In this episode, I sit down with Molly Ruggere, who I've been friends with on social media for ages! Molly Ruggere is a Certified Life Coach, Certified This Naked Mind Coach and Founder of Counterculture Club, a global alcohol-free community offering private and group coaching, monthly membership and events for individuals who want to build authentic relationships, socialize without drinking and counter the mainstream idea that we need alcohol to have fun, fulfilling lives. In this episode Molly shares her sober story and the advice she would have for her younger self.
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You can discover more about CounterCulture Club at at: https://countercultureclub.org/ . Follow Molly on Instagram at: @mollyruggere / @counterculture_club. Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at http://themindfullifepractice.com/.
Alex: Hi friend this is Alex McRobbs founder of the Mindful Life Practice and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23 and I never went back. I got sober in 2019 and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga and change their lives through my online sober girls yoga Community. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling, let me show you how.
Alex: Hello, hello everyone welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl. I am very excited to be sitting here today with Molly Rugere and Molly and I have been following each other on social media for what seems like ages and messaging back and forth for a while so it's really cool to finally meet her and she is a certified life coach, she's uh This Naked Mind Coach, she's the founder of The CounterCulture Club which is a global alcohol-free Community which offers private and group coaching and a monthly membership for individuals who want to build relationships and socialize without drinking and she also is a freelance writer and she has written for a number of local and National Publications covering alcohol-free living so I'm very excited to have you here today. Welcome Molly, how are you?
Molly: I'm doing well, thank you for having me Alex. This is you're like you said, it's so exciting to finally connect in person. I feel like I already know you so well just remember messaging back and forth over the years.
Alex: Yeah it's so amazing the sober Instagram friendships it's pretty cool.
Molly: Yeah, I know it's like it's a very small world. I feel like a lot of people you know in our sort of age range were kind of coming on social media around the same time to start posting I think you've been on doing this a lot longer than me but yeah I think like Millie Gooch from sober girl society and I kind of started our accounts at the same time so it's been fun to like be on this path with a bunch of other people all over the world.
Alex: Yeah and I saw that you I was looking at your bio earlier and I saw that you also quit drinking in uh when you were 27 years old, right?
Alex: And that's the same as me, I quit drinking when I was 27 in, when did I quit? 2019 and you quit in 2018.
Molly: Yeah, yeah.
Alex: That's so cool.
Molly: That's awesome. Yeah. I didn't realize that that we were on that same timeline that's so cool.
Molly: so we really all were like at the same time kind of found ourselves on Instagram posting about this and that's awesome.
Alex: Yeah, so cool. So, tell me a little bit about your background, your story, sort of pre-sobriety and what led you to to become an alcohol-free?
Molly: Yeah, of course so I, my story is pretty boring. It's not not boring per se but it is one that is not super unique I you know, I didn't really get into drinking until I went to college and so as I was learning to be an adult and let alone for the first time and you know meet new people and date I was also learning how to drink alcohol and so college you know binge drinking in college and and all those kind of formative experiences kind of went hand in hand for me. So, you know, I didn't realize until looking back that that was sort of how I learned to drink and where I kind of formed some of these beliefs or at least cemented them with my own experience in college. So you know, it was really the same as all my friends. It was by no means like moderate healthy drinking but it was excused by the fact that it was college so I would kind of start having blackouts but you know, my friends and I would always laugh it off and it never felt like it was an issue or a problem or different than what anybody else was doing but again you know looking back it, it definitely wasn't healthy or normal. It's just in comparison to my peers it appeared as such. Um so, that was kind of the trend that I followed uh with my drinking in general because when I discovered alcohol, I was you know, I've always been an introvert. I've always had social anxiety and so I discovered this tool that you know took that away magically really quickly and I could talk to anybody and have fun and like not be counting down the hours so I can go home and uh it just, it enabled me to be outgoing and social