The Sober Living Stories Podcast

An Author's Story of Sobriety and Success: Lisa May Bennett's Transformation

November 28, 2023 Jessica Stipanovic Season 1 Episode 2
An Author's Story of Sobriety and Success: Lisa May Bennett's Transformation
The Sober Living Stories Podcast
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The Sober Living Stories Podcast
An Author's Story of Sobriety and Success: Lisa May Bennett's Transformation
Nov 28, 2023 Season 1 Episode 2
Jessica Stipanovic

Welcome to The Sober Living Stories Podcast!  Join us as we discuss the inspiring sober journey of Lisa May Bennett, author of the memoir "My Unfurling:  Emerging from the Grip of Anxiety, Self Doubt and Drinking."  A tale of battling anxiety, self-doubt, and alcoholism, Lisa's narrative reminds us that we are usually just one decision away from the transformative power of choice. By the age of 51, she made the life-altering decision to quit drinking, turning her focus towards her true passion - writing. Lisa's story serves as an empowering reminder that it's never to reclaim your life and rewrite your story.

Can sobriety become a pathway to self-confidence and self-acceptance? Lisa May Bennett is living proof that it can.  As a self-proclaimed late bloomer who candidly reveals her inner struggles and insecurities, Lisa shares how alcohol once served as her crutch. With her decision to become alcohol-free, that all changed. 

After getting sober, Lisa's confidence began to soar and her writing took center stage when her childhood dream of becoming an author became a reality.  This chapter of our conversation explores the challenges of disassociating alcohol from once-loved activities and emphasizes the importance of finding healthy sober outlets to nurture self-esteem and rediscover a life worth living. 

As we dive deeper into Lisa's sobriety journey, we touch upon the complexities it brought into her personal relationships. Lisa opened up about her relationship with her mother and how writing about her personal journey positively influenced it.

As we discuss ways to navigate through early sobriety, Lisa's insights and advice provide invaluable perspectives. We wrap up the episode with a fascinating insight into the world of writing, her desire for the occasional mocktail, and the excitement of self-publishing.  Join us on this journey of self-discovery, growth, and sobriety, and tune in to listen to Lisa's remarkable story.

Visit Lisa May Bennett - Author to purchase her book, subscribe to her newsletter, listen to her guest podcasts, view testimonials and stay social with her on IG Lisa May Bennett (@lisamaybennett) • Instagram photos and videos and FB (1) Facebook.

Thank you for joining us on the Sober Living Stories Podcast!

As we continue our conversation, we invite you to stay connected for exclusive updates on Jessica Stipanovic's upcoming addiction memoir. The fastest way to be in the know is to visit www.jessicastipanovic.com and sign up for 3-2-1 | On A Personal Note (jessicastipanovic.com) for the "3 2 1 | On a Personal Note" newsletter, for weekly updates on new episodes, free resources and to be eligible for our featured author of the month book giveaway.

Visit Soberlink | Jessica Stipanovic for your $50 discount on your Soberlink sobriety tracker, the #1 accountability tool on the recovery market.

Follow the link, https://www.jessicastipanovic.com/the-7-day-happiness-challenge, in the show notes for your FREE 7-Day Happiness Challenge. A mini-workbook delivered straight to your inbox with 7 days of daily habits to help you create the best version of YOU.

Have an IG account? Let's connect during the week @jessicastipanovic for your daily dose of inspiration and to snag exclusive freebies that complement your path to transformation.

Have a story ...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to The Sober Living Stories Podcast!  Join us as we discuss the inspiring sober journey of Lisa May Bennett, author of the memoir "My Unfurling:  Emerging from the Grip of Anxiety, Self Doubt and Drinking."  A tale of battling anxiety, self-doubt, and alcoholism, Lisa's narrative reminds us that we are usually just one decision away from the transformative power of choice. By the age of 51, she made the life-altering decision to quit drinking, turning her focus towards her true passion - writing. Lisa's story serves as an empowering reminder that it's never to reclaim your life and rewrite your story.

Can sobriety become a pathway to self-confidence and self-acceptance? Lisa May Bennett is living proof that it can.  As a self-proclaimed late bloomer who candidly reveals her inner struggles and insecurities, Lisa shares how alcohol once served as her crutch. With her decision to become alcohol-free, that all changed. 

