Pod Lily Shanks
Deb: Welcome back to the alcohol tipping point podcast. I am your host, Debbie Masner. I am a registered nurse health coach and AFBA. Alcohol Free Badass.That's our new term. We're using AFBA. And today on the show, I have Lily shanks. Lily is a self-described recovering attorney. She's a life coach and she's founder of my internal weather. And she just recently celebrated four years sober and she's here today to share her journey and top tips to help you change your relationship with alcohol.
So welcome Lily.
Lily: Thank you so much. I am adding up. To my designations in my signature line, as we
Deb: speak. I love it. I love it. Well, tell me a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Lily: you. Yes. I see who describes me? I am a recovering attorney. I am. In recovery from. A very long and prolific. Drinking career, but I am also. In recovery from living a life that was completely out of alignment with my Jewish values and who I really am at my core. And so I I've worked with people often
For years now. Ever since I graduated from law school back in 2006, As a counselor, as a coach in some ways. And I added a yoga teacher designation to Marie resume back in 2011. And then when I started working with others in recovery. Starting in 2018 or 19, I. I realized I had been guided towards this service path and to watching with others. And so as you said, I founded my own coaching and consulting company, my internal weather.
And it's just been one of the absolute best things I've ever done. And I couldn't have done it without putting down the drink. Yeah.
Deb: Well, thank you for sharing and being here. I had read recently that lawyers have one of the highest rates of addiction to alcohol. Did you find that to be true among your cohorts and your experience as an attorney?
Lily: We do indeed, according to the statistics. I'm a very high rate of addiction and serious mental health challenges. It's always interesting to me to consider. What came first, you know, the attorney mindset and then the objection or, or, or how does that profession possibly attract? So many people who are predisposed to be addicts, but.
I did see a lot of heavy drinking. In my legal career. But I don't know how many of the people I saw drinking heavily with me truly did have a problem, or if they were just heavy drinkers, Because. I had a former colleagues from my last big law firm that I worked at tell me that they were surprised.
They didn't realize that I had a drinking problem. And in part that was because I. I would go home and do the majority of my drinking by myself, especially in the end. So to answer your question, I absolutely see the tendency. She work hard, play hard and the legal profession and. I think the numbers and statistics are probably
Higher in reality for lawyers, because we can be very cynical and we don't want to disclose to anyone how much we actually Drake or. You know, what, what life is really like given the kind of work we do.
Deb: Yeah. So how did you go from, you know, being an attorney? Addressing your, your drinking, and then this, this new life that you're living.
Lily: I was working at a medium size for your in Dallas. And I always worked in litigation and so litigation involves lawsuits. So anytime I was involved on a case, people were getting sued. And nobody was happy.
And so when I hit bottom, On labor day weekend, she found some 18. I had been in this, in this constant. Battle. In my mind and with my will over whether I should really push through and try to make partner and really attract clients and do all of these things. That I saw on the horizon in order to really take off on my legal career at that point.
And I was having that battle. On the weekend that I hit bottom. And so. Hitting my own bottom with drinking. Forced me to take several weeks away from the office. And to seek help. And that.
That period of time. Forced me to reprioritize. And to see that.
Illegal career the way I had been envisioning it would not be a good fit for me. And it wouldn't be helpful for my Health and wellbeing and health is one of my primary values. And I know that today. But I had been so focused on the external stuff, the career and the title and the salary and all the shiny things.
That I'd really been avoiding looking at what really was so important to me. And. Those values, which today for me, I know our health and my relationships. And being of service. So it took me getting in touch with those values. And reprioritizing on to finally. And make a big jump into coaching and into wellbeing work. And I still do occasionally do some writing for F U ongoing litigation matters, but.
I'm largely out of, out of litigation and just working in coaching today. Oh, wow.
Deb: And we had talked earlier about how a lot of people find themselves kind of stuck in their job. Whether it's an attorney or a.
A nurse or whatever, you know, like. But especially kind of a high profile job where it's, you know, has a lot of identity associated with it. And a lot of money associated with it. And. And the term that gets thrown around is like golden handcuffs. And so how, how could someone unlock from the golden handcuffs?
