Don’t Wait For Rock Bottom – Find a Softer Place to Land (Featuring My Therapist Mom!)

September 26, 2022

Meet Suzanne

Suzanne is the host of the popular sobriety podcast, The Sober Mom Life, and is also a sobriety and lifestyle influencer at My Kind of Sweet. Suzanne quit drinking more than 4 years ago and has found freedom from moderation, a message she proudly shares with the world. When she's not glamorizing sobriety, Suzanne enjoys spending her time with her 3 kids, her husband, and her dog, Georgia, all while reheating her coffee, until she eventually forgets it in the microwave.

My mom, Susan, is a therapist with a specialization in substance abuse, so I couldn’t think of any better to join us on the pod this week! In this episode, she shares why it is so important to employ a non-judgmental approach to recovery. 

In her personal life she’s always been a casual moderate drinker, but recently that’s changed. After learning from me about the negative effects that alcohol (even in small doses!) has on our brains, she had second thoughts. So, she has recently stopped drinking and has joined the sober mom life community. 

My mom has always been a great role model. I’m glad I was able to return the favor…



Is it Better to Drink a Little Alcohol than None at All?

What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health Huberman Lab


This Naked Mind

Atomic Habits


The Sober Mom Life Cafe

Join us in the The Sober Mom Life Cafe! For just $25/month, you get access to 8 weekly peer support meetings, the exclusive Cafe social feed (like Facebook, but better!), our monthly book club, the monthly Q+A, the ability to join the retreat, and the chance to share your story on The Real Sober Moms, and merch discounts!

We also have The Sober Mom Life Community for just $5.95/month – In the Community, you’ll receive access to the exclusive Community social feed (like Facebook, but better!), the exclusive community chat, our monthly book club, and one free weekly meeting. 


No Ethanol Needed ebook

My mocktail recipe book, ‘No Ethanol Needed’ is finally here! Grab your copy here




Speaker 1 (00:00):

I wish more people would listen to our podcast.

Speaker 2 (00:02):

I know. I feel like this is why we need to do an ad. So this is an ad for brand new information, a pop culture and political podcast.

Speaker 1 (00:10):

We’re a couple Gen Xers who talk about pop culture and political stuff on the brand new information pop culture and political podcast.

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Okay. But we’re not a couple we’re siblings. It sounded like you said we’re a couple . That was so gross. No, we’re siblings. That’s my brother. I’m his sister. Listen to us wherever you get your podcasts.

Hi. Welcome to the Sober Mom Life podcast. I’m your host Suzanne of my kind of suite and the sober mom life on Instagram. If you are a mama who has questioned your relationship with alcohol at times, if you’re wondering if maybe it’s making motherhood harder, this is for you. I will be having candid, honest, funny conversations with other moms who have also thought, Hmm, maybe motherhood is better without alcohol. Is it possible? We’ll chat and we’ll talk about all things sobriety and how we’ve found freedom in sobriety. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. You don’t have to either. And maybe life is brighter without alcohol. I hope you will join us on this journey, and I’m so excited to get started.

All right. We have a very special person on the podcast today. You guys have heard from my husband, you’ve heard from my brother. You have not heard from my mom until today. And this episode is very special to me. For many reasons, I have looked up to my mom for my entire life. She has taught me so much. She’s one of the reasons that I do what I do. And I am who I am is, is so much because of her and her guidance and support and just unconditional love. Also, she’s a therapist, so she really knows what she’s talking about. She was an alcohol counselor. You guys, I don’t know, she’s gonna tell you, She’s gonna tell you in the episode, I never get it right. She was an alcohol assessor. , I don’t know. We’ll see. Just listen to the episode. You’ll, you’ll hear her. And, um, there might be some big things coming from us in the future, so stay tuned. But I hope you love this episode as much as I do. Here’s my mom.

Hi mom. Hi Suzanne. You never call me that . Hi, sweet girl. . You guys have my mom today. She’s here. She’s in my husband’s closet. I’m in my closet, so she’s kind of here, but she’s in my house. She’s at my home. And this is a fun episode because my mom and I always talk about this stuff off the pod. So we decided to bring it to the pod because mom, Okay. Your name’s Susan, but I’m not gonna call you that. I’m gonna call you mom. Okay. ? Yes, please. Okay. Okay. . So my mom’s a therapist, recently retired, and every time I try to explain what it was, I kind of am like, I don’t know what the technical, what my technical terms. Yeah, yeah. What all the letters and everything are. So why don’t you tell us what you did, what you specialized in, and all that stuff.

Okay. So I have a master’s degree in counseling psych, and I am a licensed professional counselor. And along with that credential, my specialization is in substance abuse or addiction. Okay. So I do mostly mental health. Mm-hmm. , um, adult outpatient. I, I say I do. I did. So I’m still not quite used to that retirement thing. I know once you’re a therapist, you’re always a therapist. That’s right. And I will always be able to talk to my kids about . Yeah. You could always therapize us, right? That’s right. Yeah. So, So I have a master’s degree in psychology and a specialization in addiction. Yeah. And I’ve been doing that for 20 years. It was a second career, but now, uh, I am continuing to do one part of my job, which was the fun part. Really fun part of my job. Fun for you, mom.

