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Intoxicating Lies with Meg Geisewite



Meg is an ordinary mom who found herself trapped in the mommy wine culture. She began her sober-curious journey in November of 2019 where her love of science led her to discover the real truth about alcohol and its seductive lies.


In Meg’s debut book, Intoxicating Lies, Meg flips the script of silence in the mommy wine culture and the five most common lies we tell ourselves about alcohol.


Meg resides in Delaware with her husband and two teenage children. Her family has been her rock throughout her alcohol-free journey.


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If you enjoyed this episode please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and share the podcast so it can reach more people that it will serve and benefit.


You can often find Meg enjoying nature on the beautiful biking trails of Delaware. Learn more about Meg's book here: https://www.intoxicatinglies.com/common. Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at http://themindfullifepractice.com/.


Transcript:


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.


[Music]


Alex: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I am so excited today to have Meg Geisewite, Geisewite I said that right? With me here today and Meg and I have actually been talking about having her on the show for like it feels like a month and then a couple of the episode recordings have been rescheduled which has been my fault. For me having my schedule all over the place but we were just saying before we started the recording that it's like Divine timing and I love this about people in the sober world. That everyone's so just kind of like okay it's happening for a reason, when it is you know and the delays happen for a reason and anyway, so I'm excited to finally have you here and it's pretty cool to be connecting with you after watching the the Journey of the past month unfold because I was just saying before we started you know, I've seen you on like so many shows, like you just keep popping up on my feed and you know you were sharing about how, how well your book has done since launch. So, anyway, I'm just excited to hear more about it today.


Meg: Thank you Alex. It's just an honor to be here and I'm excited that we finally got to connect but yes life is happening for us not at us and there is a Divine timing to it all. So um, yeah, so I um, well a little bit about my book is um, it's really starts off with the intoxicating lies that happen to us in our childhood or in adolescence where things and situations may happen and we start to tell ourselves stories and we may you know really believe those stories and um and I can get into that in a little bit and how that kind of intertwines with how I fell into the, the drinking as well. The gray area drinking but then the book goes over the five most intoxicating lies that we tell ourselves um about alcohol and um and where they where. They stem from and each chapter it starts off with a lie and then at the end of the chapter it has a truth and a did you know a little fact, a little scientific fact because I'm in pharmaceutical sales and I do love the science too around um alcohol and there's been some big news recently you know, about the impacts of alcohol in our health and Canada is really taking the charge on that and good for them but um yeah, so each chapter is about a lie and then the truth and then the last two chapters are really about the freedom that we find when we choose to become alcohol-free as well as the truth of who we are, who and that we are enough. Inherently that just, inherently we are enough um and I kind of take you through that whole journey for me through those limiting beliefs. Those stories and lies that I had told myself becoming um, very trapped in the mommy wine culture, the beauty culture, the hustle culture and then realizing I was trapped in gray area drinking and I didn't want to break up with alcohol. At the beginning of the book you'll see that I was going to do a 21 day reset just to kind of rein it in and get a few tools under my belt, go back to what I thought was a so-called normal drink or whatever that really truly means I don't know, but um I take you really through that whole journey of um how I just started to realize the truth about alcohol and the lies that I was sold or we all are sold really. Um, we've been duped, we've been shamed, then once we feel like we have a problem with it and that really angered me, that you know, there's a stigma around it and you don't find out the real truth about it until you think you have a problem with it and you have to go and seek that information out and then we just heard recently in the news that Ireland is putting labels you know, warning labels on their bottles like good for them, you know, so I don't know as well.


Alex: Oh My God, I didn't see that oh my Gosh, my face, wow.


