Sisters In Sobriety

On today's episode, Sonia and Kathleen delve into the vital topic of protecting your peace. As life throws its many challenges at us, finding and maintaining inner tranquility is more crucial than ever, especially when it comes to sustaining sobriety and mental health. Join them as they explore strategies to safeguard your emotional and mental balance, ensuring you stay strong and serene no matter what life brings your way!

Ever wonder how to keep your cool when life gets tricky? Or how to say 'no' without feeling guilty? Sonia and Kathleen have got you covered! They’ll be unpacking how to set boundaries that stick, ways to dodge life’s curveballs, and the secrets to building your personal calm zone. It's all about finding peace in the chaos and making sure it stays that way.

Today’s takeaway is all about real-life strategies: learning how to recognize when you’re stressed before it’s too late, setting up your personal boundaries like a pro, and mastering the art of 'me time.' By the end of the episode, you’ll have a toolkit full of ideas for maintaining your emotional balance that you can start using right away.

And because everyone loves a good story, Sonia and Kathleen will share their own experiences with keeping peace at the forefront. They'll tell tales of personal trials and triumphs, bringing to life the strategies discussed and showing that if they can do it, so can you!

This is Sisters in Sobriety, your go-to community for transforming your relationship with alcohol. Don't forget to check out our substack for more handy tips and heartfelt advice.


[00:02:01] Explanation of what "protecting your peace" means in the context of maintaining emotional and mental balance.
[00:02:19] Kathleen talks about the importance of setting boundaries for peace protection.
[00:03:01] Kathleen explains protecting peace in simple terms and how to filter experiences.
[00:04:24] Sonia relates protecting peace to both physical environment and emotional stability.
[00:05:14] Kathleen shares a personal anecdote about changing job environments to protect her mental health.
[00:06:07] Sonia and Kathleen discuss the role of self-awareness in avoiding emotional spirals.
[00:07:51] A detailed account of how Sonia has learned to handle family disagreements without spiraling.
[00:10:30] Sonia and Kathleen delve into how gossip can affect personal peace and discuss strategies to avoid it.
[00:12:44] Celebration of Sonia's seventh sobriety anniversary and its emotional significance.
[00:14:26] Sonia recounts a poignant memory tied to a breakup and how seasonal changes can trigger emotional responses.
[00:16:30] Discussion on the impact of social media on emotional well-being and how to manage exposure.
[00:19:00] Sonia talks about the physical symptoms she experiences when her peace is disturbed, particularly by family dynamics.
[00:20:21] First-time disagreement story shared by Sonia, focusing on maintaining peace during confrontations.
[00:22:10] Kathleen emphasizes that healthy conflict is possible and shares insights from her professional experience as a couples therapist.
[00:23:27] The complexities of family relationships and how they challenge personal peace discussed by Kathleen.
[00:25:13] Kathleen explains her need to step back from family drama to protect her peace, ensuring it wasn't perceived as abandonment.
[00:27:31] Strategies for managing unexpected changes and maintaining stability during uncertain times.
[00:33:13] Sonia and Kathleen discuss essential self-care practices and rituals that help maintain their peace.


What is Sisters In Sobriety?

You know that sinking feeling when you wake up with a hangover and think: “I’m never doing this again”? We’ve all been there. But what happens when you follow through? Sonia Kahlon and Kathleen Killen can tell you, because they did it! They went from sisters-in-law, to Sisters in Sobriety.

In this podcast, Sonia and Kathleen invite you into their world, as they navigate the ups and downs of sobriety, explore stories of personal growth and share their journey of wellness and recovery.

Get ready for some real, honest conversations about sobriety, addiction, and everything in between. Episodes will cover topics such as: reaching emotional sobriety, how to make the decision to get sober, adopting a more mindful lifestyle, socializing without alcohol, and much more.

Whether you’re sober-curious, seeking inspiration and self-care through sobriety, or embracing the alcohol-free lifestyle already… Tune in for a weekly dose of vulnerability, mutual support and much needed comic relief. Together, let’s celebrate the transformative power of sisterhood in substance recovery!

Kathleen Killen is a registered psychotherapist (qualifying) and certified coach based in Ontario, Canada. Her practice is centered on relational therapy and she specializes in couples and working with individuals who are navigating their personal relationships.

Having been through many life transitions herself, Kathleen has made it her mission to help others find the support and communication they need in their closest relationships. To find out more about Kathleen’s work, check out her website.

Sonia Kahlon is a recovery coach and former addict. She grappled with high-functioning alcohol use disorder throughout her life, before getting sober in 2016. Sonia is now the founder of EverBlume, a digital tool that offers a unique approach to alcohol recovery support.

