Laura McKowen shares her story of discovery and pain in struggling with an alcohol addiction, and how nearly losing her daughter brought her back from the brink. Find out how Laura learned the way to find purpose in the everyday little things that...
Laura McKowen shares her story of discovery and pain in struggling with an alcohol addiction, and how nearly losing her daughter brought her back from the brink. Find out how Laura learned the way to find purpose in the everyday little things that make up life, why gratitude outweighs pain, and why the struggle with addiction is the common peril that connects everybody.
- Laura grew up in a suburban town in Colorado. Her parents were divorced and she spent a lot of time around people who drank. As a consequence of her parents separating, she became hyper-attuned to everyone else’s emotions. The demands of the external world eventually became too stressful to handle and they manifested internally.
- Her earliest memories of struggle were of contorting herself around her father’s tendency toward anger. She experienced that as low self-esteem and being whoever the other person needed her to be at the time.
- If you don’t have a sense of identity for yourself and your sensation of being okay is determined by the outside world, you’re not going to feel okay.
- Laura was told by authority figures in her life that she was tough and resilient because she didn’t project her pain on the surface. She tried to live up to that perception, which only drove the pain deeper.
- We develop false selves when our needs are not getting met. We need these false selves on the surface to interface with the world, but if you don’t have a stable core underneath, you are always performing which leads to addiction because the pain can be too great.
- We often build our entire lives around this performance. To denounce it is to blow up your life, so we avoid doing that.
- Laura’s grandmother comes to mind as one of her earliest teachers, but she found many of her teachers in books. She had always been attracted to Buddhism and has been drawn back to Pema Chödrön many times over the years.
- Her greatest moment of adversity was hitting the wall with her drinking. After waking up next to a stranger instead of taking care of her four year old daughter, she knew she had a major problem. Despite her outward appearance of success, Laura put in jeopardy the most important person in her life and she couldn’t reconcile those two things.
- Extracting herself from the emotional, physical, and psychological addiction was the hardest thing she had ever done. It was the dark night of the soul that lasted a year and a half.
- In that time of purgatory, Laura got a taste of sobriety. Just getting through a day without drinking was the challenge she had to overcome and it took a few months of effort before she had a tough day that didn’t require a drink to get through.
- Being an author, podcast, and CEO are all parts of the expression of Laura’s potential, as much as the little things.
- Your purpose doesn’t have to be as big as your destiny. It can be the moment to moment events of each day and how you choose to show up for them. It’s often the unseen actions that feel the best.
- Being in purpose is a practice, but what we practice gets stronger.
- “If you bring forth what is within you, what will bring forth will save you, and if you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” -Gospel of Thomas
- When you spend time with people who have been through something hard, nothing surprises you anymore. What’s extraordinary is the ability to let something go and make meaning of it.
- At the beginning of Laura’s reckoning with her alcohol addiction, she realized that we all have some addiction. It’s the most ordinary story of humanity, and she realized that she wasn’t alone in her struggle.
- The struggle is the common peril that connects us.
- Gratitude is a blanket over everything Laura experiences now. She’s grateful specifically for being okay in any given moment, even when she isn’t really alright. Being satisfied in an everyday moment is enough.
- What is enough? We all feel the disease of more and it will erode all your achievements and happiness if you let it.
- Darren practices self acknowledgement to avoid the never ending race of needing to always be more. Acknowledge yourself for the progress you have made.
- Defining your own level of success is important for feeling happy. Don’t measure your success against other people’s standards.
- Everyone has to do this work, but for people in recovery the stakes are a bit higher so it’s more present and clear in our lives.
- Writing your thoughts and feelings down has been proven to improve health factors and doing it coaxes things from the subconscious to the conscious, which is the only way to release them. If you can maintain an attitude of curiosity, you can start to reveal things to yourself.
- Verbalize what scares you to someone you trust.
- Laura’s comeback story shoutout goes to her daughter. She has taught Laura what it means to love someone without reservation. Without her, Laura wouldn’t have learned how to talk to herself. Being a mother grounds her to her true purpose.
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