Heather Lowe

Sep 6, 2022


Why Wellness and Alcohol Do Not Mix and the New Consciousness in Corporate Team Building with Heather Lowe


alcohol, drinking, drink, people, wellness, sober, heather, wine, life, feel, waking, problem, addiction, companies, happy, helping, substance, talk, medication, recovery


Heather Lowe, Megan Swan


Megan Swan 00:00

Welcome back to energetically you where we talk about all things optimal wellness, abundant mindset and wellprenership. I'm your host Megan swan, a wellness coach and consultant and the founder of the Sustainable Integrated Wellness approach. I help high performance women read more wellness into their lifestyle so that it becomes a way of life and not a checkmark on their to do list. I designed custom approachable wellness lifestyles because there is no one size fits all wellness. today. I'm so excited to interview Heather Lowe. She is the founder of ditched the drink a wellness company dedicated to helping professionals move away from alcohol and towards their highest selves. Heather is a certified professional life and recovery coach certified addiction awareness facilitator and the Director of Marketing consumer products for the International Center of addiction recovery. Education, which acronym pi care. Driven by her education as a Bachelor of Social Work and a professional of human resources. Heather provides content knowledge coaching and education to individuals and organizations. Heather is passionate about coaching connecting people with alcohol free resources and creating a positive sober community. Heather shares the bright side of sobriety as an influencer in the social media sober space at ditched the drink on Instagram. Heather's writing has been published in Thrive Global, Corporate Wellness Magazine, The Fix, Redesigning Wellness, and more. She has been featured on many podcasts, including recovery, Happy Hour redesigning wellness and decidedly dry. She lives in Chicago's western suburbs as a proud girl mom of two teenage daughters Lily and Charlotte. Her husband Darren have 20 plus years and their adorable black and white cocker spaniel Rocky. Heather is a voracious reader, a newish hiker and a seasoned Yogi For more, visit her website ditched the drink.com. Welcome, Heather, I'm so excited for this conversation. I'm a huge fan of your work. And I was reading the in depth bio you have on your website. And I feel like we have a lot of synchronicity going on here. So let's dive in. First of all, welcome. How are you?

Heather Lowe 02:42

Awesome, thank you so much. I'm just like thrilled with the opportunity to speak with you and your audience. And our topic is, of course, my favorite thing to talk about. So thank you so much.

Megan Swan 02:54

Amazing. Well, one thing, I haven't talked about that recently on the podcast, but I actually one of my opening episodes was really focusing on the mummy wine culture and that sort of very deep rooted narrative. There is in society that you know, kind of motherhood or parenthood goes with, you know, socially appropriate de stressors amongst them are, you know, wine or alcohol kind of at the, at the end of your day. And what was the sort of? Or can you paint the picture of sort of like one of the catalysts for you to like, really reconsider that narrative for you personally.

