Feel Lit Alcohol Free

Living Lit: Retreats, Connections, and Alcohol-Free Adventures/ EP 20

May 28, 2024 Susan Larkin & Ruby Williams Season 1 Episode 20
Living Lit: Retreats, Connections, and Alcohol-Free Adventures/ EP 20
Feel Lit Alcohol Free
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Feel Lit Alcohol Free
Living Lit: Retreats, Connections, and Alcohol-Free Adventures/ EP 20
May 28, 2024 Season 1 Episode 20
Susan Larkin & Ruby Williams

Send us a Text Message.

Welcome to the "Feel Lit Alcohol Free" podcast, where we shatter myths about alcohol and empower our listeners to live healthier, happier lives without it. In today's episode, we dive into a conversation with Isabel van Zuilen (Izzy), an expat from Amsterdam.   Izzy shares her inspiring journey to sobriety and her experience organizing refreshing alcohol-free retreats for women. She'll touch on the life-changing moments from her retreats that have proven that enjoying life without alcohol is not only possible but also incredibly fulfilling.

Join Coach Ruby Williams and Coach Susan Larkin as they discuss their experiences with non-alcoholic events and communities in San Francisco and Portland. They provide insight into the growth of alcohol-free activities and the importance of connection in recovery.

Also, don't miss Susan and Ruby's reflections on their own experiences at alcohol-free retreats, sharing their excitement and positive takeaways from these transformative events.

Plus, we have a special announcement about Izzy's upcoming retreats in Spain and the U.S., featuring unique experiences like Wim Hof workshops, chef-prepared meals, yoga, amazing connections and more! 

Guest Bio: Isabelle is an expat from Amsterdam, now living in San Francisco with her lovely husband and her awesome daughter, 2 cats, and a brand new puppy. She started her sober journey in May 2019. Izzy is the founder of Sobertopia Retreats.

Izzy's Retreat Website: Sobertopia  Sober Retreats!

Follow Sobertopia on Instagram

We want to hear from you! Leave a review on Apple Podcasts, and ask us any questions you have about breaking free from wine or living an alcohol-free lifestyle. Your question could be the highlight of a future episode!


Grab your copy of our FREE WineFree Weekend Guide to help you on your alcohol free journey. https://feellitpodcast.com/Guide


Find community and connection on the Feel Lit Alcohol Free Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/feellitalcoholfreepodcast

Websites:
Susan Larkin Coaching https://www.susanlarkincoaching.com/
Ruby Williams at Freedom Renegade Coaching https://www.freedomrenegadecoaching.com/

Follow Susan: @drinklesswithsusan
Follow Ruby: @rubywilliamscoaching

It is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice regarding your health before attempting to take a break from alcohol. The creators, hosts, and producers of the The Feel Lit Alcohol Free podcast are not healthcare practitioners and therefore do not give medical, or psychological advice nor do they intend for the podcast, any resource or communication on behalf of the podcast or otherwise to be a substitute for such.

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Welcome to the "Feel Lit Alcohol Free" podcast, where we shatter myths about alcohol and empower our listeners to live healthier, happier lives without it. In today's episode, we dive into a conversation with Isabel van Zuilen (Izzy), an expat from Amsterdam.   Izzy shares her inspiring journey to sobriety and her experience organizing refreshing alcohol-free retreats for women. She'll touch on the life-changing moments from her retreats that have proven that enjoying life without alcohol is not only possible but also incredibly fulfilling.

Join Coach Ruby Williams and Coach Susan Larkin as they discuss their experiences with non-alcoholic events and communities in San Francisco and Portland. They provide insight into the growth of alcohol-free activities and the importance of connection in recovery.

Also, don't miss Susan and Ruby's reflections on their own experiences at alcohol-free retreats, sharing their excitement and positive takeaways from these transformative events.

Plus, we have a special announcement about Izzy's upcoming retreats in Spain and the U.S., featuring unique experiences like Wim Hof workshops, chef-prepared meals, yoga, amazing connections and more! 

Guest Bio: Isabelle is an expat from Amsterdam, now living in San Francisco with her lovely husband and her awesome daughter, 2 cats, and a brand new puppy. She started her sober journey in May 2019. Izzy is the founder of Sobertopia Retreats.

Izzy's Retreat Website: Sobertopia  Sober Retreats!

Follow Sobertopia on Instagram

We want to hear from you! Leave a review on Apple Podcasts, and ask us any questions you have about breaking free from wine or living an alcohol-free lifestyle. Your question could be the highlight of a future episode!


