Today's guest is Lauren Windle, an author, journalist, and public speaker who has shared her story from the TEDx stage. Lauren opens up about how her struggle to cope with anxiety and difficult emotions led her to start drinking at the age of 13 and eventually using cocaine in her 20s. She explains what it was like to go from desperately seeking acceptance from the people in her life to finding herself again through sobriety.
Lauren breaks down the importance of shedding the stories and lies we've internalized from others, connecting with something outside of ourselves to help us manage and control our emotions, and the power of setting and having routines.
We also talk about:
You can get in touch with Lauren and find her TEDx talk, book, and other projects on her website https://laurenwindle.com/
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Grab a copy of my memoir, Recovering in Recovery: The Life-Changing Joy of Sobriety, wherever you buy your books!
Oh, and by the way, if you didn’t know, I have an awesome course called Creating Healthy Boundaries; it's affordable, easy to follow, and will make a big difference in how you feel. Check it out here.
If you aren't part of the Confident Sober Women Facebook group, it's a great place to be. There are over a thousand other sober women there building lives they don't want to escape from. Come on over and join us.
And if you haven't read my memoir, grab a copy today and maybe a second one for a friend. There is so much hope in recovery, and I shared my story so raw and vulnerably so that others would know they aren't alone and that there is a way to live well, manage relationships, parent your kids, and have a healthy body, all while staying sober. Grab a copy of Recovering in Recovery: The Life-Changing Joy of Sobriety wherever books are sold.
Well, hey, there's over. Ladies,thank you so much for joining me today for the confidence over women podcast, I have the pleasure of sharing my time and space with my friend Lauren today. She is an author,journalist and a public speaker,she wrote a book called notes on love, where she shares the trials and tribulations of Christian dating. And Lauren has told her story from the TEDx stage, we are going to be chatting about managing difficult emotions. And I'm sure we are going to have a lot to say about that. But first, I'm going to turn the mic over to her and let her share a little bit more about her story. And then we're going to talk.Wow, thank you so much, what a brilliant introduction. And yeah, I'm excited to talk about emotional health. And I feel like a part of my story is definitely my not being able to cope with difficult emotions.And from as soon as I can remember socializing, without my parents, and, you know, going to meet friends from school and things like that, I remember feeling anxious about it. And I remember that being a real source of like, upset for me as I was heading out to meet people. And then when I got to sort of 1314, and people started to get their hands on alcohol,that was brilliant for me. And it didn't mean that I stopped having that kind of anxiety. But it meant that I was distracted from it. And I didn't have to address it. And I wasn't feeling it in that exact moment, even if it may come back afterwards, or in different times. And that was kind of what I wanted, I wanted that short term fix. And I don't think I realized that actually,I was sort of stealing good things from from the next day or from other times. But it just felt like such a great solution to me to drink quite heavily. So from 1314, I just started drinking. And I grew up in London, obviously you can hear that my accent is. And and I think it's the same, probably everywhere. I mean, like drinking for teenagers was just part and parcel of our sort of society and our culture. And people could get their hands on alcohol here. And there. The rules then weren't quite as strict as they are now around getting drink and you had to be18 rather than 21. And we all had like an older brother, an older sister, who we could send into shops for us. And no one noticed that I was drinking in such a sort of destructive way because it was normal people threw up when they drank no one knew their limits properly.People all sorts of did stupid things. And then felt some shame later. And it just I was hiding in plain sight. And then I went to what I would call university but for you guys is college. And I you know, I'm sure it's the same for you guys. But drinking is so built into that culture.You know, it's just a huge part of, of university life. You're a student, you know, before you get your real responsibilities,you get to go wild. We in the UK have a Freshers Week, which is a whole week, when you're you're told to turn up one week. And then a week later your classes start because they've got just a whole program full of drinking activities for you have bar crawls and going to clubs and all in the name of socializing.And I was fine because I had alcohol and I just drank so heavily. I was in a relationship at the time, which was very codependent, he was very controlling and, and that almost was actually a safety net for me, because I didn't have to make decisions for myself. I wasn't actually, you know, the buck didn't stop with me. So if he told me to do things, I was kind of okay with that, because I didn't want to have to make decisions. I didn't know what I was doing. And