As I pull into the driveway my sole focus is hoping I’m at the right house. I’m a bit of a nomad in this way. I have spent years of my career traveling the country to do interventions, fully dependent on GPS to guide me to stranger’s homes then back to even stranger hotels. It’s interesting how my podcast life is similar.
I am getting my things together in my car when I see this beautiful free-spirited woman come out the front door with a huge smile and even bigger energy. Have you ever met one of those people? The person that can warm your soul just by entering the room? That is the feeling I had the moment I saw Jenn Kautsch come out to greet me.
Jenn was my last stop before I hit the road to drive back to Kansas City. My friends think I am crazy that I enjoy the road trip from Dallas to KC, “Why don’t you just fly?!?” they say. The truth is, I really enjoy the 8 hours of solitude with purpose. I just made that up, solitude with purpose, but that is exactly how I view that 8 hours in my car.
I listen to podcasts, I make phone calls I have been trying to make for weeks, I listen to books and brainstorm blog ideas, I listen to my daily inspirational YouTube videos and find new ones. And I always stop at Braum’s for a vanilla malt.
8 hours of solitude, where I take advantage of every moment to catch up and nourish my brain.
This trip to Dallas was 3 days, 1 business luncheon, and 3 podcasts to record. By the time I got to my Airbnb on the first day, all of my podcasts had cancelled. One of my girlfriends said she would record with me and stopped returning my calls all together (guess she changed her mind), one of my guests was ill, and one had an emergency work thing come up. WTF.
I jumped on social media to catch everybody up on the trials and tribulations of a podcaster’s life and I called one of my good friends in Dallas to see if he knew anyone that would be interested in coming on the podcast on short notice.
Earlier in the summer I had recorded some episodes of Addiction Unlimited in Austin, TX and got to spend time with an incredible soul who started a pop-up style alcohol-free bar called Sans Bar. Chris Marshall (episode 21) immediately popped up in my DMs and asked if I had connected with @sobersis. Of course, the answer was no. He said she was in Dallas, so I jumped on Insta and messaged her.
She responded quickly and was interested, but I could also sense some hesitation. She wanted to have a call to discuss more and ask some questions.
I forget sometimes that people aren’t always familiar with what a podcast is or how it works. And to make things just a bit more odd, I record all my episodes in person. So when I am talking to people about recording, they can’t connect all the dots in their head as to how it works or what they need to do. And A LOT of people think there is video involved and will immediately decline because they don’t want to be on video. I’m sure they wouldn’t decline if it was Oprah asking them to be on video, but for little old me they are definitely not doing it. Luckily, I don’t video my episodes.
After a lovely phone conversation I hoped that Jenn was more comfortable with me and the idea of recording, and I knew she had this amazing energy and story to tell.
Ever heard of the Sobriety Spectrum? Or, the gray-area drinker? These are some of the new terms that are sweeping the world of social media with creative hashtags and a different way of viewing drinking.
Through the course of recording my podcast, I have this incredible opportunity to meet and spend time with amazing people across the country. As I research guests, I see a plethora of lifestyles, outlooks, and ways to explain how drinking has a little too much presence in people’s lives, and they want to change it.
What is fascinating to me today, is how many people are recognizing the issue and they are stopping. I wonder where they get the awareness they need to stop and will they continue to stop long term, or will it be a break in the cycle on the way to addiction?
Jenn Kautsch @sobersis
An interesting part of this story also, is Jenn spent many years of her adult life as a non-drinking person. To me, this is so valuable because she had an understanding that she was fully capable of living happily without alcohol. This was not my experience and not the experience of many problem drinkers.
The more common story is you start drinking fairly young and over the course of years alcohol begins to take a more dominant role in your life. My family activities, social activities, work activities all began to revolve around alcohol or my need to have a drink to be comfortable in those settings. So when I quit drinking, I had no idea how to have a life that didn’t involve alcohol because alcohol was all I knew and all I did.
Now, over a decade into my own sobriety, I get to explore all the different shapes and sizes of drinking and problem drinking. In 12 step programs we talk about the option of stopping drinking at whatever stage you want. You don’t have to have a super low rock bottom worthy of an after-school special, an episode of Dateline or America’s Most Wanted.
You can stop whenever you want. Unfortunately, many of us ride the elevator all the way to the bottom and almost die. Or, in my case, almost kill someone else.
But today there are all of these incredibly smart and aware people that are making a choice to stop drinking because they want to live better and be healthier. It’s like the pendulum has shifted and many more people are understanding the waste of time that alcohol is and how damaging it can be. We’ve been told our whole lives that alcohol is the accessory to life- for fun, relaxation, celebration, drowning our sorrows and everything in between. But the truth is, it can be damaging and dangerous not only to those of us who use it, but to everyone around us when we use it.
This is the story Jenn shared with me: Her innermost thoughts about alcohol and how it was completely incongruent with her lifestyle. She shares how she realized her choices were unhealthy and she didn’t feel good about it, and how she had the courage one day to step away from alcohol to see if her life got better. I think we all know the answer to that.
I hope you enjoy the episode with Jenn as much as I did. Her energy is amazing, her strength and willingness to travel her own path is admirable, and I am grateful I got to share this time with her.
Jenn Kautsch- Episode #29