and talk to guys and and do all these things that I had never had the confidence to do before, this before. I found alcohol and you know again I think part of that was just going from high school to college and being in different environments but you know, I had always just seen it as such a cool sophisticated thing as a kid, you know? I was always, my family always had cocktail hour and um you know no one drank problematically but it looked very glamorous to me so it was always something that I, I associated with being an adult and being you know, sophisticated. So, it was something I always wanted to have in my life and then I went to college and proved how much it was, how much I enjoyed it and how much it benefited me. So, after college I moved to Washington DC. for the summer for an internship. At that point I think my drinking even scaled back a little bit just because I was working full-time at an advertising agency and I didn't know that many people. So, I just wasn't drinking as much um just by nature and again at this age I was never drinking alone. I maybe get like a six-pack and have a beer or two but I was never like drinking an entire bottle of wine alone or anything like that. Um, so then after that internship ended I moved to New York City on a whim as only a 22 year old would do and moved there with like two suitcases and nowhere to live and moved in with a boyfriend that I got back together with from school and uh yeah, I had a music pr internship but I had no place to live and and no paying job. So, got to New York, I got a job right away in addition to the internship and Hurricane Sandy hit at the same time so a lot of crazy stuff was happening. It was a chaotic experience from like day one. I lived with my ex for one day, I moved into an apartment with someone from Craigslist the next day and then you know, the hurricane happened a few weeks later and then I um ended up getting a job in luxury travel PR. So, that was my very first job in New York City and I stayed in that industry in public relations and entertainment for the whole time I was in New York and I would just, I hopped from different agencies so you know I was working at paper magazine and fader magazine and doing these big high profile events that again were like very classy, very sophisticated. Celebrities were there and there was a lot of alcohol so it was just even more of a big thing in New York than it had been in college because now there's no rules like you can stay out as late as you want. People are out till four in the morning in New York City and um drinking more early in the day because you don't drive and so I also got introduced to other drugs at this time and so my 20s were just a lot of drinking all of the time and partying and you know working and all that in the city. Uh so, again it was really just primarily a social anxiety reliever and what I did for fun and what I thought living in New York City was all about. So, what, what made my drinking change, it really wasn't until I can point to this traumatic breakup that I went through that I was experiencing a lot of depression. I wasn't diagnosed at the time but I, I was experiencing you know, a lot of feelings of depression. I didn't like my job, I had a boyfriend that lived out of town but my life was just chaotic and like I didn't have really anything except having fun and going out. Like, I didn't have any money, I was like paycheck to paycheck and would blow it all on cocktails and stuff. So um, we ended up breaking up and there was not directly, it wasn't directly pointed to my drinking but I know it was alcohol was affecting my personality and making me more emotional and causing a lot of fights so that inevitably you know, the person I was with just had had enough and left and I never saw him again and from that point forward I started drinking to self-medicate and I just, I had to numb these feelings of like guilt and shame I had as a result of the drinking I was doing so it was incredibly ironic and I knew that but you know sometimes when the pain is so deep and you can't see beyond the next couple hours ahead of you, you're just like whatever, I'll deal with this tomorrow, today I just want to numb out so I just kind of repeated that cycle. I ended up having some health issues like really quickly. My body just kind of went like, couldn't handle the alcohol. I was drinking like a bottle of wine at night and that was usually more than that. Um so, I you know, told my family about it and now all of a sudden what I knew was a problem was spoke it out loud and it became real so then my family kind of got involved and suggested I moved back to Charlotte and where I'm from North Carolina and you know quit my job and just try and get healthy and stop drinking so that is what I did um in 2018 I think it was February of 2018 I moved back to Charlotte.
Alex: Wow and what was that like? When you moved back to Charlotte, did you move back in with your family? Were you living separately from them? Like what kind of, what was that part of your journey like?