we broke up when I was 22. And I had just left university, I didn't have the relationship that I thought I was going to have for the rest of my life. And I had leaned on him so heavily and leaned on alcohol so heavily. And I just felt lost and I got a job working in events and hospitality and that's a real like, work hard play. Hard atmosphere. And and I say that quite often I'm like, oh, you know, hospitality is just really intense actually, the more I talk to people, the more I think it's like every single industry,because people say like, to me,Oh, well, I work in real estate.And that's, you know, really pressure really high power.Everyone can't wait until they get their glass of wine at the end of the day, and then that turns into a bottle of wine. And then that turns into something else. Maybe my story is that I ended up taking cocaine as well.And that was, you know, it was a really quick decline. But I, in a weird way, feel kind of grateful for it. Because I think if I had just been drinking,alcoholic ly, I would have clung on to the drinking for years and years and years, and I would have been 50, or 60, or 70,turning up at a meeting for the first time asking someone to help me because it took that long for me to realize this isn't normal. Whereas when I was taking cocaine, I was taking it,you know, four or five times a week, and you just can't deny that that is an issue. You know,that's, that's really clear. So it became clear to me that I wasn't living the same lifestyle as other people. But it still caught hold of me. And I distance myself from my friends and family who cared about me because I felt this guilt and shame. And I knew that they were going to challenge me. And I just did not want to be challenged, I didn't want to have to answer for myself. I didn't want to feel judged when I was taking drugs. So I just hung out with the people who took as many drugs as I did. And you know, what started as a weekend habit became during the week so quickly, and you know,the issues stacked up, I was still socially anxious. But now I was also you know, not washing properly and not opening my bills and terrified if I was gonna have a, you know, court summons. And I just so wanted to be popular. I so was so desperate for people to like me,for people to see me as life and soul of the party to invite me to things because I'm the fun one, though, I'm the one who brings the drugs or I'm the one who stay out with you all night,you know. And I remember my friend saying that I wasn't the friend should call when she was upset about a breakup. I was the friend she had call when she was ready to go out and party and,you know, stick two fingers up at him. And actually, you know,that's kind of sad. You don't want to be that friend who people can't call on when they're really low. You know,who they only come to when they want a massive big raging night out. You know, that's not real friendship. That's just distraction. It's just not healthy. So I carried on like this, I started to have physical symptoms, I got floaters in front of my eyes and numbness in my fingers and toes and I got this like facial Twitch that would go off when I had a glass or two of wine. And bearing in mind, all of this is so that people like me, so that people think I'm great and fabulous and want to spend time with me. And now I'm sitting there with my hand covering my mouth, because otherwise my lip just shakes involuntarily, and I just look,you know, mental, I just I really looked like I had a problem. And I started using more and more on my own. And what started off as like a fun bar in the city in London turned into me, you know, sitting up for hours on end, just smoking,drinking, taking drugs until it was run out and just feeling desperately aware that it would could run out at any second and I was going to hate myself as soon as it did. And hearing the birds would make me feel sick.So it meant morning was coming and I've done it again. I'd stayed up all night. And I just I just always promised myself I was never going to do it again.And I always went back and did it again. You know, my resolve was so strong when I woke up in the morning. But by the time it was night again, I was just back out there.In the end, I told my sister what I was doing. And I said I really need your help. I don't know how to stop doing this on my own. And she was amazing. And she moved me in with her. And she asked me, you know, to quit my job, she actually typed up the resignation letter and signed it and told me to sign it. So I didn't really have a huge amount of choice. And she was just so supportive. And in the end i i made some really big changes to my life and I moved away. But even when I lived away, I had some friends where I was and they could see that I wasn't doing well. I was still spending you know, all day in bed because I was hungover even if I hadn't taken drugs, you know, and they said, you know,we can see that you've made some really positive steps. But we can also see that you're just going to start taking drugs again just as often as you did before. So we want you to go Go to a recovery meeting. And I went to one of the Anonymous meetings and I kind of thought it would be funny, not funny to like laugh at other people who were in a sort of a desperate state, you know, but I just thought like what great people watching, you know, everyone loves a sort of tale of woe. It will be really