Are you struggling with overcoming addictions in your life? Whether you are addicted to alcohol, social media, sex, etc., Laura McKowen understands what you’re going through. Laura is the author of We Are The Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life, wherein she reveals her heart-wrenching struggles with overcoming her addiction to alcohol. The journey to sobriety is not easy, but it’s possible and necessary! Having a supportive community with whom you can be honest and accountable is a tremendous step towards healing. When you share your struggles with others and listen to their stories, you will understand that you’re not alone. Join in the conversation and be inspired by Laura’s experience, so you, too, can experience the magic of a sober life.
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The Magic Of A Sober Life And The Struggles Of Overcoming Addictions With Laura McKowen
Laura McKowen had a long successful career in public relations and the Mad Men-esque drinking culture of advertising. After getting sober, she quickly became recognized as a fresh voice in recovery. Beloved for her soulful and irreverent writing online and in print, she now leads sold-out retreats and courses, teaching people the how-to of saying yes to a bigger life. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts with her daughter. Thank you so much for being here. It’s a delight to finally see you face-to-face.
I love the invite and I love the person we know in common. I’m happy to be here.
I’m honored. Where are you joining us from?
I’m on the North Shore of Boston. Usually, we’ve got the worst of the weather but it’s gratefully okay now.
I’m honored that you’re willing to talk to us about your book and your work because it’s a life-changer. I remember reading Glennon Doyle saying that this is a life-changing book. It’s going to save lives. Get us going any way you want but share.
I could talk about my reason for writing the book. I didn’t start out as a writer. I was a big reader and a lover of words but I had a whole career in marketing and advertising. It’s a different life. Several years ago, I quit my job. What the changing event for me was falling down the rabbit hole of alcohol addiction and climbing my way out. Everything I learned and I’m still learning about that process was a classic dark night of the soul situation except the dark night was a couple of years long. Replete with that story is the wisdom that you come out with. For me, that meant seeing my addiction and my circumstances as not being that unique, that we all have something that confronts us. My experience is that most people have at least one thing in their life that confronts them at the soul level all the way through where none of the coping mechanisms you’ve had or your skills or your experience can get you out of it. You have the choice to surrender to it to be transformed. That transformation is such an opportunity and such a massive gift if you allow yourself to go through it.
You mentioned the dark night of the soul and there’s a book, The Way of Mastery that talks about it and says, “It’s the dark night of the ego and the awakening of the soul.” It’s the willingness to face what I’ve been running away from that is so critical that comes so clearly in your beautiful writing.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the ego and how so much of our pain comes from that.
When you think about it at these deeper levels, most of our pain comes from either exalting the ego or fighting it. It serves a role and it’s there to help us navigate the world. If I didn’t have that memory, I wouldn’t remember how to get back to my house when I’m done with work. When that’s all I am or if I elevate that to some high standard or if I am horrified by what my ego tells me about who I am, either one, I’m in prison.
That’s such a good way of putting it because a lot of times we think of the ego being inflated and running the show. My experience was more of being horrified about the story I had about myself, so much shame, regret, guilt and feeling like there’s something deeply wrong with ego. It’s an ego-inflation too. My experience is people seem to go one way or the other.
Sometimes flip back and forth between the two.
I don’t know if you curse on this show, but one of the aphorisms that I heard and use in the recovery program is that you feel like you’re a piece of crap at the center of the universe. That’s the cycle that I was in for until I wasn’t from the beginning of childhood. I don’t know.
I’ve had a couple of people who I’ve referred the book and they’ve come back. One of the pieces that strike them is your whole talk about learning to be honest with yourself first at deeper and deeper levels and then eventually others. One person was telling me that reading and rereading the part about calling your friends after you’ve had lunch with them to admit, “I didn’t see that movie.” Many people would consider it nitpicky or unnecessary. Can you talk a little bit about what that process was like for you and why it’s so valuable to be honest at those deeper levels?
It’s the chapter that gets brought up the most often, which I find interesting. One of the main things that I had to learn as a result of getting sober, getting healing and more well is to be honest. It was a surprise to me because we know when we are outright lying or deceiving someone, but there are all these other ways that we’re dishonest. I knew I had become a liar. I knew the ways that I was lying all the time mostly to protect the drinking and the things I had done because of my drinking. I had all kinds of lies going on with all kinds of people, but then there’s this layer that’s more about people-pleasing. I look at it as being out of alignment or what you’re thinking, saying and doing are all different things.
