know is “good” for us when all we want is relief. Most importantly, we talk about how to advocate for yourself and give yourself what you need – especially when the other people in your life may not understand where you’re experiencing. In the episode we discuss: -Growing up “Straight Edge” and choosing NOT to drink as an act of rebellion. -Receiving mixed messages about alcohol in the home. -Being introduced to booze as part of her career in the culinary world. -What makes alcohol feel special – and why we associate drinking with elevated experiences. -The prevalence and normalization of daily drinking on TV and in the media. -Cutting alcohol out again to help manage her endometriosis. -The mental health impact of living with chronic pain – and why it makes sense to want to numb out. -Using cannabis medicinally – and questioning when this becomes too much of a crutch. -Training your body to appreciate the long-term benefits of holistic healing methods over the instant relief of booze and pills. -How changing your diet can impact your mental and emotional wellbeing. -Why we want to believe in “quick-fixes” and why creating sustainable change always takes time. Learn more about Jessica and her work HERE and get your copy of Know Your Endo HERE. You can also follow @jessicamurnane on Instagram. Thanks to Athletic Brewing for partnering on this episode. Get 20% off your first order at Athleticbrewing.com with the code RUBY20.
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