It’s listener storytime! A few months ago I put out a call to share a personal story about making noise in your life. Several listeners answered the call; I am so excited that the time has come to share their experiences with you! This episode focuses on the topic of drinking and sobriety, coping with loss, and upholding boundaries.
Making noise is not necessarily about shouting from rooftops. It’s about pushing up against conditioning and social programming that tells you, you should not do something. You’ll hear how both Jill and Amy are making noise in their lives.
Jill shares how a 90-day sobriety challenge turned into two years of sobriety (and still going). Following her sobriety, her life saw many major shifts and has allowed her to make and uphold boundaries in her life. Later, Amy bravely opens up about using alcohol to cope with a stroke she suffered in 2019. Making noise is also about speaking courageously and vulnerably in order to make change in your life, much like Amy does here. Her story is one that also brings up the question, “How can you keep rising when you have evidence that sometimes things don’t work out?” I share some of my thoughts and lessons from Dr. Brené Brown’s Rising Strong curriculum to help Amy work through some of the reasons for her coping mechanisms.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
I'm wondering if some of you are thinking about something that happened 10, 20, 30 years ago and you're thinking about it, you're like, wow, I don't think I really even looked at it. The true massiveness of grief. Many of us become masterful at pushing it down, pushing it away, burying it and hoping that it's going to die, and it doesn't. So my hope for you is that you find the courage to talk about it. You find the courage to love yourself along the way, and have some self-compassion. This is part of the human experience, my dears 100%.
you're listening to Make Some Nose Podcast Episode Number 411.
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.
Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you're here. It has been a long time coming, and thank you for your patience. I am really excited about today's episode because we are kicking off the Make Some Noise Stories that a few of you left over the course of the last several months, I had asked you to go to a page on my website and record a story, a personal story of yours where you made some noise in your life. I gave you a bunch of examples. And I am so excited to share these with you. This particular episode, I'm probably going to have three different episodes on these. This one is about drinking and sobriety. I just happened to have two stories and decided to put them together and kind of a theme. I mean, who doesn't love a good theme. And the first story you're going to hear from a woman named Jill. I'm going to play her story and then I'm going to have some commentary. I always have thoughts. I always have commentary. And then the second story is more in the form of a question. But it is an extraordinary story from a woman named Amy who happens to be a former client of mine who's done some amazing things in her life and has an incredible story and and it has a question which I thought would be really helpful for for others to hear.
As many of you know if you listen to my episode a few weeks ago, I have 10 years of sobriety and recovery from drinking alcohol. I have a few more years on top of that from codependence and love addiction and an eating disorder as well. So I just know that a lot of people struggle with those things. Maybe you don't identify as an addict or alcoholic. It doesn't matter. We're all recovering from something. We all have these areas of our life these behaviors or coping mechanisms that we lean on when we're struggling. When life feels out of control, and sometimes they work. Sometimes they help and there is definitely a fine line between self-care and unhealthy coping behaviors. Not here to shame anyone for eating chicken and biscuit crackers late at night. Not that I know what that's like from personal experience. Anyways…
Thank you for bearing witness to that. I wanted to make an announcement before quickly before we jump into the two stories that you're going to hear and registration is open for Make Some Noise Confidence Course I am pumped to take a group of women through eight weeks of deep dive study into Make Some Noise, my book and we start soon head on over to AndreaOwen.com/confidence. You can read more about it there and sign up. It's super affordable. I made it really affordable so people could have access to it, to working with me. And the real benefit of this is a few things you get to be in community with other women who are like minded. You also get me to answer your personal questions either in the Facebook group or on our weekly Zoom calls. If you can't make the live calls, the recordings will be available for you. And it's a deep dive. If you love self-help books, then you'll love this because I know a lot of you really love to do more than just read or listen to the podcast you like to do the exercises you like to answer the questions you like to, to have some introspection in your life, to get to a place of real self-reflection, and self-awareness so you can make changes so you can take action and make changes. So AndreaOwen.com/confidence, we start soon. And I will hopefully see you over there.
So you're going to hear from Jill and I love this story. I'm sure it's it's relatable for many of you, whether you've chosen to quit drinking or not. She talks about actually two different things where she's made noise in her life. And just as a reminder, for those of you that might be a little bit newer to the show, or who haven't read the book, Make Some Nosie. making noise is not necessarily about shouting from the rooftops and expressing your opinion loudly. That's definitely part of it. But making noise is about pushing up against conditioning and social programming that tells you you should not do something. It's about setting boundaries. It's about having hard conversations. It's about some really hard self-reflection, and coming to some self-awareness that may be really uncomfortable and things you're you've previously not wanted to look at. So without further ado, here is our first Make Some Noise Story from Jill.
