Q&A with Chantal Jauvin, author of LOVE WITHOUT MARTINIS

Chantal Jauvin is the author of three books. Where We Begin, A collection of stories written by the students based on their personal experiences which focus on small acts of heroism; The Boy With A Bamboo Heart, the inspiring story of Dr Amporn Wathanavongs. Orphaned at 5 in a remote village in rural Thailand, he grew up to create a charity from his own retirement pension so  children would know the dignity of basic education; and Love Without Martinis, a book which chronicles the fears, joys, setbacks, and triumphs of couples as they find their way back to each other. In the tradition of storytelling, the readers follow the couples in recovery from substance addiction as they rebuild healthy and loving relationships.

In addition to being an author, Chantal is an international corporate attorney. She launched her career with Gowlings, a leading Canadian law firm. Her expertise grew from trade law to corporate and financial services law eventually taking on the role of General Counsel at a Fortune 500 global company.

Chantal embraced early legal assignments in Mexico, Cambodia and Russia. Keen to be more actively involved in decision making, she completed her MBA in the UK and joined Conair Corporation in the United States where she handled matters ranging from free trade zone manufacturing in Costa Rica to the sale of fast-moving consumer goods in Europe. By the time she became General Counsel at Western Union, she had negotiated a joint venture with La Poste in France, a deal with Banco do Brazil and new regulations with the Central African Banking Commission while living in Austria. She won the Creating Shareholder Value business award at Western Union conferred for the first time in the company’s history to an individual in shared services. She has mentored attorneys from Dubai to Mumbai.

Chantal maintains her licenses to practice law in Ontario, Canada and New York, USA

Chantal Jauvin

Q. If you are in recovery, what was your Drug of Choice? and when did you stop using?
A. I am in recovery from attachment to the man I love who has a substance use disorder. He went to treatment over 12 years ago. That’s when our recovery as a couple also began.

Q. Do you think addiction is an illness, disease, a choice or a wicked twist of fate?
A. It’s a disease that triggers a lot of twists & turns. With treatment and self-awareness, it creates a healthy lifestyle that keeps illnesses at bay.

Q. Have you added anything to your Tool-kit to help keep you sober during the pandemic?
A. Yes, I developed The ASCENT Approach for my book Love Without Martinis. Even 12 years into my husband’s recovery, it keeps us in check. 

Q. Where did you grow up?
A. It depends on how you define “grow up”. I was born and educated in Ottawa, Canada. Since then, I’ve been growing in my career and self-discovery from Saga (Japan), Moscow (Russia), Guadalajara (Mexico), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and many other nooks & crannies of the world.

Q. If you had an extra million dollars, which charity would you donate it to?
A. I have three priorities: education, recovery, and microfinance for women. I would divide it among NGOs that demonstrate practical solutions and hands-on projects.

Q.  Do you have any children?
A. No biological children, I am an ovarian cancer survivor. I do have many young people in my life who I mentor and cherish.

Q. If you ever retire would you prefer to live by the ocean, lake, river, mountaintop or penthouse?
A. With whom is far more important than where. My home base would be by a lake with easy motorcycle access to the mountains and a short ride to the airport.

Q. What is your favorite hotel or resort?
A. During my legal career, The Four Season in Mexico City was my favorite hotel. It holds so many memories. Today, a string of gîtes (traditional French places) scattered throughout the countryside where my husband and I unpack our panniers after cycling all day.

Q. What is your biggest or littlest pet peeve?
A. My biggest is lack of respect, that’s non-negotiable. My littlest, wet floors in the bathroom.

Q. If you were giving a dinner party for your 3 favorite authors, living or dead, who would they be? (choose 4 if you think one might be too drunk or stoned to attend.)
A. I could never have a dinner party with only 3 people, so that’s not a fair question. I would have a murder mystery evening with George Sand, Isabel Allende, Frida Kahlo, Margaret Atwood, Hemingway, Pablo Neruda, Bertrand Russell, André Malraux, and Machiavelli. Wonder what would happen by dessert?

Q. What books are you reading now?
A. I am a moody reader; I need a book that connects on different levels. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (lent by a friend), The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell (Canadiana), The Next Echo Warriors by Emily Hunter (the earth matters), and Vers la beauté by David Foenkinos (arts & my French reading). Ask me in a month and the mix will look entirely different.

Q. What book(s) have you read more than once?
A. Le Petit Prince by St Exupery, a childhood favorite is at the top of the list. I have read it in 4 different languages but return to the French version. I’ve lived abroad most of my life, this book is like a trip home.

Q. What is your FAVORITE Radio show, news show, podcast?
A. The Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean. Irreverent and a Canadian national treasure. For anyone undertaking home projects during the pandemic, listen to “Renovations” from November 18th, 2016. You will feel so much better about your efforts!

Q. What is your FAVORITE APP?
A. My Garmin app not because I can see how many calories I have burned but because it’s a diary of all the places in the world I have hiked, biked, and been mesmerized by.

Q. Are you bingeing on any TV series? If so which ones.?
A. Long Way Up, Long Way Round, and Long Way Down (the order I watched them in) with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. I need an adventure fix and this does it. Long Way Up being my favorite.

Q. Who is your favorite sober celebrity?
A. My husband, he is the star in my sky.

Q. What/Who is your FAVORITE Band/composer/musical artist?
A. There are no favorites when it comes to music but there are many seasons. I wrote “Love Without Martinis” to the sound of Zoe Keating’s cello. When the book was finished, I looked at the track I played most often. It was “The Path”. The universe never ceases to amaze me.

Q. What is your FAVORITE Restaurant?
A. At the moment, any place along the Brittany Coast of France for oysters, arraignées, and cheese because I miss cycling there, street food in Hua Hin Thailand for spices, and JG Skyhigh at the Four Season in Philly because I can actually go there now!

Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. My grandmother’s “Live life to the fullest with all the responsibilities it entails”. 

Q. What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
A. Aside from parachuting in New Zealand, staying the course with the man I love, now my husband, then my boyfriend, while he faced his substance use disorder. In so many ways, that was scarier than jumping out of a plane, at least I knew where the ground was.

Q. Are you more inclined to believe in UFO’s or life after death, or both?
A. If I lived life to the fullest, I believe a little of me will live on in people I have supported, the same way that those who have inspired me live on in my soul. This means in life and death, UFOs (U Foster Others).

Q. What is your FAVORITE weekly news bulletin?
A. Addiction Recovery e-Bulletin closely followed by The Economist Espresso and The New York Times weekend edition.