How a 66-Day Sober Challenge Changed my Life – with Tribe Sober’s Claire B


If I had to describe a typical Tribe member then I would pick a woman in her 40s or 50s – a successful career woman with a family.  Nobody would dream that this woman had a problem with alcohol but in fact, she’s been worried about her drinking for years.

My podcast guest this week pretty much fits that profile -Tribe member, Claire B.

In this Episode

  • Claire’s parents didn’t drink much so her first experience of drinking was as a teenager – 18th birthday parties – vodkas and a sweet concentrated orange juice were her drinks
  • As she says, she went straight for the hard stuff but of course, had to add sweetened orange juice to make it palatable, just as I did with my whisky and coke
  • As a trainee nurse, Claire would drink when she went out but would never drink alone and it was not problematic in those days
  • In her early 20s Claire moved from the UK to SA and was struck by the drinking culture – wine at lunchtime and in fact she celebrated her first birthday in SA with a champagne breakfast!
  • She embraced this culture and thought it was great!
  • The first time she began to worry about her drinking was in her late 20s when she came home from a very boozy lunch and found herself wanting to have another glass of wine
  • That became a habit for Claire – going out for drinks and then carrying on the party alone when she got home
  • She realised that like so many of us she didn’t have an “off” button – that’s definitely a red flag, as is drinking alone
  • Other warning signs are regularly drinking more than the low-risk limits which are just one and a half bottles of wine a week, trying (and failing) to cut down, again and again – also when all your social activities revolve around alcohol…
  • I asked Claire if she tried to cut down or set rules for her drinking – she explained that she wanted someone else to set rules for her – she was actually looking for a reason to stop drinking
  • She thought she’d found one when she relocated to China as she wasn’t expecting alcohol to be so readily available and she remembered welcoming that situation
  • However, she found that alcohol was available and in fact, she drank a lot during her 3 years there
  • She found herself engineering situations where she could drink and as she said, the subject took up “a lot of her bandwidth”
  • People often ask me if they are drinking too much – I explain that if they are thinking about it, even if it’s a niggling thought at the back of their mind, then that’s probably a sign that they should take action, even if they are not drinking huge amounts
  • Quite simply, if it’s on your mind, you’ll be happier without it!
  • Those of us who’ve spent years trying and failing to moderate know only too well that it takes up far too much mental space – and when we get sober we can find peace
  • Claire tried the odd alcohol-free challenge but found the thought of quitting drinking forever extremely scary
  • She began to feel that there were 2 Claires – the sensible one and the other one who was egging her on to drink more
  • Many of us experience this inner struggle between our rational conscious mind and our subconscious which is holding limiting beliefs about alcohol
  • Limiting beliefs like “we can’t have fun, relax or socialize” without it
  • Beliefs which are the result of decades of exposure to marketing and peer pressure convince us that alcohol is essential to a happy life!
  • Claire and I both drank for decades and agreed that our neural pathways for drinking were more like Superhighways than pathways!
  • When we start to build our alcohol-free lives, we want to replace that Superhighway with an alcohol-free pathway which will in turn become a Superhighway if we stick to our sobriety and continue to do that work
  • Claire came up with a lovely analogy that her sobriety was like a garden, and just like a garden, is never finished and it takes work – just like her sobriety
  • If someone asks her advice about a family member who might be drinking too much she’s not afraid to point out red flags
  • I so agree with her that we should speak openly rather than just say, “Oh, I’m sure they are fine,” which is the usual response from people
  • That’s why I’m so grateful to Tribe members like Claire and others who have come on this podcast to share their stories
  • It means people can hear that having a problem with alcohol does not mean that we are like the homeless tramp which society likes to portray as the alcoholic
  • They can hear that people with a problem are just like them – and more importantly, that it is possible to make a change and to be so much happier and healthier without alcohol
  • Claire is quite sporty and as she got into her late 40s and 50s she would often take a break from alcohol for a few weeks to prepare for a race – but always went back to drinking