Heather Lowe 03:37

Yeah, yes, thanks for the opportunity. Because especially in our society, we protect alcohol so much, right? We don't want it to be the bad guy. We don't want it to be the bad thing. We want it to be in our bathtub at the end of the day for release and unwind. We want it to be in the workplace, a way to connect with others or celebrate success. So we we really defend our alcohol. And as a drinker, I did too. I looked for anything else to be the problem in my life besides my wine habit. I wanted to protect that above all else. I my drinking journey started. I'm from Wisconsin, so it was very normal and very regular to start drinking early. I mean, it is that it was my baby bottle, which isn't true. But my parents met in a beer tent at a local fair, that was very normal. And I met my husband in a bar and college like How else did you meet people back in 1997. So it was just very part of the coming of age journey and Wisconsin. I was an extrovert party girl had lots of friends. I loved drinking immediately. It was a great escape. And it was a way to let loose and it was a way to be included in parties and social events and things like that. That continued through college that continued through my early work career. Now I have a little more money to spend. Right so I wasn't drinking cheap beer. Maybe this weekend. beer but in better places, I'm going to cover games and going to work happy hours. And I'm feeling very grown up, I think going to restaurants and being of age and drinking. It also sort of fueled my career in ways I was in sales, I was often the only woman on a all male sales team. And it was a way to celebrate a success, it was a way to get access to decision makers and leadership, you could if you sometimes if you were at a bar or a happy hour, you could have conversations that weren't taking place in the office. So I had two daughters. And I worked part time and I stayed home part time and I didn't drink during my pregnancies. But as soon as they were born, I could have a little bit of wine in the afternoon. That felt very European to me. It wasn't until I had a series of deaths, three deaths in a row, where I did three eulogies in three years. Two of them are out of order, and one was my dad. And this is where my drinking really started to take an obvious turn, from a social way to socialize, or a way to unwind at the end of the day to like self medication, you know, putting the kids to bed or trying to get them as close to the end of the evening as possible. And then drinking wine on the couch alone, to soothe my grief and my pain that I really didn't want to feel telling myself that I should just get over it. And alcohol is a great numbing agent. So it worked until it didn't. It just escalated over time. And this was maybe going to happen anyways. But it sort of picked up speed. I was unhappy in my jobs. And again, a great way to ignore my unhappiness was to just pour alcohol on it. I think my story is similar to many people's stories. And now as a coach, I know that it's a very similar story. But again, alcohol is celebrated in our society as a way to manage in a way to cope, and it's not looked at as a bad thing. So who are we not to look for an easy escape hatch with alcohol. And it works until it doesn't, you know, for 20 minutes, it takes the edge off, it takes the anxiety down. But then the consequences, of course, multiply after they have. Yeah, well, I

Megan Swan 07:22

really appreciated your transparency, that also, you know, you went to seek help with a psychologist, which I think is another really common way of, you know, starting this journey. And, you know, you're immediately without too much chitchat, we're prescribed a medication, which may or may not have been, you know, the, your psychologists probably didn't ask you a lot of questions about your alcohol consumption in order to do that. And then just to like, what a common story that is, as well. And

Heather Lowe 07:52

I, I it's just

Megan Swan 07:55

so prevalent that people are taking either something for depression or anxiety. And I feel like it's a conversation that's not really openly had about the relationship between those two things and the commonality that most people are having something at the end of their day, that might be, you know, have a specific interaction that makes their quality of life dramatically different based on based on that. Did you want to add anything?

Heather Lowe 08:20

Yeah, absolutely. You are totally correct. Yeah, I was. So I tried to tell people that I had an alcohol problem a couple of times. I told my doctor, and she's out that I was anxious, and I thought I was drinking too much. And that I was just nervous all the time. And overwhelmed. And her response was, you're just a mom. Like, that's how moms feel like that's the baseline. That's normal. Nothing was wrong with me. When I did frantically seek help seek help from a therapist. Now, hopefully, this is not every person's story with therapy. But yeah, I was very quickly. I went in for a substance, someone who was specific, specifically trained in substance abuse, and I said, I drink too much. I'm worried that I'm drinking too much. And again, the answer was no, you're not. Because nothing devastating. I'll say that in quotes had happened. I wasn't caught by the police. I didn't drive while drinking. I didn't hurt my children physically, or I didn't land in the hospital. I didn't land in jail. I didn't I hadn't lost a job because of it. So it was hard to see. You know what was wrong when I said I think I'm drinking too much. I was prescribed an anti anxiety medication. But I was told that I could keep drinking. I was elated. I was thrilled. Yeah, who here's the answer. I'll just take this pill and not feel anxious. And I get to keep drinking my favorite juice, right? Like this is awesome. What what happened is the medication mixing with drinking turns me into a walking blackout. And a few Okay, Hmm, that was different. I would not even over consume and the effects were different. They were sloppy, they were embarrassing, I would wake up full of shame. Now, I would say, just because I didn't land in jail or the hospital doesn't mean nothing devastating happened, everything devastating happen. I woke up full of shame every day. It doesn't get worse than that. Like that is a very low place, even though there's this thought that you have to hit a rock bottom. And I would say you would say I had a high bottom because I was nobody would know I had an alcohol problem. In fact, when I tell people like quit, they're like, why I've never even seen you drunk. Well, that was the goal to keep it a secret, of course. And I was waking up and making breakfast, waking up and making lunches showing up to all my kids events, you know, seemingly doing, doing everything I needed to do. And I was I was checking off the task list. But I wasn't happy. I was so miserable. My mental health was the lowest it could be. I was depressed and anxious all the time. And to me now, that is enough reason to quit. Like, it doesn't have to get worse than that. It's okay. You just stop and evaluate your relationship with alcohol before it gets worse. Right?

