Season 2, Episode 36

Journey to Sobriety

with

Gillian Tietz

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Today’s Guest

 

In today’s episode I am speaking with Gillian Tietz, host of the Sober Powered podcast.

Gill is a biochemist in the Boston area and is 14 months sober.

Her passion is helping others free themselves from the drink, hate yourself, drink cycle by providing education on how alcohol affects our brain and causes addiction.

She is the creator and host of the Sober Powered Podcast.

If you love the show please leave a rating or a review here.

If you have a comment or question please reach out to me at malini@malinisarma.com or on Instagram @gladiatrixpodcast.

 

 

Guests

Gillian Tietz

 Resources

@sober_powered on Instagram

Gillian’s website

 

 Get This Episode

Malini Sarma 0:01

Hi, Gillian, thank you so much for being on my podcast. I'm really excited to hear about your story. And I really want the world to hear about what you have to say.

Gillian 0:12

Thank you for having me on. I'm really excited for this conversation.

Malini Sarma 0:16

Oh, you're very welcome. So you are the host of a very successful podcast that basically documents your journey of sobriety. But before we go into all, you know, into all those details, I really want to know, tell me a little bit more about you. You know, growing up, you know, where were you born? Do you have any siblings? You know, what do you want to do when you grew up? Uh, what was growing up? Like?

Gillian 0:42

Yeah, so I'm from the Boston area, I never left, I just moved a bit closer to the city. As I got older, I have one younger brother. He's my best friend. And basically always has been, we've always been very close. I was really bullied through most of school, like all of middle and high school. So my brother was like, a very important person in my life. And your third question for what I wanted to what I want to do when I grow up, it's changed over the years, I was FBI agent for a while and then lawyer. But I think the main dream was professor that that's still a little dream that I carry around. I think that would be such an amazing career.

Malini Sarma 1:28

Yes, that's, that's really cool. And I can see a little bit of that in your podcast. I love the way you document everything. And that's really cool. But going back to, you know, your journey. So what, how did you get introduced to alcohol? Or was it just like a natural thing? Like, you know, that everybody does or like in college? Or how did that how did that start?

Gillian 1:56

Yeah, so because I was bullied. through most of school, I never went to parties. And so I was really like, protected from alcohol during high school. And then when I went to college, I was so used to being bullied and not having friends, that it was really hard for me to like, put myself out there. And I actually never went to a college party ever, not even one time. So I didn't drink during college either. I had my first glass of wine when I was 18. And I remember feeling intense shame, after having an intense shame, just from one glass. And then I didn't drink again, really, until I was 22. And I was in graduate school. And there everybody drink. And I wanted to fit in. I wanted people to like me. So when we started going to bars, like almost every day after work, I would start ordering beers just like they did. And then very quickly, I gained the the appreciation for why people drink and then it was a thing. No.

Malini Sarma 3:11

So going back when you said you were bullied in high usage, your brother's younger to you? Yeah, he's

Gillian 3:15

two years younger. So

Malini Sarma 3:17

so when you were bullied in high school, or when you were in middle school, is it? Like, why? Because you're just shy? And you didn't say much? Or was it? They just, you know, is that why? Why did they bully you? Or is it?

Gillian 3:30

Yeah, it was a weird thing. So I moved school districts in between elementary and middle school. So I started out at a brand new school where no one knew me. And one of the popular girls decided for some reason that she didn't like me, I still don't know exactly why. And she just turned the whole grade against me. And then it just kind of stuck. I don't know if people knew why they didn't like me, but they just knew like, everybody didn't like me. And I would have moments where like there was more intense bullying, but overall it was just like ignoring me not wanting to be my friend not wanting me to sit with them at lunch stuff like that.

Malini Sarma 4:17

It's like a Mean Girls like the movie is so yeah, kids are mean. I mean, you know that that that movie just kind of brought it to light what actually happens but it kids kids can be extremely and it does suck. It takes such a toll on you like it. It completely chips away at your self confidence. And then you wonder, you know, is there something wrong with you? You know, and so I'm glad your brother was there, you know, to be at least you had one friend right? Who was Yeah. Yeah, I know how that is. I know how that feels. Because I've always been the new kid in class because, you know, we moved around a lot too, so I totally get how that feels.

