LAF Life (Living Alcohol Free)

Sonia Kahlon @joineverblume, Season 2 Ep.14

March 06, 2023 Sonia Kahlon Season 2 Episode 14
LAF Life (Living Alcohol Free)
Sonia Kahlon @joineverblume, Season 2 Ep.14
Show Notes Transcript

Special Guest Sonia Kahlon joins us for episode 14. After 5yrs of sobriety Sonia was tested when her husband unexpectedly ended their marriage. She didn't feel she had the tools to handle that kind of major life change without alcohol.  Find out how she slowly built her toolkit to hang onto her sobriety for one more day. Learn how building on those tools lead her to create a business that is now helping others facing different major life changes while navigating  sobriety. 

Connect with Sonia on Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/joineverblume/?next=%2F
Or visit her website to try out a free meeting: https://www.joineverblume.com/

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Be a guest on our show: https://forms.gle/GE9YJdq4J5Zb6NVC6
Email us: laflifepodcast@gmail.com

Connect with your podcasters. We'd love to hear from you!
Tracey:
https://www.instagram.com/tnd1274/
Kelly:
https://www.instagram.com/pamperedkel/
Lindsey:
https://www.instagram.com/hariklindsey/

**Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this episode are not professional or medical opinions. If you are struggling with an addiction please contact a medical professional for help.

Music provided by Premium Beats:
https://www.premiumbeat.com
Song: Rise and Thrive
Artist: Young Presidents

Resources:
Wellness Togethe...

Kelly:

welcome to the LAF life podcast, a lifestyle podcast based on living alcohol free and a booze soaked world. My name is Kelly Evans and together with my friends, Tracey Djordjevic, Mike Sutton and Lindsay Harik. We share uncensored. Unscripted real conversations about what our lives have been like since we ditched alcohol and how we got here by sharing our individual stories. We'll show you that there isn't just one way to do this, no matter where you are on your journey from sober, curious to years in recovery and everyone in between, you are welcome here, no judgment and a ton of support.

Tracey:

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the LAF Life podcast. Tonight we have another great guest. We have Sonia Kahlon joining us and she reached out to us on Instagram to come on our podcast and tell us her story. Sonia has been sober for five and a half years, and through her sobriety, has learned the power of connection. She is here to tell us about her journey and to tell us about the business. She started Ever Bloom, we're really looking forward to learning more about Sonya and hearing more about that. Sonia, start by telling us or our listeners a little bit about your journey and how you got to your current state and how you came about your business.

Sonia:

Sure. I'm Sonia. I'm the founder of Ever Blume and I was born in Toronto, Canada. That's where my journey started. And then I moved to Boston when I was 20. And I stayed in the US and so yeah, my alcohol journey started probably when I was pretty young. My parents are Indian immigrants and so I grew up around a ton of drinking. And my culture, women don't drink. So it was just these men just acting like clowns on the weekends. Binge drinking, peeing with the door open and then worse getting DUIs and getting invites and like getting incarcerated. And so yeah, I think when I started drinking it was just like, don't act like them. So I think that's when this low, high functioning kind of idea, I think sparked in my head. And so I knew pretty early on that if things looked good on the outside and I was, getting good grades and I was waking up in time for class and I didn't have any like visible damage to my face and I wasn't getting arrested, then I was okay. That is the start.

Tracey:

Were you exposed to alcohol then Fairly? Fairly teenage

Sonia:

or, yeah, I started drinking probably when I was 15. I, it's been smoking since I was 13 and so I had obviously was trying to get rid of some anxiety and so when I drank I was like, this is amazing. This is so much better than cigarettes. This works so much better. All the anxiety went away. It made my personality really fluid. I don't know if you guys felt like this, like I became a mimic almost I could fit into so many different groups and I went to a super formal Canadian university and I was totally outta my depth, sophistication wise. And, luckily there was so much alcohol. It was like pre-dinner, sherry reception, post dinner, port reception, champagne on the dance. Oh, fancy. Wow.

Kelly:

What school was that?

Lindsey:

Wow.

Mike:

Hey, let's guess what school?

Kelly:

I have no idea.

Sonia:

It was part of a school. It was like a formal part of a school. Oh, Queens? No, part of U of T.

Lindsey:

Oh interesting.

Kelly:

I've never heard of that. It was one of the colleges in U of T that was very formal. I don't know how I would've functioned in that environment without alcohol. I think I would've just been this scared little, Indian girl freaking out all the time. I feel like in college it really cemented with a social issue. It was like drinking and socializing. Perfect.

Tracey:

So would you say prior to that you were more introverted and then drinking, brought out your personality or were you already Yeah. An extrovert and then drinking just enhanced.

Sonia:

I don't know if you guys feel this way, but I started drinking so early, I don't even think my personality had fully developed. And so only in the last six years have I really figured out that I'm a major introvert, like major,

Tracey:

wow.

Sonia:

Can spend a lot of time alone, very happily, need a lot of time to recover between like social interactions, even this so tonight I probably won't,

Lindsey:

that's me.

Sonia:

Yeah.

Lindsey:

That's me.