Megan Swan 11:16

I'm so glad you said that. Because I mean, that's, you know, kind of a community I speak to more, I think, because I think as a wellness coach, like, this needs to be a conversation that has had just in terms of your overall well being, you know, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, you don't need to be at anywhere where you are somebody else would consider it a quote unquote, problem, you could just consider like, how is this affecting my sleep? How is this affecting my relationships? How is it affecting pretty much every aspect of your life without it being, you know, like, an emergency situation, just that it might be having a negative impact to some degree?

Heather Lowe 11:56

And even I'll just interject that, even if it's not a problem, let's say, the question isn't like, How bad does it have to get the question? Is it? Is it helping you? Even if you're not sure if it's hurting you badly? Is it helping you? And the answer to is alcohol helping you? Is No, truly if you dig down for everybody now, does it help you take the edge off for the first 20 minutes? Yes, it does. It probably does that. And that's why it's such a, it feels like a magic elixir. Right? But the aftermath, everything after those first 20 minutes isn't helping you? Is it helping you sleep? Is it helping your health? Is it helping you reach your career goals? And is it aligned helping you align with your spirit in seeking clarity? It doesn't do those things. So it's okay to let it go. Even if it's not a problem, right? It might not be helping, even hurting. So obviously,

Megan Swan 12:54

yes, I love that reframe. It's such a great, great point. So let's go down the thread a little bit, follow the thread of the social lubricant and all the places in society that that plays into, you know, whether it be the need, that it's essential for celebrating, it's essential for networking, it's essential for having, you know, deep romantic conversation, like all of these things, and I think, you know, you're not alone at all that the early parts, you know, I think why it's such a deep seated or rooted problem for many of us is because we start so young and connect those two things, you know, like, I can't feel myself of course, you're not yourself, but you connect a sense of feeling at ease and a social situation with that 20 minute

Heather Lowe 13:44

buzz. Yeah. So some people think that like alcoholism, or could be a disease, and so I don't, there's arguments for and against that. But I love to call it just what you said, a dis ease and unease in ourselves. Because that's what it is. I think alcohol for me was the ultimate and self abandonment. I didn't know how to cope with my own discomfort. And I didn't have to learn ways to do that because I had alcohol. So from adolescence, when high school early high school, I had this thing that let me jump ship by my own self and my own feelings, and ease right into some like boozy, Buzzy comfort, right? So I when I quit drinking, in my 40s and I was like a toddler without coping skills, throwing temper tantrums, because I didn't know what to do with these big emotions, which I you know, luckily figured out and learned through time. So yeah, I think we don't know. So first of all, any social gathering is pretty uncomfortable in the first 15 minutes, I would say for everybody. That doesn't make you abnormal. All that means you're a normal feeling person in this world and to be surrounded by strangers or acquaintances that might feel unsafe, that might make you a little anxious, you might feel like the spotlights on you, you're not sure what to do with yourself, you don't have the vibe of the environment yet. Going to the bar and getting a drink gives you something to do. It gives you a if you want to Yuk it up with somebody and say, Let's go grab a drink, it gives you a mission and action ever. You can joke about it, right? Oh, let's get drinks or let me get back to ever ever drink. And so it's very easy. It's it's super easy. So who wouldn't want to do that? You know, it's hard to sit and discomfort instead. Yeah.

Megan Swan 15:42

So one thing that I'm seeing as I'm working with small corporations to help them bring more wellness, first perspective into their policy, and their company culture is a general an interest to be more inclusive, across the board and more thoughtful in the ways that they're positioning their events or, you know, so sort of like what is mandatory what is expected what is quote, unquote, normal for the company culture. And I'd love because I know that you're an expert on this as well like to paint a little bit of a picture of what you're seeing the positive trends, because I personally am optimistic.

