Getting Sober in Your Twenties with Madeline Forrest

Episode 120 July 05, 2023 00:39:49
Getting Sober in Your Twenties with Madeline Forrest
Alcohol Tipping Point
Getting Sober in Your Twenties with Madeline Forrest

Jul 05 2023 | 00:39:49

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Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

What’s it like to give up drinking in your “party” years? How can you live your best life sober? Madeline Forrest is on the show to share her experience with quitting drinking in her 20s and how she is so much happier without drinking. Madeline is the host of the podcast Happiest Sober and your sobriety hype girl. 

We chat about: 

Find Madeline: 

Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/happiestsober/ 
Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/happiest-sober-podcast/id1653657536 
Sober trip to Spain: https://trovatrip.com/trip/europe/spain/spain-with-madeline-forrest-sep-2023 

 

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Episode Transcript

Madeline Forrest and Alcohol Tipping Point-20230414_103935-Meeting Recording Deb: . Thank you for listening to Alcohol Tipping Point Podcast. Today I have the host of Happiest Sober. Her name is Madeline Forest and she's your sobriety hype girl. Madeline got sober in her twenties after a decade of gray area drinking and discovering that she's so much happier without alcohol. So I wanna welcome you to the show, Madeline. Hi. Thanks for having me. Well, I'd love to hear more about, , you, where you're from, what you do, and, and how you got to where you're at. Madeline: Yeah. I'm from, I'm from Toronto. I'm 29. I'll be 30 this year. And yeah, I, I have a lot of alcoholism in my family. I grew up with like two alcoholic parents. My mom got sober at 21, so I've only ever known her sober. And my dad was sober when he married my mom, but he relapsed when I was a kid. And so they separated when he relapsed and he was like sort of like absent and like in and out of rehab as we were all growing up. And so because of that, alcohol was a very, very big topic of conversation in my house growing up, always. I never took a drink until I was allowed to drink until like my mom, all my sisters, and I all three. We never drank until my mom let us. So that was like her one rule and we all followed it. And so when I started drinking in my last year of high school, I, right off the bat, always experienced really, really terrible anxiety after, ever since the very first time I got drunk. And it kind of just really. Progressed always from there. And so it was really like, there were lots of, lots of moments in my like 10 years that made me sort of start to reevaluate things. But it was really the pandemic that kind of did me in. So in November, 2020, I kind of hit a point, well, I got sober November, 2020, but September, 2020, I was like, oh my God, I can't, can't do this anymore. Can't keep feeling this way anymore, and made the decision to quit drinking. And yeah, that's when I kind of got on sober Instagram and started doing sharing online about all of it. Deb: Well, thank you. I mean, that was like it in a nutshell. Now you're from Toronto? Yeah. So you're Madeline: Canadian. I'm Canadian, yeah. Deb: Is the drinking H Madeline: lower in Canada? It is. It's 19. Okay. Deb: Even now. Yeah. With like can and kudos to Canada for coming out with the new Yeah. Drink less guidelines, saying zero. Amount of alcohol is the safest bet for your health. Mm-hmm. So kudos to Canada for that. It's interesting. Mm-hmm. They still have that really low drinking Madeline: age and that's just in like the province of Ontario where I live. It's 19 but one province over, it's 18 in Quebec. So like when I was 18, we were, we were going to Quebec for, for New Year's cuz we were the legal drinking age then. So yeah, it's, it's younger here. Deb: , I remember I went to, I, I just did a semester up in Western Washington in Bellingham, Washington. Yeah. And we would cross the border to go to Canada and go drink mm-hmm. In their clubs and whatnot. Real dangerous. I'm just thinking like all that driving and, okay. Anyway, so you, you. Come from this family of drinkers and mm-hmm. Like your dad went one way and your mom won another. Mm-hmm. And so you didn't start drinking until you were of legal age till later. Madeline: I was, I wasn't legal age, but it was like later than, you know, most people in my high school were kind of drinking all through high school. I, I did my, I started drinking my very last year. School. I kind of squeaked through cuz I'm the youngest. Like my sisters weren't allowed to drink until they went off to like university and college. But then I was visiting one in my last year. My mom was like, okay, fine. But yeah, it was my end of high school that I started, I was 17. Deb: Well, I'd love to hear about your experience quitting and undoing the habit of