This week we are tuning in with Kay Allison and how becoming AF (alcohol free) supported her on her journey of Success. Working in advertising and having built her entire career around “boozing” she shares her story of how she transitioned from what is immediate vs what is long term to help her choose sobriety and change her life.
Going sober not only helped her have more energy, feel happier and more fulfilled but also inspired her to start her business and grow it successfully creating a colourful and vibrant life in ways he never thought possible. Tune in to this expansive conversation around becoming AF
Click here to find out more about her book Juicy AF
About the Guest:
In 1999, Kay Allison was a Senior Vice President at a global ad agency and a single mom as her drinking escalated to the point that she went alcohol free.
Since then, Kay increased her income 6x, met and married a man she’s still crazy about 21 years later, helped Fortune 200 companies generate $2 billion in new revenue, adopted a child, written two books, invented 4 successful businesses, travelled around the world and moved to her dream town.
Most important, she is happy with herself.
She’s a clairvoyant, an executive coach, and a healer.
She lives in a pine forest complete with a waterfall.
She truly lives a Juicy AF life.
You ever wonder what success actually means?Theresa Lambert:
How do you get it?Blair Kaplan Venables:
And how do you keep it?Theresa Lambert:
We all want it yet sometimes it feels only some of us get to have it.Blair Kaplan Venables:t's be real for a hot minute.:Theresa Lambert:
Can you put it in a box?Blair Kaplan Venables:
How can you get it?Theresa Lambert:
Can people take it away? Or are you the one with the power?Blair Kaplan Venables:
Does it mean the same to all of us? Or are we the ones that create it?Theresa Lambert:
From PGA golf pros to doctors, CEOs, entrepreneurs and spiritual mentors. We get together to meet with successful people from around the globe to dissect success for vibrant conversations and interviews. Make sure you click the subscribe button on the app store because each week we will drop a new episode to bust through the myths around success and dissect its true meaning.Blair Kaplan Venables:een alcohol free since August:Kay Allison:
Thanks. And I can do it with a fox and in a box and in the rain. Insane. Yeah, I'm Dr. Seuss. And right along with you here. Oh, my God. Okay.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So what does success mean to you?Kay Allison:
Well, it's changed profoundly. Before I stopped drinking, I thought that the promotion or the title or the money was going to impress you. And so I had to have all those things in order to be okay. Today, it is about living my ideal life, and being fully comfortable and present as who I am.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I love that. And you know, this conversation is really interesting. You know, reading that and learning that you've been alcohol free, since 99. Like that's a huge accomplishment. So congratulations. Yeah. Thanks.Kay Allison:
It's crazy, right. 23 years.Blair Kaplan Venables:
That's amazing. Wow, it feels like 99 was just yesterday. Weird. Yeah. But yeah, I am alcohol free from on January 1, it'll be four years.Kay Allison:
Nice. That's awesome. SoBlair Kaplan Venables:
this is really exciting. Because I'm on a journey, I would love to know, you know, what was this? Like? Can you walk us through your journey, your bridge from, you know, drinking to being alcohol free? And tell us a bit more about your story?Kay Allison:
Well, when I got sober, I was a senior vice president of a global ad agency running new business, you know, I thought I had it all together. And I had dated a guy who was was drinking more than I was, and I could kind of see the preview of coming attractions and it scared me to death. And then there was one night where I had set out to not drink anything, only Diet Cokes. And somebody offered me a glass of champagne one too many times. And I ended up my older kids who were then adolescent had to undress me and put me to bed. And I woke up the next morning with the usual guilt and shame and remorse and embarrassment, but I also had clarity that this wasn't working and that I needed to stop. And early on in my experience of being alcohol free, I walked into a recovery meeting. And there was this gorgeous woman Blair telling her story. And she said, it was 3am. I'm in my living room with my husband and my boyfriend and the police. And I thought this was perfectly normal. And she threw back this main of Auburn curls. And she laughed. And I was shocked because she embodied such a sense of freedom, freedom from alcohol, but freedom from shame. And she was left with the sparkling aliveness. And I thought, Oh, my God, I want that. And today, I want to be that for other women.Theresa Lambert:
I love that so much. You know, I also feel like that drinking has become such a socially acceptable thing. And so being so normalized, that many don't even realize that they're using it as a way to escape something to put themselves in a temporary state of numbing, that allows them to feel happy and fulfilled for a short amount of time, based on the high that we're experiencing in our bodies, just to find themselves in the cycle. You know, and, and oftentimes, like, you know, it's amazing that you met this woman, and she's, like, vibrant and alive. And she's like, I'm not drinking, you know, and it's like, I have all that on the other side without needing to feel that because there's a different path that we can go down that allows us to get there. And it sounds like this is something that you help people with doing. But one thing that I'm curious about too, that I feel like, you know, maybe the two pieces tied together, I don't know like literally I just met you is is for me this like I lived in a town now I'm I'm traveling, but I lived in a town for a long time, where when you make this choice not to drink, people are almost like why? What's wrong with you? Are you sick? Like, are you like, the innate response isn't good for you? The innate response is, why you're broken. What's wrong with you? And I definitely found that to be a tricky dynamic. I am not living fully alcohol free, but I don't drink a lot. But occasionally I will have a drink. But, but that was something for me. That was really interesting. And, and that I found, yeah, it was like, such an odd experience. And I went through the some of alcohol free after choosing to get divorced. And I knew emotionally I just, like, knew it wasn't good for me to do that. And I dealt with my healing and but like, what do you have to say about this? Like? I'm so excited to hear your ads. I'm like, I can't even have your proper question. But this scenario, IBlair Kaplan Venables:
have a really interesting question that might actually be part of this story, because you said you were a high powered executive at an ad agency. So I want to like maybe like Theresa went through this, you know, like, I actually lived in the same place as Theresa. And that's how we know each other. And it's like, kind of like Canadian Vegas like Whistler. It's a party town. It's Disneyland for adults. And it's all about drinking and partying and skiing and biking, but it's a very alcohol centric community. And when I went sober was difficult there. But I would love to know about your career and what happened to your career and like what advice you have for people like Theresa, who decided to when life you know, life got very challenging, and it was changing. And so she chose to cut out alcohol, but she's surrounded by it, like, what do weKay Allison:
do? I have so much empathy for this because I had built my entire world around drinking, where I went on vacation. I mean, it worked in advertising. It's a boozy profession. All my friends, we went to street fairs, you drank beer. It comes down to auditing, the benefits and the costs. The benefits, I mean, we wouldn't drink if there weren't something in it. And there are certainly costs as well. When I did this, what I realized was that the benefits were short lived. And the costs were long term. And it became a matter of making decisions based on what was important rather than what was immediate for me. And I also developed some scripts on which I teach the women that I work with, for how to handle All those really awkward situations when people are like, Why are you drinking? First of all? What a rude question, right? And so renovado rule. Second of all, nobody needs an explanation. So some of my favorite scripts include things like cash, some people would say, That's none of your business. Kind of salty. I'm giving out, I'm giving you a head start on tomorrow's hangover. Or when I drink, my clothes fall off. And that's not a good idea. Like you can handle those things with a sense of humor with a sense of sassiness nobody needs to know that you aren't drinking, because it's not working for you. It's the stigma of saying you have a problem, because that's what's so fucked up with our society, there's more of a stigma for not drinking than there is for drinking. There's something really wrong with that. So true.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Like I, I noticed it more when I stopped drinking. It's like everywhere you go, the socks like if you can read this, bring the wine and like mommy wine culture is so big. And it's normal to get together in the middle of the day, like and have drinks or like boozy brunches, and I was right in there like party animal. I was voted wildest party animal in grade 12. And like, I was very congratulations. Really, just the child of divorce who had significant trauma. And I liked him. I thought people liked me better when I was drinking. And but it's it's so normalized. Like I was just I'm, I've been out and about in the community where I live, going into shops to see what Christmas decorations are, because I'm Jewish and kind of new to Christmas, because my husband celebrates. So I'm like, ooh, fun decorations, fun, everything. There's a lot of booze centric decorations and napkins and but why why are we glorifying a bottle of wine?Kay Allison:
You know, I think that Well, ironically, ironically, I used to work in the advertising business, and I worked on the Coors beer account, and maybe not. So ironically, everything that big business does is to make money. And so turning Halloween, I was at the inflection point when Halloween transitioned from being a little kids thing to being a booze filled, you know, drunk fast. And it was the manufacturers and the advertisers. It was the big beer companies that really made that a thing. And so it's not that there are people in these big companies wanting to do evil. I mean, they're trying to make the living and send their kids to college and pay their mortgages. It's not that they're evil and trying to poison us. And I'm sure the unintended consequence is a culture that endorses and revolves around drinking. I mean, mommy wine culture, basically, the message there is you have to be blasted in order to be with your kids. And that's a I mean, I did it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a drinking mom, until my kids were out a lot. My older kids were adolescents. I gotta tell you, being a mom is really hard and really draining and really overwhelming. It's a lot easier when you're not buzzed and not hungover.Theresa Lambert:
You know, it's so interesting with this cultural aspect around drinking and this, it's almost like, you're the cool kid, when you're, you know, drinking, it's kind of like this whole like you with everyone or you're on the other side. Like you're, you're a minority if you're, if you're sober. And that it is so strange how we have created this, this like, idea off like, you know, like when it's a celebration we drink when it's a birthday, we drink when we're happy we drink when we're when we're bored, we drink when we're hanging out outside, we drink, like when we're going to work events we drink like It's like become very very ingrained. And one thing that I have found so interesting for myself, as I have, you know, gone through times where I wasn't drinking for months, where I've gone through times where I was drinking all the time, to to now really looking at like, always checking in, am I coming from a place of enjoyment, or avoidance like am I picking to have a drink because I'm emotionally avoiding something and I don't want to feel it right now. And knowing that then I'll just delay what I need to feel and I feel it was and feel shittier when it actually comes or am I actually having a drink out of out of real Have enjoyment and and it's like, I don't, you know, like I don't see alcohol as like the evil of all things, I don't think it's a bad thing to choose to have a drink. But one thing that I found really powerful even for myself was noticing the difference, where now I can have one beer because I really feel like, I enjoy the taste of the beer and I love sitting, then it tastes good, and I enjoy it. But I'm not coming off this place from, like, I'm not numbing anything. And consequently, I also don't have the urge to over drink. Whereas when I for a long time, drinking was a was a way to just escape and avoid, like, how do you support your clients? I'm curious to move away from this because I do think that there's a lot of people that you know, artificially trying to be happy by avoiding feeling anything. And so they drink and you know, also do drugs. Quite honestly, it's, you know, not just drinking, but like, how do we break this pattern like?Kay Allison:
The headline thought is that we tend to drink to take the edge off. But really, biologically, drinking as few as seven drinks a week creates anxiety. Drinking creates anxiety. Why? Well, there's a thing called homeostasis, right where your body tries to stay in a safe zone. And our bodies tend to anticipate that the booze is going to come in even seven drinks a week. And so because alcohol sedates, it ratchets our anxiety up so that we stay in a safe zone. Secondly, it screws with your sleep. And disrupted sleep results in higher levels, levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. And third, it wrecks our gut biome, I mean, use alcohol to kill bacteria, same thing happens in your gut. And that gut disruption also through your vagus nerve also messes with your mental health to create a higher level of anxiety, Compounding the problem, our neural circuits get rewired. So that habit of picking up a drink when you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. It gets hardwired into our bodies way before we think we have a problem. So there are physiological things going on that no amount of willpower or hoping it's different or trying to think your way out of it. That just doesn't isn't a thing. When it's your biology that set you have to be on a slippery slope. And you're on it before you know it.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Okay, yeah, so true. Such a slippery slope. And I think people can stop drinking. Even if you like, don't identify with having an addiction, or youKay Allison:
oh my gosh, yes. And I think that's part of the problem was some of the programs. Some of the famous programs well known programs for not drinking is the insistence that you have to hit rock bottom and admit complete defeat. I call bullshit on that. I think that when I get to a point where I don't, I can't show up for my kids or for my job or for myself, when I'm hungover three days a week or four days a week, and I decided it's not working for me or I decide, hey, I'm gonna try for 30 days and see what happens to my anxiety and my sleep and my energy. You don't have to hit rock bottom. I just think that we do ourselves such a disservice to insist on that.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, I totally agree. And I guess one of my questions I asked earlier that I really want to talk about is how you bridge from being a you know, a drinking high powered executive to being a sober high powered executive to juicy AFKay Allison:
it really has to do with the amount of energy that gets freed up. I did not realize how much energy I was draining every single day. Not only because I was hungover and I was trying to like get to feeling physically okay, but I was spinning this image this hologram like Princess Leia with that thing, you know, I was out there spilling this hologram of everything's fine Nothing to see here pass by. And once I got honest and and got some freedom From the shame and got some ability to be matter of fact about what was going on in my life, that amount of energy that got freed up, oh my gosh, within a few years, I had increased my income by a multiple of six, I'd started two businesses written my first book, adopted a child from China met and married, the love of my life moved to my home, my favorite home town. I mean, it was like, Oh, my God, what the heck is happening to me. And I had no idea. I thought that my drinking life was full of magic and color. But when I stopped drinking, my real life became full of magic and color.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Oh, my gosh, that's so beautiful. And it's interesting, because what I noticed in my first year of sobriety, so I run my own business. I have a communications company, and it's about to be 15 years old. And my sobriety journey is almost four years old. And amazing. Thank you. And so I'm in this similar space of understanding like the drinking culture and the schmooze and booze and you know, but what I realized in my first year of sobriety is that I had to relearn how to do everything. So, yeah, going out, like making friends, conversations, meeting with clients, like everything in my business life, everything in my personal life, and I'm still learning like, I still like I still am having first sober and it's like I've had a rebirth. And since choosing sobriety, I've had a lot of terrible things happen to me like not because of sobriety, just because of my the cards I was dealt. And if anyone out there listening has followed along like it's a little traumatic trigger warning, but like, my husband almost died. My husband almost died, we had a miscarriage a couple of weeks later, my father in law died a couple months later, my mom suddenly died, then my dad died in the same year as my mom and I still stayed sober. And while being sober and navigating the biggest traumas I've ever experienced, my business made more money than it ever had. And I wasn't even all in, in my business. How could you and you're going through that. So it's really interesting, because to me, that was like a real life science experiment that I didn't ask for.Kay Allison:
I really identify with what you're talking about. Life happens whether you're alcohol free or not. And what I found, you know, similar, similar, three miscarriages in a year, you know, adopting a child from China, which was fraud, I was watching two businesses simultaneously, like it was it was a lot new marriage, adolescent kids, one leaving to go to college, like it was a lot, a lot. And the things that I learned about how to be comfortable in my own skin, alcohol free, helped me walk through those things, with a little bit of grace and dignity, and so much learning so much learning. I mean, I feel like, that's why we're here. We're here because we're having this series of experiences. And we get to choose whether we're going to learn the lessons from them, or if we're going to numb out. And what I have chosen is to learn the lessons and apply what I've learned as I reached new things. That's what's cool about being alcohol free. 23 years later, like I do have a lot of sober history. But I've never done today to that before. I've never met you to before. We've never had this conversation before. And so how do the principles that keep me Okay, being alcohol free principles, like being really honest, and being compassionate and having a sense of amusement out of those show up in my day to day, that's what keeps being alcohol free, interesting to me.Blair Kaplan Venables:
And I think this is a good time. And that was beautiful. This is a good time to talk about your book.Kay Allison:
I'm super excited about my book, I have a book that will be released on January 10. It's called juicy AF alcohol free of course, and the sub head is stop the drinking spiral, create your future. And it really teaches women number one, how to tell whether or not alcohol is working for you. Number two, if you decide you want to experiment by taking a break some really, really practical things you can do to set yourself up for success. And then the third part is about now that you've got all this newfound energy and less anxiety. How do you embody and become your ideal future self?Theresa Lambert:
I love this. First of all, congratulations on your book.Kay Allison:
That is so exciting. We We are both office ourselves. So we appreciate the work and dedication that goes in. And that is such a huge accomplishment. And I love that I love that you are on this mission to show people that we can become all that we want to be and have these beautiful, vibrant, colorful lives, I feel like that is the words that you would use in a different way, and our own way without needing to enhance it for something that comes outside of us by but by simply getting to know who we really are and owning that fully. And I love that. And I feel like that is such a game changer.Kay Allison:
It's so magic for me to work with women and see within, you know, the 30 day experiment to see that little pilot light behind their eyes come back on. Oh my god, it's like watching. It really is it's watching a rebirth. That is the most magical experience. It just gives me goosebumps.Theresa Lambert:
I absolutely love this. This is so good. And we'll make sure that there is a link to get your book as well. Yeah, and a show notes so that people can check that out. Because I feel like this will speak to a lot of people and, and I know a friend of mine, Kathy, she she was talking about sober curiosity at one point. And I really appreciated that. And she sort of did her own little experiment of what it was like to go soba in our town. And she wrote an article about that. And I feel like anybody's listening, who is curious, curious even about, you know what sobriety would be like curious about even having like, take 30 days to not drink. Like just just dip your toe in and see what happens. But it sounds like this book could be a beautiful place for you to start. So I want to just take a moment to encourage everyone to check it out and or to reach out to Kay here or find out more about how we would I wanted to ask what's a good place for people to maybe get more ofKay Allison:
K. And so first, I want to say you're right, like everything that I have in the book, and the workbook and the journal, they're all experiments, see what works for you see what work do not believe me. I'm going to help you stage this experiment. And you go have the experience and decide what you want to do with the information. So on my website, GCF dot life forward slash book, you can not only get the book, but a workbook and a journal that will help you take the ideas and put them into application in your life. And it's only available on my website.Theresa Lambert:
Awesome. And can people find you on social media at all? Or is it oh gosh,Kay Allison:
yes. And Instagram, it's juicy. Underscore AF underscore life. So juicy AF life. I mean, and you can also find me on LinkedIn, those are my two places. Okay, ITheresa Lambert:
love it. I love it. I'm excited to connect over on LinkedIn as well. LinkedIn and on Instagram with you, I hang out on Instagram a lot. And I know sometimes people listening really want to sort of see, you know, what else is that to have? So this is amazing. So okay, what would you say like for people that are maybe at this beginning journey, you know, off of exploring this of dipping their toe in? Where would you say they they should start? Like what's a piece of advice you would give somebody who maybe is listening and thinks, hmm, I'm curious if this would really help me make some positive changes in my life.Kay Allison:
So I would say three things. Number one, do that audit I was talking about write down on a piece of paper on the left hand side, the benefits on the right hand side the costs, and circle the three things that are the most important to you. The second thing that I would say is consider a seven day or a 30 day experiment. You don't have to give up drinking forever. You don't have to worry about not being able to drink champagne at your wedding. Like seriously, give yourself seven days or 30 days. But then the third thing is make a 100% commitment to the seven days or the 30 days. Why? Because it's actually easier. If you make a 100% commitment then if you make a 99% commitment, because you make one decision and you're done. This isTheresa Lambert:my life than I was in May of:Kay Allison:
Leave it at that.Theresa Lambert:
Leave it at that. Okay, thank you so much for joining us Blair. Any more thoughts from you before we wrap?Blair Kaplan Venables:
No, I'm just if you're out there, and you're alcohol free for a week, a month, 30 years, everything in between and more.Kay Allison:
I'm proud of you. A beautiful thing.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, it's great. And, you know, if you're in our community and you want to explore sobriety, or you're sober, curious, reach out to me, I love talking about it. I have people reaching out to me all the time. And I do recommend getting juicy AF. Right now. You can pre buy the book on your web on Kay's website. And yeah, just this is another resource and there's lots of resources out there. I'm obviously someone who's a huge like sobriety cheerleader. And yeah, if you want to explore this journey, I will hold your hand. And I guess with that, it's a great time to say thank you to everyone for tuning in listening to another episode, listening to us dissect success and sobriety. Kay it's been awesome, Theresa, you're amazing. Blair. You're great. Thanks, everyone. Peace.Theresa Lambert:
That's a wrap for another episode of dissecting success. enjoyed this episode. Make sure to subscribe to Blair Kaplan, Venables and Theresa Lambert's podcast dissecting success on the App Store.