Sobriety's Ripple Effect: Changes You Didn't See Coming


[00:00:00] Sonia: Hi, we're Kathleen and Sonia and you're listening to Sisters in Sorority. Thanks for being here. I'm Sonia and I'm with my sister in sorority, actually my sister in law, Kathleen. How are you doing today, Kathleen?

[00:00:12] Kathleen: I'm good. I'm good. We are just kind of in the thick of the holidays because we do record kind of in advance. So we've just spent Christmas together and with my mom and your niece, my daughter, and my boyfriend. And it was good. It was good. How are you doing?

[00:00:30] Sonia: I'm good. You handled christmas it was like clockwork. It was like appetizers dinner dessert and then like a full change of tablecloths for the morning and then a brunchy breakfast. I could not believe Just the coordination that went into that.

[00:00:48] Kathleen: Yeah. Can I? Okay. So two things about that I'm just going to say, because I think it's actually helpful to the listeners in a sense. I feel like there's going to be some sobriety lesson in

[00:00:58] Sonia: Yeah,

[00:00:58] Kathleen: Last year [00:01:00] I felt like really chaotic. I really felt like I was out of control. I didn't really feel like I had it organized and, um, This year I really got organized.

[00:01:13] I didn't wanna feel like that 'cause I wanted to enjoy my Christmas with everyone. And so I even on Christmas morning now I did get up early, but I even meditated I don't know if I told you that, but I was like, me meditating

[00:01:27] when my boyfriend came down, he was like, what are you doing? I'm like, I'm just finishing my meditation.

[00:01:32] He was like, what? What's happened here? Because. You know, my morning routine is so important to me and it really helped me maintain. Okay. Like this is still my morning. Um, and I was really organized beforehand, so yeah, I handled it. I handled it. You gave me a double high five, which I'm really excited about.

[00:01:51] And yeah, it was good.

[00:01:52] Sonia: Speaking of rituals. I went to bed at 8 45. I went up to

[00:01:57] Kathleen: I, yes,

[00:01:58] Sonia: Even though everyone you guys [00:02:00] stayed up and you were talking and I was like, you know what? I feel like I had so much fun Christmas Eve, but I was like by 8 45. I was going to bed with the baby.

[00:02:08] Kathleen: Yeah, 100%. It's funny because I came down and I was like, Oh, did Sonia go to bed? And they were like, yeah. and I actually thought to myself, love her sticking to her evening

[00:02:18] routine. So

[00:02:20] Sonia: I slept eight hours and I read my book and I texted some friends and I really stuck to my evening routine and I feel like it was really good

[00:02:30] Kathleen: Yeah, it was good. It was good. So how are you doing?

[00:02:33] Sonia: I'm doing good. So when I did not stick to my routine was last night. I went out with my older nieces for Christmas dinner And so they were here really late But it was so fun that I was willing to throw off the evening routine, butI'm gonna have to take a nap after this.

[00:02:49] Kathleen: Yeah, for sure and they are night owls and

[00:02:52] um, they thrive in the evening and they don't really do mornings. but yeah, they are super

[00:02:59] Sonia: [00:03:00] But what was fun, too, is that I had some mocktails left over from our last segment, and so we, we did some mocktail tasting.

[00:03:07] Kathleen: Oh, that's awesome. Did you ask them what the complex favorite flavors were?

[00:03:11] Sonia: Um, no, because the reaction was just like, this is disgusting. Can I have some Perrier? so we didn't really get to like complexity of flavor. it was very much like past the Perrier so I can dilute this. And so, I mean, I get it. They're teenagers. If it's going to taste like that, it better have alcohol in it.

[00:03:30] Kathleen: Um, can we talk about the mocktail I made on Christmas

[00:03:32] Sonia: oh, my God, it was. Honestly, that was the best mocktail I have ever had. But, in the defense of mocktails, I love like, a sweet ish, not too like, sour, bitter, that type. And so it was really good.

[00:03:49] Kathleen: It was festive, for sure. what are we talking about?

[00:03:53] Sonia: Yeah, so today we're talking about part of sobriety that we don't get into a lot, and I think it's those unexpected [00:04:00] surprises, challenges, huge changes you experience almost in every aspect of your life, in sobriety. So, whether you're on this journey yourself or you're supporting someone who Is, or you're just curious about the world of recovery, this conversation is for you.

[00:04:16] Kathleen: Yeah, it's true. There can be so many unexpected turns that come after making that decision to become sober. And it really, sobriety can really reshape our lives and how we interact with others. And so, and how we see ourselves and even how we experience our emotions. So this is going to be a good, a good topic to discuss today.

[00:04:38] So Sonia, what are some of the expectations you find that people have of sobriety? Mm

[00:04:45] Sonia: especially with my clients, and I don't know if I felt this as much myself, but it was like, that is going to be the silver bullet, right? And to some extent it is, right? sleep better, you have more energy, you're communicating better, you make better, clearer [00:05:00] decisions, but there are still obstacles, right?