Heather Lowe 16:25

Yeah, absolutely. I love it. So work. So first of all, alcohol affects all systems of your body, and negatively, so it's not healthy. And some companies for wellness do like Pilates and Pino like wine and yoga, or meditation and then a drink. So it doesn't it's kind of an oxymoron, it doesn't really make sense. Because if you add alcohol, which is ethanol, which is a poison, now everyone can choose to drink or not drink, but have some informed consent that that's

Megan Swan 17:02

literally aging yourselves at the

Heather Lowe 17:04

right, it's negatively affecting all of your healthy systems. Now, I mean, I love to do that with potato chips, and anything that so I'm not here to say, you know, no alcohol for anybody ever, but know what it is. And it certainly doesn't belong in wellness, it's not part of wellness. So coupling those activities. Never really makes sense to me, because you sort of undo all the health benefits by then consuming alcohol. But the positive thing is, so I partner with that with eye care, which is the International Center for addiction awareness, resources and education. And we have a program called certified facilitator addiction awareness training, where we are training people all the time, to be certified to come and do like a one hour lunch and learn and type presentation to their organizations to talk about addiction awareness. So addiction awareness sounds scary, but especially since the pandemic, when, let's say for instance, women's drinking has been 41%. So I'm to talk about it. So the the silver lining of the pandemic has been focused on mental health. And in my mind, and in my experience, as you can hear, I couldn't talk about mental health without talking about alcohol, because it was directly related. And since I've given up alcohol, my mental health is much improved. You know that my anxiety and depression, I'm not on medication, I'm all for that if that's something that somebody needs, but for me, I didn't need it, I needed to stop drinking. And that can be the case for many. So, so people people are signing up for this training, people are giving this training to their organizations, organizations are loving it and asking for more, because it's totally irrelevant. And everybody knows somebody with addiction issues, right? So it's you or somebody you know, or love. So people are really interested in this. Many of them are secretive about it, right? Because there's such a taboo. But anyways, there definitely is an interest and it's growing. There's companies like Salesforce, for example, big huge companies, Salesforce has employee affinity group called sober force. And there's 1000s of employees that are part of that group because they are somebody they know they are for addiction awareness, and it's okay to be sober, curious, right? It's okay to evaluate your drinking without deciding you want to quit for the rest of your life. It's okay that evaluate your drinking or take a pause without calling yourself an alcoholic. So I think just the language is changing, that we can label the substance and that the person and I think that's key for anybody in the workplace. You don't call somebody an alcoholic, right? They might have an alcohol use disorder. but alcohol is a drug. We call it alcohol and drugs because again, we want to protect it like it's special, but alcohol is a drug, and it's the third preventable cause of death in the United States. So it has a cause causes more harm than all other drugs combined is the real truth. So labeling the substance and not the person is one thing that companies can do, getting people trained to talk about it. I think, literally hashtag let's talk about it opens doors and as a huge way to connect with people, leaders sharing their own experience, I think is incredible. But my favorite thing is offering alternative beverages. It's such an easy thing that companies can do stand for coined a term, equally Ultra attractive alternative beverages. So for instance, if you're having some sort of happy hour, and there's a signature drain, you can offer it with or without alcohol. And there's alcohol free beer, there's alcohol free wine, there's alcohol free spirits, there's so many awesome adult sophisticated beverages that you can drink that don't include alcohol. And you don't have to call people out that aren't drinking, everybody can have a beautiful adult drink, the people not drinking don't have to sit in the corner, they don't have to have a Capri Sun juice box or a bottle of water. You know, they can have something beautiful with a garnish and a flavor. And now also not be called out because it doesn't matter. You're there to connect and socialize. And everybody's an adult who can have a drink. So those are a few, a few ways where companies are changing.