Grab your copy of our FREE WineFree Weekend Guide to help you on your alcohol free journey. https://feellitpodcast.com/Guide


Find community and connection on the Feel Lit Alcohol Free Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/feellitalcoholfreepodcast

Websites:
Susan Larkin Coaching https://www.susanlarkincoaching.com/
Ruby Williams at Freedom Renegade Coaching https://www.freedomrenegadecoaching.com/

Follow Susan: @drinklesswithsusan
Follow Ruby: @rubywilliamscoaching

It is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice regarding your health before attempting to take a break from alcohol. The creators, hosts, and producers of the The Feel Lit Alcohol Free podcast are not healthcare practitioners and therefore do not give medical, or psychological advice nor do they intend for the podcast, any resource or communication on behalf of the podcast or otherwise to be a substitute for such.

Susan [00:00:37]:

Hey. Welcome back. We are so excited for the podcast today because we have this amazing guest, Isabelle Van Zwelen or Izzy. And I'm so excited she's here. So I'll introduce her and then tell you all how I met dear Izzy. So Isabelle is an expat from Amsterdam, now living in San Francisco with her lovely husband and her awesome daughter, 2 cats, and a brand new puppy who I've seen on Instagram. So cute. And she started her sober journey in May 2019, same as me, same as Ruby.


Susan [00:01:16]:

It was so cool. And that's when she dove into the world of sobriety, trying every NA bubbly there was and flying around the world to attend fun, sober events. And in 2021, Izzy started organizing sober retreats for women that don't need alcohol to have fun. Nice getaways where women can combine blissful time away in the sunshine with and meeting like minded women in a gorgeous alcohol free setting. And that is exactly where I met Izzy in the most gorgeous setting in the south of Spain. Tarifa, Spain is where I met Izzy. A friend, a coach friend of mine, Martha, asked me if I wanted to go on an alcohol free retreat in Spain, and that was so out of my comfort zone. I've really only traveled internationally a couple of times, not a lot.


Susan [00:02:15]:

And, and this idea of doing this by myself, going to Spain and going on this retreat. And then it turns out I had another sober friend, Angela, who lived in Spain or has a second home in Spain. So I went to visit her, and then she and I went to the retreat. And Izzy put on this amazing retreat in the most gorgeous, what is the name of that, home in Tarifa? 


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:02:42]:

Huerta Belinda.


Susan [00:02:43]:

Oh, Huerta Belinda. Yes. This gorgeous, like, compound. Like, this is something that could sleep so many people. It's like this compound, gorgeous Spanish tile. Oh my gosh. It was so gorgeous. Overlooking the Gibraltar Strait, overlooking Morocco.


Susan [00:02:59]:

You could see the Moroccan Islands. I mean, it was stunning, absolutely stunning. You felt so special being there. And then she just put on this amazing trip that just blew my mind, and it was a treat for myself for, after my, doing a year on the path and being alcohol free a year and also starting the coaching program to be a coach. So that was sort of how I was a coach at that time. I'd finished the coaching program in 2021 and was, and went on this retreat as sort of like a little celebration. So I just loved Izzy. And then you were in New York visiting, doing kind of your US tour, and we met up and went to that Roosevelt Island restaurant, rooftop restaurant, had such a good time.


Susan [00:03:44]:

Izzy is so amazing. She goes around just finding all the alcohol free places, where to find alcohol free beverages in any city that at least Izzy's been in. She has them all on her Instagram, which is at Sobertopia. Anyways, so Izzy, Izzy, so excited to have you here.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:04:05]:

So glad to be here.


Susan [00:04:06]:

Yeah. I'd love for you to say Welcome.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:04:10]:

Thank you.


Susan [00:04:10]:

Yeah. Let's talk about how you started all these alcohol free retreats and what you're up to. So let's start a little about your story because I know Ruby is dying to hear it.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:04:23]:

Yes. Well, where to start? I'll do it real short. I started when I was 15, like any other teenager, I think. Well, at least in Amsterdam, it was quite normal to go out on the weekends and drink a lot. And right from the start, I didn't have that stop button. Like, right from the start, it was clear that it wasn't really good for me, but I didn't notice. I didn't realize it until later. So I went back in my twenties and twenties, and then it was starting to become a little bit of a problem sometimes, like, doing things I regretted and blackouts.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:04:58]:

Kind of like depressive periods. I got a little bit, towards my mid twenties. So, I tried stopping drinking for a while. I went into, outpatient clinic once a week, chatting about my alcohol use, and then I had to write a diary. What would I drink and when and why? Fuck this. This is not for me. Oh, excuse my language. I'm going back to drinking.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:05:21]:

I'm still young. I can handle it. Anyway, continuous drinking, but just binge drinking. I was never, like, a day drinker or at home drinker. I never drank at home just when I was out and about with friends. But still binge drinking way too much on specific nights and waking up with a huge hangover and I got. But then around 34, I became a mom, and I was like, wow. This is really not working anymore.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:05:49]:

So after a while, I still kept doing it, binge drinking, but less often again. And then at some point, May 2019, I decided I woke up from another terrible hangover. It was literally like I went for lunch the day before with a friend, had one bottle of bubbles together, and picked up my daughter from school. It was the first time I drove while drunk. I never did that before. Then I dropped the car home after I picked my daughter up, went to the beach, met some other friends, more drinking. Then we went out for dinner, drink, drink, drink. And then after, I don't know, hours, it must have been 10 PM or something.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:06:27]:

Most of my friends said, oh, go home now, except me and one other friend who doesn't have a stopwatch. And so we said, no. Go gambling. So I went to the casino, probably lost. I don't remember. Drunk, smoking, the whole shebang. I was home at 4 AM completely wasted. Next day, I couldn't get out of bed.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:06:43]:

I was just, like, crawling to the toilet more or less. And I was like, I can't. I just have to stop. So I said to myself, I'm gonna give it one more shot myself to stop. I tried everything before. So I said, I'm just gonna give myself one. I can drink in airplanes and airports, but it's travel. And that's it.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:07:03]:

For the rest, nothing ever ever ever. And I thought if I can do this, it's fine. If I fail to do this, I have to get help. Like, I have to find professional help to get this sorted. So that was my last chance, and it works like magic. It was really nice. Airplanes and airports and other than that, I was just a non drinker. Parties, any I just not a drop outside the airplane or the airport.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:07:31]:

Wow. The reason is weird. Right? So the reason why I picked that was because it's not long stretches of drinking. I mean, how long can you be in an airplane? So how much can you drink?


Susan [00:07:42]:

So Right.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:07:43]:

Keep a lid on it. And the other thing is I did, I wanted to stop smoking because I have some health issues, that get worse with smoking. So I had to stop smoking, but I always smoke when I drink. And in an airplane, you can't smoke. So I thought, perfect. Yes. Cunning. Yes.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:08:00]:

Very


Ruby [00:08:00]:

strategic lever.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:08:03]:

I I thought about that for a while. Yeah. And then after two and a half years of doing that, one day, I flew back again from Amsterdam to Spain because I have family and friends in Amsterdam, and I lived in Spain at that time. So I flew back and forth quite a bit, and I was walking to my champagne bar at the Amsterdam airport for my champagne that I usually have before I go in the airplane. But I was like, this, I I don't want it. I don't feel like it. It's like every time if I drink on an airplane, I would land almost with a hangover already because I'm actually not used to booze anymore. And it was just horrible.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:08:41]:

So I was like, no. Fuck it. I'm gonna go to Starbucks. I had coffee instead, and I never drank again after that. So this was amazing.


Ruby [00:08:49]:

I love this story. Yay. I know.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:08:54]:

Woo hoo. So that was a bit about my story. Yeah.


Susan [00:09:00]:

Yeah. I love that. I wonder about the psychology about always keeping that one tiny out, like you said, that you could drink in airports and on airplanes, like, helped with just that relief of feeling like this is forever or I don't know. What do you think that had something to do with it? Like


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:09:18]:

Yeah. For me, I just needed this. I could not be a happy non drinker if I wouldn't have that one ounce because I saw myself as a non drinker. Just on airplanes, I was a drinker. But I felt, like, sober almost. You know what I mean? Like, yeah. I just needed that out. If you tell me never again, then I would go like, oh, I wouldn't.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:09:37]:

So I don't know. And then it just fizzled out and beat for drinking. Like


Susan [00:09:42]:

Naturally. Yeah. Yeah. Well, because you start to feel so good when you don't drink. And then you realize what Yeah. I don't know, the few times you drink, you feel bad. So, finally, your brain just gets a clue. Right? Like, why am I doing this? So amazing.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:09:57]:

Why? Exactly. Yes.


Susan [00:09:59]:

And speaking of bubbly


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:10:01]:

And then


Susan [00:10:02]:

oh, I want to highlight that you made your own because you love bubbly and that actually was one of the things you did was create your own bubbly. Alcohol free bubbles. Right?


