#266 – Selling and Drinking with Emily Lynn Paulson


Emily Lynn Paulson is the founder of Sober Mom’s Club. She joins Veronica to discuss her new book ‘Hey Hun’ and her role in predatory multi-level marketing. Emily explains how the MLM fuelled her drinking and how nothing on the outside matched what was really going on.

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about this episode

“The MLM filled the same thing that wine did for me. It was an escape from myself so I didn’t have to deal with things.” – Emily Lynn Paulson

So many women have been touched by MLMs in some way. Whether they’ve lost a friend to one, they’ve been involved, or they just thought it was shady, chances are we’ve been impacted at one time or another.

At their core, these companies train recruits to exploit personal relationships for financial gain and apply manipulative tactics that reduce friendships to transactional interactions. To make matters worse, alcohol is often at the heart of the “personal development” retreats offered by these companies, leaving people poorly positioned to act in integrity with themselves.

Today, I’m excited to be joined by author and recovery coach Emily Lynn Paulson to explore the relationship between MLMs and alcohol. After years of “success” as part of an MLM, Emily was confronted by the reality of her unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Once she got sober, she found it harder and harder to continue in the company and eventually left to become a recovery coach.

In this episode, Emily and I talk about:

  • Understanding how multi-level marketing companies (MLMs) work
  • Emily’s experience with MLMs and how it impacted her substance use
  • The overwhelmingly positive (and minor negative) reactions to Emily’s latest book, “Hey, Hun
  • How joining an MLM impacted Emily’s relationships
  • Alcohol-fueled retreats and the normalization of overdrinking in the world of sales
  • The types of circumstances that often make people susceptible to MLM recruitment.
  • How interconnected Emily’s drinking and her MLM “success” became
  • Misleading MLM incentives and the pressure and financial burden they can bring behind the scenes
  • The moment Emily decided to get sober
  • Falling out of integrity with the MLM while strengthening her sobriety
  • The problematic nature of the MLM system
  • How political backing and consumer awareness impact the popularity of MLMs
  • Redefining support for friends involved in MLMs
  • Recognizing the intentional exploitation of friendship and support in the MLM system
  • Emily’s transition to the recovery space and her challenges in promoting without being salesy
  • The inspiration for creating the “Sober Mom Squad” during the pandemic
  • Why sobriety was essential in creating and maintaining Emily’s businesses


About Emily Lynn Paulson

Emily Lynn Paulson is the author of Highlight Real: Finding Honesty and Recovery Beyond the Filtered Life, and Hey, Hun: Sales, Sisterhood, Supremacy, and the Other Lies Behind Multilevel Marketing. She is the founder of Sober Mom Squad, a digital community for moms in recovery, and has given two powerful TEDx talks, both challenging the status quo of parenting, alcohol use, and feminism as we know it. Paulson has also been featured in major publications such as the Today Show, New York Times, Washington Post, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Next Question with Katie Couric, and the Tamron Hall Show. She resides in Central Oregon with her husband and their five children.

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