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10,000 Podcast Downloads



As of today, my podcast Sober Yoga Girl has reached 10,000 downloads. I want to thank everyone who has supported and been a part of the show! Whether you have subscribed, tuned in, shared or been a guest - it is because of you this community exists. Thank you! ❤️🙏🏻


Tune in to Today's episode with Alex Bales

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Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out her offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at http://themindfullifepractice.com/live-schedule.


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TRANSCRIPT

Intro

Welcome to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast with Alex McRobs, international yoga teacher and sober coach. I broke up with booze for good in 2019 and now I'm here to help others do the same. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.


Alex

All right, so welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl. I am super excited to have another Alex here with me today. I have Alex Bales and he is in Indiana in the United States. And he's a personal trainer, turned transformational life coach, and he helps people overcome addiction and emotional trauma in their life. So welcome to the podcast, Alex. I'm so happy to have you here.


Alex Bales

Yes. Thank you so much for having me. Alex, I'm excited to be here. And yeah, I can't wait to share with your audience. It's going to be great.


Alex

Awesome. So let's dive right into it. Why don't you tell me a bit about yourself, and who you are and kind of where you're from and a little bit of your background story?


Alex Bales

Sure. Absolutely. So like you said, the background is personal training. And right now I'm also doing a little life coaching. But I think the best thing to do would just be to tell you my story. So--


Alex

Yeah.


Alex Bales

You know, starting out as a kid, I was always a super, super shy kid. I used to go to school and I used to, like cry before I would like get on the bus because I didn't want to go to school and I would have to, like go see the social worker at school. I was always just like, very sensitive, intuitive and empathic. So that was fine growing up. But it did create a lot of like logistical issues, especially with like the young guys and stuff. You know, they weren't really like that. They were interested in like playing with cars and doing things like that. And I just wasn't into any of that stuff. So I've always kind of felt like the odd man out a little bit out of place, like I never fit in. That being said, growing up, I found that I did really well in sports and I'm just kind of like naturally gifted, athletically gifted person athletically. So I took to that really well. And I was being recruited at a very young age for both football and baseball. So coming up early on in high school, things were going great. And then I came across a coach who was very difficult and he was hard for me to be around. He actually was coaching me in both football and baseball, a couple of years after I graduated. He actually got fired for verbally and emotionally abusing the athletes. And there was like a big fiasco around it. But nonetheless, this really took a toll on me while I was in high school because when I was 17, 18, 16 were super impressionable. We don't know what our emotions are, what's going on. So I can remember, like, I would go to school and I would sit in, like, study hall and just put my head down and just be like I remember feeling completely detached from my body. So in reflection, I was in like full on apathy and depression, but I didn't understand it and I didn't know what to do with it or how to handle it then. So this complete disaster at 18 years old, my mental health gets so bad that my parents actually didn't even allow me to play football my senior year after being on varsity as a freshman. And so at that point, my entire identity had been caught up as an athlete, because even when I wasn't playing football, like in the summers, I would travel around the US playing baseball. I was just that was my life. Like, that's who I was. I was an athlete. And so all of a sudden, you know, that's not my identity anymore. And, you know, all the guys that I used to hang out with for sports no longer wanted to be my friends. So I remember I lost all my friends and that just made things even worse. Nobody wanted to hang out with me anymore because I wasn't a part of what they were doing. So nonetheless, I remember that summer was the first time that I actually started to drink a little bit. And so I wasn't like a full blown alcoholic or I wasn't out of hand then, but in reflection, every time I used to drink, I would get either blackout or I would push the envelope, so to speak. So I'm partying all summer just to avoid feeling what I'm feeling and dealing with my emotions and this identity crisis I'm having. At 18 years old, I still actually end up going away to play baseball, but I just had a really small school. It wasn't really my dream at that point, but they offered me a good amount of money to go there, so it was really hard for me to say no. So I go away in two weeks and I get what's called Epstein-Barr virus. So Epstein-Barr virus is like an extreme version of mono. Basically, I was sick the entire first semester of college. I would actually get through the week and then I would drive home every single weekend because I was so sick and they didn't know it was Epstein-Barr for about six months. They were just trying to figure out what it was. So my throat kept swelling all the way shot and I would come home and they would give me antibiotics. It would go away. But as soon as I see the antibiotics, my throat would swell back up and I would start spiking this like 102, 103 fevers. They took my tonsils out. I lost 50 pounds. It was like a year and a half of chronic fatigue.


Alex

Wow.