interesting. I can go to the pub afterwards, I can tell everyone the story, I can say, Oh, I've been to one of those meetings that you see in American movies, where they're like, Hi, my name is Lauren. And I'm, you know, all of that. And I just thought, brilliant, what,what an experience. But when I walked through the door, and I started to hear people's stories, I just cried, I think I cried for the full hour. And I related so much to what I was hearing people making questionable decisions, people just feeling so ashamed of themselves, people lying, and all of that stuff. And I think hearing people share things that you have felt or experienced,but never said out loud. It's like a magic trick, you know, I just didn't understand how there could be other people out there who had felt how I had felt and felt as lost as I felt, and I was so pleased that I'd found them. And I said to them, Do you think I can stop taking drugs?If I'm still drinking, and they just did not pause? And they said, No, you know, like, people try it. And I'm sure there are people out there who manage it,but none of us have ever been able to stop taking drugs without also stopping drinking.So they said that they felt no mind altering substances was the healthiest way for me to find that freedom. And I'm pleased they did, because I think if they had given me any shade of gray, any inch, you know, I would have taken a mile, I would have absolutely spent the next six months desperately trying to give up cocaine, but not alcohol and just hoping that I would get through and then falling on my face. But actually, I didn't.And I gave up both, and I haven't drunk since. And I think and actually, that's quite unusual. When I speak to people,there's often a sort of cycle of relapse before people kind of get it and they, they get in.And I think that something that really helped me was the, my, my sponsor, my like mentor, she says that you've got to get in the middle of the bed. And I feel like that's what I did. You know, I had a therapist who I spoke to, I turned up to recovery meetings where I could,you know, speak to people who'd experienced what what I had experienced, I, you know, did the team coffee there, I got a sponsor who I worked the 12steps with, I read the books, I listened to mazing podcasts,like this one, you know, and felt that encouragement, and it really carried me along that journey. And the difference between me now and then is huge.It's just huge. You know, I've,I've definitely still struggled with anxiety and at times depression as well in sobriety,but nowhere near to the same extent. And also, I, I know,what's me, and what's chemicals now. And actually, I'm so grateful for that, because I never would have sought treatment or health for, for anxiety or depression because I would have always just thought,well, if I you know, what do I expect, if I drink this much,I'm always hung over, I'm always on a come down. Of course, this is how I'm gonna feel. But these days, I have got such incredible friends and I'm able to show up for them, I'm able to invest in them. I'm not distracted, when we're at dinner by how much wine is on the table. I'm actually listening to what they're saying. And people can rely on me and I love that and I love that I've been asked to be godmother to three kids now, no one left me alone with their kids before you crazy That's like asking for Child Services to take them away. Whereas now people actually think I'm or no,I'm like a role model and I can be trusted with their children.And that's that's just such a gift to me. You know, I've got a job where I turn up on time where people respect me where where people like me, even though I'm not the person who goes to the pub till 2am anymore, you know, they just like me for who I am and I think I'd spent so long trying to bend myself to what other people or at least what I thought other people wanted that I just completely lost myself. You know and I love that in sobriety I get to find myself again and that means giving myself the grace to change and evolve and and to change my mind you know and not beating my So far up, if I make mistakes and just saying,Okay, well, that's where I'm at at the moment, and I'm going to do it better tomorrow. You know,and actually, that journey is,it's just so much more helpful than my process before. So yeah,that's kind of a very brief synopsis of myself.In a nutshell, right? Thank you so much for sharing all that. So honestly, and vulnerably, it means a lot to the community,when we come together as sober women and share our journeys,The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly,you know, both when we were inactive addiction, but more importantly, when we were in recovery, because there is so much hope that comes from hearing the messages of women in recovery. But we also need to be able to tell the story that life isn't really all rainbows and sunshine, and there are still a lot of things that go on, I'm sure you can attest to I know I have I just wrote a whole book about that, right. And my whole memoir that talks about life after recovery, right. And it's,it's very challenging, and we have to be able to use the tools that we have learned to help us to grow even further in our emotional sobriety, to be able to deal with life on life's terms. And to be able to, like you said, kind of find yourself again, now that you're sober,because that's something I hear from