Over the last five years, she has appeared on successful sobriety platforms, such as the Story Exchange, the Sobriety Diaries podcast and the Sober Curator, to tell her story of empowerment and addiction recovery, discuss health and midlife sobriety, and share how she is thriving without alcohol.

Her online platform EverBlume launched in February 2023, and was featured in Recovery Today Magazine and deemed an ‘essential sobriety resource’ by the FemTech Insider.
The company champions self-improvement and mindful sobriety, with support groups designed by and for women struggling with alcohol.

So how can EverBlume help you meet your sober community? By offering deeply personalized support. Members get matched based on their profiles and life experiences, and take part in small group sessions (max. 16 people). In your support group, you will meet like-minded women, discuss your experiences, and gain confidence, knowing you can rely on your peers in times of need.

Whether you identify as a binge drinker, someone who developed a habit during the Covid-19 pandemic, a high-functioning alcoholic, or an anxious person using alcohol to self-soothe… There is a support group for you!

Current EverBlume members have praised the company’s unique approach to alcohol detox. “No one is judging me for not being sure I want to be sober for the rest of my life” ; “I felt so heard and understood and today I woke up feeling empowered to make the change in my life”.

Feeling inspired? Learn more about the EverBlume sobriety community at, or simply listen to Sisters In Sobriety.

Your sobriety success story starts today, with Kathleen and Sonia. Just press play!

[00:00:00] Sonia: Hi, we're Kathleen and Sonia and you're listening to Sisters in [00:01:00] Sobriety. Thanks for being here. I'm Sonia and I'm with my sister in sobriety. Actually my sister in law, Kathleen. Kathleen, how are you doing today?

[00:01:07] Kathleen: I'm doing amazing. I'm feeling really good. Spring has definitely sprung here, and I just feel like life is getting more manageable on my side. What about you? How are you doing?

[00:01:20] Sonia: good. I am going to Lisbon in a few days by myself.

[00:01:26] Kathleen: without me,

[00:01:28] Sonia: I know, butI'm really happy and actually it kind of goes into today's episode where we're talking about protecting your peace and actually made the decision to go to Lisbon by myself during a time where I wasn't feeling amazing and thought that I needed to protect my peace, not by leaving or escaping, but by doing something so protecting your peace is really about just ensuring that your emotional state remains stable and positive, even in the [00:02:00] face of life's challenges.

[00:02:01] Sonia: So, it's in thoseups and downs of life that maintaining our emotional and mental balance is so crucial. And it's about creating a sanctuary inside yourself and a place of calm and strength that helps you navigate challenges without compromising your sobriety.

[00:02:19] Kathleen: Today, we're going to delve into the importance of setting boundaries, both with others and ourselves to safeguard our peace. And we're going to discuss strategies for cultivating an inner environment where tranquility can flourish even amidst the chaos of life. Our conversations are going to touch about the power of mindfulness, the role of support, and the art of self care as pillars for maintaining balance.

[00:02:42] Sonia: And we'll talk about the various emotional triggers that can disrupt your peace and share some strategies on how to avoid or remove yourself from toxic situations, as well as how to recognize these scenarios before they escalate. So Kathleen, what is protecting [00:03:00] your peace mean?

[00:03:01] Kathleen: Well, in simple terms, it's about setting some rules for yourself that can keep your mind and your heart safe. So it's really knowing what's good for you and what's not. If you think of it like this, there are certain people, places and situations that make you feel great. And then there are others that just bring you down or stress you out or make you anxious.

[00:03:22] Kathleen: And protecting your peace is about choosing more of the good, Stuff and less of the bad. It's like building a little fence around your emotional world to keep the not so good things out But I want to be really really clear about this before we get into the episode Protecting your peace is not about running away from challenging emotions.

[00:03:42] Kathleen: And we can still have conflict in relationships, or we can still have challenging emotions and still be healthy. But if we're constantly being swallowed into someone else's drama, or we have huge anxiety around when we're in certain situations, it might be worth [00:04:00] looking into how you can protect your peace in those situations.

[00:04:04] Kathleen: What do you think this might mean for our listeners?

[00:04:06] Sonia: So yeah, to our listeners, I think that the idea might seem initially like it'sabout tranquility and your physical environment, but I think it's so much deeper than that and really recognizing that your emotional state is just as crucial as your physical sobriety.

[00:04:24] Sonia: So allowing us to navigate challenges without compromising our recovery journey. So for others, it could mean setting boundaries, avoiding triggers or just learning to say no to preserve your mental health.

[00:04:37] Kathleen: What does protecting your peace mean to you?

[00:04:40] Sonia: Yeah, for me, it means maintaining my ability to see things clearly. So not clouded by unchecked emotion. And I have this really specific pattern of spiraling and I need to protect myself from that. So it's when one thing happens and it affects [00:05:00] my emotional equilibrium a little bit, then I'm at risk to enter this cycle where I either start seeing.

