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BONUS: Lisa Ryan's 8 Year SoberVersary

I'm so excited to bring Lisa Ryan back on the show today! Lisa was a guest on the show around a year ago, when I still lived in Abu Dhabi. In this episode me and Lisa record live in the Sober Girls Yoga Facebook Group, sharing about Lisa's Sober Journey and celebrating her milestone! You can join the Sober Girls Yoga Facebook Group here:

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You can join the Sober Girls Yoga Challenge to recovery program here. Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at


Alex: Hi friend this is Alex McRobbs founder of the Mindful Life Practice and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23 and I never went back. I got sober in 2019 and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga and change their lives through my online sober girls yoga Community. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling, let me show you how.


Alex: Perfect. Okay so, welcome Lisa and welcome everyone. For anyone that's tuning in, we are live today. We see, I see we have one person watching. Um, we're live today in the facebook group to celebrate that Lisa is eight years sober today so congratulations Lisa and if anyone is watching um, anyone is watching let us know where you're watching from and um maybe how far sober you are and if you have any questions as we go along we'd love to interact with you. So, Lisa, congratulations. How does it feel?

Lisa: Oh weird, sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it's like a whole, I just don't even recognize where I was uh it's a really weird feeling but it's a great feeling i'm really excited.

Alex: Yeah, that's huge. Eight years, it's amazing.

Lisa: Yeah, I mean it just, it's just gone so fast. It really has it's um it doesn't feel like a big space at all. That seems like a long time but I think it's just so much a part of who I am now it's just how I live my life so it's just I just keep kicking along.

Alex: Yeah and can I ask you, when eight years ago, when you were starting this, did you ever imagine yourself like being where you are now?

Lisa: Not at all, not at all. I was um, I had done a couple of dry Julys here because it's a charity here in Australia um and so I've done, I had done those but I just would just go straight back to daily heavy drinking and I could never really get more than a couple of days or a few days outside of that charity event uh and so uh so seven days was a big deal to me. I, I never thought in a million years that all I wanted to do was make it small and irrelevant. I just didn't want it to be in my, I had this constant chatter in my head when I even had a day or two off and it'd be like when was I going to have the next drink and you know how many, how much alcohol did I have in the house? So, I really just wanted that to listen. So, I never really had a big goal in mind. I just wanted less noise I suppose and uh some peace from it. I was always sick all the time, I really just wanted to be well and uh yeah and that's really just the goal was just to, to be well. Not, not to have daily headaches and daily stomach upsets and just feeling tired all the time. Um yeah, so that was the main goal was just to be well anything else was a bonus and uh yeah I don't, I can't believe that I'm, I'm here so yeah.

Alex: Yeah, congratulations it's um it's pretty incredible to watch people's journeys and transformations unfold and just going from like you know turning it into like almost a completely different person which is like what sobriety really gives us.

Lisa: Yeah, it was just, it's opened up so many doors. All I wanted to do was um lessen or stop and it's just led me down a path that um can't believe it, can't believe where I am today. It's not where I even envisaged uh at all. So um, you know it was interesting you were just reading something in our yoga class about um from Laura McCowan and I've always got Laura's quote here. Um, about and it was one of the first not there was a few different influences in my early days and months and one of them was Laura and one of the things that has always resonated with me uh was her quote that uh the questions that we always ask ourselves and she said, “we always ask ourselves is this bad enough to change and the real question we should be asking is this good enough to stay the same” and I think that was really something that stuck with me. I'd had plenty of day ones. I've been very very sick many many times. I've been in hospital for a couple of weeks at one stage, really really really unwell and um I still went back to moderating and uh heavy heavy drinking and that was something that came up in my early early months and it stuck with me to this day that I've always got that quote in front of me. That it's uh it wasn't that it was bad enough to change because I'd been, I'd had rock bottoms but other people would call rock bottoms and still kept going back to it. Um, and in the end it was, I, she's right it wasn't good enough to stay the same and that was the thing that kept me going. I think that it wasn't good enough to stay the same oh yeah.

Alex: I love that quote.

Lisa: That's awesome that you chose to, today yeah.

Alex: It's so powerful but I feel like it can apply to so many things in my life, you know? Like um, as we were sharing that I was even thinking about myself as a um a grade one teacher like it, it wasn't bad enough to change but it wasn't good enough to stay the same.

Lisa: The same for me.

Alex: yeah it's not to knock anything but it's like this is not good enough and I know there's something that's like out there that's better for me.

Lisa: It really makes you that, that it's so wise, you're right and it's you can use it in anywhere. That you're feeling something's just not right. Something's not resonating, this just isn't the right direction for me uh and yeah I have used it many times myself uh not just around alcohol. This is like no, this something's not right uh I just say it's not wrong for anybody else, uh you know? But I'm in a place where it's not right for me and uh no it's not good enough to stay the same.

Alex: So.

Lisa: So good that you chose that quote today. I love her.

Alex: Tell me a bit about like, I know we've done our podcast interview before so I know a little bit about your journey but maybe you can share for those of you that are listening or tuning in or don't know lisa like a little bit about kind of your journey um along the way. Like maybe where you were before and sort of what you're doing now?

