Voices InCourage with KL Wells | Jen Lee Hirst | Sobriety

In today’s Voices InCourage episode, we feature Jen Lee Hirst, a dynamic full-time working mom of two and a sobriety coach on a mission to empower women to boost confidence through a life without alcohol.

Jen’s journey is nothing short of inspiring – from facing two DUIs and battling intense anxiety to the point of drinking mouthwash, she found herself on the brink of a life-altering decision to get sober.

Join us as we delve into Jen’s seven years of recovery, and learn how she navigated the challenges, embraced joy, and stepped into her full potential. In Jen’s words, “I just never stopped trying.”

This is a candid exploration of resilience, self-discovery, and the transformative power of choosing a life lived to the fullest.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

How Women Thrive In Sobriety With Coach Jen Lee Hirst

I am excited to have Jen Hirst with us. She is a full-time mom of two kids, has her own journey with alcohol, and is now a sobriety coach. You are the first sobriety coach that I’ve interviewed. I’m excited to have this conversation. She hails from Minnesota. We’re coming out of Eugene, Oregon. Welcome.

Thank you so much for having me on. I’m excited to be here and to be your first sobriety coach on this show.

If you would give us the background of your own journey with alcohol and what prompted you to say, “Enough is enough.” Let’s start there.

I’m a sober coach in Minnesota. I’m over ten years alcohol-free. I am coming up on my eleventh year in 2024. After working as a brand manager for most of my life, I now coach women on how to boost their confidence in sobriety by implementing these simple, healthy habits from the get-go and making this a fun experience that you get to do as this incredible opportunity of what an alcohol-free lifestyle can do for you.

Looking back at my drinking career, many people can attest to this that it’s two completely different people. I’m going back to who I was but also envisioning and stepping into who I was always meant to be. I had no idea yet. I had no idea that my life was going to take me on this journey to becoming open about this, to becoming a sober coach. That was not in my cards. That was not in my cards to become addicted to this substance or drug that almost took my life.

You wouldn’t see or know that by looking at pictures of myself from my before and afters on my Instagram page, where I always share before and afters. I don’t have those typical before pictures of me in the hospital, which I have done a few times. I didn’t take pictures of myself. This was several years ago. We didn’t share as much as we do now.

Dancing With Alcohol

What I like to see in the picture is how good I was at hiding it and how so many of us, especially women, hide it, and no one knows what we’re doing. I looked the part. I looked like I had it all together. I played up to that. I grew up in a great family. My parents rarely drank. I did have an alcoholic grandfather who did get sober. My mom was close to witnessing this. She had to grow up fast and take care of her younger siblings. Her mother died when she was young.

I didn’t have that typical thing. Even when I did have my first drink at fifteen, I wasn’t addicted from the start. I did “typical normal drinking” in high school and college. There was a turning point when my second boyfriend wanted to go on a break. I did not want to go through that feeling of heartbreak again from my first boyfriend, where you have this intention.

The break wasn’t it. I was living with some guys at the time. They abused Adderall. I said, “I don’t do drugs.” They’re like, “Take it. You’re going to feel amazing. You’re going to feel like God. You’re not even going to remember him.” Little did I know alcohol is a drug. I was nervous about that. At that point, I didn’t know what else to do to take me away. My heart hurt so much. I was like, “Screw it. Let’s do it.” I did and felt amazing. I felt on top of the world. I stayed up all night. I dyed my hair. I said, “This is the best thing ever.”

The crash came. All those feelings came back, and I was right back to it. It instilled this idea and planted a seed that taught me, “I never have to feel pain again. I can drink anytime I get nervous.” As a classic introvert, I’m shy. Anytime I get nervous to call a boy or to go to a party, that stuff freaks me out. Even before this show, I get nervous. I’ve been doing this for years. I still get nervous.

I talk about this a lot with the women in my groups. The anticipation of an event, date, and going to a work conference freaks us out, and we don’t know what to do with all that anxiety. The more I did it, the more I became used to it. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual process. That’s what makes alcohol dangerous. It happens more often than not slowly.

Voices InCourage with KL Wells | Jen Lee Hirst | Sobriety
Sobriety: What makes alcohol so dangerous is that it happens more often than not very slowly.