Ruby [00:10:14]:

Yes. Yes. Wow.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:10:15]:

Same year. Yeah. Or maybe a year later. Yes. I started so because I lived in Spain and we have all these vineyards there. So one of them also offers nonalcoholic bubbly. And I made my own label on it. It was super tasty.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:10:32]:

Yes. And I kind of wanted to start importing it in America, but it's too much hassle. It's like you have to do a whole company and taxes and import duties. So I stopped doing that since I moved to San Francisco, but I loved it. Yes. Because I'm obsessed with pink bubbles. Like, oh my god. But there's so many nice ones nowadays.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:10:49]:

Like, you know? Yeah. Well, you know that. Yes. My face.


Susan [00:10:52]:

Is that your favorite? Amazing. Yeah. We should do a whole, we should do a bubble rundown. One of my favorites. Yeah. At the end. Let's do that. Yeah.


Susan [00:11:00]:

Because people really just wanna know, like, the best bubbles, I think. Yeah. But yours were so good. We drank them a lot. Remember how many cases we went through at that retreat?


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:11:11]:

Yes. I think we were like, wow.


Susan [00:11:13]:

You guys can really put it away.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:11:14]:

Ladies, I think we were. Yes. Because you were at my first ever retreat, so I had no idea how much to bring. So I brought Lowe's, but we had enough. But it was like how many did I bring? Like, 30 bottles or something with, like, 10 ladies in, like, 4 days?


Susan [00:11:27]:

Yeah. We It was alcohol free.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:11:29]:

What are you gonna do?


Susan [00:11:30]:

I said, it was so amazing to arrive at this gorgeous place and then have these bubbles served to us and just yes. It was so wonderful. So tell me, it's so tell me a little bit about what you're doing right now. Like, yeah. Yes.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:11:48]:

Well, I, so in 2019, I stopped drinking. I was still living in Spain by then. And I started a blog about my non alcohol or my alcohol free lifestyle, but nobody was visiting it obviously because nobody knew about it. So I was googling how to get people to my blog. And then it says social media is free and blah blah blah. So I was like, I didn't like social media at all. I wasn't on Facebook or I was on nothing. I couldn't find the laptop on Google.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:12:15]:

But then I thought, okay. Let's give it a shot. So I started an Instagram account in 2019, and from the start, I kind of really liked it because, oh my god, the people I met there, the community on Instagram is just, like, so loving and amazing. And so, yeah, I actually made a lot of friends in real life because of Instagram. Like, I met people because I love to go to all free events around the world. Yeah. So I love stats. And then, from that came at some point, I started doing the retreats Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:12:45]:

In 2021 Yeah. Which I also yeah. Because I was like, this is really nice meeting all these people online, but I wanna meet people in real life as well. So I would kind of like to start doing what I would like to visit myself. Like, I would like it to be a luxury. I like people cooking for me, giving me drinks, lying at the pool, but also meeting other alcohol free ladies. So it's like, I'm just creating my own paradise, kind of. So I rented a nice house, a chef, to do all of the things, and then I thought, I'll just do it myself.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:13:18]:

Yeah. Sorry. I need some water.


Susan [00:13:19]:

Sip. Yes. So, I mean, this just blows my mind because I don't feel like I am a party planner or anything, like, I would be so stressed out. But you also just were such a gracious host, but also so go with the flow. I mean, this retreat was I've never been a number on, like, a women's retreat like this before.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:13:38]:

It was


Susan [00:13:38]:

so, luxurious with you had a retreat you're having in Sam in the San Francisco Bay Area in September. So we'll talk about that more later. So you had a great personal trainer. You had this amazing yoga teacher. Like, she was amazing. Like, we did the thing where you hang upside down and, like, she was and they had a whole yoga room. Are you gonna say it?


Ruby [00:14:10]:

Do you swallow it backwards?


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:14:11]:

Yeah. I just did a long walk. No. I had a long walk, and I'm still right out of home.


Susan [00:14:16]:

And it had a gorgeous pool, and it had a massage that was, you know, we could get the massages.


Ruby [00:14:21]:

Oh my gosh. I mean and


Susan [00:14:23]:

then the chef was, veg was it vegan? It was oh, Bethany was amazing.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:14:29]:

It was vegetarian. Yeah.


Susan [00:14:31]:

The food was so


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:14:32]:

good. Good. Yeah. Yeah. That was so nice. It was such a nice first retreat with all you ladies coming from the u for the UK. Yeah. All the way from the US.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:14:39]:

And there were people from the UK and from Amsterdam, and they were, like, really nice


Susan [00:14:43]:

It was. It was really amazing to me. And just yeah. We all clicked. We had such a good time. And it was so it was truly relaxing. And just it really did feel so, so special and amazing.


Susan [00:14:59]:

It was so amazing. It was so special.


Ruby [00:15:03]:

I am loving this. I can't wait to go on one of your retreats, Izzy. Now I'm super excited.


