Get to know Madi: Co-Founder of unwstd.
At what point in your life did you decide to become alcohol-free?
I was never a big drinker throughout high school or university back in the U.S, but then I had a huge turning point in my life where I lost my father and everything as I knew it changed. There were times I used drinking as a means to escape and when I moved to Australia, I was convinced that I needed to drink to have a good time/meet friends. It was becoming a toxic behaviour and I knew something needed to change. It wasn’t until about two year after I moved that I had a serious look at myself and asked, 'what are you doing?’ It took a lot of courage to admit to myself that drinking wasn’t fun anymore, and I wasn’t the same person when I drank either. I just got to a point where I didn’t want it to be a part of my life anymore and made that choice for myself and the people around me.
How did you become co-founder of unwstd?
I mean, honestly this still amazes me today and I am not entirely sure. I started as a digital marketing and ecommerce intern and did that for about 9 months, and then was brought on as a co-founder. I was in disbelief! I think I had such a strong passion, and still do, for what we are doing and I always made sure that showed in anything I did. I truly believe that you have to speak up, pitch ideas (even if they’re not the best haha), and show a constant initiative to want to learn as much as you can and do as much as possible to get to where you want to go. You can’t just sit back! I am so grateful for the opportunity and for Trish, the founder, to have taken the chance on me. It’s changed my life.
What challenges did you face in your af journey and how did you overcome them?
The only challenges I feel I faced was the inner battle with myself. I wasn’t sure what a life would look like for me giving up drinking at such a young age or whether I could sustain it. But, all I knew was that alcohol wasn’t serving me anymore and I was so much happier without it. Some friends questioned it and even called me ‘holy’ because I stopped drinking. I laugh at that still. To me, it's just an investment in my health and being the best version of myself. I would never go back, even when I kind of miss it sometimes. But that's when I remind myself that I’ve gotten to where I am now because I gave up drinking.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to better themselves?
I would just say that you can only do your best and some days our ‘best’ looks and feels different depending on the day. But, you can do anything you set your mind to do and you just need to always come back to yourself and do what you feel is right for you. Don’t let anyone try and get in your way of doing something to better yourself. Its okay to fail, try again. It's okay to distance yourself from the things that don’t serve you anymore. Just know that it will all work out the way it's meant to and believe in yourself above anything else!
An interesting fact about you that not many people know?
I moved to Australia basically on a whim. It was a huge surprise to everyone I knew back home and many people did not think I would make it more than a month. I had no plan, no job, and just decided to stick it out and make it work. It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in the beginning, but now, four years later, I can say that moving across the world and trying something totally new all by myself was the best thing that ever happened to me.
What's a healthy habit you've adopted while being alcohol-free?
Just having a solid morning and night time routine. Because I don’t spend time drinking on the weekends or being out too late, I love waking up early and going for a swim in the ocean or going for a run first thing. It’s really the little things like this that make you so grateful for not having to experience a hangover, or be in bed until noon after a long night out. You fall in love with the mornings and your day becomes so much more productive. Same with at night, I make sure I am in bed at a reasonable time and give myself time to unwind from the day and just focus on the stuff that really matters to me. I didn’t have consistency when I drank. Now, I crave it!What's your favourite thing to do in your free time?
My favourite thing to do in my free time is moving my body outside somehow or spending quality time with my partner. We both love going for long walks, watching a sunrise or sunset, snorkelling and swimming. Anything near the ocean makes me so happy and at peace!
In 5 years, where do you see unwstd.?
In 5 years, I see unwstd being a huge online retailer for alcohol-free drinks in the USA. Since Trish and I are both Americans, we can’t wait to bring unwstd. to the states and watch it grow there. But, more importantly, I see unwstd breaking boundaries and stigmas surrounding the drinking culture and people's drinking habits. It’s not always about going for drinks, or documenting your cool mojito on Instagram. It's about establishing real connections that don’t need alcohol to make it fun, it's about putting your phone down and being present. It's about finding new hobbies, exploring new opportunities, and just appreciating the world around you without the constant pressure of having to drink. In 5 years, if people aren’t still questioning someone's choice to drink or not, I think that's when we’ve made it.