[00:05:07] Sonia: everything negatively, or I start to look for things to feel negatively about. So what does it mean for you?

[00:05:14] Kathleen: For me, it really means how I spend my time and who I spend my time with. For example, I used to, before becoming a therapist, have this job where I needed to watch the news basically 24 7. I had a TV in my office. I had the news on all the time. And I found that it was really impacting my mental health. Um, so now I'm very intentional about When I read the news and sources of my news and I don't fully avoid it, but I think, and I think it's really important to know what's going on in the world, but I'm intentional about how much.

[00:05:47] Kathleen: And I think this is also the case for people. If someone is consistently bringing drama into my life unnecessarily or causing me specific anxiety without a possibility of resolution, then [00:06:00] that person won't be in my life for very long. I know you mentioned the pattern of spiraling.

[00:06:07] Sonia: Yeah, I think a lot of people can relate to that, where it's like one thing bothers you, and then it lowers the bar to being triggered by other things.

[00:06:16] Kathleen: I agree. Can you give us an example of a time this happened to you?

[00:06:23] Sonia: Yeah, so the spiral is something, when I look back, it really started when I was really young. And so, the types of things that really throw me off are feeling insecure. Or when someone raises their voice or is angry, that feeling of abandonment. And one that's a little different, but comes up often for me is when I can't agree with somebody on the facts during a discussion, so I'm not going to talk about my divorce today.

[00:06:52] Sonia: Surprise, surprise, but rest assured it pushed all the buttons. but there is a situation in my family where I don't think [00:07:00] that My parents see my brother for who he really is. and I'm literally, I'm picturing this in my head that it's one of those few instances when I get so angry and it's not like we just see things differently.

[00:07:13] Sonia: I'm open to that. It's literally that like something did. Or didn't happen. So if you can't agree on the facts of a situation, I find it compromises me so much, I end up getting into circular arguments, I get frustrated, I keep like throwing in more evidence to prove my point, and the truth is, of those situations, is we need to agree to disagree, So for me to protect my peace, I really just have to say that we're going to agree to disagree and the last time I got into an argument with my parents, it took about an hour to get to that point.

[00:07:51] Sonia: And that's the best I've done. And before that could actually go. on and off for days, definitely hours, but I noticed that the [00:08:00] sooner I do it, the more I'm able to protect myself from getting into this anxiety, irritation, frustration state that will last for hours, weeks. Or days or weeks and it really leads to this like poor me scenario like I'm cursed nothing works out for me So this agree to disagree thing really started after I got sober and I just wasn't able to do it before because for Whatever state of frustration I was whipped up into I could just drink it away And not deal with it for a few hours.

[00:08:33] Sonia: And so when you're sober, it's just not an option.

[00:08:36] Sonia: So let's talk about gossip and gossiping by definition is talking about other people using unconfirmed facts. So how do you feel about gossip? And have you ever found yourself riled up after a goss session, and then only to feel really heavy and like guilty and shameful afterwards?[00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Kathleen: I feel about gossip. I am not a fan. That's for sure. I think underlying gossip is insecurity and the need for connection. So, I I can have some empathy for gossip because I do really think, when I think about why do we gossip, well, We have inherent insecurities, and then we also look for connection.

[00:09:23] Kathleen: And sometimes when you can create a common bond over someone or something through gossip, you can feel a momentary sense of connection. And listen, I used to gossip with the best of them, but I. Now, it's just not something I like to engage in to talk about someone behind their backs or to sit around and gossip with a group of people.

[00:09:44] Kathleen: It just gives me huge ick. I will get up and leave a situation when that's going on. And I think you're, I think you're right. I think you're generous to say that there's guilt and shame afterwards. 'cause I think like I don't think many people necessarily feel that way. They [00:10:00] won't necessarily say, oh, well I feel guilt and shame for talking about that person like that.

[00:10:05] Kathleen: But I do think people leave gossip sessions feeling momentarily bonded with others, and then they don't feel good and they may not know why. But that's why I think that gossip really brings negative energy to you. And yes, I'm going to talk about energy, but I do, I really do think that someone can feel momentarily bonded and connected, but then they just don't feel good.

[00:10:30] Sonia: For sure, I've had that. And so I, I kind of challenge everyone else to think about it. Like when you feel that ick, ask yourself, like, where is that coming from? And so I've noticed it too, even if I'm not directly involved in like a gossip session, like, why do I just it's like a combination of like, you're like hyped up, but you feel really gross.

[00:10:51] Kathleen: Exactly.And so we've had certain situations and I told you recently about a time a few years ago

[00:10:57] . [00:11:00] we were with a common group of people and there was like a huge gossip session going on. And I got up and left and you were like, Oh my gosh, I thought you were tired.

