OBJECTIONS, QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Q. I’m afraid of trying and failing.
Answer. Everyone is terrified of trying and failing - we've been conditioned to believe that failure is something to be avoided at all costs, and proof of our inability to accomplish goals. The only real failure is not trying something in the first place, or giving up after a few failed attempts. Those that are successful - at anything - are the ones who dare to try despite their fear, and the ones who stand up after the fall. Success is built through failure - not through avoidance of risk of failure.
Q. I don’t think I can do it.
Answer. No one does. Ever. It always seems impossible until it is done. (Nelson Mandela quote). All you have to do is try. All you have to do is start. And then all you have to do is keep trying. That's it. That is how we do impossible things we think we can't do. I promise you that if I can do it, you can do it. I promise you that if the thousands upon thousands of other people who have gotten sober can do it, you can too.
Q. I start things and I don’t finish - I don’t have follow through.
Answer. Great. Then this is for you. The beauty of this program is that it is DESIGNED for people who give up and lack follow through. Our people are the ones that don't finish books, never stick to diets, and zealously start various craft and art projects without bringing them to completion. In Hip Sobriety School you learn that it is not in the completion of any one task, and not in how perfect you do it - there are no grades, there is no certificate of completion at the end. It is simply death by 1,000 cuts. Everything you do adds up - so you literally can't fail.
Q. I don’t have the money to do this.
Answer. This is one of my favorite arguments, especially because we spend so much money on alcohol and drugs and cigarettes. We further spend money on the things that come with this lifestyle - hangover food, cab rides, entry fees, etc., and we also spend money on cleaning it up (I used to drop $1,000 a year on Intense Pulse Light Therapy to battle the red broken capillaries in my face). Since quitting alcohol, I have saved over $41,000 on alcohol and alcohol related expenses (this is a conservative estimate), and since quitting pot and cigarettes, I have saved $25,000. This doesn't even account for the money I spent trying to keep my youthful looks, or the amount of money I dropped on drunken spending binges.
There's also the insidious cost of things money can't buy - missed life experiences. There is no way to buy time or a life. Since quitting alcohol, pot, cigarettes, and overcoming bulimia, I have traveled to Italy four times, traveled to Hawaii four times, quit my job, started my own company, completed two yoga trainings, started a podcast, and had some of the most amazing life experiences (for a full list, see here). None of this would have been possible without spending the money on recovery.
$497 is worth it. YOU are worth it.
Please hear me on this: whether it this school, the massage, on the yoga class, the juice, the therapist, the coaching - WHATEVER - invest in your recovery. The return on investment is the best I have found in my life.
Q. I should be able to do this by myself.
Answer. But you haven't. That's the answer. You haven't. And you can't. Our lives are groundhog day experiences until we make fierce and committed action to change. This change, while it is of your own volition, is aided by things outside of you. On my path to sobriety, I found teachers, programs, books, coaches, yoga teachers, doctors, psychologists, massage therapists, nutritionists, acupuncturists, and basically constructed my own care team. I could NOT have done this without these people and these programs. You must do this of your own volition - you cannot be forced - but you must also do it with as much support as you can find.
Q. Can I do the program if I’m still drinking?
Answer. Yes, yes, yes. This is designed for the whole spectrum - those still drinking, those who are starting to go through periods of abstinence, those who are far along in their recovery. This program is not designed to just help you quit drinking - it is designed to break up all the things that caused you to drink in the first place, and to help you create a life that is purpose-driven, meaningful, joyful, empowering and free, and at the same time, help you break up addictive patterns. If you are still drinking, I actually recommend that you leave the band-aid on first as you start to dig into sobriety, or at least not put a ton of crazy pressure on "must be sober now" and allow yourself to heal. The bottom line is that you and only you can really know when it is time to start attempting to remove the substance. You got here, you're reading these words, you are looking at purchasing a program - that means you understand that you need to change something and you are actively doing something about it. That means that you will know when to start removing booze and testing out sobriety. NOTE, if you are in acute addiction, and in need of medically supervised detox, this program is not for you. ALSO NOTE, this is not a moderation program - we've already been trying moderation our whole lives. Hasn't worked.
Q. I don’t feel comfortable in group environments.
Answer. Me either. People freak me out, and I loathe group work and large parties. I tend to walk around the edges and see what other people are up to, what they are saying, and then either stay outside, or jump in. So I set this course up to allow for this. You are free to stand around the edges and watch other people dance, and then jump in when and if the time feels right. I will say this - groups of people in recovery or sobriety workshops are not your typical "group environments" and the conversations that are had are by FAR more interesting than the ones that I encounter at, say, a yoga workshop or a business development course. There is a level of honesty, humility, and vulnerability that you often don't get a chance to witness or be part of. And small talk is almost non-existent because our kind of people don't small talk.
Q. I’ve tried so many things - how do I know this will work?
Answer. Well, you don't really know. I can't guarantee this will change your life or make you sober or anything like that. Because I don't know you. But I can tell you that if you show up and you take just one or two things away with you and along your path, then something has happened that otherwise would not have. I personally have purchased about $50,000 in trainings in the last four years. Not all of them have "worked" or done what I had hoped, but all of them have built on one another and led me further down my path.
