Take the Sober Road with Judy Cook

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This week’s podcast guest is Tribe Sober member Judy Cook.  A Headmistress who describes herself as a Functioning Alcoholic – loving her job and still managing to run her school efficiently even though her alcohol dependence was increasing.  Like many of us, Judy has been blown away by the benefits of sobriety and the warm connection we find in the Recovery Space.

In this Episode

  • Judy was a late developer when it came to alcohol – at the age of 18, she couldn’t see the point of going to the pub unless you were thirsty!
  • However, by the age of 28, her wine habit began to get established – a drink when she got home from work (as a reward) and a glass while she did the cooking
  • Alcohol is so insidious – the way it creeps up on us – that’s why it’s so important to do a regular dependence check with an alcohol-free challenge – go to tribesober.com and join our annual fundraiser for your dependence check – 30 days of online and community support
  • People were either “normal drinkers” or they were “homeless alcoholics” who needed to go to AA – there was no recognition that it was a spectrum… a slippery slope that we could step off before we lost everything!
  • Over the years alcohol became her best friend and she was undaunted about the prospect of ending her 32-year marriage because she always had her “wine” to keep her company
  • Such a red flag when we build a relationship with alcohol and our ideal evening is to stay home alone with a bottle of wine – that’s why we encourage our members to write Goodbye to Alcohol letters which you can find on tribesober.com under the “podcasts and more” dropdown menu
  • Judy found lots of reassurance that drinking was normal – after all everyone on TV dramas was drinking, and there were press articles saying that “red wine is good for us”
  • You heard Judy say “Why didn’t anyone tell me that it was poison?” and I so empathise with that – if you know my story then you will know that I nearly drowned in my bath due to an alcoholic blackout when I was in my 20’s – but nobody told me I should get help – on the contrary, we turned it into a funny story
  • Judy made sure to book holidays where the alcohol was included – and even took a suitcase of bottles with her on one trip! Meals out were more about the wine than the food of course
  • She talked us through her arrival home from work – husband waiting with a glass of wine, the first of many – evening of drinking would end with a glass of wine by the bed
  • Waking up she couldn’t remember what they had eaten or watched on tv the previous evening
  • Her first thought on waking was around how much wine she had in the house and how many bottles she needed to buy
  • Judy’s wake-up call was when she woke up with tingling in her fingers and toes
  • This is a symptom of alcoholic neuropathy. Alcohol is toxic to nerve tissue and can damage the nerves which transmit signals between the body, spinal cord, and the brain.  Yet another example of the toxic nature of alcohol.
  • So Judy’s mind was made up – she had to stop – now it was about the how – AA was out of the question as she didn’t want to bump into anyone she knew so she went onto FB and found Sober Coach Simon Chapple
  • I love the way the modern recovery movement has evolved over the last decade – Judy may have stayed stuck in her drinking if AA was the only solution but now there are so many options
  • I loved her story about picking up her little dog and her mobile and going into the woods for a long conversation with Simon
  • She skipped home from that call feeling SO much lighter – and that’s exactly how we feel once we’ve shared our story – the relief is huge and we know there is a way out
  • As Simon told her, she had already started her journey by reaching out for help
  • Reaching out is the biggest step so if Judy’s story is resonating with you why not take that step right now and reach out to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe”
  • I’m always telling people to make sobriety their priority and throw the book at it – do all the things
  • Judy is a classic example of the transformation you can expect if you do that – she devoted 18 weeks to studying sobriety like an exam – she read books, she listened to podcasts and most importantly she connected with others on the same path – sometimes doing 2 zoom meetings a day
  • She was “excited” about getting sober which is a massively important reframe – once you realise that ditching the booze is an opportunity to open up your life in ways you cannot yet imagine the feeling that you have a “problem” gives way to  excitement
  • Once we realise that we are going to gain so much more than we lose everything changes!
  • Just like many of us Judy became passionate about sobriety
  • Like me she was a bit older when she got around to stopping and saw it as a “Now or Never” decision
  • Going alcohol-free is absolutely the best thing we can do for our health and happiness as we get older
  • Judy got into meditation which she found a great help – and still meditates every day
  • She loved her first sober Christmas but was a bit worried about her first sober holiday which she tackled by taking a suitcase of AF drinks with her – and she loved it!
  • Judy describes the sobriety journey as one which evolves from Unbearable to Uncomfortable to Unstoppable and I just love that description
  • She says she spent 10 days in the unbearable part, and 6 months in the uncomfortable part, and then she felt unstoppable
  • That’s been our experience at Tribe Sober as well – we’ve worked with hundreds of people and seen that those first 6 months are hard but once people get through those early months then the magic begins
  • Judy’s advice to people who are struggling to get started is to just pick a date
  • We can help you with that – we’ve got our Annual Fundraiser running from now until the end of Jan – just make a small donation to a good cause, pick your own date and you’ll get 30 days of community and online support
  • We’ll also be running our 5-day Sober Bootcamp from Jan 9th to 13th – daily tasks, training, and connection to get you started – join our Sobriety Bootcamp Facebook Group to participate
  • Judy is a Sober Coach herself these days and runs a Facebook group with her husband called The Sober Road – I’ll put the link in the show notes

More Info

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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
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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?

Don’t wait for 11 years – join Tribe Sober today!