Updated: Aug 23, 2021
I'm so excited to have Cathy as a guest on the show! Cathy recently joined the Mindful Life Practice - so you've probably met her in class! She is a sobriety connector. She is also the mother of two college students and a high school counselor. Cathy’s mission is to connect those on the sober journey. Cathy’s goal of living recovery out loud of addiction and mental health to shatter stigmas and labels.
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Find Cathy on Instagram @soberapproved and meet her in class one day at www.themindfullifepractice.com! Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at http://themindfullifepractice.com/live-schedule.
Alex: All right. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of “Sober Yoga Girl”. I am really excited to have Cathy as a guest with me here today. And Cathy is a co-host of “Getting BAC2zero”, which is a show that is live streamed on Facebook that I actually had the pleasure of being a guest on last week. So if you haven't seen that show, I'm going to put the link in the show notes. And Cathy is also-- she's a high school guidance counselor by day, but she is kind of dubbed the “Sobriety Connector” in that she's always connecting and learning and researching about what's going on in the sober world and connecting people around the world. So welcome, Cathy. I'm so happy to have you here.
Cathy: Thank you so much for having me here. Alex, I really appreciate you and all the work you're doing.
Alex: I appreciate you, too. So let's get started. I was wondering if you could give me a little bit of background information on you, like tell us a little bit about who you are, where you're from, your work and your interests, all that stuff.
Cathy: Awesome. Yes. Thank you. So I hail from Cleveland, Ohio, in the States, as I always say. And so I-- you know, I always start off with I am the mother of two, I have two college age students and as you said, I am a high school guidance counselor by day. I have been sober for almost two years now. And you know, that was after many years of practice of trying to get there. And I am so grateful--I call my life the soberful life now. But it took me a long time to get there. I was definitely-- if you had a face of the “Mommy Wine Culture”, that was me. And I really--I got divorced about 12 years ago. And that-- the chardonnay with ice what-- because I kept it classy, was my-- it became my liquid courage for everything because I didn't know how to function or I chose to not know how to function when I got divorced. So, you know, about three years ago, my-- one of my children and my children said to me “Enough, you know, Mom--” and I really you know, there wasn't this rock bottom or anything like that, but my children had just said, you've done a lot of damage to us. And that was devastating for me because I really didn't-- I was so disconnected from myself and my body, and my mind. And I'm a guidance counselor. I never thought that I was that bad. You know, I still thought in a lot of ways I was mother of the year, but I wasn't fooling anyone, you know? And it's three years ago, they said enough. And it took me a year of controlling it. And I got exhausted with myself. And so on July 21st, 2019, had my last bottle. I just said--I often say it was like the movie “Forrest Gump”. I just when Forrest stops running and says, I'm going to go home now. I just I did the same thing. I put the bottle down and said, I'm going to go home now. And for the first eight months, so that was July 22nd, I always say, is my sobriety day. For the first eight months I did a Cathy plan because I lived so much in shame. I did not want to talk to anybody because I really believed it was willpower. And again, this is why I do my recovery out loud, because if I believed these things, as a guidance counselor, which I-- you know, I think my role is education and mental health. You know, and so if I didn't know any better, I just believe that I need to help others. And so for the first eight months Alex, I didn't tell anyone what I was doing. I really lived in darkness and shame and just thought, you need to--I literally understand the term white knuckling because I just plowed through it. I made a Cathy plan, which is never a good idea. I didn't seek medical help. Well, I hired an acupuncturist and I hired a therapist that you know, I found that didn't like sobriety groups or didn't like AA, because I have this thing in my head about AA. Like, I was like, no, that's for those people. I didn't hit this rock bottom. I joined a meditation group and actually got certified in mindfulness, but it was all like individual. So everything I did was nothing in community. It was of all isolation. And I didn't talk to anybody about like what was really going on. And the only thing that I did-- do was I was researching a lot on motivational speakers and spiritual people. So Gabby Bernstein and Wayne Dyer you know, became my thing. I remember like being in the darkness, but listening to them to and from work. And so, you know, that the universe was watching out for me because that-- those were the moments that, you know, we're getting me through. And I even had a plan that I was going to go live on the other side of the world when my daughter graduated. My daughter was graduating that year. And I was going to go live on the other side of the world and take a job in education. So these were-- so I was going to have a huge geographical cure on top of everything else. Then the shutdown happened. And I had one