From the moment that I thought I had a problem to the point where I got sober, it was a several-year progression. It was the year leading up to my wedding where I am a classic workaholic. I’m an Enneagram three. I’m a perfectionist and a high achiever. I was working full-time and working full-time as a freelancer. I was doing my wedding all by myself, not asking for help, and I would drink to cope with the stress. I’m like, “You guys go out. I got work to do. I have to produce this to make money and to do this.” I wanted it my way. I slowly drank myself into a full-blown addiction where I couldn’t stop.

It was during this period that I would give myself these mini goals. I would do this all internally in my head. I was like, “If I can go three days, I’m not an alcoholic. I could do a day and I would drink on day two.” I would do these mini-goals and I could never make it. I got scared. It was a couple of days after my wedding and I was good at hiding it. No one knew what was going on. Not even my soon-to-be husband. He had no idea.

My wedding day is a day that you’re going to look back on for many years. It’s hard for me to look at myself because that was the turning point. I started drinking in the morning. I was taking Adderall to try to get through it, lose weight, and get everything done. I was full-blown anxiety. I said, “Try to get through this day, and everything is going to be okay.” It wasn’t.

I collapsed two days after. I couldn’t hide it anymore. I drank around the clock, even though I had been doing that for quite some time. I began my year-and-a-half journey of actively figuring out what was going on. I’m going to my first AA meeting drunk. My husband is taking me, him finding out, and us navigating our relationship as a newly married couple. Me going into my first outpatient because AA wasn’t working. The sponsor doing that. I’m having periods. I’m going into an inpatient at Hazelden in August of 2012. We got married in September of 2011.

I love inpatient. It’s fantastic. It was some of the best times. I don’t have to worry about work. I can focus on myself. I’m around women who get me. We get to hang out, have fun, and talk about things. Even though the first couple of days were scary, and I was coming off, I was having withdrawal, but I also knew I wasn’t fully ready. I wanted to get sober. I wasn’t ready. I’m like, “I was going to try it one last time when I got out.

I was feeling great. I’m doing awesome. It led me right back to where I left off. I went back into inpatient. I did this extended care stay again with this idea that I’m still not done. I was taking Adderall. In this period, I was also dabbling into other forms of alcohol, like mouthwash. That was my drink of choice for the last several years because of the extreme shame that I felt about going into a liquor store. I learned in treatment, “That’s a mouthwash. I could drink that.” I can go to Target and no one has to know. I don’t have to hide.

At that point, I didn’t care. It started to destroy my body. I am someone who had to take it. I’m tenacious. If you say I can’t do something, I will prove you wrong. I’m going to try to make this work. I’m trying to hide it. I started to feel myself dying at the age of 31, which is crazy. I got two DUIs in this process. One in 2005, and the second in 2013, before I got sober.

During this period, my husband kicked me out of the house because I was drinking about setting those boundaries. As a family member, he set that boundary. If you drink, you have to leave. I understand how hard that was for him and for my parents who loved me unconditionally. They didn’t know what to do with me. They said, “She must do treatment. This is supposed to work. She’s not cured. What do we do? We love her, but she can’t drink in this house.”

On April 23rd, 2013, I was going to the office with my dad because they had to keep tabs on me. I had to be watched all the time, which didn’t help. It made me want to drink even more. I blacked out in the middle of the day and they took me to detox. I blew a 0.34. It scared me, but the fact that I’d been doing that for the past several years, and there were way other times that I don’t even know how close I came to not waking up.

I had searched cardiac arrest on my childhood bed before going in because I was taking Adderall. I was drinking mouthwash. felt my hands going numb. My heart was pounding out of my chest. My ulcers were bad. My hands were shaking so much. I thought I was going to be going into cardiac arrest, but I didn’t want to freak out my parents.

It was during that moment in detox that I made the decision. Many people describe it as a click moment. Even though that can happen as this divine awakening and can happen in the process of going alcohol-free doing 30 days off and you realize, “What am I doing?” I had an out-of-body experience. I looked down at my bed and I was scared. No one was talking to me. My parents didn’t know what to do with me. I was calling homeless shelters.