After getting sober, Lisa's confidence began to soar and her writing took center stage when her childhood dream of becoming an author became a reality.  This chapter of our conversation explores the challenges of disassociating alcohol from once-loved activities and emphasizes the importance of finding healthy sober outlets to nurture self-esteem and rediscover a life worth living. 

As we dive deeper into Lisa's sobriety journey, we touch upon the complexities it brought into her personal relationships. Lisa opened up about her relationship with her mother and how writing about her personal journey positively influenced it.

As we discuss ways to navigate through early sobriety, Lisa's insights and advice provide invaluable perspectives. We wrap up the episode with a fascinating insight into the world of writing, her desire for the occasional mocktail, and the excitement of self-publishing.  Join us on this journey of self-discovery, growth, and sobriety, and tune in to listen to Lisa's remarkable story.

Visit Lisa May Bennett - Author to purchase her book, subscribe to her newsletter, listen to her guest podcasts, view testimonials and stay social with her on IG Lisa May Bennett (@lisamaybennett) • Instagram photos and videos and FB (1) Facebook.

Thank you for joining us on the Sober Living Stories Podcast!

As we continue our conversation, we invite you to stay connected for exclusive updates on Jessica Stipanovic's upcoming addiction memoir. The fastest way to be in the know is to visit www.jessicastipanovic.com and sign up for 3-2-1 | On A Personal Note (jessicastipanovic.com) for the "3 2 1 | On a Personal Note" newsletter, for weekly updates on new episodes, free resources and to be eligible for our featured author of the month book giveaway.

Visit Soberlink | Jessica Stipanovic for your $50 discount on your Soberlink sobriety tracker, the #1 accountability tool on the recovery market.

Follow the link, https://www.jessicastipanovic.com/the-7-day-happiness-challenge, in the show notes for your FREE 7-Day Happiness Challenge. A mini-workbook delivered straight to your inbox with 7 days of daily habits to help you create the best version of YOU.

Have an IG account? Let's connect during the week @jessicastipanovic for your daily dose of inspiration and to snag exclusive freebies that complement your path to transformation.

Have a story ...

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Sober Living Stories podcast. This podcast is dedicated to sharing stories of sobriety. We shine a spotlight on individuals who have faced the challenges of alcoholism and addiction and are today living out their best lives sober. Each guest has experienced incredible transformation and are here to share their story with you. I'm Jessica Stapanovich, your host. Join me each week as guests from all walks of life share their stories to inspire and provide hope to those who need it most. Hi and welcome to the Sober Living Stories podcast. This morning, I have the pleasure of sitting down with our first featured author, Lisa Mae Bennett. She wrote my Unfurling, emerging from the grip of anxiety, self-doubt and drinking. She is here today to share how making a decision to become alcohol-free has positively affected her life. With a passion for writing since the age of 11, she published her first book at 56, becoming a power of example that accomplishing your dreams is sometimes one decision away. So welcome, Lisa, and thank you for joining us.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much for having me here. I'm really excited to be your first author guest.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and I've been following you on social media and your Instagram for quite a while, so I'm so happy to have you here. You know you write in your memoir about early childhood memories and your family dynamics and you describe a lot about how that shaped you. Can you just take us through your story? I admire you as a writer. I think you have an incredible book out. I encourage our listeners to just lean in and hear what you have to say. I think you have a powerful message Well thanks.

Speaker 2:

So, and you know, it was important to me when I wrote my book that I look back at my past and try to figure out what had set me up for leaning so heavily on alcohol, why I was attracted to it in the first place and why it became so ingrained in my life. So I looked back at my childhood. I even looked back a little bit at my mother's childhood, and I was raised by a single mom. I was a late bloomer myself, so I was a really shy kid. I was uncomfortable talking to strangers. I often felt less than my own friends, and so I was really insecure and I had a lot of anxiety. My mother has also suffered from depression and anxiety. It was sometimes hard trying to help regulate my mother's emotions in addition to my own as I was growing up. So by the time everyone started drinking in high school you know, around the age of 16, I already felt kind of behind my friends as far as my relationships with boys, and I was really still nervous to talk to boys, and so everyone had started going to parties and it just seemed like the natural thing to have a drink and relax and build that liquid, build that liquid courage. And so I was. I very much took to it right away and you know kind of I was pretty small then, so I got drunk really easily and it just sort of set a pattern Once I got to college. I've described college as an Olympic training ground for drinking. That you know.