Molly: Yeah, I mean I loved going home especially towards the end of my time in New York because you know, it was hard, it's hard living. I didn't have a wash of dryer in my apartment. It was always you know, the winters were brutal. I walked to work in the snow and I sound like a 80 year old grandpa but you know like I truly was like walking a mile every day in to work in the snow and like huge wind tunnels and like you know I was crying on it was like a movie like it was so melodramatic crying on the way to work, smoking a cigarette and like I just wasn't happy. I just wanted to like be in nature and have like creature comforts and just didn't have that all I had, was going out so I was really happy to be home with my parents and they kind of, they've definitely pushed me into this decision. I, I didn't, I didn't in a way I knew what would happen by reaching out to them and asking for help but I didn't realize like how quickly it would all start falling into place and like what I was really signing up for which basically in my parents eyes was like I was never gonna drink alcohol again. So, that part was tough because I didn't fully, my brain was so kind of like all over the place and scrambled that I still you know, I thought by going home to Charlotte and like taking a detox break, I would feel better. I thought the city and my environment and you know drinking and not taking medication. I thought all of those things were the reason that I was miserable um but I figured out quickly after trying to drink a couple times in secret uh and my parents finding out that my drinking habits were exactly the same as they were before I stopped drinking and like at that point I realized that I could never have another guilt-free drink again. I like thought those words in my head and that was when I, I kind of without realizing it deconstructed the belief that alcohol is what makes life fun because to me having to drink in secret and having my family like not approve and not being able to drink in public and hang out with friends having it be like, Molly's you know sneaking alcohol again and having it be like you know, seen as a bad thing or like I was sick. I just like was too prideful I guess to have that and I didn't want it anymore if I couldn't have fun and do it publicly and have cocktail hour with my family. I didn't want to do it so I just figured at that point I was like well guess I've got to figure out how to make this not suck and if I'm gonna not drink like how to do this because I clearly like realized I couldn't do it without support um so and I'm very stubborn. I've always been very stubborn and like always wanted to do my own thing and kind of go against what my family suggested that I do, so they really pressured me to go to 12-step meetings. My dad was in the program at the time and I was like no way in hell I'm not going to AA, absolutely not. Um, and I tried to avoid it and they were like well you have to do something or you, you know, you have to do this, you have to work on this and there just really wasn't much else in my city I could do in person. Uh so, I ended up you know starting out in AA meetings and and did the 90 and 90 did the 12 Steps had a sponsor all of those things um and getting my white chip and yeah.
Alex: And how long were you part of AA for?
Molly: So, I think, it's so funny how everything feels like such a blur at this point with the pandemic because it was such a huge chunk of everyone's lives so I think I was about, I met my first sober boyfriend in AA and so I, I was going to meetings with him regularly. I think it was for about maybe my first year and then you know, I really, I got it, I found a meeting that I really liked and started going every Sunday and found a group of people that I thought I connected to the most but I really didn't find there was a lot missing for me in that world and you know as someone who kind of questions everything and isn't really a joiner who can't just like accept something and not you know look for more or try to find you know, I don't take things at face value. I don't subscribe to something just because someone tells me this is the only way. Like, I don't ever believe there's only one way. So um, after some time, I just realized it like wasn't working for me and I realized that there were so many other resources out there. So, I was reading a ton of books. I was um at this time I think I'd already created my Instagram page. I started my Instagram page at like day 200 of my sobriety and wrote every single day until I hit a year so that was like truly just for me to Chronicle how I was feeling each day and post a photo and, and that was sort of how I got into the online community on Instagram and realized there were so many other things that people were doing out there to change their relationships with alcohol and I didn't have to go to AA and I didn't have to call myself an alcoholic and I could figure out what it I needed to make me happy and what I needed to work for me and so you know, I found the work of Holly Whitaker and Laura McGowan and Annie Grace and I felt like for the first time I found people that spoke my language. They were you know, talking about science and how the brain works and how alcohol is an addictive substance that anybody can get addicted to if they have the right amount of exposure and you know I just, I've always been interested in Psychology. So, I just got really interested in like reading everything I could and listening to all the podcasts and just grew my knowledge so much that now at that point it kind of became a hobby of mine. It wasn't to you know stay sober, it was because I genuinely thought it was really fascinating and so you know that was over time I realized I got to the point where I was no longer you know attached to alcohol. I'd slowly but surely like through experience built up enough data to show myself that alcohol didn't actually give me the things I thought it did. So, once I realized that it was like it holds no charge over me because everything I thought it gave me I actually cultivated when I stopped drinking and alcohol was the very thing that was holding me back from actually achieving those things for myself.
Alex: So amazing and so inspiring and I just loved hearing your story because I just resonate so much with it. Like we both got sober at literally the same age at 27 and, and I was just laughing to myself like picturing you just in the tunnels in New York like with your jacket.