It was at that moment that I had court the next day for my DWI. I’m like, “What am I doing?” I decided in there that I was done. I fully surrender. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I let go of the outcome. I told myself, “The only thing you need to do is not drink. As long as you don’t drink, you cannot make this any worse.” I had a lot of stuff to clean up. I don’t know how I was going to do it.

The only thing you need to do is not drink. As long as you don't drink, you cannot make this any worse. Share on X

I started taking things one thing at a time. I didn’t expect anybody to believe me because how many times did I say, “This is it, I swear, I’m sorry?” I shut up and started doing the next right thing. It felt freeing because once I took away the fight of trying to make this work, I knew it. It got much easier. It’s hard to teach us because it’s an internal shift that happens. It’s a mental decision that you make with yourself. You’ve got to want it and you have to be ready. I wasn’t ready before. On April 24th, I was.

I started and went to my last inpatient stay. I did all the things. I got my parole officer. I did my day in jail. I’m four months pregnant. I got a job at a local printing shop. I didn’t have a car because of my DWI. I made it work. It’s amazing what can happen when you remove one thing. I got that job at a local printing shop. I found a job back in my field. I’m four months into my sobriety. I started going to the meetings and doing all of the aftercare that they recommended. I started showing up and doing it. It felt easier.

Voices InCourage with KL Wells | Jen Lee Hirst | Sobriety
Sobriety: It’s amazing what can happen when you just remove one thing.

Within four months we learned I was pregnant, which is something I wanted. It’s something that was planned. My husband saw the change in me and saw that there was a difference. It could be time that we could start to try. In six to seven months, I got a promotion. When my son was six months old, we bought our first house. It was all these things that I envisioned for my life that I never thought possible and I visualized before I went into my last inpatient that came true. Now even better.

I never imagined us living in the country, but imagine my life now in the city, and having chickens. We have chickens and four cats. We started with two. I’m like, “What’s another two more chickens? What’s another fifteen more?” I’m not saying it’s perfect. I’m living life. I can get into how I became a sober coach. That’s my story of starting out to where it led me. As a weight that started with pain and heartbreak led to anxiety. I’m trying to drink to calm my anxiety, where I couldn’t stop, how much I tried to fight it and how much alcohol had a grip on me. Even though I didn’t want to do it, I had to do it because I didn’t know any other way.

I was low. I imagined myself in my later drinking months. I had dug myself into this big hole. This is the vision I had. I had no idea how I was going to get out. I never stopped trying. Sometimes, you have to let someone struggle enough until they wake up and they want it. Forcing someone to get help often doesn’t work unless they want it. That’s hard for someone who loves this person or if it’s your son, or your partner, to let them do this to themselves

Sometimes you just have to let someone struggle enough until they wake up and they really want it. Because forcing someone to get help doesn't work. Share on X

For family members and friends, one of the hardest things to understand is that we can’t be angry with them and force them into getting help. We can’t shame them into getting help. I remember one moment I had with my son and I said, “I can’t lose you.” I was saying that from heartbreak. That was not anything that was gonna move him.

There’s this desperation. You talked about being in the hole. It feels like that to us too. We fall in the hole with you. It looks a little different because we’re in desperation trying to figure out how to help you. It’s a weird thing that we can’t. We can love you with boundaries. I don’t know how many people learn to do that, because it is such a higher level of love and the whole self-care component to it for those of us. We have to do the same things you do.

A Mental Shift

That’s why there are family programs and treatment because you go through your own recovery process.

The challenge is that, relative to the family pieces, there are few places that do have family programs. When you look across the country, being in Minnesota, you have one of the best programs in the country with Hazelton. I have friends who have been to Hazelton. Al-Anon wasn’t a fit for me because I wanted to thrive in the midst of this.

I didn’t want to live in the crisis of it. I didn’t want to survive this. The aspiration that I had for who I was going to become in the midst of my son’s disease didn’t match up. It is why voices encouraged were born. It’s an interesting dance of our journeys. It’s all about elevating on both sides of the equation. Our own consciousness and what it truly means to be alive and thriving.

I’m even thinking of a next-level course and some empowering words that even got me thinking like, “Elevate is a great word.” All of those terms step into who you’re always meant to be.

It’s a continual process for me. It is embedded in who I am. I’m always learning, and striving. The level of heartbreak in watching my son deal with this disease was catastrophic, and at the same time, catalytic in a powerful, uplifting, and elevating expansion of my consciousness and who I am in the world. How do you thrive in the midst of the disease?