Well, , right? Not for my, my targets. , you’re like, the really fun part is the Yes. Assessment. Well, it, when I explain it, you’ll understand why. Well, they’ll understand why it was fun. Okay. So one of the things that I have done for the last probably 18 years, and then I’m continuing to do a few days a month, is I am the assessor for intoxicated driver for the county that the clinic I work in mm-hmm. is in. Yeah. So anybody that lives in that county, Columbia County and Wisconsin and gets an owi, they have to come and see me and they have to see mom . Right. And I assess whether or not I think they have a drinking problem or a substance problem. Cuz more and more I’m seeing other drugs as well. Okay. But so I, I assess whether I think they have a problem and they need counseling or whether they just need education, then they have to go to a ton.

, you could, no mom, you could swear on here. You could ton, ton of education. Yeah. And this is all required by the D O T. So in order to get a license, you know, they don’t have to come in and do that, but then they can’t get a license or get their license back. So pretty much they have to. Right. So pretty much if they ever wanna drive legally again, they have to come and see me. And so over the years it’s been fun because for one thing, I’m not emotionally invested like I am. Like I have been with therapy. Yeah. And so I’m just listening to these stories. So pretty much you don’t give, give a shit . Right. . Right, right. Well, what I do is I just help people feel comfortable and not judged. Yeah. Who likes to be judged and they come in sort of loaded for bear thinking I’m gonna be a real bitch and be, you know, telling them what I think as opposed to trying to get to like, you know, how is their use affecting your life or not.

Yeah. I’m good at it because I, I’m not judgmental and , which is funny, Jay hype down , he’s not here, but I can see him . He’s not here, but boy, when he is listening. Yeah. So then I just help them actually be able to feel safe enough to be open to what’s really going on with their drinking. Yeah. Sometimes they completely lie through the whole thing, but mostly I can get people to be honest and you can tell. Wait, how do you know they’re lying? I don’t. Oh, okay. I mean, if I know, you know, , if they completely snow me, I then I’ve just snowed. Yeah. But mostly I can get them to feel comfortable enough to, you know, so So you don’t hook them up to a lie detector? Is that what you’re saying? , I dunno. No electric shock, nothing.

Nothing like that. Right. Like it, Yeah. And that’s, I mean, mom doesn’t live in Columbia County and I did not grow up in Columbia County, which it would have been pretty granted. I’ve never gotten a dui. That’s just by the grace of God. Like I, you know. Yes. Back in my days, I mean I, there’s no reason why I didn’t get one. Well that’s really true for everybody. In fact, I think the statistic is something like you drive 400 times over the legal limit, which in Wisconsin is what? Yeah. Before you get picked up for your first one 400 times. Wait is that a Wisconsin stat? No, I, That’s just a general sort of rule of thumb. That’s for your first one. Oh. Oh my God. After you have one, then you’ve got a bit of a target on your back. Because then if you’re driving after 10 o’clock at night, the cops are gonna run your plates.

They’ll see you have an owi, they’ll pull you over just to sort of see how you’re doing. Yeah. Then those multiple offenses sort of pile up. But really everybody that drinks Yeah. Can get an owi. I’ve seen high functioning people, I’ve seen cops, I’ve seen little old ladies that were You’ve seen cops? Oh yes. Oh yes. Oh wow. Cops, uh, ministers, doctors, I mean all kinds of come on ministers. That’s not, that’s not shocking. . There’s that. Okay. Yeah. But, but they could get the first one. It’s usually then people that don’t really have a terrible problem after the first one, then they just adjust their behavior and they don’t get a second and third, fourth and fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth. The ninth and 10th and 11th. Oh, fucking in Wisconsin. Yeah. That’s how many you’ve seen someone had 11. Yeah. The, the most I ever did was on a guy that had 11 and he got outta prison and wanted his license back.

Like he went to prison several different times. Like he’d go to prison. Like for that. For Yes. Oh, okay. When do you go to prison? How many do you need to go to prison? Well now they’re saying four as a felony. So a lot of time depends upon how close together they are in time and what your blood alcohol content is. The highest blood alcohol content I ever did an assessment on, it was a young woman, she had a 0.43. Yeah. And 0.08 is over the legal limit. Oh my God. Which is basically four beers, 12 ounce light beers over how long, Cause that, that matters too. Right. It does matter. And what you ate. Yeah. And the sort of, the thing that you hear, the urban legend or whatever you wanna call it Yeah. Is, well if I have one drink an hour, I should be good.