thing that I had done is I had joined a online Facebook community with Michelle Smith, who runs “Recovery is the New Black”. And I was just kind of curious towards it, never weighed in on it. But I must have somehow, someway found Laura McKowen, who wrote “We Are the Luckiest” on there. Like I signed up for her emails. She came out in March right after the pandemic. She was supposed to be on a book tour and said “Hey, I'm going to have free online classes, not classes, book tour things for anybody that's interested”. And I remember my son had come home from college. He was studying in Scotland, and he was going to be online doing something. And I thought, let me just listen to this because I could tell that I was kind of scaring him, like I was really just so negative, so and he would just like he said to me at one point “Mom, Mom, why don't-- why aren't any of the blinds open? We have an aversion to light nowadays?” which is so exactly where I was mentally and physically at that point. And he came in and like opened all my blinds. It was like, we need to let some light in here mama. And, I got online with Laura's first class and I--or not class I keep calling it that, but book tour session that I went to and I sobbed. Here is a professional woman who literally was telling, I keep using that word, was telling my story, and all these people were weighing in, telling my story. And I just was in shock and I just kept coming back. She was having-- for she had for a month, just free sessions every night, sometimes two times a day. She had all these amazing speakers and was talking about the science behind thing. And I just couldn't get enough. I felt like somebody was pouring water into me. I was so dehydrated and people would talk about AA in a beautiful way. So I actually joined a Zoom AA meeting and they joke in my one women’s group. They were like, they always remember me getting on, in my room being dark, my hood being up. And they were like, if Cathy could have crawled into the wall and didn't want to be seen in a meeting, that was like the version of like I just didn't want-- I didn't even want to admit that I was there. Laura eventually started from her grass roots, “The Luckiest Club”, and I ended up getting a sponsor in AA. So I was doing both. And Laura was also having some courses for women specifically that I joined. It took me three months to say one word because I was just talking to a friend who speaks many languages. He's one of my best friends. I was just on his podcast and they said it was to me like going to a foreign land. I was so befuddled. I was so--I didn't have words for what I was. And I will never forget the first meeting I spoke at was there Emily Paulson, who has written many books and has been really on the forefront of talking about “Mommy Wine Culture”. She spoke about the term shape shifting. And I sobbed and I got on and said I always just thought I was the biggest fraud. I always thought I was just the biggest liar. I did not know that there was a psychological term for what I was going through. And I'm a guidance counselor and I joke that it's Emily's fault that I haven't shut up since. And so I got on and I sobbed a lot because I did a lot of damage with my children. And I got on and I remember, you know, people would say to me now, like, I'm so joyful, but I'm sure when people would be like, here comes that woman who's sobbing again. That's all I did for all my sure. Good summer. And eventually, you know, I just kept going through the pain, going through the pain, and I went through all the steps in AA and I just felt the healing and I felt the shift. And, you know, I can't say that things are 1,000% better with my children, but they're melting, you know, and I just show up every day. What has happened about 18 months in and you alluded to it, Jeff Graham who started “Getting BAC2zero”, invited me on as a guest like we invited you. And it was the first time I mean, I had told my stories within the rooms of AA and in the rooms of “The Luckiest Club” or in different other communities I was in. But Jeff’s show is public. And I hadn't really you know, I shut out my world like I shut out family, friends that were not part of a sobriety world and Jeff asked me to do it. And it's funny because I am typically an anxious person. And I got on I slept the night before and I got on and I just spoke my truth. And afterwards I wasn't-- I didn't have a vulnerability hangover. And all I got was love from people who, you know, were in my life that said Cathy, I had no idea, you know, what you had been going through. And, you know, I got love from the community. I got love from all over. And it shifted me in a way like-- because I had been really hiding and not talking about my sobriety. And this opened up a world of-- I had so many women reach out to me and say. You know, maybe I need help, maybe I should be curious, you know, like, thank you for sharing your story. I was shocked. Like I couldn't believe that my words influence somebody else's. And from that, it just opened up a world of you know, working with Jeff and being a co-host and a lot of things and, you know, starting “Sober Approved”. And I mean, I'm traveling all over the world meeting people like you. And it's so funny because I'm being so brave, like I will just like kind of how I reached out to you, Alex. I will reach out to anyone and say, hey, tell me about yourself. I'll set up a meeting. And I've done it with you know, like authors, with musicians, with-- tell me about yourself. Tell me about