Meg: Like if, if we had known or if someone had said to us and the World Health Federation just came out this past week, I posted about this too because I'm in the sober sis community and she had put together gen couch a slide presentation that one bottle of wine a week for a woman is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes. Well, I can tell you I was drinking a lot more than one bottle a week. Um so, you know these are the things that we just don't talk about. You have to search it out once you think you have a problem then you feel uncomfortable talking about it because there's stigma around it And it's not our fault. It's, we've been lied to. We've been duped, it is our responsibility to do something about it but there should not be any shame around this and I, I just, in my journey was, was so angry that I had fallen trapped to all these lies about alcohol and I thought women need to hear this message and they never really hit a rock bottom so I was reading books where there was somewhat of a rock bottom kind of storyline to it and that was keeping me trapped. Yeah, I was like well I'm not that bad you know, and I didn't have any external consequences. My marriage was fine, I was actually winning awards at work, I was doing really well. I was high functioning at home, in my marriage, at work and so it was a confusing space to be in and I thought I was alone and I suffered very silently. I was very isolating um because I figured it was my problem, my issue and back in 2019 there wasn't a ton of discussion about gray area drinking. Now gray area drinking that, that term has been in the medical literature for over a decade and I really resonated with Jolene Park um who has done a Ted Talk on uh gray area drinking and actually has a podcast herself but or did I should say and Jen couch um with Sober Sis. When I started to find these women who were talking about the detox to retox loop that I felt stuck in day in and day out. It was like, I was finally feeling seen and that's you know why I wanted more books to be out there about gray area drinking and if I, if there's one thing I've heard since it's launched as this is my story. I feel like I'm sitting on the couch with you having a cup of coffee. I can relate to so much of what you said this. I'm seeing myself in this book and that's exactly what I wanted, was for women to relate to the this type of area on the alcohol use disorder spectrum and say Ah, that's me and I'm not shaming anybody's stories. Whether it's a darker Hue or a lighter Hue of gray, they're all important and they all need to be heard but we need to have stories on all these different shades so that we can say oh that's me. Maybe I do need to explore my relationship with alcohol.


Alex: It's and you know what, it's so true because as you're sharing this I actually have so, I work with one-on-one clients not just in sobriety like I'll work in yoga, I'll work in all these different areas and I actually have a client who is sober curious and she joined my Facebook group and she said you know, I don't think I'm worthy of being here because of all the posts I read which seems so rock bottom you know and, and it's exactly what you're talking about, it's like she's like I don't relate to this rock bottom story so I don't think it's for me um and in reality, and that's like what I was reading too when I first was quitting drinking. I was reading these extreme sobriety stories that was all that was out there and those were amazing books like they were great but I was never um you know. Like there was Catherine Gray there was a point in her book where she was drinking out of like a paper bag in a park and and I was like I just I was never at that point right? You know, and same with like I was a huge fan of Rolf Gates who is one of my favorite yoga teachers and he just gave, he I mean his book was written 20 years ago so it was really different maybe even 30 at this point but he talks a lot about you know, he describes himself as an alcoholic. He has an addict and so I read that you know a decade ago and I thought well this isn't me you know and so that narrative really makes you feel confused because you think okay if I haven't had this extreme experience then maybe sobriety is not for me or I don't need this journey or it's not relevant or whatever and that keeps women stuck.


