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Monthly Newsletter2018-05-17T15:32:57+02:00

Monthly Newsletter

PAWS

Question

Question:

How long, after abstaining from alcohol, can I be affected by PAWS.

Answer:

Dear M

PAWS stands for post acute withdrawal syndrome. It is caused , to put it simply, by the brain complaining about the lack of its supply of alcohol . It typically starts after about a month and can last for about a year depending on the individual. Symptoms are often of a depressive or irritable nature and often occur in cycles more a less a month apart.

Another problem is the sugar aspect. Alcohol contains massive amounts of sugar. A lot of us develop a sweet tooth after abstaining. If we don’t give in to the sugar craving we can develop keto flu, which consists of flu like symptoms. To counteract that, a salty snack often works wonders.

Hope this helps

Best wishes

Dr Judy

On the Rocks with Thando Pato

 

There are so many inspiring quit-lit memoirs out there but very few from South Africa.  Apart from Melinda Ferguson’s “Smacked” and Sam Cowen’s “From Whisky to Water” there has been a distinct lack of inspiration coming from the Southern Hemisphere.

However, that’s all changed thanks to my podcast guest Thando Pato who has just published her Quit-Lit memoir, “On the Rocks”.  When Thando wanted to get sober she struggled to find a book by someone she could relate to.  So she has put this situation right by becoming the first black South African woman to write a Quit-Lit memoir.

As it says on her book cover:

“Thirty-nine-year-old Thando is living in complete denial about her drinking. On the surface, her life appears aspirational – she has an enviable job, a cool apartment, and a snazzy car. But behind the facade she harbours a dark and shameful secret – she can’t control her drinking.”

In this Episode

  • Like many of us, Thando’s drinking career got started at University – that combination of being away from home with access to cheap booze and drinking buddies gets to many of us.
  • However, she was not at all worried about her drinking as it just felt normal.
  • In fact, she displayed a very sensible attitude towards alcohol as she ditched it for a year while she was doing her post-grad at Rhodes – she was paying for her own studies and well aware of the heavy drinking reputation at Rhodes.
  • However, by 2012 she had got into the habit of drinking a bottle of wine at home most evenings of the week.
  • She was still not particularly concerned, but when her therapist told her she was an alcoholic, she stormed out of the room and promptly sacked her. Thando was still in denial about having a problem but the therapist had definitely planted a seed!
  • Thando’s drinking accelerated in 2016 when she had two personal setbacks.
  • Using alcohol to deal with disappointments can easily become our default and it’s actually a big sign of progress when we can deal with our lows (and even our highs) without reaching for the booze.
  • Thando described 2016 as a bit of a blur – often having to leave her car and collect it the next morning, not remembering the journey home, awful hangovers, feeling a lot of shame, etc.
  • I think many of us can identify with that blurry stage – that’s when you really need to make a change and step off the slippery slope of dependence.
  • Of course, Thando was making (and breaking) rules by this time, but finally accepting that she had a toxic relationship with alcohol. Like many of us, she had no idea HOW to make a change.
  • Like me, she trotted down to AA, and like me, she listened to the shares and decided that she wasn’t “that bad” and that she didn’t fit in at all!
  • Now that I look back on the AA experience and that feeling of being “ok” because we are not drinking in the morning, etc, it occurs to me that we should be comparing ourselves with the best version of ourselves that we could be – rather than comparing ourselves with the hardcore “alcoholic”.
  • Thando made a pact with her brother to not drink for a year and he would be a support.
  • Thando’s decision to take a year off was a brave one but it had a fatal flaw – she was under the impression that this sabbatical from the booze would mean that she would be able to reset her habits and drink “normally”.
  • This was futile because once our drinking has crossed that line into dependence we can never go back – we have to go forward and create an alcohol-free life – a life we don’t want to escape from.
  • Tribe sober can help you do that – so why not join our tribe?
  • Thando’s therapist pointed out that the fact that she was taking a year off indicated that she did have a problem with alcohol as it would never occur to a “normal” drinker to do that!
  • She was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and told that she displayed the traits of a functioning alcoholic.
  • What helped Thando finally accept that she was a functioning alcoholic was the explanation she got from her therapist of alcoholism being a spectrum – two extremes with many degrees of dependence in between.
  • At one end is the stereotype alcoholic (that homeless man in the park) and at the other end is the non-drinker – most of the population fall between those two extremes.
  • Back in 2012 Doctors Nowinsky and Doyle published a book called “Almost Alcoholics” – these people are still holding it all together, but edging up to the alcoholic end of the spectrum.
  • The trick is to keep an eye on your relationship with alcohol and your location on the spectrum.   If you’d like one of our free pdfs called “Signs you have a drinking problem” then email me at janet@nulltribesober.com.
  • Once Thando had got through her sober year (mostly by white-knuckling it), life threw her a couple of curved balls which meant that her intentions to moderate were completely derailed.
  • She was diagnosed with breast cancer and, as drinking was her default mechanism for dealing with trauma, she drank more than ever to cope with the stress, the surgery, and the various treatments.
  • Then came the pandemic but this turned out to be her saving grace.
  • South Africa implemented an alcohol ban and Thando was able to isolate herself and build up some sober time.
  • Although she felt like she was “losing her mind” during those first few months of sobriety she hung in there and it got easier.
  • At month 9, she started to write her book and after a year she stopped obsessing about alcohol, she stopped romanticising it.
  • She changed the way she saw alcohol, her mindset – that’s such an essential step and we’ll never thrive in our alcohol-free lives if we don’t change our mindsets.
  • So Thando got sober by a combination of being locked away due to the pandemic and getting some therapy.
  • Her therapist helped her to understand that she was actually an introvert and needed time alone to recharge – extraverts draw their energy from being with people whereas introverts need time alone.
  • Another conclusion she reached through therapy was the fact that she was attracted to men who were emotionally unavailable – her therapist helped her to realise that by drinking, she was emotionally cut off from herself.
  • These days Thando feels that she understands herself so much better and has adjusted her lifestyle to ensure that she gets plenty of time alone.
  • Her social life has evolved accordingly and she spends time in smaller groups rather than going for long boozy lunches with big groups of people.
  • Apart from getting to know herself better, Thando’s main benefit of sobriety is more capacity – for herself and for her to connect with others – her relationships are deeper.
  • So many young professionals will identify with Thando’s story – her book “On the Rocks” is available in bookstores on Kindle and can be ordered online via Amazon and Loot.

More Info

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

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9 Shocking Surprises that Alcohol has in Store for Your Body and Mind

If you are concerned about your present alcohol intake, read these 9 shocking surprises that alcohol has in store for your body and mind. Maybe, just maybe, you will be tempted to change your life. Sobriety is the new buzz word and the alcohol-free lifestyle is slowly taking hold of the world.

Pull off those alcoholic shackles, pull off that veil that is covering your eyes: look, see, listen and wake up people. Stop drinking. And now, without further ado, here are the 9 shocking surprises that alcohol has in store for your body and mind:

  1. Sulfites in alcohol stimulate and worsen allergies and asthma

In addition, alcoholic drinks contain sugar, wheat, hops, barley, rye, yeast and grapes – many of which cause allergic reactions to many people. The more you imbibe, the worse your allergies will be and asthmatics should be very careful. Some people will get rashes and others will get breathing problems. Sulphites are preservatives found in many foods and drinks to increase shelf life, maintain colour and stop any fungi or bacteria growing in the food or drink. Some of the mixes you choose also contain them – lemon drinks, sodas, fruits, snacks and more.

  1. The more you drink, the less you sleep and if you are an insomniac, that gets worse

Alcohol may aid with sleep onset due to its sedative properties, “allowing you to fall asleep more quickly. However, people who drink before bed often experience disruptions later in their sleep cycle as liver enzymes metabolize alcohol. This can also lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and other issues the following day. Furthermore, drinking to fall asleep can build a tolerance, forcing you to consume more alcohol each successive night in order to experience the sedative effects.” Some people experience nightmares when they drink because when they go to bed, their blood alcohol level drops and their sleep becomes shallower and they tend to awaken more often. This means they remember their dreams and have more REM sleep which in turn causes more vivid dreams, even nightmares. Upon waking in the morning, the drinker is so tired that he or she drinks again that night to sleep better but restarts the vicious cycle.

  1. Alcohol is NOT the stress-reliever you thought it was – it actually increases your stress and adds anxiety to the mix

According to VeryWellMind, many people who experience stressful situations turn to alcohol to cope with that stress. The problem with that is alcohol itself can cause stress on the body’s physiological balance.

What people do not realise is that regular alcohol intake actually causes its own mental, emotional and physical negative effects on the drinker. Their stress gets worse and when they think that they are relieving their stress with a drink or 5, they are in fact increasing stress AND anxiety. Stress in itself has huge impacts on body and mind. “Physiologically, stress is defined as anything that challenges the body to function in its usual fashion. Injury, illness, or exposure to extreme temperatures can cause stress to the body. Grieving, depression, fear, and even sexual activity can cause psychological stress.”

Alcohol changes the hormone balance in the body and the way the body and mind react to stress. More cortisol is released when consuming alcohol which changes the brain’s chemistry. Cortisol is nicknamed the stress hormone but it is “an essential hormone that affects almost every organ and tissue in your body” including regulating your body’s stress response, helping control your use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates (metabolism), suppressing inflammation, regulating blood pressure, blood sugar and your sleep cycle.

  1. You don’t digest alcohol, your body absorbs it

Instant gratification into your bloodstream and you are sooner drunk than fulfilled. The worst part about alcohol and digestion is that you will soon experience indigestion and stomach problems. Do you reach for the greasy food after a night out drinking? That also causes discomfort and you put on weight and just feel puffy and over-full.

  1. You don’t create memories with alcohol, more likely you forget

Or you really want to forget when you wake up the next morning and remember what you said and did. Yes, alcohol affects short-term memory because it slows down the way our nerves communicate with each other in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. This is where we form and maintain memories. “Heavy alcohol use doesn’t only slow down the hippocampus, it can damage it. Alcohol can destroy nerve cells. This affects a person’s memory in the short and long term. In addition, people who drink too much alcohol are often deficient in vitamin B-1, or thiamine. This vitamin is vital to providing energy to brain and nerve cells.”

  1. Alcohol is the cause of inflammation

Especially in your stomach lining, leading to reflux and other digestive discomforts. Yes, excessive alcohol consumption can cause inflammation. According to Alcohol Rehab Help, “gut microflora-derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is one cause of inflammation. And alcohol can significantly increase the body’s transfer of LPS from the gut.  In healthy individuals, the liver plays a key role in detoxifying LPS. But alcohol can damage the liver, as well as the central nervous system (CNS), which also plays a role in preventing inflammation. Basically, alcohol can not only cause inflammation, but it can also impair your body’s ability to regulate that inflammation. This inflammation can further damage your body’s organs. It’s a vicious cycle that can affect your long-term health.”

  1. Drinking makes you older

Alcohol is linked to age in lots of ways. Everyone has to wait until age 18 or 21 to drink alcohol, and then, when they can, they don’t realise how fast their consumption of alcohol ages them! There go your looks and your healthy vigour! Heavy drinking impacts your immune system and your physical appearance. It dries your skin, dehydrates your body, weakens vital organs, slows your brain, weakens your immune system, weakens your heart and starts to make you feel really rotten – physically and mentally.

  1. Drinking alcoholic drinks is a direct cause of cancer

Especially breast, throat, larynx and mouth cancers – then stomach, pancreas, liver and kidneys. Research shows that alcohol use is linked to a wide range of injuries and diseases, including cancer. Those who drink add to the already collapsing global burden of disease. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is causally linked to cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and oesophagus) and cancers of the colon, rectum, liver, and female breast.

The Lancet states that all these cancers caused by alcohol “contributed 6·3 million cases and 3·3 million deaths globally in 2020”.

  1. Your hangovers get worse in tandem with the guilt and shame

Women’s Health magazine gives a trivial reason for this: When your blood alcohol concentration starts to drop (aka a hangover), your brain experiences boomerang-like shifts in the levels of certain chemicals,’ explains Dr Aparna Iyer, a US-based psychiatrist. ‘Alcohol mimics the effects of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps people feel less inhibited – which is why you might feel extra chilled and gregarious while you’re drinking – but during the hangover the next day, the effects are reversed, causing anxiety to spike,’ she adds. The same goes for serotonin (the happiness hormone).

The article continues that “there is some evidence to suggest that the feeling of hangover shame could be worse for women. The liver plays a key role in regulating your hormones but when you’ve got it working overtime processing the toxins in alcohol, some of the day jobs falls by the wayside.” Women end up with too much oestrogen in their bodies and we all know that breast cancer is caused by this symptom.

We know better and we know that these feelings of guilt and shame could hark back to your childhood. If your drinking is starting to bother you, and your friends or family, maybe it is time to take a break?

We have been where you are now and we can help you to quit drinking and learn to thrive in your alcohol-free life!

 

Click on the image to watch our podcasts or follow Tribe Sober on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Order our latest PDF via janet@nulltribesober.com

 

 

                

Life Lessons from Recovery

 

As we ditch the booze and try to navigate our alcohol drenched world without it, we often say we are “on a journey”.  My guest this week got sober and then decided to embark on a physical journey.

From Mexico to Canada – on foot! – 2,500 miles! – 5 months!

She applied the lessons from her recovery to the walk and then wrote a book about it.

My guest uses her trail name which is Person Irresponsible – P.I. for short.

 

In this Episode

  • PI grew up in a drinking home and married a drinker – a familiar story as we tend to seek out the familiar – our comfort zone.
  • In her twenties, she doesn’t recall being worried about her drinking but there were certainly some “incidents”.
  • She realises that she was in deep denial – hanging around with other drinkers to normalise her behaviour.
  • As she got into her thirties, her hangovers got more severe, her marriage collapsed and she started drinking until she blacked out.
  • Like many drinkers, she fell into “victim mode”, blaming others – in her case, blaming her ex-husband.
  • As she looks back on this, she can see that alcoholism prevents any rational thought.
  • PI became so unhappy during this period, she didn’t actually care what happened to her, or what harm she was doing to herself with alcohol.
  • She never read romance or chick lit but for some reason she had an urge to read Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes.
  • At the end of the book, Marian had written about AA, so PI decided to call the helpline and talk to someone. As a result of this conversation, she decided to try 30 days without alcohol.
  • She went to 30 meetings in 30 days and was thrilled to get her 30-day chip. One of the guys at the meetings said, “Now you have to do 60 days,” which came as a surprise. But she decided to go for it, after all, she felt so much better physically!
  • PI loved the stories and the drama – and the chips at AA – she wasn’t so keen on the solutions and didn’t listen to those.
  • Unsurprisingly, she relapsed on Day 72, but the alcohol she drank didn’t give her the relief she was looking for.
  • She went to a meeting and heard a share that really resonated with her – and she finally accepted that she was an alcoholic.
  • That got her back on track, and although she suffered from bad cravings now and again, she learnt how to “break the spell” – whether by talking to someone, or writing a list of reasons to be sober.
  • As she hit one year sober, she started to hear a voice saying, “Surely you can have just one now,” – as well as the voices explaining why that would be a bad idea.
  • As she said, she had a “war” going on in her head. Full-on cognitive dissonance, as the psychologists call it.
  • That made me think of the study by The Tempest that it takes a person an average of 11 years to reach out for help – that’s 11 years of listening to the battle between your rational mind and your limiting beliefs in your subconscious – exhausting!
  • She made the decision to get her one year chip and then to try having a drink. But then she got a call from a sponsee asking for help. Listening to this person’s struggle “broke the spell” for her and made her realise that she didn’t ever want to go back to those difficult days again.
  • That’s why we encourage our members to stick around even after they have got sober – it’s so rewarding to be able to help other people, and it’s a reminder of how tough those early days are. After all, who wants to keep doing the hardest bit, again and again?
  • We even have a 6 years+ group at Tribe Sober and the conversations are quite different on that group – we added up our collective years of sobriety the other day – 184 Years in all!
  • Like many of us, PI found herself with time on her hands when she stopped drinking. Inspired by a movie called “Wild” she decided to walk the worlds longest footpath – from Mexico to Canada, the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • We always say that your world will open up to new possibilities when you ditch the drink, and PI is a great example.
  • She was able to apply the lessons she had learned in recovery during the walk – she gave us a nice analogy of the initial excitement at the beginning of the walk (pink cloud), followed by the boredom and the difficulty and the need to just keep going.
  • Her walk was a perfect metaphor for her recovery journey – and she often just wanted to quit.
  • She describes the PCT as the second greatest achievement in her life (after recovery).
  • At Tribe Sober we often say that Sobriety is a Superpower, because if we can do that, we can do anything!
  • So do get hold of PI’s book which is called Everything you Ever Taught Me – I’ve read it and it’s great – very funny and full of insight.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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.

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you.

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.

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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.
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What is Your Change Plan? Change the way you Drink and Start Living!

What is Your Change Plan? 

Pin this document on your fridge and fill it in slowly but surely.

Changes I want to make:

  1. How important is it to me to make these changes (scale of 1 to 10)?
  2. How confident am I that I can make these changes (scale of 1 to 10)?
  3. The most important reasons I want to make these changes are:
  4. The steps I plan to take in changing are:
  5. How other people can help me:
  6. I will know my plan is working when:
  7. Some things that could interfere with my plan are:

Change

What is change? Do you like change? Do you fear change? What is causing you to feel this way?

Why should you change? Why should you not change?

Have you heard the latest buzz words: natural recovery? It seems that there is a movement starting, initiated by people who drink. They want to change, on their own, without help. More people are deciding to take control of their lives and quit the booze of their own accord. I did it! So can you.

Reld Hester makes this point in Psychology Today: “If you decide to make a change in your drinking, you’re more likely to stick with it if you take two steps. A) Write down specifically how and what you’re going to change, and B) tell friends and/or family who you think will be supportive of your efforts to change.”

He goes on to say that it is wise to “weigh the pros and cons of your drinking.” Again, take two steps. First write down keywords about what you like about drinking. Then write down keywords about what is worrying you about your drinking. Now compare the lists. Which list outweighs the other list? Do you feel uncomfortable or OK with your lists?

Ask yourself: What mistakes have I made due to my drinking choices and habits?

Facts About Drinking

It is all very well to drink. But there are some facts you need to remember about drinking. Drinking is not a game. It is a reality that drinking kills people. Alcohol causes cancer, not to mention heart disease, liver and kidney disease, diabetes and more.

Have you heard of alcohol tolerance? In this blog, we are talking change and change also comes into the equation when you are a solid drinker (someone who drinks often and a lot). The change comes with the raised tolerance levels.

The more you drink, the more you need and the more you realise that the alcohol is not doing anything to you or for you. So, you up the levels and even though you are not feeling wired or high, you are feeling more depressed and more dependent on that initial buzz that the first glass may give you.

According to drinkaware.com, “drinking less can help you reverse your tolerance to alcohol as well as reduce your risk of serious health harm.”

If you’re drinking regularly, then receptors in your brain will gradually adapt to the effects of alcohol. This means that the same amount of alcohol will have less short-term effect on you. This will lead to you drinking more alcohol to get the same feeling. It’s really important to recognise that tolerance to the short-term effects does not mean your health risks are lower. In fact, you could be at higher risk because you may not recognise how much you’re drinking.

It is important to realise that your body does not build up tolerance to the damage that the alcohol can do to your liver, heart, stomach and other organs.

If you are drinking a lot, you can change. It is time to change.

Drink Less, Live More

There is so much you can do to decrease your need for, and reliance on, alcohol. Where to start? Follow the global guidelines for what is the most you should be drinking per week: most countries stipulate the 14 units of alcohol a week (which means a little as they go by small glasses and measurements!). Have you considered taking drink free days in the week? But then, it is not wise to drink all your 14 units in one sitting as this would translate into binge drinking.

Read my blog about Grey Area Drinking to understand this topic better. And the podcast about binge drinking is an ear-opener too!

When you decide to change, then make the changes. Start to drink less. Intersperse your drinks with fizzy drinks or herbal teas or water. Drink less and snack more – this is not the time to worry about your weight but if you choose healthy snacks, you won’t pick up weight and remember to exercise daily.

One of the panacea’s for not drinking and making changes is EXERCISE, especially in the great outdoors! Get out into nature and revel in her beauty. I like to walk in nature every day and I also pick up litter and talk to the birds.

Take that first step. Do the quiz on Tribe Sober and start the 66-day challenge. This is your life, your body and your mind. The effects of drinking are dark and cannot just be swept under the carpet. Read Quitlit, listen to podcasts and be diligent about this new project in your life. It is exciting to set goals and to move forward.

Make those changes: What else can you do with your time now that drinking is taking up less hours of your day, week, and month? See my blog about hobbies and see if there is something that tickles your fancy. Try a new exercise or creative group, start an online course or read a book you have been putting off for so long because you could not see the words through the blur of the alcohol!

“Taking a break and reducing your tolerance is an important thing to do for your health. Breaking the cycle of drinking can prevent your body from becoming accustomed to alcohol and help to lower or ‘reset’ your tolerance.

These are the signs that you are becoming dependent on alcohol and need to make changes whether you like it or not:

  • Worrying about where your next drink is coming from and planning social, family and work events around alcohol
  • Finding you have a compulsive need to drink and finding it hard to stop once you start.
  • Waking up and drinking – or feeling the need to have a drink in the morning
  • Suffering from withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, which stop once you drink alcohol

What is Your Change Plan?

  1. Changes I want to make:
  2. How important is it to me to make these changes (scale of 1 to 10)?
  3. How confident am I that I can make these changes (scale of 1 to 10)?
  4. The most important reasons I want to make these changes are:
  5. The steps I plan to take in changing are:
  6. How other people can help me:
  7. I will know my plan is working when:
  8. Some things that could interfere with my plan are:

Read the lead magnet called 3o Signs you Need to Take a Break from Alcohol. If you would like this lead magnet, please write to janet@nulltribesober.com. 

Also, if you haven’t done so already, remember to join our tribe here and now.

 

How to Stop Binge Drinking – with Mindset Coach Kathryn Elliott

 

In early sobriety I was dutifully working my way through the QuitLit, but one day I picked up a book that changed everything for me – The Naked Mind by Annie Grace.  That book was a revelation  – I finally understood how we are manipulated endlessly by the liquor industry to believe that we need their toxic product to enjoy our lives.

I started to see things quite differently. I started to laugh when yet another booze advert came on TV or another glamorous movie heroine poured herself a huge glass of wine!

I realised what the missing piece had been all along – it was mindset.

Until I read The Naked Mind I was white knuckling my sobriety so I was missing the most important piece of all.  That’s why we say the objective of our workshop is to create a mind shift – we know that we have to enable you to change your thinking – about drinking – if you are to go on and actually thrive in your alcohol-free life.

Our next workshop is coming up on June 25- you can get more info and book here! 

So now you’ve heard how what a gamechanger The Naked Mind was for me, you will understand why I’m thrilled to welcome one of Annie Grace’s Mindset Coaches as my guest this week…

Kathryn shares her personal story with us and explains why binge drinkers often don’t even realise that they have a “problem”…

In this Episode

  • Kathryn was a teenage drinker. With a friend, she got through a bottle of gin and a packet of cigarettes at the age of 14 – the results were not pretty and involved a lot of vomiting, but this did not deter her.
  • Drinking is so normalised in Australia, that she almost felt an obligation to “push through” these early experiments until she got to a place where she was enjoying it – and she did!
  • In fact, she discovered that once she started drinking she didn’t really have an “off” switch.
  • Now that she works with a lot of binge drinkers in her coaching career, she hears many of them say that they don’t have an “off” switch.
  • Kathryn would be in a cycle – go for it, recover, go for it, recover.
  • She didn’t really see this as a “problem”, even when she started having blackouts at age 16 – some blackouts which involved driving.
  • She could go for weeks without drinking and challenges like Dry January were easy for her, but she would always see these dry periods as permission to binge before and afterwards!
  • As Kathryn looks back on those short periods of abstinence, she realises they did nothing to help her understand her binge drinking habit.
  • Women need to understand that binge drinking is particularly dangerous as it can take up to a month for our liver to recover from a heavy session.
  • We tend to think that once the hangover has gone we can start drinking again, but that just piles more damage on top of the existing damage.
  • Both Kathryn and I spent far too much time in the “Moderation Trap” as we couldn’t imagine our lives without alcohol. Even if we white-knuckled our moderation for a while, the binge drinking would return.
  • We are also both health-conscious so can now appreciate the irony of going gluten-free, eating organic, doing yoga, exercising daily – and then drinking far too much!
  • It’s as if it’s the last piece of the puzzle for our health – we are prepared to do all sorts of other things (even run marathons!) so long as they don’t take our wine away!
  • Kathryn always imagined she would “grow out” of her binge drinking, but by the age of 42 she realised she had been stuck in this pattern for nearly 30 years and something would have to change.
  • There were two incidents in her 40’s which were a catalyst for the change – getting drunk at her brother’s wedding where she fell over and hurt her hand and then had a row with her mother.
  • The second incident was a family holiday where she frightened her teenage children by being unable to walk.
  • The next day she sat on the beach and cried – she realised she would have to quit.
  • I call this the “moment of truth” and it comes to many of us – that feeling of “I’m done, I just can’t do this anymore”.
  • Kathryn joined The Alcohol Experiment with Annie Grace, with the intention of trying a year of sobriety. She learned a lot and got huge comfort from the community, realising that she was not alone in this. It was not her fault that she got addicted to an addictive substance!
  • We both agreed that the recovery community is special and we love being trailblazers for the alcohol-free lifestyle.
  • Like me, Kathryn is a breast cancer survivor and she talks of the moment she was diagnosed.
  • She reflected on the fact that her default position for dealing with trauma was to drink, but, in fact, she realised that she needed all her mental and physical strength to deal with her breast cancer.
  • My diagnosis was back in 2006 when I still drinking and I remember seeing it as a perfect opportunity to slip into victim mode and step up the drinking!
  • Neither of us realised just how strong the link is between heavy drinking and breast cancer – in fact just 3 or 4 drinks a week will increase your risk by 15%, so it was unsurprising that I got breast cancer after putting away a bottle of wine a night for decades!
  • Many ladies in our community have had breast cancer and its nearly always been estrogen-driven – as alcohol increases the amount of estrogen in our bodies.
  • Kathryn took comfort from her decision to quit drinking as she realised she would be reducing her risk of a recurrence.
  • She trained as a Naked Mind Coach and loves helping people to change their lives.
  • She uses 3 pillars to help people change their relationship with alcohol:

Knowledge – be curious, learn everything you can, “throw the book at it” as we say at Tribe Sober

Emotion – challenge your limiting beliefs – change your thoughts and create new neural pathways

Action – as Kathryn says, once we question our beliefs, our sub-conscious will kick in and help us to take the actions we need to

  • Kathryn’s tips for newbies – dip your toe into sobriety, join sober communities, listen and learn – and of course Annie Grace’s book The Naked Mind is a great place to start!
  • We talked about binge drinkers and the interesting thing about binge drinkers is that they often don’t see themselves as “problem drinkers”.
  • They see themselves as “normal drinkers” who go over the top now and again!
  • I was definitely in this category.
  • So, the first step is to accept that even if you go for weeks without drinking – but then sometimes you go over the top and you don’t seem to have an off switch, you probably need to make some changes.

If you would like to work with Kathryn, then please go to her website: https://www.thealcoholmindsetcoach.com/

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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).

7 Top Tips from my 7 Sober Years with Janet Gourand

Tribe Sober – Your Guide to Alcohol-free Living!

Last week I celebrated my 7th Soberversary by having breakfast in a smart hotel. That’s a great tip for sober socialising by the way. No pesky questions about “why aren’t you drinking?” and you can even get a nice buzz going from all the coffee!  You can choose the most upmarket venue in town and it’s still going to  be a lot cheaper than a long boozy lunch in a mediocre restaurant!

I shared my story with you last week and this week I’m talking about 7 things I’ve learned during my 7 years of sobriety. Perspective is everything, so I’ve tried to pick out 7 things I’ve learned over the years – things that may help others who are on this journey.

In this Episode – My Top 7 Tips

  1. Get ready to feel those feelings
  2. Remember that not drinking hurts (at first)
  3. Be ready for the Wine Witch and Moderation Mary
  4. Prepare for the void
  5. You will need to shake things up a bit
  6. Throw the book at it
  7. Keep perspective and remember that the only failure is to stop trying!

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

20% ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DISCOUNT CODE ANN052022 – valid during May 2022

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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).

7 Tips for Living Alcohol-Free

7 Tips for Living Alcohol Free

If you’re looking to cut down on your drinking or even you give it up entirely, there are some things you can do to make the process easier, from setting realistic goals to finding alternative activities to filling up your time.

There are many reasons why someone might choose to live alcohol-free. Perhaps you want to improve your health, or you’re trying to save money. Whatever your reason, giving up alcohol can be a challenge. Here are some great tips for living alcohol-free.

1. Get rid of all the alcohol in your home.

If you want to live alcohol-free, the first step is to eliminate all the booze in your house. You won’t be tempted to drink when you’re feeling down or stressed out. Give away any bottles of wine or liquor to friends or family members who don’t mind taking them off your hands.

2. Make a list of reasons why you want to stay sober.

When you’re trying to stay alcohol-free, it can be helpful to remind yourself of why you made this decision in the first place. Write down a list of your goals for staying sober, and keep it somewhere where you can see it every day. Refer to this list when you’re feeling tempted to drink.

3. Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy.

One of the best ways to stay sober is to find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life. It can help take your mind off drinking and give you something positive to focus on. If you’re not sure what hobbies or activities you might like, try something new until you find something that sticks.

4. Spend time with people who support your decision to stay sober.

If you surround yourself with people who support your decision to live alcohol-free, it will be easier to stick to your goals. Spend time with friends or family members who don’t drink or try to stay sober. There are also many support groups for people trying to live alcohol-free.

5. Avoid places where you’re likely to be tempted to drink.

If you know that certain places will trigger your urge to drink, do your best to avoid them. It might mean avoiding bars, clubs, or other places where drinking is the norm. If you can’t avoid these places altogether, try to go with a friend who will help you stay on track.

6. Make sure you’re eating healthy and staying active.

Eating healthy and staying active is important for overall health and well-being, but it can also help you stay alcohol-free. When you’re taking care of your body, you’re less likely to want to damage it with alcohol. Eating healthy meals and getting regular exercise can also help reduce stress, which can trigger drinking.

7. Talk to someone if you’re struggling to stay sober.

If you find it difficult to stay alcohol-free, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to a friend, family member, therapist, or even a support group. Sometimes just talking about what you’re going through can make it easier to handle.

Quitting drinking doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right mindset and a little planning, you can do it. Use these tips to help you make the transition to an alcohol-free life. You may be surprised at how easy it is once you get started.

If you’re trying to live alcohol-free, these tips can help you achieve your goal. Just remember to take things one day at a time and be patient with yourself. You can do it!

It may be time to consider taking a complete break and going to a rehabilitation clinic. Follow up your stay in rehab by joining tribesober.com to keep you on track! link for Tribe Sober

Rehab link for USA Clinic

Blood Tests

Question

Hi Dr Judy
I’m not sure where you are based, but I was wondering whether you do consultations or have GPs that you could refer to in the northern suburbs of Cape Town.
I recently stopped drinking and want to have some blood tests done to see how bad the damage is (I know I already have increased MCV), and then monitor it over time. Would also be good to get some supplements if needed.

Answer

Congratulations on your sobriety. You have made a wise decision and joined the best tribe. I’m situated in Gauteng and don’t know the northern suburbs GPs. However, I would recommend that you contact your nearest rehab centre (for substance abuse). They have GPs that they refer their clients to which are knowledgeable about what to look for and can give advice.

I can recommend Harmony rehab centre. It’s not situated in the northern suburbs but they may know of someone close to you. It is my experience that everyone reacts differently to alcohol and that we all have our vulnerable areas. For some it may be the liver. For others the pancreas or brain. And then there’s the increased risk for cancers. The reason for this is that alcohol causes extreme inflammation which damages our bodies. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a check up. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Dr Judy.

 

On the Rocks – Thando Pato

 

“On the Rocks deeply inspires us to believe that, whatever life throws at us, we all have the ability to heal and rebuild our lives” Kojo Baffoe

Thirty-nine year old Thando is living in complete denial about her drinking. On the surface, her life appears aspirational – she has an enviable job, a cool apartment and a snazzy car. But behind the facade she harbours a dark and shameful secret – she can’t control her drinking

Life takes a cruel twist and she’s diagnosed with breast cancer. For the next two years she cronicles her addiction as she spirals out of control before finally calling it quits just before lockdown March 2020. The road to recovery is brutal as she seems to be the only sober one in the midst of a pandemic. A courageous soul journey that will both shock and inspire

BUY THE BOOK

Drinking or Not Drinking, what are the Trends? 

Those in the know, who sell the booze we want to forget, say that more consumers are buying less alcohol. 

Those in the know, who sell the booze we want to avoid, say that consumers want low alcohol- or alcohol-free drinks instead of alcoholic beverages. 

Those in the know, who sell the booze so bad for all of us, say that they are going to follow this trend and make more AF drinks for these consumers. 

What is driving this move away from alcohol towards alcohol-free drinks? 

Getting Healthy After Two Torrid Years 

Health! Money! Introspection! What does the spirit need after a torrid two years? The torrid two years of the Covid-19 Pandemic which changed the way we think and feel. I think I am half-way correct when I guess that the spirit needs time to heal and that does not include toxic substances like alcohol. 

It is daunting to think that people have been drinking fermented drinks since time immemorial. People like to feel different, relaxed, ‘high’. What is it about people that we need to do that? Centuries later, people are rethinking their life’s purpose – surely it is time to live in real time, the here and now? 

I found it amusing to research the latest drinking trends because I have no interest in drinking. I used to drink, yes, but once you stop drinking, that need becomes so strange and far-removed from authentic living.  

Anyway, so there I was, reading about the latest drinking crazes and I found out that people who drink prefer cans and containers they can take with them to enjoy a drink – their portable bar, so to speak. Take the drinks to the great outdoors, to meet friends or just out.  

Stronger Alcohol-Free Drinks  

According to Door Dash, people like stronger, unique tastes when they select alcohol, and most customers are going for dry drinks. 

Which of course made me think that anyone can choose a dry tonic with lemon! But what amazed me was the realisation that “one of the most exciting and innovative alcohol trends to come about in recent years is the growing popularity of low- or no-ABV drinks. With moderation in mind, many consumers across the globe are embracing no-alcohol and low-alcohol beverages.” 

The website goes on to say that non-alcoholic drinks sales have increased more than 30% this year and will expand even more next year. And the reason for this? Health! More people just don’t want to drink so much anymore. They want to feel healthy, but they do like to taste something delicious when socialising. They certainly don’t want to wake up with a hangover that ruins their fitness plans the next day! Or a rumbling stomach, puffy face and irritable mood. 

This kind of drinker is not boring at all. They want to drink something exciting, and many flavors are now trending towards the citrusy dry botanical theme. Non-alcoholic wines, gins and cocktails are a hit at many bars lately. The youth are driving this movement, I am pleased to see. 

There is a growing movement worldwide towards being sober-curious. People simply don’t like the side effects of alcohol and want to feel good when they go out. When people drink, they lose touch with themselves and those around them but think that they are having a cool fun time!  

According to NPR, many women in their 30s are losing their boozing habits because they want have fun and make friends without alcohol.  

“Many people, especially Millennials and Gen Z, are embracing a new relationship with drinking where they either mindfully reduce their intake or periodically take breaks from alcohol altogether.”  

Drysolation Drives Adaptogens  

The new buzz word is drysolation which arose from the Coronavirus pandemic when people were locked down and not drinking!   

Are you keen to be part of the non-alcoholic revolution? Do you want to be sober and curious so that you don’t have to suffer the ill-effects of alcohol every morning? Do you remember that alcohol causes cancer, not to mention all the other bad things we try to avoid including diabetes, kidney and liver and stomach diseases, brain diseases and more. 

People will be people and we never seem satisfied with staying naturally sober! Have you heard of the adoptogens movement?  

Research and Markets states that “Based on nature, the organic segment holds a significant share in the market. This is due to the usage of natural herbs as a supplement in the food and beverage segment or its use in the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals segment. Natural herbs are widely popular among the consumers as it is consumed to relieve stress in a body. The synthetic segment is also expected to grow at a decent rate in the coming years.” 

This means that more consumers want to try supplements from nature that boost their physical and mental health. There is the ayurvedic sector which already has a hold on the health industry and promotes the use of herbal supplements to suit different body and blood types.  

“Adaptogens are used to cure renal, cardiovascular, and digestive problems. There has been a surge in the awareness to consume novel and safer medicinal herbs that are used to maintain endocrine homeostasis. There are considerable advantages of using medicinal herbs that are related to a better and healthier body.” 

Typical adaptogens include roots and herbs from Chinese medicines such as ashwagandha, lavender, ginseng, Tulsi, and Reisha. Those who buy them believe that they make them calmer, thinner, healthier and smarter! There is no proof of this although we know that they are indeed much better for you than alcohol! 

Another trend from nature is the fruits and vegetables making their debut as the highlight in cocktails these days – alcohol-free cocktails at that!  

I for one am relieved to read that there is a movement back to nature as many people forget that nature even exists these days! Too many people are rushing around, supposedly stressed, ignoring the birds, the bees, the trees, and the flowers. 

Nature is her own medicine too and if you get out in nature, you immediately boost your happy hormones. But that is a whole new subject, for another blog!  

It is good news that major alcohol brands are seeing the light and clambering to climb aboard the alcohol-free bandwagon and serve those of us who want to live authentic sober lives! 

What kind of life do you choose? If you are a drinker, do you agree with the movement as described above? Do you agree that there is a healthier generation making waves and driving the way companies produce alcohol and things called adaptogens? 

If you are sober and happy, then I applaud you. If you like taking natural supplements, then that is your choice too. Please write to us and share your stories. 

How I Quit Drinking – and Started Tribe Sober – with Janet Gourand

 

Tribe Sober – Your Guide to Alcohol-free Living!

After running Tribe Sober for 6 years and helping hundreds of people to ditch the drink and embrace alcohol-free living I’ve learned a lot.  My biggest insight has been that sharing our stories around our problems with alcohol is the most powerful way we can help others – that’s why the heart of this podcast is recovery stories.

Today I celebrate seven years of sobriety so I’m sharing my story – how I quit drinking and started Tribe Sober.

In this Episode

  • How I got hooked on the booze – and nearly drowned – and carried on drinking.
  • How I got breast cancer – and carried on drinking.
  • How I kept trying (and failing) to “moderate”.
  • How a “walking, talking blackout” made me (finally) decide to ditch the drink.
  • How I went to AA and why it didn’t work for me.
  • How I finally found “my people” at a one day workshop in London and managed to stop drinking.
  • How I stayed sober – and decided to use my training experience to design a workshop to help others.
  • How the workshop participants wanted to stay connected and Tribe Sober membership was born.
  • How I marked my first Soberversary by writing a “Goodbye to Alcohol” Letter .
  • How I’m celebrating my seventh Soberversary by developing an online course which will be available in July 2022.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

20% ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DISCOUNT CODE ANN052022 – valid during May 2022

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.

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you.

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).

Alcohol-Free Fiction with S.C. Jensen

 

Novels tend to portray alcohol use as tough and gritty, or fun and relaxing or romantic and sexy – take your pick!  As a culture, we’ve internalised these ideas which has contributed to the “normalisation” of drinking.

My guest this week is trying to create some balance by featuring a sober heroine in her Cyberpunk novel “Bubbles in Space”.  Sarah Jensen is a Canadian science fiction author and strongly believes that we need more sober characters in fiction.  For people in recovery, sober characters are powerful and inspiring.