like would you want to be on the show. I love your journey and how you've influenced me. And it's just led to the most amazing-- I mean, I'm a wrap now for an alcohol free company. I'm leading a trip to Bali next summer with sober journeys. I'm doing all these amazing things. But, you know, I had to-- I look back on my life and I am the youngest of seven children. I went to seven different schools and I just didn't know who I was. And so I started running away at the age of 22 when my father died is what I realized. And I just kept running. And a lot of my issues I've done some trauma work now as well, came from money. And I did a trauma class with Jeff ,with a guy named Paul McNamara and it's “Post Traumatic Winning” and he's actually a soldier. He's been a soldier in the American military. And he you know, he says, yes, I've been shot out, but I've also had family issues. And trauma is trauma. It's trauma. There is no big trauma. There's no little trauma. Trauma is trauma. And I just really like I couldn't believe how much the money thing was, what I was really at the root of me drinking at and a lot of my psychological issues as well, you know. So I've just worked through so much. And I just love how, you know, when I figured out that financial trauma piece and I've talked to so many women, again, they're like, wow, I've never thought about it and being in that aspect before, you know? And because I was worried about the image and I was worried about where my kids went and all those things that rippled down into my children. So, you know, the reason I live my recovery out loud is for one person out there to know that they're not alone, that this is you know, I was addicted to an addictive substance. I was part of the mommy culture who could go out and have wine with you. But I would go home and make sure that I had plenty of wine at home and drink myself to sleep. I did all those things and by the end, I had so many lines that I blurred by the end. And, you know, if there were safe spaces or if I had heard people talk about this--
Cathy: I may have let the soak in more. Michelle Smith, was one of-- I had her on because of the “Recovery is the New Black”. And she was such a big influence on me. I had her on as my Mother's Day guest on the show. And her parting words were I said, you know what? What wisdom would you say to somebody who's new? And she was like, plug in good. You know, put it in the podcast, put in the thing. She said, you know, like I've watched like the “World's Greatest Loser”, like the show where you're losing weight. Like she was like eating pizza, you know, and she was like, but eventually you get healthy. Same thing. Just keep plugging in the good and keep practicing. And so I steal those phrases. You know, I don't think anything I ever say is really original. But I also just like to show that I'm living a soberful life. I am like traveling all over the world daily, via zoom. I am having a flippin blast every day and I'm showing, you know, I can't change what I have done to my kids, but all I can do is show up every day and show them I made a mistake. And-- but I was addicted to an addictive substance, but I've also here to make a change to the world and to myself mostly, you know, the most important thing is I'm taking care of myself and I lean in every day to, you know, I have morning routines, I have routines. And now I have found your community that is taking me to a whole another level that I have needed. And I just keep taking for what else is there in this world that I can help make better for myself. And if it's making better for me, I bet I'm not alone in sharing that as I go along. That's a lot of what I call my sobriety connector, because every time something is revealed to me, I want the world to know about it too, because maybe it will help them, even though it will strike their soul in a different way than it struck mine even. And so, I'm just so grateful that I wouldn't say I'm grateful that my children had to go through this. But I'm grateful for everything I have now. And it's so interesting, about two months ago is when the financial thing really hit me that was a big thing. And I met a friend that I hadn't seen in a couple of years, and we met in the same place that we met three years ago. And I got out of my car. And when I got there and I'm like, I had this moment like I've been here before, like what is going on? And I had to laugh because three years ago I had just put down the bottle for the first time and I was so shaky and I was like, please don't drink because we were meeting at a restaurant bar. I was broke. I had no money. I was-- my car was falling apart. Everything was just a disaster. My children were talking to me. That's when they had said, we can't. You're a monster. We can't be around you. And here I was three years later, a brand new car, you know, like didn't worry about getting gas home. There was no way drinking was even going to occur to me. Nothing had changed on the outside, really. You know, I'm living in the same place. I have the same children. Everything is different on the inside. Everything. It is a total like makeover. Has it been easy? Hell, no. But what I would say is don't do it alone. Don't do the Cathy plan at all. That was a-- that was just bad for eight months. I mean, I don't know how I can go back, though, and I haven't left Cleveland, Ohio. You know, I was going to move. I was supposed to be moving. And I'm so happy where I am and I'm so grateful for all my friends around the world like you.