I should be zero. But that’s not true. It comes down not, and it’s not an exact science cuz it depends upon how healthy your liver is. What it, you had to eat, blah, blah, blah. How much you weigh. Yeah. Yeah. Basically it’s the liver metabolizes 0.01 in an hour. So if you had a beer every hour, it’s only going down half a beer. Yeah. Oh it goes down half a beer cuz a beer is 0.02 and that’s a Miller Light or something. And you know, a lot of people are drinking higher alcohol content IPAs. People in Wisconsin are not drinking one Miller light an hour. . You’re right. I, I can tell you that right now. Well for Gods sake, our baseball team is called the Brewers. Yeah. We celebrate our drinking. Yeah. Wisconsin drinks. Well, and Jay and I talked about this in when he was on the podcast about .

He said his rock bottom you guys, Jay is my brother. If you have not listened to that episode, go back cuz that was a good Yeah, that was a good one. And he talked about his rock bottom was that he hit a squirrel on the morning after when he was so hungover. And it reminded me that you said a lot of the people you see are pulled over the morning after. That’s correct. Not like driving home from the bar, but driving to work the morning after. Yes. People don’t realize that, you know, they can still be over that 0.08 limit. You know, like I’ll see A3, which is very typical. Very typical on the low end actually. And you know, I’ll think, okay, so I look at the paperwork before the person comes in and check out all the collateral information, the alcohol use profile, all this info.

Then I interview them and a lot of times when I’ll think, Oh well their blood alcohol wasn’t quite that high and then I find out it was like 10 o’clock the next morning. Oh wow. Yeah. So that does certainly happen. And I think people who go by how they feel, you know, and that gets into tolerance. Right. Totally. Oh, I, I had a 0.23 and I just, I felt fine. I was shocked it was that high because they have such high tolerance they didn’t feel drunk. But also that always reminds me of that Wolf of Wall Street scene where in his mind, like Leonard ar DiCaprio got home safe. Like the car was fine and he got home safe, but he said few, I made it it home. Yeah. And then when you see what actually happened, it was like the biggest shit show .

And like that’s what it’s in your mind you’re fine because your judgment is so impaired. Like you, you might be in a blackout. Yeah. You might not even know. You might not even have judgment. Right. And he walks out and his Lamborghini has just completely crash . So Yeah. So what are the options if someone has quote unquote a problem with the addictive substance, what do you say then in this particular position? The D o T has the paperwork and they, there is a criteria, there are levels of certainty that are more serious and, and then less serious. So I actually have a grid I go by and it’s, it’s formulaic. Yeah. So I can say to the person, Okay, so your tolerance is really high. You know, so that indicates this, or drinking against medical advice is a huge one. So if somebody has some liver problems or diabetes, a lot of people drink with diabetes and that’s just a absolutely forbidden for your health.

Yeah. You know, things that are super serious if you, they’ve experienced withdrawal before. So I, I sort of have a, I have a formula and I can tell them what the assessment finding is. And I’m also, one of my strengths in doing this is I don’t say, Okay, you got a drinking problem mister. Yeah. You know? Yeah. You’re obviously right. And so I’ll just say, you know, you have a few red flags and so it, I think talking to somebody would be a better option for you. So those are my two options. Having them go to counseling and usually that’s just outpatient, one-on-one counseling. Sometimes it’s group outpatient. But I rarely send anybody to inpatient or residential or anything like that. I let that be the next step that the treatment provider would suggest if they see something that would indicate that. Yeah. But yeah, so my options are send them to classes at the technical college or send them to counseling.

Okay. So it’s either an education problem, which is probably not Right. Sometimes it is, you know, sometimes they’re like, Oh my God, I never knew, you know, that three beers or three IPAs is gonna do this. I’ll never do that again. I’ll never, I’ll be zero tolerance when I drive with alcohol. It, it might mean they, you know, they farther down the road, they may end up having a problem. Right. Do they come back and see you and you’re like, Wait a second, I didn’t think you had a problem the first time, but now let’s have another, Yeah. One second. So this is interesting because it does bring us to the thing that you and I always talk about, which is like the quote unquote problem. And I, I think that you have seen in therapy, because then you do do counseling with some of these people.

Right. Then they, Yes. They go through the assessment with you mm-hmm. and then you say, Yeah, I think counseling would be a good idea. And they say, Cool, I want you to be my therapist. Right. Yes. That happens a lot. Or it did happen. Yeah. Mom was in high demand . Well like yeah cuz I’m nice, you know? Yeah, yeah. You’re not judgmental. I thought you said I’m not just mental that too. I was like, No, not that either. . No. I said, you’re not judgmental. And then I said, well, I mean you guys, if you listen to brand new information, this is my sock county. Damn mom. So , I’m not judgemental professionally. Yeah. She’s able to compartmentalize her judgment . Right. Okay. And so then when you work with people, and I think this is the thing that you and I have talked about a lot at length, is that it’s changed over the years.