[00:11:11] Kathleen: And I was like, no, I just can't deal and I have to protect my piece. So I like took myself out of the situation.

[00:11:21] Sonia: It was really interesting. I remember it so clearly because I knew I could see in your face that you were irritated and I thought you were irritated because you were tired. Interesting.

[00:11:32] Sonia: So or places disturb

[00:11:37] Kathleen: Absolutely. I used to live in the city like I used to live right downtown Toronto and I was definitely more anxious and stressed. Some people thrive in that environment and I do not. I'm really sensitive to loud noises and chaos. Thanks so much my ADHD, but I moved to the country and I know not everyone can make those sounds.

[00:11:55] Kathleen: I mean, there's changes, but yeah, if you're if even if your house [00:12:00] is like chaotic, or there's stuff everywhere, that may not be an environment for you to protect your piece. And so it may be something like you need to kind of organize your environment, or you need to, I don't know, like put up something like art or like there's many different ways that you can do that.

[00:12:19] Kathleen: But absolutely certain environments and places can disturb your piece. Can certain times of the year or anniversaries, can they stir up emotions and challenge our peace?

[00:12:32] Sonia: Yeah, and I think in the same way that I'm like, positively attached to dates. Um, by the way, yesterday was my seven year

[00:12:41] Sonia: sober anniversary.

[00:12:42] Sonia: Yay. I didn't know.

[00:12:44] Sonia: in the same way that I am attached to that date, a few days later is my breakup date. Right. And so I think certain dates really bring you back to difficult feelings.

[00:12:59] Sonia: So You know, the [00:13:00] big ones like death, divorce or an accident date. So, and actually for me, and I think for a lot of other people, it starts before that date. So you start to anticipate it and I think it can also last past that date. So I think it's really, important to be mindful of those dates when they're approaching and try to make some changes.

[00:13:19] Sonia: So either changes to your schedule or your environment. and

[00:13:23] Sonia: The best thing you can do is reframe the date, but I know that's not always possible. And so right now I'm actually going through that. So I'm in the middle of this two year anniversary of my breakup. And in this case, there is an exact date, but it's also just like the beginning of spring. And so my memories now of spring are horrendous.

[00:13:46] Sonia: Like of walking my dogs and seeing things bloom and this Very specific feeling like I was like almost like underwater and so, this year I could kind of feel it happening. So I know you know what I'm [00:14:00] talking about. I know you know these stupid. Buttercup flowers on my property like that. They're like weeds. He's this, this motherfucker. And let me tell you something. So during this breakup, this, this asshole goes to our house and takes a picture, right? Of this field of buttercups

[00:14:26] Sonia: and sends it to you, my other sister in law. Andhe was like, look how beautiful it is.

[00:14:31] Sonia: I was like. You just broke up with me. Are you kidding me right now? Get out of my house, first of all. And second of all, take your flowers with you. So I will say this year, like last week, I saw the little flowers coming up. And I, I know this is dramatic, but I was like, you know what?

[00:14:52] Sonia: I'm going to go to Toronto. When I saw them coming up and I thought, yeah, I'm strong. And yeah, I can get through this, but why should I have to? [00:15:00] Right, I don't have to stick myself in this and I had that luxury right where I could come here and work from here.

[00:15:05] Kathleen: So I'm gonna say this my my separation date is coming up It's gonna be five years In about six weeks and it's now also so my separation date is the same date as my current partner's birthday And I, and I realized last year, and I love birthdays, like I am a huge birthday fan.

[00:15:30] Kathleen: I love celebrating people's birthdays. I love my birthday. And last year I realized I didn't even think about my separation date because I was so invested in celebrating my, my partner's birthday. And I mentioned something to him. this week. And he's like,do you think about that on my birthday?

[00:15:48] Kathleen: And I'm like, no, last year I didn't. And so I think it can not always, but I think it can be replaced by something else.

[00:15:56] Sonia: yes, no, you can reframe it. I think there's [00:16:00] a few ways to deal with it. Right. It's like reframe it. Avoid it, change, you know, things around it. And so last year I sort of reframed it this year. I kind of felt like avoiding it and

[00:16:12] Sonia: yeah, and probably next, hopefully, you know what, hopefully next year I'll see them come up and I won't even think about it.

[00:16:19] Kathleen: Yeah.

[00:16:19] Sonia: And maybe not next

[00:16:20] Kathleen: maybe a couple

[00:16:21] Kathleen: of years. Yeah,

[00:16:22] Sonia: Yeah, maybe

[00:16:22] Sonia: it'll take a couple of years. Um, so social media can also be a minefield for emotional triggers. Can you talk a little bit about

[00:16:30] Kathleen: I mean, minefield is a good way to say it. You never know when you're going to maybe stumble upon something that you shouldn't. Um, it is really like a digital jungle and not always in a good way. So. First off, I think that your social media feed should be thought of as your personal space. In a sense, you wouldn't let just anyone into your living room and it's the same with your feed.