Lisa: Oh wow well, um a long unwinding road uh as the song says. Um, a a daily heavy drinker, um really at my worst year every day and um it went on probably a drinking career of uh nigh on 40 years um and a lot of it came from some early childhood trauma and then that changed me as a going into adulthood. So there's a lot of things that I did. I self-medicated for stress as well and I think that they were the game changers when I really started drinking to self-medicate. Um, and then yeah I just uh had a moment uh eight years ago where I was um getting really sick again and just decided that, that was the fork in the road. I've had so many countless day ones that I just had enough and it's um it wasn't easy. It's um, I had to really find a new routine. I had to really unpack why I was self-medicating and that was hard and um yeah I mean, I guess it's, it's all work but in the end it just became uh the new version of me. It's not, I never talk about recovery I always talk about discovery. Uh because it's, it's just I'm always, I'm just so curious about everything now and I'm always approaching things with gratitude. Uh and looking for the gift in situations and sometimes it's hard uh, you know? Life isn't easy just because I'm, I'm not drinking anymore but um it's just, I found within all that I felt that I guess the old me felt that I needed alcohol to manage life and they new me discovered that I was stronger than I thought. I was and I could actually manage life and uh all the situations that happened to me. Um, some of the reasons I was self-medicating um I could move forward from them. I, I let go of a lot of past situations and and put my health first and so anyway, that's a long way to say a few couple of years ago I um the universe started dropping things into my lap and I've done some coach training now and that's where my life has led after a long career in, in a totally different realm in admin and um it's interesting because now funnily enough that, that even though I talk about alcohol every day it's um, it doesn't have any charge for me and now I I've, it's given my life. It's given, instead of being bitter about my experiences of why I was self-medicating, it's actually given that meaning so and I'm now able to give back and shine a light for other people. So um, and just to let them know that there is a way out. Um so, if I can help one person make their journey a little bit shorter then it's all been worthwhile, yeah.

Alex: So tell me about the the ways that you like coach and and support people now. So, I know you did um a few different courses there and I know you're working a little bit with um the This Naked Mind community, so maybe you can tell us a little bit about sort of how you support people?

Lisa: Yeah well um, I firstly did a course in Gray Area Drinking with the fabulous Jolene park and I'm still in her mastermind. So uh well, we meet uh regularly a couple of times a month and then uh that led me to the This Naked Mind Coach Training and uh that was awesome and I've made lifelong friends in there as well and uh now I'm coaching in three of their past programs. Um, the two of the the last of their 12 months run programs and then uh in the first of the um 90-day pass programs as well, so it's awesome, there are some fabulous people in there working so hard to change their lives and they too I think came to that fork in the road that it was um, their life wasn't it was what did we just say is it good enough for me to stay the same yeah and so they it's just a privilege to be walking alongside them as they're changing their lives. So um yeah, it's awesome, it's awesome yeah. Love it, I love it. Every day making real uh relationships with these people and um yeah it's just great very very satisfying.

Alex: And what have been your biggest tools that have helped you along your sober journey? Like what are the things that you um, what are the resources or the skills?

Lisa: Uh, mindfulness. Uh, being able to stay in the present moment instead of, because I'm a ruminator and I'm a warrior and that's something I still work on. Um, but letting go of the past acceptance really helped me and mindfulness really helped me. I had a lot of, I used to have like daily anxiety and almost daily um full-blown panic attacks and I used to think that the alcohol was helping with that, but mindfulness actually helped me stay focused and be present and that helped me not only with my alcohol journey but with my anxiety as well. So, that was like, you can just google mindfulness tools and uh or any search engine. In spotify even or youtube and you can come up with a gazillion different tools but so you could have to figure out it's a bit of trial and error of the different techniques that work for you but they were really all of those things packaged together helped me stay in the present moment and that helped my anxiety as well um that was a big game changer patent interrupt was getting into a new routine. That's where my health and fitness routine started getting into, my gym and strength training. Having a personal trainer, I still have the same one now. I've had him for seven years now. Uh, more than seven years and uh he's awesome. I'm, one of my biggest cheerleaders and I think that's the thing, it's connection, it's finding your tribe and finding the people who are going to be uh wanting to be by your side and cheer you along and they don't have to be doing the same journey as you but just supporting you uh as you go along and then you support them and yeah it's, it's um I think that's key is that connection with a group of people that you resonate with, that was key and um yeah I mean just um, what else worked? I think, I think a lot of it was um unpacking what what that self-medication was all about and then that new routine and then the somatic practices. Um, I really haven't gotten into, didn't get into those until I was a little ways along the journey and I realized how much my body was giving me lots of signals that I was missing and mostly because I guess I was numbing from the alcohol. I thought iIwas meditating for one reason but you end up numbing all your emotions and it took me a long time to understand that my body is giving me cues all the time and it's not just about when I'm hungry or I'm tired but it's it's just everything that what is, what does Lisa need right now? Oh well, you know? Oh wow journaling would be really good to get some ruminating thoughts out of my mind. Um, maybe I need to go for a walk and just give myself some clarity? Um as well as some fitness, it was really this and then eventually it's led me to um you and yoga and um this Mindful Life Practice and it's, I've done training with you now uh which has been awesome. With the the circle training and it's just been a really continuous journey. I haven't stopped learning the whole time, I've just always kept my little curiosity hat on and just been open to jolene park taught me a lot about somatic practices that never occurred to me and that's when I think I started really another level of faith and trust in myself that I hadn't had before even then and that was a few years down the track uh of being alcohol free but it was um yeah and always being open to new ideas. I think uh and never stop learning, I think that's the key is this being always open to what's just um yes never never assume the journey doesn't end once you open up this journey of self-discovery. It's um, it's really exciting and the more, I mean doors have opened for me that I never would have expected. Uh, doing yoga with you and talking, getting on calls and talking about that's not me that's not the me of eight years ago very different person and um yeah always staying open to, to learning is uh absolutely key.