Sarah shares her own recovery story with us and explains how she has drawn upon her struggles with alcohol to create her fictional character:

In this Episode

  • Although she dabbled in drinking during high school, and had the occasional binge at college, Sarah’s drinking didn’t really take off until she became a parent and signed up for the mommy juice culture.
  • In fact, when a later diagnosis showed that she had been suffering from post natal depression she realised that she had been self-medicating with alcohol for 4 years.
  • As a writer, she was also part of the creative circles that bought into the belief that alcohol fuels creativity – “write drunk, edit sober” was a popular myth.
  • I discuss this myth (and others) in my interview with South African author, Eusebius McKaiser, in the Tribe Sober podcast, episode 77 – called Busting Sobriety Myths – released in January 2022.
  • At the age of 34, Sarah realised that she was facing some choices – was she going to be a Better Mom – or a Drinker, a Better Wife – or a Drinker, a Better Writer – or a Drinker.
  • She realised that drinking had taken up such a lot of space in her head that there was no room for anything else.
  • We discussed the twisted thinking that arises due to the fact that some brilliant writers were alcoholics. Of course they were not brilliant BECAUSE they were alcoholics – it was more down to them being so driven that they were able to succeed IN SPITE of being alcoholics!
  • We wondered how much better they could have been and how much more they could have written if they were not drinking excessively?
  • Most functioning alcoholics are using so much energy to hold it all together that when they stop they have a surplus of energy to use for more constructive endeavours – we see this over and over in our tribe.
  • Sarah talks of having an “epiphany” one day when she could sense the toxins building up in her body and realised that she was on a slippery slope.
  • As a reader she turned to Quitlit – Annie Grace’s book (The Naked Mind) make her realise that she had an opportunity and a choice to save herself from a lot of pain.
  • Because she hadn’t hit “rock bottom”, she felt fortunate that she was able to make such a choice before she became totally dependent.
  • Sarah realised that sobriety was a gift, not a punishment.
  • This reframing helps us change our mindset – at Tribe Sober we say that sobriety is an opportunity and that we will gain so much more than we will lose.
  • Another book which resonated with Sarah was The Biology of Desire by Marc Lewis as she wanted to understand more about how the brain works and the science behind it. As she discovered Mindfulness she read The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle.
  • So, in fact, Sarah tackled the problem intellectually but she also connected with online sober communities to keep her on track.
  • As she began to clock up some sober time, she found that one of the important advantages of being in a sober community was that it served as a reminder of how hard it had been at the beginning.
  • We both have been blown away by the authenticity and kindness of the sober online communities – if you are looking for a small and friendly sober community then go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe”.
  • Sarah did feel some nostalgia for the “good times” which would have been triggered by Fading Affect Bias – when our brains trick us into forgetting the bad times and remembering the highlights of our drinking days.
  • I explained that we recommend to our members that they write a Goodbye to Alcohol Letter listing just how unhappy alcohol has made them over the years – something to read back over when FAB strikes. Sarah has promised to write us a Goodbye to Alcohol letter and you can find all of ours on tribesober.com/Inspiration/GoodbyeLetters – send yours in and we will be happy to publish it!
  • We discussed how drinking becomes part of our identify and that when we ditch it we have to work on our sober identity – and be out and proud!
  • Sarah wants to be a voice of strength and positivity – not only for dependent drinkers but for “normal” drinkers – she wants to show people that you don’t HAVE to participate.
  • We agreed that there is no need to reach rock bottom – the smart people step off the slippery slope before it gets too difficult.
  • Benefits of sobriety for Sarah include more mental space together with a feeling of extra brain power – we always say that Sobriety is a Superpower and it sounds as if she experienced that!
  • She used her increased energy and motivation to focus on the important things in her life.
  • In early sobriety, reading was Sarah’s “safe space” but she found that some detective stories and women’s fiction would trigger her.
  • This made her determined to create some balance by having a sober character in her book.
  • She has drawn on her own experiences to create this character who is thriving in her sobriety – rather than being miserable and relapsing as in many current books.
  • Sarah wants to create a “safe list” of books to read in early sobriety -books that will inspire, rather than trigger us or give us FOMO – please send your recommendations to janet@nulltribesober.com and we can work on this list with Sarah.
  • I asked her for some advice for anyone who is thinking of quitting…

Just know that questioning your drinking is a start

Seek out others who are on the same path

Prepare for a shift in your social life but remember you are not alone in this

  • Sarah’s latest book is called “Bubbles in Space” – “Tropical Punch” – you can find the info about that and her other books on her website which is scjensen.com.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

20% ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DISCOUNT CODE ANN052022 – valid during May 2022

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.

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you.

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).

Quit Drinking and Get Healthy!

 

OK, so you have quit that demon drink and you want to get well. Yes, it’s time to get healthy. Change your lenses from through the wine glass to through the looking glass. Look at yourself. Who IS that in the mirror? Who are you REALLY?

The opposite of health is illness or dis-ease. Eating from nature, as our ancestors once ate, promotes holistic health. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, free-range meats and fish, plenty of exercise, and fresh air. Does alcohol fit in anywhere here? No, alcohol creates dis-ease in our bodies and minds. Alcohol creates dis-ease deep down in our souls, our spirits.

The Wellness Toolbox

Ok, so it is time to get well. Get out your toolbox and start to unpack it. Have you packed these things?

  • Friends, family members or professionals who can be your support base
  • Peers in the sober world who have also quit drinking and can be your ears and support base
  • Meditation techniques, books and apps
  • Relaxation and self-care
  • Stress reduction tips and tools
  • Plenty of sunshine and light – get outside into Nature
  • Plenty of quality sleep
  • Plenty of movement, exercise, cardio and strengthening

The following list includes wonderful tools we can all use to stay well and alcohol-free:

  1. Talk to a friend
  2. Talk to a health care professional
  3. Peer counseling or exchange listening
  4. Focusing exercises
  5. Relaxation and stress reduction exercises
  6. Guided imagery
  7. Journaling (writing in a notebook)
  8. Creative affirming activities
  9. Exercise
  10. Healthy diet
  11. Using a lightbox
  12. Extra rest
  13. Take time off from home or work responsibilities
  14. Hot packs or cold packs
  15. Take medications, vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements
  16. Attend a support group; join an online group; see your counselor
  17. Do something “normal” like washing your hair, shaving, or going to work
  18. Get a medication check
  19. Get a second opinion
  20. Call a hotline
  21. Surround yourself with people who are positive, affirming, and loving
  22. Wear something that makes you feel good
  23. Look through old pictures, scrapbooks and photo albums
  24. Make a list of your accomplishments
  25. Spend ten minutes writing down everything good you can think of about yourself
  26. Do something that makes you laugh
  27. Do something special for someone else
  28. Focus on and appreciate what is happening right now
  29. Take a warm bath
  30. Listen to music, make music or sing

Your Daily Plan

Draw up a daily plan and make sure you are aware in a holistic way of your wellness:

  • Daily Plan – What are you like when you are well? What do you do every day to stay well? Write down what you should do daily, even hour by hour.
  • Stressors – What things outside in the environment tend to trigger you? What things (events or circumstances) make you feel discomfort, anger, and irritation?) What are your reactions to these triggers? They are normal and allowed BUT they can get worse if we don’t have a plan. What things deep down inside you tend to trigger you? Lack of self-esteem or self-love? No sense of values?
  • When Things are Breaking Down – What are the things that take you away from your wellness? What things make you feel worse or sad? Write down the things that make you upset and sad. Make sure you talk to someone about this – is there someone you can trust who will understand?
  • Let’s look at these amazing concepts that you may need to guide you as you set off into the world of sober living!
  • Hope – Never give up on your goals and dreams. Find out what your vision, mission and goals are in this life, on this planet. People who stay sober and love being sober are the people who set goals and follow their visions!
  • Personal Responsibility – This is your choice, your life and it is all up to you. That being said, always reach out and get guidance and assistance from your peers, and your support system. Connection is the opposite of addiction.
  • Education – Read, listen, watch and learn! Do this as much as possible and journal all your learnings down too. What you know, informs your decisions.
  • Support – While working toward your wellness is up to you, receiving support from others, and giving support to others will help you feel better and enhance the quality of your life.

This is what others say who have entered recovery, or sobriety:

Many people agree that abstinence from the substance is what wellness is about. No more drinking is essential for those who want to and need to be sober.

Taking time to grow personally and increase levels of self-care are essential to sobriety or recovery. Personal growth and development should continue at all costs and no matter how big or how small. You don’t have to become the next Dr Gabor Mate but just improving yourself as a kind, a sober person is a huge step on the path to being sober. Enjoy life without alcohol and you are already a hero or heroine.

Once you feel stable and happy, reach out to others and become of service to your community in some small way. This habit is known to fulfill those who were once drinking and feel gaps in their lives. Join an organization as a volunteer or just cook food for the poor, donate to the dog shelter or take on one hungry child who you can support.  The world is full of needy individuals and the earth also needs as much help as it can get so joining an environmental movement will do wonders for your self-esteem too!

What are you Eating?

Another baseline requirement for being healthy during sobriety is nutrition, or diet, of course.

Nutrition means healthy eating so that the mind and body can perform at their peak. We all need vitamins and minerals, proteins and carbohydrates to function holistically. Every person you meet will have another view about food and what we should all be eating. You choose what suits you BUT we all know that processed foods and sugars are a big, fat NO. Alcohol is a big fat NO too!

Anchored Tides Recovery notes that “not only will a balanced diet improve your physical wellness, your mood and mental health will also improve. Also, a regular balanced diet can help undo the damages of addictive substances and facilitate your healing.”

Exercise and Mindfulness

Along with nutrition comes exercise. A fit body compliments a fit mind and vice versa – find a form of exercise that you love and that attracts you full of joy every day. It will help to choose something that suits your lifestyle so if you work in a high rise as a corporate, maybe a gym workout or class is best? If you work from home and are more flexible, maybe you can walk and do yoga? Many people now love CrossFit training and other forms of intense strengthening too! Exercise boosts those happy hormones and keeps you happy and on a high, reducing any cravings for alcohol that you may still harbour.

The third pedestal in the tripod of wellness is mediation or mindfulness. Some people incorporate this into their exercise – for example, walking mindfully is a great way to mediate and destress. Other people like to sit Buddha stye and mediate consciously for some minutes daily. Do what suits your lifestyle and personality. Don’t make it a chore, it will become something you love to do. Pay attention to your thoughts and remind yourself that they are pure energy and not real at all.

Finally, be a friend, a mother, a father, a sister or a brother to those close to you. Show the love and receive the love. Be social. Humans are social creatures so it is part of our health to connect and share with others, rather than disconnecting and isolating.

“Make new friends, visit new places, join a social group, mix up with people who understand your journey.”

The bottom line is this: use all your tools in your toolbox. Connect with people who are similar to you. Find your joy. Be real.

 

Trish Letter

Today I’m 6 months free of alcohol.  I tell my fellow travellers at Tribe Sober that they’re in for an amazing and wonderful journey.  It has been both of those things, the hardest and by far the best thing I’ve ever done.  I still have times where I envy the drinkers around me but I know that is just the addicted part of me firing up in the hope I’ll be tempted to drink again.  I know in my heart though that there is no path back to drinking for me.  I no longer think I deserve the self-abuse.  What a relief it is to recognise that.

I can remember some fun times with alcohol but in a drinking ‘career’ that spanned decades, the fun times are almost completely overshadowed by the other times.  The other times, I remember very well.  Alcohol became a part of my world when I was 17.  I was so young, and I fell under its control hard and fast.  I was good at hiding it, I liked it to be just the two of us, to isolate myself so I could be alone with it.  I would do anything to do that and I did.  I lied, I stole, I behaved in ways that were so outside of myself that I didn’t recognise myself.  I just knew I had to find ways of being alone with enough booze to render myself unconscious. 

I let no one notice, but then no one was watching either.  There was no one to care that I was drinking myself to oblivion as often as possible.  No family, no friends.  I liked it like that.  I wanted it like that.  Why?  Pain, and lots of it.  Sexual abuse, parental neglect, my beloved, much older sister putting a bullet in my abuser (her partner) and ending up in jail for murder. Our mother, never able to nurture us for reasons I don’t understand, retreating further into herself.  My beloved father long dead, when I was 7.  Not one person to help me, to ask me if I was alright.  I was alone with my pain well and truly.  I was 17, and my favourite thing to do was sit alone in hotel rooms (so I could have privacy) and drink.  It’s where it began – my slow attempt at suicide. 

Eventually I fled, I left it all behind and went to live alone in a small town a few hours away from my family and from what had happened to me.  My pain I took with me.  And it stayed, even as I met the love of my life, even as we built a life together I love.  I became a ‘normal’ person.  I did everything as it was meant to be done – I was a great wife and I became a great carer when my husband needed me to be, a good friend, a valued employee, the favourite aunt.  But I carried the pain through the decades, sitting in the background, never far away. How did I manage? Hold it all together?  Wine, always.  On most days, year after year, decade after decade.

Many times during those years I knew alcohol was killing me.  If not in body, certainly in spirit.  I called AA for the first time in my early twenties.  Again in my early thirties.  In my late thirties I even went to a few meetings. None were a positive experience, none helped me see a happy future without drinking.  So on I went, eventually believing that my identity was that of a drinker. I was a drinker, always would be.  Sometimes I was able to be OK with that – it was what everyone did.  I regularly thought my problem was not my drinking, it was that I was prone to worry about my drinking.  I just had to stop worrying about my drinking! 

In my forties and fifties I was still drinking even though I thought that by the time you get to that age you naturally cut right down.  Why did I ever think that?  My health had deteriorated by then, my weight creeping up and up, keeping time with my liver function which my doctor said was way too high.  But I couldn’t say the words and I certainly didn’t look like a woman who was putting away 2 bottles of wine 4-7 times a week.  Eventually I couldn’t ignore the heart palpitations, the anxiety, the depression, the chronic exhaustion.  And worse, the mental anguish.  The recognition that my slow suicide was VERY slow and news flash!  I didn’t want to die! I wanted to live.  I wanted to live without alcohol. 

Not long after, when I was again unable to sleep,  I listened to Janet Gourand’s interview with William Porter.  I knew William’s work and had read his book ‘Alcohol Explained’ a few times.  So I understood at last what I was doing to myself but I still couldn’t see a future without my drug. But here was Janet, a high functioning, highly successful woman who had given up drinking and WAS ENJOYING LIFE!  A crack of light opened up in the darkness and that day, I joined Tribe Sober.  The start.  I made a start.  Slipped and slipped and slipped again.  But instead of being alone, the scared girl who used to love isolation and drinking, I met others who knew who I was because they were or had been there themselves.  And the crack of light opened up a little more and I became proud.  And hopeful.  And people called me brave and brilliant.  And I started to believe them.

I am 6 months alcohol free for the first time since I was 17 years old, 40 years.  I am learning life properly, not through a haze of booze and regret but with a clear head and clear eyes.  It’s hard, amazing, boring, exciting, wonderful and the best thing I’ve ever done.  I feel calm and at peace most of the time.  I’m getting my health back, giving my poor body a break for once in my life.  My blood work has returned to normal, the weight is coming off with little effort from me because I now have the energy and focus to want to feed myself what I need for health.  I’m meditating and exercising without having to force it.  I feel like I’m a different person.  With therapy I’ve left the past where it belongs and it doesn’t hurt me like it used to.  I appreciate more than ever that giving up the drink is the first step and then the work can begin.  I’ve done that work with commitment, every day without fail.  I sometimes can’t believe what I’ve accomplished and I say it proudly here.  I’m dealing with my childhood abuse, I’m allowing my body to become healthy, I’m looking after my mental health with quality sleep, meditation and exercise.  I’m brilliant and brave – just ask my many friends at Tribe Sober.  And it all began with one decision.  I want to stop drinking.  I don’t want it in my life anymore.  I want to say goodbye to the bitch.

There is little that I am more proud of than the fact the I have stopped drinking.  That for 6 full months now I have chosen life.  The road ahead may be difficult and who knows what life will throw at me and how I will handle it.  Some say a relapse is likely, I don’t know but I don’t believe anything is inevitable in life so how can that be?  Miracles happen.  I know because one happened to me.  But the miracle isn’t something out there, something or someone who decided to shine some light on me at long last.  The miracle is that I found my own power, and as it grew I was able to take step after step towards the life I want.  One where I’m happy and healthy and at peace because the self-harm that I practiced for so many years is finally over.  Finally.  Over.  There is no place and no space for you now, alcohol.  I have found other things that fill me up, things that build me up, not drag me down.  And among the best of them is my international group of friends who see me, and say ‘oh yes, me too’.  Gold.

Sarah Letter

Goodbye, old friend.

We’ve had a lot of years together, good times and bad.

But it’s over now. Goodbye.

Sometimes I think the bad times were all my fault. I mean, everyone loves you. You’re so relaxing to be around, you’re fun and chill, the life of the party.

You’re always there after a bad day, the first one to offer a shoulder to cry on.

There must be something wrong with me that I’m not having fun anymore. That the good times make me feel bad, and the bad times are getting worse.

It hurts a bit to say this out loud, but I never want to see you again.

Yeah, I’ve said it before. I’ve been scared and hurt and angry and sworn I’d bury our relationship for good.

And yeah.

I’ve come crawling back to you as soon as it got tough.

I’ve invited you back, joyfully, in moments of celebration. Moments where I was so happy I forgot how awful you’ve been.

(The moment my guard is down, the moment my back is turned, the real you comes out, doesn’t it?)

Not this time.

This time it’s different. This time I mean it.

No, of course you don’t believe me. You never do. You’re always the first to dredge up those niggling self-doubts and insecurities. I see it now. You need me to feel that way. You need me to feel like I’m not enough.

I’m angry that I believed you for so long.

But it’s not me, after all, is it? It’s you. It’s always been you.

You’re the broken one. You’re the toxic friend. You’re the poison in my life that holds me back and beats me down.

I let you in. I let you do this to me. And now I’m standing up and saying NO.

Yeah, it hurts. It’s going to be hard. Forever is a real long time.

But it’s all I’ve got. It’s all any of us get. And I’m not going to waste any more of my forever with you.

So, goodbye, old friend.

Goodbye to the longing, and the promises, and the wishful thinking.

Goodbye to the half-remembered conversations, the fights with no meaning, and the unlived dreams.

Goodbye to the headaches, and the upset stomach, and the sour tang in the back of my throat.

Goodbye to the self-hatred, and the 2:30am anxiety attacks, and the lingering specter of depression.

I’m moving on now.

But don’t worry.

I’ll never forget what you did to me, or what you let me do to myself.

Goodbye, and good riddance.

–S.C. Jensen

Secrets

Secrets – do you have a secret? I think it is great to have a secret. Some secrets are empowering and rejuvenating. But other secrets are destructive and dark.  For me, it is better that people don’t know everything there is to know about me. That is my secret. Who I am. I am complex.

I give of myself differently to different people. And all of those different people have a different perception of who I am. Think about how you come across to the different people in YOUR life? How do you turn up for your mother, your father, your siblings, and your best friend? How do you show up for your boss, your colleagues, and your clients?

Do they know you have secrets? I am sure they too have secrets.

Secret definition: something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others; something that is not properly understood; a mystery; a valid but not commonly known or recognized method of achieving or maintaining something.

I like the middle definition – a secret is a mystery, and it remains unknown until there are but hints of it like little puffs of smoke on a hazy horizon.

“Where there is smoke, there is fire,” goes another idiom, true too to the keeping of secrets, not so? Have you ever kept a secret journal wherein you write your heart’s dreams, hopes, and desires? When I was a teenager, I had a diary with a key, but my friend found it and read it! I felt mortified!

The Mystery of Secrets

Another great mystery about secrets is that we can unravel a secret, but we may never get to the bottom of it at all. Secrets are in the soul of the owner – it is something that THEY have created, and you will never see that secret from the same point of view.

You may hear of a secret tunnel, a physical secret, but when you try to find it or follow it, you never really get to find out the reason or the end of it.

You may hear about a secret in a family – there is a black sheep in the family because there is a half-brother or stepsister who does not fit in. There may be a criminal in a family who was in prison and is how home trying to fit into society. Some families keep illness a secret such as cancer or another terminal illness because they don’t want sympathy or attention or kindness directed their way.

The secrets of addiction are rife in our society. There are so many secret addictions: gambling, sex, fetishes, sugar, eating and drinking, taking pills, smoking herbs and more. Children are increasingly addicted to gaming and the blue lights of the online world: TikTok, YouTube and Whatsapp. It is common for people with these addictions to hide them – even our children will hide their videos from their parents and lie about how long they are online or where they got a certain video. This is a sign of guilt or shame.

Dark Secrets and Light Secrets

So, these are the secrets that I don’t think it is great to have. The ones with the secrets, the secret keepers, think that they are safe with their secrets. But little do they know that their secret is showing up in their behaviour. There is a certain furtiveness about them, a sneakiness and slyness that betrays a sense of dishonesty. There is a glean in the eye, a desire to do this thing all day! Yes, keeping a secret can be seen as a form of dishonesty! Where is the real you, the authentic you, if you have an overwhelming secret that drives your daily needs?

What do you think? I mean, I keep secrets such as when I am planning to escape to a country cottage to get away from the mayhem at home, when and where I am going to walk and what I am going to do when everyone is in bed tonight. They are simply secrets because they remain unspoken.

These are the things I do to stay sane as the only female in my house! I love these secrets and when I walk on the mountains it is often just my secret that I went up there and reveled in Nature. My daily routines are almost a secret too as I am alone at home most of the day and everything that I do is mine, my secret moment.

But secrets become devious when they are habits that are unethical and we hide them from our loved ones. If your partner is stopping by the pub every night on his way home from work but he says he is working late, is that cool? Or if your partner comes home late at night, says he was working but he was actually eating out with a lady friend, is that cool?

Maybe your partner was snorting a line of cocaine in the work loos before coming home? Or cruising on the internet, gambling your savings away? These are secrets that become addictions and can then destroy homely, family structures. Some kids may develop secret friends when they befriend a homeless guy, or an animal, and they become addicted to the secret they have created. Is that cool?

Nature’s Healing Secrecy

Then, we get the secrets of nature, ever-powerful and something humanity will never know enough about. Yes, the intricate extent of universal energies is infinite. Every day, enormous forces play out in nature – on mountains, in rivers, in valleys, in savannas, in the ocean depths and in the infinity of space and beyond!

If we tune in to nature, we start to realise how tiny we are in the greater scheme of things. If we get out into nature, we find that nature heals. Think about it: most medicines come from plants and minerals and the chemistry of earthy elements. What are nature’s secrets? Have you ever tried to study nature or just read books about her wonders?

Maybe you are too wrapped up in an alcoholic secret? Do you have an alcoholic secret? By this I mean: does anyone know just how much you drink? Do you sneak drinks during the day or before and after an event? Do you slug the whiskey before a Zoom meeting or before you write that end-of-month report? Do you ever take breaks from alcohol?

According to the Executive Rehab Guide, “Secret, or hidden drinking, is common among alcoholics because they have an increased tolerance to alcohol. People who drink secretly will consume alcohol intentionally before an event.” Is this you?

Are you a Secret Drinker?

When a secret drinker hides their additional glasses of booze from loved ones or friends they make as if they are drinking the same amount as everyone else But, back at the ranch… there will be signs like empty bottles in the bin, a stale smell of booze emanating from their very cells and their sly behaviour.

Let’s check out their 10 tell-tale signs that someone has a secret drinking habit:

  1. Hiding places – hiding booze in cupboards, under the sink, in the garage and in the garden
  2. Money is needed – selling things to buy alcohol and ending up in financial difficulties
  3. ‘Pregaming’: intentional drinking before an event to hide the need for more alcohol
  4. Drinking clear liquids – filling bottles and flasks with vodka or gin to get a buzz all the time
  5. Secretive and devious behaviour – being late for meetings and important dates, forgetting things, being unreliable in relationships and acting strangely at evening events
  6. Losing interest – in friends, family, celebrations, personal events and even hygiene
  7. Losing or gaining weight – this can be dramatic and show signs something is just not right. Many alcoholics forget to eat or just cannot eat.
  8. Making excuses – when comments are made, excuses fly about the need for alcohol being a once-off, a mistake or stress; the weight loss being an illness, etc
  9. Increased tolerance – being so used to the alcohol, more is needed to have an effect
  10. Experiencing black outs – this shows a body and brain saturated in alcohol.

If any of these signs ring bells for you, try to avoid the overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame. Remember that you are part of a community and there is help at hand, always.

Tribe Sober is a warm, accepting, non-judgemental community who gets you. Contact us today!

 

The Deadly Secret We Must Share! – Professor Tim Stockwell

 

My guest this week is a Senior Scientist with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria in Canada.  Professor Tim Stockwell is a man with a mission – to inform people about the link between alcohol and cancer.  He has been working tirelessly towards this goal for years and has made himself very unpopular with the liquor industry in the process!

The fact that alcohol is one of the top three causes of preventable cancer is not exactly a secret – but it may as well be as so few people seem to be aware of it.  Even moderate amounts of alcohol can cause cancer and there is no safe amount.

In this Episode

  • We discussed the role of government when it comes to informing their citizens about the health risks of alcohol and agreed that governments should have some responsibility to inform and educate.
  • Tim explained that the Canadian govt had done a good job during Covid EXCEPT when it came to alcohol policy – they actually deemed it an “essential item” and expanded its availability and even reduced the price in some areas.
  • Here in South Africa, our government went the opposite way and enforced several alcohol bans. These bans were implemented to clear the hospitals of alcohol related trauma patients so that Covid patients could be treated – and it worked!
  • The alcohol ban in South Africa was like a massive social experiment, demonstrating the massive harm that alcohol does, both to individuals and to society.
  • I wrote an article listing the mind blowing statistics from this unprecedented period in South African history – called What If Alcohol was Banned.
  • Tim explained that alcohol consumption in Canada is the highest it’s been for 20 years and that they are catching up with the UK and Europe.
  • Canada has an alcohol deficit of $3.7 billion a year – this means that its costs the government $3.7 billion MORE (in healthcare costs e.t.c.) than it brings in from taxes.
  • It’s been known for at least 35 years that alcohol was a number one carcinogen and we agreed that producers should be telling their consumers about the risks – so that at least we are making an informed choice when we drink.
  • Scotland has successfully introduced minimum pricing (although the liquor industry fought it for 6 years!) and modelling demonstrates that this policy reduces hospitalisation and deaths.
  • The official figures of alcohol related deaths throughout the world is R3M a year but Tim believes that these figures are more like 5 or 6M. The official figures dampened down by the outdated view that “moderate drinking” is good for our health.
  • Tim maintains that the misinformation that moderate drinking can be good for you has been responsible for millions of deaths worldwide.
  • We agreed the irony of the fact that alcohol kills far more people than Covid did – during Covid the whole world closed down yet nothing changes regarding alcohol…
  • We wondered what impact it would have if we saw daily graphs on tv showing us deaths and hospitalisations from alcohol like we did for Covid!
  • Although it’s a “hard sell” there ARE effective strategies that could be implemented regarding alcohol policy explained Tim – pricing and availability being two of them.
  • Also focus groups have expressed the view that the absence of warning labels on alcohol conveys a powerful message that its ok.
  • Tim was featured in a Canadian documentary recently – in this documentary an oncologist was explaining that he bought a fishing rod that was covered in warning labels, yet a carcinogenic liquid has none!
  • We heard about a fascinating experiment in a Canadian Province where warning labels were introduced – quite striking labels with cancer warnings and the low risk guidelines.
  • This experiment proved labelling worked as it reduced consumption by 7%!
  • However it was halted when the liquor industry brought a legal action calling the labels “defamatory” (!)
  • We discussed the futility of being told to “Drink Responsibly” and agreed that this was just the liquor industry putting the blame on the consumer rather than being transparent about the dangers of consuming their product.
  • In spite of the struggles, Tim does feel that there is hope – he feels that there is a “tide” of change and that alcohol may finally be having its “cigarette moment”.
  • We talked about citizens’ “rights” and of course people must have the right to drink alcohol but they also have the right to be informed of the dangers – just like we are with cigarettes…
  • It took Scotland 6 years to get minimum pricing implemented but now other countries are introducing that policy.

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Sober Short – Tribe Sober Toolkit

 

This Sober Short series is taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – just go to tribesober.com, hit Our Services and you’ll find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.

These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today.  Just go to tribesober.com/services and click on workshops.

During the first 14 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first 14 Tools in our toolbox. Before we move on to the final tool here is a quick recap…

In this Episode

Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”

  • Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
  • If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively.
  • Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”

  • All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
  • We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”

Tool number 4 was “Mindset”

  • It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
  • We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
  • “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and…
  • You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety.

Tool number 5 was “Visualisation”

  • We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
  • One of them was to “Play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass. Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
  • Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?

Tool number 6 was “Information is Power”

  • It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
  • Even if you do decide to carry on drinking then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick Google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts – almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nullts.com – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.

Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”

  • When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
  • WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
  • So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email janet@nulltribesober.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers.

Tool Number 8 was “Journaling”

  • At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
  • Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
  • We can note our triggers as well as strategies for coping with them
  • Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.
  • To learn more about the magic of journaling listen to Tribe Sober podcast episode 98 to hear my interview with writer in recovery Melinda Ferguson – released on 26th March 2022.

Tool No 9 was “Get a Project”

  • It’s very common for people to feel a bit flat once they have achieved their first few months of sobriety.
  • Many people in Tribe Sober (including me) experienced that “flatness’/depression/void” or whatever you want to call it – when they asked me what they should do about it I just told them to sit it out as it would eventually pass.
  • However that advice changed after my podcast interview with Dr Loretta Breuning (author of the Happy Brain) – so do have a listen, it’s episode 55 and was released on 14 August 2021.
  • Loretta explained that my brain was quite happy during the first few months as it had registered that it was working on a project (i.e. sobriety) and I was making progress – however after a few months my subconscious was thinking – ok so now we are sober, now what?
  • Well here’s the thing – as human beings we need projects – think of the cavemen, they would wake up hungry and have to go and find some food, eating the food would give them a dopamine hit but then they would get hungry again and have to go hunting.
  • So as you settle into your first few months of sobriety, GET A PROJECT to keep you on track and to keep those happy brain chemicals triggered.

Tool No 10 was “Be Prepared”

  • As with most things in life preparation is crucial…
  • Play the movie forward – what ARE you going to drink – if it’s a restaurant then check out their drinks menu online and decide what you will order.
  • If you are going to a dinner party the text your host in advance and take some AF bubbly with you.
  • Decide what you are going to say when/if people start to interrogate you – you can keep it simple “I’m on meds”, “I’m driving” or my favourite, “I’m on a health kick – no booze, no sugar, no carbs for 66 days!”
  • If drinking at home was your problem then give away your booze – or move it to somewhere you can’t see it (the garage is a good place) and make sure your fridge is stocked with delicious AF choices – if you are in SA, just go to drinknil.co.za and they will deliver to your door.

Tool No 11 was “Track Your Progress”

  • When a new member joins our tribe we send an Annual Tracker. It helps to give perspective, to keep an eye on the big picture – sure there may be slip ups on the way but what matters is a feeling of progress – are those “Sober Stretches” getting longer?
  • If you would like one of our Annual Trackers then just email janet@nulltribesober.com and I’ll send you one right away!
  • It’s so important to celebrate Milestones on this journey – the Forever word is just too daunting when starting out on this journey so we suggest 30, 60, 100 days as Milestones… followed by 6 months and then moving on to Annual.
  • The great thing about Tribe Sober is that many people stick around after getting sober – they want to help and inspire others – we even have a chatroom for people with more than 6 months of sobriety

Tool No 12 was “Nurture Yourself”

  • When we embark on this life changing journey we are going against the flow. We are going against the flow and that takes confidence and courage!
  • We need to nurture ourselves so that we can access the inner resources we need to embrace an alcohol-free life.
  • Many people (me included) discover that they are introverts at heart and not the party animal they thought they were when they drank!
  • Sobriety is a journey of discovery so spend the extra time you’ve saved exploring – Tribe Sober members have free resources to sample like coaching, hypnotherapy and root cause therapy as well as online yoga and art therapy.
  • You need to spoil yourself! Think of your sobriety as a pregnancy – 9 months of doing exactly what feels right  for you – read books, be alone, go to bed early, have naps, light candles, eat chocolate, turn down social invitations, light candles, have hot baths!
  • The pregnancy analogy works so well because for most of us 9 months is long enough for our sobriety to be strong – to survive in the outside world!

Tool No 13 was “Know Your Triggers!”

  • Triggers are a response to an outside stimulus that results in an automatic action.
  • We have trained our brains to drink, and now we have to untrain them.
  • Our brains need time to “rewire” – we need to uncouple experiences – eg: sunset and a glass of wine
  • Let’s remember that triggers won’t last for ever – quitting is not about abstaining – or about resisting – its about building a new life when we won’t even want to drink.
  • But while we are adjusting we will need to learn how to deal with our triggers.
  • Typical triggers are H.A.L.T.S (Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. Stressed) that can affect our sobriety.
  • Although we will experience triggers we don’t have to act on them – we are not like a toddler having a tantrum in a supermarket because we can’t have chocolate!
  • We need to pause and breathe when we get a trigger – be curious – write about them in your journal and develop strategies to deal with them.

Tool No 14 was “Do the Work”

  • At Tribe Sober we’ve helped hundreds of people to quit drinking and our observation is that it takes 3-6 months of hard work – and then it gets easier and easier. That’s where we differ from AA – we don’t see it as a “lifetime struggle” which necessitates going to meetings for ever.
  • “Doing the work” in AA of course means going through the 12 steps but at Tribe Sober we believe that “the work” is different for everyone. It depends on various factors – including how dependent we have become.
  • “Doing the work” means listening to all the podcasts and reading all the QuitLit books – other people stories and struggles remind us that we are not alone in this and that it is possible to make a change.
  • “Doing the work” means trying out the tools I’ve outlined in these Sober Shorts until you have created your very own sober toolkit. Even better sign up for one of our workshops to learn more about changing your mindset about drinking and meeting others on the same path.
  • When we stop drinking we have time on our hands – we have to reconfigure our life so that it’s a life we don’t want to escape from. It’s an ideal time to try different activities and to connect with other people on the same path.  That’s why we offer our members opportunities to try coaching, hypnotherapy, art therapy, yoga, meditation as well as providing nutritional and medical advice.

Tool No 15 was “Find Your Purpose!”

  • When we are dependent on alcohol we get stuck. Our life doesn’t evolve.
  • If you’ve seen that movie Groundhog Day you will remember that the guy woke up and repeated the same day over and over.
  • When I was “working hard and playing hard” I was in that place. Sure, I was making plenty of money for the shareholders of a massive corporate, but after a long day of doing that I would come home and numb my brain with a bottle of alcohol.
  • Then I would wake up the next day and do it all again.
  • When I finally got sober I recovered my health, my energy, my creativity and most importantly I recovered time – time to think.
  • Time to think more clearly about what I really wanted out of my life.
  • Time to make the changes I needed and to create a life I no longer wanted to escape from.
  • We see this all the time in our community – people get sober and then start looking at other parts of their life. Are they eating healthily? Are they exercising enough? Are they in the right job? Are they happy in their relationships?
  • We call this The Domino Effect and we have a podcast on this subject – Tribe Sober podcast episode episode 52 from July 2021.
  • So that’s it for the Tribe Sober Toolkit – if you’d like more info on the Toolkit as well as the mindset changes you need to make then please check out our Zoom Workshops
  • Let me leave you with one of my favourite quotes by Victor Frankl
  • “Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure as Freud believed, nor is it a quest for power as Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in their life.”

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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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).

Alcohol Awareness and Emotional Sobriety

April was recognised worldwide as Alcohol Awareness Month. I was not aware of this! Were you? But surely every month should be alcohol awareness month, don’t you agree, especially if you are in recovery, or thinking of not drinking!

What is the month of May for you? For me, May is International Biodiversity Month. This means a lot to our existence on earth, sober or not. This means a lot to our futures and our pasts. It is also a good day to break away from the constant human focus to a more compassionate focus on Mother Earth. Why not forget your drinking for one day, and do something wonderful for your environment?

Connection Makes us all Human

Life is about relationships – I mean, one of the basic human needs is social interaction, not so? But what then about our earth? Our relationships with our life source? None of us would be here if it were not for the soil, water, air and sun? None of us would be here without our gardens, the ocean, the forests and the mountains? How many of you have loved island and safari holidays? Immersing yourself in nature and forgetting all your troubles?

Humanity is completely dependent on natural resources for all our greedy needs: water, food, medicines, clothing, shelter, energy and technology. We take so much from Mother Earth and never give back. There are mines to make our cell phones, factories spewing out smoke to make our cars and gadgets. Do you ever consider that all the plastic blocking up the rivers and oceans is also clogging up our veins, our babies’ brains?

Mental Health and Emotional Sobriety

This brings me to the next theme in this blog – emotional sobriety. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. During this month, we take note of those who are struggling with addiction, with depression, with personality disorders and stress issues.

No Matter What Recovery created a resource page to educate people and provide them with support during Alcohol Awareness Month: https://nomatterwhatrecovery.com/alcohol-awareness-month/ .

But we can all agree that alcohol awareness is a lifelong thing, like growing up and discovering the joys of trigonometry, geology and the inside of a cell! Being intelligent is not all about physics, maths and knowing who Hitler was, is it?

Intelligence is a multi-faceted being and we all learn later on in life that emotional intelligence is what makes us human. Many researchers agree that emotional intelligence is far more important than your IQ is – Kandra Cherry on VeryWellMind wonders what it would be like in a world where no one could understand emotions, or how to manage and perceive them?

Imagine the Scenario

Imagine that you are invited to a workshop on sobriety. You feel nervous and excited. You are newly sober, and you want to meet like-minded people who you can connect with. You walk into the room, and you immediately start to perceive the emotions of those around you: you subconsciously look for nonverbal clues such as body language, facial expressions and dress codes, hairstyles, and manners.

The workshop starts and you use your emotions to reason – to think and decide. You choose who you want to pay attention to and listen to. You choose who you will react to and who appeals and who does not appeal to you.

There could be a lot of contradicting emotions in the room during the workshop: sadness, happiness, anger, shame, guilt, indecision, and humour. You gauge these emotions from your own sense of emotion that day (you may feel anger, loss, guilt and loneliness too). You try to establish why people are feeling these emotions. You start to piece together the reasons that people are at the workshop, just like you.

The fourth dimension of emotional intelligence is the management of emotions. This is the highest level of emotional intelligence, so it comes easier to an adult who is able to perceive his or her emotions more deeply than others. Children and teenagers will still be learning about emotions and how to manage these.

“Regulating emotions and responding appropriately as well as responding to the emotions of others are all important aspects of emotional management… higher levels require greater conscious involvement and involve regulating emotions.”

So, back to the workshop! You are there and you are feeling all of these emotions. When you start to share how you feel, you see people’s eyes light up with relief. You see their body language change and relax. You are all there, connecting, with similar reasons for being there!

Little did you know it, but you have attended the workshop, like everyone else, to reach a state of emotional sobriety. This is when you have managed to stop drinking for as long as it takes to call yourself sober and you are starting to feel happy about this decision and happy in your life again.

Depression and Sobriety

This state of awareness can be very difficult, however, for non-drinkers who are depressed. There are also those abstainers who feel a sense of melancholy daily when they stop drinking.

Renewal Lodge by Burning Tree puts it clearly: “Alcohol abuse creates a complex imbalance of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine release is triggered when you engage in activities you find pleasurable, such as eating chocolate or playing sports, and it teaches your brain what actions to repeat, and eventually, to crave. Alcohol use overloads the brain with dopamine, while also reducing the brain’s dopamine receptors in the process. When you first quit drinking, the lack of dopamine and diminished receptors can lead to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Both excessively high and abnormally low levels of dopamine can have adverse effects, but over time your brain will begin to normalize dopamine levels as well as your brain’s response to the chemical without the intrusion of alcohol.”

But there is hope, of course. Strive for emotional sobriety. There are several steps you can take to get there and we found these on an amazing website called No Matter What Recovery:

Emotional sobriety generally involves:

  • Maintaining emotional balance and health
  • Being present and live in the present 
  • Accepting that suffering and grief are natural parts of life that enable us to grow as individuals
  • Not dwelling on the past
  • Be mindful of others’ expectations and perceptions, and don’t let them influence your self-esteem or negatively impact your behavior. 

Build Your Emotional Intelligence

Getting back to emotional intelligence: you can be aware of your emotions and how to read other people’s emotions. You can also learn how to manage your emotions and to walk away from the hugeness of your emotions if need be.

Many people are trapped by their egos in their own heads which rules their emotions. When you give up a substance like alcohol, you can reach a sense of calmness, of emotional equilibrium. You can tune into your emotions and what you have been numbing behind the alcohol for so long. You can learn to meditate and accept your emotions, allowing them and then moving on. The main reason you want to sit with your emotions is to overcome the triggers that could lead to a temptation to drink again.

Life is challenging. Everyone has a story to share and a struggle in their life. We can all connect listen, empathize and remember that you are not alone. There is nothing that alcohol can do for you, except make things much worse.

 

 

From Whisky to Water with Sam Cowen

 

My guest today is a household name here in South Africa.  After a successful career as a radio presenter Sam Cowen wrote a book called “From Whisky to Water” which documented her struggles with alcohol.

Sam came close to killing herself, often driving home so drunk that when she woke the next morning, she had no idea how she got home, let alone what she had said and done the night before.

She managed to ditch the drink but then became addicted to food, piling on 25kgs in her early sobriety.  Her salvation was swimming – which is where she found serenity – and training as a recovery coach has brought purpose into her life.