women, more often than not about, you know, their own identities and who they say things like, I don't know who I am anymore, I don't know what I like, I don't know, what I'm interested in. And a lot of that is because that was stuff that was kind of stuffed by the chemicals, right? It was like sort of pressed down by the thumb of the chemicals that you were using regularly, you didn't even know. And also we use, we can tend to bring the stories that we've been told about ourselves from our families of origin or communities wherever we kind of picked up our worldview. And then we take that into our act of addiction. And we believe those things about ourselves whether they're right or wrong. And so when we get sober and I don't know if this is your experience, maybe you can share, we get sober, we kind of peel that away, we become raw and vulnerable. And we start to pick apart all the things and rebuild a life. Sometimes those stories that we were told about ourselves, or the stories that we believed about our lives or other people kind of begin to unfold. And we see where the mistruths are, or the where the disconnect is like, you know, my dad was a doctor, or his dad was a doctor, and his dad was a doctor. So I'm going to be a doctor. You know, like, are my family was Christian, and I'm going to be a Christian. And I believe in this, you know, and so a lot of times, it doesn't mean maybe you don't like those things, but a lot of times,sometimes you discover that's actually not your story.Yeah. I remember all through school because I was really talkative at school, really chatty, always told to be quiet by teachers. And I was quite bossy, or at least I was told all the time, I was bossy, and maybe like five years ago, so this is three years into my recovery. I was on a holiday with someone and they who's a really good friend of mine. And she made a joke about me being bossy. And rather than like laughing with her, I actually got upset. And I and she came to me later and she said, Oh, I could see that you didn't like that joke, you know, what's going on? And I said, Well, it's just hard because I know I'm bossy. And I'm really trying to work on it. And you know, I just didn't appreciate that joke. It says it's a it's a sore point for me. And she was like, You're not bossy. You like maybe when we were like really young at school, but you you're not bossy at all. You know, you never tell anyone what to do. You're just a part of the team. You know, why would you think that I was just joking because you'd suggested something. And I was like, okay,don't be bossy. I truly thought that was like a cornerstone of my identity. Because I'd heard it so many times. And I remember someone saying to me that I was difficult to love. And I remember feeling so grateful when someone took the time to like, show me any kind of love because I thought, well, that's gonna cost them dearly, given how hard I am to love, you know,and, and it's, I'm picking those lies that we've internalized.It's so important, you know?Because if because you're not difficult to love, and often words that people have thrown at you and things that you've thought your character like, you really have to ask yourself, Am I like that? Or even Am I still like that? Because some things you don't even notice yourself shedding, particularly if you're doing introspective work in recovery. You don't need to keep being self deprecating and saying, you know, oh, well, you know, I'm always like this.Maybe you're not any more, you know,I totally agree with that. I think that's a really important point. And very insightful,because you're so right, as we begin to get well, we, we do shed in a way, we just kind of slough off the old and damaged parts of ourselves and we replace them with new and more.well developed, I guess, more emotionally mature parts that kind of allow us to manage our lives in a much different way than we were. And I think it takes a long time to make those shifts. I mean, as a therapist,as a mental health therapist, I can speak to that as well, like I watch people change in front of my eyes, because we do a very specialized form of therapy. But it takes a long time for people to understand how to do things in a healthy way, like having creating healthy boundaries, for example, like, I mean, you can talk about that. But then until they really start practicing that on a very regular, like daily basis, it's not going to become the new part of them.Right. So that's like, I mean,and I talked about this in my story, as well, a lot. And I mean, I remember sharing at my10 year anniversary, that I was so pissed off that I wasn't further along than I thought I should be a 10 year Sober Living, I'm still working on some of the same crap. Yeah, I was in the beginning of sobriety. And I felt like that was really annoying. And it made me mad. But the reality is, is we don't ever really arrive.There's no finish line in life,or sobriety or any of it. We're just still learning and growing and developing and life, ages and stages. And then we change according to that, like I have teenagers. Now I had little kids when I got sober. Well, they require a completely different set of emotional maturity and on my part, right, and a different set of, you know, listening and supporting them and nurturing than they did when they were little. And so not the same kind of mom, I was then either.Yeah, yeah, totally. I totally