[00:16:52] Kathleen: So be choosy about who you let in, follow people who brighten your day or who share things that make you smile or think [00:17:00] or feel inspired. How many of us have fallen down the endless rabbit hole of scrolling? I know I'm guilty of this. So setting a time that you for social media can be a real game changer, like setting an actual timer.

[00:17:14] Kathleen: And it helps you from getting lost in this digital world. but here's another really, really big thing. And we're going to talk about this a little bit, but when you're scrolling social media. Pay attention to how you feel. So pay attention to what's happening in your body, pay attention to your emotions.

[00:17:33] Kathleen: If your mood starts changing, if you're feeling that anxiety, or that envy, or whatever that might be, that is your cue to step back. You are in control. You can put down the phone. Uh, can certain people or types of people disturb your peace?

[00:17:52] Sonia: Girl, yes. I think it's different. Girl, yes. I think it's different for different people. I [00:18:00] think some people are triggered by different behaviors. So some people are triggered by passive aggressive behavior. Yeah. Some people are triggered by silent treatment or aggression, and I just love that Gabriel Monte book, The Body Keeps Score, because your body reacts, and you can have a physical reaction.

[00:18:18] Sonia: So I feel it in my body when people are disturbing my peace, and I tend to ignore it. I don't trust myself, but it's something that I'm learning to tune into more. And, I don't think I'm the only person that's triggered, by my parents. And I is such a specific,

[00:18:35] Kathleen: The laugh, I couldn't keep it in.

[00:18:39] Sonia: are you triggered by my parents or your parents?

[00:18:43] Kathleen: Triggered by your parents. Triggered by your parents. Uh.

[00:18:54] Sonia: These, these poor people, they are geriatric. Okay.

[00:18:59] Sonia: but yeah, I have [00:19:00] such a specific set of physical symptoms and it starts and I noticed this when I used to not live, in Toronto, I would, I would notice it like. Weeks before, if I knew I was coming to visit. And so it would start before the interaction.

[00:19:17] Sonia: And honestly, I used to rely really heavily on alcohol to numb these feelings. And so when you get sober and you don't have that crutch, what is your way to protect your peace? And so that is something that's really important to think about when you get sober, what are those people, places, things that disturb your peace?

[00:19:38] Kathleen: So how do you handle confrontation or disagreements without letting them disrupt your emotional sobriety?

[00:19:45] Sonia: Yeah, I think this is probably the most difficult scenario, right, in which to protect your peace. And I think that applies to most people. We don't enjoy a disagreement. and I can't have one and let it go right away. And, and they're not [00:20:00] always avoidable. They're not always in your control.

[00:20:02] Sonia: and disagreements just by their nature really shift your energy. And. I think you can reframe it by saying you're moving that bad energy out. So like when you're standing up for yourself or you're saying something that needs to be said, that's helpful. And I just had my first disagreement in years with somebody.

[00:20:21] Sonia: Um, and you said it to me, even before I even told you I was upset, just when I was giving you the backstory on what happened, you were like, protect your peace. Protect your peace. And I think you knew that I was going to be thinking about it and turning it around in my head and, and I really did protect my peace so that I remember that night I just made my bedroom as cozy as possible and I journaled.

[00:20:46] Sonia: And when I was journaling, I felt really good about how I handled myself. And so I really felt positively about what I said And I was also able to identify what could I have done better? and also you told [00:21:00] me what not to do, which is don't turn it into fodder for gossip or drama, because it's also really easy to take something like a disagreement.

[00:21:10] Sonia: You know, say like, oh, I just had a fight with this person. It got so crazy. And then, to repeat it to everyone and try to, solicit opinions, which, you know, guess what? I do do that a little bit. but I try to do it in the healthiest way possible. I try to do it from a. Hey, what do you think about this situation?

[00:21:27] Kathleen: I think you've shifted a lot, Sonia. Like, I think that you've become aware, more aware, and so you're not participating in that as much. That's my feeling. and it's interesting. So, first of all, that disagreement you had was kind of the genesis for this.

[00:21:42] Kathleen: This episode, I was like, let's do an episode.

[00:21:44] Kathleen: I'm protecting your piece. Um, but I do want to say something because as a couples therapist, I see a lot of couples who come in that are in high conflict. And so disagreements can be healthy in a [00:22:00] relationship. So I just want to like state that disagreements can be healthy. Conflict can be healthy. It's the way in which it's done is what Can shift it.