So you’ve been doing this for 20 years and so how did it used to be? Like how was it if you saw someone that you would think, Oh wow, they’re turning to alcohol a lot. How did you used to talk with them and how did you help them come to that realization then versus now? Like even the whole idea about the alcohol use disorder rather than calling it Right. Right. Like has that conversation has changed, right? That’s right. That’s right. Well first of all, the diagnostic criteria has changed. And really just in the last four years, I think the new DSM came out. So the, it used to be there, there was a complete delineation. You were alcohol abuse mm-hmm. syndrome or, or alcohol dependence, diagnostic. So the abuse would be not nearly so serious. You could, you know, let’s just tone it down a little bit mm-hmm.

. And then the dependence would be the more, we never used the word alcoholic. We never used the word, uh, addicted. That’s just not in the dsm. Dependence would be the, the criteria. So there was this delineation, it’s, it’s a problem or it really is really not a problem, you just gotta tighten it up a little bit. And now yeah, now it’s alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder. And so there’s just all an a gradient mm-hmm. . And so it’s not so defined. It’s just, it’s a little muddier. And the one thing that hasn’t changed, I think for the way that I approach a client is I do say, and this is where you and I discuss this a lot mm-hmm. , I do say, it’s only a problem if it’s a problem and you are the one who decides for yourself if it’s a problem.

Mm-hmm. . Right. And so I as a therapist Yeah. You and I butt heads a little bit. Yeah. I mean, and this is what, this is what we always talk about because as a therapist, we, we just have totally different roles. That’s right. You as a therapist, you’re leading them to the water and that might take a long time. That’s right. And in, in the meantime, they’re still turning to alcohol to cope, de-stress, escape, all of these things. And you might see that, but you can’t really say that because then they’re gonna get defensive. That’s exactly right. That’s, that’s the difference in a, a therapist role versus anybody else in their life. Right? Yeah. So if I say, um, yeah, I think you have a drinking problem and I think you really need to get a handle on it. They’ve heard that from everybody. Mm-hmm.

, you know, and they may have even thought it, but because everybody’s sort of on their case about it, they have to be in a defensive stance. Don’t tell me it’s that bad. It’s not that bad. Look it, I’m just a social drinker. Uh, I’m a normal social drinker. Right. . Right. Yeah. And so, um, I can’t go at them like that. I have to just have an open space for them to say. So there’s a thing called motivational interviewing, which is mm-hmm. the way that we approach these things as therapists. So if they say, I don’t have a drinking problem, you know, it doesn’t cause me any trouble. What one of the tactics is, I’ll say, Well, yeah, it doesn’t cause you any troubles at all. I mean, from what I see, there’s not one thing that has gone wrong because of your drinking.

And then that opens it up for them to say, Well yeah. And they’re like, well that’s not exactly true . Right. Yeah. You guys, you think therapists don’t know what they’re doing. They do. And also if you think your therapist doesn’t think you’re full of shit, sometimes they do . Right. That’s right. Like if you think you’re fooling your therapist, you’re not. That’s right. You know, and that, that’s an interesting thing about therapy overall is it’s not my job to question everything. Like, Oh, I don’t believe anything you say you’re full of shit. Right. I mean, if I did that, I wouldn’t be effective at all. No, that would, you would be a horrible therapist. Right, Right. And believe me, I’ve seen therapists like that and one of the things that people are often really surprised at is when I say, What do you like about drinking?

And then they sort of launch into, Well, it’s bad cuz of this, It’s bad cuz of that. Because they think that’s what I wanna hear that you wanna hear. Yeah. But I wanna hear, what are you getting out of it? And if they say, Well, when I’m bored, when I’m lonely, when I’m scared, when I’m anxious, when I’m depressed. Mm-hmm. . Okay. That’s what we need to talk about. Right. Let’s work on that stuff. Cuz there’s always a mental health component underneath it. Why are you drinking so much? Totally. It’s so interesting because like what, when you and I talk about, and you know my approach, I, I’m not a therapist and I I make it clear you don’t even play one on tv. No, I don’t. I don’t play one on the podcast . And I say things that therapists can’t say. Right. I’m a place for the people to land who have already questioned their drinking because Yes.

And I, I do think almost everyone has questioned their drinking . Well certainly everyone that comes to you has, But do you know someone, can you think of someone? Are we naming names ? Yeah. I want their name and I want their social security number. . I think I can think of one person in my life who hasn’t kind of either taken a break from drinking, been like, Oh God, I drank too much last night. Which is a way for them to feel like, Oh, I shouldn’t have done that. There’s some shame in there. Judgment, all of that. Yeah. I, I just don’t know anyone who hasn’t. Oh, I know one person. . . That’s pretty, pretty minimal. Yeah. Well certainly when they’re in my office, somebody has questioned their drinking even if it’s not them. Right. And don’t you think it is them?

Yeah. I think in the, our heart of hearts, that’s where that motivational interviewing comes in. If I can just give them a safe space to actually express that. Oh, maybe. Yeah. That’s why I think that podcasts like this and this Naked Mind and how to quit like a woman, all of those things are pair well with therapy because like you’re not gonna get what you’ll get out of therapy. You’re not gonna get that from a podcast or an audiobook like you, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna be able to talk with you about what’s really underneath your drinking because there is something underneath your drinking. Exactly. Yes. Right. Like you’re not drinking cuz you’re thirsty. You, you know, um, we talk about dual diagnosis. I have never diagnosed anybody with a substance use disorder where there wasn’t also a mental health disorder ever. Yeah. It’s always dual diagnosis.