Molly: Wendy, yeah,
Moly: Crying, smoking I was listening to, I don’t know if you listen to Lord or if you know Lord?
Molly: The musician? So her album at that time had just come out I think it was the one before the most recent one and it was all about a breakup she had gone through and so I would like listen to that every morning on my walk to work and I would cry and smoke and like you know stumble in the snow because it was just like oh my God like throwing away my wine bottles from the night before it was like I am such a cliche right now New York City like couldn't hack it going to my PR job.
Alex: It's so funny because it's like it reminds me of like when I was right before I quit drinking but like literally different environment. Like, I was in Abu Dhabi which should have been like paradise, you know, I'm like driving by the palm trees this morning.
Alex: and I was like in the exact same mental state of like I hate my job I hate my life like.
Alex: Um and it's so funny because that juxtaposition of like me relating to your story but being in a totally different environment really brings home the point to me which is like the issue is the the substance and the the alcohol in the system you know because you could be in paradise or you could be in like what you thought was like your dream City and
Alex: be in this state of, like just I can't cope with everything and I'm so unhappy in in the situation I'm in.
Molly: Yeah, yeah you're just so, you're so trapped in your internal world and your obsession with like either trying to stay away from alcohol or trying to get to the point where you can drink again. That, it's like when you're not thinking about how much you are you know, you are mad at yourself for the things you did when you were drinking. You're spending the other time thinking about well, when am I going to be able to drink again? It is the most painful vicious cycle ever, that like the exact thing you know is literally in my case like it was my liver enzymes were elevated. I like lost, I woke up one morning and my foot was not working so I was also in like my freaking combat boots stumbling because my foot wasn't like I couldn't walk properly because I had literally like experienced some kind of nerve damage from drinking and nobody, no doctor, no doctor even diagnosed Saturn made the association but I wasn't asked about my drinking and I didn't offer that information. So, on top of all this in New York, I was also running around to Specialists you know, nerve doctors, foot doctors, blood doctors all these people trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with my foot but I knew because I'd done my research but nobody asked so I didn't tell and like I'd go to these doctor's appointments and then get a handle of tequila on the way home and I knew like I was like the drinking is probably the reason this is happening there's no other thing I can point to so.
Alex: That's so, that's so wild to me because you hear time and time again these different stories of different things happening in people's bodies. Like you know, a physical or mental health thing that it just blows my mind when you think about the quantities in which drinking, we drink and it's normalized in our culture and the amount of mental and physical ailments like the amount the amount of things that can go wrong in our body when we're drinking so much and yet there seems to be no education no link no awareness no question from doctors about.
Molly: I mean, I was young yeah, I mean I did go to one doctor and you know I was again, I think I've always struggled with depression. I've always been like a very emotional kid and I've always just kind of broken into sobbing and so at this time I was just so emotionally fragile. I'm sure I was sleep deprived. I was depressed and I went to see this um doctor Endocrinology I think, endocrinologist the blood doctor whichever one that is um and the guy actually said to me they, they did ask a little bit about my drinking and I just broke down and cried because I was so ashamed and all that and the doctor was like well if you were older I would send you up to one of those places in Connecticut but since you're only 26 I'm you're 27, I'm just going to tell you to stick to beer or something like that and talk to me about like his alcoholic sister or something and I just think it was like yeah, there's not enough early intervention. Like, I literally did not like, I did not know that you can progressively get more addicted to alcohol. I thought you were born an alcoholic or you were fine and so I wasn't paying attention to it. My tolerance went up so high that I could drink a bottle of wine and have like a conversation like this. Um so, you know, I had no idea that I was just getting to the point where I was consuming incredibly high levels of alcohol but not even feeling it. Um so yeah, my body just responded super quickly. I think for other people it takes like 30 years and for me it was just like I started shutting down. So I, my parents kind of made the decision for me because even then I was like I, I would rather like at that point just push through so that I didn't have to stop drinking but more importantly I did not want to call myself an alcoholic and it was just like I didn't even try to moderate really like I was just like no I'm not even I'm not even entertaining that idea because that seems like worse than this.
Alex: Yeah, um yeah wow and so tell me about, so you said there were a lot of things in AA that didn't quite resonate with you and then you discovered like Laura McAllen and Holly Whitaker and Andy Grayson this. When you, when you mention them it's like the, like try Trifecta like that.