Meg: It really, they really are stuck and it looks normal to the outside world. I mean when I would ask friends and family you know, do you think that I drink too much? They would say no. Do you think you're addicted? And I, I was starting to question myself and I finally, I talk about this in the book, I finally worked up the courage to talk to my therapist about it and I told her this maddening tug of war in my mind. Of this toxic relationship with alcohol where some nights it was only one glass of wine, some nights it was three glasses and they could be three big glasses which is the bottle you know and so I just really it felt like it was becoming, it was taking control of me and I wanted to be in control in every area of my life and it was scaring me that this was starting to have a real control over me where I was looking forward to my rewarding glass of wine at night but so were my friends and so were my family and so when I finally tell my therapist that she says nope, nope. I think you're just thinking about it too much. Well, that ill advice kept my gray area drinking going for two more years and it's confusing when you go to a yoga class and that's yoga and champagne or I would go to a you know, do a 30 mile bike ride and at the end there's a beer fest you know. That's how you celebrate, that you just biked 30 miles or you know I would go to um a spin class and they would say sweat out the toxins, it's okay if you're hungover you know and so you're going there to feel like you're in control. Like, I would say myself, well if I can bike 30 miles I don't really have a problem. So, it was this illusion and and story that I was keeping myself trapped in and then when the wellness instructor is telling me that it's normal and it's okay, it would be like that permission slip like oh see I'm not that bad, everybody here is in great shape and we're all sweating out the toxins, right? And so what I want to say is it doesn't matter if you hit rock bottom or not if that inner knowing inside of you, that small voice that intuition is saying to you something does, doesn't feel right or we're not stepping into our greatest potential or I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired every day. I mean it was like waking up with that slight hangover, my days were just a slight shade of gray and I was just working towards getting out of that kind of faith, that fog all day. I would be always starting my day at a deficit so by the time I took care of everything at work, came home took care of the kids, took care of the house. As soon as the sun would set, my mind would flip again and go, Gosh you deserve a glass of wine look at everything you did today, you did that punishing workout, you did, you know, you got that sale at work, you got the kids homework done. You deserve a glass of wine and I stayed in that detox to retox loop for way too long because it looked and was called normal drinking and what I want to debunk out there is this gray area drinking space on alcohol use to spectrum. So, that women can say before it gets darker shade you know, gets worse um you know, when we have a major life event like a divorce, a death um, an affair, anything major that can happen in our lives that social drinking can very quickly turn change to a medicinal use of wine at night and if we don't start talking about it earlier and catching people kind of upstream where it's not maybe so bad and they understand the truth about it then we hopefully can get off that one-way drinking highway which Jen couch says a lot in her program and pop the hood up and just I'm not here to judge anyone. My book is very much of like let's just get curious and stay curious and ask ourselves, do we believe these five intoxicating lies? What is, is it really? What is it really providing for us? And um digging into it in each chapter through my stories.


Alex: What are, can you share, what some of those lies were?


Meg: Yeah, so of course I mentioned one which I think is the biggest one that I've heard especially in my women's groups that I participate in with seversis which is I deserve a drink. We have been sold the LIE especially in the mommy wine culture, which is another, I have a whole chapter on the mommy wine culture. Um, which is that I deserve it. It is a solution to our parenting challenges. It is a reward at the end of the day and what we're not told is that it's adding to our anxiety. It's compounding our parenting challenges. It's making everything harder, it's increasing our depression um and what women really need is community, support, connection and rest. Not wine but we are told and fed this lie and during the pandemic I, I also go over that in my book, drinking went up 42% in women because women were trying to juggle the house, they were cleaning, cooking non-stop for everybody with our people 24/7 when we are quarantined and then we were doing work online and trying to do homeschooling online and with if you had young kids, I mean it was super challenging to be in a meeting and then trying to keep your kindergartner to pay attention online. I mean it really was very stressful and what were we told have a quarantining in fact we were, we, we started normalizing day drinking.


Alex: Yeah.


Meg: and addictions went through the roof and I know a lot of my friends said that they started drinking a lot more during the pandemic. So this whole brain lie of stressful day, I've earned it, I deserve it. This is my solution. This is my me time, my wine time, is total BS and women are you know, have unfortunately, the big alcohol industry knows that women are exhausted.


Alex: Yeah.


