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Sober Yoga Girl: Sobah Sistahs in Bali with Megan Wilcox



Meet Megan Wilcox! Megan Wilcox is the creator of the Sobah Sistahs community. A single mom from Boston, Megan created her sober community after becoming sober in order to help other women trapped in mommy wine culture go alcohol free. Megan runs group coaching programs and also leads Sobriety Retreats. She recently brought her community to Bali, which is where we met. Listen to this episode to learn more about her sobriety journey and the work she does now. You can learn more about Megan's work at: https://sobahsistahs.com/


Transcript


Hi, friend. This is Alex Mcrobs, 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. Hello, welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl Podcast. I am so excited to be sitting here today with Megan Wilcox. And Megan is the founder of the Soba Sistas community, and I love the way that's pronounced, Soba Sisters. It's awesome. And you said it perfectly. Thank you. And Megan actually brought a group of women on a retreat in Bali in April, and that's how we connected. And it was so wild to me because we got connected through our mutual friend, Marie, who set us up. And it's so wild to me because I got introduced to you and I was like, How do I not know this woman who's so influential in the Silver World? And you just have such an amazing platform, amazing community, and it's just so inspiring to see. And so we got a chance to meet in April when she... Was it April or May? When did you have your group? April? April. Yeah. And that was just so fantastic. I'm so excited to have you on the show today and just hear more about your story and your journey. Yeah, me too. I'm so happy to be here. You were just such a huge part of my Bolly retreat. I'm excited to reconnect and touch base and see how everything's going. Amazing. Let's talk first about the Bolly retreat. That was incredible. And it was your first time traveling out of the States. Is that right? Second. It was my first retreat ever that I've ever been on, let alone running it myself. But I just got my passport at 39 years old last year and I did go to Cabo, Mexico. That's not that far to go from Boston. But going 30 hours to Bali is just like, I still can't believe that I actually did it. My gosh. I just got shivers. That is just so incredible and what an inspiration to so many women. When you think about all of this happened because you got sober. If you were still drinking, that retreat would have never happened. That's just so incredible when you think about it. Exactly. It's actually when you then break it down to think, Okay, if I didn't get sober and I didn't say yes to do this retreat, then all these other amazing women would have never experienced it either. When I think about it like that, it's like, Wow, this really was... For me, it was life-changing, and I know it felt very similar to the other 13 women that came with me. So I feel very proud that I did get to that point. That's amazing. I was wondering if we could start off by you telling me a little bit about your life before sobriety. What was it like? Okay. I'll go real quick back to my childhood, and I did have a really great childhood, and my parents are both amazing. I have a older sister and a younger brother. They're both great. We're really close. We all live all over the map. My brother is in New Mexico, my sister is in New York, and I'm here in Boston, so we don't live near each other, and I haven't for 20 years. The only thing that really impacted my childhood was my parents did divorce at, I was 14 years old, and I definitely took that the hardest out of everybody. For years, I just was like, Please get back together, and just didn't understand it at the time. Now, I guess I do looking back. That definitely impacted me a lot. And then fast forward, I guess, so when I was 18, my mom moved to Boston and she left, and that was really hard on me. I didn't know what I was going to do with my life. I didn't know college or anything like that. I found myself. So this is where the addictive personality in me started to come through. At 18 years old, I developed a full blown gambling addiction from 18 to 20 years old, and I was spending all of my money from waitressing on gambling, just trying to search to fill that void that I felt inside of me. I always felt like I did have a black hole, like people pleasing, and it just never felt good enough and low self-confidence and self-worth. I don't know, I guess the dopamine rush I would get from gambling felt really good. But I'll tell you that ride home, when I would lose my car payment or whatever it might be, was so similar to the feeling I would get after a night of drinking. Drinking didn't really become an issue until a little later on in life, actually, after I had kids. My drinking wasn't good. If I did drink in my younger years, it was more binge drinking. Definitely put myself in situations that could be dangerous and things like that. But I could go weeks, months without drinking, and it wasn't a thing. It really wasn't. It wasn't until I discovered wine and the whole relaxation thing after I had kids. What was that like? Building up to the point of when you got sober? How much were you drinking? What was your dynamic with it like? It started out I would