Aiming Strengths to Thrive in Sobriety – Going Alcohol Free

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Is alcohol getting in the way of your coaching? Really? Do you have an occasional drink or is it more of a regular fixture? Sally Magee shares her story how drinking was affecting her life and the invisible impact as a coach. Initially she was sober curious – questioning her relationship with alcohol. Then she became sober serious – wanting to do something about it. As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach Sally now helps others use their CliftonStrengths® on their sobriety journey to overcome an addiction to alcohol. Read her powerful story that led to a positive outcome.

Sally Magee writes

I started down my own path to sobriety almost by accident. I was working with a very talented life coach at the time, who was helping me restructure my business and work on integrating health and wellbeing practices into my hectic schedule.

As a coach with 15 years of coaching experience, a demanding client load, and frequent coast-to-coast travel schedule, I was using alcohol to destress at the end of the day. Little did I know how much alcohol impacts your brain chemistry to produce more stress hormones. The result was that it was aggravating my “amped up” anxious personality and causing more stress. It also disrupted my sleep patterns, starting at one drink!

Reality Check

The coach I was working with gently peeled the onion back.

  • “Not feeling great for your workout this morning, why’s that?”
  • “Do you often feel groggy in the morning? Why do you think that might be?”
  • “Is it OK if we talk about alcohol, or is that off limits? There might be a bigger issue here that we’re skirting around…”

I decided to do a 21-Day “Reset” Challenge and take a short break from drinking, just as an experiment. With a small investment for the course, I received a daily lesson in my inbox and became part of a small social circle of other women doing the challenge at the same time. What I learned was invaluable. There were other women out there who had the same exact feelings about their drinking as I did. A couple glasses while cooking dinner and destressing from a rough day had turned into a daily habit that was hard to turn down. And the pandemic certainly wasn’t making things better!

Fast forward a couple of months as I moved squarely from the sober-curious to the sober-serious category. It dawned on me that if I had been coaching myself six months prior, I would have coached me very differently. The life coach I was working with didn’t speak Strengths language, although she was an extremely talented coach!

CliftonStrengths to the Rescue!

My CliftonStrengths® were my biggest asset to me during this time of transformation. I didn’t try to use them; they just came to me instinctually. My Learner® #1 was energized by the lessons in the initial 21-Day program. My Responsibility® #3 followed through on my commitment to make it to the end of the challenge. Once I got there, my Input® #4 knew there was more to learn. The women in my group became fast friends and thanks to my Relator® #9. I now belonged to a group who wanted to continue the journey, so we did another 30 days alcohol-free together.

The purpose of telling this story through the lens of my CliftonStrengths® is to illustrate how my talents showed up in the early days of my sobriety journey, and how I work with clients to leverage their talents to get through an initial alcohol-free goal. We can “aim” our themes at any challenge in our lives, not just leadership, career challenges, or job performance. Once clients reach their initial goal and the haze of alcohol lifts, we then shift to directing their CliftonStrengths® to create a life they love without alcohol.

Our talents shine through even brighter without the cloud of alcohol impacting our vision. I lead with Strategic Thinking themes, and when I quit drinking I noticed a remarkable difference in my clarity of thought. I think better on my feet when leading workshops; I’m more present with my coaching clients. These are just a few of the benefits I appreciate about living alcohol-free.

Where the Journey Has Taken Me

Today, as an accredited Sobriety Coach from The Sober Club, in addition to being a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, I have three main offerings.

Sober Curious

For the “sober curious” I created a 31-Day Course & Alcohol-Free Challenge. It includes daily lessons, including an Intro to CliftonStrengths®, Gallup’s 5 Elements of Wellbeing, and group coaching for a month of experimenting and learning, while going alcohol-free. The Top 5 Report is also included, and coaching questions are embedded for participants to evaluate their relationship with alcohol while going through the course. My guide, “CliftonStrengths for Thriving Alcohol-Free™” is also provided, which gives a tangible action step for each of the 34 themes for participants to aim their talents at their alcohol-free goals.

Sober Serious

For the “sober serious,” my 6-month signature coaching experience is called “Reach New Heights”. It helps to align your strengths and core values, and create a self-confident, alcohol-free version of yourself.

Coaches who want to help their Clients

For coaches, I offer consulting services and partnering opportunities to help you serve your clients better, for clients that are struggling with alcohol use. I’m also happy to share my “CliftonStrengths for Thriving Alcohol-Free™” guide with other coaches for their use with clients. The guide is available on my website at: If you’re a coach who is sober and interested in becoming a Sobriety Coach, contact me for more information! 

Sobriety Success!

Being alcohol-free is the best decision I’ve ever made, and I can’t imagine my life otherwise. My mission as a sobriety coach is to help people reach new heights in their lives, in alignment with their Strengths and values, where alcohol is no longer part of their life’s equation. You too can feel liberated – not fixated on drinking – and I can help you get there.

Header image by MasterTux from Pixabay

Further Reading

How to take the CliftonStrengths® / StrengthsFinder® Assessment
Coaching Older Adults Towards Retirement
Coaching Refugees, Immigrants and Displaced People

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