In this Episode

  • Sam didn’t drink at university but when she had her first whisky at the radio station where she worked she loved it – and felt like she had “come home”.
  • Broadcasting was very male dominated and Sam struggled to connect – apart from when she was in the bar with her colleagues.
  • She got a reputation for being able to “hold her drink” which she wore like a badge of honour.
  • Over the years Sam had been producing or presenting radio shows and her voice was well known throughout South Africa.
  • One day she did a TV appearance and was devastated to receive an email from a viewer saying “we thought you’d be really pretty”.
  • She hadn’t really thought much about her looks before but this nasty comment rocked her self-confidence and exacerbated her drinking – after all it didn’t matter what she looked like when she was drinking.
  • Her drinking escalated and she started doing things that were “not normal” – she would have to pull into a multi-story car park for a sleep as she knew she shouldn’t be driving.
  • Sam talked of the “golden 15 minutes” of clarity before closing down in a blackout while she was driving.
  • She told us about waking up and finding blood in her car – the result of taking an injured man to hospital during her blackout.
  • We discussed blackouts and the fact that they happen because the brain is so soaked in alcohol it can’t even make memories – it’s not that we have simply forgotten.
  • Sam got sober 20 years ago when AA was the only option. These days of course there are many alternative ways to get help, including tribesober.com.
  • She felt that the AA meetings were like “coming home” – the warmth and the support of the community enabling her to stop drinking.
  • There is a quote by CS Lewis in Sam’s book that summarises the connection we feel in the recovery community – “Friendship is born in the moment that one person looks at another and says – You too? I thought I was the only one” – the relief we feel when we realise we are not alone in this is deep.
  • She read a lot of memoirs in early sobriety and the book by Caroline Knapp – “Drinking, a Love Story” made a great impression on her.
  • I thought it was so interesting that Sam had been sober for 14 years but had still not found serenity.
  • Her time at AA had left its mark and she felt that she had to keep “doing penance” or she might drink again.
  • Like many of us, Sam experienced a “void” in early sobriety – that feeling of “now what?”
  • She decided to fill the void with ice cream and put on 25kgs in process – then she became “invisible” due to her excess weight and actually enjoyed the fact that she was still “on air”, still being funny but could go unnoticed in public.
  • Her excess weight was causing her a lot of joint pain. A doctor prescribed a whole list of meds to deal with the pain which made Sam decide she must lose the weight instead.
  • She discovered swimming which was when she felt she had “come home” for the third time.
  • If you are in early sobriety and dealing with the “void” then please have a listen to the Tribe Sober podcast episode 55 with Dr Loretta Breuning. Loretta explains that we need a project to keep our happy brain chemicals triggered.
  • Of course, for Sam that project was swimming and she trained and took place in long distance swimming events – in freezing cold water which of course provides more health benefits!
  • Training as a recovery coach enabled her to find her place in the world. She realised that she could help people and she’s been able to find her purpose.
  • During the next 6 years she moved forwards and began to thrive in her sobriety and to finally find serenity.
  • Sam did her training with David Collins at the Ubuntu Academy of Coaching. He is a renowned international coach and has been interviewed for this podcast so watch this space!
  • She explained that recovery coaching is complementary – it’s not therapy and it’s not treatment but it will help people in early sobriety reconnect with themselves and figure out what they really want out of life.
  • To learn more about Sam and her coaching go to samcowen.co.za and of course her book is essential reading if you are thinking about giving up drinking or in recovery.
  • It’s called From Whisky to Water and there is a link to it on her website.

    More Info

  • Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.
  • To access our website, click HERE.
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book 66 Days to Sobriety, please email janet@nulltribesober.com.
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community, just email janet@nulltribesober.com.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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).

Sober Short – Do the Work!

SOBER SHORT 14 – Do the Work!

This Sober Short series is taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – just click here to find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.

These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today.  Just go to tribesober.com/services and click on workshops.

During the first 13 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first 13 Tools in our toolbox. Before we move on to tool number 14 let’s do a quick recap…

In this Episode

Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”

  • Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
  • If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively.
  • Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”

  • All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
  • We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”

Tool number 4 was “Mindset”

  • It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
  • We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
  • “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and …
  • You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety. 

Tool number 5 was “Visualisation”

  • We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
  • One of them was to “Play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass. Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
  • Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?

Tool number 6 “Information is Power”

  • It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
  • Even if you do decide to carry on drinking then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts – almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nulltribesober.com – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.

Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”

  • When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
  • WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
  • So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email janet@nulltribesober.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers.

Tool Number 8 was “Journaling”

  • At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
  • Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
  • We can note our triggers as well as strategies for coping with them
  • Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.
  • To learn more about the magic of journaling listen to Tribe Sober podcast episode 98 to hear my interview with writer in recovery Melinda Ferguson – released on 26th March 2022

Tool No 9 was “Get a Project”

  • It’s very common for people to feel a bit flat once they have achieved their first few months of sobriety.
  • Many people in Tribe Sober (including me) experienced that “flatness’/depression/void” or whatever you want to call it – when they asked me what they should do about it I just told them to sit it out as it would eventually pass
  • However that advice changed after my podcast interview with Dr Loretta Breuning (author of the Happy Brain) – so do have a listen, its episode 55 and was released on 14 August 2021.
  • Loretta explained that my brain was quite happy during the first few months as it had registered that it was working on a project (i.e. sobriety) and I was making progress – however after a few months my subconscious was thinking – ok so now we are sober, now what?
  • Well here’s the thing – as human beings we need projects – think of the cavemen, they would wake up hungry and have to go and find some food, eating the food would give them a dopamine hit but then they would get hungry again and have to go hunting.
  • So as you settle into your first few months of sobriety GET A PROJECT to keep you on track and to keep those happy brain chemicals triggered.

Tool No 10 was “Be Prepared”

  • As with most things in life preparation is crucial…
  • Play the movie forward – what ARE you going to drink – if it’s a restaurant then check out their drinks menu online and decide what you will order.
  • If you are going to a dinner party the text your host in advance and take some AF bubbly with you.
  • Decide what you are going to say when/if people start to interrogate you – you can keep it simple “I’m on meds”, “I’m driving” or my favourite “I’m on a health kick – no booze, no sugar, no carbs for 66 days!”
  • If drinking at home was your problem then give away your booze – or move it to somewhere you can’t see it (the garage is a good place) and make sure your fridge is stocked with delicious AF choices – if you are in SA just go to drinknil.co.za and they will deliver to your door.

Tool No 11 was “Track Your Progress”

  • When a new member joins our tribe we send them an Annual Tracker. It helps them to give perspective, to keep an eye on the big picture – sure there may be slip ups on the way but what matters is a feeling of progress – are those “Sober Stretches” getting longer?
  • If you would like one of our Annual Trackers then just email janet@nulltribesober.com and I’ll send you one right away!
  • It’s so important to celebrate Milestones on this journey – the Forever word is just too daunting when starting out on this journey so we suggest 30, 60, 100 days as Milestones… followed by 6 months and then moving on to Annual.
  • The great thing about Tribe Sober is that many people stick around after getting sober – they want to help and inspire others – we even have a chatroom for people with more than 6 months of sobriety.

Tool No 12 was “Nurture Yourself”

  • When we embark on this life-changing journey, we are going against the flow. We are going against the flow and that takes confidence and courage!
  • We need to nurture ourselves so that we can access the inner resources we need to embrace an alcohol-free life.
  • Many people (me included) discover that they are introverts at heart and not the party animal they thought they were when they drank!
  • Sobriety is a journey of discovery so spend the extra time you’ve saved exploring – Tribe Sober members have free resources to sample like coaching, hypnotherapy and root cause therapy as well as online yoga and art therapy.
  • You need to spoil yourself! Think of your sobriety as a pregnancy – 9 months of doing exactly what feels right  for you – read books, be alone, go to bed early, have naps, light candles, eat chocolate, turn down social invitations, light candles, have hot baths!
  • The pregnancy analogy works so well because for most of us 9 months is long enough for our sobriety to be strong – to survive in the outside world!

Tool No 13 was “Know Your Triggers!”

  • Triggers are a response to an outside stimulus that results in an automatic action.
  • We have trained our brains to drink, and now we have to untrain them.
  • Our brains need time to “rewire” – we need to uncouple experiences – eg: sunset and a glass of wine.
  • Let’s remember that triggers won’t last for ever – quitting is not about abstaining – or about resisting – its about building a new life when we won’t even want to drink.
  • But while we are adjusting we will need to learn how to deal with our triggers.
  • Typical triggers are- H.A.L.T.S (Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. Stressed) can affect our sobriety.
  • Although we will experience triggers we don’t have to act on them – we are not like a toddler having a tantrum in a supermarket because we can’t have chocolate.
  • We need to pause and breathe when we get a trigger – be curious – write about them in your journal and develop strategies to deal with them.

Tool No 14 is “Do the Work”

  • If you listened to last Saturday’s podcast you will have heard the traffic light analogy.
  • My guest was explaining that many people worry that sobriety will be a red light to their social life and their fun. Whereas for him it had been a green light to health and happiness.
  • However there is a period of adjustment – the amber light. Those of us that have become dependent on alcohol can’t just flick a switch and stop drinking – we have to “do the work”.  We have to “throw the book” at our sobriety.
  • At Tribe Sober we’ve helped hundreds of people to quit drinking and our observation is that it takes 3-6 months of hard work – and then it gets easier and easier. That’s where we differ from AA – we don’t see it as a “lifetime struggle” which necessitates going to meetings for ever.
  • “Doing the work” in AA of course means going through the 12 steps, but at Tribe Sober we believe that “the work” is different for everyone. It depends on various factors – including how dependent we have become.
  • “Doing the work” means listening to all the podcasts and reading all the QuitLit books – other people’s stories and struggles remind us that we are not alone in this and that it is possible to make a change.
  • “Doing the work” means trying out the tools I’ve outlined in these Sober Shorts until you have created your very own sober toolkit. Even better, sign up for one of our workshops to learn more about changing your mindset about drinking and meeting others on the same path.
  • When we stop drinking, we have time on our hands – we have to reconfigure our life so that it’s a life we don’t want to escape from. It’s an ideal time to try different activities and to connect with other people on the same path.  We offer our members opportunities to try coaching, hypnotherapy, art therapy, yoga, meditation as well as providing nutritional and medical advice.
  • Different things work for different people and of course the key thing is to connect with others and to share our stories and experiences. Many people will slip up again and again before their sobriety slips and that’s when the connection is even more important.  So you can get the reassurance that all is not lost and that you just need to get back on the bus and build up your next “sober stretch”.
  • We need to prioritise our sobriety and learn to put ourselves first – gradually we will learn to integrate our sobriety into our lifestyle and it will get easier and easier.

More Info

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

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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).

 

Is Drinking Going out of Fashion?

Is Drinking Going out of Fashion?

I hope so! Drinking is such a fixation, don’t you think? I mean, wherever you go, people are drinking or buying drinks or wanting a drink. Huh? The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and people want to sit in a smoky pub and drink. I don’t get it. Generation Z gets it!

This is the NOW generation – our kids who were born between 1997 and 2012. That makes them between the ages of 9 and 24. It seems that this generation prefers clean living, technology, board games and silent discos. What? Yes, this generation is also an indoor breed of human who talks using thumbs on devices and work from home or shared office choices.

Let’s set the scene a bit.

The Generations of Today

Baby Boomers – that is the current 50-something year old until 70-something-year-old crowd. They were born between 1946 and 1964 and many of them are our parents or siblings. In my experience this generation loves drinking!

Generation X – these kids were born between 1965 and 1980 and are now between the ages of 41 and 56 (EEEK that is ME!) and yes, we liked to drink. This is the age where we have hit midlife and most of us are in a crisis. Many of us don’t recognise we are in a crisis, and many of us drink to hide it. The rest of us are trying to find their meaning in life through esoteric retreats, spirituality, meditation, and communing with the spirits.

Generation Y – these Millennials were born into the crazy 1980s and 1990s when pop music was in, and Mandela became South Africa’s first black president. These youngsters are still only 25 to 40 years old. They don’t like drinking during the week but prefer to have a few social drinks with friends on the weekends. They don’t want a life controlled by alcohol but want to try new things like magic mushrooms, silent discos, and botanical drinks. They like to wake up clear-headed and ready for the next selfie. In addition, Millennials cannot afford to drink!

Those who can afford it, tend to binge drink: in a survey by FHE Health, it was found that “As for the most drinks consumed in one sitting, the most common max for men is a whopping 12 to 15 beverages, which is ripe for Millennial alcohol addiction. In comparison, 3 to 4 drinks were the most common for the highest percentage of female participants. Over 3 percent of men say their alcohol consumption consists of 25 or more drinks in one sitting, though no women have done so.”

This is the contradiction with this crowd – some don’t drink at all, and others binge drink.

Generation Z – these babies were born between the years 1997 and 2012 and they are still very young. Most of us have kids in this generation and we are their ideal role models. My parents drank a lot – they were alcoholics in retrospect – and we three kids were brought up to believe that drinking was normal and fun. So, as a parent to this generation of kids, I am very aware of what they are absorbing and becoming. I was able to stop the drinking cycle in MY family but my husband is a binge drinker so that is being noticed by our two boys!

This generation is noticeably sheltered by their parents and in my experience, there is much more danger out there in the world to worry about. First of all, these kids do not have money and are far less independent than previous generations – which had to just get out, study and work and make it happen.

Generation Z tends to live with their parents until sometimes into their 30s. They do not drink as much as their parents do or did and they prefer to be online, chatting to friends via social media.

Remember that Covid 19 forced our kids to be indoors and isolated for two years which had huge social and psychological impacts on them. According to an article on Flux called Teetotalism – Why Generation Z is choosing good, clean fun, this generation is choosing alcohol-free drinks more than alcoholic drinks.

“Instead of hanging out at bars or nightclubs, Generation Z can be found attending juice crawls and silent discos – or even staying in and playing marathon board-game sessions with friends at home. In many ways, Generation Z is pushing back at the generations who have come before them by rebelling against rebellion.”

Drinking is Expensive

Their survey found that these young people cannot afford to drink! There is also a movement towards health and wellness and the Covid epidemic has accentuated this. After two long years of lockdowns and ill-health, people want their lives and futures back. Our kids do not want to be like their parents, drinking, overweight, and unfit! There is another generation rising too, Generation M – the conscious Muslim consumer who does not drink. Wow!

I am very glad that this movement could mean the rise in alcohol-free drinking and sober party events and themes. No hangovers, no alcoholic cycles where weekends are just an endless cycle of drinking due to guilt and the false beliefs that this is what we all do and it’s fun.

It is fascinating to know that China is a hotspot now for no alcohol or alcohol-free drinks! Africa is also a hotspot for such non-alcoholic drinks while the Middle East has always been a no drinking zone thanks to the Muslim influence there. Businesses can now target these markets with specialised non-alcoholic brands.

Did you know that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found that the number of alcohol drinkers globally has gone down by 5%? Alcohol companies are suddenly all jumping on the alcohol-free drinks bandwagon and producing 0% gins, mixes, and wines!

The Conversation notes that “This is not a fad buoyed by addiction and recovery stories. The millennial- and Gen Z-driven trend is seen as part of a burgeoning wellness movement, a desire to have social gatherings less focused on alcohol (and the next morning’s less fuzzed by aftereffects), as well a shift toward abstemiousness more generally.”

Is Drinking a Trend or Going out of Fashion?

Restaurants and bars are wondering if this is a movement that is going to stay or just a trend for now? They have to spend a lot of extra income on fresh fruit to make extraordinary mocktails! There is waste produced, and time needed to do this. The youngsters who are driving this trend are the same youngsters who are social media and smartphone aware, even to the point of addiction. They like to hang out in internet cafes and places where they can be on their devices while sipping a healthy smoothie.

On the other hand, many young people have spoken candidly about the stigma of NOT drinking – if they don’t drink at parties they are ridiculed as being boring and not IN. There is so much pressure to drink that these teens are excluded and feel as if they don’t belong. The stigma has a lot to do with the societal pressures to be a man and to be cool and to ‘live life to the full’. We all feel that pressure to live it up and make every moment count! But why do we have to be drunk to do this?!

Nonetheless, we can expect to see a growth in tolerance toward different drinking behaviour, as more people decide to drink less. This may unlock all sorts of possibilities when it comes to promoting moderate drinking across the population at large. The rise in interest in drink-free challenges, for example, and healthier lifestyles more generally, suggests the cultural climate is ripe for putting non-drinking centre stage in public health promotion materials.”

I am still not sure whether drinking is going out of fashion. There is definitely a global change going on in the way people perceive alcohol and its effects on them. In my parents’ day, drinking was the accepted norm and getting pissed as deemed hilarious. In my day, I see and talk to many people in their midlife who are uncomfortable with drinking. They are discovering that drinking is in fact a social ill and a sign that something is not quite right in their lives.

You may be a drinker, or a non-drinker, or recently sober – send us a comment and tell us how you like to socialise.

 

Why Sobriety is a Green Light with Jeff Graham

 

Jeff Graham founded the Bac2Zero sobriety group.  Like many of us in the recovery space, Jeff’s initial sobriety goal was simply to quit drinking.  As he recovered his health, energy and creativity he decided he wanted to help others to do the same.

He describes sobriety as freedom – freedom from a world that was once filled with dread, regret and fear.  Although his goal started out simply as one of abstinence, his life has since grown into a life filled with dreams, hope and happiness.

In this Episode

  • Jeff enjoyed his first beer at the age of 16 – it wasn’t so much the buzz he enjoyed as the status – he felt like he “fitted in”.
  • As much as he enjoyed the social side of drinking, he also discovered that he loved to drink alone – he would come home from a night out and have some drinks on his own – he felt like he needed some “Jeff time” as he put it.
  • Many of us are like this – and even in sobriety some of us can still get triggered when we get home from a social event – even when we were drinking AF drinks!
  • I would work hard to behave myself at a social event and then down a bottle of wine when I got home!
  • Jeff was into beer and from the age of 23 and was drinking a case of beer a day – of course his friends were all drinkers as well.
  • His parents were both alcoholics and that’s why he was drawn to beer rather than spirits – he thought it was “better” – but of course it’s all ethanol!
  • He started hiding his beers in the garage – so his wife and kids had no idea how much he was drinking or quite how bad it had got.
  • Someone asked him recently if sobriety was “hard” – it made him reflect on just how “hard” it was to be a functioning alcoholic – how hard it was to hold everything together.
  • He got to the point when he knew he would have to cut down but he couldn’t face it – so he just started hiding his drinks more effectively!
  • We talked about the buzz and how us drinkers love to maintain the buzz – in fact recent research has shown that the buzz only lasts for 20 minutes and then we carry on drinking to top it up.
  • As Jeff explained, after some beers he would not go back to “normal” – he would feel lower than normal and reach for the beer to compensate
  • He was starting to drink earlier in the day but always telling himself that “tomorrow” would be different.
  • Eventually he ran out of lies – admitted defeat and booked himself into rehab for a week.
  • He needed this stay in rehab to draw a line under his drinking and to make a statement to his friends and family that he wanted to make a change.
  • We find that many of the people who come to our workshops are able to make use of the tools and community to draw that line under their drinking habits and to make a change.
  • Jeff needed the accountability that came with rehab – he just couldn’t do this alone.
  • He didn’t actually learn much in rehab but he did a lot of self-reflection and of course met other people with the same problems.
  • When he was sharing his story he heard himself saying things that he hadn’t really registered before – that happens at our workshops – people get emotional when they share because they only realise just how unhappy alcohol has been making them when they tell their story out loud.
  • Three months out of rehab he had a relapse – he wanted a reward, a last “hurrah” as he put it.
  • That did indicate that he still had work to do on his mindset – if we still see alcohol as a reward then it means it will always be hard to resist and we will suffer from FOMO.
  • Once we see alcohol for the addictive toxin it really is we will lose our desire for it which is the key to sustaining our sobriety.
  • After his relapse, Jeff took his recovery more seriously – he started to listen more and began journaling to process his thoughts and emotions.
  • He feels that it’s really important to get the negative thoughts on paper so then we can analyse them – it’s all part of being honest with ourselves.
  • Of course when he stopped drinking he had to find other things to do – he learned that he couldn’t just wait until he had a craving and then find something else to do – he had to plan it in advance.
  • Jeff learned that he needed a schedule of activities and I think that’s great advice.
  • Try lots of different things and keep yourself busy until you find a routine that really works for you.
  • As he says it’s no good telling him to call someone if he gets a craving – it’s too late by then!
  • Like myself he loves talking to people in recovery and getting new insights.
  • We talked about discovering purpose and the way we have both found more purpose in our lives from running sobriety groups – he set up Bac2Zero to inspire others on the journey.
  • Interviewing people for Bac2Zero keeps his schedule busy!
  • He has some great analogies – sobriety is like a haunted house – scary to enter alone but can even be fun if you are with someone else!
  • And the traffic lights! – sobriety is not a red traffic light!  It’s a green light to freedom, health and happiness – yes there may be a while stopped at the amber light going through an adjustment period but the green light will appear!   Love that one!
  • Two years into sobriety Jeff is experiencing lots of benefits – increase in his self-worth, reduction of anxiety and closer connection to his family are just some…
  • We talked about how many of us thought we were ok because we were not the homeless guy on the park bench – but Jeff advises that instead of comparing ourselves with the homeless guy, we should compare ourselves with the person that we could be…
  • Even if alcohol doesn’t destroy us it will certainly prevent us from reaching our potential!
  • We agreed that community is the essential thing that all sobriety groups have in common because connection is the opposite of addiction.
  • You can find out more about Jeff by going to gettingbac2zero.com website – he’s on Instagram as well.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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).

Sober Short – Know Your Triggers!

SOBER SHORT 13 – Know Your Triggers!

This Sober Short series is taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – just go to tribesober.com, hit Our Services and you’ll find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.

These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today.  Just go to tribesober.com/services and click on workshops.

During the first 12 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first 12 Tools in our toolbox. Before we move on to tool number 13 let’s do a quick recap…

In this Episode

Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”

  • “Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
  • If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively.
  • Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”

  • All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
  • We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”

Tool number 4 was all about Mindset

  • It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
  • We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
  • “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and…
  • You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety.

Tool number 5 was “Visualisation”

  • We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
  • One of them was to “Play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass. Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
  • Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?

Tool number 6 was “Information is Power”

  • It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
  • Even if you do decide to carry on drinking, then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick Google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts – almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nullts.com – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.

Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”

  • When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
  • WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
  • So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email janet@nulltribesober.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers.

Tool Number 8 was “Journaling”

  • At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
  • Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
  • We can note our triggers as well as strategies for coping with them.
  • Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.
  • To learn more about the magic of journaling, listen to Tribe Sober podcast episode 98 to hear my interview with writer in recovery Melinda Ferguson – released on 26th March 2022.

Tool No 9 was “Get a Project”

  • It’s very common for people to feel a bit flat once they have achieved their first few months of sobriety.
  • Many people in Tribe Sober (including me) experienced that “flatness’/depression/void” or whatever you want to call it – when they asked me what they should do about it I just told them to sit it out as it would eventually pass.
  • However that advice changed after my podcast interview with Dr Loretta Breuning (author of the Happy Brain) – so do have a listen, its episode 55 and was released on 14 August 2021.
  • Loretta explained that my brain was quite happy during the first few months as it had registered that it was working on a project (i.e sobriety) and I was making progress – however after a few months my subconscious was thinking – ok so now we are sober, now what?
  • Well here’s the thing – as human beings we need projects – think of the cavemen, they would wake up hungry and have to go and find some food, eating the food would give them a dopamine hit but then they would get hungry again and have to go hunting.
  • So as you settle into your first few months of sobriety, GET A PROJECT to keep you on track and to keep those happy brain chemicals triggered.

Tool No 10 was “Be Prepared”

  • As with most things in life preparation is crucial…
  • Play the movie forward – what ARE you going to drink – if it’s a restaurant then check out their drinks menu online and decide what you will order.
  • If you are going to a dinner party, then text your host in advance and take some AF bubbly with you.
  • Decide what you are going to say when/if people start to interrogate you – you can keep it simple “I’m on meds”, “I’m driving” or my favourite, “I’m on a health kick – no booze, no sugar, no carbs for 66 days!”
  • If drinking at home was your problem, then give away your booze – or move it to somewhere you can’t see it (the garage is a good place) and make sure your fridge is stocked with delicious AF choices – if you are in SA just go to drinknil.co.za and they will deliver to your door.

Tool No 11 was “Track Your Progress”

  • When a new member joins our tribe we send an Annual Tracker. It helps to give perspective, to keep an eye on the big picture – sure there may be slip ups on the way but what matters is a feeling of progress – are those “Sober Stretches” getting longer?
  • If you would like one of our Annual Trackers then just email janet@nulltribesober.com and I’ll send you one right away!
  • It’s so important to celebrate Milestones on this journey – the Forever word is just too daunting when starting out on this journey so we suggest 30, 60, 100 days as Milestones… followed by 6 months and then moving on to Annual.
  • The great thing about Tribe Sober is that many people stick around after getting sober – they want to help and inspire others – we even have a chatroom for people with more than 6 months of sobriety

Tool No 12 was “Nurture Yourself”

  • When we embark on this life changing journey we are going against the flow. We are going against the flow and that takes confidence and courage!
  • We need to nurture ourselves so that we can access the inner resources we need to embrace an alcohol-free life
  • Many people (me included) discover that they are introverts at heart and not the party animal they thought they were when they drank!
  • Sobriety is a journey of discovery so spend the extra time you’ve saved exploring – Tribe Sober members have free resources to sample like coaching, hypnotherapy and root cause therapy as well as online yoga and art therapy.
  • You need to spoil yourself! Think of your sobriety as a pregnancy – 9 months of doing exactly what feels right  for you – read books, be alone, go to bed early, have naps, light candles, eat chocolate, turn down social invitations, light candles, have hot baths!
  • The pregnancy analogy works so well because for most of us 9 months is long enough for our sobriety to be strong – to survive in the outside world!

Tool No 13 is “Know Your Triggers!”

  • Triggers are a response to an outside stimulus that results in an automatic reaction.
  • We have trained our brains to drink, and now we have to un-train them.
  • Our brains need time to “rewire” – we need to uncouple experiences – eg: sunset and a glass of wine.
  • Let’s remember that triggers won’t last for ever – quitting is not about abstaining – or about resisting – it’s about building a new life when we won’t even want to drink.
  • But while we are adjusting we will need to learn how to deal with our triggers.
  • Typical triggers are – H.A.L.T.S (Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. Stressed) and they can affect our sobriety.
  • Although we will experience triggers we don’t have to act on them – we are not like a toddler having a tantrum in a supermarket because we can’t have chocolate.
  • We need to pause and breathe when we get a trigger – be curious – write about them in your journal and develop strategies to deal with them.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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, You Tube, Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can join our private Facebook group HERE.

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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).

Unpickled with Jean McCarthy

Unpickled with Jean McCarthy

If you have been sober for a while and are ever tempted to drink just “one glass of wine” then it’s worth remembering this well known saying, “You can change a cucumber into a pickle, but you can’t turn a pickle back into a cucumber.” In other words, once we have crossed that line into alcohol-dependence there is no going back – we must go forward and create a life we don’t want to escape from.

My guest this week was obviously inspired by the pickle analogy as her blog is called “Unpickled” and I’m sure many of you have listened to her awesome podcast the “Bubble Hour” which has been going for almost a decade.

I began by asking Jean to introduce herself.

In this Episode

  • Jean was a teenage drinker, going to bars at 15 years old as she looked older.
  • She got married and had her children young – then got into the mommyjuice culture.
  • Her drinking escalated throughout her 20’s and 30’s.
  • By the time she got to her 40’s, her children were teenagers, her career was demanding and wine was her “off” button.
  • She went from one glass to two to a few – to opening a bottle the moment she got home from work.
  • Like many of us she would wake up and think “I won’t drink today” but by lunchtime that thought was gone.
  • Since her teenage years, she had an inkling that alcohol was not doing her any favours but by her 30’s she was trying to make a change and setting “the rules” – which of course she promptly broke.
  • She finally quit at 43 – which led us to discuss the Tempest Study – that the average time it takes people “from realising they had a problem to actually quitting” was eleven years.
  • One of the things that kept Jean stuck in her drinking was that she was labouring under the misconception that one had to reach “rock bottom” before making a change – a myth that keeps many from ditching the booze.
  • That myth kept Jean from going to AA – not only was she worried about being recognised but she also felt that she couldn’t fit – that she would be seen as a lightweight because she hadn’t lost everything.
  • So let’s take a moment to debunk the rock bottom fallacy – if your drinking is on your mind and you have a suspicion that you would be healthier and happier without it then just do it. No need to keep digging…
  • There has never been a better time to give up drinking. There are many online sobriety groups like Tribe Sober, not to mention a plethora of alcohol-free drinks.  Go to tribesober.com and check us out if you’d like to meet other people who have decided to avoid rock bottom and ditch the booze before they get there!
  • So Jean didn’t go to AA but she did confide in one friend and that made all the difference – she got empathy from that friend and it made her accountable.
  • Sometimes just telling one person is all it takes – so if you’re stuck then that’s a great place to start and if you feel there is no one in your friendship circle who would understand than check out tribesober.com and join our international community.
  • To beat those early cravings Jean had a whole list of things to do when she felt a craving – for example, she would eat an ice cream, or orange slices or take the dog around the block or drive to the store. Doing her grocery shopping in the evenings took some of the pressure of her schedule the next day.
  • She started her unpickled blog – anonymously like Clare Pooley – and just like Claire she got responses and realised that she was not alone in this.
  • With the perspective of a decade of sobriety, Jean is able to look back and see that for the first 2 years she was “white knuckling” it.
  • During those early years she stayed sober because she was ashamed of the possibility of relapse – that stopped her healing and also prevented her from experiencing the “fullness of recovery” as she puts it.
  • Jean was on this journey alone for the first two years and it was only when she discovered a sober community that her recovery really started. We often get people joining Tribe Sober who have been sober for a while but are feeling isolated and miserable because they feel lonely and don’t realise that recovery is about so much more than “not drinking”.
  • She went on a sober retreat and sat in a sharing circle for the first time – that’s when the magic of recovery started for Jean – she cried constantly during that retreat and came through the other side.
  • We talked about the money we spend on beauty and anti-ageing products when the best thing of all we can do for our health and our beauty as we get older is to ditch the booze.
  • Staying hydrated is so important for our skin – yet for every glass of wine we drink we lose the equivalent of four glasses of water.
  • Many of us feared that sobriety would mean a life of deprivation, but, as Jean says, the reality is that it is a life of abundance – and that is the joy of a sober community. You will meet people further down the line who can confirm that is the case!
  • Jean explained that recovery helped her to stop doing things that weren’t serving her – which made me think about a discussion we had in one of our chat rooms recently – many of us realised that we were drinking to make other people more interesting and had wasted far too much time hanging out with people who we didn’t really connect with.
  • I asked Jean to share some of her tips with us:-

Find alternative ways to comfort yourself, tell someone, decide that whatever happens no you will not drink – and join a sobriety group.

  • We talked about the magazine Hola Sober and how wonderful it is to be part of this modern recovery movement.
  • So do take a look at Jean’s blog which is called “Unpickled”, if you don’t already listen to the Bubble Hour then there are plenty of episodes to catch up with!
  • You heard her reading that beautiful poem about recovery circles from her book “The Ember Ever There” which is available on Amazon.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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).

Sober Short – Nurture Yourself!

 

SOBER SHORT 12 – Nurture Yourself

I’m kicking off our Sober Short series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – just go to tribesober.com, hit Our Services and you’ll find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.

These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today.  Just go to tribesober.com/services and click on workshops.

During the first 10 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first 10  Tools in our toolbox. Before we move on to tool number 11 let’s do a quick recap…

In this Episode

Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”

  • “Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
  • If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively.
  • Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”

  • All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
  • We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”

Tool number 4 was all about “Mindset”

  • It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
  • We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
  • “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and…
  • You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety.

Tool number 5 was about “Visualisation”

  • We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
  • One of them was to “Play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass. Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
  • Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?

Tool number 6 was “Information is Power”

  • It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
  • Even if you do decide to carry on drinking then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts – almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nullts.com – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.

Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”

  • When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
  • WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
  • So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email janet@nulltribesober.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers.

Tool Number 8 was “Journaling”

  • At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
  • Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
  • We can note our triggers as well as strategies for coping with them
  • Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.
  • To learn more about the magic of journaling listen to Tribe Sober podcast episode 98 to hear my interview with writer in recovery Melinda Ferguson – released on 26th March 2022

Tool No 9 was “Get a Project”

  • It’s very common for people to feel a bit flat once they have achieved their first few months of sobriety.
  • Many people in Tribe Sober (including me) experienced that “flatness’/depression/void” or whatever you want to call it – when they asked me what they should do about it I just told them to sit it out as it would eventually pass.
  • However that advice changed after my podcast interview with Dr Loretta Breuning (author of the Happy Brain) – so do have a listen, its episode 55 and was released on 14 August 2021.
  • Loretta explained that my brain was quite happy during the first few months as it had registered that it was working on a project (i.e sobriety) and I was making progress – however after a few months my subconscious was thinking – ok so now we are sober, now what?
  • Well here’s the thing – as human beings we need projects – think of the cavemen, they would wake up hungry and have to go and find some food, eating the food would give them a dopamine hit but then they would get hungry again and have to go hunting..
  • So as you settle into your first few months of sobriety GET A PROJECT to keep you on track and to keep those happy brain chemicals triggered.

Tool No 10 – “Be Prepared”

  • As with most things in life preparation is crucial…
  • Play the movie forward – what ARE you going to drink – if it’s a restaurant then check out their drinks menu online and decide what you will order.
  • If you are going to a dinner party the text your host in advance and take some AF bubbly with you.
  • Decide what you are going to say when/if people start to interrogate you – you can keep it simple “I’m on meds”, “I’m driving” or my favourite, “I’m on a health kick – no booze, no sugar, no carbs for 66 days!”
  • If drinking at home was your problem then give away your booze – or move it to somewhere you can’t see it (the garage is a good place) and make sure your fridge is stocked with delicious AF choices – if you are in SA just go to drinknil.co.za and they will deliver to your door.

Tool No 11 was “Track Your Progress”

  • When a new member joins our tribe we send an Annual Tracker. It helps to give perspective, to keep an eye on the big picture – sure there may be slip ups on the way but what matters is a feeling of progress – are those “Sober Stretches” getting longer?
  • If you would like one of our Annual Trackers then just email janet@nulltribesober.com and I’ll send you one right away!
  • It’s so important to celebrate Milestones on this journey – the Forever word is just too daunting when starting out on this journey so we suggest 30, 60, 100 days as Milestones… followed by 6 months and then moving on to Annua.l
  • The great thing about Tribe Sober is that many people stick around after getting sober – they want to help and inspire others – we even have a chatroom for people with more than 6 months of sobriety.

Tool No 12 is “Nurture Yourself”

  • When we embark on this life changing journey we are going against the flow – we are doing something that 95% of the drinking population would not even consider doing, it wouldn’t cross their mind. We are going against the flow and that takes confidence and courage!
  • We need to nurture ourselves so that we can access the inner resources we need to embrace an alcohol-free life.
  • Many people (me included) discover that they are introverts at heart and not the party animal they thought they were when they drank!
  • They drank to make other people interesting so they could hang out and fit in without being bored!
  • We do go through a phase of feeling “Sober Awkward” in early sobriety as we find our feet and master the art of sober small talk – not to mention sober dancing!
  • But if you start feeling that you would rather be home with a good book than attending a social event then do it – and the first book you should read is Quiet by Susan Cain – the subtitle of that book is “The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” which says it all really.
  • Her premise is that about 50% of the global population are natural introverts but the pressure to perform in our corporate careers and our social lives means many of us turn to alcohol to cope.
  • Sobriety is a journey of discover so spend the extra time you’ve saved exploring – Tribe Sober members have free resources to sample like coaching, hypnotherapy and root cause therapy as well as online yoga and art therapy.
  • If you are wondering if and how hypnotherapy can help you embrace sobriety then listen to Tribe Sober episode 43, more about the role that root cause therapy can play in episode 60, yoga information in episode 69, art therapy 73 and you can hear me interviewing our awesome TS coach Lynette way back on episode 5!
  • So spoil yourself! Think of your sobriety as a pregnancy – 9 months of doing exactly what feels right  for you – read books, be alone, go to bed early, have naps, light candles, eat chocolate, turn down social invitations, light candles, have hot baths!
  • The pregnancy analogy works so well because for most of us 9 months is long enough for our sobriety to be strong – to survive in the outside world!

So that was Tool number 12 – Track Your Progress – I’ll be back with our main podcast on Saturday and another Sober Short next Wednesday.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

 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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

 

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, You Tube, Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can join our private Facebook group HERE.

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

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).

Am I Drinking Too Much?

Am I drinking too much? Well, only you can know that and only you change that. If you found yourself here, that means you are worried about how much you are drinking. The first step is to go to the Am I an Alcoholic quiz and see where you fit in. You are probably a Grey Area Drinker but you are probably feeling the negative effects of the alcohol. One of the negative effects of alcohol consumption is the mind waking up and the feelings of guilt and shame that start to pull you down.

Many people who tend to drink a bit much are feeling worthless and lacking in self-esteem. If this is you, you are in the right place.

Image – https://midrandreporter.co.za/174265/drinking-and-driving-know-the-law-2/

How does this graphic make you feel? Many people are drinking their entire week’s limit every night of the week. Often, people who think they are being “good” and only drink on the weekends are actually drinking more than the weekly drinkers because they are binge drinkers.

I am not here to judge or criticize. I am here to illustrate the negative impacts of alcohol and how our minds trick us into thinking we are “fine”. Meanwhile, our health is taking a pounding! We are at risk of cancer, heart disease, kidney and liver disease, depression and more!

Negative Impacts and Limits

Did you know that men and women should only be drinking 14 units of alcohol a week?

Many people who drink don’t count their glasses of alcohol and always “feel fine”. The more you drink, the more you need and the less you react to the alcohol. Well, so you think! You are actually pickled, and a sober person will tell you how you fall around getting to the bathroom and back to the fridge. And your body will tell you every morning with that puffy face in the mirror and that achy tired feeling all day, not to mention the grumpiness and impatience you feel with everyone!

If you are feeling these symptoms, you could be consuming a bit too much alcohol:

  • Feeling constantly / excessively tired
  • Experiencing regular headaches due to dehydration
  • Sweating a lot, even without physical activity
  • Having an increased/decreased appetite, potentially accompanied by weight loss/gain
  • Insomnia
  • Withdrawal symptoms when stopping or reducing drinking

To crown it all, drinking causes us illness in our heads. Yes, we get depressed, irritable, paranoid, anxious and we lose hope with much happening in our lives. It’s all very well feeling high and happy while drinking but afterward, the crunch comes – that puffy sad feeling of guilt and worthlessness consumes the drinker who tends to then make it all better again with another drink – and so the cycle continues.

Before you hit a rock bottom, take note of your drinking patterns and make some changes. When you start to crave alcohol and need it to come right, then you are bordering on alcohol use disorder and maybe then you need help to ditch the drink.

Then the deviousness comes in. Many drinkers become devious – there are stories of women drinking in the pantry to hide it from hubby; there are stories of men hiding the whiskey in the garage and hanging out there for hours. There are stories of bottles of wine in t-shirt cupboards, in gumboots, and in the knitting basket. Do you drink before anyone sees you at maybe 3 pm instead of your usual 5 pm? Do you drink at the coffee shop instead of ordering coffee maybe? Do you buy your drink at varying outlets so that no one really has a comment to make? Do you drink alone, secluded, not socially?

In an article on Health.com, the struggle against alcoholism in Hollywood is revealed. So many actors and actresses are reaching out for help with their drinking. Many have silent struggles with alcohol while some display their drunken antics in public.

Clues Showing You have a Problem

You start to set yourself limits but cannot stick to them – work out what is triggering your drinking then stay away from these triggers. Deal with them in therapy or start a new routine. Start a journal and record the times you are triggered and need a drink. There may emerge a revealing pattern or childhood hurt.

Your friends start to notice your drinking habits and make comments – watch how much you drink compared to your friends. Do you behave differently? Are they amazed at how much you can hold or at how drunk you get?

Are you planning your life around alcohol? Do you make sure that every social has to be in a venue that sells alcohol or where you can drink? Try to start a new habit where you meet friends for a walk rather than a drink, or you go to movies or you take up gym or yoga?

You reach for a drink when you are stressed. Soon, one drink turns into 3 or 4 or 12. Try a walk, a run, a healthy snack, a meditation class or yoga. Meet friends for a different outing such as kite flying or picking up shells on the beach.