The programs that I invested the most time and interest into really paid off (for instance, I dropped $147 learning how to create this web page, and I did all the work, and voila, good sales page), and the programs that I never opened and didn't attend or that I left early from (like that Forrest Yoga workshop where women were screaming in Warrior 2 that I ran from) simply informed me what I wasn't interested in, and where to go next.
The bottom line is that you get what you put into things, and that each experience "works" in exactly the way it needs to for you. This one is no different.
Q. I’m not sure I want to quit drinking.
Answer. Many (most, all) sober people weren't sure, either. This is the process we go through. You don't HAVE to be sure. But if it is nagging you on some level (or destroying you on some level), you owe it to yourself to check it out. I don't believe abstinence comes before recovery. I think recovery starts long before abstinence. This program is not targeted at sober people. It is targeted at people who are interested in exploring sobriety. Some of us happen to be sober and know we want to stay that way, some of us are trying on sobriety for the first time and still unsure of how long we want to/can do it, and some of us are still stumbling out of bars and going to bed after putting away bottles of medium-priced reds.
Q. How do I know this isn't just another one of my crazy ideas or quick-fix schemes?
Answer. It's not. There is nothing crazy about trying to be happy, be free, live the life you feel you were meant to live, or quit drinking. Each experience and attempt and idea and commitment is not of itself an isolated experience. EVERYTHING WE DO ADDS UP. Including the meditation class we didn't finish. Including the Eckhart Tolle book we read 20 pages of. Including those five yoga classes you've taken in your life. Everything counts. There is nothing you have done that hasn't brought you here, and there is nothing you will do that won't take you to where you want to go. It may not work exactly as we dream it will...but it all ads up.
Q. I’m not sure I have the time to do this.
Answer. No one does, really. Including Beyonce and Oprah and those people we say "have the same 24 hours in a day." But consider this. How much time does drinking take?
How much time do you spend:
- Planning or thinking about drinking (how much I will drink tonight? / will I drink tonight? / maybe I'll just drink champagne with sparkling water mixed in it? / will I drink on vacation?).
- Worrying about your drinking (am I drinking to much? / how much is she drinking? / is it making me ugly? / did I do something stupid last night? / do I have cancer? / have I permanently hurt myself? / am I addicted? / what if I never quit?).
- Recovering from drinking and feeling like poop.
- NOT doing things you DREAM TO DO.
The insidious thing about drinking is not just the drinking. The insidious thing is how much time it steals from your life. How much mental space it takes up, how much it prevents living to your fullest. Of course you don't have time to do this. That is why you make time to do this.
Q: Will we discuss nutrition and how that factors in to recovery from addiction?
Q: Does your program encourage people who struggle with alcohol to develop a support network?
Answer. Yes absolutely. You'll have access to the online community on January 10th, where you'll interact with myself, each other, and a handful of alumni. This community will remain in place throughout our 8 weeks together, and beyond - the group will remain live forever forever. Also, many past participants and former clients have had a desire to stay and help others through or become involved - so there is also opportunity to help grow Hip Sobriety for the more motivated or for those who are called to.
Q: Will the course teach me how to deal with stress, anxiety, cravings and temptation?
Answer. Yes. We’ll approach these things on three different levels. First by giving you practices, tips, and tools to incorporate into your life so that you naturally reduce stress and anxiety and don’t need to escape/won’t hit a place of craving. Second by giving you a toolkit so when cravings/temptations do strike, you have healthy coping mechanisms to turn to (and also by helping you become a great witness of your own behavior so you know how to manage it). Third, by providing you an understanding on WHY these things happen - education is KEY to learning how to manage behaviors.
Q: Will this course help me create a life I don’t want to escape from, or at least help me not want alcohol?
Answer. This course will help you lay the foundations for a life you don’t need to escape from. Meaning, we’ll look at all the areas of your life - your relationships, your purpose, your spirit, your energy, your health and nutrition, your routine, your joy, your environment - and give you tools to and tips and resources to create a life you don't need to drink your way through. Simply adding specific meditation practices and breath practices and addressing nutrition issues will greatly change things for you. Go one step further and add in all the other work we will do on spirit, relationships, society, purpose, etc., and you're well on your way to changing your experience dramatically.
Further, as a group, we'll be building on the idea it's not "normal" to drink - sobriety is not a consequence but rather an empowering, life-altering decision that opens many more doors than it closes.
Q: Does this teach someone how to quit drinking?
Answer. Addiction is a symptom of an underlying problem. We turn to addictive behaviors and substances to escape from something else - the original wound - and eventually the behavior or chemical turns into its own problem. (Watch this Gabor Mate video to get a more in-depth understanding of this). This course will focus on going deep and working with the underlying cause, and also the secondary issue, the addiction. This will be done through myriad approaches - through learning practices such as specific breathing exercises, meditation practices, and yoga practices, through education, through working with our nutrition, through behavior modification, through learning tools and coping mechanisms, and a whole host of other things. We will absolutely go into specifics of “How To Quit” (one of the modules is specific to this) but we are more going through a process of laying a foundation of building a life we don’t need to escape from in the first place.