Speaker 2:

Partying became more of my major than creative writing was, and I really didn't set myself up for the writing career that I wanted. So by the time I left college my drinking was a pretty ingrained habit and I leaned on it for good things, to celebrate and to have fun with friends and connect with people. I leaned on it when I was bored or when I was stressed out and it became this sort of like all purpose mood enhancer. And I think a lot of people will relate to that and it's the way it's sold to us in society. So it's kind of not a surprise that we would all come to rely on it for so many different things.

Speaker 2:

And so, yeah, I mean I went on for decades drinking quite enthusiastically. I was never an everyday drinker and I was rarely a day drinker. But when I did start drinking it was very difficult for me to stop and I started questioning my relationship with alcohol pretty early on, but because I could always compare myself to someone worse off, I didn't think I needed to quit. So it took decades, and I think a lot of people can relate to this. I tried moderating. I wasn't very good at moderating every once in a while I could but it literally took decades for me to finally realize that, even though I hadn't hit any kind of what we traditionally think of as a rock bottom, the alcohol was getting in the way of doing things that I wanted to do. And that was when I finally decided, six and a half years ago, that it was time. It was time to get the alcohol out of the way and see if maybe I could finally build this writing career that I had dreamed of for so long.

Speaker 1:

Yes, they talk about a lot in recovery or 12 step recovery, how important it is not to compare but to find similarities, because you can always just compare yourself out and sometimes that could really delay you coming to your own decision or the individual coming to their own decision. That, yes, this is a problem for me. So you've really pinpointed something that happens often. Yeah, and the delay in writing career, you know, and then, once putting it down, what happens next, you know everything, right.

Speaker 2:

And I, you know, I had sort of made a promise to myself. I was 51 by the time I quit and I just said to myself okay, so if you're going to quit because of your writing, you've got to do something about it right away. And so I did. I took a writing course, a six month long writing course that I started only a couple months into sobriety and I got promised to myself and I actually started my book back then. But at the end of those six months I had really good book proposal but I decided to put it on the shelf and sort of go about. You know, I didn't have my sea legs and sobriety yet and I I needed to work on that before I could like go out and and well, first finish a book and then go out and actually stand behind it and promote it. So it took me a couple more years before I could come back to it and and fit it.

Speaker 1:

Right, right. Yeah, I think that was a real honest move, like you wanted to have the knowledge, have the information, so that you can stand on what words you put down. Yeah, so that was honest and and for for your readers, you know, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I, because, you know, there was the part of me that was like, okay, I'm, I'm not getting any younger, I've got to do this right away. But but I knew that I, I need some more like true organic confidence. You know, because, like I said, I had been using alcohol for confidence or so long and I needed the time to, to build some real confidence before I could bring my book out into the world.

Speaker 1:

I like how you put alcohol down and then you immediately enrolled, so it was kind of like a replacement in a sense, but such a positive creative outlet that you immediately enrolled in what you wanted to get started on right away. And that's a smart move, Because you know we have that, that where we put it down, and what are we going to fill our our day with? What are we going to fill the time that we were drinking with? And I find that it easily fills up and it fills up with the good stuff, the stuff that has meaning.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So the other promises I had made to myself was that I would try some new things. I had always wanted to try Pilates and I had always wanted to try aerial yoga. I had this sort of long bucket list of things that I wanted to do, a lot of physical things that you know, when you're recovering from a hangover you're often not up for doing those things Heading out right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I remember I can relate to that a lot. Someone had asked me to go to a Denver Broncos game and I thought well, I don't really.