Sonia:

I won't be able to fall asleep right away. After we finish, I'm not gonna be able to jump into bed and It takes me a while to recover. Yeah. You have to replenish your energy. Yeah. I'm sure it was hard for people around me too to realize wait, you're not. Extroverted You're not like the party girl. That's who I was. Especially when I was binge drinking and then I think that I carried that personality in between the binges

Tracey:

Yeah, I can relate to that too because me too, I feel like I was introverted growing up than when I was drinking. I became extremely extroverted and then now I feel like I'm like an introvert extrovert and I've really drawn back to my introverted ways. And quite like it actually

Sonia:

I like it too. I'm like happier. I feel like I'm feel so

Lindsey:

how are your hangovers? I know from you and I drank, I deal with anxiety. I have since I was 19, to the point where medication was needed. Yeah. But I can relate to you saying that it took it all away, but it's like the next day for me it was magnified, yeah. It was horrible. Did you have any experience with that? I have. I had the worst, it was like a chronic illness, I cannot believe people that say they don't have hangovers, I can't believe'em. Then keep drinking because that was like the worst part, So yeah, by the time I started my business and I was working full-time, I was drinking every day. Wow. And so I was working like, 16 hours, and then I would come home and drink till I passed out. And I don't know how I did it. I felt like garbage like every morning when I woke up. I think that's like the definition of high functioning is that I was pushing through at such a high level that I always tell my family, I'm like, I could have been the prime minister of Canada if I didn't drink. I obviously had all this energy to channel towards something.

Tracey:

So when did your drinking get, accelerated? First, when did it accelerate, and then when did you come to the conclusion that it might be a problem and how many years was that?

Sonia:

Yeah, so I started working full-time in 2008. And that's when I was hard drinking and then founded my business a couple of years later. And the better the business did, the more I drank, I was spiraling. I just could not handle it wasn't even the pressure, I was just afraid all the time I could handle the workload. I just couldn't handle the idea that it was running at such a high level and what could happen? What if this happened, what if that happened? I couldn't go a day without drinking. And so I think that I just got really lucky. I had no intention of stopping or I stopped every day and I started every day. And we got an offer to sell the business really unexpectedly. I had been so focused, I didn't even realize that we were building something that was, there to sell. And so there was a period between the offer and we're definitely not gonna turn it down. And so between the offer and then when it closed, and that was several months, and I knew that I had never had that kind of free time in my life. And that if I didn't do something that this was gonna get out of control. Like what time would I start drinking? So I was just really lucky. And then, my brother was an alcoholic that had been an aa and so I knew it was a genetic thing. I knew that I couldn't play around with it. And I just quit cold Turkey close after the sale. Okay. Pretty soon after.

Tracey:

So how many years would you say you were in that cycle?

Sonia:

the hard drinking, I would say like a decade of hard drinking. Wow. And then I think really

Lindsey:

You're like, yeah. Is that bad guys? Yeah. I could have gone like another 10 years. That's so crazy to me. Oh, but you know what? I can see it. I can definitely see how that happens. And were you ever blacking out? Yeah. Every day. Like all the time? Yeah, all the time. Like I would go to bed and not remember going to bed and being like, where are my pants? Yes. First of all. And oh shit. I go to the kitchen and be like, Fuck, I did open that second bottle of wine. Yes.

Sonia:

That's exactly what it was. Like. It was like mascara down the face in the morning and yeah. Maybe half the nights I remember going to bed. Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. I don't even know what that was dependent on because I was probably drinking the same amount. It was probably like something else that I was eating or whatever that would Yeah. Change it up. But yeah, it was a, yeah, it was a good decade. Man. Drinking Yeah.

Tracey:

So I know part of your story is that you were married and your marriage ended. Yeah. So I assume this was going on while you were married. Was your husband a drinker? Did he recognize this as a problem?

Sonia:

No. And in retrospect that is probably a problem, right? that he did not recognize it as a problem? No and I did black out a lot and I'm assuming that he realized I didn't remember conversations or I don't know if I was that good at hiding it. He was not a big drinker. He definitely had some substance abuse issues. He smoked a lot of weed. Okay. But for some reason, I don't know why, even I thought that was more acceptable, right? Because it wasn't as hard on the body and it just was a different type. It wasn't addictive. And so I really, I definitely did not beat him up about that. I was beating myself up about my drinking a lot.

Lindsey:

I feel like I can relate to that cuz in my marriage that was the case as well. My spouse was a big weed smoker. And I was the drinker, but he would drink too. But yeah. Yeah. I don't know. It was a lot. I was drinking a lot towards the end of our relationship and almost using it to numb out because I knew the relationship was over, but I didn't really know how to proceed. Like things were just bad.

Sonia:

Oh yeah. I'm lucky in that way. I was taking a writing class and I had a group and they said why don't you write about what effect your drinking had on your marriage? And I was like, my marriage was great when I was drinking. It's when I stopped drinking. Ooh. That there were problems on marriage was fantastic when I was drinking. Yeah.

Tracey:

And would you say that's because you were basically ignoring or numbing out any issues with the alcohol? We've been together for a really long time. I don't think so. I think that we were so focused on running this business that we weren't having. We've never actually, even up until the day we broke up, I had no idea there was a problem. With the marriage. Oh, wow. Yeah. Okay. So you were blindsided when it came to an end then? Yeah.