You have started to worry about your own drinking – you are Googling things like Am I Drinking too Much? Deep down inside you feel discomfort and worthless about your drinking and you feel dirty.

Your doctor comments that you are drinking too much (which is unusual as many doctors ignore alcohol!) – if your doctor says your drinking is too much, then take note.

Your hangovers are more frequent and harder to handle. You feel ill the next day and battle to get out of bed or function. Your family and colleagues will take the brunt of your habit.

You start to forget the details about what happened when you were drinking – what you said and did and why you woke up with no shoes or with a stolen wine glass in your handbag?

What Should you Do?

Tell someone you can trust. Do an online screening check to see how dependent you are on alcohol: the Drinker’s Checkup, is a good place to start and is also gives you tools to moderate your drinking. Ask your doctor what he/she recommends and go and see someone about it or join an online sober group like Tribe Sober.

Good luck and listen to your heart. Am I drinking too much can easily become that mantra, I don’t need alcohol in my life, I am enough!

 

Meditating into Sobriety with Rory Kinsella

 

 

Meditation and Your Sober Journey

Here at Tribe Sober we encourage people to quit drinking and then to go on and learn to thrive in their alcohol-free lives.  We offer free coaching, hypnotherapy and an online yoga course and various therapies..  It’s important to experiment, to get back in touch with what you really like to do – it’s all about building a life that you don’t want to escape from.

My guest this week is a meditation teacher in Australia who offers a course called “6 Steps for not Quite Alcoholics” – he is offering to help people to change their relationship with alcohol from a different angle. He is suggesting that they meditate daily for a few weeks and then see how they feel about their drinking.

Rory shares his own struggles with alcohol and explains that once he got into meditation he found that alcohol no longer fitted in with his healthy lifestyle.

I began by asking Rory to introduce himself.

In this Episode

  • After Uni, Rory joined a band and then became a music journalist – and going to free gigs/festivals were all part of the job.
  • All his relationships during his 20’s were built around drinking, partying and having a good time.
  • He moved to Australia at the age of 31 and became a “lifestyle journalist” – he was expecting this job to be less boozy than that of a music journalist but he was wrong.
  • He was sent to review a week-long vodka festival in New Zealand and then was sent on a 3-day trip to Las Vegas to reviews bars and restaurants…
  • Rory started to notice that his hangovers were getting more severe and that it was taking him longer to recover.
  • At his 35th birthday party, he had what he calls an early midlife crisis – DJ’ing at a warehouse party he realised he was not enjoying himself – the combination of drugs and alcohol was making him feel paranoid and he wasn’t even enjoying the music. He decided he just didn’t want to be living this kind of life at 45.
  • He quit smoking and DJing the next day but carried on drinking – although he had an inkling that life might be better without it, he was nowhere near accepting that he must stop.
  • However he did start exercising – and being an “all or nothing” kind of person (like most of us drinkers) he was soon running marathons.
  • His running made him realise that he could access serotonin and endorphins which could change his consciousness without using chemicals.
  • As he puts it so well – he was able to access the “infinite pharmacy within”!
  • As Rory got fitter, he started to explore different types of meditation and began to feel that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • He discovered Vedic meditation which is what he now teaches.
  • Meditation was reducing his triggers and his stress so he was drinking less but still going on binges.
  • Once he got healthier, he realised that alcohol no longer fitted his lifestyle – his body was clean and he didn’t like the effect of booze.
  • Rory’s approach is – rather than say “Don’t Drink for 30 Days” he says “Meditate twice a day for 30 Days” and don’t think about alcohol. So, in other words, focus on your meditation practice and you will gradually lose the desire to drink.
  • His turning point came 4 years after starting his meditation practice – he was teaching by then and just didn’t feel authentic drinking and teaching meditation so he quit.
  • I love his wise monkey analogy – when we wake up we have a credit of 3 wise monkeys – they get used up during the day and we need a crutch to keep us going – and that’s when the wine monkey comes out!
  • So he advises topping up your wise monkeys (or adaptation energy) with a meditation practice in the evening – that will put your back in charge and keep the wine monkey away!
  • Rory believes that we must focus on building various “systems” to sustain our sobriety – meditation is part of that system as is exercise, healthy eating and community support.
  • The “systems” approach really helps because when you have a slip-up the reaction should be “let’s look at the system and maybe change something?” rather than “OMG I’m such a failure”!
  • Another great analogy from Rory was the “tanker” analogy – if you change the direction of a huge ship then it’s going to take a while before it moves and heads off in the right direction. Just as “if you’ve been drinking for decades and stop – it’s going to take a while to settle in to your sobriety and experience the benefits”.
  • Here at Tribe Sober we hear a some people say “I’m 3 months sober and don’t feel any benefits yet!” But that’s the joy of community – people who have been sober for longer will pile in and say “hold on – it does get better!”
  • Our members go on a 7-step program which helps them to explore what “systems” would work well for them – coaching, yoga, hypnotherapy and various types of therapy are all on offer so that people can sample them and see what works for them.
  • Now that he is sober, Rory has much more time and energy to do the things he wants to. He reflected back on how it was taking him a few days to recover from his drinking sessions – yes, he was functional but only doing the bare minimum and experiencing a void in his creativity.
  • As he says we often hear people saying that they don’t have time to pursue their goals. But it’s often more about not having the energy – we have to remember that alcohol saps our energy and motivation.
  • Even if alcohol doesn’t destroy us, it prevents us from reaching our potential!
  • Rory helped me to realise that meditation does not have to involve clearing our minds of all thoughts – if we go the Vedic Meditation route then we just have to focus on a mantra.
  • You can hear Rory talk about his “6 step” course which will help you to stop drinking via meditation – read more about it on his website we-meditate.co
  • His podcast is called Not Quite Alcoholics and my interview with him is on Episode 7.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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).

Sober Short – Track Your Progress!

 

SOBER SHORT 11 – Track Your Progress

I’m kicking off our Sober Short series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops. Just go to tribesober.com, hit Our Services and you’ll find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.

These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today.  Just go to tribesober.com/services and click on Workshops.

During the first 10 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first 10 Tools in our toolbox. Before we move on to tool number 11 let’s do a quick recap…

In this Episode

Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”

  • “Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
  • If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership. 

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively. Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”

  • All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
  • We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”

Tool number 4 was all about Mindset

  • It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
  • We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
  • “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and…
  • You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety.

Tool number 5 was about “Visualisation”

  • We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
  • One of them was to “play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass? Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
  • Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?

Tool number 6 was “Information is Power”

  • It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
  • Even if you do decide to carry on drinking then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick Google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start, and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts. Almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nullts.com – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.

Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”

  • When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
  • WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
  • So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email janet@nulltribesober.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers.

Tool Number 8 was “Journaling”

  • At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
  • Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
  • We can note our triggers as well as strategies for coping with them.
  • Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.
  • To learn more about the magic of journaling, listen to Tribe Sober podcast Episode 98 to hear my interview with writer in recovery Melinda Ferguson – released on 26th March 2022.

Tool No 9 was “Get a Project”

  • It’s very common for people to feel a bit flat once they have achieved their first few months of sobriety.
  • Many people in Tribe Sober (including me) experienced that “flatness’/depression/void” or whatever you want to call it – when they asked me what they should do about it I just told them to sit it out as it would eventually pass.
  • However that advice changed after my podcast interview with Dr Loretta Breuning (author of the Happy Brain) – so do have a listen, it’s Episode 55 and was released on 14 August 2021.
  • Loretta explained that my brain was quite happy during the first few months as it had registered that it was working on a project (i.e. sobriety) and I was making progress – however after a few months my subconscious was thinking – ok so now we are sober, now what?
  • Well here’s the thing – as human beings we need projects – think of the cavemen, they would wake up hungry and have to go and find some food, eating the food would give them a dopamine hit but then they would get hungry again and have to go hunting.
  • So, as you settle into your first few months of sobriety, GET A PROJECT to keep you on track and to keep those happy brain chemicals triggered.

Tool No 10 was “Be Prepared”

  • As with most things in life preparation is crucial.
  • Play the movie forward – what ARE you going to drink – if it’s a restaurant then check out their drinks menu online and decide what you will order.
  • If you are going to a dinner party, text your host in advance and take some AF bubbly with you.
  • Decide what you are going to say when/if people start to interrogate you – you can keep it simple: “I’m on meds”, “I’m driving” or my favourite, “I’m on a health kick – no booze, no sugar, no carbs for 66 days!”
  • If drinking at home was your problem, then give away your booze – or move it to somewhere you can’t see it (the garage is a good place) and make sure your fridge is stocked with delicious AF choices – if you are in SA just go to drinknil.co.za and they will deliver to your door.

Tool No 11 IS Track Your Progress

When a new member joins our tribe, we send them a “starter kit” which includes an Annual Tracker.  This annual tracker is simply a calendar divided into 360 squares.  We suggest that people colour in a square as alcohol- free in the morning to set their intention for the day.  If they slip up, then they should mark it on the calendar.  This system has several advantages:-

  • It helps to give perspective, to keep an eye on the big picture – sure there may be slip-ups on the way, but what matters is a feeling of progress – are those “Sober Stretches” getting longer?
  • A bit like dieting, there is a tendency to feel hopeless after a slip up, a feeling of “oh I will never be able to do this, so I might as well give up altogether”. The tracker shows you that one slip-up does not ruin everything and you are more likely to hop back on the bus.
  • Accountability – on screenshot Saturday we ask members to share their trackers on our chat group and everyone piles in to congratulate – or to encourage…
  • If you would like one of our Annual Trackers then just email janet@nulltribesober.com and I’ll send you one right away!
  • It’s so important to celebrate Milestones on this journey – Milestones not only give you something to aim for but when you reach them you will get a dopamine hit as you feel a sense of purpose and share your triumph with others. That dopamine hit will give you the energy and enthusiasm to continue with your journey.
  • The Forever word is just too daunting when starting out on this journey so we suggest 30, 60, 100 days as Milestones… followed by 6 months and then moving on to Annual.
  • The great thing about Tribe Sober is that many people stick around after getting sober – they want to help and inspire others – we even have a chatroom for people with more than 6 months of sobriety – we call it “big school” and people are keen to graduate.
  • It’s also important to track your Sober Firsts – there will be many during your first year of sobriety. The first Sober Wedding, Sober Holiday, Sober Birthday, etc. See them as Challenges and keep your expectations low – don’t even expect to enjoy them – your work is to get through them.  You can be sure that next time it will be easier and eventually you will enjoy it just as much (if not more) than usual.
  • Make sure you plan a reward for yourself when you get through a Sober First!

So that was Tool number 11 – Track Your Progress. I’ll be back with our main podcast on Saturday and another Sober Short next Wednesday.

Thanks for listening – please follow and share the podcast!

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

 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.

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you.

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, You Tube, Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can join our private Facebook group HERE.

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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).

 

Stop Being a Wine O’Clock Mom and Start Thinking About your Drinking

 

Thinking is our downfall. We all think too much. Wine is our downfall. We all drink too much. Well, not all of us! But yes, we all think too much, seriously.

The thoughts I think are not the thoughts you think. Our thoughts come and go. But I can bet you that your thinking about drinking is the same as many other women who drink. Let me ask you: Are you a wine o’clock mom?

We hardly remember all the thoughts we have in one day alone.  Apparently, there is one thought that dominates all thoughts every day in our heads. For some people, that thought is the wine thought. For others, it is a partner problem, a mother mumble or a family feud.

We allow these thoughts to make or break us, to decide our next action. We allow these thoughts to arrange our days, to decide who is our friend or not, and decide which partner is ours or not. We allow that wallowing in the wine thought to lead us to the fridge at 5 pm, on the dot.

Thinking About Drinking – Too Much

Did you type into Google: “Why am I always thinking about drinking?” by any chance? Or did you look up the Wine O’clock Mom Syndrome? I have heard about mothers who drink orange juices laced with vodka at kids’ play dates. I have seen parents drinking brandy or whiskey with coke at kids’ parties. Is this you?

Are you a regular wine o’clock mom looking forward to your 5 pm tipple? I deserve my glass of Chardonnay every day at 5 pm because I am such a busy mom. I love that first sip of Sauvignon after rushing around with the kids all day. I brace myself for my husband’s arrival home from work with a good solid glass of dry white. Yes!

Wine o’clock moms have groups on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Wine o’clock moms all laugh about that daily glass of wine. Which then becomes 2 glasses, then three glasses – and soon, the entire bottle gets done every night of the week. What do you feel like when you open the fridge the next morning and see no more wine? Instead, you see 2 empty bottles standing next to the bin. What? Was that me?

Let’s change the way we think about drinking. That means that the daily wine at 5 pm could become the daily walk at 5 pm or the daily art class at 5 pm. We could get the kids to the park for sunset or we could plant a new rose – at 5 pm. How about a nice homemade Mocktail with ice and lemon on the veranda? Or how about a platter of healthy snacks such as raw vegetable sticks and Avo dip?

Think and Do the Opposite

The new thought could then be, “I deserve self-care at 5 pm and I deserve my health. I am worthy of an evening walk, a gardening hour or a special time with my kids. I can summon up a last ounce of energy to make my Mocktail and snacks and just sit and stroke the cat.”

Have you ever entertained the thought that you could be addicted to the ritual of the wine? Or the wine itself? The thing that makes us addicted to the wine is the alcohol inside the wine. Before you recoil in dread at that terrible word, addicted, breathe. Most people in our world have some kind of addiction that they have developed as a means of coping in an unnatural world. Some people have inherited the addictive genes from their parents. Others have been through incredible and ghastly traumas and unknowingly they turned to a substance to replace the love they never got as a child.

Life is complex so the first tip from me is NOT to beat yourself up about your drinking. If you ARE a wine o’clock mom, then be aware of that. Note what it feels like to look forward to that wine at 5 pm sharp every day. Note what it adds to your day and what it removes from your day.

Negative Thoughts and Low Self-Esteem

What is your thinking about the drinking? It is often the thought that makes us reach for the substance or the habit that then becomes our ritual or addiction. It has been said that negative thoughts and false beliefs also drive our needs for a substance of habit that is mentally and physically unhealthy. Many people who drink wine every day are sensitive people with a negative streak.

Sue Diamond of The Good Life Recovery Blog reveals that usually these kinds of people have these thoughts in their heads most of the time:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • No one loves me.
  • I don’t fit in.
  • I’m different than others (which is a bad thing).
  • I will never have the life I am longing for.
  • I’m better than others.
  • People are generally stupid.
  • I don’t need others.
  • It’s no one’s business what I do.
  • People don’t really get me.
  • I’m a failure.
  • If only I had more money, I’d be worthy.
  • My success defines me.
  • I don’t need you or anyone.

Do you Need to Be in Control?

According to Sue, “most addicts what to believe that they still have a choice. That they are absolutely in control of every aspect of their lives. The research indicates that generally speaking, most addicts have a very distorted view of the world which is negative in nature. On the whole, we suffer from low self-esteem, enormous self-loathing, a view of the world as the glass half empty. We are critical, judgmental, and often feel hard done by.”

Time to change the thinking, the negativity and the false beliefs. That need for wine at 5 o’clock is a false belief that your brain believes. Your heart may feel discomfort but your naughty thoughts convince you that just one is your treat for your busy day. Where does this self-absorbed thinking come from? How can we change the lens?

Peep out from behind the sunglasses and see life, really see life. It is often a great idea to reach out to others when you decide to change an ingrained habit like pouring wine every day at 5 pm. Go and visit your local safe house, soup kitchen or school that needs assistance. Knit squares for the elderly, donate food for the dogs and give computer lessons in your own home.

The onus lies on you, and your self-belief. Says Sue: “… it’s not that there’s anything wrong with thinking of ourselves. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking good care of ourselves. There are times when that is both healthy and appropriate. … However, there are so many ways in which our negative thinking can interfere with building a healthy self and healthy relations. These can be thoughts about ourselves and thoughts about others.”

Change the Wine O’Clock Lens

But what are you going to do about your thinking about drinking? How are you going to change that wine o’clock mom label? Simply do the opposite! Make the decision today to change the way you play! Let go of that “poor little me” mentality. Stand up in your own two feet and show the world your true face, the real you. If people decide to leave your circle, so be it. Tell yourself that you deserve your spot in the sun. You deserve your own set of footprints on this planet Earth. So BE you. Who IS that hiding behind the wine? Who IS that person sipping Chardonnay at 5 pm every day? Think on these things.

Remember: Addiction is a complex brain disorder that doesn’t have a single, obvious cause. Dopamine plays a role, but it’s one small piece of a larger puzzle. Experts believe a range of biological and environmental factors can significantly increase someone’s risk for addiction.

Crystal Raypole notes on healthline that dopaminehelps reinforce enjoyable sensations and behaviors by linking things that make you feel good with a desire to do them again. This link is an important factor in the development of addiction.” This is what is happening every day at 5 pm when you open that first bottle.

So, to end this blog, I challenge you to clear your brain bit by bit of those negative thoughts, that negative self-talk. Can you meditate once a week, then try every two days, then daily? Check out these different mediation tools you can try to calm and simplify your life.

If you really want to do this for yourself, then do it. Try to break that wine o’clock habit today. Use these wonderful tools from Flic Everett:

  1. RESET YOUR BRAIN

Cut down lies in breaking alcohol’s “pleasure” association. Tell your brain that you do NOT like alcohol and that you want change your habits. Tell your brain you like to wake up feeling alert in the mornings. Have an alcohol-free day every other day to help break your beliefs that you need that daily tipple.

  1. BUY SMALLER GLASSES

When you go out these days, wine is served in enormous, beautiful glasses. The waiter pours a quarter of the bottle into your glass! Soon, you are slurring! Even the shops sell these huge ornate glasses and we are all conned into believing it is the NORM. Not! Buy small 125ml glasses instead of the 250ml tankards.

  1. TRY THE HALT TEST

Have no alcohol for half the week and a few glasses for the rest of the week. Make sure you do not rely on that daily glass but that you can go without it.

  1. NEVER HAVE TWO BOTTLES IN THE FRIDGE

Break the habit of having so much wine at home in the wine wrack and in the fridge. Buy enough for your 3 chosen days to have a few glasses.

  1. HAVE DECENT ALTERNATIVES

All you have to do is buy non-alcoholic drinks or alcohol-free drinks. Soon you will tire of these but they are very useful in your early days of sobriety.  There are some lovely AF wines, gins, and beers out there so go and try a few. If you still like wine, try a low alcohol variety instead and see if you can then wean yourself off it.

  1. START LATER

Instead of that rigid 5 pm glass of wine, why not open a low alcohol wine after supper or when the kids are in bed? You probably won’t even feel like it by then! Often, that 5 pm drink is this need for glucose to raise our shattered blood sugars. Rather have fruit, dried fruit and nuts or a cup of soup.

GOOD LUCK!

 

Janet from Tribe Sober on the Weekend Breakfast Show

 

The Weekend Breakfast Show and Janet Gourand of Tribe Sober talk about Alcohol Awareness in the Media

The perfect way to start your weekend, Sara-Jayne King keeps you informed and entertained with a closer look at the news that matters to you, captivating and inspirational human interest stories, lifestyle hacks, and finger-on-the-pulse updates of what’s on in Cape Town.

Plus, music, movies, and the weekly book review featuring conversations with your favourite local and international authors.

The weekend breakfast show won the award for commercial radio spreading awareness about alcohol use.  Sara-Jayne is saying thank you to Janet Gourand for helping Cape Talk win the award! Alcohol awareness is a topic close to both Sara-Jayne and Janet’s hearts.

We need more messages in the public domain about alcohol and its threats to our health.

Listen and learn more!

Sober Short – Be Prepared!

 

SOBER SHORT 10 – Be Prepared!

I’m kicking off our Sober Short series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – just go to tribesober.com, hit Our Services and you’ll find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.

These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today.  Just go to tribesober.com/services and click on workshops

During the first 9 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first 9 Tools in our toolbox. Before we move on to tool number 10 let’s do a quick recap…

In this Episode

Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”

  • “Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
  • If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively. Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”

  • All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
  • We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”

Tool number 4 was all about “Mindset”

  • It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
  • We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
  • “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and…
  • You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety.

Tool number 5 was about “Visualisation”

  • We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
  • One of them was to “Play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass. Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
  • Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?

Tool number 6 was “Information is Power”

  • It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
  • Even if you do decide to carry on drinking then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts – almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nullts.com – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.

Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”

  • When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
  • WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
  • So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email janet@nulltribesober.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers.

Tool Number 8 was “Journaling”

  • At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
  • Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
  • We can note our triggers as well as strategies for coping with them
  • Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.
  • To learn more about the magic of journaling listen to Tribe Sober podcast episode 98 to hear my interview with writer in recovery Melinda Ferguson – released on 26th March 2022

Tool No 9 was “Get a Project”

  • It’s very common for people to feel a bit flat once they have achieved their first few months of sobriety.
  • Many people in Tribe Sober (including me) experienced that “flatness’/depression/void” or whatever you want to call it – when they asked me what they should do about it I just told them to sit it out as it would eventually pass
  • However that advice changed after my podcast interview with Dr Loretta Breuning (author of the Happy Brain) – so do have a listen, its episode 55 and was released on 14 August 2021.
  • Loretta explained that my brain was quite happy during the first few months as it had registered that it was working on a project (ie sobriety) and I was making progress – however after a few months my subconscious was thinking – ok so now we are sober, now what?
  • Well here’s the thing – as human beings we need projects – think of the cavemen, they would wake up hungry and have to go and find some food, eating the food would give them a dopamine hit but then they would get hungry again and have to go hunting..
  • So as you settle into your first few months of sobriety GET A PROJECT to keep you on track and to keep those happy brain chemicals triggered.

This week we are looking at:-

Tool No 10 – Be Prepared!

  • As with most things in life, preparation is crucial…
  • Imagine if you are going out for the evening and you decide that you will “decide whether or not to drink when you get there” – so, of course, when the waiter or your host offers you a glass of wine, you find yourself automatically accepting!
  • Make the decision not to drink before you leave the house!
  • Play the movie forward – what ARE you going to drink? If it’s a restaurant then check out their drinks menu online and decide what you will order – even if they don’t have any AF choices sparkling water goes can be your fallback.
  • If you are going to a dinner party, the text your host in advance and take some AF bubbly with you.
  • Decide what you are going to say when/if people start to interrogate you – you can keep it simple “I’m on meds”, “I’m driving” or my favourite “I’m on a health kick – no booze, no sugar, no carbs for 66 days!”
  • As you clock up more sober time and get more used to navigating our alcohol-drenched society, you will get more confident and find that you enjoy saying “I don’t drink”.
  • Remember its’ not your responsibility to make others feel comfortable about their drinking.
  • Having said that, the worst thing to say is probably “I’m worried about my drinking” as everybody will then pile in to reassure you that you are fine (because you drink the same as them!)
  • So, to summarise you need to “play the movie forward”.
  • Look at your calendar for the month ahead, look at any upcoming social events which may be challenging and plan carefully.
  • If drinking at home was your problem, then give away your booze – or move it to somewhere you can’t see it (the garage is a good place) and make sure your fridge is stocked with delicious AF choices. If you are in SA, just go to drinknil.co.za and they will deliver to your door.
  • Tribe Sober members get a discount from drink nil so go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe!”

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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, You Tube, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can join our private Facebook group HERE.

Our Top Ten Podcasts!

 

When I started podcasting almost 2 years ago, I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to stick at it.  Finding guests, interviewing guests and then editing the conversation was pretty time consuming.  Then I read that 60% of podcasters give up after less than 10 episodes which seemed like a challenge!

Through this podcast, Tribe Sober has connected with people from all over the world and our membership is becoming more and more international!

So next week we celebrate our 100th episode so a huge thank you to our listeners who have helped us to get this far!  If you are new to the podcast then welcome – and if you’ve been with us from the start then thank you!  In either case, we’d love you to leave a review.

So this week, I’ve delved into our podcast download stats and highlighted the most popular podcasts – our top ten!

In this Episode

  • At 10th place with 1150 downloads is Episode number 72 (released in December 2021) – it’s called “Why We Need to Ditch the Drink in Mid Life” – my guest was Lori Massicot who has a podcast herself called “to 50 and beyond”. It’s a podcast aimed at women in mid-life where she highlights the beauty of aging and the freedom that comes along with alcohol-free life. She is on a mission to raise awareness about the life-changing impact of sobriety as we age and had me guesting on her podcast as an example of someone who ditched the drink later in life. You can find that on episode 182 of her podcast.
  • At 9th place with 1192 downloads is Episode 67 (released in October 2021) we have an episode called “Rebranding Sobriety” with the fabulous Susan Christina.  She’s on a mission to make alcohol-free living as attractive and glamorous as we thought drinking was!  Susan shares her own story of recovery and talks about the “drinking train” that many women board and pointed out that it was only travelling one way – the way of increasing dependence, rehab and for some people it’s unfortunately travelling to disease and death.
  • At number 8 with 1206 downloads we have episode 81 (released January 2022) called “Take a Break from the Booze”.  We believe in Challenges here at Tribe Sober and every year we run our Sober Spring Challenge – and then another one in January.  On this podcast we hear from 3 ladies who did Sober Spring 2021 – why did they sign up?  what was it like?  what tips do they have? If you are listening to this and decide you’d like to do a challenge then just go to tribesober.com and hit Join Our Tribe and we’ll put you on our 30 day starter challenge for new members.
  • At number 7 with 1215 downloads was “Coping with Cravings” (released January 2021) – my interview with South African natural health expert Mary Ann Shearer.  Both of her parents were alcoholics yet she became passionate about health and has published a bestselling book called The Natural Way.  Mary Ann is a woman before her time and was advocating veganism thirty years ago! She advised people who have stopped drinking to satisfy their cravings by eating fresh fruit not chocolates or sweets  Our bodies need glucose and eating fresh fruit satisfies the craving for alcohol – we offer this as standard advice in our community as many many people battle with those cravings for sweets when they stop drinking. Mary Ann explained the damage that alcohol does to our endocrine system – and how it makes menopause much worse.
  • At number 6 with 1279 downloads was Neuroscientist, Staci Danfield – released in August 2021 that episode is called “Is you Lizard Brain the Boss?”  She explained that our brain tricks us into thinking that alcohol is making us happy but in fact it is a depressant – if you’ve been drinking for years then the alcohol will have altered the balance of your brain which is why you become increasingly dependent. When we understand how our brains work we can work with it – and that’s when the magic will happen – a great analogy is to think of how we use our computers – we work with programs that are installed in our computers – not against them! Understanding our brains means that we can understand ourselves better and see what we are gaining by ditching the drink – we need to create a “pattern interruptor”.
  • At number 5 we have episode 66 with 1318 downloads (released in October 2021) –  “Anxiety and Alcohol” was the topic and my guest was Casey McGuire Davidson.  Casey went to doctors and therapists about her anxiety and insomnia – most of which was caused by alcohol but she was in denial about her drinking and just didn’t CONNECT THE DOTS. Like many of us Casey started making rules – in fact Casey and I had a whole conversation about the rules we used to make that you can find on her podcast (Hello Someday – episode 77 ).  The reason we make these rules of course is that we are still trying to moderate as we can’t imagine our life without it – having to give up completely is our worst nightmare – whereas with hindsight both Casey and myself can say that giving up completely was the best thing we ever did! She eventually hired a Sober Coach and checked in with her every single day – because she was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
  • Episode 50 is at number 4 with 1510 downloads.  – another podcast about anxiety!  – title was “Why we get Hangxiety and my guest was William Porter.   We talked about “hangxiety” and how it’s caused by chemical changes in our brain – when it becomes over-sensitised. If you drink a bottle of wine every night then your brain will take the first glass as a signal that the rest of the bottle is coming! That’s why moderation is so difficult – and it’s exhausting as we are thinking about it all the time. Dependency happens once we learn (consciously or subsconsciously) that another drink will quell the anxiety caused by the first. FAB is responsible for many people falling off the wagon as they think they can now have “just one” – which is not sustainable. He explained why it’s a complete myth that alcohol helps you sleep – the truth is that it ruins our sleep!
  • At number 3 we have the fabulous Clare Pooley with 1587 downloads.  The episode is number 39 and was released in April 2021 – called “My Top Life Hack”   Clare is a wonderful example of how your dreams can come true when you ditch the booze.  Her sober blog not only helped her to stay on track but it attracted a publishing deal which led to the sober diaries – she then went on to write TAP and is about to publish a second novel.  Her childhood dream was to be an author and now she is! CLAIRE’s TOP TIP – she reconfigured her day – went to bed at 7pm (to avoid evening drinking) and got up at 5am feeling great! As cooking the evening meal was a big temptation for her she cooked it in the morning and heated it up in the evening
  • Like many of us she had a major low in early sobriety – she calls this “the wall” and believes it’s our brain chemistry adjusting. Her blog – the obstacle course went viral and is essential reading in early sobriety. Clare’s key message in the blog is to keep going however hard it gets – stopping and starting is the hardest way. Clare also said it was essential to “find your tribe” and recommended tribesober.com.
  • At number 2 we have Eusebius McKaiser with 1599 downloads. South African journalist talking about his relationship with alcohol.  Eusebius signed up for our Dry January Challenge a fewyears ago and to his surprise maintained his sobriety.  We first met when I was on his radio show reading out my Goodbye to Alcohol Letter.  We recommend writing a GTA letter on the basis that for some of us alcohol is like an abusive lover we  need to get it out of our lives.  A goodbye letter is a cathartic and powerful ritual that can help us draw a line under our drinking years.  Go to ts.com, hit inspiration and hit GTA letters to read the letters written by tribe members. Eusebius shared benefits he is experiencing and explained how he has substituted different kinds of music for alcohol – to stimulate the right mood when he is writing. Eusebius wrote a blog for our website called “Sober Diary Reflections” – you can read it here and we also recorded another Tribe Sober podcast together – called Busting Sobriety Myths – episode 77.
  • At number 1 is my story “How I quit drinking and started a tribe!” with 1675 downloads.  Just beating Eusebius by a mere 76 downloads is my story!  I can’t claim too much credit as this was the very first episode – released way back on my 5th Soberversary in May 2020 – episode 1!  In it I talk about my long struggle with alcohol – how I nearly drowned by passing out in my bath at the age of 25 and carried on drinking. How I got breast cancer – and carried on drinking. How a “walking, talking blackout” made me (finally) ditch the drink. I talk about my quest for sobriety, my failure as an AA member and how I finally got sober.  I share my motivation for founding Tribe Sober and read out my Goodbye to Alcohol Letter.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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).

 

 

How Can I Stop Drinking Alcohol?

 

Did you just type this question into Google, “How can I stop drinking?” Are you worried about how much you are drinking? You have just reached out, the first step to making a change. This is amazing.

Deep down inside, only you know the answer to this question. Deep down inside, only you can help yourself. Deep down inside, tucked away beside the shame and guilt, hides your inner child. The one who wants to be free, to be the real you.

Greet your inner child, say “Hi.” Ask your inner child how you can stop drinking alcohol!

I am being serious. Many people who drink and who then Google that question, “How can I stop drinking alcohol?” are the people who have lost touch with who they really are. They are swamped with guilt and shame. They are spent from all the ducking and diving, the stress, and the burnout.

They have been hiding for so long and now they feel terrible about it all. They feel terrible about the alcohol and its effect on them. They feel terrible about their poor images in the eyes of their families and friends, their colleagues, and their acquaintances.

Many people who drink have been drinking for so long that they have lost so much in their lives. Yes, they have lost opportunities, pathways to other destinies – and now they are too scared to stop drinking in case it is just too damn depressing out there to face all of these truths!

Cast Your Mind Back

How can I stop drinking alcohol? I think what you mean is I WANT TO STOP DRINKING ALCOHOL. Do me a favour: go back in your life to that day when you had your very first taste of alcohol. Was it wine? Was it beer? Was it a glug of your father’s whiskey or brandy? How did you feel? After that, what was the pattern of your drinking?

Cast your mind back: did you do crazy, regrettable things when you drank? Did you have a normal, happy childhood? Was there trauma?

Why am I asking all these questions? I am trying to help you answer that question. Stopping drinking doesn’t usually happen overnight like the click of a switch. Stopping drinking usually comes with a whole Pandora’s box of discoveries and shocks, Déjà vu’s and realisations.

Don’t worry, most of the experiences are good and motivational. It’s fun and safe here, on the other side of the fence. The sober side of the fence is much quieter, gentler, more real.

Trauma Underlies Addiction

Often, when I ask people who want to stop drinking what traumas they have experienced in their lives, they get that dumfounded look and suddenly start to “see”. And if they have a certain trigger for their drinking or their anger or their pain, and they start to really look at that trigger, memories start to flow or pop up where things were NOT that lekker. Then ask yourself: WHY AM I DRINKING?

The hardest part about stopping drinking alcohol is what we learn about our lives and ourselves. Instead of numbing the pain and hiding away and thinking we are having a really fun life, we now decide to take control of our health and welfare, our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being WITHOUT the need for a false substance that is a false sense of happiness and fun!

Please read about Dr Gabor Mate, “a man who has dedicated his life to understanding the connection between illness, addiction, trauma, and society. Trauma is the invisible force that shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love, and the way we make sense of the world. It is the root of our deepest wounds.”

Maté talks about how early childhood experiences sometimes show up later in life and how we’re all affected by our social, cultural, economic, and relational environments.

In all cases of addiction that I have seen, there’s a deep pain that comes out of trauma. Addiction is the person’s unconscious attempt to escape from the pain. That’s not just my personal opinion. It’s also what large-scale studies show. Whether we are talking about the emotional pain and the shame that’s at the heart of addiction or whether we are looking at the brain physiology of addiction, which is very much influenced by childhood experiences, we are looking at the impact of trauma.”

So, do yourself a favour and look back on your childhood. Talk to your inner child – is he/she still there? Do you still remember that time when ….?

Root Causes and Practical Steps

The practical steps you can take to stop drinking are all good and well. And I am going to list them now. But until you address the ROOT CAUSES of your drinking, I am afraid that you can take as many practical steps as you like, and you may end up a depressive wreck.

The first step that you can take if you want to stop drinking is to look carefully at where and when you drink. Which activities involve alcohol? In my experience, many drinkers drink at home alone! But if you seek out social events and places like pubs to drink, then you know what to do about that – avoid them. If you drink alone at home, it is trickier. You will have to do lots of work to change your routines and rituals.

Reading and writing, podcasting, and You tubing are good ways to start – fill yourself up with knowledge, Quitlit and wonderful success stories by others who stopped drinking – look at why and now they did it! Take notes and learn from these now happy sober people.

It is good to start looking seriously at the negative impacts of alcohol as a foreign substance on your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Did you know that alcohol consumption is directly linked to cancer – as a leading cause of cancer?! Drinking is drinking if you have one glass a day or 6 glasses a day. Heavy drinking is defined as having a binge at least 5 times a month and a binge is when you drink the weekly limit on that day (the weekly limit is only 1,5 bottles of wine and many people can put away 2 bottles of wine a day!

According to the Cleveland Clinic,” Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition involving frequent or heavy alcohol use. People with alcohol use disorder can’t stop drinking, even when it causes problems, emotional distress or physical harm to themselves or others… It’s a disease of brain function and requires medical and psychological treatments to control it. Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate or severe. It can develop quickly or over a long period of time. It’s also called alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse.”

If you are reading this and this definition makes you feel uncomfortable then maybe look into WHY you are drinking. What degree of dependence on alcohol have you reached? Is there still hope if you stop now?

Alcohol Damages the Body

Leah Miller notes that the body takes huge strain when you are drinking. Look at the impacts on these organs:

  • Brain. Alcohol can change how the brain functions and appears, altering moods, behavior, coordination, and memory. Alcohol has been associated with depression, anxiety, memory loss, and increased risk of dementia.
  • Heart. Drinking can affect the heart, leading to cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of heart muscle), irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), increased risk of stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • Immune system. Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to fight diseases, making individuals more susceptible to getting sick. Chronic drinkers are more likely to get pneumonia and tuberculosis (infection of the lungs). And binge drinking or drinking heavily on a single occasion slows the body’s ability to ward off infections—even a full 24 hours after getting drunk.
  • Liver. Over time, alcohol can cause inflammation and liver diseases, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
  • Pancreas. Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can cause pancreatitis, a condition involving inflammation and swollen blood vessels that impairs digestion.
  • Risk of developing cancer. Evidence indicates that the more a person drinks regularly over time, the greater the likelihood they have of developing alcohol-related cancer, such as breast, mouth and throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, and colon and rectum. Even moderate drinking—one or two drinks per day—has been linked to an elevated risk of breast cancer in women.
  • Stomach. Alcohol misuse can also contribute to gastric bleeding.

Naturally, if you stop drinking, these symptoms will disappear if you are lucky – that you stop before things are terminal. Sobriety can bring you back to a healthy status quo as long as you do the work: physical work (exercise, eating well, sleeping well); mental work (change your false beliefs and reinstate your value system); emotional work (find someone to help who is needier than you are, find friends and family who can support you and believe in you, do yoga, etc) and spiritual work (find the group which supports your beliefs be that Christianity or Buddhism, Atheism or Pantheism).

Let’s look at some steps you can take toward stopping drinking. You ask, “How can I stop drinking?” The answer is JUST DO IT! Believe in YOU, not a fake sense of happiness led by the alcohol. Believe in who you are, in the raw, in reality – not with the aid of something abusive and addictive that was manufactured to create a false sense of happiness and much money for big companies!

Read some helpful tips to help you stop drinking:

  1. Write down your reasons for wanting to stop drinking. List the positive impact this can have on your body, mental health, finances, relationships, and other areas of your life
  2. Explore your current relationship with alcohol. You may want to consider why you drink, such as socializing or coping with stress, and how much you drink. Keep track of how much and how often you drink and how you feel when you drink
  3. Consider whether you want to cut back or stop drinking completely. Talk to your doctor to decide what makes the most sense for you right now. Think about your habits. Can you stop drinking once you start? Try taking days off from drinking or pacing yourself when you do drink by not having more than one alcoholic beverage in one hour.
  4. Remove alcohol from the house. It is a lot easier to cut back or stop drinking completely when alcohol isn’t readily accessible.
  5. Set aside time for self-care. Ensure that you take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating properly, getting exercise, and meditating. These practices provide healthy alternatives to drinking.
  6. Reach out for support. Encouraging friends and family members can help reinforce your decision and help you manage difficult situations.
  7. Attend a formal rehab treatment program. Sometimes it may be hard to stop on your own and a formal treatment program with structured schedules and therapies can help you to overcome your addiction.
  8. Learn how to say no. If drinking has been a big part of your life, you are likely to encounter situations where alcohol is present, and you might be offered a drink. Plan for these instances. Ask a friend to role play with you and request a non-alcoholic drink instead.
  9. Find ways to occupy your time. Replace alcohol-centered activities with healthier pursuits, such as exercise, catching up with old friends, or learning a new skill.
  10. Stay away from high-risk situations. Identify trigger situations and avoid them if possible. If you can’t, bring a supportive friend or family member with you to help you cope with temptation.

Sue Diamond of Good Life Recovery notes that “being an adult in recovery means that we are in control of how we think and how we feel. By making small adjustments in our view of ourselves and others, we can see an experience from a more positive vantage point… Nothing is impossible once you stop your addiction and start healing and growing. Your thinking can go from the scrap heap to the skyscraper. The power to do that is inside of you and part of a well-paced, well-planned, holistic recovery.”

Sue knows that our negative thoughts can be our downfall. If we change negative thoughts such as I’m not good enough, no one loves me, I don’t fit in, I don’t need others and more we can change our lives. Think the opposite of these thoughts: I am good enough, everyone loves me, I do fit in, I do need others, etc.

Sue promotes these four steps:

  1. ​Self-Awareness (know what you are thinking)
  2. Pause to interrupt the automatic reflex
  3. Make a conscious choice to practice the opposite.
  4. Notice the impact it has on those around you (track it in your journal).

Right now, stay with Tribe Sober and DO THE WORK!

 

Smacked, Hooked and Crashed with Melinda Ferguson

 

Tribe Sober – Inspiring an Alcohol-free Life! 

My guest this week has an extraordinary story of recovery to share – she’s gone from a homeless heroin addict living on the streets of Jo’burg to a highly respected public figure here in SA.  Melinda Ferguson is an award-winning South African journalist and author of bestselling memoirs Smacked, Hooked and Crashed. She is also a publisher and runs writing courses to help people find their voice.