Gillian 4:59

I'm sorry. No,

Malini Sarma 5:02

no, but you know what, if it doesn't kill you makes you stronger. So that's very

Gillian 5:05

true.

Malini Sarma 5:06

Yeah. So now I'm in the most social person ever. No, but no, I'm sorry, you had to go through that. Because I know painful. It can be. Thank you. So when you started drinking in college going this that is, that is really rare, right for college kids not to drink, because usually it's always a party happening. So I guess it kind of you would have thought that okay, if you didn't drink in college, then you'd be fine. Because that's usually where kids get introduced to alcohol or probably even in high school. But in your case, you almost started much later, like you were an adult, you were 22. You know, you were with the big kids now, right?

Gillian 5:53

Yeah, I thought I was safe. And I thought that I was a strong person, and I wouldn't let anything like that happened to me. And I was an adult now I, I knew what I was doing. And then I realized pretty quickly, like, it's not something that people really choose. It's not something that you can resist.

Malini Sarma 6:14

So So why did you feel shame? You said, You drank it? You feel shame? Why?

Gillian 6:19

Yeah. Um, so that is a big part of my story. So something that my husband says that always sticks with me Is he said that my actual drinking wasn't a problem. It was what happened afterwards. So all the shame and the self hatred. He said, that was the problem. I was still drinking a lot. But yeah, so the shame just happened right away. My brother struggles with it a little bit. It's something that we both observed. Growing up was a lot of shame. And I guess we just internalized it. And that's, that's like our go to when something happens, we go straight to shame.

Malini Sarma 7:03

Is that Is it like in your family to like your father, your parents? I mean, were you like around alcohol for that to happen? Like, we constantly told you, you shouldn't drink? Because you know, only people who are like, did they have a problem? If you if you're drinking, you have a problem? Is that how it is?

Gillian 7:19

There was no judgment, I did witness some unhealthy drinking, which was why I waited so long. And you know, probably contributed to my situation. But there was never any judgment. My whole family, for the most part, are the type of people that have one drink, and that's like it. And then there was me, like off on the other extreme.

Malini Sarma 7:46

So so you start you said you started drinking when you're 22. So how long did it take before you realized, like, how many years Were you drinking? Or how many months or whatever before you realize, you know, you had a problem? Did you figure that out? Or did somebody else tell you that? You know, girl, you got a problem you got?

Gillian 8:04

Yeah, no one's ever said that to me, which It surprises me. I guess that no one no one said it, because people did witness, you know, some bad moments. But I think I knew, right from the beginning, I never had any control over it. Like I never had an off switch. I didn't have the voice in my head that said, like, this is enough, you should stop here. I just had a voice that was like one more and pretty quickly, like escalated. By the time I was 23. I was a daily drinker. By the time I was 24, my tolerance had doubled. And that was when I really started to become concerned. Because the quantity was a lot that I was drinking. And that was when I started trying to moderate. So I guess really two years in is when I started being very aware.

Malini Sarma 9:01

So did you like do you get we know Do you have a DUI? Do you get pulled over? Were you like, would you like get up in the morning and start drinking just drinking all day until the end of the day? I mean, what was what was your frequency? Like? Like, how much Were you drinking in the day?

Gillian 9:17

Yeah, so no to all of those questions. So I've never had any, any like public negative consequences. Everything was internal, like my own mental health. I've always had like a good career during my drinking. I got my master's degree while I was drinking every day. So it didn't interfere with like my my daytime self besides the, you know, the crippling shame and the hangovers, but as soon as I would get home, I would start drinking and it could have been anywhere from like two glasses of wine. If I was trying to moderate I would share a bottle with my husband and then there would be no more alcohol. So that was how I would stop.

Malini Sarma 10:06

And or keep drinking until it's over.

Gillian 10:09

Yeah, exactly. So if I had a bottle of wine, I drink the whole bottle. If we were out, I would just keep ordering drinks. So it could be anywhere from like, two glass of wine on a good day to like eight on a bad day. So it always varied. When I was 24, it was probably like, like five drinks a night, something like that

Malini Sarma 10:36

every night.