There’s always anxiety. And I think one of the things that you’ve done that’s been so good is highlighting how people think it helps anxiety. Yeah. Because there’s that moment where it does, but what you’ve done so well is to really, really present the other side of that where it increases anxiety so much and certainly the next morning it in like your mug, you know, anxiety. Yeah. No more anxiety. Oh my god, so much. Yeah. And this idea that, you know, and that’s always like you and I talk about AA and you’ve never been a proponent of AA No. Right. In your work you would never be like, Yeah, I think you should go to AA cuz you’ve seen just Right, right. . Right. I don’t, I don’t wanna put words in your mouth but Right, right. Well I think a lot of times people confuse AA with therapy and it is not that there’s not a professional there leading the way.

There’s just Yeah. There’s no standards. It, it just depends on what meeting you walk into. Right. If it’s gonna be That’s right. Yeah. And back in the day when it used to be you’re supposed to go to 40 meetings in 40 days and it was always, don’t go to the same one over and over cuz they’re all different and you know. Yeah. Right. Because it could be some really Yeah. Toxic things going on in aa so it, you know, we don’t wanna badmouth something that’s working for someone. I do. I’m kidding. . Yeah. No, I only want a bad mouth, The stupid white men. Cuz that’s normally who it is. Who don’t under Evie would say, you said a bad word. I know E would would say, you can’t say stupid, which we don’t say stupid, but I could say stupid on here. , um, who, who don’t understand that AA is not for everyone and that there are steps along the way to catch people before it’s aa if AA worked for you, that’s great.

Yes. That’s because you needed it. It was there when you needed it. Mm-hmm. . And now we’re just here before you need that because Sure. You could keep going. And this is one thing you and I talk about that you kind of, you’re not quite on board with yet because whatever. Oh right. But if someone drinks long enough, an addictive substance, if you drink an addictive substance long enough, you will become addicted. And that is not a weakness in you. That’s just purely science. And I always point mom to this naked mind, which you read before I did. Right, Right. Um, but now you’re gonna listen to it again to get that Yes. To, to really like digest that. Cuz I think it, it, that’s a tough, And now we’re getting more into like your personal story. That’s what I was just thinking. Yeah. That, that’s a perfect segue into what my drinking has.

What’s happened with my drinking. Yeah. Okay. Mom, sit down on the couch, , and now the, the student becomes the teacher . Right, right, right. Well so you, you are an influencer and you’ve definitely influenced me because I really do not think I have a drinking problem. And I immersed in this feeling, which I just wanna pause right here because you said drinking problem, which I think is interesting and I wanna bookmark that. Okay. Okay. So my typical drinking is a couple or has been a couple of beers couple times a week. And then on the weekend too, a couple of beers, pack packer game. Yeah. So three to four nights a week I would have a couple beers or, or in the, on the weekend. Oh, that’s how, Wait, that was you that you were talking about ? Yeah. So two to four nights a week I would have a couple of beers.

Let’s just say my friend , my friend has two , two drinks. Mom, I didn’t know that was you. You know, you have to remember him from Wisconsin. I do think that’s kind of a lot, but okay. Continue . Yeah. And so, but two beers I don’t feel very different. I love the taste of a good ipa mm-hmm. . And I also have this mindset of moderate drinking is Okay, is it controlled? What’s it affecting? You know, is it doing anything bad to you? Is it possible? Okay. . Right. So I I could say I’m, I’m totally under control. It’s not doing anything bad. Well, as you have been promoting this idea more and more about it’s all bad. You sent me Andrew Huber Man’s podcast mm-hmm. about what alcohol does to the brain and the body. And it’s a huberman lab is the name of the podcast.

Maybe we put that in the show notes. Yeah. We’ll put it in the show notes. And I listened to two hours of that and this was on top of, I’d already been like, I read, uh, Quit like a Woman mm-hmm. , I’ve been reading that and a lot of quit lit stuff. Yeah. But it completely destroys the notion of a little bit is not bad for you. So I listen to the Huberman lab mm-hmm. and then Dr. Gregor, Michael Greg who wrote the book How Not To Die. Oh yeah. He has a quick clip. I don’t know if it’s a YouTube, I think about is a little bit of alcohol better for you than none. And that has been, you know, Red Wine is good for you. Right. He destroys the research on that and shows how it’s distorted. So the bottom line on the actual physical part of it is, it’s so bad for our brain even a little bit.