There are a lot of pieces to all these things. I loved that you touched on the whole notion, number one, how captivated you were by the shame of your disease. As somebody who watches from the outside, it’s mind-boggling to watch what somebody in addiction mode will do for their addiction. It doesn’t make sense. I had to do some brain science work to figure out that their brains had been hijacked. The disease takes the first position in terms of survival. It’s good to know.

When they ask for money, they’re not asking you as a family member. You’re a mark. It’s a transaction. If you’re not going to give it to them next, drive on and make that happen. Learning what’s going on in somebody’s head who is in addiction mode is a fascinating understanding. It’s a little bit hard to get your head around.

I would do anything for that fix or take me out of the withdrawal. Withdrawals were bad. The lengths that we’ll go to protect and hide it. Hiding it in this bottle and even years into my sobriety, I would still find bottles. I swear this wasn’t here. I don’t even know. This is such a common thing. I was like, “I found this here. I’ve hidden it in the bush.

To take away that pain and feeling of uncomfortableness, you’ll go to any length. I went to alcohol to mouthwash. They figured out the mouthwash. What else can I do? When they took away my money, you get into the thing of, “Maybe I can steal. How am I going to do this? I have to sneak out of that.” It’s exhausting. I’m going into hand sanitizer. Maybe if I do that, I could get some sort of. I went into rubbing alcohol.

You don’t care. That’s your number one goal, but not for everyone for the gray area drinker, it might not look like that. You overdo it sometimes. For me, I regressed to an extent where it was a means of survival. I hope that people don’t get to that point. We can gather the knowledge, put out the knowledge, seek out and put out that there is help that you can join these groups. You don’t need alcohol to have fun. Alcohol is bad for anxiety. It makes your anxiety worse.

You’re giving people the information so they can make a conscious choice in this journey to combat all of the advertisements and brainwashing that we were being fed that we need this to become some to thrive to elevate our experience. No, you don’t. It’s taking you away. You have to reprogram your brain in every single thing that you do and learn and convince yourself that, “I don’t need alcohol to have fun. I can go to this and have a great time. I need to be open to experiencing that first.” My hope is that people don’t get to that point. If they are, you don’t need to give up hope. Where I was that you could have easily given up hope? They can turn their and your life around.

There’s a great podcast. I don’t know if you listen to Mel Robbins. you listen to Robin. She has the Let Them Theory about letting them do this. She’s letting them experience this journey. We can love them and find compassion for them. We can detach and set those boundaries to protect ourselves but also having family members, finding a community, and finding other people who are like you are going through the same experience is huge. You need that.

I’m a business coach. In the business world, it’s all about 95% of your successes o failures directly determined by who you surround yourself with. Whatever aspiration you have, you have to surround yourself with people who are holding that aspiration or have arrived at that aspiration to rewire your thinking to be around that higher level of thinking and being in the world.

About 95% of your success or failure is directly determined by who you surround yourself with. Share on X

The Journey To Sobriety Coach

We have more habit machines. It’s habits of thought, emotion, and behavior. All that has to be rewired in the midst of this disease. Whether you’re dealing with the disease or you’re witnessing the disease, we still have to do our rewiring too. Tell me about the journey to a sobriety coach. I’m curious about that.

I never thought this was going to be my life. I always thought that I was meant to do something great. I didn’t know what that was. I thought that was being an art director for magazines. I moved to New York. I’m like, “I’m going to be an art director and that’s going to be my thing.” I always envision I’m going to speak on stage. I don’t know for what.

As a brand manager or graphic designer, I was scrolling social media at night back in 2017. I’ve always been into fitness. I even cross-addicted in my periods of sobriety before I got sober. I’m careful about it. I started doing Beachbody, which is now BODi. I loved it because as a mother I could work out at home. I never had to think about what I was going to do before I went to the gym. As a mother, I can go to the gym, but there’s mom guilt. I love that I was able to do that at home.