I wouldn’t tell people what I would think because of many reasons. I wanted them to like me. I wanted to make a connection with them. I didn’t want them to be angry. I wanted to avoid conflict. That was my MO. It seems like in those moments because we call it people-pleasing and it’s this socially acceptable way of being especially for women, I find that we don’t consider it dishonesty but it creates all this friction inside of us. It showed up in my relationships. I had all these struggles in my relationships where I would avoid conflict, little white lie here, a little white lie there. “I don’t mind doing that. That’s fine,” I’ll commit to plans that I know I can’t do because I don’t want to say no.
It goes on and on, and you build these over the years and then something happens and I explode. It’s like the exploding doormat syndrome. It causes this big disruption in a relationship because I had been teaching people or presenting something different all along. I hadn’t been honest about how I felt or what I thought. I had to learn how to do this though. It’s not something you go, “Yeah, of course,” because it seems obvious. You just start telling the truth, but for most people, it’s extraordinarily difficult because you’re changing the terms of your relationships writ large. That is one of the most confronting things we can possibly do. I had to be on to myself.
You mentioned silly things like having a conversation with new sober friends and talking about a movie and saying I saw the movie when I never saw the movie. Why did I say that? It’s because I want to make a connection with them. That’s why. I want to have some common grounds. In the past, I would just let that go. What I started to do in sobriety, because I watched these other women do it, is call myself out to say, “I don’t know why I did that. I don’t know why I lied. I lied about that. That’s so ridiculous.” There’s one instance where you’re in alignment and you start to build those up. What eventually over time happens for me is that what I’m thinking, what I’m saying, and what I’m doing are much more in alignment. For me, that means I don’t have anything to hide.
I love the point at the end of chapter ten where you’re talking about the day that you realize it had changed and you were walking and there were your feet on the pavement and the chewed-up carrot in your mouth and the sun and there wasn’t all of this racing in your head. To get there, I’ve had experiences with different people where it’s such a blessing to have a tribe or a community of people, however small, where you can agree to do that. There’s the book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership and they talk in there about that openness and level of honesty. When I was reading that chapter, even though at times I consider myself a relatively very honest person, I found myself recoiling from that chapter like, “I wouldn’t do that, not with those people. I don’t have to talk about that stuff,” and yet another part of me knows that’s the only way through.
You, as someone who deeply understands mental health and the risks of secrecy and lying, when you struggle with it, someone with maybe less experience and knowledge, we all struggle with that. I thought if people knew who I was, they wouldn’t want me around. That would be the end of it. Anyone who goes through addiction and not just addiction but that’s my experience, you have some secrets. You have some shameful stuff that you’ve either felt or done or both. For me, I did not think that it was possible for me to tell the truth about that. I thought I will take all of that to the grave because no one can know that stuff.
Did you have overt agreements with certain people that you were going to start being honest and like, “Don’t worry about it if I call you after a conversation and out myself?” Did you just start doing it?
Built into the twelve-step program, which I did for a while and it was a good foundation, is a stated rigorous honesty. The women that I met there, I watched them how they were honest with each other. I started to do that slowly on my own terms with 1 or 2 people. It started there and then with other sober people. I guess it was an overt thing because you’re with them, you’re connecting with them for a purpose because you both want to get better. Whether it’s a sponsor-sponsee or fellow traveler type of situation, you both have a common goal. You have learned or have heard that being honest is part of it.
When you’re desperate enough to get better, you’re willing to try it. For everyone, it’s a little bit different. One of the things that kept me drinking for a long time was that I couldn’t be honest. I could not tell people the last time I drank because I had a hundred times over said I was never going to do it again. It was too much shame and too embarrassing, but finally the death of the ego. It’s like, “I can hold onto this or I can jump off the cliff and start to tell the truth with people and see what happens.” A lot of people think, “If I’m going to do this, I have to start telling the truth to everybody. Everybody needs to know everything about me.” No. Somebody eventually needs to know everything about you but you’re allowed to have privacy too. That’s an important thing to say. It was an important thing for me to hear because I wasn’t going to be telling everyone everything.
I want to answer your question about the overt thing. I also had been in therapy for years and I’d never told the truth there. I couldn’t do it. I’m sure you experience that all the time. I tried it out there too. I practiced. It took practice. What I started to learn is in a few friendships and a few new relationships with sober people, I started to build that muscle and see what happened. What the return was for me was the actual connection and intimacy that I’d never had before. I had pushed away and kept everything at a distance.