Yeah. Now I’m 69 mm-hmm. . And you look 55. Oh, thank you. Thank you. Just gotta say Yeah. Well that you got good genes. . But so watching Grandma die last year. Yeah. And grandma was 88 80, but she did everything bad for her. She wasn’t a big drinker, but she drank some, but she just did everything bad. Smoked and, but she really wa was, had dementia and so it just freaked me out. It made me so conscious of doing absolutely everything I can to be healthy. Mm-hmm. and drinking just doesn’t fit with that. Right. And so, even though a couple bearers here, a couple bears there didn’t seem like it was causing any troubles at all, and it really wasn’t. Mm-hmm. , why do it? Why do it when it, it’s, I’m hurting my brain. Right. Like, it’s such a toxin. I mean, and okay, so this is what I wanted to go back to the drinking problem idea.

I still bump up against that because I don’t think, I don’t, I I replace it anytime. I’m like, I don’t like that. I don’t like that idea. I’m like, why don’t I like that idea? And I’m like, okay. So if someone had two to three cigarettes, three to four times a week mm-hmm. , would we say that they’re addicted? Would we say that that’s okay? You know, I, I I think drinking problems, so puts it on the person. Like, can you moderate your drinking? Can you handle your drinking? Mm-hmm. , are you in control of this? Instead of putting it on the focus on the substance of like Right. Well it’s it’s bad. It’s bad whether or not you’re doing two to three, it’s bad whether or not. Right. You know, I, I just bump up against that. Right. And I think that’s the, that’s the shift that happened to me. Like what, what was, I wasn’t driving drunk. I wasn’t drunk dialing, I wasn’t passing out. Wouldn’t that be funny if you were though ? I’m like Mom .

Yeah. I wasn’t passing out, I wasn’t blacking out, I wasn’t doing all those things. I wasn’t losing my job. Yeah. Yeah. That, and this is what Annie Grace talks about. It’s like, like, isn’t there a yet in there? Right. Isn’t, isn’t there kind of always a yet in there just because it’s a highly addictive substance. Right. And that’s what you and I have talked a lot about is like, I mean it, tolerance can really screw up the plan. Okay. So talk about that. Well, so that’s one of the criteria for if you wanna diagnose a, a substance use disorder that’s more on the serious end. Tolerance is one of the thing. Tolerance and withdrawal are two of the physical components you look for. And tolerance screws up the plan of I’m only gonna drink two for the rest of my life. Yeah. Because then two like, Whoa, let’s have one more cuz I don’t really feel it yet.

Yeah. Like, I can’t, once again, I can’t think, and this is just anecdotally, but I can’t think of anyone who would ever just do that for who’s ever just forever. Yeah. I, I just don’t think that that’s the nature of the substance. But see, I think that that is what I have been doing for a long time. And, and you’re right, maybe I would die before, before it turned into more. Right. And that’s what Annie Grace says. It’s like, it’s not like that. Everyone’s gonna become addicted before they die. Like they might die first. You might live to your a hundred and your curve was still, you know, you, you weren’t quite at that addicted because you are still, But everyone will get there if they drink long enough and if they drink enough of the addictive substance. Also, I, I think the idea that the stress increases it, so, you know, if you had an unforeseen stressful event that increases that likelihood of becoming addicted.

Right. Because you’re gonna drink more. Right. And I think for my cohort, the people that I hang out with and, and the people that are my age that have Yeah. Haven’t had serious consequences from their drinking. Right. I don’t think you have to wait for that anymore. No. That’s the piece where, that’s where you come in is like, as you say, you don’t have to get to rock bottom to decide I’m not doing this anymore. Yeah. And this is, this kind of came to me the other day. It was like, you, you can wait for rock bottom or there could be a softer place to land. Right. And podcasts like this, I mean, that’s how to quit like a woman, all of these ventures e every woman I’ve had on here who talks about, you know, their programs and what they’ve created and the communities they created, that’s what it is.

If you, if you think about it like a ladder and you know, like at the bottom is AA and rock bottom, all gnarly, horrible rocks . Right. You know? Right. And then up here you got some clouds and you’ve got some like, prettier stuff. And so like, you can Sure. You could fall down that whole ladder or now this is what you’re pr we’re providing, you we’re providing stops along the way. Right. And that’s what I think people in AA especially men don’t get that. It, it’s kind of like a pissing contest. Like, oh, well obviously you didn’t really have a problem. Oh right. That’s so why are you spouting this? Why are you spouting this sobriety stuff? You obviously didn’t have a problem. It’s like, hold on. Yeah. Or you’re a dry drunk, or, Oh, you only have almost three years. That’s not you’re gonna drink again.

I’m like, what on earth? It’s so awful. It’s so toxic. Yes. And the whole idea that, you know, the rock bottom or oh, you didn’t have a problem if you quit and you, you’re not jonesing for it all the time. And I mean that Yeah. You weren’t a real, like what quote unquote alcoholic, first of all never claimed to be Right. Even though I did have, like, I think this is for anyone who has questioned her relationship with alcohol mm-hmm. , who has asked questions, who has been troubled by it, who has lost mornings on the couch. You have, you don’t have to have lost your job or your family. Right. Or even gotten a dui. Or there are no markers that you have to have like checked off in order to question your relationship to alcohol. Right. I, I’ve had three mornings on the couch that I can remember one was when your grandma got married.