drinking, especially being someone in their twenties. Mm-hmm. When drinking culture, at least for me, it, it was just so heavy and it was the norm, and that would be even more difficult, I think, to go against the norm then. Mm-hmm. I mean, it's difficult anytime. Yeah. Of your life. It doesn't matter if you're 20 or you're 80, it becomes difficult to change your drinking, but what was your experience like and how did you unwind the habit of drinking? Madeline: Yeah, it was really hard for sure. I was 27 when I quit drinking. And I remember, I remember saying to my mom like, maybe I gave up too soon. Like, I still have a few years of my twenties left, like really grieving that like, wait, I'm in my twenties. These are supposed to be those, like, you know, those years that you just drink and party and do whatever. And my mom laughed cuz she got sober at 21. She's like, well how do you think I felt? But yeah, it, it was, it was really hard. It was a weird time though because it was 2020. It was like fairly early in the pandemic. So that was like a real blessing in disguise for me because I, we stayed locked down in Toronto for a while. Like we were very locked down for a long time, so I actually couldn't even go out and sit down. On like a patio until I was seven months sober. So I really did like, I had a real opportunity because of the timing of it, to sort of like slowly tell people as I got more and more comfortable with it. I had Zoom, I had like FaceTime calls with some of my closest friends with alcohol free wine in my glass. With them thinking it was real wine, like I just like wasn't ready to share it yet. I was really just kind of like trying to figure it out on my own because I think the other piece of it is that, I never had any sort of external rock bottom. I never had anyone come to me and say, Hey, I'm worried about your drinking. I never had really any consequences of my drinking. Not saying there weren't red flags, and not saying people weren't a little bit like, ugh. But for the most part it was really like all of my own internal stuff about how drinking made me feel and how it was affecting my mental health. Because of that, I think it's a lot easier to doubt yourself and to doubt the decision, especially when you're met with maybe some resistance from people in your life about thinking like you were okay. So that was kind of challenging to deal with. But I am lucky that it happened when I was in lockdown cuz I really got to kind of just like go through it and really try to figure it out on my own. And yeah, it, it is a real habit that you have to break, especially cuz like I was drinking so much in Covid, I was drinking almost every day when we went into Lockdowns. I was working from home. I was like pouring my glass of wine right when I shut my laptop at the end of the day. And it really, I just. For, for really replacing the habit, I really had to just actively replace it with something else. Like, I had to be like, okay, I'm gonna like pour a sparkling water into a fancy glass and like light the candles in my apartment and try to like do something nice for myself. But it was a real process. I, I read so much quit lit. I talked to my mom about it every single day cuz she's nearly 40 years sober. I joined a virtual support group. I kind of just, Did, did everything I could to try to figure it out, but it took me a few tries for it to stick for. Deb: . Thank you for sharing your experience with that. Hmm. I think I, my, I quit drinking. I was done, I say I divorced it January 1st, 2020. Oh wow. And then covid hit. Right. And for me like, like you, well, and you know, it's interesting cuz you had that experience where you were drinking more in Covid, but then it also was a bit easier. To quit during that time. Mm-hmm. And so for me, I felt like, oh, this is easier for me because there are no bars open, there's no happy hour. Mm-hmm. There's no parties, there's nothing like that. Although my big problem was drinking alone at home, but Okay. But I, it would always be that next event that next like, oh, but there's a bachelorette party, there's a birthday party. Something coming up and I, yeah, I would be really, you know, good and not drink and then that event would come and then I'd be back in my habit again. Right? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So what were some of the other ways that you gave up drinking, like some of the more specific Madeline: it's funny, it's so funny too because how you said that. You quit right before the pandemic and then you're like, oh my God, this is so easy. Now I have no events. I now looking back, think it was such a gift, but in the moment I felt very like, oh my God, this is so hard. The world's so uns. Certain, and I'm living through this stressful time and I'm isolated. I'm in, I'm in lockdown living alone, and now I'm trying to get sober. I felt really bad for myself with the timing of it. I didn't really see it in the time as like, this is an easy time to do it. I felt like a little bit poor me with the timing of it, but now looking back, I think, thank God for the timing of it because I think it would've been so much harder had I been having to go out and do things like you said. But I did. I was doing weekly. Nights with my sisters cuz I was, I was living alone and I was locked down. So I was really isolated. I was spending so much time alone. I had like my little covid bubble where I went. My sisters lived together, I lived on my own. I would see them every week and we were calling them like sister's nights where we get together and drink wine and get drunk. And then I was having to go to these sister's nights and not drink. So even that in itself was like such a challenge for me. And one of the times that I slept and drank again was, was going to one of those nights. So that was hard. But yeah. Yeah, it was really, it was really all the things I said. And also honestly, Instagram, Instagram helped me a ton. Like that was a really, really big piece of it for me and honestly still is today. I think it's an amazing accountability tool. Deb: . Tell me more about how it was helpful for you and if there's like any accounts you follow if, if someone's thinking about using Instagram to help them out. Madeline: . Oh my gosh, it was so helpful. I. Stumbled upon it like I was listening to a podcast and it wasn't a sober podcast. It was like summer 2020 when I was really kind of struggling with my drinking. I was listening to a podcast and I saw one of the episodes was called Sober Curious with Millie Gooch, who's the founder of Sober Girl Society. And the title peaked my Curiosity cause I had never heard that term before. I was like, sober, curious. What is that? I listened and like everything she said resonated so much. Especially one thing that I always quote as she said, like, If you saw a small fire in your kitchen, you wouldn't wait until your whole house was in flames before you put it out. You'd just put it out. And like, that struck me. I was like, oh no, my kitchen's on fire. And so I went and followed her page and then kind of stumbled upon like so many others, like Sober Girls Society was a big one. And then what happened was I would go, like, I wasn't sober yet. I wasn't even like really. I hadn't. I'm starting to consider it a little bit, but I hadn't like seriously felt ready to do it yet. But I would drink and then I would be hungover and then I would like go, I would be like in a hungover shame spiral, and I would go scroll sober Instagram pages and like found some comfort in that. And that was a big reason why I joined. I was like, oh my God, it helped me so much. It would be. To be able to like do that for other people who are struggling. And then from there, like I connected with so many other people who have accounts on there. It gave, it gave me a sense of community. It was kind of like an outlet even for me to kind of just document like, cuz I was only 20 days sober when I joined, so it was kind of like a place for me to document it. And it kept me accountable. It kept me hugely accountable and still does like, it was like my why transformed a little bit. Even like I always say, your why kind of transforms as you get sober. It starts like, it started off like, oh my God, I'm suffering so much, I can't take it. And then it changes into like, oh, my life's so much better now. I don't wanna go back there. But also a big piece of my why is like the community on there too. , I think that's a really powerful thing that really keeps you sober. Deb: , I think that it's such a good tool. I mean, one of the good things about social media. Social media gets like a bad rep. Yeah. But there is this little corner that we call sober Instagram. Mm-hmm. That is really unique and special. Yes. Madeline: He's. Touch a little corner of Deb: it. Yeah. And you can just, you can even make an account, you can make an anonymous account because with Instagram you don't have to put your real name or anything like that. Mm-hmm. So if you were wanting do it anonymous Madeline: for the first while, yeah. Deb: Yeah. Yeah. So if you were listening and you're like, oh, I wanna follow these accounts, but I don't wanna do it with my main account, make a new one. Yes. You can talk back and forth between your, your personal and your sober account. Yeah. And then, like you said, you can just start following these sober accounts. You can use the hashtag sober and find like a whole bunch of. Pages and inspiration and everything and, and just kind of use that as an extra tool. Yes. And like you said, accountability cuz you can start posting things and you can start sharing and then mm-hmm people are following you for inspiration and then it just kind of becomes this thing. Madeline: Yeah. Very cool. Exactly. And then like in moments where, In the early days, if