Alex: Wow. That is so honestly, I got shivers hearing your story. Like, it's just so inspiring to hear how you turned your life around. And there's so many things that you mentioned there that just resonated with me. I wanted to ask you first, what is shape shifting? I've heard this term before. I don’t know what it means.
Cathy: So funny. I had never heard of it either. And so a lot of people ask me that. I usually give the definition, but I was on a roll. So basically, whenever you're in a room or a situation, you just say that you agree to the situation. And there is always the one movie. I forget what her name is. I'm bad with actresses, but where she's like engaged to a bunch of different men and he's like, I like my eggs this way. She's like, me too. I like my eggs this way. Me too. That was me. It was like when I pee in a room and people will be like, oh, I love you know, I love rap music. Oh yeah, me too. I don't like rap music, you know, like it's just like I would just go along with the crowd because I was raised not to you know, be seen that way, you know. And you know, and I you know, I should mention I didn't come from a drinking family, you know. You know, it wasn't like a big thing in my family. So, you know, I felt shame towards my family too. Like we weren't raised in this. Like, you know, people talk, you know, people will talk about stories and, you know, and the other thing I would say to is, you know, so that's what shape shifting is. But as far as like AA and, you know, I am in AA, I am in Laura McKowen’s group, I'm in several other groups do what works for you. You know, I am a hybrid. I love AA now, but it took me a long time to get there and I love my community there. But if that scares you, but the beauty is that there's zoom for most of this nowadays and that's where my safety is at first on a lot of things. And so, you know, you don't have to do AA. You don't have to just do one way. And you are proof of that. You know, like that's what I love about you, Alex, is you're another way for people to say, well, I wouldn't really, like, embrace that way. And it's okay. You know, there's no right or wrong way. Are you sober? Are you getting sober? And I don't think of it as if-- I used to be such an extreme. Like, either you're doing it or you're not. You're failing or you're succeeding. You know, you don't just wake up one day you know, like there's-- it's not oh, I fell. Oh, I slept. It's okay. Like, what did I learn? If you just treated as I'm curious, I would have had a whole different approach, but shape shifting, that's how I understand it. And I just, you know, with going to seven different schools, with being one of seven children, and because somebody said to me, when I put down the bottle, they said, oh, it's good to have you back. And that tipped me off. And I like I couldn't figure out for the longest time why I was raged by that statement. Well, it's because I was never there. I never saw my worth. I never saw my worth until now. I didn't know what worth was. I put worth in other people. I was attached to other people, but I didn't know who Cathy was on the inside. So you know, shape shifting to me is just molding yourself into what other people are.
Alex: Yeah. Oh my God. That makes so much sense to me because I feel like when I was drinking, that was a little bit of who I was. Like, I-- you know, I look back on my drinking towards the end of my drinking days, the type of people that I was hanging out with, like I would find myself in a room where we would just be gossiping and judging and talking about our hair and our nails. And I look back and I'm like, who was that? Who was that person?
Alex: You want to write something else? Actually, this is crazy. When I was moving out of my whole department, I have a TV there. I don't watch TV. Never. I just don't-- I don't know. I just never had a TV since I moved out of my parents house. The people I was hanging out with in the last year of my partying days really wanted to get together and watch “The Bachelor”. And both of them had husbands, so they needed a house with a TV where single girls could get together to watch “The Bachelor”. And I literally went out and bought a TV for them.
Cathy: Wow! Isn’t it amazing.
Alex: Yeah. And so I had this TV and I was moving out of the apartment and I was like, what am I doing with this? I have not turned this on since I got sober. And if I do want to watch a movie which is rare, I just put on my computer and lie in bed, you know, like, I never, ever use that TV.
