Marci Rossi On How to Begin, Navigate, & Sustain Sobriety

An Interview With Wanda Malhotra

Wanda Malhotra
Authority Magazine
14 min readFeb 9, 2024


Identify who you can lean on for support. This might be partnering up with a friend who’s deciding to do this with you, hiring a coach, or even joining an online community you can turn to when you’re struggling or in a moment of despair. Being able to turn to someone who has your back or has been where you are can help steer you back onto your desired path.

In a world where the journey towards sobriety is often challenging and deeply personal, understanding the pathways and strategies for achieving and maintaining sobriety is crucial. This series aims to provide insight, encouragement, and practical advice for those who are on the road to recovery, as well as for their loved ones and support networks. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Marci Rossi.

Marci Rossi is a certified success coach who helps people redefine their relationship with alcohol. Once a near-daily drinker, Marci has completely reframed her perspective on alcohol so that she no longer desires it, and now she helps others do the same. She is passionate about continually learning and improving so that her clients get the best results. To learn more about Marci and how she might be able to help, visit

Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

My path was definitely filled with a lot of twists and turns, but it all started when I was 16 years old, which is when I first started drinking. My friends and I would sneak alcohol from our parents’ liquor cabinet; I was the good kid, a straight-A student who never got in trouble, so I guess this was my way to rebel. My alcohol use really took off though with my first bout of depression. I was 20 years old and studying abroad in Australia, away from my support system and doctor, so I used alcohol to self-medicate. Over the years I had several more bouts of depression, and each time I would end up drinking heavily until the antidepressants started working or the depression went away on its own.

Eventually, I realized that even when I wasn’t depressed, I was struggling to control my alcohol use.

This became clear to me when I tried Dry January for the first time a few years ago. I wasn’t able to go the entire month without drinking, but I told myself that it was because I had a particularly hard day at work, or I was at a friend’s birthday party, so those times didn’t really count. I tried Dry January several more years after that, and only once was able to go the entire month without drinking, but I was miserable. I thought about drinking every single day, counting down the hours until February 1st when I could go back to “normal”. This frightened me; I was clearly more dependent on alcohol than I thought.

I tried harder to quit or cut down my drinking on my own, but I couldn’t; that’s when I knew I needed help. I ended up joining a group coaching program and within three months I had made such an incredible transformation that I just knew that I was meant to become a coach to help women have a different relationship with alcohol. So, two months later, I quit my job and became a coach myself.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Which one? 😉 I joke because I’ve actually had a few different careers over the last decade — lawyer, auditor, library supervisor, and now certified success coach. I kept changing jobs every few years because I was looking for that one thing that would finally make me happy, that would finally give me a sense of purpose, and I believe I have finally found it. I love running my own business, and the fact that I get to make such a positive impact on people’s lives… I can’t imagine a more rewarding path.

The funny thing is, I never imagined I could be an entrepreneur. I believed the lies that alcohol made me funnier/less awkward/more outgoing/more relaxed, but in essence what I was telling myself was that I was “less than” without it. So of course I couldn’t start my own business — I wasn’t creative enough, talented enough; I simply wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I let alcohol go that I realized I was far stronger than I gave myself credit for.

You are a successful individual. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

One of my traits that has made me most successful, and also at times a bit frustrated, is that I don’t believe in “good enough”. At work, this means never settling, always trying to do things better, faster, and more efficiently. I think this is the reason that I was promoted 5 times in the last 5 years; I consistently question whether what we are doing is the best way, and I am always looking to improve. In my personal life, this means that I have big goals and am constantly adding to my bucket list. However, this drive makes it hard to relax. If there is always a way to improve something, how can I rest when there is more to be done? I therefore have to make a conscious effort to stop and recharge so that I can continue going full steam ahead.

Another trait that has driven my success is my work ethic. Lawyers work long hours, as an auditor during busy season I could easily log 80 hours a week, and now as a solopreneur the work never stops! I take a lot of pride in my work, and I am committed to getting the job done, no matter what it takes, so this often translates to long days. The difference now is that the days don’t feel as long as they are because I look at entrepreneurship as a game — I get to try new things, learn from my mistakes, and improve, all without having to ask for permission.