Susan [00:15:09]:

Yeah. So Ruby is close. You know, she's right in, she's in the Napa area.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:15:15]:

Where are you?


Susan [00:15:15]:

Sonoma area.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:15:17]:

Oh, that's super cool.


Ruby [00:15:19]:

I live an hour away from San Francisco. Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:15:23]:

Oh my god. That's amazing. Have you always lived there? Is that where you're from?


Ruby [00:15:27]:

I was born and raised here. Yeah.


Susan [00:15:30]:

Yeah. Nice. So tell us now what you're doing. I know you haven't, you're having another retreat in Spain as well, but, and now you're doing them in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:15:42]:

Well, yeah. Close. In, California, but a bit, mid mid


Susan [00:15:46]:

Okay.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:15:47]:

Pacific coast, mid it's like in Santa Margarita, which is near the


Susan [00:15:51]:

San Luis Obispo. Yeah. Oh, slow. Yeah. That's where my Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:15:55]:

That one.


Susan [00:15:55]:

Yes. My cousin's daughter went to school. Yeah. Beautiful area.


Ruby [00:15:58]:

Yeah. Oh, really?


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:16:00]:

It's beautiful there. Yeah. So I rented this, this beautiful retreat house with acres of beautiful land around it. I spoke to my Wim Hof instructor yesterday. She's an amazing lady who's gonna do the Wim Hof workshop. The chef is amazing because I went there on a retreat to test the waters, and it's just beautiful food. Yoga. There will be for the brave people among us, there will be a zipline adventure.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:16:27]:

But that's really high. So I'm not sure if I will go myself, but I'm gonna offer it. And, yeah, just all kinds of stuff to see. Oh, and Luke is coming for the daily


Susan [00:16:35]:

work hours. He's lovely. He's so sweet. Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:16:37]:

It's gonna be exciting.


Susan [00:16:39]:

Oh, the Wim Hof. That's what I forgot about. There was also the Wim Hof work at this retreat, which is the first time I've ever experienced it.


Ruby [00:16:46]:

It's not


Susan [00:16:46]:

just the ice bath. It's the whole thing beforehand, the breathing technique and, like, woah. Mem there was such amazing experiences where people were just like really, I think shedding, like crying and shedding some trauma that had been stored in their bodies through that, I think. And then we did the ice bath, which, Ruby does, cold water plunges in the ocean every week. Oh, isn't that cool? That's so exciting. Every week.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:17:16]:

I'm doing the first one next week with a group of ladies here. Have fun.


Ruby [00:17:20]:

Yeah. I've been doing it with sober women for about 3 years now. Every week, we


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:17:26]:

Yeah.


Ruby [00:17:26]:

Jump in. Yeah. Up here in Bodega Bay.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:17:30]:

Oh, I wish I wasn't a bit closer than I would, George.


Susan [00:17:32]:

And I just live in Connecticut. Yes.


Ruby [00:17:34]:

You'll have to one day.


Susan [00:17:35]:

So I don't take a cold plunge. I just come down to my basement and freeze my butt off down here. It's cold every time I get out of the shower because we keep our house at, like, 65 because it's too expensive to do this. 


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:17:50]:

I bet. I bought an ice bath. Well, I asked for it for Christmas. Yeah. So for a fun punch at home, I haven't opened the box yet.


Ruby [00:18:00]:

You sound like me.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:18:00]:

I'm late. But next, I forgot to tell you. I also started doing walks around the Golden Gate Bridge with some ladies here.


Susan [00:18:11]:

I would love to. Ruby's gonna join you. She said she's gonna come and join you some Friday. So I think that'd be awesome.


Ruby [00:18:15]:

I want to join you.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:18:16]:

Yeah. I would love that. Or maybe I can combine one day's walk with a cold water dip in San Francisco. So you can do that


Ruby [00:18:23]:

Yes, please. Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:18:25]:

That would be nice. So, yeah, I look forward to that. Next week is the first cold plunge with that.


Susan [00:18:30]:

So tell me, I mean, How you just are such a gatherer. Everywhere you go, you're a gatherer. Like, you moved to San Francisco, and now you're just like, how do you do this? What do you do? 


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:18:41]:

I don't know. When I go I visit, like, all the nonalcoholic places like Ocean Beach Cafe and Boisson when it was still open. Unfortunately, it closed down. Then the new bar is opening, a new alcohol free space on 4th. I'm not allowed to say it one day. Soon. So, yeah, that's all. I go there.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:18:59]:

I go to sober events. And then on Instagram, I'm still quite active. So, you know, the best because I'm new in the city, so it's nice to meet new people. So I thought I'm just gonna organize walks and then see who shows up. So I started doing that, and then the first time the first two times, actually, I made it like an Instagram ad. So actually people will see it. You know? People that I don't know yet because otherwise, they won't find me. So yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:19:23]:

And then the last two times, I've just did naturally on Instagram and yeah. It's not like a whole lot of people. I mean, one time there were 4 people, 7 people, 3 people. So it's super nice to just meet new ladies and, yeah, I'm trying to make a WhatsApp group with everybody that has been on a walk. So we have a little tiny community there. So I guess that's where it starts now.