Speaker 1:

I don't really get into that, you know, and and, but I'd never tried to do something like that sober. And so I went and what an incredible fun time, you know. And so many times that happened I would have to sit and be like, well, I didn't like that then, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. Sober and my whole world opened up. You know, things that I thought I didn't like I loved, so it's a good point.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and then there were other things that I'm like. Maybe I didn't like this as much as I thought I did because I was drinking Right the flip. One of those things I'm sorry to say is cooking. Oh my gosh, I love, I loved cooking for so long and I still like it, but I not as much like. I used to do these marathon cooking sessions every Sunday. I was in the kitchen cooking but I was drinking wine and, yeah, I've discovered that, at least for me, cooking is is not quite as fun without, like, several glasses of wine.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, I've got that negative connotation to it, you know, and I put someone once about that, because I too, my family was of hey, four o'clock is appetizers, and then five o'clock we're doing wine, and then we're cooking.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Whether it was songs or, especially, an early sobriety. The music, the playlist, it's connected.

Speaker 2:

One of the other things I struggled with was my husband and I used to love making a fire outside in the evenings, like not in the heat of summer, but like right before spring, like between summer and fall, when it's like the perfect weather to sit outside and have a fire. And I realized that first year that I had come to associate that with drinking, and how hard it was. It took me, like a couple, probably not until like the my third year of sobriety, to be able to sit at that fire and enjoy myself without a glass of wine.

Speaker 1:

You know, through putting down alcohol you kind of came to who you are now and then how that turned into a memoir for you.

Speaker 2:

You know I started writing at a very young age. I think you mentioned in the opening I'm from around about the age of 11 or 12 that, like this is what I want to do with my life. I want to be a writer, and so I just expected that that's what I was going to do. And you know I was a pretty hard worker at school. I usually got really good grades. You know I didn't have a hard time getting into college and getting some scholarship money and so like in, like that career was was going to happen. But but at the same time, there was this side of me that was incredibly insecure and I was always worried about saying or doing the wrong thing. I was, you know, almost paranoid of like somehow revealing to people and to myself that I wasn't as smart as I thought I was, and so, yeah, I had all these fears that people could see through me that I was. You know, I wasn't as smart as I thought I was, I wasn't a good person, and so it was hard to sort of go into college and say, ok, I'm going to write for the newspaper, I'm going to write for the literary magazine, I'm going to do all these things I need to do to set myself up for a future as an author, which is what I wanted.

Speaker 2:

And it was just so much easier to just drink and have fun and cut loose, and but at the same time that I was doing that and this is something that, like you know, or at least I didn't realize at the time, but like every time I drank and I drank more than I wanted to then I spent hours regretting it and questioning myself and why do I keep doing this? And that was like eating away at the confidence that I did have. So not only was I sort of not doing things that would help build confidence, but I was undermining it. Every time I would drink and go crazy and pass out or blackout. So there was just it was just this this sort of catch 22 of, well, I want to relax, I want to stop. Like you know, my mind is kind of always going and often, you know, my brain is quite critical. I have that that in critic, is very much alive in there and I, you know, I just wanted to shut it down sometimes.

Speaker 2:

But the drinking, while it works in the shirm, in in the long term it's not. You know, it wasn't doing me any favors and I, as I wrote the book, I was able to look back and I was able to see that that me that was strong and curious and ambitious was in there and that she was trying to get out. And I could see these things that I would do that were scary things and I was writing them. I was like, oh, I'm kind of proud of young Lisa that she did that, but it wasn't quite enough. So so she's in there, you know, confident, strong.

Speaker 2:

Lisa was in there struggling to get out, and I could see that when I got it all down in the book. But the process of writing the book was also a huge confidence builder. So I think of myself as a work in progress. I'm, I'm very much a work in progress. I'm still building a lot of the emotional maturity that kind of got pushed aside through decades of drinking. So I'm building that and I'm building that confidence that I need to to trying more and more things.

Speaker 1:

So how? How do you say, were the the big things about putting down alcohol and writing this memoir that helped you get to that point that you thought I am strong, curious and capable?

