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Kristi Coulter on Working, Drinking and Being a ‘First World Woman’

Kristi Coulter on working, drinking and being a “first world woman” 

If you’re a woman who’s trying to quit drinking it’s normal to look around and suddenly realize that booze is all around you. 

There’s Rosé All Day, Hot Yoga and Happy Hour,  beer at the finish line of the 10K and “Mommy Juice” at play dates with the kids.

You look up from your wine glass to see that everyone around you is drinking, all the time. 

We live in a culture that tells women that drinking is their treat for getting through the day. It’s our reward for working so hard and taking care of our kids. 

We’re told alcohol is what we should consume to be ‘cool’ and ‘relaxed’ and ‘fun’. 

We’re taught that drinking will make us less frustrated, less angry, less tired, less bored with the monotony of adulting. 

And then we blame ourselves for not being able to ‘moderate’ or ‘cut back’ or ‘drink less’ of an addictive substance.

In today’s episode I have a long conversation with a friend and one of my favorite authors, Kristi Coulter, about Working, Drinking and Being a “First World Woman”. 

Kristi spent 12 years as an executive at Amazon.com, and for many years working and drinking went hand-in-hand as a successful working woman. 

Then Kristi quit drinking and took an insightful, funny, feminist look around her and wrote about what she observed. 

Her incredibly popular essay on her experiences in early sobriety, Enjoli, went viral with 700,000 downloads. It struck a nerve with both women (and men) as she talked about dog paddling through the world newly sober. 

Kristi’s book, the 2018 memoir-in-essays Nothing Good Can Come from This, goes even further into life as a modern woman in a drinking world and what happens when you decide to put down your wine glass.  

Kristi and I talk about:

  • Why women drink as a signifier for free time and self care and conversations – the luxuries we can’t afford.
  • The myth of meritocracy at male dominated workplaces, and how it gaslights women into thinking it’s their fault for failing to achieve what their male coworkers do – in a system that’s stacked against them. 
  • Why moderation sucks and why it’s just so much easier to not drink. 
  • Why most women make the mistake of waiting to “want” to stop drinking and how that’s a recipe for staying stuck in the drinking cycle. 
  • How stopping drinking is a superpower that allows women to ask for what they deserve and say what they mean. 
  • Why drinking is not serving you if you’re wanting to advance your career

About Kristi Coulter

Kristi Coulter is the author of the 2018 memoir-in-essays Nothing Good Can Come from This, a writer who is currently working on her next memoir – Exit Interview – about gender, ambition, and her twelve-year stint as an executive at Amazon, and a former drinker. Four years ago (in 2016) Kristi published an article on Medium that went viral and changed the course of her life. “Enjoli” is an essay about what happened after Kristi decided to stop drinking and realized that all the women around her were tanked. It hit a nerve among women (and men) around the world and has now been downloaded over 700,000 times. Kristi’s work has appeared in The Paris Review, New York Magazine/The Cut, Elle, Amazon Original Stories, Glamour, Vox, and elsewhere.

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Links and Resources mentioned in this episode

Connect with Kristi Coulter

Website: http://www.kristicoulter.com

Off-Dry Blog: https://offdry.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristicoulter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kristicccoulter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KristiCCoulter

Connect with Casey McGuire Davidson

 

www.hellosomedaycoaching.com

Casey @ Hello Someday Coaching (@caseymdavidson)

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ABOUT THE HELLO SOMEDAY PODCAST

The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The Sober Girl’s Guide to Quitting Drinking, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 

Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.

In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more. 

Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol free life. 

Be sure to grab the Free Sober Girl’s Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.

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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW

Kristi Coulter on Drinking, Working and Being a ‘First World Woman’

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

drinking, working, ‘first world woman’, sober, relapse, cheerleader, bottle, podcast, sobriety, writer, lucky, connection, changed, famous, in demand, self published, virtually, tech, micro aggressions, bond, tolerating, place of privilege, culture, expressing anger, Enjoli, white affluent, cisgendered, heterosexual, miserable, smothered, drinking, coping, badge of honor, tough, workplaces, boozy, stay at home mom, signifier, feminism, empowerment, expectations, relentless, self medicate, people pleaser, overachiever, pressure, self fulfilling prophecy, performance, suffer, trapped, sexist, environment, unintentional gaslighting, chalet, Amazon, persistent, tough, thick skinned, experience, woman, women, gender blind, sexism, meritocracy, unbiased, startups, unconscious, revamping, job descriptions, Google, sustainable, clear message, corporate, nonalcoholic, cool, quit drinking, behavior, cocktail hour, sophisticated, grown up, signifies, opportunity, slur, relief, Reagan Republican, peace in your mind, desperation, brain space, sober momentum, working woman, perspective, moment, meeting, message, role models, core, Sober Challenge, painted, science, habit, That’s normal, it gets better, transformative, reset, clear head, relapse, self care, conversation, luxuries, exhausting, sober sleep, miracle, rolling the dice, enjoy life, control oneself, share, recovery, path, Whole Foods, wine, yoga, self soothe, universal, treated, resentful, cues embarrassing, mocktail, conversation, momentum, choices, bigger, sober curious, harm reduction, fun, sober memoirs, men, patriarchy, Cul De Sac, potential, promotion, socially acceptable

SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Kristi Coulter

00:02

Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.

In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.

Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.

I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started. 

 

Hi there. I’m here with Kristi Coulter, the author of the 2018 Memoir in Essays: Nothing Good Can Come From This. She’s a writer who’s currently working on her next memoir, exit interview about gender ambition, and her 12 year stint as an executive at Amazon, and she’s a former drinker. 

 

Four years ago in 2016, Kristi published an article on Medium that went viral and changed the course of her life. Enjoli is an essay about what happened after Kristi decided to stop drinking and realized that all the women around her were tanked. It hit a nerve among women and men around the world. And now, it’s been downloaded over 700,000 times. 

 

Kristi’s work has appeared in the Paris Review, the New York Magazine, the Cut Owl, Amazon Original Stories, Glamour, Vox and elsewhere. 

 

And Kristi, I am so excited to have you on this podcast. Because you are one of the first voices I heard on a podcast in sobriety, and I loved you and connected with you immediately.

 

2:34  

I’m excited to be here. And I remember when you reached out to me, that was actually my first podcast ever I think, wow. And I was somebody who listened to it. I didn’t know people would listen.

 

2:46  

Yeah, it has been since right now. And I know when it was because it was in May 2016. Because I was like 80 days sober when I heard it and I resonated with absolutely everything that you said. I actually listened to it again this morning on a walk. And I was smiling the whole time because it was, I have enough distance that it was bringing back things that were funny and that were like, blowing my mind in the beginning.

 

3:16  

Right. And I was about, I think I was almost three years over at that point. So I had enough distance that I could find things funny in the moment. You know, when you’re first sober, often you’re very serious, you know, things just seemed really great. But I remember being like, no, life is good. And my drinking self was kind of funny and my sober self is kind of funny, and I was just happy to be doing it. But I remember being very happy to hear from you because you were like, well, I’m also a Sober Seattle woman because I wasn’t sure there were. And now I know that they’re everywhere. Like there’s Sober Seattle women, you know, around every corner, but I didn’t know that at the time.

 

3:55  

Yeah, well, and I when I heard you, you know how you kind of cyber stop people when you become a fangirl, or maybe it’s just me. Cena knows. God bless. 

 

So you… I’ve lived in Seattle now for 20 years, I’ve worked at startups and big corporations. I’ve interviewed at Amazon five different times. And each time I mean, one was in like 2001 was in 2008. Because I moved here when I was 25. And kind of each time I was like, actually, let me take this opportunity somewhere else. For whatever reason, I have so many friends who work at Amazon, so I was like, she’s a woman. She’s an executive. She works in tech. And by the way, her drinking story sounds exactly like mine. And I was just like, Hi, can we be friends? I emailed you out, I read your blog, and I found your email there, and was like, Hi, I’m on day 84. And I’m so over it. I would Seattle. Just thank you for sharing your story. I wasn’t sure you’d ever read it. But you wrote me back like a week later. And you were like, okay, you’re on page 90 now. And I was just like, oh my god.

 

5:10  

I like to say that to people. And then sometimes I worry like, oh, what if they relapse that I’m saying something, but it’s more like no, you’re moving along. I just think it’s important to, you know, encourage people and I like to congratulate them too, like, I reach out when I respond to people who are just newly sober. I’m going to sound happy for them. I’m not going to sound worried. I’m not going to be like, Oh, I hope you’re doing okay. Like, I’m going to be like, that is the best news because they need cheerleading. 

 

Mm hmm. Especially from a stranger. I mean, they can get advice from someone in their lives, they can commiserate but I’m just going to be so psyched for them. Because you know how hard it is. You know how hard it is to get the first night and the second night and for me it was day four, like I could white knuckle it to day four and then it was just like, Okay, I need a bottle. Right right like this, this bottle really isn’t a whole bottle because I’m spreading it over the previous three days that I didn’t drink. Yeah, it’s like a glass day.

 

6:07  

Absolutely. And also, I feel so lucky because I emailed you when I heard that podcast and then I read one of my absolute favorite essays you’ve written. The author of sobriety that I know we’re going to talk about it’s in your book is want not yet, but I emailed you and it was, you emailed me back and it was literally like six weeks before Enjoli was published on medium which just blew up like it was everywhere, and your life completely changed. So yeah, I feel so lucky to have made that connection before you were like, famous and all over the place and just in demand.

 

6:45  

I mean, like, and totally unexpectedly, too. I mean, I self published that essay, I couldn’t get arrested as a writer and that everything changed, you know, virtually overnight, you know, like literally within a week or so.

 

6:59  

Well, so anyone who hasn’t read it… This episode I’m calling, drinking, working and being a first world woman. Because what I loved about that essay was, it was about everything. But it was also about women, often women who are drinking who put up with a lot every day, like all the microaggressions in the office, especially in sort of a “tech bro, all male” culture and how women bond and drink together as a way of bonding over that and sort of tolerating what their daily lives had been like and from a place of privilege. And so tell me about the article. Tell me how it came about and yeah, why you wrote it?