Megan Swan 21:22

Yes, oh, my goodness, I love everything you just said, let's I really want to highlight how you pointed out that there's sort of this spectrum, and it's changing to focus on the substance and not the label of the person. And I think it's similar to how we're much more willing to talk about mental health issues just being something that all of us deal with, to some degree at some point in our lives. And that it's not that there's not a stigma, either of the person dealing with it or talking about it. And I think it's the same with addiction and recovery. And then looping back to this, you know, the sober curious, it doesn't need to be about necessarily the fact that you're an addict or not an addict, or you're recovering, you know, you could just be someone who was interested in having, you know, an alcohol free Wednesday or you like that there being more options at the work events. And, and it really not being necessary to really call people out in any of those those terms or labels. And yeah, I mean, I just find it so encouraging how explosive, the non alcoholic beverage industry is, you know, mocktails like I every single time I'm in a new cool, place a restaurant, and there's, you know, even just one stated option on the menu or, you know, increasingly a whole submenu. It's really exciting. So, what let's let's look back a little bit to the sort of, like, Miss understanding of it being an effective social lubricant, or, you know, not all but and also this, this idea that that's somehow supporting team building in a company setting.

Heather Lowe 23:11

Yeah, such a good point. So first of all, it must be known, a third of the population doesn't drink at all. That's perfect. So some people because they're in recovery, right? Some people because they're super curious. Some people are at any stage of motherhood, where they're not drinking right now. For some people, it's religion. Sometimes it's a cultural taboo. For some people, it's health reasons or medication they're on or certain conditions that they have. It's not just you're an alcoholic, there's a million reasons why people choose not to drink, and a third of the population doesn't. So you're leaving people out, that's a big chunk of people to leave out when you're only offering alcoholic beverages and your activity or event is surrounded around alcohol. That's already a third of people that are feeling out of place, pushed out like they don't belong. And that included. So as far as diversity and inclusion, which is also a hot topic and unnecessary thing to talk about and to start to address in the workplace and everywhere. Talking about alcohol in the workplace or other civic organizations or whatever. It's like it goes along with wellness, the wellness goals being alcohol, three attributes to wellness goals, being alcohol free and alcohol free aura, like sober, like a recovery friendly or sober, curious, friendly type of workplace goes along with diversity and inclusion and equity type goals that an organization might also have. So yeah, versus like a third of the people don't even drink but they feel forced to in those situations and studies show that then they do. You know, they feel the social pressure pressure to drink when they really don't want to or there's no other option for them. Yeah,

Megan Swan 25:00

I always think back to when I was in the world of dating apps in Toronto, and how I just had this, you know, like if someone didn't drink that just made me extremely uncomfortable as a drinker. Deeply rooted that is like how you're just like discrediting a human being as a possible relationship, because they don't have the same relationship with to your point of drug.

Heather Lowe 25:27

I had a co worker that maybe would have a glass of wine at Christmas every year. And I hounded her, I could not stop interrogating her, like, What do you mean, you don't drink? And does your husband? And do you even have friends? And like, what do you do? I did not understand it. I was so curious and instance about just like, it was out of my mind, because I didn't know how to not drink. I didn't know how to not include alcohol in every thing that I did. Right? So it was like, totally foreign. I thought she was a weirdo. I am a weirdo now like, hallelujah. I'll tell you sober people are awesome. And being sober is awesome, because it means you have burned through some chips, some chips, right? Like you have figured out a way to cope and comfort yourself. And I think a huge misconception is that sober is boring. And the word sober itself sounds like somber, it sounds like a life of deprivation. When I quit, I mean, I, it took me so long to quit, because I also didn't have a positive role model. I mean, the only people that I knew that didn't drink were people that had had a problem with it, were slapped on the hand couldn't drink anymore. And we're living a sad life depression because they couldn't have their drink, rave. Well, I'm happy to share. That's why I'm crazy. All over social media to share like the happy, joyful life that sobriety is because it's you aligned with your best self. And I got to actually take action on all my dreams, all my childhood dreams. I mean, alcohol was literally standing in the way of everything I ever wanted. And once I was able to remove it, I've been able to make all my dreams come true, including, you know, owning this business and doing this work and being on this call with you right now. So it's it's a beautiful life after drinking. But for anybody who's considering it, it is tough to get through, it is hard to get away from a dependent substance. But once you do it, it's you are free to leave the cage of alcohol. It is a pair of wings, right?

