I met this week’s guest in the online recovery community – Anth Parker had tried AA, rehab, and SMART recovery and none of them really stuck. However, with hindsight, she realises that she had collected gems of information from each one – information and strategies which finally enabled her to come up with her own recipe for sobriety. These days she is passionate about sobriety and loves to inspire others.
In this Episode
- Anthea didn’t drink much as a teenager but during her 20’s she began to use it to cope with difficult periods in her life and found she needed a drink when she got home from work
- As she moved into her 30’s she became aware that she had a problem and was drinking a bottle of wine a day
- She called “alcohol services” and asked for help but she was just told to “cut down” as they didn’t think she had a serious problem
- My take on that is if your drinking is on your mind then you need to take action – it’s not about being an alcoholic, or waiting to hit rock bottom – it’s about ditching a toxic substance that is preventing you from living your best life
- In her 30s, Anth had twins so of course was drawn into the Mommyjuice culture with all the other moms
- She suffered from post-natal depression and worked hard to convince her health visitor that her motherhood experience was “perfect” when in reality she felt like she was “walking through treacle” as she puts it
- Her doctor put her on anti-depressants but her depression continued and she was in and out of the hospital
- She had to quit her job as an occupational therapist
- During her treatment, she was told that she would have to stop drinking which horrified her as she saw alcohol as her only respite from depression
- She went to AA – after 100 meetings and 3 sponsors she still didn’t get it and hated having to label herself as an alcoholic at the meetings
- But in retrospect she did pick up some tools there and gradually they became helpful
- It was like planting seeds – her advice to people is to listen, to read, to talk to people, and to be curious – as she says “it will all fall into place eventually”
- I also love the concept of planting seeds and we see that in Tribe Sober – some people find us and dive straight into their recovery but others stay on our mailing list for years, then they do a challenge, then a workshop, and finally join up as members which is when they get inspired to implement everything they’ve learned!
- Anth talked about comparisons and how they can be good – or harmful. Yes compare yourself with sober people that inspire you but don’t compare yourself with the hard-core alcoholic and start thinking “I’m not that bad” – better to compare yourself with the best version of yourself you could possibly be – without alcohol
- Things got really back for Anth just before lockdown – she was shaking in the morning, hiding alcohol in the house and in the garden
- She was fed up with being on the hamster wheel as she called it –the hamster wheel of drinking which traps us – and means we never make any progress in our lives
- Her turning point was reading Alcohol Explained by William Porter – she loved the science and read it over and over – finally realizing that this wasn’t her fault, she’d simply got addicted to an addictive substance
- She joined the Alcohol Explained Facebook group, listened to podcasts, and discovered the online recovery movement – she loved all the sharing and realised that she was not alone in this
- She wrote a letter to herself which she read every day
- She was still drinking at this point but she was listening and learning and her subconscious was preparing for action
- We say to people who join Tribe Sober. “Keep drinking if you’re not ready but start doing the work, listen and learn, read the quilit, come to the Zoom meetings and gradually you’ll get inspired by the members who are sober and are loving their alcohol-free life – you’ll start wanting what they have!”
- On her 48th birthday, Anth decided to quit drinking
- She got a notebook and wrote a plan – she had her Why list, had done lots of prep, and was ready to go
- Benefits of sobriety for Anth include freedom – she feels that she’s been released from the chains of addiction – such a relief not to have that compelling urge to drink every.single.day
- The second major benefit for her has been connection – to connect with others and herself – to learn to listen to herself and get in touch with who she really is
- We agreed that once you put down the bottle and get through those first difficult months, things start changing and then we embark on a journey of self-discovery
- That’s why we say here at Tribe Sober that we help our members quit drinking first and then we help them to discover who they really are and to thrive in their sobriety
- We talked about how people get stuck in their drinking because they fear they will lose out – whereas, in fact, they are going to gain so much.
- One day Anth was clearing out her attic and she came across some old postcards
- That inspired her to start her Sober Inspiration Project
- She asked people in the sobriety groups to send her a postcard with sobriety tips
- What better way to get advice than to ask people who are succeeding
- Within 6 months she had received about 100 postcards!
- One of her goals with this project was to show people that AA was no longer the only gig in town
- She laminated her postcards and took them out and about – taking them into the streets and hanging them in trees – she even went to Hyde Park!
- Her goal was simply to raise awareness and she met so many sober people who came to talk to her and said “I’m sober too!”
- Anth is planning to re-open the Sober Inspiration Project in the run-up to Christmas so please send her a postcard with your top sobriety tip
- She has a FB group called the Sober Inspiration Project so join up and get inspired!
This episode is sponsored by the Tribe Sober Membership Program. If you want to change your relationship with alcohol then sign up today
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