Empowerment and Purpose: A World Class Swimmers Journey through Addiction

Hilary Phelps

On this episode of the Driving Change Podcast, Jeff speaks with Hilary Phelps.  As the oldest sister in a family of renowned swimmers and a nationally-ranked swimmer herself, she shares her journey of overcoming self-worth issues and addiction. Growing up in such a competitive atmosphere, she excelled in the pool but struggled with acceptance and fitting in. This struggle led her to alcohol as a way to cope and carve out an identity. She describes becoming a “professional drinker,” concealing her addiction and pushing boundaries. However, at 29, she faced a turning point, recognized the need for change, and sought support from a community facing similar challenges. Through this community support and changing her daily rituals, she found a path to recovery. She talks about the process of overcoming addiction and finding her purpose in helping other women. The importance of recognizing the need for change, the internal motivation to seek help, managing emotions, and finding support in recovery are key themes. She underscores the significance of being in the “right room,” surrounded by people who support and understand one’s journey. As the conversation wraps up, she discusses how she has created a platform to assist women in similar situations, offering the support and resources they need.


  • The desire to change must come from within and be driven by a deep internal motivation.
  • Managing emotions is crucial in recovery, as emotions can be triggers for relapse.
  • Surrounding oneself with a supportive community is essential for maintaining sobriety.
  • Being in the “right room”, surrounded by people who understand and support one’s journey, is key to personal growth and healing.


  • 00:00 Introduction and Background
  • 02:06 Childhood and Early Influences
  • 03:02 Struggles with Self-Worth and Addiction
  • 09:10 The Impact of External Voices and Social Media
  • 11:05 College Years and Escalation of Addiction
  • 15:05 Professional Drinking and Hiding the Addiction
  • 21:27 Rewiring the Brain and Finding Community
  • 21:57 Recognizing the Need for Change
  • 25:08 The Journey to Sobriety
  • 29:43 Managing Emotions and Finding Support
  • 32:13 The Importance of Being in the Right Room
  • 36:37 Creating a Platform for Healing


How to contact Hilary






Stay tuned for more on “The Right Room”. 

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