 

7:50  

Well, it’s kind of funny. I was actually working with my woman, who was my agent at the time, who also worked at Amazon for 15 years and had left and she’s now my editor. At my publishing house, but we were putting together a package to try to sell this book. And she said, you know, we have a lot of variety here, but there’s nothing expressing anger. Do you think you might want to? Could you write something expressing anger? And it was like a beautiful day, and I was feeling great. And I was like, gosh, I mean, I guess I could try, you know, at home and start working on Enjoli.

 

And I was like, Oh, I’m really angry. I had no idea. I mean, I was not out of touch with anger in general, but I had no idea I was so furious about my career, and, you know, my, the culture I lived in and all that. So I wrote it, it took about six weeks. At first it was merged in with something that became another chapter in the book and it didn’t work on lunch together. So I split it out. And I really disliked, you said, Why don’t you explore what it’s like? It was, what it’s like to be me and had to have been in this very privileged rarefied place. 

 

You know, as a white affluent, cisgendered heterosexual, I mean all the privilege boxes you can check. I have checked women working in tech and to still be so miserable, and so smothered by the culture that I felt like drinking was my, not only my way of coping, but also my badge of honor. That meant I was, you know, I’m so tough. All I could do was drink. It’s like I was a war correspondent or something. 

 

Yeah. Not working a desk job.

 

9:28  

Well, and I feel like there are so many workplaces like that. Like I also worked in tech and startups were very “boozy“ culture. But I mean, I talk to women and no women who are like, publishing is very boozy and being a lawyer, very boozy and sales is very busy. So it’s possible that God being a stay at home mom is very busy. So you know, it’s, it’s something that is seen as a badge of honor for women. I mean, it was even in high school and college right? You can Drink like the boys, that means you’re cool, keep up. 

 

But in the article you also talk about how drinking is sort of a signifier for you know, almost your feminism and empowerment with some heavy drinking.

 

10:14  

Yeah, I started when I was writing the essay, I first was going to do a little research and tie it back to like the flappers. And then I was like, Well, I don’t really feel like doing this, so I just didn’t but…but the flappers when they drank and smoked, it was considered a marker of feminism. You know, I’m old enough to remember Virginia Slims ads that were like, a camera with the tagline was, but it was like this feminist thing that you were smoking. And I think drinking has become the same thing. And it’s basically like we can do the same things men can, which yes, we can. But although men do some really stupid things, we don’t want to always repeat them. But I also felt like I really just wanted to explore what it’s like to live in that kind of culture where the expectations on you are so relentless. And to your point, it’s not just tech, it’s, you know, Lodz sales I’ve heard from people in virtually every industry. 

 

Parenting is a competitive sport or mothering is a competitive sport these days. Fathering, I think you can still kind of freestyle it. It’s, but you know, you’re just, there’s no good way to be a woman, I think actually said in the essay, so you just end up driving yourself crazy. And what are you going to do but self medicate? I mean, I, I kind of don’t blame people. Yeah. Attorney in that direction.

 

11:37  

Well, and I know I did. And I think that a lot of women, as well, are sort of some combination of women who drink like people pleasers / overachievers. So you drive yourself. I think you said somewhere that you know, you basically are tricking your nervous system with alcohol to tolerate things you shouldn’t do. Be tolerating or you’re not built to tolerate and we do it to ourselves to some extent because of the pressure cooker.

 

12:08  

Yeah. And it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Because I think that if you’re drinking at problematic levels, your performance is going to suffer and you know, as an employee as a parent in life, and so you actually are going to start creating some of the problems you’re trying to medicate. Yeah, and you won’t know it because you’re trapped. You can’t see what you’re doing. In some ways. I think if I’ve been in like, an overtly sexist environment, like a coal mine or something, I mean, you know, you I’m thinking back to those old movies like Norma Rae, where it’s like women can do this, I would have at least had something to fight against. But tech these days is very focused on the myth of meritocracy. And the idea that data is gender blind. And so there was a lot of, I think, unintentional gaslighting going on with women at Amazon who are sort of made to believe that it’s really just them. It’s not the system. It’s really you know, it’s just data that it or just must be science that women are only a quarter of the managers of Amazon. Like, I guess that’s just, you know, it’s gender blind. And so you start to go crazy because you buy this, this idea that if you were just better, you’d be achieving what you’re competent but unexceptional. Male co-workers are achieving.

 

If you’re listening to this episode and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit. The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study, sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step-by-step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one-on-one coaching. And The Sobriety Starter Kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it, when it fits into your schedule.  You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time. This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step-by-step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life. You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better, you’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course.

 

One of my favorite parts, which is sort of the beginning of our chalet, actually is when you talk about being the one woman on a panel with three men for interns. And you actually said, you know, and I get this because I, I know a lot about Amazon’s culture. I’ve heard a lot. But you know, they ask you, you know, I’ve heard this is a tough place for women. And you said, if you’re tough and persistent and thick skinned, you’ll find your way. I have, and then all the men jumped in and told me what they said.

 

15:50  

So they basically all said that I was wrong, that it’s actually a great place to be a woman. And so they basically said I was wrong about my own experience. And I was like, lying. By the way, or I was being extremely diplomatic. 

 

Yeah, I kind of wanted to say, you know, if you’re bright enough to be an intern at Amazon, you can probably get a job anywhere you want, look elsewhere. But you know, that wasn’t very well, it would not go very well. And it’s not my job to do that. They told me that I was wrong that Amazon was a great place for women. And the evidence they cited was things like, Well, I have a woman on my team and she gets along with everyone, like, okay, or I have a woman on my team who went on maternity leave, and she came back. And like, this is the bar for like, Amazon’s a great place for women. And finally, one guy, like all three of them had to jump in, of course, said well, you know, this data is gender blind, and we run on data so we can’t have sexism, essentially. 

 

Yeah, it’s a meritocracy. So you’ll be great even though women are jumping out in droves. You know, all the things

 

17:01  

right now they’re basically, you know, start out I mean, Amazon’s demographic data is public, you know, like, at lower levels, they’re 50/50. And then as you go up through the, to the manager level, like women fall off a cliff, I guess that’s just how science made it, right? The problem with meritocracy is that somebody has to decide what’s measured and how it’s measured. And it’s very hard to do that in an unbiased way.

 

17:26  

Absolutely. I mean, there are some startups here in Seattle that I read about that are rewriting job descriptions, because yeah, all the job description at higher levels use words associated with men, even though there’s all this evidence that women are often better leaders in some areas and produce higher, you know, higher profits, higher results. And yet, you know, just the words used almost by default are words that men use to describe themselves.

 

17:58  

It’s… I was fit, remembering the name of the company doing this. It was run by a woman who’d worked at Amazon briefly and my last team at Amazon actually used the software product. And it was fascinating because it wasn’t just words like aggressive that you know, I mean, I could have looked at that and said, Let’s take this out. It was words none of us would have ever thought of that they had proven were associated with masculinity. And so, you know, because bias is often unconscious. And so we ended up completely revamping our job descriptions like that. I mean, I remember any woman who’s worked in tech has seen these ads, that’s like beer fridge, foosball, you know, come work. Yes. I remember getting one of those. And I was like, you know, I’m a 42 year old mid career, high earning professional. Like, I don’t care if you have a foosball table, I want to know what my career path is going to be. I want to know what your benefits are, you know, and it can’t just be women who are sick of this too. Like, I knew a lot of men who would be like so you know,

 

18:58  

one part of that culture with. It impacts women at all ages. And whether they have kids or not is the culture of, you know, they say it’s meritocracy. But it’s FaceTime, meaning that you have to be there for the beer parties, you need to somehow be sitting at your desk at 11 o’clock at night. Even if you don’t, you’re more productive if you go home. So as a mom, who had daycare pickup where daycare closed at 6pm, and you were charged $1 a minute, if you pick up your kids sleeping, I mean, that just doesn’t work. And, you know, it’s weird. Like, my first startup in Seattle, you know, granted, I moved here when I was 25. But even at the time, I was like, This is fucked up. It was a startup who had just an iPod. They had bunk beds. Bunk beds of bunk room, and they catered breakfast, lunch and dinner. And people were expected to be there at 9pm at night, and no offense, but even if we had nothing to fucking do, you know? And so women who are older and had kids or or a life or didn’t want, you know, wanted to be healthy and go running, I mean, it was just and…and they but they had beer and they had beer 30. And so they’re like, if we give you alcohol and catered meals, you will stay here. 

 

24 bucks, right? People talk about like, oh, Google does all this because it’s a luxury place to work and, and Google, you know, does some of those perks on fun but also No, it’s because they don’t want you to leave. Of course, you can get a haircut on site, pick up your dry cleaning, because you will stay. Then, you know, I would have stayed longer, probably it’s really sick. And it’s one thing if you’re pushing that way for, you know, a two week period to finish up a huge product or something. But when that’s the way that life is supposed to be it’s just not sustainable, and it sends a very clear message. I mean, just think about even if you’re a young single woman, do you want to sleep in a bunk room with your male co-workers, you don’t know someone’s a sexual predator until they turn out to be a sexual predator. Right? Do you want to be the one who takes that risk? I mean, I realize I’m not sounding like the cool girl here, but it’s kind of like, 

 

21:08  

Weel, you know, especially if it’s a drinking culture, which they do, you know, I mean, like I said, like at 4pm on Fridays, there would be a beer run, and whoever was the, I mean, God, it was like, we were in college, like, whoever the newbies were, were the people who went to the cake store. And I mean, you know, this is a corporate workplace. Yeah, yeah, kind of insane.

 

21:33  

One thing that started happening in my last team at Amazon, this is after Enjoli had come out, you know, actually kind of got famous while I was still working there is all the team events we had suddenly there was also a table of nonalcoholic ciders and sodas and things like that, which I thought was so sweet. And guess what people were drinking. You know, like, a lot of people don’t drink for all kinds of different reasons. Some people grew up in India and they knew. Never developed a habit for drinking and now they’re here and they still don’t or religion or medical issues or alcoholism. And I just thought it was I you know, it did not go unnoticed by me that they started thinking we should be inclusive and it was really really cool. That’s a very good like, it wasn’t just like water.