Sonia:

I think now that I've had time to look back, so we sold the business and I just, I didn't have a pathway, but after the sale I just was like, I'm gonna do all the things I wanted to do. I'd been in school for so long, I'd been drinking then for so long. And so I went to school for photography and coding and jewelry making and writing, and I started eating properly and exercising and taking baths and journaling. And so I was like, I'm doing all the things and I just didn't feel that pressure to succeed anymore that I had felt so strongly for my whole life. And it was so freeing and I was just happy. I think that I started to change. I really wanted to focus on. Giving back and being of service. I wanted to make some sort of social impact and I started volunteering with the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, giving entrepreneurship training through a nonprofit, which was great cuz it was like what I had experience with. And also it was really nice cause I could share my story with them. In the US 80% of people in prisons are there for some sort of drug related crime. Either they were on something addictive, something, and so And so it was really nice to be able to bring that up as part of sort of our teaching. And it was amazing. I had never, I don't think I'd ever admitted that I had an addiction and it was really nice I think to be able to say to them, I was one bad night away from where you are. One bad decision. Oh And and if I can get better and turn my life around so can you. I was doing really well. I was splitting my time between New York City and here in Pennsylvania. And then I started making art and writing about my recovery. And I was really excited. My art was getting into galleries and I was like, this is amazing. And I probably should have noticed the lack of interest on my husband's part about anything that I was doing. And his defense, I didn't ask him, is it okay if I share this part of our life? I mean my life, but our life that I had a problem that I suffered with severe anxiety and mental health issues and so that should have. A warning sign that he was not really happy with it. Things like, I would ask him, oh, can you do a workshop for, my nonprofit that I work with? And he was just like, no, I'm not really interested. And so he had been struggling since we sold our business. He just hadn't found his purpose and was really stuck in this old definition of success. And, he really wanted to create like the next like unicorn company. And and I had no interest in doing anything like external that didn't have a positive impact. And we were orthodontists, so it's like I didn't wanna create the next seventh clear aligner company, right? No interest. And so I don't. Play a game in business. I didn't wanna gamify it, I just wanted, to do something that really helped people and shifted the way people thought and built communities. And but it wasn't like I was working on anything like that. But yeah, so I think I just didn't realize we had grown apart in terms of our values. Because we'd been together for so long, one and two, I think I thought and people around us I know thought it was really cute, right? That I kept him grounded and in the real world versus this startup kind of world of, where he fit in white male dominated world. It turns out it wasn't cute cuz I guess he wasn't that happy. And I think instead I think that I was holding him back in a way, if it was up to him, we would be choppering to the Hamptons on the weekends, right? And I just was like, No, and I don't think I realized the effect that was having maybe on him. It's been a tough tough thing to reconcile because he said it on his way out the door. And so yeah, he woke up one day and was just like, he had been struggling with his life purpose for a few weeks pretty intensely. And but it was like a problem we were working on. It wasn't a couple problem, it was a him problem. That, like my drinking, it was like a me problem that we're working on. And he just woke up one day and I guess he realized that the problem was me. And he said, you're too introverted. You're too happy with your family. You don't feel the need to widen, your social circle the way I do. you're happy with your hobbies and your nonprofit and he said, you're just happy with too little. And he said and frankly he is I'm a little jealous, but I just don't think this is gonna work for me anymore. And he left no warning. We walked the dogs the night before we had dinner. We talked about these life purpose. Yeah.

Tracey:

Sounds like you just basically grew separate ways.

Sonia:

Yeah. And I refused to admit that. I was like very, and I always know when I'm defensive that something is wrong. No, we didn't. No. We were doing everything together.

Tracey:

Ah, if you've been together for a long time, I'm sure part of it was like a friendship, right? you just go about things like you would any other day and you probably just didn't see it, which is too bad for you because I'm sure it was a lot to deal with then when it happened. It's hard to be blindsided and then really have to face things after the fact, right?

Sonia:

Yeah. Especially when your only coping mechanism for something that crazy is alcohol and drugs.

Tracey:

Like

Sonia:

I had done all the things, I had this great toolkit and I was like, I am not gonna able to journal and meditate my way out of this, or exercise out of this I remember very specifically saying, I don't have the tools for this. This is not what I was anticipating would happen.

Tracey:

I was like,

Sonia:

I have the tools for something smaller. Something negative happening, but something this life altering,

Tracey:

I just,

Sonia:

I felt like I didn't, so he left and then I stopped eating. I wasn't sleeping.

Tracey:

And

Sonia:

I remember the next morning I was in New York and I went for a walk on the Hudson. He left me with our two small dogs, of course.

Tracey:

And

Sonia:

but I'm happy he did.

Tracey:

And

Sonia:

so I thought what's the point? What am I staying sober for now?

Tracey:

And

Sonia:

how much better would I feel right now if I were drinking?

Tracey:

And

Sonia:

I don't see an end to this,

Tracey:

right?

Sonia:

This isn't

Tracey:

like

Sonia:

a two week, three week, suck it up kind of thing. This is

Tracey:

like

Sonia:

a major. Restructuring of a life.

Tracey:

And so

Kelly:

how long had you been sober at that point, Sonia?

Sonia:

Five years. Okay. Wow. Yeah, now I'm like six ish. Yeah, so five years and I still, and I could not believe I was in that place where I wasn't sure if I could stay sober and New York's not an awesome place to question your sobriety, but Right. I walked back to my apartment and I I had some friends who told me about this non 12 step meeting online, and I logged into the 8:00 AM meeting and there were like 200, 220 people on it, on Zoom. And it was just really comforting. It was just like, ah, you're my people, right? And and just hearing their stories and it just felt Okay, I'm gonna be okay. And honestly, there's so many people that share that are in the first 90 days, which I'm super sensitive to the first 90 days, and I thought I owe it to these people to give it like another day, right? what would this person do for five years of sobriety? It seems impossible when you're, at that point. So I kept giving it another day and, I made it through. And so I was at this like maybe like around six weeks to two months. And I thought, okay, I wasn't ready to share in a meeting like that. And I thought, okay, I need to talk about this. And I was super lucky. I have a great support system. I have a non-traditional support system, but I have two sister-in-laws that were married and divorced from my brother who was an alcoholic. And I had a friend who was like going through a divorce on like the same timeline. I have two teenage nieces that were like, this is amazing. You're single And so I was just, yeah, I live in a Hamlet and I have a hundred neighbors and they took turns just being like, do you wanna go for a walk or come, to dinner? And wow. Nice. I felt so lucky, but it was like, these, no one understands that this is part of my sober journey and that me getting through this sober is like not is not a guaranteed thing. And so yeah, that's where I was just I have support at something's missing and I'm not getting what I need a hundred percent from these meetings. And so what is that? What is missing?

