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Alex meets Topaz Jones, Sober Change Coach



In this episode, I sit down with Topaz Jones, a change coach in Colorado. Topaz and I both completed our life coach certification at Life Purpose Institute. In this episode, Topaz tells her story of sobriety and what led her to pursue a career in coaching.




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You can book sessions with Topaz at: https://topazjonescoaching-scheduling.as.me/?appointmentType=18995732. Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at http://themindfullifepractice.com/.


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Full episode



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

Alright. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of "Sober Yoga Girl". I am very excited to have Topaz Jones with me here today. And Topaz is a certified life purpose coach, and she supports entrepreneurs discovering their life purpose with balance and ease and a fun fact, we did our life coach certification at the same school in the United States, not at the same time, but we met on the Facebook group. So hi Topaz. It's so nice to have you here.


Topaz

Hi. Yes. Thank you so much, Alex. I'm honored to be here. Thank you.


Alex

So nice to meet you. And you're joining from Colorado, which I think is like, how many hours away? What time is it for you right now?


Topaz

It is 09:45 A.M.


Alex

We're 10 hours apart. That's amazing.


Topaz

Yeah.


Alex

So cool.


Topaz

It really is. Yeah. I'm very honored to have your time this evening and be able to share with all your listeners, experience strength and hope.


Alex

So tell me a bit about yourself.


Topaz

Yeah. So I am originally from Colorado, actually. I'm here visiting right now. I live on the East Coast, but I grew up in a mountain town of about 100 people. The whole town community revolved around communication and really having each other's backs. And so that I think is what makes me especially unique in becoming a life coach is that I've had this experience of relationship building since a very early age. And yeah, I've traveled all over the country. I've lived in California for ten years. I've lived in Florida, lived in Arizona, I've lived in Texas, and now I'm on the East Coast in South Carolina. And so I love to experience new opportunities and meet new people and different cultures. So that's a little bit about me.


Alex

Amazing. And I have a random question for you. So one of the States that I visited, is Colorado. I've been to Colorado and Florida. And I went there to visit my friend. And we actually-- I don't think he grew up there, but his parents lived in a small mountain town in Colorado. I'm sure there are so many small mountain towns. But what is your small mountain town, called? I'm like, maybe it's the same one.


Topaz

That would be really cool. I am from a little town called Gold Hill. It's about 30 minutes West of Boulder into the mountains. You basically take a little dirt road that follows the shelf of the mountain until you drop down into this little town and it's about 100 people total. They've got their own elementary school, they've got their own general store, they've got an Inn. It's really cool.


Alex

That's amazing. I have to ask. I came to Colorado maybe seven years ago. I went to visit one of my friends who I met in the Middle East. And it's so funny how our life goes in circles like he left the Middle East, and now he's come back. And now we're both in a different country. But we're in the same country. It's amazing. Anyway, so I'm going to have to ask him what the town was called that we went to, but I loved it. We went whitewater rafting. It was beautiful. We also went-- I remember we went hiking in Boulder. He kind of took me all around the state, and I loved it. It was beautiful.


Topaz

Yes. It's very unique. It has Fourteeners. And it also has flatland and wild grasses and flowers and picturesque views and rivers and streams. Yeah. You got to see a really cool state.


Alex

The best of the best.


Topaz

Yes.


Alex

So tell me about when did you start drinking alcohol?


Topaz

So drinking, I think, is like a socially acceptable choice of drug, just like sugar and other things that we just commonly consume. And it seems to be acceptable. When I started drinking, I don't think I really enjoyed it that much. It wasn't something that I-- it was like my go-to until I got to a place in my life where I really just wasn't happy. And alcohol is a depressant. So when you're not happy and then you drink more, it's just this revolving cycle of dysfunction that surrounds you. Right? I was in a really bad marriage at the time. It was a lack of better words. It was extremely dysfunctional. And neither one of us was happy. And I went to alcohol because I was already depressed and thought, you know, why not numb the pain a bit more and avoid dealing with what was coming up? And so I did that. This was about four years ago? And you know, I thought to myself, well, yeah, I thought to myself, if I could just avoid this long enough, maybe it'll get better, maybe it'll resolve itself and it didn't. So yeah, that was my experience with alcohol and drinking.


Alex

How did your drinking escalate over time?


Topaz

I think I enjoyed it after a while. Like, at first, I didn't enjoy you know, the effects of alcohol, but after a while, I think I got used to it and my body built up a tolerance. And so I started with one glass of wine with dinner two, I'm going to need a glass of wine as soon as I get off of work. I am not happy. I'm not living the life that I want, and I don't want to have to deal with you know, maybe a job that was less than ideal and a marriage that was less than ideal. And I also didn't want to face what was going on inside of me and my shadows, my darkness. Right. So it went from one glass of wine to-- I think at the end I was drinking a bottle of wine in a night, and I would feel awful the next day. Of course, push that aside. And then the cycle begins all over again the next day.


Alex

Yeah. Totally. And the wild thing is that you know, as you said at the beginning, alcohol is so normalized that for some people drinking a bottle of wine might be completely normal, like a bottle of wine at night you know, that's not even in the grand scheme of things like that. You know, it's just so normalized in our culture to drink for stress, to party on the weekend. And I can see how you know, you can just fall into that trap as I did as well.


Topaz

Yeah. And there's a lot of people that I've noticed over time that will drink-- they say, well, I only drink when I'm happier when I'm with people. But then they find occasions to make that happen. Right? There are weeks with going out and drinking so they can normalize it. I'm just having a really good day and so I'm going to drink. Whatever the excuse is, is what you'll create. So that way you know, you have that to fall back on. And it's okay.


Alex

Right. And so what was the turning point for you when you decided to stop?


Topaz

That's a great question. I took a really deep look at my relationship with my ex-husband, and I can't blame the failure of the marriage solely on him. Of course not. It had a big effect on my drinking, for sure. But I also didn't want to face what was happening inside of me. And when I woke up one morning and I thought you know, last night was a really horrible night and it's because of alcohol, and I didn't want to do that anymore. I didn't want to show up in that way where I'm avoiding having a real conversation in this really important relationship in my life. And I want to be present for myself and my partner from there on out. And so I decided to stop drinking that day, and I just walked away from it. I was like, okay, I'm done. And that was in October of 2019.


Alex

So you and I got sober around--wait. Did I get sober in 2019? Yeah. Wow. It feels so long ago now, whenever you're like it's 2021. But I got sober in April of 2019. So right around the same time, more or less within six months.


Topaz

Yeah. It's incredible. But I don't know exactly your story around why you decided to quit drinking. I'd love to hear that if you want to share.


Alex

Yeah. So I grew up in you know, Toronto. Normal drinking culture. Wild drinking in University. Had some roommates with who we just did wild things. And so this was kind of the culture. I was sort of raised around and it was all normalized. And then I moved to the Middle East when I was 23, and I actually moved to a country where alcohol was illegal. Kuwait. There are only 12 countries in the world where alcohol is legal, which is interesting when I chose that one. But I started to get a really obsessive mentality around it. You know, I learned how to make alcohol when I was there, I was making it in my kitchen. I networked with all the people that could get it for me, illegally. I was you know, dating people that could get me alcohol. I could drink with them. And I didn't realize how obsessive I was but ended up getting really obsessed with flying out of the country and you know, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in particular, to party on the weekends and drink on the weekends. Because here it's a little bit like the Vegas of the region. You know, it's almost like the Caribbean, all-inclusive resorts for Canadians and Americans to fly down to the Caribbean and party all the time. That's kind of how I equate Abu Dhabi and Dubai of this region. And so I really wanted to-- first of all, I got obsessed with flying out to come here to party, and then I moved here. So I had a partner that I was the time in Kuwait kind of life fell apart. The relationship ended. Actually, we were engaged and I had to break up and end this. And it was like a really hard time. And I came to Abu Dhabi to start over again. And I was really struggling with my mental health. So I had to diagnose mood disorder, and I was really using alcohol to kind of self-medicate and because it's a depressant, it was just making things worse, making things seem better in the short term. But in the end, really not good. And so I kind of hit a point where you know, my life in Abu Dhabi was great, had a good job, good apartment. I didn't love my job, but it was a good job. And I just kind of was like, you know, why am I still so unhappy? I'm living this life that I've always dreamed of. Why am I still so unhappy? And I knew it was alcohol. And so I was basically kind of Googling at night, like, how to quit drinking, how to quit drinking. Started getting targeted ads for "One Year No Beer". Have you heard of "One Year No Beer"?


Topaz

I haven't. What is that about?