Lily: Ah, well I am not a financial advisor. So I'm going to say out of the actual numbers and the money part. That's a great question though, because I know when I was looking at shifting my priorities and how to make changes, looking at my lifestyle and what I've been accustomed to. Was definitely a.
Could be a hindrance. If I let it. So. In my own experience, I had to one get really clear about my values, which as I just mentioned, are health relationships and being of service. And then I had to face my fear. And my fear revolved around stepping off of the path. That.
I thought I should be on, I, I would, should myself a lot. I think most of us do that. And well, I went to law school, so I should. Be working in the legal field. I've. Accomplished these things or I've purchased these things. I should be staying in this lifestyle and working through. Coaching and with others and getting a more objective perspective was incredibly helpful for me.
To let go of those. But again, there was that fear of, well, what if. What if I step out of this and play it forward, you know, I, I ended up losing my house or the car, or I'm. I'm homeless and that's just my mind. Rejecting the possibility of changing, getting uncomfortable. And so I had to work through those fears.
In order to get where I truly wanted to be. And I think that Once I finally made that commitment and started putting it out there and talking to people about what I wanted to do and the changes that I was making.
The universe. Brought people into my life who were able to help me. And who did help me make that leap, but it took a lot of courage and it took a lot of letting go of those old ideas. In order to. Make that commitment, make the decision, put it out there. And then just be willing to go for it, but it's all fear. It's all that.
That feeling or minds that, that doesn't want to change. And I see it with a lot of people. They say they want to make a change. They want to start in business that there. They're holding themselves back in their current life or in their old mindset instead of really working. And moving forward and it's scary, but it's absolutely possible. And it is so worth it just like getting sober. That was so scary.
But it was the best thing I've ever done. It is the best thing I've ever done.
Deb: Yeah. I mean, if, if you hadn't have gotten sober, What do you think you would still be working as an attorney?
Lily: Deb. I questioned whether I would still be alive, but I, if I were still drinking, I would not have changed. My career path. I as tremendously as I have, I probably would still be cleaning on just some sort of. Legal position. I'm just holding onto it with my, with my little clause, I would probably still be stuck in all that fear and all that.
And all that should and all that, whatever.
Deb: Yeah. I mean, you, you see such a transformation and people when they do give up drinking. It's really amazing.
Lily: It is amazing. And thinking about the job perspective or the golden handcuffs. I worked with a woman. Who knew when she got sober, that she was not working in.
The right space. She was working in. For an employer that was involved in the manufacturing of alcohol. Oh, wow. So she was able to stay sober for a lengthy period of time while still working there, because she didn't want to make a big job change, but she knew that in the long run, that was not where she wanted to be.
And so she didn't necessarily have a golden key in cops. She didn't have that type of burden hanging over her the way some some people do. But she had this thing concerns. There were the shirts, there were the what ifs and all that uncertainty and not just comfort that revolves around making changes, but she was able to transition into.
A new career field for her. And she started, she's making more money now. She likes her job better. And so it doesn't have to be a big, tremendous, scary change. It's It can be, you know, a smaller. Change, but it was so worthwhile for her, but she had to get uncomfortable and interview and put herself out there.
But she did it and it's worked out and so that's so cool to see.
Deb: Well, and, and you know, another thing that you do see is what people give up drinking their jobs that were so stressful and caused them so much anxiety. Also become easier. Absolutely.
So, so first give up the alcohol maybe and then go from there and see, like, is this still a good fit?
Lily: Definitely. And I've already mentioned it a few times, but for anyone. Especially alcoholics, but even non alcoholics changes on your comfortable. And so for the alcoholic, if you're a daily drinker, like I was just removing alcohol from your everyday life is a huge change and your brain needs some time to.
Adjust to that change. And as you said, It's amazing when you're not hung over or missing We multiple days a month, how much easier is so many things do become so give yourself that time to recalibrate in the C a. Whether you do need to change the job or the city or whatever it is, or maybe it was really just the alcohol.
Deb: Yeah, definitely. Well, what are your top tips then for anyone who is looking to quit drinking or cut back?