get a bottle of wine and I'd probably pour glass and then fall asleep. It didn't just happen overnight that I was drinking a bottle of wine. And that's the thing with this whole thing is that it progresses so slowly over time that you don't realize it. And so 2017, I unfortunately got divorced. It was really, really tough on me. And so I spent those three years after my divorce basically self-medicating with wine. And I would typically drink a bottle of wine a night. And if I wasn't working, I work overnights in a hospital. I was really good at working my drinking around my responsibilities, my kids, my job. I was never late for work. I never called in because of my drinking. But man, it was so much work to continue to keep alcohol in my life and then try to keep all my responsibilities. So it got really dark, though, towards the end, pretty much the pandemic and the end of 2020. Wow. And there's a few things that stuck out to me about what you just shared. And the first is that it really does creep up over time. I think that's so important to highlight because people seem to think you're just born with this addiction and this is just what you have and automatically from the first time you drink. And for a lot of people, that's not their story. They start out drinking just like their friends. And all of a sudden it's like people are taking one path and you're taking the other and you don't even notice it until you look back and really see, where did I cross that bridge or where did it become something that shaped how I spent my day or really influenced my choices? Yeah, exactly. I think it really did creep up like that where it would be like play dates with my kids and it would be like mimosa. Then it just started being involved in every single aspect of my life. But then eventually got to a point where I needed it. I had to have it. I didn't even really enjoy it. I didn't like it, but it was such a routine and such a habitual habit that I just couldn't seem to stop. I would Google search AA meetings or rehab. I didn't know what I needed. I didn't realize at the time that there's other options. As a single mom, I was afraid to reach out for help because I was afraid I would get my kids taken away or something by saying I had a problem. I kept it to myself really for a long time and just would try to moderate or try to cut back or take breaks and nothing worked. I always thought too, you don't have a problem unless you're drinking in the morning or getting a DUI. Thank God I never had one. Not because I never drank under the influence, but I just thankfully didn't ever get one. It's just crazy, I don't know, looking back. Ii didn't drink in the morning, but until actually at the end, I would find myself work was so stressful with the pandemic, working in the ER. I would come home after my overnights, and then I would drink a bottle of wine at 7:30 in the morning. And that's when I was like, Whoa, what the heck is going on? This is not normal. What do I have to do to stop? What did you do? What did you reach out to? What resources did you use in the early days? Yeah. One of the first things I did was actually I went to a Zoom meeting for women, a support meeting. That's when I realized, wow, I'm not alone. I'm not the only person that's struggling with this. At this point, this is around December, and my mental health is at an all-time low. I'm sleeping all the time, taking my kids to school, coming home, getting back in bed, sleeping. I remember my son saying, Mom, why are you sleeping all the time? I was like, Gosh, this is just not me. It's not who I want to be. I guess the first thing that really helped change was the Zoom meetings. I won a scholarship to this sobriety course through the Luckyest Club, through the book, We Are the Luckyest. I don't know if you ever read that. I had applied and I was like, I'm a single mom. I live in Boston. I work in the ER. I really would love this. I want to be kids over so bad. That night of my rock bottom night, when it was Christmas night and I drank a bottle of wine and I was just crying, yelling out to the universe, Please, somebody help me. Please, literally out loud saying it. Then I checked my emails to find a Zoom meeting, and I found this email that I won the scholarship. Then I was crying, happy tears. I think if I didn't win that, I don't think I'd still be sitting here today. It's so weird how one thing can happen and it completely changes the direction of your life. Oh, my God. Wow. I just got shivers and got tears. Even though I've heard that story before I even started telling it, I was like, Oh, I remember you telling the story in Molly. It's incredible and it's beautiful and it's exactly what you say of sometimes one thing can change that... Or one thing happens and it changes the entire trajectory of your life. And it's a really beautiful reminder as well because I know Laura McAllen and you think of these sober influencers and they probably just have no idea the impact that they're having. But that decision to give you that scholarship didn't just change your life, it changed the life of all of the people that are now in your community and coming on your retreats and following you. And that's just the ripple effect of those moments and those decisions. It's just incredible when you really think about it. Yes, exactly. It just keeps