[00:22:10] Kathleen: So that's where it can have a lot of bad energy about it. But what, but there are ways and maybe we should do another episode one day on healthy conflict.

[00:22:20] Kathleen: I think that is really important for sobriety. but there are ways to protect your peace while also having a disagreement.

[00:22:28] Kathleen: Right?

[00:22:30] Sonia: yes. I mean, realistically in, in the spectrum of like conflict from healthy to unhealthy, this was sort of in the middle, right? it needed to happen. I wish

[00:22:41] Kathleen: Mm hmm.

[00:22:42] Sonia: but yeah, I, I actually agree that how do you protect your peace during it? Right?

[00:22:47] Kathleen: Because we have disagreements all like, not all the time, but we have had disagreements, but I don't think we've ever gotten into a, a fight or something about it, but we've had disagreements. They've [00:23:00] been but not,Hurtful.

[00:23:02] Sonia: Yeah, and I think also given, like. How complex our family situation is, they're unavoidable.

[00:23:08] Kathleen: Exactly.

[00:23:09] Kathleen: Yeah.

[00:23:10] Sonia: we share your ex husband, ex mother and father in law, um, are, are my current parents and brother, right? And so I think there are situations that are unavoidable, and yeah, it really is how you handle it,

[00:23:27] Sonia: And if you think about the idea of protecting your peace, for us to have a disagreement and it to go badly, I can't even imagine what that would do to my peace, right?

[00:23:36] Kathleen: we did have some family drama in the fall and I think we both know that it, it really destroyed our peace. Right. And I know for myself, I didn't do a great job of protecting my piece. I'm doing much better now, but that, yeah, I think we know that. And so it's inevitable in families.

[00:23:53] Kathleen: It is inevitable in families to have uncomfortable situations. It doesn't mean you run away from them. That's what I started at [00:24:00] the top of this podcast saying, protecting your piece doesn't mean you're Escaping from all difficult situations. It means how are you handling it within right? How are you handling yourself?

[00:24:10] Kathleen: Mm hmm.

[00:24:11] Sonia: actually speaking of our like family drama. we were having really significant drama and I got a text from you, it was a group text. And you were like, I'm going to need to take a step back from this

[00:24:20] Sonia: situation. And I was like, Oh yeah, that sucks. But she's not, I mean, she's not talking about me.

[00:24:25] Sonia: And so I was like, not me. Right.

[00:24:28] Kathleen: Remember that so that okay, this is great. We are gonna use this So this is a good example because for me So I, I was spiraling, I was spiraling about something that happened. I was in a really, really bad place with some of our family members and I did need to take a step back.

[00:24:47] Kathleen: Not forever, but I just needed to calm myself, like get my nervous system regulated. And it's so true. I said, I need to take a step back. And you were like, Oh, [00:25:00] okay. And then you texted me right after and I was like, girl, I meant you to, um, how do I say this delicately? *but* I knew for you, you would be really triggered by abandonment.

[00:25:13] Kathleen: And so I don't know if you remember, but I said, I said to you in that text, I just need some time to chill out and get right in my head. I know that I just want you to know I'm not abandoning you. I said that because I knew that that is a trigger for you and I wanted to be very conscious and aware this wasn't a punishment.

[00:25:33] Kathleen: This was not a punishment to anybody. I was merely protecting my peace.

[00:25:38] Sonia: yes. So I remember thinking, okay, she's not talking about me. And then realizing you were, and being like. What the, what? And then, yeah, you saying, Hey, I'm not abandoning you, but okay, we haven't, we haven't even talked about this or scripted it at all. So, but when you reappeared, right, you were not in good shape. so, and I [00:26:00] remember saying to you, oh, I wish you hadn't removed yourself. Cause I could have helped. I wish you had told me. Looking back, do you think. No, like this was something I needed to deal with myself.

[00:26:09] Kathleen: So, I think that's a really good question, and I think, talking about withdrawing from a situation, right, is different. So, I wasn't in a good place when I popped my head back up, and so, to me, I remember I went out for dinner with you and my daughter, and I was still not in a good place, and so that was me coming to you for help.

[00:26:28] Kathleen: and I showed you, right? But I was spiraling and not a good way. And it was, you know what it was? I feel like text messaging is the lowest form of communication. And what was happening is the family drama was being. Like amplified on text message and that I was like, no, I need to put a stop to that, but I was very honest with you when I saw you in person about where I was and where I was feeling and what I needed.

[00:26:56] Kathleen: It's interesting because. [00:27:00] people can assume if you're protecting your piece that you're, you are withdrawing from the conversation, right? And there's a difference. was I withdrawing from that moment? I was because it wasn't effective on text messaging, but I don't withdraw from the topic.