 

22:17  

you know it was because in your description you talk about and this is so hard when you quit drinking. I mean it just is like your first business trip, your first team building night away at a hotel, your first you know, required dinner party. I mean, it’s easier to opt out of a football barbecue than it is to opt out of your team getting together to celebrate the holidays, and how you, you know, they were advertising every kind of beer and wine and cocktail. And you asked for something to drink and the guy said there’s a water fountain in the hall.

 

22:52  

And it was broken. I mean, they didn’t even have a club soda to give me, it was just I just thought this is just stupid. Like why would you not have? Even if people are drinking, why would you not also have water available for them like people? it’s irresponsible.

 

23:06  

First of all, because everybody’s getting tanked and a lot of us drive home 

 

23:12  

But handle it at that time. I was just so it just made me so sad. I felt like such a freak already and people will naturally say, Hey, can I get you something from the bar? They’re just being polite and yeah, every time someone asked me that they didn’t know that they were putting me on the spot. You know, they didn’t know that they were asking the question I feared most. Oh, it’s just the worst now. I could care less but me too. And I see better behavior now to like, there’s more you can go to a bar and they have a decent mocktail like seedlip has taken away excuses for Yeah.

 

23:44  

But it was Yeah, it was… it was terrible.

 

23:46  

Yeah. And you feel like oh my god in your first couple months like a feather will blow you over. And yeah, break you down in tears or make you drink like, Yeah, because also like, You’re known as a drinker, every, you know, in my mind, like prior to quitting drinking, like if I ever said I wasn’t drinking, people would assume I was pregnant. That was also career suicide. Right? So it’s like, all you could say was you’re going out a giant health kick and training for a marathon like that was accepted.

 

24:18  

Yeah, I think I just sort of said, like, Yeah, I do. I was doing the hundred day pledge and tired of thinking about drinking. So I was like, Oh, I’m just doing this experiment, you know, like, people will do dry July or something. Yeah. I was lucky that I was a little older. And I was working in a part of the company where there are a lot of women, so mostly people were just like, Oh, okay. Oh, cool. Or I should try that. Or, you know, I didn’t get what you know, like women in their 20s are really male teams would get, but I still felt like a freak. And I also thought I had probably given up any chance like glamour or fun or stylishness that I would ever have in my life. I was like, Well, I’m a Mennonite now.

 

24:54  

You know, and I really felt like anything that was kind of cool. any hope of coolness. I have was probably dead now. So that was like a lot. Oh yeah cuz your whole sense of identity is tied up on that. And that’s also part of what we’re brainwashed to believe. I mean from watching our parents, from watching the kids in high school and college, from evolving from like, if you drink beer you can hang with the boys if you drink you know a cosmopolitan you’re you know something else. If you drink wine, you’re sophisticated. Like I love how you had. you’re one of the chapters in your book. Nothing good can come from this, is a life in liquids and evolution of drinking which you know, I used to in college with my roommate drink blush wine, while with my roommate, I kid you not while watching. Oh my god, it was like it wasn’t ln, it wasn’t Oprah It was like, something bad sometimes. Yeah, it was not cool, but we thought we were supposed to drink blush wine before heading to the dining hall sophomore year.

 

26:04  

Exactly. cocktail hour, right? Yes, we were so sophisticated out of a box that we had to be out of the box, right? 

Yeah.

Yeah. I mean, it’s so it does signify like, Hi, I’m a grown up now. I know how to do this, and I’m so good at it. And I completely bought into all of that. I mean, well, you know, into my early 40s. Like, I really thought this was how you did it. In some ways. You know, when I was in those first two months, when you’re feeling like a feather, I remember I had to go to a work cocktail party and I was working in public. It was Amazon Publishing. So in a tech company and a publishing company at the time, so very boozy. And it was with authors and authors like to drink as a group trifecta. Oh, yeah. I mean, it was just like, holy shit. And so I had to go, it was at the Westin, and I was just so freaked out and I was like, well, you just got to go in because I had a little social anxiety. And somehow I ended up working that room I was like you’re going to stay an hour, you’re going to make sure you say hi to everyone you need to and they kind of rip the band aid off and I realized that talking to people sober was not nearly as hard as I thought I could be strategic about it I could get in and out I didn’t get stuck in corners talking for an hour to someone I didn’t want to. And that was the beginning of the end of my social anxiety honestly, it’s that this forced performance now I could talk to anyone.

 

27:30  

When you don’t, you never give yourself the opportunity. I mean, if you’re a daily drinker, which I was nightly, you never give yourself the chance to see what things are like without drinking. You just assume that it’s going to suck and I mean, that’s the same thing like, when you’re going to your first barbecue, your first party, your first family event, you know, I always suggest, like, observing people. See who’s not drinking which you probably never noticed looking at, right? Boozing, and by the third drink, or the fourth drink is starting to like, get really loud and repeat themselves and slur their words and embarrass their spouse, like all the stuff. And it’s just so they see. 

 

Yeah, yeah, I had to go to it. Soon after that, I think it was two or three months over, I had to go to a..did a huge dinner party at the just Hooli Gardens. And everybody was drunk. It was an author event again, and I’m sitting at the table and there’s this incredibly drunk authors across from me just yelling at that point. And I was just like, God, get me out of here. I kept sneaking into the restroom to do crossword puzzles on my phone.

 

28:42  

To do crossword puzzles, like you’re allowed to do this. And finally, I noticed the guy next to me who was like this author of military thrillers, wasn’t drinking, and I sort of said, Oh, you’re also taking a break tonight or something? I didn’t want to make assumptions. And he said, Oh, I haven’t had a drink in 32 years, and I was Like, I’m 63 days sober. I just told him, I said that to him. I did and just with a sense of incredible relief, and he was so kind, and this is the kind of person I think he’s like a Reagan Republican, like not someone I would have a lot in common with. And he was so nice to me. And he was just like, that’s great. He was put here for a reason. Like, I needed to have this person next to me, because I felt like such a complete freak otherwise. But watching the other people around me, and it’s not that everybody who’s drinking is acting like an idiot. Well, one thing I noticed was, there were people who just had a half glass of wine sitting there. You know, they’ve had a glass or two earlier and they were kind of done. And I was like, that’s so strange. Oh my God.

 

29:41  

He used to drive me crazy. The people who would drink so slowly and would just have a half a glass like sitting there and would leave the restaurant like I’m just like, Whoa, are you like, What’s wrong? It’s like the clean plate club except I never care about that. I would just get bothered if they weren’t drinking.

 

29:58  

Well, and then I was also annoyed by the people who would like, share a bottle and then have more than half because then I was going to have to order another bottle. So right yeah, the… the amount of peace in your mind that you’ve never realized you were missing is so good. Yeah.

 

30:13  

That was actually kind of why I finally stopped. I mean I, I wanted to want to stop drinking, I was waiting until I wanted to quit.

 

30:22  

And eventually, it was just the fact that I didn’t want to think about it anymore. And I thought, well, if you stop drinking, that is one way that you could not think about it anymore. Eventually. 

 

Yeah. And it was just that desperation to have to have some brain space back because I think I thought about it on some level, 24/7.

 

30:40  

Yeah. Someone either like, waking up beating yourself up or drinking again deciding that you weren’t going to drink that day by four o’clock. Like, trying to back away and deciding you don’t really have an issue or…

 

30:54  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, every single day I lied to myself and every single day, it was there somewhere. And eventually, it wasn’t that I desperately did not want to stop drinking, but I wanted to stop thinking about it. And I actually googled the phrase tired of thinking about drinking. And that’s how I ended up on that website.

 

31:12  

Yeah, Kristi and I actually both quit drinking in a similar way, the way we got started, which is again, I heard it on the podcast since right now, I was just like, like that guy. Like that guy you sat next to who was there for a reason. Like, I feel like, you know, I had some sober momentum and then hearing you as like a working woman in tech who had a similar background to me, who was 3 years ahead of me and could look back with some perspective and say, it got better. 

 

God, that was like the moment meeting, the message meeting, what I needed. So thank you. I really am.

 

31:48  

You’re welcome. I’m glad I accidentally did that. I mean, it’s kind of like we need those role models and we need people who are like us. Because you have to see yourself. I mean, I think you can get down to the bottom of most drinking stories and they’re pretty similar. It could be you know, someone who’s lost their house and is living in their car because of drinking. Their reasons are going to be similar to mine at core. And it’s really hard for it would have been very hard for me as someone who needed to quit drinking, to see myself in that person. Whereas I could see myself well, like Belle Robertson, who runs hard, thinks about drinking, you know, she was sort of like me, and she was a professional around my age. And she was eight months sober. And I remember thinking, Wow, she was only eight months sober when you started working with her. 

 

Yep, about that. It was less than a year. I know that for sure. I was like, she has got it all dialed in. And I look back now and I’m like, she was barely sober.

 

32:49  

Yeah. Which, That’s amazing. So we will absolutely link to Belle‘s website and her 100 Day Sober Challenge. And her book. I love her book. Look, it basically is the hundred day sober challenge but without the 1-on-1 support of an email and coaching, which I absolutely love! So Kristi worked with Belle. Gosh, when she was eight months sober. 

 

No, I didn’t really work with her. I just did the challenge. She did this for free on her blog. Yeah, All I did was, every day I would email her saying I’m sober. And she would basically email back being like great, checked off good work or something. She just did this for free at the time and somehow, having a stranger to just tell every day. Yeah. Was all I needed. I just was like, Okay, well, that’s good. And she also painted the thing that was important, was she was so upbeat about how good she was feeling. Yeah, and she was practical. So she painted not only a good picture of like, life is fun like this, but also was very practical about how you could do it. Like for instance, you have to just not fucking drink like, she pussyfoot around that. She was just like Don’t drink. Yes, don’t do it. 

 

And, and, and I do this same thing with my clients now because you know, with a lot of other coaching and tools in there, but it’s at the end of the day. I mean, there is science around, you know how long it takes to change your habit. And what I love about what they did for me was you need someone to hold your hand through that process, right? 

 

So you… I emailed her every day for like a year. I don’t know if she does it anymore, because it’s been now, you know, 7 years since you started. But I, you know, on my website, actually, I recorded each email that I sent her for my first 30 days. You know, I would be like, hey, Coach, you know, hey, Belle, it’s day 7, and I’m sitting at my desk at work. And here’s what I’m thinking and it was just a diary, but someone came back and said, That’s normal. It gets better. It’s good for you. Do this instead. I mean, it was just incredible. So on.. since right now, you said you had a dumbbells 100 day challenge. That was like me too.