Megan Swan 27:33

Yes. Oh, my goodness, I completely resonate with everything you just said. And yeah, I mean, just on on the day to day, you know, I can't remember exactly, it was really well articulated that you were saying like that you woke up, essentially, you know, like, in a hurry every morning, like feeling like you're somehow already behind. And I think that's a really common sense of, you know, waking up to an alarm and feeling just not on a deep level good about yourself good about, you know, just at ease. And for me. It just liberated so much time. And so then you because you're in like a better headspace, you know, spiritually, physically, emotionally, all the things, the way you choose to, or what you choose to do with all that extra time. And, you know, for me, it's also been creating this business and helping other women and really trying to invite women who think they might have a problem, or, you know, like, for me, and for a decade, I knew I had a problem, I just didn't see a way around it at that at the time. But also inviting other women to just try it, like, what's the harm, and that's for most clients that have decided, you know, to shift out of having alcohol, and it also doesn't need to be, from my perspective, it doesn't need to be an all or none scenario to be really beneficial. You know, just to your point of the lovely coworker who only had a glass of wine at Christmas, or whatever. It can be really life changing. It's just sort of like take it off the weekly menu or you know, certainly the daily menu and consider it in a different light, similar to how you eat bacon or potato chips, or, you know, we're highly aware of how these things can be enjoyed, but also that we're not need and shouldn't be doing them so frequently. So yeah, I don't know if you want to share like for you personally, as a mother, how it's changed. How you show up.

Heather Lowe 29:45

Yeah, certainly. So first of all, if somebody told me I had to quit drinking for the rest of my life, I would have ran in the opposite direction. So that is not the approach that I use even as a like Certified Professional recovery coach. I did on Off drinking experiments for three years, before I quit for good. And when I quit for good, I didn't know I was going to be successful in quitting forgot, I had no idea that that day one again was going to be my last day one. So it is something that evolved and grew over time. I think your clients are probably similar to my clients probably similar to you and I high achieving perfectionist people pleasing. So it's hard for us to start something without knowing the end result. And I want to tell you alcohol is different than anything else. It's you can't project manage your alcohol issue, like you do other things in your life. So because it's a drug that creates dependence, right, it hijacks your it literally hijacks your brain. So once you have a sip of alcohol, you're no it ruins your judgment, your intuition, your decision making skills, you can't think clearly. So I'm a big fan of getting rid of it completely for a period of time to evaluate. I mean, for some people that's a day or a week or 30 days, you know, whatever that looks like. So you can clearly evaluate it. But you can, you can take a break without putting forgot to your point. And you can let this be a relationship. quitting drinking is not a single event. It's a series of decisions over time. It's a series of little shifts and decisions that you make and tuning into yourself. And not jumping ship on yourself and learning a new way to cope with some of that with life that gets lifee. Right. So, of course, the best thing that it has done for me is Yeah, and my relationship with myself and then my relationship with my kids. So they have been able to they're teenagers now. So they've been able to see overcoming hard things. You know, any of the shame. So I used to wake up, like you said, the first thing I would do is ask myself, How bad do I feel? I knew I was gonna feel bad every single morning. But how bad like how bad was the hangover. And that's a terrible way to start your day. So depending on how bad I felt, then I would determine how much I hated myself. If I felt really bad, I would hate myself a lot. If I felt a little bit bad at then I would hate myself less. So again, that's not a way to live your life. That's not the way then expect yourself to be your best self that day. Or how are you going to be your best self that day when you just woke up by basically punching yourself in the face. I don't wake up like that anymore. So just the absence of that has been, you know, life change. Completely life changing? Yes. And so I don't wake up and say I hate you, I wake up and say I love you. Congratulations. We're we woke up to see another day. So, um, yeah, so my kids, they got to witness me overcome something hard. So I think it's not that we're perfect, or we have it all together, I think it's even more powerful to show them that I was willing to address an issue, and that I didn't really imperfectly and that it was over a period of time, but I didn't give up. And I did make mistakes and I am worthy of forgiveness. So my mantra of my whole first year and it continues to be is change behaviors, the best apology. So that shame of the past can't pull me down. Because every day my marching order is to do something different today. And I think that is really powerful for my kids to see. Not to mention, I can sit with myself, that dis ease that we were talking about. I can sit with myself. I'm not twitchy, I'm not anti antsy, I'm not reaching outside of myself anymore all the time to choose me. I know how to self soothe I know how to take care of myself, even through grief, even through pain, even through discomfort, even through the 15 first 15 minutes of a networking engagement when you feel like you want to jump out of your skin and grab a shot. Am I right? I can sit there with me. And I'm okay. So they are learning to that they don't have to reach for something that they can they have everything they need with them there themselves.

