Pole Dancing

Welp. This week certainly has been a rollercoaster of emotions!! As you know from my email on Monday, the shooting in Orlando really hit a tender spot and continued to for the rest of the week.

So many of my friends and community members felt so sad, scared, and some were downright traumatized by this. On the other hand, I saw such an outpouring of love and empathy and gentleness online, which was and is a beautiful thing. I am reminded of how quickly fear and uncertainty and pain triggers our habitual responses of "Help! I just want the thing that will make this bad feeling go away the fastest!!" And even though we know alcohol isn't the healthiest thing for us in the long term, it sure does work its magic as a short term solution to whatever we might be trying to escape.

I had several powerful conversations with women I hadn't spoken to before about their visions for a new life for themselves. I heard their conviction and deep desire to show up for themselves differently. More often than not these conversations lasted longer than their allotted 45 minutes. If we haven't spoken yet - don't hesitate to schedule a session.

Despite feeling quite down at the beginning of the week, I followed through on my intention to start taking pole dancing classes and zowza.... it's one of the hardest things I've done in a long time!!

As part of the last session for the Drink Less Be More Masterclass, we had to identify what we were going to do to keep taking ACTION on our intentions. One of my intentions that I know is essential to my long term "Drink Less Success" is to allow my inner wild child to come out to play!

Taking pole dancing classes 2x a week and buying a month's pass to the dance studio so that I will be motivated to take as many dance classes as possible were two of the actions I committed to - because otherwise it's easy for me to talk myself out on going to class and doing something for MYSELF that ultimately makes me feel so good.

This is a picture of me during the first class, when I could only and after much effort, make it half way up the pole. There was nothing sexy, coordinated or gracefully about my ascent (or descent, for that matter). I huffed and puffed and heaved. My leg swung out too far as I tried to propel myself upwards, I mixed up which hand was supposed to go over top of the next, and half way up the pole I had to cling for dear life because I was slipping to the ground, rather than the "hands free" hold the instructor was helping me achieve. And this was supposed to be the most BASIC ascent. All of the others are based on this one!!

Today's class didn't start off that much better. I felt so awkward. I was over-thinking it. I actually found myself getting really frustrated and hard on myself. Do it again, said the instructor. You can do it! Try again!! And again, and again... all the while giving tips on how to coordinate better and subtle adjustments to my movements to make it easier.

All of a sudden, something clicked, and my hands touched the ceiling. Somehow, my body took over, the moves coordinated, and I had reached the top of the pole. And this time, it didn't feel like as much work. I didn't have to think about it. My body knew what it was supposed to do. I was then able to try the hands free hold, and add another new move from the top of the pole, called The Señorita: legs crossed daintily, one hand on my hip and the other in a flirtatious salute (next week I'll try to get a picture of this achievement!)

On the drive home, I felt content, proud of myself, for preserving, and for going out of my comfort zone to try something new. It also made me think of one of the questions I am asked so often about redefining your relationship to alcohol.

"Does this get easier?"

The answer is yes. It does.

In the beginning, it often feels awkward. You might have to overthink things, spend a lot of time planning, understanding triggers, creating boundaries for yourself. You will likely have to try things and situations that aren't comfortable at first. You will have to learn to push through... because as you and I both know, as long as you stay where it's safe and comfy, you are less likely to grow and change.

There is where having support can be so helpful. When you can't figure out what your next move should be, or when you feel discourage and are going to talk yourself out of trying again.

When you find yourself slipping back down that pole and are ready to give on up trying to get up it again (wait, that was me ;)

You see where I'm heading with this?

When I first get on the phone with someone, I hear doubt, fear and uncertainty that things could actually be different. Within several months, the conversations are so different. Sure there may be the odd slip, but the momentum is always upwards. And the support can help you get there that much quicker.

If this sounds like something that would be useful to you, I'd love the chance to connect with you!! I have just two spots for 1-1 coaching available this month!

Either way, think about one big thing you can start doing differently this weekend. Something to shake things up, challenge yourself, help you get out of your comfort zone. A big part of redefining your relationship to alcohol comes from creating new habits AND learning to trust yourself in different situations.

So let me know, what are you going to try that you've never tried before?


This isn't the email I planned on sending today...

Yesterday was a hard day for me.

So hard that I almost broke the promise I made to myself 2.5 years ago to stop using alcohol to to hide, escape, numb out, dull down...

