One of my very best friends flew in to visit me last week. She’s made the trip from Canada to visit me in Mexico more times than anyone outside of my family.

I started counting down the days to her arrival weeks in advance!

I wanted to share this tribute to her because Chanel de Silva is more than a friend.

She is my closest confidant, co-conspirator and co-creator.

Our 13+ year friendship has probably been one of the single biggest building blocks in the foundation of my business and brand.

The other night, we were reflecting on our individual and shared journeys.

We were remembering a shared Google doc we had started to write to each other while I was still living in Cambodia. I decided to look it up and re-read it.

You are amazing Caitlin, and I am so grateful today that you and I are doing this.  I can honestly say, although I have all these amazing people in my life, you are the ONLY one I can share some of my darkest experiences with, and who I can talk about my drinking with, no veil, no judgement – just honesty and love.  Thank-you. Oct 7th, 2010

Wow!! These words were written 4.5 years ago and we still share those exact sentiments.

What’s incredible to me is that we are still there for each other. Through our ups and downs.

What’s validating is that I now know that I offer that same unconditional love and support, without judgment, to my clients.

EVERYONE needs and deserves a champion.

Whether your goal is to:

  • eliminate alcohol completely

  • be able to handle your alcohol so that you don’t black out,

  • take a break or learn moderation,

  • never be drunk again

  • OR to drink one less drink a night

WHATEVER your personal goal is and as many times as it changes, you need that person (or people) who love, support and “get you” without judgement!

Chanel de Silva is that person for me. She’s seen me through some of my craziest phases, through periods of abstinence, through learning moderation, more sobriety, and back again.

Before arriving to visit in Mexico, she sent me a message to check in about my intentions around alcohol. She wanted to make sure that she wasn’t going to trigger me in any way, especially since we spent many, or most even, of our trips together drinking lots of champagne!

I remember 5 years ago when I was going to take a 30 day break from alcohol. I shared this with my sister, and she said, “Why only 30 days? What, can’t you go longer?”

While I know she had my best interest at heart, I immediately felt judged and defensive.

This is in contrast to sharing this intention with Chanel, who immediately said, “That’s GREAT! In fact, let’s do it together and help keep each other accountable.”

It was then that we started a shared Google doc to write our reflections to each other. This continued during our 30 days and beyond, as we set new intentions for moderation.

Part of the success of any ‘program,’ whether recovery, abstinence or 12-step groups lies in the strong community and the role of sponsors to help provide accountability and support.

I have been VERY fortunateto to have some incredible support along my journey. Next week I’ll introduce you to one of my favourite sober sistas to share some of her philosophy.

I asked Chanel what she would want to share with my community… and if I could feature her as part of the inaugural “Unfiltered Five” – a new series of questions I’ll be asking to peers of our community, thought leaders and experts.

1) What made you want to change your relationship to alcohol?

There were a few things actually…

There was a definite shift that happened in my mid thirties. Instead of waking up and calling my girlfriends and laughing about our gaps in memory and meeting up for brunch to try to connect the dots and laugh about it, I started waking up feeling anxious, ashamed and wanting to isolate. It wasn’t as fun anymore.

My drinking was definitely having negative effects on my relationship. My partner, who never really drank much to begin with, didn’t really like when I drank or partied too much, and the longer we were together, the more of a problem it became.

Finally, I have really big goals for myself over the next 20 years and know that I can’t achieve them if I don’t have a healthy relationship to alcohol, and all the other things that make me healthy: food, working out, sleep, and spiritual well-being.

2) What is the best thing about changing your relationship to alcohol?

My anxiety levels. I now very rarely feel anxious and I’m aware that it’s both because I live my life in a way that I don’t have regrets, and also because I know that alcohol can actually be anxiety-inducing. So now I don’t put myself through that.

3)  What has been the most challenging aspect of changing your relationship to alcohol?

Realizing that it’s not something that’s going to go away completely. I can have 8 months or a year, and then it only takes one night of partying and not setting my intentions or being conscious, to kind of put me back into that unhealthy relationship.

4) What is your most useful tip to someone wanting to change their relationship to alcohol?

I’d say my best tip is don’t pre-drink before going out. It never ends well!

I also like the idea of when you first arrive somewhere, ordering something non-alcoholic first. Allow yourself time to assess the situation and see how you feel.

5) Any final words of wisdom?

You don’t have to go at this alone. Make sure that through your process you have that one person you can trust and who can support you.

Do you have anyone who truly “gets you”?

I encourage you to reach out, or try the journal idea.

If you feel isolated or alone, it doesn’t have to be this way.


I’m here for you. We’re here for you. Just click here to set up a time to chat.