Amy Willis: Sobriety & Mindset Coach

When it comes to alcohol, it’s easy to fall into myopia and focus on our own particular circumstances, but this episode reminds us that actually we’re all part of a much larger context – one that powerfully affects our thoughts and choices. Sobriety Coach Amy Willis shares with Host John Sheldon the four pillars that define and reinforce her approach to recovery: Radical Honesty, Mindset Change, Habit Change and Resiliency. Alcohol and our relationship to it  are viewed through the prism of deep-seated trauma and cultural conditioning that factor into everyone’s equation in some way.

With a special focus on women and the LGBTQ community, Amy’s practice is informed by her own lived experience – and the stats that indicate disproportionate issues with substance addiction among mothers and marginalized communities. She highlights complementary tools that augment the work, like tapping (known as EFT), meditation and habit change. And you’ll also learn about the major social and economic forces at play as well as glimmers of hope that sober curiosity is subjecting alcohol use to the same sort of scrutiny that over time created a wholesale change in our attitudes towards smoking. No more free passes for the alcohol industry’s relentless advertising and lobbying!

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Key Takeaways

  • Amy shares her coaching orientation, an overview of the calling and tools she uses.
  • One Size Does Not Fit All: Amy and John believe that the more recovery options the better. Everyone needs to be met where they are, on their own path.
  • There are four basic tenets at the heart of Amy’s holistic program:
  • Radical Honesty: Establishing a practice that names and courageously owns whatever negativity we harbor or aspect of our lives that doesn’t serve. This includes working through denial, guilt and shame.
  • Mindset Transformation: Tackling what we believe to be true about ourselves, others, the world around us or the role of alcohol in our lives. Because our beliefs are so deeply seated, we assume they are true. But defaults can be unlearned.
  • Habit Change: Unpacking deeply established habits, which comprise as much as 40% of our day, and assessing go-to behaviors that do not serve. Habit change theory enables the adoption of new practices.
  • Resiliency: Drawing on resiliency as foundational, emboldening us to embrace and bolster the tools we innately have within us to sustain meaningful change.
  • In addition to being a sobriety coach, Amy is a certified meditation coach – which she considers a key complementary life skill. Mindfulness slows time down and allows us to recognize our thoughts as thoughts and not always truths. Like anything, it’s a practice.
  • Thoughts are constant. Meditation is about turning awareness to them and recognizing that we can engage or let them float by.
  • About Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): A self-administered, holistic healing tool that helps us rewire our bodies, modulate our stress responses and process trauma by stimulating various acupressure points while verbalizing the issue at hand. The next time your body encounters a trigger, it will be free to respond in different (healthier) ways.
  • EFT, which is a self-administered technique, has proven highly effective with many disorders and has broad applications. Check out Amy’s YouTube Channel.
  • Normative Alcohol Culture: Parallels between how cigarettes and nicotine were once packaged as harmless, even healthy, despite all evidence to the contrary. The alcohol industry has the playbook, but so do we when it comes to creating social change!
  • The next time you’re asked, “Why are you not drinking?” try replying: “Why are you drinking?” It’s a logical question when you think about it.
  • Amy reflects on her area of specialty: the LGBTQ community and women, both groups that experience increased societal pressures and mental health issues.
  • It’s not accidental that alcohol companies spend millions on lobbying and advertising, but John does see a trend among younger people questioning their relationship with alcohol.
  • Sober Curiosity: It’s a helpful movement that offers an accessible, inclusive point of entry to questioning the role that alcohol plays and whether it’s an asset in life.
  • Closing Thoughts:
    • We all have the capacity to create something different for ourselves, regardless of what’s already happened.
    • It’s never too late – or too early – to make a change in your life. You don’t have to wait for the bottom to fall out.

Key Quotes

“I’ve always had within me a call to support other people and through my own experiences and struggles and knowing that there were lots of other people out there who could use the support, I wanted to be that person.” (Amy)

“The mindset piece is just to acknowledge that so much of what we experience in our worlds and in our lives is based around what we think about things and believe to be true about ourselves, other people and the role alcohol plays in our lives.” (Amy)

“A recovery coach is a great place to go to figure out what you want from your life.” (John)

“It becomes really challenging, if not impossible, to create the change you’re looking for if you’re not yet at a place where you can be deeply honest with yourself.” (Amy)

“Without the truth there is no movement, so it’s not really optional.” (Amy)

“Beliefs and thoughts are tremendously powerful. They shape our experiences, how we move through the world, our actions, our behaviors.” (Amy)

“Taking time to train the brain like you might train your body at the gym can be really helpful.” (Amy)

“It’s important in the conversation to place the blame where it lies, which is on the substance and on the people who make and sell it to us as harmless and a solution to what they perceive our issues to be.” (Amy)

“Alcohol is the problem. It’s not the individual. It’s not our fault. Yes, we are people who make choices, of course, and are responsible. But we are playing with a loaded gun – not knowing it’s a loaded gun.”  (Amy)

“Women’s drinking has been on the rise for years and nobody seems to be paying attention to it, even though it seems to be a pretty critical issue for a lot of women.” (Amy)

“With all the messaging that we’ve been inundated with for the majority of our lives, it’s very easy to take (alcohol) on as a problem or something that you’re failing at. But we need to understand the larger context that we’re all operating in and the powerful forces and influences at play.” (Amy)

Further Resources

About Amy

Amy C. Willis is a Sobriety & Mindset Coach who specializes in working with women and LGTBQ+ folks who are struggling with their drinking/their relationship to alcohol, teaching them how to #LosetheBooze, sustain sobriety and create a life they don’t want to escape from. Within her coaching practice, Amy focuses on creating change at the level of habit. Habits (any behaviors that have become automated) dictate 40-95% of human behavior so by becoming aware of our habits, disrupting them, and replacing them with new, healthier habits, we are able to create lasting, sustainable change. Amy also infuses mindset work and resilience building into her work. 

Follow Amy

Hol + Well | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | TikTok | YouTube

Support the podcast

If you’d like to support this podcast, please consider clicking here to become a patron. Your contribution of just $1, $3 or $5 a month goes a long way towards building this community!

To view this and other episodes of Beyond Belief Sobriety on YouTube, visit this link.

Show Notes Written by knwhelmick at Fiverr