Meet Emily


Emily Lynn Paulson is the author of Highlight Real: Finding Honesty & Recovery Beyond the Filtered Life. Emily is a writer, speaker, certified professional recovery coach, She Recovers Designated Coach, This Naked Mind Institute Trainee, and a member of the long-term recovery community. Formally trained as a chemist and a teacher, she rose to success in the top tiers of a skincare company, where she gained her voice and a platform for sobriety and healing.   Sober since January 2, 2017, her recovery path is focused on ruthless honesty, grace, and self love. She is passionate about connecting women with resources for recovery from trauma, eating disorders, and substance abuse, and believes that sharing our truth with each other is the best resource of all. Emily lives in Seattle with her husband and their five children.  

About me, in 20 questions

The most common questions I'm asked


1. How long have you been sober? 

3.5 years.

2. What did you do before this?

If you mean, what did I do for work before becoming a writer, speaker, and a recovery coach, I was a skincare consultant. And before that, I ran an ETSY business out of my home when my littles were littler. Before that, I was a Chemistry teacher, before that, a Chemist. Other interesting occupation fact: I ran a wedding cake business when I was in grad school (I even made my own wedding cake). 

3.  Will you ever drink again?

I drink all the time! One can't live without fluids! Oh, you mean alcohol? Not a chance.

4. Why?

It was no longer serving me, in fact, it was killing me! You can read my book to find out more!

5. How long have you been married?

Over 15 years

6.  Do you really have five kids? 

Yep, really. And no, none of them are twins, yes, they are all mine, and yes they have the same father...the same guy I've been married to for over 15 years!

7. What do you do for fun if you don't drink alcohol? 

Everything.  Alcohol is literally not required for in order to have fun or enjoy life in any way.  But if you want more specific examples, I love spending time with friends and family, going to movies (popcorn!), traveling, getting massages, taking baths, playing board games, drinking coffee, shopping, running, eating dessert, biking, going to the beach, reading, and writing, among many other things!  I've even gone wine tasting, which seems counterintuitive because I didn't taste any wine, but I enjoyed the company of friends and ate ALL the snacks. 

8. Does your husband still drink?

Yep, occasionally. He doesn't drink when we are out together, and he may have a beer when friends come over, or he may not. He can take it or leave it.

9. Will you ever have a sip?

Nope. Still nope. Not on a plane, not in a train, not in a house, not with a mouse.

10. Do you work a 12-step program?

I attend AA, and I also utilize SHE RECOVERS, see a therapist regularly, and practice meditation, write in a journal, etc. I support multiple pathways to recovery, and recognize that everyone has a different path. 

11. Do you take medication?

I assume you mean medication for mental health, and the answer is yes. I have taken medication on and off for years, though I was able to decrease the amount I take thanks to TMS therapy (another thing you can read about in my book). I also take thyroid medication, vitamin D, probiotics, and multi-vitamins, if you're interested! I consider those no different than any mental health support medication. 

12. I heard if you are on medication you can't be considered sober. 

Yeah I think that's stupid and I don't agree. 

13. Are you done having kids?

Yep. Our family is complete. 

14. Are you going to write another book?

Maybe! Let me know what you'd like me to write by contacting me here!

15. Who are your favorite authors.

So many to name! Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed, Glennon Doyle, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sarah Hepola, Lisa Smith, Anna David, Erica Spiegelman, Ann Dowsett Johnson, Anne Lamott, Lisa Boucher, Kristi Coulter....

16. Can you help me get sober?

Maybe! Check out my Recovery Coaching services page! You can also download my free 10 day journal. I personally believe that sobriety is possible for anyone, and beneficial to everyone. 

17. Are you a prohibitionist?

Nope!  Alcohol is legal for adults and I have no reason to believe that will ever change, nor do I think it needs to! However, it is a drug, and it has risks, so we need to be more educated about the real dangers of it, and the impact it has on our kids. I think most people could stand to drink less, but I'm not interested in leading the charge to rid everyone's houses of alcohol.

18. What's your favorite mocktail?

I'm a sparkling water lover! You will always find me with a can of seltzer in my purse, and usually several empty cans fall out of my car door when I open it. I like the occasional Diet Coke, especially with popcorn at a movie. 

Yeah, I know they are terrible for you, but you can't get a DUI for drinking too much Diet Coke! Now that I've been in the sobriety space for awhile, I've tried many fun NA beverages! If you have any recommendations, I'm always interested in hearing about them!

19. Am I an alcoholic?

No idea. I asked myself that question for YEARS. There are plenty of quizzes and assessments out there that you can take, but, my question for you is, does it matter? Ask yourself if alcohol is serving you (probably isn't) and if you feel better without it (you probably do) and then decide what to do from there. Don't get so hung up on labels.

20. I have more questions, where can I find you?

The best place to contact me is here. I can't respond to every message, but I do read all of them. If you need help with sobriety, check out my resources page!

© 2020 by Emily Lynn Paulson

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