Susan [00:19:43]:

Just start by getting out there. I'm just amazed that, you know, just that you just do it. Like, I remember meeting you. You're just like, yeah. We were, you know, I'm all like, oh, I don't wanna we're at that rooftop restaurant in New York, you know, and I'm like, oh, I'll just get what's on the menu. And you're looking at the mocktails on the menu going, these are lousy. I'm gonna go up and talk to the bartender and get us, and then she made us these amazing mocktails. And they were so good.


Susan [00:20:10]:

I would just be like, no. I'm all timid. And you're like, no. We want to get what we want.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:20:14]:

You know? This is shit. 


Susan [00:20:17]:

I was like, these are lame. Yeah. 


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:20:21]:

And then the one she made was so good.


Susan [00:20:22]:

I know. I remember our waitress was so awful. She kept looking down her nose at us. Yeah. That was just so weird. Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:20:30]:

Oh, no.


Susan [00:20:30]:

It's so much fun.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:20:31]:

She should not


Susan [00:20:32]:

be coming


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:20:32]:

there. Yeah.


Susan [00:20:33]:

You just


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:20:34]:

Oh, we visited we visited


Susan [00:20:36]:

West Elm together. New York.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:20:38]:

New York. Yeah. Pizza shop and


Susan [00:20:39]:

did some tasting. And I know I'm sad that they're closing their storefronts. It's hard to have a a brick and mortar business these days. So I know they're still online, which is great. But, so


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:20:53]:

Yeah. Yeah. I think they expanded too quickly. No? I mean, they opened, like, boom, like, 5 in New York within a year and a half. So it's just this I was wondering already, like, wow. They go really fast.


Susan [00:21:03]:

Yeah. It sounds like San Francisco is quite the hub for alcohol free because there's the Ocean Beach Cafe, and then you said the new bar, which I've seen you, seen on your


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:21:21]:

Yeah. Well,


Ruby [00:21:22]:

Have you met Josh James from the Ocean Beach Cafe? I mean, I've met him and talked quite a bit with him about his, like, passion. He wants to have every restaurant in San Francisco have alcohol free drinks available. And Ocean Beach, it’s so fun to go there because I tried, like, 3 different mocktails, and I just tried a whole bunch of different things because it's got all kinds and a huge variety of alcohol free beverages I've ever found. So I don't know. If you're ever in San Francisco, go to Ocean Beach.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:22:01]:

Yeah. Totally. He has a great selection. And he's such a great guy, isn't he? I really had a good laugh. I organized, like, a cocktail mix, a non alcoholic mixology workshop at his place. And then he was the man who was doing it all. And it was so fun with a couple of other people in San Francisco. That was really nice.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:22:19]:

He's so good


Ruby [00:22:20]:

about that.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:22:20]:

He's like a he's like a, yeah, cool


Ruby [00:22:22]:

guy. Yes. Yes. He's very cool. He's like a surfer dude. Right? 


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:22:28]:

Yeah. Sounds amazing. 


Susan [00:22:29]:

That is so great.


Susan [00:22:30]:

Well, you're just such a mover and shaker and organizer. That's just like, I mean, you just moved somewhere and, like, I need friends, so I'm just gonna put it on on Instagram to come do these walks and I'm gonna organize an alcohol free mixology class. Oh, yeah. That's just and so are all the women that meet to go on the walk and, the Golden Gate Bridge Walk, are they all alcohol free? Sober women? That's awesome.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:22:57]:

Yeah. Yeah. Sober women. It was so curious more than anything else, but most of them are just, well, a lot of them are newly sober, which is really fun because there's so much to talk about in the beginning of that.


Susan [00:23:07]:

That's so awesome. And you feel so alone and kind of left out of social situations. So organizing something like this for newly sober people or just for sober people and just having it out there, like, again, I I think, you know, normalize not drinking. Normalize a sober alcohol free lifestyle that is totally normal. And there's cool people. In fact, the coolest, don't you think?


Ruby [00:23:33]:

We're the coolest. We're back.