Molly: Yeah um, but I'm wondering like, so then you went on to create Counter Culture Club and what elements of like tell me about that community and and what elements of it are um, what's the question I'm asking, what did you, what did you create that was missing in what in a I guess that's my question?
Molly: Yeah, yeah. So, I created Counter Culture Club around the start around the same time I stopped going to AA meetings and simultaneously I was a bridge club leader for tempest which is Holly Whitaker's uh online Modern recovery program that she created and so I was got involved with the Tempest community and was writing for them as well and so I was like kind of launching my own group at the same time as I was bringing Bridge Club to Charlotte and uh basically what it was, was I just I remember where I was sitting actually I was in my like office and I was sitting there I think I was journaling and I was just thinking you know, I love not drinking, I love how I feel and like all the things I'm able to do and I was you know, working out and doing yoga five times a week and I felt amazing but all my friends drank and I missed the you know community of people that understood what I was going through and people that drink and that haven't been through that experience just you know, they can, they can sympathize but they haven't experienced that process or they don't know what it's like to be on the outside and never drinking and have to deal with you know, your own judgment and the Judgment perceived Judgment of other people and so I just wanted to find other people in my community that also didn't drink but I didn't want to go back to AA meetings just to make sober friends that didn't feel like genuine and it just I wanted something different. Um, I also felt like a lot of what was missing at least in the recovery communities or 12-step recovery communities in my city was like healthy lifestyle. Like, I didn't see anybody that was living in a way that I wanted to live. It was still you know the styrofoam cups with the coffee and the donuts and the cigarettes and I was like I am now eating really healthy, I have more energy, I'm exercising, like I want to be around people that are striving for creating a better life than they had while they were drinking and like I wanted to create more abundance on this side of it rather than trying to spend my time resisting you know the devil doing push-ups in the parking lot, the disease being push-ups in the parking lot waiting for me to like have a weak moment. Like, I didn't want to spend the rest of my life talking about alcohol and how I can't drink it. I wanted to the only way for this to work for me was if I, if I perceived it as a choice that I made. A healthy positive choice that was changing my life for the better and I was lucky that it, that it happened when it did. Um, and you know over time I started to believe that and so I wanted to create an organization where we focused on how this choice can you know, cutting back or removing alcohol completely can you know, benefit anybody. it doesn't matter if you've struggled with alcohol or not, it's not good for any of our bodies. It's you know, a toxic chemical that we put in our cars and it causes seven different types of preventable cancer and like even everybody's you know everybody I knew was drinking more than the required or the the healthy recommended dose of alcohol. Um so, I kind of just started to see like this is a societal problem. This isn't an individual problem and I want to change the conversation and like the framing around what it means to be a non-drinker. So, I wanted to make a cool aspirational organization of other women my age that were um you know removing alcohol. Not necessarily because they hit this crazy rock bottom, but because they like wanted a better life for themselves and to backtrack. I didn't have all that in my head when I started it all. It was all it was at that time was like I want to make new friends and so I'm just gonna put, put the call out and see who responds we're a very big drinking City. I mean I know every city is I lived in New York so in comparison it's probably not as bad but we have you know over 60 breweries, it's just a huge focus here and it is kind of known for that. So, I was like if there are that many people and that saturated of a drinking culture, there have to be people on the other end of the spectrum that are sick of that and want something different.
Alex: Yeah and how many people are part of your community now and what does it like what does it look like?
Molly: Yeah so um I, around I'd say I came up with the idea before the pandemic but it wasn't until August of 2020 that I actually made it into a real business and again I like never wanted to own my own business. I did not see this becoming, I certainly didn't imagine it would be my full-time work. Um, I just gradually over time it was the next step that made sense to be able to provide the events I wanted to do and have the resources I needed. It had to become a business and so I just kept adding elements to it over time. I added coaching and um and so yeah that's kind of organically how I got to you know make it more of a focus for me being a hobby to being like a you know really significant piece of my life. Something that I was really passionate about and working on a lot.
