Hola Sober OCTOBER

Maree Mackensie

Have you found meditation, podcasts, or books helpful in recovery? Meditation is a must in my opinion, in recovery and in life, even 10 minutes away from the monkey mind, to remind yourself that in that quiet space, all is well, that space is what and where we are truly from. Finding presence, stillness. Learning to be here now. What was the last sober book you read? lol only the big book of alcoholics anonymous. Do you have any sober heroes/heroines? I am my own heroine, for taking the courageous plunge getting and staying sober through all my ups and downs. If there is someone reading this out there what would be your top sober tip for them? Be kind to yourself, you're doing the best that you can right now and that is good enough. Just remember whatever you are going through, that this too shall pass. Rediscover who you are in recovery and do the things that bring you joy, life is short, make it count, laugh, love, smile and be happy. We are all powerful creators and what you think, feel becomes your reality, so choose well. Whatever you do, do it with Grace. You were a chef and changed direction, tell me how that happened? Actually it was a simple question from a friend one day in my kitchen in Bali, she asked me if I liked cooking, I took a second and said, no I don’t, in that moment I realized I had been doing something I hated for 15 years, I never wanted to cook the food, I wanted to eat it lol I have ever cooked professionally since, that was in 2018. Then when I was thinking about what I loved, it was clear to me that travel and recovery were two of my biggest passions, so I came up with the idea for sober retreats, and that is what I do to this day. Bringing people together in the name of recovery and travel. India is such a wonderful exotic location, where do you live in India? Yes India is a magical, spiritual, soulful place. I am currently living in Dharamsala the home of the Dalai Lama, and I have also stayed in Rishikesh, the yoga capital of the world. Tell me about some of the retreats you have planned for 2022? Currently we a beautiful sober retreat in a small island in the Caribbean called Corn Island in January 2022, this is at a fully Alcohol Free property on the beachfront, this trip is mainly for our USA sisters. It is a wellness retreat, with breathwork, yoga, cacao ceremonies and lots of island goodness and tasty food and massages. The we will be having 2-3 amazing spiritual retreats in India, the first one we have in March 2022 is including the amazing “Holi Festival of Colors” which is one of the biggest festivals in India, we will be visiting stunning forts and temples and partaking in rituals and ceremonies in some of the best places in India. My partner is Indian and a super guide and my right hand man with my India retreats. We also have more retreats in Bali in late 2022. What do you hope we as sober women get from one of your retreats? Our retreats are all about connection, connection with your fellows, but also to yourself, your soul. Adventure and fun, laughter and joy. Support is another big one, the support to travel in a safe space with likeminded people, so you can relax and enjoy the journey knowing you are held and looked after.

In a Q + A Maree and I covered alot of group about her journey and her business that proved to be a wonderful coffee conversation leaving me in no doubt that if I was going to Bali or India on retreat I would want Maree at the helm. What is your SOBER DATE? 13/06/2014 When did your drinking career start? My drinking started at 15, I was a crazy drinker from the beginning really, blacking out right from an early age and never able to just have a few, very addictive, need more behavior from the start. Got sober at 38 How long do you think you had a problem with alcohol before you took the decision to make the changes and do the work? I knew at around 24 that I had a problem, I was very reckless and was putting myself in very dangerous situations. But as it was a very normal thing to do I kept going for many years. I always had people saying I should stop and I swore of drinking more times then I can remember.Unfortunately it took 23 years to finally stop the insanity. What program did you use to reach freedom from alcohol? Twelve Step or Modern Recovery? I used AA and continued to do a bit of AA for the first 5 years, but now I have a very simple spiritual path of recovery to stay sober and faith in the universe. Meditation, gratitude and prayer. AA is an amazing path to discover the true essence of recovery which I believe is a spiritual experience, I believe we are blessed as we get to wake up to truth through our addictions. Without my addictions I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today. Professionally has your decision to be public in sobriety had any consequences? Professionally being out and porous as a sober women, has helped as being out and proud and supporting sober women is my profession so I am blessed. I have a passion to be of service, so being public was always going to be the way for me as if I can help one person then I have done my job. Have you seen great changes within your relationships in sobriety? My relationships have got deeper and more authentic, you lose some, but you gain even better friendships and relationships. I had many acquaintances but not real relationships, so it is much better now. What other significant changes have you seen in your life without alcohol? Everything about sober life works for me, no more worrying about what I did, forgetting things, I have more clarity, direction and focus. I worry less about myself and more about what I can do to help others. This was not the old Maree. People look up to me now and I am an inspiration to people which is something I never thought would happen. I have a very proud mother now instead of an ashamed one, that is truly a blessing. This is why I love what I do, as I get to connect people and support them to still do what they love and bring joy to their soul through travel. What are your sober rituals daily? Pledge? Prayer? I am currently reading “A Course in Miracles” . It is a daily reading for 365 days, this is my connection to the divine which I practice. I also love meditation and breath work.

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