Lily: My hot chips are one. If you think you have a problem, you probably do.
Two. Seek outside help. And that doesn't mean you have to go to rehab or you have to go to AA or. Therapist, it may just be finding one of the many online sober communities or sober, curious. Communities and conducting their.
Also finding people in your life who support you for me was huge. I'm lucky to have friends who are not in recovery, but who are incredibly helpful. And so having that support system. In recovery for me to also a non recovery friends. Has been big and then just be willing to get uncomfortable and be really honest with yourself.
I don't have any tips for cutting back. I'm drinking because I wasn't able to cut back. I had to stop. I have to abstain. I know some people can cut bark and moderate. And so if you can, and that works for you. That's great. But if you're trying to cut back, you're trying to moderate and you're not able to, that may be an indicator that.
You need to abstain. And for me personally, I had to. Go into. An IOP program. I had to get 12 step recovery support. And I've had to work with coaches and, and other outside Sources of assistance. As I've continued my journey and it's been four years since I've had a drink, but it wasn't just putting down the alcohol. It was putting down the alcohol and then starting to work on.
Myself and the way I thought about the world and the way I showed up. Because just putting down the alcohol. Made things better initially, but I still needed to change the way I was thinking and behaving so that I didn't go back. To the booze so that I can show up and be really happy. As a sober individual today without needing or thinking about drinking.
Deb: Can you share a little bit about your experience with the IOP program and what that is for people that might not know?
Lily: The IOP program I went to was not substance abuse. Focused primarily. But IOP is intensive outpatient. And so for me, it involves going to a. Treatment center in Dallas. Right. And, and I was there. Nine to five. It was kind of like a full work day. And we went through a training group.
Discussions and lectures of sorts and meeting with therapists or. Or doctors who were helping us to reframe how we're showing up in life. And I know a lot of people do that. IOP straight out of the gate. Some people go to IOP after they've been in a residential rehab. Facility.
And it was helpful for me, but I needed to the, in. A peer to peer support system, like a 12 step program where the people that I was talking with understood because they been there and they identified as having a drinking problem as well. I know people who do really well with IOP and with therapy and who don't want to be involved in any peer to peer support.
And so there's no. There isn't a one size fits all. 12 step recovery has been a huge piece. It's been the biggest piece of my personal recovery from drinking. But some people find other ways that work for them. And so another thing I would say to someone who's new on this journey is to try different things. There are so many different.
Programs and ways of getting help for drinking or substance abuse. That if one isn't working for you. Seeing what else might
Deb: be up there?
Yeah, thank you for sharing about your experience. And so when you say 12 step recovery, then. With that was that. And is it currently. Meetings for you, or what does that look like?
Lily: Has been the biggest piece of my recovery and makes me not very anonymous at this point, but that's because it's been so helpful. But there are so many different 12 step recovery programs out there. For those who are more. Drug driven. There is narcotics anonymous. I know that there's cocaine anonymous.
There are 12 step programs for people who struggle with overeating or eating disorders or gambling for codependency. And so if you have an ism is how I think There's probably. A 12 step group that will is available to assist you if you would like to go see them. And I worked with, I had worked with sponsors.
In AA and a sponsor. Somebody who's worked. Steps in that particular program. And. Takes a newcomer. Through the steps and my original sponsor told me, she said as many. As many isms, as many addictions or issues as you have. Work on them. Go to there. Respective 12 step program or finding some sort of assistance with that.
As well, but you know, alcohol was the one that was going to be most dangerous for me. At the time I went in, in 2018. And so that is the one I focused on for a, And still focus on. Primarily, but I've gone to other top step fellowships and there. They're really helpful. There's just for you. There's nothing like talking with somebody who has had the same experience.
And hearing how they got better and what works
Deb: Yeah, I agree. Like finding your people, finding your, your, your As your other alcohol-free.
Lily: Your The tribe.
Deb: Yeah. I know that, you know, maybe a lot of listeners and. And I feel this way too. Like AA hasn't resonated. With me and with other people. And I'm just curious, you know, what your thoughts are about kind of that AA backlash. And. How you have found it helpful. I mean,
You shared some of that, but I'm just curious what you think about all that.