Alex: That's incredible. That's so amazing to think of how it's just sort of not something that you even imagined you'd be doing and now it's just, it's become your full-time work like, it's incredible and it's amazing just to see all the other sober women in the sphere doing amazing things like you and and sending the message in your community that you don't have to be um an alcoholic to give up drinking and that a silver life is fun and amazing And.
Molly: Yeah, yeah and, and I'll say so again things organically changed sort of as my understanding or my journey changed. So, initially when I started Counter Culture Club it was you know, just for sober or sober curious women or non-binary folks because I, I very much identified as I'm sober you know. I'd come out of the recovery world so it was kind of that black and white in a way still and you know over time and as I started to just pay more attention to culture and the conversations about health and alcohol, I realized that I didn't want this to be a recovery Community. I want it to be a social club for anyone that chooses to either they want to drink less or they want to cut back or they've never drank because they don't like the taste of alcohol. Anybody that is you know, in that place is gonna come against some struggle or some challenges in society because it's just alcohol is everywhere. So, we all had that common denominator but at the same time we want to do all the things together that you can't do when you're drinking because who wants to go to a 7 A.M hike if you were out till 4am drinking the night before? So, it's very much, we are focused on doing all these fun alcohol-free activities together and having like real candid discussions online to showcase again like make this an aspirational lifestyle, show people like the amazing you know, changes you can you experience people who are getting promotions left and right you know they're buying houses they're experiencing all these successes. So, it's like, it's like an incubator for seeing other people thriving and like what can happen when you take out drugs from your life and and make them not a priority. So, it again, it's just so focused on the positive aspects and we don't ever really talk about it from a place of deprivation. So, frankly we don't even talk about drinking or alcohol that much. I don't know what every individual's relationship with alcohol is all I know is they're looking for alcohol-free connection and fun things to do and they don't want to have to like drink four glasses of wine to do it or be the only one not drinking because again there's like no spaces that I know of at least that are social and alcohol free. It's either recovery and alcohol free or there might be alcohol there. Like, even in yoga studios they're all at breweries and like or yoga classes or breweries and things it's like so muddied. I realize there's just no alcohol-free spaces to be social so I would say we went from being a kind of sober community at the very beginning to now part of what I would say is my audience is almost non-drinkers as much as it is sober drinkers as much as it is non-drinkers because I want everybody to come out to our events. We do these big large-scale parties and I want everybody to come and see you can enjoy life and have fun without drinking and you don't need to drink by default like challenging people to kind of get out there and experience socializing alcohol free in a non-recovery setting and build their own confidence and see that they can you know, they don't always have to drink just because it's offered so I'm really trying to like again just change the narrative and and use this group to do that and merge the two worlds together because the more we're talking about it and the more that people are vulnerable and sharing their stories the more we realize that it's totally normal to be uncomfortable with drinking as much as we're all drinking but nobody wants to talk about it because nobody wants to be seen as the one with the problem.
Alex: Wow, thank you so much for sharing that that just sounds like, like I want to come to one of your events. It just sounds like you're such having such an amazing impact on your community.
Molly: Oh thanks, hopefully yeah. I mean we threw so you know obviously the bulk of the time with the business it was during the pandemic so that is actually why it was supposed to be an entirely local community but because I knew people all over the world through social and I ended up being like well I may as well just open it up to anybody anywhere because we're all online anyway. So, now we have a virtual community and an in-person community. Um so, it's almost like two different things where the in-person community is really like activity focused getting together multiple times a week. We have regular events and special events so we're doing a bunch of like pumpkin picking and uh some like drink tasting events. We're doing a charcuterie board making class so, we do all sorts of stuff here in Charlotte and then the virtual community is really you know, just ongoing online conversation and support and checking in uh sharing gratitude lists it's just kind of conversations and and staying connected and and the occasional Retreat and meet up in person so.
Alex: Do you do online Zoom calls?