Tracey:

can we just go back for a second? You had mentioned that you just quit cold Turkey, so I had two questions. One, did you have any withdrawal symptoms and two, prior to this meeting, had you gone to any kind of support, AA or anything else?

Sonia:

Yeah, so I, quit cold Turkey, I did not have any withdrawal symptoms that I think are like, I definitely have some psychological withdrawal symptoms and I had a lot of anxiety. Definitely the first few months, but no, nothing really severe. I didn't need to detox luckily, but interestingly too, I don't know if anyone knows this if you're on any medication for anxiety or depression, all of a sudden it works a lot better when you Yeah.

Lindsey:

when you stop mixing alcohol with it. Yeah. things start to open up and yeah. Yeah. And I had always been really curious about meetings. Another thing was my husband wasn't really a big fan of me saying I was sober. And so it was always like, oh, Sonya doesn't drink. Oh. And I knew that it was not okay. And so a couple of times I mentioned especially when I was struggling I would say I think I wanna go to an AA meeting. And he's what if somebody see. And I was like, yeah. Concerned about appearances and reputation. Yes. And what are people gonna think?

Sonia:

Yeah. Yes. And I doubt, I tried out some meetings online, I tried out a few and really thought it was great. Cause I'd never been to a meeting with other people like me. And so I thought they were good, but I just wasn't like connecting. And then actually he went he had to go away for a week and I went to some AA meetings in New York while he was gone, And I liked the people a lot. It just wasn't for me. I don't know why. I don't know if it's because I had heard a lot about a, from my brother and I was like, oh, I know this, I know these steps. I wasn't into it the first time. Not really into it now. But I love the people. And so that was where I had stopped and yeah, during the pandemic, tried some online different, like non 12 step online meetings, but never really got into it. I had a group of sober friends in New York, which was really good. Oh, that's good. That's really good. Yeah, it always helps if you can be around other people that don't drink. I know. That was really helpful for me that my partner didn't drink. Yeah. It makes it a lot easier, that's for sure. Yeah.

Kelly:

Did you know them before this group of friends before you had quit

Sonia:

or, no, I met I to meet them. I met them online at one of those meetings. They had a subgroup of New York City subgroup and I was like, that would be interesting. it was great. We all met like at a coffee shop and then we started going every month out to do different things and it was really nice. Yeah. That's great. I love that. That's awesome. So I guess but you can tell us that through this online meeting experience is how you came up with the idea or concept for your business. Yeah, after a couple of months I wasn't doing amazing and my family was like, I think you need to take a trip. You need to get out of the hamlet. I had gone back to Toronto a lot when this was happening and I just kept ending up back in the hamlet in the woods. And so I think it was, they said, it's time for you to try something. And so I I took a trip to Costa Rica and I was struggling. The change of environment was good. The first couple of days were horrifying. I hadn't been on a vacation by myself in 20 years. And so by the second day I started thinking a lot about my sobriety and. sober community. And I had looked for smaller meetings and I looked for meetings that were more specific to what people were going through, like a life transition. Like even if it was people that were empty nesting, it didn't have to be a divorce, I thought that would even, be helpful. And so I really thought I think there's a void in this recovery space, this kind of curated groups, consistent groups, lasting support. So I'm in Costa Rica and I start mapping out this idea of what would the ideal be? I. Drew a, I put like sober in the middle so everyone's sober. And then I just made these spokes and I thought, okay, what are the things I had struggled with in my life? What different groups could I have been in? And I thought I've had like self-esteem issues, self-confidence. imposter syndrome. that would be a great group. A job burnout, career transition sort of group. Cause I definitely had job burnout. Obviously now like a divorce group where a life transition group. Yeah. And then I thought about some of my friends and I thought like parenting's a thing. And like mommy wine culture. That's a big thing. Yeah. Yeah. And I thought, these are the things where people taking care of an ailing relative. And I thought this is the stuff we need support with. And that we're too embarrassed to admit. Like sucks, right? This is not a demographic thing, not like a socioeconomic, we're not matching people based on that. It's based on whatever they're experiencing, what they're struggling with and just specific challenges. And I dunno, like from a practical perspective, I remember calling my sister-in-law one day and being like, every time I get an email from the divorce lawyer, I feel like somebody is kicking me in my face. Yes. Like every time I see the versus just the Yes. Yeah. And she's yeah, that's what it feels like. And I was like, oh. And so that's what I wanted. I wanted feedback and confirmation that I was normal, right? That's all you really want is just that. There's obviously no feedback in a 200 person meeting, and there's no feedback in AA really. There's no crosstalk. And I really just thought okay, let me think about this. I wanna be careful if I'm gonna start a business, it has to be something that's needed. I don't wanna reinvent the wheel. And so I took some time and I became a recovery coach and looked into group dynamics and I thought this is something. I had been angel investing for a few years and so what I knew how to do was make a pitch deck. And so I was like, I'm gonna make a pitch deck, just not to pitch, just to organize my thoughts. I did that. It took a while. And then I just sat on it for a bit and then I started sending it out to business accelerators cuz I thought, I think I need support. I know how to run a business, but I think I need. just what I'm going through and everything. And I just thought, this is what this is about, right? This is what my business is about, is support. We should be leveraging peer support. I joined the accelerator in New York and it's really great. It takes you from idea to launch. It was just such an awesome experience. I'm still in it, but going through different things. But one part of it is doing interviews and so you interview as many potential customers as you can just to prove that you have a proof of concept, is this something that could work? And so I interviewed the best people. I interviewed dozens, of people from aa. I interviewed a guy who was cleaning his gun in his garage while he was talking to me. Wow. I interviewed multiple witches. And I was like, that's a group, that's a group. Non-traditional spiritual, yeah, I interviewed a Satan worshiper. And cuz sober people are just like, yeah, I'll help you. I was like, put it out there Hey guys, I'm thinking of doing something a little different. Can I talk to you? Blah, blah, blah. And people were like yeah, let's talk. And so it was fun. And I thought there were so many people who didn't fit in to the, existing support systems. And part of it was, part of it was things I struggled with. I like to travel and move around and I wanna be able to go to Toronto for a few weeks and still have my sober community. An I R L AA meeting isn't gonna work for me. And also people were struggling with the same thing I did, which is I wanna give priority to people who are under 90 days when I'm in a meeting. Maybe there is a place for people that are struggling with something else and over 90 days and I met people that were like 10 years and they were like, yeah, I would love to be in a group with people with over five years sobriety, just talking about different things and emotional sobriety and so I thought, okay, there's definitely something here. That's great. I think that a lot of things are starting to happen as far as support communities outside of aa, which I think is really good because that concept doesn't work for everybody. So it's nice to see that people are looking outside the box to create things that are more inclusive. Because yeah, there's a lot of people that don't want to utilize that program, but feel like it's the only one. Yeah. Honestly, I love the wisdom from aa. There's nothing I have a major problem with in aa. But I think that things have changed too, I think that there's this whole gray area drinking and there has to be a place for people like that. Sober, curious and yeah, people who even wanna be, who wanna abstain for a while. A lot of people in my groups don't plan on being sober the rest of their lives. That is not fundamentally compatible with. the tents of aa. And even though I'm hardcore abstinent, gold star alcoholic, never had one drink in my life. I've never just had one. But even I can see that, there has to be a place for people that, harm reduction for medical management. So people don't feel like when they relapse, they don't feel ashamed. I've heard that a lot. About aa and a kind of no judgment non pathway, right? This isn't a pathway to recovery. I would love to see AA people in the meetings. This is just a different type of meeting,

Tracey:

Yeah. not to take away from aa, like it's helped a ton of people. But it's not for everybody, right? Just like anything else. It's not a problem that you can fit into one box exactly what you're saying,

Sonia:

yeah, and I think you guys probably see this too, right? Aa, in rural Pennsylvania, the meeting's gonna be different than the one I went to in Tribeca, right? In New York, right? And I think that's an issue too, when some people are like, oh, I don't fit in at aa. It's a lot of middle-aged white men. It really depends on where you live. There isn't that much consistency between regions too. And they even have different, some of them have different philosophies. I found out too.

Kelly:

this is gonna be controversial, but I did see the other day what the success rate for long-term sobriety with AA is. Do you guys know what the percentage is? Yes.

Sonia:

Oh, what is it? I looked up 7%. Yep. I was gonna say

Tracey:

that's not, it's not a lot. Seven. Cause I think I saw that too. Kel seven

Kelly:

and long-term. I think they referred to long-term as a year

Sonia:

or more. Oh my. Gosh. I think part of the reason, I don't know if you guys saw this documentary, the 13th step, and I think a lot of this is because a huge percentage of people who attend meetings are court mandated.

Kelly:

right? so they're not there because they want to be there. They're not. That's a really good point, Sonia.

Sonia:

Yeah. Yeah. That's the thing too is that I've had people email me and say, oh, I don't have a problem, but I need attendance at a meeting. And I was like, I don't think we're the right meeting for you because we are really catering to people who are, struggling with alcohol. So if you think you don't have a problem, we're not the right place. And you can imagine all those people get swept into AA. Yeah, that's true. In that documentary, they say that there are even people that weren't even in prison for any sort of alcohol or narcotics charge. And they still are mandated to go to a program. Really like some sort substance. Yeah. Wow. That documentary is very controversial. Yeah. You don't wanna know what the 13th step is, if

Lindsey:

I do though. It's I've seen that documentary, so I'm gonna yeah. Someone told me about it when I was interviewing. Wow. Yeah. Is it on YouTube? I know in Canada it, you guys get things on different So it's on our Amazon Prime. Okay. Oh, I feel like that means it's on something. It might be on your Amazon Prime. Okay. We do have Prime too. Yeah. We do have Amazon. Yeah. Prime. Yeah. Yeah. But you guys, it's different sometimes it's different shows. Yeah,

Sonia:

it is. You guys don't get the Great British Baking Show. You get the Great Canadian Baking Show And I go just to watch that. Sometimes I go to Toronto just to watch the Great Canadian.

Tracey:

Have you actually started the business now?

