85. Alcohol Explained – to the French! with Stacy Leshner


Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Quite a few people in our tribe found their way to us after hearing me chat to the fabulous William Porter on his Friday Night Live spot which you can see HERE.

I met this week’s podcast guest when I was hanging out on the Alcohol Explained Facebook group – Stacy is a moderator on that group.

The French have a reputation for being “moderate drinkers” but that is actually a bit of a myth – they come in at number 11 on a global league table for heavy drinking with UK and SA coming in below!

Stacy lives in France and works with William Porter – she’s been helping him to promote the French version of Alcohol Explained and also runs an IG group called “Alcohol Explique” so if you are French or living in France please follow her

Stacy has also helped William to create his online course and now she is helping me to put our workshops online.

In this episode

  • Stacy is only 34 years old so her Drinking Career was not that long – but it was intense.
  • She grew up in the US where the legal drinking age is 21 so when she spent a semester of her university course in France she found herself with unlimited access to booze.
  • Stacy began drinking with enthusiasm – no doubt heady with the combination of leaving home in the US and being free to drink as much as she wanted to.
  • Drinking was certainly normalised in her college crowd but she accepts she was one of the “heavier” drinkers.
  • As her contemporaries graduated and transitioned into grown up life, many of them drank less – but not Staci! That’s when she realised that she had become dependent.
  • That’s what happens for many of us – we don’t even realise the extent of our dependency until we try to cut down – alcohol is insidious and we need to watch out for red flags.

If you are not sure what a red flag is then you need a copy of our PDF called “30 signs you may have a problem with alcohol” – just email janet@nulltribesober.com to get a copy.

  • Stacy eventually got a job as a part-time teacher in France which left her with plenty of free time – for drinking.
  • Her drinking ramped up and she found herself setting (and breaking) rules around her drinking.
  • She also googled “am I an alcoholic” although of course she knew the answer!
  • Her drinking sent her anxiety sky high until one day she had a melt-down – her doctor put her on antidepressants but as she was still drinking they made no difference.
  • Like many of us, Stacy had no “off” switch and she would drink until she blacked out – one day turning up for her waitressing job blackout drunk – unsurprisingly she got fired on the spot!
  • She went to her doctor who told her she must take a 3-week break from alcohol and if she could do that then she was ok – so she white-knuckled her 3 weeks (with the help of Xanax which her doctor had given her).
  • And went back to drinking – she explained that having a drinking problem in France is “complicated”.
  • You are either an “alcoholic” or you are fine – a well-dressed professional woman just did not meet the stereotype of an “Alcoholic”.
  • Looking back on her drinking she realised it got worse and worse over a period of 9 years.
  • That’s the thing with alcohol dependence – once you’ve crossed a line with your drinking it will never get “better” – it’s a bit like being in an elevator when the only way it goes is down.
  • That’s why moderation is not an option for many of us – we just have to ditch the stuff and learn to enjoy our alcohol-free lives.
  • Stacy was waiting for a sign – waiting for a rock bottom and it came during lockdown.
  • The bars were closed and she was working from home – so she stocked up on wine boxes and got stuck in – her weekends became a black hole of drinking and blacking out.
  • One day she was having coffee with a friend who recommended a couple of books – AE and Naked Mind.
  • She read Alcohol Explained by William Porter and it literally changed everything – something clicked for Stacy and she knew she was done with drinking.
  • Everything feel into place for her – she began to join the dots and realised that her sleeping problem, her anxiety and her chronic lack of energy was all linked to her heavy drinking.
  • Education is key to this journey – once we realise the extent of the damage our drinking is doing we feel less and less inclined to drink.
  • When people join Tribe Sober we urge them to visit out Amazon bookstore on the website and get stuck into the quitlit (including AE of course!) – reading quitlit and listening to podcasts is a real education – many people have NO idea just how much harm alcohol does.
  • They have no idea that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • Even if alcohol doesn’t destroy our health it will certainly prevent us from reaching our potential.
  • When Stacy got sober she finally got in touch with her emotions and realised that her 9-year relationship with her partner was no longer right for her.
  • We find that in our community – once people get sober it’s as if the mist has cleared and they can see what they really want – I’m sure my colleague here at Tribe Sober won’t mind me saying that sobriety gave her the courage to get divorced in her early sixties and now she is SO much happier!
  • When Stacy looks back she realises that she came very close to losing everything – by the time she decided to stop drinking she was no longer working so she would have been able to drink all day long – every day – a narrow escape indeed!
  • Like many of us, Stacy was blown away by the warmth and connection within the recovery community and the existence of what she calls “Sober Land”.
  • As she says “When we unplug from the matrix of drinking we discover joy and colour and get a chance to discover who we really are”.
  • Stacy is on a mission to help French people to get sober – currently sobriety has negative associations and AA is seen as the only route.
  • Stacy has been collaborating with William Porter to launch Alcohol Explained in France and Stacy now has an IG group called Alcohol Explique – if you are French or living in France please follow her and participate!
  • There are signs that things are changing in France – the sobriety movement is in its infancy but there have been a couple of books written by high powered women who have overcome their drinking problem and gone public – and Staci herself was featured in a documentary about the topic.

So, I must end this podcast by giving a huge shout-out to William Porter – not only does he hold down a full time job as a lawyer but he’s managed to write two books (Alcohol Explained – 1 and 2), start up a hugely successful FB group called Alcohol Explained – and with Stacy’s help he’s now launched his online course which you can access by going to his website HERE.

Please have a listen to my podcast interview with William Porter which is one of our most popular ones – Tribe Sober episode 50.

And don’t forget to check out Stacy’s IG group alcohol explique if you are French speaking!

More info

  • Subscription membership for Tribe Sober is just R85 (£4/$6/$8AUS) a month – you can join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com

Episode Sponsor

This episode is sponsored by the Tribe Sober Membership Program.  If you want to change your relationship with alcohol then sign up today.
Read more about our 7-step program and subscribe HERE.

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com


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Till Next Week

Janet x


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The 11 Year Fact

Did you know that the average dependent drinker will struggle alone for 11 years before reaching out for help?

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