Make Some Noise with Andrea Owen

Hey, in case you missed it yesterday– a BONUS post/pod episode came out yesterday on the topic of recovery and sobriety! Click here if you missed it and I would be honored if you shared it with people you think might be helped from it.


Self help. What many jokes are made of and maybe some of us still feel a little embarrassed standing in that aisle in the bookstore. God forbid anyone will know that we struggle, don’t have all of our shit together, and want to change things in our life that are making us binge eat/drink entire bottles of wine in one sitting/try to control everyone and everything (er, not that I know what any of that is like).

And I’m fascinated why some people change and then others stay the same. What really fascinates me and what this post is about, is why some people want to change and know their lives would be better if they did that, but they don’t. There is much psychology behind the reasons, but what I’m talking about today are signs that it’s time for you to take a look at WHY you’re stuck in self-help-dom so you can hopefully make some changes in the right direction. So, I’ve compiled a list of signs you might be on the “self help hamster wheel” and what to do about it.

  1. Buying self-help books without reading them. I think we have ALL done this one. Someone recommends it, or we see it at the bookstore, or the title seemed to scream, “THIS BOOK WILL FIX YOU!” so we buy it. And it sits on our bookshelf unopened for years. And then we feel like shit about that. But really, sometimes I think we’re just not ready to read it. I know that sounds crazy, but I believe it. In some weird, serendipitous way, The Universe will know when it’s time and it will somehow make its way into your hands and into your heart.
  2. Signing up for self improvement classes, feeling relieved… and then not doing the work. Getting your credit card out before hitting “buy now” is not a magic wand that will fix you and ease your pain. The actual WORK will. There is a direct correlation between people that see growth and empowerment in their lives and doing the actual work it takes to get there. This includes worksheets, journaling, quality introspective thinking, doing what you commit to doing, listening to your intuition instead of your fear and more.
  3. Getting really good at telling your story about how screwed up you are and where your issues stem from. Don’t I know this one all too well. Here’s a typical scenario for the type of woman that is into self help: Step 1: She comes to a point in her life where she wants to feel better and/or she has a pretty heartbreaking turn of events and decided to change her life. Step 2: She tells anyone who will listen about her story. Step 3: She reads about helping herself and maybe takes a self improvement class here and there (and especially loves the ones where she’s invited to tell her story). Step 4: There is no step 4. She stays stuck in telling her story and actually feels better (temporarily) when people feel sorry for her. Now, if this is you, I’m not making you wrong for doing this. Telling your story can be healing and fuels connection between the right people. Where it can hold you back is when you get comfortable with that and don’t leave. What I would invite you to do is start by taking inventory of what you learned from your experience and how, going forward, it has made you a better person, or how you WANT it to make you a better person.
  4. You get on whatever self-help trend is the newest thing. Your partner and/or friends probably roll their eyes at you when you tell them whatever new method you’re excited about. You’re doing EFT tapping! No, wait, Bikram yoga is your thing. And meditation. No, wait, getting your tarot cards read this week with an appointment with your foot zoner, as well as your astrologer. I think what tends to happen here is that the person that does this is in a lot of pain and looking for that thing, that guru, that miracle that will fix them and change the way they feel. I’m all for trying new things and switching it up every once in awhile, but be careful here. Before you move on and leave behind what you were trying before, give it enough time to really sink into the learning of the method.

Did you resonate with any of these? Feel like you’re stuck and not moving? It’s really okay…knowledge is key!

Direct download: Episode119Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Original post from September 27th, 2012.

This is the first in a ten-part series I’ll be hosting on alcoholism and recovery. If you don’t want to miss the rest of the episodes, make sure you sign up here to be notified when a new one comes out.

And stick around until the end where I’ll share a clip from next week’s recovery post!

My stomach lurches as I begin this post. I considered not going public with this, but that damn intuition of mine had other ideas.

There’s a part of me that wants to make this post bright and cheery somehow, but I’d be lying to you and me if I did that. I’d like to preface my story with this: I know there are so many more women like me. So, I chose to go public with my story because of that. There is a part of me that has massive amounts of shame around this, but coming clean helps heal. And if only one woman gets sober on account of reading my story, then all the shame is worth it.

Hi, my name is Andrea and I’m an alcoholic.

Yep. Me.

