The Daily Battle of Moderating Alcohol – with Jason Lewis Williams


This week’s podcast guest is Jason Lewis Williams who popped up on Tribe Sober’s Facebook Group last May and has been inspiring us ever since.

At the time of recording, we are approaching the festive season and the global marketing machine is on steroids – encouraging us to shop until we drop, and, of course, to swim through the whole period in a sea of booze.

We are encouraged to drink and to celebrate and then to drink a bit more – until January, of course, when we are all supposed to be plunged into despair as we white knuckle our way through a miserable Dry January without our constant companion, alcohol.

The manipulation is endless – until we decide to see it for the BS that it is…

Jason has certainly got to that stage and a recent post from him says:-

Who else is positively looking forward to waking up sober on Christmas morning? There’s one thing I’ll say about having had a drinking problem – when you get rid of it, normality feels so good, particularly on occasions where you would have been so messed up.

In this Episode

  • Jason adored his father – who was an alcoholic. Looking back on his childhood he now wonders if he was subconsciously picking up that alcohol is how you deal with stress – how you deal with life!
  • He’s definitely got a point there and I think it’s easy to forget how perceptive our kids are – they see us role-modeling drinking as a coping mechanism and will begin to see that as normal behaviour
  • Jason had a difficult time as a teenager – seeing his mom battling with years of ill health before she died. By then he was drinking to deal with his pain.
  • He failed his exams at school and went to work in a clothes shop where he found it easy to indulge his all-day drinking habit
  • His mom left him some money so he was able to take his A levels and go to University – where his drinking ramped up another notch
  • As an 18-year-old Jason was drinking a lot and feeling quite grown up – but now that he is the father of an 18-year-old he realises that he was not grown up at all – and would hate to see his son in the same situation
  • Through his 20s and 30s, he drank consistently – keeping himself “topped up” as he put it – I know what he means and certainly had many holidays where my goal was ‘to keep the vibe going’ as I called it!
  • Jason’s dad was what he calls a “proper alcoholic” who even resorted to drinking aftershave when there was no booze available
  • As he says, this is “a dangerous benchmark”
  • We agreed that comparing ourselves to severe alcoholics is counterproductive and that we should be comparing ourselves with the best version of ourselves that we could be
  • So if you’ve heard about the massive amounts of booze that Jason was getting through please don’t think that you are fine – because you don’t drink like that. The fact that you are listening to this podcast implies that you are sober and curious so you should explore that and take a Sober Year
  • Make 2023 your sober year – use our “Christmas2022” coupon to get your 20% reduction on your Annual Membership – after all if you don’t like the alcohol-free lifestyle you can always go back to drinking!
  • Jason was often at the doctor with various ailments which he knew in his heart were related to his drinking – one of his ailments was gout which used to put him in bed for a couple of days a month
  • He used to blame his gout attacks on eating cakes – in his denial, he wasn’t going to link it to alcohol even though there is a definite link between beer drinking and gout
  • Of course, he lied about the amount he was drinking to the doc but even so was told he was damaging his health
  • I think as drinkers we get used to feeling “under par” – as I got older I felt more tired, more anxious, and generally inspired – but I put that down to aging. Now that I am 7 years sober and 7 years older I feel amazing – just because I stopped poisoning myself on a daily basis!   Who knew?
  • Jason would complain to his friends that he was drinking too much but they told him he was “fine” – of course, they had no idea about how much he was drinking because he did most of his drinking alone
  • Never rely on your friends or family to advise you about your drinking – they will either be “normal” drinkers in which case they will tell you to “cut down” and not understand why this is impossible – or they will tell you that you are “fine” because they won’t realise how much you are drinking or they drink too much as well
  • Listen to your heart instead – if your drinking is on your mind, then it’s a sign you need to make a change
  • Keep a drinking diary – if you are drinking more than a bottle and a half of wine or 6 beers a week, be aware that you could be harming your mental and physical health. If you cannot keep your drinking within these limits, you need to quit
  • Just like me, Jason spent a decade trying (and failing) to moderate – failing to such an extent that his drinking just got worse and worse
  • We talked about the Groundhog Day routine of daily drinking – waking up feeling terrible and vowing not to drink that day – but finding himself outside the pub by lunchtime
  • Following his doctor’s advice, he took an extended break for 9 months but always knowing that he would start drinking again after his break
  • Basically, he was white-knuckling it and he likens it to swimming a length underwater, holding your breath but knowing he would come up for air at the end
  • This experience was so different from how he felt when he made the decision to stop for good
  • After a final night of hectic drinking, Jason finally decided to stop – he knew he had to make that decision within himself before he got any help
  • He went to some AA meetings, and got some therapy but he more or less managed the transition alone
  • He watched a lot of videos – finding a guy he could relate to who was talking about habit change
  • He also loved Catherine Gray’s book “The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober” – once again he could relate well to the author and her journey, in fact, he recently read that book again (4 years into his sobriety) and still got a lot out of it
  • Jason also relied on a friend of his who had 17 years of sobriety – a friend who could say “when I was at that stage this is what helped me” –  that’s what you get when you join Tribe Sober – a community of people all at different stages of the journey and all keen to share their experiences
  • As he says, these things would not have stopped him from drinking on their own but they helped him to understand the process – he had made his decision and now he was after guidance on how to change his destructive habit
  • When he finally quit, Jason imagined it would be like “moderating” – an ongoing daily struggle that would last for the rest of his life – what a wonderful surprise he got when he discovered it was not at all like that!
  • He did the work for a few months and then he was free – and feeling a massive sense of relief and gratitude
  • We both agreed that it is SO much easier to quit completely than to moderate – which came as a surprise to both of us
  • Stopping is hard work for a few months and then it’s done – then you are free and can enjoy the many benefits of an alcohol-free lifestyle
  • You heard Jason say that he was consuming bags of mangos in early sobriety – this was definitely a good move and would have helped the sugar cravings which hit most of us in early sobriety
  • If you want the science behind why you should eat mangos (instead of sweets and chocolates) then listen to nutritionist Mary Ann Shearer explain the science in episode 31 of the Tribe Sober podcast
  • Jason ended with his view about why December is a great time to stop drinking so that we can actually be present for the festive season and enjoy our friends and family – rather than drinking more in preparation for a punishing Dry January!
  • Sign up for our Annual Fundraiser today and get online and community support for 30 days – that will guide you through a sober Christmas and enable you to move into early 2023 feeling great!

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