carrying on and on and on, and it's amazing. I did. I started taking that course. It was maybe three months long, and we would just meet and we would work through different things. I did. I went 100 days without drinking alcohol. That was the longest that I'd ever gone since I probably had kids or whatever. Then after that, I felt like I still was having cravings and that I didn't want to go back to feeling that way. My mental health now was so much better. I wasn't as depressed as I was. My medication was able to work that I was taking because when we're drinking on antidepressants or whatever medication you're taking, it actually will make any symptoms that you're taking it for even worse. Now I'm finally feeling better, but I'm so afraid that I'm going to go back once we ended that thing. I did reach out to a doctor, and at that point, I went on Naltrexone for maybe five or six months. I went on an anticraving medication, and it helped me a lot. That's great. I love that you share that because I think it's really important for people to know that there's so many different kinds of resources. I think medication can be a huge support for people that are worried about those cravings. There's so many different paths to sobriety. There's not one way. Exactly. For me, it wasn't just like, Okay, give me the medication. Because otherwise, besides me drinking a bottle of wine every night and drinking alcohol, I was really a really healthy person. I thought I would eat organic, I didn't eat refined sugar, I didn't eat gluten or dairy. I was very regimented on that. For me to be like a medication like, A medication, I'm not going to do that. My doctor told me, Just look into it. I did. I figured, You know what? What's temporarily taking a medication? The benefits outweigh the risks of me continuing me to drink because alcohol is literally the worst thing that we can do to our body. I really weighed the options and figured, What do I have to lose? That's why I've been really open about it. I wasn't at first, but now I am. There's been many women in my group who have gone that route and have taken the medication and now are finally able to put all the pieces together and use all their tools. They use all their tools and are able to actually tie a string together longer stints of not drinking. Amazing. Only about how did the Soda Sistas community come about? When did you start that? What did it look like in the beginning? Tell me about that journey. Yeah, it's funny. I live in Boston, so that's where I get the sober systems. In Boston here, they don't really say their are's and all of that. I had started a group chat with a couple other moms in my town who were also single moms and were also drinking a lot and wanted to stop drinking. We just have this little group chat where we'd be like, I don't want to drink today, and we would just support each other. Well, then I got sober and I was like, Hey, I'm going to start an Instagram account with SobaSista, if you guys care. They're like, No, whatever. I started it in June of 2021, so it was probably then like six months sober. I literally thought it was the first sober account. I didn't realize there was a whole world of sober accounts and social media and how huge it really was. I had already had a food page, and so I was into social media and things like that. I figured why not use this in my... I didn't need a variety for a page because I knew how life-changing it was. I just started it for fun. No expectations, no idea of what would end up happening. Then in October of that year, I started hosting free meetings several times a week, and I did the free meetings for over a year religiously every Wednesday, twice a day on Wednesdays, and really just built this strong community of amazing women. That's amazing. You were doing it for a chunk of time, and then you had your membership. Now, what does it look like now? If someone's listening and wants to work with you and get involved, how can they work with you? Yeah. I do do one-on-one coaching, and I had pulled back on that a little bit because I was really seeing that the group coaching was being very effective for people and that everybody was just craving connection, craving other women. I do group coaching pretty much every month. I'll run a new month. Right now, I'm doing June and it goes till July third. We have this great group of women and we do coaching sessions. Not only do we just support each other and share stories, I'll bring up a topic. Sometimes it might be health, or sleep, or tools for cravings. Every week I have a different thing that we'll go over. It's been really helpful for many women. It's absolutely just incredible to hear and to see them hitting these milestones. I've had a girl in my group who's hit a year, a few who have hit a year, and it's like, Wow, this is just so insane to me. They can definitely check out the group coaching one on one if they're looking for even more support. Sometimes people do both, which I think is really nice if you're really looking to step it up and pull out all the tricks. Then I just started my own podcast. I have five episodes out. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I was like, I'm going to do it. Yeah, that's amazing. That's awesome. I saw that. Super cool. You also are restarting the Facebook group, right? The Sobersist is Facebook group? Yes. As you mentioned, I did have a membership at once. It was like a monthly thing. I was like, You know what? Let's just go back to the free thing. Now I opened up a private Facebook group. It's Sova Sisters sobriety, so you should be able to search it on there and find it or just message me and I'll give you the link. We're building it up. It's still small. It's maybe 200 women at this point, which I think is actually great because sometimes the groups get too big and then it's really harder to make connections. We have the free Facebook group and then a couple of free meetings that I'll just be hosting on Zoom every month. Tell me about your retreats. You have Punta Cana coming up soon. Yes. Again, this is just so crazy to me because one of my goals was to save money because I've notoriously been terrible with money in the past. I've even failed bankruptcy seven years ago and just have spent the last three years rebuilding my credit. One of the things was to save money and to travel. I'm really hitting that travel thing, pulling out no stops. I had went to Mexico and then the Bali retreat, which is incredible. Now I'm doing Punta Cana in October. At the end of October, it's four nights, five days at this amazing, beautiful, adults-only wellness resort. We still have a couple of spots left. If anybody's interested, feel free to join us. I got a $200 off code for you if you want. Just definitely reach out. That's going to be great. It's going to be a lot of meditation and there's going to be a breath work and some yoga. I wish you were going to be there to do our yoga. Oh, my God. That was one of my just favorite parts of Bolly, was having you there and be part of our morning circles every morning. I couldn't have done it without you. You definitely made it so special on a whole other level. I was even like, Can you just do this morning? Because I want to learn from you. It was just incredible. Thank you for that. I have to tell you, it was just incredible to be part of your retreat, but I love that about you is that I was a little bit nervous coming into it. I was like, I don't know, it's like Megan's retreat. I don't know if I'm overstepping by doing things or whatever. And I just love that about you is that you have this amazing group of women and this huge following, but you're just so humble and welcoming to me and welcoming to everyone. And I feel like you don't have this bone of like, I know there's a few people in your group who are now thinking about running their own body retreats, and I feel like there's just no competition in you. You're just like you're about lifting up and inspiring other women. And I really admire that because I think it's easy to get a little bit competitive about things. And I just felt super welcomed into your group and it was just awesome. Oh, God. I'm glad that you felt that way. Yeah. And we're doing Bolly again next year. And next year it's going to be my birthday, which is really exciting. So I'm pretty sure your retreat in Bolly is April, I think it's like seventh to 14th, right? Is that... Yeah. So my birthday is April seventh. So anyone who wants to come celebrate my birthday with me and Megan and Bolly, that would be awesome. That's so cool. I love that because my 40th birthday was right after I got back from Bolly. We did celebrate it there. I remember everybody brought me a cake out and I was like, Oh, my God. I remember the last time someone saying me, Happy birthday. This is so cool. So, yeah, going back to Bolly. I was ready to rebook that next retreat before I even left. I was like, I need to come back here. And man, if my life was a little bit different, I would totally move there too. If I was able to just get up and leave and relocate. I just love their way of life. It's so incredible there. It'll be so awesome next year. All right, I have one more question for you, which is if you had any wisdom or advice for someone who maybe is listening to this show and is curious about starting their sober journey but hasn't yet taken that step and begun, what would your advice be? My advice would be to reach out to a group. Don't try to do it on your own because it's so difficult. There's drinking just all around us in the society, and so it's very easy to just forget about why you're doing this and to go back. So joining a group is really going to be the most impactful thing that you can do, hearing other women's stories, learning more about what's what's going on. One other advice too would be don't listen to other people or try to get other people's opinions if you have a problem or not. All you need to do is follow your intuition. And if your gut is saying like, Something's wrong, this is a problem, then it's a problem. It doesn't matter if you're drinking seven days a week or one day a month. When you drink, you don't like yourself or you don't like the way you feel, that's all you need to know. Just trust your intuition. Love that. Awesome. Well, Megan, thank you so much for being on the show. I'm really excited for the audience to listen to this episode because I think they'll take a lot from it. And I am so excited to see you next year in Bali. Yay, me too. Thank you so much for having me. Appreciate it, Alex. Take care. 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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