Gillian 10:37

Yeah. And I was a teacher and I had to get up really early.

Unknown Speaker 10:41

Wow.

Gillian 10:42

Yeah, that so that helped me realize like, you feel terrible every single day. Like, it's hard to teach when you're hungover. It's hard to teach anyways.

Malini Sarma 10:55

Yeah. Oh, wow. Wait, so you were you so you were drinking it anywhere between three to five, eight drinks, you know, five to eight drinks a day or a night, every day, whether it was a weekday or weekend, right, probably on more on the weekends, because it was a holiday. So normally, you know, like, when you're spending that much of time and money on alcohol, at some point, you'd be like, Okay, you know what my bills are like, crazy. But you never noticed that. Or you didn't, you didn't feel it, because you weren't, you figured with only one bottle of wine or you weren't drinking hard alcohol, he was just drinking wine, which is wine and beer.

Gillian 11:38

So I was drinking yellowtail wine for a while the big bottles, which were very cheap. And then this was actually part of why it escalated. My husband and I were both like, broke, he was a PhD student. And I was like, early teacher making like no money. So he suggested that I switched to vodka to save money. And that's when the tolerance really increased. And then after that, I was like, I don't drink liquor anymore. And I went back to wine. And then later in my drinking, like he graduated, and he got a really good job. And then I switched careers to being a scientist. So like, finances, were never really a problem. Like if we were spending like, like, 15 to $30 on wine every day. It it like wasn't noticeable. Like we're really fortunate, I guess, in that regard.

Malini Sarma 12:41

Okay, so So then, so, so there was, so there were no, I would, like you said public consequences, either UI or anything you'd have to worry about on the finance issues, you know, and you assumed you were able to get up in the morning, go to work, you know, and you still had your regular life. So then, when did you decide to like, okay, you know, what, there is a problem here. what point did you realize that you actually think that this is a problem.

Gillian 13:14

So there, it was a slow realization. I quit teaching, because I thought that the stress of teaching was why I drink so much. So I slipped. That's literally why I switched careers. And when I switched careers into science, I started going to therapy. And I went to a therapist, and I said, I'm worried that I might be an alcoholic. And she should have been like, well, you are then. But she was like, well, let's see, why don't you not drink for a week? And, you know, we'll see how that goes. And at that point, I, you know, I hadn't skipped a day for many years. And I did the week, it was fine. And then we were like, Okay, I'm not an alcoholic. So I just continued about my way. And then it continued. You mean you continue drinking? Yeah, yeah, I just went right back. I was like, Okay, I'm not an alcoholic, so whatever. And then another year went by, and my mental health really took a big hit. During that year, I developed anxiety, and my depression, which is something I've always struggled with, it turned into suicidal thoughts. No, and yeah, so it got scary. And then that was what really prompted me to stop, but I didn't want to stop. So I actually challenged myself to not drink for 90 days because I thought, you know, that would be a nice reset or something and I'm cured, unable to moderate. So I did the 90 days. It was great. I felt amazing and I connected the poor mental health to drinking. But then on day 91, I got drunk the very first day that I could, because they finished the challenge. And then I, you know, continued to blow up my life internally and then quit for real in November. So the suicidal thoughts came right back as soon as I went back to drinking.

Malini Sarma 15:25

So when you say November, you're talking November 2019, or 2020 2019. Okay, so. Okay, so that was what prompted you to Yeah, that said, Okay, I do really have a problem because you're starting to get suicidal thoughts. And the alcohol was definitely not helping. So he explained to me, so now, what happens after what happened after that? What did you do? Once you realize, okay, like, okay, I really do have a problem. What did you do next?

Unknown Speaker 15:58

Yeah, so I had stayed up all night, with like, anxiety attacks, and really scary thoughts. And I realized, like, as the sun was coming up, I was sitting on the couch with my husband, who was so kind to me. I realized, like, I could not drink for 20 years. And as soon as I go back to drinking, I'm gonna drink this same way. And I knew that the suicidal thoughts were from alcohol, because they had went away when I stopped drinking for 90 days. So I just accepted like, I can never drink for the rest of my life. And I felt really calm in that moment. Like, it was scary, obviously. But acceptance is really powerful. And yeah, I don't have cravings. I don't struggle with anything like that, because I know exactly what I would be returning to. So So drinking, like, it's not an option. People ask, like, was quarantine hard for you? Were you triggered? Did you have cravings? And? And no, because I don't even consider, it's like, you know, doing heroin. I've never done heroin before. I have no idea where to get it. I know that I shouldn't do it. Because it's, you know, really bad. And I consider alcohol this, like the same category? Like I just can't do it.