agree. And I do think that sometimes we can sort of catch ourselves out, and we can have those things that we'd like to change. And then you can kind of look back. Yeah, I totally agree. And I think that sometimes we can catch ourselves out with it. And you can have something that, you know, is an issue for you, that you would like to change, and you're just sort of so wrapped up in you having all of these issues that you don't actually realize that things are changing, and we don't sort of stop to sort of look back and go, Okay, so maybe at 10 years, you were still dealing with this, this and this, but I bet there was an absolute heap of crap that was no longer on your shoulders, you know. And it's that gratitude for like how far we've come. I remember, when I first got sober, and I probably did this one I was using as well. But I can't I don't know, I don't remember. But anytime I walked up steps, I would count the steps. And I didn't make a conscious decision to do that.It was just because I just could not face what was going on in my head. So I could fill my head with just counting, you know,and that felt like a better thing than just allowing my thoughts to run rampant. It was a way of controlling my thoughts. And it was probably a I was probably about a year sober when I realized I'm walking upstairs and I'm not counting anymore. And I don't know, when I stopped doing that.But at some point, I became like, okay with hearing what I was thinking, you know, and that's really special.Yeah, that is really special. So when when you're thinking about kind of that part of your journey, or or, or where you were the time, not the thoughts,per se, but when you kind of think about yourself at that point, what were the primary feelings that you were really experiencing at that time?Like early recovery, the first view, oh, my gosh, panic. I definitely I remember thinking,what does everyone do with the day, you know, the day was so long without like, you know,being in bed because I was hungover or, you know, being out drinking, to actually have the full day without sort of alcohol and drugs. It just felt like so long. And I remember looking at the clock at like, eight or nine o'clock and thinking yes, you know, you're almost done. This is going to count as another day and just cherishing every single day, you know, and I remember thinking like five days like oh my goodness, I could not relapse now because I would lose these five days. Whereas now eight years, you're like if I'd restarted then you know, really wouldn't have made a huge difference. But then like,honestly every minute was Such a huge triumph. I just couldn't stand the idea of, of sliding back, you know, and I, I felt a lot of pride, but I, you know, I felt really low, particularly initially. And I'd say for the first week, I stayed on the sofa, and I just watched Disney Disney films, because you know,with Disney that like it will be okay in the end. And I needed that I couldn't, I couldn't face anything where I was uncertain of the content or uncertain of the ending. So I just love the sort of safety of something that is like quite formulaic, and definitely aimed at children and families, you know, so yeah,yeah, I just, I just spent that my time watching those crying,going to meetings, you know, and just feeling like I was white knuckling. Um, for a few. Maybe the first week, I would think I'd wake up and think, I don't know, if today is going to be the day that I use or not, you know, I don't know, if I'm going to make it through. And then,you know, you slowly ease your grip. And then after a month,you're like, Oh, my goodness, 30days of this, like, how have I managed that, and then, you know, you get to sort of 60 days and 90 days, and then you're like, in a routine and it's starting to feel like you may not fall, you know, you don't feel like you're teetering on the edge of something anymore,you kind of, you know, feel like you're a bit more on solid ground. But, you know, that's,that's when it comes to am I going to drink or take drugs again, actually, once I got to the point where I felt quite sure that I was was on, you can never be certain, you know, and you have to keep yourself vigilant. But I felt like the daily struggle of was I wasn't I, I was kind of past that. And that's when the real work began,you know, as you say, about boundaries, about interpersonal relationships, you know, I was a mess, I had no idea how to foster healthy relationships,how to how to eat well, oh, my goodness, food was chaos.Because in every person in recovery said to me, oh, allow yourself to eat as much sugar as you like, you know, eat all the sweets because you'll be missing out on lots of sugar from from alcohol. And then I just ended up just, you know, stuffing my face for a year. I thought of giving up alcohol with men, I lose weight, but I just didn't know, you know, because I felt so sorry for myself. I was shoveling cake into my Yeah, yes, I think that's pretty common. And, and I know in some of the treatment facilities back in my younger days anyway,that's something that they used to talk about. In fact, I think even in the big book, I talked about taking chocolate or sugar or whatever, I don't think that that is something that's really prescribed as much anymore,which is good. Like, there's the modern day recovery, folks are starting to move away from that and getting more into essential oils and