Cathy: Okay. I'm blown away because I was the same way. I've never had a TV, like,
Cathy: In my old house. I had one in the basement with the kids, but I wanted my upstairs, like, I just don't like-- I just didn't like it. And I was dating a guy and he was like, how do you not have a TV? And I'm like, I just don't, like it was the same thing. I watch it on my computer. If I watch something. I went out to buy a TV. I do, I will say Netflix you know, it's a little too much now. I should just get rid of it again. But what you said that I was like, oh my gosh, you know, like we could do a survey of like, what did you buy that you don't, you know, like I was like, I literally was like, why? I don't need that. I-- why would I spend money on that? And he was like, everyone needs a TV and did it on. My kids were, you know, off of college or whatever. And I went out and bought a TV and I just laugh. I'm like-- so I totally resonate with that story. And like, there were things he wanted to do that I was like, sure, I'll get that. And I look around my place now and I'm like, why? Why, where are we doing that? So I totally got it. Yeah.
Alex: Wow. Oh, my God. I can't believe you also bought a TV. We’re going to share that bond forever.
Cathy: TV bond. You know, I want to get rid of my TV because I started like watching Netflix at night. Like, no, this is not-- this is why you don't have one, you know? So and it's funny, the morning habits. I mean, I was never a morning person and now I, you know, I have to get up early. I have all these habits, the one thing like I didn't-- I was bad. I didn't ask you this question on the show because I ask everybody else and, I-- the one thing I still refuse to do is make my bed. And so I’ve been doing-- I joke that I do research. I'm like, Alex, do you make your bed?
Alex: You know what? It's a very recent thing that I wasn't doing it. You know why I started doing it? Actually, I'll tell you why.
Alex: Because in my old apartment, I was filming my yoga classes from my bedroom.
Cathy: See, that makes logical sense. I mean, I said when people come over, you have to walk past my bedroom to go to the bathroom. So that's when I make my bed because I don't want to be a teenager and like close my door, but other than that, I saw no reason for it. And so it's a thing I research in sobriety. I'm like, do you or do you not make your bed? It's become my thing, my question.
Alex: It's-- I've recently honestly started doing it and I'm actually-- I've just gotten better on all my habits. And I think it was partially the bed making thing started because of filming yoga classes. But now that I've kind of I've-- I'm not teaching anymore. I just have more time around the house than like I'm working here. So I have a bit more-- I'm more focused on it. But it took me a long, you know, two and a half years sober. It probably only started making a bed like halfway through my sobriety.So--
Cathy: Okay. All right. So I'm a little over two years might start happening. I made it the other day. I should have taken a picture, but I keep saying I should go live from my bedroom because then maybe I will be forced to do this, but I just refused. Yeah. So--
Alex: There's my--
Cathy: See there you go. You did it. It looks beautiful. It does. So it's just funny. The things that like so, you know, it's become like I don't know like the TV, the conversations of the hilarious things we can see about in our selves now, you know, and that's the beauty of this. And I just love-- it's the simple things like that, that we connect on that, you know, sometimes, you know, we have the deep crap that we've gone through, no doubt. But it's the simple things like bed making and TV that are really important at the end of the day.
Alex: Yeah, totally. And what you said before about just kind of like you went through your sobriety alone for eight months, which is mind blowing. That's hard. I was alone in my sobriety for about seven days and it was so hard. Oh, my God. And then I joined “One Year NO Beer” and one year no beer was great because it was a virtual community, but it was all Facebook. I had never been face to face with people in a room talking about my sobriety. And I remember the first time I was in a room having, like, talking about it. And it was when I went to meet my yoga teacher who I talked about him on the podcast, Ralph Gates. I love him. And I went to a yoga teacher training with him. And it wasn't a room full of you know, people that had been struggling with their drinking. But you know, he had and he was openly talking about it. And it was the first time that I spoke in a room about my sober journey too and like being in a space with other people that get what you've been through. Like it is powerful. It is so powerful.
