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Finding Self-Forgiveness in a Sober Life with Laura McKowen (ep. 232)

Laura McKowen

As one of the foremost voices in the modern recovery movement, Laura McKowen candidly shares her journey to self-forgiveness with John O’Leary on the Live Inspired Podcast.

Is this good enough for me to stay the same?

This is the life-saving question Laura McKowen, author of We Are the Luckiest + one of the foremost voices in the modern recovery movement, asked herself.

From a horrific DWI to the painful incident that left her 4-year-old daughter in danger, Laura shares her personal journey in choosing sobriety with the utmost vulnerability + candor.

But this is more than just one person’s journey of using addiction as an invitation to living more intentionally. Today’s powerful and thought-provoking conversation will inspire you to practice self-forgiveness and free yourself of shame and guilt.

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  • Writing a letter to “2012 Laura”: Laura started blogging about her journey to sobriety, not for others but to heal herself.
  • During her college going-away party, Laura recalls freely drink around her family and how the buzz finally allowed her to cope with the struggles she was facing.
  • Laura would chase opportunities and social situations to drink and even gravitated towards a career in the booze-laden advertising industry.
  • While not always problematic, drinking allowed Laura be free and get the love + attention she wanted.
  • The wake-up call: It wasn’t after a horrific DWI, but when Laura left her 4-year-old daughter alone in a hotel room overnight that Laura knew she had to make a change.
  • The natural question with alcohol addiction is “Is this bad enough that I have to change?” but Laura feels the question should be “Is this good enough for me to stay the same?”, followed by “Are you free?”
  • “My worst nightmares happened and I created them.” Laura shares how she’s been able to move past shame + guilt towards mercy.
  • Our pain, obstacles, and struggles are invitations to a bigger life.
  • If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. – Gospel of Thomas
  • Be honest: Laura encourages those struggling with addiction to share their struggle with another person.
  • Get Laura McKowen’s We Are the Luckiest here.

If you found today’s episode inspiring, you’ll enjoy my conversation with Fr. Tom Hoar. On Live Inspired Podcast ep. 134, Fr. Tom shares his own stories of redemption + healing – including his own – through the poignant question “have you had enough?”


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? Playfulness.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? A painting from my late-grandma.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Poet Mary Oliver. She was the master of paying attention and exquisite way of turning the very mundane into the profound. Her poems have saved my life.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?  It’s okay to practice. You’re not performing all the time.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? My instinct is to say, “you don’t need to drink” but I’m so grateful I went down the path I did. I’d tell her “you’re going to be loved.”

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? Less me. More God.


Pre-order your copy of IN AWE today to receive access to fun, interactive bonus features emailed to you in the lead-up to the book’s release! Visit ReadInAwe.com. 


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