meditation and things which is much better. I know for me, like you, I felt very out of control, it's probably a very common feeling, I was really struggling with just trying to figure out how to get through each minute. And I went to treatment. And so I was sort of,you know, is with people, but you're isolated, you know, they don't there's no TV or magazines or any of that. And so you're just you're kind of alone, you know, with yourself and I couldn't be alone with myself.Yeah, that could not be alone with myself. And so I chose exercise as my new drug of choice while I was in treatment,and I began to like, utilize that in a very obsessive compulsive way because I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't stand sitting alone for five minutes without any music playing or without looking at something or any of that and so that's how I helped him manage that panic in the beginning and I love all of those just completely unmanageable feelings. And then as I kind of grew and further like into these later years, I mean, the primary feeling for me that I generally have that I struggle with is always fear. Fear is like my go to emotion. And so for me learning how to manage fear on a daily basis as a you know, woman in longer term recovery has been my greatest challenge. And I mostly can do that now, which is a miracle it's taking a really long time it's embarrassing I think to even think that but I mostly can do it. Except in some areas of life where I still can feel like it can come in and I'll be like a little overwhelmed Yeah. So for you today like as you've been sober like longer, would you say that you can identify like a primary feeling that is your like, go to I remember the second time I worked through the steps as part of my step six, which was you know, identifying character defects. My sponsor said, here's a list of character defects,just pick one or two, and I came back like five, she was like you can only have, you could obviously, there'll be plenty you relate to. But you can only have one or two that are your,like primary ones. And I was like, there's just no way to narrow this down. You know, I'm just so full of defects. There's no way to know which one my primary is. But I think,ultimately, I mean, it seems it feels a bit like cheating to say fear, because fear kind of, I think underpins all the other ones. You know, like, and I guess to narrow it down. It was like, fear of, of man, fear of other people fear of how I was being perceived, was probably my primary fear. But I was afraid of a lot of things. But ultimately, like, the idea that I wouldn't be light, that I wouldn't be popular, that I would be alone, that I be outcast, that I would be shunned. That was the driving force behind me really trying to be popular through all of these very flawed means.And so in the last, like, more recent years, how have you learned how to manage that in your life? Like, how do you deal with like, the thought that maybe somebody doesn't like, you know, we become public figures.I mean, I wouldn't say that I'm like, a public figure, meaning like, famous, but like, when we put ourselves out there, like, I have a Facebook group, and I'm on social media quite a bit. And I express myself, and I just wrote a whole book about my life, you know, including my children and my husband. You know, when we put ourselves out there, we are setting ourselves up for, you know, critique, and often it's very good. You know,it's very positive, you know,it's just constant feedback,you're doing a great job, I was just so inspiring. I love your story. And then sometimes, you know, we get a hater, you know,and that might be in the public view, it might be in your own family, it might be a friend and neighbor, sometimes it's very subtle, you know, the sort of like passive aggressive that underneath stuff where you're like, I feel like maybe that wasn't a compliment. Yeah, you know, like, those kinds of things. So I'm wondering how you're managing that. And these days, like, when those kind of insecure thoughts come up about like, well, I'd be liked, or how am I being viewed in this? How do you handle those emotions today?Oh, gosh, that's a real journey for me. And so the first or the second thing, the first thing I did in the public eye to speak about addiction and recovery,and my story was the TEDx. And that is a really, whilst it's very public, it's a really welcoming environment. And on the whole people aren't there to criticize, and I did get criticism when it went out on YouTube. But to be honest, the vast majority of the criticism I got was because I had said in it that I was Christian. And people just didn't appreciate that. The rest of it yeah, there were people who thought, you know,all drug addicts are useless.Don't listen to this kind of thing. But on the whole, it was fine. The second thing I did was I, in order to promote the TED talk, I wrote an article for two of the biggest tabloids, so the sun, which is Rupert Murdoch's tabloid in the UK, and then the Daily Mail Mail Online, which I'm pretty sure you guys have got over in the States. And the thing about tabloids is that the comments section is brutal. So people were commenting like,speculating that I was a prostitute to pay for these drugs and specifying what kind of acts I might have been offering and for how much and people commented on my weight when I put my pictures up, but you know, because I have