In this Episode

  • Growing up in an alcoholic household, Melinda took to booze at an early age – describing it as a “piece of heaven”.
  • As she got older, she rejected alcohol as she hated to see her mother drinking so turned towards hard drugs, taking her first hit of heroin at the age of 24.
  • As a film maker she managed to stay relatively functional for a couple of years – she always had it in mind that she would be able to stop whenever she wanted to.
  • I think a lot of us drinkers are like that – thinking we could stop anytime, its only when we actually try to quit or even to cut down that we realise we have become dependent.
  • When she became pregnant, Melinda realized that she was hooked and couldn’t stop – continuing to use throughout her two pregnancies – always planning to stop “tomorrow” but of course tomorrow never came.
  • Her two babies were taken away from her, but even then she couldn’t stop using.
  • Rock bottom came for Melinda when she found herself living on the streets as an addict.
  • Her family removed her from that situation and moved her to a “homeless farm” which happened to be full of alcoholics – so that’s when alcohol re-appeared in her life.
  • When she was discovered drinking and smoking dagga she was asked to leave – this was a real wake up call – about to be made homeless from a farm for the homeless was her “desperation awakening” as she calls it.
  • She finally accepted that she had a problem and would have to stop using drugs.
  • The only place she had to go was back “home” with her mom – where she had to cope with alcohol in the house and seeing her mom and stepdad drinking every evening.
  • At this point in her life she had no money, no car, no decent clothes but she did have AA/NA meeting to go to every night which kept her on track.
  • At these meetings she “surrendered” – finally acknowledging that she needed help – something that we agreed was the hardest thing of all.
  • Melinda had got to the stage when “enough is enough” – I also remember getting to that stage where I thought “I can’t do this any more”.
  • That’s not a bad thing and makes me think of a quote from JK Rowling “my rock bottom became the foundation for the rest of my life”.
  • With hindsight, she can see that her surrender was actually her strength – not her weakness.
  • Year 1 of her recovery was extremely difficult – just a matter of getting through each day until her evening AA/NA meeting – she felt very depressed and was barely functional.
  • After 2 years in recovery, she sensed what she calls an awakening of the spirit and by 5 years she was reconnecting with herself and getting results.
  • We talked about the length of time people spend “in recovery” and agreed that we have to be patient – it also varies a lot – someone with a drinking problem who was able to hold down a job and a relationship is likely to recover more quickly than someone who has hit rock bottom due to hard drugs. It all depends on how much you have “messed up” as Melinda put it!
  • Have a listen to Tribe Sober podcast episode 61 (released in September 2021) – I’m talking to rehab doctor Dr Dawn who explains that in the rehabs they have a rule of thumb that it takes a month of recovery for every year that we’ve been using.
  • Realising that she was in it for the long haul helped Melinda and she stopped being so hard on herself. She stopped comparing herself with others and began to internalize and feel good about her achievements, however small they seemed.
  • After getting clean, Melinda moved in with a very heavy drinker – said it felt “normal” – she believes that whatever trauma we suffer as a child we become programmed to find that “normal” when we are adults – and of course she grew up with an alcoholic mom, so living with a drinker felt like “home”.
  • She believes that many alcoholics come from alcoholic families but also believes that we can change the pattern – as she has with her sons who are in their early 20’s and don’t drink.
  • We talked about her writing – Melinda always wrote during her recovery and her first book Smacked was an accumulation of those writings.
  • The success of Smacked took her out of feeling like a failure and gave her back her pride – she realized that she could learn to love herself.
  • She took us through the themes of each of her 3 books – Smacked, Hooked and Crashed – do get hold of them, I promise you will love them.
  • Melinda is such a talented writer and I love the way she describes journaling as “meeting yourself on the page” – this is exactly what we need to be doing to process our emotions as we go through recovery – like her I believe it’s one of the most therapeutic things you can do.
  • To quote Melinda again “Your secret self emerges – a self that might not be revealed otherwise”.
  • We talked about the book by Julia Cameron called The Artists Way – she suggests that we write our Morning Pages when we wake up in the morning – just to get your creativity going.
  • The good news is that you get some personal coaching from Melinda by enrolling in one of her online writing courses – I’ve done one and can really recommend it – just drop her a line at melindafergusonwriter@nullgmail.com – I’ll put it in the show notes.

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you.

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).

Sober Short – Get a Project!

 

Tribe Sober – Inspiring an Alcohol-free Life! 

SOBER SHORT 9 – Find a Project!

I’m kicking off our Sober Short series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – just go to tribesober.com, hit Our Services and you’ll find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.

These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today.  The next Workshop is on 27th March – morning for US people and afternoon/early evening for UK, Europe and South Africa.

During the first 8 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first Tools in our toolbox. Before we move on to tool number 9, let’s do a quick recap…

In this Episode

Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”

  • Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
  • If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively. Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”

  • All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
  • We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”

Tool number 4 was all about “Mindset”

  • It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
  • We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
  • “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and…
  • You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety.

Tool number 5 was about “Visualisation”

  • We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
  • One of them was to “Play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass. Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
  • Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?

Tool number 6 was called “Information is Power”

  • It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
  • Even if you do decide to carry on drinking then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick Google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts – almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nullts.com – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.

Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”

  • When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
  • WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
  • So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email janet@nulltribesober.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers.

Last week looked at TOOL Number 8 which is “Journaling”

  • At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
  • We recommended listing your Why’s (why do you want to quit drinking) in the front of the journal and your blacklist (everything that went wrong when you drank) in the back.
  • Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
  • We can note our triggers as well as strategies for coping with them.
  • Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.

So let’s get to Tool No 9 – “Get a Project”

  • It’s very common for people to feel a bit flat once they have achieved their first few months of sobriety. The pink cloud has gone and they are left wondering “is this it?” It certainly happened to me – it’s a kind of anhedonia when we can’t seem to feel pleasure from anything and we start to wonder if we have done the right thing.
  • This happened to me during month 4,5,6 and I very nearly gave up – trouble was I was blogging away about the joys of sobriety and everyone was telling me they were so “proud of me” so I felt accountable and obliged to keep going. So I did – but it was a miserable time.
  • Many people in Tribe Sober experienced that “flatness/depression/void” or whatever you want to call it – when they asked me what they should do about it I just told them to sit it out as it would eventually pass.
  • However that advice changed after my podcast interview with Dr Loretta Breuning (author of the Happy Brain) – do have a listen, its episode 55 and was released on 14 August 2021.
  • Loretta questioned me about my few months of anhedonia and we discovered that it could have been avoided, so now I am able to give people more positive advice than “sitting it out” when they get those early sobriety blues.
  • Loretta explained that my brain was quite happy during the first few months as it had registered that it was working on a project (ie sobriety) and I was making progress – however after a few months my subconscious was thinking – ok so now we are sober, now what?
  • Well here’s the thing – as human beings we need projects – think of the cavemen, they would wake up hungry and have to go and find some food, eating the food would give them a dopamine hit but then they would get hungry again and have to go hunting.
  • Human beings weren’t designed to sit on the sofa and order takeaway food – of course we can do that but it won’t make us happy or keep us healthy
  • So back to sobriety – as Loretta analysed my anhedonia she helped me to realise that it hadn’t passed because I had been patient and waited – it had passed because I had the idea to start Tribe Sober – I had a project, which needed lots of mini goals and learning. I had to create a website, design a workshop and learn about marketing – all this kept me busy and kept my happy brain chemicals triggered.
  • So many of our tribe have experimented with different projects and have been able to reconnect with their creativity.
  • When we ditch the drink we have time (and hopefully a bit of extra money now that we don’t buy booze) so there is ample opportunity to find your passion.
  • So, as I said in a recent article I wrote, (link will be in the show notes) Don’t wait for Happiness to Strike – get a project!

So that was Tool number 9 – “Get a Project”. I’ll be back with our main podcast on Saturday and another Sober Short next Wednesday.

You can check out our next workshop (27th March) on tribesober.com where we cover the toolkit and much more.

Thanks for listening – please follow and share the podcast!

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you.

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, You Tube, TikTok and Instagram.

You can catch our FB live on certain Saturday mornings (11 am SAST) and 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).

Make Wellness Your Soulmate

 

Let’s talk about wellness. What does wellness mean to you?

Let’s talk about sickness. What does sickness mean to you?

Think about these things.

For me, wellness is a state of homeostasis, a state where body and mind are best friends, their soul mate being their inner spirit, their heart space.

For me, sickness is the imbalance of spirit, mind, body, and heart. Sickness is when homeostasis is compromised and becomes what we call instability. Everything is out of kilter. You may literally feel imbalanced and want to fall over a lot.

It has been said many a time that humanity is unwell. I tend to agree. The evidence is all around us – concrete jungles, greedy consumption and consumerism, materialism and increasing waste, pollution, more and more gadgets and technology. What is happening to the general wellness of humanity? As civilisation becomes an obsession, so too do depression, addiction, narcissism and cruelty.

Think about these things.

Wellness is a Way of Life

Where do YOU fit in? Are you part of the race to be rich? Are you living in a concrete jungle and working in a high rise? Are you constantly competing for recognition and goal achievements, another pat on the back? Do you get angry and depressed a lot?

OR are you in your garden feeling the soil, feeding the birds, walking the mountains and the beaches and finding ways to give back to Mother Nature? Feeling content?

Think about how you want to live your best life?

Does wellness include drinking and smoking, or taking drugs? Is eating too much or too little, shopping too much, online too much, no sleep and working all day good for you? Does wellness include buying over-the-counter pills to feel good, to find the buzz, then to boast and to judge?

Do you WANT to be well again? It is your choice! It is waiting for you. Wellness is also about acknowledging the power of the ego. The ego that drives our thoughts. Our thoughts which can destroy who we REALLY are. Discover the ego and how it works. Learn how to say NO to ego and YES to helping others, helping Earth spring back.

This blog assumes that you want to get or stay well. Let’s talk about what you can do to get well and stay well.

Wellness Tools

One very important wellness tool is developing a dedicated support system:

  • peer counseling
  • focusing
  • relaxation and stress reduction exercises
  • writing a diary
  • creative, fun, and affirming activity
  • exercise, diet, light
  • getting a good night’s sleep.

First, take out your journal, or a pen and paper, and write down what items in this list work well for you.

Next, think of the values that make you YOU. What values define your approach to life, your approach to others and yourself? Look again at the list above and note which of these is meaningful for you. How does it tie in with your value system?

(A value is something like dedication, kindness, compassion, competitiveness, achiever, etc).

Do you want to set up a daily maintenance plan that drives your wellness? We have days when we are not well physically and days when we are ill mentally. This is normal! Life is never a constant linear process of one feeling or one emotion. Life is a complex landscape of extreme highs and lows, mountains and valleys, wars and serenity! The yin and yang.

What are you like when you are well? Make notes – are you strong, content, energetic, pleased, happy, giving, balanced? What is your baseline for wellness? From there, what can you do every day to keep the feeling of wellness?

For me, this means walking, cleaning my home, gardening, walking my dogs, sorting out my children and connecting with my children, working hard! It also means eating well and avoiding things that make me rely on them. I am aware that I have obsessions with some things in my life and I see myself doing them and I am aware.

When we become increasingly self-aware, we can slowly take steps to change and to shift.

Write down what you need to do less of in your day. Write down what you need to do more of in your day to be well. Is there more learning to be done? Can you educate yourself with podcasts, videos, books and articles? Connect with a group and chat. Get together with similar people and talk about issues.

Sometimes our days turn pear-shaped, and we get angry, sad or guilty, and ashamed of something we said or did. That too is normal. Do you have triggers that cause these feelings? Note them down.

Triggers

 Examples of triggers might be:

  • getting a big bill
  • having an argument with a family member
  • losing something or having a dirty house
  • feeling a loss of control

Recognise your triggers, accept them. Be aware that if you do not accept or sit with them, you could end up on a rollercoaster of emotions. Then you need to reach out and connect with someone, talk it through. The last thing you need is to slip down into a state of unwellness!

That feeling of discomfort can be a physical thing or a mental thing or something in your soul that needs gentle addressing. What can you do about your triggers? What can you do to avoid or limit your exposure to things that trigger you? A trigger can start a sense of ill health: rapid heartbeat, panic attack, lack of self-belief, anger, and all things that can have a negative impact on the immune system.

Signs that you are out of kilter or balance will be these (mostly in the mind):

  • crying all the time
  • sleeping all day
  • getting angry
  • feeling lonely
  • self-judgement

 Or these (mostly in the body):

  •  Colds and flu symptoms
  • Aches and pains
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Lack of energy

The Physiology of Wellness

Now let us look at the physiology of wellness. What is the immune system? How can I tune into my own immune system and innately know its needs? For me, it is common sense that the untouched foods are better for us: the fruits on the trees and vines as they grow, the vegetables as they come out of the ground, seeds, and nuts as they emerge on trees and flowers.

The minute food is altered by human hands, it becomes less healthy – it is then processed. Things in boxes, jars, and packets at the supermarkets: biscuits, cereals, spreads, cheeses, yoghurts, drinks, frozen foods, pastas, breads, and more.

The immune system is an intricate network of cells and tissues that protect the body against attacks from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. Our immune system is essential for our survival, and it keeps us healthy as we move through a world packed with pathogens.

Your immune system develops as you develop, from a baby to an adult. And it gets stronger along the way. The only problem is that as adults we think we are invincible, and we ply our bodies with all kinds of false foods. Many adults do not exercise, and many adults are lonely, homeless people. The way we live our lives has a huge impact on our immune systems.

Negative Thoughts Breed Illness

Did you know that a mind full of evil, fear, anger and negativity can cause a diseased body? Or that a stressed body gets extremely sick, even to the point of terminal illnesses such as cancer? Think about it, a sick mind means a sick body. And many sick people feel like victims and deeply sorry for themselves which just makes the illness worse.

Physiologically speaking, any antigen can spark an immune response from your body. This antigen can be a fungus, bacterium, virus, toxin, or foreign object. But it can also be one of our own cells that turns deadly or is faulty! The antibodies get together to fight that antigen.

The best way to avoid any trouble with your immune system is to boost it and make it strong. This means eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, and pure foods. Exercise daily, get enough superior quality sleep, have a social life and a loving family, be safe with your basic human needs met (food, water, shelter and love).

Make sure self-care is a daily occurrence and that you avoid stress at all costs. Avoid medicines unless required for survival. Use natural remedies wherever possible. Remember that a foreign body in your body is a toxin. It will activate your immune response which then requires energy.

This blog begs the question: how do YOU define your own wellness? How will you maintain your own wellness? Body, mind, emotions, and spirit – how can you keep them all in an intricate balance of harmony and homeostasis?

According to an article in Frontiers of Physiology, homeostasis is a “self-regulating process by which biological systems maintain stability while adjusting to changing external conditions … The disruption of homeostatic mechanisms is what leads to disease, and effective therapy must be directed toward re-establishing homeostatic conditions, working with rather than against nature.”

People who invest in their wellness radiate a sense of calm. They also have a deeper sense of self-love than those who wallow in dis-ease. Of course, ancestry and fate can deal blows to people who end up with terrible health issues. But while you can, take your health under your control and deal with it. Keep your immune system fired up.

Wellness is a choice. It is your choice. Take it or leave it.

 

How Sober Spring Changed My Life with Kai Kunze

 

Sober Spring begins the day after this podcast is released so I wanted to share the story of one of our members from Germany.  He signed up for our very first Sober Spring back in 2018 – and he hasn’t had a drink since!

We already have people from all over the world signed up for Sober Spring 2022 – 66 alcohol-free days with online, community and audio support – start date March 20th.  More info HERE.

In this Episode

  • Kai was only planning to do a challenge as he was not particularly worried about his drinking – he just loved challenges.
  • He’s a great example of someone who did the challenge with an open mind and gradually came to the conclusion that alcohol was adding nothing to his life!
  • He read about Tribe Sober in a flight magazine when he was on holiday in South Africa – he took a photo on his phone and although he didn’t act on it for another couple of years the seed was sewn.
  • That’s often all it takes – I say to people when they come to our workshops – “you may not ditch the booze immediately but you will never see it in the same way again”.
  • Kai was very engaged in the Sober Spring chatroom and he noticed that many people were really struggling.
  • That was a bit of an eye-opener for him – he wasn’t struggling at all but he realized that he never wanted to get to that stage.
  • He also noticed that some people in the chatroom were saying how great they felt without the booze and that they may give up for good – that surprised him as he had never thought of doing that!
  • Kai’s children played a big part in his journey – his son told him that he hated it when his breath smelt of alcohol and his daughter told him that he “laughed too loud” when he drank.
  • These comments by his children shocked him – and played a big role in his decision to quit permanently. These days he is a great role model for his kids.
  • When he got to 66 days he immediately set his next milestone – 100 days. Then his daughter challenged him to do a year – and now he is four years sober!
  • Setting mini goals and doing it “step by step” is much more manageable than saying “I am giving up drinking forever” – avoid the F word as it’s too overwhelming.
  • At the end of our workshops we suggest people try 66 days of sobriety – we never suggest they stop “forever”.
  • Kai enjoyed his journey to sobriety and experienced some significant benefits – he’s an influencer in the business community, a role model for his kids – and enjoys being an “anthropologist” when he is out with people who are drinking.
  • He also loved the way it has simplified his life – no more counting the glasses he drinks – he just doesn’t drink.  His sleep and his skin has improved, he feels happy and full of energy! 

More Info

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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).

Sober Short – Keep a Journal

 

Tribe Sober – Inspiring an Alcohol-free Life! 

SOBER SHORT 8 – Keep a Journal!

Our Sober Short series takes you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – just go to this link and you’ll find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.

These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today.

During the first 7 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first 7 Tools in our toolbox.  Before we move on to tool number 8 let’s do a quick recap…

In this Episode 

Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”

  • Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
  • If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively. Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”

  • All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
  • We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”

Tool number 4 was all about “Mindset”

  • It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
  • We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
  • “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and…
  • You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety.

Tool number 5  was about “Visualisation”

  • We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
  • One of them was to “Play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass. Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
  • Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?

Tool number 6 was “Information is Power”

  • It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
  • Even if you decide to carry on drinking then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts – almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nullts.com – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.

 Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”

  • Many people try (and fail) to give up drinking on their own – I should know as I was one of them.
  • Most of us are surrounded by people who are “normal” drinkers and just tell us to “drink less” or heavy drinkers who assure us I was “fine” and that “everyone drinks a bottle of wine a night”.
  • Even if they really care about us, those people don’t really care if we are struggling.
  • When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
  • WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
  • So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email janet@nulltribesober.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers. 

So today we are going to TOOL Number 8 – which is “Journaling”

  • A quick google search on the “benefits of journaling” will highlight the many advantages of keeping a daily journal – and keeping a journal during your recovery journal is even more valuable.
  • At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
  • In the front of the journal, it’s always a good idea to write your WHY list – why do you want to give up alcohol?
  • People rarely struggle with this question and the reasons are usually important ones – for their children, to save their marriage, to perform better at work to improve their health, etc.
  • When we embark on this journey, we are usually full of motivation but that often fades after a few weeks – we haven’t quite settled into our alcohol-free lives, we haven’t experienced many benefits yet and we are not quite sure what to do with ourselves. That’s when we need to refer to our WHY list – to remind us every single day why we are doing this thing. If you’d like an exercise to help you create your WHY list, just write to janet@nulltribesober.com.
  • So, write your WHY list in the front of your journal – and in the back cover you could write your A blacklist – this is quite simply a list of the things that went wrong when you were drinking.  Arguments, blackouts, hangovers, bad decisions, etc.  It’s SO easy to forget just how bad our drinking got – our brains trick us into remembering the good times rather than the bad.  Keeping a blacklist in our journal will remind us that yes, things did get pretty bad, and we don’t want to go back there!
  • I certainly had a substantial blacklist – it’s not as if every time I drank bad things happened, but when bad things DID happen alcohol always seemed to be involved!

So, once you’ve got the front and back covers filled in what else is that journal useful for:

  • Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
  • We can note our triggers – we can apply the HALT test and decide if our craving was caused by Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, or Tiredness.
  • We can list strategies for coping with our cravings – every time we resist a craving, we’ll get stronger.
  • Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.
  • We can also notice patterns of behaviour – if we did have a slip up then can we spot any reasons leading to it.
  • We can allocate a couple of pages to list the benefits we are feeling as we progress further into our sobriety.
  • Writing down three things we are grateful for at the end of the day has psychological benefits – apparently even searching in your mind for things to be grateful for will trigger those happy brain chemicals.

So that was TOOL number 8 from our workshop toolbox – all about Journaling.

  • If you want to learn more about our workshops just go to tribesober.com/services.
  • Thanks so much for listening – I’ll be back with our main podcast on Saturday and another Sober Short next Wednesday…

More Info 

Subscription membership – you can join up HERE.

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

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you

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, and Instagram.

You can catch our FB live on certain Saturday mornings (11 am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE.

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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).

5 Ways to Get Moving!

I propose 5 ways to get you moving into a new life. A sober life. A life of change and wonder. A life of giving and receiving. But first, well done. First, you decided to stop drinking, then you stopped drinking, and then you reached out for help. Now all you must do is the work.

The work is forever, and the work is all about your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. Tribe Sober has a checklist to make your life easier when you need to do the work:

  • Do you chat daily on Slack  – share and listen to wisdom from others?
  • Attend the Zoom Cafe – every Saturday 4.30pm SA time?
  • Are you reading the Quitlit and listening to the weekly podcasts?
  • Have you done the WHY exercise and are you using your tracker?
  • Have you used your DrinkNil discount voucher?
  • Have you attended a workshop?
  • Have you tried our online yoga class and had a nutritional consult?
  • Have you taken advantage of your complimentary coaching, hypnotherapy, and root cause therapy sessions?

Connection is the Opposite of Addiction

And that’s why it is SO difficult to quit drinking alone.  Connection means – sharing our experiences, strengths and hopes. While you may manage to get sober by sheer willpower it’s almost impossible to stay sober without connecting with others on the same path. We have all been there, we all “get it” and speak the same language – no judgment – only support.

I am here now to ask you 5 questions to help you get moving into your sober life and to stay there. The questions seem easy but when you start thinking about your answers, you realise that there are many levels and depths to your answers.

Let’s jump right in now.

  1. What could you stop doing?

This could relate to certain physical habits that you have. It could relate to false beliefs too. Maybe you hold grudges against someone, and you keep thinking badly of them? Or maybe you keep putting yourself down and not believing in your own full potential? Some people have habits that can be stopped (drinking at 5 pm is one of them!) such as nail-biting, eating too much and shouting at their partners.

  1. What could you do less of?

This could relate to your daily habits such as diet, sleep patterns, and work dedication. Are you over-working? Are you over-eating? Are you not sleeping enough but obsessing about drinking? Maybe you can be less angry and less self-battering? Maybe you can do less social media checking and more board game playing?

  1. What could you do more of?

There is so much that you could do more of when you stop drinking! Think about it: think about all the wasted hours you have recently spent drinking and talking about trivialities to those who drank with you. Drinking and thinking that this was a stress-reliever. Ha. Little did you know that you were exacerbating your stress. And ruining your sleep and diet at the same time. So, the challenge is exciting – to do more of? Self-care! Healthy eating and exercising. Seeing sober friends. Journaling – the opportunities are endless when you finally realize that you have hours extra at your disposal. Now is the time to carpe diem and do something challenging, no matter what your age.

  1. What could you continue doing?

Keep on being sober! Keep on connecting with your new Tribe Sober friends and others who understand your journey. Currently, it is not SO shocking to be sober. It is becoming less of a stigma, more acceptable and more of a healthy lifestyle trend. So, be true to you when you answer this question. Link this to your values and how great you are as a person. Continue exercising, taking your vitamins and being kind to others. What else can you add to this wonderful elixir?

  1. What could you start doing?

The world is your oyster! Sobriety brings with it challenges, spaces, opportunities, pain, and triumph. It gets rid of shame and guilt, unnecessary weight gain and mood swings. It cleanses the mind and body of toxins. What could you start doing for yourself? For others? For your family and for friends, but most of all, for strangers. Now is the right time to change your life, change direction. Take up a charity that is close to your heart and volunteer: environmental issues, social issues, politics, whatever it is that fires your heart up.

A good way to tackle these questions is to journal about them. Pick up a pen and brainstorm each one. Then, make some sense from your scrawling by turning each one into a mind map. Finally, you may be able to see the spaces in between the thoughts. Set yourself some concrete, achievable goals for each question. If you feel stuck, put down your pen and do something else. Then come back and take a fresh look at your goals.

Time to  Rewire the Brain

One of the main goals in sobriety that we can all set is to rewire our brains. Human beings cultivate false beliefs throughout their lifetimes, a direct result of nature plus nurture – we have certain characters and personalities which make us who we are, and then we are brought up by parents who have their own characters and personalities. Children tend to absorb the beliefs of their parents until they reach an age where they start to question their parents and think that their friends are their gods. This is normal.

I know that my false beliefs sometimes hang in my words and my reactions to others. I know that my shadow side sometimes judges and criticizes and feels like a victim too. Create awareness about your false beliefs and then see how they are connected to your values. If you see yourself as a victim, chances are you lack self-esteem and self-confidence. This can come across as anger, resentment and judgment! If you have never clarified your boundaries, you may feel squished, smothered, angry and resentful. Sort it out, make the boundaries clear to all who live with you.

Easier said than done? Talk to someone neutral such as a coach or a therapist.

Let’s recap Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

reinhold niebuhr (1892-1971)

 

To conclude my blog, do this activity tonight:

“Imagine you’re in a helicopter flying over the map of your life. What do you notice about your life from way up there? Looking down with this new perspective, how would you answer the question now?”

 

 

Good Morning Canada – with John Rishmore

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

My guest this week is one of our loyal Tribe Members – John Rishworth is from Canada and has just celebrated 8 months of sobriety.

After drinking heavily for years, John got some counselling to help him come to terms with the reality that he would have to make some changes. But as he says, it was joining the tribe that gave him the connection and support that he needed to put these changes into practice.

In this episode

  • John was in sales and marketing and describes the work hard/play hard culture which prevailed – I think many of us have worked in corporates that have encouraged long hours compensated by drinking sessions sponsored by the company.
  • He was surrounded by heavy drinkers and used to suffer colossal hangovers.
  • He talked us through one of his Friday night drinking sessions which could easily escalate into 20 units – a lot when you think that the low risk limits are just 14 units – a week!
  • He always would have described himself as highly functional but looking back he realises that he was not operating at full capacity.
  • As we always say, even if alcohol doesn’t destroy you it will prevent you from reaching your potential.
  • The sad thing is that when we are drinking we get used to feeling below par – we always feel tired in the mornings (due to poor quality sleep).  I used to think it was all part of getting older – but now that I am older and alcohol-free I realise it was the alcohol that was wearing me out!
  • That’s why so many of us get quite evangelical about sobriety – its been years since we’ve felt so happy, healthy and energetic!
  • When John realised that the only thing that would alleviate his all day hangover was a drink, he began to realise that he needed to make some changes.
  • But the real clincher was a hospital stay which involved some liver tests, resulting in medical advice to give up drinking completely.
  • John was distraught after hearing this advice and I think many of us can identify with that feeling he experienced on the hospital gurney – that feeling of life being over if we can’t drink…
  • That’s an indication of the stunning job that the alcohol industry has done to convince us that we need their toxic product to enjoy our lives!
  • And that’s why it does take “work” to reverse these limiting beliefs – which is exactly what we help people to do at our regular Zoom workshops (go to tribesobers.com – services for more info).
  • After his hospital scare, John did stay off the booze for a few months but then the doctor told him that his tests results had improved so he could have the odd glass of wine. So John had to learn the hard way that he had already crossed the line with his drinking and there would be no going back…
  • On Fathers Day 2021, John decided that he was going to stop drinking – and that he would find a way to do it – and shortly after that he found Tribe Sober.
  • The biggest step of all is to accept that you are alcohol-dependent and then to reach out to get some help – then the HOW will get clearer.
  • Many people eventually get to that stage when they know that they are “done” with alcohol – they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. If you feel that way then don’t despair because it’s a good thing – now you just need to find the HOW. You need to find other people on the same path.
  • John explained that when people are struggling with alcohol they tend to isolate – I think this is because society expects everyone to be able to drink “normally” which means that the 20% of social drinkers who do become dependent feel that there is something wrong with them!
  • Women especially have to walk a kind of tightrope – if we don’t drink we are “boring” but if we get drunk that’s not cool either!
  • That’s why a sober community helps so much – we meet other people who are struggling (so we can ditch the shame – its not just us!) and we can meet people who have ditched the drink and are enjoying their lives. Whereas most of us tend to mix with “normal” drinkers who can take it or leave it or heavy drinkers who will assure us that we are fine!
  • John explained that being in the tribe connected him with like-minded people and gave him a place to go where he could share his ups and downs and hear about tools that could help him.
  • Helpful tools for John have been quitlit and podcasts as well as the Alcohol-Free drinks.
  • John made a conscious effort that he would still drink in bars with his friends and still be fun even though he’d be drinking alcohol free. John is a natural extrovert so this was not too difficult but for some of us we may need to “fake it until we make it” but it will get easier with time.
  • We heard about his first Sober wedding when he experienced some mental anguish beforehand – (would he or wouldn’t he drink on this occasion)? This was an issue he raised at one of our Zoom Cafes – eventually he make up his mind that he would NOT drink at the wedding and he would find a way to manage, however hard it was.
  • This is important – if we go to an event thinking that we will decide whether or not to drink when we get there it is almost inevitable that we will drink. So just as John decided that he would stop drinking and find a way to do it – he decided he would not drink at this wedding – and find a way to do it.  This approach saves a lot of mental anguish!
  • We talked about recovery and the fact that it is never linear and of course different for each of us. Reflecting back on his 8 months of sobriety, John remembers the early days when he was hyper-focused and used all stickers and trackers to check off every single alcohol-free day whereas these days he tends to count months rather than days as sobriety becomes the new normal.
  • Of course, like all of us, he occasionally questioned his decision and had the urge to pick up the scotch but he used his toolkit – connected with the tribe and played the movie forward..

Johns top 3 benefits:

– no more hangovers, no more wasting time and not functioning at full capacity
– he’s much more honest with himself these days

-being part of the tribe where he enjoys the authentic connections and inspiration.

Tribe Sober’s Spring Challenge starts on 20th March

66 alcohol -free days – supported by daily emails and 66 mini podcasts.

It’s great fun as we put everyone on the Sober Spring Bus on Day one and they all travel through the 66 alcohol free days together – its always a great vibe on that bus as everyone encourages and supports each other – so don’t miss the bus.

Sign up today – just go to tribesober.com and click on Sober Spring 2022

If you’d like copy of our PDF “Sobriety Battleplan” – packed full of trackers and charts to get you started and keep you on track just email janet@nulltribesober.com.

More info

  • For an affordable monthly subscription you can join Tribe Sober – read about the benefits of membership and sign up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com

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.

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 (i.e., “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).

Sober Short – Be Accountable

 

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Welcome to our seventh “Sober Short” – an interim mini podcast to supplement the weekly Tribe Sober podcast.

I’m going to kick off this series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – click here for more info.

Our workshops have been a gamechanger for so many people – if you want to kickstart your sober journey then sign up today

In this episode

During the first 6 Sober Shorts we looked at the first 6 Tools in our toolbox

Tool 1 was CONNECTION

 “Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path –

So if you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership

Tool 2 was GET MOVING

We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many many people exercise daily but they also drink on a daily basis – sometimes excessively – ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool 3 was BUILD YOUR EMOTIONAL STRENGTH

All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions

We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says or as Glennon Doyle says:-

 “First the Pain, then the Rising”

Tool 4 was MINDSET

About changing your thinking – about drinking

The global alcohol industry spends trillions on marketing every year to convince us that we need their product..

The wine industry in particular has done a stunning job marketing to us ladies during the last 2 decades–

Many women now believe that drinking wine is essential for a full and happy life.

We have to de-program ourselves — a nice analogy is to think of our subconscious mind as a computer — we need to reboot and load some new software.

Tool 5 was VISUALISATION

3 visualisation tools:-

  1. If you get a craving in the evening then just accept it’s the “wine witch” but she can no longer control you.  Grab an AF drink or go out for a walk…
  2. Play the movie forward – if you get the urge to drink then just think it through – do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – again and again
  3. Visualise those 2 paths – the first six months of sobriety are tough so you need to work hard to stay on track – you have to move from a place of instant gratification to a place where you can focus on long term – and life changing goals…

Tool 6 – INFORMATION IS POWER!

  • If we want to take back our power then we must educate ourselves about the harm alcohol can do  The information is out there and just a quick Google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • You need to treat it as a research project.
  • Begin your journey by reading the Naked Mind by Annie Grace who will show you just how the alcohol marketing industry creates the powerful limiting beliefs that we hold in our subconscious.
  • There are so many books relating to alcohol and sobriety these days that there is a whole category called QuitLit these days…
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nulltribesober.com

Check out the rest of the Tribe Sober podcast episodes for recovery stories and expert advice.

TOOL 7 – BE ACCOUNTABLE

  • As we say in our Battle Plan, you need to set Anchor Points for this journey – just as a sailing boat might drift off its course make sure you are taking specific actions to staying accountable and on track…
  • An annual tracker is an essential tool – colour in each day as an alcohol-free day in the morning to set the intention…  keep our eye on the big picture – even if you do have a slip up just mark it on your tracker and get right back on the sober bus the next day.
  • Another way to stay accountable is to write blog and put it out there – I started blogging the day that I stopped drinking and connected with others on the same journey – that blog was called WWW and eventually become Tribe Sober.
  • An important anchor point is to be connected to a community where you can “check in” – if you are doing well you will get some great feedback and if you are struggling then you will get some advice and encouragement.
    At TS we offer daily opportunities to check in – whether it’s on Slack Chat or WhatsApp or our daily Zoom Chats there is a community wanting to know how you are doing and that makes all the difference.
    If you are really struggling and need extra 1.2.1 support then we can team you up with a Sober Buddy who is simply a member of our community who has been sober for a while and is offering 1.2.1 support.
  • Even if you are six months or more into your sober journey look out for FAB (fading affect bias) as William Porter describes in his book Alcohol explained.
    After a certain period we forget the hangovers and the tiredness/low energy of our drinking days and even start reminiscing about the good times we used to have when drinking.
    We have thoughts like “I wasn’t that bad” and “maybe I could have just one” but that’s a real danger sign.. – its just our brain tricking us so that’s a good time to write our…Goodbye To Alcohol letter.
  • The thinking behind a Goodbye To Alcohol letter is that alcohol can be like an abusive lover etc.
  • You can hear me reading my letter on Ep 1 of Tribe Sober  podcast and if you go to tribesober.com/Inspiration there is a whole collection there.
  • So to summarise – when you embark on the sober voyage set some anchor points in advance to reinforce your motivation and to keep you on track  – be accountable:-

Get your Battle Plan

  • Join tribesober.com and check in with the community regularly
  • Start your Annual Tracker
  • If you like writing then think about starting a blog
  • Make a diary note to write your GTA letter when you are a few months in – send it to us and we’ll be happy to publish it on our website!
  • So that’s tool number 7 from our 15 tools in our Sober Toolkit.
  • If you’d like some more support then check out our workshops (tribesober.com/services) or our next 66 day challenge which starts on 20th March (tribesober.com/Sober Spring)
  • Tribe Sober members get a 25% discount on both so it’s a good time to join our tribe!
  • If YOU’VE got a favourite tip that you’d like me to share on Sober Shorts then just email it to me janet@nulltribesober.com 
  • Don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast – its full of recovery stories and expert advice– its called Tribe Sober and it comes out every Saturday morning.

More info

    • Join Tribe Sober and learn how to quit drinking and go on to thrive in your alcohol free life  – you can join up HERE
    • To access our website click HERE
    • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
    • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


Episode Sponsor

This episode is sponsored by the Tribe Sober Membership Program.  If you want to change your relationship with alcohol sign up today
Read more about our 7-step program and subscribe HERE

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com

 

 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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

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 (i.e., “Tribe Sober”) 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).

When a Friendship Ends

 

“Don’t expect anything from anybody, this is also a great freedom. Don’t expect things to be different or people to be in service to you or your own life or projections.” (Mooji)

Have you ever felt very sad that a friendship has ended, and you are not sure why? Have you ever felt very angry that a relationship has ended, and you have been unfairly blamed? Did you ever willingly end a relationship that was not serving you? In this blog, I want to explore the ending of a friendship and why it can be traumatic – but why we can turn it into something empowering.

I chose this subject because often when change our lives to suit our needs – we give up alcohol, for example – the people in our lives change too. We may decide consciously or unconsciously to steer our lives away from certain individuals or it may happen naturally, that our new path just takes us in a new direction.

What is the Universe Telling You?

The universe works in mysterious ways. If you find that you keep being blocked, that things are not working out as planned, sit down and observe this for a bit. Think about what you are doing and why these things are not working out. What if you changed direction? Tried something else? Or took a different tack completely and tackled the project or idea or relationship differently? If we tune in, the universe will teach us a lot about ourselves and our choices.

I remember my first group of friends at primary school in the 1970s. We were a happy clique of 4 girls who met at one another’s houses and played in the gardens and in the streets (no technology or phones invented yet!). Then, we had to split up for high school and I only knew two people from primary school who went to the high school my parents chose (all girls).

As a teen, I met another group of 4 friends and we stuck together through thick and thin. I also had alternate friends on the side, the hippies, and rebels of the class. Once again, the circle had to break when we all left high school for universities, travels, or marriage. I went to Rhodes University to study Journalism and found myself in a bohemian bunch of lasses who partied on! We drank litres of wine and vodka punch, we studied hard, and we walked everywhere, no cars.

After those three years were up, I went to work in the bushveld in private game lodges and boy, did I meet some wonderful game rangers and admin staff there! We could party like there was no tomorrow and our professional work ethics won smiles from the board. Two years later and I needed to move on again – I headed on a jet plane to London and found myself travelling and working for the next 2 years.

Friends Change with Life Changes

Yes, you guessed, I met more girlfriends! I started off with 4 friends from my hometown but soon we had all split up due to disagreements and the need to follow our own plans and maps. I met crazy chicks in Israel where we worked 12 hours shifts on vegetable farms and drank raw vodka in the eves. We explored Israel and Egypt together and then we all split up again and I had to return to SA, broke but happy.

Now I am in my midlife, and I still find my friendships waxing and waning like a huge full moon. There are moments of amazing love and clarity and then there are empty, barren moments when all contact seems lost, and connection seems impossible. I turn to Nature then, in all her wildness and I ask her what to do.

When I stopped drinking 6 years ago, there was a huge rift in my life because I no longer felt comfortable socialising with the girls I had been drinking buddies with for years. I felt the stigma of not drinking, of having to stop drinking or choosing to stop drinking. I felt the black sheep feeling of being the only one, the strange one.

Since then, I have found sober friends and I still have them. I don’t like to profess my sobriety to anyone (except in these blogs of course!) and I never celebrate my soberversaries though I should – I feel as if no one really cares anyway and it is my own private achievement.

Family relationships have changed a lot for me over time too. My sister and I are close after many phases adrift on the open sea doing our own things. She went through her own catharsis and had to change a lot in her life, and she has loved and lost.

I have been finding myself too, living life in the raw and real with no wine to soften the blows. I found my tongue in my middle age and was able to say NO to others in my family who were far too overbearing. Voila, I am healing and finding out who I am.

How do we Bond?

Raquel Bravo puts it so eloquently when she says, “When we create friendships or romantic relationships, we typically bond over specific aspects of ourselves or our lives. Sometimes those bonds are not formed from a healthy space, yet sometimes they are… Usually, in this grand magnetic charge between two people, we learn lessons from each other to help us grow. Some people say this attraction between two people is there because we have made soul contracts. Sometimes those contracts are short, and other times, they can be lifelong. Looking at it from that perspective can help lessen the pain if a relationship or friendship comes to an end.”

Yes, we learn lessons from every person we meet, and I believe that every person we meet is meant to be in our destiny. We meet people who teach us about ourselves – sometimes they mirror the things we suppress in ourselves or dislike about ourselves. We often don’t even know we are learning lessons.

When a friendship ends, it could be environmental/physical reasons such as a change in living area, travel, a move to a different workspace or study space. The truly old friends we made from our childhoods do often stay with us. These friendships are grounding and comfortable.

My new friends, however, mirror my needs in my now, my 50s, midlife. Many of my friends are older than me, the wild women who have developed innate wisdom about life and what they need from life and what they want to give to life.

Betrayal is Heavy

Have you ever felt physically ill from a betrayal or disloyalty in a friendship or relationship? I have been wronged a few times in my life – causing gut-wrenching sadness to me and wringing my heart out so much that energy healers have told me my heart chakra is not working! My heart is so sore still because I have not dealt with my pain. The pain of personal betrayal and hurt.