[00:05:02] And you have to deal with them. So sobriety doesn't automatically fix your career. If you're unhappy with your career, that's still something you need to deal with, right? And you still need the tools. It doesn't automatically fix all the stresses in your life. So it, I think it gives you the space. to get the tools and I think gives you a space to think clearer, but you still have to do that work.

[00:05:28] Kathleen: Mm hmm. Yeah, that's true.

[00:05:30] Sonia: What do you think, how, how can some of these expectations people have of sobriety, these really high expectations, be detrimental?

[00:05:37] Kathleen: They can be detrimental in a bunch of different ways. So, of course, sobriety can lead to improvement in your life, obviously, but it's important to understand that sometimes the benefits and the improvement might not be as fast as you think or as big as you expect. So, that might lead to someone being disappointed or, feel a sense of failure when the [00:06:00] changes don't expect either, like, Exactly as quickly as they think or as dramatically as they had hoped and then I also think that people underestimate the challenges of sobriety so like you said believing like sobriety is a silver bullet can actually be quite harmful and it doesn't Kind of it doesn't overlook the fact that while sobriety can alleviate Some issues

[00:06:25] It doesn't automatically resolve everything and so You know that really has to be looked at the other thing. I will quickly mention which is not to be taken lightly. Is that Sometimes people may think that they can have a passive approach to recovery. And we talked about this in earlier episodes with your brother because in reality, you can't take a passive approach to recovery.

[00:06:49] And it's about developing coping mechanisms and tools to handle life, um, in a sober way, on an, like in an active way, right? Making an active effort [00:07:00] towards your sobriety. So what do you think, Sonia?

[00:07:03] Sonia: Yeah, I totally agree with the, the passive approach thing becauseI think sometimes you just expect that it's just going to continue. So like probably I would say like after the first 30 days of sobriety, you really get into this like pink cloud where you're like, life is amazing and I'm not having intense physical cravings and this is great.

[00:07:23] And I'm done, like we're done here. and I think that I've noticed too, and I've really gone through this. And so if most of my clients is this sort of like sobriety fatigue where you're like, Okay, I'm at year two and, uh, life is still happening, right? And so I think that that sort of expectation that that pink cloud, and I think, look, you can to some extent, I think, experience that, and I still experience, a pink cloud some days where I'm, like, super grateful, but that, that takes work, right?

[00:07:56] And, there is some fatigue to it.

[00:07:58] Kathleen: So what [00:08:00] advice then would you give to someone thinking about sobriety and what their new life might be like? Ha

[00:08:05] Sonia: I think be realistic. Um, expect the unexpected. I think it's going to be amazing, but there's going to be disappointments and pivots. And I'm not a parent, but I always hear people say it's like about

[00:08:16] parenting, like it's the greatest thing you'll ever do, but it's the hardest thing and it's so worth it.

[00:08:21] I'm

[00:08:21] Kathleen: laughing, I'm like, that's hilarious. ha ha

[00:08:24] ha

[00:08:25] Sonia: and I think the grounding thing probably for like parents She was like talking to other people at different stages in sobriety. So it's like what can I expect? what is this? stage feel like for what did it feel like for you?

[00:08:36] And, you know, it's not always going to be the same, but I like talking to people that, you know, have like a year sobriety, 30 years sobriety. and it does kind of ground your expectations a bit. What about you? What do you think?

[00:08:50] Kathleen: So I think that, it's really important to understand that sobriety is not an instant solution to all your problems. And I think that can be a real hiccup. And [00:09:00] so on sobriety being like, well, once I get sober, everything will be okay. And I think to import like the importance to recognize that there's so many benefits, but it does require ongoing effort.

[00:09:10] And there may be. unresolved issues that were masked by your substance abuse. So, I think that engaging with therapists and recovery coaches and support groups just like Everbloom, who specialize in addiction, it's so important to have that guidance and support because they can help in setting realistic Expectations, realistic goals, and understanding the process of recovery and developing those coping strategies.

[00:09:41] And then this is a big one is self compassion. recovery is not linear. It is not a linear process and there can be setbacks. So being patient and practicing self compassion is so, so important. What. What do you, what was your idea of sobriety before you got sober? [00:10:00] And, and then how did it, this is so interesting, but how did it differ from the reality that you actually experienced?

[00:10:06] Sonia: Yeah, I think that I, I thought it was just once I got over those initial Physical cravings that we were good to go, that I didn't, I didn't know anything about the idea of emotional sobriety, right? I didn't realize that I was going to have to deal with that. I didn't realize, and this is huge, and this is something that's happened in the last couple of years, that, that when I would go through tough things, that there was still some wiring in my brain.