The third characteristic that has made me so successful is my infinite curiosity. I love to learn, and the first place I turn to when I want to know more is a book. I always have a huge stack of books from the library around my house (I think I have over 20 right now). I usually have 3 or 4 going at a time, too, so that at any given moment I can pick up the topic that best suits my mood. Because I love to learn about anything and everything, I think this helps me bring well-rounded perspectives to my professional tasks.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Yes, I am writing a book! I’m still working on the title, but essentially, it’s a skeptic’s guide to self-help. I am a very rational, analytical person who believes in science over story, so a lot of the self-help methods I’ve come across are a little too woo-woo for me. However, even the most obscure practices have their devotees, so I’m hoping to uncover if it is because the practices have inherent value or if it’s due to the placebo effect. In fact, some of those books on my nightstand right now are about the placebo effect.

The power of belief and the placebo effect are so strong that they can influence our results, so I’m investigating whether there is some healing aspect to these practices even if you approach them with a side eye. I will then use the results of my research as well as my own personal experiences in my book so that even the most skeptical among us will have a resource of evidence-based practices that they can use to improve their mental health.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. How would you advise individuals who are contemplating the journey to sobriety but might be hesitant or unsure about taking the first step? Are there key considerations or strategies that can make this initial phase more manageable?

I would suggest starting with a break. Saying, “I will never drink again!” is big and intimidating. It also sets us up for failure — can we really say that we will NEVER do something again? And if we ever do drink again, even if it’s decades down the road, we’ve somehow “failed”.

On the other hand, deciding to take a break for 30 days seems much more manageable. Reflecting on how you feel during that break can also help inform how much continuing support you’ll need. If the break seems easy, perhaps you can commit to a longer period, like 90 days or 120 days. If, however, you find it more challenging, it might be worth exploring options for support.

Sobriety often comes with its unique set of challenges. Can you share insights on how individuals can effectively navigate obstacles or triggers that may arise during their journey? Are there specific tools or support systems that you find particularly helpful in overcoming these challenges?

I think it’s important to first take a step back and understand why you reach for a drink. It might be to socialize, or to relax, or it could be a whole host of other reasons. Once you’ve identified the situations and feelings that trigger cravings for you, you can then be prepared. For example, if you normally drink when you’re out with your friends, how can you set yourself up for success the next time you go out? Perhaps see if you can pull up the bar’s drink menu ahead of time to look for non-alcoholic options or suggest a place that you know has a mocktail list. If you drink to relax, take some time to brainstorm some other activities you could do to relieve stress, like go for a walk, meditate, or dance it out in your bedroom. That way, when the stress hits, you don’t have the added stressor of trying to come up with something else you could do besides drink.

The other thing to keep in mind is even though a craving may feel like it’ll never go away until you give in, they are in fact temporary, usually lasting less than 20 minutes. They are also often tied to our environment. So, if a craving arises, get up, move to a different room or go outside, change your activity — do SOMETHING that gets you out of your present state, both physically and mentally.

Maintaining sobriety is a long-term commitment. From your experience, what are the essential factors that contribute to the sustained success of individuals on this journey? Are there lifestyle adjustments or mindset shifts that prove crucial for the ongoing pursuit of sobriety?

I would argue that choosing to be a nondrinker is not a commitment when you do the necessary mindset work to change how you feel about alcohol. For example, I don’t need to make a commitment not to eat fennel; I find it disgusting, so I don’t need to promise myself day after day that I will not eat fennel today. There is simply no desire there, so I don’t do it.

With my clients, we work together to identify the thoughts and feelings that drive them to choose alcohol. Then we reframe them, either by proving them wrong with science or by coming up with a more empowering belief to replace it. Once we have reframed each of the beliefs that originally had them reaching for a drink, you don’t need to attend meetings for the rest of your life or feel deprived when you see other people drinking because alcohol no longer holds any appeal. Those beliefs you had about what alcohol can do for you are gone, so you know that there’s nothing you’re missing out on.

As for lifestyle changes, I think these tend to come naturally. If you used to spend every weekend at the bars until 2 a.m., when you stop drinking, those are not likely to appeal to you as much. It doesn’t mean choosing not to drink means you can’t go out and have fun with your friends, but as the evening goes on and people start to get more and more drunk, it starts to get a bit tiresome. Speaking of fun, your views of what’s fun will likely change. We might think that alcohol makes an activity more fun, but often it just numbs us to the fact that what we’re doing is actually kind of boring. But that just means that you will have so much more time to explore a whole world of activities that truly light you up.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Begin, Navigate, & Sustain Sobriety”?

