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Elective Sobriety with Amanda Kuda

In this episode, I finally has the chance to sit down with Amanda Kuda! Amanda is an alcohol-free lifestyle expert. She’s a holistic life coach, speaker and author living, working and playing in Austin, TX. As a coach, Amanda helps ambitious, soul-centered women stop drinking and start manifesting the life they deserve and desire. She teaches a modern approach to personal development, self-actualization and spiritual enlightenment through the lens of elective sobriety.

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You can learn more about Amanda here: Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at


hi friend this is alex mcrobbs founder of the mind for 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


hello everyone welcome back to another episode of sober yoga girl i am really excited today to be sitting with amanda cuda and amanda and i have been trying to get a podcast interview organized for like at least six months mostly due to my traveling and uh wild schedule and so i'm really excited that it's finally happening and i get to sit down with amanda today and hear her story and her journey with sobriety so welcome amanda how are you thank you i'm good thank you i'm so excited that we are finally getting to chat yeah it's it's awesome it's um really exciting to finally sit down and after all that kind of back and forth so that would be great and amanda is a lifestyle coach for women that are exploring sobriety yeah awesome so maybe we can start out and you can just share a little bit about you kind of where you're located um a little bit about yourself yeah so i am living now in austin texas for the past six years i think i got here before it was cool everyone else is moving to austin right now it's such a hotbed for spiritual people and entrepreneurs and i am when i moved here to austin alex i was in this really interesting place where i had really started to kind of uplevel my life i had started to i was practicing yoga regularly i was going to the gym i was eating well i was like dipping my toe into the pond of spirituality really starting to read a lot of spiritual books and you know just devour anything any books by anyone who's basically been on oprah super soul sunday i was you know just on this path and i thought that when i moved to austin i was going to um really change my life i thought that i was going to just live this entirely different in this entirely different space i thought that austin was this like hippie yoga community where people didn't really drink and maybe they smoked a little bit of pot but i had never been to austin so i had no idea i just moved here sight unseen and i moved here and we can like kind of dive into the story but that's really what set me on really my transformational journey with alcohol because i'll tell you what it wasn't what i thought it wasn't this new place to transform it was actually a place to really challenge my identity and what i thought about myself and so um i went on a transformational journey moving here and over the past five years i've been alcohol free and four of those years i have been coaching women who want to be electively sober so that's what i call myself i say i practice electiven sobriety sobriety by choice because it wasn't this rock bottom thing that i had to do i didn't need to go to recovery or do 12 steps which no shame those are things that whatever tool works for you but for me that wasn't my path and so i started putting together my own path and people started reaching out and wanting to work with me so for the past four and a half years i've been coaching in this space and it's just been the biggest miracle and calling and fulfillment of my potential that i would have never truly imagined i could not have told you i would have been here six years ago that's incredible and elective sobriety i love that i've actually never heard that term before do you think that's something have you coined that have you heard it elsewhere or i wouldn't say that i made it up but i wouldn't say that i didn't i have no idea where i got it it was just one of those things that i was trying to explain you know what it is that i practice and a lot of times i say that i live in an alcohol-free lifestyle because it's very similar to me to like gluten-free or you know whatever other dietary lifestyle you live but i also wanted to explain it using other terms and so i toy around and depending upon who i talk to i explain it differently and elective sobriety has been one of the things that's resonated so yeah i don't know where exactly it came from if it came through me or if i maybe like picked it up unwittingly somewhere but it seems to be a good way to explain the way that i got to this path yeah i love it and it i love it because it kind of falls into the category of like people call it gray you know gray area drinking i'm sure you've heard that but what i like about elective sobriety is that it's about like elective is kind of talking about like the action and the choice to become sober as opposed to gray area drinking is kind of referring to the problem um which is the consumption you know ooh i love that i love that differentiation yeah because i was a gray area drinker but now i am electively sober so that's the identity i like to pursue versus the thing that i was in the past yeah i love that and so tell me about what made you move to austin so i if we want the full story i'll give you the condensed version it was pure serendipity i had lived in i was living in the midwest and i lived in um that college town that i left for school and then grad school and then at my my first big kid professional job and i i started to sense that i needed to get out of there like everything seemed to be turning into this fun fabulous see and be seen lifestyle where all the young professionals were always out at happy hour charity events out on the boat and there seems to be no way for me to escape this lifestyle of basically detox retalks or whatever you want to call it um i was just always in perpetual social drinking cycle and i had this opportunity i basically was asked on a date to austin by what i would say at that point i was in my cary bradshaw phase and this man was like the mr big to my carrie bradshaw handsome a little older chivalrous intelligent successful and i had never been asked on a date like that like let me let me sweep you away somewhere and so he invited me to come meet him in austin and i thought you know what live a little amanda go and do that and long story short is a girlfriend convinced me to look for a job while i was in austin the guy canceled