[00:10:37] That wanted to numb it and so and with with alcohol very specifically and so I think that was such a shock And and not a good one that you know Like I'm going through a divorce and I feel like drinking like are you kidding? Like we're not we're not done with this yet Are you fucking you know, like making a bad situation worse now?

[00:10:59] I have to think [00:11:00] about like not stopping by the liquor store after work And so yeah, it was it was that was I would say disappointing, but, and I know I do this a lot, but honestly amazing because I'm so grateful that I got to realize that it is an ongoing process and that I, I had been getting a little passive in it before that happened.

[00:11:21] So what about you? How was it different from the ideas you had?

[00:11:25] Kathleen: So I really, really miscalculated the peer pressure when I got sober, and the fact that I lost a lot of friends, and we've discussed sort of my sobriety journey in earlier episodes, but I was the life of the party, I was the organizer of the outings, I would say my friend group at that time really like revolved around like what's Where What's Kathleen got planned for us?

[00:11:50] You know, it was really about that. And so I didn't really, I don't know what, I just didn't think through it. I didn't think through that when that, then I got home from, my month away [00:12:00] and I decided I'm no longer using cocaine anymore. I'm not using drugs anymore. I didn't really, I didn't really expect the. I guess the best word I can think of it is anger that some of my friends had because I almost, like, by me stopping using drugs and knowing I couldn't go to bars and clubs and do the same things, I sort of put an end to my friend group. And I didn't have a name for it back then. I just knew I wasn't going to use drugs anymore.

[00:12:29] I never called, I never said to my friends, listen, I'm really trying to get sober. Like I never said that. I just was like, I'm not using drugs anymore. I'm done. And so for me, I just, I stopped using drugs and then eventually I stopped drinking. But for me, I also underestimated the amount of shame that I would feel.

[00:12:47] And quite honestly, I still struggle with the fact that, just even telling people, yeah, I used to have a cocaine problem or I use drugs really heavily. So I think I underestimated [00:13:00] the emotional side of it.

[00:13:01] Sonia: Oh my god. I didn't even think about that shame Peace, because I would meet new people, let's say a couple of years ago, I would just say, I don't drink. I didn't say things like, Oh, well I had a problem with alcohol. And we know too that my ex husband used to jump in before I could even say that to

[00:13:18] people. Um, he was just like, Sonia doesn't drink before I could be like, actually I'm sober. And cause sober and not drinking have two very different connotations, I think.

[00:13:27] And one, That I had a negative connotation or like I felt ashamed that I had to had to be sober

[00:13:35] Kathleen: Yeah. I, you know, it's something I still struggle with actually, like, I don't, I think it's important for our listeners to know, these are not things that we've all resolved. just because we're doing the podcast and you know, I'm a therapist, you're a recovery coach. These are things that we're still working

[00:13:48] on.

[00:13:48] So every time you post about the podcast on LinkedIn, I have that like shame feeling come in to my heart because. While personally, some [00:14:00] people in my life know a lot of people professionally, like I've had such an incredible professional career and I'm like, Oh my God, like the CEO of that company is going to know that I had a Coke problem and the shame creeps up and now though I have tools.

[00:14:14] So I'm like, Oh, look at you shame monster. Hi, I see you right now. And so I notice it. But it's still, I think you posted last night or today or yesterday on LinkedIn and I felt that little shame monster come in again and I was like, Man, it's still there.

[00:14:32] Sonia: Yeah.

[00:14:32] I think I linked in as a special type of hell because it is like

[00:14:39] Yeah, it's just not like you're friends from college. It's like people that you interacted with professionally and so I have a bunch of dentist friends on LinkedIn and I'm like Shit, are they thinking I was like trashed working on patients because that is not the case, right?

[00:14:54] people just assume when you use like, you know terms like I had a problem with alcohol it meansthat [00:15:00] you're Whole life was in disarray. And, um, yeah, no, LinkedIn, I definitely get like a little like, and you hear from weird people on LinkedIn, you hear from this guy you dated for a week being like, Oh, it's really good that you know, you figured this out about your drinking.

[00:15:18] Kathleen: I know it is. Okay. So here I am making a commitment. I'm making a commitment right now because this has been coming up for me a lot and I have never shared. About our podcast on linkedin and I know you tag me so like my whole network knows but I am actually gonna post about it Because I do think it's part of this road I haven't used drugs and like over like 15 years.

[00:15:44] So for me, I mean, I've built a really successful career, like I'm, I'm good, but I, there is still that shame. And so I commit right now to you, my sister in sobriety, that I'm going to post about this on LinkedIn, about our podcast. [00:16:00] And I'm going to face the shame monster right in the face. So that's what I'm going to do.

[00:16:04] Sonia: Okay, I love that. I actually was just gonna say something that does take the shame away, is, is saying it.