Cathy: It is. And it's just. I realized that I had felt alone all my life, and I think that's why I was so ticked off when somebody said, Oh, it's good to have you back, because I'm like, what's back? You know? And to me, that would be the old Cathy of saying yes to you or whatever. And I you know, and just to be with people who say, oh, yeah, like, I never felt like I fit in or I had or if I did, I felt like I had imposter syndrome, you know, like a you know, that I was it, you know, I just never felt like I was comfortable with in my own. But you know, I have to say, like your yoga class, I just thought of this is the first time I'm doing yoga sober. And I just-- this is like such an epiphany for me right now. But I use that whole breathing thing was so--the mind thing I loved, you know, but the breathing thing, I felt like I'm suffocating when I was doing it when I was drinking. And now it's like I just feel so at home when I do yoga with it, with you now, you know, it's just-- it's beautiful. It really is. You're such a gift to me and taking my sobriety to a whole new level that it's all I-- you know, I said a couple of weeks ago and it was funny, I got quoted, I was like, I don't know how I got to this life that I have now. I never knew I wanted what I have now and I would never give it back. But I love you know, who knew like this is what I wanted and this is everything I ever wanted. And I can't even imagine a year from now like or a day from now because it's so amazing and I just love it.
Alex: It’s so amazing to have you part of our community, and I'm just so grateful for like, for how much appreciation you show for the community. It's just it feels like we're meant to meet. You know.
Cathy: I really you know, I mean, again, you're a person I never knew I needed in my life. And I came across you. And people can say whatever they want about social media. I mean, I'm going to be 50 this year and I have my best of friends in this world on you know, Facebook and Instagram. And I stand by it. You know, I use it for the positives. You can use it and you can use anything positive or negative is how I look at this. And I just love-- like, you know, you don't even know what I came across that you were doing, but I was like I wanted to get back into yoga and I was so afraid of it. And even as we're speaking, it's because the breathing it used to hurt, it used to hurt. And now it's like, oh, I can't wait for-- to do this. And so, but the community and what you have created, I-- and again, I feel like I researched this a lot. I've seen nothing like it. And I just so grateful to be part of this international community that is on a level with me. And you come at you know, it reminds me of you know, Laura says this, AA says it. “You come as you are and take what you can”. And that's the sobriety part of it. But you, you've taken it and also said in yoga and that is just, again, so freeing to me to be that-- like that. And I feel very safe in your community. And I say that you over and over again, I feel safe when I arrive on the yoga mat with you. Safe and sober, and you know, it's just beautiful.
Alex: Thank you, Cathy. So tell me about your work with, like, “Sober Approved” and “Getting BAC2zero”. What is your kind of vision for all of that?
Cathy: It's hilarious. I have none. That is the one where and that is not like especially the old me. It would be like I need to give you a ten point PowerPoint of my plan, blah, blah, blah, you know, and my goal is to connect people you know, like with Jeff with “Getting BAC2zero”, to you know, the whole goal of “Getting BAC2zero” is bringing people on from all-- we want to represent all walks of life, you know, whatever, whether it's rock bottom, not rock bottom in sobriety. Some people have been sober for many years, not many years. Some people are out there doing things. Some people are just not just people are living a sober life and they're given their journey. That's really we're “Getting BAC2zero” is. And also there's a Facebook private community along with it. Then with “Sober Approved”, it was funny. Jeff and I were talking one day. We actually-- Jeff and I live about four hours away from each other, we met halfway in between to finally meet each other in person. And we're talking about like what we would do with Instagram and all of this. And I kept saying, I feel like we're sober approved, we're like sober approving people like as they come in, like he had a dietician this or that. And that-- and I'm like, I don't know what to call it and Jeff just looks at you it’s like how about sober approved. And I'm like, well, how about sober approved? So, you know, the goal was sober approved, although it's my name kind of on there. It's really a Jeff --kind of an extent like to me, it's the umbrella of “Getting BAC2zero”. And what we want to do underneath it is kind of however it grows grass roots. But to create a space where I feel like there's a lot of people doing entrepreneurial stuff or, you know, like just some amazing stuff like you or Jill from “Sober Powered” is the scientist,ketchia[31:48] who's in our group, she has been doing some journaling workshops, creative writing show whoever it is. Just promoting better roads is a alcohol-free curating company. I've had Billy the bartender on the alcohol-free bartender on. So just kind of-- we're just trying to show basically it's the soberful life under “Sober Approved”, you know, where we can go so deep that I think a lot. And I know for me, I thought life was over, you know, like I was like, I can go to the same people, places and things. And now I feel like I have this endless opportunity. And like-- so that's kind of like you “Sober Approved” in--if you ask Jeff and it’s like that big umbrella. “Getting BAC2zero” is one of the stokes and we're just kind of building it as we go and as we see people coming together. My goal, in talking with a lot of women, I just in--and going into my second year now in my second year, what I'm seeing is it's kind of like, okay, I've gotten past the drink, I've gotten some skills. Now what. You know and like for you, like your community is kind of my now what? Is what I feel like I'm going to a deeper level and I want to start a community that now what with in the worth and working on the breadcrumbs for the next part of the journey, it's almost like emotional sobriety, the second level, is the community that I plan to build within, because I'm really seeing a need for-- a lot of people saying I got past my first year. I don't have the urges, I don't have the things.