1 . This can seem a bit scary, but the number one thing to consider before you quit drinking is talking to your doctor. That’s because for a very small percentage of people (about 10% of excessive drinkers, which for women means those who have 8 or more drinks a week and for men 15 or more), suddenly quitting alcohol use can cause serious withdrawal symptoms and even death. Although it is unlikely that you’ve reached this point of physical dependence, I would be remiss not to remind you to check with your doctor if you have ANY concerns that you might be physically addicted.

2 . Next would be to identify your “why”. Your “why” is the driving force behind why you want to drink less or not at all. It’s what will keep you motivated when things get hard, when it starts to feel easier to just give up, or when you have a setback. You might begin by making a list of all the reasons you don’t want to drink anymore, as well as a list of all the ways you imagine your life will improve without alcohol. These two lists can be really powerful in solidifying that this is the right decision for you, because when you first start, there are going to be moments of temptation and triggers, and you can lose your footing if you don’t have a strong grasp on all the reasons you no longer want alcohol in your life.

3 . I talked about this a bit before regarding triggers, but it is absolutely essential that you take some time to think about the situations, feelings, or people that normally trigger the urge to drink. Once you’ve identified them, you can start thinking of ways to circumvent them. Can you prepare some fun mocktails so you have something delicious at home for happy hour? Or perhaps draw a nice bath after a long day rather than pour a glass of wine? Have a list of alternate things you can do for each of your triggers, and you’ll never be caught off-guard. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

4 . Identify who you can lean on for support. This might be partnering up with a friend who’s deciding to do this with you, hiring a coach, or even joining an online community you can turn to when you’re struggling or in a moment of despair. Being able to turn to someone who has your back or has been where you are can help steer you back onto your desired path.

5 . Finally, I believe that when you approach behavior change in the right way, there is no effort needed to sustain it. When people want to change a habit, they tend to focus on their behavior. However, our behavior is ALWAYS a result of our thoughts and feelings, so if we don’t work on those, maintaining a behavior change will always feel like work — assuming we’re even successful.

This is where a coach can be incredibly helpful. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of, but because they offer an outside perspective, a coach can be instrumental in helping us identify the beliefs that are holding us back. Once we’ve identified these beliefs, a coach can then help us reframe them in a more accurate or empowering way. By approaching our behavior change in this way, we are able to make lasting changes without using willpower.

Community support plays a vital role in the journey to sobriety. How can individuals find and engage with supportive communities or resources that align with their specific needs and goals? Are there online platforms, local groups, or initiatives that you recommend for fostering a sense of connection and understanding during this process?

We live in a very exciting time because there are more and more resources popping up as our society shifts into a more sober curious mindset. So there are actually quite a few options, both in-person and online, that you can turn to for support. For in-person, there are obviously 12-step meetings if that interests you, or you can go to a website like and search for phrases like “sober” or “alcohol-free” to find events in your area. These might not be specifically related to alcohol struggles but might instead be groups of people who have a similar mindset and don’t want to drink. This can broaden your social support network and also open your eyes to a different kind of fun that doesn’t involve drinking at a bar.

For online communities, one example is an app like I Am Sober, which tracks your alcohol-free days and also has a robust community that you can turn to for support. One aspect in particular that I like about this app is that you can filter the posts by people at your same sobriety milestone. It can be disheartening when you’re on day 10 and struggling and you’re seeing posts by people at 100 days or 10 years, especially if we tend to compare ourselves to others, so focusing on comments from people who are around the same point in your journey can help you feel seen and heard.

The benefit of an online community is that you might be able to remain anonymous. You might be able to choose a random username or make up your first and last name if you want. When I first quit drinking, I joined an online community and set my name as M. R. because I was just so embarrassed that I needed help. It wasn’t until I was in the group for a while that I felt comfortable enough to share my real name.

For people like me who felt a sense of shame about their drinking, joining a group can be scary, and yet this tends to be the norm for support options in this area. I joined a group coaching program, but if they had offered a 1-on-1 option, I would have jumped on that; in my mind, the fewer people who knew about my struggles, the better. That’s why I chose to offer private coaching, which can be a great fit for those who are intimidated about joining a group or simply want personalized and focused attention so that they can progress faster.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

I share daily tips on Instagram @marcitrossi, or you can visit my website at to learn more about what I do and how I might be able to help.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at



Wanda Malhotra
Authority Magazine

Wellness Entrepreneur, Lifestyle Journalist, and CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living.