I had a coach and I found her scrolling. I’d seen her transformation. I was like, “This woman had biceps and strong abs.” I’m motivated by that. I was like, “That is incredible. I’m going to follow her.” I never did. I saw she went to this summit for a Beachbody held. I’m like, “I’m going to sign up as a coach.” There’s a reason that I’m following her. I’m interested in this even though it’s completely out of my comfort zone.

I started doing that. Part of the process of becoming a coach is you have to share your journey. This was before Insta stories. It’s about sharing your life on social media. Within two weeks, I told my husband, “I need to come out.” I had been in the sober closet for several years. I did AA, but we were taught to be anonymous and you don’t talk about it. I felt some shame about it. I didn’t think anybody cared. No one asked me about it. It was hush-hush like, “Don’t bring it up. Don’t have alcohol around her.” I’m like, “I want to talk about it. Why aren’t you guys asking me?” It’s their problem or they don’t need to ask me.

Voices InCourage with KL Wells | Jen Lee Hirst | Sobriety
Sobriety: Part of the process of becoming a coach is you sharing your journey.

I said to myself, “I’m supposed to come out.” How are people supposed to trust me as I’m selling these products, which I love if they don’t understand this huge part of my story?” I like to think of my journey as two recovery dates, April 24th, 2013, and also September 7th, 2017 because that was the day I came out of the sober closet. I declared it on social media. It took me 2 or 3 minutes to write. It felt freeing to write that. It was easy. I said, “I’m Jen. I’m an alcoholic. This is why I drank. This is what I do I wanted to put it out there.” This is preparing me for who I’m supposed to become.

I posted it. I was scared. I went into my AA meeting. I didn’t look at it. I’m like, “I cannot believe.” I came back and looked. There’s so much love, and encouragement. It felt good to have that weight lifted off. I said, “I don’t have to hide anymore. I can own this.” It didn’t come easy for me to start putting this stuff out there. I breadcrumbed it in the next couple of years of helping women. I’m doing the before and afters of my weight and doing this program and the results that I had. I would also sprinkle in these little tidbits about my sobriety. I realized over time that once I shared my journey and my story the ones that people were interested in, I got the most messages about it.

Voices InCourage with KL Wells | Jen Lee Hirst | Sobriety
Sobriety: The most important thing is to take care of yourself seek out community.

I went to a Rachel Hollis conference too. I had this idea that I might be supposed to be helping women get sober. I don’t think I’m supposed to help them lose weight. I’m supposed to help them get sober. This is building the foundation for something else. I didn’t know. I was torn about what to do. I still had my full-time job. I had two young kids at home. I was doing this on the side. It was there that I got this experience. It was life-changing.

Personal growth conferences are amazing. It’s the biggest dopamine that you can have. It’s way higher than alcohol and lasts far longer. I said, “What if I did this for sobriety? I feel alive and amazing. What if we could rebrand it as something that’s positive, not toxic positivity, but positive and not that people have to do it, but they want to do it because of how good you can feel?”

When you get sober, it’s not about not drinking. It’s many other things. I was told nothing wrong with AA, but if I didn’t go to a meeting, I was going to relapse. I’m not. I’m doing all these other good things. I’m moving my body. I’m doing all this. With Beachbody, I started reading personal growth books, which were transformative in my mindset. I was taking good care of myself I’m like, this stuff is working. Yeah. There’s something to it people are asking me how I’m doing it.

I started this idea. It took me a long time to let go of the job. I quit my job in August of 2022 to become a full-time sober coach. I started with private coaching. I started taking on these clients. I’ve always struggled that I’m not good enough. I started researching programs. How do I do this? How can I help someone? With sobriety, you learn through experience. As someone who had several years, something was working in what I was doing. People learn through that connection and that experience.

I navigated and I started coaching private clients, but I had this idea, “I want to do this together because we’re stronger in groups and numbers. I want us to go through this process of day one onto day 30, day 60, day 90 together.” We can start a movement and everybody can start helping each other. Not taking someone starting on day one. Let’s start now. I want to take you before we even start. I want to go through what possible withdrawals you can experience and to be careful about what tools to have on hand.

I walk women step by step through this process, whether they’re already sober or they’re looking to get sober. I also incorporated these habits into my programs which are designed to help you feel better when your dopamine is low and coming off alcohol. You’re going to feel tired, sad, and anxious. What are some good things that are going to help you through this process? It sounds stupid, but it’s drinking water. Use your body, which is a big component of this. We have to repair and rewire our brains. We can do that and help increase the blood flow through movement and gratitude by switching this into a get-to mindset.