It’s quite a shock to the system.You are only able to contribute when you focus on what's in front of you. Click To Tweet
It’s not all great. It’s confronting but it helps tremendously. In the book I talk about one stranger who understands your experience, even a stranger, person sitting in a recovery meeting or even online or whatever that understands your experience can do for you what hundreds of family and friends can’t. We need people who understand our experience exactly. It just takes one.
To get that, I have to be honest about my experience.
That’s the bad news.
I want to reinforce what you said about how privacy is okay. I have a lot of people that come into my office and they don’t get what I mean, privacy secrecy. “You’re telling me that secrets keep us sick.” That’s true because if there are ten units of mental energy that I use to hide the fact that there’s candy in my drawer and I’m trying to present myself as a health coach, that ten units of mental energy are also going to feed the conclusion that I’m damaged and broken. Whoever finds out that there’s candy in the drawer or whatever the secret is, they’ll either attack me or run away from me. I feed the conclusion deep within myself that I’m damaged and broken every time I keep any secret. Imagine how convoluted and how much energy I would have to spend to convince people that unlike the rest of you humans, I don’t have to eat or drink or use the bathroom. I’m not a sexual being. I’m more like a God here among mere mortals.
Imagine how much energy I would have to expend to make sure no one ever saw me consume a beverage, food or use the bathroom. It’s crazy but at the same time, while I am not trying to pretend that I don’t have to use the bathroom or that I’m not a sexual being, I tell my patients, “Hopefully, you will never pull up to have a session and find me out in the parking lot with my pants around my ankles, doing my thing.” It’s private. There’s all kind of things. As long as I’m honest with myself, I don’t have to be public with it to everybody else. It’s the damage I do in here with my secrecy, with my conclusion that I have to hide this from somebody as opposed to I’m going to choose to share with these people and not share with those people but I know the truth of it. If I’m reading your book accurately, it’s whatever I use to deny that truth, hide it from myself, and then try to hide it from others, that is my thing that creates my problems.
It requires relief of some kind because it was never about sex, alcohol, shopping, gambling or money. Those are the things that we have to use to alleviate the pain of our dislocation from ourselves. It’s extraordinary pain. What I learned in sobriety was I can’t stomach that dislocation. I can’t deal with it anymore. If I have that, I start to get sick fast and that will require relief. I’ve had many learning moments in the sobriety of coming up against this again and again.
It’s the hook that the secrecy is the seed of my illness. I keep feeding it and nurturing it without realizing it, and the only solution to it is profound honesty. I have hidden and been coached by the culture and my family to believe that that honesty is going to kill me. I’m not going to survive telling these people that.
Speaking for me, I’m talking about, I’m married to someone, I’m not being faithful, and I have all these real things going on in the background that if they are found out, my life will explode. It’s anything from that to hiding bottles around the house or taking little extra sips of vodka. Those things that seem maybe smaller, maybe not to someone who doesn’t participate in that behavior, but it seems like, “I get to have my little secret.” There are also big secrets. What you said about the units of energy, it only compounds. One secret begets another secret and another secret. It’s the way it works. It grows like a virus until you’re fully sick.
They feed the conclusion that you’re damaged and broken.
I’d never heard it explained that way. It’s so perfect.
It’s a mechanism. I can’t hide something unless I’m operating and feeding the conclusion that if the person that I’m hiding this from finds out about it is going to go badly. They’re either going to attack me or run away from me. It’s that connection that allows us to grow and nurture. It’s the intimacy that many people are not familiar with and it feels awkward at first, but it’s the thing that gives us the true strength.
A lot of people have significant trauma. They’ve been taught in their families or in a culture that who they are isn’t okay. It is as deep as the “if I do this, I will die” instinct that you have to work through slowly and test and test again and try, but it’s possible. I don’t have things to hide anymore. There’s one version of me. It’s not that I’m going to show up with you the same way I show up with my boyfriend and with my work colleagues but there’s one version inside. Before there were completely different Lauras. What you knew about what I was up to was totally different. It would be a complete shock to my husband. I don’t know what story you’re getting but it’s different from the story I have. That’s more of what we talked about. To hold up all those different versions of yourself is painful.