Speaker 2:

So well. One thing I did for myself when I finally decided the second time to sit down and actually like write this book. I let myself just sit down, almost like I was journaling, and write about whatever topic I wanted to write. I didn't have an outline. I had like a list of things I knew I wanted to address, but I didn't have anything resembling a structure. And so I I sat down and so that was very healing, just being able to like just get it out onto the page. And then, interestingly enough, the editing process was hugely helpful, because at the end I had all these disparate chapters that were in no discernible order and I had to sit there and find a structure for them and figure out how to make them flow. And in the process of doing that I am found some new confidence that that I was actually pretty good at doing something like that, and sort of seeing my life take shape and start to make sense as a book helped it start to make sense in general to me.

Speaker 2:

The book in total went through eight or nine edits. Yeah, some of them were just me, some of them were I had beta readers look at it and I was incorporating their feedback. I had a developmental editor look at it and I was incorporating her feedback, but it it was a lot of hard work and I did self publish so I also had to learn how to do all of that and all of this was it was kind of like having another job and a lot of the work it appealed to me. A lot of it was similar to some things that I have done in jobs previously but but a lot of it wasn't, and I was learning, learning a lot of new things and and that that helped me build additional confidence.

Speaker 2:

I actually encourage anyone who has any kind of an inkling that they have a story that they want to share with the world to just get started getting it down.

Speaker 2:

It's really it's a healing experience and then later on it's a confidence building experience. I've heard from folks who say that, even if drinking sort of wasn't their major obstacle in life, that they found that the book was very relatable to whatever it was that that felt was getting in their way, whether it's, you know, an eating disorder or spending I. I had experience recently where I was selling my book about a year ago at an event and a woman had come by and we ended up friending each other on Instagram and I heard almost a year later that she had gotten sober. And while I don't think I was like the reason she got sober, I think that it might have just been one of many seeds you know that had been planted in her that eventually led her to do that. So it's one of the reasons why I encourage people to get out there and and our stories with the world, because you just never know you could planting seeds all over the place.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, sure, yeah, virtually.

Speaker 1:

I've been very impressed with the amount of alcohol free and and so I had not known it was so huge and it's acting so many people worldwide, and so I was really encouraged by that to create my own platform to do this, because I think it's so important and you know, as we're talking about, you know like that one woman and it's a relationship and you just never know. And just to sidebar a little bit about a little bit more about your book, you do really talk extensively about your relationship with your mother.

Speaker 1:

And I think a lot of people can relate to that and have you seen since childhood to now and becoming alcohol free, how has the challenges and the dynamics of that relationship changed positively since you stopped drinking?

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, I I fairly complicated relationship with my mother and she's a major character in my book. She's probably like the second biggest character in my book and she lived with my husband and I. She's been living with us for 11 years now. I did not want my mother to read the entire book, but I did want her to know what I was saying about her, and so while I was in the editing process, I went to her and I suggested that we have like a series of conversations, and so we we are having four like hour or more conversations over the course of, you know, a month or two. Yeah, it was.

Speaker 2:

It was emotionally tough because we talked a lot about my childhood, we talked about her childhood, we talked about some of the challenges that she went through as a single mother, and just being able to have those conversations I think was really helpful for our relationship going forward. It hasn't. I mean, I don't think we'll ever have a perfect relationship. As a matter of fact, recently she was like I think I was giving her a hard time about something and she said, well, why don't you put that in your next book? I was like, oh good, burn mom. So, yeah, I mean, I don't think we'll ever have you know, like a hallmark card relationship, but but it's, it's a long way and certainly writing this book was was a part of sort of moving our relationship into a new place and yeah, so I think anyone who has a complicated relationship with a parent I think will also relate to my book.

Speaker 1:

And also you know you had talked about the difficulties in early sobriety where you had, you know, aligned certain activities with drinking and then you couldn't really revisit them. So is there anything? I know a lot of listeners are fairly new at this, so is there any other stories or suggestions that you can make to them to make their path a little bit easier as far as getting back into the world without drinking?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it can be challenging because I think a lot of us who have like drank regularly in our lives often have friends and spouses and family members who, who you know, drink somewhat regularly and we've also come to associate it with, yeah, certain places, certain events, like going out to nice dinners, weddings, like just all kinds of things. I'm part of a lot of sobriety Facebook groups and I follow a lot of Instagram accounts. I do see people who are worried about what to say if somebody asks them why they're not drinking. Yes, I just think this is me personally. I don't think you owe anyone an explanation. I think the minute you start trying to get into detail with explaining why you're not drinking, you just open up the door for what might end up being a stressful conversation, especially if you're in early sobriety. I think just saying I'm not drinking right now, I'm not drinking tonight, keep it as simple as possible. You really don't owe anyone an explanation.