Wait, mom, you’ve had three mornings on the couch that you can remember all the other ones you can’t re That’s a problem. or I got, so Yeah, yeah, yeah. My grandma’s wedding. You guys, my dad, my dad’s mom’s wedding. Yeah. Yeah. At the, at the Rehears Reception. Reception. Yeah. Yeah. I was drinking champagne . We ended up puking in the bathroom at the reception. Oh my god. Mom, that’s cute. That you only have three of those stories. That’s cute. Yeah. Yeah. And the other one was when I had that Christmas party, the neighborhood Christmas party and Gretchen was making side cars. And you said to me, I, I said, I don’t know what’s really in them, but you said, Well, what is it mixed with? And I was like, I don’t know. Lime juice. You know, mom, that’s not a mixer. . I was like, when we were drinking those and we didn’t know, and oh my god, people were puking and falling down the steps.

it’s, it’s booze mixed with booze. Merry Christmas. That’s heads were falling off. Oh my God. But I wanna go back to my point for me and for my cohort, I think I’m trying, and you said this, you said, I do everything healthy for me. I work out, I eat right. I’m conscious of my mental health. I meditate, I do yoga, I’m mm-hmm. , you know, and that’s similar to me. I just, I quit eating meat. Yeah. And you loved meat. You guys, if anyone mom’s from Wisconsin, beer, meat, and cheese, like those are the . That’s the, that’s the Holy trinity. Like beer, meat and cheese like that. So now I’m down to just nothing. Yeah. If mom can quit eating meat, I mean Yeah. I was a big step. And I just quit once I, once I heard how bad it is for me.

Yeah. So don’t let the beef council come after you. But, um, Yeah, no, they can come after me. Beef council, . . Didn’t they come after Oprah? Yes, you did. They did, right? Yeah. I think, I think they lost though. Okay. Like, she won. She prevailed. Okay, good. Yeah. But so why would I put poison in my brain? I’m just not gonna do it. Yeah. I’m just not gonna do it. And really, I credit you with that because Yeah. Just listening to you go on and on. I do. I do. I do. And I can, and I will. I think it is, it’s that informed consent that Emily Paulson talked about. That was a great episode too. The informed consent of it’s just that we don’t know. I, I didn’t know until I stopped drinking and I was like, all right, let’s just figure this shit out.

Like Right. I know I don’t wanna go to aa, but what is alcohol? What does it do? Why have I, you know, and then I nrs all this stuff that I was just like, holy shit. Why, why didn’t anyone tell me this? Like, why aren’t we talking about this? Well, and it’s because as Dr. Greg said in his thing, it’s like alcohol companies industry. Mm-hmm. are funding the research. Yes. It’s just like, you know, tobacco companies funding research, it’s just like dope sick. It’s just like that, you know, it’s that. Exactly. Yeah. It’s so fucked up. Yeah. There’s a lot of money to be had for. Well, and you always talk about now young mothers are the target. Ah. That’s what drives me just crazy. It’s, and I do think that moms think like, Oh this is, you know, this is cuz it works.

Like this is, oh this is so nice. Like now we have like pretty wine bottles and like Bud Light is making seltzer that’s that we can enjoy. Like that’s you guys. This is not by accident. This is not cuz they’re nice . This is not, this is not because they love you and they No, this is because, and money to be made. And they needed a new market because their original customer base old white men were dying of liver failure cancer. All of the shit that alcohol brings up, they were dying off. Right. Big alcohol was freaking out and was like, well obviously women are the next, we we have to, Yeah. We need a new segment. And now with the pandemic it’s moms. Yeah. Like, that’s not, it’s not an accident. Once I learned that, I was like, well, okay, fire up the podcast.

. Yeah. So I’ve quit. So I, Yeah, it’s just been a month and a half. Hey, there’s no just in front of that. Well there’s not though because it, it is in, in the sober mom life Facebook group. A mom had like, I think 39 days alcohol free and then she drank on day 40 and she was really down on herself and really feeling shitty and just like being so hard on herself. And one of the other moms said, Wait a second, you chose your health and your mental health. You put that first for the last 39 days. Mm-hmm. like how amazing is that? Right. That’s incredible. That’s not easy when everything around you is telling you to turn to alcohol. And so like Right. That’s huge. I think it’s huge. Yeah. Good job, child, mom. And you know, the difference is, cuz I have done like, it’s dry January and sober October and stuff like that in the past, but it was always a time limited.