 

35:09  

Yeah, yeah, it was so transformative. And it was, and I knew, honestly, within probably a month that I was not going back. Yeah. If I could help it at all, it wasn’t going to be 100 reset. I was like, because I just knew exactly what would happen to me. If I start and I was feeling good. Like I was lucky and that I started feeling better pretty fast. And I was like, I think I actually like this. I like having a clear head. I like knowing I’ve changed, and I didn’t want that stop. So I really didn’t want to fuck it up to this date. I mean, in 7 years, I haven’t had a relapse. You know, which I think and relapse is really common, but I’ve just always had times when like, emotionally, I felt crazy and not sober. 

 

Like in the pandemic, for instance. Yeah. 

 

But I haven’t. I haven’t actually been like that. I’ve somehow really internalized the idea that drinking will never save me. Yet it will only make things worse. So it just seems like a foolish thing to do.

 

36:09  

That drinking just adds a problem to a problem. 

 

Yeah, I was stuck for so long. I mean, I quit drinking, basically for three or four months, like when I first was like, you know, I thought about it for years. And then I finally was like, Okay, I need to do this. And I quit for three or four months, but then I got pregnant with my daughter. And so I was like, sober for a year, but I would have been drinking if I, if I hadn’t. 

 

And once I had her, I was like, Oh, I deserve a glass of wine on a date with my husband. 22 months of drinking, like, you know, and after the first couple months, it was absolutely a bottle of wine at night. You know, no days off unless I was like white knuckling it to get four days. And so by this time, I signed up for Belle’s Challenge. 22 months later, I was like, I knew too much, right? I knew the anxiety I was feeling. The depression I was feeling. The 3am wakeups. Why I felt doomed. I knew all that was the alcohol. And I was finally like, I gotta get out of this. So once I quit four and a half years ago, I also have not had a relapse because I was like, it was so hard to even get two weeks. Right? Would I start over? I know that it’s not a drink. It is 22 months of day ones.

 

37:33  

Right? And I’ve seen so many people, you know, relapse, and they’re like, they think they can have a little and then they’re like, nope, within a month I was back. Were I as bad as I’d ever been. Like I’ve had enough evidence among other people that I’m like, oh, why would I think I was special. I used to tell my husband that he’s also sober and we joke about this that we used to see, like the medical labels that are like you shouldn’t drink this. You shouldn’t drink and you’re taking this medicine. Just look right up. Just look just oh my god, I thought that was just like them being CIA, like, cover your ass. Like, I didn’t think they were serious, you know?

 

38:10  

It’s crazy. Like, I just assumed all of that is like, Oh, this raises the risk of breast cancer or something. I’d be like, oh, they’re just trying to scare women. Because if people do try to scare women out of having any fun, but like, it’s also true. Yeah, both things can be true that the media can be very frightening to women and that like it also makes you more likely to have cancer. And I just didn’t, I just didn’t believe it.

 

38:34  

Yeah, I mean, and, and going back to the topic of being a woman. And drinking as a woman, and how it is this, this cycle, sort of a self fulfilling prophecy that we reinforce, we hear it and then we tell our friends the same thing and then we tell her, you know, other people the same thing and then we see it on social media and then TV like it’s this 360 psycho but in, in Enjoli, you talk about how especially the things women drink or signifiers for free time, and self care and conversation, luxuries we can’t afford.

 

39:16  

Right, right. I mean, it really was seen, I think still as self care, like I’m having this nice glass of wine. I saw a wine the other day, this was called spa inspired wine. And I was like, what in the world does just go to a spa, Jesus, you know, what does that mean? And I think that we’re so busy and again, I’m not a parent. So this can be doubly hard for people who are but you know, the time to do nothing, the slack time, the time to just wander around that, you know, those are the things we need are time to have real talk. And instead it’s like we’re all acting out Sex in the City. Yeah. You know, like how I got my job and then I’m going to go with my son, friends and yelling woohoo!

 

40:04  

yeah and waking up by the way feeling like complete shit not remembering the night and realizing you weren’t safe on your way home.

 

40:10  

Right and then tried to pretend it didn’t happen and make myself look great that day and so that I won’t look hungover and, and just then the hangover goes away so you can lie to yourself later about how bad it was. And I mean, it’s just awful and it’s exhausting. Exactly. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I actually thought I was tired for like, a decade. And I came over like I had mild enough hangovers that I didn’t really understand that they were hangovers. And every morning I would just think God, I’m so exhausted. And it’s like, No, you were hungover.

 

40:45  

Yeah, in the middle of the night, wake up so you just don’t sleep well, like you don’t realize. I mean, I shouldn’t say this, but I used to like drink a bottle of wine and, of course each night and then also sometimes taking them Ambien are also taking bedroom because I was so terrified of waking up in the middle of the night and then not being able to function the next day because I was so tired not because I was hung over.

 

No way, you know, and I didn’t even know that the wakeups were associated with drinking. I thought, you know, I was just so my life was so hard. I had so much anxiety, a uniquely difficult life, you know, right? 

 

Yeah, I thought I knew that they were associated with wake ups, but I just kind of thought that didn’t. I had some other reason. You know, it was because my life is so tough. We’re like, you know what, you’ll just deal with the tired because it’s not. You would rather not drink like that, we’re worse.

 

41:41  

Yeah. And I was really scared for a long time. One of the reasons I was ready to quit is because I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep without drinking. And first of all, not only was that not true, but there are ways around that, you know, like what if so, like, maybe you work with your doctor and you get 500 are something you know that you can parcel out to yourself? Or guess what if you don’t sleep for a night, you’re going to be okay. Like, your body’s going to sleep. Yeah, eventually. 

I remember that day 9 was the day I got my first really good night’s sleep. And you know, staining the drinking cycle for 22 months feeling like death, or 9 days to sleep like a baby. Sober sleep is the best. I mean, really is. I kind of missed that. I haven’t appreciated it for a long time. 

 

I appreciate that I was like, wow, just waking up every day for a few years. And now I just feel it’s just like sleep. You know? Sometimes it’s great sleep, sometimes it’s okay. But just waking up sober was just a miracle. It really is. And knowing what you said the night before, knowing what you did, knowing who you slept with, you know, like knowing how you got home and love that stuff. I know versus like when I would go on business trips.

 

42:58  

It was like rolling the dice. I am shocked that I got home okay. Oh yes. I was very lucky. I never had any negative experiences with men when I was drinking irresponsibly. I’ve been with my husband since we were like 22, which is, yeah, which is crazy. But I mean, I remember one night so I was on a business trip and was coming home. I must have been 27. My flight was canceled, like the connection was canceled. And in line, I met some random guy and woman who were also in their extra early 20s. We got vouchers, and we decided to somehow pool our vouchers and stay in one room so that we could have more vouchers for the bar, like Oh, so we slept in a room with like, two queen beds like, I shared with no idea who these people are, zero. I barely woke up. I was brutally hungover and I flew home to my husband and how do you explain this like I was like, I’m just so fun like, That is right. That is a little bit who’s married to do.

 

44:08  

Yeah, and just to get more bar vouchers I mean, like, like pretty and to have like, and have drinking buddies for the night and to not remember any of it.

 

44:20  

I wonder where they are now..

 

Although I sit there and like some of the people when I first like, I shared that I was not drinking on Facebook and I was probably like, I was at least a year sober before I shared it. But one of my main motivators was that I was kind of lonely. And I also had so many drinking buddies in my… I played rugby in college, I worked and drank like, happy hour with coworkers, business trips with coworkers, but I was like, I’m kind of curious if any of these guys are sober, too. 

 

So I was trying to be like, Hey guys, I’m sober. Because I was like, I’m pretty sure you guys are on the path. So all that was to say if whoever that guy and girl are pretty sure they’re on the path with me, and hopefully you’re out there sober somewhere. Enjoy your life finally and remember nights when flights get delayed.

 

45:12  

Right, right. Oh god, I can’t. I mean, that just sounds awful. I never liked drinking on planes. This is one way I was able to lie to myself because I’ve had situations where I just didn’t really drink. There’s nothing worse to me than being on like, a really long plane. And I flew internationally for Amazon a lot, where you’re drunk and like, you’re still stuck on the plane and you can’t fall asleep and you can’t really read. So that’s like one place where I was really able to control oneself and just have like a glass of wine or two that’s controlling myself as to level one. 

 

But I mean, yeah, so I never had that airport thing where people are like, Oh, my God, airports are my Trigger Zone. I don’t think I ever got drunk in an airport bar ever in my life. Wow. I was too focused on being tense. Like I was like, I have to keep all my energy on making things go right. But I know it’s like a major, major drinking zone. And there’s that thing called bill w on the courtesy phone. Yeah, yeah. I love that you can actually just pick it up and Bill W.

 

There’s, you know, meetings in the airport sometimes, right? Yeah. Are you calling someone else who’s in a bill who likes the founder? And so yeah, you can find someone else.

 

46:25  

you’re supposed to like the idea is if somebody you’re like I’m you know, calling Bill W to gate 15. And if someone around me, presumably who’s in a, is near gate 15, they’re supposed to be like, oh, I’ll go help this person, which is kind of incredible.

 

46:40  

It’s kind of incredible. And also like it is, it is kind of a code word, right? Like, well, you know, sometimes when you’re talking to someone and I do you know, I share. I don’t share a ton with people, but I always tell them that I quit drinking, which for me is, I used to drink and I don’t drink anymore. You can tell if they get it, right, because some people shrug. And some people are like, What? That’s crazy. Not ever drink, which they have their own issues without alcohol. But if they are, you know, on the recovery path, they’ll say, you know, they’ll say something that is kind of like this. This shorthand or this, you know, whatever it is that you’re like, Oh, yeah. You know, they get it.

 

47:24  

Yeah, yeah. And it is funny how people I mean, one of the nice things about like, accidentally getting famous for being sober is that hardly anyone offers me a drink anymore, because generally, they already know. But yeah, when people I used to find that if I would just be like, Oh, no, that’s okay. I don’t drink. They’d be like, oh, not even a little. And eventually, I started saying, like, I quit drinking or I’m in recovery, and that’s a great way to just make it clear. 