My morning started with the news of the Orlando shooting and the escalating death count. The fact that I had partied many a night in a similar gay club in Miami, just a few hours drive from the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history, made the news hit even closer to home. I felt like I could imagine the faces of the people in the club that night.

Last week I shared parts of my story that I had never shared with you before… and in the first totally unplanned half of today’s email, you are going to learn even more!

I grew up in a small, working class town on West Coast of Canada. The scenery is incredibly beautiful and the town is now quite eclectic, but while I was growing up, it felt isolated and close minded.

My mom is a lesbian and my “mommy #2” moved in when I was 9 years old. I experienced homophobia from a young age when kids weren’t allowed to come play at our house, or when a school friend would ask about how long my auntie was going to be living with us (I was confused until I realized that’s what their parents told them to avoid a deeper conversation about the true nature of their relationships). Homophobic slurs were normal at school and needless to say, by the time I was discovering my own sexuality, I had a pretty deeply engrained feeling that it wasn’t okay to be gay.

Though I’ve never identified as gay, my sexuality was fluid and I was attracted to women. When I left my hometown immediately after high school, gay clubs welcomed me with open arms.

My first was in Vancouver at the Odyssey when I was 17. I loved the freedom of expression and of solidarity. In my early early 20s, I found community at Lick Club. It was there that become more comfortable with my fluid sexuality and where I met my first fiancé. The Lexington Club in San Francisco became like a second home when I was finishing college and living the Mission and it was there that I met my now ex-wife.

Over the years, wherever I traveled and lived, gay clubs always felt like home... Toronto, Winnipeg, Vienna, London, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sydney, Prague, Barcelona, Paris, Mexico City, Miami, to name but a few. It didn't matter if we didn't share the same language, we always would share smiles of recognition. Gay clubs were and are a refuge, a safe space, an escape from persecution, judgement and stress, a place for fun and celebration… What happened in Orlando shakes the foundation of this feeling of safety and celebration. Thousands, if not millions, are affected - confronted with the reality of violent hatred based on the most basic desire to love another human.

I’m giving you all of this as the backstory as to why, last night, I almost broke my promise to myself.

Yesterday while grocery shopping I bought a bottle of wine.

Luis even questioned it, saying, “Don’t we already have wine?” To which I responded: “Half a bottle of white in the fridge, but we don’t have any red.” That was the acceptable answer, and it was true.

Yet it wasn't until I got home that I realized my true motivation.

It was because I wanted to numb the pain. The acute pain of a senseless tragedy that took 50 precious lives and forever changed hundreds more. To soothe the deeper ache of old wounds triggered. And, ironically, I wanted to drink to get rid of the vulnerability hangover I was feeling after the very raw email I sent to you last week.

I’m relieved to report that the wine sat unopened on the counter downstairs.

Though a powerful unconscious urge took over in the grocery story, I was able to use other tools for myself once I got home.

I made a cup of tea. I shared some of my feeling online, which helped me feel less powerless.

I stood on my patio with my arms outstretched and breathed deeply into the tightness in my chest. I imagined the space around my heart expanding with love instead of constricting with pain and fear. I cried. I prayed. I felt the feels.

I am grateful to say I kept that promise for another day. Last night, and today, and everyday, I try to choose LOVE. And that includes Self Love.

And to keep raising my vibrations so that I can be of better service to this wounded world.

Today’s email was going to be about ways you can work with me but it just didn’t feel like the email I wanted to send today. That being said, I’ve already opened up extra times in my calendar this week for us to connect. If you’re curious about working together, then set up a time to chat here.

Stay tuned for the real email I had planned to send, later today or early tomorrow.

Until then, be kind to yourself, to those around around, and try to always, always - choose love.


Change IS Possible (Travel Back In Time To Cambo)

This is a bit long and quite personal, including parts of my story I haven't shared publicly yet.

Yet, I've had a number of questions and connections recently that shown me that this is the right time to share with you.

I want to take you on a journey back in time, to about 5.5 years ago. At 29 years old, I was living in Cambodia and had just secured what I thought was my dream contract in my field. I had been hired by Family Health International to develop a drug strategy for Cambodia, and was also working with the Soros Foundation's Drug Policy Program to write a regional strategy. I was living the exciting life of an International Consultant and Global Health Advocate.

My 20s had been action-packed: I had founded an non-profit (at age 23), worked for the City government as the first Youth Advocate Mentor (age 24) and then co-founded an international youth advocacy network called Youth RISE that received global acclaim (age 26) and provided me with the opportunity to travel and work in somewhere between 15-20 countries (I honestly lost count) before settling in Cambodia.