I just knew, you know, I’ll just do that. It’ll be good. And then I go back and I Right. But now I just, it’s what you said, you can’t look at alcohol the same way when you really delve into what is it doing? So that’s how I feel like I just of the, the internal discussion isn’t there. Yeah. It’s, it, it’s, Thank you sweet girl. That’s all it really. That’s all you. You’re welcome. Well, it’s just, it loses its luster once you really Yep. Like I, I look at it like one of those like skull and crossbones on the , you know what I mean? Poison. Yeah. Poison. Like if every wine bottle had that on it, like it would be a little bit different. Oh, good. Mom. Okay. So what do you turn to now that your, your beer is not, Cause you, you’ve tried some stuff, right? I thought you meant like, when I’m stressed I was like, I don’t think I was. Oh yeah. What do, what do you turn to when you’re stressed? Oh, so gardening. Gardening. Oh, I’m a big gardener. Yeah. Go out and dig. Dig into some dirt. Oh, Anna chainsaw. You turned to your chainsaw. Oh my God. I love a chainsaw. .

So Suzanne and her brother bought me a chainsaw for Mother’s Day. Oh. She asked. She, it was a request. I really wanted one. And now they have small ones for women that are, that are pink, that are battery operated and, and bedazzled. . Yeah. At first I, I was afraid to do it. Like I was reading the instruction manual and every page said may cause injury or death. And I was like, Oh no. Yeah. Like you could lose a limb. Yeah. So my friend came over and gave me a tutorial that just this mo last month and I’ve been cutting stuff. It’s just so fun. Oh, my . Yeah. She’s on a roll. Okay. So chainsaw you guys, if you’re stressed, if you’re stressed, just turn your ch this is, hey, this is advice from the therapist. I’m not gonna Wisconsin . Okay.

But you know, I don’t just think I have to correct that notion a little bit cuz I don’t think I was, I was drinking socially on the weekend. Yes. And after work I, I like, you know, like there was a game, a baseball game. It was more of an unwinding for you. Yes, exactly. It wasn’t like, oh my God, I had a bad day or So I don’t feel like I need to reach for something for that. But when I do go out now with friends, like I went out with my friend Gretchen, and we had a taco salad and normally you’d have a beer with that. I’ve been trying a beers mm-hmm. , a lot of them tastes like glue. Gotta say Oh yeah. Really? It just really bad. But I think the Heineken one isn’t little zero. Heineken, That one actually tastes sort of good.

That’s good. So, Okay. You know, I don’t do that at home. I, I did once and then I thought, this is stupid. Why am I doing this when it’s social? Everybody’s having a beer or a glass of wine. I’m having a a zero zero. Yeah. That feels okay. Yeah. So there are some bad ones. Not just a drink at home. No. Uhuh, it’s like worthless now you just drink your soda stream. Right. I have soda. Thank you very much. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. So of sparkling water. Yep. Good. Well mom, I I would normally ask my guests how has sobriety changed motherhood for you? , but you’re, I’m complying with my, what my daughter is promoting . So, so that way Yeah. No, I’m proud of you. I I’m proud of you. I, I talk about my growing up a lot, but that my growing up and alcohol, all of those stories weren’t from you.

Oh yeah. They were from dad. I’m always happy to hear you clarify that. Yeah. Like, wasn’t me. Yeah. It was, it wasn’t mom, it was dad. They were divorced. So that was, you know, and then dad did get his chip figured out, which I’m thankful for. I was, you know. Yep. Yeah. But yeah, you, I think you did provide and, and I, you know, my opinion doesn’t matter if you’re drinking, but Yeah. I’ve never been like, Oof, mom, you gotta you gotta lay off it. It’s just not been a, it’s not been an issue. Yeah. And I feel that that’s true. But I do, I really appreciate what you are doing here and I am proud of what you’re doing here and it really has made a difference. So my life, I mean, I just feel like my brain is gonna be just, I am gonna live to a hundred and I’m gonna be able to do the multiplication tables. Yeah. I better not have to take care of you in your end days when you’re all brain, your brain is gone. , Hey, I’m just putting this on the, on tape now. .

Just kidding. I mean I will Well, I love you. Well I’m proud of you and I think the community you’re building is, you’re doing such a good service to people who need to hear this message. And I just, I’ve to just celebrate you. Thanks mom. So I celebrate you without champagne. Yeah, thank you mom. So it’s a real celebration then. It is. Exactly. Exactly. Thank you mom. Well, maybe we’ll team up, huh? I love it. You know, I’m retired, I got a lot of free time. You guys, We might have some big things in the works, which in the works means we just started talking about it five minutes before we started this podcast. But hey, Yes. You never know. You never know what’s gonna happen on the sober mom life. Well, and you never know what’s gonna happen with Suzanne. Cuz when she first said, I think I’ll do a podcast. And then it’s like, Oh yeah, that’ll be good. All of a sudden I got a podcast, I got another podcast, I got a group. I got a hundred thousand million followers, . I was like, whoa, you gotta watch me every minute. . Right. You just never know. Yes. Well, thanks mom. I’m glad you’re here. Thank you. It was fun. Love you. Yeah. Now let’s go. I love you. Now we’ll go fold some laundry . Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Sober Mom Life. If you loved it, please rate and review it wherever you listen. Five stars is amazing. Also, follow me on Instagram at the sober mom life. Okay, I’ll see you next week. I’m gonna go reheat my coffee. Bye.

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