on the date but still paid for the plane ticket so basically this gentleman comes into my life gives me a plane ticket to austin and then disappears out of the picture like divine intervention from the universe could not have had more serendipitous happen to line me up to get me to austin and so i got the i got a job and that was all miraculous as well and i just manifested this get me out of one place and move me to the next one and really what i wanted though with that move from austin is i was just getting out of a toxic relationship that was really really focused on drinking most of our connection and vulnerability was done while partying which as you can all guess is not very healthy and happy and does not make for a great relationship and it just so happened too here's another great connection that guy had moved away for several months and so he'd been out of the picture but literally the day that i got in my car and packed my stuff for austin and got on the road he moved back so it was like the universe had orchestrated this thing to pluck me out of danger and put me in a new place and austin are right it wasn't like i could not have planned any of this i just had to listen to the call and this was really my first experience with manifestation and being guided by the universe to do something that made absolutely no sense and when i got to austin i had this like i told you this fantasy that i would just become this like yoga health wellness person but if you've ever heard the phrase wherever you go there you'll be i got to austin and i hadn't changed on the inside i expected this miracle to happen just because i was in a new environment and while that did help i will say what ended up happening is i fell right back into that same young successful going out on the weekends crowd and i went down into a spiral of social drinking again and it just didn't feel good and finally it felt not good enough that i said you know what i've got to do something different i cannot keep living like this and i'm sure like you and a lot of your listeners have had a similar experience to that yeah wow what an incredible story an incredible journey and um such a it sounds like the universe was really just like guiding you and you just had the courage to kind of listen and do something that was totally beyond or outside of your comfort zone or outside of what made most sense at that time yeah yeah some someone somewhere was watching over me and i had the wherewithal to listen and that's the only way that i can explain it because it was completely out of character for me to do any of those things and it was all just divine intervention that's incredible yeah and i love that quote that you shared he said wherever you'll go there you'll be i've never heard that before but it's so true it's like um i've heard like no matter how far you go your problems follow you you know like wherever you are your problems will be there yeah and i'm sure that you experienced this in lots of ways because you've moved around a lot in the past few years and i'm sure that you experience the miracle of new possibility and becoming a new version of you every place you move but then there's always you're bringing along the suitcases from old you too so you have to decide like am i going to take this opportunity to actually unpack this baggage or am i just going to expect that it magically disappears yeah absolutely yeah and so tell me about the build up to and the the break from alcohol yeah so like many people um at that time or at any time i really struggled with wanting to change my relationship with alcohol because i felt like in my core that i needed to do this thing but there was also this dissonance of well i built my whole persona around being this party girl being the social light and if i quit drinking then who will i be how will i have friends how will i have a social life how will i date and not only how will i do that but some like little belief inside that was really quiet of you're not cool enough to be anyone without alcohol right because i started drinking as an adolescent to fit in just to be like everyone else and so there was this deep fear of who will i be without this and so i kept kind of talking myself out of well you don't have a problem so you don't you don't have to quit drinking you could just cut back and i tried that several times through several different methods and several different processes and was pretty unsuccessful every time so finally i just went through this and i can't tell you alex how many times i googled how to quit drinking if you're not an alcoholic or how to moderate alcohol if you're not an alcoholic and all of the things that we've all googled and found ourselves googling and the problem is is that we convince ourselves that if we and i've actually heard quotes that say if you have to look up if if you have to like google if you have a drinking problem or not you probably have a drinking problem and i'm gonna call bs on that because that's the only model we're taught of course i googled do i have a drinking problem because there's there was no other model at the time for me there was no other question for me to ask and what i should have really been asking is is drinking contributing to me living the life that i'm meant to live and ultimately the answer was no and so what i realized is that you don't have to have a problem with alcohol for it to be a problem and be creating problems in your life and i just decided on you know at the end of 2016 i was like i can't do this anymore i'm supposed to be someone else i have no idea who i'm supposed to be because i'm too caught up in this lifestyle that i've created and i know that the only way i'm going to find that most authentic version of me is if i stop drinking and so i did it in little bitty spurts i stopped drinking on new year's day 2017 for 30 days and then i got to the end of that and i kind of had that intuition that you know what sister 30 days is nothing you cannot expect this miracle that you have you know all of a sudden been like a born-again a virgin drinker that is you know gonna be reset to zero and so i said okay well i'm going to do 90 days so i did 90. and then i did six months and then i'm like screw it i'll do the full year and through that process i started working on myself because i had the space to and the mental capacity and by the end of that year i kind of got to this place of i don't need this anymore my life is only incrementally better than it was before and incrementally that small increment incremental change was still so massive that i knew i didn't want to go back to that old path and that's kind of when i really started talking about my