Lily: What I think about the backlash and I I'm sorry, my dog started
I heard the. I missed the last part of your question. Oh,
Deb: I was just curious what you thought about. You know, Because for a lot of people, they don't want to go to AA. They don't want to go to inpatient rehab, you know, and if they don't resonate with.
There's been a lot of backlash about its approach. And I'm just curious what you think about that.
Lily: Thank you. I did not want to go to AA. So I understand that mindset. I didn't particularly want to stop drinking until I realized she was going to kill me. So my journey was. I was very AA resistant and I didn't want to hear about God I associated AA as gene or religious program. And I am not a religious person.
And that's okay.
So to those people who might be 12 step resistant, because they think that it's going to be some sort of cult or a religious program. I can say my experience has been, it is not. I did identify as. Being spiritual. And open to the universe and karma and ideas that were really more Buddhist.
And their underpinnings. And so. When I was willing to go in. To my first meeting.
I found that even though I heard the word God in the meetings and that Kind of would chase me sometimes. It wasn't about God, it wasn't about Jesus. And so I had to let go Of that thought process. And that took me some time. But I could get on board with the spirituality. Of the program. But I started said earlier, there's no one size fits all.
And so if somebody doesn't want to go to IOP or to treatment or to a particular program. That's okay. There are so many other options out there. However dad. I was gonna die. If I kept drinking the way I was drinking. I probably wasn't gonna die the next day or the next week. But I was on it. Very slippery slope.
Down towards the ground, you know, to six feet under. And so. I had to be willing to be open-minded enough to try things that I.
Wasn't sure about. I really didn't like going to IOP. And I went. I wasn't sure about going to AA. But I went and. So each of us has to find our own way.
And I hope that every listener who's listening to this who does think that they have a problem does find what works for them. But I had to be open-minded. And thankfully I was, and I'll say one more thing. Related to. What got me checked a. Was I had a, I have a very good friend. She has over 20 years of sobriety now.
And I knew that she was sober, but I'd never talked to her about it until I went and I saw her maybe a week or so after I had stopped drinking and I was telling her, I'm going to this IOP program. I do not want to go to AA. And she said very simply. AA saved my life. She didn't push me to do it.
She didn't try to explain a way. The. You know, the cult rumor or the, the God. Here that I had related to AA. She just simply said, AA saved my And I can say the exact same thing today that saved my life. And it's not for everybody, but I've got an amazing group. I love the people there. And so I would encourage anyone to try whatever they need to try.
To get help.
Deb: I love that. Thank you for sharing your experience. Like you said, no one wants to go. Not one. Growing up saying. I hope I get to go to an alcoholics. Anonymous meeting when I grow up.
Lily: Just come in on a winning streak. And I had a phone conversation with a woman. Yesterday last night. Who I've never met before. I still haven't met her. But she was saying the same things. She didn't want to go to that AA meeting. That night, but she realized she had a problem. And so we talked a little bit about it and I.
I checked with it and with her after the meeting and she said, oh my gosh, it was so amazing. And so she just had to go in there and observe for an hour and she came out feeling really great about it. And that's not always the response, but. That prejudice that contempt prior to investigation, you know, can really keep us in the throws of alcoholism. So I it's just, it's just trying something.
Trying something new and maybe in recovery is all about. Becoming more comfortable being uncomfortable. Yeah. It's change. Change is uncomfortable. Yeah. It
Deb: gets easier. That's so good. Well, thank you. Thank you for sharing your experience. I really appreciate Happy to. Well, how do you stay? You know, here, you just celebrated four years in September. Congratulations.
Thank you. And how do you maintain your sobriety? You know, especially when you're in Dallas, that seems to be a big drinking town. Well, everywhere seems to be a big drinking culture, right? What are your tips around stains over.
Lily: Steve. So her I had to get into recovery and really throw myself in both feed and. As we've already covered. I have been involved in 12 step fellowships. Since about the very beginning and I formed a group of friends who are also in recovery and I have stayed plugged in with them and been able to socialize with people who were.