Malini Sarma 17:25

Mm hmm. So what was the hardest decision that you had to make? One you? Good? You know, the way I look at it, but you know, just listening to your story and what you've told me so far, I would never consider you an alcoholic. Because I was like, Wow, look at her, you know, when she doesn't want to drink she doesn't drink when she wants to? She does. Because I would look at it that somebody who cannot control the cravings, and they would have to have alcohol in their system all the time. You know. So I would say that you're just really strong to recognize that you're kind of making sure you don't have a problem before it becomes a problem.

Gillian 18:08

Thank you. Yeah. If I continued drinking it, it would have kept getting worse and worse and worse, and the physical dependency could have developed and all sorts of DUI could have happened, all kinds of stuff.

Malini Sarma 18:21

Right. So I think your moral clock inside you is probably kind of, you know, smacking you I was like, What the heck are you doing? You know, enough? Enough is enough, you need to get up in the morning. So, so what was the hardest decision that you had to make once you decided that oh, my God, you know, I can't do this anymore. What was the hardest thing that you had to do?

Gillian 18:48

I was really scared for people to know.

Malini Sarma 18:52

To to your husband, what did he think about it? He didn't he didn't think your alcoholic? Did he?

Gillian 18:58

No, he didn't think that he thought if I could just stop the shame and the self hatred that my like actual drinking wasn't bad. I mean, it was it was bad. Like the number of drinks I was having was so unhealthy. But I couldn't like drinking makes me hate myself. Like I couldn't unlink the two things. But yeah, so he never, like shamed me or was mean to me about it. He was always just very kind and just took care of me. But no one else saw what he saw. Because on the outside, I was just like, a good time. Like I was just your fun friend who'd go out and get drunk with you. And all the bad stuff happen usually at home, just me and my husband.

Malini Sarma 19:44

So he got to see the worst side of it.

Gillian 19:46

Yeah, he saw all the misery.

Malini Sarma 19:50

So what was the easiest thing to do? What was the easiest decision you made once you realize that okay, I really need to do something.

Gillian 19:58

I think the easiest decision was never drinking again, even though that sounds like crazy, but once I really accepted reality, I was just so at peace. And I don't know, it was just like my new normal even though it took adjusting to and it was hard and it was weird. Yeah, that I've never questioned that decision.

Malini Sarma 20:28

Okay. I mean, you're right, you would think that will be the hardest thing. But that's probably the easiest thing for you. Because you're, it just gave you a reason why you shouldn't drink, right?

Gillian 20:38

Yeah, I have a very good reason because my life is at risk. If I returned to drinking, right

Malini Sarma 20:45

now that that's, that's, that's really cool that you were able to do that. And I love the name of your podcast.

Gillian 20:53

Oh, thank you.

Malini Sarma 20:54

So it's called sober powered, right? So yeah, what prompted you to start the podcast?

Gillian 21:01

So when I quit, I wanted to understand like that very day, I started thinking like, why did this happen to me? I didn't drink till I was 22. I don't come from a long line of alcoholics. I have a good career, a good marriage. I live in a house. And I couldn't understand like, why would this happen? So I started learning everything I could about addiction science and psychology. And I spent every single day actually reading and learning and educating myself. And when I was around like seven or eight months sober. I thought, like, everyone needs to know this information we all need to know and it would, I want to help people stop hating themselves. And I feel like education has helped me, like free myself from most of that for most of the shame. So I just felt like compelled. Like, I have to go tell everyone this right now.

Malini Sarma 22:08

So that's what so you were said you this was like November 2019 was your worst? Like, yeah, month and then you started your podcast? Like, later in 2020, wasn't it?

Gillian 22:24

Yeah. So I started at the end of June.