 

Yeah, like, if you push after that you’re just being an asshole. And I’m going to treat you like you. Um, but yeah, cuz it is amazing how many people like, if you say you don’t eat tomatoes. No one cares.

 

48:01  

Oh, or like you’re a vegetarian. They’re just like, oh, a vegan and you’re like, oh, you’re kind of high maintenance and just kidding. They’re laughing. Right?

 

48:10  

Right, right. Once you were to say like, I’m allergic to shellfish, people would not be like, we’ll just have one. Just one, like, cuz he’d be like, Well, my throat closed up like they wouldn’t push you. Yeah, but if it’s alcohol somehow the fact that you’re not drinking it is a problem. Because it’s so prevalent. It’s so everywhere. And you did talk about, you know, you said originally about being angry, right? Yeah. I think every woman when you kind of go through the phase of, you’re not shaky, you’re not drinking, you’re suddenly I mean, it’s so it’s so awesome. And I love when women get to this phase, when they start being like, Oh my God, this we’ve been brainwashed like, this is ridiculous. We’ve been lied to like all these years. Tell me about that.

 

49:02  

Yeah, I started to just know. I mean, it was just interesting. I just started to realize like, drinking is everywhere, you know, like there is a day I think I read about this Angela that I was at work, I was at our little campus farmers market and I fell down. And I really scraped my knee just terribly. And I posted about it, of course, you know, immediately on Facebook, and like three people were like, Oh, you better get some wine. Oh, you need wine. And it was like 10am on a work day. And even at my drinking years, I would not have thought that was a good idea. And I was just like, this is really weird that like no one said, Oh, do you have a bandaid on flowers or you know, like, it was wine. And I just thought this is very strange that these smart, successful women are prescribing like morning. Work Day wine to me. 

 

Yeah. And I was annoyed because I was about two or three months sober. Ah, that would be really annoying. It was really frustrating and these were not people who knew of course, you know, but it was just like well that’s just so strange and that’s what started me noticing like, well there’s Rosé everywhere and Whole Foods in the summer like it’s on all the end caps all the prime merge space and, and all the billboards for boobs and all the feminist messaging. And I just started to, and I was reading gone for like yoga and I know Vinyasa and Vino. Yes. What the hell? Oh, yeah. That doesn’t involve alcohol.

 

50:34  

Right? It was just like everything was and there will be wine to get you there. And I was like, This is too sick, like, like, you should not be going to yoga in a 100 degree room and then drinking wine afterwards. I don’t care if you have a drinking problem or not. That is just stupid. Like, just no. And so and it was all things that would kind of exclude me, so I would think why I would go to that yoga class, but then I’m just gonna feel kind of like a dork. I’m gonna have to leave. 

 

And so I just started to get angrier and angrier. And then I realized I didn’t. And I was sort of angry at women. And then I was like, wait a minute, you’re angry at the wrong people. Because not the individual women can’t be plenty worth getting mad at. Women are in the system that’s just sucking them over constantly. Yeah, and then lying to them about what will make them feel better. So then I start getting mad at you know, more appropriately, society, society and patriarchy, essentially. And I was like, you know, we’re never gonna tear any of this down until women get their fucking heads clear. Yeah, and get really mad. 

 

I wrote an essay a couple years ago for Columbia Journal about Carry Nation, who is just an amazing figure and she was the woman who was well known for going around to saloons during pre prohibition and smashing them with a hatchet. She was an event Christian, and she had this army of other women who have been coming singing hymns, and just smashing up saloons. And everyone thought she was crazy. And I think she was maybe, you know, extreme. But she, her husband had died from drinking. Her first husband. And she was a suffragist, and women couldn’t get the vote over and over and she finally said, you denied me the vote. So I had to take up a hatchet. And she wanted to outlaw alcohol, which was a big issue for supper, just back in the day, a lot of them had lost men to drinking. And so she did it explicitly because they would not let her vote. And I was like, wow, this woman who’s become known as just kind of a nut was really just sort of like, hey, if you want to take away my formal power, then I will use informal power.

 

52:53  

Yeah, here Oh, one one of the things that really resonated with me that I thank you. You sort of first planted the seed that we are being pacified with wine, we’re being mollified with wine and you know as a mom, I… I know that when my kids were little like babies, but even toddlers like, I would give them their pacifier. Yes, to self soothe, but also because I didn’t want them to scream and I didn’t want them to… I didn’t want them to embarrass me. And I didn’t want to deal with stuff right? And that’s so universal. And so one of my means, that I’ve seen that just drives me crazy was, it was supposed to be funny, which is not. And it’s you know, husbands’ guide or a guy’s guide to dealing with women and what to say that is, like, dangerous. Extremely dangerous, neutral safe, very safe and dangerous is of course, like what did you do all day or you’re going to wear that or you know, the general asshole shut.

 

And…and the very safe you know, the medium was like, Can I help you with that, or how was your day like neutral, which is just being a normal human being? Right? 

 

Right, right. The very safe way here was to have a glass of wine in every single column. And the truth is we do that to ourselves. We do that, our friends, like you have a horrible day and you say to yourself, literally, here have a glass of wine. When you’re treated how you’re resentful for valid reasons. We’re putting a bottle of wine as a pacifier in our mouth, so we shut up.

 

54:37  

Yeah, and so men can keep us “shut up”, you know, and it’s not that as a sober person. It’s not that I’m just constantly confronting my own emotional issues. 24/7, like God knows I have days when I come home, and I’m just like, I’m gonna play video games, you know? Play Animal Crossing or whatever. Like, you can still just goof off or tune out at times, but, but I’m not going to like actually alter my brain. I’m not going to let our culture tell me that…that is what, that’s my prize. No, I want to make the amount of money as a man, I want my body to belong to me. I want universal childcare for mothers. I mean, my demands are much larger than they used to be. Yeah.

 

And it’s hard to make those demands when you’re on the couch half passed out.

 

55:21  

Yeah. Because, you know, I think you know, somewhere that you’re not even using your own personal power then. I mean, what happened to me is I was already a feminist Of course, I’ve been a feminist since I was born, I think but, but I just became much more personally powerful when I got sober. So anything I wanted to do, I just became better at, I mean, not like roller skating or something. Like just probably you could probably be better now but it’s not great. But, I just knitted. But if I wanted to make a point, I knew how to make the point. I just kind of got steadier and so in my career We’re in my personal life, my relationships, everything got better because I just liked myself more. And I was also just more like, well, I’m just gonna say what I mean in a respectful way. And I’m going to use my power and I just it was like I got supercharged. Oh, it’s like your superpower. Like not drinking is absolutely a superpower. absolutely is. I mean it’s even situationally like when it comes to observing other people or reading up on cues like oh my god when you’re like buzzed slash tipsy slash drunk like you cannot interpret when someone’s just like, you’re going off on a tangent and it is not Landy.

 

56:40  

Oh, it’s so… it’s so embarrassing. And I realize now how fast it happens. Like if people have a drink or two, it’s fine, but like by that third drink, I’m so bored. You know, like I’m hearing the same stories again. Or sometimes they start to cry or you decide you’re going to take over the world and the next day like you don’t remember anything.

 

57:00  

Yeah, yeah. And I’m just like, oh god, this is I gotta back off. And you know, it’s not that I’m uncomfortable. I’m just like, I have to spend my time some other way.

 

57:09  

And I know that people are worried about leaving work events, because you’re gonna miss the FaceTime and the bonding. And honestly, yeah, you’re more likely to miss a misstep and a cringe worthy moment you’ll produce that will actually hurt you in your career. Absolutely.

 

57:25  

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, just, you know, what I would do is I made sure I showed up I did my FaceTime. And and then I left, you know, like,

 

57:35  

well, it is this point, like four and a half years sober, but it probably happened way earlier. I mean, now when someone says, Let’s get a drink, yes, I say absolutely. Let’s get a drink because a drink is just liquid in your class. Like, is that mean? Alcohol, but we believe it does, right? Yeah.

 

57:55  

And early on. I felt awkward about that. I felt like I had to be like, I don’t drink and I was like, well, you do drink, you can just show the bar and get anything. Or a mocktail or whatever. I love talking to the bartender and saying, I don’t drink. Can you make me something really amazing without alcohol in it? Yeah, actually strikes up a great conversation.

 

58:16  

Yeah, yeah. Especially if you’re at ease with it. You know, like, I’m not remotely shy about the fact that I don’t drink anymore. I think it’s a little weirder when people do drink, frankly.

 

58:25  

Okay, I’m not there yet.

 

58:28  

I’m just like, sometimes I’m just like, Oh, your life could be so much better. But, I know not everybody’s an alcoholic, either. But I just think that the sluggish way that like, you’ve been wondering would make me feel and how I’d feel like, just slightly, you know, muddle headed and things like that, but I just don’t feel nervous or defensive anymore. And so it’s a non issue. You know, I find people are less defensive about drinking in front of me, you know, people are always like, well, if you’re not gonna drink, I can’t drink. Yeah, and I’m like, again, it’s like I’m not eating shrimp like doesn’t mean you can’t eat well, and it takes time to get there, right? 

 

Anyone listening to this who’s thinking about quitting drinking or in their first couple months? Like, you know, we know how you feel. That’s why Kristi said when someone comes to her and it’s like, I’ve got 6 days, you’re like, you are fucking amazing. Yes. Like, this is hard. This is real. But the thing is that once you get a certain amount of distance, and it starts by looking around and being like, Whoa, this is kind of fucked up. What’s the way marketed to the way we’re being told to? Don’t get angry, just drink a bottle of wine and you know, make it go away? Once you kind of get to that point of having your eyes being opened, you’re like, Oh, yeah, you’re not as fragile about it.

 

59:47  

Really not and you just have to get some momentum going. And that means you just have to, sometimes you just have to get it out. And day 6, like you may not be feeling like, like, I never say to people like, Hope you’re feeling great because like what if it’s Day 6, and they’re really not feeling great. 