[00:27:16] Kathleen: I'm not going to get into all the gory details like on the podcast. but. I will still talk about it with you. I talked about it with you. I would like address it with the others involved. So I wasn't withdrawing in that way.

[00:27:29] Kathleen: Does that make sense?

[00:27:31] Sonia: And yeah, and I think we're still establishing boundaries around

[00:27:35] Kathleen: Topic.

[00:27:37] Sonia: topic because it's still disturbs your

[00:27:39] Sonia: piece.

[00:27:40] Kathleen: still disturb my peace.

[00:27:42] Sonia: yeah. And so we're still establishing okay, you can't just bring it up out of nowhere.

[00:27:46] Kathleen: but let's talk about this. There's another reason why I have to protect my peace around it because a lot of gossip was involved.

[00:27:54] Sonia: Yeah.

[00:27:55] Sonia: and not, necessarily, well I guess is gossip ever really, [00:28:00] um, constructive?

[00:28:01] Kathleen: not unless all parties are involved that are there to talk about it. It's not.


[00:28:08] Sonia: So, we have talked about setting boundaries but how do unexpected changes or uncertainty impact your piece? And what strategies do you use to navigate those?

[00:28:17] Kathleen: I think there's a difference between Consciously being with people in environments that aren't healthy and positive and change in life. So changes in life like that is inevitable. Challenges are too, like that's just part of the human experience. And I think those are kind of two different things.

[00:28:33] Kathleen: So with change, we need to bring out the toolbox of coping mechanisms to navigate through change that can be journaling, meditation, body movement, talking to a therapist, attending a group like Everbloom. Just find your grounding and what makes you feel grounded. It doesn't have to change in life is just, that is going to happen.

[00:28:54] Kathleen: We are changing every single day. Change happens all the time. It doesn't have to necessarily impact your [00:29:00] piece. You need to anchor yourself. So I think there are. There are times where it's okay, this is just regular change and challenges of life. And so how do you ground yourself? And then there's, are there situations, people that are toxic to you,where you really need to make a conscious effort to protect your peace.

[00:29:21] Kathleen: Does that make sense?

[00:29:21] Kathleen: Mm

[00:29:23] Sonia: I actually am very curious about this because I try to do this now, how important is it to recognize toxic scenarios before they start or escalate? And I do think this has something to do with, I don't know if emotional IQ is the right word, but I think before I was always like shocked when I was in a toxic scenario.

[00:29:42] Sonia: And I think now I realizeI could have predicted that before I even got into

[00:29:47] Kathleen: Yeah. So I talk about this a lot with my clients, actually. I, I really believe that. Our body tells us first, what is a toxic situation [00:30:00] or scenario before it even happens or before it's escalating. I know when I sit with my clients in therapy, I can feel it in my body, which I take it as an indicator light.

[00:30:13] Kathleen: It's like an indicator light of a car going off that something is not right. The energy is shifted between a couple I'm seeing or with a client. And then I follow that basically. So how do you do that for yourself? You mentioned in your personal story for weeks before you would see your parents, you would be anxious, but I, I bet.

[00:30:34] Kathleen: It feels like you feel it in your body, even before that, when we, when I was last, with you in person at your home, and there, there was a situation brewing that you talked about, I asked you, do you feel it in your body? Where do you feel it in your body? And I really think it's a great indicator light when things are off and that we have to learn to listen to that. How [00:31:00] important is it to have a peace plan? I know you love plans. So let's call it the peace plan and put in place for times when you're feeling particularly vulnerable

[00:31:08] Sonia: so, so plans are really important, but it's hard to a specific plan for every possible scenario. So I have general plans for general feelings. So, if you think about ways that your piece is disturbed. It's like, you can be sad, you can be anxious, I know for me, there's one where I I'm wondering what I did wrong.

[00:31:27] Sonia: And so I just have, different plans for it. So if I'm sad, sometimes journaling isn't the answer, right? Sometimes that's like a ice cream, Netflix, let the feeling pass kind of thing. if I'm Blaming myself for a situation that's like a journaling situation where I need to work those feelings out.

[00:31:45] Sonia: I think figuring out. What helps you in what situation is really important and I'm still figuring it out for sure. How does mindfulness or meditation? How do they play a part in maintaining your piece?

[00:31:58] Kathleen: well for me, it's been [00:32:00] everything, literally everything. Like it is the foundation for me maintaining my peace. So we will do an episode on, on mindfulness, but really mindfulness is being aware of the present moment without judgment. And I have been working so hard in the last few years to be really aware of when my feelings are coming up, when I'm feeling it in my body first, uh, to really, Respond instead of react.