Alex Bales

I turn into a complete mess. So then I'm back home and I had some guys that I reconnected with from high school who are very into like the fitness in the bodybuilding scene. And they were like, you know, you're an athlete. You know, why don't you start a call extracurriculars? But why don't you start dabbling with. Some steroids and some some anabolic, maybe you'll take a liking to like bodybuilding or being in the fitness industry. So, at the time I was desperate and I was insecure and my emotions were unstable. So, I did. And little did I know that I have a very addictive personality. And like anybody who gets out of hand with any substance, one thing turn into the next. And so I end up basically doing steroids for like three straight years with no breaks or anything in between. So at this time, I also get into a relationship which was really ultimately just a reflection of what was going on inside of me. It was a disaster. My family didn't approve of it. And of course, I didn't like it at the time. And I didn't have the wisdom to actually listen to the people who cared about me. So I leave home and I actually go live with her and her family. And it was a verbally abusive relationship, both on my end and hers. I absolutely was at least half of the problem and I completely take full responsibility for that. But it was a verbally abusive relationship. Nonetheless, her mom had a drinking problem. So we would her mom actually, in reflection, was kind of the one who really instigated this heavy drinking. So like we were drinking. We're just drinking a lot. We were smoking a lot of weed. And it was just like that was that kind of became my norm. So eventually, to make a long story short, that relationship just gets to a point where emotionally I couldn't handle it anymore. So I reconnected with my family and I decided to leave for my own sake. So I go home and I'm just kind of cruising through life at this point and partying a lot, drinking a lot. And so this is when I start using hard drugs. So I start dabbling with like some coke and some amphetamines and pills and things of that nature. So I'm actually always been really highly functional. So I was trained jujitsu. I was working out, I was going to school full time and I'm not going to say where I worked, but I was working as a supervisor in a pretty high role for like a pretty big company at the time. I'm on night shift. So what I was doing was I was just filling the void in my heart with activity and things to do so that I didn't have to deal with what was going on inside of me. And at that point, I'd also been on steroids for three years. And I realized in reflection, I had built this huge body to hide this insecure little boy that was inside of me. So I run myself into the ground and I wake up one day with what was probably the worst case of adrenal fatigue I've ever heard of. Frozen hands and feet, stand up, extreme vertigo. I fell back down on my dad was super sick and I was like that for a good six to eight months. And this is where things are out of control. So, I'm going to work all night. And then I would come home and I would drink two bottles of wine straight out of the bottle. I would drink a whole bottle of Nyquil so that I would sleep all day long, I would sleep, and then I would wake up and I would either use Coke or amphetamines to wake me up and get me through the night. So I'm running this rat race for like two or three straight months and I become suicidally depressed. So I'm like, how am I going to bring this to an end? So I'm starting to contemplate how I'm going to do it. And in my darkest moment when I was going to do it, I felt God or the universe or whatever you may call it, just kind of reached out and said, you know, this is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you. You have an opportunity to start over and you're just going to learn and grow so much from this. And it just felt like the universe just just really provided and made me feel super loved. And it wasn't easy, but pushed me in the right direction. And I got it when I needed that and I wouldn't change it for a second. It's been the best thing that ever happened to me.


Alex

Wow. What a story, you've been through so much.


Alex Bales

Yeah, I'm super grateful for it to, you know, and reflection. I had somebody asked me recently, they said, what advice would you give yourself if you could go back in and do it all over again or go back and change some things? And I think my answer surprised when I said I wouldn't go back and change anything. I said I would actually tell myself to after that even more. And the reason for that is that all of that, all those downfalls, all of those struggles, all that pain, all the issues, an identity crisis, I had all provided me with an opportunity to grow and learn and become who I am now. So when you make that mindset shift to like, you know, what if this works out or who could I be more of like a contemplative mindset? I think that that's really powerful. And that's what happened to me. I just started and I started trying things like it hasn't been a perfect journey. Like, you know, I've kind of veered all over the place, but. Like, I feel like a lot of times in our lives, remember, when we're trying to figure out who we are, I almost think of it like a spiral, like we're trying and trying and trying. But it's slowly over time, we're actually chipping away and chipping away, slowly getting closer to the center point until we come full circle. And we realize we've had what it took all along to just love ourselves and to be who we are.


Alex

It's so true. And I love what you said. I had a podcast just a few months ago who said your message, your message. And I think that is one of the biggest sort of takeaways I have is like had I not had all those years with drinking issues, then I would never be doing what I'm doing now. And so the things that happened to us are are the things that create who we are.