Malini Sarma 22:28

Okay. Okay. So you have been, I think you're extremely brave for you know, coming up. Thank you talking about your journey of sobriety and everything. So what was? What was the reaction of your friends and family? What What was the reaction that surprised you the most

Gillian 22:46

surprised me the most, I think, was that so many people pressured me to drink. Really? Yeah. Even though, like, I have no problem telling people why stop drinking. People still pressured me to drink like even my brother. He's just such a normal, regular old drinker. He can't understand how you can't stop drinking, once you start, he just can't even like get his mind around that. And he was like, I really just don't understand why you can't just have one drink. I just don't understand. And I had to, like, sit him down and explain it to him. And then he became my champion. But I had other people that were close to me, like, pressure me to drink. Like, I'll only order a drink if you do, and we're out to eat or like put

Malini Sarma 23:46

even even after you told him you're not drinking anymore. And you know, after your podcast was out.

Gillian 23:52

That was before the podcast. So a lot of the pressure happened in the first like, three months of sobriety, the hardest time of sobriety. Yeah, so that was very, very hard for me. It made me feel sad. And I lost some friends. They stopped inviting me to parties. But, you know, I expected that and they, when you look back, you see they're not real friends. They're just people that you sit with, and you both get drunk next to each other. But you don't actually have like any kind of connection.

Malini Sarma 24:29

Right? Right. So now did your did your husband stopped drinking too? Or does he still drink as much as you did?

Unknown Speaker 24:40

He drank a lot because I drink a lot. And I was always like, let's party like, let's have fun. And you know, he wanted to do that too. He didn't drink quite as much or quite as often, but he he was a heavy drinker. And he stopped drinking for a couple weeks when I quit And then we had a conversation like how he can best support me. And I asked him if he could please just like, never drink wine around me ever. And wine is his favorite drink. So it's a big ask, but he didn't drink any wine for 14 months. Oh, yeah. And he hasn't been like drunk or even close to drunk and 14 months. Now, he has like, couple drinks a week. So now he's in a very healthy place. And we just reintroduced wine into his life like two weeks ago.

Malini Sarma 25:40

Okay, so. So how you handling where you don't drink? And he does? How does that? How does that affect you, as you know, like somebody who is promised yourself that you're not going to drink anymore?

Unknown Speaker 25:57

Yeah, so sometimes it feels sad. I feel sad that he can do it, and I can't do it. I don't feel like tempted to do it. Because it's not an option. But I feel sad. I feel sad that when we go to weddings, or on vacation, like I can't do what everyone else can do. But he is really, really respectful of drinking around me. Like he makes sure that it's not near me when he drinks wine. Like he drinks it in a coffee mug, so I can't see it. Yes, I can't see it. Yeah, so he's really, really, really good about it.

Malini Sarma 26:37

Okay. I mean, you know, he's doing what he has to do right to help you out. And that's great. So as a young, working professional woman, you know, going through this journey, what would you want to tell other women struggling with this issue? What What advice would you want to give them?

Gillian 27:00

I think the best piece of advice that I can offer is, if you are worrying, that you might have a problem, it's because you do have a problem. Someone could have said that to me, like four years before I quit. That was when I started like googling it and asking therapists and so if you are worried, it's because you know, deep down in your heart, you have a problem. Normal drinkers like my husband has never once worried about his drinking, ever. He just drinks when he does, and then never thinks about it again until his next drink. So the obsession is a sign that you have a problem. And you did have that? Oh, yeah. I thought about alcohol constantly. I thought about like, how can I moderate my drinking? What strategy Can I try this time? Like? I literally researched moderation strategies. And they never worked. But yeah, I was very dedicated to my alcohol obsession. Um,

Malini Sarma 28:05

so like you said, you know, you lost some friends. They weren't really friends. But now how do you cope with, you know, when you have to go out to, you know, either, while we're COVID, but we just kind of, in some ways, I guess it's a blessing in disguise. But if you know, when everything opens up, when you have to go out and you know, like you said about work parties, you know, people like oh, let's go to the bar. And, you know, or they have, you know, stuff where they're like, Okay, everybody get a drink. How are you coping? Have you told your co workers Hey, don't invite me there's alcohol, make sure there's non alcoholic drink in there so that I can come and otherwise I'm not coming.