Meg: and don't have the support that they need and they've you know, they're preying on that um you know, you see the commercials, at least here in the US, where there's a mom with a shopping cart and it's a snow day and she's getting all the food for the you know, to be snowed in and then she grabs several bottles of wine to deal with being. It's basically the same message as being quarantined, right? Like you're stuck in the house here's how you cope you know, here's how you get through the witching hours with your kids and it's a very dangerous message because women are getting addicted out of an alarming rate. It's really becoming an epidemic and that is why I wanted to write the book. Um the other one is in gray area drinking which you and I already just touched upon. It's a very tricky space because there isn't a lot of consequences there. Aren't people saying you should go get help? So you don't think you have a drinking problem and so a lot of times what we see um and this kind of goes into the next lie uh, that I can control my drinking. Which is, oh I'll just do this Dry January and I'll prove to myself that I, I'm, I can do it and I'm not so bad, right? And what ends up happening for gray area drinkers is they take lots of breaks to kind of prove they're okay but then we always slowly end up going back to our gray area drinking and so it's this vicious cycle of of thinking that your problem isn't that bad but you are on the alcohol use disorder spectrum and so that's again why I want to you know, I have a whole chapter just about what gray area drinking is and questions to ask yourself. I'm not here to diagnose anyone. I'm not a physician or anything like that but I do want to draw attention to it, um and the whole thought of moderation is a big one for people. They still have some type of value or belief in alcohol if they want to moderate. So, I talk about this in the book um, I actually was alcohol free for 15 months and during covid I had an effort moment and drank and so I want to tell women that this is progress over perfection. When you're in this journey you may have what I call a side step but if you get curious about what you learned in it and it is feedback and like everybody says in the community a data point versus fit. It's not failure if you don't give up and what happened for me um was I still in the back of my mind and it was way back there because I had, I really at that point had done a lot of work in my alcohol-free journey of knowing the truth of what it was but I still had this small belief that and lie that if everything kind of went to hell on a handbasket. I, I would have that to, to just check out and everything did. I was fighting with my husband about politics, I found out my daughter was vaping and that she lied to me about it and I felt like a failure as a mom. Um, I was trying to keep everybody safe with covid and you know I was the bad guy in the house. I was just caught. I was fighting to stay alcohol-free. I was like everywhere I turned work was almost impossible doing it online because I'm, I'm in pharmaceutical sales and doctors don't want to talk to you online. I mean it just was like a battle everywhere I turned and I hit that fit moment and I opened up that bottle of wine and I took three big swigs and it burned going down. It was like my body was like Whoa, We Really Gonna Do This? And then my daughter came down the stairs with tears in her eyes and she said mommy is this my fault and it was like my, y, got slapped across my face and I realized here I am telling her not to do an addictive substance such as vaping and yet here I am drinking wine because I am, I'm having this hard moment and I realized it's just my problems are still going to be there tomorrow the only thing that wine was doing was freezing them you know, for a period of time and really, it's only 20 minutes, right? That you get that high and then you're chasing it the rest of the night. So I, I, I, the, the whole lie of I can moderate, I can control my drinking is another one that we fall into after time and space. We have that as William Porter says, the fading bias effect, right? That drinking Amnesia where we kind of think oh I wasn't that bad, I, I think I can keep, I can go back to being a ticket or leave it, drinker which we never were right. So it's just this, these lies again that we tell ourselves and we get. I was in a group where there was someone who was taking sips and she was like oh you can, you can do that. You've done all the work you, can take sips and so we look up to these people right? And, and we think oh well maybe, maybe I can go back and um what I realized in that moment was that I no longer wanted a substance to check out from life. I knew that I needed to be in those really hard spaces and feelings and know that they were going to pass I, I was my why had been crossed slapped across my face and not only for my family and my children but for myself and, and just the thought of what am I modeling to my daughter. That when life gets really hard, mom is gonna go you know, have a bunch of wine, like I don't, I don't want that to be what she then grows up and sees and that's. So we actually ended up having a really nice conversation. I was like I'm not perfect, you're not perfect, you're gonna make mistakes, I'm gonna make mistakes. We, we get to like learn from those side steps and we get to choose again and so I hope that you will choose you know, not to vape and I'm gonna and I poured my wine down the sink. She watched me pour it down and it was a real growing moment for the two of us you know, and it's like that's why anybody who's having these side steps, if they're pushing you further along in the journey to realizing that, it is not giving you anything it's only taking not giving then that is growth that is progress. You are moving in your journey and so um the other the last lie um is that I my biggest fear was that I would be boring if I quit drinking. It was very much at the center of who I thought I was and that I could only have fun if I drank and um I take you through all of those kind of firsts in, in the book but finding your fun self again has been one of the most beautiful parts of the journey you know. When you give up alcohol it forces you to really get to know who you are and what you love to do and I discovered that going back to what you love to do when you were a little girl you know. For me it was biking, being out in nature. I used to clean creeks out and like spend all this time out in nature. Um and I just loved writing. I just remember my pigtails flying in the wind and now I love being on my bike in nature on the biking trails. I also love to paint and I'm taking a watercolors class right now and I find that you know, I have so much on my plate but when I get into my painting class, my to-do list just melts away and that little child inside of me, that little girl like beams up and is just joyful and like oh my gosh this is exactly where your spirit comes alive and so I talk about several different ways in the book to find that fun part of yourself again and you know life was that. Like I said that fog, that gray and now when I go on my walks in nature I get so excited. I'm like oh I wonder what treasures I'm gonna find today. So, I have this whole thing if you follow me on social media, it's called "Find the Beauty in the Day" and it's a way of having a gratitude for your day. It can be a leaf, it can be a rock, it can be a sunset, a tree, a bird but I when I go on these walks. I'm looking for the, these ways that the universe is going to show me that I'm being held and loved in this journey and they appear all the time. I collect heart rocks, like I was on the beach yesterday and I found two heart rocks like as soon as I got on the beach. There was this big heart rock and it's just one of those. I mean it gives me the chills. It's like it's one of those ways that you can find joy every day and um so it's not boring at all it's more joyful.