Alex Bales

Absolutely. I think we're all being guided in a certain direction. So, you know, for a long time, I remember I always felt like I was kind of fighting the direction the universe was kind of pushing me towards. And it just created a lot of struggle. And now I've learned, I just kind of accept life on life's terms. I feel like life can actually be kind of like fun and joyful and easy and effortless if we just kind of learn to live and flowing in sync with what happens in our lives. So. You know, I'll be honest, I struggle, I still struggle with I developed some weird habits after struggling with my addiction like some OCD and a lot of anxiety. And so that's been a great teacher for me, too, because I'm learning to let go and to just trust and to just allow myself to be to be guided. And then it's okay for me to be intuitive and empathic and embrace that and just be who I am. Like, you know, we all have a gift. We all have a purpose. So why not just allow it to be shown and life?


Alex

Yeah, absolutely. Because you kind of got into my next question, which was talking about sort of your journey with addiction. Tell me a bit more about your what was the process like of getting sober? What resources did you draw on? Like how what kind of was the moment that triggered that? And how did you and how did you recover?


Alex Bales

Yeah. You know, I was really fortunate. I feel like this was the perfect path for me. God really provided for me, like one of my mentors before I long before I got sober, told me that he was an alcoholic. And so when I had a-- when I was in my darkest moment. And I had been given a little bit of an ultimatum, my family said that if they couldn't take it anymore and that I had to leave, I reached out to this gentleman and he took me to my first meeting. And it was it was super helpful. And I can remember sitting at my first meeting in the bar, I would usually go to when I did go out was like right down the street. And I remember being like, I'm just going to walk down there as soon as the silver. And I didn't end up doing it. But, yeah, that was the start of it for me. They were like, keep coming back. And I'm like, okay, but yeah. So I kept coming back and I don't really subscribe to like AA anymore. I think it's some deep spiritual work, but I've kind of move past it. But anyways. Yeah, so that was the start. And then I relapsed. I relapsed twice. AA actually kept me sober for eight months, twice, but it wasn't like the super long term solution for me. I think it's great for getting sober. For me, the long term solution was two things. It was just self care and it was just working on myself, like actually asking myself, who do I want to be like? Who am I? What do I care about? And then just starting to move in the direction of those things, like what do I want to learn and what do I want to share with the world? So like a lot of times in like AA or you'll even hear a lot of therapists say you should be content in life, like just being sober, like that's good enough. And while sometimes that may serve people, I don't really subscribe to that thinking. Like your pain can become your purpose. So I started just working. I started just working and navigating this. And I'm like, how am I going to turn this into something? So like, how am I going to be of service to people? So now it's like I take all those lessons I learned and my mindset is like if I can help one person. Even one, then that's a success, because that person can go and help somebody and the next person can go and help somebody. So I hope that kind of answers your question. I tend to veer all over the place and just speak from the heart. But it was about self care and really working on myself. And I've got my five, I kind of, I call it my five tenets . And so, like at the top, I always ask somebody like, what's your dream or your vision up here? And then there's like five branches that come down. It's like nutrition, like sleep or rest, exercise, a holistic practice and relationships. So those are like the five things that we have to make sure are dialed in in our life so that we can be whole and have a balanced lifestyle.


Alex

That's great. And so that's something you use like a coaching tool that you use with your clients, correct?


Alex Bales

Yeah, that's my that's my process. And then everybody, like, I don't have like a super outlined and detailed plan just because I don't believe in cookie cutter programs.


Alex

Yeah.


Alex Bales

I like to make that individual and customize because everybody's different. And one person might need one or two aspects more than than somebody else. So everybody has different traumas and different areas of their life. Those are just like what I call it base the five tenets, so the big five.


Alex

Absolutely. Yeah, that's great. And I really see how that pulls into your like your PT experience like nutrition and exercise. And it sounds like it's very revolving around like both physical and emotional well-being.


Alex Bales

Yeah, absolutely. So my mission is really ultimately like whether it be getting somebody sober or even just helping them to get back into shape into good health is really just to change the way that they show up for themselves. You know, that's really my mission. And just I'm not here to tell somebody like what to do or who to be. I call myself like a way shower or like here the tools that you can use if this is the life that you want. But if you don't want to do it, that's totally fine. Like things show up in your life and they'll continue to show up until you learn the lessons you need to learn. And that's okay. But I would just embrace that. But if you want to change, like here's what worked for me and here are some awesome tools that you can use as well.


Alex

That's awesome. So we kind of jumped ahead talking about your so your PT and your coaching. At what year did you get sober? How long have you been sober for?


Alex Bales

Almost two years. So--


Alex

Yeah. We talked about this. We have almost the same date. Right. I'm a little bit to you.


Speaker 2

Yeah. So, I mean, like, I had two really short relapses. And so, I mean, like I just say. So it would have been, you know, I don't really track my date anymore because I've just detached from that identity so much. But I think my first attempt was sometime in 2017 if I'm doing the math right in my head because I was exactly eight months twice and then now it's been almost two years. So yeah, it's been a super long and fun journey.