 

Sometimes I’ll say, How are you feeling? You know? And they’ll be like, Well, actually, no. But I think it’s that, you know, we think about it alcohol is, I mean, it’s a poison. And it’s a poison, like a lot of things like a lot of feet of saturated fat or sugar, whatever, things that aren’t necessarily great for our bodies that some people can just ingest in safe amounts and enjoy. And but we think of it as our default, we think of it as a healthy food. I think, you know, there’s this whole thing about how it’s what’s good for your heart.

 

1:00:36  

Oh, my God, I hate when people say that it’s like two ounces once a week and it’s Wow, it’s not even true. Like no American Cancer Society just said, total bullshit. Not true, right, your amount.

 

1:00:50  

And my thing is just like, there’s nothing I mean, I eat sugar, you know, but I don’t try to pretend that Oh, I’m doing this for my health. It’s like no, it tastes really good. And I’m able to Not go completely insane most of the time, that’s fine. So I just get a little tired of the like, I’ve literally had people say to me, but what about the heart benefits? You’re missing them and I’m like, you know, I was gonna cut my life short, like I would have died. I just read yesterday the average person who dies of drinking, they died 28 years earlier than they would have. 28. 

 

Yeah, on average than they would have. Wow, natural causes. Yeah. And this is car deaths. So it’s a no. By the way, those are not good years. Like, no you’re drinking. When I think about what I stopped drinking when I was 40. When I think about what this decade of my life would be like and where I would be at 50. If I had you down the path, it would not be fun.

 

1:01:45  

No, it would not. It would not be good. My husband actually said one of the reasons he quit is, you know, we both grew up in Florida and there are a lot of like, older people who would, you know, be in their 70s. Who just kind of drinks all day at the beach bar. He was like, that is not a good life, you know. And he was like, that is probably how I would have ended up like. Yeah, there comes a point where you’re like, I think he was 44 or something when he quit. It’s like, I don’t want to be 60 and be doing that. I want to be surfing and kayaking and still running my company. And you know, he couldn’t have both. 

 

And I think that the two options are, you know, sitting alone as a social outcast, having no fun or in a basement of a church, or sitting at the bar. The truth is the choices, you know, being a senior citizen sitting at a bar all afternoon or, you know, going on, you know, hiking the Camino in Portugal or hiking or paddle-boarding or anything. Yeah, you know, or like starting a second career or, you know, doing anything.

 

1:02:52  

I’m much more adventurous now as a sober person because I know I can take care of myself. 

 

Yeah. You know, I love traveling alone, and I Love, you know, I will do things that are fairly daring because like I’m set I’m a sound mind. I have my wits about me and I can problem solve, you know? Like, I it’s not that I’m invulnerable to danger, but I at least am not putting myself in stupid situations. Absolutely. You get bigger, it gets so much bigger. Yeah, one of the things you said at the end of the podcast that I was listening to this morning was, and this was four years ago. You said you thought that being sober needed a rebrand?

 

1:03:34  

Yes.

 

1:03:35  

And like that started to happen. Do you feel that way? I do.

 

1:03:40  

I do. I do even like, I have a lot of friends who were very intolerant of the idea of being sober curious. They were like, well, this isn’t. This is disrespecting the people who have a real disease, but it didn’t strike me that way. I felt like no, this can only be a good thing. If people are saying hey, I’m going to drink less or Sometimes I want to go out dancing and not drink. I was like, that’s great. I’m a real believer in the idea of harm reduction. Like, better is better if you are doing heroin and drinking and you stop doing the heroin and you’re still drinking. Oh, boy, you still make your life a lot better. And hopefully, you can keep moving along that path. 

 

So yeah, I think it’s wonderful. I think the idea that you can be sober and like, you’re not missing anything, is just fantastic. And it is happening. I think like, Holly Whitaker’s book, which like, it’s so much fun. Like I loved it. I was reading and I was like, This is an incredible holiday. Like there’s these wildly inflammatory states. Yes. Let me just drop that right there. 

 

Exactly. Smoke, which I agree with someone which I don’t, but I was like, This is great. I love that her tactic was basically like, everybody should quit drinking and just like, burn it down. 

 

Yeah, just burn it down. And, you know, I just, I was like, well There we go. I’d love that someone just put it out there. And I do think like it’s and the reason I wrote my book. The way I did it is because I wanted people to understand that it could be like fun. And I wanted to drink. I want to drink about I wanted to write about nefarian. It’s just kidding. I want to write about what came after, because I don’t like sober memoirs that often focus on the path to the bottom, which tends to be a very dramatic bottom. And then it’s kind of like, well, then I accepted that I had a problem. And now I’m grateful for every day, you know. 

 

Yeah. And so like, Sarah Hubble’s book was one of the first ones where at least a third of that book was post sobriety. And I loved that. And I was like, and I remember her saying in an interview that people complain about that. they’re like, I thought the last third of your book was boring. And I was like, No, no, no, not not good stuff. Good stuff.

 

1:05:58  

Yeah, cuz her drinking Like mine was nothing so, you know, nothing so interesting. Yeah. But I really wanted to paint that picture of like, this is what it can look like, warts and all to be sober. And I also happen to think that being newly sober is kind of comedy gold. Oh, it is the ultimate fish out of, like, water so to speak, experience and, and I wanted to show people like, if you can find yourself a little ridiculous in early sobriety, I think that’s actually healthy. But that’s when you need other sober people right? Like you can’t. Other people don’t get it. But if you could. 

 

And I interviewed the authors of the Sober Lush. And I know I talk about it with my sober bestie like some of the shit that happens when you’re trying to not drink in a drinky world is mortifying and hysterical.

 

1:06:52  

It’s really funny and you’re just trying to like basically, it’s like that Eddie Murphy movie, like coming to him. America, one other planet, like you’ve been dropped in this alien environment, and you’re just trying to figure it out. And it’s funny and like you, you are kind of ridiculous. And so are the people around you. And I just wanted to sort of show that so that people could feel like, Oh, this isn’t all this isn’t all me meditating or, you know, or, or like take a bath, go to a meeting, take a bath, go to me. 

 

You can actually keep living your life like I hibernated a bit, you know, for a few weeks, but you can’t go back out into the world. You certainly will at some point, yeah. And you’re going to need to cope and you need to be out there and know how to think on your feet and be agile. And it’s kind of funny, and it’s kind of fun. And also you can feel great being sober. So I kind of wrote the book that I wished I’d been able to read when I first got sober. And I didn’t want to focus on the slide to the bottom because it was over. It was boring.

 

1:07:56  

Well, it is like you know, you talk you know, we all have our lowlights. But a lot of my drinking was like me on the couch running between my wineglass and in the bottle watching episodes of dramas I didn’t totally remember, like fascinating novels.

 

1:08:11  

Definitely, like, not like I’m a good writer and like, I could not make that interesting. You know what I mean? It’s like, no, that’s really boring. Yes. It’s the death of ambition, essentially.

 

1:08:22  

It is operating at 50% power.

 

1:08:27  

Yeah, you know, I’m thinking about the Kamala Harris conversation going around where people are saying, Oh, I think she’s too ambitious to be vice president. Well, like First of all, first of all, fuck you.

 

1:08:38  

Yes. No first like you I did.

 

1:08:41  

Like, it’s kind of good to be like, that means she’s gonna try and do a really good job. So yes, a student with a big job and you know, but also we hate ambitious women. Yeah, like, I think with Hillary Clinton, they found that her poll numbers would be sky high when she was in a job. People were like, She’s awesome. We’d love her. She just doing a great job. But when she was asking for a job, they were like, Whoa, what’s wrong with this lady that she wants this job? And so I think there’s something to the idea that if we’re drinking a lot as women, we are less ambitious. You demand less.

 

1:09:13  

you ask us to turn all the frustrations on yourself because you’re blaming yourself.

 

1:09:23  

Yeah, yeah. Because you know, deep down that you actually are harming yourself like, this is not Oh, like, the patriarchy did not stick that wineglass in your hand like you have some agency in this situation. Yeah. And I think it’s, it plays out beautifully, because it’s women saying, well, this is my prize, I get to do my job and then come home and be on the sofa drinking this wine and maybe you measure your success by the fact that now you buy $20 wine instead of $10 wine or something. Although honestly, you guys there’s really no difference.

 

1:09:56  

Yeah, and the other thing is you really are impacting all the hours. You know, you might drink for three hours, you are impacting the rest, you sleep terribly. You wake up hungover, you’re barely getting through the day. You’re trying to hold it together. And then you’re drinking again, like how could you take on the world? How could you wait? Like, my drinking life was pretty much two or three hours a day? You know, I was never a day drunk at work, all that it was and yet.

 

Absolutely, I mean, it’s a shame that you’re carrying around whether you know it or not. Yeah, because you know that you’re you know, you’re part of a system that encourages that but you’re doing you know, you’re harming yourself. It will just drag you down that shame. I think I really started to put shame away when I got sober. 

 

Yeah. Because that’ll just kill you. I love it that when I was drinking, I used to always be like, why don’t I have discipline? Why don’t I have self control? Like the idea that you’re weak? And now I look back and I’m like, Oh my god, I was working so fucking hard. Ever. Every day of my life, like, women who keep up and men who keep up careers and marriages and parenting kids, while drinking a bottle of wine tonight. Oh my God, you are running a fucking marathon every single day.

 

1:11:15  

Yep. You like working much harder than you have to.

 

1:11:18  

Yeah, you have stamina, you have discipline. You’re just using your discipline to keep drinking in your life. 

 

Right, right. I mean, my job even. God, was never easy. I had a really hard job, but my jobs at Amazon got easier when I.. 

 

Oh, God. Yes. Because I and I also could set boundaries better than Yeah, no. And so like, I remember I came out as sober I think was on my second sober bursary. I mean, a lot of people close to me knew at that point, but I posted on Facebook that it was like, happy. Just a short post. And I remember thinking, am I killing my career? Oh, my goodness. I was like, and I thought, well, I guess I don’t really care. 

 

First of all, and because I was always thinking like that. Want to blow this up? And I thought, you know, I’ll just tell you to just take the risk. It did not do me one bit of harm. Career wise people were delighted for me. And I love it that I thought it might… the people be like, well, I can’t hire someone who once had a drinking problem. If anything, I got more opportunities than people. Yeah.