Megan Swan 34:00

Well, that change behavior is the best apology hit deep. Hmm, my dad was an alcoholic. And I was always very conscious, even as a child that I didn't want to repeat that behavior. And you know, I got I think my kids were two and four basically when I quit, and yeah, for me, it was very much important. I mean, there were so many layers, but one one really important layer was to model that life can be lived, you know, things can be celebrated, that you know, all these things that we so deeply connect with alcohol can happen and it's can be fun and enjoyable. It's not required. And I really wanted to show them you know, a different a different narrative. So yeah, and I really love everything you just said about you know, it is a bit of a process, finding the tools that really help you be okay With you know, not having not not quitting drinking, because I'm gonna, you're gonna have like wonderful days from here on out, it's more about being open and conscious of those feelings and allowing them in and processing them in a healthier way than just numb numbing them out

Heather Lowe 35:21

directory of your life and your children's life. So that is so beautiful. I am so proud of you, and took me I've done it too. And my dad story is your dead story likely very similar. So I think it's pretty bold and badass of both of us to have addressed that and, and created a different path for our kids. We've shined the flashlight on a new way to be so and yet alcohol is not necessary. And in fact, it's so much better. I mean, it's maybe not just rainbows ahead, but it's more sunny days, for sure. It's more sunny days. And I just had an experience the other day, that was full of pain for me something that happened that hurt me so badly. And even with that, knowing that I can take care of myself, even when things are bad. Is like that is so incredible, I think sobriety for that, that it has taught me how to take care of myself. Yes. Okay. Well,

Megan Swan 36:22

one last question before I asked you to share whatever you want about your work. Can you give us some examples like what are ways or tools that you personally use these days to take care of yourself, whether it be preventative, or after something painful

Heather Lowe 36:37

happens? Yeah. So when you first get sober, if you really want to get sober, that has to be your top priority. And that sounds terrible and horrifying. At first, that sounds like a chore. What happens is you begin to build your life around these new patterns and these new pillars of things that you believe. And it starts to create the life that you want to live. And it starts to be like the tenants to your higher self and what you want, and putting yourself and putting that as number one become something you want to do and some set of something that you have to do. So that changes over time. So one thing I did is I started meditating when I was still drinking, and I swear that changed my life. Not immediately, but over time. So I still meditate, I go to yoga every week, it keeps me grounded. You could maybe hear how fast I talk. I'm a busy mind. I didn't very fast I told you I was cleaning out the garage one second before this call. So going to yoga and being quiet and still with myself and putting my feet on the ground and laying my body on the ground for a moment of silence is necessary. For me, I date myself, I have a Bougie spa gym that has a steam room and a hot tub. And I take myself on a date there as often as possible. But a couple times a week for sure. Let's see I journal I love to write. That is my like creative expression. So again, it's it's a way for me to pay attention to myself. It's a way for me to hear myself talking. So the paying attention has been number one, I don't just pour alcohol on it, I explore, I get curious and I be a witness to myself and not a judge. I had a really loud inner critic, telling me everything I did was wrong. Everything I felt was wrong. Everything I said was wrong. And so I have to work very hard to keep her in check. And that includes paying attention to how I feel and letting myself feel that way. So definitely joyful movement community. You know, it's it took me almost four years to find a group of sober friends. I mean, I tried very hard and I found people that weren't going to be quite it for me. And so I've had to really persevere and I've been very determined, but I am happy to report I finally do have a supportive, sober community to add in. I think those are the main the main things underwhelmed is my favorite tool. I love to under when I get overwhelmed with a large to do list, I have to like, slow it down. Start underwhelming. You know, my mental health comes number one instead of last now. Hmm,

Megan Swan 39:16

so many key things you said there. And I think one of my favorite was, you know, being the witness and not the judge. That's, you know, a daily practice, I think, especially for us as women. Yeah, I think amazing. Thank you for sharing all those. And yeah, tell us more about what you're personally working on these days.

