Today we discuss the courage to weather the storm and thrive in life, even through times of uncertainty.


Are you searching for your own center? A lot of people are struggling in these uncertain times that we’re living in. In fact, right now in our nation, levels of alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts are soaring due to the isolation and suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Surveys that were conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared that about 1 in every 10 survey respondents either started or increased their use of alcohol or drugs over the course of the pandemic.

In January 2020, my guest Braunwyn Windham-Burke of Bravo’s famed reality TV show The Real Housewives of Orange County made the decision to get sober for the third time in her life, being very committed and vocal about the process. January 2021 marked her 1-year anniversary of being sober, and while she has had a tumultuous battle with alcohol, she is determined to stay sober and live a healthy life. Braunwyn joins me today to talk about her struggle with alcoholism and her journey to sobriety, sharing the values, principles, and beliefs that she is living from today that helped her propel her life forward and that others can use to heal and thrive in their own lives.


“We all have an innate sense of what’s right and wrong. We know when we’re doing the wrong thing, we feel it in our core. If you just keep doing the next right thing, all these things will come to you without you having to force them. It might not be on the time schedule you want, and you might have to be patient, but if you just keep doing the next right thing, listening to that little voice inside of you that knows what the answers are, all those things will come to you.”  – Braunwyn Windham-Burke


About Braunwyn:
Image of Braunwyn Windham-Burke - on Voices of Courage with Ken D. Foster

Known as the open book spit-fire housewife on Bravo’s famed reality TV show, The Real Housewives of Orange County, Braunwyn Windham-Burke is on a quest to show the world her many layers and help others feel less alone in their life’s journey.

January marked her 1-year anniversary of being sober, and while she has had a tumultuous battle with alcohol, she is determined to stay sober and live a healthy life. 

This season on RHOC, Braunwyn addressed many topics that have been occurring in her personal life, from supporting her son Jacob’s desire to dress in drag, her open marriage, sharing her participation in local protests and her political views, and getting sober, to revealing her true self and coming out as a lesbian.

She was born in Fenwick Island, Delaware, and later moved to Newport Beach, California when she was a child as her mother had dreams of becoming a famous musician and thought of pursuing her dream on the West Coast. Being an only child to a single mother who ditched the dream of being a rockstar and pursued a medical degree, Braunwyn spent her time alone and fending for herself. 

While in high school, she moved in with her grandfather in Laguna Beach, CA, and began a life of promiscuity and drinking.  Alcoholism ran in her family – her aunt suffered an alcohol withdrawal seizure and her father also battled alcoholism. 

Braunwyn met her husband, Sean Burke, while attending college in Santa Barbara, California when she was 18 years old. The two tied the knot in 2000 and have 7 beautiful children – Bella, Rowan, Jacob, twins Caden and Curren, Koa, and Hazel.

However, the journey for her wasn’t ideal as she created a pattern of self-destruction, numbing herself with alcohol and extramarital sex, which then would cause her to patch up her rocky marriage and become pregnant.

 In 2019, Braunwyn’s dream of becoming a cast member of The Real Housewives of Orange Country came true, and she got a taste of what it was like to be on reality tv. 

Last January, she made the decision to get sober for the third time in her life, being very committed and vocal about the process. She shared her journey on the 15th season of The Real Housewives and admitted that she was going through the process without professional help.

Now, Braunwyn’s taking online courses and studying to become an alcohol and drug addiction therapist. She also puts together monthly Zoom conversations with fans and guest speakers who are experts on various topics from mental health to activism.

Braunwyn spends time responding to DMs from fellow alcoholics in crisis who have turned to her for help after watching the show. She wants to live a life that has purpose by helping others.


“I think one of the ways that I kept my life small and comfortable was I just didn’t address any of the hard things. I just drank instead, or shopped, went to events, or traveled. I did anything to not have to deal with what was going on inside of me. And when you stop doing that, when you stop looking for external ways to fill that God-sized hole, you really have to just sit with it and say, ‘Who am I? What matters? What’s important?’ There are growing pains and it does hurt, but it is so worth it in the end. ”  – Braunwyn Windham-Burke


Check out the video of our interview below:


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