I need to sort this out as emotional illness causes physical illness and my dad also had terrible heart issues. I get so hurt about relationships that fail and yet I know that it takes two to tango and that I need to look at the whys. What has been my role in these relationships to make them go all loopy? And what was it in me that caused something to end?

Let it GO!

I need to let go. And Raquel Bravo talks about letting go and moving on from hurtful relationships to ensure our own health and wellbeing.

If we look deeper into our friendships, we may see that our friends do teach us lessons. In her own life, Raquel noticed that “they showed me aspects of myself for a long, long time. And in that seeing, I was able to find within myself why I carried those around and how they served me. Once I saw the patterns for what they were, I let them go.”

She offers these 3 steps we can take to let go of a friendship that no longer serves you, especially if you are feeling so much pain, anger, hurt and guilt about the friendship ending.

  1. Write down what it was that drew you to this person in the first place. Reflect on that. Make sure you do this step, and it will come to light that this thing that drew you together is no longer there.
  2. Write down which similar personality traits you had with this person, and what you did together that was similar. Did you behave similarly and have similar interests, laughs, hobbies, pets? List the positives and negatives as honestly as you can. It will come to light that these things are no longer there.
  3. Write down what it is that this person taught you in the short time you were together as friends. Reflect on this. Was it a happy or sad time together? Did you learn something about yourself and your own behaviour? Did you see the truth, and did you manage to leave in a loving way or in an angry way?

As Mooji says, “Let it be whatever it will be. Give up trying to manipulate. This is Freedom.”

“If you make human company too important you will not discover your true Self. Relationships not based in truth are never entirely reliable and are rarely enduring.”

 

 

7 Schools and 6 Rehabs with Nikki Edwards

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

My guest today has an inspirational story of recovery.  After a difficult start in life and a decade of drug taking Nikki began her recovery journey.  Her childhood was traumatic and Nikki turned to drugs at an early age.

In spite of her efforts to develop a career in dance and drama, her addiction deepened during her 20’s.

She checked into her first rehab in her late 20’s and began the long journey to recovery – a journey that would lead her to discover her purpose in life.

In this episode

  • Nikki’s childhood was not an easy one – her parents drank and they also moved around the country a lot, which resulted in her changing schools 7 times.
  • Unsurprisingly, she felt like an outsider and struggled to fit in – never feeling comfortable in her own skin as she put it.
  • She was certainly an early starter and tasted her first beer at the age of 9 and at 13 she was drinking and smoking marijuana.
  • Due to her parents drinking habits, Nikki felt more of a pull towards hard drugs – and at the age of 16 her boyfriend introduced her to Mandrax and Crack Cocaine.
  • With her current knowledge of addiction, Nikki is able to trace her substance abuse back to her childhood trauma – as she puts it, “her addiction started long before she picked up a drug.”
  • Many of you will be familiar with the work of Dr Gabor Mate who has done extensive research into childhood trauma and the link with addiction – he says:

Trauma is a psychic wound that hardens you psychologically that then interferes with your ability to feel, to grow and to develop. It pains you and now you’re acting out of pain.

  • Nikki also understands that she was using drugs as a coping mechanism as she was unable to regulate her emotions.
  • Her search for belonging began in earnest at the age of 17 when she left school – she rebelled against anything structured as her education had left her feeling like a failure.
  • She studied dance and drama and got involved in the club scene where she felt a sense of belonging for the first time. She was organising trance parties, making good money and everybody loved her.
  • Now and again, Nikki would try to get a regular job, but it never worked out and just confirmed her belief that she didn’t fit into the “normal” world.
  • At the age of 28, she fell pregnant and knew that this would have to be her turning point. However, motherhood caused her to feel a lot of guilt and shame and, in fact, she stepped up her drug use to cope.
  • When her son was 1, Nikki lost custody which reaffirmed her feelings of inadequacy.
  • This proved to be her rock bottom which was a catalyst for her long road to recovery – starting with her first rehab. At this first rehab, she just felt very angry and it would take several years and 5 more rehabs until she finally came into recovery.
  • We agreed that rehab was pointless if you were not ready – being “sent” to rehab does not work and too much rehab results in being institutionalised – never being able to function in the outside world.
  • Six months into her final rehab, which was a one year program, Nikki had what she describes as a spiritual awakening – a feeling that the years of hell she had been through had given her a purpose.
  • She already had all the tools from her various rehab stays but finally began to select the tools that she felt were right for her. We agreed that we all have to “do the work” but of course our work will vary depending on our background.
  • She regained custody of her son and leaned into the role of being a mother.
  • Nikki also began to developing her career as a recovery coach by working with David Collins, the founder of Ubuntu Addiction Community. I interviewed David for the podcast a couple of weeks ago so watch this space to learn more about his work.
  • Nikki is a recovery coach herself and these days she is trains other coaches and is involved in the amazing Pocket Rehab initiative.
  • We agreed that rehab is one thing, but coping with the outside world is a very individual journey – and it is our job as coaches to “meet you where you are at.”
  • You can find out more and connect with Nikki on her Facebook page Nikki Edwards Recovery Coaching or on her website which is nikkiedwards.com 

Tribe Sober’s Spring Challenge starts on 20th March

66 alcohol free days – supported by daily emails and 66 mini podcasts

It’s great fun as we put everyone on the Sober Spring Bus on Day one and they all travel through the 66 alcohol free days together – its always a great vibe on that bus as everyone encourages and supports each other – so don’t miss the bus!

Sign up today – just go to tribesober.com and click on Sober Spring 2022

If you’d like copy of our PDF “Sobriety Battleplan” – packed full of trackers and charts to get you started and keep you on track just email janet@nulltribesober.com

More info

  • For an affordable monthly subscription you can join Tribe Sober – read about the benefits of membership and sign up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE.

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com

 

 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.

 

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 (i.e., “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).

Sober Short – Knowledge is Power!

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Welcome to our sixth “Sober Short” – an interim mini podcast to supplement the weekly Tribe Sober podcast.

I’m going to kick off this series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – click here for more info.

Our workshops have been a gamechanger for so many people – if you want to kickstart your sober journey then sign up today.

In this episode

During the first 5 Sober Shorts we looked at the first 5 Tools in our toolbox:

Tool 1 was CONNECTION

“Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.

So if you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.

Tool 2 was GET MOVING

We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many many people exercise daily but they also drink on a daily basis – sometimes excessively. Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool 3 was BUILD YOUR EMOTIONAL STRENGTH

All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol. Alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions. We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

As Tribe Sober coach Lynette says or as Glennon Doyle says: “First the Pain, then the Rising”.

Tool 4 was MINDSET

About changing your thinking – about drinking.

The global alcohol industry spends trillions on marketing every year to convince us that we need their product. The wine industry in particular has done a stunning job marketing to us ladies during the last 2 decades. Many women now believe that drinking wine is essential for a full and happy life.

We have to de-program ourselves — a nice analogy is to think of our subconscious mind as a computer — we need to reboot and load some new software.

Tool 5 was VISUALISATION

3 visualisation tools:-

  1. If you get a craving in the evening then just accept it’s the “wine witch” but she can no longer control you.  Grab an AF drink or go out for a walk.
  2. Play the movie forward – if you get the urge to drink then just think it through. Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – again and again?
  3. Visualise those 2 paths – the first six months of sobriety are tough so you need to work hard to stay on track – you have to move from a place of instant gratification to a place where you can focus on long term – and life changing goals.

Today it’s time for Tool number 6 – INFORMATION IS POWER!

  • A long long time ago when I was in my 20’s, I smoked. Most of my friends smoked – we could smoke in our offices and of course in the bars and clubs where we socialised.
  • It’s hard to believe these days but we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us – you could even see ads with doctors endorsing various cigarette brands!
  • Then came the gamechanger when cigarette advertising was banned from tv adverts and the government committed to banning all advertising saying:-

“Smoking is the greatest single cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK. We will therefore ban tobacco advertising.”

  • Everything started to change…
  • Once they could no longer rely on the revenue from cigarette advertising, the media started reporting that smoking was linked to lung cancer.
  • That’s when millions of people (including me) gave up – yes we liked smoking, but we certainly didn’t intend to die a horrible death because of it!
  • So here we are decades later and alcohol seems to be where smoking used to be.
  • Completely normalised and endlessly glamorised as trillions of dollars are spent convincing us that we need alcohol to lead a full and happy life.
  • Yet the stats show us that globally 3M people a year die of alcohol related causes – pretty much in line with the Covid death toll.  The whole world closed down when Covid hit but the liquor marketing machine just continues pumping out its misinformation year.after.year!
  • So, to counteract this deluge of advertising – and of course the powerful peer pressure that comes with it – we need to take personal responsibility.
  • If we want to take back our power, then we must educate ourselves about the harm alcohol can do.  The information is out there and just a quick Google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • That’s a good place to start.
  • Going back to the cigarette analogy, a recent article informed us that from a health perspective, drinking a bottle of wine an evening was equal to smoking 10 cigarettes.
  • So if you really want to get – and stay – alcohol-free then you need to throw the book at this thing.
  • You need to treat it as a research project.
  • Begin your journey by reading The Naked Mind by Annie Grace who will show you just how the alcohol marketing industry creates the powerful limiting beliefs that we hold in our subconscious.
  • Those beliefs like we need alcohol to have fun, to socialise, to deal with stress etc, etc.
  • Those beliefs are behind the peer pressure that we get when we try to stop – “but you won’t be fun anymore!’ is a common refrain from our friends!
  • There are so many books relating to alcohol and sobriety these days that there is a whole category called QuitLit these days.
  • You can find drinking memoirs like Clare Pooleys Sober Diaries or you can find science-based books like William Porter’s Alcohol Explained.
  • If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • Once you’ve got your reading organized, then get listening – the fact that you’re listening to this would indicate that you’ve discovered the joy of podcasts. More and more people are abandoning generic radio stations in favour of listening to podcasts which explore their personal topics of interest.  The joy of podcasts is that you can stick your earpods in and go about your business – shopping, exercising or just chilling out.
  • So check out the rest of the Tribe Sober podcast episodes for recovery stories and expert advice.
  • You can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information which will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.
  • If you join our tribe then you’ll be able to learn from others on the same path – other people who have struggled and finally succeeded in changing their lives.  They will share with you what worked for them.  Go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe for more info.
  • Treat this topic as a research project – it could just save your life.  The more you learn about alcohol and what it does to our bodies and minds, the less you are going to want to drink it!
  • If YOU’VE got a favourite tip that you’d like me to share on Sober Shorts then just email it to me janet@nulltribesober.com. 

More info

Join Tribe Sober and learn how to quit drinking and go on to thrive in your alcohol free life  – you can join up HERE

To access our website click HERE

If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com

If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com

Don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast – its full of recovery stories and expert advice– its called Tribe Sober and it comes out every Saturday morning.

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 7-step program and subscribe HERE.

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com

 

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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “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).

Ask These 5 Questions to Help Solve Problems in your Life

A normal human being experiences the yin and yang of life every day – the ebb and flow of emotions related to people and events. We are also hugely affected by the Earth’s energies, day and night, the alignment of the planets and the amount of pollution in the atmosphere around us.

Humans are sensitive to everything and if you think about what we are made up of, that figures. We are a conglomeration of minute cells and atoms, molecules, and organisms that keep our clocks ticking every day. We are energy. And everything else around us is energy, the living things (all creatures and plants on the planet) and the non-living things (water, soil, air, and sun).

We feel with our senses and our skin and our hearts. It is a pity that our heads and minds tend to rule our passions these days. It is a pity that our busy lives remove us from ourselves and our connection to Nature and spirituality. Human beings are complex creatures and most human beings deal with problems in their lives every day.

Defining Problems

What is a problem? It can be anything from a broken dish to a blocked drain, from a sick child to an overgrown garden. It can be an argument with a partner, a lethargic child who does not want to go to school, or a problem in your own heart that you just cannot deal with. Yes, we create our own problems, and we also help to solve the problems of others.

If you have problems, then you are normal. The way you deal with the problem will separate the problems resolvers with the problem enhancers. Some people love having problems to solve and yet, they have not realized it yet. Some people thrive on drama and getting involved in problems and making problems.

What has happened to the simplicity of life? How can we create a simple life that does not attract problems? Long ago, before the great Industrial Revolution, people lived simple lives, in tune with Nature from whence they got all their resources for living.  Food and water, material to build homes with, security and education too.

Our modern society and lives mean that we are never satisfied with this simple life – we are constantly striving for more – more stuff, more money, more friends, more idealism. Stop! Wait! Smell the roses. Did you see that bee in the flower? Did you see your dog’s loving eyes? Did you see your child’s Maths book? Did you smell that fresh apple as you cut it? Did you walk in the hills and marvel at the birds, the flowers and the trees, the sky, and the fresh air?

Resolving Problems

Let’s take a moment to think about our problems and how we can resolve them in a simple way. Dr. Harpeet Duggal offers us 5 questions that we can ask to try to solve our problems. He uses a system called Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) which does not focus on WHY you have a problem but HOW you can address your problem. It aims to get people out of a depressed zone into a manageable and self-believing zone.

These are the 5 questions you can ask:

  1.  The miracle question: “Suppose one night, while I am asleep, there is a miracle and the problem that I am facing is solved. However, because I am asleep, I don’t know that the miracle has already happened. When I wake up in the morning, what will be different that will tell me that the miracle has taken place?”  In such a way, you can look at the solutions to your problem instead of trying to get rid of it and to mull over the reasons why you have this problem. Ask yourself now, “What part of the miracle is already happening?”
  2. The scaling questions: “On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is no progress and 10 is that I have solved my problem, how would I rate my progress in solving my problem?” If your score is more than 0, then ask yourself, “How did I get up to this number from 0?” or “How is my score different than 0?” or “What makes my score not lower?” “How will I know when I move just one number higher on this scale?” In such a way, you get to enhance your strengths and positive realisations and the things you would usually ignore. Take tiny steps to get to 10 and if you stay on 0, it is still better than going to -1!
  3. The coping questions: Ask yourself: “What would my loved ones see me doing now that would tell them that I am being strong and successfully handling this situation?” In such a way you can decide that you can cope, that you do have strengths and that you can solve your own problems. We do worry a lot about how others view us in life and while this is not the be all and end all, it can also help us to rise up against our own issues. I have read in other texts that a lot of our problems and depressions are caused by our own egos. When we can move away from the central I and look around us to see the world with new eyes, we can then see that our ego is controlling us. One of the best ways to move away from the ego is to help others within a community setting! Now ask: “What has worked well for me before?”
  4. The motivation questions: “Am I willing to do whatever it takes to make things better for me/solve this problem/achieve my goals?” You can also rate your motivation using the the same scaling questions as the number 2 question.  Duggal suggests we ask these questions:
  • “What do I care most about in life?”
  • “What matters most to me?”
  • “What are the rules I live by?”
  • “If I were to write a mission statement for my life, describing my goals or purpose in life, what would I write?”

These questions will help you to think about your core values. Many of us do not even know what our values are! This holds us back from achieving love and happiness in our lives. Core values are related to self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves in our lives, our families, our friendships and our communities. Are you compassionate towards self and others?

  1. The exception questions: Ask yourself:
  • “When have I not faced this problem/felt angry (or any other emotion)?”
  • “What did I do differently at that time?”
  • “Why was I not feeling angry (or any other emotion)?”

As humans with problems, we tend to resent and regret and get full of our own hurts. So, we say things like “You are always angry!” or “I am always sad inside!” or “I am so busy and stressed and super tired!” We use extreme adjectives and adverbs to describe ourselves in total terms.

Being in Control

Why? Because we feel hopeless and out of control! I know that when I feel out of control, I get very moody and resentful! I want to have my safe life, my clean house, and my walks all morning. If one of these falls to the side, I get anxious.

I always tell myself: This too will pass. We are energy and the world is energy so the “problems” we face are going to disappear in time, if not immediately. Many of our problems are figments of our imagination. We create them! We even love having them around, like long-lost friends!

Asking these 5 questions will help you to look ahead, to use your own strengths to solve problems, and to know that you do have purpose and value in life. If you need to be in control of your life to avoid depression, then make sure you learn how to solve your own problems. It is never an instant fix, but it is a huge learning curve for the ego.

Duggal notes that you first need to “ensure that the problem is solvable. Problems that are unsolvable require a more emotion-focused than a solution-focused approach. This may involve either changing one’s thinking or reaction to the problem of acceptance.”

To end this blog, I would like to touch on values again. Many times, when I chat to someone who is feeling down and resentful, or down and ashamed or guilty, and I ask them about their values, they look at me blankly. I ask them, what do you value about yourself? What value do you bring to your life, your family, friends, and community?

It often takes a lot of delving and thinking before people can talk about values. Many of us lack self-esteem and then we drank to hide. It is time to believe in YOU and grab the reigns of YOUR life and be in control of your destiny. Thanks to Dr Duggal, for these thought-provoking markers we can contemplate regarding our values:

 Read these 10 most viewed values:

  1. Power:Social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources. Examples include social power, authority, and wealth.
  2. Achievement:Personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards. Examples include successful, capable, and ambitious.
  3. Hedonism:Pleasure and sensuous gratification for oneself. Examples include pleasure and enjoying life.
  4. Stimulation: Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life. Examples include daring, varied life, and exciting life.
  5. Universalism:Understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature. Examples include broad-mindedness, social justice, equality, and protecting the environment.
  6. Self-direction:Independent thought and action – choosing, creating, exploring. Examples include creativity, curiosity, and freedom.
  7. Benevolence:Preservation and enhancement of the welfare of people with whom one is in frequent personal contact. Examples include helpfulness, honesty, and forgiving.
  8. Tradition:Respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide. Examples include humbleness and spirituality.
  9. Conformity:Restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms. Examples include politeness, obedience, and honoring parents and elders.
  10. Security:Safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self. Examples include national security and social order.

Choose one and ask yourself:

  • “Why did I choose this value?”
  • “To what extent would I say it guides my decisions and the way I lead my life?”
  • “Can I think of a recent choice I made that was influenced by this value? How so?”
  • “How did I learn or acquire this value?” Who was influential in my adoption of it?”
  • “What effects have upholding this value had on my life?”
  • “Are these positive or negative for me?”
  • “Is this value connected with one of my strengths? If yes, how?”

You may repeat this exercise with other values that are important to you. It may also be helpful to distinguish values from goals. Values are the compass that keep you on track on your journey while goals are the things you strive to achieve or complete on that journey.

 

Good luck and let me know how you did!

 

Drink – Ann Dowsett Johnston

The new face of risky drinking is female. The problem: a global epidemic of bingeing. The solution: a brave new approach to female recovery.

This is my story, and it’s particular. But I am not alone. Drinking problems challenge a growing number of women.
The new reality: binge drinking is increasing among young adults – and women are largely responsible for this trend. Women’s buying power has been growing for decades, and their decision-making authority has grown as well. The alcohol industry, well aware of this reality, is now battling for women’s downtime – and their brand loyalty.

Sunshine Warm Sober – Catherine gray

“Stone cold sober.”

As the millions who choose to stay sober now know, the propaganda around drinking and sobriety is wonky. Sober doesn’t feel stony, or cold.

Retired wreckhead Catherine Gray, author of surprise bestseller The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, is now in her eighth sober year and has learned a damn sight more.

This hotly anticipated sequel enlists the help of experts and case studies, turning a curious, playful gaze onto provocative questions. Is alcohol a parenting aid? Why are booze and cocaine such a horse and carriage? Once an addict, always an addict? How do you feel safe – from alcohol, others and yourself – in sobriety?

Whether you’re a dedicated boozehound, flirting with teetotalling, or already sober, this witty, gritty read may just change how you think about alcohol forever.

The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary – Catherine gray

Underwhelmed by your ordinary existence? Disillusioned with your middlin’ wage, average body, ‘bijou’ living situation and imperfect loved ones?
Welcome to the club. There are billions of us. The ‘default disenchanted’.

But, it’s not us being brats. Two deeply inconvenient psychological phenomenons conspire against our satisfaction. We have negatively-biased brains, which zoom like doom-drones in on what’s wrong with our day, rather than what’s right. (Back in the mists of time, this negative bias saved our skins, but now it just makes us anxious). Also, something called the ‘hedonic treadmill’ means we eternally quest for better, faster, more, like someone stuck on a dystopian, never-ending treadmill.
Thankfully, there are scientifically-proven ways in which we can train our brains to be more positive-seeking. And to take a rest from this tireless pursuit. Whew.

A Mother’s Love with Gabi Lowe

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

My guest today is a familiar name to many South Africans.  Gabi Lowe came into the public eye back in 2015 as she fought for her daughter’s life.

Gabi has written a book about this extraordinary period – a book called “Get Me to 21” which was the name of a campaign led by her daughter Jenna as she invited the public to become organ donors and attend her 21st birthday party.

Tragically Jenna died before reaching this milestone.

This is a story full of pain – but also full of courage.  The courage of Gabi, her husband and daughter Kristi – and of course Jenna herself.

It’s also a story of resilience – Gabi explains how she has managed to survive a parent’s worst nightmare and rebuild her life.  A life full of purpose which lives alongside the aching loss of her beautiful daughter.

In this episode

  • As she took us through the heartbreaking development of Jenna’s illness, we discussed the moment when Gabi felt her role shift from that of a hopeless observer who just wanted to cry – to that of a Momcologist who was determined to fight on her daughter’s behalf – she discovered the lioness inside.
  • A lioness which kept fighting with Jenna all the way – and then re-emerged during that terrifying beach attack 3 years later.
  • Gabi found it very humbling to ask for help and talked of how activating their first fundraiser left her in tears. But then it led her to reflect on the “virtuous circle” as she discovered that:-
  1. Everyone was desperate to find a way to help and they were grateful to be able to do something
  2. She learned how to “receive” which led a the virtuous circle of giving and receiving, giving and receiving
  • She realised that everything they were doing for Jen helped others as well – one of the legacies of Jen’s fight is a clinic in a public hospital here in Cape Town.
  • Gabi explained that in spite of Jen’s campaign, dramatically increasing the number of organ donations in SA is still a dire need (ironic that only 2% of the population are organ donors when we think of Cape Town as being the home of the first ever heart transplant).
  • SA has an opt-in organ donation program whereas in some countries everyone is born an organ donor and they have to opt out – many more lives are saved in those countries with an opt out policy – so Gabi continues to fight for a change in SA legislation.
  • Pulmonary Hypertension often goes undiagnosed and, in fact, Jenna was diagnosed as having asthma during the first six months of her illness. Gabi stressed that breathlessness is a symptom that must be taken seriously.
  • I asked Gabi if she used alcohol during this period but she explained that her Momcologist duties were so complex that she had to be on top of her game 24/7 so could not risk it. Her coping mechanisms were walking in nature, meditation and yoga.
  • She talked about the listening meditation that the whole family did every couple of weeks – simply expressing how they were (or were not) coping with Jenna’s illness – Jenna herself was part of these sessions.
  • This made me reflect on the shares that we do at the beginning of our workshops – everybody introduces themselves and talks about their relationships with alcohol. Nobody comments so it truly is a listening meditation and it often strikes me that sometimes this is the first time that some people have expressed their feelings about alcohol out loud. It’s always an emotional session but it’s also very bonding as people realise they are not in this alone.
  • Gabi and I agreed that the deep listening has an effect on the quality of the conversation – which is the essence of coaching.
  • A few months after Jenna’s death, Gabi was in a dark place. A friend took her off to a silent retreat – where she cried (silently and not so silently) for much of the time – but every day she would go to a place in the grounds where she would observe a weaver building his nest. She watched him complete his nest and it occurred to her that (although she didn’t feel like it) she would have to eventually rebuild her own nest.
  • Apparently weavers build several nests in their lifetime which of course got us thinking about the fact that we may need to rebuild our lives after trauma or at certain periods in our lives (the empty nest syndrome of course!) – we can’t cling on to the old life.
  • This got me thinking about Hudsons “cycle of renewal” which we often use in coaching – your life may be going quite well for a few years and then a curved ball will come along – Covid has been a curved ball for most of us!
  • Hudson maintains that at certain periods in our life we will find ourselves

“In the Doldrums” – depressed, stuck, uninspired and powerless – when we know we are drinking too much but have no idea how to make a change – we are in the doldrums

“Cocooning” is the next stage – when we start to connect with our inner strengths – being curious and educating ourselves via podcasts and quitlit is a form of cocooning

“Getting Ready” is the next stage where we prepare for the transition by reaching out and connecting with others on the same path

“Going for it” – is when we change our thinking about drinking and start making the changes we need to

  • In early sobriety many people experience a bit of a low – what some would describe as a “void” – the drinking life has gone and they have no idea what to replace it with. That’s where our nest building analogy comes in again – we have to discover new connections, new interests and rebuild our nest.
  • We’ve entered a period of renewal – a very positive period which can lead to more health and more happiness if we stick with it.
  • One of the most common questions that Gabi gets asked is “how do you cope?” So she reflected long and hard about this – and started thinking about resilience. She thought about her own journey and that of other bereaved parents she knew and she did a lot of reading on “resilience”.
  • She disagreed strongly with most of the literature on resilience which talked about bouncing back – or pushing through with grit and perseverance. In her experience that is not at all the right way to deal with trauma.
  • So with a colleague (Pippa Shaper) Gabi began to create a 10 step resilience model – a roadmap – something she wishes that she’d had in her darkest days.
  • The first part of the model is about accepting the facts and operating from a place of realistic optimism.
  • This model can be used for any life change. If you have been using alcohol to numb your pain or just to cope with life, then you will struggle in early sobriety.  Studying authentic resilience will not only give you a tangible goal, but it will enable you to learn how to thrive in your alcohol-free life.
  • We both agreed that the hardest thing of all is to reach out for help – whether it’s help fighting for your child’s life or help to change your alcohol dependence, it’s a humbling experience. We will feel vulnerable but its not an act of courage if we don’t feel vulnerable.
  • So if Gabi Lowe has inspired you then please read her amazing book “Get me to 21” which you can get from the website…www.jennalowe.org
  • You can also help by making a donation via that website

To learn more about Gabi’s courses please go to theresiliencefactory.com.

If you are in SA, you heard Gabi explaining about the CPT workshop on Authentic Resilience on 4th March and the Jo’burg workshop on 7th May. Tickets available from Quicket or drop Gabi a mail at info@the resiliencefactory.com.

We’re already getting sign ups for our Sober Spring Challenge which starts on 20th March.

66 alcohol-free days – supported by daily emails and 66 mini podcasts.

It’s great fun as we put everyone on the Sober Spring Bus on Day one and they all travel through the 66 alcohol-free days together – its always a great vibe on that bus as everyone encourages and supports each other – so don’t miss the bus!

Sign up today – just go to tribesober.com and click on Sober Spring 2022

  • If you’d like copy of our PDF called “30 signs you may have a problem with alcohol” – just email janet@nulltribesober.com

More info

  • For an affordable monthly subscription you can join Tribe Sober – read about the benefits of membership and sign up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com

 

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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “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).

Sober Short – Play the Movie Forward

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Welcome to our fifth “Sober Short” – an interim mini podcast to supplement the weekly Tribe Sober podcast.

I’m going to kick off this series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – click here for more info.

Our workshops have been a gamechanger for so many people – if you want to kickstart your sober journey then sign up today.

In this episode

During the first 4 Sober Shorts we looked at the first 3 Tools in our toolbox.

Tool 1 was CONNECTION

“Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.

So if you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership

Tool 2 was GET MOVING

We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink on a daily basis – sometimes excessively. Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool 3 was BUILD YOUR EMOTIONAL STRENGTH

All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol. Alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.

We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says or as Glennon Doyle says – “First the Pain, then the Rising!”

Tool 4 was MINDSET

All about changing your thinking – about drinking.

The global alcohol industry spends trillions on marketing every year to convince us that we need their product. The wine industry in particular has done a stunning job marketing to us ladies during the last 2 decades. Many women now believe that drinking wine is essential for a full and happy life.

We have to de-program ourselves — a nice analogy is to think of our subconscious mind as a computer — we need to reboot and load some new software.

Today’s Sober Short is about VISUALISATION

  • Visualisation is SO powerful – just think of the wine witch –  introduced to us to in the book Sober Diaries
  • The liquor industry has been marketing its products to us for decades by showing us beautiful images of attractive women holding their wine glasses and looking happy.
  • That’s why associating wine with an old hag is so powerful – and not just at the beginning but as we progress in our sobriety we often hear our members telling us that the wine witch’s voice is getting fainter and fainter and some evenings she doesn’t show up at all!
  • We’ve even introduced a new character to our tribe recently – she’s called Moderation Mary – we’ve not managed to draw her yet but you can be sure she will not be a pretty sight.
  • Don’t let Moderation Mary break your heart we say…
  • Don’t waste your time hanging out with Moderation Mary.
  • After all, once we’ve crossed a line with our drinking there is no going back – we need to quit and then learn to enjoy our alcohol-free life.
  • Another tool also about visualisation which works well for many, is to “play the movie” forward…
  • Finally one of the visualisation tools I use for coaching is called the two paths:-

If you keep drinking – one thing you can be sure of is that you will not be drinking less – it just doesn’t work like that – you’ll be drinking at least a bottle of wine if not more. That’s 7 bottles of wine a week when the low-risk limit is one and a half – putting your mental and physical health at risk.  Apart from that, your life will feel pretty much the same – if we are sapping our energy and motivation with alcohol night after night then its unlikely we’ll decide to make any significant changes – you will just stay stuck.

If you stop – you probably cannot even imagine it, you have no idea what your life would be like without alcohol in it.  After helping hundreds of people to ditch the booze, I can give you a rough idea….  The first 6 months will be tough, as you change your habits and “do the work” – and then life will just get better and better.  You will feel better, you will look better and you will have the energy to make major life changes if you need to.

  • So there you go – 3 ways to use visualisation – the wine witch, play the movie forward and the two paths
  • So that’s our Sober Short for today – 3 Visualisation Tools
  • If YOU’VE got a favourite tip that you’d like me to share on Sober Shorts then just email it to me janet@nulltribesober.com

And don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast – its full of recovery stories and expert advice– its called Tribe Sober and it comes out every Saturday morning.

More info

  • Join Tribe Sober and learn how to quit drinking and go on to thrive in your alcohol free life  – you can join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com.

 

 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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “Tribe Sober”) 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).

Find Your Vital Absorbing Creative Interest (VACI)

When you drank alcohol, did you do it with a compulsion to get drunk and forget your life for a while? Or did you drink to have fun and get high on the buzz? Did you want to check out for a bit and avoid work and the family? Did you simply like the taste or the social buzz of being with friends who also drank?

It may be useful to find your Vital Absorbing Creative Interest (VACI) based on these details. It may be useful to replace that need for alcohol with a need for something creative and beneficial in your life. If you are creating another addiction, so be it, at least it is a healthy one. You can work on being less obsessive about it as you go along. The other side of the coin is that when we do become too obsessed with just one activity, it cuts out our enjoyment of other activities we could also be doing. Any addiction to any thing is not balanced, not so? Some people work too hard, some exercise too hard and some are obsessed with health foods and their health. Finding the balance in our lives is a life-long learning curve, just like parenting is.

What is a Vital Absorbing Creative Interest?

A Vital Absorbing Creative Interest, or VACI, can help bring back the simple pleasure of living a life free of substances and unhelpful behaviors. When we get overly involved in any one activity, be it helpful or not so helpful, we cut a lot out of our lives that we used to enjoy. Finding a balance can restore the fun and enjoyment that life has to offer. So how can we get back to those simple pleasures of life?

If you are one of those drinkers who drank to get a buzz, then you can still get a real buzz out of life. You have this in you, to seek out the fun and the highs. The sober buzz takes more effort and more imagination which in themselves are fulfilling. The more energy you put into things, the more you get out, not so? And this time around, you will remember it all, instead of experiencing uncomfortable blackouts and shameful memories of what you did and should not have done last night.

The trick is to find the things that give you a buzz, for the right reasons. Have you ever thought about sky diving or sailing in a hot air balloon over the Masai Mara? Have you ever thought about caving, ice climbing or river rafting? These are the things that create wonderful memories. Another way to look at it is to create something lasting in your daily life: hiking up mountains every morning; swimming 100 lengths before work; learning how to surf or scuba dive, learning how to mountain bike and ride a skateboard.

Work out what it is that gives you a regular buzz and act on it today.

Tip! Work to do your VACI in moderation so you’re not replacing one addiction with another!

Find Solitude if you Drank to Escape

If you were a drinker who hid away, checking out on life for a bit, then find things that suit your introverted personality. These would be things that restore your energy while being alone: sit on a mountain with a book, watch a river trickling past, be alone on an evening walk or go away to a secluded cabin for a few days with books and sketchbooks. Spend time in nature to rejuvenate your soul, away from the stresses of work and other people and their opinions and needs.

If it was taste that you were after, it is time to find new and exciting tastes. Make your own kombucha and cordials. Buy some funky herbal teas and make drinks with them that you can sip on ice. Buy some flavoured coffees and try some sugar-free hot chocolate. Spend your money on fun drinks instead of alcoholic drinks.

You may be one of those people who drank to fit in to social events and who feels lots of FOMO (fear of missing out)? In this case, challenge yourself to find out why you feel like this? What is it that you are not sure about within yourself? What is it that you are denying yourself? Why can’t you just arrive at a braai and be comfortable?

Challenge yourself to go out and meet others at sober gatherings that you choose: a new book club, a dance group, a yoga class, an evening card game, or a group that discusses the issues in life. Be you, be real. Eventually, you will get better at this, and you will realize that yes, everyone else is also nervous and feeling just like you are!

Another thing to look to when trying to find a new VACI is to think about what you used to like to do as a kid. What interests did you hold? What hobbies did you have? What dreams were never realized? Now is the time to take your life back and make some of those things happen.

Persevere and Form New, Good Habits

The best tip I can give you is to persevere until these VACIs are good habits and pure enjoyment. Be bold, be brave and believe in you. We all have choices in life and your choice is to face it and take it on! What if you don’t? That is something you don’t want to think about. Find your Vital Absorbing Creative Interests and keep looking for more.

Check out my previous blog about finding a hobby that delights and fulfills you. Remember, your recovery is all about you so seize the day with both hands and do the work to find the joy!

 

91. Living Sobriety Out Loud – with Peggi Cooney

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

My guest today is Peggi Cooney.  She’s a retired social worker with 16 years of field experience and these days she trains other social workers to cope with the many challenges of their work.

She has written a personal memoir about her own struggles with alcohol and has become a sobriety advocate.  One of the qualities that shines out from that book is her love and appreciation of the Recovery Community and the support we all give each other.

She leads a community group on Facebook also called This Side of Alcohol structured to encourage daily conversation, insight, and support around alcohol recovery.

In this episode

  • Like many of us, Peggi used various tricks to disguise the fact that she was drinking too much. She talks of an award ceremony where she pre-drank and after-drank but at the event people saw her with just one glass of wine.
  • Of course she used “the rules” – trying to drink moderately or only at the weekend – and of course she failed to keep to her own rules.
  • At one point Peggi was hiding wine bottles in her boots in her wardrobe – she really struggled to recognise herself in those moments…
  • She had lots of stomach problems and always felt below par when she was drinking – its only now that she feels SO much better that she has joined up the dots and realised that her alcohol consumption was responsible for that feeling.
  • Peggi had a “rock bottom” on the day that she was arguing with her husband about her drinking – and her children and grandchildren walked in on them having a furious argument. After that event she realised that she was “done” drinking.
  • Once she had made up her mind to stop she “threw the book at it” – she read all the quitlit and joined Sober Sistas to do their 21 day reset.
  • She describes being in a small condo with lots of people when they were doing a lot of drinking including tequila shots – she had known it might turn out like that so she had booked a hotel room nearby and was able to slip out.
  • That makes me think of one of our survival tips for socialising – always have an escape plan – what will you do if things get difficult. Peggi’s plan was a great one but if you are not too far from home you can just get in your car and drive. If the people you’ve left are busy drinking they may not even notice you’ve slipped out early!
  • Peggi knew that she was not physically addicted – her addiction was psychological. If you have a listen to Tribe Sober podcast episode 48 you will hear Molly Watts explaining that only 10% of us are physically addicted to alcohol.  It’s still important to get medical advice if you are drinking more than 14 units a day but for many of us the “work” is around breaking deeply entrenched habits.
  • Although Peggi got sober as a result of an ultimatum from her husband and daughter, she STAYED sober because of how good it made her feel –  that reminds me of a story from Soberpunk Jon Turner on Tribe Sober episode 68.
  • We agreed that Covid has been a gift for many drinkers in early sobriety as it had allowed them to opt out of socialising while they built up their sober strength.
  • Yet for others who were already drinking too much and hadn’t made any changes, Covid had proved to be their nemesis – and resulted in a deeper level of dependence.
  • Peggi and I are both “ladies of a certain age” as the French so elegantly put it and we agreed that ditching the booze is absolutely the best thing you can do for your health and your happiness as you get older.
  • Like me, Peggi is enamoured by the recovery community and we both agreed that without the support of community its extremely hard to change our drinking habits. The great thing is that there are so many choices these days – there will be a sobriety group to suit everybody – whereas it used to be just AA.
  • She talked about “the switch” when she went from thinking “I can never drink again” (which comes from a place of deprivation to “I can drink whenever I want but I just don’t want to” which comes from a place of freedom. For me that the difference between willpower “I can never drink again” and mindset “I don’t want to drink”).
  • Peggi feels as if she has got an extra third of her day back – the extra time is great. I think this is one of the benefits of sobriety we don’t think about until it happens – when we are planning the drinking, doing the drinking and recovering from the drinking – that takes up a lot of time that we could be spending on more constructive things.
  • She comes across many women who keep their drinking problem a secret. But she knew she had to “live it out loud” – she knew she had to be accountable and “not leave any doors open.
  • Peggi talked about the deep connection that comes with the sober friendships we make in recovery and how much fun she had with a group of sober women she’d never met before.
  • She feels so much smarter now – as she puts it she can “figure shit out” rather than just have a drink and try not to think about it – ironic that we drink to cope with our stress but if we stayed sober we might actually stand a chance of dealing with the cause of our stress!
  • Peggi has a very lively FB group which she has named after her book “This Side of Alcohol” and she spends some time of there every day engaging with the members.
  • Like so many people that I’ve interviewed she is a great fan of William Porter and loved my conversation with him which you can find on episode 50 of the Tribe Sober podcast.  

If you’d like copy of our PDF called “30 signs you may have a problem with alcohol” – just email janet@nulltribesober.com

We’re already getting sign ups for our Sober Spring Challenge which starts on 20th March.

66 alcohol free days – supported by daily emails and 66 mini podcasts.

Its great fun as we put everyone on the Sober Spring Bus on Day one and they all travel through the 66 alcohol free days together – its always a great vibe on that bus as everyone encourages and supports each other – so don’t miss the bus.

Sign up today – just go to tribesober.com and click on Sober Spring 2022.

If you’d like copy of our PDF called “30 signs you may have a problem with alcohol” – just email janet@nulltribesober.com.

More info

  • For an affordable monthly subscription you can join Tribe Sober – read about the benefits of membership and sign up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com

 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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “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).

90. Sober Short – Changing your Thinking – about Drinking

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Welcome to our fourth “Sober Short” – an interim mini podcast to supplement the weekly Tribe Sober podcast.

I’m going to kick off this series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – click here for more info.

Our workshops have been a gamechanger for so many people so if you want to kickstart your sober journey then sign up today

In this episode

During the first 3 Sober Shorts we looked at the first 3 Tools in our toolbox

Tool number 1 one was of course “Connection”

“Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path –

So if you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many many people exercise daily but they also drink on a daily basis – sometimes excessively – ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!

Tool number 3 was all about “Building your Emotional Strength”

All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.

We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says or as Glennon Doyle says:-

“First the Pain, then the Rising”!

Todays tip from our Toolbox is all about MINDSET.

  • It’s about changing your thinking – about drinking.
  • The global alcohol industry spends trillions on marketing every year to convince us that we need their product.
  • The wine industry in particular has done a stunning job marketing to us ladies during the last 2 decades.
  • Many women now believe that drinking wine is essential for a full and happy life.
  • Add to that the fact that alcohol has become so normalized in our society that if you don’t drink you are considered a bit strange — alcohol really has become the only drug we have to justify not taking!
  • Somehow we have to de-program ourselves — a nice analogy is to think of our subconscious mind as a computer — we need to reboot and load some new software.
  • Our subconscious is full of false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example:-
    – we need alcohol to socialize
    – we deserve a drink at the end of the day
    – we need a drink to cope with our stress.
  • The first step is to identify your limiting beliefs.
  • Somehow we have to overturn those beliefs – one by one.
  • We can do that in two stages — intellectually and then by our behavior which will build new neural pathways in our brain.
  • Here is an example: you are convinced that you will never be able to socialize without alcohol and you are going to lose all your friends….
  • Overturn that belief intellectually — write something like “I can enjoy time with my family and friends without drinking alcohol” in your journal.
  • Sadly it’s not quite that easy — now you have to “do the work”.
  • You have to actually do it – socialize without alcohol — again and again.
  • Spoiler alert — you will probably hate it but you must keep going so that it will stick as you build a new neural pathway.
  • See each event as a challenge. Write it up in your journal — how did you feel, how long did you stay, did you manage to enjoy any part of the evening?
  • If you have been drinking/socializing for years then it will take months to convince your subconscious that you can have fun without it — but it’s definitely possible. You can believe it because I did it myself.
  • It just takes courage and perseverance.
  • It means pushing out of our comfort zone.
  • We give alcohol far too much credit for the good times and now you have to “uncouple” that alcohol/fun association.
  • After all when we were children we didn’t need alcohol to have fun, we didn’t grab a beer from the fridge when we got home from school to help us recover from double maths!
  • Keep socializing sober and gradually it will get easier and easier — until one evening you will realize that you had a great time — and you weren’t drinking — yay!
  • That’s not the end of the journey but it is a breakthrough. There will be more social events which feel awkward and endless but gradually you will better and better at this.
  • You will begin to relish the fact that you can jump in your car at the end of the evening and drive home safely — wake up with a clear head and perfect recall.

So that’s our Sober Short for today – Changing your Thinking – About Drinking

All about mindset which is essential for this journey – willpower is helpful at the beginning but its not sustainable.

If YOU’VE got a favourite tip that you’d like me to share on Sober Shorts then just email it to me janet@nulltribesober.com.

And don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast – its full of recovery stories and expert advice– its called Tribe Sober and it comes out every Saturday morning.

More info

  • Join Tribe Sober and learn how to quit drinking and go on to thrive in your alcohol free life  – you can join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE.

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com.

 

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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “Tribe Sober”) 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 9-Month Sober Prenatal Journey

 

I had a chat with someone recently who said to me that he would like to be sober for 9 months. It would be like a pregnancy for him. He would like to give birth to a good human at the end of it.

I loved this! I thought of my own pregnancies and what they meant to me. I know that many of you reading this have never had babies and that is also fine. But for me, personally, having babies made me who I am. Being pregnant was life-changing: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Getting sober can be a life-changer and it is uncanny that 9 months sober is a remarkable period of healing and regrowth. The Universe knew that a baby needs 9 months in the womb to fully develop and connect with its mother. In the same way, a 9-month sober period needs every week of that time to develop something new, something profound.

Recovery happens in 3’s: 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months – and 9 months is 3 x 3 months which clarifies and deepens the commitment to the path you are on. The birth of that baby called Sobriety, Life.

Sobriety is as Life-Changing as Being Pregnant

On that note, getting sober was an enormous life changer for me, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Spirituality takes years to root and grow and it is the same with sobriety. I am feeling it now. The new me emerged. It was definitely a rebirth of sorts. In fact, 6 years down the line and I am still feeling and revelling in the change as it happens to me more and more vividly than ever before.

Being pregnant made me believe in miracles and I am not a churchy, Godly person at all. I knew then that there was something HUGE happening in my life and ever since my 2 boys arrived, I have felt blessed on a daily basis. And dealing with sobriety means dealing with all the pain and sadness that I hid away for years.

My new clean life opened up many doors for me because I went around looking for doors to open. I found a course to study – I completed my Level 4 Early Child Development certificate over the next two years. I immersed myself in the learning, the practical work at a nearby township school and making new friends because of it. I then added on my kids’ yoga teaching certificate, and I practiced kids’ yoga at the same township school as a volunteer. I am also now the fittest and healthiest I have ever been.

The First 9 Months of Prenatal Sobriety

Trimester 1: the first three months are hell. Morning sickness, evening sickness and no appetite except for slap chips and sugar galore. The detox is draining and thought-provoking. No energy and no desire to work or see anyone – just ongoing lethargy and feeling pap all the time. At the end of these three months, you are like a chick hatching from an egg: hey, I see light, what is that bright light in my eyes? The light that is providing new energy and the new energy just keeps coming in waves as innate nesting instincts take over.

12 weeks: Your sobriety is in the bag. Remember that 12 is a multiple of that magic number 3. And remember that at 4 weeks pregnant, a baby is developing inside you, the tiny brain and spine forming and the heart taking place as the center of all life. In your sobriety, tiny developments become noticeable – the brain is healing its faulty thinking and memory losses and your kidneys and liver are saying “thank you” to the new you. Your skin glows and you feel like a pedicure!

24 weeks: Halfway there to the goal and you feel clear-headed and more energetic than ever before. Who thought that getting sober would be so easy? But wait, there is one small problem: you feel sad and flat and you hope that this too will pass.

At 24 weeks pregnant, a new mother feels less tired and is proud of her new bump. She may feel itchy and moody but that is hormonal and signs that the baby inside her is developing fingerprints, taste buds, and lungs.

What do you do about this feeling of flatness? We call it emotional flatlining or anhedonia. It is the inability to feel joy. You are in a mourning period where grief for that old friend, alcohol, is prominent. I remember my second pregnancy and the deep sense of melancholy that I felt thanks to my rampaging hormones! And I remember that feeling of huge sadness well into my second year of sobriety!

36 weeks: your sober baby is growing big now and you feel comfortable yet unsure. How are the last 4 weeks going to go? Will my baby be healthy and normal? Will I be a good mom? So much confusion, yet so much anticipation! Your body is glowing and you are brimming with health and energy.

Yes, 36 is a multiple of 3 and your immune system is grateful to your clean lifestyle. Being sober for a month is said to be a gamechanger for your liver and energy levels. Sleep and mental clarity improve so now is a good time to learn something new, do a course or start your own business. Being sober for 9 months means that you are escaping the clutches of terminal illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and even heart disease.

40 weeks (9 months): you are there! Sober for 3×3 months, another big 3 milestone. Your skin is clear, your organs are flushed and your brain has changed its negative and false beliefs. Yes, you believe in yourself. Your heart is pumping full throttle ahead and your indigestion and discomfort have gone. You sleep well and the sober world is your oyster.

A New Sober Baby

What does your sober baby look like? Robust and ready, or tiny and needing lots of nutrition and guidance? If healthy and kicking with life, you are lucky and you will soon reach your year sober. The next year will glide by as a non-issue, healthy lifestyle year.

If your baby is a bit starved and needs lots of mother’s milk, take time to nurture your newborn and give her all your love. You have been through a life-changing 9 months and the months to come will not be easy. They will challenge you to the core and you will be forced to rise above your comfort zone.

You got this…

I loved this article in BoozeMusings so take a read and let me know how your own sober journey is going!

Can you raise a baby alone?  Certainly.  But if you want the baby to become a better version of you, then it needs the input, love, and support from others.  No one likes a spoiled baby that grows up thinking that the world revolves around them!   You invite in the Village.

My 9 month old sobriety journey is transforming too. Like the newborn, it needs to be nurtured, but I cannot let it become the center of my universe.  It needs to know that it is important to me, but it cannot become the only reason for existence. It needs to recognize that while I’m the primary caretaker, people around us will help protect it too… I see new signs of support, like when my husband stocked up the pantry with new alcohol free drinks, and refills my candy jar with my favorite dark chocolates.

[Image from: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02-addiction-therapist-sober-months-bothers.html]

89. Sober Rock Stars with Brenton on Tour

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

If you are as old as I am then you may remember when rock music was all about “sex, drugs and rock-‘n-roll”.

I still remember going to a rolling stones concert in London which was held the day after their guitarist Brian Jones had been found dead in his swimming pool.

As he was only 27 years old he joined the tragic line up of other talented artists who died at the age of 27 – including Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin.

But times are a-changing – the music business is a multi-billion dollar business and everything that rock stars do remains on the internet for posterity.

My guest this week has a job that you may well envy if you are into rock music – he tours the world for a living – running concerts.  He’s also got a podcast called “Brenton on Tour”.

In this episode

  • Brent didn’t have a hectic “rock bottom” but as his responsibilities grew he realised that he needed to be super sharp at all times during his tours. He manages huge budgets and a complex schedule.
  • He found himself planning his drinking – if he had three days off work then he knew that he would be drinking and he wouldn’t be at his best during some of that time.
  • He began to feel that he needed to make a choice between drinking – or his career and family.
  • We agreed that even if alcohol doesn’t destroy us (and it certainly doesn’t destroy everybody) it often prevents us from reaching our potential.
  • Brent believes that a lot of people think they are fine as they don’t have an obvious “problem” but in fact they would be a lot sharper and more energetic without it.
  • We talked about the fact that sometimes we have a perception that we have a boozy crowd of friends but when we stop we sometimes discover that we were the ringleader!
  • Brent had Covid and was so pleased that he was not drinking when lockdown came around.
  • We agreed that Yes we do sometimes lose friends when we stop drinking but those drinking buddy relationships are often replaces with new and deeper friendships. Brenton got sober with a combination of exercise, coffee, creating podcasts – and Clare Pooley!
  • I loved his story of connecting with Clare who was firmly on Team Brent – the journey she describes in her Sober Diaries mirrored Brett’s experience – she stressed the importance of getting to 100 days and then of course he didn’t want to waste his sober days so he carried on.
  • He even had a major wobble at several months in – then discovered that Clare had the same experience. Reading how she regretted giving in to the caving kept him on track.
  • That’s exactly the kind of thing that happens in our community – people reach out because they are tempted or because they feel miserable and someone who is further down the road will always say “when I was at that stage this is what I did” – connecting with people at different stages of the journey is invaluable.
  • We talked about Clare’s inspirational blog – the Obstacle course – and agreed that the worse thing is to fall on and off the wagon.
  • Brent has experienced many benefits during his 3 years of sobriety – mental clarity and more energy to name just two.
  • Saving time is a huge benefit – no longer are we planning the drinking, doing the drinking and recovering from the drinking.
  • The podcast interview we did took place in the morning on one of his days off – he said that normally he would be sleeping but instead he was up and ready to talk to me about sobriety!  As he put it, he was very happy to replace his search for alcohol with a search for knowledge.
  • That got me thinking that the combination of having extra time as well as more energy and creativity explains why many of our community have gone on to develop new interests and connections since they got sober.
  • We did agree that getting sober is like saying goodbye to your best friend and you heard him promise to write a “Goodbye to Alcohol” letter for our website.
  • With a job like his I obviously wasn’t going to let Brent off the hook without getting the inside scoop the drinking habits of todays rock stars.
  • For a long time substance abuse was cool…but now not so much.
  • Brent’s been in the music business for 20 years and these days it’s the “cleanest” it’s ever been.
  • Huge amounts of money are spent on travel, hotels and stadiums so the promoters expect their artists to be well behaved – and of course concert tickets are not cheap these days so the fans want value for their money.
  • A bad performance will live online for ever and can really damage a band’s reputation.
  • There are many sober rock stars these days and their image does not suffer when they ditch the booze. This is such a good trend and many young people may be inspired to follow the example.
  • So according to an article called “the sober rebranding of rock n roll” there are many sober rock stars – here are six: Jennifer Hudson, Elton John, Eminem, Keith Urban, Steven Tyler – and Neil Young.
  • If you have a listen to Tribe Sober podcast episode 68 you can hear the recovery story of punk musician Jon Turner who is in a band called the Petrol Bastards.
  • I ended our conversation by asking Brent what advice he would give to someone wanting to get sober – like many of us he is blown away by the warmth and connection in the recovery world and he simply said: “Find Your People” – do check out tribesober.com as we may be your people and we would love to walk alongside you on this life changing journey.
  • If you’d like copy of our PDF called “30 signs you may have a problem with alcohol” – just email janet@nulltribesober.com.

More info

  • For an affordable monthly subscription you can join Tribe Sober – read about the benefits of membership and sign up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE. Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com

 

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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “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).

88. Sober Short – Get Moving!

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Welcome to our second “Sober Short” – an interim mini podcast to supplement the weekly Tribe Sober podcast.

I’m going to kick off this series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – click here for more info.

Our workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober journey then sign up today.

In this episode

  • Tool number two in our toolbox is exercise – we want you to Get Moving!
  • We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many many people exercise daily but they also drink on a daily basis – sometimes excessively.
  • We seem to have a lot of runners in our tribe – I always remember one lady telling me that she would wake up with a crashing hangover and then she’d force herself out for a run – often with tears running down her face as she felt so awful.
  • These days she is sober and she runs twice as fast and enjoys every moment!
  • There is a growing body of evidence about the benefits from regular exercise which we need to be doing all throughout our lives – not just when we are young.
  • Exercise also has a role to play for people in recovery.
  • On episode  69 of the Tribe Sober podcast you can hear our Yoga Teacher Tamsin explaining how yoga can enable us to reconnect with our bodies in recovery – Tribe members have access to a daily yoga class with Tamsin which is a wonderful start to the day.

But apart from yoga we need a more general exercise regime so lets look at some of the benefits of exercise:

  1. Exercise will release endorphins which relieve stress/anxiety and give you a natural high – just the job in those early days of sobriety when you are feeling a bit flat without the buzz of alcohol
  2. Exercise improves our body image and our mental health – in fact its an essential, unavoidable part of being in good physical and mental health
  3. It also improves self-confidence and self-esteem and is a genuine reward for your body and mind — unlike alcohol, which is more like a punishment.”
  • If we’ve been drinking for years then we will have deep neural pathways marking the habit we have developed – the trick is to replace this unhealthy habit with a healthy habit – and a daily exercise routine does the job perfectly.
  • Stick at it for 66 days and you will have build a whole new neural pathway!
  • My daily habit for decades had been to open a bottle of wine at 6pm – when I quit drinking I simply put on my headphones at 6pm and went walking by the sea for an hour – every.single.day – this not only got me through my “danger hour” but it helped me to build a new healthy habit.
  • Now that I am nearly 7 years sober I still walk at 6pm every evening – not to avoid drinking but just because I love it and have built a new neural pathway –it just doesn’t feel right if I don’t do it!
  • We can feel a bit low in early sobriety and exercise will not only reduce your depression but it can give you a sense of purpose.
  • Have a listen to Tribe Sober podcast number 55 where I talk to Dr Loretta Breuning who explains that we need projects when we are in recovery – working towards a project will trigger our happy brain chemicals and an exercise program fits the bill perfectly.
  • Draw up targets and go a little further each time you run or walk for example – if you lift weights then gradually increase the weights.
  • There is more and more evidence emerging that we must keep exercising as we get older – even if you don’t feel up to running these days then just get walking.  Get a Fitbit and make sure you hit that 10k target every single day.
  • We really have to use it or lose it!
  • If you are middle aged or older, leading a sedentary lifestyle and drinking alcohol then just do these two things and  you will transform your life.
  1. Ditch the Drink!
  2. Exercise Daily!
  • If that sounds impossible then check out tribesober.com and we’ll get you started on this life changing journey!
  • At Tribe Sober our goal is to enable you not only to quit drinking but then to go on and actually THRIVE in your alcohol free life – and we cannot be healthy and thrive if we are not exercising regularly.
  • So that’s your Sober Short for today – Our second Tool from our Sober Toolbox – Get Moving.

If YOU’VE got a favourite tip that you’d like me to share on Sober Shorts then just email it to me janet@nulltribesober.com – or if you’d like to share your exercise routine with us we’d love to hear from you.

And don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast – its full of recovery stories and expert advice– its called Tribe Sober and it comes out every Saturday morning.

More info

  • Subscription membership for Tribe Sober join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE.

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com.

 

 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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “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).

87. Sober Short – Work Your Tribe

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Welcome to our very first “Sober Short” – an interim mini podcast to supplement the weekly Tribe Sober podcast.

I’m going to kick off this series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – click here for more info.

Our workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober journey then sign up today.

In this episode

  • Tool number one in our toolbox is connection…connection is the opposite of addiction.
  • A fact that has been proved by the ratpark experiment way back in the 1960’s.
  • If you haven’t seen Johann Haris fabulous TED talk where he describes this experiment then please check it out here.
  • Once your drinking has crossed a line you need to connect with others on the same path…
  • If you are wondering whether you have crossed this imaginary line then try to drink within the “low risk limits” of one and a half bottles of wine a week – or 6 beers – if you can’t then you probably need to make some changes.
  • Giving up alcohol is a lonely path – it has been completely normalised in our society and the peer pressure is strong…
  • It’s the only drug we need to justify NOT taking so you need to find your people.
  • People like you who understand that “no you cant just drink less, or drink more slowly or have one glass”.
  • People who are or were in exactly the same place so they “get you”.
  • I spent ten long years trying to tackle my drinking problem alone – my attitude was that I’ve got myself into this mess so I’ll get myself out of it – and nobody need be any the wiser.
  • The problem was I had no-one to connect with when I was struggling, nobody to inspire me when I was fed up – nobody to hold me accountable when I fell off the wagon – again and again.
  • Like many women I was ashamed of my little problem – and I was also totally reluctant to let the wine go completely.
  • I thought I would be able to “control” it and drink normally – become a normal drinker!

Of course now I understand that was an impossible dream and if I could give one piece of advice to anyone considering their relationship with alcohol it would be:

  • Don’t waste your time with Moderation Mary as we call her– just ditch the stuff and you will find peace.
  • Admittedly you will have to work out HOW to live without your best friend but that’s where we come in.
  • I’m not the only one who wasted time trying to control an addictive drug – a recent study by the Tempest – 11 years.
  • Always remember that people who CAN moderate just do it – alcohol is not even on their radio and they certainly won’t be listening to this podcast!
  • So if you’re listening to this and you are worried about your drinking then don’t waste 11 years – reach out to someone today.
  • When I finally reached out and got some help I realized that I was not alone, I was not broken, there was nothing wrong with me – I was just one of the 20% of social drinkers who had become dependent over the years.
  • Alcohol is so sneaky, it really creeps up on us – like many women I drank socially during my 20’s and 30s and then began to use it to manage my anxiety and to relax during my 40s and 50s – when drinking alone became one of my favourite occupations!
  • If you want to hear my drinking story and what finally drove me to quit and how I did it then you can hear that on Tribe Sober podcast episode 1.
  • So our first tool in the Tribe Sober toolkit is to find your people.
  • Its SO much easier to find your people these days – 10 years ago we only had AA but now there are many online sober communities, an endless supply of alcohol free drinks and we even have a Sober Magazine – Hola Sober!
  • So find your people and then “work your tribe” – by which we mean stay connected and share your ups and downs.
  • We would love to be your people so do give us a try, for an affordable monthly subscription we offer plenty of support including daily Tribe Chats to enable you to check in and get some extra help if you need it.. – click here for more info.
  • So that’s your Sober Short for today – Top Tool from our Sober Toolbox – work your tribe.
  • Find your people – and stay connected – because connection is the opposite of addiction.
  • If YOU’VE got a favourite tip that you’d like me to share on Sober Shorts then just email it to me janet@nulltribesober.com.
  • Don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast – full of recovery stories, expert advice and plenty of advice – its called Tribe Sober and comes out every Saturday morning.

More info

  • Subscription membership for Tribe Sober join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com

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 7-step program and subscribe HERE.

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com.

 

 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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “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).

86. Sober Short – Building Emotional Strength

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Welcome to our third “Sober Short” – an interim mini podcast to supplement the weekly Tribe Sober podcast.

I’m going to kick off this series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops – click here for more info.

Our workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober journey then sign up today.

In this episode

During the first two Sober Shorts we looked at Tools number one and two in our toolbox.

Tool number 1 was “Connection”

“Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path – and also to connect to yourself.

On episode 69 of the Tribe Sober podcast you can hear our Yoga Teacher Tamsin explaining how yoga can enable us to reconnect with our bodies in recovery – Tribe members have access to a daily yoga class with Tamsin which is a wonderful start to the day.

Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”

We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many many people exercise daily but they also drink on a daily basis – sometimes excessively – ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you get.

Today we are going to look at Tool number 3!

BUILD YOUR EMOTIONAL STRENGTH

  • Our emotional maturity stalls when we start drinking heavily – so I must have been 18 for a long time!
  • If we’ve been numbing our feelings for years we haven’t learned how to deal with the difficult times.
  • It’s a bit of a cliché to say that difficult times are “character building” but they are…they build resilience.
  • Our wonderful coach, Lynette, always tells us that we must “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” and I think that is so true.
  • It’s really hard to do that at first but (to quote Lynette again) – “what’s wrong with hard?”
  • We have to learn to sit with our feelings – not try to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button”.
  • When I was drinking and I felt miserable I would pour myself a glass of bubbly to “perk myself” up – it worked but I usually overdid it and felt even worse the next day!
  • Now that I am sober, life is not all sunshine and roses BUT if I feel miserable I will just take a breath and remind myself that, yes, today is not great but by tomorrow (or certainly the day after) I am going to feel fine again.
  • We need to accept that we were not put on earth to be happy 24/7 whatever our Instagram feed says – the human experience is to deal with the ups and the downs and learn from them if possible.
  • To quote the Victor Frankl – “we are not put on earth to seek pleasure (in spite of what Freud teaches) or to seek power (in spite of Adlers teaching) – we are put on earth to find meaning and purpose in our lives”.
  • And it’s our pain that will lead us to our purpose – I was in a lot of pain during my struggles with alcohol, but I eventually reached out for help which not only led me out of my own addiction but enabled me to find my purpose and help others to change their relationship with alcohol.
  • So instead of numbing out we need to learn to reconnect with ourselves and this is where yoga can play a role – listen to episode 69 with our TS yoga teacher.

We need to learn to be Warriors

  • Glennon Doyle has a brilliant Super Soul podcast – called “First the Pain, then the Rising”.
  • She talks about how alcohol becomes the “Easy Button” which we use to bypass pain – but in fact pain is our greatest teacher and we should embrace it and welcome its power.
  • Emotional pain will build resilience which will enable us to cope with future challenges.
  • The pain may be big but our courage is bigger
  • The journey of the sober warrior is to stop hiding from the pain– instead you need to march straight into the pain

You need your pain

  • “Life is full of pain and anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something”
  • Heartbreak is the greatest teacher of all – don’t use the easy button top to avoid it. Use it as your professor to guide you towards others – and there you will find your purpose. There you find your tribe -nothing bonds people so greatly as having been through the same struggle – that is the magic of the recovery movement.
  • Our collective pain is becoming our collective power as we learn to thrive in our alcohol-free lives and call out Big Alcohol and its marketing…
  • Pain will connect us to our purpose – and our tribe.
  • Thinking of Tribe Sober for a moment – many of our members have been brought very low with their struggles with alcohol – when they finally reached out to us and stopped drinking they were certainly in pain. But by connecting with others in the same situation they were able to learn how to use that pain to grow – and to discover their purpose.

First our pain – then our rising

  • Quote from Glennon Doyle  “the willingness to dwell in our discomfort and truly listen is how we turn our pain into power”.
  • So that’s the Sober Short for today – Our Third Tool from our Sober Toolbox – Build your emotional strength.

If YOU’VE got a favourite tip that you’d like me to share on Sober Shorts then just email it to me janet@nulltribesober.com.

And don’t forget to check out our weekly podcast – its full of recovery stories and expert advice– its called Tribe Sober and it comes out every Saturday morning.

More info

  • Join Tribe Sober and learn how to quit drinking and go on to thrive in your alcohol free life  – you can join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com.

 

 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 for instructions – we’ll send you something special to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning and a Sober Short on Wednesdays

You can follow Tribe Sober on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “Tribe Sober”) 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).

 

 

South Africans Drink a Lot!

In this blog, I am looking briefly at South Africa and the drinking that we do here. I am very interested in the constantly changing face of our drinkers. I know that many South Africans drink, of all races, cultures, and social status quos. Both rich and poor drink to enjoy and to escape. And they all  live in all provinces of our country.

I invite you to read the blog and then please comment on your understanding or knowledge of our drinking: what culture are you? Do you, or did you, like drinking and what is, or was, your drink of choice? I am a white South African who grew up during Apartheid, so my view of life is completely different from a black South African who grew up in the same era.

I would love to hear your stories!

South Africans Drink a Lot

In fact, we drink so much that we are winning all the drinking prizes globally. We scored 5th highest in the world for our alcohol consumption rate in 2016, after Namibia, Eswatini, Cook Islands and Tunisia. This, despite two-thirds of our people not drinking at all!

As if that is not enough, South Africans are known as heavy or binge drinkers. Our drinkers drink a lot at one sitting – so even if two-thirds of our population does not drink the other third drinks a lot per day. Apparently, in 2016, South Africa was a beer-drinking nation, followed by wine and spirits.

These stats cut across all social classes and all race groups. I know that in South Africa no one likes to talk about race, but it is fascinating to notice that as people earn more money and gain more status, so too do their drinking habits change.

Wine Beat Coffee in 2019

Then, in 2019, South Africans were more into wine than coffee. But the beer was always the winner. Spirit coolers were loved by the young and trendy while whiskey followed the wine in popularity. South Africans preferred red wine compared to white wine in 2019.

It is now 2022, and we can look at post-pandemic drinking: there is talk now of a swing towards more quality and fewer calories in the drinking world of South Africa. According to those in the know, drinkers are leaning towards spirits, especially traditionally brewed whiskeys, and gins. Tequila is in!

Apparently, South Africans will spend more on alcohol this year due to the restrictions imposed during our lockdowns. The new group of calorie-conscious drinkers want to find the balance between drinking and watching their health in terms of weight, appearance and overall health and well-being.

These are probably what we would call the sober curious crowd. They do not want to get drunk and are attracted to the new herbal options on the market these days – botanicals that have so-called therapeutic qualities. These stats apply to South Africans who can afford alcohol!

But where is all this drinking news taking us? Aha! South Africans drink a lot! Too much it seems. The worst effect of our alcohol consumption is the violence it causes. It also causes a huge drain on medical resources as drinkers suffer violent deaths in car crashes, fights, and other accidents. They also develop numerous health problems, often leading to terminal illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, liver failure and diabetes, not to mention Alzheimer’s and dementia.

But you know all this. Research that came out last year highlights the fact that richer South Africans drink more constantly than poorer South Africans and the poor tend to binge drink more. The paper reveals that more male, African men tend to binge drink and the rise in drinking generally in South Africa is not surprising.

 “Research suggests that one of the factors responsible for increases in alcohol consumption in Africa is the aggressive marketing strategies adopted by the alcohol industry …. For instance, alcohol industries create new products such as the ready to drink beverages (RTDs) to attract new consumers (especially young people and women). Among other things, they are promoting drinking as a tradition and part of the culture, sponsoring sports events and celebrities to create the image that drinking alcohol is “cool” and suggesting alcohol is “good for health”….

Why do South Africans Binge Drink?

Research shows that we have a long history of social abuse and inequalities in our country. We are now dealing with the legacy of Apartheid, general suppression of people, the “dop” system in the wine-growing areas, the social issue of broken families because men went to work in mines, on farms and away from their loved ones thanks to the migrant labour system. Alcohol drinking became a covert behaviour when the sale of commercial alcohol was banned to Black South Africans for 60 years!

“But there are also many contemporary reasons for excessive drinking. Poverty, depression and hopelessness coupled with a lack of social, and recreational opportunities in many communities (apart from shebeens and taverns), drive a culture of drinking. The availability of alcohol in inner-city areas which allow trading in liquor till 4 am also creates an environment of “alcohol on tap”. “

Another factor for all the drinking South Africans do is the bigger picture: people are getting away with the illegal sale of alcohol and this is not being regulated. People drink and drive all the time and are not being punished for this. Youngsters drink and it is not regulated.

On the other side of the coin, alcohol is associated with success, with glamour, with fitting in and with being cool. A lot of the onus lies on the advertising and communications industries working in cahoots with the alcohol industry to score points and corrupt our people.

Alcohol is cheap, it is deliberately attractive to our youth and a lot of alcohol is sold in large quantities such as the 5-litre wine box and 750 ml beer bottles. When someone develops a problem with drinking, there is very little access to a clinic or a counsellor or help because these centres are mainly city-based, not rural.

Who Drinks Where and What?

Many up-and-coming South Africans meet in bars and pubs after work and drink together. The stigma of NOT drinking is huge in these areas. And binge drinking is the thing.

On the other hand, the crowd who chooses the herbal botanicals and alcohol-free gins are also trendy and less judgmental of the non-drinkers. They don’t want to get drunk and disorderly but want to be out there, having a drink and enjoying their relaxation.

I am very interested to know more about the cultures that drink a lot in South Africa and who are reaching out for help? Is it mainly white people, black and brown people or a whole blend of us all? I ask this openly and not critically. Think about your own drinking: no matter your race, your history, your class. When did YOU start drinking and WHY did you start drinking? Is it a recent thing with you or did your parents drink so alcohol was normalised? Let’s hear from you! If you live in another country, please still share your story, I am truly interested.

How do you feel about the way that alcohol is advertised? The billboards constantly force us to notice successful beautiful people sipping a choice of wine or gin. The ads on television promote FOMO (the fear of missing out) and entice young people to just try one.

Alcohol is promoted as a lifestyle choice and is associated with success, glamour and social acceptance.

In Conclusion

Alcohol is part and parcel of being a South African. This report states that “Ever since wine was first produced in the Cape Colony in the 17th century, alcohol has played an important role in South Africa’s history, culture, politics and economy. South Africa has a large and powerful alcohol industry with global reach. The industry employs large numbers of people in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy.”

I look forward to hearing from you if you are a South African who drinks or who drank. And if you are NOT South African, send in your share anyway. Let’s share our stories and find out who drinks and why.

Meanwhile take a listen to this podcast and read this blog.

 

85. Alcohol Explained – to the French! with Stacy Leshner

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

Quite a few people in our tribe found their way to us after hearing me chat to the fabulous William Porter on his Friday Night Live spot which you can see HERE.

I met this week’s podcast guest when I was hanging out on the Alcohol Explained Facebook group – Stacy is a moderator on that group.

The French have a reputation for being “moderate drinkers” but that is actually a bit of a myth – they come in at number 11 on a global league table for heavy drinking with UK and SA coming in below!

Stacy lives in France and works with William Porter – she’s been helping him to promote the French version of Alcohol Explained and also runs an IG group called “Alcohol Explique” so if you are French or living in France please follow her

Stacy has also helped William to create his online course and now she is helping me to put our workshops online.

In this episode

  • Stacy is only 34 years old so her Drinking Career was not that long – but it was intense.
  • She grew up in the US where the legal drinking age is 21 so when she spent a semester of her university course in France she found herself with unlimited access to booze.
  • Stacy began drinking with enthusiasm – no doubt heady with the combination of leaving home in the US and being free to drink as much as she wanted to.
  • Drinking was certainly normalised in her college crowd but she accepts she was one of the “heavier” drinkers.
  • As her contemporaries graduated and transitioned into grown up life, many of them drank less – but not Staci! That’s when she realised that she had become dependent.
  • That’s what happens for many of us – we don’t even realise the extent of our dependency until we try to cut down – alcohol is insidious and we need to watch out for red flags.

If you are not sure what a red flag is then you need a copy of our PDF called “30 signs you may have a problem with alcohol” – just email janet@nulltribesober.com to get a copy.

  • Stacy eventually got a job as a part-time teacher in France which left her with plenty of free time – for drinking.
  • Her drinking ramped up and she found herself setting (and breaking) rules around her drinking.
  • She also googled “am I an alcoholic” although of course she knew the answer!
  • Her drinking sent her anxiety sky high until one day she had a melt-down – her doctor put her on antidepressants but as she was still drinking they made no difference.
  • Like many of us, Stacy had no “off” switch and she would drink until she blacked out – one day turning up for her waitressing job blackout drunk – unsurprisingly she got fired on the spot!
  • She went to her doctor who told her she must take a 3-week break from alcohol and if she could do that then she was ok – so she white-knuckled her 3 weeks (with the help of Xanax which her doctor had given her).
  • And went back to drinking – she explained that having a drinking problem in France is “complicated”.
  • You are either an “alcoholic” or you are fine – a well-dressed professional woman just did not meet the stereotype of an “Alcoholic”.
  • Looking back on her drinking she realised it got worse and worse over a period of 9 years.
  • That’s the thing with alcohol dependence – once you’ve crossed a line with your drinking it will never get “better” – it’s a bit like being in an elevator when the only way it goes is down.
  • That’s why moderation is not an option for many of us – we just have to ditch the stuff and learn to enjoy our alcohol-free lives.
  • Stacy was waiting for a sign – waiting for a rock bottom and it came during lockdown.
  • The bars were closed and she was working from home – so she stocked up on wine boxes and got stuck in – her weekends became a black hole of drinking and blacking out.
  • One day she was having coffee with a friend who recommended a couple of books – AE and Naked Mind.
  • She read Alcohol Explained by William Porter and it literally changed everything – something clicked for Stacy and she knew she was done with drinking.
  • Everything feel into place for her – she began to join the dots and realised that her sleeping problem, her anxiety and her chronic lack of energy was all linked to her heavy drinking.
  • Education is key to this journey – once we realise the extent of the damage our drinking is doing we feel less and less inclined to drink.
  • When people join Tribe Sober we urge them to visit out Amazon bookstore on the website and get stuck into the quitlit (including AE of course!) – reading quitlit and listening to podcasts is a real education – many people have NO idea just how much harm alcohol does.
  • They have no idea that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
  • Even if alcohol doesn’t destroy our health it will certainly prevent us from reaching our potential.
  • When Stacy got sober she finally got in touch with her emotions and realised that her 9-year relationship with her partner was no longer right for her.
  • We find that in our community – once people get sober it’s as if the mist has cleared and they can see what they really want – I’m sure my colleague here at Tribe Sober won’t mind me saying that sobriety gave her the courage to get divorced in her early sixties and now she is SO much happier!
  • When Stacy looks back she realises that she came very close to losing everything – by the time she decided to stop drinking she was no longer working so she would have been able to drink all day long – every day – a narrow escape indeed!
  • Like many of us, Stacy was blown away by the warmth and connection within the recovery community and the existence of what she calls “Sober Land”.
  • As she says “When we unplug from the matrix of drinking we discover joy and colour and get a chance to discover who we really are”.
  • Stacy is on a mission to help French people to get sober – currently sobriety has negative associations and AA is seen as the only route.
  • Stacy has been collaborating with William Porter to launch Alcohol Explained in France and Stacy now has an IG group called Alcohol Explique – if you are French or living in France please follow her and participate!
  • There are signs that things are changing in France – the sobriety movement is in its infancy but there have been a couple of books written by high powered women who have overcome their drinking problem and gone public – and Staci herself was featured in a documentary about the topic.

So, I must end this podcast by giving a huge shout-out to William Porter – not only does he hold down a full time job as a lawyer but he’s managed to write two books (Alcohol Explained – 1 and 2), start up a hugely successful FB group called Alcohol Explained – and with Stacy’s help he’s now launched his online course which you can access by going to his website HERE.

Please have a listen to my podcast interview with William Porter which is one of our most popular ones – Tribe Sober episode 50.

And don’t forget to check out Stacy’s IG group alcohol explique if you are French speaking!

More info

  • Subscription membership for Tribe Sober is just R85 (£4/$6/$8AUS) a month – you can join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE.

Book a Chat with Sue to find out if our membership would help you – email her on membership@nulltribesober.com

 

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Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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The Pros and Cons of Moderating

 

What is moderating and are there pros and cons to moderating? When we talk about moderating in the drinking sense, we talk about slowing down and taking stock of our drinking. Usually, when a drinker decides to moderate, it coincides with their drinking too much. And, usually, when a drinker is drinking too much, they are feeling a bit of guilt, a bit of shame, and a bit ikky about their health and fitness-wise.

So, they decide that instead of ditching the booze, they will rather moderate. Most people who decide to try moderation fail and this is simply because the people who decide to moderate are the people who are drinking too much and who just cannot moderate. They need to get professional help or stop drinking. Usually.

Moderation is a Choice – Or is It?

There have, however, been people who have slowed down their drinking to be moderate. This means that they only drink the stipulated amounts of alcohol that are recommended before health issues creep in.

How did you stop drinking? Did you try to moderate? Did you realize that you simply could not moderate? The drinkers who realise that they simply cannot moderate are the ones who usually have a drinking problem. That is not to say that they are alcoholics.

Grey Area Drinking

We live in the day and age of grey area drinking: alcoholism (dependence on alcohol)– alcohol use disorder (uncontrolled drinking) – drinking problem – moderation (trying to control drinking) – sober curiosity (taking periods of sobriety in between the drinking) – sobriety (no more drinking) – teetotaller (never was interested in drinking anyway).

If you see yourself anywhere on this graph, then take note. There are very fine lines between all the steps – and drinkers will always try to justify where they are in their drinking. The worst part is, however, that drinking does not taper off, it picks up speed. If you think you are a moderator, great.

But if you are stuck on the thoughts of moderating and tend to be consumed by drinking and stopping-starting drinking and when to stop and when to start and how much you are drinking and how much guilt or shame you are feeling when do you do drink, then the chances are that you do have a drinking problem.

A Drinking Problem vs Alcoholism

From here, it gets worse. Your reliance on alcohol deepens as your brain needs more and more of that dopamine rush so you tend to consume more yet think you are fine and not getting drunk. Meanwhile, you are forgetting things, telling your partner the same stories over and over, and dropping a few balls at work. You think you are fine but the sober people around you are totally aware of your drinking and what you are doing. Pouring glass after glass of alcohol, drinking it like cooldrink, staggering off to bed after 11 pm at night because you wanted to stay up and watch a film or read a book or listen to a podcast but meanwhile you wanted to drink more.

David DiSalvo puts it just so in Forbes: “By jacking up dopamine levels in your brain, alcohol tricks you into thinking that it’s actually making you feel great (or maybe just better, if you are drinking to get over something emotionally difficult).  The effect is that you keep drinking to get more dopamine release, but at the same time you’re altering other brain chemicals that are enhancing feelings of depression.”

Did you know that most people drink for two reasons?

  1. To enhance the positive effects in their lives – to have more fun socially and to feel more joy emotionally.
  2. To decrease negative effects in their lives – trying to deal with too much work, not enough time for hobbies and relaxing, a bossy partner, too much going on with the kids, not enough money, the weather, the traffic, the in-laws, you name it.

Drinking to enhance positive effects in life is just an excuse to feel high all the time and why would you need to feel this anyway? Life is a yin and yang process of feeling the joy, feeling the sadness, feeling the contentment, feeling the pain – it comes in waves, and the more we “suffer”, the higher the lighter feelings of joy become.

Drinking to cope is a minefield of digging a mine – pull into the bottle store after a shitty day at work, it will help. Pour a stiff whiskey when the wife is rude to you, it helps. Pull into the pub after work because your boss was anal today, it helps. Pour a glass of wine with dinner because hey, that is what we do, and the budget is shot, and the kids are fighting. There are endless excuses for the reasons to drink.

According to the European Journal of Public Health, “Drinking based on these decision strategies is associated with higher alcohol consumption than drinking merely from social motives, which has been linked to moderate consumption.”

The Stages of Change

Again, the stages of change come into play. Please re-read this blog about the stages of change as they are very real in the decisions that drinkers take around drinking. I am going to have a drink today because it is Friday, it is Wednesday, it is hot, it is cold, I am happy, I am sad, I got caught in a traffic jam, my partner is grumpy, I have no money…

The drinker who says that they can moderate often vacillates between the decisions to drink and the decisions to not drink. There is conflict in the thinking. What can I gain if I drink? What will I lose if I drink?

The lizard brain is trying to dominate the heart and soul. This podcast will tell you more about your lizard brain which can sabotage your good work and lead you away from sobriety into a life of trying to moderate and then drinking too much anyway.

It is fascinating to note that when a drinker takes a break from consuming alcohol, their health immediately benefits. Their thought processes immediately benefit and that conflict in the head decreases and even disappears. There is no longer that issue of the drinking to fight over within your head. When you don’t drink you are on a new path to do things differently and to feel good. When sober, you argue for the sobriety and not for the alcohol, so the goalposts move.

Where Does the Urge to Moderate Fit In?

Picture your own life. You are probably reading this because you are worried about your own drinking, or you know someone who drinks, or you are newly sober. You like drinking because you feel more outgoing, and you fit in when you go out and everyone else drinks anyway.

When you drink, you feel relaxed and on top of things and you feel happier and funnier and less alone, right? All these reasons are simply your lizard brain justifying your drinking behaviour. They are all untrue, of course. Alcohol is poison. Full stop.

The moderator will always be consciously weighing up the pros and cons of their moderating. Is it working for me? Should I just go all out on Friday as my friends are celebrating? Should I just start again on Monday with one drink a day, as today I feel like 4 drinks?