Reading is going to give you the knowledge that you need to offer clarity to what alcohol is doing to you and what sobriety can do for you. I’m checking in with a group. I wanted you to let us know. How are you doing? Let’s check in. Did you stay sober? Navigating this process of how to live sober of what I would’ve wanted. Even though those experiences at Hazeldon were fantastic, they didn’t teach me how to live sober.

In real-life scenarios, I break it down. What do you say to people? How do you set up boundaries? What food is going to be great for your liver and your brain? Why is exercise important? What to carry with you to an event? You always pack a cooler. What to do with anticipation anxiety? You’re feeling nervous. How do I work through that?

I’m taking them through this process together. I’m cheering them on and giving them the rewards for tracking these habits. They get that tiny boost of dopamine for showing up for themselves that it’s not about not drinking. You’re starting to show up for yourself so you overall feel better. It’s going to be more likely that you’re going to want this change to stick because you feel better.

If someone does fall off, it’s hard as a coach to let them do that, especially when these things are virtual but to know they can always come back and there’s no judgment. I don’t expect you to be perfect. This process is not perfect. I want you to stay connected to us. I want you to finish this. Knowing that your journey’s going to be all over the place. The fact is you’re still going up. You’re still trying. That is the key to everything.

Working With Families And Communities

Do you know generally the people that you’re working with? How well supported are they in their families and communities? I watched a lot of different things with the people that Sam was doing drugs with. A lot of them, either families or friends were done. They had outlasted everybody who had loved them.

You’re building from square one again. I can feel how loving and heartfelt you are and how this creates a safe place for people when most people don’t have a safe place. Isolation is one of the biggest issues in our society. We don’t know how to build community. We haven’t skilled up. COVID was a huge magnifier of that fact. We haven’t skilled up in terms of how we connect with people in a meaningful way that is true and authentic, and all the things that swirl around that.

The women coming into my group are with a partner who drinks a lot. A big topic in my group is navigating life if your partner is continuing to drink. What do you do when you’re trying to live this life and you have someone else who’s not in agreement with it or who supports you, but they’re still going to drink?

What I can offer women is a safe community. We are virtual. what we do well in my groups and in my lighthouse sobriety membership is we keep people engaged. The ones who choose to, I can’t force you to be engaged. For the ones that do, I’m putting them in a tight-knit community and then breaking them into Marco Polo groups in my groups and in my memberships. I have them connect with these women on a more intimate level. These women are creating best friends. I had two women meet up in Disney World and had their kids meet up.

We are gathering together with retreats. I’m hosting my third retreat. We’re getting together in person, but also inviting them to look outside and seek out that community in person. That’s great to have virtual. It’s also even better to have it in person. Could we create some mini-retreats, on how to reach out and to find those members? There are organizations like the Phoenix. They have sober events and meetups. There are many sober retreats. They’re sober in the city. You could even go to an AA meeting for the community piece to seek out some other people.

If they don’t have that at home and people have cut them off, seek out that community, whether it’s virtual, which is fantastic. There are many options virtually and in person if they can. Knowing that it can take time and patience for the family to come around. If you have made that decision that you are done, you have to give them time and, and patience for them to come back if they do.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself and seek out that community because you might join a community, and it’s not the right community for you. You’re like, “It’s not my thing.” You’ll try another. Do you like coed or do you like all women’s or all men’s? It’s a preference in what you’re looking for. Are you looking more for spirituality? You can seek out that. There are many great free Facebook groups for that. Seek out and surround yourself with people who have the life that you want.

We have an aspiration for a million thriving on our side of the aisle. What I find is that most people are losing themselves to the disease of their loved ones because they’re trying to fix, save, and keep them from dying. They give their life over to the disease and they lose themselves in the midst of it. My thing was that was not my aspiration. I have a great life. I was like, “I still want to have a great life. I still want to live in the thriving of this fantastic life.” I have this one part. I want to learn how to navigate this in a thriving space. What do you think about the course of your journey in terms of what thriving means to you?