It takes so much energy to try and keep them all straight and remember who I’m supposed to be with this group or that group. The other thing is the fear of discovery is exhausting. It’s a tremendous amount of energy spent on fighting the fear.
That was my life. All the way back from being a kid before I was drinking, there was little secrets that I started keeping for myself that I was afraid of being found out for.
I know Glennon Doyle pointed out that the culture doesn’t have us talking about all of this stuff. We have these socially acceptable addictions, cover-ups, and facades. We move some of them from the level of acceptable up to idealized.
Workaholism or overworking and body stuff.
Never going out without makeup, always making sure that the pictures are Photoshopped and we’ve got to have it look this way or that way. We have a culture that doesn’t realize it or if it does, there’s no big mechanism behind it. We’ve stumbled into this where we’re training ourselves to be fake at every different level.
There’s the whole social media aspect, which is heavy on my mind all the time because I have an eleven-year-old who’s begging to be on there. It’s clear to me how distorted, how much it’s changed not just our perceptions but our brains. The way we process the world. That’s a rabbit hole but it feeds that idea that something is wrong with us constantly. I would love to know what you think about this. As I understand it, the purpose of healthy shame is to keep you from acting too weird that you get exiled from your tribe in basic terms. Most of the shame that we experienced is applied to other people’s standards of what we should be and how we should act and all that. Up until several years ago, our circle of concern whose opinions we were even privy to was still relatively small, but now it’s opened up to the world. I have an Instagram following where I can get 75,000 people’s opinions and it’s impossible for us to psychologically handle the judgment and feedback of that big of a circle of concern.
It’s so wavy and overwhelming. For decades, I’ve told people to turn off what they call the news because it’s not the news, it’s the worst of the worst stuff from around the globe. It’s the most sensationalized stuff. The purpose of it is simply to keep you watching that show. I’ve told them for decades that if you knew everything that was going on in the town you live in, all of the horrors, all of the wonderful stuff, all of the mundane stuff, you would be filled with joy and hope. When something unpleasant happened, you’d get in your car, drive over to the neighbor, deliver a meal, share a bedspread if their house burned down, start one of the projects, raise the barn, put the barn up again and you’d feel empowered. When you hear these things from around the globe, the worst of the worst that you don’t have any control over. Unless you’re somebody with billions of dollars in logistics and resources, then send them a loving thought and redirect because there’s stuff going on in your life that you do have some ability to have an impact on. As you’re talking about with social media, how you can please everybody if even just everybody in your town, you can’t?
You can barely please the people in your home.
How can you please 3.5 million people who follow you on this media or that? There’s great wisdom in what you’re saying that it’s an impossible task. It’s the proverbial tilting at windmills to say, “I’m going to please somebody.”
That’s the second time that has come up and I never heard the tilting at windmills before. It is my favorite expression now.
Don Quixote, to dream the impossible dream.
This is helpful to know because this is what’s at the top of my mind now and what’s causing me an extraordinary amount of pain and difficulty is living online a lot. It’s a sobriety practice for me too. I don’t know that there are some people talking about that but for me, it’s almost like drinking. The idea that we should be able to moderate social media, I don’t know if it’s possible, at least for my experience. It’s helpful to know you talk about that as something you’ve been talking to people about for a long time.We all have something that confronts us at the soul level. Click To Tweet
The people that take me up on it come back and say, “It’s amazing.” I don’t pour all of this negative stuff in the morning, noon and night. I have connected more with what’s going on in my town and finding out about the high school students who are creating not-for-profits, delivering meals to people and helping the homeless. The fundamental truth of it is there are all of these negative things going on. I’m not saying that the news is making stuff up. I’m not one of those people.
There are real problems.
There are floods, bombings, rapes, and all of this that happens. The truth is there’s far more good going on in every moment by exponential levels. You wouldn’t feel that way if what you’re doing is watching what they call the news. The fact of the matter is if what was going on in the world was what they show you, we would have annihilated ourselves centuries ago.
It’s been exacerbated by COVID because we’re forced indoors, at least personally speaking. We spend more time staring into screens. I have thought this many times, go in and pay attention more to what’s right in front of your face but then it’s like, “Am I just burying my head in the sand? How am I contributing to the betterment of society if I’m doing that?” What you’ve said and what I have found is that you are only able to contribute when you focus on what’s in front of you. For me, it paralyzed me. It stopped me because it’s impossible to solve the problems that you’re being presented with. Racial injustice, where do you begin?