Cathy: But what does that mean? And what I see is that there's a lot of classes out there that you can pay thousands and thousands of dollars for to see what would then now. What I want is I never want to lose my toe or my foot in remembering what it's like at the beginning. I will always be part of a community that is, you know, has the person who's in their first day, their first 30 days, because I need to-- I'm a quick forgetter. So I need to be there for that. But I want to start a community, the “Next level Sobriety”. So that's kind of my own personal thing that I will be launching in the next-- you know soon I'm working on it, but I, you know, kind of putting it together as I go as well. So it's nice because there's a lot of grass roots to this and I love that. I love the freedom of that and letting myself try things out and seeing that it doesn't fit, you know. And that, again, was not the old Cathy. It was like you committed to this. You're doing this no backing out. And I'm like, you know, that doesn't work. And you have after trying a little bit, but making sure that I'm not cowering out because I'm doing negative self talk at the same time. So trying to strike a balance. So I don't know if any of that made sense, but that's kind of where we're at at this point.
Alex: Completely. And I feel like this is like a huge thing is like people get through their initial sobriety. And then there's just a question of like, you know, what is-- there's like a deeper question, right? It's like when you remove alcohol, you're not just removing alcohol. There's like-- you're like there's a hole in a void and you're kind of looking at yourself and figure out like, what? Who am I, what is here, you know, underneath all that shape shifting, you know, who am I once I get rid of the TV.
Cathy: TV is gone, bed still not made. What's going on here? But I journal and I have a morning routine.
Alex: Halfway there. Oh, that's amazing.
Cathy: And I think the other thing, you know, like with Jeff and I, we've had a lot of humor, we have laughed a lot at and I don't remember laughing like genuinely like when you struck me, when you set out like we're hanging out with people who were like what about our nails, about it. That was the “Mommy Wine Culture”, too, like, what is your kid doing? And what I want-- I owned a college counseling consulting thing, so my poor children were like, you know, the expectations for them and what they were doing and you know how I looked, what we looked like, all of that was so important to me that to me that was like proving that the divorce did nothing to me. Like to us we are better. We-- I would put on a good front with my ex in front of everyone and just the whole facade over and over and over again. And, you know, it's just so freeing not to have that facade. I live in a small two little bedroom apartment that I made a little yoga studio over here and like, I love my simple little life and I couldn't be happier.
Alex: Yeah. Oh, it's amazing. So I have one more question for you. I'm wondering. Well, to first, if our listeners can find you or they want to find you, where can they find you on social media, on the Internet.
Cathy: So awesome question. So on Instagram, you can find me at Sober Approved and then two ways on Facebook, one way is “Getting BAC2zero” I call it Jeff’s community. Jeff will say it's a we, but Jeff really started it. So Getting BAC2zero and BAC is BAC with the number two and then the word right out zero. I have my own account called Funny You're at Your House, which is really kind of what I'm going to do with the community out there and I actually was that on Instagram. So I'm kind of struggling with how I'm going to get back to that. But many-- when I was little, I grew up in a family across the street from us. There were seven children. We had seven children. And Mississippi would come over every morning and have coffee and a cigarette with my mom. And we always knew when she was exiting the house because she would scream as she was going was this loud Irish woman. Although she married an Italian, she would walk out with a raspy voice saying, Barb, it's always funnier at your house. And she closed the door. And so it's so true. It always looks easier in somebody else's house. It always looks so. I started many years ago as a college counselor. The title “Funnier at Your House” on Facebook. And it was funny. Some guy in one of my communities is like, hey, I found the blog that you wrote in 2014 about it. And I'm like, oh my gosh, I didn't know that still existed. But now it's become more like that's where I promote, like, all the sober stuff that I'm doing. And that's the community that I want to grow, that will eventually become a private community. So that's where I'm at on Facebook. But I would like to give the story because people are like “Funnier at Your House”. What does that mean? So that's why I'm like, I don't know if I that's what I want to call the community. We'll see what happens. But so that's a long-winded answer to a simple question, as usual.