Taking Life By The Horns

The first words I think of are taking life by the horns, living life fully, and stepping into your potential. You think of your goals and dreams. Write down your goals and take care of yourself. It is feeling good in this process and finding joy in the journey. That’s what I think thriving is. It is finding that joy, stepping into your potential, and doing what you want to do and what you are good at. What brings you joy? We could do for hours that not getting paid for it and something that makes you happy.

I feel great when I help other people. To see other women thriving in their sobriety and the lights come on in their eyes and you see the sparkle come back and they’re starting to smile brings you joy. It comes down to feeling good, doing the things that you enjoy, and taking care of yourself. Are you doing what you love to do? Where you are in your life, is it something that you love to do? Where do you see yourself? This is one life we get. We don’t want to go back. We can’t go back.

This is the one life we get. Do what you want to do! Share on X

I’m quite a bit older than you are. I’ve seen the decades of discussions that weren’t happening around what you love to do. The way that I think about it is we’re picking up puzzle pieces all along the way that telegraph to us where our passions are, and where our love is. The picture begins to reveal itself as to what our divine purpose is and what we’re supposed to step into in this lifetime. I loved how you talked about your own unfolding in that.

It’s funny how life turns out and directs you into what you were meant to be and your purpose, even though you had no idea. Something that I never shared and was scared to talk about is now the one thing I love to talk about. That’s all I talk about. It’s my career. I never knew that. It presented itself to me. I tried to fight it. I said, “I’m not good enough. Who am I to coach other women?” I found that it was working. It started in my DMs and my messages. Women would write me. I had to write and voice message them back like, “That was helpful. You helped me.”

Voices InCourage with KL Wells | Jen Lee Hirst | Sobriety
Sobriety: It’s funny how life turns out and directs you into what you were meant to be.

I’m like, “There’s something here. This is what I’m supposed to do. It’s working. It’s a different way.” I do a pump-up playlist and these different stress-relieving activities. It’s this whole conversation of wellness and taking care of yourself. It’s like little puzzle pieces on this road of life. It’s also little puzzle pieces as you navigate what’s working for you in your sobriety. It’s not just meetings. It’s also what are you eating? If you eat crap, you’re going to feel like crap. Are you moving your body? Let’s do that. Is it essential? All of these things are this puzzle piece that creates your life and sobriety. It all fits.

I did a whole workshop on emotional fitness. That’s not emotional intelligence. Emotional fitness is all the things that we’re talking about here. It is our body, mind, soul, physicality, and emotional set. How do we take care of each one of those? Each one of those is the stool of the legs of our lives. Each one deserves an exploration to discover what are the things that I can do that bring me the most vibrancy in my physicality.

I wake up every day with gratitude and I am embarking on this day from a place I set intentions every morning. Let’s love, serve, and impact. All these different things that we can do that brings us the most vibrancy in our lives. We can live more fully, be more present, and be more aligned with who we are, who we’re meant to be, and the impact that we’re meant to have.

That starts in the morning and how you set up your day. You sound the same as me. I’m starting my day with silence. I always say, “This is going to be a great day.” I envision myself. How am I going to have a great day?” I’m box-breathing and doing my reading. I write my goals and gratitude down. I move my body and get ready. That all happens before anybody else wakes up.

If I can do the work on myself before the day starts, I’m going to have a great day. That great day is gonna stack on top of another. I’m going to have a great week. Stuff is gonna happen. Not every day is perfect. It’s the work that you do to set yourself up for success, and have you feel good and in alignment with telling your brain, “What do I want? What are my big goals? What are my intentions? What do I want to accomplish?” When you can do that and start showing up for your lives, things start falling into place.

When life shows up and knocks us on your butt, you are better prepared having stacked the successes, and all these emotional fitness pieces. You’ve been stacking and growing them. You are better prepared to surf with what shows up in your life in a way that a lot of people aren’t because they’re not skilled. All of this is skill development and learning. We can go from crazy things that have happened in our lives to flipping and using them as our message and our purpose.

What it feels like in having this conversation with you, is that you’ve taken arguably the biggest challenge of your life, flipped it on its ear, and learned how to take it as a gift that’s catalytic to creating this version of yourself that we see, which is light and bright. I’m excited to see as you progress and the trajectory of the impact that you’re going to continue to make.