Sonia:

Yeah. So probably around December I started gauging interest and I started taking signups for when we launched. It said, okay, completed the idea and said, this is it's gonna be, these groups we're gonna match based on this and, would you be interested? We had a crazy response and I was like, honestly, a little surprised. And I launched in the new year and it's been great. We have a few different meetings running. I'm having an author coming to talk into a workshop. Yeah, I'm just excited. I feel like the bigger we get, the more we can build out more specific groups and so I'm just really excited. I just wanna run the best meeting. ever. That's the goal. I don't need a curricula. I'm not gonna sell merch and or anything like that. I just want to really do a great meeting and bring really good ideas and it's been going, it's great. People express themselves I don't know, like we were setting goal. So at the end of the meeting I have everyone go around, set a goal and we were setting goals and someone was like, okay, I'm gonna work out twice a week. And then someone else will be like, you know what, if you're gonna work out twice a week, I'm gonna work out twice a week. Oh, that's good. Oh, that's great. That's awesome. Yeah. Motivating each other. Yeah. And other things they will give each other book recommendations or meditation, exercise, they give each other alcohol free beverage swaps. like they, it's just yeah. It's more I feel like it's more lifestyle, oriented I know the other day we got into this really deep talk about are there two versions right of ourselves? Is there a sober version? Ooh. Drunk version. And it's people said things that I had to go and journal about, after Wow. I know. I'm like, I am the president and a client of

Kelly:

right? Yes. Yes. Yeah. That's like us doing this podcast. We wanted to do it to help people, but then we're like, wait a minute, this is like free therapy for us.

Sonia:

Yeah. It's amazing. Yeah. Yeah. I know. Yeah, it's, and so my goal, I remember my sister-in-law was like, what? What's the goal? What would you be happy with? And I said one person can stay sober for one day. Yes. And I think our second meeting, someone said, if I hadn't had this meeting tonight, I was gonna drive to the liquor store on my way home. And I was like we're done. Yeah,

Kelly:

we're done.

Lindsey:

You're like, mission,

Sonia:

please. Mission. Mission. Yeah. I was crying and then even last week, someone sent me an email saying I've never felt so heard and understood, and I feel empowered to make this change and, yeah.

Kelly:

Beautiful. How did you come up with the name for your business? Oh, nothing interesting. Two columns. One column of words that I liked, another column of words that I liked, and do two go together, Oh, And what's already taken? Yeah. So what is the business called Ever Blume? B l u M.E Love it.

Lindsey:

Good. Love that.

Tracey:

The meetings, are you match people, you said based on what they're going through in their life or whatever stages, and then are they limited to a certain amount of people? Because I think you expressed it was more geared towards small group.

Sonia:

Yeah, so we max out at 12, and so once we get to 12, we'll just open a new group. It's great. People fill out a survey and I have a section where they can just tell me whatever they want. That gives you a lot of insight into what they're going through, even though we ask them what is, what's your major challenge right now? Is it loneliness? Is it job burnout? So we're able to fit people into groups based on what they say they need, not what I think they need, but yeah, what they're saying they want support with. That's awesome.

Lindsey:

Are these in-person meetings or are they online? Yeah, online. Everything's online. Each group meets twice a week and they have 24 hour chat with each other. It's amazing. Every week it's just this is, oh, I learned something every week. That is so cool. That's us too. We said the same thing if we can help one person, it's worth it.

Sonia:

It's worth it. If you think about if I had heard a podcast, 10 years earlier, maybe it would've changed my life,

Kelly:

right? Yeah.

Mike:

I got a couple questions for you. So is it membership based it's membership based. They get, yeah, two meetings a week, chat, affirmations, journal prompts, things like that. And Do you build an algorithm to help you f figure out who's going into what demographic and et cetera, et cetera? So the plan is to eventually use an algorithm, but there's not enough data right now. Now I think it's using it's all manually done. Yeah. So I take it pretty seriously, but I have to build it out and see what works and then once we get an algorithm, when it's a lot good, bigger, but I think, yeah, that is the goal for sure. Yeah. It sounds like the way that you described how you put your ideas together with the wheel and brought it all together, what I know about building software, you're there. Find the right people to help you put it in place, I guess is what I'm trying to say. It does sound very promising for sure, based on what you're trying to accomplish and how these people can select, it's hard to get people, I think, to pull information out of them, but when you give them choices, it's oh click. We're in a click society, right?

Sonia:

So yeah, yeah, you could do a hundred question survey and people would get it done. Yeah, for sure. No, that's awesome. That's awesome. Thanks.

Lindsey:

You said something earlier, pressure to succeed. And I was like, oh, I wrote that down right away because I was just like, oh my God, is that why we drink? The way you talk, you accomplish so much. I'm listening to you you're an orthodontist and you're doing this and you're doing that. And I'm like, what? And then you're like, and I'm drinking every day. And I'm like, oh my God. Even as women, is that why we drink because there's so much pressure to be successful. And also your relationship fell apart mine did too. And I was drinking through the divorce process and I thought to myself as we were talking. I don't know if I could have done that sober, it was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. Mentally, emotionally. I was physically exhausted and I'm like, wow, we have so much pressure to succeed that when we don't or we interpret something as a failure, then we drink too. Those thoughts were going through my mind earlier in the conversation that we were having just the pressure to succeed.