Speaker 2:

There are a lot more alcohol-free options out there to drink than there were when I first started. It's getting better all the time. A lot more restaurants have zero-proof mocktails on their menus. Now Some people feel like drinking something that's too similar to what you used to drink is a little dangerous, especially early and sobriety, I think for some people. You have to decide what works best for you. For example, I didn't used to drink a lot of hard liquor. Having a mocktail at the beginning of my dinner wasn't a huge temptation to me, but wine was my go-to drink. I start drinking alcohol-free wine on any kind of a regular basis until well into my sobriety, because I think it was a good idea for me to do it early on. Now I'm more comfortable, but I think it's up to everyone what the decision that works best for them is. It's no doubt that it is a challenge being the person in the room, or one of the few people in the room, that's not drinking.

Speaker 1:

Right, right. Sometimes I hear some people just if they are going to a bar, somewhere where there is drinking, they don't want to have to be concerned about putting their drink down and picking it back up incorrectly. They just don't drink anything for that hour that they're there, which seems so bizarre, but it's just really not, if you think about it, you just don't drink anything while you're there and you see what you can bring to it instead of what you're missing.

Speaker 2:

I like to have something that's kind of like. I don't drink a lot of soda and sometimes I do drink seltzer with lime in it. That's sort of my go-to when I go out, but I think it's boring Sometimes. I want something that's interesting and complex. I understand the need for something that feels adult without having to have alcohol in it.

Speaker 1:

You have six and a half years of sobriety. I do yes. Okay, you talked about. It was kind of like that barstool mentality sit on a barstool and talk about what you want to do as opposed to actually doing it. I feel like you have some examples to that. You talked about a bucket list of the things that you wanted to do and did you accomplish any of those and what do you have left?

Speaker 2:

I want a lifelong writing career for however long, I am blessed to continue living. So I'm working on book two and I'm really hoping to set myself up eventually so that I can perhaps publish one book a year. I'd like to get back to writing fiction I actually love. I've come later in life to loving both reading and writing nonfiction, but when I was young, when I was in college, I thought I was going to be a fiction writer. So I'd like to get back into trying fiction again. And then I've been trying a lot of more physical things. And it's funny because I felt like I was on this search for the perfect physical form of exercise that I would just fall madly in love with and it would be the kind of exercise that I would want to get up and do, because I've always struggled with dragging myself to the gym and I've just never been the kind of person who just lives to work out. Talk about this in my book.

Speaker 2:

I've tried so many things over the last six and a half years. I've done ziplining and indoor rock climbing and, like I said, aerial yoga and Pilates. I've tried spin class. I've tried dance class. I've tried all kinds of things and, oh, aerial hoop was one of the more recent ones I've done and I've enjoyed many of them, but I haven't found that one where I'm like, yep, this is it. I'm going to leave my house like three or four times a week, willingly, eagerly, go do this thing. Maybe. Instead of looking for that one thing, maybe just trying new things is my thing. I'm open to the idea that just constantly trying new things is actually that thing that like energizes me.

Speaker 1:

Such a difference, right? It's like when we're drinking, it's just about drinking, and when you're not, then it becomes about everything and anything that you ever want to do. It just opens it up.

Speaker 2:

When I was drinking. So it was always either about drinking or recovering from drinking or negotiating with myself like, okay, well drank last night and I kind of want to drink tonight, but maybe I can wait till tomorrow night, or maybe I could just have one drink tonight, or am I allowed to have two drinks and like this constant negotiation going on in my head and it's been so nice to like just sort of take that off the table, like no more negotiating, because at the time it consumes mental energy. And I've also discovered I like taking courses online. I take an unlimited number of them because many of them do cost money, but I've taken I just course called sense writing. I took something called reset, so I've had a lot of fun doing those as well. So I guess I'm a bit of a seeker, but sometimes just the process of seeking is just as good as the idea that you might eventually find something.