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the word “alcoholic”, you get that vision of the homeless man in the gutter, drinking from a paper bag, or maybe the leathery skinned, worn-out woman at the bar, falling off the barstool, or any other pathetic image you conjure up. Not often do you picture a successful life coach, living a great life in the suburbs. And that story is a big part of what kept me drinking.

I’ll start by backing up. My battle started in my late teens with love addiction. When I was 25 my struggle grew into an eating disorder, and thankfully I got help and healed from those when I was 31. It wasn’t until years later that I realized and admitted the eating disorder was bad enough that it could have killed me. To add fuel to the fire, when I was 26 I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and panic disorder, which at that time, was being helped with medication prescribed by my doctor.

Throughout my 20’s, in terms of drinking alcohol, I was a “normal” girl . I drank socially just like all my friends, but could always put down the bottle without a fight. Sure, there were episodes where I made bad decisions (does anyone make good decisions drinking?) and had some embarrassing moments, but nothing so humiliating to write about. Looking back, I believe I didn’t need to rely on drinking then to cope, because I had my eating disorder to fall back on, as well as an addictive relationship with my ex-husband. Those behaviors fed the addict me and I didn’t yet need alcohol to numb me.

Upon recovering from the eating disorder and love addiction, I skipped along into my new life with new tools and thoughts to cope without turning to a relationship, a man, or my eating disorder.

When I was well into recovery from those two addictions, I was so proud and happy. I was convinced I was finally “mentally stable”. But, little did I know, my alcoholism took its place. Quietly, it snuck in like a lethal, poisonous gas that I couldn’t see. I really had no problem quitting drinking when I was pregnant, but after the birth of my second child in 2009 is when my drinking picked up serious speed and momentum.

I found myself drinking nearly every day. And the days that I didn’t, it was to prove to myself that I didn’t need to. See? I could skip a day. I’m okay. When attending social events my mind revolved around alcohol. I was constantly thinking about how full my drink was, if anyone noticed how much I was drinking, if I needed to cover up how drunk I was getting, how much more time I had to drink, and so on.

After about a year of this the whispers in my head started.
“Normal people probably don’t do this.”
“Do I need to cut back?”
“This probably isn’t good.”

In December of 2010 I remember one evening finishing an entire bottle of wine in one evening by myself. Granted, I know there had been plenty of times I’d drank 4 + glasses of wine in one evening, but never by myself at home. On a weeknight. I was so ashamed and swore I would cut back. The next morning at the grocery store I proudly passed the wine aisle and didn’t buy any. By 4:00 that evening the anxiety had risen in me and quickly brought myself and my kids back to the grocery store to get a bottle. Because I deserved it. Because I had a long day. Because I would only have one glass while cooking dinner. I ended up drinking 3 glasses and was proud of myself for not drinking the whole bottle.

Soon after that, an entire bottle was pretty regular. I started hiding how much I was drinking from my husband, and pretty quickly the obsession started of hiding, worrying, and wondering what I should do. This was a living hell. The more that I tried to not think about drinking and the feelings that surrounded it, the worse I felt. My first thoughts in the morning were guilt and shame about how much I drank the night before. Then the thoughts would move to planning on cutting back. Then wondering if I have a real problem. Then justifying my drinking. More guilt and shame. Each day the afternoon would come and I would watch the clock waiting for an “appropriate” time to pour my first glass. The times were getting earlier and earlier. If I remember correctly, my earliest drink was 2:30 pm.

And the whispers got louder and more clear:
“Normal people don’t do this”
“Why can’t I stop thinking about this?”
“I think I have a problem”

I googled, “Am I an alcoholic?” I hoped Google and the internets would magically pop up a “YES!” or “NO!” on the screen instead of a bunch of links. I kept reading, “Only you know if you have a problem” and I wanted to scream. Mostly because I DID know I had a problem. However….. I was paralyzed with fear to quit drinking. I could not imagine my life without alcohol in it. I mean, I LOVE alcohol. I’m good at drinking. And, at the same time, there was a large part of me that was convinced there was NO WAY I could be an alcoholic. I mean, have you seen the show “Intervention”? Did you see the episode of Oprah where the mom was hiding bottles of Chardonnay behind the kitchen trash and laundry room? That wasn’t me! That’s an alcoholic, right? And I JUDGED those women! But the whisper in my head politely tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that those women were once where I was at that moment. They didn’t just wake up one day and start hiding booze. But, I kept justifying my drinking. I was never drunk when I drank at home alone. I never drove, I never lost control with my kids, I never yelled. We had a house in the suburbs, 2 cars, 2 kids and my marriage was actually pretty good. How could I be an alcoholic?