I wanted desperately to believe I was as great as everyone else thought I was - but I felt like a fraud.

I struggled with imposter's syndrome BIG time. In some ways, the 29 year old me wasn't much different from the 16 year old Caitlin. That was when I left my mother's house after a huge fight, moved in with a friend, worked 2 jobs while also trying to finish grade 11 (Junior year), all while trying to convince my guidance counsellors and teachers that I was okay.

As you can probably guess, I wasn't okay.

At 16, I blacked out for the first time, and then repeatedly. At 16, I was date raped at a party. At 16, I started using alcohol as a coping mechanism, as an escape, as a means for connection and intimacy (or so I thought), as a confidence booster, as the soothing balm that could so easily erase reality and quiet my troubled mind.

At 29, my relationship to alcohol wasn't that different. I was going through a divorce and lonely. I was in a career that no longer thrilled me even though I had worked so hard to "make it." I was living on the other side of the world, having effectively isolated myself from my friends and family back home.

I was drinking almost every night to cope with insomnia and anxiety, combined with a dangerous mix of pills including some of the same pills that lead to Heath Ledger's accidental overdose. I was regularly going out to party and drinking excessively to the point of blacking out.

I remember one morning, a few months before my 30th birthday, when I woke up mid-day next to a guy a vaguely remembered meeting the night before. He said my phone had been ringing but he wasn't able to wake me up. I glanced around the room and saw two empty cocktail glasses sitting in pools of condensation. I didn't own glasses like that, so where did they come from?? Then I realized we had walked right out of the after-hours with the glasses in our hands. And the missed calls?? From one of my contacts at the World Health Organization, a strategic partner for the contract I was working on, wondering why I wasn't at our 10am meeting.

I'm sure I don't need to try to find the words to explain how awful I felt - because you know , don't you? (You know because in some way you've experienced this shame before)

So why I am I sharing this now?

Well, I've had a few people ask me recently how "bad" my problem really was.
Did I black out?
Did I really struggle that much with alcohol?
Have I really come that far?

These are totally legit questions!

Potential clients want to know whether I've struggled in the same way they have.

Seeing me now - it's hard to imagine I once had such a problematic relationship with alcohol, isn't it?

Without the backstory, you might think that alcohol moderation comes more easily to me. 

And to give you a totally current snapshot into what my current drinking looks like (because I know you're curious) in the past few weeks:
- While in New York City (formerly known as "Trigger City for me) I abstained from alcohol most nights but went out one night and had a glass of sangria with dinner and though there was a bottle of champagne open in front of me at the club, I probably only had a total 1.5 glasses (that would have been unheard of before!!)
- Last week on our little mini-vacay on our way back home, my partner and I went out for dinner and shared a bottle of red wine and I had no desire to keep drinking after that.
- On Sunday, we opened a bottle of white wine and each had a spritzer (half wine, half sparkling water) and, even though I had a few stressful days in the middle of the week, that bottle has sat untouched
- I often go an entire week, sometimes a lot more, without drinking anything or even thinking much about it.

This didn't happen overnight. It's been 5+ years since the situation I described above and has involved a complete and holistic life overhaul!!

I moved across the world, focused almost exclusively on self-care while I was trying to figure out what to "do" next, started taking all kinds of healing-focused courses, started teaching dance and fitness again, enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and applied everything I was learning to my own healing and development, hired my own coach, took business courses and eventually changed careers, launched my business and wrote a both which, combined, are the biggest, most badass accountably mechanism ever because I literally have thousands of people helping me stay true to my intentions!!)

I've also spent over $20,000 in the past few years alone to get from "there" to HERE (investments in training, schooling, certifications, coaching, treatments, time-off from working to "find myself" again ;)

Does that mean that you have to do the same? Of course not.

In fact, I don't want you to have to spend many thousands of dollars or spend years trying to make the changes I did.

I want you to have the results you desire faster and more affordably. 

I want for you to be able to redefine your relationship to alcohol, on your own terms!!

You see, what I now know is that going through what I did was necessary to truly define my MISSION.

From there, I was able to create a METHOD that has worked for me and dozens of others that I have worked with 1-1, and countless others who have read and implement the strategies in my book.

The next step? Create a MOVEMENT. It has already started but I want to give it more.

I want every person who intuitively knows there "must be another way" to have access to this information and support.

Exciting things are brewing so stay tuned!