you're tempted to drink, that becomes a piece of it. Like I remember being like, oh, but I have my community on here. Like, I wouldn't wanna like let myself and them down. You know what I mean? Like it does, it helps so much. And yeah, make a fake insta if you have to, like, if you just wanna follow accounts and look at them, you can make a new anonymous one. Yeah, it's, it's cuz it is like, even that, it's something that's so scary to let anybody. In on the fact that you're struggling. Like for me, I wasn't ready to tell anyone in my life until I was ready to do it. Like because I didn't, it, it felt so much like if I say this out loud, if I let people in on the fact, then that's it. Like, I can't ever, like, I'm not gonna feel the same. I'm gonna feel like they're thinking something or judging me when I drink and I don't wanna feel that. So I really wasn't ready to tell anybody until I was actually ready to do it. So even just like the act of following an Instagram page on your personal Instagram can feel so scary cuz you feel like you're outing yourself a little bit. So yeah, you, you don't have to do that. You can just even lurk them a little. You can creep them, you can look, you can make a new anonymous account. It's so helpful. Deb: Yeah. And I think the other thing that's so helpful about it is realizing you're not alone. Yeah. There are so many people out there that are struggling with their drinking or changing their drinking or sober curious like, and, and just to see these different people and understand , you are not alone. That's so comforting. Madeline: Yeah, it really is. It's it because you, you really can feel so alone in it. Especially if like, you know, meetings aren't your thing. It's something you can feel really isolated in. So just to be able to see that other people feel the things that you're feeling it's very validating. Deb: Well, can you share and maybe speak to some challenges for young people who mm-hmm. Are, are sober alcohol free now? Like how, how do you. So, if you don't mind, I don't know, don't what even your dating situation is like now, but what are, what some tips Madeline: you have there? Yeah. No, it's something I've started talking about a lot lately, which is funny. Okay. So I am, I'm super duper single right now. Okay. I've been pretty much like in the, I've had, like when I got sober, I was. Only like a month or two out of a sort of longer term relationship. And then since then I, I've, like, I've dated pretty consistently. I'm just coming off of a six month break from dating and I just literally a few days ago, got back on the apps. Okay. But I have some interesting insights about that because, so I, and to, to answer your question, sober dating is something that is so nerve-wracking at. That was one of my hangups about getting sober was like, how am I going to date? I, alcohol played such a role in dating for me. It played a role in all of my relationships. It was my favorite thing to do with a boyfriend was to have a wine with him. It felt so romantic like that was, I could not wrap my head around how dating was ever gonna feel as exciting again, as fun again, how I was even gonna like, have like the confidence to go on dates without it. It's nerve-wracking at first, but it's one of those things, it's like it's, it's as, as with everything in sobriety, you just have to push past some discomfort and feel, feel some discomfort to get to the other side of things. And the coolest thing for me about dating sober has been a, like the confidence piece, like going on dates sober, just like inherent. You're not, you're not growing or making yourself more confident when you're putting yourself out there, when you're just kind of like drinking to like take the edge off and numb things, but like really just showing up as yourself. Soberly, I found really has built up my confidence. But the great thing about it is that you have so much clarity when you're dating. Like you're not blind to red flags. You're not like, you like that. Big one for me. I can remember in my drinking days going on dates with people while drinking and like, kind of like having a gut knowing, seeing some red flags, kind of ignoring them, like whatever. I'll keep seeing him having fun with him. Whereas now I'm. I, my standards have really changed and like now I'll go on one date with a guy and if it's, if it's not it or if I see like a red flag or something I don't love, I'm just like, it's not it and I'm not, and it wasn't that way. I date really differently now in sobriety than I did when I was drinking. And a really big tip is to f from my perspective, to let them know before the date that you don't drink. That's something that's really been helpful for me was I, I think that it would be a lot more nerve-wracking meeting someone for a date and then having to like have an awkward, oh, I don't drink on the date. Whereas like, I think it's really