Alex: That's perfect. I love it. I love hearing the context of that. So I'll put those links in the show notes and then people can follow you. And I know, of course, you're really integrated into “The Mindful Life Practice” already. So I'm sure a lot of the listeners already have met you or know you can find you in the Whats App group. So--
Cathy: Awesome. I love it. I love, love, love. I love it because I'm on a different time zone. We all are. But I love like-- there's nothing more joyful efforts on my morning practices like opening up that what's app. And just like all the I love you, you're doing great. You know, that is like so awesome. Like it is like now my new thing it's great. Which again in sobriety, who knew these would be the new things you’d look forward to. I love it.
Alex: Totally. I completely agree. Happens every morning I wake up to all these messages because there's classes happening through the night and I'll wake up and it's so wonderful.
Cathy: It's-- I love it. I absolutely love it. And it's just so cool. I love-- I just love the international, you know, there's just something so powerful about us all. I feel like even though it's virtual, we're all like holding hands and like in this circle together. And I just feel so empowered. That's the word I think of when I think of your community. It's just so empowering as a sober woman and sober community, you know, like I love that we got Jeff in it too you know, like I'm a football player because I was like, Jeff, I promise you, it's a safe place. And you just and you have men in there. And I just think it's just so empowering. I love it.
Alex: Oh, thank you. All right. I have one more question for you.
Alex: What advice would you give to someone who wants to quit alcohol, wants to start a sober journey? What would you say?
Cathy: I would say again, I'm going to steal what Michelle Smith said to me at the end of the show that I had with her plug-in, you know, there's podcasts like yours there, but also I think now there's enough sober communities out there that get on. Just put, you know, don't put your face on, just listen and maybe tell one person that you-- if you know one person who has made it to the other side, share with them if you feel safe, you know, but start plugging in and start getting-- the biggest thing, I think if I would look back is to look at myself with curiosity and not judgment. And I would have started like writing down and like journaling. I didn't-- that was the thing I never journaled. I was scared to death. Somebody was going to find what was in my head in that crazy attic, as I would call it at the time. And I would just get curious. Give yourself some grace and get curious, but not judgmental because, you know, you would do the same for anybody else. Do that for yourself.
Alex: Yeah, oh, I love that, that's so nice, curious, not judgmental, and that's such a you know, one of the fundamental things about yoga is to-- is just being curious about what's going on in, like a compassionate, nonjudgmental way.
Cathy: Right. Right. And I just-- I did not love myself. I hated, you know, I really had a lot of shame, a lot of hatred of what I was doing. You know, if I would have just given myself just a little bit of love sooner, you know, and open myself up to loving myself. Anybody could have put love on me, but I wasn't accepting it. I didn't think I deserved it. And I can guarantee whoever is listening, you deserve it. And as you allow yourself to deserve it and realize this is an addictive substance and it's not about willpower, you are not weak. You know, this is an addictive thing and you are not weak. You know, you just have a brain that is addicted to something and there is a way out.
Alex: Yeah, oh, wow, those are powerful words to end on.
Cathy: Thank you so much, Alex, for this opportunity. I just love you in this community so much. I'm so grateful.
Alex: I'm so grateful to have found you, too. I think we were 100% meant to meet. And I know that we're going to meet in real life soon.
Cathy: I can't wait. I can't wait. I'm so excited.
Alex: Me too. All right, Cathy, I will-- thank you so much for being on the show. And I'm sure I will see you very soon in yoga again and have a great rest of your day.
Cathy: You, too. Thanks, Alex.