journey and started coaching women as well who were kind of feeling the same like they didn't have a problem they didn't want to do 12 steps they didn't want to get a sponsor or go to recovery but they wanted to quit drinking and it's still actually pretty hard even if you don't have a physical or mental deep dependency that's requiring some sort of intervention it's still difficult just because of the world we live in absolutely so how long has it been now almost five years have you been following it's been five and a half yeah so january 1st 2017 yeah it's coming up right at five and a half years now which is nuts i just didn't this is not where i thought i would be yeah that's incredible and it sounds like you had a very similar journey with to me in that i only initially stopped i think for 28 days and then thought you know i could drink again and then it was 90 days and then by that time i got to a year i was like my life is just so much better like why would i go back yeah yeah and i know that you and i have kind of similar paths in that we have this like pull towards you know spirituality and yoga and wellness and different philosophies but for me and i don't know if this resonates with you that i was doing all of those things but it was really performative because i couldn't figure out how to make it like click and really work like i was doing the yoga i was doing the meditation i was doing the mantras and the affirmations but i still didn't feel that thing that everyone was describing and finally i had to do the math and say okay is there some variable in here that no one's really talking about that maybe is like really screwing with my ability to access this feeling and this aliveness and this like connection to the universe that i know is out there but i just wasn't getting there and sure enough when i took that one variable out of the picture everything just fell into place wow was that similar for you i definitely feel like i went through periods of my yoga journey when i was really connected with it and most of those times were like all my two yoga teacher trainings i was mostly sober i did drink um i did drink all my days off but that would be like once a week and in those times i felt really connected to my spirituality but i don't think i realized the role that my sobriety played in that mm-hmm yeah and it's i mean it's because we don't want to look at it right so even though we know that we feel better right we don't want to necessarily know why because then once you know you can't unknow it and you have to make changes right yeah exactly yeah and so when did your when did you start coaching people how did that start come about you know i need to actually do a highlight reel of all the ways that men who i dated have come into my life and magically put me into a path of my destiny because you know we had this one guy who got me to austin which was very transformational and he actually really kind of set me in some ways on this spiritual journey as well um but my first year of not drinking i had started like a cute little blog and a cute little instagram um where i was just going to anonymously share some of my experiences because let me tell you what alex i was terrified for whatever reason that someone who i knew or someone through from my past would see me talking about spirituality and wellness and sobriety and be like well who is she to do that um or that one of my friends would see it and start to judge me and i late in that year late in 2017 i had started dating this guy who we who i really really liked like i just felt this like spark in connection and i could tell that he thought that me not drinking was a value-add like i could see it in his eyes that it made me like a unicorn compared to the other women he was dating and on our second date we second our third date maybe we sit down for dinner and the first thing he says is i found your blog and i don't know what my face looks like alex but i was just in pure terror because that was my sacred blog that no one was supposed to find and if they were supposed to find it it was supposed to be someone like someone listening right now who needed to hear it not a guy who i was trying to impress and go out on dates with so it's like he he saw into my diary and at first i was horrified because i was horrified you can imagine why but also it was such a gift because he had just ripped off the sacred band-aid of exposure and now that it was out there and someone who i cared about impressing had seen it

i didn't give a [ __ ] anymore and i just started sharing everything as boldly and loudly as i could because he had given me this sacred gift of visibility and long story short like we like broke up a little bit thereafter but it was such a beautiful gift that he gave me this gift of being seen and embracing being seen and it was right after that that people started coming out of the woodwork and asking to work with me and so i had i had trained to be i had been a business um coach and trainer in my past career and i had done some additional training to be a you know to do life coaching but i hadn't i had i was just gonna do general whatever i hadn't decided on any sort of niche and as it happens the niche came to me and this is truly what i believe and know that i'm supposed to be doing at this point in my life because for the type of woman who i work with and who you work with and who listens to this podcast i know that you have a level of potential that is bottled up in you through drinking that cannot be expressed and cannot be reached and cannot be tapped into until you get that variable fully out of the way and start to live in your most highest form of authentic expression and that's what i found in my life and if i can provide tricks or whatever to get there i just feel so passionate about wanting to do that and so yeah that another man comes in and and guides me on in a different direction is the the moral of my it's like my karmic uh pattern here it's so incredible and i love how like i just feel like so many parts of that story resonated with me because i was thinking like as you were sharing that i was like i've had like a few moments like that too where like i've had men in my life and then it's been like a destructive breakup that has like completely changed the path of my life you know and put me in a different direction and so that really resonated with me and what also really resonated with me is you sharing that you know you didn't choose your niche and the niche kind of chose you and i actually was just at a wedding on the weekend seeing all these high school friends and that was exactly how i described myself i said i didn't choose sobriety