Gillian 28:50

So I actually switched jobs during the pandemic, and my new coworkers do not know. I'm waiting for them to like, find out because it's not hard to find out. Like if you google me, it's everywhere. But they don't know, my old co workers did know. And they like they would have mocktails too when we went out or they were always like really cool. And my new coworkers like I think they'll be fine. I don't mind people drinking around me. I just don't want them to ask me like Why aren't you drinking? Like what's going on? What Why are you still not drinking? like that kind of stuff is really frustrating.

Malini Sarma 29:36

Mm hmm. So you are looking back now. So you have been sober for more than a year now. Right. Congratulations that so thank you milestone. Knowing what you know now, is there anything that you would have changed in the Past looking back? Or is there anything that you would have told your younger self?

Unknown Speaker 30:08

I don't think there was much that could be changed. I think that there were a lot of circumstances in my life, a lot of things that happened to me that all aligned in a really negative way to create a drinking problem. So I think even if I change, like one or two, there were so many things that that like contributed to it, I don't think it would have made a difference. And my younger self, I really liked that question. And I always try to think very hard about that. I don't think anything that I would say would have an impact, even if I showed up and I was like, I'm living my best life, everything's amazing. All you have to do stop drinking, I would have been like, she doesn't know like, but um, before I started drinking, I was very, very obsessed with being thin. That was like, My dream was to be thin. And I wonder. Because when I quit drinking, I naturally just lost 20 pounds, because I had more respect for my body. And I stopped just treating myself so horribly. So I'm curious if I like transported back in time. And I was like, you can have body confidence. And, you know, a little bit of weight loss, if you only stopped drinking. And if you keep drinking, you'll never get there. I wonder what younger me would have done because thinness this is very important to me. But I guess I'll never know. But I think that's the only thing that would have had an impact. Interesting.

Malini Sarma 31:58

Yeah. Because I wonder if you know, all of that is connected. When you when you say body image being thin, you know, the shame, the bullying. All right. So if you in your head, if you had in your head, if you had the confidence to say, you know what, I'm fine the way I am. And I don't need you know, I don't need anybody or anything to convince me otherwise. I wonder if that would have, like, you know, not even started the drinking would not have even started, right?

Gillian 32:30

Yeah, there's a huge link between women with eating disorders, you don't even have to have like a full on eating disorder, just like disordered behaviors are like a disordered view on food. Huge link between that, and alcohol abuse. And I really, like switched. So I met my husband when I was 22. So unfortunately, he saw the whole the whole process from start to finish. But when I met him, I wanted to get better and have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food. So I started therapy for that. And as that got better, that's when I started really drinking. So I just like swapped them.

Malini Sarma 33:19

Yeah, you just went from one thing to another? Yeah. That's really interesting. That is really interesting. Yeah. Because they always say that women are the ones who tend to get more addicted than men, I think, I don't know if it's just the mental makeup, or is it just the way our body is that we just tend to, you know, be attached more to things like that. I don't know if it is what it has to do with that. But they always say and I remember because I, I grew up around alcohol. But I never drank, you know, because I, I've seen how nasty can get and I've seen the worst of you know, people lives getting destroyed and how, you know, families being destroyed because of alcohol. So, for me, it was never an attraction. I never drank, you know, and I also have a very low tolerance because I'm one I'm a happy drunk, and then I go to sleep. So do me any good. So and I never didn't never excite me that you know, so I it's not something that culturally that's not something I grew up with, either. So when I came to this country, that was really hard for me to make, I'm like, I don't drink, you know? And I'm like, paranoid about I'm like, What if I go off to sleep someplace and nobody knows where I am? So that was my, I always think that no, but yeah, it was it's very interesting, because I've seen your seen your posts about, you know, the brain activity and how all of that ties to, you know, how you make decisions and, and the addiction and everything. And I think you probably have a study on your hands when you talk about women and in disorders in you know, in alcoholism. So yeah, this is this is really an Interesting. I'm sure I'll be hearing more about, about your journey. So I have a question. Do you have like a list of resources of somebody who thinks they have a problem? Where would they reach out to other national resources? You know, where they can go did for addiction help? Anything like that?