Q: Will we discuss relapse?
Answer. The top two concerns my clients have when it comes to quitting drinking is (1) they are afraid they can’t maintain sobriety and might drink again if they try and stop (or suffer their remaining days on earth missing it), and (2) they are concerned about losing their social life/being a social pariah. So relapse/failure/slips will be a huge theme.
I don’t truly believe relapse is the right word to describe what happens when we try and stop an addictive habit and fail at our attempt - relapse implies we return to a previous state and discounts all we have done. I believe we progress through mistakes and failures and the success of an individual depends on their ability to pick themselves up after falling down - not on whether or not they fall down in the first place. We have to test our edges to understand how to move forward and I am of a firm belief "messing up" is part of the process. And that’s IT.
The course will address relapse on this level (how to frame it and remove fear around it). However and more importantly...by implementing the practices and tools we learn together over the eight weeks, we will severely reduce our chances of failing in the first place.
Q: Will this course cover social issues? I’m concerned with how to tell my friends, my children, my spouse. I’m concerned with losing my social life. I’m concerned about how to socialize with friends that still drink. I want to know how to deal with friends who still push alcohol on me.
Answer. As mentioned in the Q above, hell yes. All of it. One of the the biggest things for us to overcome is not necessarily how to stop drinking, but how to live in a world that drinks. There will be a lot of time dedicated to relationships, community, and society and we’ll answer all of your questions as well as empower and support you through any specific obstacles/situations you come up against. This won't an explicit part of the course material, but it will be what we address most often in the online group, and in the coaching calls.
Q: I’m interested in creating a sustaining practice that keeps me sober. Is this it?
Answer. Yep. This is ALL about how to build a life that promotes health and joy and happiness and our PRIMARY FOCUS will be to give you all the tools you need to build the foundation for this. Over the course of the 8 weeks, we’ll slowly build daily ritual and practice that is fun and enjoyable and that will stick. The idea is not to live a life where you just make it without alcohol, but to live a life that is so freaking amazing you’ll never want to drink alcohol again.
Q: Will this help me feel less ashamed about not being able to drink? I want to feel like a badas* about it but I tend to feel "less", shamed, and different.
Answer. Yes!! My top priority is this. To make you feel PROUD and empowered and badas* about the choice for sobriety. This is foundational to what I believe, and so this is how everything I do is framed. We will naturally working on this shift in thinking with you. EVERYTHING about this course is meant to take you to a place of empowerment.
Q: Will the course be recorded/accessible past the 8 weeks?
Answer. Yes. You'll have access to the recordings and course materials FOREVER.
Q. Is this a 12-step program?
Q. Do I need to go to AA meetings? Is this in opposition to AA?
Answer. I personally did not go the AA route, though I did go to meetings and found the experience invaluable (because there were good things that happened to me in it, because there were bad things that happened to me in it). This program is entirely supplemental to any recovery modality. I do not believe each person recovers the same as the next person or has the same needs as the next - I believe each of us has a distinct path to walk and your recovery or process looks just like that - your recovery or process. For some of you, that may mean AA meetings. For some, that may mean never setting foot in the door of an AA meeting. This course is exactly the same no matter what your decision is. I do, however, believe you need to try something on before making a decision about it, so I always recommend giving at least one or two meetings a go.
Q. What is the time commitment each week?
Answer. As little or as much as you allow time for. The minimum is 5 minutes to read an email each day, 10 minutes for a morning practice, a few minutes throughout the day to incorporate a few practices, and one hour a week for a recorded lecture, one hour a week for a group coaching call (which is optional), and about one hour a week in assignments. So, minimum, about 3 to 5 hours a week for it to be of benefit to you. You could also go nuts and throw yourself into the work, and spend upwards of 20 hours a week.
When I first started on my path, it was all I did. I committed entirely to being happy and I got deep results from this commitment. I have had clients that have done the same, who have also gotten extreme results. I have also had clients that made the bare minimum fit into their lives and have achieved great results. Like anything else, what you put into this you will get out of it. But there is no doubt in my mind even the barest of the minimums will be a game changer for you.
Q. What is the refund policy?
Answer. All requests for refunds or transfers to the next Hip Sobriety School (if there is one scheduled) must be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org WITHIN THE FIRST 10 DAYS after the program has started (by midnight on January 22nd, 2017). Full refunds or transfers to subsequent coaching groups will only be granted within the first 10 days. Because the space to the course is limited, there are no exceptions on this policy.
Q. How does this work with therapy/counseling?
Answer. Supplement and complement, not alternative to. I am not a therapist, and your therapist is not a coach. I HIGHLY recommend that everyone seek out therapy, and part of the course will be dedicated to helping you find a good therapist.
Q. I’m interested in 1:1 coaching, do you do that still?
Answer. Not anymore. I'm focused on programs and resources at a lower price point.