[00:16:10] Kathleen: Well, and there is a, I mean, I'm totally mess up the quote, but there is like a quote that says, like, shame dies in the light. And so I am going to help with this shame and I'm going to put it in the light. So we digressed a little bit, but I think it's good. I think it's good. What ways, Sonia, did sobriety meet your expectations?

[00:16:33] Sonia: so I don't know if it's because I had a specific pattern of drinking. I drank every day. So I don't know if the alcohol ever left my system, right? And so physically, it really met my expectations, the like, I have more energy, I'm sleeping better, my skin's better.

[00:16:50] so I was getting into my late I was in my thirties by that point. So I was having weird aches and pains and honestly, they, they went away. and things that you couldn't really find like a medical [00:17:00] basis for went away. So my asthma got better.

[00:17:04] I have a lot of food allergies and so I think the alcohol,was making all my food allergies worse. And so physically it was. It, and it remains epic because I, and I wonder a lot, what would I look like and feel like right now if I had kept drinking the last seven years?

[00:17:24] Kathleen: hmm. Uh huh. Well, you wouldn't look like you're 25,

[00:17:26] which is what you look like. It's ridiculous. Like, for those of you who have not seen Sonia live, it is pretty crazy that she does not look 45. She looks 25.

[00:17:39] Sonia: not just me. You don't look 45

[00:17:41] either.

[00:17:42] Kathleen: thank you.

[00:17:44] Sonia: Um, so what, in what ways did sobriety meet your expectations?

[00:17:47] Kathleen: I did not have very many expectations when I got sober because if listeners have listened to my sobriety story I was heavy user of cocaine and then I went away for a month that sort of acted as if it was a [00:18:00] rehab And I didn't really know in a sense that I was going into that. So all I knew I didn't have a name for it I wasn't like I want to get sober.

[00:18:08] I just knew that I didn't want to live that way anymore So I think that you know I went away for a month to a place that was like a rehab. And so I just felt amazing, like physically amazing. But the thing that was so great for me is where it did meet expectations is that I was eating all the right food.

[00:18:32] I was exercising. I was in the sun. I was living on the ocean. You know, really had a spiritual practice being put in place for me. That was important. And so I'm so grateful for that time because I think if I had stayed in my environment and just tried to stop using Drugs, I wouldn't have felt so amazing as amazing as I did And then I just never wanted my body to feel like it used to

[00:18:59] [00:19:00] Sobriety represented a huge shift in your life, obviously, not just in your free time, but really your whole life.

[00:19:07] Sonia: Yeah, so many things changed for me. a lot of them I expected, like the physical stuff, and had hoped for. But there were a few I hadn't anticipated. And there were, you know, some happy surprises.

[00:19:21] Kathleen: So tell us more. Yes.

[00:19:27] Sonia: seriously for a couple of years and I was very lucky it came along with a really positive shift in my career where I had a lot more free time, a lot less stress, and I started filling that free time with things I didn't even know.

[00:19:43] I was missing. And so because I had started drinking daily, when I was around 27, 28, so around 2006, 2007, and those were really pivotal years, right? In the development of an adult, your like values, how you [00:20:00] run your schedule, what matters to you. And so between the drinking and the working, I was just like this.

[00:20:09] work hard, play hard robot, right? And so when I got sober, I realized, I have neglected my family. I have three nieces, that haven't taken a huge interest in their lives. I don't know them that well. and I, yeah, I realized how many things I had sort of You know, let go of, I hadn't really developed any sense of myself outside of my career.

[00:20:38] And so, I don't think I really even had a cohesive value system. like being part of something, like being of service. didn't even enter my mind. And so, I just threw myself, I think you guys know, into like everything I had been missing for like the last however many years. And so I was taking bonsai classes, I was taking [00:21:00] jewelry making classes,

[00:21:01] Kathleen: Weren't you knitting for a while or something?

[00:21:03] Sonia: girl, I have a hat I just knitted like.

[00:21:06] Kathleen: Oh, I'm putting my order in. But anyway,

[00:21:08] Sonia: Yeah. Yeah. So things like that just like that gave mesuch pleasure and joy It was amazing. And so, there was that and then also I had been Self medicating and so I had been using alcohol to self medicate anxiety and depression. And so another really positive thing that came out of it was that I had to get treatment for those things.

[00:21:34] And so, I needed to get therapy for, for those things that I could no longer really hide them. And so, between Between physically feeling better and mentally feeling better and then emotionally feeling satisfied with, my relationships, it was like my whole world opened up.

[00:21:55] Kathleen: Mm hmm. You know, we, we heard that like your relationships changed, your [00:22:00] health, your daily routine improved, you obviously discovered hobbies, there are many, many of them, that you didn't even know you had. And so what can that process of transformation feel like?