Gillian 35:23

Yeah. So there's a lot of good blogs or good sites, I think sober nation, is a really good resource. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is a good resource. There's a ton of rehabs that have a website, and they will also have a blog. And they are all excellent resources. The sober community on Instagram is amazing, so welcoming to newbies, even if they're just like super curious, they're not really sure. There's so many Facebook groups that you can join. So there's a lot of options. It's more common than people think. Wow.

Malini Sarma 36:11

That's surprising, isn't it?

Unknown Speaker 36:13

Yeah.

Malini Sarma 36:14

I was shocked. Yeah. I never associated like drinking is like a problem problem. You know, I just thought it was a social custom. I didn't never realized how bad it could get and how addicted people because after some time, it's a disease. It's not. It's an addict, like you said, it's an addiction. It's not, it has nothing to do with social customs after a while, right?

Gillian 36:38

Yeah, it becomes, like a way to stay normal. So you're always like fighting off anxiety, or depression or withdrawal symptoms, and you drink. Like just to bring yourself back up to baseline. Like, you don't even get that happy, fun. Like carefree anymore. It's just like, something to fix all the problems in your life. So that's another misconception. People think we're just like obsessed with fun. And we don't care about anything. But it's actually like really not fun to drink that way. It's never fun. Not even daring. But you would you can't stop yourself. Yeah, because it's just like, it's what you do. And, and I was like, so I don't know, I feel like I went crazy. During that time. Like, I wasn't myself, I was a completely different person. And over the past year, I've come back to myself, and I am just like, my 20 year old self, except mentally healthy.

Malini Sarma 37:42

So are you more confident now?

Gillian 37:45

Yeah, I have a ton of confidence. I'm nice and outgoing. And social. still worried about being thin? No, I'm not. I still have like a little. I don't know. Like, sometimes I worry, like how clothing might look or certain like types of things I don't want to wear. I might be like, insecure, like in a bikini. But overall, I, I just genuinely like myself. And I've never liked myself before. So that was like the best gift that sobriety gave me.

Malini Sarma 38:23

I think that is amazing. Because I think the number one thing you need to do is love yourself first. Yeah. And then everything else, you know, happens after. So? Well, I have to I have to say I am really impressed with how you're able to how you were able to figure out that you actually had a problem? Because I don't think I don't think a lot of people even know, right, a lot of times they don't even realize that they have a problem.

Unknown Speaker 38:47

Yeah.

Malini Sarma 38:48

So for someone so young to be able to figure that out. I think that's amazing. So congratulations on your sobriety. And congratulations on your podcast, because I know it's a like you said you didn't realize how many people were needed that that information. But I think you're doing a really good job because I love the way you present it in a very scientific and logical way, which makes so much sense. And you know that there's no shame attached to it. It's It's truly an addiction problem, because your brain doesn't know how to handle it after a while.

Gillian 39:19

Yeah, like it's not anybody's fault. That's like my main point. And sometimes I use like fancy words and like intricate explanations, but the main point is, like, is not your fault. You didn't choose it.

Malini Sarma 39:35

Right? Right. So, yes, so for those of you who are listening, it's not your fault, but go check out Gillian's podcast. It's called sober powered. And she's doing amazing things and invite her to speak because that's what she wants to do this year. So but thank you for coming on to the onto the show, Gillian. I really appreciate it. And thank you for sharing your journey.

Unknown Speaker 39:58

Thank you for having me. You're very welcome.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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About The Show

This podcast showcases women, predominantly women of color, who in spite of their fear, are forging ahead, chasing their dreams and becoming stronger.

Discover how these conversations can help you so that you can work through your fear and conquer your dreams. What do you need to move ahead?

Whether it is starting your own business, traveling the world on your own, standing up to your boss or just silencing that voice in your head, every small step you take is a push in the right direction.

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Malini Sarma

Malini Sarma

Your Host

Hello. I am Malini. I am a dancer, world traveler and storyteller. I am a hard core fan of chai and anything hot. I am always looking for new adventures and would rather be outside than inside.

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