photos as part of it, people commented on the way I looked, and that I had promised my mum before I did it, that I wouldn't read the comments, but obviously, I read the absolute glutton for punishment. And yeah, I just thought, I think I decided I didn't care. You know, and I think it took a while, because at first I did care. And I wrote quite an angry article about all the pain of the comments section that never got published. It was very navel gazing. But, but yeah, and I think at some point,I just thought, if you have no investment in my life, and we're not invested in each other, then I don't care. And when it comes to people challenging me, if somebody has the authority to do that, whether they're an employer, or a friend who I have invited into my life, to the extent that I am open to their feedback, and I'm very boundaried, about who those people are, and then I will,I'll accept it and I won't I won't accept someone speaking disrespectfully to me, but if someone has something that that they want to Say that I'm always open to hearing it and always happy to apologize if maybe I hadn't realized I needed to before. But if somebody has just got an opinion that I didn't ask for, I'm not massively tolerant of that. I think the world is too quick to tell people about themselves, when really is so unlikely to be your job. You know, I have I have accountability. I have mentors and sponsors and close friends and a church leader and I have employers i There are plenty of people I answer to, you know,and if you're not sure if you're one of those people, you're probably not, you know,totally, oh, my gosh, I couldn't agree with you more. That was beautifully said. And it made me think of Brene Browns work. And her TED talks where she talks about the Teddy Roosevelt,quote, The Man in the Arena, and she really breaks it down,basically says, if you're not one of my people, if you're not in there with me, you know, in the Blood, Sweat Tears every day, then you don't get to hurt me with your words, and how she describes it as much more eloquent, but it makes it made me think of that, because that's kind of how I live my life. Now,too, it's not always easy, and particularly, if people that are close to us do have something to say, and you know, none of us are perfect. So we're gonna get feedback. And we want that in our relationships, right? We don't want to just float along and everybody's like, like Stepford Wives, you know, we don't get any feedback, we, we need our partners to say, you know, hey, that really hurt my feelings. When you said that,or, man, I really wish you would do things this way. Or, I really love that when you wear that outfit, you know, you whatever,are our friends did like to give us a little bit of, you know,critique every once in a while,that's not a bad thing. But when we start to open ourselves up to strangers, I mean, it can create some really big emotional experiences. And it's so important, I think, for most of us, especially as we live in this digital world to make sure that we're managing that at a very, on a very, you know, kind of tight knit level, right, like we don't we don't really get involved. We don't read the comments. We don't. And if we do we just kind of brush it off.Because they're not in their arena with us. Yeah, so great job on having a TED Talk. That's incredible. What an incredible stage to be on. I mean, I think it's so fascinating people, I love to watch them. Yeah, and the people who do them are pretty darn cool. So way to go you one, I think you'd be the perfect person to do a TED talk.I want to it's actually on my radar. I've been doing a tiny bit of research on on what it means and how do you do it and all that stuff. So we'll have a chat after about it. But it's on my radar.That was an exclusive reveal,wasn't it? Have you said that before? No.No, I've never said that out loud. No, no, I have to pursue it. Darn it. Um, yeah, I think for me, I don't know if you have children. But that's where that's where the fear comes out.For me the most, I think,pretty, I feel pretty content in most every area of my life at this point. I'm probably a little older than you, but I just feel very, you know, kind of content. I mean, I'm at peace on the inside, mostly. But when you have other people in your life that are that are from you.It creates a whole new level of fear that I have never experienced in my whole life. So for me, I think that's where it still crops up, right? And right, wrong or indifferent. I don't think that's ever gonna go away. I try to manage it the best that I can with my faith.I'm a Christian as well. And I'm sorry that you got so much feedback. I'm not surprised. But I'm sorry that people came after you for that. But having a strong faith does help us to manage our difficult emotions. I mean, it just does. It helps us to be able to rely on some kind of power outside of ourselves.And that doesn't need to be a Christian God. It can be a variety of things. It can be nature, or the universe or spirit or whatever you want to call it. But without something outside of ourselves. What what is left when you have now disappointed yourself, you know,because if humans disappoint, we all do it. It's going to happen.Our moms disappoint us our kids disappoint us, our spouses, the world, all the things and eventually we disappoint ourselves occasionally. And when that happens, what are you left?Where do you turn