easy to slip in in a sort of casual way. Cuz typically someone will be like, oh, wanna meet up for drinks? And then I'll say like, yeah, I don. All the mocktail, it's fine. And then if someone's not cool with it, that's a pretty easy way to weed people out so that you don't waste your time. And and the last thing I'll say too is cuz I just got back on the apps and I had deleted my account. I made a, when I got off six months ago, I made a new one. And before I would just tick off, like they have a section on hinge, like tick off, like do you drink, do you smoke, do you do drugs? Whatever. You have to scroll over to it. And I, I learned that people don't really check it. Like people weren't aware usually that I was, that I was, that I didn't drink or they wouldn't look at it. And what I did this time was I'm like, if I get one more annoying message, because some people would say, some people would check it, and I got some messages from people being like, oh, I call bs. You say you don't drink. I see drinks in your hand in photos. Meanwhile, I'm holding a mocktail, like a soda water or something. So I was like, I'm just gonna make this like in your face. So one of my prompts on Hinge, cuz you have to answer prompts and one of the prompts was, one thing you should know about me is, so I wrote, I don't drink, but I'll happily cheers your beer with a mocktail. And what I'm finding is that so many people now are sending me a like and being like, wow, you don't drink? That's a green flag. Oh, this is so cool. Let's go to a sober activity. Like, it's like attracting the kind of people who are cool with it. So I think my newest tip that I haven't shared yet, cuz it's as of this week, is to kind of lean into it more than you might, more than you might like initially want. Deb: Oh, I love that you, it's, cause I was like, oh, I wanna ask how you do that in your profile. Oh. And so you, you said you put, I don't drink, but I'll happily cheer your beer with a mocktail. Madeline: That's what I wrote. Cause that's how I feel. Cuz I'm really like, oh. I don't mind if people drink around me. I want them to feel comfortable to order a drink. And that's a me thing. Maybe someone else might not want them to, in which case that wouldn't be a good prompt. But for me, it, it works cuz I feel like it's a way to put it out there. I don't drink, I don't care if you do like, you know, so It's, it seemed to work pretty well so far. Deb: Well, thank you for sharing that. Yeah. As you were talking about, you know, when you do drink, you just kind of artificially fast forward your relationship because you end up like having sex so much sooner. Yeah. And then you're just kind of in it and you're just kind of stuck in it. And like you said, you overlook red flags, so. Great tips for dating. How about socializing And, you know, you mentioned your, your sister. Do your sister still drink? Madeline: So I have two sisters. We're very, very tight. One. My one sister is actually pretty newly sober. She's just past three months. Nice day. Yeah. So that's exciting for her. And yeah, my other sister still drinks, but we all hang out. It used to be me with my mocktail them with their beers. Now it's, now it's two of us with a mocktail. But yeah, I still, I still go out a fair amount. Like I, I like, I like to go out, I like to be social. I have different. Sort of boundaries around it. Now, I don't know if boundaries is really even the word, but just like I've had to come to terms with the fact that I like to go out, but I don't like to stay until close anymore or like, and kind of like for me, an issue or like a challenge that I've had with the sober socializing is like, I definitely have people pleasing tendencies. So I am still trying to learn to like go home when I wanna go home. Mm-hmm. Like, that's a struggle for me. I'll be out and I'm like feeling guilty. Don't wanna let the other person down. I know they're drinking, they wanna keep drinking. So that's one that I'm honestly like still working on, but really just like, I feel like I'm coming a long way and like, Realizing that it's okay if my likes and my dislikes are evolving with getting sober. Like I like going out for a few hours. I don't need to be out until 2:00 AM like when I hit my limit, it's okay to go home. But yeah, I, I noticed in my first year as far as socializing went that my social battery. Was so much more limited. Like I couldn't socialize for a long time. I would feel so drained after socializing. I couldn't make too many plans in the same week. But that shifted, like that was really for my first year, I think. And then I think after that I noticed that like I was able to do a lot more things and be busy and like be okay and not have that same, like need to recharge for a really long time. And I think that's just come with being more like comfortable in my stuff. You have to relearn how to socialize. So I think it takes a lot more energy. It's exhausting. You're not used to doing it without booze anymore. Right. But that did, I did sort of like bounce back from that a little. That's such a good Deb: point, because just because you feel, especially with, you know, the early months where you're giving up drinking or reexamining your relationship with it or whatever that looks like, it's not always gonna feel this way. Like, you're not always going to feel uncomfortable at the party. Yeah. And exactly. You're, you're not always going to want to go home early. You're not, you know, and then you shift too in the kinds of things that you like to do and how you, so. Too. Mm-hmm. Everything kind of shifts to earlier in the day. Yeah. At least for me. I don't know about you. Madeline: Yeah, for sure. And I think it's, I think like, just like being okay with that and being easy on yourself about it. Like I, like I was really hard on myself and it's something I'm still trying to unlearn is like all the shoulds. On myself really like I should be able to like go out just as much and like have fun and this and that and like it's okay if there's an adjustment period or it's okay if you just don't like to anymore, that's fine too. But yeah, that was it. It was a process for sure, for sure. To get comfortable. Again, I really think you're relearning how to be social, how to be in your own skin and, and feel comfortable in it without alcohol. Cuz I, I know for me, I relied on it for everything in my drinking days. So you kind of like felt like my whole world had turned upside down for a while there trying to figure out how to navigate life again without it. Definitely. Deb: Well, do you see that drinking cultures starting to change? Madeline: I think it is. I really do. I honestly think, and maybe this is just from my perspective, cuz I got sober in the pandemic, but I, I do feel like the pandemic was a turning point for how the world looks at it. Like, I think that like, I mean if you even look at how much like the alcohol free drinks market has grown in the past couple years, and like more zero proof menus popping up, I think it's becoming a lot more normal. Reevaluate your drinking. Like I feel like that's becoming a lot more normalized and I feel like there used to be such this different mentality where if you even voice that, like you're maybe struggling a little bit, then like you are automatically an alcoholic. And I feel like people are allowing for the gray area more a little bit. Or they're even just allowing for the fact that like, yeah, it's objectively not good for you. Like I've had people on Hinge this week be like, oh, did you drink because it's, did you stop drinking? Because it's like literally poison. Is that why? And like people being like, oh yeah, I kind of wanna cut down too, cuz I know it's so bad for you. And I feel like even that it has changed the conversation. Just like. Level of like, I think there's just more information out there, like I think to how I grew up knowing learning in health class that cigarettes are cancerous and they're so bad for you and learning all of that, and I never. Smoked a cigarette my entire life because I knew it. And then like, I, I didn't, I never knew that about alcohol, the 10 years that I was drinking it. So even like when I started to get sober curious and started reading up on it, I was like, wait, what? Like, why didn't I know this? So I think even the fact that more information is coming up is making it. Easier for people to reevaluate because even if they are reevaluating it because they're struggling, they don't even have to call it that. They can be like, oh, I'm doing it for my health. Like I think it's just, I do think the conversation is changing and I think that it's a little bit more socially acceptable to be like taking a break or I'm not drinking right now. And that's really awesome to see cuz it makes it more safe for people to be able. To make that change without such Absolutely. Stigma. Deb: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it can be a health and wellness conversation. Mm-hmm. It doesn't have to be a problem conversation. Yeah, exactly. Madeline: Exactly. Deb: Well, can you share about your relationship with your mom? I, you mentioned she got sober at 21 and she helped you out and she's been on your podcast too, right? Madeline: Yeah. Yeah. She comes on all the time. Oh my God. My mom is, yeah, she got sober at 21. She only ever had one day one. Like walked into AA at 21, never drank again. We'll be 40 years sober this September, like just Yeah. Superstar. And I'm so, I'm so close to my mom. My, me and my mom and my sisters are a very, very tight knit unit. We always have been. Like, we grew up, it was just all us girls in the house. It was like an all girl house. We were all best friends. So yeah, she is, She handled it so well with when I initially wanted to quit drinking because I really