On Monday I will be making an announcement about the direction we're heading and what it means for you :)

In closing, I want you to know how grateful I am that you're here, that you allowed yourself to be open to another way of living and that you read all the way to the end of this email ;)

Now I'm going to hit the send button before I talk myself out of it (yes, vulnerability is still scary for me).

Have a beautiful weekend and I'm so excited to be in touch again on Monday!!


Corporate Queen

Yesterday was the last class of the Drink Less Be More Masterclass (my new, signature group program - don't worry if you missed it, it will be offered again in September!)

We spent a good portion of the class talking about the idea of PERMISSION.

For many of us, we use alcohol to give ourselves permission.
Permission to relax, do nothing, be playful, indulge, forget out responsibilities for the evening, turn off our busy brains, enjoy, be naughty, prioritize pleasure... you fill in the blank.

I used to feel guilty taking time off, reading trashy magazines just because, watching something that wasn't educational or focused on self-development, eat carbs or fat (this was before I learned that neither of these things are evil). I used to push myself so hard that I needed to literally black out or lose myself to alcohol to turn off or unwind, or I'd go home to visit my family and fall over sick and burnt out.

A large part of learning to redefine your relationship to alcohol and Drink Less in the long-term is learning how to give yourself permission to __________ (again, you fill in the blank) WITHOUT alcohol!

This is such an important topic and one that I was so grateful to have the opportunity to discuss with Meg Sullivan, of Whole Foods Love. The interview is part of an online summit called Slim and Chic Corporate Queen - and the themes we covered are so relevant to everyone who is a part of this community (whether you are in corporate or not)!

We also talked about:
- How prevalent is it that women drink to wind down
- Making the mental shift to take care of ourselves
- The physiological side of alcohol and the effects that it has on the body
- Strategies for accountability with this sensitive subject

The interview airs this Sunday, June 5th! Make sure to sign up here to be able to listen. You will also have access to 25+ other experts as part of this virtual summit who sharing their wisdom and experience to support women like you to reach their health and wellness goals.

Discover tips, tricks and strategies that will show you how to:

  • Drop those extra 20 lbs you’ve been wanting to lose for as long as you can remember.

  • Survive the unpredictable ups and downs of corporate life and still stay happily on track with your life and health goals.

  • Improve the quality of your sleep so you wake feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day each morning.

  • Make the best food choice possible, whatever situation you find yourself in.

  • Carve much needed time out of your schedule for your own self-care.

  • Create space in your life for things you love doing “just because”.

It is so important for me to see women THRIVE in ALL aspects of their lives, not only by redefining their relationship to alcohol. That is why I am so honoured to have been included in this summit and that I have these tickets to share with you so that you can holistically make changes to your lifestyle while also continuing to get a handle on the alcohol.

Make sure to sign up asap so that you don't miss this weekend's interview. I also want to know - what is one way (in addition to signing up for this summit and listening to the value-packed interviews) that you can give yourself permission (without needing alcohol to do so) this weekend? Make sure to reply to this email and let me know. Why? Because I really do want to know! AND writing it out is a good first step for making it a reality!


Badass And Bare

Hey - it's juicy Tuesday !!

(Funny story, I used to claim the day as "Trashy Tuesdays" because when I went out to party on Tuesdays it showed how "hard-core" I was and somehow owning my trashiness was like a of badge of honour... or maybe a defence mechanism? But that's a story for another day ;)

I am so thrilled to share my latest podcast interview with the ladies from Badass and Bare.

I met Katie Corcoran after semi-stalking her Instagram (she's also grad of the same health coaching program I attended) and we became fast friends. So much so that she invited me to stay her place in Brooklyn even though we'd never met in person! I then met Andrea Hood, the co-creator and co-host of Badass & Bare while she was attending one of the same events I was attending in NYC, and we all bonded. (FYI - their podcast was listed as "New and Noteworthy" by iTunes shortly after launching!)

One, two skip and few and here we are with this amazing episode!


We had an amazing conversation that spans the following topics:

  • The distinction between habitual use with alcohol vs. addiction

  • How to re-define your relationship with alcohol

  • TIPS for delicious (& easy!) alternatives for alcohol (even when you’re out on the town!)

  • How you can still be a PARTY GIRL without the booze

  • Why SELF-CARE is key for having a healthy relationship with alcohol

  • How-to change your PREGAME when getting ready to go out

I'm looking forward to hearing your top takeaways from this episode. Let the ladies at B&B what you think of the episode -they'll appreciate the comments and ratings! And finally, please share this with other badasses in your life who would love this convo.