One of the coolest things is being able to meet these amazing women. We all get along well and you’re brilliant. It’s because that’s the message that you’re putting out there. There’s that quote, “You can turn your mess into your message.” You meet the people who are attracted to that. I want to feel good, move my body, and do this. You can turn this into something great.

You can turn your mess into your message. Share on X

In turn of helping other people, it’s also helping me to stay sober. It’s helping me never forget where I came from, and what it took. There’s a certain strength that can come when you’ve personally been through it. I know how you feel. Not exactly, but I’ve been there. This is what works. I hope that you can take it and we’re all on the same road.

This is what I like to describe. For any woman coming into this comparing, “You’re ten years. I see her and she’s five months.” I’m like, “We’re all on the same road.” The thing that connects us is they were the same distance from the ditch. We’re one decision away from turning it around. We’re also one decision away from getting sober and turning this around. We’re also one decision, but we’re all on this path. We’re all moving forward. I’m a couple of miles down further.

I can tell you, look back and be like, “There’s a speed bump. There’s an obstacle up here. You may want to take a detour.” I can give you a little bit more guidance on what’s down the road. You can decide, “Do I wanna take the detour? Do I go through the rubble?” It’s up to you. We’re all the same distance. I’m the same distance. You’re one decision away from a completely different life. The whole thing is we’re all moving forward.

One decision away is the truth and the notion that you’re five minutes away from the miracle. For many times, that is the honest-to-goodness truth. You have no idea who’s going to join you on the journey that’s going to transform your life.

I’m going to Mel Robbins you all the time. What if it all works out? What if this was the time? You’re this close. If you give up now, you’re going to miss it. You have to keep going. You’re this close. This time could be it.

One thing that you could share with our audience that mattered to you in the midst of all of this, transforming your own life, creating the life that you have now, and continuing to create the life that you will create. What’s the one thing that’s the biggest needle mover?

These are things that I wanted to hear. For the past few years, one of the biggest things that’s been helpful for me is box breathing. It sounds simple. You’re taking a deep breath. If I could offer anyone some advice, number one is everything is going to be okay. It’s okay to feel discomfort. I heard from another podcast that that’s the cure for everything. It’s your ability to sit with discomfort and figure out ways to go through that.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s nothing wrong with you. Those were the things that I wanted to hear. The discomfort piece is huge, especially the box breathing. It has been transformative in the groups for that split second. Another Mel Robbins at you, “The power is in the pause.” Pause before you react. It can help calm your central nervous system. It can prevent you from doing something you regret. It’s one of the easiest ways to manage and reduce stress. You have to remember to do it. You can manage and navigate anything that comes your way if you can learn to manage your breath. It’s all related back to your breath. That’s been helpful for me.

It’s the simplest things that help us.

Glennon Doyle said, “It’s usually the harder the problem, the easier solution.” What do you need? You need to get some rest. You need to go for a walk. You need to take a deep breath. You need to drink some water. You probably need to eat. It goes back to the halt. Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Do I need to eat something? I need need to take a nap. I need to go for a walk. You forget about these things. It’s not going to cure all your problems, but it’s going to make it easier to process them if you apply some simple tool before you react and go to your instant, “Let’s take a deep breath and assess for a sec.”

What I want you to do is tell our audience where they can reach you.

I like to hang out on Instagram at Jen Lee Hirst. You can go to JoinLighthouseSobriety.com for upcoming groups, my membership for women, and anything new that’s coming up.

This has been so much fun. You’re delightful. I want to say thank you for who you are, the work that you’re doing, the light that you are, and all the lives that you’re impacting and helping people on a road back to themselves, and to the next best version of themselves. Thank you for joining me. This has been awesome.

Thank you for the work that you’re doing.


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About Jen Lee Hirst

Voices InCourage with KL Wells | Jen Lee Hirst | SobrietyAlcohol free since April 24, 2013, Jen Hirst helps women boost their confidence in sobriety by implementing healthy habits from the start. Her programs highlight the importance of taking care of yourself in all aspects of sobriety: nutrition, sleep, movement, breathwork, etc.
Her group coaching programs have helped hundreds of women from across the world own their sobriety with a supportive community of women cheering them on.
She currently resides in Minnesota with her husband and two children.


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