We were like-minded. But it's, it's been using my support system. It's been making changes. In myself and continuing to work with my own coaches and to do my own self exploration, my own spiritual practice. And to continue to, to grow and evolve as a person.
I just learned that. I can have a really phenomenal life without drinking and. That's, that's taken time and it's taken experience. And I remember very clearly talking to a therapist. And IOP when I first got sober and. Asking her, well, how am I going to go out to dinner without drinking? How am I going to go to a concert without drinking? How am I going to go on a date?
Well, am I going to travel? How am I going to do all of these things without drinking? Because I viewed. Getting sober and not being able to drink. As a loss and I've come to realize that sobriety is a huge gift and I have to be actively in gratitude for the life I have today and for my sobriety. And so that's been a big piece of my sobriety as it's being grateful, because life is not perfect today. I still have faced a lot of challenges and.
And that's that's okay. Because I have faced challenges over the past four years and I've had the support of my recovery network and my friends and family. And I've been able to talk about what's been going on and share what I'm thinking and how I'm feeling. And to, to know that I don't have to drink over it. And I do believe through staying involved in a 12 step program through staying involved and in contact with peers.
Who are traveling the same path. That.
It's not a.
I know today. I keep it fresh in my mind that. Drink could kill me. Of healing or something that's that's uncomfortable is not going to kill me, but a drink could. And staying plugged into the recovery community and showing you the truth of truth and that unfortunately, But it's also showing me how amazing sobriety and sober life can be.
There's connections again are critical
Deb: Yeah. I mean, we are tribal animals, right? And so finding your tribe, finding other people that get it. And whether that's through AA or smart recovery or just a group, you mean online or. You know, coming to my alcohol a day or whatever, It's so true. Like what, finding your people and finding people who get it.
Lily: Yeah. And it's, it's so cool to make connections with others in recovery. Because we can share our experiences with each other on a level that, that we can't share with those who are not in recovery and who don't understand. And I have amazing friends who are not in recovery, who don't have. A problem with substances and they try to understand, and there.
Wonderful people, but they just. They can't quite get it.
Deb: Yeah. I laugh because bell Robertson who wrote tired of thinking about drinking, she kind of compares it to people who don't get it. Like. As if we're talking about corn on the cob.
And we're just like, when did, when did you last have corn on the cob and when are you going to have corn on the cob again? And how many days without having corn on the cob, like it just. Well, don't get it.
Lily: They can take it or leave it. And they might not like eating corn on the cob all that much because it gets all stuck in there.
Yeah, no, that deterred me from eating corn on the cob.
Deb: Right. I would have like six of them a night. At least.
And go to
Lily: bed with a little
Deb: So funny, we can laugh about it now. Right?
Lily: We can laugh about it today. And that's a beautiful thing. It's so cool to have. So many resources out there today. You know, your podcast does such a tremendous service for cultivating A sense of community and letting people know they are not alone. Which is amazing.
Deb: Yeah. Well, tell me about your, what your company that you founded, my internal weather and how you help people.
Lily: My internal weather is
I seek to provide very highly personalized coaching to my clients. And. I work with women in recovery. I also work with clients who are not in recovery, but the clients I've worked with who are in recovery. Frequently having to meet with a little bit of sober time underneath their belts.
And they've recognized that while they may be involved in a 12 step program or some sort of other. Either a treatment.
There's something that's missing. There's something that still feels off. And for many of these women they're very high achieving. They're perfectionist. And they usually are also people pleasers and I can identify with all of those traits. And so they're recognizing that they are, they're not where they want to be in their lives.
And they're having a hard time making decisions or moving forward in their lives, even though they may have. Put the drink down. And so on. For example, one woman came to me and she needed to make a change in her career. And we already discussed that a little bit. She was in an environment where she was around alcohol all the time.
But she was struggling with having confidence in herself and her ability to get out and interview and go through the process of seeking a healthier environment for herself. And so we worked on the job search. Front and, and how she could show up really competently in her interviews. But we also looked at some of the underlying.