Sonia:

Yeah, I, this is funny. In one of my groups, a few weeks ago we talked about perfectionism. Yes. There's this Sarah Helo quote. I actually have it. It's like I'm a control freak, yet I drank to the point of losing control. Oh my. It sounds God Yeah, it sounds contradictory, but it makes total sense. The demands of perfectionism are exhausting and it's hard to live with a tyrant, especially the one in your own mind. My mind is blown right now. Holy smokes cause I was like, wait, how can I be a perfectionist who's doing this crazy thing to myself every night? But it is. It's yeah, my does just get outta control. We talked about it and it ended up leading to this discussion about Netflix where we all feel guilty for binging. right? I was like, you know what? I did it last Saturday, I had a rough week and I binged a show on Saturday. And I don't know, we were talking about is that a version of addiction? Is that zoning out? Is it distracting yourself? Is it like binge drinking? Yeah. Wow. I'm not ready to answer that but

Kelly:

yeah. I mean everything,

Lindsey:

yeah. Yeah. Binging anything is is I think just trying to numb out, turn your brain off. I don't wanna think about anything. You're just zoning out. That's interesting. That is really interesting. And that concept of, we're such perfectionists and, very detail oriented, everything organized. I have to know what's going on. What do you mean go with the flow? What time does the flow start? I don't know. but then drinking to the point of losing control, which is what I used to do. I would drink to the point of blackout, lose control, say and do things I didn't remember. It was ridiculous. And I'm like, it, that is further to the conversation about, are we two different people sober and drunk? Holy smokes, I was polar opposite. The lost control and the, everything has to be controlled, right down to the detail. I have to know exactly what's going on when you mean what, like you wanna go where oh, I didn't prepare for that

Sonia:

But you were the, you were two different people in 24 hours. For sure. right? That's crazy. That's crazy too. Yeah. Not just oh, when I was drinking and then I quit, it was like literally at 10:00 PM I'm one person at 10:00 AM I'm like on I'm yeah.

Lindsey:

Now I'm thinking, this just popped in my head, when we choose to be sober, is there a morning period of mourning the person that you would allow yourself to be the losing control person? I feel like I maybe went through a little bit of that. How can I not drink? Oh my God. What am I gonna do? I think when people ask that question what do you mean you don't drink? So then what do you do? What do you do? What do you do? I think I did grieve the, I don't lose control anymore. I'm always present. I'm always in control. Mike's answer last week was like, what do you do when you don't drink? And then Mike's I live I was like, whoa, that was awesome. Mind blown. Whoa. But yeah. Oh man, even now, I went into this thinking I'm not gonna quit forever. Yeah. But it's been three years and I'm like, I can't see myself now drinking. I would feel huge shame. I think if I did, I'm working through that. But then it's oh, do I want to feel out of control and lose control again? I don't think that I do. I don't know. Lots of thoughts happening.

Sonia:

I do a lot of playing the tape forward. Like a lot. Yes. Yes. Like a lot. So I thought about. Okay. When my husband left, I found out he was, having relations mine too. I remember thinking, if I was drinking, oh my God, can you even imagine what I would've woken up to on my phone? What texts I would've sent? What emails, what like, just like voice messages, And honestly, what I ended up doing was nothing I just grieved. Yeah. I didn't You processed it, right? Yeah. I didn't lash out.

Mike:

That's a form of growth because Yeah. You talked about early on in the segment where you were so caught up in your career and what you thought was a. I don't want to use the word happy marriage, but you know what I'm trying to relate to. Yeah. And then you were holy smokes what's going on here? I made some changes for myself, which I thought were great. And what this person who I thought was my husband decides that doesn't want to be with me anymore. I look at it like you are transitioning into your authentic self. We talk about it all the time. You, a hundred percent you just never would've got there without drinking because the drinking hundred percent, the drinking starts to teach you about things that are not so much bad qualities or bad characteristics or whatever, but they're things that your deep down into your soul doesn't want to. Be a part of So it's okay, we're gonna do some laundry here and we're gonna throw all these curve balls at you and we're gonna see which balls you hit and which ones you don't. You said your marriage is like just over a year type of thing or? Yeah. Yeah, I'm 12 years, very similar scenario to you. But I was drinking, I was smoking weed, I was doing a lot of destructive things and I know how I look back and go holy smokes. I just can't even believe sometimes, where I was 12 years ago to where I am now. And I only stopped drinking three years ago. So it was a progressively getting into bad situations, getting into this, getting into that, and to getting to where I'm like, why did it wait so long? Why did it take so long? Yeah. But you can't Yeah. Explain that. You know what I mean? You can't All. Transitioning When it happens. I think there were things in my life that I wasn't ready to deal with. And so I drank and I think there was stuff really old stuff that I didn't wanna think about. I think in a sense it's it's saved me, right? Through certain number of years until it stopped working. or it started like working in the opposite direction. But I do think I used it for reason for sure. Yeah, for sure. I feel like with the divorce, it was the hardest and easiest thing, right? To reconcile. It was like, oh my God. He left cuz I got sober and then it was like, oh my God, he left cuz I got sober. It was like really easy to be like, on a good day, on a good day, on a bad day, it's like, why did you leave? I'll start drinking again. right? That's just, that's this old chatter cause of havoc and it's testing you with do I wanna be sober it's just chatter. it's constantly just poking the bear. We all deal with it and with what you're doing with your business and community, I think it's great that people have this outlet to channel to say, Hey I can't wait to get to my talking to my tribe or whatever we wanna call them. My group. Cool. I think it's great. I think it's a great Concept. I'm a business person myself. Nevermind the business aspect. I think it's great from a humanity type of thing and, sharing compassion whatever is required to help people. Bravo to you.