And no one knew. No confrontations, no raised eyebrows, no one told me I should cut back. But, the hiding was becoming a full-time job. And one that I didn’t want anymore. So, if no one knew, and I was doing a good job of controlling it (or so I convinced myself), then I didn’t have to quit. Right? I mean I didn’t have a “rock bottom” that we always hear about. My life was great. All I did was drink too much. No DUI’s. No arrests. No tragic story whatsoever.

So what changed?

Well, I did some research. Not the college term paper kind, but just read blogs of women in recovery, and talked to some girlfriends who had gotten sober.

Here was my turning point: I admitted that what was happening to me was happening fast. And it was out of my control. My drinking wasn’t yet out of control, but this progression was. There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “If we don’t change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” And I knew exactly where I was headed. My intuition, the whispers, were speaking more loudly at this point. I could. Not. Lie. Anymore to myself. I has just started my business and I felt like such a hypocrite writing and telling people how to live their best life. Their “kick-ass” life for Christ’s sake. And I was lying to myself every day. And numbing the pain with alcohol.

I knew I had 2 choices: Keep drinking and see what would happen. Or, quit drinking and see what happened. I was pretty sure I was an alcoholic, and true alcoholics don’t get better if we keep drinking (no matter how desperately we try). We just get worse. I was more terrified to see what would happen if I kept drinking, than to try sobriety. That was all I needed to realize to reach out and try sobriety.

And so I quit.

And it hasn’t all been easy. Some days are, and some aren’t. As time has gone on, the days are easier and now I can’t imagine my life if I had kept up the progression. But, I can’t think about the rest of my life without alcohol. I just can’t. Every day I make a decision and commitment to stay sober that day. Just that day. I’m human, I’m an alcoholic and that’s all I can do.

Today, September 27th, 2012 I have one year of sobriety.

*In the audio version of this post I go into more detail about my current recovery and what I’ve done over the last 5 years to stay sober and practice recovery, as well as questions to ask yourself if you think you have a problem.

Did you like this post? This is the first in a ten-part series I’ll be hosting on alcoholism and recovery. If you don’t want to miss the rest of the episodes, make sure you sign up here to be notified when a new one comes out.


Direct download: R1Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Welcome to episode 118 of Your Kick-Ass Life! Today I’m thrilled to share with you my dear friend, colleague and repeat guest Ms. Amy Pearson.

 If you haven’t heard Amy before you are in for a treat! She is the founder of Live Brazen, as well as a Master-certified Martha Beck Life Coach. She’s also a coach mentor and an instructor for Martha Beck’s life coach training. Plus she’s a writer, a teacher and a speaker who is on a mission to help the heart-centered entrepreneurs of the world!

 On today’s show, we talk about what it means to be addicted to approval - something she is intimately familiar with! She explains the different forms approval addiction can show up as, and how to know if you fit into any of them.

Direct download: AmyPearson_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Today I have a bonus episode for you! The regularly scheduled episode came out yesterday-- 6 reasons you’re afraid and what to do about it-- and today I wanted to bring you a special guest today for a specific reason.

As you know, I’m a life coach. The term “life coach” has taken on many meanings over the last couple of decades. It’s a relatively new profession, and even more new as an online business. I get many, many people who ask me questions like, “How did you become a life coach? Can you actually make a living at it? What school did you go to? What does one need to do to be successful at it? How do I build an online business?” and while I do take a handful of private clients for consulting on this topic, I wanted to have someone on whom I trust implicitly-- someone I’ve hired to help me in my business and who knows all there is to know about building an online business, Tara Gentile.

Tara is the founder of Quiet Power Strategy, a company that provides hands-on business training for idea-driven entrepreneurs. She’s also the author of three books: Art of Earning, Quiet Power Strategy and The Observation Engine. She’s been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, and Chris Guillebeau’s New York Times best-seller The $100 Start-Up. As if that wasn’t enough, she also hosts a podcast called Profit Power Pursuit! It’s a show dedicated to highlighting the real truth about the logistics of running a successful business.