Alex

It's amazing. So this was the program that I--I mean I'm no longer part of this group because I've started my own online sober program. But for the beginning, this was what triggered my sobriety. And so they are a group at the time that I joined they were run by two British men. Now one of them has left. But it was basically mostly a UK-based organization where you buy in for a challenge. It's a 28 day, 90 day, or one-year sober challenge. And then, as a result, you get to be part of this Facebook group. And this, for me, was life-changing because I would get these daily emails where you know, there would be a video, inspirational video, inspirational email, and then the Facebook group to support me. That was what triggered my sobriety. So I got all these targeted ads that were testimonials. And what I liked about it was that all of the people--, no one was identifying as an alcoholic. You know, they're like, I'm a normal guy, drinking too much in my city life, decided to take a break. Here I am sober two years later, and I was like, wow, and he just talked about all the positives. And so this really inspired me. And so I ended up giving it a try. I was like, okay, I'm just going to do 28 days with one year, no beer, and got maybe seven days in. I was like, okay, I need to do 90 days. And then I got around 60 days. I was like, wow, I never want to drink again. And so "One Year No Beer" was my little cocoon. And they held me for the first while. But for me, there were some big things missing. So "One Year No Beer" didn't have any live interaction, it just was this Facebook group. And also there was like, no element of spirituality. Basically, they were saying, you know, quit drinking, do an athletic challenge. Like, you know, all these people were doing marathons or, like, Tough Mudders. And so that was great. It worked for them. And it makes sense because it was kind of a male-oriented, masculine program. And it was fantastic. But for me, my recovery became about yoga, and I needed more connection. And that was kind of what birthed the "Sober Curious Yoga" program that I run, which involves a lot of yoga and check-ins. And there's journaling, meditations. It's just a more spiritual program. And so, yeah, I think I'm a huge advocate of, like, you know, you have to find what works for you. And so there are some people that will join my program and be like, I don't like the spirituality thing. And like, running a marathon will be like, their thing, right? And vice versa. And so I definitely don't say, like, I don't put down "One Year No Beer" because I'm so grateful for them for getting to me to where I am. But I had to kind of branch off and create the program that I wish I had when I was in my early days. So that's kind of my story in a nutshell.


Topaz

It's absolutely beautiful. That's incredible. And kudos to you. I think what stuck out to me the most about your share was that you got to 60 days. And then you said that you never wanted to drink again. You never wanted that alcohol again. And that's huge. I can relate on so many levels to that you know, you get to a certain point and not consume alcohol, and then you just stop wanting it.


Alex

Yeah.


Topaz

It becomes this like thing of the past where that's not even interesting anymore.


Alex

Totally.


Topaz

That's really cool. And congratulations on creating this really spiritual, like nurturing process for people to go through because you're right. Not everyone can go through a masculine program, that's where pull your bootstraps up and get going and do whatever it takes. Some people need to be held in that space and that beautiful nurturing environment to feel safe. There isn't a one-size-fits-all. So that's really awesome.


Alex

Thank you. And I think, the coaching program from "Life Purpose Institute" really is what kind of put that in motion for me. Because I was never doing anything like of the sort at the start of my yoga practice. So we do a lot of check-ins in the sober program, and I would have never been creative or courageous enough to think of that or initiate that had I not done that coaching course. So everything kind of leads to something, you know.


Topaz

Absolutely. Yeah. I've gotten a lot out of the program as well. I'm really glad that I took LPI's program. It's so cool that we both went to the same school and graduated basically one of the same programs, which has helped both of us immensely in fulfilling our life's purpose and getting to that next point in life. Absolutely. I agree. It's really cool.


Alex

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. And what was amazing for me about the course, I don't know if you can relate, but it did not occur to me when I was signing up for it that not only would I learn how to coach, but because you're practice coaching all the time, you get so intensely coached yourself during the process that did not even occur to me. And it just was amazing because I just got to work through so many of my issues and things that don't even seem that big. Like I remember kind of dealing with money stuff or like my Starbucks addiction or just like really having time to look at the things that you don't normally slow down and look at. So that was one thing I found really helpful with it.


Topaz

Yes. I totally agree. I started the program shortly after my husband and I separated, and I thought, you know, what would I want to do with my life? How do I want to show up for people? How do I want to serve? And I was a personal fitness trainer for eight or nine years. I've been a corporate team-building facilitator for over 12 years. And so I've been a coach, "for a while". But I was still missing this other layer, this other piece. And so when I sat down and I really thought about it because I had time to myself by myself, just like going through this healing process of separation and no longer being codependent. And what do I really want for myself? And how am I going to show for myself? I thought, oh, my goodness, I can serve people by becoming a life purpose coach, and doing one on one coaching would have to absolutely say that the program was there for me at a very critical time. And you're right. Getting that coaching while you're coaching other people in the program was huge. I got so much out of it and especially going through such an upheaval in my life and a huge transition. I mean, talk about a life purpose coach that was really living a huge transition period in her life. I'm very grateful for the program, and it definitely came at the perfect time.


Alex

Sounds like it was really like with so much going on, just having space to process that must have been really healing.


Topaz

Yeah, it was. It was really nice. And I still talk. So I have a mastermind group with the graduates from my class, and we talk every other week. And I think when we first started our very first mastermind, everyone said, oh, my goodness. So when did you get divorced? And I said, oh, we separated a month before I started at LPI. Everyone's, like, what? Oh, my goodness. You were just going through all of that. That's great. I said, yeah. You guys were all really there for me. And it was so appreciated and helpful to have nine other life coaches coaching me as I was going through that process and starting my new life.


Alex

Wow. Yeah. That's amazing.


Topaz

Yeah. Thank you.


Alex

When you're working with clients doing life-purpose work, tell me about the process that you practice.