Susan [00:23:36]:

But I'm having this amazing life, alcohol free, and then what a wonderful service, honestly. Like, that's how it goes. Like, when you need something and you put it out there in the world, of course, other people need it too. And then, I mean, it just starts this movement, you know, of gathering sober women together to chat and talk and support. So great. Because what they say, the opposite of addiction is connection.


Ruby [00:24:04]:

Yeah. Connection.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:24:06]:

Yes. That's so true. So true. I wanna make a page on my blog about all the places because there's quite a lot of communities, non alcoholic communities, I think, in San Francisco. So all the places where you can buy stuff and all the community. I think there's 1 or 2 other ladies that organize lots of events and activities around here. And of course, there's Phoenix, the


Ruby [00:24:26]:

Oh, yeah.


Susan [00:24:27]:

Phoenix. The ex group.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:24:29]:

Oh, right. License. Lots, lots of fun stuff as well. There's so much. So I think I wanna make an overview. Yeah. I'm just all over the place because now I'm like because in Spain, there wasn't a lot going on. So I I went to all the events worldwide just to get my


Ruby [00:24:43]:

Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:24:43]:

Kickoff sober. But now here, so much is happening. So I kind of wanna make an overview of what's going on.


Susan [00:24:49]:

No. I think that's great.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:24:51]:

So many plans to make it more normal.


Susan [00:24:54]:

Because, like, I didn't know about all that. You know? I don't know if Ruby knew about how much was going on in San Francisco. Yeah.


Ruby [00:25:01]:

I did not know all of that. I mean, I've been to a few Sam's Bar events. But Oh, yeah. Are they also in San Francisco? I wasn't sure. But I went to, like, Portland, Oregon, and yeah. Afternoon, I was stuck


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:25:14]:

on the spot.


Susan [00:25:15]:

0 proof. The 0 proof.


Ruby [00:25:16]:

Not yet. Oh, but I heard about it. I heard about it. Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:25:19]:

Yeah. That's also a really nice place. What are they called again? But anyway, you know what I mean. Right? I went there. One time on the rooftop. And Chris was there from Samba and the guy from Bizzer was there. Ian, it was a really nice panel talking. There's a lot of stuff going on.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:25:37]:

And in Portland, how was it there?


Ruby [00:25:39]:

It was super fun. Yeah. I actually was at Laura McCown's Push Off From Here book tour. That's what we ended up doing there, but it was, like, maybe a couple 100 sober women and men. And there was, like, an NA bar where you could get mocktails, and she had all different kinds of drinks available. It was really fun.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:26:00]:

Yeah. Oh, cool. I would love that. I would have loved to be there. Sounds good.


Susan [00:26:05]:

Well, I think for me, if I don't it was very special, but it also just was a great reminder when I went to your retreat, of what amazing time you can have without alcohol. Like, it was just the best and alcohol was not required at all. And I think it's helpful for people maybe even in early sobriety to have this kind of experience because it just really solidifies. Like, personal, you know, body experiential knowledge of this, and then you can take that with you, you know, out into the real world and maybe on a vacation, but also going, I know I can go away for a 3 or 5 3 to 5 day vacation and have an amazing time without alcohol, so why can't I do that over here even though everyone else is drinking? I know I don't need to do that. So I think it's just such a great opportunity for women and then the connections are so amazing. And have you had people who came who didn't know anybody, like, just came by themselves?


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:27:07]:

Yes. Almost everybody comes, by themselves. I think 95% of my guests, they all travel solo. Yes. Yeah. And that's the nice thing because, not all of them, but most of them don't know anybody in their normal life that doesn't drink. So it's like, oh my god. There's other normal people that are actually enjoying their life so much and they don't drink.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:27:27]:

What? So it's really nice to bring them together. And I find it, like, on retreats or, because there's so much time, you know, to connect properly that people open up so quickly, and then you get to such a deep meaningful conversation so much quicker than if you go for coffee or something, obviously, because you have so much time together. Also, I started doing as well with them. It's just like, it just brings up interesting conversations. Yes. It's so beautiful to see how people kind of grow into their happiness and they're, like how they I don't know. They kind of, like Blast them. Pop open.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:28:04]:

Like, I don't know. It's just They're lit. Eyes. Yes.


Ruby [00:28:06]:

They're lit. They're lit.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:28:08]:

They're lit. They're lit.


Ruby [00:28:08]:

They feel lit. Yeah. Okay. 


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:28:12]:

I was gonna wear my sweater with littleness. I forgot.


Ruby [00:28:15]:

Yeah. 


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:28:17]:

I was too hot anyway today, but it says “Lit”.


Ruby [00:28:22]:

I got mine on.