 

1:12:20  

And it’s insane to think about like you’re drinking too much. So you’re often hung over, you get fuzzy, you’re trying so hard to stay on top of everything, your nerves are shot. And yet you’re worried that if you actually stop again, people are gonna say, Oh, God, she stopped drinking. She must have a problem. And what if she relapses? Like, wait, that’s like 17 threads? 

 

Exactly. That they are not people who have a drinking problem are going to… could it get to be like, and this and this and this like, let me Oh, wait.

 

1:12:53  

Yeah, I mean, I was two years sober. You know, if anything, I had more opportunities. People were like, oh, first of all, here’s someone who is not drunk and is more calm and able to get stuff done in less time and less likely to fly off the handle or be dramatic about small changes or big changes.

 

1:13:13  

I mean, I’ve had a good reputation, you know, as a drinker, like I was doing a really good job and, and they were like, Oh, so it seems funny to me now that I was so worried. And now it’s like, I wouldn’t care. I’d be like, every time I’ve had people say, Well, what about like, if you, I mean, I write full time now. But they’ve said, What if you decided to go back to a corporate gig? Would you be worried you can get hired because of things you’ve written about? And I was like, No, for I’m not remotely worried that I couldn’t get hired. Yeah. And because like, it’s all about the skills you bring, but also like if someone had a problem with that, like, why would I want to? That’s a red flag. 

 

Absolutely.

 

1:13:49  

And that’s something that you’re able to do more when you don’t drink, right? You’re able to, you know, I was a total people pleaser and wanted people to like me. To be honest, even people I do, didn’t like or respect. I cared what they thought of me. And since I’ve quit drinking and just really owned who I am, I mean I’m not embarrassed to have drank at all or embarrassed to quit like, I think it is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life and frankly, is a really hard difficult thing that’s pretty badass.

 

1:14:19  

Yeah, absolutely. Also I’m all you know, I spend a lot more time evaluating if I respect others then I worry about what they think of me now which is pretty fucking cool.

 

1:14:32  

Yeah, I’m much more comfortable not being liked now. I mean, I still think I have like, you know, I am a human like of course there’s you know, you in my court love everyone to think everything I do is flawless. But also when you write having been so public about this and written

 

1:14:48  

well, writing is pretty I mean, when Ashley came out like, you got people. My god, dad, they were people stabilizer shit. Yeah, I mean, men were mad. For the usual man reasons, because like I had an opinion, and I was a feminist, and I said things about the patriarchy. So I got some really vicious mail for men. But women were really mad at me. They thought I was saying that any woman who ever has a glass of wine is a tool of the patriarchy. And I was like, and my editor and I were actually like, we actually went back through the piece to be like, some women are mad. Did you say that? It was like, No, I didn’t say that. And the women were just furious. And I got some really, you know, like, I was trash talk and like the New York Post.

 

1:15:34  

oh, it’s not just about the patriarchy. Have you ever tried or seen someone comment on a wine meme? And say, actually, that was not that funny. You know, like, there are those clicks around you know, like, You’re the reason to the kid, like, You’re the reason mommy drinks. Have you ever been like, actually that’s not that funny. Like, kind of sad. And people like, God, get a fucking sense of humor.

 

Yeah. Even when I was like, Okay. Oh yeah, I don’t even do it anymore. I don’t either. I don’t figure, it’s not worth it. And I don’t always want to.

 

1:16:08  

Actually, I kind of send it to my sober friends and just laugh about it. They’re like, Oh, yeah, that’s fucked up. It’s just kind of sad. Like, it’s just kind of like, because I think with parenting especially. I just think, God it is so hard to be a parent these days and it’s so competitive and there’s no you can’t just send your kids out to play in the Cul De Sac anymore. People are like, Oh, why don’t they have a helmet on or why don’t you know like, it’s all just and I saw you write about childhood for us was not,

 

1:16:36  

you know, a bowl of cherries either. Right? So I don’t know. It’s kind of six dozen. But at least my mom could just be like, go and play. Yeah, like we bought and rode our bikes around and no one had ever heard of a child bike helmet.

 

1:16:49  

Probably lucky to be alive. But um, but I think that it’s just you know, we’re supposed to be perfect and not acknowledge that we’re being pressed into like, really really unhealthy ways of dealing with that pressure? Yeah, and I don’t see in men not that men are not under immense societal pressures but they are not under pressure to be perfect and do everything.

 

1:17:11  

Yeah. Given a path a lot more.

 

1:17:14  

Yeah. Like if they just kind of half assed it it’s like, oh, they’re trying like, oh, he spent a day with his own children in that story.

 

1:17:22  

Yeah, mostly women. Listen to this. So I’m like, Yeah, well, people get mad at me like we always did when I was like, I don’t actually care when I was in corporate and I worked in. My last job was at L’Oreal, which is really very, a lot of women. I felt incredibly blessed to not you know, it was 80/20 women men, and yet we would say, men get promoted based on their potential. Women get promoted based on fucking working their asses off and already doing the job and proving that they could do the job. And that was just yeah, even in a company that was 20 minutes. You saw that and it was crazy, like, Oh my God, this guy comes out of MBA school and works for a year, and suddenly as a director. And yet, yeah, we’ve been grinding here for five years. You know, I mean, you’re always still one more year off, you know? 

 

Yeah. Well, why don’t you show? I haven’t seen you do x. And you’re sort of looking around like, what? what about that guy?

 

1:18:20  

Yeah, I am. Yeah, there were, I was told at one point at Amazon, I actually had like, 10 different conversations. There’s this big promotion that, that I was always on the cusp of for 10 years, I was always a year away. And I started collecting the reasons, you know, that I was never quite there. And part of it is a company problem. They don’t actually understand the career path or how to communicate about this stuff. 

 

But I was told at one point, just change the world. And it’ll be an easy sell. But I needed to actually change the world. And I was sober by this point. And I was so stunned. 

 

You’re like, what do you say to that? And I was thinking about the men around me who were competent. But they weren’t changing the frickin world. And they were getting promoted to this level that I wanted to be promoted to. And at that point, I think that that was maybe the last.

 

That was part one. I was like, what I might just go become really famous doing something. Yes.

 

1:19:19  

Yeah. And try. I think that’s a better plan. I do. Right. And subconsciously, when you talk about unconscious bias, yeah, it’s a little bit like, well, he has a family to support, right. I mean, people say that, but that is part of the motion. Like, well, your husband works.

 

1:19:36  

Yeah. And it’s like, well, yeah, I mean, most of my male co workers, my peers at Amazon had wives who stayed at home. And these were women with Harvard Law Degrees. Oh, yeah. You know, they got Wharton MBAs like these and have been high powered people. And it would always be. And by the way, some of these men are lovely people like, they’re not Yeah, they’re assholes, but they say we know just make more sense for her to be the one who stayed home and you’re like, why? Like, if you’re breastfeeding, maybe okay, but why did it make more sense?

 

1:20:07  

When also why does the workplace make it so you can’t both work and go home? And, it’s set up that way both for the men and the women. Right? So yeah, yeah, there’s FaceTime and stuff. So someone has to get to daycare by 6pm and commute, right? with business travel. And I mean, if someone’s, you know, in terms of like, the patriarchy and the system and all the things like it is, you know, it’s not a level playing field. Like it’s not a meritocracy, like that is not fucking true.

 

1:20:38  

You know, it’s absolutely not I mean, some of the things that you know, that the behaviors that men are rewarded for it, it’s been well documented that you know, women who are assertive in the same way that men are seen as aggressive or

 

Oh, God, yeah, you are ambitious. Too ambitious, right?

 

1:20:54  

Hold directly, like if you seem ambitious, you’ll never get that promotion. They’ll smell it. But if you’re laid back then they won’t think you’re interested. Or, you know, and it’s like, what’s wrong with ambition? Like, ambition has gotten dirty? A dirty reputation or women old hearted and sociopathic? 

 

Yeah. Exactly. Like, oh, she’ll fuck anyone to get that job or something. Ambition just means you want to do big things. And like, that’s value neutral, right? If those things are like murdering people, then your ambition is bad. Yeah. If it’s building a business or changing the world, and like, ambition is good, and we’re told that we should be focused on the domestic sphere, or just being selfless. And, and it’s just it’s said, You know. 

 

I, I remember for years, your beef about working with men who were promoted based on potential, you know, I worked my last role at Amazon with a product manager who was a very nice young guy, and flat out probably the worst Product Manager. I worked with him for a 12 year career, like absolutely hapless, and he kept on, you know, just year after year. I think I’ve worked with him for over two years because of potential. And I just remember thinking, you know, there’s potential and we’re all wrong when we’re young, and we need help. We need coaching, we screw up, but it was like this endless, like line to draw him back in. 

 

Yeah. And as a woman, I’m so, you would never be given that. Yeah, you know, you’ve managed out and, and here’s this person making life much harder because of male potential. Yeah.

 

1:22:38  

Well, and also one of your parts that I highlighted in the chapter of your book was talking about first world women and why first these you know, it’s a joke, right first world problems. Yeah. You know. 

 

And it’s true, like we’re very privileged, but you know, first world women, why do these women need to drink and they’re cool chicks, and they have great lives? And then you wrote, well, maybe even cool chicks are still women and there’s no easy way to be a woman. Because as you may have noticed, there’s no acceptable way to be a woman.

 

1:23:12  

Right? You are not supposed to be a woman. You really are not. We’ve all made a terrible mistake that we are paying for and yet I love being a woman I would never want to be a man. 

 

No, I wouldn’t either. I mean, not that I would really know what it’s like, but really, if you are not you are not supposed to be a woman. You are either, you’re going to be either loved or feared or you know, it’s in. If you love too much, you’re not respected. If you’re respected, you’re not loved. My, my, my mantra now is there’s no acceptable way to be a woman so you might as well do what you want. Yes. If you can’t be acceptable, then don’t worry about it. Just do what you want to do.

 

1:23:51  

And at the end of that paragraph you are right, and if there’s no acceptable way to be the thing that you are, then maybe some women drink little or a lot? 

 

1:24:02  

Yeah, I mean, just think about it, if you can’t win, if you’re in a no win situation, you’re going to need some way to cope with that. Drinking is there, it’s socially acceptable.