Alex: I love that, oh my goodness there were so many things in your share there that just like really landed with me and well the first was when you were sharing about that moment with your daughter. I like honestly got tears in my eyes like because I just feel that we're so hard on ourselves along this journey you know, and people think that they're a failure and I hear this all the time as well like just last week I got a message from someone in one of my groups saying you know, how is it that you say that you're four years sober and you had a blip because I've talked about the time that I had a blip and and um and, and then you know the same thing like I had a women, I had a woman guest speaking who just, she super casually was like oh yeah and then I drank and then I stopped and then and someone listening said wow that really inspired me because you talk about your blips so casually like they're just kind of things that happened along the way and there's such a culture of like you have a drink and it's over and you're a failure and you're not as successful and you're not sober and the reality is I love the way you put it that every step you take if it's, if it's moving you towards learning more about yourself then that's progress and that's growth.


Meg: We live in a society of one instant gratification. We think we can fix ourselves in 30 days, you know? Things didn't really start to shift for me and my journey to 100 days and I wrote about that as well and we lit, we live in a perfectionism society where we we feel like we have like you said, we're so hard on ourselves and it's these absolute perfectionism I call it in the book The Machine. It's like a vortex that sucks you in. It feels like you have to have it perfect and nailed it and the hustle culture and all the things these lies that were sold of how we think things are supposed to go and it's just not true. I mean Holly Whitaker talks about it in her book, Quit like a Woman. You don't just get up and run the New York Marathon, you train for it. I mean this is, this is not something that you just get up and you know I mean I know some people can do that but they're like unicorns they're very rare you know, it takes time and we, it's not an instant gratification thing. It, it's baby steps and patience and being oh the self-compassion part of this journey. It's, it's everywhere you turn. It's like you know, shame off. This isn't your fault and have more self-compassion if you have these side steps because you know there's something that you still believe there's still a lie that you believe and until you uncover and do more get more Curious, you're, you're gonna stay stuck in there but all through the process like you said, you've got to have compassion for yourself and Grace it's not easy you know but it's beautiful.


Alex: Yeah, it's not and it's something to be proud of. Like no matter what stage you're at even if you're just questioning it or being curious about it and still drinking you know, it takes a lot to finally get to that space in that state and so I think it's, it's something to be acknowledged and celebrated.


