“Every word or message can send a message. It tells children (us) – how to think about themselves (ourselves.) It can be a fixed-mindset message that says: You have permanent traits, and I’m judging them. Or it can be a growth mindset message that says: You are a developing person, and I am committed to your development.” – Mindset, Carol Dweck

This doesn’t just apply to childhood, our parents, teachers, and coaches. This applies to our inner dialogue, spouses, friends, siblings, and social media connections. Criticism is sticky, and the filter we receive it through matters greatly.

Growing up, I was told on repeat: You are worthless, you’ll be just like your mother welfare and hopeless, and as I developed defiance, I was called a bitch on the regular.

The bitch would carry me through my 20’s and into my 30’s with a beer in hand. Until I was nearly destroyed by anger, hatred, and bitterness.


In my mid-thirties, I stripped down and stopped opting out with alcohol.

Who am I really? And piece by piece, I started rebuilding by what mattered to me most. I dreamt of who I wanted to be. What would she do? How would she spend her day? How would she feel? What would her friends be like? And so on.


When I first landed in AA, I accepted my new self. This is who I am now. I go to meetings regularly, speak the language, accept the label of alcoholic, hang with people like me, read the Big Book, work the twelve steps, and believe that I have an incurable disease that’s trying to kill me, I am powerless, I will have to fight this for the rest of my life. My new identity was all wrapped up. Until…

Around six months, I started feeling trapped, hopeless, and helpless. I recognized those feelings were the same as those I treated with alcohol.

What is causing these feelings? What can I do to change these feelings?

The clearer my mind became, the more curious I was about the possibilities. But this fixed idea of who I was and what I should do based on my newly assumed identity made me feel stuck.

Is this as good as it gets?


I took a risk and ventured out into the wilderness without a leash and found I could navigate the wild and did not need the safety of the traditional path to survive. I know I would have gotten drunk again, feeling stuck in captivity. It’s been over eighteen years now.

What I needed was the ability to explore and experience life without the supposed to’s to learn that I can love and trust myself.


It’s easy to fall into the trap of shaping ourselves into what the world (family, friends, and our community) expects. I found myself back in a place of confusion and emptiness. My days were lifeless, and my work had become tedious. I accepted some labels that I was always aware of and tried to conform to – trailblazer, rebel, defiant. Just to name a few.

Who was the woman looking back at me in the mirror? Even though I had no interest in drinking, I had developed distracting behaviors to avoid what I knew in my heart to be true. I had been trying to fit a mold that wasn’t an accurate representation of all I am. I had become a performer and to avoid the pain of acting as if, I would lose myself in screen time and snacks.


I needed to return to self.

But how do you change what you accepted and everybody else believes to be true?

How do you stop being who you spent years confirming?

Once again, I came to a screeching halt. I let go of all the shoulds, supposed to’s, and ought to’s. I knew if I wanted to expand into my potential and feel the freedom to thrive, I would need to make choices according to my ideals, needs, wants, and values. I would have to start from the basics. Who am I, and who do I want to be?

By focusing on who I wanted to be and how she would live, create, and experience life, I lost over sixty pounds and relaunched my coaching practice in August 2021. Pink Cloud Coaching now operates from how I want to serve and connect, instead of a marketing strategy or how to become a personality that can scale.

What I really want is for women to experience the freedom to simply be their most natural and effortless selves so they can embrace all the gifts of their one and only precious life. That’s it! It’s not about the alcohol. It’s never been about the alcohol. It’s about the woman as a whole – mind, body, and spirit.


I am a developing person and committed to my development. What about you?

I know it’s hard to break a mold that you helped make. I know it’s hard even to imagine pulling what feels like the sheet of an etch a sketch and starting over. But this is your life, my friend. You deserve to live a life you love and become the woman of your dreams. She’s in there. Go get her!

Want some help? I would love to talk with you about what that would look like. I’m just a click away. You can either schedule a free consultation or shoot me an email.

THIS is your sign <3

Much love,

Teresa Rodden Coach Author Advocate Sober Freedom

Teresa Rodden