People pleasing tendencies and, and her fear of leaving her current job, because there's so many things that are connected. It's all connected in my opinion. I was, I was staying in my legal job. Because I thought that I should. That is, that was the mindset that I had. It was, I should do this. This is the next box that I should check.
On my little list and next comes, you know, the marriage and the white picket fence and the two children and, and that was not the right path for me. And so I, I had to have. Help from others too. Find my true calling and my direction. And so that's the type of service I provide to my clients. And sometimes it's career related, but more often than not it's it's how do I feel about myself and how do I show
And my wife and how can I show up better feeling better about myself and really tuning into that internal. Barometer that intuition that is inside all of us.
But when I was drinking. I was constantly drowning. Got light in that voice and that intuition. And so now it's a process of. Getting plugged back into it and really listening to it and then making the changes that are necessary to cultivate And live my best
Deb: Yeah. And I love the name, my internal weather. And you have a tagline feel better inside no matter what is going on outside. Can you tell me more about the name and oh, that's so cool.
Lily: Thank you. I loved the name as well, and it's so cool because. And each time I tell people the name of my company or they see it.
They get it. Yeah. And.
I couldn't tell you where the name really came from. I have a big spiritual practice. And so I like to give credit to the universe for, for sending me that But It's so funny because that internal intuition that so many of us, as I just described, I know for me, I was, I was drowning out. I wasn't listening to that voice.
It's something that. That I hope our society, our culture has been moving toward and we'll continue to move toward discussing more openly. We talk about the weather outside. I checked my weather app multiple times a day. Just see when the rain will start or what the temperature is going to be later tonight. So, you know, which boots could I wear?
I go meet my friends later tonight. And so thinking about all of this external stuff, that's going on. And how I am living my life. According to what the weather is outside.
It's something that we're all accustomed to doing. What if we could start. Living our lives, according to what's going on inside. And checking in with how we're feeling about things on the inside, rather than just focusing on the outside. I lived my life. Thinking about the job, the money, the shoes.
The guy, the shiny things. And I thought for a very long time that if I could change those things, Maybe if I break up with this person and I start dating this other person, that'll fix me. If I Drake war that would make me feel better. Those are my beliefs are such a long time. And of course, They were lies that I was telling myself.
But. I had to really tune into my inside. And how things are going on inside of me.
To make true lasting change in my life. And so that's, that's.
That's where the name comes from. And that's, that's usually how people find, you know, they may not know exactly what's wrong, but something feels Inside. They feel out of alignment. And they want to make that change so that they feel better inside of themselves, because I do believe that today I can weather all kinds of storms on the outside.
And still have peace and clarity on who I am inside. I have lost a job. And sobriety, but I've been okay. I have walked through that. Fear and not shock to my ego and come out even stronger and better. On the other side, I've had my heartbroken.
And I have been able to walk through that because I've known who I am and I have trust and confidence in myself. And what's in my picture. And so all those external things that have happened. Have they impacted me. Yes. But have I been able to be okay with who I am? And to trust myself. Yes. And that's all been as a result of working on.
Who I am and getting in touch with that really true. Self that true. A slight inside of me.
Deb: Well, that is so beautiful and everything you shared and the analogy with the weather and how focused we are on our external and. Focusing on our internal. I love that. I have so many
Lily: fancy expensive shoes in my closet.
But they're just sitting there. They don't bring me any enjoy.
But talking with you about sobriety and making positive change in our lives and working with other people. We're on the same path that is so illuminating and heartwarming. This is, this is where it
Deb: is. I agree. Well, I want to thank you so much for coming on and be, and sharing your story and being honest and.
People are gonna want to know where to find you. So how can they find you?
Lily: They can find [email protected]
And there are links to social media. On there, but I have a I have a free small group coaching sessions that I host over zoom. And on the second Sunday of every month, And so there are links to resources like that and to Other upcoming events and, and things that I'm resources that I'm putting out there on the website. So it's really my internal weather.com is the best resource.
Deb: fantastic. Thank you so much. I'm glad we got the chance to talk and have this conversation. Thank you.
Lily: Dub APHA.
Been such a pleasure.