Speaker 1:

You also, you have a blog. Can you talk a little bit about your blog? So I know you talk about your sobriety journey there as well, in addition to other things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I started the blog actually a year before I got, a year or more before I got sober. It's called bittersweet nugget and it was originally conceived as about my journey to do things that scared me, to do things I had never done before, to push myself. And when I first started it I had all this great energy and I was writing in it and then I kind of like lost steam and it was when I finally realized that it was time to quit drinking. I mean, the blog played a part in it because I was like, okay, I finally started this blog and I'm really proud of what I've put on it so far, but I've lost the energy to keep posting on it. So when I got sober I got back to posting on it and I'm sorry to say that I haven't been posting on it as much.

Speaker 2:

As a matter of fact, it's been a really long time. I need to get back to it. I've busy writing and publishing and marketing book one and now I'm almost well I've completed writing book two. I'm sort of starting the editing process now. So I've been kind of busy. I haven't gotten a chance to post on the blog, but it's funny because the original concept of it is still very much in play in my life. I'm trying to push myself. So it's not like the blog itself is obsolete, it's not. I just need to get back to to put on there.

Speaker 1:

Like I would imagine, you have been busy marketing and, after having published the book and edits, how long was your editorial process for the first book?

Speaker 2:

So I'd have to look back at my calendar, but the process was almost as long, if not longer than the writing process which, like I said, was partly my own fault, because I chose not to use an outline and I chose just to sit down and forth what was going on in my brain.

Speaker 2:

And so, like the piecing together of it took quite some time, and I also really wanted this first book to sort of set the tone for who I am as an author. I wanted it to be just as high quality, as a book that was published by one of the big traditional publishers started in September of 2020. And it was published by the end of March 2022. So it took like a little over a year and a half from sort of beginning to end. So it was. I was almost in thirds like writing, editing and publishing. That's kind of how it mapped out.

Speaker 1:

So is there anything that you would say that you know we had talked about how you knew you were going to be a writer by age 11, which is, which is in just being a calling unto itself. And now here you are, publishing it. So, with people who have maybe put their books on a shelf or their talent on, you know down, and what would you say to them about picking it back up and in relation to putting down, because a lot of people who are listening have put down alcohol or are hoping to, and how that correlates. So I am.

Speaker 2:

I'm now a huge believer in it's never too late, and I think I'm a good example of that. If you're feeling frustrated and dejected that you didn't follow your dream, it really it's. It's never to. I see people there was a woman in one of the self publishing groups that I'm on on Facebook who posted the other day that she's 85 years old and she just self published her first book. So, yeah, it's, it's really too late. Don't, don't give up on your dreams, and if you can figure out what's standing in your way, it can hard, but you can do it, and I, yeah, I still encourage people to. Whether you want to be a writer or not, if you can find a way to incorporate journaling or writing into your journey, I think it can just really help you clarify some things for yourself and and like I did, you might see some trends emerge that are both, you know, negative trends that you need to sort of break out of, but also some positive trends that were there all along. Like I saw that, that courage, that willingness to do scary things. I saw that from my childhood. Even when I was at my most anxious and most self doubting, there was still that part of me and so, yeah, I really encourage people to to find a way to tell their story, even if they're only telling it to themselves, but but if you are considering perhaps eventually sharing your story with the world.

Speaker 2:

My second book is about the self publishing process and it goes through in four sections. I talk about writing, editing, self publishing and marketing, and it's it's a short book. It's about half the length of my memoir and I'm hoping it can serve as just a really basic guide to people who are considering writing about their journey, and I think that it's doable. It is, by all means, not a small job. There's there's a lot involved if you're thinking of writing your story and and sharing it with the world, but it's so worth it and and it can be a really fun and you learn a lot about yourself. You learn a lot about the world. I feel like my world got a lot bigger when I wrote my book and it's it's been an incredible experience.

Speaker 1:

Wow, it's great. I love that. You know in your book. Actually I love the colors. I you know you talk a lot about. You know feelings in your book, but when I hold this book, you know, summer glossy this is not glossy. Like this is a different feel. Like this feels good.