Susan [00:28:23]:

We’ve got t-shirts. Yeah. So, at the time of the podcast where we always ask our guests, what are you doing today or in your life to feel lit? What are the things that you do to feel lit?


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:28:41]:

Oh. Oh my gosh. Okay. Okay. Oh, I didn't prepare this one. Let's have a think. I get really happy like, for instance, my dad passed away last month, which I must go talk about because I might start crying. But, so that's very short time ago.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:29:00]:

So it's pretty, I still have kind of a hard time with that. But then this morning, I had this walk organized, and I was like, I didn't really feel like going because meeting new people, you know, and it's just I love it, but I have to be in the head space for it. But I went anyway. I was gonna cancel it last minute. But it was amazing. Like, it was so nice. I had such lovely chats, and when I came back, I was so much happier and, like, more so sometimes when I'm a bit sad, I kind of withdraw from life and I just stay at my house with my beautiful family and don't see anybody else outside the house. So this kind of thing gets me out and makes me feel good and happy again.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:29:38]:

So yeah. Connecting with new people makes me very happy. But also other normal things like going, walking with my puppy makes me super happy nowadays. And, playing piano tennis with my husband and going shopping with my daughter. I mean, there's so many normal things that make me super happy nowadays. Like, it's just easy because I'm in such a better headspace than living through all the hangovers and getting depressed again because of some drinking and going feeling better again and then drinking again. Now it's just very nice and, of course, it's like my dad's happening and stuff, but I feel so much more able to cope with my feelings and emotions. And, I never felt this good after such a horrible thing if I would have been drinking for sure.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:30:24]:

So I don't know. I'm just


Susan [00:30:26]:

Yes. You are. You are. That's what I said to Ruby. When we started this podcast, I said, I know the person that I wanna invite is a guest because she is the embodiment of living a lit lifestyle alcohol free. Absolutely. Didn't I say that, Ruby?


Ruby [00:30:39]:

You say those words. I really relate to this. I just do it because the little things, right, the little things can be what really make you feel lit, feel really good, like just walking with your dog. And I think the theme of this episode is going to be meeting sober communities and meeting new people and how that can just make you feel lit. Right? I love this. Yeah. 


Susan [00:31:08]:

So awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story and just sharing your Thank you so much. Lit energy with us. And, if people wanna find you on Instagram, it's at sobertopia. And, when is your next retreat? Do you still have availability in the,


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:31:29]:

yeah. Yes. I have 2 2 retreats this year. 1 is in June in Spain, but that's fully booked. And then I have one in September, my first ever one in the US, which is the 5th on 9th September this year. I just opened up for registration so all the perfect rooms are still available. So dive in now if you wanna book something. Yeah.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:31:51]:

Ready to rock and roll. I just put all the dust on the ice. Yes. I think you say. Right? So I found all my people, my yoga teacher, my boot camp man. So, yeah, I'm ready to go.


Susan [00:32:02]:

And you're gonna do Wim Hof at this retreat as well if people want to do it. It's such an amazing experience. Like, it is really, you put together a really, really special retreat. So I hope that some people listening will join you because they can go by themselves.


Susan [00:32:19]:

Go out of their comfort zone like I did. Yeah. It's always outside of my comfort zone for me to fly to Spain by myself, like, woah, and wander around and, you know Yeah. Go wandering around these airports not speaking the language and stuff. But it was so good, though. It's so good. And then you meet amazing people, you know.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:32:38]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No. It's totally cool to go by yourself. That's Yeah.


Susan [00:32:42]:

It is. It really is. It and then you


Ruby [00:32:45]:

Very cool.


Susan [00:32:45]:

Feeling like such a badass. Right? Alright. Well, thanks again. And we're gonna put all the ways that you can connect with Izzy in the show notes and or reach out to one of us, and we will put you in touch if you are interested in any of Izzy's retreats. And we will talk to you soon. Bye.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:33:04]:

Thank you so much. Bye. See


Ruby [00:33:05]:

you later. Thank you. Thank you. Bye.


Izzy (Isabel van Zuilen) [00:33:07]:

Have a nice day.


Ruby [00:33:08]:

Thanks so much for listening to the Feel Lit Alcohol Free Podcast. Do you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show?


Susan [00:33:14]:

All you need to do is head over to Apple Podcasts and do 2 simple things. Leave a rating and review telling us what you think of the show. And in that review, ask us any questions you have about breaking free from wine or living an alcohol free lifestyle. That's it. Then tune in


Ruby [00:33:32]:

to hear your question answered live. Don't forget to grab your copy of a wine free weekend at www.feelitpodcastdot


Susan [00:33:41]:

com. And remember, do something today that will help you feel lit. See you next time.