Sonia:

Thank you. Yeah.

Tracey:

Good for you for recognizing that there was that gap, to create this. Definitely wanna give you credit for that and your dedication to help other people too, thank you.

Lindsey:

Can people sign up to try a meeting? Yeah. You can sign up. I just saw that. everblume.com and try a meeting. That's amazing. And they get to try a meeting for free.

Sonia:

Yeah. They don't have to be bystanders, they can get up in it. Yeah. Yeah. That's amazing. That's great. Get up in it. I love it now. Yeah.

Mike:

When you went to Costa Rica, aside from going on a vacation, did you go for any spiritual type of thing where Yeah, I'm gonna go, I don't know. I'm gonna go to a couple of different, maybe yoga, maybe whatever, because we know a lot of people go to Costa Rica for the yoga Yeah. Experience. But a lot of other people I've found lately are trying the ayahuasca experience. It's very common to hear. And from what I know about Ayahuasca, a lot of alcoholics and drug addicts do it to break the cycle and deal with that deep rooted trauma. can you comment on that?

Sonia:

Yeah, I definitely I have a lot of questions about microdosing, psychedelics. I'm really curious about it. I think right now where I'm in my life, I don't think it's the right thing for me right now. no. I feel like it scares the shit out of me. Scares the shit out of me. Yeah, it's for real. That's what does, and everybody says scared. Don't be scared. Don't really, yeah. Everyone says if you're an alcoholic, it's great. It's amazing. But yeah, I definitely went for, I think my sister-in-laws were hoping for an eat, pray love type situation where I like come back with bunch some of spaghetti Costa Rican. Yeah. But yeah, what was interesting was that I went, it was a healing retreat. And at first I was like, this is so cheesy, but let me do this. There was like reiki and there were crystals and there was yoga and it was all the things and it was great. But still, I still was craving connection, right? It was great. It was beautiful. I was in a cloud forest and it was just, it was enough to open up my mind to. There was a life out there for me, which I hadn't been able to picture before. And I don't think it was like one individual thing. I think it was the whole thing. I think it was also like, and this is about sobriety too. It was something I was doing for myself, which I wasn't used to doing. Your goal is just to feel a bit better. And I did. And yeah. But what do you think about the ayahuasca? Are you gonna do it?

Mike:

Of the research that I've done, let me back up. My life with drugs has been, I've tried drug, different drugs, so I wouldn't be so much scared of, cause I think some people like, oh, I don't wanna smoke weed or whatever it is, just because, I just don't want to feel. I guess my experience leads me to give me anything. I'll try it Knowing, and I wouldn't do it now, but knowing what I've read about it and seeing some documentaries on it, I'd like to try it. I definitely would. But I haven't gone to the extent of looking at Costa Rica vacations that are built around ayahuasca. I know there's a lot of places in the US and then there's some places here in Canada that are, popping up. I think I don't know enough about them and to say one way or the other, I do know two people that have done it, that have gone down for that experience and it's helped them immensely, with alcoholism and drugs abusive scenarios and whatnot. So everything I see about it is positive. I would do it. Yeah. Maybe me and Kelly will do all, yeah. Let's go together. We'll do a retreat together.

Sonia:

We'll I'm with Lindsay. We'll vlog it. We'll vlog it. Yeah. And I have had very positive experiences with psychedelics in healing trauma. Yeah. I had a messed up experience with kombucha at a farmer London, like in the summer. Wow. It was like unregulated kombucha coming outta one week, like a draft thing, And I was like, I'm, dead. That's hilarious. That's so know. And I, when I tell people, so many people are like, me too. Lindsay would be down with Lindsay that she loves the kombucha. I love kombucha. I'm like, where are we going? I'm there Right before my brother relapsed. I hope he is not listening. He's probably not. Right before he relapsed, he my sister-in-law was like, he was drinking like a lit of kombucha a day and I was like, girl, Oh my God. That's hilarious. The law can ferment. There's no regulation about the amount of alcohol and this farmer's market kombucha. I was like, how am I gonna drive home? There are some kombuchas that I feel they taste too much like alcohol for me. I'm not one to, and I'm so happy that all these things are coming out, these non-alcoholic versions of things. I think it's wonderful. Not for me though, that's just too triggery for me. But yes, I have had kombucha where I'm like, Ooh, this kind of tastes like alcohol. Wow.

Tracey:

The stay away from that. stuff Linds ones Farmer's market kombucha. Oh man. I really think it's so amazing what you're doing. I'm so happy that we got the opportunity to meet you and you came on to share this with us. So let our listeners know the best way to connect with you and find you is. Yeah. So joineverblume.com. We're pretty much join ever blume or ever blume on any social platform. So come check us out. Just try out a meeting. There's no risk. I can't, no pressure.

Lindsey:

I'm gonna, I wanna try one too. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much. Our listeners can find us on Instagram at LAF Life Podcast and in our Facebook community at LAF Life as well. And thank you so much again for joining us. It's been such a pleasure meeting you. You always have this community if you need to reach out. Super proud of you and you should be proud of yourself too, for hanging onto your sobriety through this transition. Thank you again and to everybody out there. Until next time, keep laughing, Night everybody.

Kelly:

Good night. Bye bye. Thank you for listening. Please give us a five star rating like and subscribe, share on social media and tell your friends. We love getting your feedback and ideas of what you'd like to hear on upcoming episodes of the laugh life podcast. If you yourself are living alcohol free and want to share your story here, please reach out.