Meg: Oh for sure and I think that's the other thing that we don't do a lot in our society. Is like when we have these wins we, we tend to just kind of move right past them. We need to celebrate all the small wins. I mean you're building your alcohol-free muscle and every, every time you do that like you go to a sales meeting and you're the only person not drinking or you go to a wedding and you're the only person that's freaking you know, these things are huge wins and you just never know that you're the person that's planting a seed for somebody else to say oh not everybody drinks and there is a different way and you know, I know that I'm in sales and I've just had a sales meeting and I ordered a non-alcohol up here at the table and everybody was kind of like, what? What are you, why are you drinking that? Like, what? You know, and then I told them about my book and um and then people started having more questions and oh you know my mom I think is an alcoholic and you know, it just it, it, it spurs these conversations where I think people want sometimes to, the permission slip to see that other people aren't doing it and um and show that there is a different way. I mean I think the sober movement is growing by leaps and bounds. It's so awesome to see you know, just the sober, sober curious movement that's growing out there and it just you know, back when you and I probably you know, it wasn't that big and now it's like it's exploding. It's great.


Alex: It's huge, it's huge and some of the things like even you sharing at the start of the episode that Ireland is now putting labels on their bottles like that is massive and and you know back when we started our journey. So, I'm four years sober, like they didn't even have like alcohol-free options in the UAE you know, and now it's just become like a huge thing there and, and so cool and so popular and so many people are, are interested. It's just amazing and it just takes a few people sharing their stories. You know, I love that idea of like planting the seed for someone else's sobriety because the the longer I'm on this journey the more that I see like I post things and I think they're resonating with no one you know. No one reaches out or no one comments or no one likes or whatever and it's literally been you know, I'm gonna be four years sober in April and three years of really being open about it and posting about it and sharing about it and like I just got a message from someone the other day who like I, I'm like I don't even remember how I really knew him. We went to university together but I don't know like if we work together or if we had mutual friends or something but he messaged me saying you know, I'm like this many days sober and it's because of your Facebook posts and you're just like wow, like you think you're having no impact yet just by being you and just by making the choices you're making, whether or not you're posting them on social media or anything, it's going to have an impact on other people and it's going to start to ripple and change the whole culture.


Meg: It's so true. I have somebody in my life that was my biggest drinking pal and you know, it's been three years and she's just now like ordering non-alcoholic drinks when we go out to the, to dinner together and things like that and you know people have to choose it on their own but it sometimes it takes years you know, but like you said it's amazing how they are watching, they are watching and they're watching how free you are and how beautiful your life is and you know, like oh I want that right, I mean so much opens up for us when we remove a substance that constantly is taking and really a depressant. Um, it's kind of ironic that we use a depressant to celebrate. Yeah, this paper makes sense.


Alex: Yeah, totally. Well Meg this has just been such an amazing conversation. I've learned so much and I'm so curious about reading your book now. Like, I just feel like it's so, there's so much in there, in these lies that really seduce us into drinking and sell us the idea of drinking as women and so I'm just really um interested now and I'm definitely going to take a look at it after our interview.


Meg: Oh thank you so much. I really appreciate you having me and I hope you enjoy it and I can't wait to hear your feedback.


Alex: I have one last question for you before we wrap up, if someone were sober, curious or just starting out their alcohol-free Journey what advice would you give them?


Meg: I would say to start journaling. Um and to get really curious and uh they can go to my website intoxicatinglives.com backslash common and get my most fought, the five most common intoxicating Lies We Tell ourselves, print that out and journal and and ask yourself if you're believing these lies and just stay really, really curious. If you can get into a community you'll find that you're not alone and when that drinking amnesia starts to come back in, your, your community will surround you and keep you on that path. You're also going to need support so the community you know will give you that as well. So like journaling and community and rest, slow down you know, and really listen to your inner knowing. Know that you are more than enough. That you have what it takes to do this you're worth it and um we're rooting for you.


Alex: I love that. Amazing, thank you so much again for your time and I'll put that link in the show notes so if anyone is listening wants to check it out um, you can just check the notes and I think on Meg's website as well you can find where you can buy her book. I know it's available on Amazon right now.


Meg: Yeah, yes. Thank you so much. I appreciate you having me. It was so fun talking to you.


Alex: It was so nice talking to you too Meg.


Meg: Thanks, 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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