Heather Lowe 39:37

Yeah, so if you'd like these tips, so I have a website ditch the drink.com I have a free silver secrets guide. underwhelmed was one of the tips on there. There's a few things so you can download that and I write monthly newsletters, sometimes more than monthly with resources and alcohol free drink discounts. And again, I love to write so blog posts and it As you can hear, I'm pretty transparent. So that's what helped me get sober years ago when there was not as much as there is now. But I loved to take a deep dive into people's blogs and recognize that I was not alone in my struggles. So I love to offer that to people. I coach people one on one, I typically have a short wait list for that. And I also have a membership that just started and insider membership, which includes a monthly masterclass to live coaching calls each month with a group and a 24/7 private community. On my website where people are gaining support, I think it was the content, coaching and community are really the three like the trifecta for success in evaluating a relationship with alcohol. So I offer that I also, as I said, work with eye care, the International Center for addiction resources and education. So I recruit people to can be trained like me, as a coach, a lot of my clients get sober. And then they, they want to coach others as happen. So then they also become coaches. So that's like a really beautiful whole circle moment for me when I start with somebody who can't go one day without alcohol, and then eventually, they're two years alcohol free, and they want to start helping others. So if anybody's interested in becoming a certified life, and or recovery coach, or what I talked about earlier, that certified facilitator of addiction awareness training, that too is available to anyone. So anyone can reach out and learn more about those things as well.

Megan Swan 41:37

Amazing. So just to clarify, you work in the membership and the one on one, the person doesn't need to be alcohol free to approach you. Right? And it's just sort of pointed. Yes,

Heather Lowe 41:49

if somebody, I mean, you know, so the cool thing is, so because I'm a recovery coach, and a life coach typically helps somebody just drink, and then they recognize that they've set up this life that keeps them in a drinking loop that's not really working for them. So then we use the life coaching to address relationships, and career and communication and people pleasing and boundaries and all the things. But yeah, very few people come to me alcohol free, or even with a goal of I want to be alcohol free. Most people come to me and say, Okay, I'm gonna try this, or I want to do this, but I have a vacation coming up, and I'm definitely going to drink on that vacation. And I say, okay, and then the beautiful thing happens, they get some momentum being alcohol free, and they're like, I don't want to drink on this vacation, because they're choosing it. And that is my goal with people is, I want everyone to know, you lose the desire to drink. When you start to see it for what it is, and through coaching support. You're not white knuckling your way for an alcohol free like you are welcoming it. And you actually lose the desire to drink. So like I no longer want to drink. I'm so grateful to be sober. But that's not how I felt in day one or day 30. So yeah, nobody has to be alcohol free to talk to me.

Megan Swan 43:06

Incredible. Yeah, I think that's such a good point is you know, it's not about or it is about getting to a point where you're making the choice not to drink for completely different reasons. And, and it becomes a sort of self fulfilling prophecy, in my experience. So thank you so much for your time and your energy and your expertise today. And for sharing all this all of the links, all the things you mentioned, I'm sure we can find on your website. We'll share any other links, show notes. Is there anything you want to tell us any other bits of wisdom you want to leave us off with today? Heather?

Heather Lowe 43:45

Thank you so much for the opportunity. Megan, I would just say if anybody's listening to this, and they're considering, give it a try, just start and imperfectly without knowing the answer without knowing the next step. Right. Just gather more resources, gather more support. And if somebody's listening to this, and they've tried and they feel like it's not working, the answer is always adding in more support. That will be the answer 100% of time. So if you've listened to a few podcasts or read a few books, or you tried for a short time, but it's kind of like you have periods of drinking and not drinking and you want a longer stretch, adding in more support will always give everybody that tip.

Megan Swan 44:28

Brilliant. I totally agree. Well, thanks again and move forward to be in touch. Thank you