Today we continue that truth-talking about the life coaching business, including who this industry is for and who it isn’t. She explains why most life coaches are missing the answer to this very important question, and why the answer is so critical.

Direct download: TaraGentile_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Everyone has fear. I don’t care if you’ve led a charmed life or had the emotional shit kicked out of you time and time again. Whether you have self-confidence, whether you’re Miss America or a college student. We all have it.

Let me break down the most common things people are afraid of (I’ve left out things like spiders, zombies, the dark, etc. because this is the mostly about the “being” part. Zombies are a completely valid thing to be afraid of, though.) Here we go:

Fear of failure. Fear of not making the team. Not getting that promotion. Your marriage falling apart and divorcing. Being rejected when you ask someone out. Instead, we just don’t try at all. We sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else do things we want to do, and convince ourselves they must have some kind of secret sauce or some immunity to hurt, or perhaps they’re just fearless like everyone is talking about on Pinterest.

Fear of success. Fear of being in the limelight. Having to sustain our success and keep moving forward. Shining too bright and making others uncomfortable. Showing off. So, we play small to avoid any of that.

Fear of other people’s judgments, opinions, criticism, words, opposition, breathing. We DO care what other people think of us. I truly believe NO ONE out there really gives “zero fucks.” But, the real fear is of the haters. Our parents might think we’re crazy for leaving our crap marriage. Or friends might tell us starting our own business might be too hard. And then those anonymous people on the Internet can be really, really mean, so let’s play it safe and not risk criticism from them.

Fear of “The Unknown” aka fear of change. Sounds scary, right? What I’ve come to learn about this one is that pretty much everything in life is unknown. There are no guarantees, ever. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow. So, to try our damnedest to control this Unknown, we play safe and small in order to get some crumbs from The Unknown.

Fear of feeling your feelings. Pretty sure I’m an expert here because I’ve used every vice to numb my feelings except gambling. It’s been a few years now that I’ve made an honest effort to let all the vices go and actually feel my feelings, and I will tell you– it can be downright scary. So, I get it. It can be big things or little things that get thrown our way and instead of actually dealing with it we eat, drink, shop, just plain obsess on something else until (we think) it goes away. (Truth: it never does.)

Fear of confrontation and awkward conversations. These, I don’t think, are ever easy. I’m sure we all know (or are in one) that family that will not talk about that giant elephant in the room. Or the manager that will not have that conversation with your co-worker that totally sucks. The big problem is that when this is avoided, it prevents you from setting boundaries that need to be in place. Then you end up pissed and resentful.

Here’s the thing that ALL of these fears have in common in order to overcome: They require action. Sometimes MASSIVE action.

All the people that are killing it out there in their careers, in their relationships, with their goals and dreams, their only “secret” is that they got off their ass and did something. They actually did a lot of something. And the excuses and stories that come out of your mouth are just that: excuses and stories.

So, the truth is, if you have something big that you want to do— or maybe it’s a lot of little things you want to tweak in order to change your life and actually be happier…but you keep convincing yourself your excuses are valid I challenge you to stop complaining about your situation if you are refusing to take action on it.

30 days. You’re not allowed to utter one complaint about your sucky job, your asshole partner, or whateverthefuck it is that you refuse to take action on because you’re afraid.

Because my friends, think about the alternative. Stay in your situation that sucks. Don’t take action. And look out long term. Say, 5 or 10 years. In 5 or 10 years from now think about how you’re going to feel if things are exactly the same and the way you don’t want them to be. Still. Maybe you need to deal with some shit with a therapist. (And that’s taking action, btw.) Or maybe it’s as simple as you need to get off your ass and make things happen. Only you know.

Direct download: Episode116Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Welcome to episode 115 of the Your Kick-Ass Life podcast! Today’s show is guaranteed to fire you up - I’m joined by the fabulous Nisha Moodley to talk about women as leaders and the impact we can all have when following our greatest passions.

Nisha is a women’s leadership coach and the creator of Fierce Fabulous Free, The Freedom Mastermind & The Freedom Sisterhood. She is also a featured expert on DailyWorth, and has been featured on CNN, Huffington Post and The Daily Love.

On this episode, you’ll also hear about the truth and beauty in sisterhood, why we don’t need to perfect but simply walk our talk, the connection between freedom and sisterhood, and how women and their voices will free the world.

Direct download: NishaMoodley_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT