Sobriety is the Ultimate Life Hack! – with Kirsty from Soberbuzz

 

My guest today is Kirsty Mulcahy from Soberbuzz Scotland.

Her work focuses on supporting people to go alcohol-free – she also coaches people who are sober and who are asking themselves what comes next…

In this Episode

  • Kirsty started drinking at the age of 14
  • The first night she drank she ended up in the hospital having her stomach pumped
  • That one weekend changed the trajectory of Kirsty’s schooling
  • Previously she loved school and was doing well but after the stomach-pumping incident she hung out with the people she’d been drinking with – she needed to “fit in”
  • We agreed that even when we get older we still have the need to fit in and one of the fears of quitting is around our identity – who will we be if we don’t drink? Who will my people be?
  • We agreed that we are both blessed to be working in the recovery community where we have found our people and get purpose from helping people to change their lives
  • Kirsty left school early and went live abroad at the age of 17
  • She drank heavily and took recreational drugs until she was 21
  • Returning to the UK, she intended to return to live overseas, but she fell in love and had a child
  • At the age of 27, she separated from her partner and became a single mom
  • That’s when she realized that she had a problem with alcohol … although she didn’t stop until she was 41
  • 14 years of knowing – but not changing
  • 14 years of thinking this isn’t right – but feeling trapped because she had no idea HOW to make a change
  • I so identify with this and in fact, the average time that someone takes from the realization that they have a problem and doing something about it is 11 years
  • So if you are in that place of knowing that you have a problem but feeling trapped please reach out today… there is help available, go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe!
  • Apart from not knowing how to quit drinking, Kirsty’s whole identity was wrapped up in being the party girl
  • There was also a dark side to the partying which was when she drank alone
  • When Kirsty’s mom died suddenly, she was 33 and her drinking became heavier
  • She had no sober people in her life, no role models showing her that an alcohol-free life was possible
  • She had been to an AA meeting in her 20s but was unable to relate to the people she found there
  • Apart from the shock of losing her mom, Kirsty had to cope with a lot of extra responsibility and she no longer had childcare for when she went to work
  • She had no coping mechanisms so turned to alcohol
  • Kirsty tried putting various rules in place around her drinking but ended up breaking them
  • She had lots of “rock bottoms” but found herself moving the goalposts
  • For example, she thought that if she ever woke up in a stranger’s house the morning after, she would quit
  • But she did … and she didn’t quit
  • One of the things that prevented her from getting help was the shame …  she just didn’t want to tell anyone how bad it had got
  • Another factor that kept her trapped was the thought that people would realise that she had a problem if she stopped
  • When we give up smoking, we get congratulated but when we give up drinking we just get lots of awkward questions!
  • Like many of us, Kirsty was high-functioning and managed to hold down a job and maintain her parenting role
  • She also poured huge energy into keeping everybody happy so that no one questioned what was going on in her life
  • Without her mom to look out for her, Kirsty felt very alone – there was nobody close to her to see just how bad her drinking had gotten, nobody to advise her
  • Her final rock bottom came in December 2017 when she woke up surrounded by empty bottles and drug paraphernalia
  • She got on her knees and asked for help … She couldn’t do this anymore…
  • If YOU ever wake up feeling exhausted and hungover and decide you can’t do this anymore, please embrace that moment, it’s your turning point so don’t ignore it, reach out for some help
  • Kirsty reached out for some help that day and she signed herself into a crisis centre
  • When she returned home she went cold turkey
  • This was a big risk – when she saw a doctor she told her she could have died. After drinking 2-3 bottles of wine plus spirits a day, she actually needed a medical detox
  • Thankfully Kirsty did survive although she describes her detox as “hell”
  • As she clocked up some alcohol-free time, she began to realise that it was not drugs or alcohol that she craved, it was love
  • When we ditch the booze and go alcohol-free we learn how to love ourselves again
  • It starts with the pride we feel as we achieve some sober time and stay on track
  • Kirsty had to figure out how to care for herself
  • She went to bed straight after dinner to avoid thinking about drinking, she drank lots of water, she ate well, she began to be truthful with her friends and she began a journaling and gratitude practice
  • She took it hour by hour in those early days and it began to stick
  • The more time that passed since her last drink, the more space she created in her mind
  • She got space to reflect on what she really needed – a beautiful space as she calls it
  • For the first 6 months, her focus was on staying alive and not drinking – when she got to 6 months she realized that she was “doing sobriety”
  • She kept her head down and focused on getting to her first Soberversary
  • As she said sobriety is a journey, not a destination
  • Drinking is about self-destruction whereas recovery is about recovering our true selves
  • When she hit a year of sobriety Kirsty knew she would never drink again. Her life is so different – she describes it as “night and day”
  • We talked about the fear of losing friends that many of us have when we quit drinking and agreed that we’ve lost some drinking buddies but our true friends have stuck by us
  • As Kirsty said our friendship circle evolves throughout our lifetime anyway. As she said, some friends are for a season, some are for a reason and some are for life
  • Some of her friends expressed interest in taking a break from alcohol so she created an online community called Soberbuzz
  • They were holding sober events but then the pandemic hit – so they shifted to Zoom meetings to support each other and share their experiences
  • We talked about the benefits of sobriety and, for Kirsty, the fact that she now has an open line of communication with her daughter is a big one – alcohol used to be the elephant in the room but now they can talk honestly to each other
  • She has learnt to love herself again and can look back on her life with compassion for that younger woman
  • She’s escaped the shame cycle which was keeping her stuck, she loves the people that she meets and gets to support
  • We often say that at Tribe Sober, we get to create a family with a deep connection, people from all over the world coming together to change their lives
  • I loved Kirsty’s description of sobriety as being the best life hack, ever
  • Kirsty is a life coach working with people in sobriety who often say,”I think I would like to have a couple of glasses of wine,” but eventually they say, “Why would I even want to do that?”
  • As we clock up sober time we realise that we are gaining SO much more than we are losing and we don’t want to give up all those benefits
  • You can find Kirsty on IG at soberbuzzscotland and at skyrosecoaching.co.uk

More Info

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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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