like, as much as I've always had that close relationship with her, and I've always told her Ev, like I pretty much tell her everything. When I was struggling with my drinking, that was one thing that I never let onto her because I just knew, like I, I knew if I said it out loud to her, I didn't, I, I knew I didn't feel ready to do it and I didn't want her to know what was going on with me, cuz I didn't wanna feel like she wanted me to do it and I wasn't ready. But when I, when I Started really actually thinking about getting sober and started trying to, then I talked to her and she handled it so well and that she was just like such a support for me without any agenda of like, you need to do this. Like when I was really in that space of like trying to figure it out and like kind of going back and forth and like, Hey, I think I need to do this, and then having doubts and having slips like she never. She never made me feel like she, I had to do it for her, like not at all. She was just like, kind of like a, there for me to brain dump everything as I was trying to figure it out, while obviously like offering guidance and helping me. But I'm, I talked to her. We had, like, before I would log on for work in the pandemic, we'd have like hour long, like video calls before I called her crying all the time, just trying to figure it out and get through it and going through my grieving process of alcohol and all of it. And she's just, yeah, I, I always say I don't think I would've gotten sober when I did, if not for her, because I had that model. Of someone living a sober life and like being happy and like, not, she, she never missed out on anything. She never missed out on living life. She just like didn't drink and loved, loves the fact that she doesn't drink. So even like having that, like watching that, right. And yeah, I'm. I'm, I'm so grateful that I, that I had that and that I had her as kind of my like, support system. Deb: Yeah. Oh, that I'm, that's so wonderful to hear. Did she go to aa? , does she still go to aa? What's her story there? Madeline: He went to AA to get sober, and I think she stayed in AA for about maybe five years. And then once she started having my sisters and I, then she kind of just like stopped going and is just like, yeah, just kind of thriving, just kind of thriving in her sober life. It, I think it, like it got her sober. But she didn't stay in it. She kind of like, I think got what she really needed out of it for that first five years, and then was kind of able to just like go, go on and, and live life sober. Deb: . And, and she, it sounds like she has like a lot of sober pride and had it even before it was a thing. Madeline: Oh yeah, for sure. Deb: . I think there are probably a lot of moms listening or parents listening and they may be concerned about their kids drinking or their young adult children drinking. Do you have any advice for them? Madeline: Hmm. I feel like my mom could probably answer this question so much better than me, cuz I've never been in the, in the parent shoes in the equation. But Something. I know my mom said, we were just talking about this the other day, funny enough, is that she never, she never said anything about my drinking to me, because she knew that it was problematic in how much I loved to drink and how often I wanted to drink. Like she, she kind of had that, like, that's gonna have to be dealt with down the line. But otherwise, like there was nothing. Happening. Like I was like, when I would drink, I was a pretty happy, in a good mood, kind of drunk. There was never drama, there was never like things happening. So for that reason, she didn't say anything. But my mom does feel very strongly that like, when you see something that's problematic that like you do need to, you, you need to say, say something and call them on it. Otherwise you. You could just be enabling. I think it, it's so hard, it really depends on the situation. But she did say like, we need kind of truth tellers around us cuz it, it does force you to kind of look at yourself, right? She just didn't know the level that I was struggling cuz I really hid how much it made me struggle inside. Mine was very internal. Deb: I think for a lot of people it is. Mm-hmm. And especially for our parents, we want to show up as the best version of ourselves. And if you have those people pleasing tendencies, you don't wanna disappoint the your loved ones. Mm-hmm. And so you don't wanna show your hurt. It sounds like just from what you shared, she did the best thing by like just really being there and supporting you Yeah. No matter what. Mm-hmm. And, and didn't like have an agenda for you Exactly. And was there to listen and, and just, and you already had. A close relationship Madeline: too. Yeah, for sure. And I think that like if I was get, if I w not, I think I know if I was like getting myself into trouble, if I was like driving drunk or like, you