Alex: There were so many nuggets of wisdom in your share right now. Like you know um, the value of community. I was thinking about that today, like we just got this group back together from a year ago and it was just so wonderful to have like all these people on this call together and you know our paths have gone in different directions but like the value of just coming back to each other and our stories and supporting each other. Like it really felt special you know and

Lisa: It did. Yeah, because it's funny because I really feel like even though I haven't done a yoga class for a while and I felt it and it showed but it was so lovely to see some familiar faces and and you and I never felt like I was really away. We were always still liking each other's posts and you know making comments but it was just so that part never went away but it was still nice to go seeing your face was so long, it's so nice and it's you know it was like coming home and this was an unexpected community that uh came into my life. Yeah, 12 months ago and uh so I was very excited to, to be back as well. It's been lovely really, lovely very special here.

Alex: So, I guess, I'll just ask you well two more questions. Um first, how do you um like, do you do one-on-one work with uh as a coach or like how can people reach out and connect to you? And, and what do you have going on now?

Lisa: I'm just doing the group training at the moment with the past um but i'm going to reopen my one-to-one calendar in the next couple of months when one of those groups finishes. I think I'll just have a bit more space but on my website. People can join my wait list if they want to um and you know they can reach out to me that way um and um but yeah I'm just doing the group training at the moment for another month or so which and one one group finishes in about a month so i'll just have a i'll have her open up a little bit of space for some one-on-one after that.

Alex: Amazing. So, if anyone is um tuning in and they're curious um you can follow Lisa on Instagram and Facebook and then find out when her, her offerings are opening up again.

Lisa: Yep, yep always stalk me.

Alex: So I'll ask the last question that I love to end on, which is if there was someone that was just beginning their sober journey what advice or what wisdom would you give them?

Lisa: Wow, there's so much. It's like all of the above, isn't it? It's um, it's I think it's just yet what, what is it that you need to do to get through one day? It's not looking at, for me, what worked for me was I, I didn't have faith in myself that I could do 30 days without a goal like a charity um outside of that. I couldn't do it so I just did, what do I need to do today? What do I need to do just for today? What worked? What didn't work? And and I stopped beating myself up. I, I when it, when things didn't always go to plan I I just, what did I learn from that? What can I take away? Because now that's information that I've gathered. So, it's not lost so there's no shame. I'm, I let myself off the hook that I was just doing the best I could and I'm just, I'm a human being flesh and blood and the main thing was that I wish someone had told me, if you fall down seven times get up eight, get up nine, get up ten. Just keep going and if if you get through a day repeat what worked do it again and just do it and it becomes the days roll on the time passes anyway and before you know it you've got two days and you've got five days and then you've got seven and I didn't think I'd be here today. I thought I was a hopeless case and so I guess if there's any message is that there is no such thing as a hopeless case. Um, we're just human beings and uh that's what that was my big discovery that I was a human being. So um yeah, just what I need to do today and the rest will take care of itself.

Alex: I love that well Lisa, this conversation has been so inspiring. Thank you for taking some time on your sober anniversary, your eight year sober anniversary, to share with us and I know for people that are listening and watching they've probably got a lot of inspiration and, and wisdom from your sharing so appreciate you.

Lisa: Aww thanks so much Alex, always lovely to have a chat.

Alex: Yeah and if anyone wants to join our yoga group? We meet on Sundays and we just had our first class today of eight weeks and um so Lisa's in it, Todd's in it, Rachel's in it, the whole gang's together. This one is, it is a co-ed offering, men and women um and we'd love to meet you.

Lisa: This is awesome.

Alex: All right have a great rest of your day, enjoy the rest of your evening and we'll speak soon.

Lisa: Thanks Alex, so see you later bye.

Alex: Hi friend, thank you so much for listening to this episode of Sober Yoga Girl podcast. This community wouldn't exist without you here. So thank you. It would be massively helpful if you could subscribe, leave a review and share this podcast so it can reach more people. If we haven't met yet in real life please come get your one week free trial of the Sober Girls Yoga membership and see what we're all about. Sending you love and light wherever you are in the world.


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