[00:22:12] Sonia: Yeah, it can be scary because it's such a huge shift, in your identity and I think that And that naturally comes with some growing pains and we'll talk about some of the tougher things like we've sort of focused on some of the great things that happened in my life, but some tougher things happened to and I think that when you're drinking, almost every part of your life is.

[00:22:33] And I was touched by it. And it shouldn't be a huge surprise, when all those parts start to kind of like shift around. But I think for me the identity piece was the hardest. I wasn't, like you were saying, I'm not the party girl anymore. and it affects the people around you. And so that socializing piece is when your other relationships start to really shift.

[00:22:56] Because you're not socializing in the same way [00:23:00] you were before. And so, yeah, I just felt like I was taking up a different, space in the world. And, uh, yeah, I just felt like there were so many points where I was like, Am I? without alcohol? I just, yeah, I just didn't know.

[00:23:18] And then also, yeah, I'm changing so much, you know, mentally. I don't know. Do you think it's common that people like me who are self medicating, that we're self medicating a mental health issue and addiction? Yeah,

[00:23:30] Kathleen: it is so common. I mean, I can't even stress that enough. I honestly think that most people who have addiction issues are self medicating something. like some inability to be with uncomfortable feelings, emotions, memories. when I was using cocaine in a problematic way, I was, I didn't know it at the time, but I was self medicating my ADHD.

[00:23:54] So the most commonly prescribed medication for ADHD is a stimulant or there are others, but [00:24:00] it's mostly stimulant and I was basically seeking that out because it actually made my brain just slow down and be able to focus and I would, I would say all the time. I just feel like my best self and when I was taking cocaine and it didn't speed it up for me.

[00:24:18] and the things like drugs and alcohol, there can be a short term gain, right? Like this is the thing is there can be a short term gain for anxiety and they loosen you up. For example, alcohol makes social situations easier, but the next day. You feel more anxiety, more depression, and then long term, that's not a coping strategy.

[00:24:39] It's not effective.

[00:24:43] Sonia: that's interesting. I totally agree. I always tell people drinking works until it doesn't.

[00:24:49] And it really worked for me for, a couple of years.

[00:24:54] Kathleen: Oh, yeah. Like, cocaine worked so well for me for many years. I was in a corporate [00:25:00] job where I had to work all hours of the night. I was traveling all the time. You know it really worked for me I don't even know how else I would have done that job at that time like having not being medicated not having the tools So but in terms of physical health, what do you think is the most important thing for people to know?

[00:25:22] Sonia: I think and this is kind of, I don't know if it's like the easier part than like the mental emotional lifestyle stuff, but physically some, some things will just improve automatically, right? You're not, you're no longer poisoning yourself. And so you'll probably sleep better. You'll, you will have more energy.

[00:25:38] Your skin's going to look better. You may or may not lose weight. but there are other things that you may not expect. I know you've noticed this about me. Like all of a sudden my whole life, I never touched dessert and I. I would eat dessert after breakfast if I could.

[00:25:55] Kathleen: Yeah, but you make the best desserts. This is the problem. [00:26:00] You're so good at baking.

[00:26:01] Sonia: I never baked before I got sober because all of a sudden I was like, I want to make these desserts.

[00:26:06] so, yeah,I, I have sugar cravings. I, I, I have a, piece of chocolate after lunch I think that a lot of people have some sort of intense dessert after dinner. I can't go to sleep without it. And so, I think that a lot of people have intense sugar cravings. I know my clients, we talk about it a lot, when they start drinking and whether it's a result of I was drinking alcohol and it had a certain amount of sugar.

[00:26:28] And then I removed that. I'm not sure, but yeah, what do you think of the idea? I'm not, I'm not going to admit to having a co addiction to sugar, but what do you think about the idea? Uh, of a co addiction. Can people just transfer their addiction to another place?

[00:26:43] Kathleen: So I will answer that in a second. I will say you don't have a co addiction to sugar because you're really able to have a bite and then just kind of enjoy the bite and be mindful with that bite. You don't eat the whole lemon pie and I'm using lemon pie as an example because it's my [00:27:00] favorite dessert that Sonia makes.

[00:27:02] Sonia: Um, and you have eaten the whole

[00:27:04] Kathleen: Yeah, and I have so now let me answer your question so Can people transfer that? Yes, they can they sure can so Shopping. Smoking, eating, gambling, sex, like all of these activities can start as healthy normal behaviors when someone's trying to get sober. So you know, you could want to be exercising, and you want to eat, whatever you might want to, I won't say smoking is a healthy behavior, but You know, yeah, they can become problematic if they're done in excess.

[00:27:39] And so here's the thing though with the sugar is a good example because when you're addicted to a substance, there's obviously like a boost of dopamine, serotonin brain, and your brain is still looking for that, right? Your brain is still looking for that hit. and so it can come up from eating sugar, doing different things, and these can start as healthy, but [00:28:00] you haven't dealt with the underlying.

[00:28:03] Issues that are leading to your addiction and you don't have the coping mechanisms So I remember when I was going to AA with your brother quite frequently To open meetings the smokers like oh my god when that meeting was over It was like a plume of smoke and I will say like I will admit I struggle with sugar.

[00:28:27] I do struggle with sugar. I struggle, I have struggled with binge eating. again, I think that is from more of a brain chemistry habitual place, but it's definitely, yeah, you can definitely transfer, transfer addictions.

[00:28:44] Sonia: So what can people do so they don't end up looking for relief somewhere else?

[00:28:50] Kathleen: I think, addressing what are the underlying issues that are leading to the addiction, if that's something you want to do. And I think, the prevention and management of it. We've [00:29:00] talked about some coping, you know, you love Filling that toolbox. And having those coping strategies, and good habits, the daily routine, living a balanced lifestyle, style, and then having support.

[00:29:12] Like I'm just kind of running over these huge buckets, but it's basically all the things that we talk about and that really can help someone not look to something else to relieve, that, that place in them. You know, there's, there is an author named Dr. Gabor Mate, who writes a lot on addiction and he describes it as a hungry ghost.

[00:29:33] So a really long neck and then an insatiable stomach. And so no matter how much you're feeding it, it's just never enough because it just takes all that time to get down that, that long neck into the stomach. So I think really having that support support system and really key is awareness So we're talking right now like you talk about I have dessert I'm, like yeah, I I maybe have some unhealthy relationships to [00:30:00] food like to be honest I do have some healthy relationships to food, but I Am really conscious of it and i'm really putting the things in practice and it's a work in progress.

[00:30:10] I know you talk a lot about daily routine. So how did this develop for you?

[00:30:14] Sonia: Yeah, I would say my daily routine is, does give me relief from looking, for that somewhere was like, I would say combination of like by accident and on purpose. And so I had no idea for. I don't know ever that I was a morning person, right? And so I really started to love the parts of my day that had changed from being sober and those were the evenings and the early mornings and so I think naturally I started Adding rituals that I didn't even think about much.

[00:30:50] It was like, Oh, I love getting into really cozy pajamas at night now instead of passing out in whatever I was wearing, whatever top I was [00:31:00] wearing. It's like, Oh, I love the morning. So instead of Trying to get myself out of this like hungover stupor I really want to makea nice tea

[00:31:07] Kathleen: I'm

[00:31:08] like

[00:31:08] that

[00:31:09] too.

[00:31:10] Sonia: and then in the evenings again, it was like I really want to read books I really want to fall asleep reading a book.

[00:31:16] And so I think it's a combination of Of natural and then I think you really have to look at like what parts of your life are so much better and how can you integrate that into a routine that kind of reminds you every day. And So let's say on a normal Christmas at like.

[00:31:34] Midnight Christmas day, I would be so trashed just so trashed Absolutely, no routine would have passed out probably in the tights and bra. I was wearing to dinner but as as Unusual as my routine gets or my day gets I can still go back to that routine So last night, even though it was later than usual.

[00:31:57] I Still [00:32:00] washed my face, brushed my teeth. I still journaled for a few minutes and I felt I still fell asleep reading. And so,For me that's one of the greatest changes.

[00:32:10] Kathleen: hmm. Mm hmm. Well, I know not all of the changes were happy surprises. What about your relationships? Mm

[00:32:19] Sonia: That is a whole other story. So I could not have guessed this, um, when I got sober, but not all of my relationships improved and some just. And I think I used imploded because it was like under the surface, just total destruction.

[00:32:39] by the time I got sober in 2017, I had sold my business.

[00:32:44] So that identity was gone. Right. And I really started to feel like, wow, I achieved. What I had set out to do since I was, however old, 20. And so for the first time I just had to set these new goals and I didn't [00:33:00] feel the need to Climb the career ladder anymore or even financially and so I felt this Really deep value shift and I think you guys saw it And

[00:33:12] yeah, and it was and it was more than just you know, finding new hobbies That when your values shift, it really affects the people, in your life a lot.

[00:33:24] And I really wanted to talk about how amazing it was to be sober. I wanted to help other people get sober. I really wanted to be of service. and not just in, like, recovery, but and I know you know this, like, I got very committed to the idea of second chances.

[00:33:41] I

[00:33:41] really felt like. I had been given a second chance at life, and, and so I got really involved, with programs in prisons, and so, because everybody deserves a second chance, and so I really, yeah, I wanted to talk about it, and I started making art about it, I started [00:34:00] writing about it, and, it was really a way of connecting with people, but between the art and the writing, it was still a Had this sort of like anonymity to it, and so I was still hiding, right, behind, like, cute little stories and images, and so I was changing, and I was like, shifting into this, to be honest, a version of myself I really liked, I was like, wow, I did not know I could even have this, like, depth of, empathy for people, I had no idea that that's who I could be.