know, doing anything, I know she would've been all over it. But I think when it's something that's just like your internal struggle and you're sort of internal knowing that you're not ready to face, I think you're not ready until you're ready. Like I had to hit my point of just like, enough is enough. I can't feel this way anymore. I can't keep doing this to myself. I can't keep suffering this way. And I just think I wasn't, I wasn't ready until I was ready like I did. I had talked to her about it. Very cautiously, like maybe a little like a year, sort of before I got sober. I had a very, very heavy drinking month in December of, I guess 2019. So then I did dry January in 2020. And I did talk to her a little bit about that, but I didn't necessarily share all the, all the details of it until, until way later. But yeah, I. I did share like little bits with her here and there, but I think for me, like even when I did that dry January to sort of dip my toe, like I was not ready at all. At all. And I think I think if she had said something at that point, it might have just made, I don't know how I would've react. I, I wa it makes me wonder if I would've just like, wanted to hide it a bit from her more. Mm-hmm. Like I don't think I would've changed. I think I would've just like felt uncomfortable drinking around her, but still would've carried on doing what I was doing. Cuz I really just needed for myself to be. Yeah, that Deb: makes sense. Mm-hmm. Well, what would you say to someone, so to a young person who's listening to this podcast and they're struggling with their drinking, what would you Madeline: say to them? Oh my gosh. So I would say when I was in my drinking days and knowing I was struggling, But not feeling ready to make a change. It was because I could not remotely wrap my brain around how life was ever gonna be as good again, without alcohol. Like alcohol was what made me excited. It's what I looked forward to. It was like my, like, it was my whole definition of fun. It was how I connect. People, it was how I let loose, it was how I took the edge off of the, a bad day if I had a stressful day at work. Like it was all those things. And I just, like, even when I did that dry January, I came out of it being like, yeah, no, sobriety's not for me. That was really hard cuz like I was so reliant on alcohol for, for enjoying my life. And what I would say to that person is that like, you have no idea. How much better life gets when you get sober. Like it gets so much better, but you just have to let yourself go through that adjustment period. And it's gonna feel hard. And if it does, if you do cut booze out and it feels like, well, I have nothing to look forward to right now. That's not how sobriety feels. That's just how early sobriety feels. That's like you're going through a grieving process, you're in that adjustment period, but how it feels then that's not a reflection of sobriety. That's just like the hard part. And if you can just like continue to push through that discomfort, life gets so much better and there's no better feeling than finding all of those feelings that you used to rely, rely on alcohol for. Then starting to feel them from your. And being like, oh my God, I'm just finding happiness in like what I'm doing and it's not coming from the alcohol anymore, it's coming from my life. And like it's, it's so beyond worth it, even if it feels like you can't wrap your brain around it. Cuz I couldn't, it gets so much better. And like you, you don't know until, you know, and it's so worth it to hang in through all the bad days to get there. That's just Deb: beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. What, what are your plans for the future? Madeline: Oh my gosh. So I actually in less than three weeks, I'm hosting my first sober trip to Costa Rica. So I'm going, it's so, so exciting. I'm hosting yeah, a group of sober people to to a Costa Rica trip, and I actually have another one coming up in September to Spain. I think you said this will be out in June. It will still be open to book. So doing sober trips, which is still beyond exciting to me. And I am, I have my podcast that I'm continuing with. Yeah, I'm kind of, I guess I'm kind of seeing where the future takes me, but there's kind of like lots of exciting things coming up. That's Deb: wonderful. Mm-hmm. Well, how can someone find. Madeline: Yes, so they can find me on Instagram at Happiest Sober or check out my podcast, happiest Sober Podcast. Deb: Perfect. I'll put the link in our show notes. I wanna thank you so much for being on the show. This is just like really inspiring. I loved hearing what you had to say. I think it's gonna be so helpful. I'm looking forward to being on your podcast. Yes. I can't wait. Check that out and just thank you again so much. Madeline: Oh, thanks so much for having me. It was so fun chatting.

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