Speaker 2:

I don't know how. So it's not glossy, it's like a matte. It's a matte cover, but it's it's not any kind of a special request. You know like you can get it through Amazon. It's one of the options for their cover stock the the artwork itself. Yeah, it's kind of abstract. It's funny.

Speaker 2:

I've had most people love the cover. I've gotten lots of great comments on the cover. I need Periodically I check back in with my cover designer and and let her know so I'm do send her another message and let her know that the responses continue to be positive. I was at the library doing a local authors event at the library one time and a young girl came by. She was like maybe nine or 10. She really liked it and she was able to like verbalize like what emotions like the cover gave her. You know, like she did, because I have had some people say very few, but I've had a few people say, well, I don't know what your cover means. It doesn't it started, doesn't mean anything to me, but this young girl like nailed it. I was like, oh my gosh, I love that.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, I love it. I love the way it looks, I love the way it feels.

Speaker 2:

Thanks really great.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you did a great job.

Speaker 2:

I think it has a. I think she captured the energy of like for folks who can't see it right now. It's got these swirls of paint and it's it's got sort of work in progress energy to it, which is what I really love, and and I had given her some ideas of what I was looking for. But she sent me back like five very different rough ideas and this one I was just drawn to immediately.

Speaker 1:

The pink, yellow and navy. Yes it's great and it does have an energy to it. That's descriptive of the book, 100%. Would you be able to let listeners know where they can find you? What's coming up next? I know you have a blog tour coming. That I thought was really interesting, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

So I'm on pretty much every social media platform as Lisa May Bennett. So May spelled like the month and may why, and Bennett has two n's and two t's in it, so you can go on just about any platform and find me at Lisa May Bennett. I'm trying really hard on both Instagram and Facebook to share all the stops along this blog tour, which actually started yesterday For some reason. I had thought it was starting today, but it started yesterday. So, yeah, I have all these stops for the next month, where sometimes they're reviewing the book, sometimes it's a Q&A with me, sometimes I'm writing a guest post that's appearing on the blog. I used a service that helped me organize this. They're called Women on Writing. I'm really excited about it. I really wanted to give this book a last chance to get out there to a wider audience before I start concentrating on my second book, because I am going to have to delve deep into the second book soon if I want to get it out by next spring.

Speaker 2:

I'm doing the blog tour. I'm going to be posting the different stops. I would say my Instagram is probably the best place. If you're already on Instagram, follow me on Instagram. I also have my own website, which is also lisamaybenetcom. I post links to podcast interviews on there. You can subscribe to my email newsletter, which is another one of those things that I'm trying to re-energize and send out more e-mails to folks. If you sign up for my email newsletter, you will not be inundated with emails, I promise you, but you can also get access to some free bonus chapters when you sign up. There's two bonus chapters that go with my book that you get for the newsletter. I have a playlist that goes with my book and that's also linked from my website.

Speaker 1:

I'd like people to check all those things out, also putting all that information in the show notes so if you missed having heard it, you can look in the show notes. I would just encourage listeners to get this book in your hand. It's called my Unfurling, emerging from the Grip of Anxiety, self-doubt and Drinking, by Lisa May Bennett. It's an excellent portrayal of going alcohol-free and making your dreams come true, and it's really positive. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. You're the first featured author. What I want to do for every month that I do have a featured author, I want to be able to give away your book to them, which will come from here right to them. If you send me a signed copy, then I will be giving that away the month that this is released.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I put in copy and the mail to you yesterday. Yay, okay, great.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful. Excited about that, I appreciate you coming on and sharing your not only your author journey, but your sobriety journey. Thank you so much. Thank you for tuning into the Sober Living Stories podcast. If you have been inspired, consider subscribing and sharing with anyone who could use hope in their lives. Remember to stay tuned for more inspiring stories and the episodes to come. To view our featured author of the month or to become a guest yourself, visit wwwjessicastopanavikcom.

Lisa Mae Bennett's Journey to Sobriety
Building Confidence Through Sobriety and Writing
Navigating Sobriety and Rebuilding Relationships
The Editorial Process and Publishing Journey