Hi, Andrea and team. This is Jill from Western New York, which is just south of Buffalo. I've got a couple of personal stories centered around making noise, and I'm going to share with you the one that is loudest in my life right now. My husband and I have been avid social drinkers for nearly 30 years now. Everything we do centers around booze, beer or wine. That all came to an end just about two years ago, when my teenage daughters showed me some video footage of their good time Mama. I was belting lyrics on the ground at 2am unable to walk. Of course, I was mortified and humiliated to see this video. But I've got to confess, it was not the first time they had shown me myself having too much fun after too much booze. Coming from a long lineage of alcoholics. I knew right then and there, it was time to stop. To do better for them to do better for myself. So I read the book, Happier Hour by Becks Weller and my 90 day sobriety challenge was soon under way. That 90 day challenge is now close to two years sober.
I knew countless benefits would come from it, and they shared it better sleep, mental clarity, motivation to do more, more positive outlook on life, and finally being the role model my adult daughters needed. I wanted them to witness that booze and beer did not have to be part of the equation when having a good time. What I didn't know was that major shifts and changes in our social dynamic were also going to take place. We stopped getting invites all together. Our super large circle of friends dwindled down to just a few. I had to set some hard boundaries with many toxic family members who also suffered from severe drinking problems. Ultimately, it has been the best decision I've ever made for myself. And I'm proud that I now set standards and boundaries for what I am willing to accept or not accept in my life anymore. And even before my own sobriety journey, I had to set one of the toughest boundaries I had ever created, which was the decision to cut the cord from my own mother. My mother passed away this past March from liver disease associated with her own alcoholism. She had been a heavy drinker and self-medicater her entire life. Several years ago, we watched her own sister die of liver cirrhosis, and we hoped that it would be the catalyst to change my mother and her ways. But ultimately, she chose the same path. Four years ago, I had to make the choice to not watch her slowly kill herself in the same fashion. Even though we lived in the same town, just a mile and a half down the road from one another. I said goodbye to my mother in any relationship or contact with her.
I began my own inner work on forgiving her and sending love and light from a distance. When I got the call this past March that her time was nearing, I upheld one of the toughest decisions and boundaries I had ever made. I did not go to see her. Family members urged me that I would have regrets. But I knew that I had done the hard work and said my goodbyes years earlier. And I was at total peace with my decision even if they couldn't understand.
In my own sobriety and in holding the boundary with my mother, I proved that I love myself most. I chose me. My inner peace is and always will be my top priority.
I actually attended the Andrea and Amy writing experience last year and I'm currently working on my personal memoir, outlining many of the noise making decisions I've made throughout my life. Writing has been a healing journey, and spiritual awakening for me. Thanks for your time.
Congratulations to Jill for her two years of sobriety. And there's a couple of things I want to point out in this story that I absolutely love that I want to make sure that that everybody really hears this. It sounds to me that Jill, getting sober was sort of the catalyst that pushed her into making more noise in her life. She started really making changes to her social group, she started setting boundaries with people in her family. And the biggest one is that she set some really difficult boundaries with her mom. And this is what happens when we step into courage. When we make noise in our lives, it can have this sort of domino effect. I remember when I got sober, and something hard happened when I was sober. And I remember thinking, okay, if I can get through this sober, I can do anything.
I can do anything. And I still think that 10 years later, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to get sober. These are other things to like, when you decide to have that hard conversation. When you decide to apply for your dream job or ask for a raise or negotiate something, and you get through it. Even if it doesn't work out in your favor, just the courage that it took to do the thing to take the action can propel you to do more things. Because you know, okay, if I can do that, if I can get through that I can get through anything.
I also want to point out when Jill was talking about making those shifts in her social life, and she she had to make some pretty big changes. And I think that's one of the thing that turns people away from getting sober because they, some people tend to have a tight group of people. And these might be friends that they've had for a very long time. And, you know, drinking is sort of the center of their social life. And I get that, and I hear that. And I felt that too. And here's the thing that I want to that I want to point out, I want to expand on this a little bit more. And I talked about this a few weeks ago in my 10-year sobriety episode. For most people, your social life will change. Especially if your social life centered around drinking. I'm not going to lie and say that nothing changes. It absolutely does. But here's the thing that I want to point out. And this really goes for anything that you decide to either cut way back on or pull away from and you find yourself kind of pining for that experience or you know, the quote unquote, good old days or anything like that. And I'll just share it from the perspective of a personal example. When I quit drinking, and I would find myself, you know, at a bar or at a party or even watching it on TV watching people socialize around alcohol, and I would find myself missing it, which for somebody who's in recovery can be some dangerous thoughts.
I fairly quickly and early on, I don't remember if it was somebody that told me this, or it came from all the work that I've done in personal development, but I realized that I had to start asking myself, what is the thing that I'm actually missing from that experience? Because it wasn't the drinking. It wasn't the taste of alcohol, it certainly wasn't the repercussions from drinking, you know, the hangovers, the, all of that stuff. And the, it just became messy. But what I was missing was the feeling of being alive and free and just being myself. I was also missing social interaction. As an extrovert, that's important to me. So those two things are what I was actually missing. And the truth of it is, is I don't need to have alcohol to experience that. I don't and if I believe that I do, I'm lying to myself.
And it's actually the part of me that wants to go back to drinking. In 12 step programs, we call that, you know, the addict that the addict slash alcoholic that sits on the sidelines, warming up ready, ready to go in when the coach tells us to go in. And it's okay to grieve that part of your life that you have walked away from. It's okay to grieve it and miss certain aspects of it and also not want to go back there. Whether it's an experience or whether it's a person or a group of people. It's okay. That happens to some people. It happened to me. So I want to just say congratulations to Jill also, awesome that you're writing a book and I know she mentioned that writing has saved her and helped her so much. I think that is the case for many, many people and I encourage all of you to do it.
Alright, let's move on to our next guest is Amy and she is going to share her story as well as a question and I will come around on the other side to answer her question But first I wanted to share a quick word from one of our sponsors.
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Alright, we're moving into our second story from a listener named Amy. And as I mentioned before, Amy is a former client of mine and a tiny bit of backstory for context. Amy was a competitive triathlete as well as a triathlete coach and something happened which you'll you'll hear about. I don't know if she was considered an elite athlete, I think so in my eyes. 100%. This woman was just a beast of an athlete. So amazing. So fit. And you're going to hear about what happened.
Andrea, this is Amy and lots changed since since we talked. Just wanted to basically catch you up to where I'm at and what I think I could offer your podcast. I got married in 2019, January 2019, to a wonderful guy. And I had a stroke in November of 2019. When I was at the epitome of, the epitome of my athletic career and everything I was doing, it really knocked me for a loop. And I have found that I have been coping poorly, coping with alcohol, coping with boredom, coping with TV, coping with. But the biggest thing is is the alcohol piece. And I don't drink every day. But I noticed my husband, he caught me with a bottle in my hand when he was talking walking the dog one day, and it really made me realize that you know, I've got to stop that.
So, if there's anything, you might be able to offer, anything that might be beneficial to me, I'm finding a therapist, I'm working with them. But I'm learning a lot. And I think I have coped with this stroke. I haven't really I haven't really faced it, I haven't really faced it. It took a lot from me. It took a lot from me, I'm not able to be as cognizant with my clients as I used to be
Not able to do anything I did before in my CrossFit gym. I can't do any pull ups. I can't do a box jump. I can't like there's a real delay. And it's frustrating me really, really frustrating me. So I don't know. If you want to work with that. That'd be great. If not, I wish you all the luck in the world. I'm really happy for you and your third book. So, thanks so much. Bye.
Well, Amy, thank you for sharing that story and being brave, not only with us, publicly, but with yourself.
Sometimes I feel like that's the most important part is that you are brave enough with yourself to admit that there may be a problem if nothing else, it's something to look at, even if it's it's not a problem and I'm not saying that this isn’t a problem, I’m saying that to everyone. When I heard this story, I wanted to pull out my handy dandy workbook from the Rising Strong Curriculum.
I'm a certified and trained, trained and certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown. And one of the one of the ways that we facilitate this work is through The Darying Way that is based on her book, Daring Greatly, if any of you have read it. And then there's also curriculum that takes you through Rising Strong, which is essentially, what Brené calls rumbling with your feelings will give you a little bit a little bit more context.
We are, we all know at this point, if you like personal development, podcasts, you know that vulnerability is the key to connection, trust, love intimacy, in our relationships. And what happens is if we're vulnerable, we put ourselves out there and eventually we're going to get our heart broken, we're going to fail, we're going to get our ass kicked, right? So the question became, how do we keep getting back up again? How do we keep rising up when we have over and over again, you know, evidence that sometimes it doesn't work out. And it sucks. You know, the evidence here is this story with Amy being an elite athlete having a particular sport be such a source of your identity, then your whole life, and having an injury where that is taken away from you and where everything changes. How do you keep getting back up again? How do you face that? How do you be vulnerable, when it's so incredibly painful? And it could be a death of someone that you love, it could be losing a job, it could be a global pandemic?
Absolutely, positively. We experience grief, more often, I think that we talk about more often than we admit, or even know that it's actually happening. And so in the workbook, one of the modules is about grief and rumbling with grief. And I find myself going back to this particular module with clients, even if I'm not taking them through this curriculum, because it inevitably comes up in one or more of our sessions. So I'm going to read some of it to you and explain and I'm going to use Amy's story as an example, to walk you through what this might look like. Alright. Rumbling with grief, exploring the tangle of loss, longing and feeling lost. So essentially, Brené breaks grief down into those three sort of categories, if you will. Loss, longing, and feeling lost, and I'm going to explain how they're different. So she says, the more difficult it is for us to articulate our experiences of loss, longing and feeling lost to the people around us, the more disconnected and alone we feel in our grief. And I'm wondering, in Amy's example that she shared with us, if that is the reason that she finds herself drinking more often. Alright, so let's talk about loss. Brené says in the workbook. Loss: grief seems to create losses within us that reach beyond our awareness. We feel as if we're missing something that was invisible and unknown to us while we had it, but is now painfully gone.
So when we think about Amy's story, in particular, I wonder, and I'm making some assumptions here, I wonder if the loss that she's feeling that might be beyond her awareness, or it might be very clear to her, that thing that's missing is her ability to do the physical things as easily as she did before. Or maybe it's that the progress she's making is so incredibly, painfully slow, in her opinion and experience. Maybe it's, it's that she feels the loss of her identity, essentially being taken away. Could be a multitude of things. But I want to read that again. Loss: grief seems to create losses within us that reach beyond our awareness, we feel as if we're missing something that was invisible and unknown to us while we had it, but is now painfully gone. I'm gonna give you another example.
So when I went through my divorce, I was so unprepared for the grief that came with it. And I kept feeling grief and feeling grief and being very confused by it because I was assuming that I was grieving the loss of my marriage, just my marriage and grieving the loss of my ex-husband. Which didn't feel totally complete and I'm like, No, that's not it. Because I know was very clear, I didn't belong in that marriage.
It was very clear that our divorce was what was best for me. And what I came to realize, years out, took me years to realize this, that what I was missing was the sense of community that I had when I was married to him. Because of the family that he had. It was not a perfect family. But it was it was my community. And so that's what was beyond my reach. It was beyond my awareness. And that I felt like I was missing something. And I didn't know what it was. But I felt like it was painfully gone. 100% that's the loss in grief. And again, all these things are grief. It's just sort of like the nuance of grief.
Okay, second one is longing. And here's what she says. Longing isn't conscious wanting, it's an involuntary yearning for wholeness, for understanding for meaning, and for the opportunity to regain or even simply touch what we've lost.
Then the question posed is, is there something you're longing for in your story?
And I wonder for Amy, if it's that she is longing for understanding why this happened to her. If she feels like she has to put meaning around it, but it is not prepared for that.
I think that, especially in the personal development spaces, where, you know, it's all about life lessons. It's all about like, why do you think this happened to you? Like, what's the bigger meaning and like, that everything happens for a reason, which I don't agree with all the time.
I think we can get caught up in that and just try and try and try to figure out what it is. Why did this happen to me? What is the deeper meaning? What is the life lesson, and that can really be a mindfuck. Right? That longing for understanding and for meaning, the opportunity to regain or even simply touch what we've lost. And we can't, we can't touch it.
And thatis grief. That's that's the grief that we have to rumble with. That's the grief that we have to sit in. Oh, I know. I know. Alright. And the last part is feeling lost. Grief requires us to reorient ourselves to every part of our physical, emotional, and social worlds. Sometimes it even changes how we think of our identity, and ourselves. Raise your hand if you ever felt lost. When you're in grief.
I remember when my dad died. it was like, I know people had talked about this, but I for the first time felt like I understood what people were talking about when they said, it feels like a limb is missing. It feels like there's a hole in my life that will never go away. And I wonder if that's what's happening with Amy.
And that feeling of I may never go back to the woman that I was before my stroke. That’s a massive brain injury. From what I understand. I'm not a neuroscience scientist.
But you know, when the time goes by, and then you're aging, like there's so much there. And also, I think, especially because Amy had a stroke and it's sort of one of those invisible injuries where if she had, you know, a terrible physical injury where people can see and she has a cast and she's in a wheelchair and she's doing physical therapy and all of these things that people can actually see. I don't know. Maybe that that feeling of grief is a little bit different than when it's a brain injury. And people can't really see it and maybe put different expectations on yourself. I don't know I'm I'm I'm just sort of wondering and getting curious and also trying to make the rest of you think about things in your life where where you have have maybe felt lost or maybe you did again. Grief requires us to reorient ourselves to every part of our physical, emotional and social worlds. Sometimes it even changes how we think of our identity and ourselves. I believe it's in the book Rising Strong and Brené gives this example of a couple who became empty nesters and like really almost literally had to reorient themselves.
She said they were like bumping into each other in the house and didn't know what to do with the dining room table and do they get rid of the place settings you know there's not these extra people there and and that is part of grief and it can be these small things that you may not see coming.
And it's it's feeling lost. Like you're not like your your whole worldview, maybe your routine changes and it throws you for a loop. That's feeling lost. So if anyone's interested, I do facilitate that work privately one on one.
If the world opens up again, I'm going to consider doing some some in person retreats to do that work. It's absolutely life changing. But also I want to circle back to the drinking aspect of Amy's story.
And it could be anything that that people pick up when you're in grief. We don't love it. You know? Of all the feelings of all the more challenging feelings, grief is definitely up there with the ones that we don't want to sit in it. We don't look forward to that at all. I think especially in our culture, where it's not embraced, it's not even really normalized.
We tend to look for things to change the way that we feel. For some it's drinking. It could be you know, there's there's process addictions, and there's chemical addictions. And I'm not saying that, that he has an addiction, I don't know. But just for the sake of talking about it, the process addictions are things like gambling, codependency, our phones, social media, love addiction, that type of thing. And chemical addictions are more of the the drug and alcohol kind.
And whatever yours is, I think we all do it, I think we all do it. And the only piece of advice that I have, is to do exactly what you're doing Amy. Is is look at it and talk about it with the people that you trust the most. So glad that you're getting a therapist to talk about it. And when it comes to chemical addictions, or you know, chemical coping mechanisms in this case, we do have the option to totally quit and see what happens.
And of course, I just caveat, if you feel that you are truly, truly physically, chemically addicted to any kind of drug or alcohol, please, please get help detox in the right way and see a medical professional for that it can be very dangerous to quit cold turkey.
But that was the challenge offered to me 10 years ago, when I decided that I think there was a problem that I needed to look at and my friend Courtney said, just quit for 30 days and see what happens. And and personally, that was a huge eye opener.
Because I couldn't do it. It was terrible. Even if I could do the 30 days, I would have hated every moment and just been angry and it definitely showed me what I needed to look at. So that's that's my advice is to pick an amount of time maybe you and your therapist decide that do you want it to be two weeks? Do you want it to be 45 days? Like, whatever you want to make it. And it's not just about the quitting. It's it's not at all. It's really about what happens in the meantime, start talking about your grief, start going through the loss, the longing and the feeling lost and see what comes up.
And I hope this was helpful for all of you who may have gone through a similar experience. I mean, I am I'm wondering if some of you are thinking about something that happened 10, 20, 30 years ago, and you're thinking about it, you're like, wow, I don't think I really even looked at it the true hill.
I don't have a better word. The true massiveness of grief, many of us become masterful at pushing it down, pushing it away, burying it and hoping that it's going to die. And it doesn't.
So my hope for you is that you find the courage to talk about it. You find the courage to love yourself along the way, and have some self-compassion. This is part of the human experience, my dears. 100%. None of us. Zero people go through life without having some kind of grief and these nuances that I just talked about.
It's part of life. It's part of all of us. It's what makes us human. Alright everyone, that's all I got for you today. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye everybody.
Hey everyone, thanks again for listening to the show. And just a quick reminder that if your company needs a speaker or a trainer, I might be the right person for you. I speak and do keynotes on confidence and resilience for mixed audiences as well as do trainings on the daring way which is the methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. So if you think it might be a good fit, hit me up at support@Andreaowen.com or head over to my speaking page AndreaOwen.com/speaking.