  • One day she heard me talking on the radio about our Sober Spring – a 66-day challenge we do every year and it appealed to her because she loves a Challenge
  • So she signed up but was not really planning to participate in the chat groups and soon she realized that she always told her students they must comment and participate in their online forums
  • So Claire decided to participate in the groups and in fact, she threw the book at it – she listened to a podcast a day and followed all our recommendations
  • We’ve discovered over the years that it’s the people who stay connected with the community are the ones who succeed – connection really is the opposite of addiction
  • As Claire put it she went into the Tribe Sober experience lock stock and barrel – that’s the way to do it!
  • It’s no good tinkering around the edges of sobriety – a short break here, another challenge there – we have to treat it like a project, a job and make it our priority for those first few months
  • Claire realized early on that she would be continuing her sobriety beyond 66 days so she aimed for 100 days and then 6 months which many of our challengers do
  • It’s important to avoid the overwhelm which comes from the F word (the Forever word) so small steps are the way to do it
  • Of course, Claire would get triggers to drink now and again but she kept herself on track by reminding herself how far she had come, and how she wasn’t prepared to lose the progress she’d made
  • She loved the Tribe Sober community and felt that some of the members had seen inside her own head – she so enjoyed mixing with people who really “got it”
  • That’s exactly what you need when you are starting out on this journey – people who get it – your drinking buddies will tell you that you are boring and your sensible friends will tell you to just cut down a bit!
  • You need people who understand the struggle!
  • I asked Claire how she sustains her sobriety now that her first year has passed – she stays connected with Tribe Sober, goes to our coffee meetups and participates online, she listens to the podcast and reads the quitlit
  • In other words, she tends her sobriety garden which is so important – we love it when our members stay connected
  • After all, ditching the booze is only 10% of this journey – 90% is building a life you don’t want to escape from and that’s exactly what Claire is doing, as well as inspiring and encouraging newbies
  • I loved hearing Claire say that she “owned” her sobriety and was happy to talk about it with anyone who asked
  • Her top 3 benefits are sleep, self-esteem and a feeling of peace – she realizes she no longer has to be the one starting the party of being the last person to leave!
  • Claire mentioned a few techniques that may be of interest to our listeners – she talked about the power of journaling. Some of us have journaled for years but others are not sure where to begin
  • So, we are going to run a pop-up week on a FB group to help people who want to get started on journaling – that’s at the end of August so watch this space
  • Straight after journaling week, we have our annual 66-day Challenge which begins on September 1st – that’s the Challenge that got Claire started on her journey
  • There will be more info and sign-up pages for a journaling week and the 66-day challenge soon but if you drop me an email at we’ll send you the links as soon as they are  up on the website
  • Or perhaps Claire inspired you to join Tribe Sober with her kind words about us – I loved the way she said that our members can do things at their own pace, with no shaming, no one size fits all program – with only 400 members we really are able to offer a personal service
  • To sign up just go to and hit join our tribe

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 program and subscribe HERE

Help us to Spread the Word!

We made this podcast so that we can reach more people who need our help.  Please subscribe and share.

If you enjoyed the podcast, then please leave us a 5-star review on Apple podcasts.

Take a screenshot of your review, and DM it to Tribe Sober’s Instagram page – see PS below for instructions. We’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning.

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram.

You can join our private Facebook group HERE.

PS: How to Leave a Rating/Review in Apple Podcasts (on an iOS Device)

    1. Open the Podcasts app. EASY.
    2. Choose “Search” from the bottom row of icons and enter the name of the show (e.g. Recover Like a Mother) into the search field.
    3. Select the show under Shows (not under Episodes).
    4. Scroll down past the first few episodes until you see Ratings & Reviews.
    5. Click Write a Review underneath the displayed reviews from other listeners. You’ll then have the option to rate the show on a 5-star scale and write a review (you can rate without writing too but it’s always good to read your experience).




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!