sobriety chose me and it wasn't something that i ever wanted i didn't want it to be part of my identity like when i first got sober it was kind of like you know my first post was when i was like 90 days sober and then you know i did a couple sobriety posts here and there but i was like still kind of alex the yoga girl that was how i identified and then um i had a client who who hired me to be a life balance coach and then you know midway through he's like i you know i'm struggling with my drinking i need to take a break from drinking coach him through 90 days you know he wrote me a letter saying thanks for saving my life and i was like that's it like i'm a sober coach totally yeah i think that most i think that's a really beautiful way to find your calling and i you know i work with women who are looking to kind of find that next version of themselves and the thing is you have to be patient and you have to listen because all of the things lined up i didn't i truly didn't pursue what i do right now because i didn't even know it was possible it didn't exist when i started and you know around the same time you started it just wasn't it wasn't a thing that existed and all the more reason to jump in and do it even though it is a small emerging market it is a place that there's so much need for support and so many women and men out there who are drinking in an area that they feel comfortable that need a little support to tip over the edge and go to this next level version of themselves yeah absolutely so what kind of work do you do now in sobriety and where can people find you yeah so i do a couple of different um i have a couple of different kind of signature programs that i do i um i have my you know just basic you know let me help you quit drinking let me help you elect into sobriety and kind of navigate some of those basic things um and coursework and coaching one-on-one coaching that i do but the two programs that i'm most passionate about that i really feel are kind of my signature style is one that's called unbottled potential and it's where i teach you to take sobriety and use it as a platform to step into your truest potential your highest form of self-expression and authenticity in all areas of your life because you really have no idea how much alcohol has held you back in your emotional expression in your relationships in your career in your physical health and wellness in your mental health and wellness in your spirituality and your ability to manifest and call in abundance so i really am passionate about using alcohol um alcohol free lifestyle as a platform of potential a platform for potential and that is some of the biggest work i do in fact i have a book coming out next year that i just turned in the manuscript for that really focuses on that topic and that leads me to my second kind of place that i teach that i'm really passionate about which is the intersection of spirituality and manifestation and sobriety and how sobriety actually creates the platform for you to become a magnet for all your truest desires and if i could sit here and tell you all of the things alex that i have manifested with actually a lot of ease since i quit drinking you would have no question that clearing up that pathway has created a feel like just a portal of abundance for me and i'm not someone who comes from any sort of privileged background and so having this level of miracle show up in my life where i am always always attracting big things and little things that i want um is pretty profound so i teach also a foundational course called stop drinking start manifesting that is probably my favorite thing to do because it is my most it's just my most profound and advanced thinking and thoughts and philosophies and yeah anyone who resonates with anything that i share today can find me on instagram i primarily hang out there um at amanda cuda and there's you know depending upon when this airs there's always a program or something or one-on-one opportunity to work with me that's out there but the the fundamentals that i operate on are helping you unbottle your potential in helping you manifest the life of your dreams and for me the foundation to do both of those has been sobriety and that's also why i'm just not interested in drinking ever again even though i could i'm sure it's just my life has been so great without it that it's just insignificant and unimportant in my life that's so amazing thank you so much for sharing that of course yeah thank you i have one last question for you and if you were if someone asked you your advice for the beginning of a sober journey what advice would you give yeah you know there are so many pieces there are so many pieces that i would offer but i think the biggest thing is there's so many times when you can doubt yourself or talk yourself out of pursuing this journey um but i believe that if you've had the curiosity about sobriety that that curiosity was not put on your heart for no reason whatsoever any anytime your inner guide nudges you or points you in a direction it is so important to follow that nudge because everyone doesn't get the nudge to change the relationship with alcohol and if that is a gift a thought an idea pattern that you've been given it is so important that you explore it it's not nonsense it's not um it's not some sort of punishment it is not you um going overboard or obsessing about something it is an important redirection that your inner guide has offered you and if you find yourself trying to talk yourself out of being alcohol free maybe you're trying to talk yourself into moderating or whatever it is that you are trying to kind of bypass that thought i just want you to remember your inner guy does not whisper to you at random and if that thought has been placed on your heart you will never feel fully fulfilled and satisfied until you at least give it a solid chance to pursue it so you know whether it's with alex or me or one of the other many many many emerging people out there doing the sobriety thing you really have to pursue that because your heart will call to you over and over until you give it a solid shot amazing oh amanda it's been so amazing to finally chat with you and so inspiring to hear your journey and how it sounds like um really followed this path of like what has been laid out for you by the universe and it's so inspiring to hear all of the things that you've manifested in the beautiful life you've created in the past five years oh thank you so much for letting me share i really loved i love i love to share and speak to whomever needs to hear this today yeah thank you and i will speak to you soon okay take care bye

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