[00:32:30] Kathleen: Have I failed? Yes, I have most definitely failed at that. but I have learned also, and so mindfulness and meditation, I meditate every morning for 20 to 30 minutes. I fell off the wagon of this actually for a number of months and I really saw my. My piece be impacted by that. So it is definitely a practice that I have in my life and then just daily mindfulness, like noticing what I'm feeling before what's what's happening in my body.

[00:32:58] Kathleen: Oh, that's interesting. Getting [00:33:00] curious. I'm feeling anxiety in my stomach right now. What might that might be causing that? Um, so I do think it's really, really important.

[00:33:07] Sonia: Yeah. so what are some non negotiable self care practices that are most important to protecting

[00:33:13] Kathleen: Well, I would say that meditation is for me, movement. I have spiritual practices that I, I kind of undertake every single day and connecting with people who help ground me. I think those are for me, my non negotiables for sure. What, what rituals can help you maintain your peace?

[00:33:35] Sonia: Yeah, so I think there are so many different rituals, um, that can help you feel grounded Which is what you need, just sort of that repetitive, comforting act. so, more recently, I've been working on this, belonging to

[00:33:49] Sonia: myself idea. And so, any ritual that gets me, you know, closer to feeling like I belong to myself, so I'm not looking for, [00:34:00] external validation. and so for me, even just like going to a coffee shop and reading by myself, or I'm really into photography. So going out and photographing nature, those are things that really can help me maintain my piece because it kind of just reminds me that whatever else is going on externally, I'm still.

[00:34:20] Sonia: Me, I still belong to myself. But how do you handle situations where your piece is challenged by external factors you can't

[00:34:28] Kathleen: Well, I think this is a big myth in life, I'm sorry to break it to everybody who's listening, but we actually can't control any external factors. I think we go through life thinking that we can and we, a lot of us, most of us work to control external factors, but we, we can't. And so what we can control is.

[00:34:51] Kathleen: is ourselves, right? So sometimes there are going to be situations where you can't remove yourself from the situation. You, you [00:35:00] are living in a not safe situation, for example, or it can be many different things and you, it's not as easy as, okay, well just get up and leave. Like maybe that's not possible, but we can start looking at what our reaction to things are.

[00:35:16] Kathleen: We can have choice around. controlling how we react or how we respond and that can protect our peace. but really it comes down to understanding that we have choice.

[00:35:32] Kathleen: How do you ensure that your environment, like your home or your workspace supports your peace? And

[00:35:41] Sonia: is crucial. So it's not I'm not talking about things like we're setting up a spa in your bathroom or getting a sauna installed. So there are some things for me to feel comfortable that are like that. Non negotiable.

[00:35:54] Sonia: So one, it's really weird. It's temperature, right? if I'm cold, I [00:36:00] feel I always make sure I have the right temperature around

[00:36:05] Kathleen: I am like sweating at your house. I am sweating.

[00:36:11] Sonia: Yeah, I get it it's but it's it's

[00:36:13] Sonia: in that and

[00:36:14] Kathleen: at my house.

[00:36:17] Sonia: I'm freezing at your house. Um, freezing. Oh, I like when I'm coming, I like will bring extra like layers and you have a

[00:36:27] Sonia: heated

[00:36:27] Kathleen: under the heated blanket when you're here.

[00:36:30] Sonia: I'm always under that heated

[00:36:31] Kathleen: It's

[00:36:31] Kathleen: like the middle of summer and you're under the heated blanket.

[00:36:35] Sonia: So other environmental things are lighting. I'm really weird about lighting also.

[00:36:40] Sonia: also, I think people don't realize when you're Environment is disorganized. It can be really disturbing to your piece. So I'm always trying to keep myself organized, keep things in place. And that's just so I can think clearly. So yeah, I think environment is Really important, [00:37:00] butwe're not talking about, things that require, you know, you don't, you don't have to go to home goods.

[00:37:05] Sonia: Like, there are things you can do. Um, I mean, you can go to home goods for sure, but there are things you can do, for yourself that, that make you comfortable.

[00:37:16] Kathleen: with you from today's episode? Yeah, I'm not sure if you

[00:37:19] Kathleen: can see it, but

[00:37:21] Sonia: I think that idea that, that you actually just mentioned that you can't. You can't control things, right? And so, that idea that I have to be prepared, at any time for anything, and I have to be able to maintain myself and my peace. So that really resonated with me, that it's not just in tough times, it's in all times.

[00:37:47] Sonia: What about you? What resonated with you?

[00:37:56] Kathleen: not protected. And I don't think I've actually done that for [00:38:00] myself, um, in terms of looking at, okay, when I'm not,

[00:38:11] Kathleen: What is my cycle and I very much have one,* um,* but I, I, I haven't really looked at it like that before. So that really resonated with me. Thank you everyone for listening to Sisters in Sobriety and we will see you next week. [00:39:00]