then? No,like, what are you left with?And so if you don't have a connection outside yourself to something, then you're gonna be I think in a world of hurt.Yeah, I think it's very difficult. I think it's very difficult if you truly believe that the buck stops with you.And there's no other higher power working, I think. I mean,I don't understand how people find hope and manage things and find purpose when they're in that place, and even to the extent where I'm I've heard people who just cannot get on board with the sort of spiritual or mystical element of it and don't see it like a higher power in nature and things like that.Just say that the power of a group of people collected for a common purpose is greater than their individual power, you know, and that, surely everyone can agree with that, you know,when when people come together and say, Yeah, we're going to do this together, that is more powerful than one person deciding to do something, you know, and for some people,that's as far as they can go with it. And I think that's okay. You know, but I remember someone saying to me about step two, that the only thing you need to know is that there is a higher power, and you're not it.That's right. Yeah. And that's,like, I say that to myself all the time. It's not you back away.Yes, I say the same thing. And thank goodness for that,honestly, because I don't want all that responsibility. I don't want to be in charge of the whole world and everybody else's problems. No way. So I agree with that. And so having that sort of spiritual component,whether it's, you know, specific religious denomination, or whatever appeals to you, is so important for us to be able to manage and kind of control our emotions in a lot of ways and to be able to connect with something outside of ourselves,particularly when, you know,they're running high, you know,other any other practices, maybe like daily routines, or habits or, or tools that you use to kind of help you regulate your emotions.I yeah, I mean, the thing is, I always feel like when I'm in a bit of a rut, I'm like, Why have I ended up here? How has this happened? Why do I not feel like leaving my bed? Why do I not want to speak to people? And then I look at my sort of routine, and realize I've not been doing any of the things that I know, make me feel better. And then I act all surprised. I'm like, what? Well,this is just come out of the blue. Nice, like, this is very formulaic, you know, I am quite a straightforward person. And if I'm not getting the right amount of sleep, if I'm not engaging with people, if I'm not getting outside in nature, if I'm not drinking enough water, and also just these like little self care things, and they'll be different for everyone. You know, for me,it's putting on moisturizer,putting on face cream,moisturizing my body, it just says to me, you've taken a moment for yourself. And that's really important. And I remember one of my sponsors, saying to me, that when she was using, she never took her makeup off before she went to bed. So now it's like such an act of self care,like a ritual of loving herself that she'll sit and she'll put a really nice cleanser on her face and take her makeup off, before she goes to bed. And I think just showing yourself that value. It translates, you know,to other parts of your life,tell you what else I do. Every morning, I read the just for today card that I was given when I went to my first meeting. And I've only started doing that maybe in like the last month.But I just felt like I was projecting so far forwards. And I needed to remind myself that this is the day this is the moment you know what comes will come. And there's one I've got it on my phone here, hang on.Because I have it to hand at all times. But there's one in particular that just gets me every time just for today, I'll be agreeable, I will look as well as I can dress becoming the torque low, act courteously criticized, not one bit, not find fault with anyone, and not try and improve or regulate anybody but myself. And just you know, okay, we all fall short of that, sometimes. But just reminding myself just saying the words is so helpful to me, like actually, you're here to look after yourself, and to make sure that you do your best today. If other people around you don't,then that's up to them that's up to them and their higher power or their friends or their boss or someone who is in the arena with them to challenge them on it. And it's not up to you and that's fine. Just take a deep breath and keep going.Yeah, love the Oh, Lauren has been so fabulous getting to know you and chatting today. We're can our community find you if they want to reach out?Yeah, so you can get in touch with me on the website, which is Lauren window.com. And that's got links to like all my social media, the TED Talk that we've been talking about the book that we talked about anything you know, that I've done, I imagine when this is published, I'll pop this up there as well. So plenty of different resources. And if you're based in the UK, I've got a page on recovery with lots of links and things write that to help people as well. So,yeah, I'll make sure it's linked in the show notes below as well.So thank you so much for your time and your recovery story.And I look forward to sharing it with my community and yours as well. And hopefully we'll get a chance to talk again soon.Yeah, thank you so much for having me. You're welcome.