Molly: Yeah, so that's a part of a big part of how we started was having those Zoom calls a couple times a week and that was really all that we had in the membership for the beginning of it um and we still do them today. So, we had people that joined you know, first month of membership in December of 2020 that are still every week coming to our, we call them share squares because they're on zoom and it's boxed so it's basically a sheer Circle an informal discussion. I kind of modeled it after my experience in the meetings because in AA, because I loved you know, I'm a writer I like stories I like having real I'm also an introvert so I don't like small talks, so meetings were like a place where people came and were super honest and I missed that kind of conversation so that is essentially like our share squares are again someone leads it facilitates it brings a topic and we just talk about it and the topics aren't necessarily about alcohol but how do you live life and navigate the challenges when you are not numbing out or when you were kind of living on the outside when you were living a counter-culture lifestyle.
Alex: Right, amazing so this has been such an amazing interview. I really loved getting to know you and hearing more about your story and your community. I just think the work you're doing is fantastic.
Molly: Thank you so much, same to you.
Alex: Oh thank you, yeah and I have one more question for you, I'm wondering if you could go back to that version of you that was just before you quit drinking and give her any like advice or wisdom or anything you would say to her. What would you tell her?
Molly: Yeah, I um I love this question because there's so much I would tell her. I think you know, I would tell her first of all like the mindset is everything. So, rather than seeing not drinking as you know, losing your drinking privileges because for so long when I first quit I felt like I was being punished and this was my fault for like drinking too much and and I was missing out on life. I was you know, again 27 looking around the meetings people that were in their 50s and just being jealous that they got to drink longer than I did. So, that was my attitude at the beginning. Um, but you know, I would say you know put the ego down and focus on like what this removal of alcohol can do for you and I think at the beginning it's hard to see that especially when your brain is still like kind of all over the place but if you see it as a choice and an opportunity to grow and pursue things outside of your comfort zone and you know learn more about yourself and also get healthier and have more energy and achieve your health and fitness goals. Like, if you see it as a doorway or an opportunity then it, it doesn't feel as ominous and like your life is over. It just, it's kind of exciting and you have to make it exciting, you know? Annie gray says like positive emotion is a key to Lasting change so shame and guilt are not long-term motivators so if you are living in that world of I have to do this and like you know white knuckling it and using all your willpower it's not sustainable so I would just say you know look up look on the bright side that sounds really cheesy but you know reframe it find the positive and focus on what you're gaining instead of what you're losing quote unquote.
Alex: And, that's a huge insight and that's key the whole idea of that mindset because I'm um, I'm going through a similar journey related to sobriety right now just in that I've discovered that I have some food intolerances and had to remove a lot of things from my diet that I never thought that I would ever be able to give up and that's the total thing I've been thinking about you know, think about two years ago I was in a workshop about you know, giving up sugar and I was like I could never give up sugar you know? And it's because it was a deprivation mindset of like I need that. I need that and now I have this mindset of like no, I need to not have these substances in me so that I can, so that my mood can be better and so that I can feel better and it's that mindset shift that has changed everything for me and so I think that's an amazing just nugget of wisdom to to end on is that the mindset is is key.
Molly: Yeah, and I mean, I would say that is, that is my main focus of my coaching and something that's a little different than what the approach that I learned in you know traditional methods. You change your behavior first. You go full on cold turkey and then over time you learn to be happy about it. With my coaching, I don't ask people per Annie Grace's method. I don't ask people to quit drinking immediately. The most important part is starting with the knowledge and working on identifying the beliefs and then you know, having experience chances and pulling data to deconstruct those beliefs because the idea is once you change your mindset and look at alcohol differently and realize that it actually doesn't do what you think it does for you, then not drinking is easy because it, it doesn't hold any power for you anymore. Um so, that you know, that is the approach that I take with my clients and I've just you know, I didn't necessarily start out in that way. So, it's been interesting to learn. It kind of in reverse but I've just you know, I've seen how well this method works and I just think it not only works as in it helps you quit drinking but it makes your entire life better and it's a way that you can now like these tools can be used for changing anything you want to change in your life. Uh, not just your relationship with alcohol. So, it's helped me to like expand my world and change my automatic negative thoughts and change some beliefs and and so it is just it's, a it's a way to look at the world that sets you up for growth and success and just a better life in general.
Alex: Oh, yeah I love that well Molly. I just want to thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today. It was amazing to finally meet you and to hear your inspiring story and the work that you're doing. Thank you so much.
Molly: Thank you so much thanks for having me.
Alex: All right, take care.
Molly: You too.
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.