Begin in here. I love the wisdom from Morrie Shorts, he was co-author with Mitch Albom in the book Tuesdays with Morrie. At one point, Mitch asked, “Morrie, how do you do it? You’ve never sung a note on tune in your entire life. You dance like somebody’s hits you with a cattle prod but you go out on the dance floor like you don’t care.” Morrie said, “Mitch, if you live in a culture that doesn’t leave you feeling good about yourself, you need to create your own culture.” Even with the online communities, I encourage people to be highly selective about how much time they spend with who. If you’re someone like you who has a business going and as Glennon Doyle says, you have a book that’s saving lives, it’s a useful tool to get your book out there and have people find out about it. That doesn’t mean you need to read every one of the 75,000 comments. If you do your best, put it out there, and let people have their responses or you pay somebody a little bit to do a cursory review for you so they’re getting the wave and they can tell you, “On the whole, it’s positive but some negative or here’s one thing you could correct.” You’re not trying to do it all yourself.
I feel like this has turned into a therapy session for me.
It’s good advice for all of us. It is collective. There’s that book Tribes that talks about how in community, we handle so much differently. When we are isolated, we fall back into these negative patterns. We don’t have the intimacy, we don’t have the validation, we start doubting ourselves and it gets to be a negative spiral.
I’m reminding myself to pick up Tribes and Tuesdays with Morrie. I have it back there somewhere but I haven’t read those for a while. They’re good reinforcers of these ideas.
If you do take a breath and get centered, what’s something about this book or your work that we haven’t even touched on yet that you want to make sure to put out there for people?
The interesting thing for me and what is going to be the second book which I’m writing now is the little epigraph at the beginning of the book, it’s nine things. A woman wrote to me, her sister was struggling with addiction and she didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know what to tell her. I wrote this long response but at the end of it was this list. The list is, one, it’s not your fault. Two, it is your responsibility. Three, it is unfair that this is your thing. Four, this is your thing. Five, this will never stop being your thing until you face it. Six, you can’t do it alone. Seven, only you can do it. Eight, you are loved. Nine, I will never stop reminding you about these things. Some people notice the epigraph but to me, that is the entire book. That’s the arc of the book. It’s also the instruction that I’d give to myself and I would give to anybody when they’re confronting their thing. Those nine things work together.
There’s a lot of paradox in there. It’s not your fault but it is your responsibility. You can’t do it alone and only you can do it. Exploring those nine things is what I’m interested in doing now. Not specifically as it relates to addiction, although it includes that, but as humans that go through our stuff. Your thing can be someone dying. It can be a divorce. It can be having a child go through as I am in my pre-teen years, which is more excruciating than I ever imagined. That’s the thing that I’m thinking about a lot. Specifically, number one, that it’s not your fault. It goes back to what we’ve been talking about, if there’s something deeply wrong with me, I should be able to get this and do this better.
There’s a list of ten bottom-line observations that I give to people in the first session. I’m happy to send you a copy, but the second one is I have seen kindergarten-age children who are expert at blaming but I’ve never seen blame lead to a productive or constructive resolution to a problem. I spend time in my own life and certainly in my session with my internal radar going for any indication that somebody’s trying to blame themselves or blame somebody else or blame their circumstances for something in their life they don’t like. If that radar goes off, I call a time out and say, “Why don’t you say that for your next vacation where it doesn’t matter if you waste your time? Let’s get busy doing something that at least has a chance of being productive.”
The blame and fault sound paradoxical to the way we’ve been trained, but it isn’t paradoxical to say it’s not your fault and it is your responsibility. One of my favorite teachers introduced me to the concept of response-ability. It’s a tool that I can pick up. If I pick up that tool and I look at what’s happened leading up to this, and I single out my part in it, not that I’m to blame or I’m at fault but I can see what I did. If I own what I did that brought me here, now I have the ability to respond differently the next time a similar situation comes up. It’s an actual tool. It’s not a weapon to use against myself or somebody else.
The one thing I always fall back on, I learned it from a woman who has a lot of sobriety, and led me in a big way is that I am responsible for my experience. I’m the one. If that’s true, it frames every single thing, every situation I encounter differently. It wasn’t the best news for me because you have to take responsibility and that’s not always easy. In the end, it is the best news.