 

1:24:12  

And yet if you’re harming yourself, right, you’re like, Hey, I have a problem. There’s no acceptable way to be the way I am. I’m getting damned If I do, damned if I don’t. Let me break a bottle of wine over my head as a salute. Like that’s good and yet that’s what we’re told to do.

 

1:24:31  

Yeah, because it keeps us quiet. And it makes us feel glamorous.

 

1:24:36  

And it works right when you get sucked out your blood pressure goes down. You don’t care about things because you don’t remember things.

 

1:24:44  

Right? And it’s and if you can do it, it’s like manageable levels. Like I mean, drinking is fun. A lot of my drinking was a lot of fun. Yeah, I would never say that. It wasn’t and but you know, for me and for a lot of people, I mean, it’s an addictive substance. It is addictive. So you’re supposed to be ashamed if you get addicted to it, but like, it’s addictive. This is neurology. 

 

It’s not It’s not like anyone with enough prolonged exposure to the substance will become addicted to it. And the way our society itself is set up with self reinforcing behavior and culture and encouragement, more and more women are having sustained prolonged exposure to an addictive substance and are going down that path, and then blaming themselves for doing so when they don’t realize they’re being set up to fail. And yet, the only way to succeed is to drop the rope. Just walk away.

 

1:25:40  

Exactly. You have to just walk away. I mean, I don’t completely understand how women end up in this situation because it happened to me. I mean, I was no dummy. And I was very skeptical about a lot of aspects of our culture. And I still ended up in the situation, you know, a heavy drinker for at least 10 years. Yeah. And I get it. I look back and I’m like, oh, is exactly how this happened. And yeah, I had to walk away. I mean I ultimately could not do this at a manageable level. I tried to moderate for years. Moderation sucks. It is not fun and if you have to think that hard about moderating you probably should not be drinking at all. I mean, it’s not like it’s not if you can just be like, Oh, I’m just gonna start drinking now and then and you just do that and it’s just changing a habit. That’s one thing, but that was not me like it was always going to be like, okay, I’ll only drink on days that have like this letter in them are all

 

1:26:35  

Oh my God, I tried every way known to demand not to drink like, I only drink when I’m at home. Wait, only drink when I’m out. I’ll buy a box of wine because I keep finishing the bottle and it’ll be Oh, that was not Oh, yeah, don’t try that one. So you can’t even see which is in it right? Oh, God.

 

1:26:52  

Yeah. Or, you know, I really love red wine and I switch to white wine. 

 

I did the opposite. I loved white wine and I switched to red. I mean, I didn’t like it as much.

 

1:27:01  

I still drink the same amount. Shocking.

 

1:27:04  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, when you’re drinking something you don’t even like.

 

1:27:08  

Like that’s as a form of harm reduction. Right, right.

 

1:27:12  

Like I would never do that with not I would never be like, I’m gonna drink I don’t know apple juice or something. Yeah, like I’m just like, I like it. I’m not gonna drink it. 

 

Yeah, very well. The last thing is, because I know we’re coming to the end. But one of the things I love about your book, so I cannot wait for your next one as a woman who has been in this culture and been in the male dominated world of working. Like, I just can’t wait. I know you’re writing it right now. So yeah.

 

1:27:40  

yeah, I am probably two thirds of the way through the first draft. And it was interesting because I was inside Amazon for so long. It didn’t occur to me that it would be like an interesting story to tell. And I said to my agent, well, I mean, I kind of had this idea and I don’t know if anybody would be interested and she was like, Oh my God, please. write that book. Yes, people would be interested. 

 

And so it’s, you know, it’s a book about being on the inside of Amazon and I was there for a crazy decade, you know, when it went from being a large retailer to having things like the Kindle on Amazon Web Services and Amazon Go. And so partly It is about, like, what’s it like to be inside this very secretive company that people are really curious about, but it’s also largely about just being a woman and being an alien at my level at Amazon, it was 25% women. And so I had the experience of often being the only woman in the room and even when I wasn’t in the culture is overwhelmingly male. And the scary thing about it is, it’s not like in a deliberately macho way it’s unconscious. You know, it’s because it’s been built for men by men. And so you end up really gaslit into thinking that you’re just somehow not good enough. When part of it isn’t Amazon loves for people to think there. Not good enough, so they’ll work harder. 

 

Yeah, people of all genders. But also, Amazon thinks people should be men, that you know, it’s really geared toward maleness. And so I wanted to write about what it does to you to live in that environment for 12 years, always feeling like you’re not quite right. And you can’t quite strike the right balance between male and female. It’s not great for you mentally. So that’s really what I wanted to explore in the book, you know, any memoir is a story of yourself. And so it’s really about what was I willing to do to myself and what was I willing to put up with, and how did that damage me? 

 

I realized about six months after I left that I had installed this little man in my head who for some reason looks like the monopoly man. 

 

Pat? 

 

Yeah, he does. He was like this filter because you always speak to your audience and I was filtering all my ideas and all my thoughts through this little man, even six months after I left the company because my audience was men and it was men who would be responsible for my success or my failure. And I was like, Whoa, how did I not know this? It was so unconscious. So I think that, like, I’m writing it for basically any woman who’s ever sort of worked in a company. I think it’ll make women feel less crazy than they may feel some of the time and it’ll spur conversations because we don’t really talk about it like there’s that idea of competing against other woman because there’s only one spot at the table for a certain level and yet again, like competition and feeling like you’re not good enough. 

 

So yes, you write your book. I can see a lot of women saying oh my god, that happened to me and that happened to me and exactly like the things that happened to me were not so freakish, you know, it’s like it’s it was it’s it is those little things are like, I remember my best friend who also is excellent on saying at one point, how come every program or mentorship opportunity for women here involves other women doing more work for free? 

 

Because the programs are always like women mentoring women. Well, you know, why can’t men mentor women? Yeah, why are they up? You know and and it was so it’s always sort of like okay we’re going to try and help you so there but you make this closed circle of women the the highest executive team at Amazon I think until this year like for years there were no women on it. So it’s literally a room full of men. 

 

Then there was one I think now there’s two out of like, 18, so tiny representation. And so there’s this close servo woman trying to help each other but you have no real access to the corridors of power. Yeah. So spinning your wheels to some extent. Yeah. So I’m hoping women will start, you know, probably people will just enjoy the book partly and find it fun to read, but also start talking about these things and about things like money and I’m going to be very frank about money in this book and abandoned baby. 

 

And then was salary and like promotions and all the stuff that we just don’t really talk about because I just think we talked about them, you know? 

 

Absolutely! I meant to talk about them too. We can’t solve these problems in corporations without men’s health because they own the power. Yeah. So it’s you know, we need to get to them to like, they need to decide to change something.

 

1:32:21  

Well, and I’m sure it is going to be funny because one of the things I love about Nothing good can come from this is that it’s really funny like even your quizzes, sort of the take on Am I an alcoholic quiz? Like it is damn funny and I love that because quitting drinking you know a lot of women who drink are funny and smart and that doesn’t change. When you remove the alcohol you just get a little more insightful.

 

1:32:51  

Yeah, you just get a little more edge and a little more insight. My editor says she’s like I love how you’re just going along. I’ll sort of earnestly say you’re funny and then you’ll just shoot people. You know what, like the truth and I was like yes, that’s how I get them off guard. I make them laugh and I stab them in the heart. Yeah.

 

1:33:07  

Well, and one of my favorite things is, you know the listing of do you have a drinking problem? And one of your questions is wondering if it’s like five liquid ounces, five liquid ounces plus any top ups made when no one is looking? Depends on how unfairly the world has treated me that day. And then the last one is measurement. What is it? Burj bush was wah wah and even patriarchal construct, right that’s your answer to one drink

 

1:33:38  

So Tom, my wine.

 

1:33:41  

Yeah, you can then also like, do you lie to your hairdresser? Yes, maybe she’s too much power over me already. I just love that. I read that and I was like, That’s fucking funny.

 

1:33:52  

That was fun to write because those quizzes are so funny. I mean, I used to take them and I would usually lie even then nobody would see the answers. Yeah. But yes, it was kind of fun to do some of these to play with those forms, you know, like tips and letters and guesses and may try to do some of that. The new book is more of it. It’s like an actual memoir. Yeah. And to me,

Those two like essays are, yeah.

 

1:34:14  

yeah. But I still think I’d like to find ways I mean, any corporate job. There’s so many things like performance reviews or job descriptions. Like there’s all these classic forms. Oh, my God, office space. That movie is my favorite movie in the family. I’m almost like, I can’t work for a boss who hasn’t seen and like who gets the movie office space. I mean, it’s dating me. But it is like life. 

 

My husband and I constantly quoted a guy with a stapler and like yeah, you don’t want to stapler the guy. Like, I have eight bosses, Bob. eight, eight, right. And most of my life just trying to not get shit, you know? 

 

Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Like that’s, that’s all I do. All I do is manage up new bosses. It’s.. I may try to play with some of those forms in the new world. You know, just at least play around with it like what would you know? How could you be funny about like a performance review but actually get across how brutal it really is.

 

1:35:08  

You know, dignity and the injustice and the patriarchy and the death of yes and cuts. 

 

And yeah, thank you for listening to the Amazon episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about overall work I do, access to a library of resources, and guides to help you build from life you’d love without alcohol, or visit and if you would take a minute to rate and review this podcast so more women may find it and join the conversation about drinking less, and living. I have a website which is just http://www.kristicoulter.com/ and you can find out more about me and links to my work. There’s a contact form there. 

 

I’m also on Facebook. I tend to be like, dating myself. I think that I tend to be more active on Facebook than other places. But I’m there and I’m on Instagram and I’m on Twitter, but Facebook is probably where I do most of my writing. Yeah. posts. 

 

Thank you. It’s been really good. It’s like a good lab for me, you know. And I also have a blog called off dry that I don’t update nearly as much as I used to. But it’s pretty extensive. And I’m trying to do a little bit more writing there. And maybe what I could do is I can send you a couple of my handles or something. 

 

Oh, perfect. Yeah,

 

1:36:34  

I’ll put them all in the show notes, and, of course, your books and I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much. I appreciate yours, too.

 

1:36:42 

All right. All right. Bye bye.

So thank you for coming on here. I couldn’t appreciate it more. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more. 

 

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