Did You Lose Friends When You Stopped Drinking or Using Drugs?

Hey everybody, Angela here, thank you so much for taking some time to listen today. We’re gonna be doing something a little bit different. I’ve been putting this out a little bit on social media, not a ton, but just letting you guys know that I was gonna try a different format. I’m trying to listen to a lot of the feedback that I get.

You guys really are great about sending me feedback and questions, and one of the things that I’ve been hearing really regular for many months now, is that you guys would like to hear more of about me and my work and my thoughts and experience in sobriety. And I would assume, probably a little bit of coaching stuff. I hear that a lot, people of course ask my input and knowledge on certain things or ask for my advice.

I’m not great at advice, to be honest with you. One of the great things about coaching is that you really just kind of pose questions, right? So I don’t tell people what I think they should or shouldn’t do, but what I do is just pose some questions to really get you thinking about how you really think or feel about whatever situation. So, anyway, I love the messages I get from all of you, and I really appreciate you guys taking the time to do it. I know we’re all busy and it takes valuable time to send a message or a voice mail.

So here we go, today, I’m gonna answer two questions.

What Work Do I Do?

Mike from Boise, sent me a voicemail from the home page at addictionunlimited.com,  and he said, ‘Angela, what is it that you actually do?’

He said, ‘You talk about so many things, coaching, intervention, sober living…’ He said, ‘Do you ever sleep?’

And I do sleep, not a ton, but I do sleep. And the second question we’re gonna get into after that is… Let me actually read this one directly, it says, “Did you lose friends when you stopped drinking alcohol or using drugs?” So we’re gonna get to that question as well.

Let me start with what I actually do.

So you’re right, Mike from Boise. I do talk about a lot of things, coaching, intervention, sober living. Those are probably really actually my primary things.

So I’ll tell you what I did and sort of in the order that my career unfolded. The first thing I ever did, I was newly sober a year maybe two years sober, something like that, and I did life coach training. Life Coaching always fascinated me. I have been a Tony Robbins fan and reading his books and things like that, since I was a teenager. So I always had that inclination that I wanted to help people, and I knew pretty young that I had a special connection with people. People always wanted to talk to me about things and would open up to me and I just understood very young that I had a special connection with people.  I knew I would be a helping person, in some regard, but at one or two years sober whenever it was, I did my life coach training.

Life Coach & Professional Interventionist

You know, I didn’t have any education.  I was a bartender my whole adult life and I didn’t have any skills, or training of any sort. So for me to think about being a helping professional in a greater capacity, just hadn’t entered my mind yet because I didn’t have any education, at that time. So life coaching was the first thing I did.  The next thing I did was, I saw the television show intervention. And I have to tell you this was really kind of an odd experience, because it was a moment that I have never felt more certain about something in my life.

I was sitting in my living room, it was late at night, I was by myself.  I had a Rottweiler at the time, it was just me and my Rott and we were watching television. And this show comes on. And I literally scooted to the edge of my couch, and I was staring at the television, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

That is the job for me.

So at that time, all of my energy shifted to learn everything I needed to learn to become an interventionist. And a long time of that was doing some research, too, because I didn’t know what kind of education I needed, is their licensure? I mean, I didn’t know anything. So I focused on that.

So from there, well, with intervention comes some work that we call sober companion work. I would fly with people to go to treatment or I would fly to a treatment center and pick somebody up and fly them home, that sort of thing.

There’s a couple of companies, I think there’s probably several companies now that provide sober companions in those situations. Obviously, when I do an intervention, the majority of the time, I will fly with that person to treatment as well, and get them all the way to the door.

Addiction Help

So I think after that, I started a private practice doing coaching, and as a result of doing interventions and working with families, that kind of expanded into some other things as well.  I  do some monitoring for people when they would come home from treatment and helping the family just keep an eye on them. And individual coaching sessions, and of course a lot of family work too, just working on communication and setting boundaries and really a lot of addiction education. Just understanding the illness, what it looks like, what it looks like in our behaviors, as addicted people all that kind of stuff.

And from there I grew into Sober Living, and I have two men’s sober living homes. My homes are pretty structured, they are a lot of fun, I am extremely involved in my houses, and I love them dearly. It’s like a dream come true every time I’m sitting in one of the houses, I literally could get teary-eyed at any moment, just thinking about it because I’m so proud of what we’ve created. And it’s a very different product than what’s offered. Certainly in my city, I’m based in Kansas City, I do travel quite a bit, but I’m based in Kansas City. I have nationwide clients where I do phone sessions and of course continue to do family support with families that I’ve done interventions for across the country, but I am actually based in Kansas City, this is my home.

And I’m not sure where sober living will take me, but I still do all of those things now, obviously as I get busy, I have to cut down on certain things, I do a lot more public speaking now, I created a curriculum to train entry level staff , techs and things of that nature, in treatment centers. I travel a little bit to do that training.

I also created a product called Pop Talk Topic Sticks. And Pop Talk is a fantastic way to get conversation started, right? I use them in my private practice, if somebody’s having a hard time opening up. And what Pop Talk is is it’s popsicle sticks with topics engraved on them.

So you just pick a stick and there’s your topic, and you share about whatever that topic is. Throw the stick back in and pass it to the next person.

We use them in groups,  we use them in 12 step programs, some places have them, which is actually where I got the idea. I was in a 12-step meeting, I think I was in Aruba, it was Aruba, or Barbados one of the two in a meeting. And they had this old rusted coffee can and they had these popsicle sticks with topics just hand-written on them. And I thought it was so brilliant so I went ahead and made it pretty, and it’s called Pop Talk. So those are in treatment centers everywhere.

And I think that’s everything for the most part, that’s what I actually do… Mike from Boise and I know that probably took way more time than it should have, and you wouldn’t think someone’s work would take that long to explain but that is all of the stuff that I do and I’m still available to do all of those things. Like I said, on a national basis, I do a lot of phone sessions I’ll even do some face time sessions.

What’s been really cool also, having clients all over the country, is because I travel so much, I still get to see a lot of my clients face-to-face, right?

So when I travel somewhere to go to a treatment center or visitor treatment center, or to record podcast episodes, I will call the clients that I have in that area and I and we get to hang out and maybe they wanna do a face-to-face session, so I do all those things.

Addiction Unlimited Podcast

Oh, and I forgot my podcast, how did I forget my podcast?!? Yes, April of this year, in 2018, I launched my podcast, which is one of my greatest joys and I do record all of my episodes in person.  So I travel a little bit to do that.

I’m strategic about it, I’m not on the road all the time recording. But when I go somewhere, I typically will arrange three to four interviews to do in that time when I’m there, and that’s how you get to hear me all over the place, and all the crazy encounters that I have with background noise that I can’t control in different places.

And I think in one of the episodes when I was recording in Los Angeles, we had a homeless guy lay down on the sidewalk right outside the office where we were recording, and turned on his transistor radio, and it was Black Magic Woman.  And he just started singing at the top of his lungs and it was hilarious. It’s in one of the earlier episodes with Sonny Mayo, you guys can look that up and hear the homeless guy singing Black Magic Woman. But there was no way for me to even edit that out, so we just rolled with it.

So that is me in a nutshell, and I know that’s a lot. But if you guys have any more questions about any of that stuff, please keep sending me messages DMs on Insta whatever, you can find me on the website, addictionunlimited.com, right on the home page is that voice message recorder, you can do that – and let’s go ahead and get to our next question.

Did you lose friends when you stopped drinking alcohol or using drugs?

I’d love to hear from you guys on this, too. And what your experiences were those of you that are already sober, and living that life. For me, the answer is no, but it’s kind of two-sided.

So I don’t feel like I lost friends, that wasn’t my experience. Most of my friends were really supportive of me quitting drinking.  When I stopped drinking, and told everybody I’m not drinking anymore, I promise you, there was not a single person that argued with my decision. Like, it was understood that was the best decision for myself, as well as the general public.

So what I would say is, I think about this in a way; like, I think about different phases of my life. You have certain friends and that’s your crew and those are your people through certain times of your life. But at some point, the majority of us kind of branch off and go our separate ways and we lose touch with one another, right?

I always talk about the college experience. I’m sure for people that go to college at the normal age and do a fraternity or sorority or dorm, you have this crew of friends you make, and you probably go through that experience largely together.  But once you graduate from college, it doesn’t mean that that crew of friends, like, you all stay BFFs happily ever after, right?

Everybody goes their own ways and gets married and has kids and get jobs and does all those things. And that’s really how I look at my friends from when I was drinking. I love those people, all of them. If any one of them called me today, I would drop anything to help them or be there for them. I love those people. Our lives just went different directions, so we don’t hang out anymore. It’s not because I don’t like them or they don’t like me or I don’t love them, I love them. But we just do different things. Our lifestyles went very different ways. I will say that I definitely didn’t feel like, when I got sober, I didn’t feel like anybody was really trying to hang out with me and do non-drinking things. And part of that’s because my drinking friends were hardcore drinkers just like I was a hardcore drinker.

I was an alcoholic, I wasn’t gonna hang out with somebody that wasn’t. You know what I mean? If they wanted to hang with me, they were gonna have to be able to hang.  So when I got sober, I think it makes other people really look at their own habits and start to question what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and do they have a problem? And I think when people do have a problem, they can get a little weird about it, and I feel like it might have made them not wanna spend so much time with me, or they weren’t willing to do non-drinking things because their lives revolved around alcohol.

It’s not like my hard core drinking friends were calling me going, “Hey, do you wanna go see a movie or do you wanna go have coffee?” Because that wasn’t their lifestyle. It had nothing to do with me, or not wanting to hang out with me anymore. Our lifestyles just went different ways.

So, I know that probably is a little confusing, but the short answer is no. I don’t feel like I lost friends. I feel like I gained a whole new family in the support group, right? Going to 12-step meetings.

I had a whole new family of people to spend my time with and I just didn’t feel like I lost out on anything. I feel like I gained more than I lost, for sure.

The bottom line is, for me, I got sober, and I decided that all I wanted to do was learn how to live better and how to be healthier mentally, right? Like, I wanted to be a happier healthier person. And when you make a choice like that, there are many people who aren’t gonna wanna go on that journey with you.  Not because they don’t love you or like you anymore, but because personal growth and change take a lot of hard work. And a lot of people just aren’t up to the challenge, that’s the truth. If change were easy, everybody would do it and we wouldn’t have a ton of the problems we have in the world, right? If we could all just say, “Oh I wanna be different today” and it was that simple, everybody would do it. It’s just not that easy.

My Sober Responsibility

So I feel like the only responsibility I had was to myself and what I had to do is make sure that I was making the best choices for me. And another piece of this, that I feel like people really don’t understand, because there’s a whole other flip side to this, too.

So now as a sober person, I’ll have people reach out to me when they think they have a drinking problem.  They reach out to me and they want my help and guidance.  “What do I do, how do I handle this?”  They need somebody to talk to, and of course I’m always happy to be that person. But what happens is, when they decide to go back to drinking, all of a sudden they don’t wanna talk to me anymore.  Like I’m the problem.

And so now, whenever somebody calls me and wants that guidance, I have this whole conversation up front, where I’m like, “Listen, it doesn’t matter to me if you drink or don’t drink, I’m gonna love you regardless, right? The only thing that matters to me is that I don’t drink.”

So if you want this guidance and you wanna jump in this pond and you want me to help, I’m happy to do that. But if you decide to go back to the other side, please don’t cut me off because you wanna go back to the other side, it doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t care if somebody else drinks. I only care, if I drink. That’s the most important thing to me.

Of course, I want the best for everyone. I think everybody in the world should quit drinking because it’s kind of pointless. But that’s not my choice to make. I just have to protect me.

So, I don’t think I lost friends. I think our lives just went different directions. I think all of my drinking friends still to this day are incredibly proud of me for the changes that I’ve made, and the person that I’ve grown into.  I am an entirely different human being all the way around, inside and out. I’m totally different. And like I said, if any one of those friends of mine called me today and needed something I would always answer the phone, I would drop anything to be there for them and help them and support them in whatever they were going through, so I don’t feel like they’re lost.

I feel like I just became a part of a bigger and different family that supported me in my new life, and that’s what I needed at that time.

I hope that was helpful. I hope it wasn’t too convoluted or weird. And I love your guys’ questions, so please don’t forget keep sending me DMs on Insta, and come on Insta! I have so much fun and I’m obsessed with Instagram, so have fun on Instagram with me, for sure. It’s such a good, good time.

And let me know if you like these question and answer things and you want me to keep doing more of that. Or, if you want more interviews. I love to get you guys’ feedback, just so I know what to provide for you, so I’m doing the best thing that makes you guys happy.

Okay, have a great day, we’ll see you later..