[00:34:34] And so, so I'm changing in that way and because we had had a huge career change, my ex husband was changing and he was sort of moving in the opposite direction. He, wanted to go further. He wanted to keep climbing that ladder and he really liked The sort of trappings of success and I didn't even think about it It didn't even occur to me that we [00:35:00] were growing apart.

[00:35:01] I thought we were changing, And so, yeah, did I still like going to a nice restaurant? Sure. Did I need to? No. And so I think that's where our needs, wants, all that started to really shift. And so, as time went on, it became really clear that he didn't want a life with a sober lifestyle.

[00:35:20] And so, and all that that sober lifestyle entailed, which is like, Loving the mornings and journaling in the evenings. And I think he really. Yeah, I mean, we joke about it. Like, you want to pop bottles. Like, what's this, what's this middle aged man doing popping bottles in the club? we do, we do. He is sometimes the punchline, um, of a lot of

[00:35:42] midlife crisis.

[00:35:43] Kathleen: Yeah,

[00:35:44] Sonia: yeah, yeah. yeah. And so, um, and so I wished it had just been that, right? I think I, I was hoping it was just like a midlife crisis And I thought, I thought, well, maybe I'm, I'm going through a midlife shift as well. But, It wasn't, and he left really, abruptly, [00:36:00] and I think it was no surprise to, to anyone that the person he started seeing after me was, had that exact lifestyle that he had been looking for, right?

[00:36:12] Kathleen: Yeah. It must have been though. Was it hard for you to reconcile that? Like knowing that you had worked so hard in your sobriety, you were really loving the person you were. And then the person he started seeing was actually like at this version, you know, like this, exactly what he was. Popping, popping bottles at the club.

[00:36:36] Was that hard?

[00:36:37] Sonia: Oh, it was, it was excruciating. It was that, You know, I think that that the effort and the work that had gone into becoming this version of myself Not just getting sober, but yeah getting sober And then starting to craft your identity or carve it out again Was so much work [00:37:00] and it was very Deliberate, right?

[00:37:02] And I was really happy. I was really happy with my relationship with my family with you guys I was really happy with the amount of time I could spend now with my nieces. And so I think it's really painful when you've worked so hard and and deliberately become this version of yourself that you're proud of and that it it alienates somebody or it's I feel like right now I'm just not appealing to someone and I used to say this, I think you remember at the beginning, I was like, well, in his defense, he married a party girl.

[00:37:35] I was super ambitious, during the day and I partied all night. but Yeah, I think I say that almost as a self protective mechanism, like in his defense, so he was sort of entitled to leave, but I think it's not totally accurate. I think that he didn't, you know, to me now, and I hope this gives somebody else comfort, like people should really take an interest in your sobriety journey, the close people around you, [00:38:00] and I think that He just saw it as a black or white thing.

[00:38:03] We didn't really talk about the gray areas. I'm still the same person, right? It's just, I think I'm more me. And so you can say that, Well, I'm so different, and so not everyone's gonna appreciate it. But, really, people that love you really should appreciate that new person you're becoming.

[00:38:22] Kathleen: Well, and you know, I'm a couple therapist and so I deal with couples and individuals and relationships and one of the things I talk about a lot is you can be married to the same person, but it's like you're married to like multiple people over the course of your marriage because people change and develop so much and so if your marriage like if you can't Um, and he's like, well, if you don't work through how you both change and grow, then, you know, that's a problem, obviously, like, that's a problem.

[00:38:59] You [00:39:00] had grown and changed and he was growing and changing also, you guys not in the same way and you weren't able to, I mean, I'm not going to say you, but the marriage wasn't able to bridge that, like, find those commonalities between, between you and, and to, continue on with, with the marriage.

[00:39:22] Sonia: I agree. And actually, that's funny. That is I know we, we talk a lot about values, and I think that one of, one of my values that strengthened, was the value of, Of fidelity in marriage. And, and so I was like even more committed to a lifelong

[00:39:40] marriage. And possibly the reverse for the other party involved.

[00:39:46] but yeah, I know eventually we'll do a whole episode, on values. But you do this values exercise with your clients, so do I. And how do you think our values change when we get sober? Yeah,

[00:39:59] Kathleen: I [00:40:00] think that when we're engaged in like an addictive behavior, we're not always living in alignment with our values fully, or we haven't actually fully explored what our core values are. So if I look back to when I was using drugs fairly heavily, one could say that I was like valuing a party lifestyle, but actually when I dig deeper into that value, I valued and I still do connection with people.

[00:40:26] Um, but it was really hard for me to do that because my ADHD and my social anxiety. So I also valued living a healthy lifestyle and growing and developing, but I was, I could never stick to anything for very long. Clearly wasn't living in alignment with my values. So when I do values work, the client, it's about determining values in your life and making, then making decisions and choices in your life that help you live with those values.

[00:40:52] And, I have not come across a client yet whose value is like. I value drinking my [00:41:00] face off, or I value feeling like shit on a daily basis. I've never, not once, had a client who has said that. I can't wait to do an episode on values. I know we really both like working with values.

[00:41:12] I actually don't think that when we get sober, our core values necessarily change too much. I just think we're able to see them more clearly.

[00:41:22] Yeah, exactly. I think, so I think like your value we're talking about of fidelity and commitment. I think it was probably always there. It just didn't, you didn't know how important it was to you until you became sober.

[00:41:37] Sonia: For sure. Yeah, I never expressed it clearly until then but other than lifestyle Incompatibility, which is sort of what I had. What other things in sobriety can affect relationships negatively? Yeah,

[00:41:53] Kathleen: example, like if you haveYou know, drinking friends or using drugs together that can shift the dynamic and [00:42:00] it can create a feeling of void or discomfort in the relationship. And so also partners and friends who are still using, let's say. your partner is still drinking, they may feel judged or abandoned and I, like I've struggled with this a little bit with my, my partner who I adore, but he does still drink alcohol and he's totally welcome to do that.

[00:42:24] he doesn't drink in a problematic way, but I know he has feel felt judged by me, because he drinks and, it's, it's, I think it's a fairly common thing, also when you get sober, you might be experiencing more of a range of emotions, that aren't numbed anymore. So if you don't have all those coping strategies yet, and also they take time to develop and really get used to having them in your life, this heightened emotional state.

[00:42:53] can lead to irritability, mood swings, sensitivity, and that can strain, strain relationships.[00:43:00] I will say for couples, because I look at that lens a lot, different priorities and interests. And then this is, I think we could do a whole topic on codependency because in some relationships, especially romantic ones, When there's a substance use problem, codependency, uh, there, like, can be a codependent dynamic.

[00:43:21] And when one person gets sober, it can disrupt that dynamic, and it can lead to challenges as both people need to readjust how they interact in their relationship.

[00:43:31] so what we have covered so much today. I feel like wow, we really squeezed the juice out of this episode today What resonated with you the most?

[00:43:43] Sonia: I think that, so there is this combination of, I have some, I try not to do this, but like a little bit of shame, a little bit of regret, about how I used to live my life and talking about how really it was just my values being revealed. So it [00:44:00] wasn't like I was some shitty person. I was a person struggling with substance abuse, right?

[00:44:06] And wasn't able to make, Decisions that were aligned with my values. I was making decisions based on Trying to get drunk all the time. And so I yeah, I think it's a comfort knowing that I what you're not a shitty person. You're just going through a shitty time and you are there deep down and so yeah, I do You know, I think sometimes offhand i'll be like, oh i'm totally different person than I was when I was drinking and it's like I'm, not I mean i'm the same person.

[00:44:36] I have the same sense of humor. I'm the same in other ways, but but more parts of me I think got revealed. What do you yeah? What do you think what resonated with you?

[00:44:49] Kathleen: you know, I think what resonated with me is that there can be unexpected and it's not to deter people from becoming [00:45:00] sober, because I think like it's a great journey, it's, I'm, I would never, I would never want to go back to using drugs in the way that I was, but I, there was, there are things I lost, like I gained so much, but I lost a whole group of friends that I, you know, really had a lot of fun with and loved, I gained it.

[00:45:18] You know so many more deeper relationships, but I think the realistic View is that there's going to be gains and then there will also be losses

[00:45:28] Sonia: And I think that's why I was always so afraid to tell people like use that like that narrative like my husband left because I got sober

[00:45:35] Kathleen: Yes

[00:45:36] Sonia: Yeah, I, I lost, you know, 200 pounds of asshole, but I gained so much, right, by getting sober

[00:45:45] Kathleen: yeah, and I think i'm going to reframe it for you i'm putting my therapy hat on because I think instead of saying that because you got sober. It's like your marriage really ended because you had a Wildly different [00:46:00] values that you wanted to live by And, his values were just completely different than your values, actually.

[00:46:10] Sonia: Yeah, it is, but those values were revealed as a result

[00:46:14] Kathleen: Exactly. Okay. So, the values were strengthened and revealed, and then it was very clear that they were just not in alignment.

[00:46:24] Sonia: Yeah, and I think once I realized that, it became a lot easier to accept.

[00:46:29] Kathleen: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. That's, that's, that's a good point.

[00:46:34] Thank you so much for listening to Sisters in Sobriety. I know we covered a lot today, but we are excited to come back to you next week.

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