It’s empowering. I tell people that you have the infinite capacity to choose the focus of your conscious awareness in each new present moment. Part two, it’s the focus of your conscious awareness in each new present moment that is creating your experience of life at that moment. It’s right there. I want to highlight something that you talked about. You gave a toss of comment here when you said not that it’s all about sobriety or alcoholism. I was asking someone that’s intelligent and competent. I said, “I’m going to be interviewing Laura. Do you got any questions for her?” She said, “I don’t have a question. I realized I’m stymied given the question because I’m starstruck by this. I realized I may be still so awestruck because of hearing how similar her addiction sounds to some of the challenges I’m facing. It’s still rather unbelievable to me.” Here’s a person who has not been struck with one kind of an addiction that you would single out as alcohol or gambling, yet she found such deep connection and insight in your book.
That is one of the main points of my book. When I went to get sober, I had a problem with alcohol but I was so enraged at this idea. I knew it wasn’t just a Laura problem or an alcoholism problem. It was meta. I was not different from all of my friends who could “drink normally.” We all had our stuff and yet I was singled out, “You have a problem that none of us wants to talk about, go in the corner, wherever you need to go because that’s shameful and embarrassing. Quite frankly, we don’t want to even look at it. Figure it out with the people who also are so degraded that they have the same problem.” There’s still this huge stigma.
Luckily, I knew that was complete BS. It’s so much of the reason people stay stuck in drinking because to admit that you have this problem, this thing, means all these other things because that’s what we’ve created it to be in society. The primary program for recovery and this is not a criticism, but it’s anonymous. Secrecy and being quiet imply that this is a shameful thing, you need to not talk about it. You need to go to a place where you talk about that. I get so impassioned about this because that is the entire point of my book and I’m so grateful that she felt that way. You’re not different from me. My problem results in me stumbling around and has a sticky manifestation.
The thing I choose to run away from my problems is different from yours, but that doesn’t make us different.
It’s so freeing to both the people who experienced addiction and feel like they’re especially degraded because this happens to be their thing. It’s also helpful for people like her who go, “This is a way of talking about this. That makes sense to me.” Also, we all know someone who struggles with addiction. You don’t have to look far. It touches most families. There are a lot more empathy and healing that can be found if you go, “They’re not specially broken. They’re just the same as I am.”
I am delighted and honored that you were willing to have this conversation. I would like it if we could do this after your next book comes out. I love those nine points of We Are The Luckiest. People can find out about you at LauraMcKowen.com.
My book and everything is there.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. I will get back in touch as soon as I find out that you finished that next book.
Laura McKowen had a long successful career in public relations and the Mad Men-esque drinking culture of advertising. After getting sober she quickly became recognized as a fresh voice in recovery, beloved for her soulful and irreverent writing online and in print. She now leads sold-out retreats and courses, teaching people the how-to of saying yes to a bigger life. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts with her daughter. Laura writes an award-winning blog and hosted the iTunes Top 100 HOME podcast. She has been featured in the New York Times, The Guardian, WebMD, Psychology Today, the TODAY Show, The Doctors and more. Laura has an MBA from Babson College and spent fifteen years in advertising managing million-dollar accounts for Fortune 100 companies before transitioning to writing and teaching. She is the founder of several online programs for sobriety and personal development called The Luckiest Club, a sobriety support community. She teaches workshops and retreats all over the United States. Her first book, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life released in January of 2020 and was an instant bestseller. Laura is represented by Jamie Carr at the Book Group.
- Laura McKowen
- Tuesdays with Morrie
- The Luckiest Club
- We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
- The Way of Mastery
- The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership
About Laura McKowen
Laura McKowen had a long, successful career in public relations and the Mad Men–esque drinking culture of advertising. After getting sober, she quickly became recognized as a fresh voice in recovery, beloved for her soulful and irreverent writing online and in print. She now leads sold out retreats and courses, teaching people to how to say yes to a bigger life. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts with her daughter.
Laura writes an award-winning blog and hosted the iTunes Top 100 HOME podcast. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, WebMD, Psychology Today, the TODAY show, The Doctors, and more.
Laura has an MBA from Babson College and spent 15 years in advertising managing million-dollar accounts for Fortune 100 companies before transitioning to writing and teaching. She’s the founder of several online programs for sobriety and personal development, The Luckiest Club, a sobriety support community, and she and teaches workshops and retreats all over the U.S..
Her first book, We Are The Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life, released in January 2020 and was an instant bestseller. Laura is represented by Jamie Carr at The Book Group.
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