What do the journals say about moderation? Is it possible or is it just a farce? The latest research tells us that alcohol causes cancer, even low levels of drinking can cause cancer, yes. Many people do not drink every day. They moderate. But every time you drink, you top up. You can never just go back to day one. You top up and keep topping up and eventually, the wine bottle is done in one sitting and the whiskey bottle is empty on a Monday morning, say what?! But you feel OK and that is weird. Go back to learning about dopamine and alcohol.

Alcohol is Unhealthy

Every country has its own guidelines around moderate drinking: how many units of alcohol a week is considered to be safe. In South Africa, it is recommended that 14 units of alcohol a week is the limit, and remember that ONE wine glass is already TWO units! So that means, one glass of wine a day is the limit! Some moderators will pile these glasses into one night or a weekend and have 3 to 4 a day. This, in reality, becomes binge drinking and binge drinking is another drinking issue completely!

A fact sheet written by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “While some studies have found improved health outcomes among moderate drinkers, it’s impossible to conclude whether these improved outcomes are due to moderate alcohol consumption or other differences in behaviors or genetics between people who drink moderately and people who don’t.”

It is very possible that problem drinkers decide to moderate. It works for some, and it does not work for others. A problem drinker is defined as someone who does not drink every day but who likes to drink and may not have that off switch that non-drinkers have.

In most countries, programs that deal with alcoholism are directed at people who are dependent on alcohol, and not on problem drinkers. Problem drinkers can hide behind their problem until it affects the people around them and they need to get help. Often, the type of help at the AA or other institutions does not serve a problem drinker. That is when Tribe Sober and other sober groups come to the fore and assist these people.

The first step to take is to decide: can I moderate or not? Then reach out and tell someone you are going to moderate. It is often a good idea to join a sober group and to reach out to people just like you. You will find similar people who have tried moderation. This is your life, and you need to find out what works for you. Good luck.

 

84. Take a Break from the Booze – Part 4

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

We created TS because we believe it’s really hard to change your drinking habits alone – so at TS we are all about community so on this weeks podcast we are featuring 2 ladies who signed up for our Sober Spring Challenge.

At the time of recording we are in late January but if you are up for taking a break then just sign up for our January Challenge which is open until 31st Jan – for a small donation to a good cause we offer community and online support for an alcohol free month.

We’ve currently got 115 people going through the Challenge so sign up today and join the fun –they are chatting away all day long on their WhatsApp group – sharings their journey and passing on tips.

Just go to tribesober.com and hit January challenge. If you’re listening to this after January then just go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe” and we’ll put you on our 30 day starter challenge.

So lets have a listen to two Sober Springers reporting back on how it felt to take a break from the booze.

In this episode

First up we have Lindy who managed an awesome 66 out of 66 for her sober spring challenge. It struck me the other day that just as alcohol dependence is “progressive” so is sobriety if you give it a chance.

Jo is a pretty good example – when she signed up for her first Sober Spring 3 years ago, she was not even thinking about giving up drinking for good, but by her third SS she had decided that sobriety was for her. The annual SS challenges have been getting easier and easier for Jo and she came to the conclusion that alcohol-free living has a lot to offer.

So lets pull together a few TIPS from our ladies…

Lindy’s tip of having mini-goals is a great one.  The F (forever) word is just too scary in the early days – so take it in small steps – 30 days, 66 days, 100 days, 6 months and then a year. Once you’ve hit that one year milestone its very unlikely you’ll want to go back. Have a listen to episode 15 of the Tribe Sober podcast to listen to Kai who did our very first SS Challenge, implemented the mini-goal approach and is still sober to this day.

When Lindy found herself needing a drink every night she was aware that it was a red flag – its an important tip to be aware of the signs that you may be becoming dependent so talking of red flags why not get a copy of our PDF? It’s called “30 Signs you may Have a Problem with Alcohol” – just email janet@nulltribesober.com and I’ll send you one.

Apart from keeping an eye open for red flags CHECK YOUR DEPENDENCE – just as we have an annual medical check up we should check our alcohol dependence regularly – I’m always encouraging people to sign up for our challenges to test their dependency as 20% of social drinkers will become dependent over the years. Jo has been cleverly monitoring her relationship with alcohol by signing up for the SSC every year – and very happily noticing that it was becoming easier and easier until she finally decided to go alcohol free permanently.

BENEFITS

Lindy no longer feels bloated and those late night cheese binges after a few glasses of wine are no more. Lindy loves feeling alert and energised every single day but the real gamechanger for her was that her level of anxiety has plummeted.

Jo has progressed from someone who didn’t even consider giving up drinking to someone who is embracing her alcohol-free lifestyle with enthusiasm. This was a three year journey which proves that the trick is to keep at it!

If you enjoyed this episode then you can hear another 8 conversations about the power of taking a break from the booze by listening to episodes 75, 76 and 79.

Don’t forget to follow us and share the podcast   –   and we would be SO grateful if you would leave us a review.

Take a screenshot of your review and email it to janet@nulltribesober.com – we’ll read it out on the show and send you something nice to say thank you!

We release a podcast episode every Saturday morning.

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

You can watch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11 am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

 

9 Tips to Start a Conversation with your Partner about their Drinking

 

Your partner drinks and you think they should quit – how do you talk about this? It could just be that your partner’s drinking is a cry for help.

“No one approached me, and I wish they had,” are the words of a secret drinker. A mother who had a secret – she hid her drinking from her kids, her husband, her parents.

“I was so ashamed,” says this mother, friend, daughter, lover. A normal person, just like you and me. What if she is your partner? You never broached the subject about their drinking because you did not know how to. How do you do this anyway, without causing denial, anger, sadness, and shame?

So, your partner drinks and you think they should quit. But you don’t know how to talk to them about their drinking. You think that their alcohol consumption is unsustainable. But this is entirely your opinion and perception. Their perception and opinion could be something completely different.

Tips to Prepare for a Conversation About Your Partner’s Drinking

Let’s look at some steps to get ready for a discussion or conversation with your partner about their drinking.

  1. Look firstly at your own feelings. Maybe the reason you find your partner’s drinking so triggering is that you too had a problem. You have stopped drinking; you have been there and done that. Now, your partner’s drinking has become a bit of an issue for you.

The latest literature concerning drinking alcohol clearly states that no amount is good for you, not even that one glass of wine a night that you thought was good for your heart. That was just the alcohol companies having a blast with your addiction levels.

In some partnerships, the one partner just never drank or both partners used to drink together until one stopped. Maybe your own partner pointed out your drinking problem to you and that is what made you stop? Now they too have a problem! How do you start a conversation with your partner about what you perceive to be a problem?

There is that school of thought that says, “leave it be, that this is their problem, not yours”. But if their problem is impacting on your relationship with them, or the children, or their work, or just the general vibe, surely it is your right to say something?

It Can Be Overwhelming to Talk about Your Partner’s Drinking

It can feel very draining to know how to tackle something so personal. Something that maybe you also went through. There is the chance that you add fuel to the fire when you do bring up your partner’s drinking. They may not see it as a problem and will be in denial and will be angry. Discomfort causes emotions of anger and resentment. Discomfort is revealing too – why do we feel it and what do we need to change? On the other hand, there is the chance that your partner will feel grateful that you noticed and intervened.

  1. It is very important to first create a safe space. Your partner should feel held and comfortable enough to be able to share and speak out. They need to feel free and non-judged and they want to feel as if they are that someone who is just living life as best as they know how to.
  2. Choose a time and a place and leave the judgment behind. Fill your heart with compassion and kindness before you begin. You may well be an ex-drinker yourself, so you know what it feels like to have to ditch the booze.

Many people who have to ditch the booze also have to acknowledge that they have a problem with alcohol. They feel ashamed and guilty – even dirty. This means that your topic is a very sensitive one. Remember this when you tackle the subject with your partner.

  1. A good idea is to read the latest data and research about alcohol intake and abuse, the health impacts, and the truth. This way you have a backup reasoning argument if things get crazy out there (denial and anger). Be aware that a drinker goes through several stages of change before they reach that place of no return.
  2. Remember to do your research into your partner’s life and what is going down. Is there more work stress? Is he/she eating well, sleeping well, staying up late, or battling to get out of bed in the mornings? Have they lost weight/put on weight? Are they doing any self-care or neglecting this part of their lives? Is he/she seeing friends and family or becoming isolated?
  3. Ask your partner about their understanding or perceptions about alcohol. Do they think they are actually enjoying drinking alone or do they realize its deathly toxicity? Are they just on the downward spiral and think they are fine, but know deep down inside they are not fine?
  4. The best way to find all of this out is to be non-confrontational and kind. Don’t approach the chat from an “I know best” perspective but go in with an open book. Use open-ended questions to have a kind, understanding chat. It may be that you are feeling hurt by the drinking and maybe there has been anger to the point of verbal and physical abuse. If so, be careful to have this conversation when your partner is sober and has not yet reached for his/her daily tipple.
  5. Take care of your own body language, voice and tone, and attitude to the drinking. If you were there once, be kind. If you have no idea what it feels like because you are simply not a drinker, be aware that people who are all-or-nothing people have many different things to deal with and the brain is the largest obstacle on their path.

The conversation will steer itself and you will find a lot of emotions emerging that are hard to deal with – your own emotions and opinions about alcohol and how you see your partner’s relationship with alcohol vs how they see it. There may be tears and anger and shouting. The way you approach the subject will decide how many emotions are revealed and erupt or not.

  1. If things are going well, ask your partner how you can assist them. You can offer to just be there or to help them change their habits and start new rituals, to get help if that is what they need. Often, the person who is the drinker just wants to be left alone and to try and do it alone. That was me. I did it alone and when anyone offered me help or suggested that I try this activity and that hobby, I shut them out as this was my path alone.

Hello Sunday Morning makes these great suggestions for conversation starters:

‘I’ve noticed you’ve been feeling tired lately, are you OK?’

‘I know you’ve gone through a difficult time lately; I just want to see how you are holding up and if you have ways to cope?’

‘I want to talk about something that’s been worrying me recently, is there a good time we can chat?’

At Tribe Sober, we always talk about doing the work. That’s because it is ok to quit the alcohol but then the big steps start and the perseverance, the obstacles that come along to trip you up. My biggest obstacles were resenting others who drank and the girls’ nights and the jokes about alcohol by women and moms. I was worried about what people thought and how I would look and feel in a social situation! The stigma around giving up alcohol is real. It is how you navigate this that counts! You matter, you can do it and you can rise up above those who drink and laugh about it!

Stopping drinking is also about identifying triggers and how to survive them and conquer them. These general tips for helping someone are extremely useful! In a nutshell:

  1. Listen – check in with your partner, listen to them if they need to talk. If they are not ready to talk, just be there.
  2. Socialise with them- encourage them to do non-alcoholic activities like exercise, creativity, and online course. Join them or encourage them to do it alone.
  3. Support them – they may not appreciate you pushing them around so just use kind words.

Remember that many people simply do NOT want to stop drinking. So you may have to get your own help in the form of your own therapy or just get on with your own life as best you can, setting the sober happy healthy example.

The Stages of Drinking and Knowing, Towards Change

Now we can recap our own stages of change that we use at Tribe Sober. Try to establish the level that your drinking partner is on now. Then you will know where to go from there. These steps can be printed out for your partner or just refer to them yourself if you are the support base:

 Stage 1: Precontemplation stage

You have no intention of quitting drinking, or you don’t believe that you can or should. You don’t think that you have a problem, or you think that you can successfully moderate your alcohol intake.

Toolkit: Start becoming sober curious and listening to your instinct

Connection: connect to groups such as Tribe Sober and connect with others on all Tribe Sober platforms

Knowledge: Find out more about alcohol and its effects on your health

Observe: Take note of the positive changes you see in others who have ditched the drink

 Stage 2: Contemplation stage

You are aware that you have a problem with alcohol, and you are thinking about ditching the drink.

Toolkit: Move toward making the decision to ditch the drink

Observation: Take note of your drinking conduct and the negative effects it’s having on your health and other areas of your life. Keep a log or a journal.

Connection: Connect with others on the different Tribe Sober platforms.

Knowledge: Find out more about what to expect when you quit drinking and the amazing domino effect that doing this can have on other areas of your life

Change your mindset: Move from ‘I should quit drinking’ to ‘I want to quit drinking’.

Commitment: Make the decision to quit drinking and set a realistic goal.

Stage 3: Preparation stage

You have decided to ditch the drink and have  set a realistic goal, so do some preparation.

Toolkit: Practical steps to take

  • Set a quit date. Print your tracker. Download an app to count your sober days, get motivational messages and see how much money you are saving
  • Attend a workshop and/or book a coaching session
  • See your doctor if you’re worried about experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about vitamins you can take
  • Know your triggers: Write a list of things that are likely to trigger cravings or emotions
  • Coping with cravings: Write a list of things that you can do to cope with a craving
  • Stock up on alcohol-free drinks or other alternatives
  • You may crave sugar so stock up on some sweet snacks (ideally healthy ones)
  • Write a blacklist (list of all the things you regret doing when drinking)
  • Decide what you will tell people if they ask you why you aren’t drinking
  • Buy another journal – you’ll need it 😊

Remember to keep connecting with others and gaining as much knowledge as you can.

 Stage 4: Action stage

You’ve changed your behaviour – ditched the drink!

Toolkit: Keep connected, look after yourself, use your tools and add to them if needed

Connection: Keep connected with the Tribe Sober members on the different platforms

Self-care: Take it one hour/day/week at a time. Look after yourself – lots of self-care

Tools: Keeping track of your progress on your tracker, journal writing, reading your blacklist, playing the movie forward using your coping with cravings list, updating your toolkit if needed, reward yourself.

Knowledge: Keep listening to podcasts, Facebook Live, and reading Quit lit.

 Stage 5: Maintenance stage

You’re working on staying alcohol-free and resisting the temptation to drink again. Research shows that it takes 66 days to create a new neural pathway. Personal growth as you move forwards in your alcohol-free life. Thrive as you develop a deeper understanding of yourself, your relationship with alcohol, and other issues in your life.

Toolkit: Resisting temptation, tools to help you thrive in your alcohol-free life

Resisting temptation: Read your blacklist, play the movie forward, have alcohol-free alternatives available, plan ahead for situations where you know there will be alcohol available or that you strongly associate with drinking, keep your tracker up to date and share it on the group to stay accountable. Get the support of a sober buddy

Changing your relationship with alcohol: Identifying and overturning your limiting beliefs about alcohol, celebrating your sober firsts, writing your goodbye to alcohol letter

Knowledge: Keep listening to podcasts, Facebook Live, and reading Quit lit

New activities: This is a good time to start a new activity/hobby/project/venture

Personal growth: You may find that new thoughts and feelings emerge for you.  Journal writing or seeing a psychologist, counsellor or life coach will be beneficial.

Paying it forward: 1) Staying connected and sharing your story, progress and achievements can be inspiring to members who are thinking about quitting. 2) Consider becoming a sober buddy.

 

If you are considering starting a conversation with your partner about their drinking, take heed of the above advice. Well done in caring so much for them that you want to help. Tribe Sober is here for advice, workshops and more in a warm, connecting space.

83. Take a Break from Booze – Part 3

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

We created TS because we believe it’s really hard to change your drinking habits alone – so at TS we are all about community so on this weeks podcast we are featuring 2 ladies who signed up for our Sober Spring Challenge.

At the time of recording, we are in late January but if you are up for taking a break then just sign up for our January Challenge which is open until 31st Jan – for a small donation to a good cause we offer community and online support for an alcohol free month.

We’ve currently got 115 people going through the Challenge so sign up today and join the fun –they are chatting away all day long on their WhatsApp group – sharing their journeys and passing on tips.

Just go to tribesober.com and hit January Challenge.

If you’re listening to this after January, then just go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe” and we’ll put you on our 30-day starter challenge.

In this episode

  • Every year we do a Sober Spring Challenge – 66 alcohol-free days – two of our Sober Springer are sharing their experiences.
  • Our first Sober Springer is Roz, a Brit living in Spain.  Roz drank for decades but once she joined the tribe – she stopped and never went back. “Tribe Sober is my family” she says.
  • Our second Sober Springer is Annick from Belguim – she also found that “connection is the opposite of addiction” and the WhatsApp group kept her on track.  Her first 30 days were tough but by Day 80 she was flying!
  • After helping hundreds of people to get sober I am convinced that this doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle.  It involves giving it your all for the first 6 months when you are basically concentrating on “not drinking” and learning as much as you can.  The rest of that first year is about learning to navigate our alcohol-drenched society, developing  new interests and learning to thrive in your alcohol-free life.
  • Like many women, Annick was quite health conscious– she ate healthy foods and did yoga – but she drank.  For so many of us, alcohol is the missing part of the puzzle – so many of us are filled with fear and reluctant to let it go.  All we can tell you from the other side is that you will GAIN so much more than you will lose if you ditch the drink!
  • Your drinking isn’t a PROBLEM – it’s actually giving you an OPPORTUNITY – to ditch the stuff and open up your life – that’s a valuable reframe by Tribe Member Lucy!
  • Talking of Lucy, Annick referred to our “Why” exercise which was designed by Lucy and has helped SO many of our members – if you’d like a copy just drop a line to janet@nulltribesober.com and I’ll send it to you.

A few tips and benefits from my conversations with Roz and Annick

  • Find a community – you heard Roz say that TS has become her family and Annick said the WhatsApp group helped her to feel less alone. It’s so important to realise that we are not alone in this struggle – we are not broken, we are not diseased. We just got addicted to an addictive substance like 20% of social drinkers do – every single year. “Connection is the opposite of addiction” so find your people – maybe we are your people. Go to ts.com and hit “join our tribe” and find out more about the support we offer.
  • Annick got to the point where moderation no longer crossed her mind. This is a huge step – when we accept that we can never drink alcohol we find peace.  Admittedly we have some work to do to change our habits but it’s entirely possible and so worthwhile.  Always remember that people who moderate just moderate – alcohol is not even on their radar. If you are listening to this you probably can’t moderate or you wouldn’t find it interesting.
  • Final tip is to give it your all. Ros and Annick really “threw” the book at their sobriety – Ros checked the community messages first thing in the morning and last thing at night, attended all the Zoom meetings, listened to the podcasts and read the quitlit.  Annick even listened to the podcasts twice!  Give it your all and get this sobriety thing nailed within six months – then work on thriving in your alcohol-free life and you will never look back!

Let’s end with a couple of the many benefits that emerged from those conversations:

  • Ros sleeps well, wakes up happy and has lost weight without even trying!  She’s just had her 71st birthday and says that sobriety is the best birthday present ever!
  • Annick has boundless energy and “joie de vivre” and relates to the title of Catherine Grays book – “The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober” – like me she had absolutely no idea that sobriety could be full of joy!

If you enjoyed this episode, then you can hear another 6 conversations about the power of taking a break from the booze by listening to episodes 75 and 76.

This week we have a PDF to give away – its called “30 Signs you may have a Problem with Alcohol” – just email janet@nulltribesober.com if you’d like a copy.

Don’t forget to follow us and share the podcast   –   and we would be SO grateful if you would leave us a review.

Take a screenshot of your review and email it to janet@nulltribesober.com – we’ll read it out on the show and send you something nice to say thank you!

  • It’s still January as we record this so if you are ready to dip your toe in the waters of sobriety and test your dependence then please check out our January Challenge on tribesober.com – for a small donation to a good cause you will get online and community support for an alcohol-free month.
  • And if its not January, then just go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe” – as a new member we’ll chat to you about your needs and design you a tailor made sobriety journey that will change your life!
  •  SIGN UP FOR THE JANUARY CHALLENGE HERE
  • If you are listening to this and it’s not January don’t worry – we’ve got you covered – all you need to do is to go to our tribesober.com and hit Join Our Tribe and we’ll put you on our 30 day starter challenge for new members.

More info

  • Subscription membership for Tribe Sober is just R85 (£4/$6/$8AUS) a month – you can join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com

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 7-step program and subscribe HERE.

Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you.

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 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 and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

The No More Goals Year of Just Being

 

Once upon a time there was a young girl who grew up in China. She lived in a simple, poor village. But she was not poor. She did not have much money, but her life was rich. She had wealth in that she had caring parents, caring siblings, a roof over her head, food in her tummy, and plenty of hugs and kisses.

Let’s call this little girl Lucy. Lucy woke up every day and did the same things – she dressed in her simple room, ate a simple meal of rice and she followed her mother into the storeroom behind the house. There they sorted rice, packed rice and cleaned rice. They then took it into their shop where they sold it in varying quantities to the people of the local village.

Lucy grew up. Soon she was a teenager, waking up every day to follow her mom into the rice storeroom to pack and sort rice. Then helping her mother fell the rice to all the local villagers. One day, Lucy celebrated her 119th birthday! And yes, Lucy was still there, doing the same things every day. By then, of course, her mother had passed away and her own children were helping her in the rice storeroom and in the shop – doing the same things every day.

Do you know why Lucy lived so long? She never looked back into the past because she had no regrets or shame. She never looked into the future for she had no huge plans or aspirations or almighty goals. Lucy lived in the simple present. The here and now. Lucy breathed, worked, ate and gave thanks. Lucy loved and was loved.

I have been thinking a lot about Lucy. And asking myself: why do we in the civilised modern world set so many goals? Why do we aspire to make millions? Why do we always want to be better and bigger or have things that are better and bigger? Look at the state of our Planet Earth! Our Mother! What have we done?

There is another side to the coin, of course. My 11-year-old son asked me, “Would it not be boring, mom, selling rice all day?” I remembered that every person is unique. Many of us cannot help but aspire to do better every day. Many people want more because they simply want excitement. I get enough from my walks, yoga, children and animals and garden. I like the simple life but many people like to pack their lives with events and things.

I have been thinking about addiction a lot too. Was Lucy addicted to anything? No! She had no reason: she had stability and love and she could predict each day and go to bed knowing that was today, that was yesterday, this is tomorrow.

What are the Root Causes of Addiction?

  • Trauma in childhood and later in life
  • Abandonment and loneliness
  • Mental health
  • Genetics and environment

For me, modern living is the root cause of addiction. Stress dominates our lives. Our thoughts are what drive us, and our thoughts are mere energy. Think about it: thousands of years ago, our ancestors lived in caves and their main reason for living was survival. Like all animals. Watch the birds. They eat all day, fly all day, lay eggs, raise their young, and start all over again. All the time, birds are happy creatures. How many 100% happy people do you know?

What can you do to be fully present? What can you do to leave the past in the past, the future in the future? How can you live today as if it was your very last day on Planet Earth?

Rituals are how we step into our private field of dreams, a small Elysium all our own. Rituals are made not just for us, but for those we want to pass them on to. (Andre Aciman)

Do you have Rituals?

Carl Phillips wrote these beautiful words about the power of simple rituals:

Walking in nature.

 Basking in the morning light.

 Noticing the first signs of Spring or Autumn.

 Making time to watch the sun setting.

 Listening to the birds sing their songs.

 A long walk to get nowhere in particular, just for the sheer enjoyment of the walk itself.

 Sitting with white space.

These simple rituals, and ones like them, are available to us in the every day.  There is power to be found in identifying our own versions. 

Refuge to be found in linking them together and personalising.  A source of joy, comfort and positive routine.

 Simple, accessible but powerful.  A winning combination.

Do YOU Believe in Goals?

I also found this wonderful article on a Zen website and would like to share it with all of you, unchanged. It is called “the best goal is no goal”. The writer acknowledges how for years he lived according to goals he set to achieve.

When he decided to stop doing this, he felt enormous liberation from the goal-setting that society has kind of ingrained into our cultures. Having no goals may just set you free from the consequences of then failing to achieve those goals. The wonderful effect of having no goals is to live entirely in the present.

Pretty soon, you may find that you are achieving the most incredible things, just because you can, and not because you are hindered by the brittleness of goals. What if you try this one day: walk out your door with no plan, no watch, no phone. Just your walking shoes. Walk in any direction. Change direction. Keep going. You will probably end up somewhere! And when you eventually get back to your front door, you will feel amazing.

Many people work for huge corporate companies where goals and hierarchical systems seem set up to keep the employees in a rigid system of goal setting and achieving. There are strategy meetings for this and structural meetings for that. Dates are set, diaries are filled, and computers rage all day. Why?

I know what you are thinking: is it not true that having no goal is a goal anyway? And how do I make a living if I don’t set goals? Read the article here. Journal your ideas down and think about them. Or just don’t think about it. Just be!

Dry January to Raise Funds for Earthchild Project

 

Janet Gourand spoke to the vivacious Sara-Jayne King on Cape Talk this week. She promoted the Dry January Challenge which raises much-needed and much-appreciated funds for children who do yoga and mediation with the Earthchild Project. What could be a better place to invest your ex-drinking money?!

Tribe Sober is hosting the Dry January Challenge to raise funds for Earthchild which works with more than 2-thousand children in Lavender Hill and Khayelitsha. They teach the kids healthy living skills and yoga. The founder of Tribe Sober, Janet Gourmand  is here to tell us more.

82. How Big Alcohol Hijacked the Feminist Movement – with Ann Dowsett Johnston

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

When I was contemplating sobriety I read a couple of books that really resonated with me – one was Caroline Knapp: Drinking a Love Story and the other one was Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol 

That book was published back in 2013 and it was a book that predicted the huge rise in risky drinking for women – a prediction that sadly has come true.

In her book Ann skillfully combines in-depth research with her own moving story of alcohol abuse.

She highlights the positive fact that women have closed the gender gap in their professional and educational lives BUT they have also achieved equality with men by drinking at unhealthy levels.

Unfortunately our bodies are not equal to a man’s body when it comes to metabolising alcohol – we get dependent quicker and it damages our health to a higher degree.

Ann explains how the alcohol industry had been ruthlessly targeting women for the last two decades – and how successful they have been.

In this episode

  • Ann’s drinking became problematic as she hit menopause – her son was going off to college and she had empty nest syndrome.
  • She became depressed but didn’t want anti-depressants (as her mom had fallen prey to the combination of cocktails and Valium) so she started to rely on wine to “take the edge off”.
  • In her 50’s Ann became so worried about her drinking that she took herself off to rehab. However it didn’t work.
  • Leaving rehab she had no idea how to navigate normal life and we agreed that this is a “missing piece” in some rehabs.
  • She found herself sneaking drinks for 3 months and then began to feel suicidal – her ex-husband suggested a meeting which was the beginning of her recovery.
  • Ann’s recovery meant she had to unpick her life and rebuild it so that it didn’t involve alcohol – this took years and year one was particularly hard.
  • This got me reflecting on our Tribe Sober community. We sometimes get people saying “I haven’t had a drink for 2 weeks – why do I still feel rubbish?!”
  • When we embark on this life changing journey I think we have to be patient and play the long game –  listen to Tribe Sober podcast number 61 and you will hear Dr Dawn explain that for every year that we drank we should allow a month of recovery.
  • What I’ve observed after helping hundreds of people to get sober is that it takes a year for sobriety to stick – 6 months of focusing on changing your behaviour so that you no longer drink, followed by 6 months of reconfiguring your life so that you can create a life you don’t want to escape from.
  • As we always say, you have to “throw the book at it” and give it your all – you heard Ann say that this journey is not for the faint-hearted but the rewards are huge and the rest of your life will be healthier and happier – you know you’re worth it (as the hair colour ad used to say!)
  • We talked about my decade of moderation and Anne reminded me that in Caroline Knapp’s book she says that the average period of “negotiation” we do is about 12 years. There has been a more recent study by the Tempest that says that it usually takes someone about 11 years between recognising that they have a problem with alcohol and reaching out for help.
  • This is where the power of community comes in – if I had been in a sober community when I was trying (and failing) to moderate my drinking, they would have told me to stop wasting my time trying to control an addictive substance.
  • Of course, now I know that once we have crossed a line with our drinking there is no going back – we just have to ditch the stuff and learn how to thrive in our alcohol-free lives.
  • So if you are in that period of “negotiation”, setting rules, trying to moderate, don’t waste 11 years of your life – go to tribesober.com and join our community today.
  • We agreed that the liquor industry has hijacked the feminist movement convincing us we need mommyjuice to parent and wine for self-care. Anne highlighted these facts in her book 8 years ago and she feels that things have got even worse since then.
  • Women have to get smart and as Ann put it, “democratically we are equal but metabolically and hormonally we are not equal to men.”
  • Ann is part of the Hola Sober team with the wonderful Susan Christina (you can listen to Susan Christina on Tribe Sober podcast episode 67). Ann is excited about the way the modern recovery movement is evolving and how there are so many different ways to get sober these days.
  • We talked about the fact that sobriety will give us so much more than it takes away – if you are having a wobble in your sobriety then do the exercise that Ann’s son made her do – a list of gains and losses. She talks movingly about this on her fabulous TED talk – I’ll put the link in the show notes.
  • Ann loves writing and runs an 8-week online recovery writing course which will help you to write your memoir and then get published – check it out on her website which is https://www.anndowsettjohnston.com/. I’ll put the link in the show notes.
  • I loved her story about carrying Caroline Knapp’s Drinking a Love Story book in her brief case when she was contemplating getting sober – that’s what inspired her to write Drink so make sure you get a copy of that on Amazon and carry it in your bag – whether to inspire you or to keep you on track!
  • It’s still January as we record this so if you are ready to dip your toe in the waters of sobriety and test your dependence then please check out our January Challenge on tribesober.com – for a small donation to a good cause you will get online and community support for an alcohol-free month.
  • And if it’s not January then just go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe” – as a new member we’ll chat to you about your needs and design you a tailor made sobriety journey that will change your life!
  •  SIGN UP FOR THE JANUARY CHALLENGE HERE
  • If you are listening to this and it’s not January don’t worry – we’ve got you covered – all you need to do is to go to our tribesober.com and hit Join Our Tribe and we’ll put you on our 30 day starter challenge for new members.

More info

  • Subscription membership for Tribe Sober is just R85 (£4/$6/$8AUS) a month – you can join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com


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 7-step program and subscribe HERE. Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you.

 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 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 and Instagram

You can catch our FB live on Saturday mornings (11am SAST) and you can join our private Facebook group HERE

Thank you for listening!

Till Next Week

Janet x

 

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 (i.e., “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 Wine O’clock Myth – Lotte Dann

‘I deserve this.’ ‘This is my reward.’ ‘I’m allowed to treat myself.’ Ever uttered these statements to yourself as you opened a bottle of wine at 5pm? If so, you’re not alone. Women around the globe are buying and consuming alcohol at alarming rates never seen before. But is it doing us any favours? Is it really that treat or reward that we deserve? Lotta Dann thinks not. In The Wine O’Clock Myth, Lotta takes an in-depth and eye-opening look at women’s drinking habits. Written through the lens of her own story and her work in the field of addiction and recovery, Lotta explores the privileged position alcohol holds in our society, the way the liquor industry targets women and the damaging ‘Wine Mum’ social media culture. She reveals the damage alcohol is causing to women physically, emotionally, and socially, and the potential reasons why so many women are drinking at harmful levels. She talks to a number of brave women who share detailed, intimate stories about their personal relationships with alcohol—stories that are at times brutal and heartbreaking, but also inspiring and heart lifting. The Wine O’Clock Myth is a powerful, important book that may well change the way you think about alcohol forever.

Mixing Alcohol with ADHD Causes Chaos

Which came first, the alcoholism or the Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? This is a question many experts have had to ask as the rise in cases of adults with ADHD and alcohol addiction causes concern.

For many adults who drink, being diagnosed with ADHD causes a huge sigh of relief. Oh, yay, now I know why I drink so much! It can be an excuse to drink more, or it can be the opening of a door into a new, sunny world. At last, there is hope, and the two issues can be resolved.

Alcohol Worsens ADHD

Of course, this is entirely up to the one who is drinking and suffering from ADHD. Do you want to stop drinking to cope better? Or is alcohol the only way you can cope? Remember that our brains will tell us everything we want to believe, which is often nothing true, but just an easy way out!

According to a fascinating article on the Alcohol Rehab Guide, “Alcohol and ADHD are a dangerous combination that all too often lead to dependence and addiction. ADHD is an increasingly commonly diagnosed disorder. Not everyone diagnosed, however, may truly suffer from ADHD, and vice versa. What’s more dangerous, however, are people with ADHD are more likely to develop alcoholism.”

Think about your brain and how it works. The prefrontal cortex or lobe is there to activate our thinking, our focus, memory, problem-solving skills, and organisational skills. It is interesting to note that people with ADHD tend to have a smaller prefrontal cortex! It is also less active than those in people who do not have ADHD. So, it follows therefore that adults with ADHD battle to concentrate, to remember, to organise their lives and to solve problems.

The outward signs of ADHD are constant energy that we know as hyperactivity. There is a sense of being constantly distracted, even dreamy. I am very hyperactive! I think fast, move fast and have to move and be busy all day! I have never been for a test because that is not what I believe I need to do. I just love it! I love being me.

Hyperactivity Pros and Cons

But for many women (and men), this hyperactivity can be a huge issue in their lives. It can threaten relationships and threaten stability. Especially if it is ADHD that comes with all the memory loss, lack of focus and inability to be organised in any small way.

We all know that alcohol on its own causes all of these symptoms, without adding ADHD to the fire! I remember being hyperactive when I drank wine (dancing, cleaning, and having a ball at 11 pm at night!). On the other hand, I was not very focused and forgot things in my diary! I have always been organized and fit so that remained.

The worst thing about mixing the two “disorders” is that the sufferer is very distracted during the day. It is called “chronic inattention” and the ADHD sufferer thinks that the glass of wine will help. But it just so happens that alcohol also affects the prefrontal cortex or frontal lobe of the brain.

What Happens to the Brain?

When people drink, the brain goes into overdrive. And the person gets depressed. So now you have a depressed person acting impulsively and hyperactively. Add ADHD to the mix and you have a wild child! The user then tends to binge drink and to lose focus and organization, not to mention memory and control.

Cooper Smith writes in the Alcohol Rehab Guide that People afflicted with ADHD are in consistent need of stimuli. The part of their disorder that makes them “hyperactive” makes it hard to focus on tasks that aren’t stimulating, leading many to create their own stimuli. In children, this often presents itself as an inability to focus on anything but play. This is especially noticeable in a classroom setting where they are expected to sit silently for hours. In adults, there is inherently less supervision, so they can act upon their need of excitement without the same consequences. This is one of the reasons to turn to alcohol. However, because of how the effects between alcohol and ADHD stack, a dangerous door of limited control and lapses in memory opens. There is increased risk of substance abuse as they age.

Adults with ADHD tend to think that they can control their impulsivity with alcohol. But the darker side to their alcohol use is that they can become dependent and addicted. Their drinking will be chaotic and lead to binging and a lack of control.

Depression could set in when the dopamine levels in the brain are saturated with the need for alcohol. Remember, that even if you have a break from alcohol, you always go back to where you ended off and that is the place where you were having 2 bottles a night!

Finding Out Can Help

If you think that you have ADHD, it may be a good idea to have a test. It could just be that the alcohol you are consuming is making you a bit chaotic and hyperactive. But if you do have an underlying problem in your prefrontal cortex, it is worth knowing about, addressing it – and maybe giving up the alcohol to strive for health.  Not so?

“A decision to be alcohol-free is a difficult lifestyle change, says Shizz, a member of Tribe Sober. “The life of an alcoholic has one routine which is finding the next reason and the next popular spot to booze the hours away.”

He acknowledges that being sober involves identifying triggers, planning ahead, and avoiding old habits. Finding these new habits can be a challenge. This may result in an overwhelming and crushing sense of emptiness. Finding the opposite of emptiness is not easy. But it can be done, and Shizz has done it.

“I learned to spin the word empty to (MTEA). The focus is me:
M – me
T – thoughts
E – emotions
A – actions

“With the MTEA thought breakdown being penned, I realised that I am not empty.”

More About the Brain

We can all use this and relate to this! If you are in it to win it, what are the steps you are going to take to make changes in your life? The brain is such a fascinating organ that I decided to do more research on the prefrontal cortex. Did you know:

  • When we drink a lot, the brain develops lesions that interrupt the circuitry in the brain
  • When we drink a lot, the brain circuitry between the prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum is damaged so these two parts of the brain battle to communicate with each other
  • We suffer a lack of balance, lack of coordination, a shrinking ability to reason, to multitask, and to solve problems or get things into order.
  • The interruption in the circuitry of the brain can also cause a shrinking of the prefrontal cortex due to all the alcohol which then causes a loss of control.
  • Damage to the liver can cause brain damage (a direct result of drinking).
  • Sleep apnoea can cause brain damage (a direct result of drinking).
  • Malnutrition can cause brain damage (a direct result of drinking).

These are all the things we need to be aware of before we decide to have a glass of wine. If you are reading this, it is likely that you are considering sobriety because you are concerned about your drinking.

Take heart, there is hope as the body can heal if the drinking is stopped in time. I like to think of my body as my temple and that I need to respect it as it keeps me here, on Mother Earth, alive. Why on earth would I want to poison my temple every day?

If you need help stopping drinking, or if you have ADHD, reach out. Chat to one of our coaches online or start a 30-day challenge. The rest is up to you.

 

81. Not-Quite Alcoholics: A Wake-up Call that Couldn’t be Ignored

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1881005/9747129 

Not-Quite Alcoholics provides tips, advice and inspiration for the sober curious and those in the process of changing their relationship with alcohol or going alcohol-free. Join your host Rory Kinsella, a meditation teacher, sober coach and the creator of We Meditate to Quit Alcohol and the Six Steps for Not-Quite Alcoholics. Not-Quite Alcoholics: how to go alcohol-free before rock bottom.

 

A Wake-up Call that Couldn’t be Ignored – with Janet Gourand

In this episode, I’m joined by Janet Gourand, the founder of Tribe Sober, a community of people changing their relationship with alcohol.

Janet is originally from London but has been living in Cape Town for the last 20 years. When she decided to stop drinking alcohol she could find very little support in South Africa and didn’t want to go down the rehab/AA route, so after getting sober her own way, she decided to use background in training and development to develop a program of her own.

Janet talks about how it took her three wake-up calls and many years before she finally accepted that life would be better without alcohol and quit.

More on Tribe Sober: https://www.tribesober.com

More info on We Meditate To Quit Alcohol: https://we-meditate.co/

More info on Six Steps for Not-Quite Alcoholics: https://we-meditate.co/products/six-steps-for-not-quite-alcoholics-course-meditation-package

 

Liver Health

Question:

I am afraid that my liver is already damaged beyond repair … I am 65 and have drunk heavily all my life. Have I left it too late and how can you test for this? Thanks

Answer:

I’m so pleased that you’ve become aware of the possible damage you may have done due to your drinking. And it’s never too late to stop.

Alcohol gets broken down by the liver to acetaldehyde which is extremely inflammatory. This is what damages the liver. However, only about 15% of heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis of the liver. This is thought to be due to our genetics. Some people are better at metabolising the alcohol than others. Fatty liver is very common in heavy drinkers. This can be reversed when one stops drinking, usually within a few months.

There are various tests that can be done to determine the damage done. Liver function tests are not very accurate and are usually only abnormal in end stage liver disease. There is a newish test called carbohydrate deficient transferrin which can demonstrate damage.  A better estimation is ultrasound of the liver. It can show the development of a fatty liver and cirrhosis. The big centers are able to determine the stiffness of the liver which demonstrates the level of inflammation.

The golden standard of liver function is a liver biopsy. It is not without its risks however and the before mentioned is usually adequate to make a diagnosis.

Hope this is useful. Let me know if I can be of further assistance

Best wishes,

Dr Judy.

 

80. Busting Sobriety Myths with Eusebius McKaiser

 

Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

This week I’m interviewing one of South Africa’s national treasures – author, journalist, and political analyst, Eusebius McKaiser.

I first interviewed Eusebius in 2020 and that conversation remains our most downloaded episode – you can find it on Tribe Sober podcast episode 29 so please check it out later.

A couple of years later I ditched the drink, started Tribe Sober and noticed that he had signed up for our Dry January Challenge.

Eusebius is now 3 years sober and is yet another example of how effective these short challenges can be – a taste of sobriety can sometimes bring about a permanent lifestyle change.

If you are ready to try a Dry January then go to tribesober.com and check out the January challenge – for a small donation to a good cause you will get community and online support for an alcohol free month.

In this Episode

  • The sober curious movement is growing – we have an endless variety of AF drinks, many online sobriety groups and even our own magazine, Hola Sober.
  • Eusebius believes that people should be free to make “bad choices” in life but did agree with me that education is important. Alcohol is a legal drug that damages our health and drinkers need to be aware of that.
  • When tobacco advertising was banned, the information about the link with lung cancer was all over the media – if alcohol advertising was banned we would hear a lot more in the media about the link between alcohol and 7 different types of cancer.
  • Women need to know that drinking more than 3 glasses of