Alex

Yeah.


Alex Bales

And then to say the least--


Alex

And I think no one's journey is completely straight, like there's always people that have little blips or because it's such a like ingrained habit, like it's such, it's so hard to break any habit, especially in addiction.


Alex Bales

Oh yeah, absolutely. So you know, you always hear about spiritual teachers talk about like the middle way and some people are just able to lock that middle way, just like naturally. And I'm like, good for you. Like, that's awesome. Because I find balance like that's like a beer over here to the left and a beer here to the right. I tend to find it through extremes that, like, I switch back and forth and then eventually, like I talked about, like the spiral, I kind of come full circle. And I realized, like, you know, there's probably a little bit of truth over here and a little bit of truth over there. And then I just take and learn a little bit is something from everything. And I kind of come full circle and I just ask myself what what do I think? How do I feel about it? And I just live my truth.


Alex

Yeah, that's amazing.


Alex Bales

I like to take complicated and complex things and just make just keep it simple. Keep it real.


Alex

Yeah. And so how did you-- so then you quit drinking or you got sober and then how did you end up becoming a PT and getting into the coaching. Like what inspired that.


Alex Bales

Sure. Oh I think I'm just kind of like a natural coach. I really love relationships. I'm very introverted, believe it or not. But what I really get out of relationships is like I love like that intimacy I get to build with people like I love being vulnerable with people. And I love like, I'm so honored when people share things with me and I'm just like, wow, I like the fact that you can trust me. That much means so much to me. So I just love being a guide for people. And so what got me into coaching was, you know, my trauma with that coach in high school for one. Our pain becomes our purpose. And because I had such trauma around that I wanted to go back and break the cycle. So I wanted to be like. You know what, I can be that person who is a positive influence on somebody who can leave somebody with a good impression that and then as far as being a personal trainer, I just I just enjoy taking care of myself. I worked out my whole life. I had a trainer at a very young age because I was, you know, a high level athlete and my parents paid for that and I just fell in love with that. So when I first got sober. I just kind of use the skills that I already had and I got my PT cert and I started training people as a personal trainer and it's been absolutely fantastic, like building my personal training business has been so good for me, like spiritually, emotionally, just for my personal development. But now I really want to do the deeper work with people. And what drew me to life coaching was, you know, I got accepted into some master's programs for like marriage and family therapy or to be a licensed mental health counselor. But ultimately, it didn't really completely resonate with me. I really wanted to be able to do my own thing and develop and to develop my own programs with the skills and experiences that I already have. I didn't want to be put into somebody else's box. And so that's that's what guided me into life coaching. I feel like we all have something to share. So I'm here to share my story.


Alex

Amazing. So inspiring. And I think people who can be so vulnerable with what they've been through and kind of turn that like almost that trauma into a triumph, like it can just be so inspiring for other people that are kind of making their way through hardship as well.


Alex Bales

Sure. Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. And I you know, the deeper you get into this, you realize what a paradox. All of life, as you know, you can't have life without dark. You can't have meaning and purpose without some struggle and a little bit of pain here and there. So just just embracing everything as it is, instead of trying to decide everything or ask yourself why things are happening to you, I think is a super valuable tool and it's a powerful mindset shift you can make. So I always tell people, like, surrender is my greatest tool, like I just my life. My biggest lesson has just been that I just need to be in a constant state of surrender to what's right in front of me. And that just makes my life a lot easier. There's no point in fighting what's going to happen that's out of your control. You know--


Alex

Yeah.


Alex Bales

I try to focus on the things that I can do and then I can change. And that's me.


Alex

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So it's a practice learning to let go and learning--


Alex Bales

Yeah.


Alex

To kind of look at things with like what is the wisdom and what's the lesson in this is pain?


Alex Bales

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.


Alex

And so do you do your coaching online?


Alex Bales

Yeah, so I do personal training in person right now. So I've got, you know, like a full time clientelism person that I have all of my life coaching online right now. And I run it just off of Facebook. I just open an Instagram. But I'm not super active on there. I run everything off my Facebook. So if you go check me out on Facebook. Alex Bales' will see me. I do lives. So I'm putting up posts and that would be the best place to connect with me.


Alex

Perfect. Yeah, awesome. I find that everyone has their, like, little social media that they love doing.


Alex Bales

Yeah.


Alex

You know, like I'm the opposite. I'm not much of a Facebooker, but I, I'm obsessed with Instagram and then I just like copy paste my content on Facebook, you know.


Alex Bales

Yeah. Well you always have such good. You take such good like photos and videos. I see post Tiktok on there and I was like yeah you're right, you're on Instagram, be it's time over here like, not super photogenic. But I'm creative and I do