Molly Desch is your average single mother of two, except nothing about her is average. This month I had the pleasure to meet her, and I found her to be an absolutely inspiring person.
Other than a mother to twelve and sixteen year-old boys, she has a dog and two cats. On any given day, you can find her knee deep into a good read, doing yoga, or trying out a new recipe. Ms. Desch worked in the technology industry for most of her life until recently when her entrepreneurial spirit led her to start her own business as a life coach who helps women on their journey to sobriety.
Her story started a few decades ago. When she began drinking, she said: “It felt natural. Everyone else was doing it. That's where you go after work or when you have a stressful day, you go out for a drink.” When alcohol became an essential part of her day, she referenced how TV shows, movies, and advertisements would always normalize drinking.
Alcohol became more essential when she moved to Colorado. She was shy, and alcohol would “loosen me up.” After her divorce a few years ago, she spiraled: “Divorce gave me permission to be ridiculous and irresponsible” but at the end of the day, alcohol wasn’t helping. She began to find that “alcohol made me feel terrible, created anxiety and amplified depression… It was a cycle happening every day bringing nothing joyous to my life.”
Her moment of awakening came one day in the car. Her son, a pre-teen at the time, called her during a binge to tell her that he loved her and wanted her to come home. To quote Desch, “and that was the last day I [binged].” But how best to kick alcohol to the curb?
She thought about going to rehab but there was the issue of who was going to take care of her kids. Ms. Desch ended up taking seven weeks of work off to “get my life together.” She began going to Alcoholics Anonymous, “I felt like there was accountability.” As a newly sober person, she slowly realized that AA wasn’t really her jam, so she took the time to explore her options: “I read lots of books.”
Her path to sobriety was her own. The biggest part of her recovery was understanding who she was and discovering and using information to develop tools to keep her sober. Ms. Desch knew she needed to find something that makes sense to her, “something I really loved and looked forward to.” Those tools are meditation, yoga, and reading. As a homebody, she does meditation at least once a day and yoga as well. Other times she makes tea, listens to music, and lights candles. Her journey however was not linear. She’s had setbacks because she “wasn’t prepared for feeling those weird emotions.” But her growing “toolbox”, as she likes to call it, began to help life feel pretty safe.
In her three years and four months of being sober, she is one of the most profound people I have met. In our interview she had an amazing grasp of how to tackle sobriety. Her focus when working with clients figuring out how to stay sober is not trying to force things that don't make sense to them. She feels that a lot of people don’t realize that when you make the decision to move past sober curiosity, you don’t do that much differently except, “now that you eliminate alcohol in your life you have time to fill.” She finds that time unfilled can lead people to boredom. In Ms. Desch’s witty words, “Of course it's boring - you were drinking 6-7 hours a night and now you're not and not filling your time so of course it's boring.” Her advice to people who are struggling is to plan ahead and fill your time with activities that you love. She said newly sober people need to be prepared for anything and have a list of things you can do. To give an example, recently she had a really emotional conversation with her child. Afterwards she thought “I don’t want to feel this way. I wish I could have a drink.” She referred to her list and decided on meditation, which helped reframe the emotions she was experiencing.
In her time working with women who are trying to get sober, she often sees them get a feeling of “yes I got this.” Her biggest warning is “Don’t stop doing all the things!” Once you feel great, you become complacent, you are caught off guard. She has known people who after decades of sobriety relapsed. In the lovely words of Ms. Desch, “there is no magic number. Once you realize that you can see that [sobriety] is a lifelong thing, it's not necessarily a bad thing.”
Desch found Sobar on a Google search. She loves that there are so many non-alcoholic beverages that are for sale. She fell in love with Sobar’s mission and finding out that the people who work with Sobar have a history with alcoholism, “I really believe in that and that really inspired me.” For the first two years of her sobriety, Desch didn’t dabble in NA beverages because she was worried about being triggered. But when she goes to an NA bar, she “feels fancy.” Some of her clients absolutely love the NA option, “I think it's great that we have alternatives.”
In discussing her sobriety, the absence of alcohol has been “night versus day… I get all these creative ideas all the time.” It has allowed her to form deeper relationships with family and friends. Most importantly, she “gets amazing sleep every single night, has dreams and goals that I am actually working towards.”
Her advice: There are a lot of programs for people who are sober curious. It can take a while to achieve the freedom that sobriety brings, but there are a lot of people out there to help. “Find someone who has been there who can help you to get there faster.” There is nothing wrong with reaching out.